Up Coming Events

I can’t believe March is already here! 2015 is zipping right along. Soon you will receive more recipes and informational posts in your inbox, but for now here are some up coming Classes and Workshops I am hosting here in San Diego:

Yoga therapy for runners flyerTo register for this workshop click on the Body Mind link here.

Yoga therapy upper back neck flyerLocated at Embody Yoga & Physical Therapy. Call 619.261.6049 to register!

Letting Go and Moving Forward

The ending of one year, and beginning of a new one is always an auspicious time to review and contemplate the past. For the start of the new year, this can help to cultivate your true path to fulfillment of your life purpose. This can be especially true if you are healing from an injury or overcoming chronic pain. Sometimes when we are caught up in our cycles of pain, frustration, limitations, and ups and downs, it is difficult to notice the improvements and progress and healing from one month to the next. I have been down this path myself. And, when we are hurting, frustrated and stagnant our true path can become overgrown and difficult to follow.

camera photoHowever, the path can be revealed or made more clear, as you enter into 2015. First take a step back and look at your old patterns and thought processes with new eyes.

This introspection can be achieved by just sitting or lying quietly in meditation reviewing the year, or if you kept a journal reading over your past entries, or even looking at your calendar and notice how many appointments and fun activities you had scheduled in the beginning of the year versus now. You might pick up on subtle changes to your moods, activities, and schedule.

In the Physical Therapy world noticing very objective improvements, such as standing or sitting for longer periods, beginning to increase walking and hiking, relaxing more with friends and family, participating in hobbies, all with less pain, are all signs of improvement.

However, if you don’t review and look for these signs and changes it is easy to get caught up in the things you still can’t do now. For example, “I can’t run old route”, “I still can’t return to my usual Yoga class”, “I can’t walk the dog on our normal route”, “I can’t sit on my favorite couch”.  This thought process can create more tension and stress, even increasing and exacerbating your pain.

trail meditationWhen looking closely at those phrases you will notice one common theme, an old way of doing something. As you heal and overcome injury and pain, you also evolve as an individual and develop new ways of thinking and new neural pathways. Sometimes this is noticeable to yourself and loved ones, sometimes not at all.

So, it is unrealistic of yourself to expect to return 100% of how you were before the injury, because hopefully you are no longer that same person. And, it might have even been those old patterns, activities, and ways of thinking that lead to the injury or pain in the first place. Instead let go of the old templates and thoughts of what you should be doing based on the past or certain expectations, and create new templates for the present.

In the Yoga world the unraveling happens with a consistent Asana (yoga practice), Pranayama (breathing techniques), and Meditation practice working with the 5 Layers of Koshas (beings within), moving beyond a physical injury and Anatomy. In Mr. Iyengar’s book, Light on Life the chapters are broken down by Koshas. First is the stability through the Physical Body (Asana), then working with Vitality in the Energy Body (Prana), next is Clarity in the Mental Body (Manas), then Wisdom through the Intellectual Body (Vijnana) and last Bliss in the Divine Body (Ananda). Working with these Koshas sheds light to old ways of thinking, and helps to create new paths bringing us closer to our true Dharma (life purpose).

When I was healing from my back injury I had to completely change my Yoga practice from one of mostly Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow to primarily Therapeutic for a number of months. I also had to stop running, and reduced my hiking for a period of time.

Downward dogWhen my body healed, instead of returning back to my old Flow classes and dropping into my old patterns and habits I started practicing more Iyengar Yoga. I also decided for my body running multiple times a week was not the best activity, so I let go of the thought that I had to run. Instead I started hiking and walking more, always ending with a short Therapeutic Yoga practice. To help keep my mind and emotions in the game I started a short daily Meditation and Pranyama practice. This is what worked for me, and I haven’t felt any nerve or intense low back symptoms in over a year. Once in a while I will feel an occasional symptom pop up on the radar, so my evolving and unraveling work continues into 2015. However, this is my path and my dharma and I accept it all just as it arrives. Yours of course will be different, and that is for you to discover.

What old thoughts, activities and patterns can you let go of? Ready to set on a new path for 2015?

Ojai hiking trailFor more insight on overcoming Chronic Pain and how the Brain is involved please check out my good friend Jo’s blog: My Cuppa Jo.






Chest Unlocking

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, some talk about the heart. As kids we express our emotions much more freely with less of a filter, then we typically do as adults. As a child, If we were excited to see someone, we would just run and jump into their arms. If we were upset, anyone within earshot would hear it. As adults we are taught to control our emotions, which is important to avoid flying off the handle, and function in society. However, this restraint can sometimes be over compensated, and then we have difficulty expressing how we truly feel.

happy pup2Our 7 month old puppy, Wiley, actually reminds me of this restraint as he patiently tries to become friends with our 10 year old cat, Azul. Azul will actually sit next to Wiley if he is calm. It takes so much self control for that little guy not to leap, lick and nudge Azul. Wiley has learned in the past Azul just runs away if he pounces. So now they sit close together with Wiley’s tail going 90 beats per minute wanting so much to play with Azul, and Azul just sitting there contently. It seems they have reached a compromise for now, but not long enough to be photographed yet.


As adults we do the same restraining with our emotions and excitement, holding in our fears and worries. Our chest tightens, shoulders slump forward and our breathing becomes more shallow and sometimes we are so unaware of this change. And, unfortunately overtime this position becomes normal and accepted. This is all exacerbated by our sitting postures of driving and computer work.

