Leap Proud to Partner with Yoga Support.

 

You will sometimes see that some of our events are specifically tailored to Yoga Support.  We have one coming up on October 29th with Hanna at 12.30 to 2.00pm.  We also have teachers donate class proceeds to this fine cause.

In this regard we thought it appropriate to post a little from their website explaining the very fine work they do to help brain injury patients recover through the use of Yoga.

They help brain surgery patients get their lives back through tailored yoga curriculums designed specifically for them, providing the connection of specially educated teachers and teachings at an affordable cost.

The goal is to have a community of brain surgery patients which are back to work full time, anxiety, depression, and PTSD free, not dependent on disability or pharmaceutical drugs.

They have a specialized team that help patients across the United States who have had brain surgery to rehab and get their lives back through the use of restorative yoga, meditation, breath work and vinyasa yoga.

Hospitals and physical therapists across the US refer patients to their program after surgery and they connect each patient with a partner teacher at a local studio or online through Skype.  This is where Leap Yoga comes in. Each patient receives three partially subsidized sessions weekly for three months, working through a specialized yoga curriculum designed to reduce stress, anxiety and PTSD, relearn balance, gain stamina and take a new path to their new lives.

This is such a fine cause, led by wonderful, caring people.  We are happy and eager to help and encourage you to attend Hanna’s class on the 29th of October at 12.30pm.

Should you wish to find out more about Yoga support, visit their website: www.yogasupport.org


We are delighted to continue our quest to become the true bastion of Yoga, Love and Family within our community. It is always a pleasure, if somewhat humbling, to receive recognition for our endeavors, and from the California Senate no less. Thank you to all our students, members, teachers, staff and friends. We could never have done it without you. Namaste.

Papa Yoga


In my mid 20’s I found myself living on a futon in San Francisco.  It was one of the darkest points in my life.  I was drudging through the aftermath of a horrendous heartbreak, which seemed to mercilessly insist that I also wrestle with all other unexplored struggles I had experienced up until that point.

I searched for anything to bring me clarity, understanding… but mostly I was on the hunt for HOPE.  Hope that life would get better.

I read books, listened to lectures, talked with others (when I wasn’t isolating) and penned my way thorough countess journals.

Eventually I found yoga in a cold, crowded and smelly gym in the Mission District.  The vibe was more “standard group exercise class” than “yoga boutique” which made it hard to differentiate the yoga from other physical endeavors I’d experienced previously.

Yet, I was immediately clear that there was something to this yoga thing.  It was unique.  Different.  Good.  It seemed to crack a door open.  I couldn’t explain how, but it made me feel like it might just lead me somewhere that I was curious enough to follow.

I began to practice.  I went back to the gym, but classes were limited there.  Then I explored a few sleepy studios.  I mostly practiced via VHS tapes provided by Yoga Journal.  For years I’d plop down on my carpeted floor to repeat the same recorded practice with Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden.

I wasn’t used to giving myself time to slow down in this way.  Many days it felt pointless but the desire to connect to this newfound hope kept encouraging me to show up on my mat.  The breathing was doing something.  It seemed so intuitive and natural and yet so foreign at the same time.  This was pretty much my life for the next 4 years.

Each time I practiced I found myself feeling a wee bit better.  Life began to appear in color again.

In and around this time of my life I met my husband who graciously mended my broken heart and was game to help me with the rest of my unraveled-ness.  In love, I moved to Arizona (to be with him) where there was NO yoga at the time and so I continued with the tapes.  We soon moved to Encinitas, California.  Greg was active in the United States Marine Corps at the time and was sent to deploy to Okinawa, Japan, for 8 months.

I was alone, in a beautiful area with endless unstructured time.  I had quit my job at Intel to move to him so I wasn’t working.  It was time to figure some MORE stuff out.  Daily I began at Swami’s beach and walked our yellow lab Mike along the shore.  We’d be out for hours and hours.  I’d end my day with a Bikram yoga class.

A previous San Francisco roommate had mentioned Bikram to me before.  I saw a studio in Lucadia.  I gave it a try.  This type of yoga felt so healing to me.  The room was humid and heated to over 108 degrees.  I loved the sweat.  I was releasing everything that no longer served me.  For almost 250 days in a row, I got on my mat.  I savored the people around me.  I hadn’t yet recognized them as “my people” but I got something different while practicing with the salty surfers fresh off the beach.  We all seemed to have something in common.  We didn’t speak about it, it just was.

