Yippee!!! 2016 Yin Yoga Teacher Immersion is Back

I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be facilitating another Yin Yoga Teacher Immersion at The Yoga Company in San Ramon. Two exciting modules will be offered to those who are interested in learning about the Yin Practice. Module 1 will give you a solid base of Yin Philosophy and Foundations. Module 2 will take you to Yin Yoga and Chinese Merdian Theory. Register early to save your spot.

 To find out more, click here.

Yinspired by Inside Lines: Yin Yoga for Kidney Meridian

The Kidney Meridian represents the Yin aspect of the Water Element. The meridian channel has twenty-seven (27) acupoints from the medial aspect of the foot and loops back onto itself before ascending the medial aspect of the leg and anterior aspect of the abdomen and chest to end on the medial aspect of the collar bone. An internal channel leaves Kidney 11 at the groin and supplies the kidney, bladder, lower spine, stomach, diaphragm and mouth with a further internal channel leaving Kidney Point 27 towards the throat. See diagram from Bernie Clark’s Yin Yoga site.

This Yin Yoga flow was created with the intention to tonify the Kidney Meridian. It’s function is to regulate water balance within the body, and keep the fire heart cool, according to the McKinnon Acupressure Manual. In addition, when we exhaust our stores of yin energy, the result is fatigue. When the heart fire is not cool, complaints about anxiety, panic attacks, etc can be traced to an empty kidney meridian. As always, please consult a physician before attempting any exercise. All the poses below should be held for 3-5 minutes unless otherwise indicated. Remember, the Meridian lines are a map that is useful to myself and maybe you. 

  1. Start off in opening meditation, laying down on your back (supine).
    You may choose to do a supported supine butterfly pose or pentacle pose (laying down on your back with the arms and legs out like a star)
  2. Draw knees into chest (Ardha Apanasana) and rock from side to side, circle knees, do what resonates with you for a few cycles of breath.
  3. Series on Right Leg
    1. Supine Half Happy Baby Pose (Half Butterfly option on other leg)
    2. Supine Modified Half Happy Baby Pose (Half Butterfly option on other leg and feel the difference in positioning of leg, the pose should be felt in the inner groin tissue)  
    3. Supine Hamstring Stretch for a few breaths then move your leg into B position.  (Half Butterfly option on other leg) 
  4. Repeat the series above with the Left Leg
  5. Option, both legs up the strap and pause there for a few cycles of breath.
  6. Squat (Malasana)  
  7. Seated Dragonfly Pose (I’ve shown knees bent variation here)  
  8. Dragon Pose
    1. A minute and a half in Baby Dragon  
    2. A minute and a half in Winged Dragon (photo not shown here, but click on this link to see what it looks like).
  9. Deer Pose  
  10. Frog Pose (Tadpole Option) 
  11. Supine Twist (option Twist Roots)  
  12. Savasana

Remember to pause in between each pose, stay and observe or move a bit. Getting into Yin tissue takes time, patience and immense inner listening. Remember, you should come to the pose where it’s your own threshold. Where the pose is not straining, but interesting enough for you to stay in and observe. 

Photo credit: https://bousbous.com

Upcoming April Yin Yoga Workshop

It’s back! Those of you who missed or couldn’t get into my last workshop – I’m holding one out in the East Bay! Reserve your spot now before we sell out at http://www.theyogacompany.com.  img_7852 

Upcoming March Workshop at JBY! 

REGISTER NOW! ONLY 10 SPOTS available.  


Yin Yoga Playlist Hips

For those of you asking for my most recent music playlist — here it is! I gravitated to Max Richter’s Sleep album because of Bernie Clark’s recommendation. It’s beautiful. Enjoy.

1. Prelude by Max Richter
2. Light on the Path by OshO
3. Relaxing on the Mountain by Chinmaya Dunster
4. Presence by Nawang Khechog
5. Wisdom and Compassion by Nawang Khechog
6. Wanting Peace by Nawang Khechog
7. Dream 3 by Max Richter
8. Path 5 (delta) by Max Richter
9. Space 11 (invisible pages over) by Max Richter
10. Dream 13 (minus even) by Max Richter
11. Path 19 (yet frail) by Max Richter
12. Dream 8 (late and soon) by Max Richter

Want to fly? Tittibhasana aka Firefly tips

My BodyFlow students always ask me how to get their legs up and flying in Tittibhasana aka Firefly pose. It took me nearly a year before my feet would even lift off the ground. I would work to open my hips and core weekly. Finally, my feet lifted – an inch! As I practice more, my legs got a little higher. The height really doesn’t matter. The feeling that you can fly does. It’s euphoria! So here’s a video to get you flying. 

