Invite your heart into your practice

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Love is the bridge between you and everything.



We welcome February with warmth in our hearts. With Valentines just around the corner, this is the season of love.  But, what is love to you? Yoga teaches us that love is the highest vibration and intelligence. The energy of the heart center is an energizing force, that is revitalizing, associated with love, compassion, and forgiveness. We love with our hearts, body, and spirit. We express love through our words, thoughts, and actions. Just a simple smile can open one’s heart. Often times we give our love to others and may forget to unite with our own internal vibration of love. When our heart center is depleted we can feel scattered, unfocused, and dull. 

One of the most important things we can do is love ourselves, forgive, and practice compassionate self-care.  Let’s get real, this human experience is not always easy. However, like The Beatles, sing: love is all you need. When we love ourselves, we then have more to give to others. In yoga practice, there is an incredible opportunity to connect with deeper self-love. As humans, we have the capacity to move energy/prana through our intentions and our actions. Do you allow your yoga practice to be a practice of self-love? Yoga is not about how an asana looks, or the final outcome, but so much about how it allows us to feel. When we experience this in practice it translates into our lives. Learning to feel more, we explore the landscape of our own hearts and the hearts of others.

In yoga practice, explore and invite your heart into your practice. When you come to your mat, ask your heart for guidance. Feel into the energy of your heart. Questions such as:  How can I love more? Where am I closing off my heart? Where can I maybe put boundaries around my heart to save more love for myself? What am I feeling right now? Where can I feel more?

Have fun with your practice, play, experience, and engage with your beautiful body, mind, and spirit!


Love opens and heals me.

I love myself unconditionally.

I am love; I let love in.

My heart is open to receive the energy of love.

I radiate the essence of love.

I am able to let go of the past; to forgive myself and others.

All the love I need is within me.



Write your stuff down. Whatever comes. Get it out. It will help you to heal, will help you get deeper in touch with your feelings. After your yoga practice is a great time to journal. 




Pranayama Practice


Find a comfortable sitting posture. Begin by taking several deep breaths to help your body relax; inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, with a sigh. Next, inhale through your nose to your heart center, exhale through your nose. Sending the breath to the inside of your heart, the sides of your heart, and the space between your shoulder blades. Keep repeating until you feel the vibration of your heart. Feel the energetic expansion spreading throughout your body and beyond. Sit for 5 more minutes meditating inside the vibration of your heart.

Heart Opening Yoga practice


On your mat begin to move in a way that feels good. Then see where that takes you. Just start.




Heart Opening Asanas:

Cat & Cow/chakravakasana

Uttanasana/forward fold

Adho mukha svanasana/down dog


Parighasana/gate pose

Bhujangasana/cobra pose

Virabhadrasana I/warrior I

Supta baddha konasana/reclined bound angle

savasana/receiving pose


Invite your heart into your practice.

We look forward to seeing you on your mat with us at Grass Valley Yoga. 


Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.




Metabolic Fire Starter-Yoga HIIT

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Yoga Workout

Let’s do this together! 

Are You…

  • Struggling to find time for yourself
  • Get in shape
  • Lose weight
  • Maintain a meaningful yoga practice


  • Combing an effective way of managing weight and excess fat
  • Managing your stress
  • Balancing your hormones
  • Creating an overall sense of well being

I would like to introduce you to a better way to amp up your physical activity while getting the benefits of a yoga practice with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Yoga.

This could the plan that you are looking for!

My inspiration…

Yoga and fitness is a lifetime journey. Fortunately, I have found a practice that is very effective and I am inspired to share and help others with their fitness. When I started yoga 25 years ago it was to enhance athletic performance. As injuries, work and family responsibilities became over-whelming I was finding it difficult to manage my weight for my optimal performance and carve out the time for a meaningful yoga practice. As I started to get more into yoga I fell in love with the holistic feeling I got from a yoga class and my home practice. However, due to time and everyday responsibilities, I found my body shifting and I felt as if it were more difficult to manage my weight and fitness level. As an athlete fitness has always been very important part of my life. Over the last couple years I found myself getting distracted in a yoga class if I felt I was not getting the level of intensity I thought I needed to maintain my desired fitness level – and I was also a little cramped for time and wanted it all.

For me, I felt going to a yoga class was like going to church, the gym, a therapist, and talking to a good friend all wrapped in one. I also love working in a group dynamic and I want to be productive with my time.  Please now keep in mind that I am not the poster girl for fitness, but I am sincere in my efforts and want to work and encourage others.
I say… Let’s do the practice without worrying about the workout. You could get the same benefit as a 2-4 hour work out that potentially has lingering benefits up to 48-72 hours. By utilizing yoga HIIT for only 7-15 minute allows you the time to practice a more relaxing contemplative yoga and not feel guilty about a rest day.

Have you been using your yoga practice as a fitness practice? If you have you can easily lose the relaxation part of yoga your body needs through movement and breath – moving meditation. Many people do not take the time for a more restorative or yin practice because they are looking for a vinyasa practice to gain more fitness. By targeting a shorter amount of time with Yoga HIIT; it will free up time for a contemplative yoga practice. A majority of people are kicking their asses with vinyasa yoga and then not taking the time for other practice like the opening of connective tissue through yin yoga. During yoga practice we may not receive cardio optimization, high mindful impact movement that builds bone health, fast twitch muscles that hug you in and tone you. This is not about losing body fat as the signal of good health, it is about getting fit for yourself and your body shape.

Fit is the new sexy!

Be the most of you, you can be. Be more effective, excited, and fit. Our inspiration for you with  Yoga HIIT is to help your overall well being in body, mind, spirit, and your interpersonal relationships. 

Join us January 2, 2018, for a FREE preview of the upcoming Metabolic Fire Starter Series.

Sign up for our 4-week series January 9th- 30th meeting on Tuesdays 6:00-7:15 pm.

Sign up today!

Submitted by Cathy Johnson RYT-500, Fitness enthusiast. 

Cathy Johnson


Ayurvedic Wisdom for Spring Allergies

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Ayurveda Spring

Ah, the beauty of Spring. Blossoming trees, budding plants, green grass and… AAACHOO! Oh yes. Allergies.

In Ayurveda, May is a transition month as we move from the lush, wet, beauty of late Spring into the warmer days of early summer. We are still in the Kapha season, ruled by the elements of earth and water and seated in the lungs. For over 10% of us, that means spring allergies. Whether you have allergies, or not, a daily or weekly nasal rinse is a ritual that will support overall upper respiratory health while enjoying earth’s beautiful display of wildflowers and greenery.

A nasal rinse is a simple and effective way to clean out the debris, pollutants, and allergens while also providing soothing relief for nasal dryness, gently removing excess mucous and keeping your head clear and refreshed.

How to use a Neti Pot:

Using a neti-pot, mix approximately ¼ tsp of fine, non-iodized table salt into about 1 cup of warm water until fully dissolved. Use distilled or sterile water to prevent contamination.

Standing in the shower or over the sink, place the spout of the neti pot in one nostril and tip your head to the opposite side. The saline water enters on nostril from the spout of the pot and exits the other nostril having traveled through and cleanse the nasal passages by the gentle force of gravity. Keep your mouth open to block the water from traveling into the throat.

Do the other side by placing the spout of the neti pot in your other nostril and tipping your head the other way.

Break out the neti, and go take a hike. Enjoy the majestic scenery nature offers with a clear head.

~Writen by Grace Kendrick


Grace Kendrick is an Ayurvedic practitioner and Yoga Teacher in Grass Valley, CA.

Find out more at www.mindfulmamayoga.com

Grass Valley Yoga teacher


Yoga Toes

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Yoga toes

I lay on my back in my yoga class, legs sticking straight up in the air. “Rotate your ankles and find every number on the clock,” said the instructor. I automatically sent each ankle rotating in opposite directions, unable to get them to agree, and the clock image dissolved in confusion.

“Now flex your feet and fan out your toes,” she continued.

I looked at toes and willed them to move. Up and down, yes, but sideways? I imagined them staring back at me in bewilderment.

“Now, for many of you your toes won’t move,” Inez said reassuringly. “That’s fine; just keep on sending that message. Someday, believe it or not, your toes will start listening.”

I concentrated hard on my toes like a fledgling mage trying to learn telekinesis. “Agite, molesti digiti!” Latin commands work in Harry Potter, after all. But my Latin is in my brain, not my toes, and there’s no connection in any language.

“Now hug your knees into your chest.” I breathed deeply in relief and earned an approving smile from Inez. Breathing is good too. But my mind wasn’t ready to move on.

“Keep sending the message, and someday your toes will listen.”

What a great analogy for parenting, I thought. My children are grown now, and finally my husband and I see some of those toes responding to the messages we’ve been sending. All of them value education, travel, and new experiences. They are loving, open-minded people passionate about making the world a better place. I see those messages blossoming especially as I watch my son with his son—reading to him so much that he’s had to get new copies of the books he grew up with, and immersing him in music. And yes, they all even learned to like vegetables; my green-averse daughter told me recently that she now likes Brussels sprouts, which are still beyond my tolerance level. The most important message I have tried to send is that they should follow their passions and find their true talents, and they are well on their way to doing that.

