Monday, December 10, 2018


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 9 AM until noon at the Old Art Building, Leland 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: Sandra Carden 231-883-8095 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

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. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

For Teachers: Yoga in Your Om Language

Image from the Berlin Wall, 2017
            When yoga instruction is spoken aloud, much more than direction is conveyed. What you say is laden with how you say it. The entire experience of the student, beyond what they are instructed to do, is colored by how those directions are delivered. Given exactly the same sequence, two students may leave two differently instructed classes; one feeling curious, inspired, uplifted and empowered, and the other feeling critical, negative, sore, tired, and probably crabby.

            Ahimsa, the Sanskit word usually interpreted as “nonviolence,” is the essence of yoga. It is the very first of the ten ethical guidelines of yoga, the yamas and niyamas. Ahimsa is more accurately translated as “nonviolation.” Not only do you not harm, you do not move in where you are not invited. This is foremost in the ethical practice and teaching of yoga.

            The ego is a fragile thing. When the teacher’s self-importance moves out ahead of the message, a power-over dynamic is conveyed. The teacher, subtly conveying his or her superiority through language, sets up an energetic that augments instructor’s self worth. Meanwhile, the student’s self-worth is diminished.

            In Japanese martial arts, the sensei is the teacher. Sensei implies “the one who came before.” The sensei always has in mind that just because she came before, it does not mean that she is more enlightened. Her job is to prepare her student to be the next sensei. Our work is the same in teaching yoga.

            Yoga is best offered with an open hand, not a fist. Consider how subtle changes in delivery can empower the student:
            Instead of “I want you to,” try “I invite you to.”
            Instead of “pull your knee toward your chest,” try “draw your knee…”
            Instead of “push your foot out to the side,” try “press your foot…”
            Instead of “stretch your foot toward the ceiling,” try “extend your foot…”
            Instead of “grab your left knee,” try “clasp your left knee…”
            Instead of squeeze, crunch or tighten, try compress, hug, embrace or cradle.
            Try elegant words like elongate, lengthen and tone, instead of stretch.
            Try words like allow, feel, notice, inquire, ask your Self.
            Pose questions, such as “What’s happening now?” and “How is this side different than the other side?” and “Where can you let go a little bit more?” Then give those present space (silence) and time in which to explore the self-inquiry.
            Instead of “Go ahead and…” or “Now I want you to…”  Try starting each directive with a cue on the breath. For instance, “Exhale, take your right knee to your chest and clasp your knee. Inhale, extend your knee away,. allowing your belly to rise. Exhale, draw your knee in toward your chest, allowing the belly to draw in toward the spine…” Get yourself out of the way and out of the picture. Move yourself to the background. The focus is not on you, but on the student.     
Teacher's Hint: Record yourself teaching a class. You will learn so much. Namaste!

Thursday, December 14, 2017



Winter Solstice as a Portal 

Each of us is already always fulfilled. 
The way is already shown.
The golden end is already always present in the means.

Each of us who have had the good fortune to be born into a human body
got that specific body by design.
The body and birth circumstances you were born into were predetermined
before you were incarnated.

Your way to freedom from suffering and your greatest good is yours alone.
There is a blueprint just for you, for your unique life's predicaments and pleasures.
This plan ensures that you have the best possible means to attain your full potential,
your fullness– your ultimate freedom and bliss.  

Discover what is in the way for you. 
Experience where your pathway is blocked and where you are open and free.
Learn the best simple practice for you to follow the way
to your own self-actualization.

Join me this Winter Solstice for a guided Yoga and Meditation practice:
Return to Light!

Wednesday, December 21, 2017 5:45-7:45 PM
Elk Rapids Yoga Flow

Thursday, December 22, 2017 6:00-8:00 PM
New Moon Yoga

Friday, December 23, 2017 10:30AM-1:30 PM

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pedestrian Level Yoga: A Workshop Suitable for Anyone Just Off the Street

Pedestrian Level Yoga is "yoga for anyone just off the street,” meaning no showy stuff, 
no out-there stuff and no yoga down-dogma. Yoga is for everyone. 

Join me for a workshop at the all-new Elk Rapids Yoga Flow 
for a refresher course on the fundamentals of yoga.

Whether you are a wet-behind-the-ears beginner
or a seasoned practitioner looking for a bit of polishing,
this workshop will take you back to why you are practicing, 
and how to practice with integrity to best meet your intentions.

Yoga is for Everyone. Anyone can practice yoga, at any time. 
You don't need special shoes, or clothes or props. You don't even need a yoga mat. 
If you can breathe, you can practice yoga. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017 11AM-2 PM 
$45   CEUs available for teachers 


Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Stressed Much?

The Michigan Yoga Association strives to bring you programs that you ask for. Stress, as you may gather, is an ubiquitous health concern today. You are not alone, nor should you feel helpless.
MYA offers programs with top-notch and nationally known yoga educators that are relevant, practical, and affordable.
Through a recent survey YOU said your yoga community is vital and important to you and to the furthering of your Yoga Education. CEUs are provided.

As members since 1978, Field and I urge you to attend this upcoming workshop, November 4-5, 2017 with Kathy Ornish, BS, MFA, E-RYT500, C-IAYT in Kalamazoo.

Overcoming the Causes of Our Suffering


NOVEMBER 4-5, 2017
sign up at

Kathy Ornish (K.O.), owner and director of Good Space Yoga in Lansing, MI, has had a lifelong relationship with yoga through her family’s close association with Swami Satchidananda, the founder of Integral Yoga.

Kathy Ornish is a certified yoga therapist and teacher through the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI), where she is a faculty member for the Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching and Yoga Therapy. She is also a certified ParaYoga teacher, and a consultant at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California.

K.O. deeply acknowledges her teachers, who have guided her on her journey in conveying the incredible vastness and beauty of Yoga. Using a broad array of the tools of yoga, you will find that her teaching incorporates a mindful approach to all aspects of the practice.

Kathy invites you to incorporate these 5 powerful tools to calm you in the moment and to create long-term change and transformation in your life. Kathy’s first tool for anxiety is asymmetric asana, which keeps the mind focused and links movement with the breath. Pranayama is next—it shifts your physiology and collects the mind. The use of sankalpa, an affirmation or a resolution, is another favorite. Finally, Kathy explains viyoga and samyoga—separating yourself from what doesn’t serve you, and connecting yourself to something positive that does serve you to help you realize your true nature.

Monday, May 22, 2017



a workshop for yoga teachers & practitioners

SATURDAY, MAY 27 2017 1:00-3:30 PM

It's sometimes hard to be confident about what to do in your yoga practice at home. 
For teachers, how to create a class that leaves everyone feeling fabulous is a challenge.

Sequencing is the key. Sequencing is the ordering or your yoga postures in such a way as to create an ever-growing, seamless flow. Optimal sequencing builds purifying heat gradually, from within. Intelligent sequencing enhances all aspects of your yoga practice– flexibility, strength, balance, endurance, focus and grace. 

• Learn how to start your practice, first establishing receptivity in your mind and body. 

• Learn how to proceed in practice, knowing your intention and ordering your postures in such a way as to create the optimal outcome in the time you have allotted.

• Learn how to wrap up your practice "with a bow on top" so that you finish feeling renewed, refreshed, happy and calm.

• Do you have a long-term goal in mind? Sequencing can expand. Learn how to sequence a series of practices, within a particular focus, over the course of a week, a month, or even a year.

Sandra Carden, ERYT 500
2.5 CEUs for Yoga Alliance Registered Teachers
$45  Contact YOGA4 for details and registration

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Join Field and Sandra Carden on
a Go Ahead Tour of Eastern Europe
 • Departing October 2, 2017 
• 13 nights in handpicked hotels
• Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine
• Private deluxe motor coach travel throughout Eastern Europe
• Multilingual Tour Director
• Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees
• Plan your own air transportation or fly with our group 
• Approx $4000 all inclusive, depending on departure city and elective excursion options

Day 1: October 2, 2017  Travel day
Board your overnight flight to Budapest.

Day 2: October 3, 2017  Arrival in Budapest  
Included meals: Dinner
Welcome to Hungary! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: October 4, 2017 Sightseeing tour of Budapest
Included meals: Breakfast
Discover the major landmarks of both Buda and Pest in the city that straddles east and west.
• Trace this nation’s stormy history at Heroes' Square
• Tour the lavishly decorated Hungarian Parliament building
• Cross the Danube and ascend Castle Hill
• Take in the breathtaking views from Fisherman’s Bastion
• Visit the medieval Matthias Church, once the site of Hapsburg coronations 
Enjoy a free evening in Budapest or add the Optional Group Excursion.
Optional Excursion - Unicum Liqueur & Wine Tasting with Dinner

Day 4: October 5, 2017  Free day in Budapest
Included meals: Breakfast
Spend the day exploring Budapest on your own or add an Optional Group Excursion
Optional Excursion - Budapest: A Walk Behind the Iron Curtain  

Day 5: October 6, 2017  Travel to Vienna via Szentendre
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Travel west through the Danube basin, stopping in Szentendre en route to Vienna, home of chocolates, cafes, parks and pastries.

Day 6: October 7, 2017  Sightseeing tour of Vienna
  Included meals: Breakfast
Get transported back to the Age of Empires on a guided tour of Vienna. 
• Enter Schönbrunn Palace, the Rococo Hapsburg home with impressive gardens
• Travel down the Ringstrasse, Vienna’s tree-lined thoroughfare 
• See the Parliament building, the Vienna State Opera and the grand Hofburg Palace, the Hapsburg’s winter residence
Enjoy a free evening in Vienna or add an Optional Group Excursion.
Optional Excursion - Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening

Day 7: October 8, 2017 Free day in Vienna
Included meals: Breakfast
Spend the day exploring Vienna on your own or add an Optional Group Excursion.
Optional Excursion - Danube River Cruise & Bratislava

Day 8: October 9, 2017  Travel to Prague via Lednive & Mikulov
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Drive through the pastoral landscapes of Bohemia on your way to Prague, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
• Stop in Moravia to enter Chateau Lednice, a gorgeous castle on the Austrian border
• Enjoy free time to explore the medieval city of Mikulov

Day 9: October 10, 2017  Sightseeing tour of Prague
Included meals: Breakfast
Discover why Prague is known as the “City of One Hundred Spires” on a guided tour. 
• Visit Prague Castle, from which Charles IV governed the Holy Roman Empire
• Admire the soaring Gothic vaults of St. Vitus Cathedral
• Ride a historic tram from Castle Hill down to the Vltava River
• Cross the elegant Charles Bridge for breathtaking views of the city
• Stroll through Old Town Square to view the 15th-century Astronomical Clock
Enjoy a free afternoon or add an Optional Group Excursion.
Optional Excursion - Walking Tour of Prague's Jewish Quarter

Day 10: October 11, 2017  Free day in Prague
Included meals: Breakfast
Spend the day exploring Prague on your own or add an Optional Group Excursion
Optional Excursion - Chateau Sychrov

Day 11: October 12, 2017  Travel to Kraków
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Pass through the dramatic landscapes of Moravia before reaching the historic Polish city of Kraków.

Day 12: October 13, 2017  Sightseeing tour of Kraków
Included meals: Breakfast
Meet your local guide for a tour of Kraków, Poland’s former royal capital.
• Discover Wawel Hill, perched high above the Vistula River
• Visit Wawel Cathedral, where Polish kings were crowned
• Stroll through Glowny Square
• Pass beautiful Sukiennice Cloth Hall, the Jagiellonian University and Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory
Enjoy a free afternoon or add an Optional Group Excursion.
Optional Excursion - Auschwitz

Day 13: October 14, 2017  Travel to Warsaw
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Enjoy a free morning to explore Kraków before setting off for Warsaw, Poland’s capital city.

Day 14: October 15, 2017  Sightseeing tour of Warsaw
Included meals: Breakfast
On a guided tour, get to know Warsaw, a city all but destroyed during World War II and painstakingly rebuilt since 1944.
• Enter the Palace of Culture and Science, Poland’s tallest building, and take in sweeping views of the surrounding city
• Behold the Chopin monument at Lazienki Park
• Visit the Jewish Ghetto and the Jewish Memorial
• Walk through the Old Town
• Discover Starego Miasta Square’s Renaissance facades and Baroque townhouses
Get to know Warsaw on your own this afternoon or add an Optional Group Excursion.
Optional Excursion - Chopin Recital & Dinner

Day 15: October 16, 2017  Departure or Travel to Berlin  
Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore Berlin.
Berlin was once the gateway to Eastern Europe and now capital of reunified Germany. Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, this city pulses with life. The cobbled streets of the German capital date back 750 years; yet a fresh vibrancy pervades the boulevards, the markets, the hundreds of trendy night spots and the thousands of pubs and restaurants. This revitalized Berlin—also known as the "New York City" of Europe—is an essential destination for every traveler.

Day 16: October 17, 2017  Sightseeing tour of Berlin
Included meals: Breakfast
A local guide introduces you to the monuments of Berlin’s intricate past as well as the signs of its re-emergence as a vibrant cultural center.
• Discover the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of a reunited Berlin
• See the Holocaust Memorial and East Side Gallery
• Journey down Unter den Linden, the city’s most elegant boulevard, passing the Reichstag and Museum Island 
Enjoy a free afternoon or add an Optional Group Excursion.
Optional Excursion - World War II Walking Tour

Day 17: October 18, 2017 Free day in Berlin
Included meals: Breakfast
Spend the day exploring Berlin on your own or add an Optional Group Excursion.
Optional Excursion - Potsdam

Day 18: October 19, 2017  Departure
Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Your 3-4 star hotel information will be available on Sep 2, 2017

13 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach travel throughout Eastern Europe
Multilingual Tour Director
Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees
Plan your own air transportation or fly with our group

See all the information and calculate your cost at: 
or call Sandra at 231-883-8095 or Louis at Go Ahead Tours 617-619-2047. 

Happy Trails!  WE HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US. Sandra and Field