Learn to conquer.
Conquer what?
Conquer the animal in you.
Learn to fight.
Against what?
Against the human in you.

Learn to surrender.
To what?
To the divine in you.

I surrender to joy
Joy is power.
I surrender to love
Love is a power sublime.

I surrender to oneness
Oneness is the measureless power.

I surrender to God
God is the absolute Power supreme.

by Sri Chinmoy

In Yoga we talk a lot about Surrender. But what does surrender mean? It means giving up the need to control each and everything little thing that happens, whether in a Yoga pose or at work or at home, in our relationships. Trusting that the universal source, the divine, will always be there and will always know the best way to just ‘be’. In the west we think of ‘surrender’ as giving up, throwing in the towel or walking away without a fight. It simply means dropping expectations, of changing the way we act and more importantly Re-act. When we let go of the expectations, we no longer have a need to react to circumstances beyond our control. If they are beyond our control why are we struggling? It is to that idea we surrender.

It’s knowing that I no longer need to struggle with concepts or ideas. Letting go of those old ideas, the old thought processes that create tension, the ones that we struggle with. And yes it means letting go of the expectation of someone else doing what I want, when I want.

As children we follow the example of our family and friends but as adults living in the adult world we need to be able to think for ourselves. If a concept learned at our mothers knee no longer resonates w/ us as true then we stop struggling with it, we surrender to the idea that there may be something else that we can hold in our hearts as the truth.

I often tell my students, especially those struggling in balance poses, to let go of any tension in the body (Clenched jaws and rigid shoulders), when we hold tension in the body then  balance is almost impossible, I tell them the best way to get rid of the tension is to stop struggling with the posture. Like a Chinese finger puzzle, the more you pull and twist and struggle to get your fingers out the tight it gets and the more you are caught up in the grip of the tension.

But once you relax the hand you then move close to the center and can escape the grip.

Letting go of the struggle, i.e. the expectation of what you think the pose should be, allows you to surrender to the moment. When your practiceing yoga, surrender to the moment and give up the need to control the pose and just be in the pose.

So to in life when faced with conflict, struggle or tough decisions we can surrender to those moments, relaxing, trusting the divine, and in that act of surrendering we make a shift from struggling  to an ease of being.

So stop trying to force a solution or suppressing the reaction, give up the reaction and just be in the situation. Problems are solved not through struggle but calm determination.

Om Shanti

Happy Birthday Clearspring Yoga!

Clearspring Yoga has been the matriarch of the Chattanooga yoga community for 12 years but it seems like so much longer, as if they had always been here.

When Clearspring Yoga opened its doors in 1999 it was the first Yoga only studio in the Chattanooga area. Of course since then,  several more studios have opened their doors and  nearly every gym in town now offers yoga. But Clearspring was the first and certainly is still one of the best.

Clearspring Yoga wears the mantel of ‘Yoga Matriarch’ with a quiet confidence and pride. They have stayed true to their original mission and remained authentic to the idea and principles of Yoga, while being mindful of the needs of contemporary yogis.

I have never taught at Clearspring so I can tell you as a student that it is a wonderful place to explore, play, learn and to grow in Yoga.

Happy Birthday Clearspring yoga, I wish you many many more years of inspiring all the burgeoning yogis in the Chattanooga Area. Thank you for helping to shape the positive way Chattanoogans view yoga and for all the contributions you have made to our ever-growing community Kula.

Om Shanti


More Yoga Bags

Ok it seems I am obsessed with making these mat bags. I have so many ideas. I simply have to make time to sit down and cultivate a Nike like attitude.
So the first new bag is made from a pair of jeans. Cut off the legs, sew up the bottom and add the straps underneath to secure your mat. Attach a shoulder strap and matching liner on the waist band. A couple of snaps and its all ready to go/

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New Yoga Bag

Ok so I have been making Yoga Eye Pillows for about 8 years and have always wanted to make yoga mat bags as well. This past weekend I practically had the house all to myself and I had been promising myself that I would sit down at the sewing machine  (have I mentioned I hate my sewing machine….yea thats another post (aka Rant) for another day)  and try my hand at Mat bags. Just a little back ground, I am a fabric whore, it’s probably the only really girlie thing about me, I dont have um-teen-million pairs of shoes and I dont do my nails, religiously ( hi Kristi :). But aint fabric just pretty. And you can do soooo much with it, artsy fartsy stuff and practical stuff too. Which is why I don’t get my nails did on a regular basis, it’s not practical. But honey I can go to Hancock fabrics and drop a couple of Hamilton’s on fabric and assorted embellishments and not give it a second thought.

