Yinterview with Melanie Green

Yin and Social Justice. Melanie Green is one of our co-teachers for our 200 Hour offering.

This is me just scratching the surface of the question. This is an ongoing dialogue that I have within myself and also with other yoga teachers. Before yoga will actively change people and create a just world, we have to bring these ideas of power, privilege, acceptance, non harm, the eight limbs, to the conscious level, so that we may act, instead of react, so that we may share our love of the practice, so that others will be moved/inspired by what they see and experience in the classroom and in the world.

Yoga is meant for all people who want to practice, for all people who wish to dip their toes in. Yoga is for anyone and everyone who breathes. And if we are living, we are breathing. I mean this for all eight limbs. The eight limbs teach a way of living that incorporates justice, being fair and reasonable, not doing harm, not judging, but accepting.   If these qualities are not present, I don’t think it can be called yoga. There is no “unjust yoga”. That shouldn’t exist. There is no place for it. 

There is so much injustice in the world. We can change the world with yoga. If all people practiced the eight limbs, truly practiced them, valued them, and understood them, we would have a different world to live in. If we started with yogis and yoga teachers first, this would make a huge difference in the world of yoga. And maybe from there, it could trickle out into the rest of the world. I know it seems like a huge undertaking, but it is our responsibility as yogis, as yoga teachers, to start this in our classes, in our communities, in our small sphere of the planet. Each person’s life we touch will then be inspired to do the same, act the same, and this would then trickle out beyond the small sphere. The yoga has to come off the mat and into daily life with how we treat each other, even when it is inconvenient or scary or uncomfortable. 


There is definitely unchecked power in the “yoga community” which causes oppression. Anytime power is unchecked, or wielded, or accessed without transparency, there is oppression. And, the yoga world, unfortunately, is not immune. I don’t think there is “a yoga community,” though. There is no homogenous group of yogis. Yogis are as different as each individual. Each style of yoga, and each yoga teacher, and each group of yoga students, are different and have their own distinct communities. I teach all students who want to come to my class. I see them as individuals, value them as individuals, make space for them as individuals. This is one of the ways I work to combat oppression. I am constantly aware of the power I hold in the room and outside the room, as a yoga teacher. I am constantly aware of the privilege I hold as a white woman. I take my job as a yoga teacher very seriously and am conscious of treating all students who I come into contact with equally, regardless of any personal trait or physical limitation, regardless of race or body type, regardless of sexuality or gender, regardless of any yoga outfit or gear. At my studio, we do not sell anything and this is an intentional decision. This is another way that I combat oppression as no one has to feel obligated to buy something or feel differentiated because they can’t or don’t want to buy something. It is a simple act to create an open and clean place with less to clutter the mind or distract the body. My yoga studio is close to BART and the bus and is in an urban area where people have access. It is a clean, open space to practice yoga, to learn to delve inside, and to feel seen.

Melanie Green
Co-director, Berkeley Yoga Center

Melanie Green came to yoga as a way to heal from chronic discomfort from scoliosis. After over 25 years of practice, she still feels like a beginner.  Melanie makes yoga accessible to all and encourages her students to dive deep and focus on their breath, drishti, and bodily sensations.  Yoga is a way to create inner transformation, and by so doing, to transform, albeit little by little, the world. When teaching, Melanie creates a space for students to listen in, arrive in, and honor their body. She values the spiritual aspects of yoga integrated with the asanas, focusing as much on the profound inner lessons of yoga: who am I? what is the point? how can I be here in this body?  Melanie's yoga background includes extensive study in Ashtanga. She has also trained in Iyengar, Pre/Postnatal and Vipassana Meditation. Ashtanga is an intense physical practice that requires attention to the breath, letting go of thoughts and ego and perseverance through practice. Melanie believes strongly that the world would be a different place, a more accepting, just, and kinder place, if yoga was practiced and valued by all. In class, she invites each student to be fully seen. 

Melanie practices yoga every single day, whether on her mat, or in her life. Her daily practice informs her teaching which is always evolving. She integrates lessons from her own yoga practice into her daily life with her teenage children and wife. Melanie has also been volunteering her time for over a decade teaching yoga to children; currently her volunteer work also takes her to the Edible School Yard in Berkeley and the front desk at Berkeley High. In addition to her regularly scheduled classes, Melanie offers private yoga instruction, wellness coaching and special weekend workshops. Melanie is director and co-owner of the Berkeley Yoga Center and has an MA in Women's Studies where she focused her work on women's bodies, sexuality, and oppression.


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Yinterview with Brima Jah

·       When you think about balance, what is your aim as a teacher? Physical, Mental, Spiritual?

