Who’s Your Yoga Role Model?

There’s a belief that magazines and Instagram hold the secret to Yoga – that Yoga role models are the people in the pretzeliest poses, in the fanciest leggings, and with the prettiest flowing hair.

I’m not the pretzeliest one in my class, my leggings are boring, and as those of you who know me know, flowing hair … what?

And, so a flowing-haired pretzelly poser might not be the best role model for me.  And, maybe not for you either.

This is my Yoga role model.

thanks to my friend Tim Black for this awesome photo.

Hi, Mt. Shasta! How are you today?

I’ve come to learn that role models come in all shapes and sizes. And, sometimes a Yoga role model isn’t even a person at all.

Mt. Shasta reminds me of stillness and strength. Mt. Shasta also reminds me that Tadasana, the mountain pose, is more than just standing around waiting for another pose. It is being present, still, and strong. It is its own pose.

When I told a friend that Mt. Shasta was my muse, she got me this tee-shirt …


Sure, I like seeing what pretzelly poses they come up with on Instagram. I don’t discount anyone just because they have fancy leggings and many of them tell beautiful stories and share important Yoga tips.  But, I also learn something from everyone who comes to our Yoga classes. So, you, too, are my role models.

So, your homework this week – while Peaceful Hands classes are on break – is to find a few out-of-the-ordinary role models that can inspire your practice and I hope they will nudge you to unroll your mat and see where your Yoga can take you this week.

National Public Radio reported yesterday on a study that found that inactivity today does more than raise the risk of disease, it also reduces the ability to get around at all as we grow older. And, rebounding from prolonged inactivity becomes slower – much, much slower – as we grow older. The story is here.

So, do your Yoga today, so you can do your Yoga tomorrow.

(Fall Session at Peaceful Hands begins Monday, September 11. More details in a couple days … but, first, time to unroll my mat and see what Mt. Shasta inspires in me today.)

Shastafarianly Yours, Jackie

Old Pose, New Pose

I’ll remind you in class from time to time that Yoga poses – asanas – are usually not as old as we think they are. And, while some instructional Yoga guides to asanas are a couple hundred years old, there aren’t any that are truly “ancient.”

As I mentioned in our Sun-Moon class on Monday, the Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskar – is probably only 100 years old or so. The Moon Salutation, Chandra Namaskar? Well, it’s younger than the Internet.

But, there’s nothing wrong with poses being young. They are born of the spirit of Yoga – which is ancient – and the knowledge of modern science, anatomy, and physiology. They are the perfect balance of old and young.

And, that’s what Yoga is, isn’t it? The balancing of energy – sun and moon, right and left, young and old.

Here are two poses for you to ponder. One old and one is so young it hasn’t been invented – yet. But, maybe you can help me with that.

Old Pose

Lilias Folan was one of the great teachers of Yoga in the United States. Her Yoga programs on PBS beginning in the late 1960s introduced thousands to the practice at a time when there weren’t many Yoga studios around.

During Wednesday’s heart opening class, we practiced Gormukhasana. It’s a wonderful way to open the shoulders and stretch the heart center.

I’ve always known it as “cow face pose.”

So imagine my surprise to find it in a book by Lilias from 1972. The pose hasn’t changed. But, the name certainly has …

lilias 1972 warrior

Any guess on what Sponge pose is? (I know the answer … we do it all the time and we call it something else entirely.)

New Pose

California blogger Casey Karp writes about all sorts of things, including technology, the Bay Bridge, baseball, and cats. Every Friday he shares a photo of one – or some – of his cats doing … something.

Today, he featured Rhubarb, curled up and sleeping in what looks to me like a wonderful, brand-new Yoga pose. A pose that hasn’t been invented yet.


Photo of Rhubarb from koiscribblings.com Thanks Casey!

Check out the entire post for Casey’s description of the specific alignment Rhubarb is demonstrating: Read here.

Casey believes that cats get short-shrift in Yoga. He knows about Down Dogs, but he doesn’t know about cat tilts … cat-grabs-its-tail … lion pose … tiger in the grass.

I told Casey if anyone could turn his cat’s photo into a Yoga pose – Rhubarbasana, of course – it would be us. Take a look and see what you think.

If you want to share your thoughts on how to make Rhubarbasana come alive on the mat, let me know or comment below.  Or, maybe we’ll invent something new on Monday!

(And, a Friday treat for you. Here’s the Heart Sutra from Wednesday’s Savasana.)


The Perfect “Giraffe Pose”

My Yoga classes and I will, on occasion, rename Yoga poses.

