Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pratyahara and Non-Attachment

Photo credit unknown
Pratyahara is one of the eight limbs of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and I feel it is one of the least understood (or most neglected) parts of our yoga practice. It was first described to me as a withdrawal of the senses, and practiced mainly in meditation or savasana, final relaxation. I was given the analogy of a turtle drawing back into its own shell when life became too dangerous as a way to experience pratyahara. I practiced this way for years and felt I was an epic failure at it, because no matter how hard I tried to withdraw, I was forever seduced by the senses: the barking dog, the tickling fly, the nagging thought, the smells of lunch being cooked across the hall, etc. In a 10 minute savasana, I was a slave to my senses and deep relaxation was rare.

It was during a conversation with a student that I realized I was going about this all wrong. On day 2 of her 6-week pain management program, she asked how any of what we were teaching her was going to stop her pain. I responded by saying, "It's not. There is no magic bullet for chronic pain. The tools we will offer you will not stop the pain, but they will allow you to feel differently about it." Directing that same idea inward, I understood that for me, withdrawing my senses doesn't work, because the stimuli continue to cry out for attention; however, I can change my attitude toward them so that I don't feel the same seduction. Yes, the dog is barking; yes, my nose itches; yes, my thoughts are getting sticky... Yes, all these things are happening. I am not going to actively try to cut them out (which doesn't work anyway); instead I will acknowledge them without doing anything else about it. They exist and I experience them and that's all. Clean and simple, but not easy.

In his book, The Heart of the Revolution, Noah Levine describes this as non-attachement, which is different from detachment. There is no removal of reality; there is only a clean acceptance and equanimous response to the stimuli. This is not something we are encouraged to practice in our daily culture; in fact, we are bombarded by stimuli and advertisers are forcefully demanding that we do something, rather than accept it. Every so often, it's important to me to remove myself from the strongest of stimulation and work with the subtler distractions - mainly, the ones that arise within. To that end, I will be taking a silent retreat in mid-December. I'll still be challenged by my own obstacles to pratyahara, but I will take the approach of non-attachment in order to accept and soften around them. The next time you find yourself in savasana and you are carried away by the car alarm going off outside, try this practice of non-attachement and see how it feels to you.


  • Schedule changes for 2013 are in the works, so check Lorien's schedule page often.
  • New Year's Day special classes: noon-1:15pm Wellness Yoga, followed by 1:15-2:00pm Breath and Meditation at Breathe Los Gatos. Join us and start your year off with ease, mindfulness and intention!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Inventive vs. Innovative Thinking, the Yogic Perspective

In his latest book, Light on Life, master yoga teacher B. K. S. Iyengar poses the idea that the intelligent yogi seeks innovation - the inspired choice of something totally new. He states that "all people are clever compared to other forms of life", but being clever and inventing new ways to do the same thing over and over isn't enough to liberate us from suffering.

He goes on to say about the yogi's intelligence:
"It can choose. It can choose to perform an action that is new, that is innovative. It can initiate change. It can decide to jump out of the ruts in which we are all stuck and strike out on a path for its own evolution. Intelligence does not chat. It is the quiet, determined, clear-eyed revolutionary of our consciousness. Intelligence is the silent or sleeping partner in consciousness, but when it awakes it is the senior or dominant partner."
Fo me, this year has been about living consciously, about waking this intelligence. Ten months before I picked up Mr. Iyengar's book, I was struck by the thought that it was time I befriended, tamed and trained my mind. My first step towards this goal was to pay attention to my thoughts, which supported the reflexive quality of my mind. The second step was honoring the ability to choose. That sounds simple, but it is by no means easy. We all have the ability to choose: we either choose creative invention towards the same end, or we step out of the rut and innovate a new end.


  • Tuesday, Nov 6: please go out and VOTE! Then, bring your proof of voting to a nearby yoga studio, because many of them offer free classes for those who vote.
  • Saturday, Nov 10 1:00-4:00 pm: there is still room in the Winter Wellness Workshop at Willow Glen Yoga. See Special Events for more details.
  • Friday, Nov 16: Lymphedema presentation offered by Cancer CAREpoints, located near Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose; see for more details.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Yoga Defense Against Illness

The change of the seasons always brings a drop in my immune system, and this year was no exception. I caught a cold that lasted longer than a few days and dragged my energy down, though not to a point where I had to stop altogether. I credit my yogic practices for helping keep me healthy against illness, and for helping me bounce back when I do get sick. Some of my practices include: asana practice, pranayama, massage, mantra (no, it's not, "de-fense") and meditation, in combination with certain foods, oils and gargles. I'd like to share some of those yogic practices to help you all manage your health during the upcoming fall and winter months.

