First Street Yoga Community News and Blog

new year — new schedule

It was a great pleasure for me to join some of you for the free class at the Cultural Center. This whole fire business is a lot of trouble, but then being with you all I remember – I really love teaching yoga.

The situation wasn’t perfect. We lacked props, the room was a little cold, and the cleanliness of the floor didn’t quite come up to yoga standards.  These are all easy things to improve, and I’m working on them.

Here is the schedule of classes we’ll begin offering Jan. 8. I had to drop the Monday evening class, as the Center is closed Mondays. We’ll add that  in when we’re back at our own space.


L1 3:30-5pm                          L2 5:15-6:45


L1 9:30-11am                        L2 11:15-12:45pm

L1 5:15-6:45pm


L1-2 9:30-11am


L1 9:30-11am

We need a minimum of 6 people per class to make them go, so if you can’t attend the first week, be sure to let me know. Otherwise, I will prune out any small classes.

I hope to see many of you, and I am so grateful for your steadfast support during this difficult time. Let me know if you have questions.


Giving Thanks

As fall ushers in the holiday season, we begin our many celebrations and gatherings with family and friends.  It is a time of year devoted to showing appreciation to one another and giving thanks.  In the First Street Yoga community, we are fortunate and thankful to share a practice with a dedicated circle of students.

You have all shown us so much appreciation over the years.  As many of you know, I got married last summer.  Throughout the process, I received support and excitement from many of you.   I have been trying to think of a way to thank you for the thoughtful and very generous gifts and your participation at First Street. Your dedication to First Street allows Jane, John and I to do what we love.

In the spirit of this season of thanks, appreciation, and love, we would like to invite you all to a free class on Sunday December 2nd, 2012 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.   This class is dedicated to all current and past students and is appropriate for Level 1 and Level 2 students.  Please note, this is not a free “Intro to Yoga” class, which we hold regularly for new and interested students.  This is an “in house” class for the First Street community.

Come and enjoy a day of thanks from First Street to you.  To attend, you may call, email, sign up in class, or attend on a first-come, first-served basis.  I hope to see you all there!




“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart

angel on your shoulder, devil on your shoulder…..

It’s a familiar cartoon image, the poor character stuck in between. Even the viewer is not quite sure who to root for. Unwanted behavior, from simple laziness to the complexities of full-blown addiction, is often stubbornly resistant to change. And that’s exactly what yoga is for – getting the good angel and the bad angel to befriend one another and work together. Union.

Whether you want to end a bad habit or establish a healthy one, the process is the same. In this four week course on behavior change, students will learn a system of yogic practices to help bring their behavior more into line with their values. Each hour and a half class will include practices to address the needs of all the parts of the self: body, mind, and spirit.

Here’s what you can expect:

Body: Students will learn a simple, well-rounded sequence of exercises (asana) to relax the body and bring it into more healthy alignment. We will work with the same sequence in all four classes.

Mind: We will practice age-old techniques to improve focus and concentration. Brief discussions will help the student get a better understanding of what drives behavior and common pit-falls to change. Talk will be centered around the process; we will not be sharing personal details.

Spirit: Each class will include time for breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation (samyama). This is where the angels meet!

These classes are sequential, with some homework and new skills added each week. Students should plan on attending the whole series. Class will be held Thursday evenings, 5:45-7:15, Sept. 7-Oct. 21.

The physical portion of the class will be quite gentle and is appropriate for brand new beginners and people with some physical limitations. If you have any questions, email or call 503-554-5485. To register, send full payment or a $25 deposit to PO Box 832, Newberg, Or 97132.

turning inward: the final frontier

In sutra II.10, Patanjali tells us that the misunderstandings and sufferings of life will be ended through pratiprasava, a word Mr. Iyengar translates as involution. Prati means in opposition to. The root, prasava, means generation and refers to the blossoming that is characteristic of the natural world (think about how life multiplies to fill all ecological niches, think of the astonishing variety of individuals). Our universe is expanding in many ways.

The spiritual path, then, is one of pruning. The ability to choose to turn away even from good things (more food! more entertainment!) is what makes us human, and our lives begin to take on meaning when we choose restraint in order to pursue some higher ideal.

This Sunday, June 24, Gretchen Newmark will visit to teach a workshop on beginning meditation. We’ll use these three hours to explore methods to turn our energies inward, to involute, or turn away from the fabulous display of the world to begin the process of discovering who we are at our core. If you feel stressed or driven by the circumstances of your life, this workshop is for you. I hope to see you soon.

using yoga to manage osteoarthritis

The osteoarthritis workshop has been moved to Sunday, June 3, 1-4pm. There will be no class on May 27.

The pain of osteoarthritis can make movement difficult and unpleasant, but lack of movement makes the disease worse, from increased joint stiffness and pain to increased weight. Yoga is an ideal tool to reverse this downward spiral. Join us Sunday June 3, 1-4pm to learn how you can begin to be stronger, more flexible and happier about moving.

Whether you suffer dreadfully or only a little, you will learn how to use yoga asana to develop greater movement and comfort. We’ll look at the causes of osteoarthritis and experiment with simple props (chairs, towels, etc.) to learn how to support your joints as you build strength and coordination. The sequences will be modified as appropriate for each individual, so that you can go home with a simple routine that works for you.

Even if you are significantly overweight or have other health issues that affect your ability to move, if you are able to make it up our (somewhat steep) stairway, you will benefit from this workshop. For those who are fit but suffering from arthritis due to injury or inheritance, you will learn more challenging sequences that create a strong and balanced body as they release the joints. Everyone will gain a greater understanding of how to protect your joints in your day to day life, work, and sports.

Everyone is welcome. To save a spot, call or email.  Or simply show up and attend first-come-first-served. The cost is $40. I hope to see you!