Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pre-Holiday Hibernation Atelier

Hibernation (Color)
Originally uploaded by Nicole Webb
Over-committed? Frazzled? Short-fused? Chronically tired?

Then come hibernate for two hours...

Pre-Holiday Atelier w/Amanda
Sunday 9 December, 10h30 - 12h30
Paris Yoga, 9 rue Magellan
Metro ~ George V

The end of the year can be a source of great fun coupled with anxiety and exhaustion.
End-of-year deadlines, over-consumption, over-spending, family obligations, colder weather, and travel challenges can lead to stress and illness. This workshop will focus on those (semi-restorative/mega-yin) poses and breathing techniques that can keep the nervous system regulated (keep your cool), boost the immune system (stay healthy), and encourage us to make sustainable choices in the flurry of this busy time (consume less, enjoy more).

Reservations required. Contact Joelle for registration ~ contact(at)
Atelier avec Amanda
Ressourcez vous avant les fêtes
Dimanche 4 décembre 2011 10h30 à 12h30
40 €
Cet atelier vous prépare pour la période de fin d'année qui peut-être à la fois joyeuse et remplie de stress. L'atelier sera focalisé sur les postures et les respirations qui équilibrent le système nerveux, vitalisent le système immunitaire et nous aident à faire des bons choix. Accessible à tous niveaux, à part grands débutants. Venir avec l'estomac léger et apporter une bouteille d'eau.

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Class at Big Apple!

Originally uploaded by msr
Anyone who knows me knows I love: yoga (life fully dedicated), teaching yoga (reminding students of their inherent awesomeness), apples (precisely those from upstate NY and Normandy), autumn (my very favorite season), Paris (the beautiful seductress), New York City (& hate, but mostly love, especially in autumn), and ambitious, (com)passionate people living their dharma (pour example ~ Janelle Watters Oliel).

That's why when the gleeful, enthusiastic, (oh my goodness, you like her immediately) Janelle asked me earlier this autumn to join her in her dream of bringing a little taste of NYC spirit to Paris in the form of a beautiful brick and mortar lieu s'appelle BIG APPLE YOGA, how could I refuse?

When your initial lunch meeting consists of words and proclamations/exclamations like: "non-dogmatic", "inclusive", "yoga for all", "classes for cancer survivors", and "oh my god, you went to NYU too?", you know you're in the right place.

My inaugural Big Apple Yoga class is this Friday, 30 November, at 12h30 - 13h45. It will be Bhakti Flow, level I/II. So treat yourself to a long lunch break every Friday and feel revitalized for the entire weekend!

Oh, and this week there will be chocolate (I love that too, but not as much as apples).

Big Apple Yoga
20 rue Dussoubs
Metro(s) - Etienne Marcel and Reaumur Sebastopol

Deep Core Atelier - mercredi!

Apple Core
Originally uploaded by robertolsenart
The "Core". Yoga teachers toss that word around all the time, but what does it mean, where is it, and how does it work? And, how does having a weak core translate into a sloppy yoga practice and injuries on and off the mat? (Hint: It has so very little to do with having 6-pack abs.)

This Wednesday at 19h - 21h at YogaYoga Paris, we will learn how to access the innate intelligence that lies in the mysterious core in order to stay strong, balanced, and healthy during the colder, darker months. Fortify from the inside out so that your postures have more integrity, your transitions are smooth, and your winter is a whole lot more tolerable!

This workshop is not for complete beginners. Bring water and a sense of humor!

YogaYoga Paris
6 passage de la Vierge (off of rue Cler)
Metro - Ecole Militaire
Reservations required -

Friday, November 16, 2012

Free the Hips - dimanche!

Originally uploaded by trintrinkurbstompa
Reminding everyone of the cold weather version of the Free-the-Hips workshop this Sunday, 18 November at Paris Yoga, 10h30 - 12h30.

Oh, there will be asana and pranayama and sweat and a big collective sigh of relief.

To prepare, I highly recommend laughing wholly and heartily until tears stream down your face and your knees get weak, at least twice in the next few days. There is no better relief for the too-serious uptightedness that happens to all of us this time of year (which inevitably collects in the hips), than a little comedy relief.

I, for one, laughed myself silly this morning and my pigeon pose has never felt better. Oh, and I'm a lot nicer too.