The term "balance" seems to mean different things for different people.  It's my aim to offer any range of yoga practices, emphasizing that what I do as a teacher is simply offering---not directing, nor prescribing---options for students to explore meeting their own individual definition and experience of balance.  

That said, I'm also learning that many of us who practice yoga bring with us to our practice parts of ourselves that are either underdeveloped or overdeveloped with regards to our relationships to our minds, our bodies or whatever each of us may consider to be "spirit."  We cis-gendered men, for example, can often---though not always---be socially or culturally conditioned to value their physical body and our intellect, at the cost of neglecting our emotions or intuition.  

I aim to be aware of and neutralize my own bias or judgement on what, how or where students practice yoga.  As a teacher, my hope is to help students cultivate their own understanding of what may be needed to maintain or restore their own balance.  To my role as a teacher, I bring with me my own yoga practice, training, education and life experience that in no way supersedes any students capacity to make observations of their own yoga practice, to develop their own insights and eventually begin or continue to be their own teachers.


·       In what ways do you practice balance in your life? How do you instruct students to approach balance?

"Sthira sukham asanam," loosely translated from Sanskrit to English as "steadiness or ease," is literally about striking balance between practicing asana (yoga poses) with effort AND with relaxation.  This has meant noticing when I'm "working" too hard or becoming complacent---both in asana practice and all aspects of my daily life including my work life, my relationships or my time alone.  

I'm not sure I instruct students to approach balance.  I see my purpose as a teacher is, instead, to offer options, observe which options students use for themselves and encourage their on-going inquiry about these options whether or not I'm in the room with them.  This inquiry can include on-going internal dialogue students can have with themselves that explores questions like "when am I pushing too hard," "when am I letting go so much that I'm collapsing" or "how am I measuring when I'm pushing too hard or  when I'm collapsing?

 

·       How do you see Yoga and Justice as intertwined?

I remember first going to yoga classes and looking for some reflection of myself in the teachers, in the studio, in the community of students or in the practice itself.  It had been challenging to see reflections of myself, given the intersectionalaities of my lived experience as a gay man, a person of color, a non-Native English speaker and an immigrant to America.  Early on, I'd almost had the sense that practicing yoga was not an option for me, or that yoga was rather, a commodity that belonged primarily to cis-gendered, heterosexual, White middle-aged and affluent women.

This isn't me referring just to cultural appropriation of yoga in the Western world.  As I understand it, yoga has its history and evolution that requires no reference point dependent on standards of the Western world.  Instead, I'm referring to the notion that I see it as my ethical responsibility, at best with the support of many likeminded teachers, to create visibility and give voice to resistance that dismantles systems of power and privilege that exclude any one from the option to reap the many benefits of yoga practices.

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Brima Jah
Bhakti Teacher and Mental Health Worker

All that Brima has loved and hated, avoided or clung to, gained or lost, achieved or failed at, accepted or rejected in his life has compelled him to practice and teach yoga. He recovered from a cervical spine fractures and spinal fusion surgeries through consistent yoga practice.

An eternal student of yoga, he is turned on by discovering the relationship between the "external," or our bodies and the "internal," or our minds. Principles that guide him as a yoga practitioner and teacher are informed by his nearly 15 years exploration of several styles and disciplines: Bikram, Sivananda, Lotus Flow, Iyengar, Trauma-Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Katonah.

His study, training and practice of psychotherapy led him into an unfolding quest of bringing awareness to his thoughts, understanding the relationship between his thoughts and emotions, noticing how his emotions influenced his choices, and how those choices either create stagnancy or create freedom.

In this same vein, he teaches yoga based on the assumption that each student lives in their "home," their own body, with an innate wisdom that can remember, reveal, repeat, or restore them through the lens of the yoga practices.

He teaches yoga classes and teacher trainings that are imbibed with yoga philosophy, emphasize inclusivity, balance vigor and ease, humor and warmth, and often chants with his classes.

Teacher Feature: Brima Jah

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All that Brima has loved and hated, avoided or clung to, gained or lost, achieved or failed at, accepted or rejected in his life has compelled him to practice and teach yoga. He recovered from a cervical spine fractures and spinal fusion surgeries through consistent yoga practice.

An eternal student of yoga, he is turned on by discovering the relationship between the "external," or our bodies and the "internal," or our minds. Principles that guide him as a yoga practitioner and teacher are informed by his nearly 15 years exploration of several styles and disciplines: Bikram, Sivananda, Lotus Flow, Iyengar, Trauma-Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Katonah.

His study, training and practice of psychotherapy led him into an unfolding quest of bringing awareness to his thoughts, understanding the relationship between his thoughts and emotions, noticing how his emotions influenced his choices, and how those choices either create stagnancy or create freedom.

