Thursday, September 5, 2013

10 messages your body may be sending you on your mat

Yes yes a thousand times yes. I have these same messages going thru my head 9 years into my practice and hear them all every day. Teachers, please know how to help your students with these BASICS - your help with fundamentals (not just how to get into visvamitrasana ) will help them further their practice on and off the mat...and isn't THAT why we teach???

Sunday, June 23, 2013

ByomYoga on Facebook

Lately it has been easier to update the BYOM Facebook page with shared links, short message and pictures than this blog, so please always check here for new info. The Google Calendar at right will always be updated with my latest classes, but the Facebook format allows me to do quick updates with new info and gives you a broader view of what's going on. LIKE my page, and you can friend me Jackie (Kurtz) Gadd as well!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How Family Yoga Changed my Day (week, year, life)

This morning I woke up grumpy. Those of you that have spent morning time with me know I actually LOVE mornings. But not today. Eli has me up three times last night, each time from a DEEP sleep, for things that I began to resent.

Yes Eli.
Please put the covers back on me!
Do it yourself Honey-Bun.
(whining, sleepily) NOOOOO you do it for me!!
(Of course, I get up and do it). I'm back in bed in 60 seconds. Phew.
WHAT honey?
Please bring me some juice.
(I wait hoping he just goes back to sleep).
(now I have to go to the bathroom)
I'm in the potty Eli.
(WHHHHHHHINE) I want some juiiiiiiiiiiice.
In a minute
(I deliver said juice)
What's wrong Eli?
Please take my cup.
Just put it down.
Yes you can.
Good job.
Night Night
night night Eli.
I said goodnight Eli.
Night night - go to bed Eli.

Repeat this sequence three times between midnight and six am.

Needless to say, at 7:47 this morning, even though that would put me at 8.5 hours "in bed" I was groggy, puffy-eyed and just plain ol' worn out.

I picked up my iPhone and checked e-mail - maybe something uplifting came in overnight?? Humor? Good News? A lottery win? Nope, just stores sales, political surveys and petitions, and the like.

I got out of bed to get food (I was so damn hungry...see side note) and the newspaper - ah, one of my Sunday simple pleasures!

Chowing on a banana back in warm cozy bed (overcast and threatening to rain outside), I read through the comics (first, of course), checked out the sales flyers, tore my coupons and reviewed the real estate listings (sigh). But I was STILL grumpy. And STILL hungry.

Side note: to update, I'm struggling with trying to solve some IBS issues. But it's not the dairy-free/gluten-free diet that's been difficult. It's the inulin-free (which is in Udi's bread BTW), apple-free, soy-free, watermelon-free, bean-free, onion and garlic-free conditions of FODMAP that are making it hard to have food handy. It's also the lower abdominal discomfort that arises when I digress EVEN A LITTLE BIT (like soy milk in my tea?) I'm just frustrated by having to "over" manage what I eat and still feel powerless to what works and what does not.

Then Eli woke up, groggier than ever, and amidst noising whining and fussing, he appeared in my doorway, sleepy-eyed and adorable. However but I was so set on being grumpy about my lack of sleep that I didn't even appreciate his sweetness.

I want to get in the big beg Mommy
Go around to Dad's side, I scowled, trying to keep my space protected.

Bless Dad's heart, he lifted the 33.8 pound pajama clad bundle between us, only to have Eli fuss about not having the covers on him. Ugh I thought... how many seconds until he utters his usual morning demands about using the phone? I cringed as he asked "Does the phone have batteries? Can I watch Thomas videos on the phone?" and handed it over just to keep the quiet, unwavering from my surly demeanor even when he snuggled in and said "Thank you Mommy."

Ok, I thought, I have to break out of this....breath and connect. So I hugged Eli close, placed one hand on his heart, and reached the other over to his Dad's chest. I easily felt Eli's hummingbird heartbeat high in his chest, and tuned in to his Dad's warmth while I connected our three hearts.

Alas, this sweet moment was short-lived as the days responsibilities gnawed at me until I fell out of bed (literally) and got on my chores.
-Untangle the mass of plastic-ware and lids that we have amassed. Check.
-Fold rest of weekly laundry. Ignore.
-Eat a healthy breakfast. Fail (macaroons and a pot of tea had to suffice)
-Check e-mail for news about yoga classes, meeting time and various and sundry communique. Check.
-Shower. Check
-While showering, try to figure out how to remodel the entire upstairs and kitchen and rearrange the entire house. AIGH!!!! I can't take it.

My brain just wouldn't let go of that cloud of grump it had latched onto with cynical vigor. What was I going to do when I go to yoga class? I can't teach like this!

My 15 minute ride to the studio was steeped in anxiety as I left late and ended up being five minutes late to prepare for class (I'm supposed to get there 15 minutes before class to prep). Earlier parts of my life were plagued with tardiness, and I now absolutely LOATHE when I put myself in that situation.

But once inside the studio...something was starting to shift... slowly, and gently....

One family showed up as I walked in - a lovely mom and sweet 3 year old daughter who were my only students last week (and we had a blast). And then, another family - with two children. Newcomers! And another new family with two children. And a dear friend of mine who came to observe! Another family I knew and suddenly, there we were, six moms, six kids, a sweet little circle of mats, and I began...

Pretzel legs...sit up tall...take a deep breath... OOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM

Class I must share was a wonder of childhood joy, yoga poses, family appreciation, energetic movement and loving support. Laurie Berkner, Elizabeth Mitchell...these were my yoga muses and the children my mentors. We rubbed each other's backs, we made imaginary peanut-butter-ice-cream-olive-strawberry-and-Taquis sandwiches on raisin bread and shared them on our body picnic tables, we pranced around like dinosaurs and we enjoyed ourselves. I smiled broadly not out of obligation or habit, but from deep sense of gratitude for what these families were giving ME: A renewed appreciation for family, for friendship, for YOGA.

At savasana time, after 40 minutes of movement, I turned down the lights, had the families lay down, and handed out my homemade yoga eye pillows and stuffed animals. With utter pleasure and reverence I gave each person (even the four month old baby) a quick and ever-mindful foot massage. My heart was full, my mood altered, and my tiredness GONE.

Maybe you've experienced something like this - a huge shift in energy where you didn't expect it, or when you needed it most. Yes, I guide yoga to make an income, but so much more importantly, I do this because it makes my life better. The income is the (dairy free) frosting on the proverbial (gluten free) cake!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Poses - It's the IDEA, not the IDEAL

Photographs courtesy of Kyle Murphy

In August of 2012 I decided to take a leap and get professional yoga photographs taken...meaning the person behind the camera was a pro, and I'd do poses, but the outcome was left to chance. I make no claim that my alignment is perfect, but I do know that I was trying my best to follow my own knowledge, plus the cues of the patient instructor/coach there. Your poses may (will) look different, but out of sheer humility (to prove that it's the IDEA of the pose, not the IDEAL) I thought I'd unveil these, with the pose names in English and Sanskrit. Eventually I will add my own pose notes like how to get into them, how to make your own adjustments, and how to move out of them. Enjoy, offer me feedback, Pin, or whatever you please.

Parivrtta Anjanyasana - Revolved Lunge Pose with palms together at the heart in Namaste Mudra (also can be considered a modification of Pavritta Parsvakonsana - Revolved Side Angle)

(Eka Pada) Setu Banda Sarvangasana - Bridge Pose with One Extended Leg

Urdvha Danurasana - Upward Facing Bow

Uttanasana - Forward Fold, or literally, Intense Stretch Pose (ahhhhh)

Salamba Sirsasana - Supported (by my arms) Headstand

Salamba Sirsasana with Padmasana Legs (Lotus Position legs)

Prasarita Parsvottanasana D variation- Wide Angle Standing Forward Bend (or literally, outstretched feet intense stretch), reaching for the outer edges of the feet (or big toes in the traditional Ashtanga version)

Bakasana - Crow/Crane Pose (baka actually means crane)

Parivrtta Bakasana - Twisting (rotating) Crow Pose

Utthitha Trikonasana - Extended Triangle Pose

15 Manifestos for a Quick burst of Inspiration (from

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hot Hot Hot

I wanted to share a really great yoga experience I had yesterday when I did two essential things: 1) ventured out of my comfort zone; and 2) abandoned my ego.

I went to one of my favorite local studios (#HapaYoga) to pick up a TRX class. If you haven't ventured into a gym lately TRX is a type of equipment that consists of a long strap anchored high to a wall, with two stirrups at the ends. The strap lengths are adjustable and the stirrups have handles for gripping with your hands or securing your feet. You use your body weight and incline positions to vary the effort you need to stabilize yourself for certain exercises, lift yourself up or let yourself down; this mirrors some traditional "machine," free weight or even floor work exercises with the benefit of you controlling the weight and being supported by straps. I have received the most intense (and still enjoyable) core workouts using this system and am actually getting trained in June so that I can help teach some classes.

But that isn't what I'm writing about today. As I said, I went to the studio to try to take the TRX class. I arrived a few moments before noon thinking that was the class time, but found out it wasn't until 12:30. The instructor for the actual noon class caught my eye and said "Hey please join me in the class starting now." My friend at the desk chimed in with "Yes, try it! you can always do child's pose." I asked with a funny look on my face "well what's the class?" The both said (wait for it...) HOT AS A MUTHA. Exclamation point. The general description? 101 degree Hatha Yoga. Gasp.

I just started dabbling in this format and enjoy the the 80 and 90 degree classes; they are just like summers in San Diego and my hometown Chicago. However, once you get past 95, I start to wilt and my Pitta goes berserk. And as a midwest girl, I fear NOT the humidity (heck it even makes me look like I have curlier, fully hair.) But 101 degrees? I was skeptical and was pretty I'd spend the entire class gasping for breath. However, I looked at his as an opportunity to change up my practice, try something new from a really great teacher, and figured the worst thing that could happen is I get a nice sauna experience!

Water bottle and yogi towel in hand, I stepped into the room and found it not unpleasant, especially on a cold rainy blustery day. Short story long....the class was NOT a high-power super-flow, out-of-breath rush-between-the-postures, marathon of yoga. It was slow, deliberate, intense and deeply opening but strangely enjoyable. Hot, sure, but invigorating. Yeah, I took a few long down dogs and child's poses when my breath became ragged, but so what? I smiled as the instructor talked about just being in the moment, relishing the opportunity to be in class, and generating self love. YES, I thought, THIS is where I experience my yogic moments.

Dripping with sweat not as much from exertion but from the humidity, I took my water breaks, even stepped out of class for a minute. I took pleasure in (literally) marinating in the poses for long cycles of breath. My personal teaching and practicing style has more deep holds and breathwork inside of poses than a fast-paced vinyasa class, so this held great appeal for me. With the slowew pace you can have more accurate (and safe) alignment to maximize the benefits in a pose. Heat not-withstanding, this was real Hatha Yoga.

A nice series on the floor (where it was cooler) for back strengthening (and resting) was much appreciated as my low back rebels due to age, injury and overexertion. Moving within MY boundaries, I honed in on the muscular cues and celebrated just being able to stay in the class, keeping my heart and mind open to the experience.

My final overarching lesson (slash piece of advice) is a "don't just a class by its title" as the instructor and styles might be very different upon experiencing them. If you want to give this class a try, I highly recommend it (invest in a microfiber towel and LARGE water bottle too!). Check out the Hapa Yoga schedule, or just drop me a message - maybe I'll see you there!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Two Yoga Events and MORE this Spring/Summer

Just trying to gather up some good info to pass on about Yoga and Health and Family related events this Spring. Thank you and San Diego Coast Life being such AMAZING resources!

April 13 at the Del mar Fairgrounds is the Hullaballoo Family Music Festival!

April 13 is the El Cajon Library Multicultural Family Fiesta that celebrates the cultural diversity of its community and customers. The event will feature a wide variety of entertainment, international refreshments donated by more than 30 restaurants and markets, and an information fair.

April 13 and 14 Healthy Living Festival at the Del Mar Fair - Free Admission

April 20 is Suzie's (organic) Farm Strawberry Jam: a fun, family-oriented farm experience focused on everyone’s favorite summer fruit. Strawberry Jam kicks off Suzie’s Farm “Event Season,” which will be hosted at their new property Suzie’s at Sunset, on Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

April 21 at Legoland and April 28 at NTC Liberty Station: SDCCU Walk MS - a wonderful set of events for a wonderful (and close to my heart cause). Walk, or just wander around the event to see what happens when people come together! You may even be inspired to sign up for the 50 mile MS Challenge Walk coming end of September!

April 27/28 is San Diego Kids Expo and HAPA yoga will be there, with yours truly and the lovely Jules Kirkiby to demo kids yoga at 11AM and 3PM. Hapa has tickets for $5 for adults (kids are free).

May 5 KIDSFEST San Diego Liberty Station, NTC Promenade, San Diego, CA
KidsFest will transform the NTC Promenade in Point Loma into a 100,000-square-foot wonderland of pure, uncomplicated play for the entire family, with activities designed to stimulate and celebrate the imagination.

May 18 Yoga for Hope San Diego - Do yoga, raise money for City of Hope - join local and national renown teachers like Bonnie Jones and Seane Corn to OM and support Cit of Hope!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Neck and Shoulder Pain Clinic (and more) @BlissYogi

FREE Neck & Shoulder Pain Clinic

13 Apr 2013 from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM (PDT)

Community Clubhouse at Golden Hill Park & Rec

26th & Russ Blvd (Parking on Russ Blvd.)

San Diego 92102


Are you (or someone you love) TIRED of Suffering from Neck & Shoulder pain? If you said yes then come to this free clinic and experience natural, drug-free relief. Wear loose comfortable clothes. Family and friends welcome. RSVP to

Setting Right Your Most Important Relationships

20 Apr 2013 from 12:00 PM - 2:30 PM (PDT)

Community Clubhouse at Golden Hill Park and Rec

Special Event With Awakening Being Gail Wingfield

Do you want to improve your sense of connectedness and harmony in all your relationships? If you answered YES, then please join us for a rare opportunity to learn how to set right your most important relationships. Then observe the effect that has on all your other relationships.

Bring water, a notebook and pen as Gail leads you through teachings and processes from Oneness University. She will also answer questions and give Oneness Blessings. Dancing & Deeksha afterwards

For more information contact:

Deepaa Maria Mazzi, E-RYT 500
Release your core tensions and find your bliss within...


Cost: YES Member $0.00 Non Member $25.00

see the YES website page for more activities in the San Diego area!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Take a Seat - try Chair Yoga!

This week I started to experiment in one class with chair yoga, then even more in another class, and so next week I declare to be Chair Yoga week. You can get a surprisingly good workout EVEN IN A CHAIR doing yoga. It affords you the opportunity to take balance issues out of the equation (for the most part) and focus on alignment, creating space, engaging the abdomen, and breathing above and beyond all. For those that have injuries, physical limitations, arthritis, are pregnant or just want to try something different, having the chair nearby brings the floor closer to you (or you closer to the floor, however you perceive it) and may offer a little more security, as well as a multitude of modification options.

We worked Warrior 1, 2 and 3 using the chair (virabhadrasana series). We did spinal flexion and extension (uttanasana, anuvatasana), forward, back and side. We used the chair to make reaching the floor not even a concern in Triangle Pose (trikonasa) and Half Moon (ardha chandrasana), and we used the chair to support us getting into and out of wide legged forward bend (prasarita padottansana). We were able to focus on hip alignment, spinal alignment, and hold poses for MUCH longer using our little friends, our foldable chairs. We even did a variation of boat pose (navasana) in our chair, just for grins.

I think the best part was our savasana with our legs supported on the seat of the chair, with eye pillows in our hip creases to help release our femurs into the hip sockets. For those with shorter legs we lined up soft bricks (but multiple blankets or bolsters would do the trick as well).

I encourage you to experiment with chair assisted poses at work, at home, or even in (esp.) in class for a different type of challenge. Here are some links to explore:

We'll be dabbling in this genre more this week, so please join me Tuesday Evening at 7:30, or Thursday morning at 9:30 at 6660 cowles mountain road, san diego.

Remember, it's your make it YOUR yoga (BYOC!!!)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

IBS oh my

I'm slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that what I have is in fact a form of IBS. Which means far more careful attention to exactly what I put into my body, from the kind of fiber to the amount of sugar, dairy, wheat, and carbonation (I'm a sucker for sparkling water). While I try to sort out what is best for me, I wanted to share with you some information on IBS, the symptoms, and how yoga can help alleviate the complications.

Help For IBS.

Enjoy whilst I go and fetch myself some enteric coated peppermint capsules, soluble prebiotic fiber and some fennel tea. We'll chat later :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Some wonderful workshops this weekend

Hands-On Adjusments
Looking to go more indepth with your hands-on adjustments in your classes? Check out the workshop with Shelby Lefrinere (E-RYT 200, RYT 500), Refining Our Communication in Asana Adjustments, Saturday 2/23/13 1:30-4:30 pm. Only $30 pre-register, $40 at the door (Please contact Shelby Lafrinere at 619.964.0313 or email Workshop is hosted by Yoga Well at 2333 El Camino del Rio South, San Diego, CA 92108.

Upper back issues: Kyphosis
On the subject of back pain, an over-rounding in the upper back is called kyphosis. Body Awareness Yoga will be conducting a clinic that address this condition and strategies to manage, and in some cases, reverse the unhealthy affects of kyphosis. No previous Yoga experience is necessary but this clinic is for active women looking for a way to be proactive with their spinal health. 1 to 3 pm for $35 at 1075 Broadway in El Cajon Body Awareness Studio.

Namaste - I bow to your form

A nice etymologicial discussion of the word:

With my children and family yoga classes, I like this song interpretation: "There's a light in me, there's a light in you, and together we are one." Or for secular classes, I like to say "Namasate is the yoga way of saying 'Thank You.'"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yoga Surveys - just for fun

Scroll to the bottom of the page to fill out two little yoga surveys...let me know what influences YOU!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kids Yoga Feedback - Leave Your Comments Here!

I am overjoyed when I get written or verbal feedback from parents/kids/educators about the classes that I have shared with them. But since I only have this free blog (for now) there hasn't been a really useful place to put these comments...until now! Please, if you have something to say about a class that you attended with your child, a class YOU attended, a class your CHILD attended or some feedback in general, I would very much appreciate your leaving your comments here.

AND if you have pictures of your child/family/self in one of my yoga classes, please submit it to me and you'll see it here soon. I'm going to set up a photostream so I can share the visual joy!

Best Regards

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yoga IS for every body

The Spring 2013 issue of Yoga International Magazine has a great article entitled "When Life Gives You Curves," and it's all about learning how to modify your practice to suit your body. The author does a great job of talking about some of the common issues in practice (for any body), like knee (alignment, pain), leg position (under hips vs. feet together), shoulder (flexibility), wrist (sensitivity), booty (position and size accomodations), belly (accomodating and LOVING it), breasts (accomodating and LOVING them), and in general, FEELING your yoga poses rather than concentrating on some perfect picture or even a mirror (or worse, trying to look like an instructor or neighbor in class).

Yoga knowledge, yoga experience, yoga skills, comes from the inside - from listening to your body, from really tapping in to your inner wisdom (and allowing it to make mistakes, to learn and most importantly to be nutured).

Whether you are 3 or 93, 30 pounds or 230, there is a way to modify a (physical) yoga practice to encourage you to be at peace with your body, to understand it, and to love it.

The article isn't up online yet, but I will provide a link when it is availabe. In the meantime, check out the rest of their website for the winter/spring issue. The magazine is published by the Himalayan Institute, one of the foremost schools of yogic study (and the traidition of which is followed by my school, YogaWell). It's a little bit less commercial than some other yoga mags out there, and has a lot more content about holistic healing, yogic lifestyle, home practice, and media reviews.

Enjoy, and remember, whatever you body, Yoga is For You!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Non-attachment challenge of the moment

The least fun part about taking pictures of yourself in yoga poses is...having to look at yourself in pictures in yoga poses. I am happy with how I do the poses, however supported, awkward or less than "ideal"... it's just that you notice the little things: the under-chin skin, the bags under the eyes, the way the skin falls to gravity when you are upside down. Oh, but to take it all in stride and gracefully love aging.

PS Non attachment in sanskrit is vairagya and samtosa is contentment (with what is)... OOOOMMMMM

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yoga App Gratitude Journal for just 99 cents (donated to charity)

I received a lovely email today from a treasured friend and instructor from my YTT program. I share this with you as a way to deepen your personal practice. It is about a new Iphone App called Gratitude Journal developed by Matt Elmore of and

Writes Matt:

"I'd like to share with you something very dear to my heart. For the greater part of 2012, I had been putting together a non-profit called Prana to the People, an organization dedicated to spreading happiness through modern technology. Proceeds from Prana to the People go to various non-profit and relief organizations chosen quarterly. I'm excited to say that the first product, Gratitude Journey: an All-In-One Gratitude Journal for iPhone and iPad, has just been released.

"The idea for Gratitude Journey came about as a sudden realization. I had been using a gratitude journal for months to essentially start my day on a happy note, and keep that going. For those who don’t know what a gratitude journal is, it’s as simple as it sounds. At specific times of the day, you journal about things that you’re grateful for in your life. It’s amazingly effective. By keeping an attitude of gratitude, you’re constantly reminded of the happy things in your life, which are often hidden by stress.

"One day, a friend/leadership coach was telling me about one of her morning habits. She has this adorable practice of asking strangers in her building elevator, “What are you grateful for today?” I thought to myself about what a gift she is giving these people. When someone starts thinking about the macaroni art their daughter made for them, they’re going to be rocking a smile all day long. So the decision was made. Everyone deserves happiness and what better way to do it than through smart phone apps.

"Gratitude Journey is designed to enhance and automate the process of keeping a gratitude journal. You can add pictures to your entries, categorize them by type, and chart your progress. The two key features that really make the app powerful are the Daily Alarm and the Gratitude Gift. At specified times of the day, the app will send you randomly-selected past entries as a pick-me-up.

"This quarters' proceeds will go to a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. I encourage you to support kiva and Prana to the People, by checking out Gratitude Journey, available for $0.99 on the App Store.

"Thank you so much for your attention.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Free Kids/Teens Yoga at the Iyengar Regional Conference in May 2013 Free Classes for Kids and Teens

These free classes, offered simultaneously, are geared at 8-12 and 13-17 year-olds. When the yoga class ends, students will stay in the same room for an art activity until the parent’s class is finished.

5/10/13 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

5/11/13 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

For adult practitioners, this conference looks to be pretty dynamic. Not free, but reasonably priced considering the amount of practice in which you can engage. Terrific asana and pranayama tracks from which to choose Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced style classes!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Riffs Acoustic Music and Yoga Event Saturday 1/12/13

Stop by any time throughout the day..stay for an hour or ALL day. Bring your drum to help us close our day in a drum circle at 7:45. Grab $1 tacos next door and chat with like-minded people. Pass on the flyer: we're starting a revolution! Riffs Acoustic Music 5510 La Jolla BlvdLa Jolla, California 92037

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Another class at Hapa Yoga

Update: only teaching the Yoga Basics !! I'm honored to be subbing one class next week: Monday 1/14 at 9 am for Yoga Basics at HAPA yoga. They have some amazing rates for weekly and monthly unlimited classes that include childcare!!!! And you can get your first class free!