Honoring The Full Moon – Chandra Namaskara




Many traditional cultures revere the moon as a manifestation of the divine feminine force in nature (Shakti). According to hatha yoga, this force also resides within us. Whereas solar energy is warm, active, and outwardly oriented, lunar energy is cool, receptive, and inwardly focused.

Society typically encourages our solar, more masculine impulses, making it easy to pursue worldly achievement rather than cultivate inner awareness. Although the aim of hatha yoga is to find balance with both our lunar and solar energies, even our asana practice tends to reflect a bias for the solar, often emphasizing sun salutations and heating practices in the interest of physical fitness. If the divine lunar force could speak, she might lovingly remind us to “chill out before we burn out.” Like a devoted and attentive mother, the moon can teach us to slow down, listen to our own needs, and be receptive to change.

We can invoke and honor  the lunar energy in nature and within ourselves by practicing Chandra Namaskars, or moon salutations. The 15 steps in the sequence below represent 15 tithis, or lunar days; a 16th step honors the tantric goddess Shodashi, who presides over all the phases of the moon, as well as all that is perfect, complete, and beautiful. When practiced with devotion and gratitude for the divine feminine, this version of chandra namaskara can become a full body prayer.

An inward-moving and mildly calming practice, chandra namaskara is appropriate for any time of day, including late afternoon and evening. To bring an element of ritual into your practice, try it during the new and full moon phases, or outside anytime under the moon itself. The sequence is safe to explore for anyone who practices sun salutations, and many women find it soothing during menstruation or pregnancy.

Practice chandra namaskara slowly and mindfully, maintaining a smooth, deep, diaphragmatic breath. (Avoid using ujjayi breathing, which is heating). Tune into a sense of devotion as you honor all the phases of the moon and all of the various and changing cycles of your life.

Chandra Namaskara
1. Stand tall in tadasana (mountain pose) and take a few moments to establish chandra bhavana. (A bhavana is a subtle feeling created through the practice of visualization.)

Mountain Pose
Close your eyes and relax your jaw.

2. Inhale slowly while raising your arms overhead. Bring your palms into prayer position to salute the moon.

Moon salute
3. As you begin to exhale, touch the thumbs to the brow center. Continue exhaling and start to fold forward, touching the thumbs to the heart center. As you complete the exhalation, fold completely into uttanasana (standing forward bend) with your palms open to the earth. Hold the breath out as you step your left foot back into anjaneyasana (lunge) and drop the left knee to the floor.

Forward fold
4. Keep bending the right knee to anchor into the lunge as you inhale and raise your arms, bringing the palms into prayer position overhead.

5. Exhale slowly as you lower your arms in front of you, touching the brow center, heart center, and then the earth. Finish the exhalation as you step your right foot back into adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog pose).

6. Inhale and drop both knees to the floor into table pose, then gently look up.

Table pose
7. Exhale and fold slowly into balasana (child’s pose).

Childs pose
8. With the next inhalation, rise onto your knees, lift your hips up off the heels, spread your arms wide, and look up, feeling flooded with receptivity and gratitude.

9. As you begin to exhale, bring your palms together in prayer position overhead, then bend your elbows to touch the thumbs to the back of your neck; bring your seat toward your heels, the chest toward your thighs, and the elbows to the floor. Finish the exhalation by settling into child’s pose.  Rest your awareness in chandra bhavana for a few rounds of breath. Then extend your arms and place your palms on the floor in front of you.

Praying child’s pose
10. With an inhalation slide your chest forward between your hands and press up into a mild urdhva mukha svanasana (upward-facing dog pose).

Upward dog
11. Exhale and press back into downward dog. Hold the breath out and step your left foot forward between the hands. Drop the right knee to the floor.

Downward dog
12. Keep bending the left knee to anchor into the lunge as you inhale and raise your arms; bring the palms into prayer position overhead.

13. Exhale slowly as you lower your arms in front of you, touching the brow center, the heart center, and then the earth; step the right foot forward and fold into uttanasana.

14. Inhale to stand up tall, raising your arms overhead with palms in prayer position to salute the moon.

Moon prayer
15. As you begin to exhale, lower your palms to touch the brow center; complete the exhalation with palms in prayer position at your heart center.

