Yoga with Dunja – LaConner, WA

When you take a class from a Master Yogi you know it. There is a divine peace that is palpable in the room. This calm combined with a wealth of knowledge permeates the senses as you move through the guided postures and sit in meditation. Dunja Lingwood is a Guru. I can still feel her presence in my head and my heart after attending practice this week at the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, WA.

Practicing in a museum is new for me. The setting is perfect though. The lighting is low, It’s quiet and you are surrounded by art that evokes emotion, memories and dreams. Much like our practice – we craft, refine, add a bit here, move away from tension there. We put a lot of love and effort into it. Our practice is a work of art!

As we refined our practice I was enchanted by Dunja. I felt as if I was in the presence of one of the Elven Royalty from The Lord of The Rings! I was slightly in awe yet intrigued and drawn in by her lovely smile and embrace. At the same time, I realized that this person holds great power and strength and maybe even a little magic! I tried to guess her heritage. She is tall and lithe with a pixie blonde haircut, sharp eyes that miss nothing, a generous mouth and a flowing accent that sounds Scandinavian(?) – definitely not American. Richer, fuller sounds came from her mouth as she invited us to, “find the circle of the palm” or “widen and freshen your toes.” That one made me giggle!

Her directions became deeper, sensing – no, KNOWING what we felt in our body and how to adjust a hip here or a foot there. THAT is what practicing with a master does for you! Years of practice has taught her how this pose feels, she knows how to let loose of that tense shoulder or how to deepen the stretch….because she’s done this before – many times and she knows how to lovingly guide you through.

As the asana portion came to end we moved into meditation. I’ve meditated before but nothing like this! As I settled in to Sukhasna, I found my mind at ease, my body ready to be still and my heart open. I let my mind drift – not attaching to any thought for long. I felt great! I felt light and relaxed. I felt present. And then after a while I began to feel something else…..I began to notice an irritating tingle in my right leg – dang it! My leg had fallen asleep and I needed to move it to increase the blood flow. Moving my leg brought me out of meditation just before our time ended and I spent a lovely few minutes feeling grateful for the experience.

As practice ended Dunja called out blessings on us as she waved goodbye. It was a great experience – and you will love her too!

If you are interested in taking your practice to another level may I humbly recommend you try a class with a Master Yogi, a Guru, someone who has developed their practice over years. Dunja Lingwood is a good choice and you can find her schedule on her blog:



Yoga for a Healthy Back – St. Simons Island Georgia

Yes, my back is still bothering me and YES it still bothers me! LOL. Dang it! I’m a yoga teacher! I’m supposed to be fit and healthy and flexible! I’m not supposed to be cringing when I bend over to pick up something or hold my palms to my lower back as I move from sitting to standing. It’s making me feel OLD! It’s been a week and I still have a small pain in my lower right back that just won’t GIVE. Thankfully Balance Wellness Studio offers a class to give me more ease.

Yoga for a Healthy Back is led by Karen Lucas. When I first met Karen I had the feeling that she could see right through me. You know, that feeling that a mother gives you? Like she knows what you’re thinking and what you’ve been up to and there’s no way to hide it? I found out later that Karen is a retired school teacher – Aha! That’s where that came from!


(Miss Karen)

As Karen led us through the postures I had difficulty staying present. I felt frustrated by what I couldn’t do. At one point we were sitting with our knees bent. We were then directed to hold in our core and slowly lie back on the mat. I could go back about 10 inches but then my back started to hurt and I needed to use my hands to help lower myself down.

What felt best was a supine spinal twist with the knee straightened. For those of you non-yogis out there I’ll explain. Lie down on your back and lift the right leg straight up to the ceiling, place a strap around the ball of this foot, hold the strap in the left hand and allow the leg to drop across the body as much as possible keeping the leg straight. The right arm moves out straight from the shoulder to the right and the left leg lies straight down the mat. You can use a bolster or a rolled blanket to rest the right foot on if you like. Then do the other side as well.


