Day 4 Pose: BRIDGE

Day 4 Pose of 10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online: BRIDGE
(i.e. How to Love Your Sacrum and Not Be a Tight Ass)

Back in the day (pre-Forrest Yoga times), Bridge pose used to be about shoving my hips as high as possible and getting as much of a back bend as I could get. Not great for the sacrum, and certainly accentuated my tight-assedness attitude towards my practice.

NOW, deep in my Forrest Yoga and Restorative practices, I've fallen in love with how my body FEELS when I practice and I can allow myself to channel EASE and SURRENDER even while my thighs are heating up in Bridge.

Two of my Go-To props and variations for Bridge are:

1. Resting my Sacrum under 2 stacked, low height blocks positioned lengthwise. I witnessed my yogi pal Abbie Doss Dutterer using the blocks this way in class and my body reacted with an "of course! that makes sense" feeling. The blocks positioned this way assure your body that you are stable to the floor (not weeble-wobbly), thus encouraging your body that it's safe to open and release further. Plus it provides a wider shelf for the sacrum bone to rest completely. For me, it's almost like a restorative pose, giving me pause to BREATHE into my sacrum and allow it to relax. I'll use this setup for Hip-Opener and One Leg Up and Half Virasana variations.



2. Undo Tight-Ass by using the Rolled Mat between thighs at the groin. I used to squeeze my butt way tight to lift hips higher (some yoga styles use that as a cue in class, eww), which shuts off your sacrum. By squeezing the rolled mat between my thighs, it reminds me to use my inner leg muscles to power the pose, not my ass.



#warriorheartcollective #bridgepose #forrestyoga #loveyoursacrum


Click image for video of Shoulder Shrugs

Click image for video of Shoulder Shrugs

Day 3 Pose of  10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Onlin: SHOULDER SHRUGS

By 6pm most everyone can use some release from shoulder/upper & mid-back tension. I'd say that is the most popular area of tension amongst my evening class students. All the better reason to start class with SHOULDER SHRUGS. I'm digging sitting in 1/2 lotus on the edge of a bolster, which elevates my hips above knees and lengthens my posture (esp since I'm short waisted/short torso) and feel into elongating the back of my neck. 

The key is to focus on activating the shoulder blades to squeeze and move the back rather than moving just the arms to activate the back. It can take a while of consistent practicing to really be able to breathe into these specific areas of our body, but it is possible and visible. 

Tonight after we shrugged we did a few authentic YAWNS which was the cherry on top, releasing jaw and neck tension (which tend to be tight if the shoulders are tight). That tip brought to you by from Restorative yogi queen, Kari Jacobse.

When it all comes down to it, it's replacing STRUGGLE with SURRENDER. In reading about Arizona White Oak essence today (in The Alchemy of the Desert  - thanks to Susanna Claudia Delma), I came across this timely quote in regards to SURRENDER:  "It is often indicated when we are at a point of recognizing the amount of struggle in our lives. It helps us to understand that an attitude of struggle inhibits our growth, rather than enhancing it. We begin to see that the extend to which we fight is the extent to which we are resisting life. Likewise when we struggle against ourselves, there is usually something within us that we do not want to accept."
Rather than convincing ourselves can DO IT ALL (hence, struggling), instead activating our will and intention to get things done by balancing it with what the flow of life brings us. 

Check out the fabulous Aviva Levine demonstrating this pose on YouTube.




Day 2 Pose for 10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online: BRAHMARI BREATH INTO THE HEART

When I'm feeling unsettled/ungrounded/distracted at the beginning of my practice, this pranayama of Bee Buzzing Brahmari plugs me in. I like vibra-hum into all sides of the heart with the hands placed accordingly to FEEL the vibes: front, sides, back, top & bottom. The more you hum into it, the more you can blow off steam or anxious energy.

Best personal Brahmari experiences have been whenever a large group of dedicated Forrest Yogis get together, whether it be for trainings or workshops, especially when Ana Forrest is leading us, the collective buzz connects us like an invisible cord. Like we could all rocket up to space together.

When teaching, if I felt the group energy was turned on in a good way, I'll end class with everyone doing one long Brahmari, much like an Om but Forrest Yoga style. Afterwards, everyone just floats out the door...

