Yoga Teachers Who Inspire

yoga teacher interviews

Over the years I’ve interviewed some of my favorite yoga teachers.

Here are the highlights:

You’ve said yoga will “ruin” your life as you know it… What did you mean by that? And how has it ruined yours?

It’s completely ruined mine! I think you’re never off the hook. Once you know about the philosophy and “the path,” you know when you’re off it.  

Recently I went to a party and some friends were talking about another person who was not there. The talk was not kind (*not* ahimsa) and probably not entirely true (*not* satya).  

I didn’t get up and leave the conversation and it’s really heavy on me this morning. My body told me to get up—I felt a little nauseas (another way you’re *ruined*—you’re more aware of your physical and emotional feelings). I even had dreams about it last night.  

But I didn’t say anything or excuse myself, and I can’t change it, and there’s no sense in berating myself (back to ahimsa). So I take this experience and set the intention to do it differently next time.

For more with Michelle Marlahan proprietress of It’s All Yoga (Sacramento) – my primary teacher – excerpt from Part 2.


Madeleine Lohman describing her first yoga class.

It was a beginner’s class, but an accelerated one intended for folks who were already “in shape.” I don’t know what led me to believe that described me. I’ll never forget the teacher kneeling beside me trying to encourage me to roll back into plough pose. All my efforts produced almost no movement, only grunting.

I do remember that I did my first handstand in that class. I actually cried out: “Jeezus!!!”

The teacher didn’t find it funny.


Speaking of laughing and yoga….here’s how Anna Guest-Jelley describes her yoga classes.

I like to describe my classes as a choose-your-own-adventure book.  Remember those? I give lots of different options during class.  I always talk with my students before class to check in and see what’s going on with them so I have an idea of what modifications to offer.  The classes themselves are usually quiet with some bursts of laughter.


Who or what inspires you? Who are your favorite yoga teachers?

Interested in learning more about our Featured Teachers? Here’s the full archive.

Are you interested in being a Teacher Goes Back to School Featured Teacher? Contact me at TGBTS blog AT g mail dot com – subject line: Featured Teacher

Image: sudheer and son mayan riviera by lululemon athletica on Flickr (cc)

How I Overcame the Holiday Humbug In 7 Steps

image source: we heart it

I have a long history of hating the holidays. All of them, but especially the ones the last six weeks of the year.

Yes, even as a kid.

Maybe it was the high expectations for fun or the knowing one side of your family was disappointed because you were with the other or the shuttling from place to place to place…

In any case,  the holidays used to fill me with dread and a heavier dose of SAD than the average gal.

That is until recently.

Three years ago, I signed up for a Yoga for Holiday Stress workshop at It’s All Yoga with my good friend, Madeleine. I thought if nothing else, I will have a nice day of yoga with one of my favorite teachers, but what I ended up with was nothing short of revolutionary.

The best take away from Madeleine’s workshop: if the holidays get you down, find new traditions that make your heart sing.

New Holiday Traditions Maybe You’d Like to Try:

1.    Take a yearly workshop in December – mine is yoga, but maybe yours is cooking, crafting or reading. Do something fun for yourself either with a friend or on your own. You may even make new friends there.

When will you find the time in an already stuffed full calendar you ask? I started saying no to things that weren’t working for me any longer (or never had and I had been doing them because of tradition or other people’s expectations). Once I started saying no, I was able to find time to do activities that made me happy.

Was it uncomfortable at first? Oh, yes! Disappointing people isn’t my strong suit, however, the trade off ended up being worth it.

2.   Listen to holiday music that doesn’t make you cringe – mine is the Do They Know It’s Christmas ( station on Pandora. They played lots of Wham’s Last Christmas and Bruce Springsteen and Bing Crosby and Elvis. Even the Waitresses made the cut. Now when little Ruby hears Christmas music she pumps her little fist in the air and dances along.

As cute as you might expect.

3.   Make a different kind of tree each year – seems like a lot of work I know, but knowing my little monkey will climb anything and every thing the idea of putting a tree in my house just seemed completely nuts. Plus I’m less into the 3D tree than most. Don’t get me wrong, I like looking at them a lot – in public places and at your house…. kinda like how I love other people’s dogs.

