Yoga Teacher Training
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Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga Teacher Training

A few months ago, a long time friend came for dinner. She’s an American living elsewhere. She’s brilliant and amazing and full of knowledge, an expert in her field.

But she has forgotten how to listen.

She talked over my husband and me and couldn’t hear any of our ideas or opinions. Now, this lovely lady is a wonderful person in a thousand ways. She’s a repository of information about the fascinating field of the esoteric, because she has studied metaphysics for decades. Her whole life, really. But there was this thing missing from the way she related to us and it was receptiveness. Her vast knowledge has become a bulwark through which no one else’s thoughts and experiences could penetrate.

That dinner made a big impression on me. I don’t want to be like that: ossified behind my own learning. I want to be open and flexible and receptive. I want to hear other modes of thought, other people, even when I have education and experience that contradicts what they think. Even when it’s hard to listen, which it can be, because I’m an opinionated person with a great deal of education.

I thought of this dinner when I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training at Three Sisters Yoga; as the body goes, so goes the mind. A flexible, open body will yield a flexible, open mind. I was also thinking of the next three decades of my life. I don’t want to teach yoga but I do want to invest in the training to nourish my body and to create flexibility, strength, and stamina for the next thirty years.

The program at Three Sisters Yoga is meticulously thought out and the teachers are terrific: warm, engaged, present. But already I have encountered opposition to my own internalized systems of thought. Because Yoga considers itself a Science, and I studied and used a different system that also considers itself a science. I studied Healing Science for 4 years at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing (BBSH). I had a practice as a healer and saw clients for a decade.

The BBSH was a pivotal, seminal experience for me. It is integral to who I am as a human being and to my writing. Most of my characters are healers in one way or another.

This thing about wholeness haunts me.

I seldom speak of the BBSH now. When I was at the school and for years after I graduated, I went around talking about it a lot. It was amazing: there existed other people like me who were attuned to the subtle worlds! Who perceived the subtle worlds! I was newly out of the closet as an energy sensitive and exulting in the liberation.

But I got tired of head-blind non-healers projecting weirdness onto me–as if it isn’t our birthright as souls taking on flesh to see, hear, feel those other, primary realms.

Also, there’s a lot of acting out at the school. The BBSH doesn’t always act in integrity. Graduates and teachers of the BBSH don’t always act in integrity. It was upsetting to me that when someone questioned the school, the school’s response was to squash that person and to decree, “You’re in resistance.” Translation: you’re bad.

There was a point at which almost all of the teachers with open hearts were either fired or chased out of the school. I did not respect that.

The founder of the school Barbara Brennan sued people over her healing techniques, an action which lacked integrity. In the field of science, scientists throughout history have built upon one another–that’s what leads to progress, to the slow and meticulous accumulation of scientific knowledge. Newton didn’t try to own gravity. But Barbara wanted to own her healing techniques, some of which had been developed by other people. She had a paranoid streak which she never owned but which was clearly visible to anyone not submerged in the cult of her personality.

Nor has the BBSH been open and honest about what’s going on now with Barbara: she’s institutionalized with Alzheimer’s. Students and graduates deserve to know this. Barbara Brennan isn’t just a private figure; she’s also a public figure. She put herself on the world stage with schools in Europe and Japan. She has forfeited some of her right to secrecy.

I had a lot of problems with the conduct of Barbara and the BBSH. Nonetheless, I remain grateful to both. Barbara’s vision was extraordinary, both her high sense perception and her larger sense of the possibilities for healing techniques in the world. The BBSH was a left brain mystery school. It was a gift and a blessing for someone like me, who has a good working intellect as well as access to the subtle realms.

Barbara herself was extraordinary as a human being. Before enrolling in the school, I attended a lecture she gave. I walked up to her to have her sign my program, and as I approached her, my energy bumped up. She had that affect on me. She smiled at me and her eyes got dreamy as she gazed at me. She wrote, “Traci, Keep letting out your love, beauty, and sweetness.”

In my sophomore year at her school, Barbara read my field in front of the class. She said, “One day everyone will know that you have a secret, private inner world full of butterflies.”

As someone who has spent a lifetime with a secret, private inner world full of butterflies, I was shaken, startled, and freed to have her see me and validate me.

I owe Barbara a debt of gratitude. Also, I used BBSH healing techniques effectively in my practice.

This circles back to Yoga Teacher Training and my desire to remain open and flexible because already some of the Yoga precepts that are taken as “true science” butt up against my training and experience as a healer.

Can I stay open and flexible and allow divergent schools of thought to live in me simultaneously? It will be a challenge. Of course, it’s only fun if it’s a challenge–and I love to have fun.

Yoga Teacher Training


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I give thanks for my children, my sweet husband, my lovely friends, my overly-gregarious dogs, my home, the books I’ve written and those I’ve read, good reviews that have thrilled me and not-so-good reviews that have taught me, the material resources of my life, the yoga practice that centers me, the spirituality that sustains me.

