Can’t stop the rain, or the change

Published on Monday, March 16th, 2020

Of course, we in the Central Valley of California don’t want to stop the rain we are finally having. It is just what we need, but it does create great change and problems of its own. Our current health situation is not something we need, but it is something we cannot change. With both, we can use them to practice acceptance of what is. Easy to say, hard to do. But isn’t that what a practice is? Easy to say, hard to do. Definitely worth the effort.

Another change on our doorstep is this blog. This will be my last post on this platform. Since 2007(13 years!) my brilliant tech savvy son has sponsored the costs of this site for me as well has maintained it. In the meantime, things have changed. FB has become the “no cost” platform most used.I have long refused to be part of the FB community as I feel their dark side is not something I want to support.When the church started including our yoga classes on their FB page, I felt that we were being included in the church’s life, which I loved so I didn’t balk. I have no control over their postings, so the accuracy on that site is inconsistent.Beware.Contact me for the most accurate info( or questions.

At this time, I am unsure when our yoga classes will resume. I will send out emails to everyone when I have definite information.I am holding all of you close during this unsettling time.My son feels he’ll be able to find us another platform on which to post, so I am hopeful.Stay well. Stay safe.Stay at peace.

Exploration continues….

Published on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

I ascribe to the notion that we are whole as we are. I also ascribe to improving how I am in the world. New Year’s resolutions have given way for me to the idea of inquiry. That means, to take a topic, a way of being, or aspect of your personality to refine, explore and yes, maybe improve.This year I have chosen the topic of compassion. It is a much broader topic than it appears.
I have been recently dismayed by the tones of our social conversations. And I have been frustrated by being told that we need to have more civilized dialogue, more understanding, more compassion for those who think and behave in ways that I find counter productive. The problem is, since the majority of people are relating in this counter productive way, examples of”right speech” are few and far between. To me it appears that the vast majority of us need to learn how to communicate this way. I was happy to see that the Non-Violent Communication workshop was schedule to be offered again this year. For me it felt like my help with direction was answered. I am pasting the email I received from Bodhi Oak Zendo who is sponsoring this workshop again this year. I hope you will consider attending.

Bodhi Oak Zen Sangha is delighted to offer the foothill community, for the second year, a three-day workshop entitled “Mindful Communication For Authentic and Empowered Connection” based on the practice of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) developed by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.

NVC is widely used and known internationally as a model of speaking and listening from the heart, a conflict resolution tool, a guide for personal development, and for many – a spiritual practice. It is taught in over 45 countries by over 500 certified trainers and hundreds of practitioners. This 3-day training delves into the principles and practical skill-sets of NVC that make this language so powerful within ourselves and in connecting with others.

The purpose of Nonviolent Communication is to speak and listen in a manner that creates authentic connection between people, and reduces defensiveness, blame, and subtle demands. The practice of NVC involves listening past the other person’s criticism or judgments to hear the needs they are trying to meet. NVC guides us to our habits of mind and speech that create distance, misunderstanding, and stress; and supports us to express our needs in ways we are more likely to be heard and understood by others.

Two internationally certified NVC trainers from NVC Santa Cruz ( will present an experiential workshop for participants to learn this powerful system by increasing awareness and integrating new skills to augment our natural wisdom and compassion.

Jean Morrison, MA, has been providing trainings, consultation, and mediation for groups and organizations in the areas of health, education, business, and restorative justice since 1985, and with individuals, couples, and families who want more satisfying relationships and harmonious interactions.

Kristin Masters is a facilitator, mediator and coach with NVC Santa Cruz. Kristin focuses on social change/justice, inner work and the intersection of NVC with Interpersonal /neurobiology. She values teaching NVC applications to personal and systemic challenges with engagement and creativity.

