Saturday, January 17, 2015


Yoga Hour with Allison Johnson at Yoga Oasis East, Tucson

My favorite question: What's happening now? What am I feeling-physically, emotioanally, mentally, spiritually, right now? And in my practice: What is new, novel, interesting in the pose right now, even if I have practiced the posture 1000 times and think I know all about what I'm doing?

Allison opened her Yoga Hour class with a suggestion to be amazed at what might at first seem dull and repetitious. Isn't that so like life? We love adventure, travel, and meeting new people because we don't know what to expect next, and the experience of facing the myriad of possibilities lends excitement and anticipation. But what if we looked at any moment, every moment all day long, in the same way?

As you sit, or walk ,or drive, or wash a dish today take a moment to exhale and feel what you feel. Where is your weight resting? Where is your head in relation to your feet? How is your back shaped? What are your hands doing? What to you see...taste...smell, right now? What are you thinking about? Every moment and every stillness all day long is no different from the yoga you are practicing on your mat. We think we know what's coming next. Ha! Guess what? As life will prove, we have no idea what's coming next.

Allison's class was a challenge for me– not because of the poses, but because of the music. Pop songs, rock and roll, Pusher Man... Sitting on a Dock...oh, my! I couldn't help but hum along until–poof! I'm gone. Gone was my balance, gone was my awareness, gone was my body.
Repetition of words I knew by heart took me into my head and out of my mindfulness. Probably just as Allison suspected... or who knows? Anyway, point well taken. Thanks, Allison!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beginner's Mind

Sunday, December 7, 2014  10:30AM-12 noon
Yoga Basics with Lara Blommer at Yoga Oasis East

There’s a fabulous Farmer’s Market at St Phillip’s Plaza in Tucson every Sunday. Everything from homemade enchilatas to fragrant cactus nectar soaps and organic beef, bunches of fresh kale and hand carved spoons and chopsticks, and deep, rich locally-roasted coffees. We visited the market before a Yoga Basics class at Yoga Oasis with Lara Blommer.
Lara began class with a chant accompanied by harmonium, and three Oms. Class was absolutely packed. By this time we were starting to recognize some regulars at Yoga Oasis- Linda, Naomi and Helen.
Lara started us in table pose, warmed us up with cat/cow, then into our first downward dog. The Vinyasa series included repeated triangles, warriors I and II (sometimes virabhadrasana I was practiced with both arms raised out to the sides, parallel to the floor. The “pose of the day” was crocodile, which Field pulled off beautifully.
We rested is vaparitta karani before shavasana. I used the block under my sacrum, full heighth for the first time, and it was yummy.
At the end of class we were all rewarded with a dark chocolate.
Our bodies are getting stronger, and more toned.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Yoga Oasis in Tucson: Beth Dauner

Saturday, December 6, 2014, 9AM-10AM
Yoga Hour at Yoga Oasis East, with Beth Daunis

YOGA HOUR was developed by Darren Rhodes at Yoga Oasis, from what we experienced as a precise, fast-paced vinyasa designed to hit all of the major joints, and to build strength and stamina. We never stopped moving the entire hour. It was wonderful. We must have flown through two-dozen asanas, or more. The room was heated to about 85-90 degrees. Of course, lots of adhomukhasvasana, plank with push-ups, one-legged planks, with big toe space grasping the opposite Achilles tendon. From table pose, we went through a series of opposite arm/leg balances, including holding opposite hand to ankle. We practiced one-arm balance, out of lunge, which felt and looked like a supported hanumanasana. Another arm balance came out of a crossed-ankle tailor pose. Beth included both seated and supine twists, warriors and triangles. No revolved warriors or triangles. The whole thing was invigorating, vigorous and challenging– and very fun. The music was pop/rock, which I found incongruent and distracting–but hey, that’s me. At the end, during shavasana, Beth played the violin, then the harmonium! You can't beat that. Beth is a beautiful, strong, shiny woman, and I loved her class, too!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Yoga in America: Yoga Oasis in Tucson

Field, Tanya Witman, Sandra

Yoga Oasis was established in Tucson AZ in 1999, by Darren Rhodes. Darren writes on his website, that his mother and father were both meditation practitioners and that he grew up around the practice of yoga, as his mother taught out of their home. Darren is featured on the poster Penchant for Practice and has published an ebook, The Yoga Resource Practice Manual. Darren has been named one the "21 Talented Young Teachers Shaping the Future of Yoga" by Yoga Journal.

Field and I attended dozens of classes at Yoga Oasis, in all three of their Tucson studios. Here, I'll first feature Tanya Witman

Our first class with Tanya Witman left me speechless. Tanya started class by playing the harmonium while we chanted OM, three times. Then we practiced 60 rounds of kapalabhati breathing, first slow, then faster. The class was called "Yoga Basics", but this class was challenging, with some unusual and enjoyable variations: 

1. Downward Dog, adhomukhasvanasana with janushirshasana leg, gives a lovely hip opening.
2. Lunge, with both the back and forward feet rotated outwardly, then lowering to elbows and adding a twist away from the forward foot. Wow! Deep!
3. We practiced a standing side bend with both arms lifted and extended, not touching hands, which seemes to stabilize the hyips and open the shoulders.
4. Trikonasana, triangle, with the same arms– extended parallel to the floor and not touching hands.Really strengthens the shoulders and opens the ribcage.

