Thursday, May 7, 2020

Hang on to Your Center!

There is so much to be gleaned in times when we are afforded more space, more quietude, more time, and more time in nature. 

With "distancing" you may appreciate more awareness of how things actually are. You may notice that, in spite of any threat, there is available a place of solace and ease inside oneself.

Yoga (meaning Union with All) is the portal to that place inside your deepest being, like the eye of the storm, where you know, in your stillness, that you are okay.

Beneath the onslaught of sensory signals, there is wide-open peace.

Practice. Practice your brand of yoga, so that you are operating from a place of presence. Able to respond to whatever the moment brings. Response-ability, rather than reaction.

Yoga is a true and reliable means of staying balanced and unaffected by the tsunami of wild change. This dependable place of easy centered-ness is always right here, right now. It always available to you, no matter the weather, time of day, who you are, what you have, who you know, or what you need to get there.

Life is full of wondrous things, both attractive and repulsive. That's just the way of it. The trick is to not be so attached to either, but to cultivate aplomb. Take your time. Find your center. Balance there, and ride the wave.

Let's just do this: I invite you to practice with me. Go to <> to see my virtual live classes on Zoom and archived classes, free and on demand, through YouTube. 

I bow to you. May the Force of Life be With YOU. Namasté.     

Monday, December 16, 2019


Darkest Night Yoga and Meditation 

with Sandra Carden, ERYT 500
Return to LightFriday, December 20, 2019

5:30-7:30 PM 
Yoga4, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653

Join us for this joyfully inspired Solstice Yoga and Meditation session on the Darkest Night. 
In preparation for new light, new hope, new grace, and renewed love, we practice together in letting go of what is now behind us. We will heal and uplift, as we face and leave behind the darkest hour of the year. 
In this simple way, we clear a path for new joy, trust and gratitude for all that we have, are and will be. 

The ceremony will include a burning bowl to symbolically release any impediment on your path.

Sandra Carden, ERYT 500 began her yoga engagement in the 1970s. She is the founder of UNION/YOGA LLC, the first dedicated yoga studio in Michigan. She has conducted yoga classes, workshops, and teacher certifications as well as private yoga therapy and consultations internationally. It is her sincere joy to serve you in the sharing of yoga.  


This workshop is just about full. Please register at
Namaste, May the Force be with You.

Monday, September 23, 2019


Before the Holidays arrive, take a moment to nurture your Self, to set your Intention, and to find your Still Point in Peace.
What could be more precious than time away, free from your daily roles, without obligations, schedules, or time demands? Add to this an environment of sacred space, steeped in nature, with great food set before you, and a space of your own with no environmental static.

Arrive Friday to your own private room and bath. We will meet Friday evening for orientation and contemplative guidance, followed by our evening meal. We will close the day with a brief yoga and meditation practice.

Dorothy and Sandra will offer direction and guidance at Friday evening's group practice concerning your time in silence. Silence will begin with the meditation on Friday evening.

On Saturday we will silently practice the 8 limbs of yoga, including meditation and asana practice, in several outlined sessions. In your free time, you may choose to stay within your own experience, in your room, walking the grounds and outdoor labyrinth, attending the chapel for prayer, or in the reading room for contemplation, or the communal room for additional yoga and/or meditation practice.

Your time is your own. Although there will be structure offered, you may design your weekend to suit you own personal needs and intuition. Nothing will be required of you.

Two sit-down meals are offered on Saturday, while breakfast will be offered buffet-style. Guests are encouraged to bring favorite treats or snacks to share throughout the weekend, and any specialized food items for your own health and comfort. 

On Sunday we will break silence after our morning practice. Our last meal together is Sunday brunch. We'll be talking!

Upon registration you will receive an itinerary for the Up North Silent Retreat, a full list of items you may wish to bring, (and those not to bring), relevant reading materials, and a location map. 

Dorothy and Sandra sincerely open their hearts to you in offering this profound experience of pratyahara, inner-focused silence. Please join us.

$458, all inclusive. Please register at  Namaste.

Monday, July 22, 2019


What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a meditative or mindful style that deliberately releases body tensions and enhances awareness through increased moisture of the fascia. 

