Tuesday, March 24, 2015

HANDS ON! Yoga Asana Assists and Adjustments Workshop

Modifications for Hatha Yoga Asana
A Workshop for Teachers and Serious Students of Yoga

Sandra Carden, ERYT 500
May 2, 2015
1:00 – 4:00 PM
Shanti School of Yoga, Traverse City

Modifications in hatha yoga asana practice are of great benefit to students who may require special support, alternatives to a posture, a deeper experience, or less intensity based on their own edges of exploration vs. discomfort. All practitioners are unique, each with their own body, energy, medical and emotional history, mindset, and needs. What works for one may be injurious to the next.
Modifications in hatha yoga asana practice may be offered as self-support, or may be offered by the instructor. They may be instructed verbally or by touch. Modifications may be categorized as either assisting or adjusting. Assisting is not the same as partnering. Adjusting is not the same as conforming.

Offering modifications marks the more attuned instructor, aware and conscious of every student in every class, in the spirit of service (seva) rather than self-aggrandizement.

Sandra Carden, ERYT 500 will grant Yoga Alliance registered teachers 3 hours CEU (Yoga Alliance continuing education units) for those completing this workshop. Yoga Alliance requires 30 CEUs every 3 years.

$55. This workshop, although of great benefit to teachers, is open to all experienced practitioners.

If CEUs are requested, please notify Sandra directly for certificate issuance. There is a $10 fee, payable to UNION/YOGA LLC for certificate of participation. 

Namaste! I look forward to serving you.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Sandra Carden in the Garden at the Leland Lodge

UNION/YOGA Silent Retreat
Sandra Carden, ERYT 500
The  Leland Lodge
April 10-12, 2015

INTENTION: To gather in silence for yoga and meditation practice over a period of 3 days, in order to create an environment without distractions and tasks of daily life, to deeply enhance the powerful experience of yoga asana, pranayama and vipassana in a self-directed and organic manner.

METHOD: The Silent Retreat will be andragogic rather than pedagogic in nature. Participants will have all information needed before we go into silence to support their own inspired practice. Sandra will be offering a format in which to frame both asana and meditation practices, and she, and her assistant(s) will support the participants through modeling and demonstration, posture adjustments, and in any other way appropriate and necessary.  

LOGISTICS: We will arrive at the Leland Lodge Friday April 10 after 3 PM. We will dine together in the Lodge dining room. After supper, we will meet Friday evening to discuss the format of the program. We will close the evening Friday with a brief ceremony and seated mediation. After our meeting Friday evening we will be silent until Sunday at the closing ceremony. We will check out of the Leland Lodge at 11 AM Sunday, April 12th.

SCHEDULE: Each day we will have yoga practice sessions and Vipassana meditation practices in the Lodge Banquet Room. Each session will be theme-driven. Yoga practices are not led, but self-initiated and inspired by the offered inspirations, and from the teacher(s) and one another.
Schedule is subject to change.

Friday, April 10, 2015
4:00 PM  Leland Lodge Check-in/Arrival
6:00 PM  Dinner Leland Lodge (dining room TBA)
7:00-9:00 PM  Opening Ceremony. 30 minute Introductions and Syllabus, 90 minute Yoga and Vipassana Meditation practice.

Saturday, April 11, 2015
Silence beings upon awakening. Leland Lodge provides a wake up call at your preference of time. Coffee, teas and light breakfast choices will be provided buffet-style starting at 6 AM.
9:00 AM-Noon  2 hour Silent Yoga and I hour Vipassana  Meditation
12:00 PM  Silent group LUNCH
1:00-3:00 PM  Open time. Enjoy the silence of Leland and the Lodge
3:30-5:30 PM  2 Hour Silent Yoga
6:00 PM  Silent group DINNER
8:00-9:00 PM  One hour Silent Meditation

Sunday, April 12, 2015
Leland Lodge provides a wake up call at your preference of time. Coffee, teas and light breakfast choices will be provided buffet-style starting at 6 AM.
9:00-10:00 AM 60 minute Silent Yoga and Vipassana Meditation practice.
11:00 AM Breaking Silence Closing Ceremony
12 Noon  Leland Lodge Check-out/Departure

$458  Inclusive of lodging, plus all meals featuring deliciously prepared local sustainable cuisine, yoga and meditation guidance. 10 hours Yoga Alliance approved CEUs for teachers is offered for $15. Certificate upon completion of this workshop. 

To find out more about this fabulous Leelanau County venue, see http://lelandlodge.com/

Please make your reservation with events coordinator Melissa at The Leland Lodge: events@lelandlodge.com or call Melissa at 231-256-9848. Mention that you qualify for the SPECIAL GROUP RATE for the UNION/YOGA Silent Retreat.
Rooms are based on availability. Please note that Space is Limited.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Valentine Heart 2 Heart Partner Yoga Workshop

Partner Yoga: Soul to Soul, Heart to Heart
According to legend, Once Upon a Time there was a way for two lovers to express their feelings for one another deeply, directly and without verbal language – soul-to-soul. Unfortunately, over the eons we have lost this knowledge. In our hearts, we still have the openness, the will and ability.

Lovers are any two who care for one another in a way that is more than casual. This Valentine Day couples practice is for lovers who may be parent and child, sisters and brothers, soul-sisters and soul-brothers, girlfriends and boyfriends, best friends, buddies and mates. In a loving relationship, we learn to communicate, and therefore to trust that we are heard and understood. We come to trust ourselves to offer what the other wants and needs. And we trust ourselves enough to let go, to open and to receive.

Like the ancient YIN/YANG symbol, a perfect balance always holds tension in homeostasis, and each side has a bit of the opposite energy at its center. So, we will end our partner practice with Boka Maru. Boka Maru is love-fun for two – intimate but not intimidating, sensual but not sexual. Boka-Maru is not Yoga, but it is Yogic. 

This Valentine’s Day, do something different and really memorable. Treat someone you love to an afternoon of love-connection, communion and trust for 2 in a beautiful give-and-take play. You will be awed, delighted and inspired. 

This, of course, will seep out into your life. And there will be chocolate!

Sandra Carden, ERYT 500
February 14, 2015
1:30 PM – 4:30 PM    $50 per couple
Yen Yoga Fitness, Traverse City  

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 crbaboo252@gmail.com.
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 http://www.ashtangamichigan.com

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.