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1:01 pm

Yoga Sutra 1:1 by Lisa Wells

join the flow of yoga

yoga sutra 1.1
atha yoganusasanam

atha:  now, beginning, in this moment, in this work
yoga: to yoke, to join, to train a wild horse to a chariot
anusanam: a continuing discourse, further teaching, the flow of knowledge

There is a paradox here at the beginning of the sutras.  We are going to begin something that is continuing.  We are going to join the flow of the stream. The discussion has been ongoing, perhaps since the beginning of time or awareness. But each of us has to join in at some point, and now is that moment.  We begin.

What is this flow of knowledge that we will join?  Yoga: the yoking of a wild horse to a chariot. Yoga is the training of the urges of the mind, the wild horse, so it doesn’t run wild pulling us randomly in different directions.  To train is to concentrate the movement of the mind on a goal.  What goal?  We’ll find that out in the following sutras.

So, the yoga sutras begin with the acknowledgement that this technology of mind has been taught before and it is our time to join the stream of that knowledge. And the stream of knowledge will teach us to tame our minds toward a higher goal. More will be revealed.

Tuesdays, from 5:30-6:30 we will meditate and join the flow of knowledge of the yoga sutras.  We'll spend about half of the time meditating, about half of the time discussing the sutras.  And then, if we continue like we did last night, we'll hang around and talk about our personal meditation practices and how meditation benefits our lives. There is a richness, a sweetness, of meditating with others.  Join the flow!

6:01 pm

Why I Meditate (and why you should too) by Katelin Gallagher

Ha, I hate shoulds. Should is indeed shit.  Please excuse the tongue-in-cheek title of this post. Nevertheless, you are most thoroughly invited to join me in some meditation this year.

As many of you know, the start of the meditation immersion (a 10-month, weekend-based program) is nearing and I’m feeling the potency of this time, as it’s a birth of the most meaningful project I’ve ever worked on. I’ve dedicated much of my life to my meditation practice…I travel 3-4 times per year to study with my teachers and extended community, I’m researching contemplative philosophies in graduate school here at OSU, practice is at the center of my day, and I’ve made this work my life’s work.  While these are landmarks of my path, I developed the meditation immersion with something else in mind.  Along with a few of my mentors and friends, I created this program so that deep meditative practice, training and community could be accessible right here at home.

Here is why I meditate. On a good day, meditation helps me to step into a more thoughtful, compassionate, and wise version of myself.  I move through the world with greater clarity, ease, lucidity, and trust in the unknown unfolding of life.  I’m certainly a better teacher when my practice is thorough and steady, and I breathe more, slow down more, savor, offer gratitude, and I have greater sensitivity to the infinite ethical complexities that life brings.  On bad days, the training bestowed by regular meditation practice has helped me to meet the more difficult aspects of life – pain, suffering, loneliness, anxiety, overwhelm, anger, stress, grief – with little bits more presence, grace, and tenderness.  And that, perhaps, is one of my biggest motivators for practice.  Meditation training helps when things suck.  Who couldn’t use a few more pocketfulls of renewable grace, tenderness, and presence?
I personally just don’t buy it when some marketing touts happiness or bliss as an outcome of learning a practice or attending a course or whatever. Struggle, however, is something I know and relate to well. Yet… it is quite curious what happens when I – over time, with earnest practice – hold myself and others in presence and compassion throughout the full spectrum of life experience.  Little by little, meditation practice has sharpened my attentional faculties for, in moments of grace, something more subtle, even blissful.  I’m infinitely grateful to have been trained in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage that supports and educates solitary retreat practice.  This, most especially has offered glimmers, glimpses into the greatest and sweetest curiosities of my life, into largely unseen, or unnoticed realities. Training for deep retreat practice and basking in the natural wisdom that arises for each of us when we become quiet are of the central intentions of this program,

I hope you’ll join us for some or all of the program, if you feel the pull (portions of each module are also open on a drop-in basis).  The program in its full conception, however, is deliciously comprehensive.  It is designed for those who desire a unique, immersive experience supported by a co-hort and for those planning to guide meditation, or who are already teaching yoga.  A fellow yogi told me recently that she was intimidated by the program.  You’re welcome wherever you are at in your practice, we will start together at the very beginning. You can drop-in to our first session and explore the possibilities from there.  If cost is a great concern, we’re happy to extend the early bird pricing until Friday 9/9. Talk to the front desk staff at Live Well for payment plan options. We truly want to help make this in reach for you.

The full immersion schedule & more information can be found here.

The drop-in schedule and registration links can be found here.

Check out other opportunities to learn meditation in town right here.

You can catch free online meditation audios here.

