Monday, October 31, 2011

the Kula Project Benefit for the Care Center in Holyoke

Breaking barriers … lifting spirits … inspiring young women to excel intellectually and academically … providing access to arts and culture … supporting struggling young families as they move toward self-sufficiency … shifting from a community dealing with the challenges of poverty to one that is a leader in innovative education reform — these define the work of The Care Center.

Many years ago, the director of Yoga Sanctuary Sara Rose began a very special relationship with the Care Center in Holyoke. Breaking barriers, lifting spirits and inspiring students was nothing new to Sara. It is actually a great love and commitment she has held for for 10 plus years now. Anna Neiman, Yoga Sanctuary's current teacher of the Care Center's yoga classes shares this commitment. Anna's joyful presence greets the girls twice a week wherever they are. Her openness and acceptance allows them to be themselves and immerse themselves into the gifts of yoga.

Bringing yoga to pregnant and parenting teens has been one of the ways Yoga Sanctuary reaches out to the Community. We have enjoyed this relationship so much that when their funding was cut for outside services we refused to walk away. The Kula Project headed up by Kendra Hodgson has now stepped in to aid us in raising funds to keep the yoga program for the Care Center going.

The Care Center is an alternative education program for pregnant and parenting teens who have dropped out of high school. Before coming to The Care Center, many of our students say they had fallen out of love with learning, that they didn’t think of themselves as smart, and that school was not for them. All students attending The Care Center previously dropped out of school, most before getting pregnant. They were on track for minimum wage jobs, with public assistance as a safety net. Yet every single one of our students wanted a better life for themselves and their children; they just did not have the tools to get there.

Yoga Sanctuary has been a vital part of this process by exposing these young students to the benefits of yoga, giving them tools to rejuvenate themselves and find more joy in life. Please join us this Saturday, November 5 from 11:30am - 1:30pm for a special all levels yoga class to raise awareness and funds to support the yoga program at YS.

You can also donate online by clicking here:

Any amount is appreciated and will provide so much to those who are working so hard to build a better future for themselves and their children.

Written by Susan Elena Esquivel

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Fullness of Experience Comes From the Fullness of the Heart

The Summer Solstice is approaching, and the fullness of the season is everywhere I look. All the trees are full and luscious. The flowers continue to pop out of the ground with such vibrancy. Vegetable gardens are coming to life, and the some-what monochromatic wood trails I trotted down with my dog all winter long are now adorned with sparkling Mountain Laurel. How easy it is this time of year to recognize the fullness and abundance outside and all around us, but what about recognizing our inner fullness as well?

The Sanskrit word Purna means to be full; an inner fullness. In Anusara, when we Open to Grace, we open to the fullness that already exists inside our own hearts. We open to the full spectrum of possibility and potential already inside each of us. A fullness that is waiting and wanting to be recognized and engaged. Of course sometimes, maybe even most of the time, this is much easier said than done. It is easy to feel full inside when things in life are going our way. When the weather is beautiful, when we’re joyful and feeling at ease. But, what about the moments we’re not fully absorbed in the light of loving ourselves? What about when we’re in periods of suffering? Or simply just having a bad day? It is in these moments, when experiencing our inner brightness may not come as easily that practicing purna is most important. In these inevitable moments of lack we must remember purna is also the full recognition of the self. To recognize fully whatever you’re feeling inside at any given moment. What is fullness for you in this moment? What is fullness for you today? Once you’ve recognized however full you are feeling try asking, Can I make more? If you can make more inner fullness great! If you can’t today that is great too! It is recognizing the self in all of its complexities that matters most. When we allow ourselves to sit in the fullness of self-recognition, we can begin to deconstruct self-inflicted judgment and limitation, we can more easily access our own innate goodness, and the Ananda or joy that already lives inside all of us. And then, from the fullness inside we can expand out into the world and engage life more fully.

