Author Archives: Michelle Marlahan

meditation fail

I’m bad at meditation. 
I can’t meditate — my mind goes crazy.
The volume in my head gets turned up when it gets quiet.
I can’t stop the thoughts.
I can’t sit still.

Does any of that sound familiar? Maybe out of your own mouth?

How about reframing it? Let’s flip that reactive dismissal like a pancake.

What if we called it:

  • Noticing
  • Paying attention
  • Mindfulness
  • Being aware of your life
  • Being awake
  • Listening
  • Getting to know yourself
  • Tuning (like an instrument)
  • Sitting down
  • Pausing

Don’t those feel a little more inviting? A little less intimidating? 

Here’s the thing: There is no “winning” at meditation. Which means you can’t fail at it.

You aren’t supposed to stop the thoughts. You probably won’t feel blissed out and peaceful, at least not in the beginning. 

You might actually feel itchy, restless, irritated, bored and/or a little bit crazy.

So why do it?!? 

Well, it may feel that way at first, but this is brain-training and it DOES get “easier” and more calming.

Besides that, reasons and research abound supporting the benefits of this practice. In order for something to stick, often we have to get to the place of desire (or at least curiosity) for ourselves.

If you are there — or you’re just tired of hearing that it’s good for you — this is the week to test it out.

The in-studio Mindfulness Meditation module starts Thursday at 6 pm — there are a few spots left.

The Virtual Meditation Challenge also starts Thursday and is the perfect blend of accountability of flexibility.

Jump in. Take it off your “someday” list and give it a go.

Come sit with us,
Michelle, Jeanne and Ellen

PS – what’s your favorite word replacement for “meditation?”

this is the perfect time to try it.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment non-judgmentally. -Jon Kabat-Zinn

Maybe your doctor has told you to try it. Maybe you used to meditate but fell out of the habit (you’re in good company).

It seems like every week you can find the topic of meditation and its incredible health benefits related to neuroplasticity, mood and physiology in the paper, on 60 Minutes and in medical journals.

Even the Dalai Lama says he uses the increasing body of science and research on meditation to motivate him when he doesn’t want to get up at 3 am for his prayer and sitting practice.

More than that, last year when we held the Meditation Challenge, I talked to students who got off their blood pressure medication, finally ditched insomnia and experienced more patience and peace at high-stress jobs. Those are some serious health perks.

That’s why I get excited when Meditation Month rolls around at IAY. I know there will be excitement, momentum and personal stories about how big benefit can come from just a little effort.
be here now
This year we have TWO ways you can start or support your sitting practice.

First there’s the in-studio Mindfulness Meditation Series — the third module of The Daily Craft. This is a 6-week series on Thursday evenings with Ellen.

The second way you can participate is in the Virtual Meditation Challenge.
Also 6 weeks, the Challenge can be done from anywhere and includes video, audio and written support.

Both start on March 23rd.

Mindfulness Meditation series — 6 weeks in the studio (and includes the Virtual Challenge materials)

Virtual Meditation Challenge — 6 weeks from anywhere

Building a habit is 100 times easier and more fun with friends, resources and accountability. Check it out.

Let us know if you have questions.

View our website | See the full class schedule | The Daily Craft

march overview… listen

The studio theme for March is Listeningforest

As always, we leave the themes open to interpretation, as invitations to explore, open the senses, apply them to your life.

In Teacher Training we do a listening exercise that involves not responding to another person while they are speaking. It’s interesting how often we equate listening with responding. Yet to truly listen is to receive without needing to add or change anything. 

It is a challenging exercise for most, yet in every program, people comment on how powerful it is on one side to feel truly heard…and on the other side, how relieving it is to not have to come up with something brilliant to say!

Try it:

The next time you are having a conversation with a loved one, simply receive what he or she is saying. Give that person your full focus. Resist the urge to plan your response in your head. Resist the urge to finish their sentence. Resist the urge to comment immediately when they’re done speaking.

Can you communicate your empathy with your posture or your eyes? What is it like to sit, even for a few seconds, in the space of silence?

It’s amazing what happens when there’s room and time in an interaction. So much more is said, and most of it is not through words.