Greg returned from Japan and we moved to Corpus Christi, Texas.  I bought space heaters and would attempt to heat our spare bedroom, desperately trying to recreate the studio setting.  I purchased a cassette tape that had audio for the 26 poses of the Bikram series.  I looked into being trained in this method but things didn’t line up.  I could then recognize that I missed the community of the practice.

I met a friend in Texas who also liked yoga.  This was a rare find in the early 2000’s, especially in Corpus Christi.  She exposed me to Ashtanga yoga and to a man named David Swenson.  She also mentioned a woman named Gurmukh who did Kundalini Yoga.  I bought one of her books but she seemed less relatable to me at the time.  Soon after these introductions I found myself in Ashville, North Carolina being trained at a small studio by David Swenson.  I trained in ashtanga (that’s hard yoga!) and in pre-natal yoga at that point too because I was sure kids would be in my future, and well, why not?

I immediately began teaching yoga at local gyms.  For the next many years I taught between 10-14 classes a week.  Most of the classes I’d have to actually DO the yoga.  One, because that’s how you taught back then (at least in Corpus Christi) and two, no one knew what to do, so demonstration was necessary.  I learned a lot with every single class.  Eventually I opened my own small studio. I knew I needed to share it even more.  I was also burning out.

In my early 30’s and two kids later we moved back to Northern California.  There wasn’t yet a major yoga studio in the area.  I practiced again at home with those same old VHS tapes and then studios began popping up.  I stopped teaching and practiced hungrily in the Folsom and surrounding community for the next 5 or 6 years, most often daily.  I had one more baby and knew intuitively that it was my time to receive on the mat.

Then eventually, a few years later, I found myself beginning to get the itch to teach again.  I was patient with it.  The local studios introduced more of the flow or Vinyasa yoga.  I liked that too.  So, I went through Level One Vinyasa training with Baron Baptiste in Tulum, Mexico.  A couple years later I was officially ready to teach again and so I went through Level Two in Catskills, New York.

The past 10 years I have attended every, and any yoga related lecture, workshop, class, retreat, festival and training I can possibly get to.  I consider my teachers to be many.

Almost 8 years ago I went back for a masters degree and established a career in Marriage and Family Therapy.  I currently run a private practice and specialize in couples work, and in individual and relational trauma.  I understand how the body stores stuck energy, trauma and negative emotions and cognitions.  I know the value of bringing the nervous system down, regulating hormones and allowing a resourced and calm state in the body so it can begin to heal naturally.  I can totally geek out on this stuff!  I love my job!  And I love yoga.

Then, last fall via a valuable girls trip to Bhakti Fest at Joshua Tree, I was reintroduced to Kundalini Yoga.  I took one Kia Miller Kundalini class and knew I had to do the training.  My body felt more relaxed and reset after that single class than I had experienced in any yoga scenario previously.  It was to me the EMDR or Brainspotting of yoga.  My worlds matched up!

Additionally, I knew enough to know that the technology of Kundalini was addressing the deeper energetic layers of the body, the subtle body, and was utilizing the breath to bring authentic balance and restoration.  I circled back to Gurmukh.  She was offering a teacher training at Golden Bridge Yoga Studio in Santa Monica.  I had a gut instinct that I needed to do the training asap as I didn’t trust how much longer Gurmukh would be available as a teacher.

Over the course of the past 8 months I have been honored to study Kundaini yoga.  I’ve traveled down to LA on a monthly basis for an average of 5 days at a time to participate in training days from 5am to 530pm.  The days begin with a morning Sadhana practice (morning ritual/practice).  These early hours have come to be one of my most revered and looked forward to times of the day.  There is indeed a magical energy in the space before the day starts or the sun rises.  For this reason I am honored and blessed to be able to offer what I have learned in my Kundalini training to all of you at 5.45am on Friday mornings.

Weeks before our final graduation weekend from the 200hr program it was announced that Gurmukh was closing her studio, confirmation that I was exactly where I needed to be at the time.

I have learned the deep healing Kundalini offers emotionally, physically, and energetically.   I am beyond excited to share it with this community and with anyone who is willing to give it a try.  It is very much experiential and must be tried to understand.  I invite you with my deepest sincerity to come give it a whirl!

