Friday, November 23, 2012

Orange Yoga ~ A New Home!

Ganesha has arrived to banish obstacles. The bells have arrived so class can start.
We're just waiting for you & your Yoga mat!

Yes ... it's official (finally!) 

Peaceful Hands Yoga in Orange has a new home!

Beginning with our December 19 class, we will be located at 307A Madison Road in the historic Silk Mill Building, Orange, Virginia.

I'm hopeful that our new home will give us a bit more room to spread out, a nicer space, and better ventilation and temperature.  While no space is perfect (or so I am told), I hope this will become a sacred space for you to share your Yoga with me each week.

We'll be sharing space with Hamilton's Day Spa -- our studio is at the back of the spa.  So, you'll park in the central Silk Mill lot and come through the Day Spa front door (next door to the florist and physical therapy office).

We'll continue to have class in our current Byrd Street location until the 19th. 

Lots of floor space so you can stretch out without knocking your neighbor over!


Yes, even a window (which overlooks the Silk Mill Restaurant Courtyard).
I'll be getting shades or a window treatment, so that we may be open to the sky
or quiet in our private cocoon during our classes.
(But, that may not be completed until the new year.)

And, the ocean wall I've always wanted! There should be ample wall space for everyone
to flip over and kick up our legs from time to time.
I hope this will become an inviting and sacred space for your Yoga journey.
I hope that it feels like home. 

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. You can post your comment here, email me at peacefulhands (at) or call me at 540-672-9528.  Thank you for being part of my Yoga family!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

So, Let Us All Be Thankful ...

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.”

~ The Buddha

During this time of Thanksgiving, it's nice to sit back and reflect on the many things for which we are grateful. But, sometimes, as we tote up our lists, we can lose sight of the basic, simple things in life which are deserving of our gratitude, but often get lost in the shuffle.

There is a sweet cartoon from Patrick McDonnell -- who does the Mutts comic strip -- where Earl the dog asks Shtinky the Little Cat, "Hey, Shtinky, what are you thankful for?" And, Shtinky says, "This moment!"  Earl asks, "Anything else?" "Yes. THIS moment!" 

That cartoon is 10 years old, but I think of it often (and, as you can see, I know it by heart).  Thanksgiving is a lovely time to tell the people we love "thank you." To sit and reflect on the gifts in our days that make our lives special.

But, we should also remember that each moment is a gift -- whether a special moment or just a very simple one.

So, every once in awhile, just stop and say to yourself. "THIS moment." And, let that be your little prayer of thanks.

Feeling Blessed? Here's more on gratitude from our Yoga classes ...

For the savasana "Energy Bridge of Gratitude" meditation that anchors our Thanksgiving Yoga class, click: Thanksgiving Yoga ~ A Blessing, Part 1

For a meditation of gratitude that served as the ending moments of our Thanksgiving Yoga class, click: Thanksgiving Yoga ~ A Blessing, Part 2

To Read the timeless and inspiring Thanksgiving Blessing from W.E.B. DuBois that has been part of our Thanksgiving Yoga classes for a decade now, click: A Grateful Heart

For a Beautiful Poem of Gratitude from Harriett Kofalk, that served as the foundation for another Thanksgiving Class, click: I Give Thanks

For "Thanksgiving Yoga: Rekindling Our Light", click: Rekindling Our Light

Our website has moved!  For more Yoga blessings and meditations to inspire your practice, plus updates on classes at Peaceful Hands Yoga, visit our website:

Monday, November 05, 2012

VOTE! It's Your Yogic Duty

Voting is part of our Yogic duty. The time to take your Yoga off the mat and into the world.

It may seem strange because much of the time our Yoga seems like solely an inward journey ... a journey to expand and enlighten our own body, mind, and spirit. After all, when we step on the mat -- it is just your two feet planting, your two arms reaching, your one heart beating, your one spirit shining.

But, as we respect and foster our own inward growth through Yoga, we must also remember -- as the word Namasté reminds us -- that we are all one.

Our actions, our efforts, our Yoga are for the “all one” ... not the “just me”.

And, so, we must respect and honor ... and take responsibility for ... our journey as a society.

Yoga is not about isolating ourselves from the world. It is about non-attachment to the things of the world, true. But, that's something altogether different.

We seek our inner growth as a means not only to help ourselves, but also to be of benefit to others.

Voting is a very easy way to do that. It shows your support and concern for the wellbeing of your neighbors, friends, and your community. It shows that on your Yoga journey you seek the highest good for all.

It shows that you care.

How lucky we are to have some say in how our society operates.

I've been a bit overwhelmed by all the political anger in this election season -- less from the candidates themselves, but from friends and others who think that by raising their voices, by shaking their fists, by being loud and rude, they will force me to their way of thinking. And, I've heard it on both sides.

I'm so tired of, and disappointed by, the mean-spirited links and "likes" that my Facebook community has been forwarding. I've kept quiet. Because anger, mean-spiritedness, sarcasm, and yelling will accomplish nothing -- no matter who wins on Tuesday.

Voting is not about disagreeing and being angry.

Democracy is about working together. Compromising. And, making a difference in our community, our country, and our world.

And, as always, there is someone who says it far better than I ever could. Dorothy Day, a Catholic leader and social activist of the early 20th century, has inspired me in so many ways. She once said:

“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.”

The work begins on Tuesday. Vote.

Let your Yoga light serve us all.


Saturday, November 03, 2012

Who Decides What's 'Proper' Anyway?

"There's no 'properly'. There's just how it makes you feel."

~ Keith Richards describing playing guitar

Maybe it was only rock & roll that Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was talking about, but he did an incredibly good job of summing up my Yoga path and practice, too.

Yoga is about feeling ... and letting that feeling blossom from within. 

Yes, there are great books of Yoga wisdom and sutras to guide and inspire us. But, they are just that -- guides. They are meant to guide us so that we may find the true reward of Yoga ourselves. From within. Both on and off the mat.

Let's just talk about the "on the mat" part today.

I know that a lot of my students wish I would spend more class time pushing them into poses ... or pulling their arm one way and their leg another.  Isn't that what Yoga teachers are for?  Pushing or pulling you into something deemed 'proper'? Something someone has decided is correct or, even, perfect.

But, as I think most of my students know, that's not my style. Afterall, I could sculpt a body into a beautiful Downward Dog or Warrior Pose. I could move a limb here an inch ... or push your hip a schooch in the other direction.

What does that give you? It gives you a fleeting moment of something that may look like it belongs in a Yoga magazine, but isn't really your Yoga.

It may look all pretty on the outside, but it may hurt on the inside. It may make a muscle tense or a joint ache. You lose the ease. You grit your teeth. You count the moments until you can come out of the pose. 

You lose the Yoga.

I may move a student or encourage a change in the pose with my touch, but that's merely a suggestion or an invitation to move out of discomfort. But mostly I like to adjust my students with my words, with verbal suggestions that allow a student to find the pose from the inside.

Yoga is about finding the pose on your own ... truly owning it and feeling it within you. No teacher can move you there. You have to find it yourself. And, what a great feeling it is when you do.

I wonder if Keith Richards has ever done Yoga? He should. He's got the right heart for it.

Because Yoga isn't about doing something 'properly'. It's about feeling the spirit of the pose inside, letting it come to life, and letting it shine out.

I hope you're feeling some good Yoga!  Rock on, Yoga friends!

(And, yes, I AM reading Keith's autobiography 'Life' ... again. One of the five greatest rock-and-roll books of all time. And, a great read whether you love the Stones or not.)