Class Update and Exciting News

I’m headed to Norfolk, Virginia at the end of the week. Please note the following changes to my teaching schedule:

Thursday, 29 August

  • Palo Alto Community Child Care: My 6:30 class is canceled this week. I will see you in September 5th.

Friday, 30 August

  • California Yoga Center: The incandescent Lisa will be teaching our 9:00 AM class.
  • Avenidas: The 10:30 class is canceled this week but we will have a make-up class on September 6th.
  • Samyama Yoga Center: Warm and wonderful Carla will teach our 1:30 Yin class.

Saturday, 31 August

  • Samyama Yoga Center: Vinyasa-loving Bethany will teach at 4:00. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled slow flow on September 7th.

Monday, 2 September (Labor Day)

  • California Yoga Center: Our 7:30 Yin Class will be canceled on Labor Day. We’ll meet again on the 9th.

IMG_0156More Great News From Samyama Yoga Center….

A few posts back I introduced Devin Begley and Joanne Brohmer as Samyama Yoga Center’s new body therapists. We have two more to add to the team: Paul Crowl and….drum roll please….ME!

If you attend classes at Samyama then you’ll recognize Paul as the male energy behind the front desk. He provided this brief bio:

Paul Crowl is a certified massage therapist with more than twenty year’s experience. He was formally trained at Cypress Health Institute in Santa Cruz in Swedish massage and reflexology. He later studied the are of deep tissue bodywork with Michael DiBenedetto. His dedication to refining his craft and background in yoga and the healing arts lead him to being one of the more notable therapists in the Bay Area. With an intuitive touch and ability to read your breath, Paul will help you melt away tension and relieve unnecessary stress.

In addition to the classes I teach at Samyama, I now offer foot reflexology:

Mimm brings the ‘sole-ful’ healing of foot reflexology to Samyama. Her work – a combination of massage, warm stones, Reiki energy and modern reflexology techniques creates an unparalleled sense of balanced calm that supports health and wellness.

Mimm’s initial training was in sports massage and neuromuscular therapy from the National Institute in Dublin, Ireland. Although she enjoyed the intellectual challenge of clinical massage Mimm felt something lacking. She decided to explore body-energy modalities that not only soothed the body but settled the spirit.

“Reflexology has a quality to it that is soft and subtle. That’s why I love it. A profound change can take place in the most quiet of moments.”

In addition to her work in reflexology and the yoga classes she teaches at Samyama, Mimm is an artist and writer. She is currently completing her master’s degree in transpersonal psychology and will begin work toward her certificate in yoga therapy at Niroga Institute in Berkeley early next year.


Introducing Samyama Yoga Center’s Body Therapists

Samyama Yoga Center‘s home is a sleek modern building at 2995 Middlefield Road. From the outside, its strong lines and clean façade anchor the building to the earth while creating a sense of weightlessness. Once inside, the clarity of the light in the downstairs retail area welcomes and warms the heart of every guest. Upstairs, in the main practice studio, the diffused light is filtered through tall, translucent windows made to appear like Shoji screens. Shadows from the outside architecture draw soft grey lines across the glass and continue the effect. The white walls are a surprise but they are not harsh. Rather, they blur the edges of space to the point that the yogi feels as if she is floating. The room’s name, Ascension, is apt. Time, space and perspective seem different in that studio. And, over the months since we’ve first opened our doors, the room has become infused with Patanjali‘s energy and spirit.

sam roomWhen John Berg’s vision of Samyama became a reality, however, it included more than one opportunity to blur space and time. Downstairs, just around the corner from the lounge, there is a warm and inviting therapy room. Perfectly appointed for the comfort of the client, this soulful space is home to two of the Bay Area’s most innovative and gifted body therapists: Devin Begley and Joanne Brohmer:

Devin BegleyDevin

I was born on a sunny day in Santa Cruz California. At a young age I began practicing massage and studied with my fathers therapist so I could continue his healing at home. Growing up I was always encouraged to explore music and creative expression. I auditioned and was accepted into the bachelor of fine arts in acting program at USC. While undergoing rigorous movement, vocal and emotional training, I began to understand the resonant, visceral connection between body and mind. I enrolled at the Institute of Psycho-Sturctural Balancing in Santa Monica, where I adopted multiple modalities and a greater curiosity for vibration and energy. I started studying meditation, yoga, tai chi, sounding and cymatic theory. After moving back to the Bay Area I continued my training at the Accupressure Institute in Berkeley.

What I offer is resonance.

A return to sound via auditory stimulation and felt vibration. You will enter an altered state of awareness using a mixture of breath work, sounding, tibetan bowls, tuning forks and a gong bath. The mind will be entrained to a meditative state where hypnogogic subconscious connection can be made. The body will experience increased awareness, physical and emotional release, movement of energy, nitric oxide production, and sublime relaxation. Like yoga, lines of connection will be made as your natural healing ability is triggered and the mind/body unites with vibration.

