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
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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.
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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. 😜
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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.
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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?”.
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My point in sharing this is to tell you that you don’t have to be flexible to start practicing yoga.
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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!
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Morgan Fallon

by Michael Fong, at Leap yoga – Folsom Ca.

Beyond the Noise

Vipassana is a true test of determination and letting go. 11 hours of meditation a day presents enough challenges for most individuals on the planet. Anything can become a potential distraction to the practice. My Vipassana took place at the famous Dhamma Joti Center in the heart of downtown Yangon. This part of the city could be very loud, with noises ranging from barking street dogs to electronic dance music. There were plenty of times I was able to get close to having blissful moments, only to be interrupted by honking cars or screaming people. 

The noise was not limited to the outside of the meditation hall. There were a symphony of sounds coming from all of the participants in the Vipassana. Burps and farts would vibrate from across the room. Students would moan, sigh, and crack their joints constantly. Each individual sound would test my concentration and patience. It’s as if the 4am wake up call, meals of white bread with onions, or feeling like your knees are going to blow from being in one single position for hours at a time isn’t difficult enough. Add in unnecessary noises, and you create any reason to get lost in frustration and start grinding your teeth. FYI, this is not the best way to meditate. 

I was so grateful to travel to India and visit my teacher Nani Ma before the trip to Yangon. I asked her how she was able to practice meditation in environments like caves and out in the elements of the Himalayan Mountains. Nani Ma told me that she knows where she is going, so she simply goes there. It sounds simple enough, but the task is very hard. This profound statement reinforced the lesson that distractions are not relevant when you know how to get to your desired destination. The real obstacles of meditation are not club music or flatulence, but rather the chatter of one’s own mind. 

Once I was able to turn the volume down inside my head, my meditation began to appear. The technique and long hours of fierce determination guided me to a place beyond the noise. One of the most encouraging things about the entire experience is to know that this place exists. Consistent practice helps me to efficiently arrive into silence. These moments are fleeting, but the sense of calm and clarity is always there inside of us.

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


by Michael Fong, at Leap yoga – Folsom Ca.

The mornings during my 10-day Vipassana meditation course felt like I was going to trek a mountain so high that I could not see the top of the peak. This sinking feeling in my guts became heavier knowing that I had nine more mountains to climb after the one right in front of me. I wouldn’t have made it through the entire 10 days if I maintained this feeling of being overwhelmed. Dwelling on the fact that I had to sit for 11 hours each day made me anxious. I decided to zoom in my perspective and concentrate on the present moment. When the gong sounded at 4am, I would simply focus on getting my feet out of bed and down to the floor. That momentum carried me to taking me one step at a time towards the meditation hall. Arriving to my designated meditation spot was one of the biggest hurdles in the training. I just needed to keep showing up.

 

The process starting my day back home in Sacramento mirrors what I did in Vipassana. Lately, I have been waking up around 430am to begin my morning ritual. The early mornings in the 10-day meditation showed me that this type of discipline delivers bountiful rewards. I have developed the will power to put one foot in front of the other. There is so much strength in a single step and there is great freedom in the continuation and longevity of small progress. I am doing my best to keep up this good habit. Did I say that this isn’t easy for me? I don’t really remember because I am feeling a little sleep deprived. It is not easy, but totally worth it!

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

For more information about Micheal Fong, Leap Yoga and Vinyassa, please visit www.leapyoga.net


by Butch Mitchell, ‘Papa Yogi’ at Leap yoga – Folsom Ca.

When you experience a great meal at a new restaurant…you can’t wait to tell others….here’s my story.

 

After completing my 200 hours of Teacher’s Training  over six years ago I deciding to join in on opening a yoga studio with a group of three others…two of which were seasoned teachers.   They were holding “try outs” and I asked to be considered for one of the positions and when could I try out.  A couple of weeks later I received the news that I had made the team and was offered the 5:45 am class on Tuesday and Thursday.  I was going to teach yoga!

 

As “luck” would have it our first official class was on Thursday…February 16, 2012…at 5:45.   We had 3 people in class…and one was my wife and the other was an employee of the studio…who, by the way…after the class…told the other owners “….I don’t think Butch is going to make it”.

 

I was very intimidated as many of the students that attended the class were other yoga teachers. But I was like a sponge…asking for feedback at every turn, attending any workshop that came my way.  “I have to get better”, I would say to myself…I have to share this with others “how yoga had changed my life. Well I did get better and the classes grew and I felt I was making a difference.

 

Now Kaiut yoga has come into my life. I first heard about KAIUT Yoga from my teacher Stacy.  Months back she was on vacation in Bolder Colorado when she called me and said “I just had the best yoga class…it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced”  Wow I said…sounds interesting…what’s it called? KAIUT she replied …what? I asked.   KAIUT…it’s named after its founder Francisco Kaiut…from Brazil, and he’s been teaching it for about 30 years.   So…to make this long story a little shorter, we asked one of our teachers,  Molly,  if she’d be interested in attending a Teachers Training that was scheduled to start soon in Toronto, Canada. She jumped at the chance.  After she completed the training she returned home anxious to share what she had learned with our students but wanted to practice her teaching at home for a month or so until she felt more comfortable.  Once we introduce KAIUT to the Leap Students it was evident that we were going to need more classes AND  more teachers.   So Michelle, Molly, Cindi and yours truly were off to Toronto for Teacher’s Training with Francisco himself.  While the training was amazing and I plan on going back for another 100 hours…my real story is what it has done for my body.  You see I’ve had a bad back sense I was in my early 20s…born with scoliosis of spine and low back issues caused from working in construction  while in college… I’ve been in some kind back “discomfort” for over 50 years.  On  about the third day of training I was struggling in a pose called “Sukasana”…it’s where you’re sitting on your bolster, legs crossed, leaning forward…slightly forward in my case… with hands on your mat.  Francisco walked over to me, bent down, took my hands,  gently pulled my hands and arms forward saying “the spine will follow”.  It was after that class that I realized that most of my back issues  must be  related to my hips…not my back.  In sharing this  with Francisco…his comment was…”It’s all in our hips”.