I look forward to seeing you bright and early (yes, 5:45am) on a Friday soon!

Hannah leads Vinyasa class on Mondays 12-1pm, and Kundalini class Fridays 5:45am at Leap Yoga


Joy is Truth.

Sat Nam.

Within you is a fountain of joy, within you is an ocean of bliss! 

— Swami Sivananda

When I think of the word Joy I think of deeply genuine smiles, gut barreling belly laughter, music that sends chills up my spine and words that elicit tears of happiness.

I feel joy when my kids tell me they love me out of the blue or reach for my hand for no reason at all.  I feel joy when I catch my husband looking at me with that look I’ve known since we first met or watching my dog chase wild turkeys and rabbits through the weeds and shrubs that engulf her, ears flapping in the wind.  I feel joy just thinking of dark chocolate cake, with coffee, rich and creamy.

However, there is a deeper layer of joy that I am beginning to understand.  I find this joy when I meditate; when I close my eyes and go deep inside my body.  I arrive here mostly during yoga, but sometimes I find joy while journaling.  I find it alone, in nature, or lying on my bed and listening to the rain fall outside my open window.

This type of joy is inward out joy.  It comes from some place so deep inside of me that it arises in a way that shows me it’s always there.  It’s not situational available.  It’s always there, but it does require me to be present, grounded and still.  It finds me. I don’t look for it.  If I open myself to it and see that it was waiting for me I am joyful that I have found it.  There is no looking.  There is no struggle to find it.

This inner experience of joy makes me grateful and fills me with feelings of contentment and gratitude.  In a state of joy I can fully embrace my favorite mantra…”I have all I need for all I need right now.”   Doubt is erased.  I trust. I feel blessed and alive.

I recognize my true self is joyful.  My true self is also kind, loving, patient, accepting, passionate, calm, and super fun to hang out with.  Joy makes me beautiful, not in a vain or superficial way.  It makes me beautiful in the way that my presence alone brings vibrancy.  In the same way you are beautiful too.  It is simply amazing.

We know that meditation stimulates the parts of our brain that expand our loving compassion for ourselves and for others.  We know it helps us to pause before we react and use more conscious choice in our decision-making.  It slows our reaction time in times of struggle.  A consistent meditation practice lowers the flood of cortisol and down regulates our nervous system.  It does much, much more and is full of amazing things!   All of this reassures me that meditation is a good thing, but the most compelling validation is that my day is better when I meditate and my life improves with my practice.

Come join me at my upcoming meditation workshop learn how you too can arrive in sweet meditational bliss.  Please check the website for details on my November workshop.  I hope to see you there!

Hannah


Divine Relationships

A beautiful, divine relationship with our soulmate is something we all deeply long for, and essentially need. Many of us, however, seem to struggle with our  relationships in one way or another.

We find that daily life eats away from the romantic energy that was there when we first began our relationship and dampens the fire of the attraction from the first blissed out weeks.

The little things that were cute in the beginning become a major disturbance.

We stop talking to each other about what is really important to us and deep and  meaningful communication becomes something we just have with our best friend.

Even though our spouse may be the person we love the most, it is this person we hurt the most, or vice versa.

We may want so badly for our partner to change this one bad habit, but they just don’t.

Or, we get angry at each other for minuscule reasons.

The list could be continued…right?

Why is it so difficult?

While there are many good therapists, books, and strategies that offer great relationship advice and practical help, one missing aspect of why we find maintaining a harmonious relationship so complicated is understanding and cultivating the spiritual and energetic part of our relationship.

Energy influences your life on many different levels, and spills into all our relationships. Energies from our past, our karmas, that are stored on the soul level, keep playing out until they are finally resolved.

Then, there is the energy from all the past relationships we had, that stays with us until we can remove it on a deep energetic level.

The relationship we have with our parents, especially our mother, is the deepest, most energetic bond we have in our lives, and it has a great impact on how we live our present relationships.

Everyday we deal with the energy that stays with us from the interactions we have with other people throughout the day. This can create imbalances in us that we inevitably bring home to our family.

The energy from the full and new moon impacts our relationship tremendously, especially if we choose the wrong timings to be intimate.

A lack of unconditional love and mutual understanding can cause constant friction and leads to dissatisfaction and frustration.

The energy of a broken heart caused by an earlier partner, or other traumatic events in our life, can lead to ending a relationship, or never beginning a new one.

We tend to have a deep misunderstanding and unrealistic expectations of the concept of soulmates.

And on top of that, the media tells us every day what a happy relationship looks like, how we should behave to make our partner happy, how often we need to have sex, and how big of a house or car we have to have in order for our relationship to be successful and happy.

All these influences can create disturbances that can make our living together complicated, painful, and sometimes impossible.

How to create Divine Relationships…

In order to take care of these challenges we need to have awareness and acceptance of what is going on for us, and for our partner.

One way to create more awareness and acceptance is to bring more divine energy into our relationship, through intention and meditation. Intention is important for creating the space, the environment for cultivating conscious relationships. Meditation helps us to be more present and makes it easier for us to be aware and observe what is going on in the moment, and directs the energy towards fulfilling our intentions. And besides making us more present, meditation, especially mantra meditation, can be a powerful aid for removing the blocks we carry with us from our past.

Using mantra meditation can greatly support you to successfully deal with the ups and downs of life together as an individual, couple, or family.

  • It aids in healing heartbreak
  • It can rekindle the romantic fire
  • It helps to disconnect old relationships
  • It deals with the pain and heartbreak that comes from infidelity
  • It protects and heals sexual harassment
  • And it decharges energies that we collect over the day through our work and interactions with others

And there is also the practice of forgiveness, which plays a very big role, especially in the relationship we have with our mother, and father and in turn how we parent our children.

Begin with this short practice

If you want to start right away to bring more peace and happiness in your relationship with yourself and others, try to incorporate this short meditation practice into your daily routine. For best results this should be done by both partners, but if only one of you is open to, it it can help as well.

Set aside 10 min of your day for this meditation.

Sit down alone, or together and be comfortable. Set your  intention for the meditation to help you gain clarity and to remove any obstacles that prevent you from living a happy and fulfilled relationship.

The meditation is simply watching your breath, how it flows in and out of your nostrils. When thoughts arise as you are watching your breath, just let them pass by, like clouds, and bring your awareness back to your in and out breath. If the thoughts come back (they most likely will ;-)), let them pass again, and come back to your breath.

Do this practice daily and observe how your interactions change, and how much more awareness and presence comes into your life, and into your relationship.

To take this practice to the next level you can use the Gayatri Mantra in your meditation. You can chant it aloud or silently in your mind. You can download a beautiful recording of it chanted by Nina Ketscher here.

Listen to the recording to support your meditation while you learn how to pronounce it. Again, set your intention to gain clarity and to remove any obstacle that prevents you from having a happy and fulfilled relationship.

More knowledge and more practices

This sharing is a tiny bit of the knowledge and energetic practices for healing your relationship and making it happy.

If you want to know more check out the workshop Divine Relationships, coming on 08.21.2016 at Leap Yoga.

Have happy and fulfilled Divine relationships.

 

Steve Ketscher


Hi yogis! Hope this week finds you all well. Im excited about this weeks post, as this week we’ll get to know Stacy and her story a little more.

For those of you who have taken Stacy Whittingham’s classes, you know that there is something about this woman that shines so bright it fills the room. She moves with grace and has so much
love and passion for people; she genuinely cares about supporting others in their personal journeys to health and wholeness.

Last year I had the privilege of going through Stacy and Gena’s teacher training and got to know Stacy on a deeper level. With her permission, I’m honored to share with you part of her story!

Living the American dream and working in corporate America, Stacy found herself run down and in a yoga class. After a series of divine interruptions (don’t you love those?!) she was lead to her teacher Rusty Wells, in San Francisco. Soon she completed first teacher training. It was clear at that point that this was her path, and with that, She dove all in and has never looked back.

Stacy’s journey to embracing the yogic lifestyle lead her to Mahendra Briksha  who quickly became one of her teachers. As she studied under Briksha they eventually became friends and collaborated co-creating a yogic catering and conscious eating education venture in San Francisco called Bhakti Kitchen.

