May I Be Happy Workshop Invitation

Hello Local Yogis,

I’m planning snack boxes for our upcoming yoga book club workshop! You know that I, hungryphil/wobblyogi am super excited about combining my two loves: food and yoga.

Summer is Pitta season. According to Ayurvedic tradition, summer is the time to enjoy bitter, astringent and sweet tastes (eat less sour, pungent or spicy foods). So, I’m looking for tasty afternoon bites that would be cool and light. Please sign up for the workshop ahead of time so I know how many snack boxes to make. Here is more information about the workshop [Saturday, August 12, 2-4].

Let’s try these treats together………………….

Summer Samosas

Baked light and flaky pastry filo- dough filled with potato and cauliflower spiced with summer Pitta-seasoning (includes warm sweet spices like fennel and coriander)

Sweet Coconut Dusted Raisin Almond Balls

Almonds and raisins ground together and rolled in shredded coconut

Cooling Co-Cu-Mint Mocktail

A blend of coconut water, cucumber, mint, and lemon

If you read “May I be Happy” by Cindy Lee, wonderful! Jacqueline will lead an extended asana practice inspired by themes from the book that will be familiar to you. If you haven’t read the book, you’ll enjoy the practice focused on cultivating personal happiness, just as much. The book is not a prerequisite, only an inspiration to ask: How may I be happy?

And, there will be snacks!!! I don’t know about you but that makes me happy 🙂

Enough said.

Hope to see you in a few weeks,

Wishing you a lovely late summer,

the hungry and wobbly yogi

May I Be Happy Workshop Flyer




Wobblyogi Wednesday: Yoga Book Club Notes #5

If you are reading along, we are up to the second four sections of part two in our book Living Your Yoga: Finding your Spiritual in Everyday Life.  Here author Judith Lasater addresses issues of Attachment, Suffering, Impermanence and Empathy.

Attachment is the process which occurs in the body-mind when you do not get your preference; aversion is a form of attachment. Both create bodily and emotional reactions. Aversion may create frustration, anger, and blame of self or others. I find that fear is often at the root of my reactions when I am in a state of aversion. Clinging to a preference, whether it is from attachment or aversion, creates suffering. It is also the precise moment when you can grow by choosing to recognize attachemtn or aversion for what it is.

How do I know when to persist and when to let go? When to notice a preference or aversion, honor it and when to simply go along? Any creative work involves a degree of attachment, sometimes veering on obsession. Shouldn’t that creative preference induced suffering be endured? I’m confused. When I ask “How should it be?” as Laster suggests, my internal answer is “better.” Do hope and aspiration lead to suffering? Should I not be attached to my preference for ease, clarity, beauty, calmness etc.?

I suppose this dilemma leads to questions about the nature of suffering, the next topic. Laster explains,

…we suffer because of the process of identifying with pain. If we have an internal dialogue that reinforces the belief that we are suffering, that we have no choice, that the whole world is doing it to us, then we will remain stuck in our suffering. The paradox about suffering is the no one can make us suffer. We can choose to feel left out, incompetent, or inferior. Others may act in unkind ways. But there is no way that we will feel left out, incompetent, or inferior unless we participate in the process. Although we may have feeling about what is happening to us, whether we suffer is up to us. It is a matter of choice.

The idea that suffering is a choice is an idea I’m working hard to hold. It requires a level of personal responsibility regardless of worldly demands, while at the same time promises a level of freedom from worldly demands. I can choose to bask in my suffering, big and small or refuse to identify with it. Again like addressing attachment, this is difficult. How can I honor what I am feeling without becoming imprisoned by my feelings? Surely if something irritates me, or hurts me, I should notice………. yet not let it become a part of me. My suffering may shape my experience but does not define me.

Identification seems to be a key switch between self-awareness and self-absorption. The next topic Lasater invites us to consider is impermanence. To illustrate the permanence of change she quotes Thich Naht Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk, who summarizes the five remembrances:

  1. I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

  2. I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape having ill health.

  3. I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

  4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

  5. My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.

As a philosopher (defined as one who practices the art of dying) this realization comes easy to me. Everything changes. It is both sad and wonderful. Everything is old and new, always. Including my kids. How limiting it would be to confine them to my memories and expectations. I try my best to see them as they are right now and not as I saw them when I first looked down on their little faces. That is my cherished memory, not theirs. Similarly, I enjoy whatever thing I have but I also know that these things do not define me. More things, big as property or small as books, will not solidify my existence into permanence.