The easiest way to find our inherent fullness is to open and connect to the fullness of the breath. The breath’s nature is fundamentally full and expansive, and the best part is that it is effortless! You do not need to think or control it, just let the fullness of the breath breathe you. Let the breath make space in your physical body and in your awareness for the inner fullness that is always there, always in the space of the heart, just waiting for you to embrace and experience.

Written By Suzie Goldstein

Friday, June 3, 2011

Yoga Sanctuary's Open House & New Arrivals

So much exciting news at YS this Summer! First, a special welcome to our newest kula member Layla Grace and a welcome back to our director Sara Rose who gave birth to Layla back in February. This week both of them were back in the studio. Sara is now teaching her Friday morning class again as well as upcoming special workshops and heading up our exciting Teacher Training Program. It is so wonderful to have her inspirational teaching as the cornerstone of Yoga Sanctuary. Be sure and try to get to her class at 9:00am on Fridays - you'll be glad you did!

We are also welcoming back Sarah McAnulty who has a long history of teaching at Yoga Sanctuary. Sarah will be teaching the Level I/II class Tuesday mornings at 9:00am. She is a wonderful spirited teacher with a background in both Iyengar and Anusara yoga. We encourage you all to try her fun, invigorating classes this Summer.

Congratulations to our lovely Suzie Goldstein who is our new Yoga Advisor. Suzie will be guiding new as well as current students through the schedule and helping them find the best fit for their practice. Suzie is also a recent graduate of our YTT program and will be teaching our new YogaHour on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings. Now there is no excuse that you do not have the time to do yoga when there is always a YogaHour waiting for you!

The new Summer schedule is full of many new options such as the PowerHour with Abigail Clarke at 7:45am on Wednesday and Friday mornings - a great way to start your day. Abigail is a very creative teacher who brings a warmth and joyful approach to her classes. Her laugh is worth getting up early for! Karen Sheingold has a wonderful new class - Over Fifty which will encourage you to bring a spirited approach to your yoga practice. Join Karen on Tuesdays at 5:00pm for a thoughtful, fun and engaging class. The Summer schedule also includes all our well established classes with Amy Reed, Kendra Hodgson and janet Vecchia along with new offerings for the beginner with Lisa Leizman and Susan Elena Esquivel. Check out the new schedule in it's new easier to read format at:

Just in time for the Summer, we are pleased to introduce our monthly Memberships. Why the membership option? Over the past few years we have watched so many of our students struggle with how to use their yoga budget. Many find they have to space out the classes they attend since they only have 8 classes on their class card. The benefits of yoga can not be fully appreciated with this limitation, so we decided to offer a new way for our students to build their practice and create more abundance in their lives.

What results can you expect from regular practice? On the mat, you will find increased focus, strength and flexibility, reduced pain and stiffness, as well as healing of injuries due to biomechanical misalignments. Even more important are the off the mat benefits of overall increased vitality, clarity and well-being as well as reduced stress. These are just a few of the benefits of a regular yoga practice, the possibilities are endless.

Membership at YS equals Freedom! No more class card blues - now you can attend any class, any time. This gives you the freedom to explore and try all the wonderful teachers and classes we offer, finding more options for yourself.

This Saturday, June 4th from 12 - 5pm we are pleased to hold an Open House where you can check out all that YS has to offer. We have free yoga classes throughout the afternoon so you can get a taste of the Summer schedule. We will also have special deals on the Membership options, snacks, great deals in the boutique and as if that is not enough we have an amazing Kirtan with HuDost at 7:30pm. for more details on the Open House visit:

Join us to celebrate and make this the best Summer ever!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shine the Light on Spring Cleaning!

With the new spring season here, I’ve been contemplating what I want to cultivate more of and rededicate myself to in my practice on and off the yoga mat. Whenever we move into a new cycle, whether marked by a new season, a new month, or even a new moon, it is important to turn inside and ask, “How do I want to enter this new cycle? What do I want to cultivate or reaffirm in my life and my relationships?” Depending on the timing of these new beginnings in our lives, sometimes pausing and asking these questions can be hard. Requiring effort. Maybe even enormous effort, but being the beautifully skilled yogis and yoginis we are, we’re used to effort right? It is effort in balance that we strive for, because it brings us into alignment, into the flow of Grace, into that something bigger, into the joy of the mystery and possibility. It is however, effort nonetheless. So, even in times when it may seem like too much to effort, to pause amidst our busy lives and turn inside, push yourself and do it anyway. It’s worth it! Find the balance that is right for you.

In this long awaited springtime, just start with one sentence. Choose something easy that resonates with you. Something that you’d like to cultivate more of in your life. To cultivate more love. To cultivate more down time. To be more mindful of time in general. To remember. To practice. For me, I want to cultivate more Awareness within my community and myself.

Recently I read The Heart of Meditation by Sally Kempton, and on the very first page she says, “There is only one thing in the Universe: Awareness and that Awareness is me.” Still, I read this sentence again and again and each time it blows my mind. She is so right. After all where would we be without awareness? Without it, would we know how or what to choose in life as the choices reveal themselves? Without any self-awareness, how would we be able to relate to each other?

Remembering to connect to our own awareness is part of the practice. We do it on the mat when we hug the midline and move our thighbones in, back, and wide. We do it when we bring the head of our arm bones back and melt our hearts. On the mat, the awareness is usually there. Off the mat, well, it is harder to remember. I asked one of my teachers for advise on this practice of awareness off the mat, and she offered me a very simple question. She said, “How did you walk through the door? How would you have liked to?” My immediate response was, “What door?” To which I got no answer, only a slight smile. After sitting with this I realized she meant both the literal and metaphorical door. We are all so powerful that we have the ability to affect all the people around us without even knowing it. Seriously, you are that powerful! That is why cultivating self-awareness and being mindful of all those around you is so important.

My new practice, which I offer lovingly to all of you, is to begin to pay attention in this new season, this new cycle, to how you walk through the door of wherever you are. Pause and ask, “How do I want to walk through the door?” The door of this new season? The door of the approaching month? How do you want to walk through the door of your home? The door of your work? The door of Yoga Sanctuary? The door of your own heart? Each of the doors in our lives lead to the next, they are all intertwined. Practice walking with awareness through one, and you will be able to walk through all. Think of it as a wonderful way to start over. Do some spring-cleaning and cultivation. Remember, the way you enter affects the way all the people around you walk in. So choose carefully! And if you forget to pause or make a mistake, just remember it is all part of the great practice of yoga, and ask yourself, “ How did I walk through that door, and how would I like to walk through next time?”

Written by Suzie Goldstein

Monday, March 21, 2011

the Kula Project spotlights Japan this Sunday, March 27

Last Wednesday evening’s Level 1&2 class finished on high yet humbling note for me, held in my memory with two distinct moments. With the help of two lovely classmates, I did a supported handstand in which I felt powerful and free. As someone who used to preface this task with “I can’t,” it was particularly wonderful to fly upside down with my friends. Later, as we bowed to our hearts and each other to close the class, our teacher Amy Reed asked that we send cooling thoughts to the nuclear reactor in Japan, which is still on the verge as I write this on Sunday afternoon. I imagined a snowy wind wrapping its way across the Pacific Ocean, and hoped that the chill I felt was universal.

There are many ways to deal with what is out of our immediate control. To release energy, I run. To harness it, I do yoga. What do we do when the world feels crazy, when the energy of the universe feels out of alignment? On Wednesday evening, I found focusing on my schoolwork impossible. Instead of being frustrated with my tendency to procrastinate, I allowed myself to sit with the big shifts, both social and geological, that are happening around the world. Having the time and space to ruminate was a privilege that led me away from an “I can’t” attitude about the global upheavals.

I see my yoga practice as self-care, and as a point of entry into a compassionate community. We have access to this practice, to each other, and to resources. Let’s harness our power as a community to collect and direct our energy to what seems beyond our reach individually, and send funds toward the relief efforts in Japan.

In that spirit, the Kula Project will be offering a community class this coming Sunday, March 27. From 4-5:15 come practice together with the big picture in heart and mind! We are asking for a $10 donation at the door. This month’s donation will benefit Peace Winds Japan ( All are invited to attend a discussion following the class to explore ways to work as a group, unite our yoga practices with potential for social justice and activism, and to expand the Kula Project beyond our yoga mats.

If you are unable to join us on Sunday afternoon, please consider leaving a donation for the Kula Project, at Yoga Sanctuary. Checks should be made out to “Peace Winds America.”
Read more about the Kula Project at

Written by E. Grace Johnston

Friday, March 4, 2011

Maha Shivaratri! This Sunday, March 6

The great night of Shiva happens once a year on the 13th moon, just as the light glow of the crescent moon dissolves into the darkness of a new cycle. Shivaratri is a potent time of transition and transformation. It is the time to pause, rededicate ourselves, set new intentions, and deepen our relationship with ourselves, and the Divine. In the darkness lies abundant possibility. In the darkness creation is of the deepest and most transformative kind. In the darkness, and in celebration of the Great Lord Shiva we chant Om Namah Shivaya, because on Maha Shivaratri one prayer, one mantra is worth 10,000. We chant Shiva’s mantra with a full heart of devotion and love. “ I honor the auspiciousness of myself and the Universe.” “ I honor that part of myself which is capable of living in crystal clear awareness.”

Maha Shivaratri is about remembering our very essence. Remembering we are innately good and worthy. Remembering that we are made of the same pulsing energy that is all around us, breathes us, and sustains us. The energy that is present in all things. There is nothing more powerful than change and transformation. Nothing more powerful than breaking away from negative feelings or patterns in our lives. I remember last year sitting on this day in front of a candle lit Nataraj, chanting from a place deep within. A place I had never been to in myself before. This time last year I found myself bound in the darkness. A very sad place. I begged Shiva for freedom. For the courage to make big changes in my life in order to find joy where there was none. I remember the chant vibrating through me. For five hours I chanted. I experienced great pain, sadness, joy, and pure bliss. The full array of emotions. I thought, “Well if one Om Namah Shivaya is worth 10,000 tonight, then five hours worth is really something!” And it was. No matter where you find yourself in your life, as Anusara yogis we know there is always more. So I invite you in the darkness of this very auspicious new moon, the moon of Shivaratri to set your intentions, think about the changes, transitions, and transformations you want to see in your own life and the world. Plant a potent seed in the darkness. As John Friend says, “ Have a vision of goodness, beauty, and light…” Above all else, be careful what you wish for because you might just get it! I did…

Come join us for a special Wah! yoga class and chanting 5pm and our annual celebration of Shiva chants with Dave Russell at Yoga Sanctuary Sunday March 6 at 8:00pm. Be prepared to release negativity with joy and an open heart!

Written by Suzie Goldstein

Monday, January 31, 2011

Martin Kirk and How I Found My Tibia

Yesterday just before dinner, I came home from a weekend away and scooped up my four and a half year old daughter, kissed her, listened to her adorable recounting of the day. I cuddled her up and said, "Oh, Elle, I just love you so much. Let's be best friends forever and never ever fight."

This is a line we have been using on each other for a year and a half. But today, she just smiled as if she were the mom and I were the kid and said, "Oh, Mama, I don't really think that is possible."

I burst out laughing, hugged her again and marvelled at her maturity. We agreed that it would be OK to fight as long as we made up and forgave each other; and that that, in fact would be even better than not fighting at all. Fighting, it can be argued, can be sort of fun.

Five minutes later, she was lying on the floor having a tantrum because her dad was serving edamame for dinner and this was unacceptable. Twenty minutes after that, she was sitting in my lap gobbling up that same edamame and declaring it the best meal ever.

I spent the last weekend at the Yoga Sanctuary in Northampton, where readers of this blog know that I have been doing an Immersion in preparation for a teacher training for the past year and a half. The workshop I just attended, taught by Martin Kirk, was on anatomy. I wasn't sure what to expect--after all, anatomy has never been my strong suit. I could never remember which of the six bones in the arms and legs were which. (I think maybe I knew that the femur was the thigh bone, but humerus, tibia, ulna--whatever.) But from the moment I took my seat in that gorgeous orange room on Friday night, I knew I had come to the right place.

Martin started with a discussion of what Anusara yoga founder John Friend calls "The Divine Matrix." "There is an underlying Source that directs this dance [of creation, of life] called the Invisible Matrix. It is unseen, unmanifested energy that is you--the you that is you before you were you. That Invisible Matrix is always still there. In Anusara we are trying to line up to our individual matrix [or what is sometimes called our 'optimal blueprint'] But we are all connected to a Supreme Matrix."

I am not sure what exactly prompted me to push aside so many projects last year to focus on yoga. In many ways, it seemed a strange choice. I whittled down my coaching practice to make room for yoga classes and trainings during a year when I was under pressure to deliver a book to a publisher by a certain due date. I proceeded despite an injury to the wrist. I studied the Bhagavad Gita when I should have been blogging or writing songs. And even though the benefits of yoga for my mind and body have been abundant, I remained unclear about what inside me was so dogged in my pursuit.

And here we pause for some amusing Before and After pics.

After one month of yoga:

After 10 months of yoga:

After 15 months of yoga:

The discussion of the optimal blueprint answered my question. This was why I was here. The number one guideline for Anusara yoga teachers is to help students "Align with the Divine;" and that alignment will be different for every single individual on the planet. My job is to align with the optimal blueprint of me, and to thereby be the Nerissa-est Nerissa possible; yours is to be the Elizabeth-est Elizabeth possible, or the Fred-est Fred possible.

This is exactly what I tell my clients and the writers who write with me. The hairs on my ears and arms, not to mention the back of my neck all rose when Martin reminded us teacher trainees of this number one directive. And this: When we're injured, we ask "let me see if I can line up again." When we are off track in our lives, don't we ask ourselves the same question? What worked before? Where am I now? How to I get back to home/back to wholeness. When we find ourselves, our true path, we feel as though we have come home. When we heal, we become whole. We become holy. We return to our individual matrix.

I had a client recently who was in deep despair because he believed his whole life's work up to this point was a reaction to what his father wanted him to be rather than what his own dreams were. "And now I think that even though he was a bastard, my dad was right. I should have gone to med school. I should have become a doctor. Instead I am a failed writer who can't stop watching Grey's Anatomy. I cut off my nose to spite his face. Only it was my face."

There is a Tantric sutra that translates "Even the individual whose nature is consciousness in a contracted state embodies the entire universe in a contracted form." The laws of physics tell us that if you cut a hologram in pieces, you still retain the entire image, though it does weaken in its resolution as it gets smaller and smaller. Martin called these pieces "God molecules," and insists that "It takes pure light to project the fullness of each piece. Only you are your frequency. Refine the pure light of your own frequency and you will be luminous and unstoppable. Even the parts of you you don't like are God. It's all condensed God."

He was preaching to the choir. This is right in line (in line!) with everything in my understanding of late; that God is in the sweetness and the bitter. That everything we live through is allowed. AND that we can get closer to our own individual matrix, our optimal blueprint. Which reminds me of that old aphorism, "God loves me just the way I am and too much to let me stay this way."

But how do we refine the pure light? What is the pure light? What if we wake up on a dark snowy day with a head cold and a pipe has burst and it's negative two outside and our spouse is in a bad mood and the news on the radio makes us want to vacate the planet? And I'm not even mentioning the writer's block.