My yoga anatomy teacher, Tom Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, defines fascia or connective tissue as the “biomechanical autoregulation system,” or BARS. He writes, “It appears that cells assemble and stabilize themselves via tensional signaling, that they communicate with and move through the local surroundings...and that the musculo-fascial-skeletal system, as a whole, functions as a tensegrity.” Meaning: Everything is connected to everything else. When one cell is pressed upon, all others align to react, respond, adapt and support the tension. We grow into the shape we are leaning toward.

Tom’s opinion on whether this living matrix is “conscious,” or simply a neuro-muscular transmission is yet to be determined. I tend to lean toward an acknowledgment of a vast intelligence, of some unknown Source, working through humankind on a cellular and sub cellular level for the purpose of alignment with Truth. I love to consider the possibility contained in that.

“Anatomy Trains,” as you may know, are the myofascial meridians (nadis in Sanskrit) which encase and enfold the body. These meridians broadcast and receive information. They transmit life's energetic sparking that criss-crosses and spans the entire body. From skin and bones, through organs and into the seas of intracellular fluids, we are a vast, wondrous, living, growing, changing, complex communication system.

Your streams of connective tissue allow for communication of aliveness through their symbiotic inner-spatial relationship. Through scientific study we know that conscious, controlled and aligned movement creates a harmonic tone and resonance across the myofascial meridians. This communication and receptivity results in optimal cellular health and overall well-being. 

Yoga achieves conscious, controlled and aligned movement brilliantly. Through the practice of Yin Yoga, we go beyond mere stretching to a depth of amplified awareness. It's like tuning your radio to a station that’s loud and clear. Tuned-in Self-awareness brings the possibility of change– a sudden washing-free of old patterns, and a fresh, new reshaping of vital tissues. A reshaping of your life itself. Please join me.

Yin Yoga Certification

Weekdays August 19-23 and 26-30
6-8:30 AM (25 Hours) $450
Open to all Yoga teachers and interested students
[Certification requires 5 hours additional home study]
Yoga4, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653
Register at

Friday, April 5, 2019

YIN YOGA: Shine Your Light in LEELANAU!

YIN Yoga

Unlocking the Liquid Crystal Matrix Within


Lake Leelanau, MI
30 hour certification course

Mondays-Fridays, August 19-23 and 26-30, 2019

6:00 AM-8:30 AM

Yin Yoga is opposite of Yang Yoga. It is not a workout. It is not exercise. It will not enhance your ego..

Yin Yoga (or Taoist Yoga) is nature-based, organically unfolding like a flower, and easy. Yet it will take you to deep and transformational places. Yin yoga is not a workout, but essentially of the work of yoga–to discover your habitual and limiting patterns and to set your whole Self free.

Throughout our Yin Yoga practice of self-realization, we will embrace all 8 Limbs (ashtanga) of yoga: Yama (5 promises to the world), Niyama (5 promises to yourself), Asana (bodily movement and poses), Pranayama (healing breath), Pratyahara (introspection and insight), Dharana (quiet concentration), Dhyana (receptive contemplation) and Samadhi (surrender to bliss).

Yin Yoga penetrates all 5 realms of being (koshas): physically cleansing and remodeling, energetically calming and clearing, mentally quieting and clarifying, psychologically unifying, and spiritually enhancing connection to Source.

Physically, we will access and juice up connective tissue through the asanas. We will proceed through the 7 chakras (energetic vortices) to cleanse and release long-held knots (granthis) and impediments.

Energetically, our realignment will open and channel the life force (prana), expanding the electromagnetic current throughout the meridians (nadis) and creating the “diamond body” (vajra deha).

Mentally and Emotionally the mind is stilled and clarified, erasing negativity and doubt, depression and anxiety, preparing the way for visionary accomplishment.

Spiritually, the coursing of prana awakens the impetus to expand (kundalini shakti), shine, and to feel your oneness with Oneness.

Yes… Yin will give you greater range of motion in your joints, expanded elasticity in your connective tissue, enhanced mental acuity and intuition. Yin Yoga will even give you confidence and peace of mind.
But, even greater still, Yin Yoga will turn you on.