If I consider all that I have in light of what those things help me do then the value of my laptop, my phone, my pencil, my coffee mug and my soft fuzzy boots emerge. I belong to my actions. I read-write, eat-cook and hopefully care for people in the process. Most of my life I have felt homeless, this realization gives me much comfort.

Completing this section about how we relate to others, Lasater talks about, empathy.

To cultivate empathy means to see the world through the eyes of another without judgment, without trying to “fix” it, without needing it to be different. It is acceptance independent of agreement, understanding without any implied coercion for oneself or the other to change. There is also no sense of wanting to “educate” the other person about how their perspective is wrong and ours is right.

As a recovering academic, the idea of not trying to “educate” is so counter-intuitive. It is difficult sometimes to just listen and support each his/her own journey. When should I “help”? Only if and when asked? The problem with empathy is that it makes me want to ease the suffering, makes me want to “fix” it. But, I suppose I’m only supposed to see from a different perspective without making it my own. So many unresolved feelings.

I have much work to do in addressing my attachments, suffering, impermanence and empathy.

How was this section for you? Do you find it as messy as I do?

Happy reading,







Lasater, Judith Hanson. Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life (Kindle Locations 1527-1530). Shambhala.

Wobblyogi Wednesday – Book Club Notes #4

Hello, Everyone!

Our adventure in self-study through reading Judith Lasater’s Living Your Yoga continues. How is reading going for you? What are you asking yourself? Finding any surprising answers?

If you’re not reading the book but just checking in with the blog….. perfect. That’s what this blog series is for. This effort is less about the book more about asking ourselves questions about what irks us and how can we limit those small and big irritations.

The first part of the book was about awareness within and addresses themes of discipline, letting go, faith, perspective and more. Part two is about how yoga helps with our relationships with others and the world. Judith Lasater talks about compassion, control, fear, and patience. One of the reasons I love her book is her constant reference to motherhood and stories related to her children. Using yoga principles to guide our role as moms, for me really resonates.


As a parent, I have often wrestled with what it means to be compassionate toward my children…………..I have learned that the most compassionate response I can have is to be willing not to judge their behavior, but to try to see the situation from their point of view. This does not mean that I forfeit my opinion on the most effective course of action they might choose. Rather I have the intention to truly feel the situation from their narrow views, thus stepping back from my own narrow views.

What! Not judge the behavior of my children! Isn’t that my job? My interpretation of what she is saying is this: really listen to what they are saying, repeat back to make sure I understand their perspective, “so you are saying that you really need to go the party because all your other friends will be there and your the acceptance of your friends is very important to you”….or something like that and then I offer my opinion about why that request or feeling has multiple considerations attached like, “Did you do your homework?” “Do you need a ride”, “is it on a school night?” and maybe “why is the acceptance of this group of friends so important”, etc. Compassion may not alter my expectations as a mom, but it can help me see the issue from my kid’s perspective. I’ll try.

Do you judge yourself if a yoga pose doesn’t look “perfect”? Can I be compassionate with my own body and its abilities? Allow my left knee to crunch without judgment?


Who among us hasn’t been accused of being controlling, particularly when it comes to our kids? Here is Lasater’s advice:

Dr. Rosenberg explained that if you coerce your child into doing something, you will pay a price. For example, even if you could exert enough control to make him take out the garbage, he would make you pay for getting your way…. If we try to control the behavior of others, we may get what we want but we won’t enjoy it. If we have the thought that we are making someone do what we want without eliciting their true cooperation, that control is the greatest of illusions.

What to do if the other’s behavior is self-destructive? If they are not invested in their own well-being, ultimately I, as a mom can’t sustain control over them. That is truly difficult to accept.  She later addresses this issue by writing,

But where does letting go of control end and taking responsibility for my life begin? We must understand (and accept) what it is exactly that we can control and what we cannot control. In the final analysis, we can control only ourselves. But we are often dismayed at our inability to master even this. What prevents us? When we feel out of control, it is usually when there is a conflict between what we think and what we feel. Our feelings may scream one thing while our minds demand something else.

I try to be realistic and honest about what I can do and what I can’t in relation to my kids and others. I feel, if I hear and try to understand my kids, they, in turn, hear me better too. They may not like my preferences as I may not like theirs, but being open about what we can do individually helps us in being compassionate with each other. My beautiful and talented dancer daughter understands that loud noise and big crowds are overwhelming for me and doesn’t insist on my presence throughout all her dance competitions (of course she wants me to see her dance, as I do but she understands if I don’t stick around). I let go of the fear that my daughter might see my limitation as a lack of care. If we scratch deeper we always find either love or fear. Laster appropriately continues the next section on the topic of fear.

