Category Archives: Meditation

Nine Tips for a Successful Home Yoga Practice

Let’s face it. We all live busy lives. Most of us can barely carve out one hour once a week for yoga class, let alone several. Unfortunately, yoga practiced that infrequently is unlikely to yield long-term benefits. The solution? Supplement your studio practice with yoga at home. Below are some hints to get you started.

Guidelines for a Successful Home Yoga Practice

  • Short and simple beats long and complex every time. Why wait until you have a spare hour? Three twenty-minute practices each week will yield significantly better results than a single sixty minute one.
  • Yoga is more than asana. Only have five minutes?  Try a simple breath or meditation session. The mental and emotional benefits from ten minutes of deep breathing can be profound.
  • Make your practice place special. Most people don’t have a yoga room in their home, but you can turn any room into a sacred practice space. Dim the lights; light a few candles; ring a pair of Tibetan chimes. Create a ritual that signals the transition from daily life to practice.
  • Celebrate success. Give yourself a mental high-five each time you practice, whether it’s for sixty seconds or sixty minutes. If you chastise yourself for not practicing, you never will. Instead, celebrate each and every time your feet land on your mat.
  • Integrate or distract kids and pets. Pets love interrupting yoga practice, so give them something else to do instead. Feed Fluffy some tuna; give Fido a chew toy; pop a Looney Tunes DVD in the player for the kids. And if you can’t distract them, have them join you. Yoga with the kids might become your favorite part of the day.
  • The best time to practice is when you’ll actually do it. Be honest with yourself. If you’re more likely to win Lotto than get up fifteen minutes early, don’t plan to practice at 5:00 AM.  Morning, lunch time, evening, before bed….Any time is yoga time.
  • When you get discouraged—keep going!   There will be days that you don’t want to practice. Days that you don’t have time to practice. Practice anyway. Remind yourself what you love about yoga. If that doesn’t work, take the advice of dog trainers everywhere and treat yourself for practicing. I understand chocolate is particularly effective. 😉
  • Schedule practice time on your calendar—in ink! If you practice whenever you can squeeze it in, you’ll never unroll your mat. Choose a consistent time, write it down, and set up a reminder system.  Make your practice a priority.
  • Above all else, enjoy yourself!  Yoga is truly a gift.  Treasure it!

What has worked for you? Please let me know by leaving a comment.


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join my author mailing list for updates on MURDER STRIKES A POSE, available January 8, 2014 from Midnight Ink!

A Meditation to Create Tranquility and Joy

This meditation practice is one of my favorites for clearing out emotional “gunk” and creating a state of inner peace, tranquility, joy and healing. Even better, it can be done anytime, anywhere. I hope you like it!

  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine in neutral and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling.  Sitting either in a chair or on the floor is fine, as long as you are physically comfortable.
  2. Begin focusing your mind by paying attention to the sensation of the breath just inside your nostrils.
  3. When you feel ready, think of a quality you’d like to increase in your life.  Imagine that quality is a bright white light entering your body through your heart center and spreading throughout your entire body—from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes.  This light can represent any positive quality you wish it to—love, joy, health, healing, or anything else. Imagine every cell of your body illuminated by this light, and feel the quality it carries flow into every cell.
  4. Imagine that this quality is replacing everything that clutters your life—anger, impatience, stress, desire, greed. As the light grows brighter in your mind, visualize its pure radiance washing all negative qualities away.
  5. If your attention wanders (and it will!) just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose.  Then begin to focus on the white, healing light once again.
  6. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Let me know how it goes!


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join my author mailing list for updates on MURDER STRIKES A POSE, available early 2014 from Midnight Ink!

A Meditation of Warmth and Light

Woman Meditating

Sometimes the most powerful meditation practices are also the most simple.  This meditation practice is one of my favorites, and it works especially well for individuals whose most dominant sense is sight.  The changing nature of a candle flame makes it alive—almost vibrant—so it’s an interesting point of focus.  Its only downsides are that you have to do this meditation seated, and since candles involve fire risk, it’s not appropriate in all situations.  One of my students, however, found an iphone candle flame app, so with advances in technology, perhaps even that isn’t an issue!

