The Empathy Map

Published on Saturday, July 7th, 2018

I try to find every opportunity I can to see signs that our world is turning toward love. This Empathy Map is a tool designed for businesses to teach their staff the skill of empathetic customer service. While I would hope that most of us saw this attitude modeled in our families, that is not a given situation in all families. Many need to be taught what the differences are between sympathy, compassion and empathy. Sympathy seems to naturally arise in humans. Compassion and empathy seem to be traits that can be nurtured and developed with intention and attention.
We can turn our developing empathy and compassion inward by our yoga practice. As we master these attitudes toward ourselves (which, by the way, is hard work), we can slowly turn those healing beams of energy toward others. Let’s begin and continue this sacred work as we journey thru the month of July.

In yoga this week:

Monday, July 9, 6:30-8pm. It’s all about our backs this week! We’ll start with the 17 posture practice developed from numerous medical studies as our guide for this practice.

Thursday, July 12, 5-6:15pm. We’ll explore a four segment practice from Boston Medical Center’s Back to Health Trial.

Of note, Chair yoga will resume September 6 on Thursdays from 3-4pm. It will now be a weekly class with no registration required.

For the next two Wednesdays (July 11 and 18) I will be guiding a Restorative Yoga class from 6-7:15 pm at the Zen Den, 670 E Bullard Ave, Suite 105, Fresno 93710. I will be subbing for the regular teacher. This might be a great time to see what restorative yoga can do for you in an environment that has all the needed equipment. Call 691-4011 to explore class costs.


A time for empathy and compassion

Published on Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Our hearts stir. Tears well in our eyes. Our sensibilities are outraged. We are ashamed of our leadership’s decisions, actions and words. We can protest, discuss, support with our money, and yet, we may still feel so powerless and ineffective.What can we do in the moment, in the moments, of each day?

I feel like I am being exhausted by the instability of our country and our world. My optimism is being eroded. I feel like I am folding inward with each insult, as if I am emotionally pummpled by a boxer.Yet, this is the time we have prepared for. Our spiritual strength is being tried. This is the time. I go to my breath. I am going to open my shoulders, directing my heart into the great unknown before me. As best I can, I accept the blows, resume my deep breath, keep my heart and chest open and send to all suffering beings the Buddhist metta:

May you be happy
May you be well
May you be safe
May you be peaceful and at ease

Our practice this week:

Monday nite 6:30-8pm July 2. Let’s send our energy to the suffering families of our world. A yin practice

Thursday Evening 5-6:15pm We’ll continue our wonderful week of yin!


Each day, a new chance for blessings

Published on Sunday, June 24th, 2018

Sometimes, it’s very easy to identify our blessings. When we wake up, our body feels great, the day is perfect, and seeing the blessings of life is easy. Other days, seeing the blessings can be near impossible. In reality, this is really up to us and our attitude. In class we talk about how the breath is under our control. Our attitude is also under our control. Maybe we can think of it as “the breath of our mind”. It really is.

In yoga this week:

Monday nite, 6:30-8pm, June 25. How about a slow vinyasa?

Thursday evening 5-6:15, June 28. We’ll finish our practice with a Yoga Nidra.


Mid-June: Solstice and more

Published on Saturday, June 16th, 2018

Several years ago(2015), the UN recognized June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. Although not well known as yet, this recognition made a clear acknowledgment that Yoga was now in the international eye. The date coincides with summer solstice (and occasionally Father’s Day) marking the day as one that integrates an astronomical point in the year, the change of seasons, and hopefully, a change in world consciousness. While celebrations of this day have not really caught on in a big way, just like yoga itself, it is slowly seeping into the world and the changes are for the better. We will have a practice on the 21st and in our own way, bring attention to both the solstice and the IDY, 2018.

This week in Yoga:

Monday Nite 6/18 from 6:30-8pm. A slow, gentle Ananda inspired practice. Maybe even a gentle vinyasa.

Thursday Evening 5-6:15 pm. We’ll mix a hatha and a yin practice to honor both traditions and our transition to Summer.

Come and hear a little bit about Fresno Mindfulness Walks. This may be a nice addition to your mindfulness practice.


Our yoga blessing

Published on Friday, June 8th, 2018

We have a practice that is both a blessing to us and our bodies/spirit, but also gives us the opportunity to share a blessing with each other. It seems that the word Namaste is known or at least has been heard by most everyone. When I ask new students if they have heard the word, almost all say yes. But when asked if they know what it means, they say no. I think it is a term that is sorely needed in our world today. It brings us together. It acknowledges our sameness. Creates a safe and welcoming community.