Let me know how goes

We’ll be listening,

Michelle and the IAY fam


Class Schedule Updates

A few additions and adjustments to the schedule:

Monday 9:30-11 am Gentle Flow with Althea (an extra 15 minutes of bliss)
*New* Monday 12-12:45 pm Monday Midday Movement with Gina
*New* Wednesday 4:30-5:40 pm Release & Restore with Yoga Nidra with Sethyne

Check out our full class schedule and plan your week.


alexis marbach - trauma sensitive yogaYoga Teacher Immersion

Bring Trauma-Informed Principles into your Teaching 
with Alexis Marbach

Saturday March 11, 1 – 7pm
Sunday March 12, 11am – 4pm

Alexis is coming in from Boston to offer her specialty training on how to create a more inviting class environment for trauma survivors.

This training will create a foundation for understanding trauma and the way it can be present in individuals, and explore the ways that we can heal trauma through yoga.

This experiential training is open for yoga teachers from all backgrounds, levels of experience, and teaching environments (even those currently in their 200 hour training programs).

Read the full curriculum for the weekend

pelvic bowl with bella driezlerThe Chakras…From the Ground Up! 
Seed & Soil with Mary Paffard

Sunday March 19, 12 – 3pm

As we move into the spring, in March, we will explore Seed and Soil, the intriguing relationship between 1st and 2nd chakras and the emergence of the individual spirit from the cultural morass.

Each session will have a long practice session and some discussion time around how we bring this work into the every day. There will be space for all of us to share our own reflections, questions and findings and in this way create a powerful and supportive sangha for our own chakra journey.

Mary’s teaching is a special gift. Get your spot.

meditation seriesThe Daily Craft :: Mindfulness Meditation

with Ellen Robinson-Haynes
Thursdays, 6 -7 pm, March 23 – April 27

Mindfulness meditation is a hot topic these days, but how do you create a meaningful and sustainable meditation practice that really works for you?

It’s worth finding out. Research is showing that meditation helps improve everything from brain function to high blood pressure. Do you have insomnia? Do you often feel frayed? Meditation can help. Find out how…

The Virtual Meditation Challenge (below) is included in The Daily Craft Meditation module.

meditation at It's All YogaVirtual Meditation Challenge

with Jeanne Munoz
March 23 – April 27
Every year, we dedicate April to the essential practice of meditation and offer you — wherever you are — the chance to build or grow a meditation practice through the Virtual Meditation Challenge.

This year, we’re upping our game. The Challenge will run for 6 weeks instead of 4 (better odds of building the habit), we’re including even MORE virtual, audio and written education, and you can sit (virtually) with actual people in the Challenge Monday through Friday each week using YouTube Live.

Read all about the Challenge and sign up here.

Bella DreizlerGrow Loose, Long & Strong

with Bella Dreizler
Saturdays March 25, April 8, May 6, 1 – 4pm

These three Saturday afternoons are dedicated to experience the benefit of:
  • loosening tight joints and fascia 
  • strengthening less than optimal core power
  • creating flexibility and a healthy long spine 
You can take the series or drop into any one. Video instructional support included so you can practice this movement medicine at home and feel the rewards continue on your mat and in your life.

Ready to roll?

restorative yogaRestorative Yoga to Ease Seasonal Transitions
with Alicia Patrice
Sunday March 26, 2 – 4pmThe body renews and restores when it is at rest and a perfect time to practice this is at the seasonal shifts. We’ll use Restorative Yoga to help us learn to live in harmony with the seasons and to balance the busy-ness of life with support, deep breathing and presence.In the transition from Winter to Spring, we have the opportunity to awaken to new possibilities.  That awakening sometimes brings a bit of Spring fever, so we’ll also look for balance in the frenzy that sometimes accompanies rebirth.  In this period of deep rest, figuring out what we really want for the season is possible.

Sign up here. Only 5 spots left.

moon series

Moon Series Special :: March New Moon 
with Carrie Meyer

Monday March 27, 7:30 – 9 pm

Celebrate the darkness and renewal of the New Moon with Carrie as she weaves an evening of new moon psychology, astrology, the chakras, the elements and your own personal intention. 

The Moon Series classes have been selling out. Grab your spot here. 

View our website | See the full class schedule | The Daily Craft


winter care

lichen and moss - winter careIf you think about winter in elemental or weather terms, our climate here has been cold and wet.