You could also just sit down and breathe deeply and relax for a while, that’s a good start.

Don’t should on yourself. Just practice, the opportunities to do so are infinite and always, always available.

Love, Kate


7:07 pm

Lisa’s dispatches from vacation…

I’m off on the other coast this week. We spent a few days in New York City, saw some shows, ate fine food, & sweat like fools.  Now we’re in upstate New York at the Omega Institute.  It’s deep green here, and like Corvallis, trees grow like weeds.  Chipmunks and cottontails meander in and out of the brush and the bugs don’t bite too much. The food is vegan and it is a bit like Breitenbush, but bigger and without the hot springs. There is an east coast leisure clothing aesthetic that I rarely see at home, a bit more upscale than Breitenbush is, but a good number of hippies none the less.  I do feel more at ease here than in the city, at least some of the women are make-up free. 

While in New York I took a couple of yoga classes from J. Brown.  He coined the term ‘Gentle is the New Advanced.’ I listen to his podcast.  I was really excited to meet him and experience his class in person.

The space is sweet, about the same size as Live Well. It’s in Brooklyn, a short L-train ride from our Airbnb in the Chelsea district.  The neighborhood appears to be working class, with the addition of a juice bar and a yoga studio.

I took two wonderful nuggets from Js class:  First, stop practicing yoga to achieve something.  Culturally, we Americans are strivers.  We push for the pose just out of our bounds.  We push ourselves farther in meditation in the hopes to achieve… enlightenment, stress reduction, an illusive peace?  Js advice is to stop using yoga to achieve anything, and instead to use yoga to be healthy and functional just as we are.  Yoga is a tool to live a healthy good life as the ordinary human beings that we are. 

The second sweet nugget was Js tree pose practice. He said that tree pose wasn’t about improving balance. You don’t need to balance on one leg and reach overhead to have a healthy life.  But you do need to be able to laugh at yourself when you fall or fail.  So, we practice tree pose to practice laughing at our falls.  We practice tree pose to stop taking ourselves so god-dammed seriously.  Try it right now:  Stand on one leg, bring the other foot to rest on your inner shin, knee or thigh, and lose your balance.  Smile, giggle, chuckle as your lifted foot comes to the floor to catch you.  You can fall.  You can fail.  And you can laugh at yourself.  Now that is a useful skill. Thanks J.

5:19 pm

Yoga for Runners and Athletes from Spencer Newall

Hey everyone! Hope you're all kicking ass this week :)

Pretty excited to share this with you all. This morning I attended a yoga class designed for runners and athletes. The class is taught by a new friend of mine, Caitlyn Ashton, of Live Well Studios off of Circle Blvd. To be clear, Betsy and I are not endorsed or paid by Live Well Studios. We have gotten to know some of the folks that work there and they are just flat out great people, folks in the wellness community that we can really get behind.

The class: Monday and Wednesdays at 5:45AM. Please check out their site: I'll also send everyone an invite to like her Facebook site.

I understand that practicing yoga may be an uncomfortable experience especially in a group setting. I can assure you that Caitlyn offers a very safe, non-judegemental, atmosphere that is all about making you feel comfortable. I would not recommend checking it out if I did not feel comfortable with Caitlyn and her teaching style.

The benefits, in my opinion:

1). Flexibility! - we could all use a little more flexibility
2). Recovery - For me I can see this as a great way to recover from a hard week of training.
3). Mindfulness/Breathing - Caitlyn does a tremendous job with incorporating a sense of mindfulness and breathing practice into her class.
4). It's a great way to start you day

Please let me know if you have any questions. I am planning to attend next Monday's class. Hope you can join!

Spencer Newell

Spencer's blog -
Betsy's blog -
Instagram - @Novo_Veritas
Facebook -
SnapChat - spencer1032
Twitter - @spencernewell10

1:50 pm

The Mind is Restless

“The mind is restless, unsteady, turbulent, wild, stubborn; truly, it seems to me as hard to master as the wind.” pg. 95, v. 6.34. Read More

2:23 pm

What do you remember about your first yoga class?

