Supine Cobbler

Supine Cobbler abs: Double pulse, single pulse

Bridge Prep: Single then double pulse

Bridge Prep Bike Twist: Knee, head, hold, twist

Apanasana: Supine lunge, Supine twist

Double Lunge (happy baby)

Double twist




Bharavajrasana side bend lift up

Arda matsyendrasana

Lounge lizard


Lounge Lizard

Arda matsy


Twisting Dog



sun salutation c


revolved triangle


seated cow





baby cradle


double pigeon

arm balance - twisted crow etc.

supine double balance - pigeon abs



supine cobbler

supine cobbler abs

supine twist




4/22/2011   Tags:  vinyasa, vinyasa yoga, class plan, silvia mordini, yoga sequencing, yoga teachers, teaching yoga, stages, kramas, twists, hips, core Direct Link


Humility, Openness, Gratitude

By Julia Jonson Cohn

April 8, 2011. Teacher training is over. On our final day together I thought the room would be filled with tears… but instead there was a calm happiness. A knowing that even though this leg of the journey had come to an end, we were about to experience another new beginning. When I signed up for this program, I thought my biggest lessons would be learning the best ways to teach alignment in poses and then putting them together in really smart sequences. I did learn all about that, but there was so much more. I’ve always understood that yoga balances energy in the body/mind… but now I am directly in touch with my spirit as a result of this experience. 

The three qualities that I feel now embody my personal mission statement for teaching are these:

1. Humility. I consider it the highest honor to be one who shares the wisdom of this ancient practice of yoga. I am aware that the participants who step into any class I might be conducting are going to be my greatest teachers. And they already have! I also know that being a non-judging observer of life will not only help me to deepen my own practice, but will help me connect more deeply with those who seek me out for class.

2. Openness. The world seems much less complicated and things more clear now that I have connected with the essence of who I am. I have gained the ability to be much more empathetic with all people… even those who I used to view as the biggest obstacles to my own happiness. Now I know my happiness and peacefulness only depends on me… and not losing my connection to my Self. I pledge to convey this awareness to others and share my personal experiences with students.

3. Gratitude. Being grateful for everything that happens is far from an easy practice. I really do view every tough time and every good time as an opportunity for growth because I am thankful for my life. I used to walk around with a “why me” attitude, but now I think why not me… Every hardship has helped me grow in leaps and bounds. I’m not to the point of saying “bring it on.” However, embracing the dark and the light the ups and downs has certainly gotten easier.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my teachers Silvia and Rachel. You probably don’t even know the scope of how you have changed my life (and certainly many others) forever. Thank you to my fellow students. It was no coincidence the Universe brought us together. This is not the end. I love you all.

4/8/2011   Tags:  teacher training, certified teacher training, rachel dewan, silvia mordini, why me, observation, empathy, obstacles, teacher training graduates, julia jonson cohn, humility, openness, gratitude Direct Link



April 5, 2011. Ah Spring! A great reminder that it is "never too late, or too early, to consider sequencing your life today for a healthier tomorrow." As anyone that has practiced with me has experienced I think of sequencing as both an art and a science. This practice of Vinyasa Krama is one which anyone can do because we start where we are. All you need is the desire and attention to stay focused from the beginning to the end of how you want to sequence your life.  

Western science proves that the best form of exercise involves learning complex movement, including balance and coordination and that this type of MOVEMENT provides physiological release that we need to bring our body back into balance while at the SAME time it is also good for our brain because coordinated sequences of movement help form more connections between the neurons in our brain.  Other benefits of learning coordinated movements which in yoga we call Vinyasa include: improved mental well-being; increased neurotransmitters; mood regulation; anxiety control; ability to handle stress better; better socialization; ability to better process more information; enhanced attentiveness and improved ability to choose appropriate responses.  

I believe learning new routines (sequences) of yoga poses helps us learn how to adapt to new routines in life. As our yoga poses change we become more open to seeing new potentials and possibilities in our work, family, diet, and even in our travel adventures. This Spring spend more time on the mat to help you learn to sequence your best life ever! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia  

4/5/2011   Tags:  vinyasa, vinyasa yoga, creating, design, yoga sequencing, yoga teachers, teaching yoga, stages, kramas, vinyasa krama, movement, yoga is for the mind, sequencing, travel adventures Direct Link


Mysterious Remedy, Powerful Role By Laura Mills

Too many times I’ve attended a yoga class and exited feeling I received just what I needed. Yes, when in the mood for a yogic “butt kicking” I’ve purposely chosen a class that would especially challenge me, or when craving an easeful flow I’ve found a restorative or beginners’ class. But even when I’ve gone to a class without any idea of what I needed, most of the time I’ve still left with humility and gratitude, feeling as if the teacher had tailored the class to me.    

When training to teach yoga, short of paying attention to weather, time of year, and events in the news, or else asking students before class, I didn’t learn any mystical secret for determining students’ practice needs. Yet after nearly every class—regardless of day, time or level—at least one student tells me, “That was great, just what I needed today,” or something like that. My amazement never fails; somehow, whatever I plan for a particular class finds at least one person in the right place at the right time. I don’t understand and can’t explain how it happens, but the fact that it does happen assures me I don’t need to understand something in order to experience positivity in it.   

And, it humbles me to know I help make such positivity possible for others.    

Oh, I knew of yoga’s ability to humble long before I started teaching. Time and again I’ve struggled in my own practice, tiring long before the ends of classes, sweating through head- and handstand preparations and other—to me—scary asana work, struggling through a hamstring injury. The further my practice developed the more help I realized I needed. I asked more questions, accepted more instruction, and with my teachers’ guidance eventually discovered a yoga practice all my own. 

But now, as a teacher myself, my humility exists in a whole new dimension. When I look out into the studio before class I see students whom I know are working through physical pain or emotional turmoil or both, and many of whom are daily building deeper practices and incorporating yoga further into their lives. I can’t help but feel tremendous respect for my students, choosing yoga as their means of healing and enrichment, putting their trust into something so powerful and mysterious. And I can’t help but feel small and even a bit scared by the knowledge that, if my own experience as a student indicates anything, as their practices deepen students look to me more and more as their guide. Yes, I’ve trained 200+ hours to teach yoga, but I’m still a student myself, still feel I need yoga for my own ongoing healing and enrichment, still haven’t approached understanding what yoga is and can be in my life’s big picture. Yet in the classes I teach, when I see a student close his or her eyes during meditation, smile during Surya Namaskar, or cry in Savasana, I realize that somehow what I’ve planned for that day is doing just what it’s supposed to do….

No yoga teacher should underestimate his or her impact on students. We consciously write classes to the best of our ability, but somehow a deeper guidance takes place that leads individual, unique students into individual, unique practices where they find whatever they need at a particular moment. This is why all of us have chosen yoga, I think; we can’t explain exactly how it works, but it works, and this ultimately brings comfort and peace to teachers and students alike because it confirms our membership in something greater than ourselves. The contentment I see when I look out into the studio during Savasana confirms this for me, every class…and reaffirms what a tremendous privilege, what an incredible experience, what an utter joy it is to teach.   

4/1/2011   Tags:  Laura Mills, beginning yoga teacher, humility, gratitude, positivity, healing, enrichment, class preparation, teachers as guides, TEACHER TRAINING, teachers impact on students Direct Link


March 17, 2011.  Wonderful most blessed day!  And our most fun playlist ever.  So grateful to all the yogis that have shared time with me.  Love you all! Silvia


River Flows In You, Yiruma, First Love (Yiruma Piano Collection)

Black Eyed Dog, Nick Drake, Way To Blue (An Introduction To Nick Drake)

Hate It Or Love It (Remix), 50 Cent & G Unit, The Massacre

Gangsta Nation, Nate Dogg           

Catacombs, Poi Dog Pondering, Liquid White Light [Live] [Disc1]

The Donque Song (Ft. Snoop Dogg),, Songs About Girls

Buttons, The Pussycat Dolls           

Quiet Dog, Mos Def, The Ecstatic

So Doggone Lonesome, Johnny Cash, I Walk The Line - 16 Great Performances

California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg), Katy Perry, California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)

Police Dogs Bonfire, Lazyboy, Ibiza The Sunset Sessions

Till I Get There, Lupe Fiasco, Lasers 

Jumelles, MC Solaar, Mach 6

Soon The New Day, Talib Kweli Feat. Norah Jones, Ear Drum

aint feel nothing, zino & tommy, Tears From The Moon


Praan, Garry Schyman, Praan - Single


PS Join me on retreat or in class


3/17/2011   Tags:  yoga playlist, yoga music, yoga teacher training, vinyasa yoga teacher training, vinyasa flow, vinyasa yoga, silvia mordini, hip hop yoga, hauteyoga queen anne Direct Link


Practice Never Perfect…Thank Goodness By Laura Mills 

  My first yoga teacher suggested I practice balance daily, even if only to lift one foot an inch at a time. But at the beginning of my yoga life, I barely practiced anything outside my once-a-week class. I tried to fit in a little balance here and there, but only after many random and frustrating foot-lifts did I successfully incorporate it into every day. Eventually, as my yoga life progressed, I understood that balance isn’t something to be learned once and then mastered, like tying a shoe, but instead is a process that continues throughout one’s life. As is yoga itself, so much more than a “thing to do” on a daily basis. I still get frustrated on occasion—with balance as well as other aspects of yoga—but now I recognize those frustrations as merely steps along the way on which I travel.   

  When I consider my own yogic frustrations, my heart goes out to my students, both beginners and seasoned yogis alike. Occasionally I notice a look cross a face; I know the look well, and I wonder what particular frustration causes it. Perhaps it’s frustration with a constantly-chattering mind or a certain pose. Speaking from my own experience: very likely. 

  On such occasions I wish I could tell the student my own yoga story, but in a 60- or 75-minute class those details have little place. If time allowed, though, I would share how I’ve always struggled to quiet my mind, and that even now both on and off the mat I often can’t do it. I would share how I couldn’t always touch the floor in Forward Fold or bend my knee 90 degrees in Warrior 2, and how even now on some days doing either of those seems impossible. And, while many students have already heard about my tight hamstrings, here I would add how last year those hamstrings forced me to pull back from my practice and learn modified techniques while they healed from an injury. I would also divulge that I haven’t taught Handstand yet, since I just did my first one less than a year ago, as well as that no student should expect to learn Headstand from me since in anything beyond Tripod I have yet to lift my feet off the ground.

  But still, while frustrations occur, the difference between me at the beginning of my yoga life and me now is I understand that no end point or final level exists, and as a result today I am much more content in my practice. Though I continue to struggle with certain aspects of yoga, I realize that doors open and roads unfold constantly—as long as I keep practicing.  

  I’ve been wondering, then, how best to teach the yogic process to my students. We already convey the idea when we teach preparatory poses before full or more challenging versions, for example, or when we focus on one particular sutra or limb out of many as a class theme. And we always encourage students to “begin where they’re at” and move forward from there. Little by little, even as frustrations occur, all dedicated students grow in their practices. But in the midst of chattering minds and challenging poses, do they realize they are growing? I didn’t realize it, at least not right away.

  But, thanks to my first teacher, I started to learn.

  And I’m still practicing…balance, and everything else besides.  

  My best teaching method might then be to continue being myself—as I believe my first teacher was, and as I believe most of my teachers since have been. Like them, I am someone who adores sharing yoga with others and someone whose life yoga has changed. I have faith in yoga, and its process, with my entire being. And with this faith I practice; alongside my students, I grow while doors open and roads unfold.

1/27/2011   Tags:  Laura Mills, beginning yoga teacher, balance, frustration, practice, yogic process, faith Direct Link


Physical Focus:  Backbends


On back bricks supported backbend with Cobbler (thanks Jenny for inspiring this pose!)