 5. Headstand was facilitated by clasping hands behind the head while in prep, and then accentuating the press of the back of the head into the hands to engage and firm the neck muscles and triceps.
6. Standing forward fold, uttanasana, was enhanced by pressing heels of the hands to the sacrum and lifting the buttock flesh with the fingers. 
7. Side arm plank was done with hands forward of the shoulders. A nice variation to really engage the core: Lift the upper arm and then slowly lower the hips/torso toward the floor, repeating several times.

Tanya ended class with shavasana,  chanting the Gayatri mantra while accompanying herself on harmonium. We closed while seated, chanting OM once, all together.
What a lovely experience. We attended several more of Tanya's classes, and all were full of surprises, challenges, spirit and joy. A true yogini.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tucson Yoga

Tucson Yoga
December 4, 2014

Field and I just made it in time for 9 AM class at TucsonYoga with Ann. So happy to have arrived in Tucson and to find this class. There were 21 other students. Ann said she hadn’t taught a regular yoga class (not counting workshops) in 4 years, but no one would possibly have known. Ann is a PA, a nice combination of medical and yogic intelligence, experience and skills. She’s a very lovely, warm, enthusiastic and well-informed teacher.

It’s interesting to see how yoga classes vary from place to place, and also to see what is more universal throughout. In most places the instructor remembers to introduce her or himself, and being a drop-in, I appreciate that. Also, many places offer a focus for the class, or a “word for the day.” Ann’s focus was an all-over movement of the spine. Class started with a seated meditation, then moved in to asanas, starting with cat/cow. We added reclined bound angle baddha konasana, bird pose salabhasana, and low bridge setu bandhasana. Standing poses included standing side bend, and neck releases. Asanas ended with legs up the wall, vaparita karani before final shavasana. Ann’s instructions were precise and well-paced. No adjustments were given. The class was suitable for all levels.

Tucson Yoga is located near the University of Arizona. Class was a bargain at $6. Most people attending were middle aged, some younger. The studio is very simple–one large, open room that you walk right into, off the street. No buffer or check-in area. A small desk acts as a check-in space. The bathroom is right off the studio, again, no buffer between practice room and that door. The cork floor, lighting and temperature were all conducive to an introspective practice.

As one would expect in the domain of yoga, everyone at Tucson Yoga was friendly and welcoming. Later, we saw Ann while shopping at REI. We recognized one another and acknowledged the connection. Sweet. J Yoga is such a powerful connection between all. This universal language crosses borders, cultures, ages, social strata–and time. Through yoga we find recognition of ourselves in the other. When we close the practice with “namaste,” we acknowledge our accordance–our agreement–our oneness. We bow and hold that intention to honor ourselves, and one another, in every unfolding moment.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Sara Caroline, RYT 200 at Blue Nyla Yoga, Little Rock AR

Blue Nyla Yoga
Little Rock, AR


Our first ever experience with airbandb came in Little Rock, AR. We stayed at the home  of a single mom, Peggy, in a nice rolling hills suburb. Peggy also drives for Uber, and teaches computer skills at a high school. Peggy is a people-person, very open and friendly. She greeted us warmly, even though we arrived rather late in the evening and she had a taxi job lined up for late at night. The house is well laid out for short-term rentals, with our bedroom and bath in the opposite wing from her private living quarters. At $50 for the night was a good deal. Another almost-empty room provided extra space where we could store our overflow baggage. There is high speed internet and a large flat screen TV in the bedroom. In the morning, Peggy served us a simple and delicious breakfast, before we headed out for a yoga class, and a wonderful tour of the Clinton Presidential Museum. 

Our 10 AM class was appropriately called Sunday Mood. Sara Caroline, 200 RYT subbed for Deana Jones, Sara is an experienced yoga and fitness instructor who embodies the studio philosophy of non-competition and honoring of one’s body. This is clearly not a workout studio.

Our class began with restorative shavasana and pranayama, toward centering and relaxation. We transitioned into kneeling poses, including cat/cow, and gradually moved into a gentle vinyasa. Sara gave several skilled adjustments. Her pace and language were conducive to relaxation and inward reflection, pratyahara. The studio is advertised as a sanctuary, and the tone of the class definitely felt that way- except that Sara played Beatles instrumentals. One student remarked that she really liked the music, but singing along in my head is distracting to me.

I’m always curious about yoga studio layouts, pricing and marketing. That’s one of the fun things about visiting different studios- to see how other people do this. It’s clear that there is very little barrier to entry into the yoga business. All you need is an empty room. Atmosphere can be created as much by the instructor as by the décor.

Blue Nyla Yoga is located in North Little Rock in a storefront in a quiet retail area. Free parking was available, as it was Sunday. The front door entry to the studio takes you directly into the practice space, with no buffer between the street and the “sanctuary.” The glass block check-in desk–backlit with soft blue light–is at the back of the studio, so one has to cross the entire room of students upon entry, in order to sign in. The space was clean and funky, with inspirational posters and artwork. The floor is linoleum, and the room rather cool, so plan to dress in layers. All props are provided.

We found Blue Nyla online. Yelp is a great resource! The Blue Nyla Yoga website is well laid out and easy to use. Class was $12 for a walk-in. Thank you, Sara Caroline and Blue Nyla, for a lovely Sunday morning practice. Oh, and we’d also like to recommend Flying Fish for lunch–most excellent!

