Archive for November, 2012

Save the Date: Ravi Ravindra returning in April

Ravi Ravindra will give a public talk and conduct a weekend retreat on  “The Path of Love in the Bhagavad Gita and in John’s Gospel” during the weekend of April 12142013 in BellinghamWA.
For further information, please contact Elizabeth at: or 360-303-3892


Saturday, December 8th – Last Deepening Yoga Class

Greetings on a crisp late autumn night. I have been breathing in the Northwest clean air, and witnessing the beauty of the Nooksack River as spawning ground of the wondrous, wild salmon, blessed to visit them daily at the moment. I am especially touched by “home,”  as I prepare to leave for India in just a couple of weeks! I am sending this email to invite you to the final class of the autumn Deepening Yoga series on saturday, December 8th at 8Petals, from 3pm to 5:30 pm; we will share our reflections in community circle on Sutra 1-33, that reminds us that tranquility and an inner state of yoga emerges through compassionate conduct in our relationships. We will also practice a bit of restorative yoga, pranayama and meditation together, sharing inner nourishment in silence and in community. The tuition is $20 to $30 sliding fee scale, and I am always open to trade if financial assistance is needed. Please let me know if you will be joining the circle on the 8th!

I include here the sutra 1-33 itself, and a blog entry I wrote a while back reflecting on one element of the sutra.

Sutra I-33   A clear and tranquil mind results from cultivating friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion towards those who suffer, joy towards the virtuous, and impartiality twoards wrong-doers.



Is it possible to align ourselves with what we find to be true and good without “condemnation”? Does condemnation have its place? To condemn, according to the dictionary I consulted, is “to declare to be reprehensible, wrong or evil, usually after weighing evidence and without reservation.” I know there are situations in close proximity, and afar, actions by individuals and collectives, and by formal governing bodies which I would easily judge and perhaps in my mind “condemn.” Does this Sutra tell me to follow an alternate course of action? I know it does not CONDEMN me for my impulse to judge!

When we judge, and we condemn we create separation, and ultimately yoga is a practice of union, of love, of communion. And yet we live in a world where at least for most of us, there is much to speak out against, and attempt to rectify, each of us having our small say, our one drop impact in the giant ocean of the world.

I myself will continue to make my attempts to align with what I perceive as justice and compassion, while trying to hold a larger view of imagining that Marshall Rosenberg is right in suggesting that any behavior we find reprehensible in another,  somehow tragically expresses an unmet need. I will hold the possibility of there being a larger picture, and elements of mystery beyond my individual understanding. While attempting to align myself with love, justice and kindness I will continue to wrestle with what is asked for in this Sutra as I try to comprehend impartiality as a way of nonjudging that still allows for me to stand up for what calls to me as fair and “right” on the world stage, whether it is in my small, immediate world, or in another country.

And I know my yoga practice helps me to maintain faith and peace within as I observe the world inside and around me.

Elizabeth will be in India when the Winter Quarter begins, and will have a very fine teacher in the Iyengar tradition, Maria Bacher, teach all her classes the first two weeks. Classes will be held according to the same schedule as usual, both at Turtle Haven and at 8Petals, starting the Week of January 7th. Due to Maria’s commitment to be present, it will be exceptionally important, if you are partaking of Winter classes, to preregister in the next three weeks during your regular class. Elizabeth will have a sign up sheet, and will invite you to register with a check for a $25 deposit, or the full amount if that is feasible and convenient for you.
More about Maria (pictured above):
Maria Bacher is a certified Iyengar Instructor and has been a student of this method since the early 90’s. Her passion for the practice comes from the ability to use the body to explore and investigate movement and stillness, ultimately deepening an understanding of our true selves. She feels honored to have studied with the Iyengars in both India and the US over the years. Her love for the precision of the Iyengar method to deepen the body mind connection is apparent in her creative approach to share the intelligence of this sacred tradition. She is grateful for her teachers, Gabriella Guilbilaro, Manouso Manos, and Patricia Walden who continue to inspire and guide her.
Elizabeth will also be inviting those moved to do so, to offer donations of any amount to Maher Ashram. This project embodies a healing model for the displaced women children and now men in India that is unique in its commitments to ecological principles, farming, incorporation of education towards social change, self reliance and multifaith religious and spiritual inclusion and celebration. Check it out at! A Maher piggy bank will be present at each class.
Stay tuned for the details for the December 8th Saturday afternoon class at 8Petals, the final in the Deepening Practice series!

The New York Times runs an Anxiety column in which various writers tell their own stories.The latest, on yoga, begins:

AnxietyAnxiety: We worry. A gallery of contributors count the ways.

Five-year-old Miriam huddled in the back corner of my Lower East Side yoga classroom, wrapping herself in a spongy mat like a blanket. She was having another panic attack, screaming so loud others could hear down the hall. I was scared by her anxiety yet it was familiar. At 28, I was the charter school’s first full-time yoga teacher. A product of upstate New York and family with Methodist roots, I’d been a student of Buddhism since college at New York University and, more recently, yoga. I now taught 200 inner-city kids from ages 4 to 12 how to use the tools of mindfulness all day. But secretly, I was having my own panic attacks, at night.

To read the rest go here.

Reminder: No classes Thanksgiving week

Happy Thanksgiving! See you the week of November 26th!


Engaged Yoga

Here’s the book Elizabeth is mentioning in her discussion of the yamas this week and engaged yoga:


This book, written by Michael Stone, activist and ethicist, explores how yoga can help us to live an ethical, sustainable and just life. The book has been described as an explanation of “how yoga belongs in our world and how the world belongs in our yoga.” The Bellingham Public Library has it here. Or you can order through Village Books here.

As scheduled, we will honor Veteran’s Day with Monday’s regularly scheduled 4:15 and 6:00 pm classes at 8 Petals. The rest of the week’s classes will also be held as usual.

And in honor of Veteran’s Day, this article on the deep healing experienced by Veteran’s with PTSD through the practice of yoga.

Our next Deepening Yoga class on November 10th will focus on the first ten sutras in the second book of the Yoga Sutras; Patanjali presents Kriya Yoga and the Kleshas in this important section. Specifically we will look at what Patanjali presents as the root of human suffering, the “ignorance” which clouds our consciousness. Discussion will include consideration of accurate understanding of these sutras, and applicability towards everyday life! Please bring your thoughts and questions. You may find sutra books at local libraries, and also the sutras are online in various translations and interpretations! Our gathering will include reflection, guided meditation and pranayama, as well as a bit of restorative asana. Please come and share in a community yoga experience. If you are not able to afford tuition, please call or email for more information.

I am providing here some interpretation of the kleshas from Judith Lasater, a well known teacher from the Bay Area. This may spark you own reflection on the kleshas— please bring sutra books if you have them. You can download it as a word (docx) file here as or see it as a webpage here.

Kirtan at Presence Studio This Friday!

 Please share this event with you friends!  

Lise & John of the Metta Center are collecting blanket donations at the door for: Blankets 4 Bellingham.  If inspired please bring a blanket or sleeping bag and The Metta Center will get them to those who need them.  

Tickets in advance: $20 at the Bellingham Food Co-ops or
$25 at the door; $15 with current student ID; $10 for 17&under and by donation for 10&under

Classes resume beginning this Monday, November 5


Mr. Iyengar doing dog pose. Now it’s your turn.