Cobbler Abs

Half Bridge Abs

Supine Pigeon Ab Twists to Pigeon Twist (side 2)


Upward Facing Plank

Malasana twist

Forward Fold - with bind, release open arms to twist, side 2 (prep stage of bird of paradise)



Step back 

Half lunge left leg back with Yoga Mudra hold 

Half Spinal balance with Scorpian Leg

Inhale prepare: Exhale Dip down chest down - Inhale Half Cat knee to chest (Dynamic repeat)

Sunbird reach back for foot opposite hand hold

Full Spinal Balance

Half Plank to core plank

I leg dog left leg in air

Step forward left foot forward

Half Lunge with Yoga Mudra hold (finish all of side 2)



I leg down dog from previous wave transition

Inhale High Lunge reach up

Exhale Flying Lunge reach back

Inhale High Lunge Reach up

Exhale High Lunge back knee dips (juice up quad and palms touch and bend back behind head like handstand as knee drops)

Inhale High Lunge Reach Up (repeat 3-8 times)

Basic Vinyasa with COBRA


WAVE 4 Repeat above and add on

High Lunge Upper Body Twist

High Lunge 1 armed backbend like half camel hold

Dynamic - 1 armed high lunge backbend to Revolved Lunge 3 times

Last time Revolved Half Moon B hold

Ardha Matsyendrasana twist

Pigeon - quad stretch (left leg forward)

1 leg down dog

Cow Downward Dog

Cow pose with pose of heart arms outstretched

Seated Cow pose twist

Cow pose with cow arms fold

Pigeon top leg forward Right Leg pigeon

I leg downward dog

Scorpian vinyasa (option Scorpian balance or Dancer Dog hold)

Basic Vinyasa with Cobra hold

Side 2 (left foot forward)

*Add stage two Pigeon to Mermaid to King Pigeon



Pigeon Quad opener twist opposite hand

Pigeon Hold back foot both hands

Four Leaf Clover pose lift hips into back bend

Half Virasana

Lie Back

From supine half virasana bend extended leg and lift to 1 Legged Wheel (Pigeon variation if you wish)

Half virasana back to seated

Standing Splits

Half Lunge King Pigeon 2

Half Spinal Balance Scorpian leg, now extend bottom leg as crutch, or straighten or stage 3 full pose

FULL LOCUST feet in sky

To belly pause

Side 2



Closing poses: include Malasana, Cobbler, Supine Cobbler


PS Join me on yoga retreat or visit

1/26/2011   Tags:  vinyasa, vinyasa yoga, class plan, silvia mordini, yoga sequencing, yoga teachers, teaching yoga, stages, kramas, backbends Direct Link


Living, Loving & (most importantly) Laughing

By Julia Jonson Cohn


Our recent weekend of studies delved into The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which are the ancient texts that are more about life philosophy than physical poses. Deep stuff, right? Yes, for sure…  yet, we students spent the better part of the weekend laughing.

One of my many takes on why yoga = happiness is this: Yoga makes me feel great in my physical body, loved and accepted by the people who teach me and practice with me. Add learning life lessons that are “in your face,” but that totally make sense and you have solved another happiness equation. It is a major shift in perception that makes me feel good and able to laugh at some of the silliness in life. Our teacher, Silvia, compared the racing thoughts in our head to a washing machine. How funny, but how true! The washing machine spins and agitates, much like the human mind, until we find stillness and see the quiet inside that already exists.

Fellow student Rachelle Green (btw, one of the oldest souls I’ve ever met and she just graduated from high school) puts it like this: “Yoga has changed my outlook on so many simple things (accepting things the way they are, being happy and grateful for whatever comes my way). If I heard someone say that a few years ago I'd want to punch them in the face, but over the last year I've grown so much as a person and am truly happy. Yoga helps you create the ease that you've always desired in your life.”

By day three we were giddy. Fellow classmate Ric Saquil observed that we were much like old friends at a high school class reunion… and we were.

Laughing is not just fun, it’s important. You have to be able to laugh at some of the garbage that life dishes out and turn it into something, well, better than garbage. I think that happiness turns up wherever you let it emerge. After one of the most awesome weekends I’ve had in a long time, the trickle down effect is amazing… since then, it’s been one great day after another (even with the garbage).

Wishing you immense peace and never ending laughter!

p.s. One of my favorite Sutras is I 33, The Four Keys to Happiness


1/23/2011   Tags:  love, laughing, laughter, humor, yoga sutras, julia jonson cohn, happiness, fun, lila tandava, bhakti, bhukti, Sutra 1.33, Keys to happiness, teacher training Direct Link


Peeling Back the Layers By Julia Jonson Cohn (RYT PENDING, CLASS #9 TBY TEACHER TRAINING)

I always cry when I peel onions… the more I peel and chop, the more tears that flow. This has been the case for me more often than not lately each time I lie in Savasana. I feel as if I’m peeling back layer after layer of ego and really getting to the core of who I am -- an infinite being who is already perfect and whole. I guess you could call them tears of joy for an incredible discovery made through deepening both my yoga practice and meditating more often. 

My fellow teacher trainees and I spent a recent day of training delving deep into meditation. We started our day with a yoga class led by our teacher, Rachel Dewan. She encouraged us to practice the principle of Ahimsa (or non-harming) both in class and in our lives. After our yoga practice wrapped up, we took that theme a step further as we sat in a group and meditated for 30 minutes. Rachel guided us into stillness and at the end, the feeling seemed unanimous… time flew and we had all gone to ‘the other place,’ as yoga teacher Andrea Harris calls it. Andrea says, "when we spend every waking moment of our day cognizant of only the external portion of our existence, we miss out on something truly important. When we close our eyes with awareness and acknowledge our internal existence, each and every quiet breath lifts away a layer of distraction. Underneath those layers lie your true light, your true spirit, and it is beautifully, wonderfully divine."

The benefits of meditation are extensive. Rachel taught us that a person’s physical health can improve tremendously, if not transform, with regular stillness. Many scientists and doctors are now finding proof of meditation’s direct impact on the way the brain is wired. Clinical research is being done in the areas of depression, anxiety, asthma, cancer and other diseases that shows how patients can reduce symptoms and often times even cure what ails them through a regular meditation practice. Just last week the Wall Street Journal ran an article about the mental health benefits of mindfulness. Psychologists are using new cognitive behavior therapies to help people combat self doubt through a) accepting their thoughts and b) remaining present in the moment. Hey, that’s yoga!

I am officially sold. Not that I needed to be, but it is exciting to see a personal transformation as I meditate more frequently and to know that I will have something invaluable to share with my students. Yet another way to help them increase their level of happiness and see the world more clearly. In the book, “Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness,” (a required read for our teacher training) author and yoga instructor Erich Shiffman reminds us that “it is not arrogant or egotistical to feel good inside. You had nothing to do with it. It’s simply the honest response to clearly perceived Reality.” For me, it just feels so great to feel good most of the time. Reason enough to find time for stillness.

1/14/2011   Tags:  Julia Jonson Cohn, yoga teacher trainees, LAYERS, yoga student, BLOG TEACHER TRAINING, yoga teacher training, meditation Direct Link


January 9, 2011.  I have often been asked "who was my first yoga teacher".  Well that's easy, it was my Father.  And as he really was a professor that makes sense and doesn't. My father was teaching me the Yoga of Life.  Yoga of Adventure. Yoga of Experiencing the world!

You see my Father, Enrico, was at heart a pure adventurer and my Mother's parents were serious spiritual seekers.  I grew up traveling all over the world with my brother and parents from the time I was an infant.  I guess the fact that I love to show other people the beauty of the world through Yoga Retreats and Active Vacations shouldn't surprise anyone since I was born in Ecuador, South America and my Father is from Northern Italy near Modena, and English was my third language.  One could say being a citizen of the world is in my blood.  And I learned from my Father, this spirit of Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha, to dream the impossible.  I saw with my own eyes, touched and tasted new flavors, experienced new landscapes and as a result I learned about myself.  Every time I traveled somewhere I came back different, I was changed and knew that anything was possible.  

As  teacher of yoga and as a guide for international yoga trips: I want to inspire in you what my family inspired in me: To see with the eyes of my heart by transforming the ecology of mind that happens naturally when you change the routine pattern of daily life.  And to not apologize for being different and wanting to learn more about how big the universe is.  You see, I am not fearless, I haven't climbed Mount Everest or even Mount Rainer or cycled 100 miles in one day (my co-guide Jacob Young has though!) but I am willing to try anything.  I practice yoga every day to go on an internal adventure, to meet new people and push the boundaries of learning others ideas.  Yoga stokes my Rebel Spirit.  

It's funny (not haha, but funny weird) how yoga revealed itself to me. Yoga has been my faithful companion since a car ran me over more than a decade ago. My doctor prescribed yoga as part of my recovery routine, and my body and spirit began to transform. From my first class, I dedicated myself to live more fully. My loving Anusara-inspired Vinyasa Flow teaching style is influenced by more than 10 years of Hatha yoga study and I am gratefully committed to my three primary teachers: Shiva ReaJohn Friend, and my students.

 My teaching style is upbeat and fun, serious and informative, supportive and authentic. I use my own intuition and demonstrations along with people's questions and past experiences to deepen the learning process.  My teaching intention is that while connected to their breath, students might feel each pose with an open heart and a quiet mind. Yoga then becomes a means to explore oneself more deeply in order to better face life’s challenges and open to the endless possibilities that exist for all of us.

 Less interesting but somewhat important: While in the corporate world, I worked as the HR Director for both Inc 500 and Fortune 500 companies, specializing in Training & Development. This parlayed well into opening my own Yoga studio in 2002 and teaching full-time. With over 7,500 hours of yoga teaching experience and the founder of a nationally recognized RYT 200 Yoga Certified Teacher Training Program in it's 10th cycle, I bring inspiration, enthusiasm and playfulness through creative, flowing sequencing and a delightful combination of yoga philosophy and healthy physical alignment all supported by inspiring music.  My life has a soundtrack, my yoga does too.

Just like music nurtures my spirit I want to support you to be more curious about your life.  One things for sure, going on a trip together will stoke the fire of creativity inside you, you will regain trust like what the Alchemist says "the universe is on your side" and you will learn to embrace uncertainty. You will become part of our tribe of Alchemy Adventure Seekers, or at the very least, you won't be afraid to try new stuff. To send me a personal email, write I'd LOVE to hear from you.



1/9/2011   Tags:  spiritual adventure, dreams, fear, Alchemist, teacher training, yoga teacher, curiosity, silvia mordini, alchemy tours, trust Direct Link


Do Over By Laura Mills 

   Whether writing a yoga class or an essay, I never erase. Not that I don’t make mistakes, but when I do I scratch them out, content with the messier route in my urgency to shape what I feel is better work. People who glimpse my notes and journals don’t believe I make sense of them, littered as they are with scribbles and swirls. But somehow I do, moving forward after difficult moments to produce something that satisfies me.  

   I wish moving forward were that easy for me off-paper.

   In eight months of teaching yoga, I’ve frequently finished a class feeling less-than-100%. Maybe the sequence didn’t flow as smoothly as I intended, maybe I left too little time for Savasana, maybe the music didn’t compliment the flow, maybe I philosophized too much. And immediately after such a class, I‘ve struggled not to say to my students, “No, wait! Come back! I can do better!” I want to try again, to produce a better version, and I want to do it right away—but of course, I can only hope the same students attend my next class and see me in what I vow will be better form.

   I don’t believe this feeling is unique to new yoga teachers, but I do hope it occurs less frequently with time. I wonder how long I will teach before I rarely second-guess myself. I wonder how long I will teach before the chance is excellent that at the end of my next class I’ll be satisfied. For now, while I grapple with my confidence, I remind myself that when challenged on the mat we slow down, breathe and re-center. It's a familiar, easier-said-than-done practice, one that my own yoga teachers have taught me over and over and one that I now teach my students. Instead of pushing ahead in a hurry, we pause and tune back in, return to our natural rhythm, and then move forward refreshed. This lesson impacted me hugely when I first started practicing, a few years ago at a time when I was urgently—and unsuccessfully—attempting to push my way through the effects of a personal tragedy. Like so many yogis before me, the patience and self-care I met on the mat flowed into the rest of my life, and with time and practice, eventually I was able to gently start again and progress towards the future with a newly-centered spirit.  