This workshop is for both people who have never studied NVC and for people who what to continue to practice.
LOCATION: Oakhurst Branch Library, 49044 Civic Circle, Oakhurst, CA 93644 DATE/TIME, Friday, April 24 – Sunday, April 26. 9 AM – 5 PM daily.
TUITION: $250 including vegetarian lunch all three days.
Partial attendance $90/day ($50 deposit secures your place)

REGISTER: online at

Mary-Allen Macneil
559 683-0683 home
559 642-7470 mobile

Cultivating self-compassion while healing

Published on Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Now moving into my 9th week of recovery. Looking back to prior to week 6, I focused on doing my exercises (and yoga practice) three times a day. Part of this intensity was getting to be out of the sling for awhile (ahhhhh), alleviating the stiffness the immobility in the sling generated and just enjoying a bit of rebellion. When I moved into Phase II of recovery (strengthening and active range of motion) I just continued to plow ahead with 3 times a day exercises. It wasn’t long before my muscles wouldn’t co-operate by the end of the second daily set. At first I was perplexed as to why I just couldn’t do the series. Then I stopped and listened to my body. Muscle needs time to regenerate after a work out. I wasn’t giving my body the attention, understanding and time it needed. I had my eye on the prize of getting back to my activities as soon as possible, not my eye on what my body needed to accomplish this. Light bulbs went off and a Phase II routine began. Each week, I can see improvement and changes. I am heading forward.

As I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions, I am focusing on the inquiry of what is compassion. On the surface it seems pretty straight forward (” the feeling of identifying with the suffering of another”),but I quickly found that it is complicated. I will share on this blog tools that I am uncovering in this inquiry that you may find interesting.

This link takes you to a 58 minute talk by Roshi Joan Halifax. I found this talk worth the watch (several times!)

What I’ve learned so far….

Published on Monday, December 23rd, 2019

I have been out of commission the last 6 weeks +. I had a shoulder replacement mid November and tomorrow, Christmas Eve, my constant companion (above) and I will be parted.This will mark the end of phase I of recovery, ushering in phase II.

This time has been my own personal prolonged Winter Solstice. A time of quiet, reflection, loss and gain.I have truly allowed myself the space to heal and reflect. Few commitments, physical therapy is priority, while I piece together this life changing time.I now appreciate how much the chronic pain was zapping my zest for life. Without it, I feel a renewed enthusiasm for everything.

I prepared myself mentally before surgery to have a possible bad out come. That meaning, I worried about what might happen on the operating table. It was hard to turn myself over to strangers who would intubate and sedate me while my shoulder was dismantled. I worried about post op pain control during these days of the opioid crisis. None of this turned out to be worthy of my existential energy. Just the opposite.It was all flawless. During one of my early nites post op as sleeping was particularly difficult, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude, the likes I have never before experienced. I felt completely connected to everything and everyone. I realized that this is not a whoo-whoo idea, but reality.

I began my recovery physical therapy(PT) at day 10 post op. Wow. I was shocked at my limits and the struggle. When someone suggested that PT stands for “pain and torture”, I temporarily latched on to that moniker. A couple of days later, I realized that this attitude toward PT was not serving me. As I do my exercises 3 X a day, I decided that this time is my yoga practice right now. This made a huge difference.

The small losses of independence (driving, dressing, having your food cut) were hard. My loss of them were only temporary. Soon, there will come a time when these and other losses will find me permanently. They do for all of us. I hope that I have developed the grace to embrace them with humor and curiosity.

And during this 6 weeks, two friends, one of them my yoga teacher, passed into the mystery. I was prepared for both losses, not that that preparation completely eases the pain of loss. Now it is time to turn my energy toward supporting those left with these losses over the weeks and months ahead.

As 2020 is on the horizon, I look ahead with purpose, gratitude and humility. This journey is not over. I look to the weeks to come and reconnecting. Gassho, namaste.

Travel reflections

Published on Monday, October 14th, 2019

Travel challenges and delights us. Exposure to new ideas, historical facts, foods and people offers personal growth.

In Lyon, France, this statue sits by a bridge on the Saone River. It fascinated me as it had no markings, no indication of the artist or a title. I was intrigued.

Lyon is an incredible city that was important in Roman times and carries an remarkable impact from the Resistance in WW2. After some research, I found the title to be, “The Weight of Oneself”. The statute is a reminder that we are responsible for our own growth, baggage and healing. I felt like seeing this statue at the end of my trip, gave me a message that I needed right at this time.
Funny how that happens.