4.   Saying no to shoppingwhat???? I know. But hear me out.We have a really small house and we’re trying to keep the clutter monster from eating us alive, so not bringing more gear into the house ourselves helps toward that end.

The Hubs and the Girl’s birthdays are in December so those two are presented up right before Christmas. We usually make a present of some sort of the grandparents (which requires us to get our act together way before December) and we decided years ago to forgo presents for each other so we can have less stress and get better birthday gifts. We see it as a win, win. Plus our girl is tiny right now and doesn’t really get the present thing, so…. we’ll check in later on this business. But just know, for now, it totally works for us.

5.      Saying yes to experiences – the zoo on Christmas Eve morning, White Christmas on the big screen, walking around midtown looking at Christmas lights. I’m hoping to add seeing the Nutcracker and ice skating once little girl is a bigger girl. I figure we are saving lots of time cutting out baking, shopping, and wrapping, so we might as well have fun.

6.     Healthy eating and walking daily – this one is new this year and I feel so much better because of it. Every morning this month I’ve been drinking warm lemon water as soon as I get up (before !) and drinking either a green smoothie or vegetable soup to start the day with lots of vitamins and fiber. What a huge difference this has made! I don’t know about you, but when I start my day in a healthful/intentional way, that’s usually how my day goes. I think I’ll keep it up after the holidays.

7.    Stay mindful. Or at least keep coming back to the moment. This is a good practice all year long. Most moments are pretty darn good, if I’m leaving the past and future where they belong. A mindful practice can look like a formal meditation sit, but usually looks more like a nature walk in the early morning or washing dishes for the thousandth time.

Tell me about the holiday traditions and winter activities that you love. I’m always interested in adding new fun winter activities to our calendar.

A Challenge: Claim Your Care and A Wellness Prescription

I’ve always had trouble with the holidays. Even as a child, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about them. Yes, I liked the presents part and some of the traditions and routines, but given I am such a creature of comfort and regularity, they tended to take their toll on me.

The rich food made it hard to sleep.

All the people made it hard to sleep.

Are you noticing a theme here?

Generally the loss of routine care got lost in the excitement.

As an adult, I’ve tended to be quite ill during the holidays. Colds, flu, respiratory infections.

Too much stress?

Too much food?

Not enough self-care?

I’m not quite sure of the answer, but I’ve made changes the last couple years to make the month of December more enjoyable {or at least more tolerable}.

This year, I will live with intention to truly take care of myself.

Starting in December, I’m following Rosie’s lead and making myself a wellness prescription and claiming my care.

Specifically I will:

  • Attend every session of Madeleine’s Yoga for Holiday Stress – translation: yoga class FOUR times in December!
  • First thing in the morning, a walk with Ruby – at least 30 minutes
  • Using Madeleine’s Manuel as a guide, I’ll consult my book of me when I’m out of sorts and try to solve my problem.
  • Back to the weight room twice a week – 20 minutes is all I need.
  • Soak, steam, sauna at least once a week – the Church of Quiet awaits.
  • Water, Emergen-C, multivitamin and vitamin D daily.
  • Listen to music – such a pleasure in my life and yet I need a reminder to do this.
  • Connect with my spouse – even if for just a 5 minute hug {Do you do this? If not, try it}.
  • A fruit and a veggie at every meal – remembering if I’m not hungry enough for an apple, I’m not really that hungry.
  • Minimize processed foods.
  • Keeping dairy out of my body – that means no cookies, no cake, no desserts unless they are vegan. {ps – I’m not saying you, dear reader, must say dairy-free, I must}.
  • Reading for pleasure – from a book or magazine – every day.
  • Schedule a massage {or two} before the end of the year.
  • Sleeping at least 7 hours at night – even if that means missing a turn or two in Words With Friends and going to sleep before 10.
  • Being with friends – in person, if possible – seriously, if we don’t have a date already let’s get something scheduled STAT.

What would be on your prescription for wellness? How would you claim your care?