   Now, in my role as yoga teacher, after any less-than-100% class I experience that same initial urgency. I want so badly to serve my students in the best way possible, to live up to the credentials I now possess. When I feel a class falls short, I want to go back and improve it immediately…but instead, like I do on the mat, I know I must remember to slow down and re-center, tapping into that patience and self-care that has served me so well in yoga practice and elsewhere.  

   I know I have everything I need to teach yoga well; I also know I judge myself more critically than anyone else ever could. As 2011 begins, I will work on tending my confidence and encouraging it to thrive. I will also remind myself with love that every yoga teacher, new or otherwise, experiences difficult moments now and then. Unlike in writing, we can’t erase those moments even if we want to—but if we slow down and re-center we can, at least in a way, scratch them out and make them not matter so much. Then we can move forward, refreshed, into our next class, onto a fresh page.

1/2/2011   Tags:  Laura Mills, new yoga teacher, confidence, slowing down, re-centering, moving forward, patience, self-care Direct Link


Being Mighty

By Julia Jonson Cohn


 Sure yoga’s a “feel good” kind of discipline, but anyone who practices regularly will tell you it goes so much deeper than that. As I go through teacher training I feel as if am drinking yoga by the gallon-ful… gulping down more classes and home practice, pouring over books, exploring places to observe classes and consuming web casts and DVD’s about yoga. I can best describe my current state of studentship by declaring I feel mighty!

I dusted off my circa 1985, three-inch thick, Webster’s Dictionary and looked up the word. It defines mighty as “great and powerful.” Another definition I found read “having or showing great power, skill, strength, or force.” Yes! I feel all of these things. But I’ve discovered that it is okay to feel weak and have obstacles that need to be conquered in order to keep feeling strong.

Our teacher Silvia had big things planned for last weekend‘s training. On Friday we would tackle handstands and Saturday would be all about arm balances. The sessions were challenging, fun and -- at for me at times -- frustrating. In my own practice, I had shied away from such poses… yet, I found I was being hard on myself for not being able to execute them. As I struggled to pull my feet off the ground in Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose) and sweat dripped from my brow, I muttered under my breath in irritation. My fellow classmate LeAnn Lockhart says she also experienced self doubt, but “(I learned to) just let go and realize some things take time, that I just needed to love myself for trying.”

As I scanned the room watching my classmates in, what seemed to be, slow motion -- it hit me that my inner strife had the potential to bring them down. Another reminder of how yoga reveals the effects our actions can have on one another. Then I watched in amazement at other students flying and felt exhilarated to watch them soar. Especially Ric Saguil who says “Through Silvia’s guidance I was able to reach a spiritual and physical place I only envisioned previously.”

So for me, being mighty means always remembering that every challenge I face represents a choice to either shine or wilt. I choose to shine and in doing so, have a subtly good impact on others by diligently practicing what scares me. For now I am taking baby steps by working on Bakasana (Crow or Crane), Parsva Bakasana and Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). Guess what? I’m almost there. And I really do love myself for trying.


12/14/2010   Tags:  Julia Jonson Cohn, yoga teacher trainees, be present, yoga student, BLOG TEACHER TRAINING, yoga teacher training, yoga benefits, power of yoga, silvia mordini Direct Link


December 1, 2101 My "Best" Practice? By Laura Mills, in the words of a New Yoga Teacher

  When I was little, someone I admired advised me to achieve two objectives with my future: first, I must choose an endeavor that brings me happiness; and second, no matter what the endeavor, I must be my very best at it. Very shortly after I began teaching yoga, I knew this particular role model would be proud, for no endeavor of my past had shown me so much joy. But even now, more than six months into my teaching experience, the second objective trails a question mark.... Am I truly the best yoga teacher I can be at this point? And if not, how can I become so?

  It's not a question of spending more time on class preparation. A yoga teacher can literally spend every moment sequencing poses and developing themes. Realistically, of course, that can't happen--and at this point, I believe I've found a place at which I reasonably weave together yoga teaching and practice with the other strands that together form my complete life, including the eating and sleeping, errands and chores, writing and reading, and other pursuits with which I enrich my time.

  If I'm already reading, then, perhaps I should read more about yoga and yoga-related topics. Material abounds, for sure; one of the first things that struck me about teacher training, in fact, was the amount of reading material. Books about the fundamentals of yoga poses and the teaching of them, books on yogic philosophy, books on human anatomy, books on how to incorporate yoga into life off the mat...I confess that even now, six months after teacher training's end, I have yet to make my way through every last page. But even after I complete my first pass through this resource library, much more will remain to be read. Not long ago, for example, at a local bookstore I spotted shelf after shelf of translations of the Yoga Sutras (all different from the three I already own), the Upanisads, and the Bhagavad Gita, as well as books on different styles of yoga, yoga for various ailments and ages, and others. Yes, keeping the pages moving will always be an option.

  But really, even while a stack of still-unread yoga books is never far away, I know that yoga-in-writing is really only a small part of what's left for me to learn. The more yoga I practice and the more yoga I teach, the more I feel as if I stand only at the beginning of a path that stretches infinitely ahead. Just connecting with other teachers and students teaches me new lessons all the time, like there's always one more way to sequence a class, one more way to incorporate a theme, one more reason why people come to yoga in the first place, and one more inspiration that brings them back class after class. In six months of teaching I have yet to leave the studio with the same mind with which I entered; at the very least, after every class I am strengthened in my knowledge that I don't know all that exists to know about yoga. And that I never will.

  And actually, now that I think about it, perhaps keeping this very point at heart--with the greatest humility and the firmest commitment to yoga as a lifelong practice--is the essence of truly being my very best at this endeavor. Yes, I can continue putting my efforts into preparing classes, and I can pursue yoga-related reading whenever time allows. But I can also reaffirm my intention again and again to embrace my own studentship, letting myself just BE TAUGHT as life as a yoga teacher and everything else that I am unfolds. I can keep my heart open to the practice with the faith that, no matter how long I've been teaching, yoga will always have something left to teach me.

12/2/2010   Tags:  Laura Mills, beginning yoga teacher, class preparation, teacher training program, yoga books, new lessons, lifelong practice, studentship Direct Link


Right Here, Right Now

By Julia Jonson Cohn


Remember the lyrics to that 90‘s tune by Jesus Jones? “Right here, right now, there is no other place I wanna be.” That has been my mantra lately as I’m experiencing an abundance of “now” moments. I’m certain that delving deeper into yoga through teacher training has everything to do with helping me to remain present. I am consistently able to fully accept every moment as fulfilling -- and neither cling to the past nor stress about the future -- even when my “now” seems unsatisfying. I guess you could say I’ve become more accepting of whatever the Universe dishes out.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not exempt from having days when I feel bad, down or angry. I’m just constantly reminded that spending more time practicing and learning about yoga gives me what I need to pull out of a slump -- or, more importantly, to accept those slumps in life and learn from them. God knows I’ve had my fair share!

A recent physical slump involved a major bout with lower back pain. And if I wasn’t already a firm believer in the power of yoga to awaken the body’s own healing process, I certainly am after last weekend’s training with our guru, Silvia. We spent the better part of a day perfecting Ustrasana (camel), Dhanurasana (bow), Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel) and other backbends. My back pain is not only gone, but I feel freer to experience even deeper backbends.

 The physical openness I’ve been experiencing has led me to a greater understanding of the spiritual benefits of the heart-opening backbends and many other poses we‘ve been studying. I guess my “right here, right now” mantra comes from aligning with Grace and experiencing my True Nature. Author Tim Hansel says it best: “Life becomes precious and more special to us when we look for the little everyday miracles and get excited about the privileges of simply being human.”

11/26/2010   Tags:  Julia Jonson Cohn, yoga teacher trainees, be present, yoga student, BLOG TEACHER TRAINING, yoga teacher training, yoga benefits, power of yoga, silvia mordini Direct Link



Face long edge of mat swing arms into twisting kriya

Then knee to arm up, let it go step out left (elbow to knee)

than transverse lunge side to side

Then knee to arm up, let it go step out right

Pose of shiva twists

Low transverse lunge

Walk to right foot front of mat




Standing splits, then knee to chest yoga ball 3 x's


Standing splits

Half virasana, lift hips 3 x's hold

Low lunge alternate arms

swing alternate arms

Revolved lunge

Transverse lunge

Frame back foot

I leg dog, flip dog, core plank, twisted plank, parsva vasci 2

I leg chatarunga, up dog, down dog

Same leg again

K2 low lunge, circle arms, revolved lunge, transverse lunge front of mat

I leg dog, flip dog, core plank, twisted plank, parva vasci 2




From dog jump into malasana

Boat, twist boat dynamic - to half boat

Pocahontas abs from boat prep

Crow - tripod - Crow jump back



Standing splits, baby eagle

High Lunge, alternate arms until it opens to Warrior 2, Reverse Warrior, Revolved Lunge, Transverse Lunge

I leg dog open hip feel twist to opposite elbow core plank

to twisted plank parva vasci

Sit to upavista konasana - twist it

Half hero forward fold

Four leaf clover - lift hips back bend

Pigeon, twist

I leg dog, flip dog, core plank, twisted plank, parva vasci 2 - FULL wheel option

Side 2



Jump to chair, twisted chair each side

Right side twisted chair to low version to side crow

Jump length of mat sideways

Half Moon B

Half hero, lift hips and now extend leg 1 legged upward facing plank

Marychasana C

Open to other side Parva Vasci 1

Core plank

Twisted plank

Fallen warrior rest

Forearm side plank

Forearm plank to sphinx rest


Side 2



Dolphin partner - kick up

Child's pose



Supine downward facing savasana

Turn over, closing sequence





Silvia Mordini

11/21/2010   Tags:  vinyasa, vinyasa yoga, class plan, silvia mordini, yoga sequencing, yoga teachers, teaching yoga, stages, kramas, backbends Direct Link



By Julia Jonson Cohn

 Cobrahhh! A collective spark of enlightenment beamed across the yoga studio as our teacher Rachel guided us into the best Bhujangasana some of us had ever experienced. We yoga teacher trainees rose up simultaneously with wide eyes and let out a resounding “ahhhh!” as we achieved near perfect alignment. It was like the grand finale of teacher training that day. Executing a pose that we had all likely done hundreds of times before yet this time it felt brand new because of what we had learned.

 Rachel’s enthusiasm throughout the day reverberated through me as she talked about ankle, thigh and shoulder loops. I was increasingly aware that I was much like a child learning a task for the first time. Yoga has been a trusty companion for almost half my life yet lately I feel like I’m just trying it for the first time. I suppose it is a renewed sense of wonderment about how many elements and layers of this ancient practice exist.

We began our day by taking class with our guru Silvia who challenged us to face our fears. This meant not just taking risks, but paying close to attention to everything around us so that we may be fully present as students of our own life. Silvia explained the worst part of fear is that feeling you get before you do something that scares you. She reassured us that the act itself is rarely as scary as the anticipation. We prepared, learned, watched and sometimes, in very human fashion, got distracted. The class hit a crescendo with Ahdo Mukha Vrksasana or handstand. How liberating to face my fears on the mat! As I supported the weight of my body on my hands (with a little assistance) my fear of heights, of illness and not accomplishing my goals didn‘t feel quite as daunting.

