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

Blissful Hot Stone Massage & “Yoga In A Basket” ~ Help The Wildlife Center!

The Wildlife Center of Virginia Gala is Saturday, October 17!  This annual event is one of the most important ways that the Center raises money to support their wonderful work saving wildlife.

Wildlife Center Gala 2015

The Wildlife Center cares for thousands of wild animals each year – from hummingbirds to bear cubs, from bunnies to bald eagles, from turtles to … oh, you get the idea. They do amazing things!

(Have you watched their Bear Cub cam lately? You should!)

2015SBBearComplexSixBears 6-16-15As part of their annual Gala they have a silent and live Auction and you can bid … even if you can’t attend the event.

Lots of cool items are available – all donated by businesses, artists, and other nice folks. There’s handcrafted jewelry and quilts, beautiful original artwork, tickets to local events, vacation outings, and unique sports and music memorabilia.

You can see a selection of items that you can bid on here.

I’ve got a couple things I hope you’ll consider.

A 90-MINUTE BLISSFUL PEACEFUL HANDS HOT STONE MASSAGE at my Madison, Virginia Studio. My hot stones are sweet as can be. They’ll melt your tight muscles and take you to your happy place. You really should meet them!

As one of my clients wrote in a Facebook review:

“I recently had my first hot stone massage with Jackie and I must say, it was amazing!! I have been going to Jackie for her regular massages for quite some time and decided to treat myself after the holidays. I was not disappointed. The blend of the oils, hot stones, and Jackie’s wonderful hands, left me in total bliss! I would recommend the experience … at least once … but I bet you’ll go back for more. I know I have my next one scheduled already.”

“PEACEFUL HANDS YOGA IN A BASKET” includes “yoga-riffic” treats to help you start, or expand, your home Yoga practice. You’ll find six Yoga DVDs of instruction, practices, and relaxation; two music CDs that are perfect inspiration for your practice or, really, for any part of your day; and a few other Yoga-inspired goodies.  Just add one Yoga mat and one You … and you’re ready to go!

Peaceful Hands Yoga Basket Gala

SONGBIRD PAINTINGS. Local artist Debbie Hunt painted a series of four beautiful songbird paintings — Tufted Titmouse, Chickadee, Eastern Bluebird, and White-Breasted Nuthatch — exclusively for the Gala.

Hunt Gala

Here’s an up-close of her Tufted Titmouse:

Debbie Hunt Titmouse Painting Gala

Each painting is 8”x 8” and is being auctioned separately. Bid on one or the whole set. Debbie is an artist on the rise, so start your collection now.

    *     *     *     *     *

Hawk walks, African safaris, private concerts, bourbon tastings, baseball tickets … there’s all sorts of sweetness available. (I did mention the 90-minute hot stone massage, didn’t I?)

For my Baseball Bloggess run-down on some awesome baseball, UVa, and rock and roll items click here.

Treat yourself (you deserve it), do your holiday shopping, or surprise a friend with a “no-occasion” gift.

Not nearby? No problem — shipping can be arranged.

If you have questions or are ready to bids email auctionbid@wildlifecenter.org.

The deadline for absentee bids is Friday, October 16, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

Bidding info can be found here.

Bid generously. Make a difference. Save a wild animal’s life.

Thank you!



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.

Pratyahara: Turning Down The Volume

There are eight limbs of the Yogic path.

Review them all, click here.

We often forget that there are eight.

It’s very easy to simply enjoy our time on our Yoga mats – stretching and reaching and curling and twisting. Asana, the limb of physical movement, is especially popular here in the West because, while our lives may be quite active, our movements often aren’t.

So, we come to our mats to revitalize our physical bodies.

Nothing wrong with that … I would be awfully lonely in my Yoga studio if you all didn’t love to stretch and fold and twist on your mats with me each week!

In almost every Yoga class, there is also time to focus the breath, practicing breathing with direction and purpose.  The limb of Pranayama.

Next up is Pratyahara, the limb of withdrawing the senses inward. This means to turn off the distractions that surround you, in preparation for mediation or simply a bit of peace.

I call it, “turning down the volume on the day.”

While people can get very excited over accomplishing a headstand or a handstand, they often write off the value of just going inward.

In  truth, the movement of Asana and the direction of breathing are simply tools to help us reach the higher limb of Pratyahara.

Pratyahara can be a nourishing part of any Yoga practice on the mat. But, it’s even more nourishing when you find ways to incorporate the practice into your daily life.

I wrote about Pratyahara “off the mat” on my other blog this week.

Click here to read about the little kid who showed me how it’s done.

Keep Calm & Carry OM

I love to chant OM in Yoga class. 

Oh, I’m out of key sometimes, sure, but I still love the vibration that comes with a long and heartfelt OM.

And, I’m so inspired when everyone else joins in with me in class. 

In our new Yoga studio, the walls hum with the magical and healing vibration of OM.

OM is considered the sound of the universe — the universal hum that gives us all fuel and life.  To chant OM is to honor the energy that surrounds us and to tap into it for our own healing and calming needs. 

When we all chant OM as one in class, we join our energy together making it even more powerful. 

When the whole room OMs, my entire body vibrates with a wonderful, radiant and healing energy.

During the Second World War, the British government printed a poster that said simply, “Keep Calm & Carry On”.  Its purpose was to inspire the population — telling them to stand up to the urgent and dangerous threat of the enemy by continuing their daily lives in a show of strength and defiance.  By keeping calm, carrying on, the British could stand up to any dangers and any threats before them.

So, when I saw this version of the old British poster I had to smile and smile and smile.  Because OM gives us the same empowerment, the same strength, the same encouragement.  It’s the same reminder that our inner strength can overcome any threat. 

Thank you to the anonymous, and incredibly clever, online OMster who shared this with us all!

Spring Training ~ At The Arts Center in Orange

The Arts Center in Orange — on Main Street in Orange, Virginia — just opened a sweet and warm exhibit called Spring Training.

All things baseball!

Many of you know that baseball and Yoga get all entwined on my path — both provide me with the inspiration to stay present, to stay ready, to stay peaceful.

So I was delighted to warm my winter bones with some amazing baseball at the Art Center this weekend … and I wrote about it on my other little “side blog” Baseball, Yoga, Life … (and me).

I especially loved this image, called “Venus Flycatcher,” by local photographer John Strader …

To be so still, so focused, so present … in the midst of dust kicking up all around … now, that may be baseball, but that’s also Yoga. 

You can read my post about the Arts Center’s “Spring Training” exhibit and see some more of the wonderful photographs, paintings, and multimedia pieces on exhibit by clicking here.

Even better, take a few minutes and wander through the exhibit itself. The Arts Center in Orange is a sweet little treasure, right on Main Street.  Definitely worth a visit … for the baseball … for the art.

On Exhibit at the ARTS CENTER in ORANGE
129 East Main Street, Orange, Virginia
February 7 thru March 30, 2013
Monday thru Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
No charge, although donations are gratefully accepted

All images are the copyright of the artists. Images used with the kind permission of The Arts Center in Orange. A special thank you to Laura Thompson, Arts Center Executive Director.