We held this stretch for a few minutes. This can be an intense stretch in the hamstring, glute, side waist and shoulder depending on how tight you are and where the pain is located. This stretch for me felt like someone pulling really stiff taffy from my lower right back all the way to the middle of my right thigh. It was so good I almost cried.

What I really love about being the student in class it that it puts me inside the minds of MY students. I have had students who were hurting or stiff and I’m sure they felt exactly like I feel now: “frustrated with what they couldn’t do” and impatient to get better – to be able to do more!

How many times have we heard “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible” ?Well, DUH how do you think you get flexible? You must keep at it.  No one changes overnight. With routine practice we WILL become more flexible and we WILL become stronger and we WILL become more capable.

And finally, It’s a good reminder to tell my students that it’s ok to NOT do every asana – especially if it hurts! If someone is hurting we must be aware of modifications for the asanas. If we can modify the pose for them, they will feel some sense of accomplishment and have a place from which they can work towards the full posture.

Yoga really is for EVERY body (not just skinny white women and super flexible ex-athletes) And it is my job to make sure that I make yoga accessible for everyone. I want my students to feel a sense of accomplishment and growth and to have fun wih yoga! I need to help them be patient with the process – even if patience is not MY strong suit!  – LOL

Signed, Impatient with my back pain in Georgia – Hugs y’all.

Still learning, Still growing, Still practicing


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2MPower Yoga

Dropping in to a yoga studio is rapidly becoming one of the funnest things I get to do. I meet teachers for the first time, see the way they interact with their students, steal any good vocal tips or asana variations and then I get to tell you all about it! My most recent drop-in was in Brunswick GA. The all-knowing Guru told me that there is a by-donation class on Sunday at 2MPower Yoga!

I love studios that offer a by-donation class. It lets me know that they are community minded and aware that not everyone can afford a normal drop-in rate or a monthly membership. It also gives community members a chance to get a “glimpse” of what this studio is like – are the teachers warm and welcoming? Is the class format easy to follow etc.

Our instructor for the night Robin, is a friendly, tiny bit of a thing with a million watt smile and the energy of the sun held tightly in control. She lets us know that this will not be a heated class but that she promises to get us nice and warm anyway. 2Mpower is a studio that follows the Baptiste style and it did NOT take us long to get warm – let me tell you!

At one point, about halfway through practice we were directed to move into Eagle pose – not an asana that is easy for me. I worked it though! Right leg tightly woven and wrapped around the left, left arm over the right intertwined, elbows up at shoulder height, drishti forward to a spot not occupied by a moving human, swaying, sweat dripping down my nose……holding……holding……holding…..OMG HOLDING!!!! And then dear, sweet Robin invited us to allow some softness into our standing leg….and I SWEAR it took super human strength NOT to say out loud…”YOU allow some softness into your standing leg!” Or “OH Thanks, thanks a lot!” I did chuckle out loud a bit though.

It made me wonder what types of things MY students think when I am instructing them through a tough and then tougher asana. I’m sure I get a lot of this type of “mental back talk” LOL. So it was funny to hear it coming from myself for a change.


( I didn’t take any pics that day – so here’s a random shot of me!)

The class was very challenging and I totally loved every freaking moment of it. I love a teacher who will push you, ask you for more, give you grace if it’s not in your arsenal for today and smile and laugh right along with you the whole time. Robin even said she wished she could be practicing with us and I wanted to move over and give her some room on my mat!!!!!

The next day I was feeling my body all over in ALL the right places! My core, the back of my thighs and bum, my shoulders and arms. I felt strong and powerful. Like I had worked hard and my body was grateful for it! It made me want MORE. It made me want to practice more and isn’t that what we all want in a yoga class? A teacher that inspires us, makes it ok to laugh and makes us want to practice more!

So I recommend 2MPower Yoga in Brunswick, Georgia. Come try out a class. They’ll kick your ass and you’ll love them for it!