Friday, December 12, 2014


St Louis, MO

In the wake of highly reported racial tension and unrest over the recent dismissal of charges against the police officer who killed young Michael Brown in August, Field and I attended a yoga class in St. Louis at Urban Breath Yoga. We found St. Louis to be quiet and clean, and its people open, caring, and considerate. Sirens roared during the night and during the yoga class, but our instructor, Kerstin Brune, led the class with the message to remain centered in the heart.

Kerstin opened with a meditation and intention to use not only positive experiences as means of growth, but also to use negative experiences in which to learn more about oneself and to grow in wisdom and compassion.
The Vinyasa II class started with some circular spinal movements to warm up. We proceeded through a slow Vinyasa, incorporating warrior (virabhadrasana) and its variations, triangles (utthita trikonasana), chair pose (utkatasana), etc. We ended in low bridge (setu bandha sarvangasana) to high bridge (urdhva dhanurasana) and shoulderstand (sarvangasana).

The pace was lovely, with some long holds. Kerstin’s instruction was clear and exact. I missed any reference to the breath- ujjayi breathing was mentioned once, only at the beginning of class. Ending in shavasana was much enjoyed. No adjustments were given at any time during the class.
Urban breath Yoga is located in a turn-of-the-century building in a newly gentrified area of St. Louis, within walking distance of ethnic restaurants and night spots. There are two studio rooms with high dark ceilings and cork floors. Walls are a calming, neutral gray. The reception area has some retail items for sale and complementary tea. Mats, blankets, and bolsters are all provided. The room was not heated, so I’d recommend layers, as I was chilly in final shavasana.  
A lovely class, in a pleasant well-appointed studio. In spite of the way Ferguson and the St. Louis area have been portrayed, yoga here is as yoga is everywhere. Peaceful, insightful, mind and body altering and overflowing with peace, gratitude and the willingness to change. A great way to start the day in St. Louis or anywhere. Namaste, and thank you, Kerstin.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Welcome Chris Rader

Chris Rader, my onetime neighbor, longtime friend, and all-the-time yoga associate will be slipping in to my regular time slots for the next 8 weeks.  Please welcome Chris and attend her classes over the holidays and holy days. You are in capable and loving hands.

Tuesday mornings 9:00-10:30 at The Suttons Bay Friendship Center
Friday mornings 8:30-10:00 at The Leland Old Art Building

Chris' classes are walk-in only, $15. For more information Chris may be reached at
Namaste, and I will see you in January, bringing all that I learn along the way.
Love, Sandra

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Community in Yoga

It's always wonderful to get support. 
Our burgeoning yoga community here in greater Grand Traverse abounds with diversity, dedication and desire to serve. I truly appreciate the opportunity to teach here regularly, and to be under the guidance of others, many whom have been my own students. 

Matthew Darling of Ashtanga Michigan in Royal Oak was recently hosted by Yen Yoga and Fitness. See

Matthew and I first met in the early 90s at a workshop at the Neahtawanta Inn. Perhaps that was with Suddha Weixler of the Chicago Yoga Center? It's been a long time... 
Anyway, this was long before Matthew took off for India, and in 2002 became certified to teach by the late creator and master of Ashtanga Yoga, Sri Patabhi Jois. 

One of the things I remember about Matthew was is complete sincerity to the practice. Not long after we first met, we ran into one another at the Leland Wine and Food Festival. Matthew was neither wine-ing nor dining. He was practicing "noble silence," while fully and delightedly participating in the raucous revelries of celebration, song and dance.  Matthew reminds us that one does not need to withdraw from the world in order to exemplify a yogic lifestyle. He's a householder, father, husband, artist and business owner. Although it isn't necessary to fast, or to practice contemplative silence sitting in a cave, practicing withdrawal of the senses, pratayahara, will shift your perspective. Enrichment of each moment comes with witnessing each moment fully and completely. 

I am grateful for the moments I have shared and the gifts and support I have received from my teachers and my students alike. We are all only beginners. Thank you, Matthew and Yen Yoga.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thank you Mr. Iyengar

BKS Iyengar left this mortal world on August 20, 2014 at 95 years of age. For most of us in the West, he was our first instructional yogic influence. He was fierce and exact, precise and dedicated. I only worked with him directly in 1993, in Ann Arbor at the Iyengar Convention marking his 75th birthday celebration. What an experience to be among hundreds and hundreds of people, all in headstand in the U of M indoor stadium! His first book of many, Light on Yoga became my ultimate guide. I read it until the pages fell out, and Field and I still have that tattered 1966 copy. Mr Iyengar set the tone and opened the gates for yoga's flourishing in every direction and expression over the past 5 decades. I honor him and am indebted to him for waking me up to the path that forever changed my life. I am so grateful.
Namaste, Master Teacher. Now we feel your presence even more through each one of us.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fall Workshop at YEN YOGA and FITNESS: Opening the HEART

Join me THIS Saturday, September 27, 12 noon to 3 PM. YEN YOGA and FITNESS

What are you waiting for? Open your heart!

332 E Front St., Traverse City MI  231-421-5496

Monday, July 21, 2014

SUP YOGA with Leda

StandUp Paddleboard Yoga classes with Leda Olmstead of Fluid SUP: my latest passion.

Leda took this of me on July 14, 2014 on Lake Leelanau.
She's a wonderful teacher.
Combine sun, breeze, water, pranayama, asana, and you have complete samyama.
Full inner awareness, concentration and contemplation, leading to all-out raging bliss!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014



UNION/YOGA - The Good Life in Leelanau this SUMMER!