Quantum physics holds that your body is a liquid crystal matrix, simply a receiver of vibrational input and a conductor of the expression of you– your own polished, vibrant, unique and particular frequency. Integral alignment in certain yoga shapes sets up an attunement to your highest frequency. There will always be both dark and light, negative and positive, solar and lunar energies– many notes in your orchestra. Your job, as a yogi, is to feel and listen to that vibratory quality. 

Tune in– tune your instrument and let it sing. When we are attuned to our own highest frequency, we spread that light. Broadcast your unique and radiant gift to the world. One breath, one soul at a time, we can illuminate the way (Tao) before us. Well come Om!

$450     May be adapted for all levels. 30 CEUs offered for Yoga Alliance Teachers

Register online with the MINDBODY app. at

Sandra Carden, ERYT, has studied and taught yoga and yoga philosophy for almost 50 years.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

YoFlo - Juicing Up Your Connective Tissue!

“Tissue organization determines the flow of information... Closed systems deteriorate.”
  –Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuim
           Fascia is the new buzzword in all realms of bodywork and somatic practices, including yoga. What is fascia, or connective tissue? Why is it important to know the role connective tissue plays in overall health and vitality?

            Where we once described fascia as the thin wrapping around muscles, we now know, through modern high-powered magnification, that fascia wraps around and through muscles, bones, organs, lymph, blood, and water. Fascia runs deep, down to the cellular and subcellular levels. Fascia determines our shape. Fascia holds us together. Fascia connects everything to everything. Fascia, in yoga parlance, is the superhighway of life’s energy, instantly responsive, transmitting the very essence of life itself- prana. Where there is a knot or impediment in flow, there is a disturbance in the transmission of prana, or life-force.

          Your myofascial meridians are the “trains” or pathways of ever-changing, vibrating, pulsing liquid crystal continuity throughout the body (and the universe, for that matter). Everything is connected to everything, down even beyond the cellular level and out beyond the edges of the universe. We are part of a universal living matrix. Your own body, your ever-responding Living Matrix is your home. It defines you and you live and breathe. It keeps you together. It gives you head-to-toe longitudinal awareness of where you are in space – proprioception ­– where YOU ARE NOW. Here.  And ‘here’ is continually in flux.
            These lines of transegrity (Buckminster Fuller’s name for this web of life force) “pull” along muscle delineation as a result of load-bearing, resulting in extension of the strain and a counter-rebound, providing elasticity and stability to the human life-unit. All movement affects the anatomy trains and what you have been doing (or not) invariably shows up in your body. Yoga can affect the anatomy trains on purpose, to strengthen, stabilize, realign, energize, feed and cleanse the tissues, both soft and firm.  

Please join Sandra Carden of UNION/YOGA for YoFlo, a yoga practice stemming from an understanding of Anatomy Trains, and the magnitude of influence this may have on your yoga practice. We will incorporate awareness of fascial lines into a practice designed to enhance the flow of electro-magnetic energy, increasing range of motion, vitality, breath and relaxation.  
         Saturday morning, January 19, 2019, from 10 AM until 1:00 PM at Yoga4 in Lake Leelanau. Please bring your yoga mat, 2 yoga blocks, 2 yoga blankets, and a strap and a curious mind.
$55. In advance or at the door

            This workshop is suitable for both teachers and students of yoga. Three CEUs are awarded to Yoga Alliance registered teachers.


To register: or

Thursday, January 3, 2019

OSTEO YOGA at Yoga4, Lake Leelanau

            Osteoporosis is the silent and often painless gradual loss of bone, affecting both men and women. This systemic skeletal disease, characterized by low bone mass, deterioration of bone tissue, and increase in bone fractures is not an aspect of the normal aging process. Many factors play into bone loss, and each case is unique.
            Please join Sandra Carden of UNION/YOGA for this in-depth Strong Bones Workshop. You will learn the causes of osteoporosis and evaluate your own risk. We will investigate symptoms, diagnosis, environmental factors, diet and nutrition, hormonal influence, habits and lifestyle. We will practice a safe sequence of yoga asanas, implementing small weights.
            This workshop is suitable for both teachers and students of yoga. Three CEUs are awarded to Yoga Alliance registered teachers.
Please join me for Osteo Yoga on Saturday morning, January 12, 2019, from 10:30 AM until 1:30 PM at Yoga4 in Lake Leelanau. Please bring your yoga mat, 2 yoga blocks, 2 yoga blankets, a strap, light ankle and hand weights and lots of enthusiasm!
$55. In advance or at the door
One of a series:
            All three workshops $160.

Monday, December 10, 2018

YOGA NIDRA Workshop NOW at YOGA4, Lake Leelanau

Yoga nidra means “yogic sleep.” This is profound meditation in a deeply relaxed state of being, resembling dreamless sleep.
Yoga nidra evolved out of Tantrism, originally called nyasa, meaning “casting or placing.” We incrementally lay our conscious awareness at each level of being, from physical to soul level. Because of this multidimensional approach, yoga nidra is unsurpassed as a means toward deep physical release, emotional balance and psychological well-being.   
There are many variations of Yoga nidra. Typically, we will use a sankalpa, or personal affirmation at the beginning, to affirm your soul’s deepest intention. Then, a placement of awareness throughout the body, to ground you in the physical plane. We follow with a release to the subconscious through simple backward counting. Then, we experience opposing psychological states or “pairs of opposites,” reminding your body of the mind’s influence over it. We end with a guided meditation through various suggested images, enhancing the luminous, equinimical, witness-quality of higher mind, or atman.
Please join me for restorative yoga poses of deep relaxation, followed by Yoga Nidra on Saturday morning, January 5, 2019, from 10:30 AM until 1:30 at Yoga4, Lake Leelanau, MI. Please dress in loose, comfortable, clothing. Bring your own mat and any yoga props you prefer. 
$55. In advance or at the door
One of a series:
            All three workshops $160.
3 CEUs each workshop granted for Yoga Alliance registered yoga instructors.
            To register: or

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Deeper Look at Connective Tissue Through Yin Yoga

anatomical assistant Holly, Tom Myers, fellow student Amanda, assistant Laurie, and myself

Anatomy Trains, by Thomas W. Myers, has served as my entry-level understanding of the role of connective tissue as the supportive and morphic matrix composing the entire human body. 

I have recently been fortunate to deepen my awareness of this beautiful, intricate complex in a two-day human dissection live course with Myers at the Boulder Institute for Anatomical Enlightenment. This was a profoundly moving and, yes, enlightening experience. I bow to those who graciously donated their bodies so that we somanauts could better understand a bit more of the mystery of human life. 

Tom Myers defines fascia, or connective tissue as the "biomechanical autoregulation system," or BARS. Tom studied tensegrity design with Buckminster Fuller. The same architectural principals of the geodesic dome apply to the human system. Tom writes in Anatomy Trains, "It appears that cells assemble and stabilize themselves via tensional signaling, that they communicate with and move through the local surroundings...and that the musculo-fascial-skeletal system, as a whole, functions as a tensegrity." Everything is connected to everything else. When one cell is pressed upon, all others align to react, respond, adapt and support the tension. We grow in the shape we are leaning into.

Tom's take on whether this matrix is "conscious," or simply a neuro-muscular transmission is yet to be determined. I, myself, tend to lean toward an acknowledgment of a vast intelligence, of some unknown Source, working through humankind on a cellular and subcellular level. But, hey, that's just me.

"Anatomy Trains" are the streamings of connective tissue and energetic sparking (think nadis or meridians) that criss-cross and span the entire body from skin and bones, organs and into the seas of intracellular fluids. Anatomy Trains allow, through this inner-spatial relationship, for communication of ALIVENESS. Conscious, controlled movement, creating an "even tone across the myofascial meridians," results in optimal cellular health and overall well-being. Yoga does this brilliantly. Through Yin Yoga, we go beyond mere "stretching," to a level of increased awareness, washing free of old patterns, and a fresh new reshaping of vital tissues.  

