Restorative Yoga, what?

“Restoration.” What do you think when you hear that word? For myself, I imagine in my minds’ eye a beautiful antique that has weathered and aged from the environmental stresses then restored because someone actually cared to recapture its essence and beauty.

Restorative yoga, to me; is much like this. Classical Restorative, that is. Our nervous system is stressed from the environment, the fast past culture. I never knew how much my inner body needed Restorative yoga! Last week I fully embodied restorative yoga every single day. My nervous system reset and there was an inner clarity and wisdom that I found was always there — I never really listened.

Restorative yoga is an advanced teaching. That’s what my teacher Tianne Allan from Semperviva Yoga College said. I would have to agree. There are so many subtle details, a presence you need to teach. The practice itself is such a wonderful teacher.

Some folks will push this type of yoga aside because they need to feel something. For example, sweating. While this would be wonderful for a more physical practice there also needs to be an inner caring of the nervous system.  Once you discover Restorative yoga –it so profound.

I’m so grateful I was able to learn from Tianne this past week. I invite you to try Restorative Yoga wherever you are. Become unattached to physical. Go inward, deeply. The practice is very insightful, thoughtful and profound. I am looking forward to offering this soon, be sure to check my schedule and workshops.

Until then, try taking 5 minutes of you day in a quiet room, dark with the room temperature “just right” in a supported comfortable pose and just sit with yourself and your thoughts. You’d be surprised how much 5 minutes can reset your day.

Deep gratitude to my Restorative yoga teacher Tianne Allan for all her beautiful work. Om shanti.

Go Yin-side: Yin Yoga & Acupressure Workshop!

I am excited to announce that I’ll be facilitating a special Yin Yoga workshop designed to maximize the release of physical and emotional issues stored in the tissues of the body. This class will specifically target connective tissues around the hips and back.

The Yin Yoga practice focuses on the deeper dense tissues of the body, such as tendons, ligaments and connective tissues. We will learn how to safely approach the Yin Yoga postures by inquiring about our own body in our yoga practice and learning how to use yoga props to modify or to deepen our postures. The ancient Chinese healing art of acupressure will also be introduced in this workshop. Massage balls will be used during our yin practice to press on key healing points. All levels are welcomed.

Register online at! Click on “schedule” then “workshops” to register. Registration opens today!

SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2017 1PM – 3PM
Just Breathe Yoga, Rivermark
3971 Rivermark Plaza, Santa Clara, CA

Cost: $35 Early bird, registered a week prior to event or $45 after. Space is limited!


In two weeks, I will be teaching my first inversion workshop. Yin Yoga Lisa, you might ask? I hardly see her going upside down!

Most folks who know my personal practice know I try my best to balance the Yin and the Yang. That’s all they know. However, I do have a handful of my friends see my journey and my struggle on my yoga mat. I try to keep that private, because I truly wanted to develop on my own. 

In my journey, it has been a struggle with myself, my inner doubts and understanding the true process. It has been less about getting into the elusive handstand or any inversion for that matter. My journey — ever evolving. Evolution of strength, wisdom and courage. To step outside the box. To fall and get back up again. No matter how much my head kept saying to quit, I didn’t.

So, as I share my journey to inversions in this workshop — all I know is that I’ll be honest. I’ve taken plenty of inversion workshops and arm balance/inversion teacher trainings and while I never nailed that handstand there – I knew they were baby steps. Even registering for an inversion workshop took so much courage to muster up!!! 

Authenticity. No visage. I am not a gymnast, but I will share what I have learnt. The key tid-bits from trainings. The journey. 

Are you will to take that small step too?Join me Saturday, March 11, 11-1pm at The Yoga Company San Ramon. Let’s just have fun. Register at Only a few spots left. 

