Take some time to renew

Published on Monday, December 25th, 2017

We are in that “mid-holiday” time: those days between Christmas and New Year’s. The excitement of Christmas is wearing away from our thoughts and we slowly move to replace it with reflections of the past year and anticipation for the New Year. The cold, sometimes overcast, infrequently wet weather brings a quietness that rivals the darkness. Go inside and find out what is there.

Yoga this week will be only one class:

Thursday Evening December 28 from 5-6:15pm, our last practice for 2017. Join us to stretch, breath and reflect.

I am still taking participants for our Chair Yoga Workshop in January. Would love to hear from you! (sarayuyoga@gmail.com)

A Poem for Humanity in 2018

May we never feel alone. May we always have people to talk to, to share ideas with, and to lend and receive comfort; may we always have a friend.

May we never go hungry. May we always have food on our table and in our bellies; may we always have enough to share.

May we never go thirsty. May we always find a way to quench the dryness and may our parched and puckered mouths find relief.

May we never be cold. May we always have blankets, jackets, and hats. May we also have gloves, and good boots, and sweaters, and tights, and very thick socks.

May we never stop listening and learning. May we hear the point before making our own; may we wait and digest before countering with everything we know.

May we never stop finding joy and delight. May we laugh until our sides hurt and tears stream down our faces.

May we never stop fighting the good fight, for what’s truly right; may we always champion the underdogs with smaller voices, turning our darkness into light.

May we always be heard, believed, and encouraged; may our shared stories lift the veil that eclipses the truth.

May we always be seekers, doers, and problem-solvers; may we find tender ways to be part of the solution.

May we practice kindness like religion, and may compassion be the first thing we feel, even in the most difficult situations.

May our many prayers be answered. May all of our prayers upon prayers upon prayers for this troubled world be answered again and again.

May our words not be censored, or misconstrued, or stifled; may we always speak clearly, with conviction, and from the heart.

May our constitutional rights remain intact, even if they are amended; may we learn to accept amendments for the greater good and safety of all people.

May we explore renewable energy and slow down the human consumption that is currently killing our planet; may we work to put the excavation of fossil fuels secondary to environmentally sound options.

May we turn away from hatred, and rid ourselves from its suffocating grip; may we recognize it before it weaves its way into our lives and the lives of our children.

May our grief give way to fond, warm memories; may the recollection of our time spent with passed loved ones sustain us throughout our days.

May our physical health be our top priority, and may our mental health be just as important.

May our innocence shine through our cynicism and our jaded life stories; may the goodness we were born with keep us happy and young inside.

May we always feel free from fear; may our fears never hold us hostage.

May we first look to humble ourselves, to be grateful and ever-mindful, despite the raging world outside. May we feel stability and grace inside our own souls, for what else is there?

May peace be our collective dream; may prosperity be the byproduct of our quest for peace.

May we discover our unique gifts: may we hone them and move forward to create a happy life.

And may we find the kind of strength that comes from selfless love; may our strength come from how well we genuinely love others and how well we freely love (and forgive) ourselves.

Amen. written by Kimberly Valzania


Coming back to the Light

Published on Friday, December 22nd, 2017

When I saw this beautiful sconce on the wall in our Venice hotel, it immediately brought to mind the soft light at Year’s End: candles, tree lights. The beauty of the early winter brings to mind the past and the possibilities of the future. The ancients were grateful for the returning light which was their sustenance. While we have artificial light, the times that light doesn’t work for us can give us a subtle panic(notice how you feel the next time we have a power failure!). We are creatures of the light. Even so, the darkness can allow us to become more appreciative of the gifts of light and the gifts of darkness. Gratitude, acceptance and hope for what has gone and for what is to come.

This week in yoga:

Monday Nite, NO CLASS. Have a blessed Christmas.

Thursday Evening 5-6:15pm Let’s move gently toward 2018 with a combination of restorative and yin, and a yoga nidra.

There are still a few openings for the Chair Yoga workshop Jan.18-February 8. Call or email to reserve your place.

Coming of the Winter Solstice

Published on Saturday, December 16th, 2017

This quote from Albert Camus has spoken to me all my life. I first read it as a teen, having no idea what life had in store for me. Many times,particularly hard times, this quote would pop into my head, warming my heart and providing me comfort. This was probably one of my first self-care modalities. Today, yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, water therapy are some of my “go to” modalities, but this quote is so portable and so immediate, I think it will always be with me.