In this same vein, he teaches yoga based on the assumption that each student lives in their "home," their own body, with an innate wisdom that can remember, reveal, repeat, or restore them through the lens of the yoga practices.

He teaches yoga classes and teacher trainings that are imbibed with yoga philosophy, emphasize inclusivity, balance vigor and ease, humor and warmth, and often chants with his classes.



Concussion Guest Blog: Yin Vibes.

Guest Blogger: Loving this offering from a Yinnie out there in the land wanting to share a process of healing from a head injury. See below and send us your writing to be featured on this blog.

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Yin is yielding; allowing; nourishing.  

It is long, slow holds.  Finding your edge in a posture, in this moment.  Yielding to this edge, allowing for the nourishment of the least flexible of our tissues.  Appreciating that today’s edge may differ from how yesterday’s was, or tomorrow’s will be.  Not judging it for existing, nor for differing.  The true healing potential lies in honouring this edge.  Yielding to it.  Allowing it to simply be.  Sitting with it over time, creating the opportunity for the possibility of an invitation to sink a little deeper.  Accepting that this may or may not come today.  Sitting with the discomfort; the stretch, the ache of the fascia.  Pushing further, engaging the active, dynamic muscles to assist in reaching “just a little further” is yang overpowering the yin.  Pushing for the approximation of how you imagine a posture should be loses the purpose of the practice.  The yin is in the yielding; allowing what will unfold to do so as your body allows, in this moment.  Your posture will be unique.  Unique to your body, unique to this snapshot of time.  And as you sit in stillness, the emotions rise.  Sitting with them, for long, slow holds.  Simply allowing.  Herein lies its power to nourish and restore.  Its rich, full healing potential.

This is a time for more Yin.

 

It has been nearly two years since my injury, and I am finally starting to appreciate its timeless, permeating effects.  Yielding to the longterm nature of recovery.  More fully appreciating that recovery to who and how I once was is no longer the goal.  It is uncharted, unpredictable territory ahead.  No one knows what “full recovery” looks like, nor what it truly means.  More likely than not I will always have some symptoms when my brain is less rested and most stressed; pushed to its limits I will find it harder to function.  These limits will differ, change, evolve.  It will be a lifelong process of learning and relearning my limits, and how best to respect them.

Perhaps this was always life’s process.  It is less about limitations and more about finding your edge, playing the edge as it shows itself each and every day.  The edge differing at various times, for various reasons.  I have just had to learn this lesson in an obvious, in-your-face kind of way.  Perhaps earlier than expected, perhaps not; who knows what might have presented itself otherwise.

As a wise friend told me, the answers come in the quiet.  In the time taken to pause, to slow down, to honestly reflect.  I am coming to terms with the headaches being the limiting symptom persisting, halting further recovery in other domains.  To better appreciate and accept them for what they are.  No longer something to simply push through, as I would have prior to my injury.  They hold much more in their power now, with cognitive, vestibular and visual symptoms within their domain.  I am learning to heed their messages, the teachings they offer when I stop to listen.  To yield, and to allow them to be what they are.  There is no pushing forward that will ease the suffering – it only further compounds it.  

I am grateful for the progress I have seen with this time off.  The possibility of a week between migraines previously unheard of.  A revelation in sitting in relative stillness, learning my edge.  An exercise in patience; one of mindful presence and self-compassion.  Seeing the headaches decrease in their frequency and intensity, improvement in the visual and vestibular symptoms, now better able to undertake the rehabilitation training these domains require (all of which require finding and honouring their own respective edges).  Grateful for the overall lifting of my mood, the decrease in anxiety sitting unfocused and uncomfortable within my chest, within my mind.  Grateful that I can now read for a few hours each day; still simpler content, fiction primarily, with improvement as well in denser nonfiction.  Most importantly, feeling more like myself.  Finding myself in the quiet, in the stillness.  Feeling more like who I want to be.  Freer.  Lighter.  More compassionate.  More self-compassionate.  Enjoying my days.  Our days together.  Having time and energy for walks with my husband, long conversations in the time simply spent being together.  Time and energy for walks and canoe rides and short paddleboard outings with my dog; for cuddles with a purring cat in my arms, for he only comes when invited by stillness.  Time to revel in the warmth of the morning sun on my face, to play a game by a crackling fire.