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”

-Shannon L. Alder

Sweet Hips Yin Yoga Sequence

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some of my Yin Yoga sequences! I wanted to share with you all a recent “Sweet” Hips Yin Yoga sequence I taught my class a few weeks ago. There are many variations of Yin Yoga poses in this sequence to target different Yin tissue. As you invite yourself to these postures, create a willingness to be quiet and really sense what you feel from this place of stillness. You will find from this stillness, there is a greater capacity to understand the tension from the body, your emotions and your thoughts. This calm place will be held with mindfulness and compassion.

As always, please consult with your physician before attempting any of these poses. Come out if you feel like the pose is not serving you. Your body is very intelligent. Listen to it. It’s been waiting for you to listen.

Sweet Hips Yin Yoga Sequence.

Allow yourself to hold in the poses for 3 – 5 minutes on each side.

Opening Meditation. Starting supine. Draw knees into chest and gentle rock from side to side.

1. Happy Baby Pose. 

Allow yourself to choose full or half happy baby pose. In this variation, I used blocks to support my thighs. You can use a yoga strap here if you can’t reach your feet, much like stir-ups. Choose whichever resonates with you. Each day is so different.

2. Squat Pose. (Photo not shown)
If your heels do not touch the ground, you adjust the width of your stance. See if that helps. Alternatively, roll up your mat and place it under your heels if your heels don’t touch. Don’t get attached to getting your heels down. Here’s a recent article about this pose with reference to Bernie Clark’s latest book “Your Body, Your Yoga”. Here’s my plug- If you haven’t gotten his book yet, get it. You’re welcome. 

3. Windshield Wiper Pose. 

This is a variation to get into the lateral portion of the thigh. Use a block under the knee to support it.​​

4. Supine Hamstring Pose. 

I love using yoga straps! Here is a variation that I take so I don’t need to hold the strap. If your leg does not reach as high as mine, don’t sweat it. Come to the pose where you feel it. That’s where the pose begins. (Plus your hamstrings will like you better for that).

5. a) Dragon Low. 

Place hands to the instep of your foot, use blocks or bolster for support. A blanket or towel for the back knee if there are any knee sensitivities. You should feel this in your hip flexor and maybe a bit though your adductor (inner groin). 

5. b) Dragon Splits. 

In this variation, I target the medial hamstrings and adductors. This one is on a diagonal. Use blocks as needed. Ease in, don’t force.

Repeat 5 a& b on side two. (Or else you will be lopsided)

6. Cat Pulling It’s Tail.

In this variation, I attempt to come into this pose from a fetal position. If you can’t reach the back leg, use a strap. Hello quads. 

​7. Deer Pose. 

This is with emphasis on the internal rotation of the back leg. As always, take your time. Come to the pose where you start to feel it. Not too much, not too little but just right. (Yes, it’s the Goldilock’s Principle)

8. Supine Butterfly Pose or any position in closing meditation. (Not shown)

The videos and photos are to help you with the poses. I do have a head cold (stuffed up nose), so I might sound a little congested in the videos. 

Enjoy the sweet bliss in your sweet hips. Just in time for Valentine’s Day. Have a sweet one. Thanks for visiting the Yin-side!

Lisa J.



March Inversion Workshop Coming Soon!

Saturday March 11, 2017, 11am-1pm, The Yoga Company San Ramon
Inversion Immersion (All levels)

Being upside down can be a scary for some folks, while for some — they take opportunity to invert any chance they get to. No matter which one you are this workshop is for you.

In this workshop we’ll be working on immersing ourselves into the proper mechanics needed to go into inversions such tripod headstand, supported headstand, forearm balance as well as the elusive handstand.

The walls will be utilized as a tool to help you practice, to free yourself from fears and begin to develop the mental and physical skill set needed for inversions. Use the knowledge gained from this workshop to put into your home practice! Tuition: $35 per student. Space is limited, register early!

Yin Yoga Playlists 

Everybody has different taste in music. I’ve searched and listened to other playlists which for Yin Yoga –have been surprisingly varied. Guitars and lyrics filling my ears, some really toe tapping beats, some sonatas reminding me of wedding ceremonies. These are not bad, just different. 