For the mat bags I like a stronger fabric, not unlike what you would use for upholstery, but not quite as stiff. I also use a lot of old jeans, they can be cut up and used for all kinds of projects like quilts. I have even made paper from blue jeans.

I started with a real pretty white and blue cloth with almost a paisley look to it. I cut a rectangular shape about 19″ x 30″ and ran a quick 1/4 in hem around the whole thing. Then cut up an old blue jean skirt to make the pockets on the outside of the bag. The piece was 19″ wide but only about 16 in high. I sewed it to the bottom of the rectangle and then sewed a dividing line up the center to make 2 pockets.

Next I took a piece of the white and blue cloth it goes almost all the way around the Jean material but only about 10 inches up, making another outside pocket. I cut a circle from the same white & blue cloth and sewed it to the bottom, attached a long strap made from the main cloth and voila! A mat bag.

I made this bag a little longer than I will in future bags. I like a bag that hangs across the chest and over the shoulders,so the strap needed to be a bit on the long side. Plus making it longer (deeper) means my mp3 case fits right on top.

I will have to change a few things about the basic construction. The outside pockets need to be wider, for example, if the main bag is 29 in wide then the pocket fabric needs to be about 4 inches wider than that. So that when you sew it on, making sure the edges meet, that allows the pockets to gape open enough that you can actually put something in them. But all and all I like the way it turned out, for a proto-type.

You Might be a yoga geek if….

Ok I took the test its offical…. I am a Yoga Geek

Borrowed from

You might be a yoga geek if…

  • You take pictures of your pets and/or children striking yoga poses….well I havent caught the boys doing yoga but the dog, yes and of course I have pictures of myself in Yoga poses
  • There are dirty footprints on your walls. ….. HAHAHA yea I do. One of the gyms where I teach has mirrors and when we do Viparita Karani ( legs up the wall) or Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana ( standing splits on the wall ) I always tell my class to make sure and leave lots of  footie prints just to make the next class ( cardio ) wonder what we were doing Tee hee.
  • You know words in Sanskrit that you can’t remember how to say in Spanish…. not fair I dont speak spanish, but I do know some sanskrit words that I dont know in english.
  • You use a neti pot…. havent in years, but its great if you have allergies.
  • You videotape yourself practicing yoga…. well. my Mom lives in Nashville and wanted to see me doing yoga and some poses you can t see yourself in, so you do vid’s so you can work on form, yea thats it. Thats my story.
  • You dream about yoga……and Baron Baptiste
  • You’ve convinced your partner that the most practical thing to do with the spare bedroom is to turn it into a yoga room….not sure how he feels about the Buddah window shade though.
  • You have a special bookshelf designated for your collection of yoga books… only one bookshelf, please thats for novices I have 2 book cases.
  • You pack yoga props for business trips and vacations…..but blocks and straps are so light
  • You’re considering a yoga conference or a meditation retreat for your next vacation…..I’m thinking Costa Rica~
  • You spend enough time on to qualify as a part-time job…. if only they’ed pay me
  • You do arm balances at dinner parties…. dont be silly…cocktail parties only
  • Your teacher has a worn-out yoga mat and a copy of Light on Yoga that’s losing its binding, and you think it’s cool……My guru lived in India for 12 years, way cooler…
  • No one ever seems to want to carry on a conversation about yoga for as long as you do…..Izz can talk a bit 🙂
  • Your girlfriends ask you how your husband feels about all the yoga stuff you do……..its funny but no one ever asks him how I feel about him always doing all that ‘hunting stuff’