On the yoga mat, when I am overthinking a pose, I know I’m trying to control. Alignment cues are directions, not destinations. Yoga is not a “follow the leader” kind of activity. My role as a teacher is to stand a guide and demonstration with my body, my abilities, and limitations. I also have to accept however a student interprets and acts on my guidance, as long as he or she doesn’t hurt themselves. What is the difference between correction and control?


The most interesting thing that Lasater says about fear for me was that if you are really living the present moment there is no fear. And, if you say “I am afraid,” admit and name the emotion, fear loosens its grip. I’ve tried this when afraid to drive on icy roads and found it helped me find ease. About being present and unafraid she writes,

If you are involved in actually fighting for your life, there is no time to be afraid. The sympathetic nervous system is mobilizing you to run or attack, and your bodily functions are working full blast. For example, the eyes open wider to see the danger better, blood is shunted to the muscles so that you can use them in the fight, and the mind becomes completely focused in the immediate need at hand. Your nervous system is not distracted by thinking in the abstract about what may happen. Rather, it is dealing with what is happening. It is only when you think about what may happen or what could have happened that you feel afraid.

Fear is, unfortunately, a standard and inevitable mom-emotion. It is challenging to find the balance between fear and love. I try not use my fears as an emotional weapon to limit the growth of my children. There is a difference between saying “please lock the front door” and “never go out.” Caution and fear. Instead of hoping that nothing bad ever happens to them, I hope they cultivate the strength to recover from anything. This takes practice and trust.

When I practice crow pose, I’ll bring a bolster or block in front of me to allow my head to come down. Somehow that eases the fear that I’ll come tumbling forward.



Patience is another absolutely required parental skill. My favorite part was when she talked about our concept of “wasted time.” I am guilty of considering most of my day as “wasting time.” Lasater’s explanation struck a nerve for me when she talked about impatience arising out of a feeling of wasting time as associated with a fear of being devalued. The thought that – I could be doing better things than sitting in traffic, doing the laundry, waiting in line –  etc  is a symptom of feeling “I’m not doing enough.”  Lasater explains it better:

What is really wasted? Nothing. All gives me the opportunity to live in the present moment. When I do, I am patient. This realization supports even the most mundane events of my daily life. I can wait in lines, sit in traffic jams, and understand when someone is late for an appointment. All of these times – waiting, sitting, and understanding – are valuable. I can choose not to experience them as wasted time by choosing to be present and actually live these precious moments. After all to reject them is to reject life itself………..

Beneath my “time-wasting” thoughts was the most startling realization of all. I was afraid. You see, my self-worth was so tied to how much I accomplished. I thought that if I could speed up things around me, then I could get more done. If I did that, then I would be more valued, therefore more loved, therefore happier.

The next time I’m waiting in the school parking lot for my daughter to emerge, I’ll try to think of it as a practice in patience, and self-value. Waiting as mothering.

Maybe I can practice patience when in a forward fold, standing, seated and wide instead of judging my tight hamstrings.

For me, this section tugged at my mommy heart. What stood out for you? Was it teaching and control? Dealing with difficult people with compassion? Fear and anxiety about what we can’t control? How to accept control as an illusion?

I hope it was a good read for you. Looking forward to hearing your comments.

Happy reading Community Yoga Bookclub!




Wobblyogi Wednesday – Book Club Notes 1

Welcome to the yoga bookclub hosted by Community Yoga in Indiana!

Living Your Yoga – Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Lasater (Berkley, CA: Rodmell Press, 2000)

For more information on Judith Lasater herself and quick background, look up her website:

[The notes relate to the first edition. I recently got the second edition and will note any significant changes. Her introduction to the second edition talks about the additions.]

If you have the book already in hand, let’s get started with the introduction where Lasater talks about how she came to yoga, how she understands yoga, how she “lives her yoga” and how she designed the book.

Here are a few passages and associated questions that resonated wih me and I can’t wait to hear which phrases, passages or ideas resonated with you.

Thought 1

Lasater talks about her experience in coping with childbirth, her background as a dancer and her “desire for a direct and personal relationship with divine,” as factors that led her to seek out and continue to practice yoga.

She writes, ” What I now know is that I had been seeking wholeness through integration of my body, my mind and my spirit.”

For us,we can ask,

What do I seek?

What brings me to yoga?

What makes me stay?

Thought 2

Laster’s yoga practice, she explains, responds to her search for wholeness.

…to practice is to pay attention to your whole life: your thoughts, your bodily sensations, and your speech and other actions. As you do, you will discover that nothing is separate from anything else. Thoughts are sensations of the mind just as sensations are the thoughts of the body. Each moment of your life is a moment of potential practice.