For myself, I chose songs from recommendations from teachers with similar taste. My teacher Bernie Clark, gave us playlist in his Yin Yoga teacher training and still sometimes posts some good artists on his page. My Acupressure teacher Joseph Carter is a tremendous Riley Lee enthusiast. 

I find no lyrics, one instrument or more introspective music works. I recently shared my playlist to a good friend of mine, so I thought I’d share it with the rest of you. Max Richter is an artist that Bernie recommend. I love his “Sleep” album. The next playlist is with the amazing music of Riley Lee.

Remember, music can really set the tone in the class — or as my teacher Clara says “sets the bhav.” What do you want your students to feel? 

Enjoy everyone. Stay tuned for more trainings in 2017. 

South Bay 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training 2017

The Just Breathe {yoga} (JBY) Teacher Training Program is offered under the direction of Yoga Alliance (YA) credentialed Director Angie Poon E-RYT.

Whether you are interested in deepening your own practice and understanding of yoga, or you feel the call to teach, the JBY Yoga Teacher Training Program is committed to providing every student with an in depth understanding of all the components necessary to be an effective and successful yoga teacher.
We offer a 200 hour certification program in Hatha Vinyasa Yoga, which will qualify and fulfill requirements for students to register with the Yoga Alliance for RYT. In this intensive 6 month program we will cover
✔️Mantras & Kirtan
✔️Yoga Thai Massage
✔️Alignment and injury prevention
✔️Intro to Yin Yoga
✔️Prenatal Yoga
✔️ Anatomy
✔️ Smart Sequencing
✔️ Hands on assists
✔️ Sanskrit terminology
✔️ Ayurveda
The history of yoga and classical yoga philosophy, including the study of several yogic textsThis training will run from January through June 2017 for 14 weekends on Saturdays & Sundays 12:30-5:30p.

Training Weekends for 2017:
January: 14/15, 21/22
February: 4/5, 11/12, 25/26
March: 11/12, 25/26
April: 8/9, 22/23
May: 6/7, 20/21
June: 3/4, 10/11, 24/25

Tuition Investment:
$2800 by October 31st
$3000 by November 31st
$3200 by December 31st
$3400 by January 12th
(check/cash preferred, additional $125 for credit card charges)
Payment plan options available. $500 Non-refundable Deposit required to reserve a spot. Please inquire.
Any cancellations before YTT begins can receive a refund less the $500 Non-refundable seat deposit.
*We will offer opportunities for “make up” hours, for those who wish to participate, but cannot attend all the scheduled weekend sessions due to travel and other extenuating circumstances.

❓❓❓Do you have final questions about Teacher Training

There will be 2 Q&A Sessions:

Saturday, October 15th, 2-3pm
Sunday, November November 6th, 2-3p
Bring your questions & see you all there!
If you can’t make the Q & A sessions, you can email or call in your questions to 415-517-2310 or

Sharing A Story of Compassion…Tenzin’s Story

I recently read an article today by Linda Ross Swanson, free-lance writer from Portland, Oregon – that left me flooded with so much awareness, attention, inspiration today. Love here – healing energy medicine in this story is in action. 

Sitting Downwind from Flowers

By Linda Ross Swanson

A few years ago, Seattle, Washington, a 52-year-old Tibetan refugee named Tenzin was diagnosed with one of the more curable forms of lymphoma.
After the first chemotherapy treatment, Tenzin, usually a gentle man, ripped the IV from his arm. He argued with everyone who came near, even shouting at nurses.

In speaking with Tenzin’s wife, the staff learned that he had been a political prisoner, held and tortured by the Chinese for more than 17 years. She said that the hospital’s rules and regulations, coupled with the chemotherapy treatments, gave Tenzin horrible flashbacks of what he had endured.