  • Choose a candle you feel drawn to. Preferably choose one with a calming color (blue, purple, green, beige, white). Place it on a low table or on the ground about 3-6 feet in front of you.  Light the flame and relax your body.
  • Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling.  Sitting either in a chair or on the floor is fine, as long as you are physically comfortable.
  • Keep your eyes open, gazing quietly at the candle in front of you.
  • Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it.  First notice the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils.  Notice the movement of your rib cage and belly.  How does your spine move with each breath?  What other sensations can you feel?
  • When you feel ready, focus your mind by gazing steadily at the candle flame as it burns.  Your eyes can be partially closed (at “half mast”) and it is fine to blink.  Notice the colors, the changing patterns and shapes of the flame.  Become aware of the scent of the burning wax, the warmth of the flame.   The flame continually changes with every passing moment.
  • If your attention wanders (and it will!) just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose.  Then begin to focus on the changing nature of the candle flame again.
  • Continue this meditation for 10 – 15 minutes

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join my Tracy Weber author mailing list for updates on my hopefully soon-to-be-published yoga mystery!

Meditation: Work or Play?

This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Roy Holman. Roy is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. He can be contacted at and at

People come to my meditation classes hoping to find peace and calm. Sometimes the first thing they notice is how not peaceful and calm they are! Perhaps even long ignored or buried emotions like fear and anger surface, and they run from their meditation practice shouting, “I thought this would be fun!”

So what is meditation?  Is it blissful sitting and finding our center? Or is it hard work, using effort to struggle through our patterns? Perhaps both. Effortless Effort.

It takes courage and effort to break patterns, see our stuff, face our feelings. It takes some practice and techniques and teachings to learn how to prepare the body, sit still, and calm the mind to some degree. This is the yang or masculine side of the practice. One cannot do yoga without getting on the mat.  One cannot meditate without sitting down and finding a way to move beyond thinking and doing.

We can use whatever “techniques” or effort we can to do this.  Conscious regulation of the breath (called pranayama in yoga terms) is one of my favorite ways to still the mind. We can simply follow the breath or deepen the breath, and the breath often leads us deeper into our meditation.

Some of us like to use a mantra, such as “I am love.” This is an excellent way to still the mind and move out of the thinking and planning. We can also feel our feelings.  Bring our attention down from our thinking mind and down into the body and just feel what is going on.

Ultimately though, our meditation practice is more being than doing, more allowing than controlling, observing than changing. Our world has had the masculine do-orientation turned up for eons, and it is time to move more into the feminine effortlessness of being. This is more about heart than head, feeling rather than thinking. This is where we need to focus not only on our meditation cushion and yoga mat, but in our world.

Again, use whatever technique to get there, but know you are already always “there.”  Truth is here, now. We are not trying to get anywhere. We follow the Tao (truth), the divine flow, moving with rather than against the currents. We don’t change but observe thoughts.  We don’t control or plan where we are going. We don’t fight against life but let it teach us–and it always will.

Meditation is more about being, essence, and presence.  We are coming out of such a painful time on planet earth.  We are afraid, our energy systems are on high alert, we see enemies everywhere, and our self esteem is so low we feel we need to earn a date with the Divine. But the Divine, or Truth, or God, or Joy, or the Sacred–choose your word–is always closer than close.  And grace is always pouring in, if we can only learn to let go and receive it.

I use the words, “drop in,” when I finish my breath, prayer, and gratitude parts of my meditation. This reminds me that the “effort” part of the meditation is over.  It does not mean that I try to change or eliminate thoughts, but I watch and let go of control. Then I sometimes drop in to a sacred space, a rare moment in my day when my mind is still. This provides a baseline, a reminder that we do not have to live in the maniacal mind and the false, egotistical self, which always want to get somewhere or achieve something. As Neale Donald Walsch says, “You have to be out of your mind to find God.”

When we find ourselves in that place of stillness, the breath becomes automatic, the impermanent aspects of ourselves like personality, titles, names, and concepts fall away, leaving the energetic essence of being.  As Rumi says, “Give up your drop and become part of the ocean.” We let go of that delusion of separation, we trust, and at long last, we feel the effortless joy of our divine self, connected to all that is.

This is where we come from.  This is where we return to.  It is inevitable. Meditation is hard work.  And it is simple.  Do not think too much about it.  Let effortless effort guide the way, knowing there is nowhere to go, nothing to do.


Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle!

My Hope for the New Year: A Full Well

Bricktown, Oklahoma City

I learned a Sanskrit chant in yoga teacher training many years ago:

Om Purnam Adaha
Purnam Idam
Purnam Udachyate
Purnam Adaya
Purnam Evavashi

The English translation goes something like this:

This is fullness.
That is fullness.
From fullness, fullness is born.
When you take fullness from fullness,
only fullness remains.

The first time I chanted this. I thought it sounded absurd; in fact, I could barely keep from laughing. But as 2012 winds down and with it, my energy, the words seem much more profound.

I use many yoga tools to help clients build energy, but one of the most profound practices has more to do with daily life than life on the mat. Energy–our ability to give to ourselves and others–is much like a well. When we’re healthy, our energy well is full and our sources of replenishment are abundant. In those times we have plenty to give to others.

My personal energy well is fullest in the summer, when light and warmth surround me, I sleep well, and I have quality time to share with friends and family. In summer, I am “full,” and when I am full, I can give of my energy to others while still having abundant energy left for myself.

The deep dark days of winter are different. During those times, my well runs dry. If I don’t focus on filling myself first, I have nothing to give to others, no matter how worthy their cause might be.

So this winter, I plan to spend time doing activities that fill my well. Not because I’m selfish, but because I’m generous. Only when my own well is full can I give from that abundance to others.

In that spirit, I’d like to offer the reflection below to each of you.

A Meditation to Re-fill Your Well

  • Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling.
  • Allow your eyes to close and notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Bring your attention to the sensation of the breath in your nostrils.
  • When you are ready, imagine all the things in life that fill your energy well: people you love, activities you enjoy doing, gifts of nature, even something as simple as taking a hot bubble bath or savoring a square of smooth, dark chocolate. Let these thoughts float through your awareness as images, sensations, smells, tastes, or anything else that is powerful for you.
  • When your mind wanders, bring it back to the sensations of the breath. Then imagine again everything that brings you energy and joy.
  • After several minutes, ask yourself the following questions.
    1. What do these images tell me about how I can increase energy and foster joy in my life?
    2. What actions can I take in the coming year to invite more energy, joy, and gratitude into my daily life?
  • When you become distracted by other thoughts, simply notice that distraction. Then, with your next inhale, ask yourself the above questions again.
  • Continue this meditation for ten minutes or longer if you’d like.

In this coming year, may your well–and the wells of those around you–be full to overflowing.


Tracy Weber

Meditations to Decrease Stress and Inflammation!

yogi doing meditationA recent study at UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences demonstrated once again that even short meditations, when done consistently, have positive effects on both the body and the mind. The study evaluated 49 caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Almost 50% of these caregivers experience clinical depression, and they are also twice as likely as the general population to report high levels of stress.

The study divided the caregivers (who ranged in ages from 45 to 91) into two groups: one that practiced a 12-minute meditation daily for 8 weeks, and one that spent 12 minutes each day for 8 weeks relaxing while listening to a relaxation CD.

The meditation group showed several benefits over the group that listened to the music:

  • Significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms
  • Improvements in reported mental health
  • Improvements in cognitive functioning
  • Increased telomerase activity in the blood (an indication of decreased cellular aging)
  • Significant decreases in blood proteins associated with inflammation.

All these benefits from just 12 minutes of meditation a day!

This specific study examined a chant and meditation practice called Kirtan Kriya, but prior studies on meditation have shown similar mind-body benefits with a variety of meditations. In short, any meditation practice you do for 10 minutes or more daily is likely to achieve similar results.

The meditation below has been used in other studies on meditation’s “relaxation response.” But remember, the most effective meditation practice is one you will actually do. Hundreds, if not thousands, of meditation techniques exist and are easily found on the web. Experiment and find the one that works best for you.