Not because the original  names are wrong, but because sometimes they’re dull or just not the right fit for us. Sometimes we come up with something better.

Like Giraffe-asana. Which is standing wide-legged fold. It just feels so much better when you imagine yourself stepping wide to allow your long, long graceful giraffe neck to reach down and down and down in order to take a cool sip of water.

Really. It’s a totally better pose when you channel your inner giraffe.

You can see Giraffe-asana here … if you watch this through … done to perfection.


“Belly Go In & Out”

“Belly go out and in and in and out. B-b-breathe. Belly. Belly. Belly.”

I admit that there have been times teaching Yoga that I have said to the class, “Breathing is very important.”

And, sure, the proper response to that is probably, “Duh.” And, yet, we are a society that is notorious for shallow, stressed, and inefficient breathing.

So, maybe a reminder that breathing is important isn’t that dopey afterall.

Here’s Elmo, Common, & Colbie Caillat teaching you Yoga breathing the Sesame Street way. Plus, the song will stick in your head all day, reminding you to …

B-b-breathe. Belly. Belly. Belly.

A Good Day To Warm Up

Sometimes we find our Yoga lessons in the least-expected places.

I spent my high school and college years in North Dakota.  It was during high school that I found a small, 10-year-old Yoga book in the basement of my small town’s only department store.  (I still share some of the poses I learned from that book.)

In college, I encountered my first actual Yoga class.

A young woman at my college was teaching a weekly Yoga class.  I was the editor of the entertainment section of the student newspaper and decided to write about her classes.  I interviewed her and wrote a nice supportive article, but was too shy to actually take her class. 

(This is true … I was too shy to try the class.  That’s why I’m always so happy when I see the “regulars” at our studio go out of their way to say “hello” and help new students feel welcome when they come to their first class.)

But, perhaps the most important Yoga lesson I learned in North Dakota came on this day.  It was finals week of my senior year. This was the weather:

Yes, I went to class that day. I passed my finals. But, needless to say, it was my last winter in North Dakota. (And,  no, that was not me out jogging.)

But, that day … and many snowy, cold winters in North Dakota taught me this …

It’s always a good time to unroll your Yoga mat and warm yourself up.  Inside.

(I hope to see you in class … I’ll keep the room warm for you!)

Each Step Must Be A Goal

I sometimes think that goal-making sends our awareness and attention only to the end result — the goal we seek to achieve.  And, then we miss the journey itself, the effort, the adventure, the process. And, it’s that process that is probably the most important benefit. ~ Namasté

“It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal & a step likewise.” ~ Goethe


Always Cheer The Underdog & Other Good Advice From Mom

I try not to cross-pollinate my blogs.  I just have two and each serves a different purpose.

But, what are rules, if you can’t break them from time to time?

With Mother’s Day quite close, I thought I would share with you my post about my mom. 

It has nothing to do with Yoga, but it has everything to do with love. And, isn’t cultivating love what our Yoga is really all about?

So, if you’d like to take a look, you can click on my “Baseball, Yoga, Life (& me)” blog by clicking here

If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive emails whenever I post on either of my websites.  There’s a sign up for this website on this page.  And, you can subscribe to receive posts from my “Baseball, Yoga, Life (& me)” blog (just go to the “Home” link on that site and you’ll see the “Follow By Email” option on the right-side column). 

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom who left too soon … and to all the moms out there who fill the world with so much love!


Finding Simplicity & Peace ~ Inside & Out

I came across this peace prayer quite awhile ago.  It seems especially relevent during times when the fast pace of news and life can seem to overwhelm us and our senses. 

It’s important during these stressful times to come back to the Yogic practice of Pratyahara — drawing our senses inward for the peace, quiet, safety, and wisdom that our heart can offer.

I adapted the prayer so that it could serve as a Savasana Yoga meditation this week.  As we keep the Earth Day spirit in our hearts, perhaps this meditation can be of benefit.

A Blessing of Simplicity & Peace

We give thanks for simplicity and peace.   Let us find such places within ourselves. We give thanks for places of refuge and beauty. Let us find such places within ourselves.

We give thanks for place of nature’s truth and freedom, of joy, inspiration and renewal, places where all beings may find acceptance and belonging. Let us search for these places in our world and in ourselves.  Let us restore them. Let us strengthen and protect them.  Let us create them.

May we mend our outer world according to the truth of our inner life. And, may our hearts be shaped and nourished by nature’s eternal wisdom.