In conducting research about former prisoners of war who are later admitted into hospitals to receive treatment for diseases, I discovered that for some, the mere architecture of the hospital brings on painful memories. By design, the structure hinders opportunities to form a patient community, to interact with others in similar situations. Such patients often feel lonely and isolated. Identification bracelets seem to take away their rights, announcing that they are now hospital property. Stripped of their clothing, they suffer humiliation and torture by technicians who, unaware of their prison history or current feelings, painfully seek out veins and antagonize them further with tests and procedures. In Tenzin’s case, one treatment was enough for him to flee.

“I know you mean well, but your treatments are causing my husband to feel the same hatred he felt toward the Chinese. He would rather die than have to live with these feelings. He needs to be able to pray and cleanse his heart.”

Taking her advice, the doctors discharged Tenzin and asked the hospice team to visit him in his home. Marsha, a palliative care consultant was assigned to his care. She called the local office of Amnesty International for advice.

“This man has lost his trust in humanity and feels hope is impossible. If you are going to help him, you must find a way to give him hope.”

When Marsha suggested talking things over, Tenzin held up his hand and stopped her. He said, “If I am to heal my soul, I must learn to love again. Your job is not to ask me questions. Your job is to teach me to love again.”

Marsha took a deep breath, and asked, “How can I do that?”

“Sit down. Drink my tea and eat my cookies.”

Tibetan tea is strong black tea laced with yak butter and salt. It isn’t easy to drink! But Marsha did as he asked. On visits for the next few weeks, Marsha sat with Tenzin and his wife and learned to drink the peculiar tea.

At the hospital, she consulted with doctors to find ways to treat his physical pain. But after her visits, she noticed that it was his spiritual pain that lessened.

As time went by, Marsha found Tenzin sitting cross-legged on his bed reciting prayers from his books. Then he and his wife began hanging more and more colorful “thankas” — Tibetan Buddhist banners, on the walls. The room fast became a beautiful, religious shrine. Tenzin aligned himself with God, and Marsha learned to listen without talking or responding—the pure attending to another human being.

Springtime arrived and Marsha asked him how people in Tibet heal from illness and grief. He said, “They sit downwind from flowers.” She thought he spoke poetically, but his comment was literal. They sit downwind from flowers so they can be dusted with the new blossoms’ pollen. For them, this is strong medicine.

Wanting to help Tenzin, Marsha searched for flower blossoms; however, finding enough of them seemed daunting. One of her friends suggested that she call a flower nursery and explain the situation. She persisted until she found one that was finally willing.

The following Saturday, she picked up Tenzin and his wife along with their afternoon provisions: black tea, yak butter, salt, cups, cookies, prayer beads and prayer books. She dropped them off at the nursery. While curious employees watched, the couple wandered from one area to another until they found just the right place, then they sat down and enjoyed their tea. The following weekend, Tenzin and his wife visited a different nursery.

Soon nursery owners all over town were calling Marsha vying for the Tibetan’s presence. One of them said, “We’ve got a new shipment of nicotiana coming in and some wonderful fuchsias as well as great daphne! I know they’ll love the scent of daphne!” Another called and said that they had colorful windsocks that would help Tenzin predict the direction of the wind.

So during the week, the couple sat downwind from flowers at nurseries all over Seattle. Chairs were placed to match the direction of the wind, and fresh hot water was provided for the couple’s tea. Some of the regular customers started parking their wagons of plants and flowers near the two Tibetans. A community grew around Tenzin and his wife. The activity, or non-activity, of sitting downwind from flowers and drinking tea caught on.

At summer’s end, Tenzin returned to his doctor for a follow-up CT scan. The test revealed no evidence of cancer! Dumbfounded, the doctor told Tenzin that he didn’t know how this had happened

Tenzin lifted his finger and said, “I know why the cancer has left. It can’t live in a body filled with love. When I began to feel all the compassion from the hospice team, from the nursery employees, and all of the people who wanted to know about me, I began to change inside. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to heal in this way. Doctor, please don’t think that your medicine is the only way to cure.”