If you need a head-start, give this a read...The Haters Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog. For the French who don't know what a "Williams-Sonoma" is, that's okay. You'll get it.
(Not for the faint-hearted or overly sensitive ;-)

A dimanche!
Paris Yoga
9 rue Magellan
Metro - George V
reservations suggested -

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Autumn Equinox Workshop, dimanche a Paris Yoga

Summer in a Jar
Originally uploaded by bemusedbonnie
Having grown up on a farm in upstate New York, autumn is in my DNA as the season of labor-intensive harvest, hearty bounty, and careful preparation for winter. After a decade + hiatus in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the summer-fall-winter seasonal changes require little more than stocking another sweater in your yoga bag for when the SF fog rolls in on your bike ride between work and class; as opposed to stocking the root cellar for vegetable sustenance in the middle of February when everything green is under a foot of snow ~ I'll admit I got soft.

Moving back to a four season climate that more resembles a NY winter than a CA one and year one in France being the coldest winter in 20 years, I had to tap into my (thin-skinned) reserves, restock on wool sweaters and coats, and prepare to freeze my ass off. Since no matter where I am, I teach a seasonal practice, I actually enjoyed the dramatic harshness of distinct seasonal change. It all felt very natural (and cold); memories and connection. Each year for the last four, little by little, when the chilly winds, long shadows, and burnt amber light of autumn appear, my memory becomes more distinct and sweet recollections of childhood come to mind.

Over the course of hundreds of years, my Northern clime ancestors (mostly the women) learned a thing or two about how to avoid scurvy and other ghastly winter diseases ~ preserve, preserve, preserve. So in the fall, I remember participating in the annual canning and freezing fest at Daterra Farms: jams, jellies, compotes, sauces, pickles, breads, soups...and the smells, oh la la. All so that in the deep, dark of February, a simple visit to the cave or freezer would result in un petit goût d'été. You felt like you were eating the sunshine that brought it to life in the first place. Canned August peaches poured out of their Mason jars over vanilla ice cream in February is ALL prana, baby.

So, this Sunday at Paris Yoga, we're going to celebrate the transition from summer to autumn by stocking away some of that yoga peach compote into our Divine root cellar, to pull out in the bleakest part of winter when our practice is lacking in vitality and our bodies feel heavy, weak, cold, and depressed. (How's that for an over-the-top yoga metaphor?)

Our autumn practice conditions us, prepares us, preserves us to be able to handle a harsh winter without succumbing to every last cold, flu, or crankiness in the air. It also brings a bit of levity when the heaviness of winter makes us take ourselves too seriously ;-)

This will be a core awakening, strength building, humor required workshop. It is not for absolute beginners. Bring water.

See you dimanche ~
Autumn Equinox Workshop
10h30 - 12h30
Paris Yoga, 9 rue Magellan
Metro - George V

Yoga Gratuit & La Fete du Jardins Partages a Paris

This Saturday, 22 September (the equinox), is the Paris-wide, (portes ouvertes) celebration of le jardin partager and urban agriculture and their vital contribution to this ultra-urban existence.

So, if you think Paris urban terroir is all cobblestone, concrete, bridges, Haussmann, and overly ornate parks ~ think again. There are reclaimed parking lots, railway beds, and other derelict spaces that for years have been thriving as community gardens, mini-farms, and vibrant gathering places for the young/old, rich/poor, artists/suits, yuppies/bohos, natives/immigrants... They have been cobbled together with few resources; donations, sweat, and unbridled creativity. They shine with eye popping colors, awe with Burning Man-scale sculptures, and buzz with high-frequency vibrations. We share seeds, tips, produce, stories, ideas, labor, meals, music, heartbreak, and laughter. These little pockets of love tucked in hidden corners all over (mostly northern) Paris are how many of us non-urbanites survive the less-than-forgiving intensity of our dear city of light and get back to the source.
Given that I dedicated 15 years of my professional life to all things SUSTAINABLE, URBAN, AND AGRICULTURE, my participation is pretty natural. It is an honor to have become the unofficial yoga teacher of the les jardins partages dans le 18eme!

I have been asked by my beautiful friend, Cyril, to contribute to the weekends' festivities by offering a *free* all levels yoga class en plein air in Jardin du Ruisseau for their "Happy Culture" fete at 16h, THIS SATURDAY.

Jardin du Ruisseau is located at 
Rue du ruisseau - Entrée sur le pont enjambant la voie ferrée à coté du n°110 750018 Paris. 
Metro 12 - Jules Joffrin. 