Teacher Feature: Chastity Davis

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Yoga Mindfulness

Through Chastity’s journey of self-discovery and living her life’s purpose, she became attracted to and involved in the yoga community in Vancouver. Chastity believes in the philosophy that everything and everyone is interconnected. We are all connected to each other through the land in which we all live in relationship with, through the water that we drink, through the air that we breathe, and through the lineage of our ancestors. She also believes that in order to realize and live your life’s purpose, all most be in alignment: spiritual, emotional, mental, physical – body, mind, spirit, heart. Once alignment is achieved, all four aspects of your being must move together as one. They are all interconnected and have an effect on how you show up in the world. 

Chastity began her journey with yoga at the Bikrams Yoga studio in the Westend of Vancouver, when she was 18 years old and attending college. As a broke student, she didn’t have the funds for a monthly membership, so she exchanged cleaning the yoga studio for yoga classes.  Through her practice at Bikrams, Chastity became stronger in herself on all levels. She then branched out to try Kundalini Yoga at Yoga West in the neighbourhood of Kitsilano, Vancouver. Kundalini is still a staple in her yoga practice. Chastity has traveled the world to practice Kundalini Yoga with the top instructors such as Gurmukh, Snatum Kaur, and Krishna Kaur.

In Chastity’s yoga journey, she by chance hit up a Yin Yoga class at a Wanderlust yoga festival in 2014. Yin Yoga called to her and offered another opportunity to deepen her practice and connect further with her self. She had received many inspiring messages through her practice with Yin and decided to pursue her Yin Yoga certification through the Love Light Yoga School on the East Side of Vancouver. 

Chastity’s focus of becoming a yoga teacher is to bring the practice of Yin Yoga to Indigenous women as part of their healing journey. Yin Yoga is accessible to everybody and holding postures for 3-10 minutes provide an opportunity to connect, listen, and learn. Our bodies are wise and can teach us what we need to grow into the next stage of our lives. Yin Yoga is an opportunity to step into and sit with you. To slow down, breathe, and stretch into yourself. 

Book Chastity to come to your community and offer yoga/mindfulness/self-discovery retreat or workshops.

Check out her website here.

Social Justice CallYIN

What you allow is what will continue…

Yoga is a practice. It requires that you show up everyday, with your breath, and the jumping of your mind. Yoga requires your commitment, it requires your devotion. Yoga is there for you and supports your growth, even amidst your regression and stagnation.

The practice of asana within the larger practice of yoga philosophy prepares you to undertake this process in other parts of your life. Preparing your body and mind through the discomfort that comes with the compression and elongation of your muscles and fascia gives you the internal resources to sit with other discomfort as it rears up in your life. 

The practice of justice, equity and inclusion in a similar commitment, it requires diligence and patience. You return again and again to be confronted by the same challenges. Through a daily practice and analysis, you develop the skills to navigate systems that reinforce oppression, systems that are designed to be invisible to those with power and privilege. It is only through a daily practice and commitment that you start to shift your understanding of the ways in which oppression is a normal way of life. With out this practice, you allow the status quo to prevail. 

Real change comes when we each commit to show up everyday, with our breath, the jumping of our mind and practice for change and transformation. The asana practice opens up our capacity for reflection and change. The tools we practice, daily, on the mat, allow a greater capacity for discomfort leading to transformation. 

We can harness this capacity to develop a deeper understanding of how to make change in the world.  Then we get to act.

What you allow is what will continue…..you can give yourself the opportunity to practice the change you want to see.  By delving into reflection and action each day, you can start to shift your lens and relationship to those around you. 

Below are some resources to help you along your way.

Decolonizing Yoga

Trauma Conscious Yoga Method

Yoga and Social Justice 200 hour Yoga Training

Garrison Institute

World Trust Educational Services

Race Forward

Everyday Femisim

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Meet our Yin and Social Justice Teachers: Beth

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Beth Zyglebaum, Owner of Leela Yoga Alameda
Alameda, CA

I don’t know if I’m a leader. I own a yoga studio. Do I get to call automatic leadersies for that?  Studio ownership has been a learning process, and a great experiment in living my yoga 

Practicing yoga, necessarily at some point, brings us to a reckoning with the systems we live in.  The question then becomes: how will I choose to be a part of the shift. What can I do personally, now in my life, and in my work, to move away from those systems that are not equitable.  

The nice thing is: yoga offers a blue print for this in the yamas and the niyamas.

So the yoga is not separate from the business, is not separate from the teaching, is not separate from going to the grocery store. 

Because, we can choose in any interaction to practice the yamas and niyamas.

When we are practicing yoga, a shift is required, someone should do something about that becomes What will I do about that? We have to know that we are the someone.  You have to be that someone. I have to be that someone.  We have to face the reasons we don’t do the right thing.  We must not be afraid to rock the boat. We must not be afraid to speak the needs of our communities.  We must not be afraid to listen to and amplify the needs of another community, or to speak out on their behalf.  