Have you seen the spectacular new Leland Lodge? 

With a completely new lush wine tasting room, fresh-green and healthy menu, views of the golf greens and Lake Leelanau... and YOGA! For me, that's the Good Life!

Meet me at the Lodge for yoga these summer mornings , then afterwards, we'll wile awhile on the big deck with a green smoothie or delicious full breakfast. Namaste!

UNION/YOGA Beginning June 10 at the Leland Lodge

Tuesdays 8:30-9:45 AM

Lunar Vinyasa – a slow flow style, based on complete breath while moving through hip-opening standing poses including squats, planks, inversions and twists. Great for enhancing flexibility, balance and poise. You will leave feeling centered and calm, grounded and long. Please join me. $15 walk-in or $125 transferable 10-class pass. Leland Lodge registered guests are FREE!
Thursdays 8:30-9:45 AM

Yin Yoga – a meditative, very slow style, usually all on the floor. The greater the release, the deeper you go. A wonderful lubricant to joints, this style strengthens bones and renders connective tissue more pliant and resilient. You will experience greater range of motion and ease in movement, especially in the hips. Please join me. $15 walk-in or $125 transferable 10-class pass. Leland Lodge registered guests are FREE!
Saturdays 9:30-10:45 AM
Solar Vinyasa – a vigorous practice based on ashtanga-style sun salutations and standing poses. Good for enhancing cardio-vascular health, balance, strength, flexibility and mental focus. Will leave you feeling invigorated, awake, alive and ready! Please join me. $15 walk-in or $125 transferable 10-class pass. Leland Lodge registered guests are FREE!

The Leland Lodge
565 Pearl St, Leland MI 49654
Sandra in Vrschikasana/Scorpian variation

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Sandra Carden with Daryl Allison-Busch at Macchu Pichu
Joyous spring to you, all my UNION/YOGA friends and collegues. 

Yoga in Peru was an amazing, heartfelt and inspiring adventure. I especially loved the sweet and gentle people, who were so open and sharing of their culture and ancient heritage. The highlights? A 4 mile trek in the jungle through shiny sticky mud up to our shins. Lake Titicaca and Sausi Island (where the Incas claim the earth and skies were born) from a canoe. Happy alpaca wool-clad children, who at 2 or 3 years old and living on a floating reed island knew how to turn the pages of my Ipad. Macchu Pichu was lush and exquisitely surreal. We visited twice – on one shrouded, moist day and then again on a full-blown clear, dry and sparkling day. What a gift. Willka T'ika Yoga Retreat Center was the perfect ending respite, after being continually saturated with colorful sounds, tastes, scents and sights. The family-based staff there made us feel like spirit-kin. The food was amazing all over Peru, and especially at Willka T'ika. All I can say is that it was transformative. I would highly recommend a stay there.

Now, it is so good to be back at home, with family, sleeping through utterly silent nights, under familiar indigo heavens and deep-breathing the saturated, dense, green damp air of Northern Michigan. It smells like spring! I'm so excited to see you, "back on the mat," starting this week. Thank you for blessing me with your presence.
Namasté, Sandra

Tuesdays 4:00–5:30 PM at The Suttons Bay Friendshiop Center

Wednesdays 12 Noon–1PM & 4:15–5:15 PM at Traverse City Shanti School of Yoga

Thursdays 8:30–10:00 AM at The Suttons Bay Friendshiop Center

Fridays 8:30–10:00 AM at The Leland Old Art Building

Leelanau classes are $15 per walk-in, or 10 for $125 with a bulk pass, which may be shared. Shanti School of Yoga has special rates. I look forward to seeing you during Spring session, starting April 7th and running through Memorial Day. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Cary Brodie in Supta Uttanasana

Glimmers of a wet earth whiff, spring coming silently and without any fanfare, too timid yet to announce itself... but we know its out there, somewhere. The Most Welcome Spring.

There will be a break in my class schedule from March 15-April 7, while we travel and teach in the lower hemisphere. Sweet! Please join me for the Spring session beginning April 7. 10-class passes purchased previously are always accepted. $15 walk-in, $125 10-class pass.

Tuesdays 4:00–5:30 PM at The Suttons Bay Friendshiop Center

Wednesdays 12 Noon–1PM & 4:15–5:15 PM at Traverse City Shanti School of Yoga

Thursdays 8:30–10:00 AM at The Suttons Bay Friendshiop Center

Fridays 8:30–10:00 AM at The Leland Old Art Building

Namaste, I look forward to seeing you Spring session, starting April 7th. 
Thank you for supporting me. Love and Namaste!   Sandra

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Sandra in Suptakurmasana
While recently enjoying a social gathering, I was warmed to notice how many of those present at the party had been students in my yoga classes. Having taught in the same geographical area for over 40 years, I have met thousands of people through the practice of yoga. Several folks reminisced with me about their first real yoga experience, and how memorable that feeling was for them. People light up when they talk about discovering yoga. It seems to be a marker in the mind, an awakening, like remembering the sweetness of a first kiss, or the birth of a child. After yoga, everything has somehow taken a shift. But for some, the shift doesn’t stick. Scads of people take yoga out for a whirl, but few make it a lifetime engagement.