Join us and discover a Paris beyond the cliches ;-)

Tapis is required! None are available. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Belle Rentree a Tous!

I'm here. I'm alive. I'm breathing long and full and embracing each inhale and each exhale as the blessings they are, while letting illusion fall away like autumn leaves.

I dedicate this rentree to my Mom, the greatest woman who walked the earth.

I hope your summer provided open space, delicious tastes; a little bit of sun time and a whole lot of fun time!

Ready, Get Set, Go...


Public Classes ~

Tuesday, 19h30, All Levels Flow, Paris Yoga
Wednesday, 12h30, All Levels Flow, Paris Yoga
Wednesday, 19h, All Levels Flow, YogaYogaParis (New Class!)
Friday, 18h30, Slow Flow, Centre de Yoga du Marais
Saturday, 12h, Bhakti Flow, Centre de Yoga du Marais (Note the new, earlier time!)

Pre-Registered Classes ~

Tuesday, 18h30, Pre-Natal Yoga, Paris Yoga
The pre-natal session will run from 25 September - 11 December.
Contact for registration.

Workshops ~

I will be offering monthly workshops at both Paris Yoga and YogaYogaParis; all theme-based working with seasonal changes and other good ideas that come to mind ;-)
Join us one Sunday and/or Wednesday/month to get curious, get sweaty, and go deep.

Autumn Equinox Workshop
Saturday 23, September 10h30 - 12h30
Paris Yoga
Reservations required. Contact

All other workshop dates and times to be announced.

Private Classes ~

I am making changes to my private client teaching schedule this year. I am no longer teaching in-home private sessions. I will be teaching all on-going private and semi-private sessions in either Paris Yoga, YogaYogaParis, or Centre de Yoga du Marais. My private teaching schedule is filling up.
Here are the available time slots for on-going (multiple) private sessions:

- Tuesdays, 15h30 - 16h30, YogaYogaParis
- Wednesdays, 11h15 - 12h15, Paris Yoga

"One-off" sessions are possible at other times.
Contact me if you'd like to know more about how private sessions work.

Retreats ~

Who thinks Yoga & Terroir and Scuba in Zanzibar, during the spring 2013 holidays sounds like a good idea? It is manifesting, oh yes it is.

Hmm... 10 - 14 days of yoga, diving, eating, relaxing, soaking in the magical Indian Ocean and the vibrant Zanzibari culture AND you leave with a PADI certification.

Yeah, sounds pretty good.

My good friend and colleague, Pierre-Francois, documentary filmmaker/photographer/advanced dive instructor, and I have been talking about this for years. We're in the early stages of bringing this long-held vision into reality.

Contact me if you are interested.

Due to the events of the summer, I am NOT returning to California this year for my annual Yoga & Terroir autumn retreat and workshop.

Special Events ~

YOganesha! 2012
Join us at our urban garden, EcoBOX, on Sunday, 2 September at 11 am for a free yoga class to celebrate all things Ganesha and rentree!
Details are in the blog post. MATS REQUIRED.

"Happy Culture" at the Jardins du Ruisseau
I am delighted to have been asked to offer a yoga class (gratuit) for this awesome event celebrating urban agriculture, communal gardens, and biodiversity, occurring right here in Paris, on Saturday, 22 September at 15h.
The event takes place as Jardins du Ruisseau at 110 rue du Ruisseau, 18eme. Metro: Jules Joffrin.
Details are on the Facebook page.

Yoga Festival Paris 2012
On 19, 20, and 21 October, Paris will host its first *non-commercial* yoga festival, showcasing the cross-section of yoga now being offered in our beautiful city and the dynamic people who have fostered its growth. The event is sponsored by the independent journal, Sante Yoga, and is being held at the beautifully renovated CentQuatre in the 19eme. Ann Moradian and I will be participating in the event, eager to talk about our offerings, inspirations, and collaborations. More details to come!

Class Cards ~
Class cards purchased from me work at Centre de Yoga du Marais ONLY. YogaYoga Paris and Paris Yoga handle the class card system on behalf of my classes, at those centres.

As the high sun of summer begins to fall into the long shadows of autumn; as the leaves and the flowers begin to wilt and drop - fear not, dread not. This is just a change; a good and necessary change. So, let's flow with it, not resist it, and trust that all is well.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

YOganesh! 2012

Once again this year, we are celebrating rentree and Fete de Ganesha with a free yoga class in EcoBOX in the 18eme, this Sunday at 11 am!