These ideas seep into the way I run the studio. My advertising begins with the idea that representation matters.  I aim to have a staff that represents the population of the east bay, one of the most diverse places anywhere on Earth. I begin every email to teachers: how are you, how are your classes, how can I support you this week? We open the studio when activists need space to meet and make signs.  I offer free classes when we are experiencing communal traumas.  I enroll the studio in the renewable energy electricity program. I have classes on the schedule that I know will never be revenue generators, because they are important classes to have, because students or teachers have said they are important for their community.

These ideas seep into the way I teach. I begin my classes with a focus. Some theme from sutras. And some piece of asana alignment that supports the sutra.  As I’ve racked up years as a teacher, I’ve moved away from the idea that my job is to create a space for anyone and everyone to walk out of class feeling groovy. I’ve moved toward the idea that my job is to create a space for anyone and everyone to create positive shift in their lives.  Sometimes that means a student walks out feeling groovy. Sometimes that means a student walks out with shit to deal with, because they’ve allowed it to surface, or because they have seen something in a new light.   

As the bulk of my teaching is in pre-and post natal yoga, this often means supporting women through a medical system that was literally birthed from American patriarcy*.  I offer them tools and encouragement to have empowered, informed births and empowered, informed, healthy post partum.    

So I do not shy away from starting my classes by pointing to a piece of news, or a new report.  And I do not shy away from pointing out what the sutras might say about this piece of news.   I do not worry that someone in the class might have more regressive views, or greater degrees of entanglement in baised institutions than I do. I worry about doing the work of yoga while I am teaching.  I offer my  shpiel in the beginning of class, I lead them into their bodies, to make their own discoveries. I teach my practice and I have faith that the process of yoga works, and that change will happen.  For them and for me. 

* read Nurses, Midwives and Witches for a history on how medical care was legally taken out of the hands of women who had been educated in medicine for thousands of years and placed into the hands of men who had literally no training whatsoever, relatively recently)




Meet Ashley Eden: Craniosacral Therapist

Looking forward to co-teaching with Ashley Eden from Dec 7-9th at Dharma Temple in Vancouver for Advanced Yin, a 20 Hour on Variations and Props

Craniosacral Therapy is a natural complimentary medicine, alternative health therapy, that brings the body to a deep space of restoration; so that it can release tensions, stresses and traumas that have been stored in the cellular tissues of the body from physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual trauma.

Craniosacral Therapy was birthed out of osteopathy and believes that the body operates as a unit and has the ability to self-organize, self-correct and heal itself.  

As a craniosacral therapist, Ashley is able to facilitate this process of self-healing by listening to the craniosacral rhythm, the movement made throughout the body by the cerebral spinal fluid, and feel for restrictions, held within the craniosacral system. The brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system are heavily influenced by the craniosacral system - the dura matter - membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord. Everyday your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Over time these stress and strains build up, creating stored traumas in the body. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten, distorting the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions in the movement of your cerebrospinal fluid. These restrictions can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of gentle touch. With a light touch, Ashley uses her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. The pumping motion of this fluid creates a subtle pulse (detected through the palpation of the bones, muscles and fascia) similar to that of a heartbeat, which can be felt throughout the body. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system. Through feather light touch Ashley is able to facilitate the release of these restrictions so that the body can self-correct and heal, in order to operate at its highest potential. The natural rhythm of the craniosacral system is restored, blood, and oxygen flow are improved, toxins are removed more efficiently, and brain cells function more effectively as they are able to receive the nutrients they require. The simplest way to explain the process is to imagine that your entire nervous system shuts down allowing for rest, restoration and reorganization similar to the act of rebooting a computer. 

To learn more visit www.growingwhole.ca 

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Meet our Social Justice Co-Teachers for August in California

Join us for Balance, Leadership, and Liberation, a 200 hour Yin Yoga training in Alameda California, July 29-August 23, 2019, hosted at Leela Yoga Alameda.

This training is a collaboration between Love Light Yoga and The Equity Collective. Founders Danielle and Dia have joined forces to explore the overlaps and intersections between the physical tension, the subtle body, inner transformation and systems of power. Expanding on 5 years of collaboration and curriculum development, they will support participants in a deep dive of interconnection. Led in collaboration with a stellar team of yogis, participants will explore balance in process, leadership in life, and the practice of liberation. This training is an opportunity to embody transformation, physically and socially. It is a space to experience yoga practice and philosophy, both, on and off the mat.

Leela Yoga Alameda is in gorgeous San Francisco Bay and privileges community over personality with a commitment to approaching yoga as a life practice. Founder, Beth Zygelbaum is a master teacher who focused on the female pelvis and yoga for both pre and postnatal bodies.