There’s a system of health and healing out of the Indian/Tibetan lineage and related to Yoga called Ayurveda. Ayurveda in Sanskrit translates to “Science of Longevity” or “Knowledge of Life.”

Ayurveda philosophy is based on the recognition that the elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth – exist within the human body as they do in the environment around us. 

From this awareness, it’s all about relationship, harmony and cause and effect. 

A basic principle of Ayurveda is: 

Like increases like, and opposites balance.

So what does that mean in this winter season? How can we best support our bodies?

Well, we can help balance the qualities of cold and wet with warm, light and grounding. Having cold and wet foods (like ice cream) only increases the cold and wet of winter in our bodies. So we seek to counterbalance.

Here are a few Ayurveda-inspired ideas for basic winter care:

  • Eat whole, healthy food and fresh vegetables (as basic as it is essential)

  • Enjoy warm and warming foods and drinks — ginger, chai, warm lemon water, and foods cooked in warming spices such as…

  • Chili, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin

  • Decrease heavy, dense, oily, and cold foods and drinks (such as creamy pastas, pizza, baked goods, frozen desserts)

  • Minimize processed foods, fried foods, and refined sugars

  • Keep a light heart and sense of purpose 

  • Find ways and reasons to laugh and hug every day

  • Balance rest with aerobic movement — get your body warm and heart-rate up every day

  • Try Nasya — a little bit of oil in the nostrils morning and night. It might sound weird, but a dab of oil (almond, sunflower or even olive) on the ring fingers, swiped inside each nostril, can help alleviate the irritation of heaters, allergens and colds. Try it!

I also have a general rule, especially in cold/flu season, of Never Touching My Face. Even if I wash my hands frequently, there’s still all kinds of goo that gets on me throughout the day. 

Along with the basics of hydration (always warm or room-temperature water), whole food and vegetables, and getting enough rest and downtime, these tips have kept me healthy and cruising through these crisp, sunny days.

If you have ways you winterize, I’d love to hear!

In health,

love still trumps hate

Join the IAY contingent for the Women’s March on Sacramento this Saturday. 

Everyone is welcome.

love still trumps hate

We will meet on the basketball court of Southside park at the corner of 6th and W Streets at 9:30 am.

Check out the march website for details on the event, parking and more.

We have 100 Love bandanas — pick yours up at the studio Thursday or Friday, or at the march on Saturday, January 21st.

We look forward to showing up on behalf of all people, standing together, and moving forward with purpose.

Michelle and the IAY fam

what is non-negotiable in your life?

What are the non-negotiable things in your life?

Brushing your teeth?
8 hours of sleep?
Getting some exercise every week?

My daily list includes flossing (even after the news that it’s overrated), warm lemon water first thing in the morning, lymphatic facial massage, quiet time and absolutely some kind of home yoga practice.

How do certain things get to be non-negotiable? Especially when it comes to taking care of ourselves, why do we let some things slide?

For me, this has two components. First, there’s the routine or even ritual around the thing. This type of structure can be very grounding and give the day banks in which to flow.

Second, there’s how I feel when I don’t do the thing. If I run out of floss or get lazy and don’t do it, my teeth don’t feel as good. My gums get tender, which affects my eating, which affects my happiness level.

Likewise, if I go a few days without taking care of my body at home, I get immediate feedback: Pain.

It used to be that I just didn’t feel as good, or I’d be a little stiffer. But with age, the consequence is much more direct.

It’s not always practical to get to a class. And maybe the class doesn’t address exactly what I need or want. 

So I am reminded, even urged to keep good habits because they really do serve me and support my health and happiness.


Why home practice?

Why is a home practice (which probably doesn’t look like what you think it looks like) advantageous?

For starters, you can:

  • do exactly what your body needs and wants that day
  • take care of any injuries or patterns in your body
  • work specifically on your personal goals
  • pick the time of day and length of time that is best for you
  • do it in bed or in the kitchen (two of my favorite places)

There’s a reason the Home Practice module comes first in the daily craft — it sets up the foundation for your work, intentions and goals this year.

support and commitment — do what you can within a system of community… so that you have the tools and experience to do the work that is yours alone.

When starting a new habit, research shows that one of the single biggest predictors of success is support, camaraderie, community. Building the habit of a home practice will take time. With encouragement and support, it will take root and become a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.

Gina is leading this module and so excited to help you build that habit. Check out her invitation here.

home yoga practice

Read the full course description or sign up here.