And now that I’ve sent my children out into the world, I’m finding that it’s time to take another look at the messages I’m sending my own toes. Maybe I don’t really care about perfectly performing Vivaldi’s virtuoso concertos; perhaps what matters is inspiring others to fall in love with music. And I suspect that novel I keep starting isn’t going to happen because I’ve wandered into songwriting instead. Songs actually get finished and I may even have the courage to launch them in public. I don’t think I’m going to finish reading the Aeneid in Latin, because I need to learn Farsi to keep up with my bilingual grandchildren. It’s ok to change the message when it feels right to do that.

The important thing, when looking at toes, is to keep sending those positive messages (and to ignore self-critical thoughts, like darn, those nails really need trimming). Because yoga does teach us that what seems impossible truly can happen.



~Submitted by Kathryn Canan

Kathryn is a freelance musician, writer, and Latin tutor, a Montana native now living below the snow line in Grass Valley, CA. She enjoys performing and teaching medieval, Renaissance, and baroque music on early flutes and recorder.

Visit her blog here


Anna Yoga

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Yoga and Wellness

You probably do not always think of yoga associated with nutrition specifically. Yoga is the practice of uniting the body, mind, and spirit, and experienced through the physical practice, the awareness of breath, meditation and nutrition. Anna Yoga or the ‘yoga diet’ aims to improve overall health and happiness. The word ‘Anna’ in Ancient Sanskrit means nourishment. It seems obvious that when looking at nourishing ourselves we look to the types of food and the nutritional content they provide. How does Anna Yoga support this?

The Anna Yoga belief system is based on the premise that only whole foods or foods in their most natural form should be consumed.

This diet looks to bring an awareness or mindfulness approach to eating. If we are being more mindful about the foods we eat and switch our focus on eating the ‘right’ foods, the whole body benefits.

It is a sad fact that many more people struggle with their health and food related conditions. The SAD or standard American Diet is not supporting our whole being. Sometimes making the decision to switch to a healthier diet is the hardest thing of all. So start with the awareness or being mindful about the foods you put in your mouth. Just being present with your food choices is a great choice!

Anna type foods are light in nature and easy to digest. These foods include whole grains, vegetables, nuts and legumes. When considering the yogi diet it is best to stay away from all processed, fried, or stale foods. This is excellent advice for anyone looking to make healthy changes; even cutting out processed foods alone is a great kick-start to a healthier body.

The other support for our bodies from the Anna practice is cleansing. Many people are quite wary of cleanses and often it is simply that there is a lack of understanding and knowledge about the benefits and effects on the body. When taking a cleanse for the first time it is very helpful to receive support. The body can accumulate an amazing amount of toxicity and it is important to be kind to the body when releasing this. Cleansing will help you increase body awareness, rest the digestive system, realign the body, create energy and zest for life.

Let us inspire you to support a new and healthier you. We will take you through some of the yogic cleansing practices. At Grass Valley Yoga we offer seasonal cleanse instruction, nutritional counseling and support.

Our Autumn Cleanse is October 7-9. Launches Sunday October 2nd @ 3 pm with Q & A, technique explanation, material handout. Meet Erin, the driving force behind this healthy inspiration! →info here.

By Erin Fritz: Licensed Nutritionist / Integrative Health Counselor


*Erin is professionally licensed Nutritionist and Integrative Health Counselor.  She has been studying and practicing yoga and nutrition for over 30 years.  What began as a personal health interest has evolved into a life focus to enrich the lives of others through an integrative approach. Erin holds a B.S. degree in Biology /Nutrition and Food Science from Oregon State University.  While living at the Breitnen Bush Yoga retreat, she trained in the style of Anusara yoga and has also completed a 3 year Iyengar Yoga intensive training. She began teaching in 2008.  To further guide and nurture individuals needs Erin has most recently completed studies of Integrative Health from the Arizona Center of Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil.

Erin teaches a classical style of yoga that focuses on the mind, body and breath alignment.  Her practice is a slow and steady approach to the fundamentals of traditional yoga.    She encourages postures that are softer on the body at a comfortable pace to help improve strength, balance and flexibility.  This is a practice that, with grace an attention, will provide harmony and well –being.




Meditation and Mindfulness

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Meditation Grass Valley Yoga

I was in a Medical Center parking garage in Roseville a few years ago. Each of the floors of the parking garage were not designated by a color or number, but by a phrase. And to my great surprise the floor that I parked on was labeled, “Meditation.” That is how pervasive meditation has become in our culture! But what is it really? Should you do it? And if so, what is the best meditation for you? These days, there’s a lot of “buzz” about mindfulness, meditation, and its benefits. But what is this mysterious process really and what is the most beneficial form of meditation?

