Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fall 2012 Yoga Sessions ~ Coming Soon!

Just a quick reminder ...

Yoga Classes have been "off" this week, but we're back with the Fall Session very very soon!

NEXT WEDNESDAY ~ September 5
8-Week Fall Session in Orange, VA
4:30 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.

MONDAY ~ September 10
8-Week Fall Session in Madison, VA
4:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

More details coming soon ... but mark your calendar, because Fall has arrived!

You can always find the latest schedules online at and on Facebook at

And, the massage info is right here:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One Wild & Precious Life

Oscar is my cat.  He's 20.

Although he has his share of stiffness and achy joints in recent years, he can still hoist himself up on the barn roof for an afternoon snooze.  Just yesterday, for instance.

I share him with you, because he's a good reminder of Poet Mary Oliver's words:

"Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild & precious life."

Oscar came to us about eight or nine years ago.  So, he already was an older cat -- nearly elderly.

But, he was unhappy with his people up the road, I guess.  And, so he packed up and moseyed through the fields.  A half-mile.  He just showed up one day.  Moved in.  And, never left.

We always joke that he saw our place as a retirement home.

But, in fact, he didn't retire.  Instead, Oscar found a second chance and a new life -- rich, rewarding, active, and comfortable.

And, his decision to make a fresh start ... at an age when he should have been winding down ... is a daily inspiration to me.

It's never too late to start again.

So ...

"Tell me, what it is YOU plan to do with your one wild & precious life."

P.S. Oscar would be delighted, I'm sure, if you would share his photo, and message, with your friends and loved ones.  Because he carries Mary Oliver's inspiring words.  And, they are very good reminders that we all should live our lives to their fullest.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Earth, Wind, & Fire ~ The Keys To Life

"Where Agni is enkindled, where Vayu is controlled, where Soma overflows, there the higher mind is born. ... All of the five elements are connected in the action of Yoga."
~ from the Upanishads

So let's break this beautiful scripture down ... and translate the Sanskrit:

Agni = Fire
Vayu = Wind (Air & Ether)
Soma = Earth & Water

And, so the Upanishad now reads:

"Where FIRE is enkindled, where WIND is controlled, where EARTH & WATER overflow, there the higher mind is born."

As I said in our EARTH class last night ~

Earth & Water give us physical substance, structure, and form. 

Wind gives us movement (air) and the space that we move within (ether).

Fire gives us the tools to digest and consume; it allows us to thrive.

These 5 elements must be in harmony and balance.  And, our Yoga classes this week focus on helping support that balance.

For Earth & Water ... Without Water, our Earth gets hard, dry, and rigid.  Our bodies become hard, our mind becomes rigid.  But, with too much Water, our Earth turns to mud.  We get sluggish and slow in our bodies and in our minds.

For Wind ... Too little Wind makes us stagnant and we fall in physical, mental, and emotional "ruts".  We lose our ability to expand ourselves.  Too much Wind makes us physically dried out and brittle, and "air headed."

For Fire ... A lack of fire, means we lose the "fire in our belly" ... not only emotional drive and focus, but also the ability to properly digest nourishment and nutrition from food, from our senses, and from our experiences.  Too much ... well, we burn ourselves out.

But, when things are in harmony ... then we have good health, strong energy, and a peaceful heart that allows us to transcend the challenges of our day.  We move a little bit closer to that higher mind of serenity and bliss.

And, that is why we finish this week of Yoga-Palooza with 3 focused classes to find the balance ... Earth.  Wind.  Fire.

Earth was last night.  Next up ... Wind Wednesday!  And, Fire Friday!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Earth Wind & Fire ~ Yoga-Palooza's Final BIG Week!

Still planning to get a yoga class in before the summer ends? This coming week is the final week of our 5th Annual Yoga-Palooza in Orange … and it’s a BIG one.

Monday. Wednesday. Friday.
4:30 & 6:00 p.m.

Earth. Wind. Fire.

Every living being is composed of a unique blend of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air, ether. Our classes for this final week of Yoga-Palooza will explore each one … with asana, breath, music, and mindfulness that will massage and revitalize the elements within us and bring them into balance.

Monday, August 20. EARTH YOGA ~ Explore the deep grounding nature of earth, and its “partner” water.

Wednesday, August 22. WIND YOGA ~ Dive into the breath and soar with the energy of air and ether.

Friday, August 24. FIRE YOGA ~ Charge up Manipura, the third chakra and the seat of Fire within us.

All three classes bring you the complete package. But, if you can only get to one or two … then do that. If you’re not already signed up for the session … it’s $12/class.

(And, yes, there is a select group of special folk who are very, very close to attending EVERY class this summer … July and the Yoga-Palooza session! Will they make it to the end with perfect attendance? Stay Tuned!)

We’ll be off the last week of August.  The Fall Yoga Sessions will begin on Wednesday, September 5 in Orange and Monday, September 10 in Madison. More on those sessions coming soon …

In the meantime, check back for class updates and other things:

Peaceful Hands Yoga Online

Peaceful Hands on Facebook

Stay cool and shady on these remaining summer days and I hope to see you (and your Yoga mat) soon!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Sometimes A Flower Is Only A Flower

Sometimes a flower is only a flower. 

There's no real reason for this post.

Except that this morning, I went out to take a photo of the single sunflower blooming in my garden. 

But, that photo didn't turn out.

And, then I saw this tiny little morning glory, just tucked in amongst the weeds and vines.  And, so I took a photo of it.  And, the photo was sweet and the morning dew looked so glittery.  

So, I didn't get the photograph of the flower I wanted.  I got something I didn't expect.

This flower is only a flower.

And, there is no purpose to this post.

Except that sometimes a flower is only a flower ... and that's quite simple and beautiful enough.

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Heart Sutra

Wednesday's Yoga class was "Heart Opening" ... and we began and ended with the chant of perfection and wisdom known as the Heart Sutra.

As I said in class, many Sanskrit blessings and sutras rise above mere mortal translation.  They are about vibration and energy and while they may not translate into words easily, their effect can be profound and transformative.

In Sanskrit, the Heart Sutra is this:

Teyaté Gaté Gaté Paragaté Parasamgaté Bodhi Soham

So, while the Sutra defies easy translation, here is the basic intent of the chant:

Empty body, Empty mind.  What is left is the divine and pure energy of the heart which entwines with all others.

In other words, a simple translation could be: I am not my body and I am not my mind.  I am the pure spirit of my heart -- the Purusha.  And, the pure spirit of my heart joins with the spirit of all other beings.

Of course, there are many true scholars who spend many many years absorbing and studying these beautiful sutras.  They offer much deeper and far more complex translations, but this simple translation serves me well and I love to carry this Sutra in my heart. 

Yangjin Lamu is a Tibetan woman with a beautiful voice ... she sings the Heart Sutra with such sweetness and strength.  Her video on YouTube is so worth the visit!

Yangjin Lamu sings the Heart Sutra

I hope that it touches you deeply and feeds your heart.

For more Yoga meditations and blessings -- and the latest class info from Peaceful Hands -- visit our website: