Sunday, May 30, 2010


With summer coming, it is easy to long for more money for trips, classes, and retreats.  However, there are all sorts of resources that are free on the web and around Los Angeles to take advantage of.  So I thought I would put together a list of freebies online and around town that will fill your soul up without emptying your wallet. Many of these you are able to enjoy right in the comfort of your own home.

LIBERATION YOGA is having a free health day today from 1- 4pm!  This is what inspired my blog post today. They also give you your first class for free so if you have never been to this magical studio check it out.

YOGAGLO offers free classes at their studio in Santa Monica with teachers like Jo Tastula, Felicia Tomasko, Annie Carpenter, Noah Maze and many more it is an incredible deal. Their Business Model is for  online classes, so if you don't live in LA then for 18 dollars a month you can watch at home unlimited amount (which is a pretty good deal).  First 2 weeks online are free as a trial.

YOGATODAY.COM offers one free yoga class every week online.  Or you can become a member and get all their classes for 9.99 a month.

LA YOGA magazine is free all year long.  Pick one up at any yoga studio near you.  It is filled with wonderful articles on yoga and aryuveda.  Their online portion has a wonderful calendar of retreats and workshops that one could empty their wallet with.

SPIRITUALITY & PRACTICE is a wonderful website with a free eNewsletter as well as Spiritual Practices to take part in.  Their whole website is filled with incredible resources, reviews and eCourses all from a spiritual perspective.   If you want to take a retreat in the comfort of your own home, this website is the place.  Some free and some for a small fee but all incredibly inspiring.

SOUNDSTRUE.COM offers free podcasts of spiritual teachers being interviewed like Sean Corne, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Caroline Myss to name just a few.

MOVING INTO STILLNESS has audio archives of Erich Schiffman's opening discussions that begin all of his Yoga Classes.  Wonderfully inspiring to listen to before a meditation or yoga session at home. Its like being right there in his class

SAHAJAYOGA offers free meditation classes all over Los Angeles.

ULTIMATEPILATESWORKOUTS.COM offers a ton of free pilates classes that you can stream from their website. This is a great addition to a home yoga practice, especially for targeting important core muscles.

LULULEMON stores offers a free yoga classes every week featuring different teachers all over USA.

AMMA is the renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader known for her wonderful spiritual hugs.  She will be coming to Los Angeles June 14 and June 15 offering free public programs at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport.

KANDEE THE MAKE UP ARTIST is one of my favorite people online. She gives free tutorials on skin care and makeup online. Very beautiful inside and out. She makes herself up to look like all different characters from film and it is so entertaining to watch.  Or visit her blog at

THIS AMERICAN LIFE is an National Public Radio show which you can listen to for free online and I have spent hours listening to the many stories that they have on their shows.   They have free archives of incredible entertaining, inspiring stories.

EVOLUTION PHYSICAL THERAPY is where I teach yoga and they offer the first yoga class for free.  So come on down Monday, Wednesday, or Friday 7:00 am - 8:15am for my morning class  or 12:10 pm -1:00 pm for Anne Israel's Lunch Time Class.

If you know of any other free or cheap resources that I missed please feel free to leave that information in the comments to share the wealth!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Here is a technique that serves two purposes:  first, to help you stay mindful of your breath.  Second, to help you hold a posture for a set amount of time (which is especially important to ensure you are staying balanced on the left and right, holding postures for the same amount of time on each side).

The 4 hand positions, or mudras of touching the fingers to the thumb, can be linked to the breath to keep track of the time you are in each pose.  In essence, holding postures for at least 4 breaths to begin with.  As you get stronger and stronger, you can add more breath and repeat the mudra sequence a second and third time.

 Each Mudra helps to cultivate a specific feeling, and represents an archetypal meaning.

Gyan Mudra, touching the index finger to the thumb,  makes you feel connected to something greater.  "Gyan" means "wisdom" or "enlightenment" in sanskrit. The thumb, represents divine energy.  The index finger (or "Jupiter finger") represents the self, or ego.  Bringing these two together gives one the feeling of touching the divine.  This mudra depicts a similar image as Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam," where God's finger is connected to Man's. There is a wonderful circular nature that the breathe takes when these two fingers touch, which is extremely soothing to the body.

Shuni Mudra, touching the middle finger to the the thumb, brings patience. "Shuni" means "Saturn." In astrology, Saturn is the planet that makes you disciplined. It has to work the hardest to circle the sun being so far away.  This mudra gives you the sensation of stability and strength.  To breathe with this mudra cultivate perserverence.

Surya Mudra, touching the ring finger to the thumb, brings energy.  "Surya" means "Sun," and this mudra brings health and vitality to the body.  It is also known for speeding up the metabolism, resonating with the third chakra to stimulate digestion.  To breath with this mudra is energizing.

Buddhi Mudra, touching the pinky finger to the thumb, brings mental clarity. "Buddhi" means "higher mind" or "intellect" (it follows the same etymology as the word "Buddha").  The pinky finger is referred to as the mercury finger.  Mercury being the message bearer, quick witted, and able to communicate. This mudra helps with gaining higher understanding and discerning intuitive messages to gain knowledge.

In my morning class, I had the students do a familiar sequence we had been working on all week, but I added these 4 mudras to each posture.  They completed each mudra for a full breath. So as they came into Warrior II, they turned their palms up and touched their index finger to their thumb on their first breath coming into Gyan Mudra.  Then as they began their second breath I had them touch their middle finger to their thumb coming into Shuni Mudra.  Then on the third breath, they touched their ring finger to their thumb coming into Surya Mudra.  Finally touching their pinky finger to their thumb on their fourth breath coming into Buddhi Mudra.  Upon completeing the four breaths, the class would transisition to the next posture beginning the whole series of Mudras again.  This practice brought a new element of concentration to each pose and the classes breath deepened dramatically and felt more united.  

The Yoga sutras say while in the posture one should focus on God.  This takes that statement one step further and allows you to open your hands to the varying aspects of the divine.  While practicing yoga you are able to contemplate enlightenment with Gyan Mudra, patience with Shuni Mudra, energy with Surya Mudra, and intuition with Buddhi Mudra.  

All integral elements to a spiritual journey.