(Check out my post from a few years back when I experienced Fete de Ganesha for the first time - Ganesha Festival Paris)

What do EcoBOX and the Ganesha Festival have in common besides both being in my 'hood? They are both colorful, cacophonous, smell great, and produce delicious things that have been manifested and nurtured.

Throw in free yoga and you have a most rentree-worthy combination!

We will have a mellow one-hour class and then follow the crowd to the Ganesha Temple for some jasmine, coconuts, and blessings.

(And if anyone is interested, perhaps some boule and pique-nique on the Canal to end the day.)

Seriously, who couldn't use a little extra support from Ganesha to begin a new year?

Bring your mat and meet us at 11 am in the coolest neighborhood in town, quartier La Chappelle.

EcoBOX is on 8-10 Impasse rue de la Chappelle.
The metro stop is Marx Dormoy.
Exit the metro and walk down rue de la Chappelle for a few blocks.
The Impasse is on the left. Walk to the end and you will see the fence and EcoBOX sign.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hommage à Ma Mère

From the light of early morning, 11 June, to the deep dark of night, 26 July, change came fast and harsh to my Mom, my Dad, my siblings, and to me. There is no way to prepare yourself for cancer and the havoc it wreaks. There is no state of normal to return to once it is all over, just a new state; one that no longer allows me to hear my Mom's pretty voice on Skype asking for every detail of my sometimes wonderful, sometimes frustrating life in France; or receive her lengthy emails updating me on every member of the family and the progress of every plant in the garden; or feel her warm hugs of relief when I return to the family home in upstate New York to share coffee, cottage cheese, and long morning talks.

However, it is a state which requires that at every moment I believe she has become my light and my guide and that all of these conversations and connections will continue to happen, just in a different, more subtle form. And to believe this, to truly feel it, requires that I become the best yogi I can be. The pain of loss and the ego's resistance to change will try to take over and under the weight of that suffering, one can feel just half alive. It will take time to fully live again. Yet, that is why it's called a practice; the practice of the Warrior and the greatest way I could honor my Mom's memory and her lessons of life and love. Read on to meet the first True Warrior in my life...

Ella Marie Dates 
10 September, 1932 - 26 July, 2012

Sterling United Methodist Church
August 1, 2012 

I’m going to start by reading something from the French author Charles Peguy:

“Death is nothing at all, I have only slipped away into the next room.

I am I, and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used, put no 

difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we shared together.

Let my name ever be the household word that is always was.

Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same as it ever was.

There is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.

All is well. »

Mom had nothing more to prove, nothing more to accomplish, nothing more to acquire. She had lived a life; a life well loved. And truly that’s all that really matters.

I believe she knew this. I believe she knew she had given the world her best and all it needs to carry on. And that she had given us, her family, her best and all we need to carry on.

In the last six weeks she had told me on a number of occasions that “before all this”, she had never noticed the number of different hues of green on the leaves in a grove of trees. She told me she had always loved her wind chimes, but never really listened for the depth of the tones that she could now hear so clearly.

During this time, we had also talked a lot about forgiveness and the soft spaciousness that can be felt when we’ve let go of the resistance and finally surrender.

This all requires settling into a certain solitude; a quietude; a melting away of much of the noise that troubles the mind; the anger, the guilt, the fear, the lack; letting go of much of the worry of daily life and embracing a sense of calm and inner peace, even if it just happens in fleeting moments.

It requires truly realizing that we are all connected to something larger than ourselves; a Divine force that creates the conditions for us to realize that we are loved, we are LOVE. We are peace. And all is well.

Ella Marie Dates: a devoted spouse, a loving mother of seven, a proud grandmother and great grandmother, a loyal farm wife, a dedicated career woman, a community leader, a tenacious patriot, a  lover of the arts, a voracious reader, and, a non-sufferer of fools.

Yesterday, in the never-ending receiving line at the Memorial, we heard words like: “mentor”, “best friend”, “beautiful human being”, “awesome lady”, “strong as nails”…the list goes on.

Today, I have another one to add ~ True Warrior.

In my work and my practice we study the principals of the True Warrior. Indeed, we break it down into three parts: Warrior I, Warrior II, and Warrior III, with all three parts equaling the whole; the whole of our being and the totality of our life experience.