I wondered about that. When most people come to yoga, they feel a deep connection with the experience. They realize benefits almost immediately, “feel better fast,” feel empowered– and then quit! I know things change. People’s lives take different turns, and sometimes a weekly yoga class is not possible, or even a priority. Because my own relationship with yoga has been a constant for nearly five decades (and I know I am lost without it), I am fascinated by the fact that people can have a very casual relationship with yoga. Many years ago, during the rise of the aerobics craze, it came as a great shock to me that “yoga is not for everyone!” I realized then, that some people have golf on Mondays, bridge on Tuesdays, and yoga on Wednesdays, swimming on Thursdays, and that’s about the extent of it. In other words, some have a deep yearning that yoga satisfies, and others do not. I get that– sort of.

Or is there more to it than that? Perhaps yoga alters us in a way that is simply too unfamiliar, nice as it is. Perhaps we’d rather just slip back into the old thought and behavior habits, for the sake of familiarity. It is a bit scary to take a look at oneself, either in the mirror, or in the mirror of one’s mind. My husband, Field, once told me that an acquaintance of his asserted that he wouldn’t be interested in yoga because “it makes you feel.” What we find particularly threatening about yoga is that, in a way, it leaves us open to the world. It unravels our defenses. One former student, from a major U.S. city, explained that yoga made her feel “too relaxed,” and that vulnerability is not an attribute that bodes well in her urban environment. We may fear losing our edge. Or, perhaps we fear that if we change too much, we’ll lose our bearings, or our friends–we won’t recognize ourselves. Maybe it’s too much work to deconstruct oneself. “That’s just the way I am,” after all, has a real sense of solidity about it. Perhaps, if we begin to melt our well-constructed armor, there will be nothing left. Self-exposure, even in the privacy of your own mind, can be very unsettling.

So, my question, for myself and for all of you, is “How good are you willing to feel?” Am I willing to feel, and explore, my own restrictions and edges? Am I willing to dissolve the limits of my mind, and explore those, too? Am I willing to take a good poke around my behaviors and habits of conduct? Am I willing to question why I am the way I am? Am I willing to peel back the ties and binds of thought that have me bound to events in my past? How invested am I in holding myself back? What do I get out of it? Would I rather be happy, or right? Why am I not willing to step into my own greatness?

It is almost guaranteed that yoga will reveal yourself to your Self. How fascinating! And, the really intriguing thing is that by merely noticing, a shift takes place. Then you are left with a choice. Do I peel the onion, and let fall away the restrictive layers of my self, that I, myself, have constructed,? Or do I cling to my familiar, comfortable ways, and move on, as if no portal of perception had been laid open. Whatever the outcome, very few can claim, “nothing happened.” Otherwise, they wouldn’t have that look in their eyes when they talk about their first real yoga experience.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Please take the advice of the weather-wise ones during inclement weather. If the schools are closed, we are closed. To determine if there is class, please check the school closings in the district where the UNION/YOGA class is held. No sense in white-knuckling all the way so you can then attempt to relax... Get your mat out and do something; even 5 minutes worth. Have a cozy day. Namaste.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two Events Yoga Mat-Worthy

The Michigan Yoga Association is a great and worthwhile group I have belonged to since 1978. MYA brings together practitioners from all over Michigan, as well as Indiana, Ohio and Illinois to practice together 4 times a year. MYA hosts both nationally esteemed and regional yoga teachers of the highest caliber.  Workshops are very affordable. The next meeting is in Kalamazoo on February 8 and will feature Kundalini instructor Kate Yoshida and Sacred Sound therapy with Julie Chase. See details and download the registration form at:

Also in February Yoga Rocks Ford Field! We have an opportunity to create some good juju for Detroit, put Michigan on the yoga map, and spread the word about yoga's awesomeness by attending what's hoped to be the largest indoor yoga class in the world. The event will be at Ford Field, and participants can also sign up for bus tours of my hometown's famous thriving Eastern Market, beautiful Belle Isle, New Center and more. Let's get a great contingent going traveling downstate to represent how Yoga Rocks in Northern Michigan and the Grand Traverse area! Sign up online at:

Friday, January 24, 2014

What style is UNION/YOGA?

Sandra in supported Setubandhasana, balancing Visuddha Chakra or throat plexus
What style is UNION/YOGA? 
UNION/YOGA is an energy-based therapeutic style evolved over the past 4 decades from my interest in yoga and the psychology of wellness, or psychoneuroimmunology. Yoga recognizes the body's wellbeing as an outpouring of other, more subtle personal realms including emotions, beliefs and state of mind. UNION/YOGA is a practice by which we use the physical body to engage with and align other parts of being, bringing balance and happiness as is then reflected in the physical self.

UNION/YOGA 2014 Winter Schedule 
 Tuesdays 4:00-5:30 PM  YIN/YANG YOGA at the Suttons Bay Friendship Center (a.k.a. Suttons Bay/Bingham Senior Center 231-271-4630). 
 Wednesdays 12 noon-1 PM  YIN/YANG at Shanti School of Yoga (Logan's Landing, 2074 S Airport Rd W, Traverse City, MI 49686 231-632-0615).
 Wednesdays 4:15-5:15 PM  YIN/YANG at Shanti School of Yoga (Logan's Landing, 2074 S Airport Rd W, Traverse City, MI 49686 231-632-0615).
 Thursdays 8:30-10:00 AM  YIN YOGA at the Suttons Bay Friendship Center (a.k.a. Suttons Bay/Bingham Senior Center 231-271-4630). 
 Fridays at 8:30-10:00 AM  YIN YOGA at the Leland Old Art Building (a.k.a. Leelanau Community Cultural Center 231-256-2131). 

How do you know if classes are cancelled? In the case of inclement weather, I follow the school closings for that town. If the local school is closed due to weather, there will be no class. What's the point of white-knuckling it all the way? And, anyway, I want us all to be safe.

What does it cost? Classes in Leelanau County (Suttons Bay or Leland) may be attended as a walk-in for $15 per class, or purchase a 10-class pass for $125. The Suttons Bay "after school" class has a bonus deal: parent and teen $15 for both, and teens w/o a parent $10. Shanti School of Yoga in Traverse City sign ups online (how cool is that?) at

Namasté and love. I look forward to seeing you on the mat.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Now Three Locations for weekly UNION/YOGA

Psychologists deem today, the first Monday after the Holidays, as the "most depressing" day of the year. This is due to the inevitable let-down after all that hub-bub, the freezing and dismal weather, and New years resolutions already gone awry.
There is a better way. This, now, is the perfect opportunity to see and be the bubbly warmth and light we crave. Get thee back to the mat! 

UNION/YOGA 2014 winter schedule: 
 Tuesdays 4:00-5:30 PM  YIN/YANG YOGA at the Suttons Bay Friendship Center (a.k.a. Suttons Bay/Bingham Senior Center 231-271-4630). 
 Wednesdays 12 noon-1 PM  YIN/YANG at Shanti School of Yoga (Logan's Landing, 2074 S Airport Rd W, Traverse City, MI 49686 231-632-0615).
 Wednesdays 4:45-5:15 PM  YIN/YANG at Shanti School of Yoga (Logan's Landing, 2074 S Airport Rd W, Traverse City, MI 49686 231-632-0615).
 Thursdays 8:30-10:00 AM  YIN YOGA at the Suttons Bay Friendship Center (a.k.a. Suttons Bay/Bingham Senior Center 231-271-4630). 
 Fridays at 8:30-10:00 AM  YIN YOGA at the Leland Old Art Building (a.k.a. Leelanau Community Cultural Center 231-256-2131). 

I look forward to serving you by serving up some light. Classes in Leelanau County (Suttons Bay or Leland) may be attended as a walk-in for $15 per class, or purchase a 10-class pass for $125. Shanti School of Yoga sign ups at

Namasté and Happy New Year,

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Winter Silent Retreat

One year ago....The stillness of Winter Silence was upended by howling winds and crashing waves along the Lake Michigan shore, while at the Inn at Bay Harbor we were cradled by inner quietude. From January 2-5, 2013 we went inward each one practicing within a group, while all alone.

Early morning walks in the twilight moon, snow crunching under boots, wind whipping at escaped tendrils as the dawn rose without fanfare of sun’s light. Yoga sessions proceeded in the monochromatic light from 3 hours in the morning to 2 hours in the afternoon and an hour in the evening. Mid-days brought the blessedness of unstructured free time... hours spent reading, sleeping, walking or receiving body work. 

Reading from the Pratyabijnahrydayam we encountered the truth that we are all bejeweled facets of the whole, each one of us known only as a small spectrum of that Whole. Each one of us unknown fully by any other one, each one of us unknown fully even unto our selves. We pondered the mystery that Consciousness itself creates all that is, including our perceptions of ourselves and one another. That we are vehicles through which Consciousness plays itself out into the world, for its own pleasure and delight. 

Being fully present means a rip-roaring ride on the ephemeral experience of the senses. The food- oh, the food! How much more amazing in Silence are the exploding tastes of quinoa done in coconut curry, salmon on risotto with crispy bright asparagus spears, deep rich chocolate brownies and lemony custards... laughing orchids on the plates. The chefs at The Inn outdid themselves for us, to our combined pleasure. We linger... how much longer a meal takes when you are truly savoring. We inwardly chanted all the words to the top 40 instrumentals from the glorious 50's Muzak, while we wished we could have moaned and swooned out loud with gratitude! 

Thank you all, Winter Silent Retreat participants, and Boyne/Solace staff for supporting the majestic Silence so soulfully. 

UNION/YOGA about town schedule Winter 2014

Namasté, dear yoga community, 
Welcome to 2014, my 25th year of UNION/YOGA.

This seems to be the year of the big snow and large winds in Northern Michigan. We're back once again, to our 6-month monochromatic color scheme; soft velvety shadow grays to charcoal black barks, steel-wool skies and no distinction between the white horizon and the white of day. 

I've enjoyed having the time to attend some local classes lately. What a gift to be continuing my yoga education with excellent teachers right here, at home. It's a wonderful thing to find kinship in the practice and social connection with like-minded souls. Field and I feel very warmed and happy to be a part of our great smiling local yoga community. We invite you to embrace the returning sun... and stay toasty, limber, open and expansive with yoga. 

I hope you will join me for yoga soon. All my classes are either YIN style, or YIN/YANG. 
YIN means slow, deep and receptive, inward-looking, cool opening with sustained releases, using breath to fall deeper into the pose introspectively. 
YANG means continual movement, outward turning, warm, aerobic, using breath to sustain the pace and quality of attention expansively. 
YIN/YANG means linking breath with movement beginning on the floor with YIN and moving into a standing aerobic flow before returning back to YIN for integration and release. 