Asana, Pranayama and Massage

Our immune system is made up of several systems in the body, but the the lymphatic system, which drains fluid through the lymph nodes and sorts out harmful items to be learned for future defense, is one that we can directly affect through movement, massage and relaxation. Some postures that are accessible to all and support the circulation of lymph can be found in the Pawanmuktasana Series I. When I feel under the weather, I use this series to move my joints to promote lymph drainage.

Instant Maui pose
Legs Up the Wall Pose
Along with the above movement, finding comfortable positions to gently expand the breath is key. I really love the Instant Maui and the Legs Up the Wall poses, depicted right. In these poses, my body is passive and I can expand my breath without strain. Reducing tension in my body and breath eases my nervous system out of the stress response and supports better immune response. In addition, I imagine my breath is nourishing each cell as I inhale, and "cleaning house" from each cell as I exhale. Taking just a handful of these conscious, healthy breaths can make me feel so much better!

Another way I promote lymph flow is through warm oil massage. This is an Ayurvedic practice called Abhyanga and is described on Banyan Botanical's website. Massaging the skin is similar to moving the body when it comes to moving lymph.

Mantra and Meditation

When working with mantras, keep them simple. For example, as you breathe in say to yourself, "health in", and as you breathe out say to yourself, "waste out". You could also use colors or attributes to focus on as you tune in. For meditation, I like to work with the Tonglen meditation when I feel unwell. This is because I can easily slip into feeling sorry for myself. So, if I focus on others, I tend to let go of self-pity. As I breathe in, I notice what sensations I'm feeling (achy, stuffy, scratchy throat, etc.), and I imagine breathing it in for everyone who feels unwell at that moment. As I breathe out, I send out my wish for us all to feel better - to feel supple muscles, clear nasal passages and a serene throat, for example. Over and over again, I focus on my suffering as it relates to others in order to let it go for all of us. In truth, when I am healthy, I no longer participate in spreading unhealthy germs, which means that you all are healthier, too. Tonglen works really well when viewed from this perspective.

Here's to all our health! Namaste, Lorien


  • Lorien will be on vacation the first week in October, returning to teaching on 10/7/12.
  • Check out the FREE breath and meditation class at Breathe Los Gatos on Sundays 6:15-7:00 pm (this class follows the 5:00 pm Yin yoga class. Why not take both?)
  • Coming in November: Winter Wellness Workshop on 11/10/12 at Willow Glen Yoga... more details to come!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Develop Your Conscious Waiting App: A Resource for Power-less Times

If Dante Alighieri were to update his epic poem, The Divine Comedy, waiting rooms just might have their own place in Hell, or, at least, Purgatory, because these rooms collect us all together, doing what we most dispise: nothing. Waiting around, doing nothing can slowly erode our patience, kindness, sense of worth and, ultimately, our health. Waiting makes us feel powerless, which add to our stress and contributes to a loss in immune function.

What we need is an "app" to combat waiting. While it's true that most people will turn to their electronics for distraction during times of waiting, a digital tool is not what I mean. What we need to combat waiting is a mental tool, a Conscious Waiting App TM, that we turn to anytime, anywhere, in those situations when we are forced to do nothing or be uncomfortable with waiting. We could use this app whenever our teens are late for curfew, or our doctor tells us on Friday that our cancer screening test results won't be in until Tuesday, or when our parent is undergoing surgery. Instead of worrying, which increases our adrenaline, blood pressure and physical tension, we could turn inward to our Conscious Waiting App TM and connect to our own strength, spirit and compassion.

There are many ways to turn inward and connect: meditation, mantra, visualization, body awareness and breath awareness are just some of the ways. Find one of these that works for you and practice that tool for at least a month, each time life presents you with an opportunity to wait. Who knows? You might find your attitude towards waiting changing! If you don't already have tool that works for you, try my Conscious Waiting App TM, which combines several of the above methods for turning inward.