That spring a transformation took place in Seattle—not just for Tenzin—but for everyone who dared to sit downwind from flowers.  

(Linda Ross Swanson is a free-lance writer in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies all over the U.S. and Canada. She is also a respite care hospice volunteer and seminar presenter for two hospital systems in Portland, Oregon. Lee Paton is the hospice nurse who told the following story, submitted by Linda Ross Swanson in Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul. See the book for the whole story. The names have been changed in the story. She can be reached at )

Yin Yoga Teacher Training Update: Chinese Meridian Module

Due to many requests, we have decided to open up this training to those who have a deep Yin Yoga practice and those who want to learn more about the Chinese Meridian Theory. This is the ONLY Yin Yoga Teacher Training Program in the East Bay to offer the hands-on application of Chinese Meridian Theory.
We will be breaking up the sessions. Registration is now open at Please email if any payment/registration issues.

YIN YOGA & CHINESE MERIDIANS (20 HOURS) –   Pricing Full Session: $395 by October 1st, $425 thereafter Weekend Session: (10 Hours): $200 by October 1st, $225 thereafter
Dates: October 8, 9, 15, 16 Saturdays 11am – 4pm and Sundays 12pm – 5pm

The integration of Yin Yoga & Chinese Meridian Theory for Healing.

This module is the ONLY Yin Yoga Teacher Training in the Bay Area that offers Chinese Meridian Theory with Acupressure in its syllabus! The training may be taken on your own for self-inquiry, to fulfill continuing education hours with Yoga Alliance or as part of The Yoga Company’s 300/500HR Teaching Training Program.

Eligibility This training is open to the public and to all levels of practitioners, especially those wanting to teach Yin Yoga, acquire a better understanding of Chinese energetics or simply wanting to deepen their yin practice. No pre-requisite is required. A keen and sincere interest to learn is required.

Saturday, October 8th 11am – 4pm On this day we will cover the application of Yin and Yang energetic theory based on Daoism View and understanding of Chi, Meridian Theory, Five Element Theory. We will begin to delve deeper into understanding Meridian Lines using acupressure. Acupressure is an ancient system of healing from China. Students will learn hands-on experience feeling and locating meridians and points to promote overall balance and health. Meridian lines covered this day: Urinary Bladder and Kidneys. A review of Yin Yoga poses that target these meridians will also be discussed.

Sunday, October 9th 12 – 5pm We will begin to delve deeper into understanding Meridian Lines using acupressure. Acupressure is an ancient system of healing from China. Students will learn hands-on experience feeling and locating meridians and points to promote overall balance and health.  Meridian lines covered this day: Liver, Gall Bladder, Stomach & Spleen. A review of Yin Yoga poses that target these meridians will also be discussed.

Saturday, October 15th 11am – 4pm We will begin to delve deeper into understanding Meridian Lines using acupressure. Acupressure is an ancient system of healing from China. Students will learn hands-on experience feeling and locating meridians and points to promote overall balance and health.  We will begin to cover upper body meridians this weekend. Meridian lines covered this day: Lungs, Large Intestine, Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium and Triple Warmer. A review of Yin Yoga poses that target these meridians will also be discussed.

Sunday, October 16th 12 – 5pm We will begin to introduce yoga props into the Yin Yoga practice to incorporate use of accessing widely used acupressure points. We will also introduce “gua-sha” – a healing technique of traditional East Asian healing with hands-on feeling and experience.

Accreditation: Students who complete 100% attendance and participation will be awarded a 20-hour module certificate of completion by The Yoga Company.

Required text: (Please purchase by the first day of training) Complete Guide to Yin Yoga, by Bernie Clark Recommended text: The Concise Book of Acupoints, by John R. Cross

Yin Yoga South Bay Immersion coming soon!