As always, make sure your warm before attempting any pose. Do some some salutations, navasanas (boat pose), squats, low lunges and hamstring stretches. Special credit to Lorraine Bradley (@catbradleyyoga) for reminding me of this great tip. Enjoy!

Just Breathe {yoga} Rivermark, Santa Clara, CA – 200 Hour Teacher Training

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve joined the teaching faculty at Just Breathe {yoga} Rivermark in Santa Clara, CA. I’ll also be doing some Yin Yoga and Yin Yoga with Essential Oils workshops there, so keep your eyes peel for more details! Thank you to my guide, teacher, friend and owner of the studio Angie Poon for asking me to be part of your teacher training. I am grateful. I am thankful. Check it out:

The Just Breathe {yoga} (JBY) Teacher Training Program is offered under the direction of Yoga Alliance (YA) credentialed Experienced Registered Yoga Teachers (E-RYT), Angie Poon, and Faculty Members: Michael Athanas RYT; Lisa Jang E-RYT; Erica Johnson RYT; Matece Skow, E-RYT500; and Elika Aird RYT, CD(DONA), and a few other guest teachers.

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:

  • Asana
  • Pranayama
  • Meditation
  • Mantras & Kirtan
  • Yoga Thai Massage Therapy
  • Alignment and injury prevention
  • Yoga Therapeutics and Healing
  • Yin Yoga (Intro to Yin Yoga and Yin Yoga Principles)
  • Anatomy
  • Smart Sequencing
  • Hands on assists
  • Sanskrit terminology
  • Ayurveda
  • The history of yoga and classical yoga philosophy, including the study of several yogic texts

This training will run from January through June 2016 for 13 weekends on Saturdays & Sundays 12:30-5pm. Training weekends are listed below.  Please inquire at angie@justbreatheyogarivermark.com if you have any questions.

Tuition Investment: $2800by November 15th, $3000 by December 15th, $3200 after December 15th (check/cash preferred, additional $90 for credit card charges)

Payment plan options available.  Please inquire.

Training Dates 2016 (weekends only):

  • January: 9/10, 23/24
    February: 6/7, 20/21
    March: 5/6, 19/20
    April: 2/3, 16/17, 30/May 1
    May: 14/15, 28/29
    June: 11/12, 25/26

*We will offer opportunities for “make up” hours, for those who wish to participate, but cannot attend all consecutive weekend sessions due to travel and other extenuating circumstances.

Yin Yoga Sequence: Inner Wisdom

This sequence is inspired by my dear friend Diane, who is a Yinster*.  Diane never fails to attend my class full of energy, aliveness  and positive attitude. While there are obstacles in her physical practice, she listens to her inner teacher. The strength she shows on her yoga mat is beyond physical. Strength, to me, can be defined in so many ways.

As Mahatma Gandhi said “Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will.”

With this “will”, “Nothing can dim the light that shines within,” – Maya Angelou

This sequence is a journey to inner inquiry and discovery — stimulating Kidney and UB Meridian lines. Home of Jing, access to self-realization, wisdom and rationality. As always, consult your doctor before attempting any exercise routine.

Opening meditation – Child’s Pose

Child's Pose
Child’s Pose

A. Half Toe Squat Pose – Right foot (access K1 point)

Half Toe Squat

B. Winged Dragon Pose (access inner left thigh)

Dragon Pose – Winged


C. Half Butterfly Pose (option to massage foot, inner arch specifically with ulnar)

Half Butterfly Pose, self massage inner arch of foot (roll in to out) with my forearm
Half Butterfly Pose (Fold)

**********Repeat A, B, C on other leg**********

Squat Pose

Squat pose (Malasana) with mat roll option

Dragonfly Pose

Straddle or Dragonfly Pose


Top: Sphinx Pose Bottom: Seal Pose (Option)

Supine Reclining Twist

Reclining Twist


Each pose is sustained for  3 – 5 minutes. Be sure to listen to your inner wisdom on this journey. As always, perform the pose on both sides and allow time for rest in between and at the end.