Back in the classroom we talked about opening to Grace at the beginning of practice. I cannot imagine practicing yoga without the life philosophy that our teachers so eloquently ooze. It is helping me to find the “realer” version of me and for that I am thankful. Albert Einstein said “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” For me, a greater understanding of life and yoga is emerging as I examine my own inner nature.

 Namaste to my amazing teachers for guiding me and inspiring me on this journey.


11/16/2010   Tags:  Julia Jonson Cohn, fear, yoga teacher trainees, ENLIGHTENMENT, PRINCIPLES OF ALIGNEMENT, ANUSARA YOGA, GRACE, yoga student, BLOG TEACHER TRAINING, yoga teacher training Direct Link


Philosophical Focus:  Opening up as the antidote to contraction. Happiness is the antidote to unhappiness. 

Physical Focus:  Backbends

Mantra: I am opening into



On back bricks supported backbend with Cobbler (thanks Jenny for inspiring this pose!)

Cobbler Abs

Half Bridge Abs

Supine Pigeon Ab Twists to Pigeon Twist (side 2)


Upward Facing Plank

Malasana twist

Forward Fold - with bind, release open arms to twist, side 2 (prep stage of bird of paradise)



Step back 

Half lunge left leg back with Yoga Mudra hold 

Half Spinal balance with Scorpian Leg

Inhale prepare: Exhale Dip down chest down - Inhale Half Cat knee to chest (Dynamic repeat)

Sunbird reach back for foot opposite hand hold

Full Spinal Balance

Half Plank to core plank

I leg dog left leg in air

Step forward left foot forward

Half Lunge with Yoga Mudra hold (finish all of side 2)



I leg down dog from previous wave transition

Inhale High Lunge reach up

Exhale Flying Lunge reach back

Inhale High Lunge Reach up

Exhale High Lunge back knee dips (juice up quad and palms touch and bend back behind head like handstand as knee drops)

Inhale High Lunge Reach Up (repeat 3-8 times)

Basic Vinyasa with COBRA


WAVE 4 Repeat above and add on

High Lunge Upper Body Twist

High Lunge 1 armed backbend like half camel hold

Dynamic - 1 armed high lunge backbend to Revolved Lunge 3 times

Last time Revolved Half Moon B hold

Ardha Matsyendrasana twist

Pigeon - quad stretch (left leg forward)

1 leg down dog

Cow Downward Dog

Cow pose with pose of heart arms outstretched

Seated Cow pose twist

Cow pose with cow arms fold

Pigeon top leg forward Right Leg pigeon

I leg downward dog

Scorpian vinyasa (option Scorpian balance or Dancer Dog hold)

Basic Vinyasa with Cobra hold

Side 2 (left foot forward)

*Add stage two Pigeon to Mermaid to King Pigeon



Pigeon Quad opener twist opposite hand

Pigeon Hold back foot both hands

Four Leaf Clover pose lift hips into back bend

Half Virasana

Lie Back

From supine half virasana bend extended leg and lift to 1 Legged Wheel (Pigeon variation if you wish)

Half virasana back to seated

Standing Splits

Half Lunge King Pigeon 2

Half Spinal Balance Scorpian leg, now extend bottom leg as crutch, or straighten or stage 3 full pose

FULL LOCUST feet in sky

To belly pause

Side 2



Closing poses: include Malasana, Cobbler, Supine Cobbler


11/16/2010   Tags:  vinyasa, vinyasa yoga, class plan, silvia mordini, yoga sequencing, yoga teachers, teaching yoga, stages, kramas, backbends Direct Link



One wave taught and practiced from my video. Philosophical theme is not judging, letting go of self-consciousness



Childs pose

Wrist Stretches: Finger tip table floss shoulders, turn one hand around face knee, switch, turn back of hand around to face knee, switch

Half Thread the Needle

Thread the Needle:  Hold then dynamic keeping shoulder quiet-  all core action obliques

Half Thread the Needle dynamic

Thread the Needle side 2: hold then dynamic

Downward Dog



Half Spinal balance to child's pose dynamic alternating each side

Full Spinal balance hold, 

Kneeling Side Plank

Gate Pose

Half Warrior B

Half Triangle then unsupported niralamba

Kneeling Side Plank

Flow 3 x's

Hold Kneeling Side Plank to Full Side Plank

Plank - basic vinyasa

Side 2



Reverse Half Vinyasa: Upward facing plank to Dog pose repeat and flow (add optional chatarunga, plank)

Walk the dog to Uttanasana (forward fold)

Lift right leg - standing splits, lower

Stand up - lift left knee to crane

Warrior 3

Crane to Standing Pigeon Chair arms open, twist arms wide

Step forward Pyramid

Side 2: stand on left leg crane, warrior 3, crane to Standing Pigeon chair, twist, step back Pyramid

Standing splits left leg is up


WAVE 4 - Sun Salutation C with variation

Step back Half Lunge knee down circle arms up, lower

Step forward half way Pyramid inhale/exhale

Lift chest prepare jump or step back basic vinyasa

Step Left foot forward Half Lunge, pyramid, basic vinyasa

Flow and repeat 5-7 times



Last time from Pyramid hold

Revolved Triangle

Revolved Half Moon B

Standing Splits

Warrior A with yoga mudra

Humble Warrior

Side Angle 

Warrior B

Dynamic Reverse Warrior to Side Angle Pose - a few times

Basic vinyasa

Side 2 repeat above



Step to Low Lunge - Quad stretch

Half Warrior 2 prep

Half Splits

Half Vismamitrasana


Basic Vinyasa

Side 2



Malasana front of mat

Cobbler (optional Supine Vismamitrasana)

Seated Forward Fold

Marychasana C twist

Janu Sirsasana twist

Kneeling Side Plank

Parsva Vasistasana 1 (variation of side plank legs split)

Sit to Upavista Konasana twist away then towards other leg

Wear leg on shoulder Seated Sundial pose (Seated Vismamistrasana)

Elephant arm balance - thread leg under

Half Vismamistrasana or Full Vismamistrasana


Basic Vinyasa

Side 2






Supine Cobbler

Finishing poses

11/15/2010   Tags:  vinyasa, vinyasa yoga, intelligence, class plan, judgement, self-consciousness, silvia mordini, yoga sequencing, yoga teachers, teaching yoga, stages, kramas, free vinyasa video Direct Link


On the Mat and in Life

By Julia Jonson Cohn


I felt like I was packing for vacation. Snacks, check. More snacks, check. Oh yeah, magazines, drinks and a few odds and ends to share with my classmates. Wow, can‘t wait to see them again! Lip balm, yoga mat, travel tea mug and a couple of pens. OK, everything’s here. For two days, I piled stuff onto my kitchen counter in anticipation of one day of yoga teacher training.

Our group showed up ready to continue our yogic studies. Many of us talked about subtle and awesome changes we’d been experiencing in our daily lives since embarking on this journey. After just four days of learning, many of us were eating better, smiling more and arguing less. Maybe that’s why I was so eager for more -- I’m just feeling plain good.

We started our day with a yoga class taught by Rachel, another expert yoga instructor who will be guiding us through training.  She had us practicing kapalabhati breathing and we worked on two Rasas. Shringara, or love and shanta, or peace. We engaged our shins and our thighs. I felt spectacular, balanced and ready to learn.

Back in the classroom, we spent our day learning about asana and the benefits of the different categories of poses. We talked less about life this time and more about proper alignment in our bodies. Funny thing is, it was obvious the lessons about postures mirror daily living.

Rachel taught us the importance of a good foundation - if your feet are where they should be, if you have a strong foundation, everything else falls into place in standing poses.  I thought that’s the same with me. When my inner foundation is strong, life is mostly good. Then we talked about how groups of poses in class get students ready for the pinnacle, which is the most challenging pose of the practice. Rachel says it’s important to choose the proper tools (or poses) to help achieve the more challenging poses. Once again, yoga practice mimicking real life. I couldn’t help but think of daily difficulties, or even some of the biggest obstacles I’ve faced in my own life. Wouldn’t Oprah call this an ah-ha moment?! As I looked at the peaceful faces around the room and watched our leader Rachel sharing her knowledge, I took great comfort in knowing I’d chosen to be here.

In two weeks our group will meet again for several days of study. And I’m certain I’ll be packing up again.

11/2/2010   Tags:  Julia Jonson Cohn, yoga teacher trainees, change, yoga student, BLOG TEACHER TRAINING, yoga teacher training Direct Link


I unrolled my mat and made sure the music I wanted was ready to go. Greatly anticipated, it was to be a quiet hour of yoga with a friend at my home, and thus I took great care in creating the perfect atmosphere and space. As I waited for my friend to arrive, I sat down with a jotted sequence of poses; reading over it, somewhere between Tadasana and Uttanasana the words "I love yoga" floated through my mind. I paused, struck by the words' abrupt appearance, their simplicity, and the fact that my thinking them didn't surprise me at all.

  Indeed, as my practice has deepened, but most especially in the last six months as I've embraced the role of yoga teacher, such incidents have occurred more and more often--not always in the form of an unbidden thought, but definitely in a way that integrates seamlessly with the flow of the moment. One evening, for example, while mentally reviewing a class I was to teach the next day, I found myself suddenly up on my feet, moving from Virabhadrasana I to Humble Warrior to Virabhadrasana I to Plank...with joy, I had sprung out of my chair and into the sequence. With nothing in my mind except the love of the practice, my body had just started flowing.

  And this tendency, for lack of a better description, hasn't restricted itself to acute incidents, either, but sometimes occurs in the form of a new pattern. One of them I notice during my early-morning home practices.... Without fail, every practice, my body and mind fight the 5:30 am clock chime, the first glow of candlelight and hint of incense, the extra effort coupled with the creaks and cracks of those initial stretches. But by the end of the first wave, my body and mind pulse with peace, content with the flow and happy in the practice. And by the end of the 60 or 75 minutes, I don't want to stop.

  Another new pattern occurs each evening, when I attempt to fall asleep. Whereas I used to try to take deep breaths while I replayed the day's events and convinced myself not to let anything bother me, now I settle myself by releasing one long, deep exhale and opening myself to a rush of gratitude. No matter what occurred during the day, I truly believe I am blessed with the privilege of just breathing, of having had another day to mater what. The day's events, whatever they were, don't matter nearly as much.

  I definitely didn't feel this way before.

  When I first started practicing yoga, it was something I set out to do on a regular schedule--go to class, then go home, then pick up the day where I left off. And though I enjoyed yoga from the beginning, knowing I did something so, so good for me in so, so many ways, with time I began to actually feel yoga: the unbidden thoughts, the joy in the practice, the peace in knowing I am, as yoga teaches, only a small part of something much greater. Feeling yoga like this is what, for me, especially since I began teaching, has distinguished between yoga as a hobby and yoga as a defining quality of who I am. And significantly, because of the yoga I love so much, little by little I've learned to love myself so much better. I hope that now, in the role of yoga teacher, I might inspire others to learn the same for themselves.

  May you feel your yoga, too...  Laura 

11/1/2010   Tags:  Laura Mills, love of the practice, beginning yoga teacher, home practice, patterns, gratitude, feeling yoga, loving yourself Direct Link


My Tribe

By Julia Jonson Cohn


I hugged them, said goodbye and actually got misty-eyed at the thought of not seeing them again for ten days. Thing is, I only met them last week! My new tribe, as our leader calls us. My fellow yoga teacher trainees, who I will be learning and growing with for the next several months, made an imprint on my heart.

We are a diverse bunch. Our ages span 50 years. Our occupations range from dog groomer to doctor and the tribe has an array of talents and interests -- we have musicians and runners, one who has a green thumb and another who has studied to be a monk.  Some of us are parents and there are group members who were born in other countries and we all share a love of yoga. Over the course of 4 days we shared what makes us awesome, finessed each other’s poses and literally sat on each other’s lap (while tweaking Utkatasana or chair pose). We laughed a ton and some of us even cried a little, but mostly we grew.