Conscious Waiting App TM

  1. Ground: whether you are seated or standing, notice your feet or seat and drop your weight into them; relax your shoulders and your jaw; observe and surrender to the pull of gravity.
  2. Lengthen: imagine a strong thread that is holding you up; visualize this thread beginning at the base of your spine, weave it through your vertebral column, and see it exit out through the top of your skull, slightly towards the back of your head. Feel yourself being held by this thread and elongate your torso gently.
  3. Breathe: breath through the nostrils, if possible, and slow down the very beginning of each inhale and exhale. Intentionally relax your breath on your inhale, and slightly tense your lower abdomen as your exhale to expel all your breath out. Keep your breath relaxed but focused. 
  4. Shift: observe your hands, resting them comfortably with your palms up. As you inhale, fold your thumbs and fingers into your palms, one at a time, so that you make fists as you reach the top of your inhale. While holding your breath in for the space of a heartbeat, squeeze your thumbs with your fingers. As you slowly exhale, release each finger and your thumbs, so that each hand is completely open as you reach the bottom of your exhale and pause for 1-2 heartbeats. After several rounds, relax your hands completely.
  5. Release: watch the flow of your breath, continuing to breathe through your nostrils and slowing down the beginning of each breath. Let go of any tension as you exhale, allowing your breath to simply exit without any help from your abdomen. Watch the flow of your breath, rather than each individual breath. 
  6. Observe: notice your physical sensations, like tension, freedom, weight, lightness; notice sensations around your breath, like constriction, ease, depth, texture; notice sensation around your thoughts, like stickiness, fluidity, emotion, neutrality. Repeat this mantra: "Right now, I am doing something that is good for me."
Practice each step 5 or more times. If you are still waiting, go back to step 1 and repeat the app. Portions of this can be done while stuck in traffic, or waiting at the airport, or while you are in a heated disagreement with a loved one. It doesn't have to be perfect, and no one has to even know you are doing this, but everyone will observe a change in you, and may even respond to that change accordingly. Try it, the next time you feel stuck in the circle of hell we call waiting.


  • New class: Beginning Wednesday, Sept 5, Lorien will teach a weekly 11:00am-noon restorative yoga series for Kaiser Santa Clara oncology; registration is still open and we have plenty of space! This first series is open to patients, survivors and caregivers. To register, call 408-366-4284. Please, tell your friends!!!
  • Class on hiatus: Wednesday 7:30pm yin at Breathe will take a break between Sept 19-Nov 14; we'll return on Nov 21.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Taking the Practice Off the Mat

I started practicing yoga over 13 years ago. I did it for several reasons, some of which weren't obvious to me when I began. As I practiced more and more, I began to use yoga as a form of escape. I was unhappy, so I would go to the mat. I was angry, so I would take it out on my mat. I was depressed/unsure/lost/unsatisfied... so I went to my mat. I always felt better after, but in looking back I begin to see a pattern that developed.

The practice on my mat was a different world, and I was a different person there. I grafted myself to grow compassionately in the yoga studio, but not outside of it. During the past year, I've worked hard to reconnect those branches of myself, to wrap them around each other in an effort to blend the fruit of my labors. After 13 years of practicing, it hit me today: it is all my yoga practice. Driving to the studio, running late, dealing with what I see as obstacles to my practice - these ARE my practice. These are the challenges, just as an Ashtanga jump-through is a challenge, just as Agni Sara is a challenge, just as meditation is a challenge. They are all challenging me, and how I meet them is my practice. Some days, I will float through the challenge, and some days I will fall flat on my butt. Isn't it great that this is the practice?


  • Please let me know if you are coming to Saturday's Yoga for Cancer Survivorship workshop, so I can be sure we have enough props.
  • Stay tuned for an exciting announcement about the Sunday Yin Yoga class at Breathe (don't worry, you'll like the news)!
  • Fundraiser workshop on August 26 at Willow Glen Yoga... more details to come...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Very Personal Reflections

This post is a little different; it's more personal and less about yoga. It took me a while to write it, because I had a self-image that my ego has created that wants you all to see me as a good, calm, kind parent. I'm not asking any of you to reinforce that image with this post. My only intention with this is to share what I've learned, in hopes it helps others in their relationships.

“There are no accidents.” “Everything happens for a reason.”

I’ve come to trust the truth in these statements as I see more of my life. Even the struggles have their purpose, if I live long enough and stay open enough to see it. This year, I have been working more diligently than ever on being aware. The reason for this diligence is because I began to dislike how I was relating to my family. I wanted something different from our relationships. So, I began to work on me.

