Last July the Sacramento yoga community lost a dear friend, teacher, and someone who helped to create powerful positive shifts in the lives of many. His unassuming presence, humility, sense of humor, and appreciation for simplicity are just a few things I treasure when I remember him.

One thing about Aaron’s passing that has stayed with me is how the community of yogis in our area came together to honor him, support his family, and take good care of each other. When Jaime from Akasha Yoga in Davis reached out to me to see if Leap Yoga and I would be interested in co-creating a memorial event with her there just wasn’t a question. Seeing our Sacramento community come together in support of a good cause (one so close to Aaron’s heart) would make him smile. I can almost see it now as I write.

Please join us for a special evening in memory of our friend Aaron Pappas on Friday July 20th. Live music by Girish and yoga led by Sarah Estabrook and Blake Mason. Proceeds will be donated to the Salvation Army Recovery, a program that Aaron strongly supported.

Tickets are $25 and you can sign up using this link: www.eventbrite.com/e/remembering-aaron-tickets-4774…

Namaste dear friends. See you very soon!

Stacy Whittingham


He fell off a ladder and hit his head. 

“It changed me.” He said. “I’m different, angry all the time. Most of the time for no reason at all, just filled with rage.”

“My wife says I’m not the man she married and my daughter, well…she won’t even speak to me after one of my episodes. I can see how much it scares her. We used to be so close.”

She was in a car accident and suffered a concussion.

“It’s been 2 years. My body is mostly healed, but I can’t sleep. The depression scares me the most. I feel like a bad mom, but most days I don’t want to get out of bed.”

“By early afternoon I need an energy drink. Homework, dinner and bedtime feel like chores. I used to be a really happy person, now everything feels heavy and hard.”

“A brain tumor.” He said, softly touching a scar on the back of his head. “They got it all. I have a clean bill of health. But, I had to learn to talk and walk all over again. I was a toddler in a 40 year old body.”

At Yoga Support, we hear these stories on a regular basis. People whose lives were forever changed in a instant from a head injury.

In The Body Keeps the Score, Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk writes that “…trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain and body.”

Yoga Support offers tailored yoga curriculum to those affected by traumatic brain injuries. We connect specially educated teachers at an affordable cost to help people get their lives back.

You can help support our work by joining us for a donation based class at Leap Yoga, Sunday, June 24th, 1pm-2:15pm. You will experience guided breath work and meditation followed by a series of yin and restorative poses led by Maryeth, one of our rehabilitation teachers.

This sequence is designed to encourage healing and balance in both mind and body. Poses will be seated and reclined with a focus on opening the heart. You will leave with several tools to help aid anxiety, depression and sleeplessness.

Maryeth A Loriaux


I walked into Leap yoga in January of 2017.

I signed up online; avoided eye contact as I entered the lobby and set my mat in the darkest, farthest corner of the room. I was exhausted and depleted.

My personal practice had become stale and repetitive. The yoga classes I was teaching were steeped in dogma and rigidity. My monkey mind a constant flow of should not and do not. I had become obsessed with the “right” version of the pose and lost the curiosity and play that originally drew me to yoga.

Worst of all, I had stopped listening to my body. When a version of a pose hurt, I pressed on, usually followed by a bout of self deprecation like, “don’t be a wuss go into the fire.”

I judged my practice against the people around me. My lunges weren’t deep enough, my back bends inadequate. How could I ever reach enlightenment if I couldn’t even do a handstand?!

My practice reflected my life and my life reflected my practice.

Rigidity. Dogma. Self Hate.

Then, Aaron Pappas walked in to teach. I am forever grateful for the short time I was able to practice under Aaron.

He was funny, creative and open. Suddenly, I was exploring different versions of each pose. There was space for creativity and curiosity. I was challenged to listen to my body, it’s limitations and it’s desire for expansion.

I took these tools, openness, curiosity and fun off of my mat and out of the Leap studio.

My life began to reflect my practice. Curiosity replaced rigidity.