Heart prayer
16. Finish in tadasana. Close your eyes and imagine your mind as a still lake. A full moon rests at the point at the back of your head as in chandra bhavana, but now it shines a moonbeam onto the lake of your mind, which is then reflected out through the point between your eyebrows. Let this focused awareness shine from your calm, steady mind for a few rounds of breath.

Mountain pose
You may feel complete after just one round of chandra namaskara, or you can choose to do four rounds, remembering all four seasons. If you have a large practice space, do one round facing in each of the four directions, beginning by facing east and moving clockwise. To complete the practice return to face east and allow yourself to linger in step 16.




Wishing you all full moon blessings.


Pitta Season



“Is our Agni (digestive fire) strongest in the summer or winter?”

“SUMMER!” most people say.

Incorrect Answer!

Is this a trick question?

Let’s examine this a bit closer … “How do you feel right now in this heat?”

Hungry?  The answer is, probably not.

You may actually feel a little nauseous and without much of an appetite at all in fact.

The Dinacharya of Ayurveda (aka our Daily Habits) teaches us that our power of digestion mirrors the power of the sun. Thus, during Pitta time of day, between 10am and 2pm, our Agni is stronger and more efficient than during any other period within the 24-hour cycle.

Sun at its highest, Agni at its highest. Inner ecosystem matches outer ecosystem.

Naturally, one would assume that during Pitta Season, we would play by the same rules as those of Pitta Hour. But, apparently, that’s not how it works.

Have you noticed that during the sweltering days of summer, you don’t have much of an appetite, but during the winter you’re always hungry? That’s because when it’s cold outside, our bodies naturally draw heat inward, into the gut, to keep us warm, and heat in the gut translates into maximized digestive power. This is why we crave and can better digest heavier foods (like warm stews and food with more oily content) in the colder months. Conversely, in the summer, our internal heat disperses to keep us cool, and our Agni weakens. We naturally reach for fruits and vegetables–lighter foods with higher water content for hydration.

Hunger is your friend. A grumbling belly is nature’s way of alerting you that your inner furnace is ready and willing to fully digest your food.

Here in the West, we often approach our diet as a mental exercise using the brain first: we research diet trends, count calories, read nutrition blogs (and, yes, even Ayurveda blogs) so that we can “follow the rules.”

But Ayurveda doesn’t care about the molecular structure of milk, labels on a jar, or the protein content of an energy bar. It’s a body-centric approach that encourages us to turn our inner gaze into our bodies, feel into what is happening there, and then use our minds to figure things out, not the other way around.

So step away from the diet blogs for a moment and resist going on autopilot as you create your grocery list. Go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store, close your eyes, and feel into your body. What food colors are calling to you? What smells and tastes are enticing you? What are your cells longing for? Eat seasonally!

Attune to the voices of your body, and trust your gut.

Because in the heat of the summer, it’s an easy thing to do.

P.S. Here are a few excellent Ayurveda resources you can use to flow with the heat and live in harmony with this Pitta time of year:

• Check out Banyan Botanicals’ comprehensive list of awesome Pitta-pacifying lifestyle tips. It’s one of the best “cheat sheets”to help guide you as we move deeper into the summer months. You’ll love this!

• When the heat is on, don’t give up your yoga practice–modify it. Check out the Summer Flow and Summer Pitta Nourishment classes on YogaGlo, by Marc Holzman and use them as staples during the summer months. He’s one of my favorite yoga teachers and Ayurvedic Practitioners.

Here’s to “keeping your cool” this summer!




Peace Wins





In the days that have followed the tragic and senseless shooting in Orlando, many, many emotions have come to the surface for so many of us. How could they not? It is unimaginable to consider that this (tragedy) is possible in this day and time. Like so many of you, I have tried to make sense of this; the how’s, the why’s, and of course, the what if’s.