Simple Counting Meditation:

  • Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up
    to the ceiling.
  • Allow your eyes to close, and notice your breath—without intentionally trying to
    change it. Bring your attention to the warmth and coolness of the breath
    at the tip of your nostrils.
  • After 2 – 3 minutes, or whenever you are ready, start counting each exhalation.
    For example, when you exhale the first time, think “one.” The next time you exhale, count “two.”  Keep counting silently to yourself, until you get to ten. After you reach ten, then start over again from “one.”
  • You’ll know your mind has wandered because you’ll lose count or notice that you’re thinking about something else. When that happens, (and it will!) try not to get frustrated. Instead, simply start over again by counting from “one.”  Without judgment or frustration, notice how often you need to restart counting.   The goal isn’t to get to 10, but to keep refocusing whenever your mind wanders.
  • Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

I’ve outlined two other methods in prior blog articles: a simple Meditation for Inner Peace and a Breath Focused Meditation. I will post additional meditations in the future, so keep checking back. Remember not to worry about “being good” at mediation–just by the act of meditating, you are inherently good at it regardless of how often your mind wanders as long as you keep bringing it back.


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle!

Forgiveness: The Road to Happiness—or at Least Peace

I look forward to answering your questions in this blog. Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail your questions to


A Whole Life Yoga student asks: I’m in the middle of an ongoing conflict with a member of my family, and although I don’t usually feel angry, I don’t feel happy, either. Do you have any suggestions?

I need to make a confession: this question has challenged me.  The yoga teachings talk about happiness, but not in the way that we might hope.  In fact, the teachings warn against seeking happiness, because within happiness lies suffering.  Instead they advise us to seek peace.

I’ll admit that I struggle with that, even though I get the point.  Happiness leads to attachment; attachment leads to suffering.  Peace, on the other hand, leads to acceptance, and acceptance reduces suffering.

So honestly, I don’t have any great yoga tools for creating happiness. But yoga has helped me find it, nonetheless.  When I practice yoga, I find peace. When I’m more peaceful, I’m happier. So perhaps a more meaningful goal is to turn anger into forgiveness, so that you too can find peace.

The Buddhist meditation below can help jump start that process.  In it, you offer healing to yourself, someone you love, someone with whom you are in conflict, and finally the world.

If sending healing to your family member is too challenging right now, start with someone less charged, like a rude grocery store clerk or someone who cuts you off on the freeway. Over time, as you forgive and find inner tranquility, happiness may sneak its way back in.

Loving Kindness Meditation:

  1. Come to a comfortable seated or lying position.
  2. Allow your eyes to close, and notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it.  Bring your attention to the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils.
  3. When you are ready, bring your own self to mind, complete with all of your strengths, weaknesses, successes, and struggles.  Silently and continuously repeat the following intentions for yourself:
    • May I be at peace. May my heart be open.
    • May I be healed, and may I be a source of healing for all beings.
  4. When you are ready, bring to mind the image of a loved one—someone you care about.  Silently and continuously repeat the following blessings for that person:
    • May you be at peace. May your heart be open.
    • May you be healed, and may you be a source of healing for all beings.
  5. When you are ready, bring to mind the image someone with whom you are in conflict, or someone who “pushes your buttons” in some away.  Perhaps someone who’s injured you in the past whom you’ve not forgiven.  Silently and continuously repeat the following blessings for that person:
    • May you be at peace. May your heart be open.
    • May you be healed, and may you be a source of healing for all beings.
  6. When you are ready, bring to mind an image of the entire planet. Visualize or sense the continents, the oceans, and the shape of the earth as it moves around the sun.  Silently and continuously repeat the following blessings for the earth:
    • May the earth be at peace. May the hearts of the earth be open.
    • May the earth be healed, and may the earth be a source of healing for all beings.
  7. If your attention wanders (and it will!) just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose.  Then continue with the loving kindness meditation from wherever you left off.  The “blessings” above can be modified to anything that has meaning for you.

I hope that helps, and thank you for the question!


Tracy Weber

Creating Abundance

“Abundance is about being rich, with or without money.”— Suze Orman

Depending on your perspective, the holidays can either be a joyful time shared with family and friends or a dismal demonstration of unrealized expectations. The choice is yours. Abundance is everywhere, if you choose to look for it.

In my annual Yoga of Thanksgiving class this past Thursday, twenty-two students and I reflected on the concept of abundance: what it means to us, how we can create more if it and how we can share it with those around us.

Our practice included over an hour of movement, but that was the least of it; meaningful  practice tugs more at the heart than the hamstrings. Today, I’d like to share some quotes, breath practices, and meditations we explored.