This is a unique personal experience and how the session is orchestrated is dependent on the subject.

Image 2Joanne Brohmer

Being perpetually curious about the very core of life. I have always been one to dive deeply into the mystery of things and even once I have found an answer, I ache to go even deeper. Being a seeker of pure connection to source, my own eternal essence and the merging nature of spirit, my love drives me to help others encounter their souls, their inherent connection to nature and the flow of innocence that lives inside them. Using a combination of Reiki, CranioSacral Therapy and guided imagery a healing session can not only be deeply relaxing but a journey where you are an active participant in deeply releasing what you are ready for and creating a greater sense of alignment with your natural state of being.

I took my first Reiki class in Palo Alto 11 years ago and attained my Reiki II and Master certification within the following two years. I found that receiving the attunements alone started me on a rapid healing process and an ever-expanding spiritual journey. I have been a practitioner for 9 years now and have been teaching Reiki for 6 years. Integrated Energy Therapy, CranioSacral Therapy and intuitive reading are also powerful methods that I was led to learn and further help people to dig deep into their healing process and experience their full being and all the things that get in the way of experiencing to the fullest. I traveled to India in December of 2006 where I became a certified yoga teacher. I have studied and practiced methods of meditation and visualization techniques for the last 9 years and have found them to be powerful tools along my path. I became a certified Family Constellation Facilitator in August of 2010. I have discovered some of the deepest sources of my own personal wounding through constellations and am excited to be able to offer this chance for healing to others. I am here to wake up, love and help others wake up to their full human potential and move beyond the ego’s limitations.

About the modalities:

Reiki: Reiki is a gentle ancient healing technique that involves light touch and can also be done over distances. Since it heals the source of the condition, healing on many levels can be experienced. Reiki works to remove blocks, balance energies and restore natural patterns so the body may begin to heal itself.

CranioSacral Therapy: CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the craniosacral system – comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Using a soft touch with about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. This method has the possibility of releasing deep traumas that have manifested in the body.

Appointments with Devin and Joanne can be made by ringing Samyama Yoga Center at 650-320-9262.


Be Still My Beating Heart

While 90-year-old Reva is off gallivanting in Maui I’m back in Palo Alto, taking care of her overweight and tragically arthritic cat Koko.  Still, I have good news.  My life is officially more exciting than anything I can find on basic cable.  Comcast?  You’ll be getting a call from me today, and you’re not going to like it.

The bad news?  I’ve got some whacked out Vata imbalance.  At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Case in point: At 9:30 last night, after teaching seventy-five minutes of Yin in a darkened room, I walked into my local Whole Foods, grabbed a guy with a beard down to his belt line, held him up against a wall by his cute little green Whole Foods apron and said with clenched teeth, “Need Kava Kavanow”.

In addition, as I type it is three o’ clock in the morning.  Yep.  Three in the bloody morning and what am I doing?  I’m writing a blog post.  For someone who would, under normal circumstances, sleep through the Second Coming – something’s up.

I am not an expert on Ayervedic medicine, but I know enough to know my Dosha.  It is predominately Pitta, leaning toward Kapha. Fiery with a smattering of easy-going Sloth-dom.  But Vata, at her worst, is all air tossed chaos.

Two weeks ago, when my appetite disappeared, I thought it was a fluke.  It happens to me from time to time. The last time being 1977.  I thought I was lucky – I’d finally lose the ten-pound “writer’s spread” I gained over the past year.

But then a few curious, totally un-Mimm like symptoms arose.  For instance, a total disinterest in television.  I couldn’t care less what intriguing case Dr. Gregory House has to solve.  It’s probably lupus anyway.  What about Meredith Grey and her Alzheimer’s study?  Not interested.  And while I’m vaguely interested in discovering if Lauren Graham’s character on Parenthood finds true love, it’s not enough to make me want to wrestle the remote from Koko’s snarled paws (Koko has a lot of time on her hands.  I think she watches Law and Order Marathons while I’m at work. I prefer hospital dramas.  I could say “myocardial infarction” by the time I was five.  Give me an ER Marathon – the early seasons with George Clooney – and I’m in).

Television has been my comfort box since I was three years old.  Right there with a heaping bowl of cheesy instant mashed potatoes. If I’m turning my nose up to both – something’s not right.

But there’s more.  Did I mention the racing heart?  The full on shaking crazies that yesterday turned what was supposed to be a gentle class for my chronic pain group into Yoga Bootcamp?  And this is without caffeine.  Because I lost my taste for coffee about six weeks ago.

Yoga Bootcamp?  Seriously?  From Yin-some Mimm?

