Hands on/off Adjustments

Turns out people notice what you don’t do.

A regular to one of my yoga classes recently had knee surgery and when I asked how they’re feeling in their practice they said, “great, except in child’s pose... I didn’t mention it to you since you don’t give assists like that (deepening assists e.g. pushing on low back in child’s pose).”

Hands on adjustments in yoga or the lack there of is a form of communication and I think it’s important to know what you’re saying with them if you give them.

When I use to let people adjust me the assists we’re always about deepening the pose I was in - whether I needed/wanted it or not. Sometimes they were too much and I injured myself. As a teacher, I deemphasize going deeper so there’s nothing for me to push on. I don’t emphasize an aesthetic so there’s nothing for me to correct. I do focus on and foster things like interoception, finding, allowing and the personal power to arrive in your signature alignment. More studios are taking notice with some offering (yes/no) consent cards so students have a say in their experience on the mat. It was after learning more about adjustments and the complexities of consent culture that I decided they’re not central to my teaching. Touch can of course be healing and I realize some people love hands on adjustments. That’s great. I’m not trying to be your everything in the yoga studio. As I continue to redefine yoga with sustainable movement the less I need to “fix” or change someone’s yoga pose. My approach is to make more space for movement diversity.

Rare photo of me giving a down-dog push to a fellow yoga teacher friend who also knows her body very well.


A Dose of Daydreaming does the body good. (Home of the Nine Minute Savasana).

What is it that you find yourself day dreaming about the most? That idea or goal that comes back to you again and again. It scares you a little bit to think about actually doing IRL, but in your minds eye you see it clear as day and it is successful, beautiful, empowering.

Go ahead and flex your daydreaming muscles. New research (ref) suggests that it’s good for us. The structured kind of daydreaming that has a touch of realism to it has shown to increase creativity, problem solving and greater productivity in adults. And daydreaming can give us mental practice for pursuing important goals before we have to invest any real time or effort. I DIG IT!

For me, it’s a studio space of my own. A place to hold all of my creativity. A space to create a movement, movement.

“Novels begin, not on the page, but in meditation and day-dreaming - in thinking, not writing.”

- Joyce Carol Oates.


A quick list of ingredients for my dream multi-use yoga studio:

1. Non dogmatic modern vinyasa yoga
2. Meditation for busy, exhausted humans 3. Functional, fun movement
4. Modern dance
5. High sturdy ceilings to swing/hang from
6. Restorative yoga

7. Teacher support group discussions 8. Guest teachers and workshops
10. Donation based offerings
11. Ritual.
12. Extensive unorthodox prop wall
13. Lavender oil and smudge sticks
14. Rose quartz and hella black tourmaline
15. Fellow teachers whose mission is kindness, openness, growth, education, connection
16. A curious and diverse community that values movement and sees it as a way to build a more sustainable, integrated (and badass) life.

Onward and upward we go in 2019 - via our favorite most cherished daydream.

Say The Real Shit.

I use to try so hard to talk like this until I realized it was more effective to just be me and speak my truth about movement and breath. This comes from learning, immersing and integrating. I stopped trying to memorize (recycled) cues and inspirational phrases, and started seeing the bigger picture of what I was offering, what I was teaching. This gave me much more content which meant endless, authentic ways to articulate it.

There’s nothing wrong with being eloquent, but the pressure is off.

SAY THE REAL SHIT. From Livia Cohen-Shapiro.
Metaphor, poetry, lofty words and aspirational spiritual lingo. The kind of words that strung together sounds lovely. Oh, ever so lovely. But when strung together, no sentence is made. No true lexicon at work.

Prayers, intentions, fancy words that our collective culture has decided are beautiful and awash with "spirit” make manifest the projection that Spirit is something you can buy and sell.
If you have ever left a class confused because the teacher said beautiful things but somehow nothing at all, you are likely on point. After all those words that streamed forth sounding so illustrious, no real substance actually added up.
There was nothing there.
Smoke and mirrors.
Words, like painted walls, can be just an aesthetic.

Some words and teachings might be aspirational. Sometimes we teachers need to say them to believe them and to make them real. That’s partly how matrika works. We say to make real.

But we are also responsible for making sense. For saying real shit. We are being charged with the task of offering substance. And for creating environments where the substance can be felt, found and transmitted. Instruction needs direction and accuracy. Not so that students do what you say, but so they can understand in their felt experience what you are trying to say. And then choose. Engage self-agency. Explore possibility.

It is very hard to explore safely when nothing makes sense. When words don’t add up. When language does not match expression and intonation.

We can get very lost in our words you know. There are many reasons we turn into talking heads, trying to believe what we are saying.

I invite all of us as teachers to drop down another inch, right into the space that motivates our word choices. What are you actually trying to say, to convey? Keep asking for real shit.

This Thing We Do

Ask 100 people what yoga is and you will likely get 100 different answers. Its definitions are as diverse as the communities who practice - as they should be. Some traditionalists may find this problematic, but I find it to be freeing which is exactly how I like my yoga. Since September is National Yoga Month I decided to share some of my very favorite takes on yoga from teachers around the country that I've practiced with and enjoy learning from. I hope they inspire your practice and broaden your sense of what yoga can be in our modern world. 


  • The balancing of opposing forces. - Laurel Beversdorf


  • A living tradition. - Brea Johnson


  • Yoga happens inside. It’s not a question of muscles. It’s an arrangement of bone. Guts. Spinal cord. A hearing of nerve. A sounding of depth. @coalfury


  • Yoga isn’t really a thing. It’s just me working on being fully me. - Sparkle Thornton.


  • The perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are. - Jason Crandell


  • The practice of Yoga is a never ending journey of personal development and exploration. - Embrace Yoga DC


  • Yoga is the practice of presence. How to be present so you know yourself follow your fluctuations and needs because when you tend to that you are contributing to the world. - Rachel Yellin


  • The practice of yoga is about bringing greater intelligence to the body on every level, from the physical and physiological, to the mental, intellectual, and spiritual. - badass yoga nun.


  • A perennially expanding line of inquiry - unknown


PS: It's ok if you're still figuring out what yoga means to you. There may be people who tell you your yoga isn't real. They don't get a say in the answer. Only you. 







The Struggle is Real (Chaturanga Dandasana)

The Struggle is Real (Chaturanga Dandasana)

In vinyasa yoga, Chataranga is a foundational (hard) pose we often flow (rush) through so we can get on to the next pose. Here's how to struggle less, feel strong and build a beautiful yoga-pushup. 


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