Practice, then, can be understood as a willingness to return to the reality of the very moment, that is, to observe with dispassion and clarity exactly what is — right now.

What is happening right NOW in my life? Why am I hosting a book club? Writing these words? What do I hope for my thoughts, feelings and sensations?

How do I connect to my own wholeness?

How do I connect to this very moment?

How do I connect with you my fellow readers?

Thought 3

After Lasater describes the structure of the book she concludes the introduction with a quote from Dag Hammarskjold, secretary general to the United Nations (1953-61):

In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.

She then asks us to “use this book in whatever ways best serve your needs. Living Your Yoga is my gift to you.”

What might be my road, my world of action?

How might I best use Lasater’s gift of  Living Your Yoga?

Here are my quick thoughts. What are yours? How might we bring these thoughts to our practice?

Let’s talk!

Let the book club begin!!

Anyone reading can join the conversation on this blog, just add your comments below. There is also a protected discussion platform. For a password and more information about the bookclub and April 1st workshop, go to:

Much love,

The Wobblyogi

My plan for offering notes to help us stay with the book is as follows:

January 13: Chapters 1-4
February 1: Chapters 5-7  (and additional chapter on relaxation)
February 15: Chapters 8-11
March 1: Chapters 12-14
March 15: Chapters 15-18 (and additional second edition chapter on empathy)
March 29: Chapters 19-21 (and additional second edition chapter on worship)
April 1: Book Club Workshop


Wobblyogi Wednesday – Burnt Cookies and a Joyful mind

If you feel burdened by the expectation to have a Happy Holiday or a Merry Christmas   Here is a story about keeping a joyful mind from Pema Chodron that might help (and it involves food).

Once a cook at Gampo camp was feeling very unhappy. Like most of us, she kept finding gloom with her actions and her thoughts; hour by hour her mood was getting darker. She decided to try to ventilate her escalating emotions by baking chocolate chip cookies. Her plan backfired, however — she burned them all to a crisp. At that point, rather than dump the burned cookies in the garbage, she stuffed them into her pockets and backpack and went out for a walk. She trudged along the dirt road, her head hanging down and her mind burning with resentment. She was saying to herself, “So where’s all the beauty and magic I keep hearing about?”

At that moment she looked up. There walking toward her was a little fox. Her mind stopped and she held her breath and watched. The fox sat down right in front of her, gazing up expectantly. She reached into her pockets and pulled out some cookies. The fox ate them and slowly trotted away. She told this story to all of us at the abbey, saying: “I learned today that life is very precious. Even when we’re determined to block the magic, it will get through and wake us up. That little fox taught me that no matter how shut down we get, we can always look outside our cocoon and connect with joy.”

When in doubt go for a walk………….

A quick reminder to join the Community Yoga Book Club! We’ll start reading “Living Your Yoga” by Judith Lasater on January 4th. Order your copy today. I found an inexpensive used version on Amazon.

Please join me for morning vinyasa on Wednesdays at 6 am and afternoon vinyasa at 12:15 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting January 5th.

Also, find me at two workshops in spring,  March 25th (Spring Workshop) and April 1st (Book Club Workshop). More details to come.

If you are new to yoga and in the area: Community Yoga is offering $54 unlimited yoga for your first month [a $99 value]. Please take advantage of the deal and try out all our classes and meet our wonderful yoga instructors.

Come to our donation classes on Sundays and give what you can. We are trying our best to make yoga accessible to everyone!

Wishing you joyful connections,


Wobblyogi Wednesday – Book Club!




Dear Fellow Yogis Near and Far,

I invite you to join the book club hosted by Community Yoga in West Lafayette (and Lafayette) Indiana. I’ll be offering bi-weekly notes and discussion prompts starting January 4th leading up to an April 1st workshop at the studio complete with an asana practice inspired by the reading, as well as a book discussion. Read along, join the open online discussion, the protected group discussion (email for a password at and attend the workshop. Do it all or in part as your schedule allows.

Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life is our first book. I  was inspired by the Patanjali 101 online course I just completed with Judith Lasater. I enjoyed her commitment to cultivating yoga principles both on and off the mat. As a mom, I related to a lot of her stories and struggles. The book is organized in short thematic chapters that are easy to read. I found it a gentle introduction to yoga philosophy that avoids pedantic technical theorizing and perfect for starting conversations.

The main question she prompts me to ask myself is:

If the road to holiness passes through the world of action, what is your road? 

I hope you join the conversation and help me with directions.

Wishing you goodness and ease,

The Wobblyogi

p.s. Look up more information and to sign up for the protected discussion group and/or the workshop.