In addition to Beth, Melanie Green, Brima Jah, and Alex Crow join Dia and Danielle for this inspirational month of study. Melanie has an open heart, is fiercely devoted to justice, the co-founder of Berkeley Yoga Center, and deconstructs Ashtanga for both new and seasoned practitioners. Brima exudes love, dances like no one’s watching, serves as a mental health case manager, and practices his devotion in the everyday moments of life. Alex embraces the subtle realm challenging us all to experience liminal space by demonstrating the healing of Reiki, Nidra and how Yin energy serves to balance everything.

You can read the detailed bios and find the application link on the event page below. Questions? write danielle@lovelightyoga.com

http://www.lovelightyoga.com/events-retreats/yin-and-social-justice

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Reggae Yin Retreat in Jamaica

Feb 1-8, 2019 : Reggae Yin Retreat

Join us for this special sound inspired retreat during Reggae Month. We will have reggae yin classes with live music by Jason Lee Worton, Jamaican musician and yogi. Attend the Bob Marley Birthday bash in Kingston for an impactful musical history lesson and have an urban moment in one of the world's most creative cities.  Come fill up on yin vibes, culture and an education of reggae lifestyle and philosophy.

We are happy to have Jason joining us again…he has played music and taught at a number of the LLY retreats and trainings in Jamaica in the last few years. I bet you have heard his epic fusions of medicine music, of course mixed with his talents as a professional reggae musician. What a joy to have live music and a sampling of reggae history in sound, in our yin yoga classes in February. You can check out his latest video release here, called Breath and for sure follow his FB page for the latest and greatest news.


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Cost of this trip is $2250USD and includes shared accommodations, all our vegan meals, airport pick up and drop off as well the cost of day trips. Payment is via PayPal and a $500USD deposit holds your space. Final Payment January 1st.

Subbing Yin in Vancouver

Hey local Vancouver Yinnies.

I am subbing some classes over the next few months at the Dharma Temple on Main Street.

Looking forward to being back in the space for some times. I hope you can make it to these public drop in classes, which I haven’t been teaching much of the last few years. Really looking forward to meeting some new members of the yin community.

October 21th: 6pm

November 11th: 6pm

December 2nd: 6pm

December 23rd: 6pm

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Yin and Acupuncture in Vancouver.

I am very grateful and excitement to be working again with my collaboration co-teacher Ryan Thompson. We used to teach yin and acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine workshops together back in the day in Vancouver and I also hosted him for a special Meridians and Yin retreat in Jamaica a few years back. Ryan recently returned to school and his been rocking the adaptation of his badass work. Check out his bio:

Ryan is a registered Acupuncturist, and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. He has worked in private practice for over 13 years, which includes several trips to teach and support impoverished communities in India, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. 

Recently, Ryan has graduated as a registered Psychiatric Nurse to supplement his work in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver where he has worked in supportive housing projects, homeless shelters, and supervised injection sites. 


He has always been socially active in his practice and outreach and its SUPER rad that after his committed studies focus, he has time to return to come yin offerings. We are hosting a special four part series of community acupuncture and yin yoga where you can join one, a few or all of them. Information is here and ticket links are here.

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Balance, Leadership and Liberation: 200 Hour Teacher Training in California.

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Join us for Balance, Leadership, and Liberation, a 200 hour Yin Yoga training in Alameda California, July 29-August 23, 2019, hosted at Leela Yoga Alameda.

This training is a collaboration between Love Light Yoga and The Equity Collective. Founders Danielle and Dia have joined forces to explore the overlaps and intersections between the physical tension, the subtle body, inner transformation and systems of power. Expanding on 5 years of collaboration and curriculum development, they will support participants in a deep dive of interconnection. Led in collaboration with a stellar team of yogis, participants will explore balance in process, leadership in life, and the practice of liberation. This training is an opportunity to embody transformation, physically and socially. It is a space to experience yoga practice and philosophy, both, on and off the mat.

Leela Yoga Alameda is in gorgeous San Francisco Bay and privileges community over personality with a commitment to approaching yoga as a life practice. Founder, Beth Zygelbaum is a master teacher who focused on the female pelvis and yoga for both pre and postnatal bodies.

In addition to Beth, Melanie Green, Brima Jah, and Alex Crow join Dia and Danielle for this inspirational month of study. Melanie has an open heart, is fiercely devoted to justice, the co-founder of Berkeley Yoga Center, and deconstructs Ashtanga for both new and seasoned practitioners. Brima exudes love, dances like no one’s watching, serves as a mental health case manager, and practices his devotion in the everyday moments of life. Alex embraces the subtle realm challenging us all to experience liminal space by demonstrating the healing of Reiki, Nidra and how Yin energy serves to balance everything.

