Inspired: Bryan Kest Yoga Workshop

Last night I had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting and studying with a well known Yoga teacher, Bryan Kest. It was the first time I had ever met or studied with Bryan, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Me, Bryan Kest, and Jessica McCarrick

The room was crowded, full of yogis.  The workshop began with a lecture, or a talk rather. Bryan is funny, charismatic, and a bit of a rebel.. His words are what I will remember long after these sore arms of mine recover.

Bryan shared the story of how and why Asana practice began. He talked about the true meaning and purpose of yoga.“To still the fluctuations of the mind.”  He talked about the ultimate goal of yoga, enlightenment, Samadhi. Not pose perfection.”You are never going to heal relationships with loose hamstrings. We have to try to develop the benevolent qualities of our mind. Through awareness we can start eradicating the shit that is hurting us.”

Something in him, I connected to on a deep level. Perhaps it was his honesty. He was real. He talked about his angry and wild past (which I can totally relate to).  He openly shared that he smokes pot, and he said the “F” word, more than once. He did not come across as a phoney know it all yoga purist. He came across as someone just like me, a person, a parent, who came to yoga to heal.  He talked with passion about the state of our world, and how we are all contributing, creating this world, this chaos. He also stressed that it is up to each of us to change. We have to be the change… or nothing will change. 

He also talked about how even within the yoga community, there are fights, judgments, egos, teacher bashing, blacklisting.. Each style claiming they do it correctly and other practices, styles, and teachers are wrong… I have experienced this first hand, and it is really toxic. The snobbery that can be found within the yoga community is intense. Yoga is not about designer yoga pants and a perfect body. It isn’t about memorizing the sanskrit words for poses. It isn’t even about the ability to perform a difficult pose. It is about stilling the fluctuations of the mind..

Bryan is known for teaching a strong physical practice called Power Yoga. And while I am a yoga teacher,  I do not have a very strong physical practice, and I certainly don’t have buns or abs of steel. Since my recent car accident, my practice has become even more gentle. I am very aware of my injuries, and I am very gentle with my body.

Thankfully, during the asana practice, Bryan repeatedly reminded us to listen to our bodies. He said, “No yoga teacher on earth knows where your body should be.” He instructed us to rest in childs pose whenever we needed. “There are 7 billion right ways to do a yoga pose.”  With a strong voice he told us not to look at what other people in the class were doing, but to focus on our own breath, our own body. I was dripping in sweat halfway through the practice.

We ended the practice with a long and quiet Gratitude meditation..

I feel grateful and inspired by Bryan. I feel grateful to connect with a yoga teacher who is sharing (on a much larger scale), the message that I share with my own students..

The workshop was hosted by The Cozy Yogi, a yoga studio in Lake Worth Florida. The workshop was awesome. It ended up running late, past the scheduled time. So, without a proper thank you, I had to rush off and pick up my son and breastfeed my tired daughter.

Bryan Kest, Thank you. When I do my “head touching my leg pose” I will think of you and smile.




Guided Visualization and Relaxation For Healing And Purification

A couple of weeks ago, while driving home, my daughter in a deep sleep, a strange feeling flooded through me, and I pulled to the side of the road, closed my eyes, and recorded this visualization and relaxation.

I hope it brings you healing and peace.

With love, Yogini Tiff

The Rippling Effect,Love-Water

Yesterday, March 22nd, was World Water Day, and there were meditation and healing events throughout the world.

Mandy Brinkley (a yoga teacher from England) and I, decided to Unify and hold an event on our little island paradise.

We really weren’t sure what to expect, who would come, or what the weather would be like when we initially decided to take part in this ‘synchronized water ceremony’. But both of us are really striving to help cultivate change, so we decided that even if it was just the two of us, we would meet, send healing, and honor and love the water that sustains us.

We held the event at the beautiful Praia Formosa on the island of Santa Maria, in the Azores. It ended up being the warmest day of the year. And we had a lovely group of women come.

Mandy and I took turns leading a gentle fluid yoga practice. We chanted, called upon Green Tara to help us become more compassionate. We held hands and created a healing circle. We got our feet wet. At 3pm, guided by the sounds of the ocean, our breath, and our collective energy, we all tuned inward for a 20 minute healing meditation.

Tree Pose, World Water Day Azores

CIMG7013 CIMG7008 (2) CIMG7000

We need to love, respect, and heal the Earth. When I think of what greed has done to our world, I cry. My tears taste like the ocean. My body is 80 percent water. What will happen if there is no clean water?

“Filthy Water Cannot Be Washed”-West African Proverb

We have to change the way we live. We have to change the way we think. It has to be now! And the Shift is happening. One by one, we are changing. And when one person begins to change, it has a rippling effect on everything. Slowly, we are awakening, and reconnecting with a long forgotten primal knowledge that all things connect. We are all one. Uni-verse, literally means ‘one song’.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” -Chief Seattle

Here is the link for more information about Unify, World Water Day, and ways we can all help.

“Together, we are a Global Synchronized Force of Nature.Together, the World’s Waters will become Holy again.Together, Love prevails on this Blue Planet.”-The UNIFY Global Family

Mandy Brinkley and Yogini Tiff, (plus sweet baby Luna), Unify
Mandy Brinkley and Yogini Tiff, (plus sweet baby Luna), Unify!

