Response to Racism in the Yoga Studio

I can’t be silent.

Today, the blog xo Jane posted an article written by what can only be perceived as a closeted racist regarding her discomfort while observing a struggling new student in her yoga class.  The quotes that irk me the most?

“A few weeks ago, as I settled into an exceptionally crowded midday class, a young, fairly heavy black woman put her mat down directly behind mine. It appeared she had never set foot in a yoga studio—she was glancing around anxiously, adjusting her clothes, looking wide-eyed and nervous. ” Continue reading

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Musician • Yogini • Mommy

IMG_4569Parenting isn’t easy, everyone tells us that.  Now add that to being a (semi) professional musician and you have a really fascinating challenge.

I started my musical career in my 20’s.  My ska punk band Agent 99 landed in the “almost famous” category.  My bands Brave New Girl and Dubistry have won global critical acclaim and we’re still waiting for the big bucks.

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Every Day is Like a Holiday

Happy Gregorian New YearThe end of the Gregorian calendar brings a lot of the world into a celebration and contemplation. What did we do well? What will we do well?

Each day is technically the beginning of a new year, so why wait? Reinvent yourself every day. Continue reading

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Finding Peace at Sivananda Yoga Ranch


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Your body temple
Sacred, breathing, chanting, still
No idol chatter

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Kavala Graha – Oil Pulling for detoxification and a great smile

I was recently introduced to the concept of oil pulling or Kavala Graha. I am a big advocate of jal neti or cleansing the nasal and sinus passages with salt water. I had a terrible cold and sadly, my neti pot wasn’t doing the trick. After digging a little deeper, I found Kavala Graha.

Kavala Graha, is a cleansing technique using sesame oil (unrefined, preferably) to rinse the mouth and gums. First thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, before brushing teeth, put about a tablespoon of oil into your mouth and swish it around for 15-20 minutes. If the taste of sesame oil is too much, you can also use coconut oil. It’s nice to take a shower or boil water for tea while doing it. Afterwards, brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with warm water. Your smile will be noticeably brighter.

What I’ve noticed is that it not only cleanses and moisturizes the mouth and gums, it pulls toxins and germs out of the bloodstream through the capillaries in the mouth. It also enforces a morning silence and is itself a kind of meditation.

I’m happy to say I quickly recovered from my cold and have added Kavala Graha to my morning ritual. I suggest you do the same.

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What I Learned From Fasting

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A few months ago I fasted for 24 days. And I LOVED IT!  Yes, there was weight loss, but beyond that, I learned a lot about myself and my body in the process. Continue reading

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Rastas and Sadhus

I was three years old when my mother introduced me to yoga.  She was taking classes in school and brought her practice home both to improve on her own asanas and to calm the three little energy pockets that made every day a new and exciting challenge.  My brothers and I took to different aspects of it, but I think we all gained focus and an ability to calm ourselves when needed.

As I grew up, I kept an inconsistent practice of my own, using it through dance, gymnastics and other types of exercise.  (My favorite pose to this day is wheel pose, which I practiced diligently.)  When I began playing music in the early 90’s, I focused less on yoga and more on my new passion: ska and reggae. Continue reading

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My friend Ari – this one goes out to you

Ari @ Santos Party House

When I first met Ari Up, she had just begun her return to power. It was the turn of the century. My husband, Aram and I were at Wetlands backstage at a ska show, featuring my frenemies the Slackers. Surrounded by graffiti and stickers from every band who played there, including my own, Marq Lyn introduced us to Ari. We hit it off immediately. I can’t remember what we talked about but we didn’t stop talking. I probably told her about how listening to her music got me through many a painful night.

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Kid Behavior and Homeopathy

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Since my son started going to school at age 3, he was known as the very bright active energetic kid that had to be watched.  In one ear, the teachers would say something negative to me every day about his behavior and in the other ear friends and family would say, “He’s a boy, he’s supposed to do these things.”  I resigned myself to getting a great cardiovascular workout for several hours each day. Continue reading

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Welcome to dubYoga

The World is Sound.  When you think about it, everything around us is made of vibrations.  Every subatomic particle moves with its own frequency.  People spend their whole lives trying to live in harmony with these frequencies.  As we reorder the atoms and, in essence, make new arrangements in our universal songbook, we need to change and adapt.
For millennia, yoga has been one of the keys to helping people deal with the daily grind.  Yoga chitta vritti nirodha – the first line in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra says that yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.  Once the mind is still all of the other wave patterns become apparent.  The sound is not silence.  The Vedics called it the Om.
Over the last six decades reggae music has risen out of its modest island home to conquer the world. Everyone from every corner of the world claims it. It has crept into the mainstream and been accepted into every level of society. It is music born of oppression and slavery, yet it has the ability to soothe the most wealthy and privileged. It can put a stadium into the most joyous of moods and at the same time foment an uprising. All of this fire and passion from a simple heartbeat of a rhythm, rarely using more than three chords.
With dubYoga, I hope to use the Om as a springboard to explore dub, reggae and the universality of the impact of those Jamaican musics. Yoga has become universal, reggae has become universal. I see reggae as a form of yoga. I’m hoping that by bringing them together in my own life, I can explore the world.

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