November 17, 2018, from 10:30 AM-3:30 PM 
for a program of yoga practice, discussion and introspection into
your own unique matrix of life–your connective tissue. 

Enroll at today
Your $75 tuition entitles somatic practitioners to 5 CEU credits.
Please bring a notebook and pen, and a snack,
as well as your yoga practice supplies.
I look forward to our time of inner discovery. 

30-Hour Yin Yoga Certification  August 2018 Class of  at Yoga4, Lake Leelanau, MI

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Let Me Introduce You to Yin Yoga! 2-Week Intensive at Yoga4 in Lovely Lake Leelanau

I'd be honored to have you join me for this 2-week, 30 hour Yin Yoga Intensive. The more I discover about this amazing process of Self restoration, the more compelled I am to share it with you. Please join me. Go to to sign up today. Your energy counts. Love,

Friday, April 6, 2018

© Sandra Carden, ERYT 500                 
Teaching the Foundations of Yoga
  As a practicing yogini for almost 50 years, I continue to take classes from others. Most recently I’ve attended some of the worst classes I’ve ever encountered.  
            Many “yoga” classes are not yoga– they are exercise (see my last article posted 3/8/18 @ As yoga instruction becomes more focused on asana, we are losing the essence of what separates yoga from exercise, and the supreme promise of this path. For remember, dear ones, the purpose of yoga is enlightenment.
            The popular tendency to race ahead willy-nilly, grasping for the pay-off of a great physical workout before we’ve invested in the gold coins of foundation will bring you nothing that lasts. There is no lasting benefit in a yoga workout. If you actually want to receive the true promise of yoga, build your foundation first. If you just want the side effect, the vajra-deha, or diamond body, carry on. Perhaps it won’t hurt you.
           Freedom. Liberation. Bliss. No suffering– no pain. That’s It. That is the promise of yoga. Building toward bliss doesn’t come from barging in with the body. In fact, asana alone, without foundational practice can be harmful both physically psychologically.   
            Asana, or posture, is not the first of the Eight Limbs of Yoga regarded and revered for millenea. Before asana can be practiced, we must truly know, understand and practice the primary tenants of yoga. These are remembered as non-harming, truthfulness, open-handedness, moderation, non-possession, purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study and surrender to a greater power.
            You and I may never master this framework, but we must align ourselves in accord with yogic principals before we can reap the full harvest of yoga, or else. Or else we get nothing that lasts, nothing real. The promise of yoga is ease in living. What could be more worthy of our attention?
            The longer this trend toward slicing up the yogic pie and greedily taking only the tasty piece of asana is perpetuated, the more we starve our souls and the farther we get from the four promises (purusartha)of yoga.           
            These four purusartha are both the goal and the gift, the full meal and the dessert. The first is dharma/to fulfill your destiny. The second is artha/to be truly rich. The third is kama/to take great pleasure. The fourth is moksha/to be free of suffering, liberated, self-realized and blissed.
            Dharma plays out most prominently in the early years of life. You find what you are good at and you discover what you love. You get your education and prepare to do your life’s work.
            Artha is wealth. In young adulthood you establish your career or work in life, be it small and close to home or big and global- no difference. When you are doing your right work, the right amount of money will come. You buy your house and your toys and raise your family. Yoga says this wealth in life is your goal and your birthright.
            Kama is pleasure. Toward the middle years of your life, you need less, and the joy grows. Things are simpler and more spacious. You have the pleasure of enjoying all you have worked for. Your investment in family and finances pays off.
            Moksha is freedom and bliss. Toward the last quarter of your life, attention turns toward the spiritual in preparation for making the transition out of the body with ease. Relationships to others, Self and Source are fulfilling. The later years in life are sweet. They are the golden years of getting ready to go.
            Whether you are just starting a yoga engagement with yourself, or have been on the yogic path for many moons, reconsider what you really want in this lifetime. Slow down and ponder why the Eight Limbs of non-harming, truthfulness, open-handedness, moderation, non-possession, purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study and surrender are called for first. Do you want to be toned and attractive, or do you want to be free? You can be both.
            Otherwise, it’s just an ego game.