Warrior I ~ Show Up.
No matter how much we may not want to, we must show up, day after day, with as much integrity and dignity as we can muster. Sometimes we’ll put on thin armor, sometimes we’ll suit up with thicker armor. We may be tired or stubborn, bored or apathetic, but we must at least show up; steady and grounded.
And when we can’t, we forgive ourselves and try again tomorrow.

Warrior II ~ Commit.
Commit to something. No matter how scary it may feel, we must make commitments and honor them; doing the humble work required, without praise or accolades. And, remembering that we do not exist in isolation and our decisions and behaviors affect others. Commitments make us vulnerable, so being willing to open up to that vulnerability; taking the risk of being hurt, wounded or let down.
And when won’t, we forgive ourselves and try again tomorrow.

Warrior III ~ Charge Ahead.
Charging forward and going all in. When the temperature rises and life’s stakes run high, retreating not back to what is safe, but throwing all we have into the charge and not looking back, acknowledging
that we may fall, but forging ahead anyway. 
And when we don’t, we forgive ourselves and try again tomorrow.
Mom walked into lots of battles in her 79 years, but never lost herself in her despair. She was ever the True Warrior. She fiercely lived her life by this example. This is the legacy she left to us all; to all the lives she touched near and far.

Having the faith that God creates all the conditions necessary for us to be the True Warriors of our own lives is the greatest strength we could acquire. It is the greatest gift a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, colleague, or friend could bestow.

Whenever we doubt, feel alone, afraid, or in the darkness; whenever we lose our way, we must close our eyes, stay still, get quiet, and call the spirit of this amazing woman into that very moment of our despair. The gentle rush of calm we’ll feel will most assuredly be Mom, Grandma, Ella Marie… reminding us of our True Warrior selves. 

She is reminding us that we are loved. That we are LOVE. We are peace. And, all will be well.

The last few days I spent in Strong Memorial Oncology ward with Mom, we talked, gossiped, laughed a little, looked at photos, and listened to lots of music. In particular, we listened to Mom’s favorite symphony, Beethoven’s 9th. Together we quietly sang Ode to Joy, the poem that made this epic composition a choral symphony. I didn’t necessarily plan this. The idea just came to me in a quiet moment when we were sitting together. What I know now, but did not want to know then, was that Mom was already telling me that she had nothing more to prove. Nothing more to acquire. Nothing more to accomplish. She had lived a life; a life well loved. She had given the world her best and all it needs to carry on. She had given us, her family, her best and all we need to carry on.

She had been a True Warrior.

Ode to Joy 
(Choral accompaniment to Beethoven’s Symphony #9)

Brother, sing your country’s anthem

Shout your land’s undying fame

With your people’s golden name

Raise on high your country’s sign

Brother, lift your flag with mine!

Hold the war clouds closer furled

In the rainbow of the world

Wise as age and proud as youth

In the great white light of Truth

Build it wide and deep and long

Help the weak and curb the strong

None shall let another fall

Light the wondrous tale of nations

Tell your father’s noble story

Join then in the final glory

Hail the sun of peace, new rising

Blend our banners, oh my brother

Red as blood and blue as heaven

Melt our colours, wonder woven

Build the road of peace before us

Speed the slow and check the eager

None shall push aside another

March beside me, oh my brother

All for one and one for all.

"Maa tantush chedi vayato dhiyam me," "May the thread of my song remain unsevered as we sing!"
Rg Veda

I love you, Mom.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

On y va...

Photo credit ~ Alex Vanagas
Originally uploaded by dates1
Health, Wellness, and Gourmet Living commences. The weather here in France is as close to perfect as you can get. As we speak, people are arriving from LA, SF, DC, NYC, Moscow... Yesterday in Paris (with the help of photog extraordinaire, Alex Vanagas and his lovely assistant, Anne-Leonie) Dr. Jay and I got decadent, got fabulous, got playful, got serious, and got ready...

Taking our little merry tribe to Moulin Bregeon for a week of healing, magic, and extraordinary feasts. RASA!

See you on the flip side. Voyez-vous quand nous réintroduisons.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Finding Your Center of Gravity ~ dimanche!