There have been over 300 scientific studies on the benefits of meditation. Some of the reported benefits have been found to improve a persons emotional well-being by reducing stress and lessening the amount of worry and anxiety that they experience. Mentally, there is increased mental strength and memory, with improved focus and concentration. For a healthy body the benefits range from a reduction of blood pressure to boosting the immune system. These are only a few examples. So what exactly do we do to get these magical and amazing benefits?

Briefly, the common types of meditation we hear about today include Buddhist meditations such as Zen and Vipassana, Hindu meditations, Mindfulness Meditation, and Loving Kindness Meditation. There’s also the Judeo-Christian Meditation which is more a reflection on revelations of God.

The Buddhists liken our minds to a monkey in a temple—running everywhere, throwing things around, reeking havoc with no discipline whatsoever. We do live in an increasingly busy world with more and more distractions that pull us out of being in the moment, the here and now. we find that people and things such as technology are “pulling us out of ourselves.” There’s no end to distractions such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or texting, talking on the phone or surfing the web, we find hundreds of ways to amuse ourselves, to fill the space and be out of the present. All of these things, in and of themselves are not necessarily harmful or bad, it is not about judging ourselves. It’s just that we run to them and let them run us, sometimes letting ourselves go about here and there just like that monkey in the temple. We all have experienced that feeling of being gripped by a thought or mental situation and being dragged along as if by a strong tide. It all comes down to discernment and what we are choosing in every moment.

Aside from providing a little relief and relaxation, simply calming our mind by counting the breath is not going to give us any lasting benefit or help us to gain control of that monkey mind. We need to go a little deeper and investigate the nature of our thoughts. It’s not that we need to think less or stop thoughts altogether, but rather watching or being the observer of our own thoughts, you will be amazed at what kind of thoughts you are having. So often our mind is like a runaway train and thoughts are speeding through and we are quite oblivious until we stop. Understanding that It is the nature of the mind to think and there is nothing wrong with having thoughts, but, becoming aware or conscious of those thoughts is key to peace of mind.

When you sit down to meditate, simply look, and notice whether your mind is in the positive, negative or neutral frame—not whether you are having thoughts or not. How are you feeling? Are you tired, excited or somewhere in between? Do not judge yourself either for the type of thoughts you are having, your job is to notice and observe.

The idea here is to train ourselves to become more aware, awareness is key. First we do need to calm our minds so that we can focus. And that can be done by watching the breath or counting the breath. This is a good place to start, but with practice you can begin to notice the tone or nature of your thoughts, how does this feel in the body? Tense, tight, uncomfortable? What emotions are you feeling connected with those thoughts?

For example. Perhaps you are feeling some anxiety about something that happened (past) or something that is going to happen (future). As you become aware of those thoughts and the emotion connected with those thoughts your focus or attention towards that thought brings it to light or consciousness. As soon as you see it, you are in effect letting it go, take a deep breath in, and exhale with the sound, ‘A Ah. You may also find the release occurs in the body. The neck or shoulders holds a great deal of tension, and that release can bring relaxation into the physical. This takes a little practice and may need a few attempts. Once you have been able to breathe that away….literally. Now, you can simply change the nature or focus of your thoughts by thinking of something uplifting, loving, joyful, like being glad that you are meditating, or rejoicing in the good things and people in your life.

Gratitude is a wonderful way to bring a feeling of peace and calm into the body. The mind is not the enemy, but we have allowed our minds to be like the monkey. Without judgement it is simply time to retrain the mind to support you. The mind has been trying to get your attention, now you can be aware, see and let go of what is not helpful.

One thing is certain, our mind is very powerful, unlimited in its scope, really. It can be made to do wondrous things, perhaps beyond our wildest imaginations. But it has to be made serviceable to us. We have to be able to harness our energy and use it in a positive manner to reap all the many benefits our mind can provide. Like the monkey in the temple, it can run wild and reek havoc—or we can use it like a sharp laser focus to transform ourselves. The Tibetans have a saying, “Don’t use an ax to kill a louse.” In other words, this superior powerful tool of meditation shouldn’t be used for a small, insignificant task but rather it can transform our minds and make our lives infinitely better and improve ourselves and those around us.

The true purpose of meditation is to transform your mind, allowing you to have some control over where it goes and what kinds of thoughts you choose to entertain. And the benefits you get from taking even five minutes a day to meditate will spill over into your daily life. You will see changes in your outlook and begin to experience many of the physical, emotional, and mental benefits that come from meditation.