 

So now it’s back to square one…teaching a new style of yoga.  And while I’m intimidated all over again…this is something that must  to be shared.  Won’t you please join me as we learn more together  over  our  weekend with Francisco Kaiut…January 18- 21st at Leap Yoga. Post script:   While in Toronto we stayed in a VRBO rental that had the hardest beds and pillows I have ever slept on…and guess what….NO back issues.

 

Namaste

 

Butch…aka Papa Yogi

For more information about Papa Yogi, Leap Yoga and Kaiut, please visit www.leapyoga.net


by Molly Oser, Yoga teacher at Leap yoga – Folsom Ca.

I have been teaching yin yoga for almost six years now; a brief pause in the big world but a defining time in my little world. How did it happen? After a long, pretty steady fifteen years of practice, I was faced with life changes, an end to a long, passionate career. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to head except that I was sure I wanted another field that I could be passionate about. My son was studying in Sweden so I was going to visit him. Stacy Whittingham, my teacher (pre Leap), told me to bring something back with me. I knew she wasn’t talking about a souvenir. At the time, the yin practice had become part of my life, part of my heart. So I looked on line, and it so happened that one of the few yin teachers around was leading a teacher training at an ashram in Sweden. There it was. So off I went… on faith. And it was beyond amazing. I began coming out of my mourning of losing my career (part of my identity) and opened up to a new journey of helping others. I knew that was the only reason I would ever consider teaching. That was my purpose in my first line of work and I knew that if I worked again, it would only be through those eyes.

I began teaching upon the encouragement of a studio owner and since then have completed another 50 hours of yin training (total 125 hours) and 300 hours of Embodyoga teacher training. But as time went on, I began to feel that something was missing. The embodyoga principle is to move from the inside out and to find the work and the ease in every pose, in every thing. To move from integration and wholeness. To find contentment from the inside out. Yin yoga also works from the inside out along lines of energy and through the organs and tissues using long passive holds to lengthen fascia. I was looking to bring it all together. Again, Stacy came into the picture. She had returned from a trip to Boulder where she went to a studio and took this odd sounding yoga, Kaiut. She told me to check it out, it brought it all together. So I looked at the little bit of information on line, and bought my tickets to Toronto. All on faith. I had never taken a Kaiut class and you know, Toronto is the place to be in early February!

I showed up like in a deer in the headlights. Completely open and not having any idea what I was going to experience. After two days, (six classes), I was hooked. This was it. It brought all my trainings together, but more than that, I felt so good. And Francisco Kaiut held us so confidently and completely that I let everything go and followed on trust, and yes, that Faith word again!

That was February 2017. I returned and practiced…and practiced. And once again, Stacy showed up. When are you going to share? When do you want to try it out? So I started, community classes and then Leap put it on the schedule. Purely on faith. And people showed up. And started feeling the changes in their bodies as traumas began releasing and they were noticing that they were aching less. Low backs were easing, knees were bending and ankles were folding. Even nasty shoulders were hurting less.

So I was convinced in my own body and seeing relief in the students. Watching as the fear eased and they let the practice and the poses work. It is that faith in the practice that encouraged me to sign up for the second one hundred hour training this past September. ( a much more inviting month in Toronto!). And before I knew it, the Leap owners were signed up too. They had each taken one class but were convinced that they wanted to learn what this was all about. So off we went, me with my passion and Butch, Micheal, and Cindi on faith.

When I got to Toronto, I was exhausted. I had been teaching quite a lot and my mind and body were spent. When I saw Francisco and exchanged pleasantries, I told him I was there to heal. Yes to learn, but to heal. Please help me heal. So I practiced. And with his steady hand and skill, I began to come back to myself. I allowed myself to open to exactly what was happening at every moment and to begin to touch the joy and the passion that is yoga, again. We all get caught up in life, to have this time to step back and to be guided was such an amazing gift. And over the course of the nine days, I felt the healing. It started with exuberance that I was there and able to be led through the practice, followed by exhaustion, followed by healing. Exactly the same as it has been in February minus the four below temperatures! And I watched the glow come to Cindi, Butch and Micheal. I watched the fear, the letting go and the ease…I watched the yoga work. I watched my body ease, strengthen, and my aching right knee stopped talking to me! For the first time in months and months, I could sleep on my right side without the pain in my shoulder. I had developed a steady home practice, but being taught three classes a day was the kick that my body needed.

And here we are. I have been teaching Kaiut for eight months, Butch and Micheal are just beginning their Kaiut foray. And the Leap community is responding. By letting go, and trying something completely different. On faith in the practice, the teaching, the studio. And because of you, Francisco Kaiut is coming to Leap Yoga on Thursday January 18, 2018 for four days! You will be amazed, you will be softened, you will be healed. Don’t miss this opportunity. Leap is a lot closer than Brazil. Let yourself be held, let yourself be taught. Let yourself have faith.

 

For more information about Molly, Leap Yoga and Kaiut, please visit www.leapyoga.net