Center of Gravity
Originally uploaded by Wren2009
Ah, arm balances. That pesky family of poses that elicits clenched jaws, gritting teeth, and red faces. The number of times I've heard, "I'm too weak in the arms for _____." (insert name of one or several arm balance poses) is equaled with the number of times I've responded with, "Arm strength is only about 25% of what you need to access _____."

Skillful and weightless arm balances require first finding your center of gravity. They require a deep connection to the core strength and the ability to access vital lines of energy in the body. They require the discipline to hug into the center, where the true strength resides, before elongating. They require a little fire in the belly. They require some faith. They definitely require a sense of humor. They do not require bigger biceps.

Join me at Paris Yoga (9 rue Magellan, metro - George V) on Sunday, 20 May, 10h30 - 12h45, for
Arm Balances: Finding Your Center of Gravity. We will begin with the basics, warm up good and sweaty, and gradually work our way into some of the fancy stuff.

(This is for all levels, except complete beginners. Please have taken at least five classes with me or another Hatha Vinyasa teacher prior to signing up. )

Come on an empty stomach and bring water.

Reservations required (workshops tend to fill up), so email Joelle at Paris Yoga:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No Fear! Backbend Workshop - dimanche!

fragile heart.
Originally uploaded by twojangles
The family of poses referred to as "backbends" or "heart-openers" or "les flexions arrière" is ofttimes either loved or hated; revered or despised; embraced or repulsed...and for good reason.

When done skillfully, backbends can be stimulating/mood-lifting/powerful little tools for beating back fatigue, exhaustion, malaise, low self-esteem, and even mild depression. (Really, it's a feeling like none other.) When done poorly, with unnecessary force and ambition and less-than-stellar instruction, they can feel like a bad hangover, with nagging sciatica to boot. (Testify.)

The symbolic act of "letting the heart lead" is scary business. Opening up the front of the body and exposing that vulnerability is not to be taken lightly, rushed into, or forced. The rock-hard resistance that has been built up over a lifetime in the muscles, tendons, joints, and cells is real. It is our protective shield; our body armor that we think defends the most fragile of places from pain, hurt, and betrayal.

Or if you prefer a less war-like analogy, how about a first date? If you're using your truest intelligence, you wouldn't lay yourself completely bare, literally or figuratively, in the first (or first ten) dates; exposing your deepest fears and secrets to someone you barely know. Of course not. (We've all learned the hard way.) You would move slowly and allow the opening to happen with integrity and self-care; valuing yourself in the process.

Recent dramatic happenings in the yoga world have brought to light that deep, repetitive backbends are not for everyone and certainly not all the time. Matthew Remski a senior Canadian yoga instructor and Ayurveda consultant describes it nicely in the 2nd of his recent trilogy of articles: (I highly recommend reading them all)

"Gentle thoracic extension is also a smart antidote for computer-back. Great. But for those with poor boundary issues or a history of compensatory behaviour, repeated backbending might exacerbate patterns of relational sacrifice. Let’s remember that consciously opening the sternum depends upon less-conscious abdominal extension: the baring of the belly to primal vulnerability. This might not be the best action to repeat in the context of a dysfunctional power relationship with a narcissistic guru, for example. And the pace at which backbending is tackled is important in discerning the almost-invisible threshold between “opening” and retraumatizing. In another vein, for the pitta-dominant, the constant adrenal-squeezing of backbending (if not antidoted by generous kidney-looping) may over-caffeinate, overheat, and bring a fanatical edge to a practice and/or belief system."

A conscious and wise backbend practice is one that honors and gently presses into those areas of resistance just far enough to feel an organic and subtle softening and...wait what's that? A deeper breath? That's it, no farther. We start there.

Let's not give in to the egos' maniacal little plan of rushing to look like the backbends on the glossy magazine covers. With skillful instruction and full attention, let's work together to create an experience with backbends that is safe and fulfilling. And, if the ego has at one time or another already led you to the all-night backbend rave, numbing (forcing) yourself into repetitive Natarajasana (like me), bring your hungover self to the No Fear workshop on Sunday morning. There will be heart-felt compassion, lots of water, and plenty of supported Setu Bandhasana.

No Fear Backbend Workshop
10h30 - 12h30
Paris Yoga
9 rue Magenta
Metro - George V
Reservations are necessary -

Ce dimanche Amanda enseigne l'atelier "No Fear" Backbend Workshop. L'atelier sera focalisé sur les flexions arrière. Nous allons explorer les postures qui ouvrent la région du coeur à l'aide d'une respiration profonde. Accessible à tous niveaux, à part grands débutants. Venir avec l'estomac léger et apporter une bouteille d'eau et une petite serviette.