With love for the Great Mother ~Yogini Tiff

Special thanks to Joao for the photos.. 😉 xx

Take A Trip.. Yoga and Chakra Therapy

I have a group of yoga students who have been studying and practicing with me for a few years now. We are all friends, and before class starts, we all laugh and ‘bitch’ a little, we help each other process stuff, we keep it real. Then class starts, we quiet our worries and thoughts, and focus on the breath. Then we begin to flow, linking the body and the breath in movement.

Anyways, after several years practicing together, everyone is able to do their asanas, listen to their bodies, honor their bodies, and comfortably meditiate.  Everyone is becoming more sensitive. Last week, I felt intense amounts of energy,while teaching.  I opened my eyes during our final seated meditation, looked at my students (friends) and I saw that everyone was really in a deep meditation. Blissed out, connected, and healing. After class ended, nobody moved. For about 20 minutes after class, no one spoke, no one moved. I  decided then and there that it was time, to week by week, teach in depth, about the chakras. So starting today, with this particular class, I am going to add a new element to our practice –Yoga and Chakra Therapy..

My Lake Worth Yoga crew....I Love you!! (I am the one standing under the orb)
My Lake Worth Yoga crew….I Love you!! (I am the one standing under the orb)

Focusing on the Chakras while practicing yoga helps activate, cleanse, and heal the Chakras and it helps encourage the energy to flow , upwards and towards the crown of the head. This is often referred to as awakening the Kundalini. Kundalini is often described as a coiled energy that lies dormant at the root chakra, and as people ‘awaken’ the energy activates and starts to move.. I have experienced major surges of energy and felt the power. It is intense. When you are able to truly feel the energy, there is no turning back, it is undeniable, it is life changing.  It  opens the door to a new path. A path of healing, connection, wisdom, and magic.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means spinning wheel or vortex.  There are seven major chakras in the human body and over 72,000 nadis, smaller energy centers. The study of chakras and the human energy system is over 5,000 year old and various religions, ethnicities, and cultures in the past and present share the core belief of chakras.

Chakras are usually invisible to the human eye but practicing yoga and other healing arts and sciences helps bring the bring the practitioner into awareness of the subtle (or not so subtle) energies of the chakras, the nadis and the entire energetic system.

The seven major chakras in the human body run parallel from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Chakras are centers of prana (life force energy).

The chakras basically act as pumps or valves and they regulate the flow of energy.  Each chakra resonates with a certain color, sound, or frequency.  Tuning into the chakras helps bring us closer our true nature.Each chakra gives off one of the seven colors of the rainbow.  When all the chakras are open and balanced the person is vibrant, healthy, and all of the colors of the rainbow surround the persons body, which is known as  the person’s aura.

There are specific issues, emotions, and energies  that correspond with each chakra :

The Root Chakra, the Muladhara represents survival, relationship security, and inner safety. The element is earth.

A little farther up and orange in color is the Sacral or Svadhisthana Chakra.  This Chakra represents water and the emotional connections are blame and guilt,money and sex, power and control and relationships.

The next chakra,the solar plexus, or Manipura represents the element of fire. The color is yellow and it said to be the core of our will power.   The emotional connections are will power, self-esteem , sensitivity to criticism and care for oneself and for others.

The fourth Chakra, the heart Chakra, also known as Anahata is a vibrant green Chakra located at the heart center.  The element is air and the emotions associated with this Chakra are, love and compassion, forgiveness and acceptance,but also hatred, loneliness, grief and anger. These emotions are all connected to the functioning of the heart Chakra.

The fifth Chakra is the Vissuddha, the throat Chakra.  The element is ether or space and the emotions are personal expression, judgment, criticism, addiction.The key function of this Chakra is communication.

The sixth Chakra is commonly known as the third eye Chakra. The color is purple, or indigo and it is located near the center of the forehead.  The Chakra is associated with truth and intuition.  It is said that psychic abilities center around the third eye.  The element is light.

The seventh Chakra the crown Chakra is located at the top of the head and is commonly thought to be white, violet, or gold in color.  The element for this Chakra is ‘not of this world’ and awakening this Chakra is believed to lead one towards enlightenment.

If one finds they have unbalanced energy they can set their intention for their yoga practice to be on healing and balancing the chakras.

Practicing breathing exercises encourages the energy to balance. Finding time for self-care can have enormous healing effects on an unbalanced Chakra system.  Sometimes people have excessive Chakra energy  usually one or two Chakras.  This can be seen in people with addiction to sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, etc. or it can be seen on someone with a large ego or a “I am better than you” type of personality.

Sometimes a person is so ‘closed off’ that they are deficient in Chakra energy. This sometimes happens after a traumatic events, broken hearts, or health issues.   Use of color therapy along with chanting, yoga and meditation will help balance the Chakras.

I have found that Gemstones that correspond to specific Chakras are very useful as well.

The goal is a strong clear and balanced energy system.  Consciously and unconsciously yoga works to purify, re-balance and awaken the Chakras, individually and also as a whole. Through the practice of yoga we can awaken and cleanse the Chakras and heal our spirits. Once the Chakras are functioning in a healthy manner we are able to safely raise the Kundalini energy up the spine to the crown of the head.  What a ‘trip.’ 😉

I know this post is a very basic introduction, but I hope you found it helpful..if you have any questions, or wish to add something.. please contact me..

Growing and Healing...
Growing and Healing…retreat with my teacher

To our healing, and with love.  ~T