A month of practice with these justice warriors:

$2700USD early registration

$2900USD after May 2019

Please complete the application for this training here.

Contact us for shared accommodations; if enough participants are interested Dia and Danielle will help to coordinate lodging at an additional fee.

Danielle@lovelightyoga.com

200 Hour Yin and Essential Oils Teacher Training in Jamaica

May 1- 29, 2019: 200 Hour Yin Medicines: Essential Oil Distillation and Emotions:

 This Yin Yoga and Oils Teacher Training can be experienced as both a full personal immersion and a professional unit. We will learn basic distillation set up and aromatherapy principles and how they enhance yin yoga for improved emotional health.  We will uncover themes of adaptivity by implementing simple changes, through essential oils and meridian work, that will impact our emotional wellness. This training includes extensive practice teaching within the local community, hands on plant education, and a diverse application of yin yoga. Cost of this trip is $6500USD and includes the full training and manual shared accommodations, all our vegan meals, airport pick up and drop off as well the cost of day trips. Payment is via PayPal and a $1500USD deposit holds your space. Final Payment is due April 1. Application form is here.

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Yin and Chocolate: Together at LAST

Its been a great joy to be have been hosting these Yin and Chocolate events the last few years in Vancouver, bringing together my favourite vegan dessert makers and super East Van businesses for a special afternoon of long holds and sweet delights.

Nothing like a small urban retreat to reset the senses and carve out time to do something special and different for yourself. I love the looks of yinnies with their chocolate buffet plates, with yoga props piled all around them! What a sweet JOY!

We had delights from Aaron Ash of Gorilla Foods, Eternal Abundance, East Van Roasters and yoga strap gifts from Half Moon Yoga

Our next offering is on November 11th from 1:30pm-4:30pm at Unity Yoga.

Information is here and space is limited, so you can buy tickets here.

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Please Become a Patreon of Mine

I am excited and nervous to be crafting another way in which I interact with my community, moving my works into the digital and audio realm. I am also making fine art projects that are going to be copied and mailed out as well. This platform will bridge my work as a yoga educator, artist and activist. I am really excited to be crafting these parts and pieces for my peeps and would LOVE to hear what yin parts you are looking for. 

Thank you for supporting my offerings over these last 10 years of teaching yoga...its been a joy pleasure and journey and I look forward to the works that are coming ahead. 

You can check out my Patreon page here. If that is not your jam, but you would love to contribute a gift towards the LLY work, you can also send a PayPal or Money Transfer to danielle@lovelightyoga.com 

Love, Blessings and Yin Vibes to you. 

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Danielle 

Yin Yoga for the Apocalypse

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What a wild time to remember to BREATHE. If you are anywhere on the West Coast of Canada, or West Coast of America...or wait....anywhere in Canada or the States, I am sure you were and are aware of the massive wildfires that are burning and leaving ones in giant clouds of smoke. This seems to be the norm here in Vancouver the last many summers. The sun is blocked out, no moon in the sky and air quality warnings to stay inside. The day skies are all grey or an erriiie orange. Climate Chao is REAL, and we are often in a state of denial on how we much be the change the ripples change.  Both in our bodies, our lives and in the world around us.  Sending love and prayers to the massive firefighting times out there, strength to those that have lost everything to the fire of wildfire and humble bows the to the fireweeds and mushrooms that grow in these places. Let nature be our guide, that we can take change the potency of destruction and shift to towards new growth and bold change. This is a great read for those feeling the environmental grief. The mental health effects of the smoke are long lasting and never more present. Also read this article. 

This Yin Yoga for the Apocalypse is a special series for your lungs, both to repair and maintain and remember your ability to participate in change.   Lung Chi is for courage, boundaries and organization.  It is what also you to see the structures at play, both in and around you.  Let these poses restore your vitality and inspire your remembrance that we are the creators of courageous change...both within and in the systems we live in. It is said that Lung Chi is loss, sadness and grief when out of balance.   Hoping these simple shapes will also you to really up and see, feel and digest what is happening in our natural worlds, both within and around us. You gotta feel it to heal it! The one thing that after being in this THICK smoke for weeks, is that I will continue to be an ally to the earth and step up my warrior ways even more. This is a vow and a promise. Just like in Yin, we are being asked to modify and shift and bring ourselves back into balance  When the birds fly away and the there is a strange glow to the world under the dull and heavy feeling of smoke.....we must take these visceral lessons to heart and have the courage to change. I hope that sadness if your fuel for systemic change and that your deep breathing is massaging your heart, and reminding your soul...that you CAN be the CHANGE. 