What I cannot make sense of is the hatred that has come from this horrific event. All anyone has to do is open any social media source, turn on their TV, listen to the radio, or get on the internet. Listen closely, because It’s not about solutions, it is only about blame and hatred. It is truly heartbreaking that we (the collective “we”) still need to place the blame on someone, some religion, or some group. That using specific words or specific language will in fact ‘solve’ this terrible event and prevent it from happening again.
I have read FB posts from friends that have actually used language in their rants that stun me. Not necessarily profanity, but in fact, hate and revenge. These are articulate and intelligent people. I ask myself, “has this always been inside you?” this type of hatred? Do you truly feel this way? Did I really not know this about you or see this in you? It is frightening. I see the lines being drawn, the division beginning amongst us. Is this really what we all want? Are we not better than this? So, I offer you this …

“In the wake of the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, we grieve for the senseless harm, the lives lost, and the ignorance, hatred, and intolerance that brought it about. Let us stand in resilience, committed to supporting the LGBTIQ community. We are inspired by the broad call to focus on love and compassion as we unite contemplative practices, education, and social action in order to make this a more just and compassionate world for all. By fostering greater awareness of what influences each of us personally, interpersonally, and systemically, we can all take the first steps toward uniting in strength and love, working toward a society that respects and embraces our common humanity and collective dignity.”

No matter how long it takes, PEACE ALWAYS WINS!

Fall Autumnal Equinox: Balance in All Things


Those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere of our planet, we now begin to prepare for the winds of Autumn. Our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are embodying the exact opposite experience as they are await the return of the light and sunshine of Spring.
The beautiful reflection of the opposite experiences embodied within the whole of our planet is something to contemplate and consider.
For as we all move toward a rebalancing of opposites within and without, we see that this duality within the whole is an intrinsic part of our lives. One cannot exist without the other, and the seasons and the ebb and flow of life reflect to us this elemental wisdom.
Once again we find ourselves in a time of balancing the dark and the light. In the Northern hemisphere, as the days get shorter and the outer light recedes, we move inward to kindle our inner light. In the Southern Hemisphere, as the days grow longer, we we move our way back into the world and bring out our inner light to share with the world.
Everything in nature is constantly giving and receiving. This balance is essential, and it is part of the expressive energies of yin and yang that we are re-balancing as a collective.
So this September Equinox, may we all remember this intrinsic wisdom of nature and Mother earth as we cultivate and celebrate BALANCE in all things.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti


Let it Go!

Let it go – through the “Four Gates” of acupressure.  According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body and smoothing our emotions. Anger, irritability, and frustration are all signs that our Qi is not flowing smoothly. This is referred to as Liver Qi Stagnation, one of the most common imbalances treated by Eastern medicine practitioners in the United States

Together these four acupuncture points are thought to enhance the circulation of Qi and blood throughout the body and have a calming and analgesic effect.


Large Intestine 4 is located on the padded area of your hand between the thumb and index finger, between the first and second metacarpal bones. Massage the point with your thumb on both hands for approximately 30 seconds.  This point is great to use for many different conditions. It is used to strengthen one’s immune system or decrease the duration of colds and/or the flu. It can also be used for any type of problemwith the face which includes jaw pain, toothache, allergies, acne. It is also a great point to relieve a headache or to clear heat and inflammation anywhere in the body.

Liver 3 is located in a hollow on the top of your foot below the gap between your big toe and the next toe, canstockphoto13058054between the bones that attach to the large and second toes and gently knead the point for approximately thirty seconds. Then switch sides to stimulate Lv 3 on your other foot. It can balance, tonify, or disperse stagnant liver energy.  It can be used for any liver energy disharmony. Just a few examples of this include: menstrual disorders/irregularities, headaches, dizziness, and detoxification. It can also be used to create a calming effect on the nervous system to alleviate insomnia, irritability, stress, and anxiety.

Together, these points work to circulate the qi and blood through the body. They help to open all the meridians, increase circulation, and decrease pain anywhere in the body. The 4 Gates can also be used for emotional issues as well such as feelings of being trapped or stuck in a situation. This is a great point combination to help maintain the free flow of qi and blood through our bodies.

Is There Science Behind Reiki?

life2Reiki, a holistic energy treatment is gaining new respect within the medical community. Not only are highly reputable medical facilities throughout the U.S. offering patients alternative healing programs such as Reiki, those facilities are analyzing the benefits of their programs and are submitting them for review and compilation. The results of these Reiki research studies are nothing short of remarkable.