Creativity replaced dogma.

Self love replaced self hate.

Awareness. Healing. Change.

I’ve spent the last 18 months studying Yin Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda, Reiki and how the body stores trauma. I use all of these tools when teaching clients of Yoga Support.

Yoga Support is a nonprofit that helps brain surgery patients and those affected by traumatic brain injuries get their lives back.

Our patients often suffer from depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, managing emotions and the aftermath of traumatic events. We use yoga, meditation and breath work as tools to help alleviate these effects. 

Please join us for a 75-minute class on June 24th. You’ll experience elements of a Yoga Support session and leave with tools to take off of your mat and into your every day life.

Maryeth Loriaux


Recently I have been reflecting a lot on the notion of shadow work and self love, both in examining my own life, and in my yoga classes and conversations.

In case you are wondering what I mean by shadow work, when I say shadow, I am acknowledging that each of us has a forward facing persona that is an agreement of our ego and our culture on how we are going to present ourselves in the world to be accepted and successful. I love the Ram Dass quote, “I’ll pretend you are who you think you are, if you pretend I am who I think I am.”

Shadow is then the parts of ourselves that we keep hidden because family, culture, religion, society have told us they are unacceptable or at least ineffective. Often we get so good at hiding these qualities, we disconnect from them and forget they are there. Much of the basis of these concepts comes from psychologist Carl Jung and his work with archetypes and the integrated self. Young suggest that we need to face and integrate these qualities to be whole.

There are two major qualities of my shadow that I continue to become clearer on and integrate, that I would like to share with you.

1st – There is a part of me that has an animal nature that has been suppressed on so many levels that often when it has tried to express itself it was either met with so much resistance, or anticipated resistance, that it came out as anger. I am learning to love this primal nature and to express it when it shows up in a transparent and vulnerable way, so I have no need for anger in the moment, or resentment later. For me, resentment is a sign that something is out of alignment. I also love and accept that there is a animal part of me that would go to extreme measures to survive, even to the point of aggression to protect life and innocence. Like having a daily awareness of death, I have found that it is valuable for me to embrace this wild creature and recognize he is always with me. I love that there is a primal part of me more powerful that I imagine that would go to great lengths for life. And although in loving this wild creature I embrace the potential for violence, what I have found is that I do not go around hurting others, because that is not what is in my heart. Instead I am able to accept and embody my being in my fullest potentiality as unbroken by civilization and wild.

2nd – Sometimes in shadow work, I feel there is a strong inclination to focus on the darkness as negative, bad or even ‘evil’. What I have found is that a big part of my shadow is my sweet year old boy. I learned to hide him because he can be vulnerable, easy to pick on and his feelings can get hurt. Yet never has it been more evident to me that he is always been there, than after I adopted Stitch, the sweetest puppy on the planet. And although people can be unkind, no one can brake my heart because I love myself.

So, what I have been learning to do in my self-love practice, because that is what it’s all about, is to fully accept my wild animal and my sweet boyish natures as part of my whole. And with this I can integrate these part of myself, and I can express them whenever it feels in alignment without any attachment to how others will perceive me or respond. I wish this for YOU. And it is from that place that I chose to share with you now. Do with it what you will.

I love you, because I love myself.

Namaste

By James Kapicka   www.yogajames@wordpress.com


5 years ago, I dedicated 2012 to building my relationship with and understanding of the Feminine Principle. In that year as I traveled with my partner, I studied and spent time with the works of spiritual teachers that deeply honor the feminine principles, such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Jesus the Christ, Paramahansa Yogananda, Eckhart Tolle, Mahatma Gandhi, Byron Katie, Ramana Maharshi and the Tao te Ching (one of my primary spiritual texts, dedicated to yin/feminine priciple). I also spent 2 months at Amma’s ashram in India, a county of people who have immense reverence for the feminine. On Winter Solstice at the end of the year I offered a workshop on the Divine Feminine. It was incredible to look back on how much my understanding and relating to the feminine both inside and outside of me grew. What I learned is the abandonment of reverence, honor and worship of the feminine principle is actually an act of self abandonment and a disconnect with Nature.
I shared with a woman who does healing work around sexuality with women and couples that I lead a workshop on the Divine Feminine. She laughed. This not only hurt my feelings, it showed me that she was mistaking women for the feminine. Unfortunately, this perspective polarizes people and ends up creating more separation than connection. The narcissism that sometimes comes out of goddess culture

does not look like balanced feminine, any more than overly soft men in this culture look like balanced masculine. For me honoring the feminine starts with honoring my body and the planet, and then moves into the realm of human relationship.
I understand that privilege has causes immense suffering for many, and nowhere is it more demonstrated that with white men.  I also recognize that to strongly identify as a gender or

race is what keeps us separate and in my experience, as well as the wisdom of my teachers, is the true cause of suffering.
Divinity is the power to create life, and life only happens in the present moment. I honor the trauma that each and every one of you has experienced, and I invite you to let it be, by joining me in the now as you . . . breathe in . . . and breathe out.

By James Kapicka,  a yoga ambassador, event producer and affection advocate with a passion for bringing people together to connect, learn and celebrate. www.yogajames.wordpress.com

 


So it’s time to come clean, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag and make the global announcement that I am not a Yogi!. I AM NOT A YOGI. There it’s done, I have come out. I am sorry. The guilt is great and the compulsion to start is overwhelming. When I visit Leap Yoga Studio, I feel positively meek, uneducated and naive in this world of heath, philosophy, love, friendship and spirituality. Each taken individually, I can appreciate and perhaps hold a rudimentary, semi coherent conversation, maybe defining my views and ideals on each. Combined, the power is overwhelming and intellectually, though extremely attractive, somewhat daunting.

So who am I and what gives me the opportunity to have a blog posted on the Leap Yoga site. I am the artsy, cantankerous guy that is charged with marketing Leap. The one that when seated at Leap corporate meetings has the indefatigable and distinct impression that I need to work harder on myself, as I am obviously missing something. Impressions that cannot be ignored as I look around the table. I see Papa Yogi, Butch, senior to me by some 20 odd years, but with an aura, physique and outlook to which I can only aspire. Great start! Then I see Michèal, Cindi and Stacy. All loving, caring, warm hearted and beautiful. All at peace, warm, inviting, not at all the norm I find in the cold, hustle and bustle world of designing and marketing for businesses in industry. There must be something to this Yoga thing after all! Why is everyone so nice? Confusing – when I flip through cable news channels – I know that this cannot be the norm.

Get to the point, I sense you think. Leap has slowly been honing and building. The energy that Papa Yogi has shown, followed by Stacy (our elected Yoga Guru), Michèal (Kaiut Teacher, Yogi and Mrs efficiency) and Cindi (wiser than anyone I know, soon to be Kaiut teacher and Leap retail champion) is unique. Little by little through the challenges of life, I am astounded at the consistency of Leap’s vision. That to create a family within the community to share this precious gift which is Yoga. This beyond the importance of self interest, financial considerations and personal consequences. I am proud, though sometimes feel somewhat unworthy, to be associated with such a wonderful endeavor.

Perhaps you have noticed within the last year or so that Leap has evolved. This pursuit of community, wellness and inner peace has been the driver or mantra of Leap’s development. This is reflected in the quest for the very best Yoga teachers, those committed to the same philosophy and to the studio. Reflected also in the development of classes and schedules. The addition of Kaiut among others, dedicated to helping students improve their quality of life. Providing increased mobility, reduction of injury pain and improved heath for all protagonists.

Leap is so focused and designed to help the body and mind. Sometimes combining specific areas of interest to help focus student needs in becoming healthier, happier people.

