A letter to our supporters

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your support.
We started this in January 2010 as a means to provide qualitative yoga instruction at a financially available rates to support the space and our teachers. The donations we have received have not been enough to sustain the space or our teachers.  We would love to continue in 2011 and ask for your help to keep us improving our offerings and facilities.
Some of our highlights of 2010:

*Provided over 200 classes of a variety of yoga styles and levels.
*Provided workshops for meditation, yoga, teachers and new practitioners.
*Hosted events including raising  money for V-Day 2010 and awareness of this movement.
This is what we are asking for the rest of 2010:
1.  Ten for 2010:  Please give a financial donation of $10 before the end of this year in addition to your class donation.  You can give this directly to your teacher when you are taking class.
2.  Bring a Friend to Class:  Word of mouth is the best marketing we could ask for.  Bring a friend the next time you come to a class or workshop.
3.  Donate To the Church:  Give a donation directly to Swedenborgian Church of San Diego.  You can mail the check directly to them at 4144 Campus Ave., SD 92103 and your donation is tax-deductible. This directly supports us and all of the other things that this church does for the community.
4.  Volunteer:  If you can do a one time or ongoing volunteer to help clean up the church and hall, or any other ways you might contribute some much needed carpentry or marketing expertise or in an area that they need.  Contact the church directly to volunteer at 619-296-5662.
5. Spread the word.  Blog about it, take some flyers that are at the Hall the next time you’re in class and post it at your local coffee shop, community center or your lunch break room at work.  Tell people about us.
6.  Facebook:  Become our Friend on Facebook and recommend us to your friends.
7.  Email:  Forward this email to your friends.  They have the option of subscribing or not but if you think someone would like it, please forward it on.
Please keep an eye on your inbox and our website for upcoming events and activities that we’ll be doing.
Again, we started this with an open heart and thank you for responding.  It’s only through you that we’ll be able to stay and grow.
Peace and Blessings,
One Love Yoga San Diego


As the Holidays approach, I am taking the time to think and reflect about the past year before I plunge into the season.  I say plunge because this is such a period of time where I can either be in the happiness or merriment of the season or swim through a turbulent and emotional fraught season of family drama and unhappiness.

I told my now fiance about how I loved Christmas the first Christmas we spent together.  He, did not, which was a problem.   One of the reasons I love Christmas is because I have made it my own.  A long time ago there were some not so pleasant times of Family turbulence and drama surrounding this Holiday.  And when that hurricane blew threw, I made a choice to spend the holiday away from the family for the first time.  I was 18.  It was one of those moments that I cherish.  I remember leaving the traditional family get together and going and spending time with people who were struggling with addictions and had no family to go to.  I was one of them.  And for those hours on Christmas Eve we talked and shared and ate and slept and we all stayed clean together.  And since then I have continued to make the Holidays my own.

I started making my own Thanksgiving Dinner at about 22.  I became an excellent cook and even put on the feast for my family.  I made homemade rolls from scratch, pies from the pumpkin I grew in my garden, fresh cranberry sauce and a turkey that people still ask me how I do it.  I would make dinners here in San Diego and invite people to spend Thanksgiving.  When I became a vegetarian and figured out I was gluten intolerant, I stopped.  And I whined and put on my vegetarian crown and stood on my soap box for a couple of years.  But then someone told me how they looked forward to my Thanksgiving Dinner, they usually didn’t go anywhere.  So I got off the box and shut up and made dinner again.  For some really grateful people.

The first Christmas I spent in San Diego, I had wanted to fly home but couldn’t.  My boyfriend at the time and I waited until Christmas Eve to do our shopping and oops, the stores all closed at 4 pm.  We had no gifts.  But what we did have was something my mother sent to me when she found out I didn’t have a tree.  We call it “Tree on a Wall.”  It’s a tree shaped, light infested artificial hanging that you can plug in and put on a wall.  I have kept it now for 13 years.  And the first Christmas that my fiance and I spent together, I had to convince him to let me put it up.  You see, he didn’t have Happy Holidays.  He usually hid out in his dark man cave until it was all over.  I convinced him to let me put up my decorations.  When I lit it up, he cried.  It was the first time he’d had a Christmas tree in 8 years.  I convinced him that Christmas and any Holiday can be his. 