Miss all of you. Keep on practicing. We are on the calendar to resume May 4, 2020. Blessings to all.

A month of expectation

Published on Saturday, September 7th, 2019

It was difficult to find a representation of expectation on this our last week of yoga classes for awhile.I have my own expectation of how long this hiatus will be, but of course, I don’t know. I have goals for this time, including when we will resume our classes, but I know I need to remain open to what actually happens.It has been many years (check out the archives) that I have been adding to this blog. Not doing that will alone be an adjustment.

We’ll finish off our classes this week in the Hatha classes by tuning up the back!

Monday Nite September 9 from 6:30-8pm Our tried and true back care class.

Thursday September 12 Chair Yoga 3-4pm Let’s get ready for our break by reviewing the poses you want to use at home.

Thursday Evening, September 12 5-6:15pm. A back practice that you can do at home.

I want to inspire you to continue by this poster that lists conditions positively affected by yoga.

September is here!

Published on Saturday, August 31st, 2019

It is well known that developing a new habit, whether it be a self enhancing or a not so self enhancing one, takes time. It is usually said to require about 12 weeks to get in the swing of this new addition. During the time we are focusing on this new development, we will have “oops” along the way. That’s part of the process. The whole idea is to continue slowly moving forward in the intended direction.

As we enter September, those of you who are on the email list know that there are changes coming. Our classes will be on a hiatus after the second week in September. It is unclear right now how long this break will be, but I will keep you all posted. I likely will not be posting during this time. You can always check the UU Church of Fresno website and Facebook page to see when classes return. The Director of Education at the Church is looking for a certified yoga teacher to teach in my absence, so maybe classes will continue on a new schedule(!). Meanwhile, this is the time to develop a home practice. You can do this with the help of Youtube, DVD’s for the yoga postures or just a timer on your phone for seated meditation.

This week in yoga:

Monday Nite, September 2, Labor Day, 6:30-8pm.Yin!

Thursday September 5, Chair Yoga 3-4 pm

Thursday Evening September 5, 5-6;15pm Yin again!


Published on Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Is our identity fixed or fluid? I think each of us has our own answer to this question. In someways, it is the question of our time. We are challenged to stay open not only our own identity, but the identity of those around us.Growing personally through out our life is one of the keys to healthy aging.Trying on new ideas, ways of being, and acceptance of others doing the same, opens up an exciting world.

This week in yoga:

Monday Nite, 8/19/19 Hatha yoga, 6:30-8pm. Our practice will reflect the heat of the day.

Thursday 8/22/19 Chair Yoga, 3-4pm. Last week, we worked on balance doing a lot of our poses with the chair, not necessarily in the chair. Can we do more standing?

Thursday evening 8/22/19 Hatha yoga, 5-6:15pm A balanced practiced based again on our environment.

Enjoy the bounty of the summer garden

Published on Saturday, August 10th, 2019

Do you identify as a gardener? Likely you identify as an eater! This is the time of year to revel in both of these identities. Eat fresh, can, freeze the bounty. Your body will thank you.

This week in yoga:

Monday nite, 8/12, 6:30-8pm A gentle hatha class

Thursday Chair yoga 8/15, 3-4pm Let’s continue our adventure

Thursday Evening 8/15, 5-6:15pm Hatha and relaxation

It’s hot, but we keep on moving!

Published on Sunday, August 4th, 2019

I like this quote both for its content and the picture. Watermelon is the quintessential summer food. Just looking at it makes me feel cool! The message here is stay cool and re-arrange the pieces of your life as they scramble. Make the pieces come together in a way that makes sense for you. I feel like a yoga practice is a good example of of “re-arranging” when life changes. Right now, we have warm days to adapt to, but many of us also have physical and emotional changes that are rippling thru our lives.As we acknowledge these changes, let’s let our practice provide a safe space to work thru these changes as we arrange our pieces.

This week in yoga:

Monday Nite 8/5, 6:30-8pm. It’s Yin! (need I say more?)

Thursday Chair yoga, 8/8. We’ve had a week off. Did you practice?

Thursday Evening 8/8. Yin and maybe a longer savasana?