First Quote: “Whatever we are waiting for — peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance — it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”—Sarah Ban Breathnach

First Breath Practice:

  1. Lengthen your inhale and exhale, making them approximately equal.
  2. Remain at that lengthened breath for several minutes. With each inhale, imagine abundance in all its forms entering your heart. With every exhale, imagine those same qualities flowing through your body and taking root in every cell.
  3. After several minutes, return your breath to a normal rhythm. Carry the energy of this breath practice to meditation.

First Meditation Question: How can I invite abundance into my life, regardless of my material wealth?

Second Quote: “The universe operates through dynamic exchange…giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”— Deepak Chopra

Second Breath Practice:

  1. Lengthen your inhale and exhale, making them approximately equal.
  2. After six breaths at that lengthened breath, add a two second pause after both the inhale and the exhale.
  3. Remain at this breath for several minutes. With each inhale, imagine abundance in all its forms entering your heart. In the pause after inhale, imagine abundance completely filling you. With every exhale, offer abundance back to the world. In the pause after exhale, imagine abundance both within and around you.
  4. After several minutes, release the pauses, but continue breathing with a lengthened inhale and exhale.
  5. After several more breaths, return your breath to a normal rhythm. Carry the energy of this breath practice to meditation.

Second Meditation Question: How can I create abundance in the lives of those around me?

At the end of class, each student chose a string of prosperity hens that was crafted by artisan women in India. Hens symbolize prosperity in Indian culture, because any family fortunate enough to own a hen has a continual source of nourishment. I hope the hens will remind each student to be grateful and generous in the season ahead.

I hope this practice does the same for you.


Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join me in our special New Year’s Yoga Celebration!

ABCs of Yoga

This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Roy Holman. Roy is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. He  can be contacted at and at

I had a chance to ask T.K.V. Desakachar a question when he was leading a workshop in Portland a few years ago: “Do you think we in the West are too asana focused?” His eyes lit up and he said,”Oh yes! By age 60 one should be doing 20% asana, 40% meditation, and 40% pranayama.” His father Krishnamacharya once said, “Nowadays, the practice of yoga stops with just asanas.”

Many of us get into yoga for Exercise reasons, which is fine. We may begin yoga for physical reasons–perhaps to help heal an injury–and stick with yoga for other reasons; perhaps we become more centered or peaceful. Some of us may even begin yoga for the other E word: Ego. We may wish to impress people with our fancy poses or even sexy body. As Yoga Sutra scholar Chip Hartranft puts it, “In fact, hatha yoga practice may initially be driven to some extent by narcissism.  After all, hatha yoga can appeal to us because of the powerful way it addresses some of the self’s most cherished preoccupations–health, attractiveness, sexual energy, and longevity.”

There are four letters that precede E that may get ignored.

A might stand for Awareness (not just asana).  Our practice begins and ends with awareness. We can begin to notice what draws us to the mat (or away from the mat). Awareness involves no judgment, just noticing how we feel in each pose, what draws us to certain styles of yoga and to which teachers. What is our motivation? What are our patterns? Additionally, A also stands for Ahimsa (nonviolence), the most important “yama.”

B is for Breath. Connecting the breath to the movement, to me, draws me out of the head and deep into the body and the yoga practice. I begin to lose  myself and find my Self. Breath seems to bridge body to spirit. Pranayama–breath regulation–is a profound but underappreciated limb of yoga.

C is for Compassion and ties into ahimsa mentioned above. We are often so tough on ourselves. Can we accept where we are?  Can we have compassion for ourselves even if we realize that, due to our low self esteem, we indeed practice partially because of the egoist reasons mentioned earlier? Can we have compassion for ourselves when we find ourselves
comparing ourselves to other students or judging the teacher?

D is for Devotion and Divine.  While reading about the great Krishnamacharya’s life and practice, it struck me how dedicated and devotional a yogi he was. He once said,  “…the reason for learning yogasana is not just for good physique but to obtain atmajnana (spiritual progress.)” Yoga teacher Dharma Mittra, known for his ability to do thousands of incredible poses, said,  “The postures mean absolutely nothing, no matter how adept one is with them, if they’re not done is a spirit of devotion.”

When I studied at Oneness University in India, there was a big focus on devotion to the Divine.  It was humbling for me to see that I was really  more into ego and control than surrender, trust and a devotion to the Divine.