TGBTS Recipe Edition! Best Damn Granola – EVER {Guest Post!}

Our return from Taiwan was even sweeter because of how our dear friends took care of our food needs.  Vanessa was one of our many friends who kept us well-fed in those first few blurry, jet-lagged weeks.
Here’s Vanessa to share the recipe for the best damn granola ever.
With the news that the newest member of the Hackbarth-Brewer household would soon be arriving, loved ones couldn’t wait to stock the family with all things baby:  clothes, toys, books, furniture, good wishes, advice.  And food.  Lots of it!  Every new family needs it, but in the first few weeks with a new baby, who has time to chop carrots when there are songs to be learned and long walks to be taken?

Tami’s fellow yogi, Madeleine, rallied friends to sign up on Mealtrain, a website that helps organize meal-making and delivery.  Safe home from Taiwan with Sacramento’s newest resident in tow, Tami and Jed began receiving deliveries of hot, nourishing meals from friends eager to feed them lentil soup, black bean soup, chicken soup, hearty chili– all foods to fuel the new parents through jet lag and diaper changes and a new life with the sweet babe.

I couldn’t wait to get in on the action, but living more than an hour away, I wasn’t going to be able to casually drop off a casserole.  So I looked toward less perishable options and immediately thought of one of my favorite recipes, a slightly tweaked version of the very best granola ever, which is handmade by Early Bird Foods in Brooklyn.  It’s a delicious play of sweet against salty, made luscious by a generous hit of olive oil.  There’s plenty of room to adjust the ingredients to your taste by, say, leaving out the sunflower seeds and adding in a cup of chopped almonds instead.  If you want to add in dried fruit like currants or chopped apricots, wait for the last 20 minutes of cooking so they don’t get too dried out.

You might look at the amount of olive oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar and think you can save a few calories or fat grams by using less, but don’t do that.  Their proportion (along with the salt) is what gives the granola its magical addictiveness.  Eat the granola with yogurt or milk or as an ice cream topping, or do what Tami does and use it to top cooked apples.  Usually I just eat it by the handful, pausing occasionally to lick the salt off my fingers.

Ruby (and Tami) helped me whip up another batch of granola this week.  From the looks of it, I’d say there’s a new cook in the family!

Bon appétit to Ruby and her mom and dad!

Welcome Home Granola

3 cups rolled oats (not baby oats or the quick-cooking kind)
1 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
1 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
1 1/4 cups coconut flakes (the thick, wide ones, sometimes called coconut chips)
1 1/4 cups raw, chopped pecans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (something bold and fruity is preferable)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (any grade is fine so long as it’s real maple syrup)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup raw cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Combine all the ingredients except the cocoa nibs in a large bowl and mix them together to coat everything evenly.  Spread the granola out on a large, rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, carefully stirring the granola every 10 minutes;  pay special attention to keep the edges from burning.  During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in the cocoa nibs.

The granola should be uniformly light brown when it is done. Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly.  Taste and add a little more salt if you like.  Store in an airtight container.


Questions? Comments? Love for V3 or me?

Do you have any recipes or favorite {dairy free} foods to share?


In Case You Missed It Edition! Volume 34 {back to school, expectations and enough}


I’ve found some links to posts that made me laugh, cry, think or at least raise an eyebrow. Please click the links and check out the posts. You may find something that rocks your world too.

Leave me some feedback in the form of comments below on what you liked, what you hated and what you’d like to see more of. I’m here to help you find the best of what is online.


So you may have heard, it’s already back to school for a lot of teachers. Many are already setting up classrooms, making new lesson plans and dreaming of how this year will be the best yet. Every August for the last eight years, I’ve  returned to work with big plans to help my students succeed and this year instead I’m turning my house into a home for a baby.

A lot of the same feelings are coming up: excitement, anticipation, anxiety, perfectionism.

In other words, I’ve had lots of opportunities to practice self kindness, managing realistic expectations and the concept of enough.

My Best Of…

….But no one ever bothered to tell the boss that her expectations were so completely unreasonable as to be inhuman….

Havi at the Fluent Self is talking bad bosses, expectations and teams of magic makers. Deadline? Oh Really?  spoke to my inner mean boss who simultaneously wants me to stay completely chill while making my house Martha-worthy. Or if I was in the classroom, making sure every.single.thing was perfect before the first day of school.

No pressure or anything. Ugh.

Let’s all try to keep expectations at least some what realistic, shall we?  