How much I hated savasna and how I thought I was hot shit for getting my rump to the floor in half pigeon, but then the teacher came around and gently showed me I was all wrong and, with good alignment, was actually a good ways from the ground. ~ Naomi

I was worried about keeping my bodily functions in check. hee hee. also. it was quiet and challenging. ~ Kate

I don't remember my first yoga class--I started at home. I think the first must have been at a temple in Nairobi, Kenya, and thinking this is not like the book... but feeling grateful to see and connect with another part of the city and its people I wouldn't've otherwise. I thank my grandmother for taking me--it was her book that first got me trying yoga, in Kenya.  ~ Koa

My first yoga class was at a Bikram studio in Denver. I remember sweating like crazy during class then eating an entire Chipotle burrito afterwards! ~ Heather

I remember feeling like I was HOME! ~ Sharon

Forgetting to breathe! :) ~ Mara

The teacher threatened to separate me and my best friend. We were 16 and giggling. It was Bikram. ~ Katie

Being instructed to keep my bum and belly soft.  Ouch for the lumbars!  Oh, how times have changed ~ Susu

My first yoga class was a Chicago Park District community class. I loved how it challenged my brain and body to communicate and work together. And I remember being SO excited to go back for the next class! ~ Olivia

I remember being so tired and blissed out that I had a hard time signing out of the studio! I think I spelt my name wrong. ~ Allissa

I cried during Savasana. I knew this was powerful stuff and I had to learn more. Nine years later I completed by 200 hour RYT. ~ Donna

About 28 years ago my first yoga 'class' was via a book (I still have it) and after going through all the postures i wrote this on one of the pages: "This is hard! Be careful"  Which is probably why i now cue correct alignment like a fiend. ~ Jaromey

I was a sleep-deprived freshman in college, just 18 years old (23 years ago!). I remember falling asleep in savasana and being startled awake when class was over. ~ Jen

I remember the Yoga Room in Berkeley and the fabulous Richard Rosen.  I remember it was hard and that I couldn't stand up from Prasarita Padottanasana.  I remember laughing at myself. ~ Lisa

I was surprised that I had to take my shoes off & kept them close...  Everyone was laying on pillows (bolsters) and I worried that I was showing up for some weird adult nap time. ~ Kristen

Feeling really awkward about wearing spandex in public! ~ Lissy

It was a very dedicated Iyengar class. I was thinking “When are they going to let me move; oh my gosh I have so much to do!” ~Kristina

I fell asleep in savasana and was totally relaxed even though the class was in a gym and weights were clanking. ~ Theresa

4:37 pm



When I die give what’s left of me away
to children and old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
cry for your brother walking the street beside you.
And when you need me, put your arms around anyone
and give them what you need to give me.

I want to leave you something,
something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved,
and if you cannot give me away,
at least let me live in your eyes and not your mind.

You can love me best by letting hands touch hands,
and by letting go of children that need to be free.
Love doesn’t die, people do.
So, when all that’s left of me is love,
give me away.


5:05 pm

Summer Solstice Yoga with Jennie Cramer

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” -Joseph Campbell

The dance of the Earth around the Sun is the steady rhythm around which life revolves. The blooming of flowers, the buzz of the bees, the mating and birthing rituals of Nature's creatures, are all tied inextricably to the movement of Earth around the Sun. For humans, something happened in evolution when we rose up on two legs and our consciousness evolved beyond the automatic pulsations of Nature. From this departure came opportunities to make decisions about what we "want" as individuals, beyond just the need to reproduce and pass on our genetics to a new generation. From this evolution came incredible potential as well as the inherent human struggle for joy and peace of mind and heart. For me personally, the farther I allow myself to depart from the inherent rhythms of Nature, intertwined deeply into the strands of my oldest DNA, the greater that struggle becomes. Each of us can find greater steadiness and ease in our world when we honor our inherent connection the rhythms of Nature and sync ourselves with the energies of the seasons.

For me, this means creating a yoga practice that ties my bodily rhythms to the world around me. A sunrise practice is different than a sunset practice. A full moon practice is different from the new moon. A summer practice is different from winter. Each year, in rhythm with the seasons, we can reset and reclaim our natural rhythms as we celebrate the season to come.

To honor the coming summer, please join me in my home garden for a very special summer solstice yoga practice. We will celebrate the energy of the sun, the gift of long days and starry nights, and the growth of the fruits of the Earth and fruits within each of us. We will practice together on Monday, June 20th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. just as the sun reaches the highest position in our sky. Pre-registration is required and the address will be sent to attendees only. Suggested donation of $5-$20.

Register here

4:30 pm

What books are you reading? What yoga or meditation books would you recommend?