2 months ago, my husband and I made a very difficult decision about our oldest child. Our 17-year old son was going down a path that was limiting his future: self-medication and no education. With my new awareness, I was finally able to see what I had been denying about him. We tried many things with our son, and finally came to a crossroad. On Tuesday, May 8, we forcefully sent our son to live in a therapeutic boarding school in Arizona. The people at the school, which is really a horse ranch, too, helped us to settle in to the new reality of him being there for several months. On aspect of their program is a peace-promotion set of tools, as taught by the Arbinger Institute. The boys at the ranch and their families must learn these tools, which seem to be a culmination of all the work I had been doing in my self-inquiry. The concepts of intention, ego, emotions and compassion are all used. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had been setting the foundation for the next stage in my life.

Arbinger begins with a description of Way of Being; in yogic terms this may be called Bhavana, or the underlying intention beneath behavior. There is always 2 ways to do something: responsive or resistive. When I respond, I follow my Bhavana and honor my innate sense to be a positive force in the world. When I resist, I deny my connection to others, betray my innate sense and view people as one of three objects: a vehicle to get what I want, an obstacle to getting what I want, or something irrelevant to getting what I want. Other people can sense this difference in the underlying energy in my way of being, even if my outward behavior is exactly the same. This is how I can say to my child, “I just want you to have a future”, and he can hear it as “I just want to control you.”

My husband and I have been in a class that discusses Arbinger, reading a book and doing a workbook for the past 5 weeks. The above paragraph is the foundation, but there is much more to it. If you’re interested, you can check out the books, The Anatomy of Peace and The Bonds That Set Us Free. If you’ve been doing the work on living consciously, these books will dovetail nicely.


  • The NEW class at Worlds Yoga, PREP Therapy, is going really well! The studio is located in Saratoga in the Argonaut Shopping Center. Stop by if you can. To access the Worlds Yoga website click HERE.
  • Sunday, July 22: Restorative Yoga teacher training at MindBodyZone in Fremont; see the Special Events tab for more info. 
  • Friday, August 3-Saturday, August 4: Teaching Yoga to Someone with Cancer training at Breathe in Los Gatos; see the Special Events tab for more info. 
  • Saturday, August 4: Yoga for Cancer Survivorship workshop at Breathe in Los Gatos; see the Special Events tab for more info. 
As always, check my Schedule page for the latest in class updates.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reflections on Living Consciously

For the past 5 months, I've been posting about living with more attention on things like: breath, thoughts, body, emotions, the ego. I noticed when I began practicing living this way, my life didn't necessarily get any better. That's okay, because that wasn't my goal. My goal was to live more consciously, which includes the pain and the sorrow, the ease and the discomfort, and acceptance and the resistance. 

As I reflect on the year so far, I see that I've been uncomfortable a lot. I've broken down a lot. I've done and said and thought things that were "wrong"... And, I've experienced moments of humility and tenderness with myself far beyond anything I've felt in my life so far. Being aware is not easy. It's a moment by moment practice of tuning in, checking thoughts and breath and physical sensation and emotions and opinions. Any time I thought I had it figured out, any time when I felt I got myself reassured and grounded again, my circumstances changed and I went back to the start. 

Do we ever stop this process? Do we ever find solid ground, truly? Or do we learn to ride the waves of change and impermanence? I've had an image in my mind this past week of being on a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean during a raging storm, and my only companion in this boat is my inner critic, telling me over and over about how I got us into this mess; after hours of trying to stifle the cruel things my critic tells me, I've decided to embrace her, to hold onto her with love and affection. The storm doesn't ebb, the boat continues to leak, but I now have a loving companion to ride it out with.


Welcome to the new look for my website! As my teaching has evolved, I felt it was time for my website to reflect my focus. (If you notice anything missing or needing change, please let me know.)

Along with the new look of my website, I am pleased to announce another new class at a brand-new studio! Welcome, Worlds Yoga to the neighborhood. It is located in Saratoga in the Argonaut Shopping Center, and I will be teaching a class called PREP Therapy there. If you'd like a sneak preview of what the space looks like and what my class will be, join is this weekend for the grand opening free class offering. Pre-registration is recommended. You can do this by going to the Worlds Yoga website and signing up; click HERE to go there.

There are several other special events that I will be a part of over the next 3 months, so please check out the Special Events page for more info on: Kaiser's Cancer Survivor Day, Restorative Yoga teacher training and Yoga for Cancer Survivorship workshop.

As always, check my Schedule page for the latest in class updates.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Year of Living Consciously Part 5

Last month I wrote about my personal jester/devil/inner critic, my Ego. I'd like to revisit this concept this month as I look at what obstructs the spiritual path. I hope this speaks to some of you and that you'll be inspired to fire your ego.