And as always, let us know if you have questions or comments.

See you soon,


ps – we have quite a group forming for the Women’s March on Sacramento this Saturday. If you’d like more information about our contingent, connect with me.

View our website | See the full class schedule | The Daily Craft

first full moon of 2017

Tomorrow is the first full moon of the year, called the Wolf Moon or Cold Moon. For some, this is a better time for new year intentions than January 1st. 

Generally, full moons represent turning points, manifestations or closure. This is not a “new age” idea — our ancestors planted crops, harvested and hunted by the cycles of the moon. Gardeners believe it’s best to plant above ground plants on waxing moon and roots on waning moons. I’ve even read that doctors preferred to perform surgeries on waning moons to minimize blood loss.

full wolf moon

Obviously January is known as a time of clarification, but rather than abruptly cutting something out of your life or being hard on yourself about your habits, full moon time is an opportunity to focus on self-care and inner work. This full moon in particular is a great time to spend some time under a cozy blanket, writing words or ideas about what you need most at this moment and pampering yourself.

What does this all mean? How can we tap into this energy and wisdom?

It can be very simple. If I’m short on time, at the very least, I’ll go outside and spend some time “being with” the moon — looking at it, letting it wash over me, talking to it. I love how illuminated the surface landscape of the moon is, even to the naked eye, during the full moon. It reminds me of my place in the world and gives me perspective on things that have felt heavy or big. They don’t seem so huge after spending a few minutes looking at the sky!

Other ideas:

  • Fill a bowl of water and set it outside to soak up the good love of the light — use the water the next morning for your tea, lemon water, wash your face or share it with your plants
  • Dance outside (or in your living room)
  • Make an altar on any surface with things found in nature, candles, photos and any other treasured items
  • Pamper! Go for or give yourself a foot massage or pedi, take a bath, treat yourself to something you usually reserve for special occasions
  • Full moon is a great time to cleanse and release — write down things you are ready to let go of and burn it if possible, or clean out a drawer or corner

There’s really no wrong way to celebrate the seasons and cycles. Go with what speaks to you — that will always be the most powerful and fruitful.

As you know, we are super “into” the moon around here as a symbol of natural and life cycles.           

full moonWe are kicking off our monthly full/new moon series tomorrow night (Thursday) with Carrie for this first Full Moon in Cancer. I hope you can be there for the practice – it’s going to be special.

(Relationship tip: this full moon could bring with it increased intuition, sensitivity and emotion. Practice extra compassion for the next week with yourself and others. Read more about that and wolf photo credit here.)

Wishing you warmth and clarity,

Michelle and the IAY fam

View our website | See the full class schedule | The Daily Craft

going forward

Welcome to the new year, yogi friends.

With a long exhale and a shiver down my spine, I send this newsletter, which outlines our offerings these first couple months, with delicate hope. 

We are privileged to have this practice so readily accessible to us. We are fortunate to have safe communities in which to rally and debate. We also have the capability to change — our minds, our habits, our stories — at any time. That’s not to say that it’s easy, but we always have the choice. Let us not take any of that for granted.

Thankfully, practice comes in many forms.

Stay close to yourself and take extra care these winter days. Fortify, ground and strengthen.

To say that we are grateful to be here and know you sounds trite and insufficient. More and more it becomes clear that the threads of our own personal responsibility are intimately woven together.


To say my fate is not tied to yours is like saying, “Your side of the boat is sinking.”
-Hugh Downs

We need each other’s support, reminding, holding and loving. Let’s keep each other afloat.

As always, stay in touch.

Michelle and the IAY fam


Tami Hackbarth - Intro to happinessIntro to Happiness with Tami
Sundays January 8 – 29, 4:30pm

This series was a huge hit last year — you can read some of the testimonials with the full description.

Each session will include a short meditation, gratitude circle and end with a small daily assignment to spread happiness and good will beyond our classroom walls.

Get Happy here!


Full moon YogaFull Moon Classes

Thursday, January 12, 6pm with Carrie
Friday, February 10, 6pm with Jeanne

Join us for our 2017 Full Moon Series. Each class will be taught by different teachers — Carrie and Jeanne kick off the year.

Read more and sign up for January and/or February.

home practiceBuild a Home Practice with Gina
Thursdays January 19 – February 16, 6pm

Have you ever wished you had a fulfilling home practice?