Everything in our cosmos, everything in our solar system, everything in or on the planet earth has a frequency.  A frequency can be a number that indicates how many cycles per second (hertz) any object is vibrating. And, believe it or not, everything is vibrating. A rock, for instance, has a frequency but the molecules that comprise a rock are usually moving imperceptibly slow.

An illustration of how it works…

An excellent example of vibrational frequency is the tuning fork and the piano tuner. The tuning fork has a built in frequency or vibration when struck. The piano tuner keeps adjusting the tension of each string so that the note struck is in harmonic resonance with the specific tuning fork. Eventually, when the string is “tuned” and the note is struck, the tuning fork will vibrate on its own through resonance. When the piano is in tune, it is putting out sound at its full potential.

Our bodies get out of tune…

When our bodies are “out of tune”, we are like storage batteries that are wearing out. The body is exactly like a storage battery with a built in charger. The human body is 80% water with electrolytes that need constant charging to keep all components working harmoniously.

Our “body battery” functions best when it is able to receive the natural energy from the molten magnetic core of our planet Earth and the cosmic energy from the sun and Solar System and beyond. We also are recharged by constant chemical reactions in our body resulting from breathing clean air and eating vital foods…all part of an energy healing process.

In today’s modern world, we are being constantly exposed to ma made frequencies and vibrations that are not compatible with a healthy body, such as microwaves, artificial light, electrical appliances and power lines. In addition, we tend to insulate ourselves from natural healthy energy by using concrete, rubber soled shoes, carpeting and man-made fiber clothing. Eating energy dead food and the negativity of our thoughts also contribute to a body electric that is “out of tune”.

One of the most basic laws of physics, Ampere’s Law, explains the electrical and magnetic energies in and around the human body. Ampere’s Law says that when electrical currents flow through conductors, whether they are wires or living tissue, a magnetic field is produced in the surrounding space.  Since living tissue – including the heart and other muscles, the brain, and other organs – conducts electricity, the laws of physics mean they create a magnetic field around the body, called the biomagnetic field.

Tools have become increasingly sophisticated for measuring biogmagnetic fields, especially since the emergence of quantum physics. But Western medicine has longused energy-based technologies for patient diagnosis and treatment, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, lasers, magnetic and electrical biopsies, and more. The electrocardiogram and electroencephalogram have been in use since the 1920s, so working with the biomagnetic field for therapeutic reasons has been a medical practice for almost a century.

After decades of often disputed validity, the effectiveness of Reiki, a holistic energy treatment is gaining new respect within the medical community. Not only are highly reputable medical facilities throughout the U.S. offering patients alternative healing programs such as Reiki, those facilities are analyzing the benefits of their programs and are submitting them for review and compilation. The results of these Reiki research studies are nothing short of remarkable.

Be True To Your Nature


It’s Spring and according to Ayurveda winter is dominated by the qualities of Kapha, whose characteristics are cold, heavy, stable, dense, and viscous; this is why we find ourselves moving slower, craving heavier foods, and longing for more sleep. Just as nature is confused as to which season she belongs to, it’s common to experience an internal clash during this time as we begin to feel “spring fever” yet we’re still stuck in the energies of winter.

As Yogis we seek to move with whatever sensations, emotions, or energies arise for us; trusting the wisdom of intuition and moving in harmony with her rather than resisting that which we don’t like; resistance not only creates suffering but it is a subtle assault on ourselves. Dr. Robert Svoboda, preeminent ayurvedic scholar in the west says “You retain your health only so long as you are willing to forgive your stresses, shrug off adversity and adapt to new situations.  Resistance to change always impedes the workings of your immunity”.

It is wise to move with gentleness during this time of year. Allow yourself to move slowly; spend time observing nature’s spring. Remember that all re-birth comes with great struggle and effort. The practice of compassion and ahimsa towards self helps to ease the transition.

Allow yourself the pleasure of sleeping more, or engaging in quiet activities, this helps pacify aggravating qualities as we ‘die’ to this season and prepare ourselves for our new awakening.