Some years ago I read a statement meant for cancer patients: you have all the healing energy within you, you only need to remove the blocks to access it. Recently I read a statement meant for spiritual seekers: you have all the love within you, you only need to remove the blocks to access it. It seems to me both these statements are pointing to the same thing: our ego obstructs our ability to heal, love and be whole. The question I keep asking myself is what does it cost me to be loving? What does it cost me to let someone else win the argument, cut in line, speak harshly to me without my reacting? 

What does that cost? My ego. And why have I been reluctant to embrace the loving path? To say out loud, "I will no longer react with fear, anger or other misperceptions of defense"? My ego. If I claim to be loving and then speak harshly for a moment, who will judge me? My ego.

But the ego is self-defeating. It is yang without yin, effort without ease. It is tyranny. Today, I'm saying no to the tyrannical ego and embracing the grace of integrated energy, of action in the presence of relaxation. I'm removing the obstructions. There is no cost but the ego, and so much to gain.


Schedule updates and special events; please see Special Events page for more details...

  • May 5, 2012 1:30-4:00pm Yoga for Cancer Survivorship workshop at Yoga of Los Altos. See Special Events for more info.
  • NEW Class: Beginning May 23 11:00am-12:00pm Yoga for Cancer Survivorship 6-week series at Kaiser on Homestead at Tantau. Call Kaiser Mind-Body Wellness to register: (408) 366-4284.
  • Class change: Beginning May 23, the Wednesday 7:30pm Yoga Basics class at Breathe Los Gatos will be changed to a candle light yin class.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Year of Living Consciously Part 4

Today is April 1 - Fool's Day, so I thought I'd address one of my own blocks to living consciously: the Ego.

There are a whole family of reactions that come with realizing I've been a fool: thoughts about self-worth, intelligence, importance; feelings of betrayal, hurt, defensiveness; physical reactions of protection, nausea and loss of air. All of these reactions stem from one thing: my Ego. My Ego tells me someone has betrayed me or that I've been made a fool and that my attachment to some identity is in jeopardy. My Ego tells me I must lash out or collapse in to defend this identity. My Ego is the court jester who tells me I'm the fool, when my Ego is, in fact, an illusion. When I stop listening to this Ego, who poisons my heart, I'm able to let go of any and all blocks to living consciously. I can laugh at myself, I can forgive and I can love.

Yoga practice teaches me to remove the veils, the illusions to reality. The illusion here is that the Ego is a rational, reasonable voice; once the veil has been lifted, the rational, reasonable 3-piece suit that the Ego wears begins to fall away and I see in its place the 3-horned hat and clown face. The Ego is the truest illusion. This year, I will not be fooled today by it.


Schedule updates and special events; please see Special Events page for more details...

  • April 8: Annual OM for Peace Chant 3:00-4:00pm at Breathe Los Gatos; come join our voices in this annual FREE event as we chant OM for 1 hour at our own rate and pitch. See Special Events for more info.
  • April 27-29, 2012 Weekend Retreat with Lorien and Marti Foster at Mayacamas Ranch in Calistoga. Only a few spots left, so register now! See Special Events for more info.
  • May 5, 2012 1:30-4:00pm Yoga for Cancer Survivorship workshop at Yoga of Los Altos. See Special Events for more info.
  • NEW Class: Beginning May 23 11:00-noon Yoga for Cancer Survivorship 6-week series at Kaiser on Homestead at Tantau. Call Kaiser Health Education to register: (408) 851-3800.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Year of Living Consciously Part 3

For the last two months, we've explored watching your thoughts and your breath. These are practices can be done with detachment and are usually not combustible.

This month, we'll study the emotions. Going back to the first installment, I mentioned that as we learn language, we learn to attach a condition to words and whole thoughts - "good" or "bad", "right" or "wrong", "pleasant" or "painful". With these conditional attachments come emotions. For example, I'm sitting in my morning meditation and my mind slithers off to some previous conversation and I begin to rehash the whole situation (this type of distraction is sticky and can really catch me in its web); as soon as I notice what I've done, my thoughts turn to judgment about my slithering away. My judgment turns to a shortening of my breath, a wince across my brow and a protective shrug in my shoulders. My entire being is now stuck in the reaction to my mental slip. If I am paying attention, I may notice these outward signs in my breath and body... but if I'm watching the emotions, I can nip all of this in the bud. Watch that your mind has patterns, and those patterns can be associated with emotions, and those feed the breath and body systems. Try using your sharpened mind and breath awareness to catch yourself at the beginning of these conditional responses and watch the emotions without being caught in them. If that isn't yet possible, try turning your focus on things that evoke positive and then neutral feelings. This will help to discharge the emotion and disconnect you from the pattern of judging your emotional response.


updates and special events; please see Special Events page for more details...