Each training session began with taking a yoga class. Then we’d come back to our classroom, sit in a circle and talk about our practice.  The bulk of early learning for our tribe, as teacher Silvia calls it, came in the form of self-work. Silvia told us she wanted to build us up and she did. 

She taught us that yoga and meditation will help us clear away the chitti vritta, or chatter in the mind.  We were encouraged to feel deeply, live fully and love completely. Our foundation is one of self-love and how you are the lover of yourself as well as the beloved.  Silvia used tons of humor and amazing analogies to drive home the point that the more open and seeking you are the more potential you have to recognize your greatness (because we are already great she told us!).

 I witnessed myself and my tribe transforming -- we went from being a group of acquaintances to trusted comrades sharing a common mission in life… the desire to help humanity through yoga. Author Jane Howard says “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

Ultimately, the most profound lesson I learned in my first four days of training is that I am already perfect and whole and that my path as both a teacher and student will be more joyful and fulfilling if I am kind to myself and others. I think my tribe would agree.



10/18/2010   Tags:  Julia Johnson Cohn, tribe, yoga teacher trainees, yoga sutras, greatness, potential, chitta vritta, joy, yoga student, BLOG TEACHER TRAINING, yoga teacher training, Direct Link


OCTOBER 17, 2010.  "People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don't deserve them, or that they'll be unable to achieve them."  The Alchemist

This is about Fear.  That we limit ourselves mentally, emotionally as a result and unless we can see the fear as illusion, just a mental game we are playing it will paralyze us, stiffen us, make us brittle.  As the Alchemist also goes on to talk about how the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering.  It is NOT about whether or not we are afraid. Of course! We all are afraid of something.  But instead how we either allow this fear to stop our experiences of life or let it fuel the bouncing back.  We try, we experiment, we get a result, maybe not the one we wanted but still a result a karma and we bounce back to try again.


What is your bounce back factor?


Do you allow things to scare you so much that you ignore them, freeze, run away, fight them?  Today the family of poses we used to help us move beyond the illusion of fear was arm balances.  Learning to concentrate regardless of what was physically achievable.  Learning how to attempt the impossible to see that this opinion was only a thought...nothing more or less. And just as easily we can change that thought to believe in the impossibility of things.  You can by facing your fears learn to talk to yourself differently.  So here below was our class plan (not as cleaned up as usual but for sake of time I wanted to share it with you as is).  I hope you enjoyed the practice and that you see how deserving you are of living life FULL BLAST, get past the veil of fear and try for your most important dreams!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

Theme: Solving the "mystery" of arm balances. If this family of asana have you spooked or scared let's face that fear together and see what's really going on.




Supine Bridge to Waterfall abs with brick

Core cultivation:  

Brick in inner thighs

cobbler abs, two bricks

step on brick get the twist

Pigeon abs

(Side 2)




Upward Facing plank, hands on bricks

--- pull backs

Janu sirsana forward, parsva janu sirsana

Vasistasana variation kneeling

Parsva Vasistasana other wise

Marichyasana C


Side 2

Upward facing on bricks

Malasana (move bricks forward)



Sun Sal A variations hands on bricks (3-4 times)

Half Moon A - different each time




I leg dog

High Lunge to transverse lunge back foot

Standing splits, baby eagle once

High lunge, lunge push up, up fold in half repeat 3 x's

Revolved Lunge

Transverse lunge: bind, sit inside like parsva janu sirsasana

Face back

Basic vinyasa

Jump forward finish like Sun Sal A all the way to Down Dog

Right leg up again

High Lunge to transverse lunge

Standing Splits

HIgh Lunge, lunge push up to hands to ground standing splits 3's

Last time transition from standing splits


Revolved Triangle

Revolved Prasarita

Jump to prasarita

Exit back to front, right foot

Standing Splits

Crane to 1 leg pigeon chair (hands on bricks - prep for arm balance)

Plank, basic vinyasa with bricks all the way to down dog

Begin mandala side 2





Bakasana with head on brick, lift head

Downward Dog

I leg dog, hip open

Pigeon - twist and hold back foot for backbend

Swing back leg forward Janu sirsasana

Seated Pigeon

-- twist it

Stand from tip toe balance to Eka Pada Galavasana

Plank, basic vinyasa

Side 2




Tittibasana with partner to crow or crow jump back



Cooling postures







OCTOBER 13, 2010.  So today I begin my last Teacher Training at TBY.  What an amazing 9 groups of trainees I've had the pleasure of teaching all these years!  I've learned more from them than they could possibly have learned from me.  
And I have slowly turned over the program little by little to other great local teachers to carry on this legacy.  Rachel Dewan is co teaching this Fall program with me and Mary Scudella and Mara Campbell are taking over the Winter program that starts in January runs until July.  

In the words of the Grateful Dead, "What a long strange trip its been."

And me? Well I will still be teaching teachers. It is my passion, my life's mission and I will do so remotely, virtually and in person in various locations that open their hearts up to me.  I trust my voice will still be heard in helping nurture other teachers to find their own voices.  It was never about fitting a teacher trainee into a set mold, it was always about the organic nature of evolution and individual transformation.  And it still is.

So stay tuned, if you live local sign up for Mary and Mara or Rachel next Fall. And if you want to enjoy a destination Teacher Training then join me in 2011 for some fantastic spiritual adventuring!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia

PS What have I learned in 9 teacher trainings? Be Yourself. The best teachers remain students.  God made you funky. (obviously the 200 hours together went into more detail....)

10/13/2010   Tags:  teacher training, certified teacher training, teacher training graduates, silvia mordini, vinyasa teacher training, anusara inspired teacher training, self-acceptance, transformation Direct Link


October 12, 2010  This Place of Mine....  (Thoughts of a Beginning Yoga Teacher) By Laura Mills

  The need to put things in their place is what initially drew me to yoga. After some difficult years during which my life's flow drastically changed course, yoga proved itself a paddle with which I continued sailing forward. Yoga felt right; it made ME feel right, or at least more right than before...which made pursuing my teaching credentials feel especially right, so I could ultimately help others do the same.

  And so, eager to teach others about re-establishing life's peace--about putting things in their place--I immersed myself in a teacher training program. And then, sooner than expected, a teaching opportunity arose, and into my first class I jumped. I'm glad it all happened quickly; if I had had more time to think before I accepted the commitment, I likely would have talked myself out of it. And true to my nature, after I accepted I struggled daily with the thought, "What have I gotten myself into?" Terrified, I wrote my first class, then practiced it at least once a day for an entire week. I mentally rehearsed it again and again. I even took the class plan to bed with me.

  Was this what "right" should feel like?

  The morning of the class I woke up sick-to-my-stomach nervous, and throughout the early hours I forced myself to stay busy at the risk of otherwise panicking. In fact, up to the moment the class began I focused so intently on NOT panicking that I can't explain too much else of what happened that day--all I know is that after the class I felt a surge of relief. And exhilaration, for it had gone well...which surprised me, because again true to my nature I had expected something to go wrong. Still, even with my initial happiness, afterwards I mentally replayed the class: did I cue everything correctly? Did I make eye contact? Did I speak clearly? Was my music too loud? What's landscape vision again? Was this really the right course for my life?

  As my second, third, fourth and subsequent classes passed with the same anxieties and the same questions, something else emerged: a new dimension to the respect I held for my own yoga teachers. The effort in sequencing a class, the thought in developing a theme, the creativity in compiling a playlist...the amount of work involved, which I now undertook myself, revealed my teachers' love of and dedication to the practice. The thought of all they had done for me as their student humbled me. But even more than that, my realization of their faith inspired me that, at some point, a teacher just has to let go of each class and trust that she or he has prepared enough and the rest will somehow come together.

  The anxieties and the questions began to diminish...a little.

  And then, a bit further along, an old feeling arose within me--a really, really good feeling that felt stronger with each class. I hadn't felt it in a long time, but here it was, back again. I recognized it when I realized I felt more excitement than nervousness before class; I recognized it when I realized I greatly looked forward to interacting with my students, many of whom I now knew by name. I recognized it when I realized I wasn't just another yoga teacher working with just another group of students, but part of a unique and beautiful yoga studio family.

  And, I recognized it when I realized I was totally overwhelmed with blessings. With my attention lately so focused on yoga, my yoga-related blessings in particular were in mind.... My yoga teachers who enriched my practice and inspired me; my fellow trainees who shared so many of their gifts; my students who put their faith in me to guide them through each practice, each class; my husband who supported me in every possible way on my yoga journey. And God, the Universe, the Divine Being, who made certain that yoga and yoga teaching found me, and thus put me in my place...which is, in light of all this I am growing more certain, the right one.

  Wishing you peace in recognizing your place, Laura 

10/12/2010   Tags:  Laura Mills, flow of life, feeling right, finding peace, teacher training program, beginning yoga teacher, love of the practice, dedication, humility, faith, blessings Direct Link


OCTOBER 5, 2010.  On October 13th we start our 9th teacher training study group! I know I can't believe it either.  Wow! I've seen so many amazing breakthroughs and incredible growth as a result of facilitating these trainings.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of previous trainees and send them love and gratitude for they have served as my teachers as much as I have been their teacher. And I have been deeply honored to see them all grow in discovering their Dharma, their purpose.  

It's such a simple question: Why are you here? Or let me put it like this, What do you want to be when you grow up? 

If you want to study yourself, then our program is for you. Enjoy this perspective from one of our 2009-2010 Graduates.  Love in all ways, Silvia  

How Teacher Training Helped me Find my Purpose By Guest Blogger Janeen Heinman

Last fall I took the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Total Body Yoga.  I had only been a student of yoga for 2 ˝ years when I signed up for the program, so I was a virtual beginner.  But for me, yoga had opened up so much.  My health was better, my attitude and anxiety improved, and I was more relaxed.  I felt like I had found something totally real.  I spent time reading books about yoga, taking workshops and classes, but there was still so much I didn’t know.  I enrolled in Silvia’s program to expand my knowledge, but I didn’t have a solid idea of what I wanted to do when I finished.

We learned a lot right away in the training, including asanas and how to teach them, yoga history and philosophy and some basics of Ayurveda.  I learned a lot for myself, but even more so, I wanted to share what I was learning.  After all, who couldn’t benefit from practices like a full three-part breath, or viparita karani?  I tend to get anxious when speaking in front of groups, but the training program was a really safe place to practice.  I worked on finding my voice, which in turn led me to discover my purpose.

Through the Yoga Teacher Training, I was able to look honestly at some dissatisfaction I had with my career in psychiatry.  I realized I was not offering my patients enough, in my mind, to truly become well.  Yoga was the next step.  My goal now is to incorporate yoga into my career by offering people tools to help themselves .  The training helped me open to possibility and realize I don’t have to follow the beaten path, but I can chart a new course!

I am only in the early stages of developing my new job description, but I believe the teacher training started me on this path.  The practice itself keeps me open to grace, and I have enjoyed unbelievable support from my colleagues and peers so far.  I was stagnant, knowing I was not fulfilling my true purpose professionally, but fear held me back for a long time.  The teacher training program forced me to look inward, and that practice of self-study has led me to something totally new.  I don’t believe I would have come to this turning point without the support and guidance of my teacher, Silvia, and my fellow trainees.


10/5/2010   Tags:  certified yoga teacher training, purpose, dharma, janeen heinman, yoga teacher, self-study, anusara inspired, silvia mordini, yoga alliance, yoga instructors chicago, chicago yoga teacher training Direct Link


SEPTEMBER 29, 2010.  I am talking tonight in class about "radical affirmation of the fullness of experience" and how growth results from challenge and makes our hearts grow.  This has everything to do with the law of attraction which simply states that like attracts like.  This means what you think about your challenges is either an opportunity to grow positive energy which attracts more positive energy or negative energy which builds inertia.  The challenge is not the problem, the way we think about it is.  (The resistance to the disturbance is the disturbance.)