Ok OK! why am I writing about this, probably the least qualified of all to do so? Well because to coincide with this spirit and to further champion what we are about, you may have noticed subtle changes in the way we are portraying ourselves. You may have seen changes on our facebook page and web. The logo changing to gold and red, to portray a less stark identity, to be reflective of the centuries old Yoga culture. To add to this there has been a slow simplification, but expansion of the site in general. Teacher training pages, pre & post natal sections, class banners, featured classes, easier pricing packages and others. All designed to convey our information as simply and easily as possible. The web is now more influential of information posted on our social media. Softer, warmer, more informative and dedicated to being the very best yoga experience in our sphere.

Our tag line is Leap, Yoga for Every Body. Yes we aim to bring the benefits to everybody and every body, even my body, so why not yours! Our brand is going through the same transformation, one of development and betterment. Our retail offering is being expanded with a range of custom shirts, clothing, mats, fragrances and products. The purpose again is to develop a unique offering, indicative of a blend of values that we like to think of as Yoga.

So whether in staff, teachers, environment, classes, workshops, teacher training, retail and now branding, we believe that it’s the little things, as well as the large, that demonstrate our commitment. The relentless desire to offer something truly unique, special and worthwhile within our community. To do this, we recognize that love is in the detail.

For further information about Leap Yoga, its classes and workshops, please visit our website www.leapyoga.net

By Marco Ippaso – owner of MiDESign and Marketing Consultancy www.midesign.org


The sutras (4th chapter) explain that due to our mental conditioning that comes from past experiences, we are not able to accurately see/assess and therefore we misinterpret current experiences. Our interpretations are colored(a Sanskrit word for colored is uparaga) with past impressions and this leads to confusion. The confusion is diminished by removing those obstacles (like kleshas/samskara). We are able to remove the obstacles only through discrimination (viveka) and the highest form of discrimination is said to cause ‘dharma-mega’ or a cloud of virtue. Sounds esoteric perhaps but lets look at real life. We have all had momentary confusions and most of us have had periods of deep confusion and some of us have had times of confusion so overwhelming that it becomes crippling. Personally I have had all 3 states of confusion and it can feel like someone taking a hammer to a glass window. Getting sober, dealing with anxiety and depression, childhood trauma. You wonder how you will ever put all the pieces back together again. It may seem hopeless at times. The sutras remind us that while we may have some actual messes to clean up, the glass was never actually broken. The glass is in fact unbreakable, irrefragible and perfect no matter how many hammers you throw at it. The real self cannot be damaged. Its the mind/ ego that creates the idea of brokenness, when we begin to get a handle on the minds capacity and compulsion to create drama- we gain some discrimination. then we have to keep going, keep disciplined practice to strengthen that viveka (discrimination) and dharma-mega will ensue. The past can inform but should never guide us. See the past for what it is and how it influences you today. But also be present for today and whats real right now. Then with that discriminative knowledge move forward. Lastly Ill say that dharma-megha is considered one of the final steps, a condition where knowledge is essentially unlimited and what remains to be known is very little. Its a good direction to head in even if it takes many lifetimes to get there 🙂 I’m here and I’m in. Are you?

Stephanie Snyder is the founder of Love Story Yoga in San Francisco.


Magic Becomes Reality
.

The lessons I learned from Reshu apply every day of my life. I was so certain that she would be in utter despair being almost completely paralyzed from the neck down from her terminal brain cancer. This is quite the opposite for this highly witty, light-hearted, and brilliant 15 year old from North India. I would ask her how she became so happy. Her answer was simple: MAGIC. Reshu would then smile and bobble her head. These moments made me realize that she had not lost her swagger.I would often be playful with Reshu by testing her intelligence. I had her do things like recite the English alphabet. When she completed A-Z with such effortlessness, I asked her to recite the alphabet backwards. Reshu was able to perform the task perfectly on her second attempt. Try it yourself some time and imagine if English was your second or third language. Unbelievable! I would then ask her how she became so smart. She would smile, bobble her head and say, “MAGIC!”