Yin Yoga is such an amazing practice that takes you to another kinestic awareness. I’m so happy to announce I will be teaching Yin Yoga 20-Hour Module at Just Breathe Yoga Rivermark in August. Register early, this training will sell out quickly.

Superficial Back Line – Yin Yoga Sequence

Have you ever thought about the fascia that runs throughout your whole body? I am so amazed by the fascia network. Yes! I was inspired by a recent video of a dissection Thomas Myers of Anatomy Trains did. If you want to check it out, look here: WARNING! It’s pretty detailed, so if you have a weak stomach don’t watch it (or as my teacher Bernie says “don’t get squeamish!”)
The Superficial Back Line consists of a line of fascia that begins at the plantar fascia of the foot. It travels up the entire posterior side of the body from Achilles to calves to hamstrings through back and moves up over the head and finishes at the brow. The function of this line is to extend the body. It brings the body into an erect an upright position.
So here’s my short sequence inspired by the superficial back line. Marinate in each pose for 3-5 minutes. Listen to your body, it is very intelligent! Come out when you ever feel anything off. Always check with your physician before attempting any workout routine.

1. Child’s Pose (Balasana) for opening meditation. Bring awareness to your back body. Remember — “The mind moves chi. Chi moves blood.”

2. Japanese seiza pose with plantar fascia smushing. Use the top of the ankle into the arch of the other foot to compress tissue of the plantar fascia.

3. Dangling with mat roll. Use mat roll and blocks to access the Achilles and gastrocnemius. In the photo below, I walk my yoga blocks out and play with different angles.

Slowly come out and rest in child’s pose.

4. Supine hamstring with strap. Combine with the option of dorsi flexion of foot to access calves (I recommend experimenting with bending the knee on the flexioned foot)

5. Twisted Roots. Great way to access the spine and low back.


6. Twisted Branches. Access upper back and posterior deltoid. Two options are shown here. For more details watch my video.

7. Neck release with block. Compress into acupressure points proximal or on to acupressure points. GB 20 and UB 10.

Savasana. Rest. Feel. Be present.

Enjoy! Let me know how you feel after this sequence.

Never Waste An Opportunity to Tell Someone You Love Them

Last night I had a bad dream. A bad dream is a nightmare. Why do we have nightmares? Stress? Things that we see? Things that we read before heading to sweet slumber?

So I traced my activities for the day. It was a typical busy Thursday. Four classes with a little league game in between and my kid’s open house at school. Dinner came at 8:30pm and as a family, we decided to go for Vietnamese Pho Noodles — since all the other restaurants that were streaming the live basketball game were packed. Was it carb overload?

I realized that it may have been triggered by a blog post that I had written in February of 2015. See: I remember going back to read my old blog posts. Or maybe it’s reading the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna in the epic book Bhagava Gita (yes, I am reading it again).

My nightmare? Losing my older sibling. I tried to brush it off this morning. “Ah, it’s just a nightmare, don’t worry,” I said to myself. I kept thinking. Tears ran down my face uncontrollably. My heart sunk. I don’t see my brother everyday, nor do we chat everyday. I feel like a little sister does — my big brother will always be there for me, to protect me. Or maybe not? Could this be true?

I grabbed my phone.
Good Morning!!!!! I just wanted to say hi and I had a bad dream. Must be all the carbs I ate yesterday. LOL. Anyhow, stay safe your sis loves you.

I’ve told him plenty of times I loved him. Today felt urgent. Turns out he has some things going on and he needs to take care of himself. Wow. Maybe in some way the universe was telling me to reach out to him. I’m glad I did.

I’m still upset, emotional and crying. Not a bad thing here. Just know it’s simply natural human feeling and growth as it’s shaping me. I plan some quality time on my mat today so I can clear this and send my good intentions to my brother.

Nightmare or not. Today is the day. Take opportunity to tell someone who you love that you love them. I love you, Rick!