See Forrest Yoga teacher Jacqui Ferraiolo's video on Brahmari:

photo by Steve Adams

Day 1 Pose of Warrior Heart Collective

Day 1 Pose of the Day for 10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online:

I find that when I wake up in the morning I crave this pose to get the sleep kinks out of my upper back. Also when I need a break from my jewelry bench work (i.e. hunching over LEGO bricks with my drill), this is my GO TO pose. 2 minutes and I'm good, my posture is reset. Anyone who has an arm and a wall can do this pose (you don't need to be a yogi), another reason to love it!

I have limited empty wall space in my condo, so I like this mod of finding a wall edge to hold onto as I get more into my lunge and really hold on to the wall edge I can feel more release in the pec on that side of chest.

Lately I've been starting my FY All Levels 6pm classes with this pose after wrist stretches and before we sit down to set intent - not only does it feel great for the midback, sternum and neck after spending the day hunched over desks or workbenches, it forces you to ground right away and calm down the zingy energy that may be bouncing around in you (or from around you) at the end of the day.

If this pose sounds juicy to you and you want to TRY IT FOR YOURSELF, watch this video tutorial by the amazing Lisa Day:


10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online Begins

Today begins the 10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online where Forrest Yoga teachers and students come together online on FB and IG to practice a Pose of the Day that focuses on the heart and share what we're feeling both physically and emotionally, plus any insights about the poses. This is what I LOVE about the Forrest Yoga community of yogis, teachers and leaders - this willingness to break through our walls and support each other in the process.

The Forrest Yoga teachers who are leading the charge (and who you can follow to get more insights) are: Lisa Day Yoga & Pilates,  Lola Rephann - Yoga & Bodywork, Aviva Levine - Breathe In Love, Jacqui Ferraiolo - Yoga with Jacqui

Every day I'll be posting my musings on the Pose, tips that I've found effective over the course of my practice and teaching. And any energetic gems that may arise from such a mindful focus on the heart center. Stay tuned!

If you want to join in and share your insights with us, go the the FB group page for the details and who to follow:


Vegan Cacao Berry Protein Smoothie: Post-Yoga Smoothie #2

It's HOT out! Summer has finally arrived to San Francisco, albeit a month late. Sweating in the yoga studio and in the kitchen, nothing satisfies more than a nourishing Post-Yoga workout smoothie. Last month I really reigned in my sugar consumption, (per my doctor's orders, due to a sudden severe allergic reaction) cutting out all processed sugar AND foods with natural-occurring sugars such as dates, honey, bananas, maple syrup, pineapple (my usual smoothie go-to ingredients). I was also on a strict vegan/no soy/no gluten/no corn diet and enjoyed the challenge of making meals that fit the bill and still excited the foodie in me. 

That said, this Vegan Cacoa Berry Protein Smoothie* was created, very low in natural sugars, with healthy fats and protein to replenish after a sweaty workout and has brought smiles to omnivores and non-vegans alike. Enjoy a cool one today and feel good about having a low-sugar treat! 

Serves 2 (because sharing is more fun!)

1/2 cup frozen blueberries or blackberries (or mix of berries)
acai berry packet, frozen & cut up into chunks
3 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 tsp flax seed oil
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 generous scoop Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder (if you don't have handy, use toasted carob powder or cacoa powder)
handful of icecubes
1.5 cups Coconut Hemp milk, unsweetened OR 1 cup almond milk + 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
handful ice cubes

handful of spinach (will make the color of the smoothie a bit gray, still tastes yummy)

*After creating this smoothie, I discovered that the recipe is very similar to JJ Virgin's The Virgin Diet Shake, a meal-replacement shake that helps you lose weight. Bonus!


Soothing Ritual for Dry Cracked Skin

The great thing about a 3-week road trip to the Southwest in the summer is the wide stretches of open terrain, the heat, and being enveloped by nature. The unfortunate part is what a toll that terrain, heat and high elevation has on your skin. I couldn't drink enough water or moisturize with enough lotions or oil to not make my skin look like an old snake. Eww. 

