Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Digital Move

Hi, you've reached the home of Lorien's Blog archives. I've moved my current blog over to the new and improved website located at:

Feel free to browse these archives for historical posts, but all new posts will be housed on the new website. I hope you find it both aesthetic and useful!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Yoga Supporting the Cancer Community

This year's Pose 4 a Purpose festival has become something a little different. For the past 2 years, I've organized - with the help of very dedicated volunteers - a wonderful outdoor yoga festival that raised money for Cancer CAREpoint. This local nonprofit offers free non-medical support services to anyone dealing with cancer in the Silicon Valley. This means you, your neighbors, your friends and family who have been touched by cancer (and is there anyone who hasn't been?) can benefit from their wide-reaching support.

Instead of organizing an outdoor festival, we decided to ask the local yoga studios to support Cancer CAREpoint directly. Each of our participating studios agreed to host events to raise funds for this great cause. Thank you, Almaden Yoga, Breathe Los Gatos, Just Breathe @ Rivermark, Willow Glen Yoga, Yoga @ Cindy's and Yoga of Los Altos for coming together and supporting us again!

Here is a short list of some of the wonderful events you can participate in and contribute to cancer support in your community:

  • Bollywood dance
  • Chanting
  • Yoga mala (108 sun salutations)
  • Aerial yoga relaxation
  • Body work
  • Acro yoga
  • Kids yoga
  • Heated vinyasa yoga
  • Gentle yoga
  • Vinyasa workshop for teachers
  • Self-massage workshop
  • Restorative yoga
  • Candlelight flow to live guitar music
  • Juice bar purchases

Click the flyers below and our participating studios' websites for more information. This is such a beautiful example of the yoga community coming together in order to lessen suffering in themselves and others... and as we learn in yoga, "there are no others". Namaste.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How Do I Win at Yoga?

Recently The Onion, an online source of satirical commentary, posted about meditation and I found one line in this funny article to be especially interesting:
"With consistent practice, you should start developing calluses on your chakras in no time."

This made me chuckle, and then it made me think.

Yoga has recently come under fire because of its apparent obsession with the physical form; yoga selfies are now a thing to be debated; there's an entire movement dedicated to educating the public that you can do yoga with any body shape or size, and instructors like Annie Carlin and Dana Falsetti have been getting a lot of traction as they demonstrate via pictures and videos how size doesn't matter in asana.

So why are we so concerned with how the pose looks?

Do the ancient yogic texts spend countless words on the precise alignment and sensation in each pose? As someone who has skimmed some of these texts (don't call me an expert!), I can tell you that asana is very rarely mentioned.

So why do we spend countless hours practicing yoga? Aligning this way and that... Checking our alignment in the mirror and asking for other's opinions about our postures. What is it we are really practicing for?

As The Onion author so cleverly illustrated, it's hard to quantify results from a subtle practice. In fact, I would say that the deeper and more subtle my practice gets, the less I want to quantify or even discuss it. Everything I try to say about my non-physical practice of yoga falls short or sounds arrogant.

But show me a picture of my navasana from 6 months ago and compare it to today's, and I'll see those quantifiable changes. And that will feed my ego just enough to keep coming back to the mat, which is where the real practice begins anyway, the practice that brings calluses to my chakras.

Lorien in the Wild! 

Come to one of my Education Workshops or Fundraisers for  Cancer Support

Fri, April 15 - Sun, April 17 @ Vista Yoga, Decatur, Georgia

Sun, April 24 @ Breathe Los Gatos, CA

Sun, June 26 @ Breathe Los Gatos, CA

Sat, Aug 6 @ Santa Barbara Yoga Center, Santa Barbara, CA

Monday, February 1, 2016

What's the Deal With Yoga and Cancer?

Photo credit:
Kimberly Saxton-Heinrichs
A regular yoga practice offers us:

  • Ease in our bodies by accepting our current reality and remembering that it all changes.
  • Ease in our breaths through intimate practices.
  • Ease in our minds with observation of the "pause between stimulus and response", as Viktor Frankl coined it.
  • Ease in our emotions as we search out equanimity between our most ruinous and elated feelings.

These are all wonderful benefits from the practice, but some may want more than experiential claims to "prove" why they should practice yoga.

Yoga Helps Side Effects

Most of the studies are restricted to observing the change in the side effects of treatment as the participant undergoes a regular yoga practice. In her blog post for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, Community Program Coordinator Jackie Clark writes about 2 studies that show yoga helps manage treatment side effects for both breast cancer and prostate cancer patients.

Yoga Helps on a Cellular Level

A study published last November discussed how yoga and meditation helps keep telomere length (the bits at the end of the DNA strand) from eroding; longer telomeres have been associated with reduced genetic mutation, better treatment outcomes and longevity. The Canadian study suggests that meditation, yoga and support groups effected the participants on a genetic level.

People have been claiming that yoga helps prevent a cancer diagnosis, and this latest genetic link seems to point to that. I'm not sure that it's an easy link, though, because we are still dealing with the benefits listed at the start of this post... and those are not easily measured.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Big News

Photo credit Kimberly Saxton-Heinrichs
When I was a kid, I used to play this game of wandering around my house with my eyes closed. I would test myself to determine how long I could manage to make my way about using senses other than my eyes.

As an adult, I took the game to another level. When I was worried about one of my kids and didn't really know what the future would hold, I began a walking meditation practice at a nearby park, and I'd practice with my eyes closed. Again I was relying on my other senses, but mainly I wanted to test my ability to trust:

Trust that the ground would meet each of my steps.
Trust that I wouldn't get run over by a bicyclist, or bit by a goose.
Trust that I would stay on the right path.
Trust that everything would be okay.

In eighteen months, my husband and I will be stepping into the unknown and I'll once more be relying on my ability to trust. In the summer of 2017, we'll be moving to Cocoa, Florida. His work is relocating us, our youngest will be done with school and off to college, and we've found our dream home to be our "empty nest". Over the next year and a half, I'll be working hard to prepare for the move, installing appropriate teachers in my place, and offering as many opportunities to practice with me as possible. Some of these details are still being worked out, but I recommend checking my website and Facebook page often, and if you see something that looks appealing, my advice is don't wait. I'll be announcing my replacements as we move closer to 2017, but you can count on me to be there for classes until then.

To see a list of my ongoing classes, please check the Schedule page.
To see a list of my workshops, special classes and teacher trainings, please check the Events page.

This was not an easy decision, but the opportunity to step into the unknown and have another adventure was too good to pass up. I have really enjoyed teaching all of you and I hope to see you before I go.