~by Helen Breault E-RYT

•Helen Breault has been practicing yoga & meditation for over 16 yrs and teaching for 10 yrs. She received her 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Tree San Francisco. She has completed a 300 hr Yoga and Meditation Training in Tibetan Heart Yoga through the Yoga Studies Institute. She has extensive training in yoga philosophy, advanced meditation techniques & yoga asana instruction.

She will be teaching a Lady Niguma Yoga and Meditation Workshop series in September at Grass Valley Yoga. →Info here.



Gentle Yoga For Everybody

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Gentle Yoga Class Grass Valley Yoga

Gentle Yoga is a great yoga class for everybody. At Grass Valley Yoga, we provide a non-threatening environment, compassionate and welcoming to all. Whether you are new to yoga, or have been practicing for a while, you will find our Gentle Yoga class will awaken and relax your body and mind. Stretch, relax and leave feeling restored & renewed.

“Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.” ~Judith Hanson Lasater

Guidance in class is towards mindful body movements with an emphasis on connecting body, mind and spirit at a deep personal level. The flow of class is  slower paced, nurturing, well-supported and relaxing. With the practice of yoga evolving dramatically in the last 20 years in America, classes like gentle yoga are becoming more popular because a gentler approach is more effective in obtaining the peace we ultimately desire in a yoga practice.

Gentle yoga is ideal enough for all age groups and level of fitness. Remarkably, a large portion of our clients who practice gentle yoga are in their 70’s and certainly don’t look their age!


Here are some of the Benefits of Gentle Yoga:

  • Increased mindfulness by moving slower through the postures and connection to self. Finding balance of peace of mind is achieved through yoga practice.
  • Increase flexibility through gentle purposeful stretches and movements.
  • Breath Awareness by utilizing simple breathing techniques, you will learn how to effectively breathe deeper, and to connect to your breath. The breath is one of the most important parts of yoga.
  • Stress reduction is one of the number one effects you will notice. Yoga in general gives us simple tools that help deal with stress. Mindfully, we learn how to be calmer and release stress in our bodies.
  • Strengthening muscles through asanas (postures) that increase flow of oxygen and life force energy resulting in stronger muscles that help to support the entire frame of the body.
  • Meditation is practiced in class through guided meditation and as a moving meditation through the asanas. Of course, every class finishes with a savasana; a deep mindful relaxing pose where we simply lie on our backs.
  • Self awareness and patience by learning to be patient and present with our bodies and breath. Learn how paying attention to details of our body can help in all areas of our lives.

We invite you to experience the joys and benefits of a yoga practice.

Our Gentle Yoga class is held Mondays 10:30-12 pm & Thursdays 12-1:30 pm.


“Yoga is a light. Which once lit will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter your flame.” ~B.K.S Iyengar





Donation Yoga

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Donation yoga-grass valley

Grass Valley Yoga is delighted to reach out to the greater community by providing a DONATION YOGA class.

This class is held every Saturday morning from 10:30 am-12 pm.

Led by certified yoga instructor Laura Prakash.  

This class is an all-levels, traditional yoga class, and open to all physical and financial abilities.  Absolute beginners are always welcome! 

The inspiration behind this class is to make yoga accessible to anyone who wishes to give yoga a try or continue practicing.  At Grass Valley Yoga we pride ourselves in being a friendly non-intimidating studio where we aim to provide personal care and attention to everyone who enters our space. Instructor Laura enjoys catering classes to her students, and paying great attention to detail.  She likes to tell her students, “It doesn’t matter how you look in the pose; it matters how you feel.”  Laura encourages correct alignment in poses, in order to build strength through the joints and the core. Students leave feeling enlightened, grounded and connected following Laura’s classes. At a minimum, be expected to  leave class with a smile on your face!

If you’re in the market for a yoga class, the Donation YOGA class is a great place to start!  There is no need to commit to a series of classes, simply come as you are and deposit what you can in the pot.  Our goal is to help you to understand where your body properly fits in each pose, leaving you feeling stronger and more confident in your yoga understanding and ability. 

One of yoga’s greatest gifts is its emphasis on the breath.  As you move while consciously inhaling and exhaling, you increase your breathing capacity and bring awareness to how your breath supports your movement.  You may discover you take shallow breaths into your chest, or you tend to hold the breath while exerting physical effort.  A continued practice of yoga will help you to deepen the breath, and therefore enjoy a more relaxed and vibrant life. Yoga offers many physical, physiological and emotional benefits. It is never too late to start.

Laura has been teaching yoga for over 20 years, and has a passion for community & connection. Read her full bio here.

We invite you to take a drive through the trees and meet like-minded community members down at Grass Valley Yoga.


Donation yoga-grass valley