All these years living in the Bay Area at sea-level, with our moisture-laden air, I took for granted, not appreciating its fountain of youth-like properties for the largest organ of my body, my skin. Returning from my desert and mountain adventure, I was desperate to replenish my skin, which was already uber sensitive due to a recent bout of severe utricaria (hives) and anaphlaxis. A natural and unprocessed solution was of top priority!

My skin-soothing ritual over the next few days was two-fold, both involving coconut oil: 1. Cool oatmeal bath with essential oil; 2. Coffee Body Scrub. Not only did it all felt good and smell delicious, after 2-3 days my skin was back on track, no more chap, crack, or flaking!

The Coffee Body Scrub was a homemade gift from a fellow Forrest Yoga teacher, Jessie Delmar of Kaoite Healing Arts . She found the recipe for the scrub online at Coffee and coconut oil are rich in antioxidants, plus coconut oil has vitamin E and proteins that contribute to cellular health and tissue repair, just to name a few!


Here is how I proceeded to heal my skin: 

DAY 1 - Oatmeal bath only (recipe below)
DAY 2 - Oatmeal bath, drain tub, then scrub your entire body with Coffee Body Scrub, rinse.
DAY 3 - Repeat Day 2, only using scrub on areas that are still dry and cracked.

NOTE: Consider the oats as your "soap" and the oils as your "lotion" or moisturizer - don't use soap and/or lotion after these baths.


Oats have fats, sugars, and proteins that work to protect and soothe your skin. The fats lubricate as well as the sugars which leave a gelatinous-like residue in the bathwater and on your skin. The proteins have anti-inflammatory properties, blocking histamines to help soothe itchy skin. 

Lavender essential oil also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, calms and relaxes, and reduces skin irritations. Geranium essential oil promotes the appearance of clear, healthy skin and hair, calms nerves and lessens feelings of stress.  

I love using my Doterra essential oils for natural healing - they are CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® and can only be purchased through a Doterra Wellness Advocate, of which I am. You can purchase these oils through my "store" on the Doterra site - click here.

1/2 cup uncooked Oats
muslin satchel with drawstring
1 Tablespoon fractionated coconut oil with 3 drops essential oil such as Lavender or Geranium in a small, sealed container (this oil mixture will last for multiple baths)

Pour oats into muslin satchel and attach the bag directly under the tub facet using the bag's drawstring. Run a warm (not hot) bath, allowing the water to run through the oats in the bag.
As the bath is filling, pour a scant 1/2 teaspoon of the coconut oil/essential oil mixture into the bath water. 
Once bathtub is filled, squeeze the muslin bag to release more "oat juice" into the water, or even squeeze directly on to your skin like you would soap up your body. 
Sit and soak for at least 20 minutes. DO NOT USE SOAP. Gently rinse off (without soap) and pat dry with towel.

Turmeric Smoothie for Your Post-Yoga Workout


What I crave most after an intense yoga workout is a thirst-quenching, nutrient-rich smoothie, and lately one that also has anti-inflammatory properties. This Creamy Coconut Turmeric Smoothie is my current favorite, especially as my body has been feeling more aches and pains in my joints. Turmeric root when paired with healthy fats (avocado) is a great anti-inflammatory and joint-healer,  along with ginger root (which also helps with digestion and the immune system), pea shoots (also an antioxidant).  I've been adding GLA (gamma linoleic acid - an essential fatty acid), an Omega-6 oil to my diet to help reduce PMS and alleviate joint pain, but it also is a fat-burner, maintains skin and bone health, and elevates levels of serotonin (brain health!). It's important after a workout to replenishes lost electrolytes (you lose through sweat), so adding coconut water acts like a natural version of Gatorade. Also important to get protein after working those muscles - add hemp seeds which are a Super Food - a complete protein, and a source of Omega-3 & 6. Lemon is antimicrobial a natural cleanser and helps brighten up the flavor and any bitterness from the pea shoots. 

Here's my recipe, which is adapted from the Natural Gourmet Institute's Tropical Turmeric Smoothie. Use all organic ingredients. Blend all ingredients in a blender. Makes 2 tall glasses.