One way to reverse all this, and release the pent up emotions is with a simple chest opening sequence. Disclaimer, Yoga has so many benefits but practice at your own risk. Be gentle, if it is painful stop. If you have any questions contact me.

supta baddha konasanaStart to slow the mind, and allow gravity and props to gently open the chest, deepen the breath and relax tension in the muscles with Supta Baddha Konasana. Fold a blanket long ways and align it so when you lie down your spine will fall in the middle. supta buddha setp up Make a long loop with a strap and lasso yourself placing the back of the loop around your Sacrum (the flat part of your low back). Then place the other end of the loop around your feet. Sit in front of the folded blanket, gently tuck your sacrum (to avoid over arching) as you lie back. Slide the shoulder blades down your back to open the chest, make sure you neck is comfortable and then allow gravity to do the rest.

cobraCobra is a great way to strengthen the muscles along the spine, as well as warm up and begin to open the chest. The danger here is pushing to hard through the hands, and aggressively lifting too high before you are ready. A good way to prevent this is to focus on the legs, try to glue all 10 toe nails into the round as well as lift up on the knee caps igniting the front of the thigh.

clasped hands stretchStanding with your hands clasped behind your back is a great way to open the chest. If you have a tight chest or shoulders clasp your hands around a strap, shirt or belt instead. Begin in Tadasana, or Mountain pose keeping the legs active, draw the tail bone subtly towards the ground maintaining the normal curve of the low back. Then from there clasp your hands on your low back maintaining the above, extend your arms, drawing the shoulder blades down your back. Avoid letting the front of your arm bone come forward, or extending too far and arching through your low back.

puppy bridge

Bridge pose does so much. A strap can help prevent the knees from coming to wide. Again avoid over arching, instead create more space in the spine by drawing your tailbone towards your heels slightly. Avoid over gripping.

wide leg forward bend with strapThese 2 Wide Leg Forward Folds are a progression to the standing clasped hands. The important thing is to maintain the same foundation as standing clasped hands but with wide legs. It is important to bend through the hips and not through the low back, as well as keep the thighs engaged. Same as before a strap or shirt is always an option.

wall wide leg forward foldkauai down dogDownward Dog is always a great strengthener and if you avoid clasping through the shoulder joint it is a great way to subtly open the chest as well as the back of the legs. One variation to focus a little more on chest and shoulders and ease out the hamstrings is to lift the heels while sill keeping the front of the thigh active.

wiley childs pose

 Wind things down with a supported Child’s Pose. Place your forehead on a bolster, blanket or block. Here I am using the same fold as the first pose in the sequence. Have your knees wide enough for your ribs to graze them as you come forward onto your prop. Inhale lift the head, create length in the spine. Exhale draw your hips toward your heels. If you have tight quadriceps or hips then you may want to place a bolster or blanket on your calves to elevate the hips.

Start Now with Gaiam TV

Why wait for the New Year to start your “resolutions”? I understand this is a busy and chaotic time of year. I’m going to put a friendly, little bug in your ear, reminding you it is better to get started now.

Why? When I rush around, and do not take care of myself as I should, I end up making poor decisions. For example, poor food choices lead me to feel sluggish, heavy and anxious, putting my health at risk. Or, I end up making impulse gift purchases, which will not serve those I care about the way I would truly desire.

This then leads to a cycle of stress, sleepless nights, difficulty taking care of myself, and generally feeling overwhelmed.

How about a positive change instead? Let’s end 2012 on a good note, and start 2013 on an even better one.

How? Use the resources and tools available to us.

Gaiam TV just launched their online streaming site. I love their well rounded mix of holistic content. Depending on what mood I’m in, I can practice energizing Yoga, challenging Pilates, motivational speakers and videos, and learn even more about nutrition and food.

Check out there inspirational site. Right now they are offering a 10 day free trial.

Learn how to open your heart with Kathryn Budig’s Aim True video.

If you want to take your flexibility to the next level, and keep your hamstrings and hipflexors in balance then practice your splits safely. You can also enter into strengthening arm balance poses with a Rodney Lee and Colleen Saidman video. These definitely keep me motivated as I continue to progress….

Let’s change our days and evenings by watching TV the active way. If you need more inspiration go to their site, or if you have Twitter or Instagram view their #activeandwell hashtag for more pictures, and follow me on twitter or Instagram.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

Yoga A Day

For 31 days I have been posting pictures of Asanas on Instagram (Berryhappybodies) and FB with Grow Soul Beautiful’s Yoga A Day Challenge, and yesterday it came to an end. I’m so glad I participated in all 31 days of this challenge.

I have learned some cool concepts as a bonus to participating over the past month. I have proven to myself I can finish what I start. Sometimes this is a difficult concept for me. As well as, I learned to appreciate my body. I had a fear, of posting pictures. Maybe, I’m too overly critical, but I always focused on what could be improved in my body or the pose, instead of appreciating the beauty in the whole picture. This challenge helped me to successfully emerge from my Yoga Picture Closet.

For a good percentage of the shots, a timer was used. However, most of the beach shots where taken by my husband. Who knew we could work as a Photographer/Yogi team? That was some fun bonding time ;). Thank you Sean!!

Not to mention all the talented and Inspirational Yogis I have met. It truly was a lot of fun. And, I’m continuing to learn and evolve Physical Therapy, Massage and Yoga. Awesome combinations!!

Here are some of the top liked pictures from the challenge:

Modified Bridge Pose

One Leg Bridge Pose

Chair Pose

Full Wheel

Forward Fold


What is your favorite?