When you think about it, there is never any reason compelling enough to hold onto a single negative thought.  Not even one.  Why? Because we don't have time to waste our energy on negativity which only produces more negative energy.  Life is too short to live like that.  We will all experience challenge, it comes in countless forms just this week I have friends and students who have received a diagnosis, lost their jobs, are separated from their partner, kids acting out, are being harassed at work and the list goes on.  However, we only get to live today once.  And to focus on anger, fear or disappointment will only cause you to leak energy, the very energy you long for to make each moment count and help you meet the challenge with grace.

The key things to know about the LAW OF ATTRACTION are:

1.  you don't focus your thoughts they will end up scattered in all directions.  They will be circus like ping pong's stopping and starting and running about.

2.  if you make no effort in directing your thoughts towards something positive they will tend towards the negative and catastrophic (known as our hard wiring the "catastrophic brain") 

We practice yoga to focus our thoughts.  We practice these poses and breathing to see our habitual pattern of thinking and where we tend to be auto pilot negative.  We practice yoga to apply the law of attraction on the mat so we know how all day long.  What you say to yourself holding a poses is either positive or negative, rarely is it neutral.  And if you can direct your thoughts to be positive in an uncomfortable or difficult pose then you can certainly do that when you encounter challenges in your life. 

Finally, what I'd love for you to commit to memory about the law of attraction and keep forever and share with someone you love is the following:

1. The energy of your thoughts are like a magnet.  The more focused your thoughts are then the bigger your magnet and the more powerful they become at attracting similar thoughts. 

2.  The longer you are able to hold a positive thought in your mind, the more powerful the positive energy becomes around you.  

And brain science proves that eventually by holding positive thoughts longer and longer we don't need to try so hard and control so much of what we are thinking because we are constantly surrounded by the positive vibrations that draws more of what we want to us.  With positive energy hugging us in we find an easeful effort to remain positive. It becomes our way, in spite of life's challenges.  So today love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia, ERYT and ANUSARA INSPIRED teacher

(For more yoga inspiration, life coaching while on yoga retreat or teacher trainings please visit my website or friend me on Alchemy Tours facebook)

TODAY'S PLAYLIST:  Les Enfants Qui S'aiment,  Amoureux De Paris, La Serenissima, Loreena McKennitt, Fire, Coco De Mer, Elusinian Blue, Gabrielle Roth, Believer, M.I.A. MAYA, Nobody's Perfect, Madonna, Il Pescivendolo, Matteo Salvatore, I'm Outta Love, Anastacia, Prayer to Rudra, Krishna Das, That I Would Be Good, Alanis Morissette, Dedication, Kirby Shelstad, Silent Wings, Lifescapes


*1008 humble bows to the opening quote from John Friend at the Anusara Grand Gathering 2010

9/29/2010   Tags:  law of attraction, focus, positive energy, anusara inspired yoga teacher, vinyasa flow yoga, affirmation, focus, positive energy, alchemy tours Direct Link


SEPTEMBER 28, 2010.  My favorite class to teach is where we start by meditating on our open hand.  That in this simple gesture we have the paradox of yoga: to open and to surrender, at the same time.  If we close our fist we are not able to let go of the mental agitations that heavy us.  If we close our fist we are clearly not opening to a greater force beyond ourselves.  

“Grace wakes us up when we are asleep, brings light to where there is darkness and removes obstacles from our path”. -Krishna Das

To Open to Grace, is the first principle in Anusara Yoga, but it applies to all spiritual practice.  To open requires the courage to not remain closed or tight hearted or asleep to our lives.  It is an awakening!  To open to the light of grace and love that exists everywhere as universal support.  I especially like this expression of "Opening to Grace" from Marianne Williamson's book, A Return to Love. "To open to Grace is to ask that only loving, helpful thoughts remain in our minds, and all the rest be let go".   

The concept of Surrender in yoga is really in two parts.  

1.  When we surrender to Grace we surrender to something bigger than ourselves.  Ok that seems to make sense for just about anybody. But the next part is harder for the cynical mind...

2.   When we surrender we do so to a universe that knows what it is doing. 

To trust that what I AM OPENING INTO will love me without conditions and has my best interests at heart is a larger leap of faith.  But it is exactly when we stop trying to over control events when they fall into a natural order, an order that works. At that moment where we allow a power much greater than our own to take over we begin to trust that the power that holds galaxies together can certainly handle the circumstances of our relatively little lives".

So the practice today is to peel back the layers, let the light in, OPEN UP to the truth of who you are and how you want to be living your life.  This requires that you surrender and let go of the past, of the hurt and create space for what comes next.  Even though none of us really knows exactly what comes next.  We must just believe as we co-create our lives with the universal intelligence of love that spirit has our best interests at heart.  We are loved, we are love.  So today take comfort in loving yourself, loving your day, loving your life! Silvia, Anusara Inspired Yoga Teacher, ERYT


"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way."  - GOETHE



SEPTEMBER 27, 2010  Yoga is one of my most important Rituals.  Actually the first time I understood what the word "practice" really meant the lightbulb went off and I realized oh yeah, "something I practice repeatedly over a long period of time".  Well that is a ritual too.

Within my yoga life the ritual I have especially on Monday's is to do a balancing of my energies related to the elements.  Before I believed in Chakras, I did believe in Earth, Water, Air, Fire.  Then eventually I started to understand that all of the elements are within and outside us. And even beyond that the concept of Doshas and Chakras. And all of it got less intimidating. Two easy ways for me to stay connected to the elements and through that discover where I am excessive or deficient and do something about it are:

1.  Each finger represents an element so I pray, meditate, focus on bringing my thumb to each finger.

2.  I sing a song to the elements (I know lots of them but this one was the focus tonight).  And in Spanish to my Latin roots (my Mom's side as my Dad's side is the Italian part)

Tierra mi Cuerpo
Agua mi Sangre
Aire mi Viento
Y Fuego mi Espiritu.

Hey even if you don't understand Spanish you might pick up a word here or there.  So this is translated as: Earth my Body, Water my Blood, Air my Breath, and Fire my Spirit.

What does this have to do with Rituals?  Well when we disconnect from our rituals we lose touch with what Louise Hay calls our "inner ding" or intuition or good old fashion gut feel.  So this practice was meant to bring our awareness to the four elements and feel that connection of each to ourselves, the micro experience, and to the world at large, our macro experience.  All of this reminds us that we are in Yoga at every moment of our lives. There is this primordial power or universal intelligence that draws us together in balance, in union.  And this goes beyond us to our ancestors and to the legacy we leave beyond this earthly body.  Perhaps this inspires you to create your own Ritual around the elements, or even a single element, and I hope so.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia


PS For the full blog, part of which I shared in class, of Dr. Enrique Saguil, TBY Teacher Trainee, click here:

9/27/2010   Tags:  earth, air, water, fire, doshas, balance, mantra, rituals, practice, chakras, ayurveda, enrique saguil, total body yoga teacher training, gut feel, silvia mordini, Direct Link


SEPTEMBER 21, 2010 (the night the lights went out)

“In a plain piece of metal, all the molecules are in chaos facing every which way.  A magnet is a similar piece of metal in which all the molecules are perfectly aligned – the north pol,es facing one way, and the south poles facing in the opposite direction.  Because of this alignment, the magnet gains the power to attract and hold other objects.  If you stroke the ordinary metal and the magnet together in one direction only, the magnet will align all the molecules in the plain metal with itself, causing a second magnet to emerge.  The power to attract and hold has been transmitted from one to the other, while amazingly enough the initial magnet retains its full strength.  As we align our energies this way through regulating our breath we maintain calm through the ordinary emotional rollercoaster rides we encounter each day.  We find that when we are upset, everything around us reflects the same disturbance, as if it is somehow contagious.  When tranquility prevails, it magnetizes everything with the same sense of calmness.” (Story from The Secret Power Of Yoga.) 

I teach yoga to be a magnet for all my students.  I pass on to them what has been shared with me by my teachers who served as my magnet.  I want all that come to my classes to feel the power they hold within themselves to attract their best life ever.  We accomplish this by organizing our breathing, our thoughts in a way that designs the future that serves our truest potential.  In my classes you do NOT hide from who you really are or your untapped strength, courage or visions for your life.  I don't teach a physically challenging class I teach a mentally and emotionally challenging coaching experience.   

Is this for everyone? No, not everyone is ready. Some people in our lives will never be ready and will leave this earthly body thinking it was all just some rehearsal.  Those are not my students.  You are my student if something I say resonates with your most authentic self from my most authentic self.  And you leave inspired to gain back your power to do good in this world, to live kindly, to be your most extraordinary self on even the most ordinary days.  Yoga helps us harness the power of intention.  Infinite love and gratitude as Dr Darren Weissman speaks about is universal energy.  In other words as is written in the Alchemist, the universe is on our side.  So as the wind blew a mighty storm this night and we practiced in candlelight, me and my 30 yogi friends tapped into what it means to be driving along in life and see up ahead of you a stop light and intend it to be green, then to drive further and see that one is green, and by golly if every single stop light you approach is green.  

You know you are a magnet when you "green light" your life.  

And no one wants that more for you than me.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia  

9/22/2010   Tags:  secret power of yoga, green light, The Alchemist, yoga student, power of intention, intention, yoga teacher, magnet, silvia mordini, potential, truth, authenticity, Direct Link


SEPTEMBER 21, 2010.

If you plan your social life around your yoga, have a mat in your car, talk about yoga to friends and strangers then it is a really good bet that Yoga is important to you. And you're thinking "how can I bring more yoga into my life?"

Super Duper Namaste,

If this sounds familiar then spending time in our In-Depth Studies Program known as Yoga Teacher Training starting either Fall October 13, 2010 with Rachel and Silvia or Winter January 28, 2011 with Mara and Silvia is a fantastic idea!  The program is not about how physically ready you are for the poses but how emotionally and mentally ready are you to gain deeper insight into who you are.  

Do you want to know why Yoga makes you feel better not for just one hour but all day long, why when you practice yoga do you grow more patient with the annoyances of your life, why do you feel happier from doing yoga? This program helps give you the answers to those questions.  It gives you time to become more aware of why you treat others better and why you want to treat yourself better:  learning how to love who you are and refining what it is you are supposed to be doing in this life.  This program is about doing yoga from the inside out and really studying how much heart you are putting into designing your BEST life ever. To be honest, in my perfect world every Yoga Student would attend a Teacher Training Program.  Why? Because we are all models for living our yoga and making the world a more peaceful place. We'd love to help you celebrate you! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia      

(Yes, payment plans always available)

9/21/2010   Tags:  certified yoga teacher training, yoga teacher, self-study, rachel dewan, anusara inspired, silvia mordini, yoga alliance, yoga instructors chicago, chicago yoga teachers Direct Link


SEPTEMBER 16, 2010

Super Duper Namaste,

During the month of August I devoted myself to Adhikira.  Adhikara translates as studentship. So this means I made a full-hearted effort to be a student of yoga.  Martha McQuid says, “In Sanskrit, adhikara refers to being spiritually open, or ready, for spiritual study (in Sanskrit, Sadhana). It also implies a level of ownership and willingness to take responsibility, as well as dedication, for the subject that is being studied.  (*More on adhikara below)

During that month I explored a wide variety of studios and tried over 20 teachers!  I know we say that yoga is non-comparative, that on the mat we don’t compare ourselves to others, but how do we know without trying different teachers what we like a little bit better or what suits our tastes or personality. The point is to keep trying and give everyone a shot. Being a student of yoga means that you are open, dedicated and willing to try other teachers.  It doesn’t mean that everyone’s style or personality is going to suit you. You might find some teachers more to your liking. But don’t stop trying, don’t refuse to have the pleasure of learning from someone new.