You see, what I know now is what is missing usually from the Holiday season is love.  And you put love back into the equation and there’s the spark.  It doesn’t have to be family that you spend Holidays with, it can be the family that is around you in your friends.  It doesn’t have to be tons of presents under the tree, it can be that homemade fudge and cookies that you bring into work, and yes, you work on Christmas Day.  You see, even though I can’t eat the cookies or the bread or the cake anymore because I would get very sick, I still make them.  I made a friend’s mom absolutely happy when I made her homemade bread on Thanksgiving one year.  It came out perfect.  I never ate a bite.   But it came out that way because it was for her.  She needed that bread, her family had made it traditionally for years and there were only a few of them left, it brought her back good memories. 

So my message today is to do it for yourself.  Make your own Holiday.   Have your own tree on a wall, make your own Hanukkah Celebration, Happy Kwanzaa!  As I will be working on Christmas, I’ll be seeing lots of people who either are caught up in the happy merriment or pretty miserable.  But regardless, it will still be my holiday. 


If you haven’t been tuned into any media resources, John Lennon would have been 70 this year.  Reflecting on his life has been much of the focus and I don’t want to repeat a lot of what has already been said for the sake of writing about John Lennon.  But in my own reflections about it, I discover some wisdom for myself.

Back before I was born, Lennon was spending time promoting peace in a time where the concepts and his actions were largely looked at radical, subversive and even threatening to some.  The concept of peaceful protest and even cultivating larger ideas of world peace are often ideas that are met with violent opposition.  When I am reminded of places like Burma, China and Tibet, places where people have sacrificed their lives trying to promote radical ideas like Democracy and peace, I am humbled.   In my infinite freedom here, am I doing the best I can to promote or cultivate a better life for all? 

Some choose “radical” paths.  Others choose to cultivate peace within.  But regardless of anyone’s path, it’s only my place and my path that I get to choose.  Would I rather respond with anger today or understanding?  Would I rather focus on the differences in the “other” or cultivate our similarities?  Am I judging someone’s actions to feel better about myself or can I put myself in their shoes for a moment.  Can I spend some time imaging a better world for all or just spend some time lamenting and wailing against the “opposition?” 

While I may never sing a song that inspires the world around me to cultivate some different ways of thinking, I can work on cultivating my own different ways of thinking.  I too, can be a radical, but not for the sake of being a radical, but being a better human being. 

Graphic Credit:  Kevin Boyd

Outside the Lens….

I think that this is one way we can take our practice off our mat.
Today I was SO happy to be able to donate 2 older digital cameras to my friend Debi to take with her to Africa.

The Daraja Project

The more I learn about this project, the more grateful I am to live in this time we are living. 

To give a voice to those that normally have the lens pointed to them, but their story is told from another’s point of view.  This is an opportunity to tell their own story.  Click on the link above to see the blog and follow it.


There’s a quote from Proust that I am reminded of:

“We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. The lives that you admire, the attitudes that seem noble to you, have not been shaped by a paterfamilias or a schoolmaster, they have sprung from very different beginnings, having been influenced by evil or commonplace that prevailed round them. They represent a struggle and a victory.”
Marcel Proust

Recent experiences have taken me to a place of deep sadness and introspection.    How do we look at the darkness, examine it, but not get taken down by it? 
I found myself in a bit of a spiral and having to honor my feelings.  I have suffered from depression and haven’t experienced it in this capacity for a very long time, ten or more years.  It began to frighten me.

I trudged to my mat today.  I haven’t felt like doing yoga, even though I teach it.  These experiences have left a dark and heavy impression in my heart.   Really, in my soul.  It’s like that song from Peter Gabriel “Digging in the dirt/Finding the places where we got hurt.”

When I arrived today at class, yet again, the transformation comes.

 As I’m flowing, my focus is on my breath.  It takes my thoughts away from these circumstances.  There is a playfulness encouraged by my teacher.  I become light-hearted again.  I release and let go.  I find some compassion for myself and in that, find compassion for others. 