This week in yoga is short!

Monday Nite 6:30-8pm. Our only practice this week. This is Chalice Camp Week at the Church. Be ready for some temporary changes in our practice space! No class on Thursday so we don’t conflict with the end of Camp that day. Our practice will reflect the changes in our space that evening.


It’s June! Finding the blessings of Summer.

Published on Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

When you live in the Central Valley of California, you are surrounded with the blessings of agriculture. First, we have the blossoms and then we have the bounty of fruit and nuts they gift us. Living here is a blessing of abundance. But then of course, there is the hot weather that goes along with that. It may take a bit of work, but can turn that hot weather into a blessing as well.

This week we are coming back into our yoga classes after a break. The month of June is pretty consistent in the class offerings except for one Thursday, June 14. Let’s count our blessings this month as the season of summer is upon us!

This week in yoga:

Monday Nite June 4 from 6:30-8pm. How about some Yin?

Thursday Evening June 7 from 5-6:15 pm. More yin! A great way to practice as the weather warms up!

The Church parking lot will be re-paved on Thursday. Be sure to park on the street to above getting asphalt on your shoes! See you at practice.


See you May 31!

Published on Friday, May 11th, 2018

When I take a vacation, I always worry a bit about yogi’s not hearing that class has been cancelled for awhile. Hopefully YOU got he message! We will resume class on Thursday 5/31 from 5-6:15 pm. I likely will not get time to post for that class, so expect a surprise practice!


It’s May, let your creativity roll!

Published on Saturday, May 5th, 2018

Here comes May! Flowers, warmer weather, alot of outdoor living and activities. Our theme this month is Creativity: The practice of imagination. There are as many ways to express our personal creativity as there are individuals to express them. Besides our yoga practice, who can we uncover our creativity thru out this month? I am looking into replacing my creative feelings with a new art form due to a physical change I have experienced. I can’t wait to see what new direction I find myself headed.

This week in yoga:

Monday May 6, 6:30-8pm It’s Yin Monday!

Thursday May 10, 5-6:15 pm It’s Yin Thursday!

Thursday’s class is our last class until Thursday, May 31. You have some time to branch out. Maybe try a class at a local studio during this time. Be creative! Explore!


Transforming thought

Published on Sunday, April 29th, 2018

April has been a month of many types of transformation: weather, our gardens, and hopefully, ourselves. One of the transformations I am interested in for myself is transforming my internal dialogue. I think this “chatter” influences our day to day lives in ways we rarely acknowledge. It is very ingrained in us. It becomes to our “go to” thoughts when we are moving thru our day, wrestling with simple to complex problems, and interfacing with our external world. I often wonder if chanting is an ancient way of changing this. For me, some chants become, “ear worms” that run thru my mind all day. I certainly like those messages better than my own go to dialogue.How do you change your internal talk?

This week in yoga:

Monday Nite April 30, 6:30-8 pm A gentle Hatha practice

Thursday Evening May 3 5-6:15 Here comes may! Lets have a combined Yin and Hatha practice.

Here comes May! See you at class.


Transformative power of light

Published on Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

We all have people in our lives that bring the sunshine along with their presence. After spending time with them, you feel uplifted, enthusiastic and yet, calm. That gift that they have can be acquired by anyone of us, if we recognize, then, cultivate it. Once recognized, we can take active steps to bring a little more light into our own lives with words, actions and attitudes that support the light. This light can be like the oxygen mask that drops down for you to use in an emergency on a plane, life saving and life enhancing. We first need to place the mask on ourselves, then we can help others. Find your own light, then share it. Take care of yourself, so you can help others.

This week in Yoga:

Monday nite 4/23/18, 6:30-8pm Let’s honor our connection to the earth, through our Hatha Yoga practice. Grounding poses that uplift the spirit.

Thursday 4/26/18 Chair Yoga 3-4pm. Last session in our workshop. Let’s focus on poses you want to work with for your personal practice this summer.

Thursday evening 4/26/18 5-6:00 pm. Our practice will be 15 minutes shorter this week in order to accommodate a program that follows after us in the sanctuary. Given the abrupt change in the weather, this practice will be slow and gentle.

Looking forward to the Fall, plans are afoot for making the Chair Yoga class a weekly event(rather than the 4 week series it has been). I would love to hear your thoughts if you are interested in this possibility. Send me an email at sarayuyoga@gmail.com with your thoughts, days and times you would like to see this presented and any questions you may have.