UNION/YOGA 2014 winter schedule: 
 Tuesdays 4:00-5:30 PM  YIN/YANG YOGA at the Suttons Bay Friendship Center (a.k.a. Suttons Bay/Bingham Senior Center 231-271-4630). 
 Wednesdays 12 noon-1 PM  YIN/YANG at Shanti School of Yoga (Logan's Landing, 2074 S Airport Rd W, Traverse City, MI 49686 231-632-0615).
 Wednesdays 4:45-5:15 PM  YIN/YANG at Shanti School of Yoga (Logan's Landing, 2074 S Airport Rd W, Traverse City, MI 49686 231-632-0615).
 Thursdays 8:30-10:00 AM  YIN YOGA at the Suttons Bay Friendship Center (a.k.a. Suttons Bay/Bingham Senior Center 231-271-4630). 
 Fridays at 8:30-10:00 AM  YIN YOGA at the Leland Old Art Building (a.k.a. Leelanau Community Cultural Center 231-256-2131). 

Classes in Leelanau County (Suttons Bay or Leland) may be attended as a walk-in for $15 per class, or purchase a 10-class pass for $125. Shanti School of Yoga sign ups at

namasté and big love,

Monday, December 30, 2013


FIFTH CHAKRA/throat: Erika in supported Low Bridge
Please join me on News Year's Eve. I'll offer a special class in Chakra Clearing  Yoga, in honor of your intentions for 2014: physical rejuvenation, energetic reconnection, mental clarification and spiritual renewal. 4 PM. Suttons Bay Friendship Center, 201 W Broadway, Suttons Bay, MI 49682. Come with your intentions for enhancement of health in body, emotion, mind and spirit. $15 walk-in, $15/pair for parent and child, $125 for 10-class pass.

2014 is the Year of the Horse, beginning January 30th. 
Get ready, get set, it's going to be a fast ride!

"The Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don’t do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don’t want to gallop off in the wrong direction." (See more at

There will also be class at the Friendship Center on Thursday January 2, at 8:30 AM. We'll see if the floor is warm enough!
The first YIN class at the Old Art Building in Leland is on Friday, January 3, at 8:30 AM. 111 S Main St, Leland, MI 49654. Same rates and pass-cards apply.

A very Happy, Wholesome and prosperous New Year to one and all.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


As the year comes to an end, I have the feeling 2014 is going to bring lots of great and big changes. As I release the UNION/YOGA Teacher Certification program I'm looking forward to a long-anticipated, more floaty, less structured way of being. 

My classes are a moveable feast of moveable feets. I hope to see you, dear yoga community, as I continue to teach in local settings. 

I'll be offering classes in Suttons Bay at the Friendship Center (a.k.a. Suttons Bay/Bingham Senior Center 231-271-4630) starting now on Tuesdays at 4 PM and Thursdays at 8:30 AM.

In Leland at the Old Art Building, (a.k.a. Leelanau Community Cultural Center 231-256-2131) starting January 3 on Fridays at 8:30 AM.

In Traverse City, I'll soon be at Shanti School of Yoga (at Logan's Landing 2074 S. Airport Rd. Traverse City, MI 49686 231-632-0615) day and time will soon be announced.

My best wishes for a most excellent joyous holiday season. 

namasté, sandra

Sunday, November 10, 2013

UNION/YOGA Teacher Certification Fall 2013

We are proud to announce the new UNION/YOGA teachers of the Autumn 2013 UNION/YOGA Classic 200 hour Teacher Certification. 

The following teachers will be certified on November 16, 2013 and thus qualified to teach yoga at all public, private and corporate venues: (front to back with Reb Andrews, UYTT instructor)  

Amy Kowalak, Mary Frazier, Rebecca Reibel, Lexie Forcier, Sharron Zimmerman, Mark Huizenga and Rebecca Thomas (not pictured).  

Graduation is at 2 PM, Saturday, November 16 and all are invited. We'll be offering FREE public classes at 8 AM and 10 AM on the 16th at Solace Institute, Boyne Mountain Resort. Come for the classes and stay for the graduation ceremony.  

Namaste, and thank you for your love and support of these exceptional new teachers.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Peru Meeting November 13, Wednesday 6:30 at the Carden's

Chakra Gardens at Willka T'ika Yoga Retreat Center
Scroll down for the information about our Peru Eco-Tour meeting. The big adventure begins March 15, 2014. Travel for 2 weeks with us via Go Ahead Tours and, if you love yoga and cultural immersion,  another week-long Yoga Retreat at famed Willka T'ika Yoga Retreat Center near Peru's Sacred Valley. I hope to see you November 13, at our home. No obligation- just come. It will be fun!
Namaste, Sandra

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Head Over Heels Joy

During the next month I'm on the road again. I'll be teaching a workshop in Bellaire and a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification at Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne Falls, MI. In mid-November I will return to teach on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 8:30 AM at Pure Prana Yoga in Leland, MI.