1/2 ripe avocado, pitted & chopped
handful of frozen pineapple or mango chunks
handful of pea shoot sprouts
3 TBSPs hemp seeds
1 TBSP ginger, peeled & minced
2 TBSPs lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
1/2 TSP GLA oil (or other Omega-6 oil, like Borage)
1/4 TSP "Daily Turmeric" powder supplement
2 1/2 CUPS coconut water
4 ice cubes

How Yoga Helped Grow My Business

When I'm not in the yoga studio I can be found in my jewelry studio, running my jewelry company emiko-o reware. Even though been in business since 1998, it wasn't until a few years ago that it really began to grow - and this coincided directly with my decision to delve deeper into my yoga life and dedicate myself to doing the transformational work that comes hand in hand with Forrest Yoga practice, training and teaching. 

This spring I was invited to be a presenter for a the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG), a national, non-profit arts organization of which I've been a long-standing member. Specifically to give a talk on the topic of Finding Your Voice for the annual conference SNAGnext Asheville 2016: "An Interchange & Exchange on the many facets of Making a Living in the Field". My talk titled, "Are We Having Fun Yet: Using Your Authentic Voice To Ignite Your Business". I was honored to be able to share with my community what I've learned to take my biz to the next level and help both the newbies to business & the jewelry/craft world and the mid-career/seasoned artists. 

In preparing my talk I realized that so much of what I wanted to say tied directly to the mindfulness and intent-driven practices I've been absorbing in my engagement with Forrest Yoga. My talk is centered around these 3 Keys: Connecting to Authentic Voice, Play, and Set Up Support. Any of these you will hear touched on in at some point in ant Forrest Yoga class you take and they are so relevant to a creative business! 

After giving my presentation, throughout the entire weekend, so many of the conference attendees made a point to connect with me and express their gratitude for my talk and the information, with even one artist suggesting I apply to do TED talks! I love public speaking and with everyone's encouragement I was convinced that this presentation needed to be accessible for posterity, hence I've recorded it as a YouTube video which you can watch above.

My brain's a whirlin' for what should be my next talk, which is also very yoga-inspired: "Embrace Your Sparkle Self: Being An Enticing Public Speaker". Are you intrigued?!

Unraveling the mysteries of the Hips, Neck and Shoulders

Photo from Innerstellar Yoga and Pilates, Forrest Guardian Colleen Millen

Photo from Innerstellar Yoga and Pilates, Forrest Guardian Colleen Millen

For the past few months I've been blessed to have the opportunity to assist Forrest Yoga Guardian, Colleen Millen (a Guardian is a master Forrest yoga teacher personally chosen by Ana Forrest who has the power to train and mentor teachers) in advanced level classes. It is the mastery of these healing hands-on assists that originally drew me to this style of yoga and continues to nourish me as a teacher and assistant, now on the giving end. 

I'm excited to be a part of this weekend's Forrest Yoga Ceremony and asana intensive: "Unraveling the Mysteries of the Hips, Neck and Shoulders: Forrest Yoga Ceremony and Intensive", assisting two very special Forrest Yoga Guardian Mentors Kiki Lovelace and Colleen Millen. To experience a Forrest Yoga Ceremony, the Native American-inspired Calling in the Four Directions is one of the most grounding and spirit-connecting ways is a rare treat and adds another juicy layer to delving into authentic self unlike any I've experienced in the yoga world. Not to me missed!

Saturday, June 11, 1-3:30pm
Innerstellar Yoga and Pilates Studio, Berkeley, CA
Cost: $65
Register here

DESCRIPTION (text from Innerstellar's website):
We’ll begin our 2.5 hour workshop with Guardian Mentors Colleen & Kiki leading the class with Native American-inspired ceremony, including Calling in the Four Directions, chanting and meditation, followed by a juicy Forrest Yoga sequence. Learn how to groove through your practice without struggle so you can open and release stuck energy  in the hips, neck and shoulders. Ride energizing inversions, arm balances and hip opening poses on your path to more freedom in these areas.

Pre-requisites: Ability to do inversions and sun salutations, all while practicing in a heated room. Space is limited, so sign up now to reserve your spot!