Merci de vous inscrire à l'avance et de vous présenter au moins 10 min avant le début de l'atelier.

Dimanche 22 avril 2012, 10h30 à 12h30, prix 40 €

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Wings

Wings | 4º Tattoo
Originally uploaded by * Iris Laguna *
How do your scapulae, shoulder blades, and gleno-humerals feel after a long, cold, heavy, dark Paris winter?

Is that most efficient shelf-of-stress known as "the shoulders" still sufficiently slumped in this first week of Spring?

Yeah, I thought so.

One must grow some wings to rise out of winter and glide into Spring!

Join me on Sunday, 25 March, for the
Spring Wings workshop at Paris Yoga, 10h30 - 12h30.

We will dismantle that shelf-of-stress slowly and carefully, creating a perfect posture AND proud lift of the chest, unfurling the wings appropriate for Spring!

We will move into gentle backbends exploring all ranges of motion. You'll be ready to soar.

Reservations are required. Contact Joelle at info(at)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

29 fevrier

Originally uploaded by flash3110

Who's the Rama to your Hanuman today?

Who or what would make you take a giant Leap of Faith (or 3)?

Where is the Bhakti in your life?

Bhakti = Devotion/Devouement

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Free-the-Hips Workshop ~ dimanche!

Back by popular demand, I will be teaching my winter version of the Free-the-Hips Workshop at Paris Yoga on Sunday, 26 February, 10h30 - 12h45. Get you and your cold, creaky, tight hips inside, on the mat for a dynamic workshop exploring all six rotations of les hanches glorieuses!

Releasing tightness in the hips relieves tension in the low back, improves balance, and gives an overall sense of lightness in the body. Energetically, this area corresponds with the first two chakras where we tend to store deep wounds from the past. Once released, it is possible to feel a sense of relief and profound spaciousness. You'll be surprised at how light and liberated you'll feel!

Bring a towel and water. All levels welcome.

Contact Joelle at Paris Yoga to register ~ info@parisyoga.come

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wring out the old...

Are you still carrying around residuals from 2011? Is 2011 still stuck in your gut, skin, head, or heart? Is there more putrefication than purification at the moment? Do you want to embrace 2012, but having a hard time getting kick-started?

If so, I'll see you Sunday, 29 January, 10h30 - 12h30 at Paris Yoga for:
"Wring out the Old and Ring in the New"
(the detox workshop that I've decided not to call a "detox" workshop!)

This will be two hours of dynamic and rich asanas and pranayama techniques for purification. We'll safely explore the poses designed to stimulate the digestive fires and eliminate toxins, as we breathe deep and release negative thoughts and feedback loops; cleaning our system physiologically and energetically from the outside in. This workshop is perfect for anyone feeling a bit sluggish, heavy, fatigued or lacking in vitality after the holiday season.
Bring water and a small towel and please come on a relatively empty stomach (refrain from eating 1.5 - 2 hrs in advance).
Email Joelle ~ ~ to sign up.

en francais:
Ce dimanche Amanda enseigne l'atelier Hatha Flow Yoga. L'atelier sera focalisé sur les postures et les respirations de purification. Nous allons explorer les postures qui stimulent le feu digestif et éliminent les toxines à l'aide d'une respiration profonde qui nettoie le corps de l'extérieur à l'intérieur. Accessible à tous niveaux, à part grands débutants. Venir avec l'estomac léger et apporter une bouteille d'eau et une petite serviette.
Dimanche 29 janvier 2012, 10h30 à 12h30, prix 40 €

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sub City Paris and Yoga

Paris Metro
Originally uploaded by snarkle

Nearly everyday I traverse Paris, teaching yoga all over the city. 98% of the time, I rely on the Paris Metro to get me to and fro. It is so easy to get lulled into a state of urban dweller apathy or (maybe worse, maybe not), disgust. Throw on the headphones, go through the motions, head down, think about my plan for the next class, make as little eye contact as possible...

There are those (thankfully, rare) days when the negative stimulus consumes and all I take in are the grumpy faces, hunched shoulders, delayed train announcements, same five accordion tunes played badly, delightful wafts of urine (and other unmentionables), a scurrying rat, and the occasional pained soul smoking crack at the far end of the platform, surrounded by empty €1.50 wine bottles.

