joy *and* sorrow: santosha

“We try so hard to separate joy and sorrow into their own boxes,
but the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama tell us that they are inevitably fastened together. Neither advocate the kind of fleeting happiness, often called hedonic happiness, that requires only positive states and banishes feelings like sadness to emotional exile.
The kind of happiness that they describe is often called eudemonic happiness
and is characterized by self-understanding, meaning, growth, and acceptance,
including life’s inevitable suffering, sadness, and grief.”

This is a quote from The Book of Joy. In Yoga philosophy, we might talk about the qualities described here as Aparigraha (non-grasping or letting go), Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender), and Santosha (contentment), which I’d like to highlight today.

All of these concepsedimentary rockts are layered like sedimentary rock, and to say that Santosha means passively accepting whatever happens in your life is overly simplistic.

Let’s take the example above from The Book of Joy. Every life will have moments of loss, disappointment and grief. Does that mean we should just be “fine” with it? Not exactly.

While the translation of Santosha is usually contentment, acceptance, satisfaction, ease or harmony, the deeper layers reveal a quality of openness that acknowledges oneself and one’s environment as it is.

Rather than being at war with reality, Santosha invites us to stop relentlessly chasing the next thing — more more more — and instead, rest into ourselves as we are. That place of willingness and honesty is the only place from which true change can occur.

It could also be described as the lack of trsna, or craving. This speaks to the common definition of suffering as “wishing things other than they actually are,” which is the opposite of Santosha.

Is this easy? Absolutely not. Which is why we need support, reminders, and a healthy dose of discipline to keep practicing (because like strengthening a muscle, we can get better at it).

Arguably, the practice of Yoga could be described as the process of self-reliance, self-examination and self-development.

Each module of The Daily Craft came from the heart of this intention — to become aware of ourselves more honestly, to see what we would otherwise try to camouflage, and ultimately to develop the aspects of ourselves that do not serve us or the world.

If you are interested in how Yoga Philosophy can support you in this endeavor, I invite you to join me for Yoga Philosophy for Today’s World. We’ll interact with 10 core principles and peek into the Yoga Sutras, another important text.

Of course, this is also a plug for the upcoming Wisdom Pages Book Club. I’m totally digging this book — it’s simultaneously inspiring and practical.

And POETRY! There’s still time to sign up for your spot to read your favorite poem and celebrate hope, community, and your favorite authors. 

With love,

what’s in store for April

The studio theme for April is Embraceholly holt

Embrace :: to hold or take into one’s arms, to welcome, to accept, to support, take to one’s heart, to include, to embody, to hug. You might explore any one of the many meanings of this word this month… Embrace.

Like the age-old advice of an apple a day, I’ve heard that 12 hugs a day is good for one’s health. That’s a lot of hugs! I’m totally counting the hugs from my dog. Or, like Holly, you could embrace a bolster!

Embraced is how we hope you feel every time you walk into the studio. Actual hug is optional.

In the philosophical sense, we are asked again and again to embrace what is. My teacher Mary often uses the phrase, This is what’s happening… right now.  The “right now” suggests that it won’t always be this way — for good or bad. Yet peace, ease, joy and eventually change, are possible only when we meet the reality of the moment as it is.

This is easy to say and harder to do. Our practice of Yoga supports us in developing the necessary skills and self awareness. It makes me think of the philosophy that we’ll be covering next month in The Daily Craft. Practical, usable skills for life, especially helpful in challenging times.

Two other exciting pieces of news this month:

Book Club! It’s All Yoga is starting (actually resuming) a book club called Wisdom Pages and our first meeting will be on May 7th with The Book of Joy. Completely free, just let us know you’ll be coming so we have enough snacks.

Second is a teaser about a very special IAY celebration of National Poetry Month. The full announcement will come next week. For now, look for hints at the studio…and get ready to hear some of your teachers’ favorite poems.

That feels good in embrace…

Michelle and the IAY fam

Bella DreizlerGrow Loose, Long & Strong

with Bella Dreizler

Saturdays April 8, May 6, 1 – 4pm

Loose, Long and Strong moves to chapter 2: Grow Strong. What you learn in Grow Strong makes the benefit of rolling more than a temporary fix.  This three-hour health care investment stands alone: thirty minutes of roll review followed by an awakening of the subtle power of your extraordinary core, your vibrant center. 

Go home totally video-supported and motivated to take on the 10 minute daily-do that will keep many common physical challenges to a minimum.  

Read more here.

singing meditationSinging Meditation with Jeanne Munoz

Sunday April 9, 1 – 2:30pm

Singing is a powerful tool for transformation. It can make a gloomy day brighter by encouraging rhythmic breath and the release of authentic, healing sound.

Singing Meditation is different from a formal kirtan practice, which usually has a call-and-response element. This is a opportunity to simply sing your heart out and feel the voice reverberate in the body and in the room. 

Smiles, laughter, conquering fear, and reduced stress are some of the side effects of singing. No experience necessary. 

Get in tune here.

Radiant FriendChant & Be Happy

with Radiant Friend
Saturday April 22, 7 – 8:30pm

Join Radiant Friend, a multi-instrumental Kirtan band led by Alicia Patrice, for call and response chanting, a practice that unites us with our highest, happiest selves. We will repeat mantras–words, phrases and syllables– to quiet our minds and allow the integration of the meaning of the mantras into our consciousness.

No musical experience necessary. Sing, listen, dance, recline or meditate to the chants.

No online signup necessary! (Cash or check at the door.)

Kim WagamanYoga for Scoliosis Support

with Kim Wagaman
Sunday April 23, 1 – 4pm

These 3-hour classes for yoga practitioners with scoliosis are designed to support those who want to deepen their awareness and understanding of their bodies and refine the practice to meet their specific and unique needs.

Practitioners will learn modifications to commonly practiced yoga poses that can limit rather than intensify the conditions of scoliosis. All levels welcome. 

Register by email to Kim Wagaman.

new moon yogaApril New Moon Practice 

with Jeanne Munoz & Alicia Patrice
April 26, 7:30-8:45 pm

Celebrate the darkness and renewal of the New Moon in Taurus with Jeanne & Alicia! Knowing these two, the evening will certainly be infused with music! 

Your spot is waiting here… 

Beginner's YogaHatha Yoga Basics with Gina 

Mondays May 1 – June 12, 7:30 – 8:45pm

(no class on Memorial Day)

Read Gina’s love letter for Basics…During this 6 weeks, you will be given the foundations of your yoga practice – alignment, breath awareness, and a vocabulary of poses you can take with you anywhere. This is followed immediately by a special 2 week unlimited class pass during which you may taste as many items as you like in our yoga class buffet.

Get yourself in the series here. Only a few spots left!

ahimsaYoga Philosophy for Today’s World 

Thursdays May 4 – July 6, 6-7:30pm

The philosophical basis of Yoga is what sets it apart from exercise. You’ve already experienced many of the qualities — kindness, resolve, self awareness — in class and as a result of your practice. 

  • Do you want more grounding and guidance in your life?

  • Do you want tools to help you through the challenges of our times?

  • Do you wish to deepen your practice and relationship to yourself and the world?

  • Have you had the feeling that there’s “more” to yoga and you want to know what it is?

These foundational principles create the toolkit we use to examine ourselves and develop as human beings.

Each class includes study, asana, meditation and discussion.

Let’s investigate and deepen together. Read more here.

yoga book club

Wisdom Pages 

Sunday, May 7, 3-4:30pm

The IAY book club is back (10 years later). Join us for our first meeting on The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Club meeting includes a short practice, snacks and thoughtful discussion.

See the full flier.   Please RSVP here.

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

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


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