Or have you taken a trip and backtracked in your strength or flexibility because you didn’t keep your practice up while traveling?

Join Gina for five weeks of setting your home practice up for success.

women's march on sacramentoWomen’s March on Sacramento

Saturday January 21, 10am

An IAY coalition is forming for the March.
Email us to find out more and be a part of the movement.

mary paffardThe Chakras from the Ground Up 
with Mary Paffard

Sunday January 22, 11am – 2pm

Our January session will explore water, hara and the 2nd chakra, opening to flow.

This is important work to help ground and sustain us in the times ahead.  Get all the details and register here.

pelvic bowl with bella driezlerThe Pelvic Bowl: A Workshop for Women with Bella

Saturday February 11, 1 – 4pm

Come break down some of those barriers in an experiential and informative afternoon dedicated to exploring the anatomy of the pelvic bowl: bones, muscles, fascia, organs.

Sign up today!


Running Yogi with Gina LangbehnRunning Yogi with Gina

Wednesdays February 15 – March 22, 7:30pm
Anyone can do it! A six-week series on how you can start a running practice, increase speed, build strength and help your muscles recover from the run.

For any level of (wannabe) runner. Read more about the series here


yoga retreat with michelle marlahanEmotional Restoration Retreat for Women

February 17-19, 2017, Sonoma Valley with Michelle

Restore. Explore. Tend. Take care.

This is a special retreat that will offer Ayurvedic earth medicine, opportunities for emotional wellness and yogic tools for health.

Read the full description and see pictures of the retreat center. There are 5 spots available.

If you have any questions, just ask.


Gina LangbehnFlow Basics with Gina
Mondays February 20 – March 13, 7:30pm

Hatha Basics in January is full — get one of the remaining spots in Flow Basics now.

Read more and sign up here.


View our website | See the full class schedule | The Daily Craft

Gina introduces the new Basics duo

Is there someone in your life who has been saying they want to start doing yoga?
Or someone who you think should start doing yoga!?

Well this is the perfect way to do it.

I am so excited to announce some new flare on our popular Basics!

We are kicking off 2017 with the same standard of quality in our Hatha Basics (with a few upgrades), which will be followed by our brand new Flow Basics.

There have been many requests on how to break down flow to make it accessible and now there is a 4-week series just for you.

Check out this video for more information from yours truly. 🙂 

Gina Langbehn with beginners yoga

If you are a IAY member, Basics grad or brand new to this thing called yoga, you are in for a treat.

Check out the deets here and grab a friend to sign up with you. Nothing says ring in the new year like self care. 

See you in 2017!
<3 Gina

your body wants to be healthy

restorative yoga at it's all yoga
Let your nervous system decide. It has millions of years of experience.

~Moshe Feldenkrais


It’s true — your body is trying to heal itself all day, every day. Fighting invaders, fending off viruses, maintaining a state of harmony and rhythm among all the systems.

This is a different message than we usually get. The message of lack and brokenness. 

Yes, there’s a massive amount of pressure and tension right now politically and culturally. Add to that the holiday season, which can be fraught with challenges.

And here we are in this body, which is managing it all, constantly adapting and balancing.

Why not work with the body and enhance its ability to heal and sustain optimal health? 

When we eat junk, have that second cocktail, stay up late again, ignore the signs of fatigue and burnout, or bury our heads in social media (or under the pillow), our body’s ability to repair and recover is compromised.

The great news is, you make decisions every day that directly impact your health and how you feel. You have the power to make decisions that will encourage a positive outcome.

What if the question was: How can I best support and enhance the biological structures of healing to do what they’re trying to do, even better?

What would your list look like? Maybe…

  • Make a good meal
  • Hold an eye gaze in conversation
  • Take a moment of quiet and gratitude before bed
  • Take a walk rather than do computer or social media time
  • Say Yes only to the things that make your heart happy
  • Laugh

This practice is a commitment for sure. It’s work. That’s why it’s important to have support. That’s why programs like the daily craft are so helpful.

    As we head into these shortest days of the year, I am committing to less sitting at the desk and more walking, less computer time and more book reading, less worry and more prayer. And more almond nog.

    Wishing you that which supports your body’s innate ability to heal and thrive.


    View our website | See the full class schedule