Meet me Saturday, October 19 from 1-4 PM at Parkside Arts Council and Gallery, in Bellaire for a yoga workshop specifically focused on bone health. We'll learn about the anatomy of bones and how to maintain the integrity of their strength and flexibility through a weight-bearing yoga practice. Cost is $45 for non teachers and $55 for yoga teachers requiring proof of CEUs for Yoga Alliance continuing education credits. Bring your mat, a 10' yoga strap, two yoga blocks, two yoga blankets, hand and ankle weights. Sign up by contacting me at

October 20-November 16 2013 I am proud to present the last  UNION/YOGA Classic 200 hour teacher certification at Boyne Mountain Resort. If you are able to support these students by attending their FREE public classes, please come to Boyne on November 2nd, 9th and 16th at 8 AM and 10 AM. You will be touched by their integrity, knowledge and care.

I have certified over 150 yoga teachers since the first UYTT 200 class in 1997. This would not have been possible without the support of the many graduates of UYTT who have assisted me and generously mentored the new students in their public class offerings. I would especially like to thank Reb Andrews, my right hand in UYTT, and Marsha Buhr the heart of my office and production efforts. Thanks to Carla Douros, Maureen Mead and Jackie Ankerson for sharing their expertise in Anatomy and Physiology. 

Thanks to Cynthia Snodgrass and Nell Hawley for their Sanskrit lessons. Blessings to Ram Dass, the late Chogyum Trungpa Rinpoche, Joel Kramer, Katherine Roth, Kathryn Holl, the late John Schneider, Sue Dilsworth, Mark Poletti, Matthew Darling, Julie Eckhardt, Dave Stringer, Geri Larkin, Leslie Kaminoff, Lori Boothroyd, Noah Levine, Pat Issacson, Mardi Black, JoAnna Pepe, Rama Berch, and  Joan Laird who were all part the evolution of UYTT in some big and lasting way.

My deep gratitude to all the graduates of UYTT 200 and 500, and the current class. Thank you for entrusting me in your yoga education. It has been a blessed journey with you as my wings. I am truly grateful.  
Namaste, Sandra

Birgit Adamofsky
Reb Andrews
Ashley Andrews-Starks
Jackie Ankerson

Jeanine Mamary Ball
Marrietta Bell
Jaime Beranek
Diane Bernier
Mardi Black

Melissa Irving Black
Susan Bolde
Lindsey Bonter
Rachael Boone
Michelle Bordeaux

Cary Maish Brodie
Sue Buck
Marsha Brunett Buhr
Dawn Buitenhuis
Kevin Burgam

Daryl Allison Busch
Leslie Butler
Cathy Caldwell-Bowman

Nichole Caldwell
Anne Cantrell

Jessica Myers Carden
Margaret Carignan

Cheri Carlton
Sara Carr
Lacey Chaput
Dar Charlebois

Kaitlin Christensen
Gretchen Cline

Pattie Coffaro
Cathy Colburn
Laurie LaRosa Cornell
Patty Corning
Tricia Craymer

Phyllis Crozier
Loretta Cwalinski
Pam Darling

Mary Gadbaw Davis
Sue Dilsworth
Colleen Durbin-Matrone

Patricia Bartlett Duzenberg
Martha Eldredge
Ruth Essig

Ashley Fehrmann
Robin Fisher

Lexie Forcier
Mary Frazier
Karen Freel
Nancy Gallagher
Kelly Garner
Sandra Gaunt
Tara Graeber
Carrie Gray

Will Haley
Lisa Ham
Diane Hash

Saryn Hettinger
Sharley Hower

Amy Hubbell
Barbara Huegli

Mark Huizenga
Linda Hundt
Pat Isaacson

Jocelyn Jarvis
Karen Jennings
Libby Kara

Judith Kearns-Steffen
Paul KelloggJames Kennedy
Daniella Kimble
Mariann Kirch 
Sara Melvin Knight
Sheryl Korthals
Amy Kowalak
Winter Kyvik
Christen Landry
Joanna Lauber
Angelyn Leaver
Jenny Lintvedt
Carole Loftis
Kim Lohr

Ashley Louisignau
Zoie Maczala
Larry Mawby

Aimée Meeker
Maureen Mead
Mitchell Mead
MaryK Monteith
Alice Montie

Cindra Moore
Barbara Moore
Mariana Mueller
Neely Neu

Tricia Olson
Kathyn Penfold
Petra Pepellashi

Angela Poneta-Dedenbach
Stephanie Prall

Pat Pritchard
Chris Rader
Tammie Ransom

Rebecca Reibel
Peachy Rentenbach

Casey Ressl
E. Gail Robinson
Anna Robles
Allison Rockey
Lindsey Rosen

Lara Ruddy
Jessica Ryan
Diane Abhaya Samarasinghe
Lisa Sandin
Kerry Satterwhite
Tina Sarkey
Timberly Saunders
Tara Sawdon
Pamela Schap
Susan Abbott Schmidt

Maggie Schoenfeld
Julie Schwalm
Stephanie Shepard

Faan Yeen Sidor
Kimberly Simon
Dorothy Sirrine

Barb Solomonson
Chérie Spaulding
Ann Spezia
Jo Spica

Chaio Jennifer St Charles
Anne Strand
Katie Sulau
Mike Sutherland
Ariel Sutter

Denise Swy
Molly Szafranski
Priscilla Tait
Patricia Thomas

Rebecca Thomas
Jeanne Tomlinson

Tammy Trowbridge
Shann VanderLeek

Sharon VanMullekom
Amy Vipond
Alicia Walker

Miranda White
Sara Williams
Brianne Wilson
Nora Wiser
Lillie Wolff
Sharon Shay Workman

Erika Wynn
Bonnie Zachary

Sharron Zimmerman