My experience with Reshu has increased my commitment to life. There is not a day that has gone by that I don’t think of her. Reshu shows me that a person can experience severe trauma, terminal illness, and still keep their smile and swagger. This little girl has taught me that magic can become a reality.

Michael Fong
www.rtwyoga.com
www.michaelfongyoga.com


Break Away and Discover your Soul!

 

 

On being “Externally Resourced”…

When a person is primarily “externally resourced” they are overly identified with their human self and the conditioning of the three-dimensional reality or the world in front of their eyes. This often translates to getting caught up/ stuck in the immediate impact of our life circumstances.

When a person is primarily “externally resourced”, their mind is functioning at a deficit, on account that they’re not Trusting (i.e., yielding to) and not Surrendering (i.e., merging with) Source energy. In other words, when you’re primarily “externally resourced” you’re not partnering with or Living in Alignment with Source energy. Subsequently you’ll not have access to the “bigger picture view” of who you are, what you’ve come into this life to experience and or unable to access universal wisdom.

The Living in Alignment process is designed to free you from the constraints of your societal conditioning and facilitate a transition to becoming internally resourced and discovering your Soul mission or calling in life.

In a nutshell, here’s what it means to be Living in Alignment:

Living in Alignment with your Soul is a very different way of being and living your life. You will experience a transformative process of change: from being primarily externally resourced to being internally resourced.

Instead of allowing societal conditioning and dictates to override your inner knowing or truth, you will learn to listen to and follow the guidance and promptings from your Soul.

Living in Alignment with your Soul will foster your self-empowerment and facilitate your personal transformation.

To learn more about becoming internally resourced and the Living in Alignment approach please visit my website: www.darcyclarke.us

A little about me – Darcy Clarke.
I am a licensed holistic psychotherapist with over thirty years experience. My calling in life is to assist people to have a conscious experience of partnering with Source energy in their daily lives.


“Not so Bendy Wendy”

 
Alright.  I’ll admit it.  I’m not the most flexible yogi.  Not by far.
.
.
Flexibility has been a challenge for me my whole life, even as a child.  I took gymnastics when I was 5 years old and I was the only kid who couldn’t do the splits or backbends.  Even though I liked it, I always felt stuck and different than the rest of the kids.  My childhood gymnastics career lasted a year or so and then it was on to soccer for 10+ years.  That I was good at, but became increasingly less flexible over the years due to the fear of stretching. 😜
.
.
.
I was super tight in my back and hips and about a foot away from reaching my toes in a standing forward fold.  It wasn’t until my teens when I randomly stumbled upon one of my mom’s yoga/workout videos and decided to give Yoga to a try.  I started with the Asana (physical postures) practice not having a clue of the internal/spiritual benefits.  All I knew was that I felt good in my body by incorporating my breath into each movement.
.
.
.
Extra long story short…It has taken me about 15 years to get to the point I am at in my Asana practice.  My students will often tell me how flexible I am and I laugh inside because they have no idea how far I’ve come and how far away I am from where I would like to be.  Often times I get discouraged from seeing all of the super bendy acrobatic yogis on social media. (There are a ton!).  In fact, I find myself feeling shy about posting my daily flows or pictures of progress because I’m thinking “who really cares to see another yoga pose that’s not as impressive as the next?”.
.
.
.
My point in sharing this is to tell you that you don’t have to be flexible to start practicing yoga.
.
.
.
There are plenty of not so “Bendy Wendy’s” out there.  The word Yoga means “union” and the purpose of the Asana practice is to cultivate the flow of Prana (vital life force energy) connecting spirit and body.  There are 8 whole limbs to yoga.  The Asana (physical postures) is only one, and within that there are many different forms that are ever evolving.  My message to you, that is also a message to myself, is that even if you think you aren’t as good as others at something, you shouldn’t let it keep you from trying something new and inspiring others through sharing what brings you joy!  Share your bliss!!  It might make someone smile to see you laugh at yourself while falling out of a balancing pose and/or struggle into the splits!
.
.
.
Morgan Fallon