10 Ways You Can Have Enough Money and Stuff from Be More with Less. Unexpectedly taking a year unpaid from work has my inner ‘enough’ alarm bells sounding on a pretty regular basis these days. This post helped me find some perspective.

How do you define enough?


Back to School Jitters: Theirs and Yours Some tips for managing the return of school from Jen at Classic Play.

Any other tips to add?


Socializing with Students: To Brunch or Not to Brunch?  Madeleine brings up the pros, the cons and the dirt on who can get hurt. So useful for teachers of all kinds.

Do you socialize with your students?


Because I love you:

FREE yoga with my lovely teacher/friend Michelle.

Confessions of a Recovering Flowtard – yet another book I want to read {BOOK CLUB?} – Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes On the Path To Enlightenment.

Do you think this Suzanne is my new BFF? 


That is the In Case You Missed It Edition, folks.

Remember to click the links and leave some comments. This is a conversation, you know.

In Case You Missed Edition Archives -click it to see them all.

In Case You Missed It Edition! Volume 31


Each week I’ll give you links to posts that made me laugh, cry, think or at least raise an eyebrow. Please click the links and check out the posts. You may find something that rocks your world too.

Leave me some feedback in the form of comments below on what you liked, what you hated and what you’d like to see more of. I’m here to help you find the best of what is online.


A completely insane week. I can’t believe I was just in Texas last week. Nutty.


My Best Of…

Do you ever feel like you are living a double life? A work you and a you you? My life is definitely much more integrated than ever before and yet Summer Tams still exists. Check out Madeleine’s post about bringing yourselves back together: Code Names and Living A Double Life

Interested in learning to meditate and aren’t sure where to start? Check out The Open Heart Project.

We Are What We Do – kinda says it all, huh? via Charlotte’s Fancy.

What are you doing this summer? My new favorite blogger, Rosie Molinary’s, post Summer of Intentionality got my wheels churning.

Jenna from This Is My Happiness (formerly Adventures of a 21st Century Family) did an awesome post about an upcoming Picasso exhibit straight from Musée National Picasso, Paris. I’m adding it to my summer today list right now, what about you?

Speaking of this summer…. have you read Good Enough is the New Perfect yet? If not, get yourself a copy and start thinking about what you’d say to the author is you got to meet her because Hollee Schwartz Temple will be in Sacramento at It’s All Yoga in late June. Details to follow.


That is the In Case You Missed It Edition for this week, folks.

Remember to click the links and leave some comments. This is a conversation, you know.

In Case You Missed Edition Archives -click it to see them all.

In Case You Missed It Edition! Volume 28


Each week I’ll give you links to posts that made me laugh, cry, think or at least raise an eyebrow. Please click the links and check out the posts. You may find something that rocks your world too.

Leave me some feedback in the form of comments below on what you liked, what you hated and what you’d like to see more of. I’m here to help you find the best of what is online.


What’s the best way to have your Spring Break fly by? Invite a friend in from out-of-town and have your husband go out-of-town. Chick Chat 24/7. So happy to have had the time, yet so sad for it to be over.


My Best Of…

Anna from Curvy Yoga interviewed me and the It’s All Yoga Curvy Crew: Part 1  and Part 2 . The title includes one of my favorite words of all time: subversiveness. Check it out! The photos rock, thanks to Vanessa.

While I am no longer living gluten-free, I still enjoy Gluten Free Girl’s posts. This one caught my eye – How to Cook and Bake Without Dairy (score!)

Love some of these ideas from Peace and Projects: 5 Drug-Free Ways to Manage Anxiety – I probably could have used this earlier in the month when dealing with all the adoption paperwork nuttiness. I’d probably add do some restorative yoga or call a friend.

Good Enough Is the New Perfect is now a real book! I’ve read it and I loved it. I think you will too. Check it out.


Curvy yogis Photoshoot/ Yoga Journal Talent Search Update:

Want to see the finalists? Not to take away the surprise, but I didn’t make it into the finals.

Here’s Madeleine’s excellent response to the big reveal – a post about Redefining Winning.

The Curvy Yogi Gallery is up! Check out the lovelies.


That is the In Case You Missed It Edition for this week, folks.

Remember to click the links and leave some comments. This is a conversation, you know.

In Case You Missed Edition Archives -click it to see them all.