On their own the physical symptoms might be enough for one to want to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician. Feeling as if I’ve just mainlined four Starbucks Venties while trying to teach a Yin class is uncomfortable at best.  But I’ve had some changes in my life that may account for how I feel.  The first is I’ve dramatically increased my cardiovascular exercise.  I went from – uh – no cardiovascular exercise to hitting the elliptical four to five times per week for an hour each time.  That will increase my energy and metabolism, and may account for my decreased appetite.

And then there’s the whole Reiki thing.  Don’t tell anyone, but I’m a Reiki Master.  Yeah, I know.  You wouldn’t really guess that by looking at me.  The thing is, except for a single hour of practice last August during Yin Teacher Training, I hadn’t accessed the energy in years.  Thought maybe it was a lot of patoohey.  Ok.  I’m telling a lie.  The truth is, I think I was afraid of Reiki.  Practicing Reiki meant having to access a basic truth about myself that perhaps I was trying to avoid.  (What truth?  Sorry, that’s between me an my therapist.*) For some reason, however, over the past few weeks, I’ve explored Reiki’s possibilities.  Recharged my Reiki batteries.  And I’ve been working with the energy for myself and for a number of friends who are struggling.

The result? I feel as if the Berlin Wall wrapped around my heart for the past thirty years has been torn down.

Is that why I feel as if I’m vibrating?  Why I’m experiencing every waking moment as this freakishly intense burst of energy?  Why I can’t sleep or eat and why those cute little Glee kids have lost their Gleeky hold on me?

I like to believe that these changes are the result of positive choices I’ve made.  The work I’m doing on myself physically and spiritually.  If the alternative is that I’ve entered another new and…ahem…delightful phase on my way to becoming a Crone – that is, if it’s all a cruel menopausal joke – a simple case of haywired hormones running amok or – even worse – all in my head – then maybe I won’t be giving Comcast a call after all.

Well.  That little clock on the right hand side of the screen says it’s 3:55 AM.   Time to tuck the laptop back under the bed, roll over and let the dulcet tones of my pounding heart lull me back to a fitful sleep.

*Here’s the truth:  I feel as though I’m operating on a different level of energy – that somehow, finally, I’ve found the portal to my authentic self and that I really am this kind and this good and this gentle.

*And deserving.


Adventures in Rolfing

Time to man up.  Today is the day. Two hours from now I’ll be in Michael Murphy’s Los Altos office for my date with destiny. I based my thoughts on Rolfing in the post Healing Trauma on reports I’d read and anecdotal evidence.  Is that any way to write an informed blog?  Until today the closest I’ve come to being Rolfed has been watching this man play this instrument on television.

Kidding aside, I don’t know what to expect, and I’m more than a little nervous.

Twelve Hours Later

Here’s what I now know about Rolfing.

  • Each therapist is different.  Some keep the traditional “you must have ten treatments to be fully integrated” and some, like Michael, take the “two visits or ten, it’s done when it’s done” organic approach.  Veering from tradition does not concern me.  The Reiki technique I use no longer follows the traditional hand positions of my Usui lineage.  And my yoga teaching has certainly moved away from the strict alignment model I once adhered to.
  • It is not painful unless you want it to be.  We focused today’s treatment on two issues – the discomfort in my arms due to compressed nerves in my neck and a recent knee injury.  Sure, sometimes Michael manipulated areas with a firm pressure that was less than pleasant, but neither was it painful.  Strong, sharp or tender?  Maybe.  But not painful.
  • Rolfing may not be for the modest.  The session began with a postural assessment.  This involved a visual analysis of my spine and pelvis while I stood in my underwear. But Rolfers see plenty of bodies – I felt completely comfortable – this was no big deal.  It was made clear that I was the boss.  Besides, an experienced practitioner can make an assessment quickly.  In the future, though, I may try to get away with a sports bra and shorts.

What Does Rolfing Feel Like?

Michael did not use oils or creams.   There are no long, sweeping strokes.  Rolfing is more an intense and precise manipulation of the connective tissue.  There was pressing, squeezing, pushing and pulling, but no effleurage or petrissage.

How Did I Feel After the Treatment?

Alive.  I was surprised to feel a post-massage glow that is typical of more mellow treatments.  Rolfing is meant to structurally integrate the body and the spirit.  I’ll be the first to confess there is a gaping disconnect between my spiritual self and the Mimm I present to the world.  I’m guessing my spiritual side was happy to be out in the sunshine for a few hours.

How Do I Feel Now?

Tired.  Maybe a little achy.  It’s early on a Saturday night – not even half past nine – and yet I’ll be in bed as soon as this is posted.

Will I Do it Again?

Yes.  Absolutely.  Rolfing has a remarkable effect on the body.  And maybe – just maybe – it will have a remarkable effect on my spirit, too.  I’m off to bed – it’s been a big day.  A new day.