  • THIS SUNDAY! March 4 1:00-3:30pm: Serenity Yoga, a Gentle and Restorative Yoga Workshop at Willow Glen Yoga. Please join us for subtle movements, deep breathing and supportive restorative postures. Spaces still available, please register at
  • Beginning March 6: FREE Yoga for Cancer Survivorship class Tuesdays noon-12:45pm at Breathe Los Gatos. Contact Lorien for more info.
  • April 8: Annual OM for Peace Chant 3:00-4:00pm at Breathe Los Gatos; come join our voices in this annual FREE event as we chant OM for 1 hour at our own rate and pitch. See Special Events for more info.
  • April 27-29, 2012 Weekend Retreat with Lorien and Marti Foster at Mayacamas Ranch in Calistoga. See Special Events for more info.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Year of Living Consciously Part 2

Here we are in our second installment of this new way of being. How was it to watch your thoughts? Were you able to witness the ripples of conditionality of some thoughts? Keep observing them and notice how things change.

This month, we'll study the breath. In yoga we call this pranavidya. Each breath pattern sends those same ripples through your beings - nervous system, physical body and emotions, so notice when you are breathing shallow and we you are breathing deeply. What external circumstances bring about these conditions? Can you work backwards and create an external circumstance based on your breathing pattern? (The answer is yes, by the way, but test this out for yourself.) Make a study of your own breathing patterns and be like an investigator of your breath. Notice depth, length, texture, location (where in your body do you feel your breath) and connection to external things, like body posture, emotions, etc. Just by studying your breath, it will become more conscious, which is to say, more effective. When people tell me they can't do yoga, I counter with, "can you breathe?" If you are breathing consciously, you are doing yoga.


updates and special events; please see Special Events age for more details...

  • March 4 1:00-3:30pm: Serenity Yoga, a Gentle and Restorative Yoga Workshop at Willow Glen Yoga. Please join us for subtle movements, deep breathing and supportive restorative postures. Pre-registration is $40, add $10 week of the workshop. Register at
  • Coming in March: FREE Yoga for Cancer Survivorship class Tuesdays noon-12:45pm at Breathe Los Gatos. Contact Lorien for more info.
  • April 27-29, 2012 Weekend Retreat with Lorien and Marti Foster at Mayacamas Ranch in Calistoga. See Special Events for more info.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Year of Living Consciously Part 1

Happy New Year! As you can see by the title of this blog, I've decided to change things up a little in 2012. Each month, I'll invite you to join me in ways to be a little more present, more aware, more forgiving and more joyful.

This month, take some time to notice your mind. The mind can be sharp, reflective and clever, or it can be dull, clinging and repetitive. See if you can step back from your thoughts every now and then and really look at what's arising in your mind. Each thought sends ripples through your being as your mind assigns a condition to it (that's a "good" thought, for example), and we'll explore those ripples next month. For now, just look at the thoughts and see if you can notice the conditions that arise just following each thought. Think of this as training the mind - like swimming laps or doing sit ups. You must repeat this exercise over and over to really receive the benefit: less identification with your thoughts. Meditation is a good place to practice this, but you can do this at any time, any place. Practice being the witness of your thoughts, a simple but challenging skill.


updates and special events; please see Special Events age for more details...

  • NEW series: Beginning Jan 12, Lorien will be teaching a daytime 6-week series based on Hanna Somatics work. These are gentle sliding, rocking movements done on the floor to help regain awareness and flexibility while relieving pain. Class meets Thursdays, noon-1:00pm at Willow Glen Yoga. 6 weeks for $80. Pre-register at
  • NEW ongoing class: Yoga Basics is an exploration into the fundamentals of the yoga practice: breath, posture, energy. Each week is a different theme to help beginners to advanced students alike fine tune their practice. Class meets Wednesdays, 7:30-8:45pm at Breathe Los Gatos. Check fees and new students specials at
  • April 27-29, 2012 Weekend Retreat with Lorien and Marti Foster at Mayacamas Ranch in Calistoga. See Special Events for more info.