Another aphorism: "The greatest gift we can give someone is our attention." So far, this is my version of turning on the light. I give myself my own attention for starters. Instead of turning on Facebook (not that I don't love it) or the TV or reaching for a donut or a beer, I sit quietly and listen to myself whine. Sometimes this takes a long time. But it works.

When my daughter was apoplectic over her dinner selection, I just held her and let her moan. Sometimes I repeated back to her what she had shouted to let her know I heard her. Eventually she cleared up, just like the sun coming out from behind the snowfilled clouds and wiped her eyes and took a bite. And remembered she liked edamame.

I listened to my client complain about his dad and his "bad" choices for a long time too. Sometimes I repeated back what he had said to make sure he knew I was listening. I try to be like a good yoga teacher; to offer support where needed, especially when I hear a painful unnecessary thought. I offer an adjustment. I point out when the form is gorgeous and right. But mostly I give my attention. In the light of pure attention, something miraculous happens. The client begins to heal himself. Yes, I definitely point this out, encourage the healing path. But, again, like a good yoga teacher, I am not the healer. I just make the space, offer the simple instructions. Then I let him work through his own possibilities. Should he at the age of 47 go to med school? Should he become a body worker? Or maybe send his resume to a medical journal for an editorial position? My job is to listen and ask him how each of these possibilities ricochets around in his body. What feels exciting? What feels deadening? What thoughts are contributing to each feeling? It is painstaking and delicious work. And nothing is lost from the process except a bunch of used up stories that he finds were not serving him. He finds himself a free man, free to rejoice in his past, and free to make new choices for his future.

There is a phrase in Anusara, an instruction a teacher will often begin with: "Inner body bright." Martin's version of this instruction was: "Let the sun shine in your heart." I, of the notoriously slumped shoulders (which are getting much better!) notice that when I hear this instruction, I naturally lift the sides of my body as well as my rib cage. This small action not only erases the slump, it raises my spirits. I can't help smiling and feeling hopeful, even on the darkest of snowy days. And I dare say, I think this is the way we shine that light to reconstitute our God molecules into so that we, in turn, become luminous.

Here's to the return of the light.

Nerissa Nields is a musician, writer and coach who lives in Northampton. She works with groups and individuals to find their optimal blueprint on the page and off the mat. She has been studying Anusara yoga since 2009 and can't believe her good fortune in finding this joyful path and sanctuary. She writes about the nexus of art, family and yoga (skill in action) on her blog at

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Come out this Sunday, January 30 for a Community Yoga Class and Discussion about Yoga and Social Justice!

Around a year ago, I watched a documentary film narrated by the late Peter Postelthwaite that looks back from 2055 when human civilization as we know it has ceased to exist and the earth has been virtually destroyed. From his post-apocalyptic vantage point, Postelthwaite reviews the evidence of climate change that could have served as a warning if only we’d paid attention. Toward the end of the film, he asks, why didn’t we save ourselves when we had the chance? “Is the answer that,” he posits, “at some level we didn’t think we were worth saving?”

This struck me, not just as a poignant question, but as the fundamental issue at stake, and as the very essence of yoga. Our belief in our essential worth is about recognizing consciousness and light within our own hearts and recognizing our place in the greater web of the universe. My experience has taught me that this practice does make me feel happier and better on a personal level, and it is much larger than just that– I believe that valuing ourselves is truly the way to shift and heal the planet. When we remember our true nature — our innate goodness and worthiness — we naturally extend that value and treat others and the earth with kindness, compassion, and respect.

On a personal level, my yoga practice helps me cultivate light and abundance within, and I find myself wanting to share the fruits of my practice with others – to reach out and get involved in the community.

Do you share this feeling and experience? Do these ideas resonate with you?

If so, come join us for the first monthly Kula Project class on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at Yoga Sanctuary!

The Kula Project is a new group forming to expand the consciousness of the yoga community to include engagement with issues of social justice and social activism and to enrich the activist community through participation in yoga and embodied practices. More at

The theme of Sunday’s class and discussion will be “Valuing Yourself Is A Radical Act.”