I am grateful that my beautiful, brilliant, hard-working, wonderful stepdaughter was accepted into medical school! Go Julia!

I am grateful for the extraordinarily generous donors who have given Parvati Press a start in the world, and I’m grateful for the authors who are coming on board with “the Millennium Falcon” of presses–and thanks to the ever inventive Chris for that image! Parvati Press really can outrun Imperial cruisers and make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

I am grateful for the times I get to travel, and especially I am grateful for the cities of Paris and Venice and Rome. And I love living in NYC so I am grateful for this ineluctable Big Apple.

I am grateful that I get to write books. Being an author is the coolest thing in the whole universe!

I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for those I love and for those who love me, and yes, Gerda, Lori, Michelle, and Jan, I am talking about you. The other ones in the inner circle, you know who you are, and you know that I am thankful to have you in my life.

For the unmet friends, unexperienced love, and unknown blessings that are coming into my life, I give thanks, and I praise the Creator, the great sun at the center, for the fullness of it all.


Yoga With Dogs
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Yoga With Dogs

Gabriel is my boy. He is telepathically attuned to me, so he always knows what I am feeling. I can’t count the number of times over the last six years that he’s come to cuddle me at just the right moment, just when I most needed the creature comfort of his warm yellow fur, damp nose, soulful dark eyes, and eternally wagging tail.

Molly joined us three years ago. She’s a powerfully intelligent girl, a chocolate lab, a little reserved but deeply affectionate when it suits her.

About a year ago, Molly discovered that she could have some fun with me while I was doing yoga. When I do downward facing dog, she lies down beneath me, directly under the V of my body. When I do upward facing dog, she crawls over on top of me. When I’m doing jnana shirsasana, she puts a paw or her nose over my leg.

When she hears the “Om” chiming the start of my daily Yogaglo video, she trots in, and the game is on. It continues all the way through savasana, during which she stands over me and whines for me to KEEP MOVING.

So Molly and Gabriel must have talked, because now Gabriel wants in on the fun. Yesterday I tried to take some selfies. You can’t really tell but I’m in gomukasana and a reclined twist during most of the pix.

Yoga With Dogs Yoga With Dogs Yoga With Dogs Yoga With DogsYoga With Dogs

Shout out to Jason Crandell on
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Shout out to Jason Crandell on

This post is a shout out to Jason Crandell on

I’ve blogged about other fantastic Yogaglo teachers before; this post is pure praise for Jason Crandell, whose thoughtful classes are a high point of my yoga practice.

Crandell is unusually articulate not only about the body, but also with the body. His instructions are intelligent and clear and human, a pleasure to follow. His classes often focus on specific areas of the body and I always come away from them with a new appreciation and new understanding of my hamstrings or my side body. A particular favorite was a class about the motions of the spine; another prized class is one that concentrates on steady, rhythmic breath.

I like a yoga class that is strong, steady, supple, rhythmic, and well-constructed, and Crandell always delivers. Check him out at and at . My week isn’t complete with a few of his classes to give me ever more insight into my own body.

Jason Crandall on

Real Friends; and Loving Stephanie Snyder on

Real Friends; and Loving Stephanie Snyder on

My friend A. is becoming successful, and she’s encountering snark from some of her friends.

I told her, “You know who your real friends are because they’re still your friends when you’re successful.”

Something unfortunate happened for me with a so-called friend when I got the book contract for Immortal, and that person fell away. I cared about her but she couldn’t deal with her own jealousy.

At least that person wasn’t petty. She couldn’t continue as my friend, but she didn’t try to make me feel badly.

A. has been shocked at the petty jealousy of some of her long-time friends, who are trying to tear down and minimize her accomplishments. Obviously, their malicious behavior is a reflection of their own inner emptiness and insignificance. I tell her that, as other friends of A. also tell her, but she still feels hurt.

We are all of us all too human that way.

Others of us are very pleased for A., and proud of her. A. is a lively, creative sort, big-hearted, hard-working and fun, wildly talented and genuine. She has many real friends. I’m sorry she had to learn this particular lesson, but she won’t let it dampen her brightness of spirit.

On to a completely different subject, except that brightness of spirit connects it:

My friends, family, and dogs know that I’m a dedicated practitioner of yoga. I do yoga every day, which is a good thing. Yoga contains my sometimes rambunctious energy. Last time my friend Paul was in town, and we were eating fried artichokes for lunch and drinking way too much wine, he sighed in the face of my gesticulating.

“You’re hyper today,” he commented, and turned down his hearing aid to tune me out. Or maybe he just ordered us both more wine so I’d get tipsy and giggle more and rant less. Or maybe he did both. Maybe I could say your real friends still love you when you’re hyper.