During this time Stacy’s sister was diagnosed with cancer. Stacy took this diagnosis as an opportunity to grab hold of her passion and convictions and dive in deeper, learning more about how to heal the body with food. As she supported her sister through this battle she saw the fruits of the yogic diet manifest in her sisters healing. The valley of pain and struggle became a gateway for hope as Stacy’s sister went into remission and has been cancer free for the past five years. Stacy experienced first hand and in a powerful way the potential food has to heal the body, if we allow it.

Stacy lives Yoga. If you know her to any extent, you know this. She believes yoga is not just something we practice on the mat, but that as we step off the mat we are to step into the world and “walk like a yogi.” Every January she herself goes to San Francisco to join a community of between 100-200 yogis who practice an annual detox flow with her teacher Stephanie Snyder .

Stacy has been leading cleanse workshops at Leap for the past four years. She also Leads workshops and has clients in San Francisco as well and around the Sacramento area. Though she works with individual clients, what she loves is walking through the experience of cleansing in community. There is strength and support in that.

When I asked her what she loves the most about watching people go through her detox/cleanse workshops, she had a hard time sharing just one thing. What she did say is that “It changes their lives” and having gone through her teacher training, I can attest to the gift Stacy has to influence and change lives!

It’s a new year Yogis! Its time to breakup with the craving cycle, the unhealthy habits and rise up to a new level of wholeness, to take yoga off our mats and into our kitchens. To really experience the power of yoga, the power of loving ourselves, even with the food we eat. I know I personally have struggle in this area for most of my life. I’ve struggle with body shaming myself, and putting limitations on myself and I know how good and freeing it feels when we let go of what’s no longer serving us emotionally, spiritually, relationally and physically. I know I’m going to make the most of this gift we have in our community found in Stacy and glean from her all she has to offer. I invite you to join me, I hope you will! It’s time my friends to choose the best for our lives.

Stacy is starting off her workshop with a DETOX FLOW on Jan 16th and you do not want to miss this vital part to the process. This is the space where we pair movement and breath to prepare the body to release and receive everything else that’s coming in the 7 DAY CLEANSE. You know how its wise to build a house on a solid foundation, consider this detox flow your foundation for the cleanse workshop. Starting on the 17th, the week to follow we will be educated, equipped, inspired and supported by Stacy (and each other) as she walks us through what she has shared with so many others and little by little, step by step, we will become the healthiest versions of ourselves! Lets do this friends!!

I’m excited! Are you?! Hope to see you there!

namaste!

Tanya


Hello fellow yogis!

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tanya (like in the summer you get a tan-yeah!) and I have been practicing at Leap (on and off) since 2013.

I was first introduced to yoga through a DVD in 2009 and quickly fell in love with not only how it effected me physically  but how it calmed and centered me emotionally and strengthened me spiritually.

I have had the honor of being on staff at Leap since April of 2015. Being welcomed into the Leap community was divine providence, truly! The opportunity came to me at a point in my life’s journey when I really needed it… and I have been so blessed by the doors that have continued to open for me since!

You may know me from the front desk, and we’ve possibly practiced along side of each.

In September 2015 I had the opportunity to go through Gena Foreman and Stacy Whittingham’s teacher training… and as so many forewarned me, it was truly life transforming!

Side note…

Have you heard that Leap is offering an Assistant Training in February?! Corey Mitchell and Gena Foreman will be teaching. Having taken Corey’s workshops, and gone through Gena’s teacher training I know they will make a dynamic pair to study under, and your own personal practice will grow to places you never imagined!

One of the qualities of Leap that I believe truly sets this studio apart from others (and I’ve practiced at many studios, I was a 30/30 hopper for years!) is the strong sense of family experienced within this community.

I was talking with one of you this past weekend (shout out to Lisa Hendricks!) about the value of community, and that is what so many of us have found at here Leap!

Leap has asked me to jump online and take the sense of community we already have and strengthen and broaden it online, which I am both humbled and excited to have the opportunity to do.

So, stay posted in the weeks and months to come. We will be posting on Facebook and Instagram and you can follow us on twitter more and more to keep you all in the loop with what we have going on in studio (we have some really exciting things lined up for 2016!)

I’d love to highlight teachers and students (yes… that could mean you) and share your stories. To share how your yoga practice has elevated the quality of your lives.
In case you haven’t heard… Stacy will be hosting a Detox flow Jan 16th followed by a 7 Day cleanse Jan 17th-24th to support us all to start the year off strong and healthy, Its like hitting the reset button physically, emotionally and spiritually! Stacy has been working one on one and leading group cleanses for years and we are so fortunate to have her sharing her years of expertise and passion with us at Leap, and at such a deal!