What: A community yoga class (all levels) and discussion.

Class co-taught be Kendra Hodgson, Lisa Leizman, and Allison Page. Discussion facilitated by Lisa Berkovits.

Donations (cash and check only) to benefit Seeds of Solidarity (

When: Sunday, January 30, 2011

Class: 4-5:15 PM

Discussion: 5:15-6:15 PM

Where: Yoga Sanctuary, 3rd Floor Thornes Marketplace, 150 Main St., Northampton, MA

Share the event with your friends on Facebook.

More about the Kula Project:

Written by Kendra Hodgson

Friday, January 7, 2011

Living in the Fullness of Time

Sitting here on the cusp of 2011, I have been contemplating what the shift in a calendar year means and the traditions that surround it. I believe (and regularly partake) in the practice of setting intentions, yet I have long felt a subtle resistance to the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, though until recently I hadn’t spent the time to identify and articulate what it was that I was uncomfortable with.

In my understanding, setting a New Year’s Resolution starts from a place of feeling not good enough, essentially of being in a place of lack. So the message seems to be that we need to do something — lose x # of pounds, study harder, eat more vegetables, etc. — to be better. In yoga, we begin instead with the premise that we are already worthy just because we are alive. Our deepest nature is innate worthiness. Worth is not something that anyone can give or take away from us, and it is not something that we can achieve through dieting, going to the gym, studying, etc.. We already have it. Rather than making ourselves somehow better through our yoga practice, we instead use our practice to uncover and realize our own true nature more fully.

I have noticed, too, that resolutions are also often about starting from a clean slate — wiping away the previous year and starting fresh in the new year — and this relationship to time feels discordant to me. In yoga, there is a beautiful concept — kalapurnata — which means “the fullness of time.” Kala comes from Kali, who is known as the goddess of time and change, and purna, which means “fullness” or “abundance.” To live in kalapurnata means to live fully in past, present, and future all at once.

So, rather than wiping away 2010 and starting with a clean slate, we look back on the year and see what we can learn from it. And all of the experiences from the year are worthwhile — even the places where we stepped out of alignment and perhaps said or did things that we wish we hadn’t. Those experiences are also teachers and when we reflect on them mindfully and consciously, we can use them to inform our present and our future. We remember our past and use it to act mindfully in our present and to consider what lies ahead.

Why does this matter? Now, more than ever, the earth needs us to be fully awake and to be living consciously from *all* of our experiences. To use our past to live mindfully in our present, with an eye to the future, is to be thoughtful of ourselves and considerate of one another and respectful of the impact our choices will have on future generations.

Seventh generation sustainability is an ecological concept that originated with the Iroquois — The Great Law of the Iroquois — that urges humans to think about the impact their current decisions will have on the seventh generation in the future. To do that is to realize that we are so much greater than just ourselves, to realize that our choices do matter and will affect not just others in our immediate sphere but people who come after us much further in the future.

To live in kalapurnata is to be aware that we live in a continuum of time, that we can never wipe away the year gone by (nor do we want to!). I invite you to look back on 2010 and take it all in — swallow it and assimilate it all, let it become a part of you. And from that place, look forward to 2011. Keep one foot in the past and one foot in the future, and it will then be possible to live fully in kalapurnata in the present.

I wish to thank all of my teachers and friends for the giftss of wisdom and guidance that have contributed to my offering of this writing. Most especially here, I would like to thank Amy Ippoliti for introducing me to the concept of kalapurnata and my dear friend Lizzy Tyler for her reminders to always begin from a place of fullness and worth.

Questions for further contemplation:
* What were your greatest teachings of 2010?
* In what moments or experiences did you feel in clear alignment? How do you want to bring that forward with you into 2011?
* In what moments or experiences did you feel out of alignment? How do you want to use that to inform what you do in 2011?
* What would it look like for you to live in kalapurnata as you enter the new year?

Written by Kendra Hodgson

Check out Kendra's classes at YS and learn more about her at