 These images are of Jamaican Yogi and Musician, Jason Lee Worton. You should listen to his newest single 'Breath on repeat for this series. We shoot this series in Jamaica a few years back on his family's farm. YINCOURAGING you to try these simple poses and share their medicines with your loved one. Yin is accessible and the perfect remedy for the these apocalyptic feelings, yin is the stirring of emotions, energy and intentions....to know it, you must sit in it. 

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Twisted Child's Pose. 

This pose is great for calming the system and for making healthy space and reflection in the upper body. If you have knee troubles you can do this with the legs stretched out long and just focus on the upper body. Add a pillow under the shoulder if you need more support.  You should feel the stretch on the back body and the compression is normal on the front body. Take this pose for 1-4 minutes and come out if you feel pain, continue to shift and modify until you feel like the pose is for you. Yin Yoga is supposed to gently pressurize, stretch, twist and modify the container of fascia that is your form. Our bodies, their bones and energy, they are ALL so different, so part of the great work is to learn to know and deeply understand your personal form. Let this share be both liberating and contracting....just like the lungs. It is the dramatic interplay between that gives us LIFE. 

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This humble forward fold is the 2nd pose in this Yin Yoga for the Apocalypse. This beauty for the water element on the back body and the earth element on the front. Let this one be a moment of self reflection and pause to remember the inherent wisdom that lives in you. The Water element out of balance is FEAR, and you can imagine with all the fires and smokes, the changing air quality that left BC with the worse air quality in the world on some days! I spoke to so many friends that fear and anxiety was riding HIGH. The Earth element to balance out the anxiety on the energy channels on the front of the body, this passive forward fold is here for you to take a moment to feel the pressure, feel the fear and allow it to move through, past and around you.  Challenges can be the compost for the great change, so embrace the intensity of the emotions that arise, but in these shapes and in your days. BREATHING deeply into the back body and acknowledging the challenge of keeping the breath full in the front. You can stay in this share for 3-10 minutes. Adding a pillow under the knees or forehead can really made a difference. Yin is allll about finding a place that works for you and befriending the feeling on the unknown.....like life, we don't ever really know if we are doing it right! BUT the great work is in the feeling, trying and adapting. 

Sending you love, strength and AIR. 

Knowing and Praying that intensity of the world is waking us up, shaking us out of our routines and demanding that we no longer look away from the destruction....both in and around us! We have the ability to change the course, shift the ways and cultivate a paradise, both inside and out. 

In loving balance and bold moves! 

Danielle. 

Plastic Free YOGI!

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Danielle was interviewed for this great article about Vancouver's 'bring your own container' pilot program. Check it out here

Dear Sweet Lovers of all Things Delicious. It is really and truly a time for a dramatic change to be made in the ways that we prepare and consume the things we eat. I have a super challenge for YOU! Ready?? I think you can totally shift the way you interact with your own kitchen and restaurants.....it just takes some practice! If we get the lessons of patience and courage, truth and boldness in our confidence to participate in change...then we can surely start to be waste free in our meals! Because I personally have a plant based diet and prefer to know eat from places that have animal products in their kitchens, it really required me to get serious about my meal prep. Which also means planning and shopping in advance (also wastefree!), so not only does it also ensure that I have food, it also lowers the cost. When I do chose to or have to have meals on the road, I am always bringing my container, looking for stay in and wastfree options or finding places that can modify their packaging to meet your values. I feel very blessed to live in Vancouver with some many options and rad places, and great food spots in my neighbour that use compostable containers that I add to your massive worm bin. I know its not possible in this current state of the world to be totally waste free.....but there is the thing...... if you set the goal of being wastefree, and make SOME waste...you are already doing a super job. I feel like that is a lot like yoga, in the way that we have a vision or ideal and we take the slow and mindful, comfortable pattern changing steps to move forward and carve a new way.  Wishing you MEGA luck in your ways of small changes that have MAJOR impact...let the yin power be with you. 

In LOVE and SNACKS, Danielle.   

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Love Light Yoga Clothes, Share your thoughts!

Hello LLY Clothing LOVES! I am excited to be clearing out some of our older pieces and looking forward to the next stages of production. Have a peep below at the hoodie, the racer tank and tights and the wrap crop top. Use code OLDSCHOOL for 65% off any of the clothing in our shop. I am also collecting testimonials and clothing ideas here with this form if you want to check out the link and share your ideas on next pieces.  We have been doing trials on indigo tights and ladies undies! TELLL me what you want to see in our next pieces. 

Made in Vancouver from organic cotton and bamboo. 

Love and Light and fits just right! 

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