What can you expect from jumping into this online community with us? Special online only promotions, Information to help deepen our practice on and off the mat, Interviews from teachers and fellow Leap yogis, updates from owners, you’ll find out first about workshops and upcoming events… and my hope is that we will all connect and encourage one another to live like yogis!

I invite you to join me as we all continue to learn to live out loud the lives that echo in our hearts;  full, vibrant, healthy lives supported by a strong sense of community!

Here’s to you! Here’s to us, as we continue our journey and grow together!

Namaste,

Tanya


Here’s another update from Leap yogini Brittany… reflections from her first day at Peace Retreat.

Costa Rica_2

If you haven’t decided yet where you are going, then you cannot be lost.

If you would have asked me one year ago where I was going, I could have told you with certainty. Today I am not going there anymore.

If you would have asked me five years ago where I was going, you would have received a completely different answer, with just as much as certainty. Today I am not going there anymore.

Yet for all of the so-called certainty in my chosen path, I’ve spent a lot of time filled with the anxiety of wondering how I was going to get there. Every detour and obstacle seemed like an insurmountable challenge. Today I am much happier and calmer. I’ve learned how to live in the present moment, accepting each day’s gifts and challenges, and finding the opportunities behind each closed door.Costa Rica_1

Practicing yoga and receiving support from the LEAP community has played a vital role in my transformation. Because of the love and inspiration I’ve experienced at the studio, I have set out on my first solo international adventure. I hope this blog inspires you to find love, inspiration and an adventure of your own.

May 12, 2014

Costa Rica retreat (1)Rule #1 of Traveling with an Open Heart: Listen to others around you and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have something to offer. Kindred spirits will not only accept your gift of experience and advice with gratitude, but can share with you from their own experience as well.

As I was sitting at the table in the restaurant in the George Bush International Airport I overheard a young waitress talking to another female patron about how she was unsure of her path in life and that she may be interested in pursuing medicine or even surgery. I looked right at her and said, “You should talk to me.”

They both looked at me, a little astounded. “Why? Are you a surgeon?” I paused for a moment. “I was.”Costa Rica retreat (2)

Our conversation evolved into an interesting discussion about what happens when we are searching for something more on this journey through life. We talked about education, careers, and what it means to truly be healthy and to inspire health in others. I learned so much from each of them and by the end I felt much closer to each one and even felt that I had learned so much more about myself.

When you really listen to what you are saying about yourself while speaking with strangers, you find out what you think about who you really are. That is such an important lesson that many of us miss. How often do you listen to yourself in a conversation?

I arrCosta Rica retreat (3)ived at Peace Retreat late at night. It was very dark and there were many strange and wonderful sounds being produced by the local fauna. Immediately I started to feel like I was out of my comfort zone.Costa Rica retreat (4)

Rule #2 of Traveling with an Open Heart: Let go of expectations and start having experiences. I looked outside at the hundreds of fireflies buzzing around, and I remembered seeing them throughout my childhood summers in Wisconsin. I could feel the weight of the humidity in the air, and realized it was not unlike the weather I’d felt before in the Midwest and the South. Though this place is unfamiliar, perhaps it is not quite as uncomfortable as I thought. More tomorrow.


Peace Retreat 3

 This week a group of LEAPers are headed to Peace Retreat in beautiful Costa Rica for a yoga immersion adventure! Brittany, one of the yoginis on the trip, will be sharing her experience. Here’s a little introduction to Brittany:

Leap Yoga_Brittany 2Leap Yoga_Brittany 3

I came to Leap Yoga about 6 months ago looking to add a new dimension to my fitness routine. I never imagined that what I would gain was a deeper insight into myself through the beautiful inspiration of the teachers, assistants, staff and fellow yogis. I am still discovering my path to helping inspire health in others and learning that instruction and inspiration can come from many non-traditional sources.

I am looking forward to discovering more about how yoga can improve health and support holistic wellness as I travel to Costa Rica with Leap Yoga. I hope my blog posts can inspire others to make yoga more than just exercise. 

Namaste, Brittany