Winter solstice is a time of reflection, renewal and intention setting.It can connect us with our past, present and future. A very powerful time of the year, if we remember it is there. Often, we are encouraged to focus outside ourselves at Christmas time: giving to others, helping our community, expressing compassion for all. Of course these are important focus now and all year. Let’s give the gift of this quiet, cold, and dark time to go inward and help prepare us for our year ahead. Unknown as the year may be, we can can look at how our reactions/actions are what truly shape our lives.

The week in yoga:

Monday nite 6:30-8pm. Our Winter Solstice practice. We will practice a winter solstice flow, then remember how our ancestors acknowledged the solstice as we reflect on this year and the next.

Thursday evening 5-6:15pm This year, our Thursday practice falls on the date of the solstice, December 21. A more gentle solstice practice focusing on our prana (breath/energy).

Join us for a practice! Remember, a chair yoga workshop is coming in January. Contact me or read thru the last couple of posts for more info.

Raising our hopes, dealing with our expectations

Published on Saturday, December 9th, 2017

What are realistic expectations to each of us? What do they look like? Only we can answer that for ourselves. Of course, we have expectations and hopes outside of our own lives which may cause us more frustration when they go south. While we aren’t completely (or maybe even partially) in control of societal expectations, I think humankind hold many of the same hopes: peace, enough to eat, a roof over our heads, to feel safe in our own home, to make a contribution to the world, to not contribute to the suffering of others. We carry with us both personal hopes/expectations and societal hopes/expectations. Perhaps, like me, you are feeling dismayed by what you see in societal attitudes and behavior today. How do we impact these changes in direction of society? One person at a time, our attitudes and behaviors. A ground swell. If you search this blog, you will find some information on the 8 limbs of yoga, a how-to guide to live in harmony with our hopes and expectations.

This week in yoga:

Monday nite 6:30-8pm. Our once a quarter focus on our backs. We will learn segment 3 of a new series of poses for the back.

Thursday evening 5-6:15pm. We will celebrate the return of one of our yogi’s who has been out due to illness. We will do a Chair Yoga Practice in her honor and to welcome her back.

Consider letting friends and family know about the Chair Yoga Workshop scheduled for January/February 2018. Contact me for questions (sarayuyoga@gmail.com).

December: Hope-The Practice of Expectation

Published on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

What has your year been like? Has it met your expectations? Was it all you hoped it would be? Let’s stop for a moment, during this season of “revving up”, to slow down and look at our year. Maybe you have to break the year down into blocks of time (some good, some challenging) in order to see the big picture. But do take some time to look at 2017. That is how we can repeat the positive and not repeat what didn’t serve us. As kids, we likely looked at December as a month of hope and expectation for the big day, December 25. As adults, we have learn to look further into ourselves, our plans and hopes and influence them more significantly. Doing this evaluation requires time and quiet for reflection. And it may benefit from a good friend to hash out what we uncover when we do reflect.

Our yoga practice can help us encourage this reflection. Even if you are a Mom, struggling to juggle kids’, a home and a job, or a retired person looking at an ever changing body, we can allow our time on the mat or on the meditation cushion to inform, inspire and help direct us forward.

This week in yoga:

Monday Nite 6:30-8pm First Monday Yin!

Thursday Evening 5-6:15 pm First Thursday Yin! Do I hear a collective “Awe”?

A chair yoga workshop is schedule for 2018. It will be 4 consecutive Thursdays, from 3-4pm , held in the sanctuary. The dates are January 18 and 25 and February 1 and 8, 2018. Class is limited to 10 participants. A $3 donation is requested per class and a workbook is provided. Please contact me with questions or concerns at sarayuyoga@gmail.com.


Published on Saturday, November 25th, 2017

My backpack and my hat are symbols to me of my travels. Constantly with me, protecting me, helping me both items are both functional and symbolic. I look at my yoga practice in the same light. Functional as it helps to maintain balance, strength and breath. Symbolic, as the movements tell my mind to settle, become more inward,connect with my core. As you think about what your yoga practice has brought to you this year, I hope you find the gifts you received from the practice and the commitment to continue.

This week in yoga:

Monday nite 6:30-8pm. Let’s have a slow but challenging Ananda practice.
Thursday Evening 5-6:15pm. A little Yin and a little Yang? Getting ready for the upcoming busy season.

Hope to see you Monday and Thursday at the UU Church of Fresno on Alluvial!