Our instructors answer:

"Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles" by Gabrielle Bernstein and "The Journey Within by Radhanath Swami" ~ Mara

"Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert and rotating through the yoga anatomy books by Ray Long (our library is a great resource!)~Theresa

"Light on Yoga" by B.K.S. Iyengar. There are always new poses that I discover in the chapters. It also inspires me to keep challenging myself in my practice by giving me a fresh viewpoint, or a new way of moving through a pose. ~ Sydni

"Talks with Ramana Maharshi"... such inspiring words towards true happiness ~Jaromey

Tantra Illuminated & Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World. I recommend The Yogi's Roadmap by Bhavani Maki ~Kristen

I just finished a novel: "A Thousand Saints", and started the nonfiction book "Salt: A World History". Next up is "Great Tide Rising" by local Corvallis writer Kathleen Dean Moore. Ashtanga must-reads: "Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K. Patthabhi Jois Through the Eyes of his Students", edited by Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern and a new book by my teacher Kevin Kimple and local professor Stuart Sarbacker: "The Eight Limbs of Yoga: A Handbook for Living Yoga Philosophy."  ~Lissy

"The Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California" (a guidebook on the PCT).  I recently finished a great book titled "Training in Compassion" by Norman Fischer.  He is a Zen Buddhist and this book is his reflections on the lojong slogans, a traditional Tibetan Buddhist practice for cultivating compassion.  Poetry I am reading right now includes a slim volume of Rumi poems titled Night & Sleep, lovingly loaned to me by one of my students. ~ Irene

I am reading:  "Alone: 4,000 mile search for Belonging". By Brian Heron.  (My Brian).  Facing many losses in a short period of time, Brian set off to visit all the significant places in his life.  On his bike.  It's awesome. ~ Sharon
I'm reading the "Story of the Human Body" and "Temporary Autonomous Zones."  Neither is literally yogic, but both are very Yogic. My all time favorite meditation book is "Being Peace" by Thich Nhat Hanh. ~ Lisa

"The Kiss of the Yogini" by David Gordon White ~Angie

"12 Years a Slave" and "Crime and Punishment" ... I'd love a recommendation to lighten this load! ~ Koa

"Teaching People, Not Poses" by Jay Fields. I also enjoy my monthly subscription to Yoga Journal magazine. ~ Olivia

I just ordered "Leaving my Father's House" by Marion Woodman and "The Redemption of the Feminine Erotic Soul" by Rachel Hillel.  I just finished "Tuesdays with Morrie"... and I've got at least another handful that I'm paging through, including "The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation" ~ Kate G.

Reading: "There is no App for Happiness by Max Strom" (amazing yoga & breath teacher). Recommend: "Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates" & "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz ~ Katie Z.

I'm reading "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown. ~ Rachel B


5:05 pm

What poses are you working on and why?

We asked instructors this question:

I've been shaking for 15 minutes each morning. To release all the crazy injuries, traumas and beasties living my hips and spine. ~Lisa

For me yoga asana is a means to an end. I do yoga to increase mobility and strength and peacefulness of mind rather than as a way of achieving certain poses. I am interested in being able to move my body well in the most functional, graceful, and pain-free ways that I can. The things I am working on most in my practice right now are shoulder and thoracic mobility and pectoral opening. I am also trying to do a pull up and increasing my time hanging from a pull-up bar or tree branch.~Jennie

Hand- and head- stands--having scoliosis, stacking the spine is hard HARD; all my imbalances come to light, so it's been a long and incremental process getting all the pieces together. And now that they are there, I am going to keep them there! Otherwise, I've been working on pranayama and poses that contribute to that best. ~Koa

All of 'em! Those I like, don't like or am indifferent about. I work with them regardless. Virabhadrasana 1 is a special pose for me because it always feels like the first time. ~Kristen

Downward dog is a pose that continues to challenge me.  It is easy for me to hyperextend into the pose, to over arch my back and fall into my shoulders.  Downward dog is a friendly reminder to me to find integrity or stability in my body rather than flexibility. ~Rachel S.

Pincha mayurasana because I love flipping things upsidedown. :) And lots of gentle twists and poses to strengthen and move my hamstrings because I'm caring for an injury. ~Mara

Savasana! Because that's where the magic and the work is. I love and struggle to give myself the space to be still and listen. Also Bakasana because it requires strength and balance in the physical places I'm most interested in right now: chest, shoulders, and core. ~Naomi

To balance this season of transition, both personally and in nature, I am working not on a single pose but on a sense of steadiness. Hence, my practice right now is very regimented:  Arm balances on Mondays. Backbends on Wednesdays. Standing poses on Fridays. Restorative on the days in-between. Formal seated meditation every morning. I don't always follow this prescription, but right now it comforts me.  ~Angie

Triangle, I'm looking for something new! ~Katie

I like practicing Goddess Pose- I find it to be a great lesson in Sthira and Sukha- it requires a patient and sweet surrender as you settle into the strength of the pose. It's mentally and physically challenging, but also very rewarding! ~Olivia 

Patience in all poses and bringing in more inversions at home: headstand and shoulder stand ~Theresa