Whether you define this devotion as one to your Higher Self, God, Universal Intelligence or whatever, I suppose that all paths eventually lead there even with our egoist detours. Indeed, we need look no further for the Divine than within our most sacred, essential Selves.

E also stands for Enjoy, so let’s enjoy this beautiful yoga journey together!


Yoga in the Peace Corps: Khotso and Namaste

This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Barbara Meyer. Barbara is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She  can be contacted at

For thirty years, I’ve wanted to be a Peace Corps volunteer. One year ago, my dream came true—my husband and I received our invitations to serve as Peace Corps volunteers. After several months of preparations and clearing 30 years of accumulated possessions out of our home, we departed for Philadelphia to meet our fellow volunteers. Three days later, we were in southern Africa’s Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Khotso is a common greeting here, meaning peace in Sesotho. Our host families greeted us with wild ululation, song and dancing and dozens of people pressed against usas we walked to our home for training—a traditional thatched roof rondavel with no electricity or running water. Among the items that made the final cut into my two suitcases were my yoga chimes, a golden silk shawl from India and a travel yoga mat.

During three months of training,I was able to use yoga for stress reduction when things got rough. Since moving to my work site (for two years), I’ve been practicing yoga three to four days per week. We live in a studio (half of a duplex) set in a garden with an amazing view of the mountains. Despite the cramped space, my husband agreed that we needed to preserve the space by the window for yoga.

The Peace Corps ads say it’s “The hardest job you’ll ever love.” One of the hard parts is daily uncertainty about so many aspects of life. Aside from creating my own job on a daily basis, I’m learning a new language (Sesotho), a new culture (Basotho), meeting many new people and trying to figure out how pretty much everything works.

Yoga has become more precious to me since becoming a Peace Corps volunteer. The challenge of cross cultural living in a poor country brings some strain. Children often knock on our door in groups of three or four and say, “I am asking for bread.” Or they may ask for candy, money or a job. When walking through the village, similar requests are made by children and adults alike. The struggle is that we have the means to help some but not all. How do we decide when to respond and when to pass by? In contrast, at our work site, a hospital, many Basotho are extremely well educated with good professional jobs. Life in a developing country is complex. The HIV rate is 23% among adults and many children have lost one or both parents to HIV. Unemployment is nearly 50%. There is so much to think about! And have I mentioned that we live on $250 per month in a town with no restaurant? In fact, no store where you can buy cheese or chocolate! For this reluctant cook, starting from scratch (e.g. make own tortillas and injera) on a daily basis has been a test of my self discipline.

This is where yoga comes in. Three or four mornings a week, my first activity of the day is to clear my yoga space and lay out the mat and clean towels on the floor. I face the river valley with mountains beyond and lengthen my breath. As I proceed through the asana practice, I feel the slowing down and calming that yoga movement brings. Through pranayama breath practices, I have to let other thoughts go as I focus on the counting or the technique for the day. That brings me to meditation. I have chosen three qualities that I want to enhance in myself, qualities that I need on a daily basis here and sometimes find in short supply. I like to end with a short chant that we used to close each class during yoga teacher training. Chanting helps me to visualize the support of the community of people I have met through Whole Life Yoga. It is easy to feel alone in the Peace Corps! Because of my practice, I carry these friendships with me through my day. I end my practice with three chimes. Folding up my travel mat (thanks for the tip, Suzanne Stephens!), I feel calm, peaceful and happy. I am ready to face the uncertainties of the day with some equanimity.

One year into my Peace Corps service, things have become easier. We are building relationships with people here and our work is starting to show results. Maintaining a sense of non-attachment is so useful. Things have a way of moving forward then backward often at a very, very slow pace. One project that I abandoned as a lost cause resurrected itself months later. Someone came up and asked me to get a replacement for a stamp that had been designed for the outpatient department months earlier. I didn’t even realize that they had started to use it again!

Another gift I received from one of my teacher training colleagues was a really useful quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

In my Peace Corps service, regular yoga practice is as necessary as food. The emotional grounding that comes from yoga practice has helped me immensely to meet the challenges I face. Thank you so much, Tracy and the Whole Life Community for all of your support.

If you are interested in reading more about our adventures in Lesotho, our blog is



More information about Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program can be found at our web site:  Yoga Teacher Training at Whole Life Yoga.