It’s been awhile….

Published on Saturday, November 18th, 2017

It has been a long time since I have been with our little yoga community! We will get back together on Monday 11/20 for our Thanksgiving practice. No Practice on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. Then the week of 11/27, we will resume both Monday nite and Thursday evening classes.

A deep bow of gratitude to Tennille who has given of herself and her time to lead our Monday nite practice these past weeks.

I hope to see you on Monday, 11/20 at 6:30pm (until 8 pm) at the UU Church of Fresno. Bring your thoughts and intentions of gratitude to the mat as we come together to practice. I hope to see you then!


Published on Saturday, September 16th, 2017

We have been diligently studying Italian for four months now. My husband has made great progress, reaching 27% fluency (according to our language app Duolingo). I have only achieved 2%, but I think I have got the important words down. This is our last week together of yoga until after Thanksgiving. I am leaving you in great hands! During this time you will have an opportunity to learn Kundalini Yoga from our Rev.Tim.
Monday nite class will continue from 6:30-8pm throughout my absence. This Thursday, Sept. 21 will be the last Thursday evening until Nov. 30 when it will resume.

As our weather cools (finally!), our practice changes a bit. Still slow and gentle, we can extend our holds and maybe include a few gentle vinyasas.

This week in yoga:

Monday Nite 6:30-8pm
Thursday evening 5-6:15pm

Haven’t planned our classes yet for the week, so stay tuned for surprises! As always, we practice at the UU Church of Fresno on Alluvial. It has been recommended that we begin parking over by the community gardens, under the overhead lights, rather than at the front of the property, parallel to Alluvial. More on “why” at class!

This website will not be maintained in my absence. Please check to UU Church of Fresno master church calendar on the website for changes.

Let’s be sure self-care is part of our inclusion!

Published on Saturday, September 9th, 2017

In many past post, balance has been a recurrent topic. Finding balance in our physical bodies as well in our lives in general, turns out to be a continuous challenge. Including self-care in our daily life requires planning, balance, and the attitude of importance. It is true that we cannot fully love and care for others, if we don’t fully love and care for ourselves. I see a yoga practice as an expression of self care that has a lot of other positive benefits. It’s the good time we give to ourselves. As with any changes we make in our routine, developing a daily practice, requires intention. Remember, doing a physical yoga practice is only one of the ways to practice yoga. You can get some ideas of ways to do this from a post from 2011/03/23 called The Limbs of yoga.Click on the link within the post to understand the 8 Limbs of a yoga practice..

Once a quarter, we visit yoga for back care. That will be our theme for this week.

Monday nite 6:30-8pm

Thursday evening 5-6:15pm

Remember we have some changes coming up in our classes. Starting 9/25, class will be lead by Tennille. Thursday nite will be on hiatus after the 9/21 class until 11/30. Be sure you pick up a paper copy of the schedule at practice.

September invitation: Inclusion

Published on Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

It seems that this month’s topic is very timely. Our world is going thru a time where our diversity has increased our divisiveness. Our country is polarized for many reasons. Hurricane Harvey actually acted as a catalyst to promote unity of cause: helping Texas. Even in yoga, the topic of inclusion is at the forefront and has been for a couple of years. People of color, people with weight challenges, people who don’t have the “right clothes or equipment” to do yoga, people of a “certain age”, seem to melt into the background of the practice of yoga. Perhaps yoga is a microcosm reflecting the larger world? The wisdom of the Little Prince rings in my head,

“Men have forgotten this truth”, said the fox.” But you must not forget
You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.You are responsible
for your rose…”.
“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would
be sure to remember. “

In our yoga community, we have tamed each other by practicing together. Let’s remain an open community, who invites all that seek to meditate, breath and move to join us.

This week in Yoga: It’s Yin Week!

Monday Nite 6:30-8pm Come experience the delight of Yin: slow, easy and inward. The pace matches our current hot weather. Yes, it is a holiday, but some of you will still want to practice!

Thursday Evening 5-6:15pm Yin again!Some of us just can’t get enough!

A reminder that a temporary change is a’comin’. Note that beginning 9/25 we slim down to Monday Nite Yoga only for several weeks. Practice will be lead by Tennille or our UU minister Tim Kutzmark(a Kundalini Yoga teacher). This will be an exciting time of learning and expanding your practice.Don’t miss it!

Paper copies of practice schedule available at practices!