Today I took a class from a teacher I used to study with back when I was deeply immersed in my yoga studies before kids. She comes in from Italy every so often now and brings her Italian charm as well as her intense, commanding Iyengar teachings. Though she humiliated me a bit in the beginning of class as Iyengar teachers have a reputation for doing, I thoroughly enjoyed the class and walked away with something very valuable.

She came over to me as we were working in a pose and looked at me and said “When we are young we can get away with pushing ourselves but when we get older we need to get quite and still. We have to let the inner body expand out more. This is the work.”

Though I knew this on many levels, hearing it in that moment was invaluable. I could see so clearly how I was pushing, not yielding. I was willing my shoulders to open instead of inviting the opening to occur from within, from the breath and the ease. Because I was pushing, my shoulders were resisting more to opening. I always find this a great metaphor in yoga. The more we push against the resistance, the tighter and more resistant we become.

I have spent way too much of my life trying too hard and pressing my way through things. It’s part of how I have avoided feeling too much. I think it’s actually a symptom of our culture and how we are taught from a young age to avoid feeling and go forward.

I listened to what she said. I took it all the way in. I thought to myself, “This is why I came today. This is my yoga.” I never take these things for grated anymore, especially when there’s opportunity for growth. In that moment, I wanted to be done with this pattern. It was no longer serving me. It was a simple choice. I took a deep breath and softened from inside. I felt vulnerable, and some emotions surfacing around how much I’ve relied on that strength and used it as a way to protect my sensitivities. Then I softened again and opened to the energy expanding from inside out, allowing it to fill and expand.

An old pattern shed today with an old teacher that I have not seen in a long time. I am grateful for these teachers that have come and go through my years of practice, offering pieces of wisdom fitting together like pieces of a puzzle.

This afternoon I sat on my patio, aware of the birds and the fragrant, spring breeze. The sun was shining through the bright blue sky and the temperature was warm and comfortable. I was tuned into the peace that nature was revealing, receiving all that I needed. I exhaled my breath letting go of any effort to get somewhere or do something. I listened to the quietness and heard the call of the birds, singing the language of spirit and the beauty of life’s song.

Hearing them here in my backyard, nowhere else to go but here and now, I rested in the sweet opening to all of life and I was reminded that all is well in my backyard. All is well in me. At least for this moment and any moment that I choose to invite the opening.

I love this time of year as nature is coming alive from a long winters sleep. Though we’ve had a very wet spring here in Boulder, the flowers are coming into full bloom and the buds of the trees bright, lime green. It makes me feel happy inside for this opportunity to start fresh.

As nature is thawing out, so are our bodies and along with the fresh, new feeling can also come a little sluggishness left over from winter. I always have to be a little more cautious or I can easily fall out of balance as our bodies are more vulnerable this time of year. I like to do a simple detox and cleanse by eating lighter and following these basic guidelines through the season of spring.

Here’s what helps me stay in peak balance this time of year:

-Stay hydrated by drinking at least 2 quarts of water a day.

-Drink warm lemon water with a pinch of real salt (found in health food stores) upon waking. It alkalizes the system and cleanses the liver.

-Take walks or move your body with yoga as soon as you can in the morning. It will move the sluggish energy.

-Modify your caffeine and alchohol intake and if you feel really off, maybe take a week off or so until you feel more balanced.

-Get some nourishing massage or Rolfing to stay present in your body and move blocked energy.

-Eat lots of fresh, bitter greens, especially kale, dandalion greens, cliantro, watercress, arugula and spinach to cleanse the liver.

-Eat avocado, extra virgin olive oil (raw) and real sea salt (has all the mineral our body needs) every day.

Enjoy and be well and radiant!


These last months have been crazy with peak moments of bliss and radical uncertainty.

Interestingly, I love change and transitions. I always feel a sense of release and flow when there is change in the air. As old structures both in myself and on a bigger scale die away, there is a sense of free falling. I’m not an adrenaline junkie by any means but I do love the aspect of freedom from conditioned ways of being.

A friend of mine recently shared this Trungpa Rinpoche quote:

“The bad news is, you are falling. The good news is, there is nowhere to land.”

In my experience, when I dive deeper into the practice of letting go of old patterns and structures, the fear of free falling does arise. Scary as it may seem, I have found it is where the juice is. It’s the place that is full of choice and possibility. Let’s be real here. Old structures are dissolving all over the place. Personally,

I am hearing an inner voice is surging out and shouting to me loud and clear, “It’s time to come out and play Alison; Dance, sing, write and voice all the creativity you’ve been stuffing. You know, the stuff that brings you alive, that feeds your souls journey to evolve. Try something radically new and different!”

I know it well because when I’m in the flow of it, my whole body radiates with life force.

We have been taught in so many ways to find stability, safety and some idea certainty that makes us feel okay. We try to create stability structures even in our minds. Though it makes us feel safe, it also makes us stuck and very limited.

A teacher of mine, Douglas Brooks, once stated and I know it to be true for me, “the only certainty we really know is death, the rest is possibility.” If we can embrace uncertainty, we are not stuck. We can live in a world of opportunity and how we chose to engage is up to us. Bummer is, we don’t get off easy here as humans. We have to work with the challenge, the rubbing, churning and shedding of old ways that bring us to a new way of being.

This is why I love yoga so much. It takes us to our edges and rubs the places we are stuck. Now, we can get in out yoga patterns too and get stuck there which is why I love to mix things up. Lately I have been going to Kundalini classes as well as Yin, rather than my usual Vinyasa/Ashtanga practice. It gives me new perpectives, opens different channels of possibility.

I love to play with choosing to let go of the way I clutch and cling to safety and welcome a new way. I feel as through I’m continuously opening to this sense of free falling to what’s next and seeing there is always more and nothing all at once. It feels like the truest sense of the word freedom embodied. Every moment becomes a choice to cling or let go. Some moments require tremendous courage and power, others are asking for softening and surrender.

So as humans, how do we keep letting go of that which we cling to? How can you lean into the place that scares you straight and feel the darkness of the unknown holding you at the boundary of your own freedom. For me it’s to keep leaning into my body, into my yoga as I walk on the earth, feeling and sensing gravity. It’s in the beautiful and challenging moments of mothering my kids and the tending to love in all of my relationships. How do we let go and free fall into our pain and discomfort, our emotions including anger and frustration only to find it is all just energy and it’s the clinging to the story that sticks us.

If you want to take your yoga practice to a deeper level or any spiritual practice, play with reaching into that discomfort, the very place in which you come face to face with you’re edges and become fully aware.

In that very moment, choose something different—anything—and just see what happens.

In my own experience this is the free falling, where the most profound transformation occurs and we each have the power within us to make that choice.


(This article was published at on Feb 26, 2015)

Happy Valentines Day!

Aside from all the commercialism around this holiday, I find it to be a beautiful opportunity to celebrate love and friendship. These last few months I have experienced and felt the power of love in so many ways. I have witnessed the deep bond of love between mother and son. I’ve felt tremendous love for my family, my friendships and community.

Perhaps the most transformational and difficult love that I have witnessed and experienced in the last few weeks has been self love and loving those parts of me that I have disowned and abandoned.

In loving ourselves we begin to tap into unconditional love and the infinite, vast landscapes of the heart. The more we allow ourselves to love, the greater depth and meaning our lives hold.

This year, give yourself a hug or even a valentine card in gratitude for all of who you are and in those moments when you are hard on yourself, remember to practice forgiveness and compassion. We are after all, only human and we all make mistakes and have our flaws. I feel if we can put our hand on our hearts and learn to love all those imperfections, we begin to feel our worthiness, seeing beyond the lack into our whole, divine selves.

May you be filled with an over abundance of self love today!!