That’s the most important part. To be a student of yoga means to embrace everyone and be open to the holistic experience of what is possible.  And to me it also means that each of us as students is responsible for making that class the best one of our lives!  Being a great student of yoga is co-creating right along with your teacher the most delicious alchemy where we become yoga (yoked, in union).  It is then when we are living our Namaste: the light of what is good in me sees and celebrates the light and goodness in you, and together we celebrate the beauty and love that exists within us and outside us!  From my heart thank you to all the teachers at TBY that subbed for me, and special maholo, love and respect to all the students at TBY who opened their hearts to new teachers.  I NAMASTE YOU!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia


*ADHIKARA CONTINUED  “Thus, a student that is brand new to yoga wouldn’t begin a practice in an advanced level class, despite excellent physical conditioning, or a background in dance or gymnastics. There is a linear rhythm to learning anything - music, mathematics, language. We always begin with simple ideas and then move forward into the complex. For example, when you learn a musical instrument, you don’t start by trying to play a Mozart concerto. We begin by learning the notes and where they fall in the musical staff, then fingerings, then scales, then simple tunes and over time with dedicated practice, Mozart! A newer student who pushes too hard can get an overload of this energy and not understand it or be able to contain it. In order to prepare the body to receive this energy, we take a methodical approach to practice. In yoga philosophy, this idea is supported in The Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali 1:14 which is translated as ‘steady practice over a long period of time.”  Now apply this to a new yoga instructor.  They are trying their best, and the only way they can get better is if you allow them to practice and grow. I promise you they will exceed your expectations if you just give them even just a little while to evolve. 


9/16/2010   Tags:  adhikara, studentship, yoga student, comparing, trying, yoga teachers, yoga, learning, practice, sadhana, silvia mordini, namaste, Direct Link


SEPTEMBER 15, 2010. If you want to get to the root cause of what is stressful in your life, what is holding you back, what is it that you really want for your life then our certified training program (that by the way qualifies you to teach yoga) is for you!  I encourage you to fill out the application, and then read it to yourself and see if this reveals to you whether you should apply or not.  This is not about teaching Yoga to other people. THIS IS ABOUT LEARNING ABOUT YOU.

CYT – Certified Yoga Teacher Application (YA 200 hour)


Send completed application and materials via email to:


Please include: name, emergency contact, address, city/state, zip, day/night phone, cell phone, and e- mail address.


-How long have you been taking yoga classes and/or practicing? -Who have been your most influential teachers and why? -List any trainings, intensives or retreats attended and why? -What style(s) of yoga do you practice?

-How often and how long do you practice?


-Why do you want to be a certified yoga teacher? -What are your expectations for the training? What do you hope to gain, learn, or improve? -Do you teach yoga now? If so, please describe in detail. -If you plan on teaching after completing the program, why do you want to teach yoga?


-Describe how your life has been impacted by practicing yoga. -Tell us about your hobbies, interests, community service, etc. -Describe your physical health (major illnesses, surgeries, physical conditions). -Tell us about your emotional and mental health. -Do you have a support network of friends or therapist? -Does your family support this journey you've decided to take? -This program requires a significant time commitment. Do you have any other major commitments (grad school, 2 jobs, etc) that would prevent you from participating fully?

9/15/2010   Tags:  certified yoga teacher training, yoga teacher, self-study, yoga alliance, yoga instructors chicago, chicago yoga teachers Direct Link


AUGUST 26, 2010. This time of year I am asked over and over should I do the Teacher Training program?  And really the answer is that if you are asking well the answer is an unequivocal YES! 

The first chapter, verse verse of the Yoga Sutras presents this opportunity "AND NOW BEGINS THE STUDY OF YOGA."  This implies that only once you are ready to be a dedicated student of life only then will you actually begin your studies.  So what is the subject of your study?  What do we actually learn about in a Yoga Teacher Training Program?  (I know it seems quite mysterious what goes on behind closed doors for 180 hours)

In Yoga we use the SELF to study the self.  And as we become experts in our own humanity we learn to brighten the way for all others.  We learn about our imperfectly perfect nature and accept our humanness thereby releasing all judgements of others and their imperfect nature as well.  “If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten your path.” ~Buddha

The most challenging part of any Teacher Training, as you become your own best teacher, is formally agreeing and announcing to the world at the top of your lungs, "MY SELF-CARE IS VITALLY IMPORTANT!"  If you are asking should I do a teacher training program you have already started down the path of beginning the most important dialogue of your life.  On some level something inside you has switched gears and instead of only worrying about what everyone else is doing or thinks about what you are doing, you have decided to care about you.

I hope you join my program October to March, co-taught with Rachel Dewan or that you consider any Teacher Training.  Make this commitment to studying life by studying yourself today!  Love your day, love your life, love yourself!  Silvia  

8/26/2010   Tags:  self, teacher training, Direct Link


AUGUST 24, 2010.  Yoga Teachers talk a lot about sequencing.  Sometimes they speak about it with awe and reverence and go to workshops to learn more and more.  And if you get even two yoga teachers together they will undoubtedly start whispering excitedly about a new sequence or someone's class they went to that had a totally rad sequence they'd never done before until they end up gigglng like little children.  Yoga teachers are stoked about smart sequencing! And that is one of the definitions of Vinyasa.  To place the order of poses in a special way and with intelligence.  A great teacher makes the practice easier and more accessible to all students when they treat sequencing like a gourmet chef would treat the creation of a meal.  It is easy to make the physical practice of yoga hard, just do it without intention and order and there you go!

The greater lesson here is the Vinyasa of life.  There is a smart sequencing to the order of how things are evolving in your life.  There is a beginning, middle and end to all cycles.  And if we allow this then the currents of grace more easily carry us moment to beautiful moment.  These are also referred to as Kramas (stages or waves). However, what happens is that we try to push or pull things out of order in life and sometimes as yoga students on the mat.  Back to school time means many yogis who took the summer off return to their practice and try to advance too far too fast rather than going with the step by step progression which is vinyasa.  We respect the start of where we are in this moment and then based on how we are feeling we move from there.  You will avoid injury in class and in life when this spiritual recipe is followed.

I have appreciated this teaching from my teachers Shiva Rea and John Friend for many years.  It doesn't mean I always apply it to my life.  I do however consistently apply it to the yoga on the mat as both a student and as a teacher until one day it seeps into everything I do.  Too many times I still get stuck in the past replaying how I could have done things better when the step I'm in is right now and going backwards is not intelligent vinyasa.  Neither does rehearsing and worrying about 10 steps from now make for smart sequencing in life.  But those pulls and pushes of past and too far into the future continue to challenge the sequence of my life practice.  The good thing is at least I see and know why there exists a wisdom to sequencing.  

So is sequencing the Holy Grail? Well yes it can be defined that way as long as you let go of that part of the legend that says you have to "prove" yourself before achieving it or finding it.  In Yoga come as you are, figure out what you're starting point is and build the intelligent sequence of your life from there.  Keep in mind this one suggested definition of the Holy Grail that Grail means "a derivative of cratis, a name for a type of woven basket that came to refer to a dish, or a derivative of Latin gradus meaning "'by degree', 'by stages', applied to a dish brought to the table in different stages or services during a meal"  Life is happening in stages, stay tuned in to where you are at right now and do your best not to go backwards or too far forwards but savor the yummy and delicious nature of where you are in this moment. Love yourself, love your day, love your life!  Silvia


**And if I might, Happiest Birthday to my brother Federico!!!

8/24/2010   Tags:  vinyasa, vinyasa yoga, holy grail, intelligence, pushing, pulling, creating, yoga sequencing, yoga teachers, teaching yoga, stages, kramas Direct Link


"Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new." -- OG MANDINO

AUGUST 3RD, 2010  This practice of yoga has taught me above all else how to be a better Student of Life.  No matter how you might judge me as a "yoga teacher" or "life coach" I can honestly say that my best skill set is of being an amazing student.


I never for a moment assume I know too much. Actually ever year of this practice I learn more and realize how little I actually understand. My time on the mat reminds me to stay thirsty for knowledge.  It inspires me to get off my mat and apply this "TEACHABILITY" off the mat.  And I do.  Of course not without some lifted eye brows and sometimes harsh criticism from some folks.  

I take great honor in saying every year I take time off from teaching and go to study with my teachers.  I sit in the SEAT OF THE STUDENT an open vessel soaking in the open hearted wisdom of my teacher.  This last week has been an amazing experience studying Vinyasa Yoga with a great teacher of yoga and life.

I have been inspired, and challenged and prodded and supported in new ways.  I want to say thank you first to all those that would judge me for making time for myself to be a student.  You too have been some of my greatest teachers. For without your friction I would not have had to dig deep to still do what I knew was best for me.  And to all my students, friends, clients who have kindly supported me every year to keep learning I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my root chakra when it would get shaken and I'd wonder should I make time for me or not?  

There are wisdom teachers everywhere and as Students of Life the point is to be open to seeing the teachings that surround us every day of our lives both formally and informally.  Sometimes our most difficult teachers are our best teachers.  And that's ok: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral.  It's all good.

And finally what I hope everyone learns no matter your opinion is to step outside your comfort zone and KEEP LEARNING. Do not atrophy.  REMAIN TEACHABLE.  

Teachabiilty and being lovable are intimately linked as sweethearts.

May you all find the courage to expand your knowledge!  With compassion and peace to you all, Silvia

PS - Join me for my certified yoga teacher training program starting October 15th, 2010 at total body yoga

8/4/2010   Tags:  student, teacher, yoga teacher, teachable, teacher training, teachability, courage, knowledge, Student of Life, living your yoga, wisdom teachers, learning Direct Link


JULY 25, 2010:

Super Duper Namaste!   Great article in Women's Health caught my eye: "Bend to get more buff. In a study reported in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, volunteers followed a strength-training regimen three times a week, with half of them adding two stretching sessions to their routines.  After eight weeks, the flexible group almost tripled their muscle strength.  Stretching like lifting, causes tiny tears in your muscle; as your body repairs them, the tissue becomes stronger, says study coauthor Jason Winchester PhD, of George Mason University.  Add 10 minutes of stretching to your routine today!"  

Thought you'd like to know that.  Flexibility makes us stronger!  (AND MORE HOT!)  

I am happily teaching all week then I am off in August to attend Vinyasa Teacher Training out West and enjoy a wedding of friends and take a holiday.  Hope to see you all on the mat before I go!   Big, big love and infinite Gratitude! Silvia  

MY SCHEDULE JULY 25-30 Sunday: 7:45am Level 1-2; 9:15am Level 1; 4:30pm Level 1-2 Monday: 6:15pm Level 1-2 Tuesday: 9:15am Level 1-2 (subbing for Christine) and 6:15pm Basics Wednesday: 9:15am Level 1 and 6:15pm Level 1 Thursday: 10:45am Basics Friday: 9:15am Level 1-2


7/25/2010   Tags:  stretching, flexibility, hot, strength, silvia schedule, teacher training Direct Link



total body yoga certified teacher training October 2010 - March 2011
This over 200 hour program is recognized by Yoga Alliance as a REGISTERED 200 HOUR YOGA SCHOOL and offers you a unique opportunity to make a deep commitment to learning more about yourself.  The entire total body yoga community offers you honest, loving support from day one as we pride ourselves on being completely inclusive.  This program is a safe haven: a nurturing sanctuary to engage in open minded self-exploration.  We are devoted to offering you an atmosphere in which freedom of expression, creativity and passion for life are "totally" encouraged!  Our program covers the foundations of the 8 Limbed path of Yoga and how to effectively teach using your most authentic voice.  The emphasis will be on teaching to the heart of the student in a dynamic yet unpretentious way through a marriage of creative vinyasa techniques, disciplined asana and life philosophy.  This is yoga as a life-long truthful celebration of ourselves, our students and our world!  This program requires a significant, honest commitment of time and energy.  We would love to receive your application!