But then there are those days when the breath is flowing and all is moving at a graceful pace, and I pick my head up and see and feel and hear the beauty, history, and romance of this phenomenal public work project. This will occur when, while walking between trains, I pass a tastefully designed poster for an art opening, theater show, or salon. Maybe it happens when I see sepia-toned signage that's been there since the Belle Epoch period. Sometimes it happens when up ahead I witness the kindness of a stranger, helping a senior or parent with a stroller climb the never-ending stairwells between platforms, sans escalator.

Mostly however, it happens when I begin to ascend at my destination. I gaze up and draw in the tops of the Haussman with their ornate iron-work, or the ubiquitous cafe chairs and awnings, or the twinkling of the carousel music, or the glow of a fabled landmark too awe-inspiring to ever conjure apathy...

That's when my heart opens wide and my eyes make contact with a stranger. Without question we know what each other is thinking and it simply has to do with beauty. Ezra Pound was right.

Spend the next three minutes of your life taking in a bit of regular, simple beauty...
Sub City Paris by Redglass Pictures.

Thank you yogateau for introducing me to this beautiful piece of art ~

Monday, January 2, 2012

Remember: Vous Etes Parfait!

Originally uploaded by moechslen
Happy 2012 and a bright new day to you and yours!

On this day, 2 January, after the partying, hosting, gift giving and general end-of-year merriment is over, many people wake up and focus on every one of their flaws. They take a long look in the mirror and focus in on every little thing they don't like about themselves or what they perceive to be lacking. All the gratitude conjured up over the holidays seems to fly out the window. Therein begins the process of making resolutions. The idea is, once acknowledged and perhaps spoken aloud, one will make a plan to change something that is "wrong" into something that is "right": lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, eat less junk food, make more money...and so forth.

The problem as I see it with this annual routine, is that very few people I know actually achieve their desired result. Like with so many things, when we begin a process emphasizing the negative; the flaws and imperfections, then our energy to maintain the process wains and we go right back to the same old patterns that got us there in the first place.

I like intentions. One of the most meaningful things ever taught to me by my beloved teachers is about the power of intention-making. Intentions are inherently positive because they are a silent reminders to self that we are not flawed, we are absolutely Perfect. We are absolute Perfection. How's that for a new year's wake-up call?

However, in the process of walking this path we've been put on this earth to walk; living this life we've been put here to live, we find ourselves saying or doing things that feel just plain off. We've over-indulged. We've stayed too long. We've walked out too early. We've said things we regret. We've lost it. We've judged. We've grudged. We've hurt. And so forth. (You know the things; while in the midst of them there's this little voice inside that says, "Uh oh, probably shouldn't, nope. Here I go again.")
10 pounds later (for example), we're beating ourselves up and making New Year's resolutions to lose said 10 pounds that we never actually lose. The ego wins again!

As we delve deeper in our practice we realize that this life journey will intersect with the machinations of the ego, over and over and over again. That is certain and unavoidable.
That is Karma.
As one of my great teachers put it several years ago, "The ego's job is to give us insomnia; to help us forget that we are Perfection and therefore keep us in negative, unconscious patterns. Our job as yogis is to train ourselves to have better memory recall. That's why it's called a Practice."

When we make pure and honest intentions to foster and manifest our best selves in areas of our lives where we may have had momentary memory loss, we are literally re-training ourselves out of the old habits. We begin with a positive reminder (Perfection) and from there strengthen and reinforce good habits, instead of feeding the bad. It's a re-calibration of sorts. It's Yoga.

So, instead of "I'm going to make a resolution to lose 10 pounds in 2012." How about, "I am going to love and forgive myself. I'm going to make an intention to access the highest level of health and well-being I can, in all areas of my life."

Intentions need to be accompanied with a practical plan. If that plan is too lofty, expensive, or generally unrealistic, it won't last. But in order to lift our conscious awareness from the resolution level to the intention level and begin shifting the patterns, we must do something small, everyday. And it must begin now.

2012 classes resume tomorrow. Come set an intention and let's collectively help each other begin the year in the most positive way we can.

My new favorite quote which I intend to use over and over this year:

"Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, fire worshipper, lover of leaving. This is not a caravan of despair. It does not matter that you have broken your vows a thousand times, still come, and yet again, come... " ~ Rumi ~