While the journey isn’t over, I am reminded again the solution is come to my mat.  Come to my mat and begin again.  Come and be present with this moment.  Breathe. 

Regulations? Responsiblity? Training?

So a lot of discussion lately within the yoga community and the world about whether or not yoga needs to be state regulated. I recently watched a video of a CBS news report about injury and the rising number of yoga injuries, etc. 

Yes, people can get injured in yoga class.  Not all postures are good for all bodies.  Yes there are inexperienced teachers out there.  I was one of them.  Even with a 200 hour certification, you can’t be prepared for what happens in a class until you actually start teaching them. 

What was interesting about the video is while the woman who was injured, had bulging discs, blames yoga for the injury, she never did state why or how she thinks she got injured.  I can probably take an educated guess.  One pose, Uttanasana, standing forward fold, can be VERY dangerous for your back if done inproperly.  Even though I tell students, “bend your knees to bring your chest to your thighs to protect your back from rounding” most students don’t do it.  Even when I physically walk over to a student and tell them,”bend your knees to protect your back”, pretty soon, they’re back to doing the same thing, round back to get their hands at the floor.

Roger Cole writes some great articles for Yoga Journal about protecting the back and what is going on in the back in forward folds.  There is so much that yoga does that benefits the body but yes, you can get injured from doing the poses, whether in proper alignment or not. 

But more specifically, when more yoga classes are being offered in gyms, condominium activity rooms and corporate conference rooms, places where props are often not offered or even discouraged from use, where does the responsibility lie?  This video really doesn’t offer any solutions, nor does it specifically or clearly outline a problem.  It’s claim that the yoga industry is unregulated and therefore, regulation would solve the problem.  Is the oil industry unregulated and did that stop the gulf spill?  I do think there should be some sort of guidelines and the industry is responding to that with 200 and 500 hour certifications.  But even at that, there are some studios and corporations that offer those and their offerings are more of a way to earn income than properly educate teachers, as we see in this reporter’s “certification.”  There was a recent article about finding a plastic surgeon and how you should be careful and choose one that’s certified through one of THREE different board certification governing bodies.  It’s really confusing and difficult to find someone who is a DOCTOR who has a certification to do a medical procedure.  More regulations aren’t always an answer and just because someone has a certain certification doesn’t make them a better doctor or yoga teacher. 

I am pretty bodily aware now.  I’ve been doing yoga for 10+ years, also running and dance.  What I can tell you is this:  When I’m in a class at a gym and a teacher is telling me to jump from one place to another, I don’t jump.  Because I have a bad knee and the impact from jumping would hurt my knee worse.  Just because a teacher is telling me to do something doesn’t mean it’s good for me or that  I have to do it.  If a teacher is telling me that I could injure myself doing something not quite in alignment, I should listen to that.   There’s a balance between personal responsibility and teaching responsibility. 

As a teacher, I’m responsible to continue my training and learning.  I’m responsible for teaching what I know and not what I don’t know.  While I hope that my students listen, sometimes they don’t.  While in some environments, like studios, I have the ability to take time and really work on alignment issues and use props.   In some environments, like gyms, often the emphasis is on fitness and there aren’t props to help students work with their imbalances so I do what I can. 

More on the practicing yoga on a budget….

So here’s the deal,  as a teacher, I find it difficult to make my living entirely off of teaching yoga.  It’s a common misconception that yoga teachers make an enormous amount of money.  Trust me, I wouldn’t be waiting tables if that were the case.  I wouldn’t be doing accounting jobs either.  There are times that physically I need a break.  But if I am injured, sometimes I still have to teach.  Which is why I think Jennifer You is a rock star because from seated, she has been teaching with a torn achilles.  Pattabi Jois (founder of Ashtanga Yoga) taught from seated later in his life.  He no longer practiced the vigorous sequences.  Which brings me to my next misconception.  That we have to do a certain style of yoga each time or it’s not “right” for us.  That is a big misconception.  When I am venturing into a new class, there may be something that I don’t prefer or like about a class.  That doesn’t mean that the teacher is bad or that the class or style is bad, it’s just different.  It’s not wrong.  Some people respond to a teacher that yells at them or hits them.  That may be what they need.  It’s definitely not for me.  But it’s not my journey.  Which leads me to my last point or misconception.  That somehow if it’s donation, or inexpensive that it isn’t quite good enough.  That somehow that diminishes the value of the practice.  I have many friends that were not only introduced to yoga at their local YMCA, but practiced for years under a teacher that had DECADES of teaching experience.  So with those things to think about, I give you my latest recommendations for doing yoga all over San Diego on a budget:

Fitness Chains
They have locations everywhere and I teach for them.  Yes, their rooms are not the best for yoga.  No, they don’t have mats.  But with so many locations, variety of teachers to choose from, students come because they love the teacher and they practice wherever.  No, you’re not going to get the kind of instruction that you would at a studio.  You can get a monthly membership for around $39.  Sometimes cheaper. 

San Diego Yoga Collective Hopper Pass
This is available and the best deal in town for this kind of thing.  OB Namaste Yoga in Ocean Beach, Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla and Little Yoga Studio of San Diego teamed up and created this.  Most of these studios already offer a discount, first week or first class free to new students.  What the hopper pass enables you to do is go to each of these studios.  Three classes for $30 or 15 classes for $175.  So you can hopp around and get some of the best instruction, I’ve been to all three studios and thoroughly enjoyed each of them.

Stay tuned…

Money isn’t the object

Get off your _____ and get on your mat!
Here is a list of places, besides One Love Yoga San Diego, where you can get donation based or discounted prices on your yoga:

San Diego Yoga Loft
Downtown San Diego a lot of offernigs at a Donation.

Red Lotus Society
Downtown San Diego, lots of offerings, meditation, etc.

Poses-Yoga, Eastlake
I work here, one of the best deals is for local, Eastlake or Chula Vista residents, 7 days of yoga for $7.  It’s a smaller studio, smaller classes, gives you more of an intimate feeling and more attention than the big “churn and burn” studios.  Local owners, beautiful studio, worth your time to check out. 

Akasha Yoga, La Jolla
Yes, I work here too, but obviously not all of these places I work.  First time students can get a 3 class for $20 pass.  That works out to be a little less than $7 a class and it gives you a month to try out the studio.  They also have different membership levels,offering great discount.  This is a small studio, classes never get too big so you have a more intimate feeling and it’s locally owned. 

UCSD Recreation Department
I know a lot of people who work in the La Jolla area by Torrey Pines in the Biotech ‘farms’ up there.  Rather than get into your car and spend the next hour sitting on Genesse to get to the 5, go take a yoga class up the street.  Most of the classes are in RIMAC, as a part of the FIT LIFE program there.  Yes you have to pay for parking, but sometimes you get lucky and find a spot nearby.  And trust me, everyone is trying to get out of there so you’re more likely to not pay.  The cost varies depending on what class you want to take.  But for example, one of the Saturday classes cost $55 for the quarter.  That was 8 classes for $55.  Do you need me to do the math on that?  There are also unlimited class passes available for the quarter.

I’m going to do a little more research and keep posting these things that I find.  Stay tuned….

Bringing balance

This afternoon I practiced the first in the Ashtanga series with Jennifer.
It’s the first time this class is offered.
It’s not my first time doing Ashtanga.  
I practiced for a bit in 2006.   I went to classes and tried to practice at home.   My monkey-mind would not take it.  I didn’t understand the dedication to the same postures, same sequence, etc.  I thought “this is going to be boring.”  I moved on to Vinyasa.  We move.  We move a lot.  Breath and movement.   I thought “yeah, this is what I want.  I can’t be bored here.”
As I practiced today and I had to modify a lot because of a knee issue.  As I went into one side, modified, I then went to do the other side and realized that if I didn’t modify as well on the other side that I might be overdeveloping one side, going deeper in to one side and therefore bringing further imbalance to my body.
I then thought of what I was doing and the point of the practice that I was doing.  To bring balance.  The description of the class is Yoga Chikitsa, which means yoga therapy, realigns the spine, detoxifies the body, and builds strength, flexibility and stamina.  So if I’m this class, I’m here to heal.  
Still boring???  I don’t think so.  There’s the intention.  There’s the reason.  That’s the practice.  

So I’ll be modifying…and practicing.