Every other Wednesday 9am - 3pm from October 13 through March 31
*Dates are Oct 13, 27, Nov 10, 24, Dec 1, Jan 12, 26, Feb 9, 23, Mar 9, 23, 31 



Practice Class: 9:00am - 3pm with Lunch Break 1-1:30pm


Dates are: Oct. 16,17-18, 2010; Nov. 19, 20-21, 2010; Dec. 3, 4-5, 2010; Jan 14, 15-16, 2011; Feb 19-20, 2011; Mar 19-20, 2011, Celebration Dinner TBD


Training Class: 8:00am-5:00pm with Lunch Break: 1:00pm-2:00pm


Training Class: 8:00pm-3:00pm with Lunch Break: 12pm-1pm

Program is ideal for those working regular weekday work schedules (requires use of just 2 vacation days per month or flexible schedule arrangements with employer.)


COST: $2,900 *Deposit of $300 towards tuition required prior to first day.
***If paid in full by October 15th only $2,500***SAVE $400! 


Send completed application and materials via email to:


Please include: name, emergency contact, address, city/state, zip, day/night phone, cell phone, and e-mail address.

-How long have you been taking yoga classes and/or practicing?

-Who have been your most influential teachers and why?

-List any trainings, intensives or retreats attended and why?

-What style(s) of yoga do you practice?

-How often and how long do you practice?

-Why do you want to be a certified yoga teacher?

-What are your expectations for the training? What do you hope to gain, learn, or improve? 
-Do you teach yoga now? If so, please describe in detail. 
-If you plan on teaching after completing the program, why do you want to teach yoga? 

-Describe how your life has been impacted by practicing yoga.

-Tell us about your hobbies, interests, community service, etc.

-Describe your physical health (major illnesses, surgeries, physical conditions). 
-Tell us about your emotional and mental health. 

-Do you have a support network of friends or therapist?

-Does your family support this journey you've decided to take? 
-This program requires a significant time commitment. Do you have any other major commitments (grad school, 2 jobs, etc) that would prevent you from participating fully?


7/20/2010   Tags:  certified yoga teacher training, yoga teacher training, yoga training, yoga alliance, how to apply to yoga training program Direct Link


"It is by teaching that we teach ourselves, by relating that we observe, by affirming that we examine, by showing that we look, by writing that we think, by pumping that we draw water into the well."  --  Henri Frederic Amiel


JULY 19, 2010.  I want to take a moment to congratulate and thank the 2010 teacher training graduates. These unbelievably inspiring teachers have spent over 200 hours enthusiastically studying a Syllabus that Includes:

  • Techniques 100 Contact Hours/15 Non Contact Hours: Includes asanas, pranayamas and meditation. These hours include both training in the techniques and the practice of them.
  • Teaching Methodology 25 Contact Hours/6 Non Contact Hours: Principles of demonstration, observation, assisting/correcting, instruction, teaching styles, qualities of a teacher, and the student's process of learning.
  • Anatomy and Physiology 14 Contact Hours/6 Non Contact Hours: We will incorporate awareness of physical and subtle anatomy throughout training.
  • Philosophy, Ethics, & Lifestyle 20 Contact Hours/10 Non Contact Hours: Study of Yoga Philosophy (Yamas, Niyamas), Yoga Scriptures (Yoga Sutras), ethics for yoga teachers, 'living the life of the yogi'
  • Practicum 10 Contact Hours: Includes observing and assisting (both adjusting and enhancing students) in classes taught by others. 5 hours of assistant teaching, 5 hours of observing classes
  • Independent Study 10 Contact Hours/5 Non Contact Hours: these hours will include assigned reading, asana sheets of 60 poses, workshops, and 5 hours of Karma Yoga Student Teaching for free to your community.

To see this level of dedication or studentship known as adhikara was deeply profound. I thank you all for bringing your Best Selves!  You are already amazing teachers, for the BEST teachers of yoga or of life are those that remain lifelong STUDENTS!  Big love to you all, Silvia


1.       Laura Mills

2.       Janeen Paul

3.       Laura Zavala

4.       Kendra Charts

5.       Nikki Jewell

6.       Deidre Person

7.       Carrie Wilhelm

8.       Sherri Browdy

9.       Alexandra Mlynarczyk

10.     Christine Bjorkquist

11.      Eileen Estrem

12.      Jaime Foss

13.      Jen Fabri

14.      Karin DeCicco

15.      Linda Benton

16.      Nadine LaPointe

17.      Susan Cartwright


7/19/2010   Tags:  teacher training, certified teacher training, teacher training graduates, yoga training syllabus Direct Link


JULY 18, 2010:  So if you are interested in becoming a CYT 200 Certified Yoga Teacher recognized by the Yoga Alliance you much complete a CYT program that they approve at the 200 or 500 hour level.  See for the complete list.  We have finished our fifth year of training and are starting our 6th.  TO APPLY PLEASE COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING:

Send completed application and materials via email to:


Please include: name, emergency contact, address, city/state, zip, day/night phone, cell phone, and e-mail address.

-How long have you been taking yoga classes and/or practicing?

-Who have been your most influential teachers and why?

-List any trainings, intensives or retreats attended and why?

-What style(s) of yoga do you practice?

-How often and how long do you practice?

-Why do you want to be a certified yoga teacher?

-What are your expectations for the training? What do you hope to gain, learn, or improve? 
-Do you teach yoga now? If so, please describe in detail. 
-If you plan on teaching after completing the program, why do you want to teach yoga? 

-Describe how your life has been impacted by practicing yoga.

-Tell us about your hobbies, interests, community service, etc.

-Describe your physical health (major illnesses, surgeries, physical conditions). 
-Tell us about your emotional and mental health. 

-Do you have a support network of friends or therapist?

-Does your family support this journey you've decided to take? 
-This program requires a significant time commitment. Do you have any other major commitments (grad school, 2 jobs, etc) that would prevent you from participating fully?

7/18/2010   Tags:  yoga, yoga teacher training, certified yoga teacher, yoga alliance, certified yoga teacher training, yoga training chicago, yoga training illinois Direct Link


JULY 17, 2010:  I get asked all the time what books I recommend for students of yoga. Well the list I personally suggest is as follows:

Yoga History: 
1. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,Swami Satchitananda or Secret Power of Yoga, Nichala Joy Devi (ALL TIME FAVE!)
2. Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, Eric Schiffman 
3. Jivamukti By Shannon Gannon and David Life 
4. Yoga for Wellness, Gary Kraftsow, Penquin, 1999 
Professional Ethics/Connecting the Heart of the Student: 
5. Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship, Donna Farhi
6. Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual, John Friend 
7. Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, Judith Lasater 
8. Anatomy of Movement, Blandine Calais-Germain 
9. The Anatomy Coloring Book - Kapit & Elson 
Pranayama and Breath: 
10. The Heart of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice, Desikachar
Recommended Books: 
Yogi Bare by Philip Self 
The Language of Yoga by Nicolai Bachman (to learn how to pronounce stuff)
Yoga from the Inside Out by Christina Sell 
A Path With Heart: A Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life & Wherever You Go There You Are by Jack Kornfield

7/17/2010   Tags:  yoga, yoga books, living your yoga, teacher training, yoga history, pranayama, yoga anatomy, Direct Link


JUNE 27, 2009:  Yesterday I went to the dentist for my annual cleaning. I don't naturally feel comfortable at the dentists. So I practiced breathing and took to heart the idea that good things will happen if I relax. If I just tense up it will only be more difficult for him and for me.  So I said to myself don't tense up, relax and breath.

As I used the falling out breath in between cleaning efforts by the hygenist I felt myself stay calm and her energy softened up too.  What I was really doing was trying to be a really great student of that situation.  I new I was there to receive their help and knowledge and all that was asked of me was to be diligent in staying open.  So it all reminde me of this great article by Russell Shields about Ten Tips from a Yoga Student on how to get more out of the teacher/student relationship.  I went through these things in class durign the practice so we could feel philosophy in motion.  If you want a copy of the detailed article email me at  In the meantime, really think about today what kind of STUDENT OF LIFE you are?  How could you get more out of the relationship between YOU and all the WISDOM TEACHERS that surround you each day?  Love yourself, love your life! Silvia

1. Be a Student

2. Be Open

3. Overlook

4. Expect Odd Situations

5. Hang in There

6. Do It Their Way

7. You Do

8.  Eitquette

9. Relaxe/Don't Tense Up

10. Honor and Encourage



6/27/2009   Tags:  yoga, yoga student, teacher, yoga teacher, wisdom teachers Direct Link


MARCH 28, 2009:  Are you thinking about getting to know yourself better? Do you want to commit to spending 200 hours in spiritual training?  If yes, then our intimate program might be for you.  We accept only 10 students per training group and we begin sessions in January and October each year.  And we are only one of 13 programs approved by the national Yoga Alliance in the state of Illinois.

To apply and learn more visit our teacher training pages on this website.  For an interview or to learn more call Silvia at 847 772 9642 or email

This program is unique. Our main intent is not about teaching yoga as much as it is about learning and loving ourselves.  The best teachers in life are those that are willing to peel back the layers and look inside. This time gives you the opportunity in a safe way to explore yourself more deeply. From there how you choose to apply this self-knowledge to your life whether it involves teaching yoga poses or not is up to you.  Peace in your journey, Courage in making your best decision.  Love, Silvia

3/28/2009   Tags:  yoga teacher training, teacher training, yoga certification Direct Link


12/7/2008 DECEMBER 7TH, 2008: How did you park your car today without being able to see the lines of where to put the car because of the snow Did you call folks, google, ask around, or was there an inner knowing, a teacher inside you that told you how That s the yoga I wish you find.

SITA RAM CHANT: Sita and Ram are like question and answer, lover and beloved, Yin Yang, Masculine and Feminine. The poses today are not the answers .they are the questions. And what I hope we walk away with is an ability to trust and have faith in being our own best teachers and asking ourselves better questions. Then the answers are on the inside and they will reveal themselves, we just have to trust this. So as best you can appreciate the questions, even if they are not the one s you think you are supposed to ask. Be strong, be loving, be kind! Silvia

So we started with the teacher mantra:
Guru Brahma
Guru Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheswara,
Guru Sakshat
Param Brahma
Tasmai Sri Guruve Namaha

I bow to my teachers and offer my efforts
To the teacher that is this very life
To the teacher that is this path
To the teacher who entrusts me with the hardships, the transitions and the uncertainties on this journey
To the teacher within each of us
To the teacher who is beyond all of this
I offer my efforts
12/7/2008   Tags:  mantra, chanting, teacher, trust Direct Link


“Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”  --Chinese proverb


JULY 6, 2008:  Fourth of July weekend brings with it lots of noise and for my Vata and Pitta friends these loud sounds of fire crackers, ramped up music, and extra time with the TV can provoke anxiety & unease.  So the remedy today was a Sound DETOXIFICATION along with a super grounding practice to promote self-healing and meditation.


The time on the mat was dedicated to self reflection which let's us deeply consider what we find meaningful.  This practice is about fully stepping into ourselves and my hope as a teacher is to inspire you to live from your heart and simply open as many doors as possible.  Then you must courageously decide when and which doors to walk through.  While contemplating making sensitive and heartfelt decisions the cool thing is that you discover more of who you really are.  As a result your self-expression becomes healthy and true.


Right now, please take time you guys to bring your hands together at your heart in Anjali Mudra, appreciate your breath and renew your promise and commitment to live from your heart.  From looking inwards we bring the best of ourselves into the world!  


By stilling your mind your heart becomes clear and reflects purely to all those who you come in contact with so they see themselves more vibrantly too. Remember the yoga needs us to work through - so please keep sharing your light with the world!  Love in all ways, Silvia 



7/8/2008 12:59:29 PM   Tags:  Self-reflection, Self-Expression, Guru, Heart, Teacher Direct Link


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