Truthfully, I have a lot of forward thrusting Mars energy these days, with Mars in Virgo in my first house by transit, squarely on top of my natal Mars in Virgo. This is in the Vedic system. But Mars in Virgo takes to the physical and mental discipline of Yoga like a duck takes to a pond. In fact, I secretly believe that Parvati, Shiva’s consort and the first yogi who was taught by Shiva himself, must have Mars in Virgo, as I do.

So, yoga keeps me calm. It regulates my energy. A little over a year ago I discovered an online yoga studio called I was an immediate enthusiast, because offers hundreds of classes for different durations and at different skill levels. I can do a two-hour hip opening class that opens my psoas and rocks my world, or I can do a half hour slow flow class, when I’ve already spent 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym.

There are some excellent teachers at I must mention Jason Crandell, whose intelligent, well-articulated classes are a special joy.

But this blogpost is a shout-out to the effervescent and inspiring Stephanie Snyder, whose classes are just wonderful, at any length, and at any skill level. I like to do yoga that is strong, supple, steady, and rhythmic, and Stephanie serves up her classes just that way, whether they are level 1 for beginners or level 3 for experienced yogis. I mean, I could always do without ekapadakounyasona (sp?), but I try twice as hard to master the pose when Stephanie is talking me through it.


24 I am’s, with a tip of the hat to Lori
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24 I am’s, with a tip of the hat to Lori

My friend Lori, who is gorgeous and brilliant and inspiring and open-hearted in a way that glows and draws people to her rather inescapably, keeps a heart-felt blog. I love her writing because it’s poignant and soulful and expressive. It flows through the reader. It moves the reader to openness.

I adore Lori because she is wonderful and she is special and she is herself, and because she knows about suffering. It’s something she and I share: rotten childhoods. Other on-going and wrenching difficulties. A sense of the bigness that deep ache can bring to your spirit, if you refuse to allow loss to sour you. An ability to have fun and to laugh from the belly, because there is so much sorrow in life that you must play and giggle and sing and dance every chance you get.
Oh, and she’s part Comanche, so the Cherokee in me feels comfortable around her.
Lori’s blog features an enchanting “about me” page that includes “24 I am’s, in no particular order.” I was perusing her blog this evening, and I wondered, Can I do this?
So here is my list, 24 I am’s, in no particular order:
1. I am a 50 year old mother, wife, friend, and author. Yes, I’ve reached my half-century mark. It’s like falling off a cliff, upward.
2. I am a dedicated practitioner of yoga.
3. I am happy wearing yoga clothes, even when they’re stinky. Lululemon: you rock! Don’t their yoga pants make everyone’s ass look good?
4. I am just as happy wearing a great dress, especially when I feel like I’m pulling it off.
5. I am possessed of creativity, ferocity of spirit, and great friskiness.
6. I am the color turquoise, because it has playfulness and substance, and some deep connection with the heart. Sometimes I am lavender or yellow, or all three at once.
7. I am a novelist. I am always writing a novel. I am a poet, too. I am in my soul essence when I am writing.
8. I am a person who knows about suffering and loss.
9. I am in love with dark chocolate.
10. I am from a background filled with fear, shame, rage, lack, deprivation, violence, and other destructive elements: a background that tried hard to extinguish my light. It failed. My light does take regular maintenance, to be sure, to keep it bright. But I’m still shining.
11. I am an enthusiastic traveller. I carry my passport in my purse in the hopes that TODAY I will get to fly somewhere. I would rather travel than eat, though the two go awfully well together. I have been to England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Bali, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, and the Caribbean.
12. I am an inveterate ravisher of books. I consume books. When I finish reading a book, I have marked it up, squished down corners, stuck in sticky notes, licked my finger to flip the edges of pages, and invaded it entirely. It wants to take a shower and a nap.
13. I am secretly planning a second career as an art thief. Think about it: art thieves get to wear slinky black cat suits, they get to use the newest, coolest, high-tech gadgets, they get to go into museums when no one else is there, and they get to go home with a painting. How awesome is that?
14. I am a card player.
15. I am grateful. I find time every day to give thanks for the good things and the great people in my life.
16. I am one-third extraterrestrial.
17. I am already planning my next life time. Hello, reincarnation.
18. I am learning. I like challenges, so I always find something to learn.
19. I am questionative. For this word, I must give credit to my gloriously curious little daughter, who invented it to describe herself. And she came by the trait honestly.
20. I am here, committing.
21. I am a dog lover. There are two labs in my life right now who cuddle most deliciously. Each one is 55 pounds of lap puppy.
22. I am convinced that being underestimated is a position of strength.
23. I am willing to laugh with you and I love to do so.
24. I am a person who is generous, who is kind but sometimes not nice, who is playful while being solemn, and who is often misunderstood. Hello, complexity.