Side note: Chinese Meridian Theory is a complex and one paradigm to a holistic approach. We are looking to enhance energy flow, to balance the specific meridians. I recommend consulting with a licensed Acupuncturist to discuss your own concerns.

*Definition of Yinster: One who loves the Yin Yoga practice.

Yin Yoga: The Three-Part Daoist Breath

Daoist (Taoist) breathing system has been used for centuries. This technique allows you to connect with your chi (qi), slow down breathing (inhales and exhales) and to smooth out physical tension, astral or emotional blockages, and calm the mind.

I initially learnt the Three-Part Daoist breath from Bernie Clark, and subsequently again when I met Paul & Suzee Grilley. Both had their subtle variations. Paul & Suzee did a Four-Part Daoist  breath standing. Bernie showed us the seated variation. The variation I’ve shown in the video I have is similar but not exact.

Remember, the INTENTION is to improve quality of breath, the help you feel more alive and build your chi. Take your time, repeat as many times as you like. Find a quiet space and any comfortable seated position.

First, close your eyes. Take a moment to place your mind in the area of energy, whether it is the Dantian, other chakras or your hands. Use your mind to cultivate, move and empower the chi (energy).

  1. Inhale. Using the middle fingers or palm, guide the chi up as you lift your arms overhead.
  2. Exhale. Bring your hands behind your head and use your palms to push energy out to the sides. You may drop your head a little.
  3. Inhale. Bend your elbows and using the fingertips to shoulders softly. You may want to lift your heart and let your third eye (between the eyebrows – upper dantian) lift slightly.
  4. Exhale. Use your palms forward, push palms and round your back, let your chin go down towards your chest.
  5. Inhale. Turn your palms up from upper dantian. lifting the chi maybe looking up as you arch your upper back.
  6. Exhale. Descend the chi with your palms down in front of lower dantian in front of navel. You may want to pause here and inhale, expand belly, exhale relax and repeat for a few respirations. You may want to start again at step 1 or finish.

I’m forever grateful for my teachers Bernie Clark, Diana Batts from Vancouver, BC CANADA. Last but not least, gratitude to Paul & Suzee Grilley.

Bye Bye buggy 

The past few days have been a haze. Without my vessel, my body, I was unable to function normally. What I suddenly woke up to on Thursday at 1am was a virus, a bug — that left me in the bathroom for the rest of the night. I fought so hard. I nestled into child’s pose. I even tried mayurasana to get the “poison” out. I didn’t have any strength. 

By the time 4am came around, my mind was not listening to my body. I put on my clothes and make up. Drank some tea and ate crackers. Then, left to teach my 5:30am sculpting class. 

The students were so forgiving. It was perfect choreography but less energy and less model weight-lifting on my part. Ahhh…after the class I felt accomplished, like I had beat the darn bug.

Next was teaching Yin at 6:30am. Lights off, I’m on this central nervous system high. I’ve got this! Just drink more water!!!! Whew. Made it. 

8:45am. My yang yin class. I’m introduced to a new student who has physical limitations. Mind spinning. My body is tired, stomach churning but I keep thinking I’ve got this! I sure hope she comes back.

Crash. I’m at home. Eating bananas, toast, applesauce. Nestled under my favorite blanket with a cold sweat and chills. My body is mad at me. The bug is winning.

I needed to pull back. I didn’t listen. The expectation from what I did every single Thursday was set. I needed to pull back and put that expectation aside. I had caught a stomach virus. My body needed to rest to fight the infection.

My vessel collapsed. Relapsed. Was gasping for rest. “How is the bug going to bye bye if you can’t rest?” I asked myself.

After 5 days of no sleep and abdominal pain, I finally needed to get medical attention. Thank goodness for doctors. They are the healers of the garden.

As I reflect, I’m thankful for my body. For my organs. For the functionality. For what it gives me everyday. It’s not the perfect J-Lo body I crave, but it’s my temple. Be thankful for what you have and in that gratitude is contentment.

Bye Bye buggy!