Friday, October 7, 2016


A Special 6-Session Series with Sandra Carden, ERYT500
Yoga4 Lake Leelanau, MI

The Bhagavad Gita, or The Lord’s Song is now the most widely known yogic scripture, tracing back before the Christian Era, and long before guarded as it was considered a secret revelation.

Certain teachings remain classic in all spiritual and psychological traditions, as their message is timeless. On my mind and in my heart is the Bhagavad Gita and the relevance of its message today: navigating through tough decisions, karma yoga or good work, duty, communion, compassion for oneself and honoring our teachers. 

In six gatherings we will explore the historical setting of this tale, it’s characters and their symbology, the teaching’s present day implications, and the true meaning drawn for you, personally.

In each 2.5 hours class, or kula, we will incorporate asana and meditation to support the open-book discussions. Kula, a Sanskrit term, means a community of the heart, a group coming together of its own free will. An intentional community, a family.”

As we feel the turn of the planet toward the most introspective and darkest time of the year, let us shed some light on life. Please join Sandra and this little tribe of inward inquiry, The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita, on these six Thursday evenings 6-8:30 PM at Yoga4.

October 27

November 3

November 17

December 1

December 8

December 15

$198 for the entire series, 15 hours CEUs for teachers. See for enrollment.

Suggested Texts:
Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, Its Philosophy and Cultural Setting, by Georg Feuerstein
The Living Gita, The Complete Bhagavad Gita and Commentary, by Sri Swami Satchidananda
The Bhagavad Gita, A New Translation, by Stephen Mitchell

Everyone welcome. Please feel free to join this Kula of heart and mind. Namaste.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pratyahara with Kira (Ryder) Sloane - WOW!

Michigan Yoga Association with Kira (Ryder) Sloane (left front) May 1, 2016
By the photos and words announcing the Michigan Yoga Association workshop A Sense of Self: The Practice of Pratyahara with Kira (Ryder) Sloane,  I looked forward to a fun-filled and easy-peasy experience. Kira has a reputation for being energetic, light and entertaining. I hadn't seen her videos nor had I even heard much about her before, so a new experience and hopefully I'd learn some good stuff.

But, wow. What I received was so much more than I can even articulate. Ah, but for you, I'll try.

First you all must know this; Kira Ryder Sloane is so wise and absolutely steeped (or "sauced," as she says) in the real practice of yoga. I should have realized by the title: Pratyahara. Inward-turning. Steeped in the senses. Turned on and tuned in. Tuned-in in such a way that you are "knowing the senses rather than controlling the senses." Knowing... rather than controlling.

As teachers and students of yoga, Kira gave us another way to look at the first rule of restraint of yoga, from the first limb of yoga, yama. This is ahimsa, usually translated as "nonviolence." Rather than nonviolence, she invites us to hear non-violation. Our first precept is to not violate ourselves. From that, to not violate one another, in any way.

The teachings of yoga, Kira reminds us, only exist in our relationships. The most essential ingredient for teachers, in passing on the teachings of yoga is safety. No one will dare move from their old habits and stuck-ness and blossom into their brightest expression if they do not feel safe and supported. "Who are you when you can feel safe enough to be yourself?", she inquires.

We practiced, sometimes with partners. And we listened. We studied the structure of the ears. We brought attention and awareness to the breath in the nostrils, and then to the breath in the lungs and then to the heart.

Our hearts yearn for deep and honest connections– with our loved ones, our families, and with God (or whatever you call That). The heart, we found, is very tender and pliant (a video of a soft and moist human heart cradled in a gloved hand). Listen to your heart's longing and feel the truth – for Yoga teaches that we already, always ARE connected.

We practiced letting go and the use of constraint in yin-like postures, having the patience to wait until the next right move comes along. Patience, coming from the same root as the word for suffering, "looks like you are doing nothing," when in fact you are coming to know your self. "It's not about understanding yourself, it's about with-standing yourself!" Kira brought forth a lesson about understanding, patience and practice; "The Boddhisattva sets herself up with the most difficult situations to see how well her practice is working." Don't you just love that?

With only these few nuggets from the yogini of the heart, Kira Ryder Sloane, I hope you have a sense of what your senses can reveal about your sense of Self. Kira is especially interested in how the sense of Self  translates to different cultures, and how to communicate the connection feeling when the culture has no words for it. As president of Yoga Anytime, the popular yoga video channel, Kira travels extensively. In Kalamazoo, she led us on a travel adventure as "yogi scientists," trekking through the wilds of our true selves, collecting intimate and personal data that will be invaluable in mapping the Way.

Thank you, and a deep bow to Kira Sloane and the Michigan Yoga Association. For up-coming cutting edge workshops from this state-wide wonder, go to Namaste.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kira Ryder Workshop at Michigan Yoga Assn!


A Sense of Self:

The Practice of Pratyahara

April 29th - May 1st, 2016

Transformations Center, Kalamazoo, MI

Kira Ryder serves as President of Yoga Anytime and feels so lucky to be in community with such a magnificent sangha of yogis. Alone, she has only 20 years of time with the practice. With her yogi friends, she has many lifetimes.

Her yoga studio and school, Lulu Bandha’s, sits in the heart of Ojai and hosts the beloved annual International Ojai Yoga Crib. She gets to travel and teach internationally and is so curious about the necessary translation of the teachings for each being.

Kira Ryder

 Fascinated by the intimacies of the Heart, Kira's teaching style has evolved to help cultivate an understanding of the practicality and global necessity of Self Love.

for the workshop sign-up and details:


Monday, March 28, 2016


Navutu Dreams Resort and Spa, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Lotus Flowers at Navutu Dreams

Lotus Flowers at Navutu Dreams

Barb in prep for forearm stand

Sandra assisting Barb's forearm stand

Daryl in three-legged dog

Janet in rope-assisted cobra

Janet in three-legged dog

Floating shavasana

Daryl in rope-assisted backbend

Barb in three-legged dog

Janet in prep for forearm stand

Kathy in rope-assisted backbend

Daryl in rope-assisted backbend

Barb in Warrior I

Kathy in rope-assisted backbend
Sandra assisting Barb in seated forward fold

Yoga in Cambodia

Sahasrara Chakra in Preah Khan Temple Passage
Each Temple in Cambodia offers a singular, unique energy and essence. In Preah Khan Temple I was awed by the quietude and reverence. March, 2016.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

UYTT 500s are Shining!

Christen Landry in Janushirshasana variation

Kerry Satterwhite in Full Lotus

Dorothy Sirrine in prone Full Lotus

Julie Schwalm
L to R: Jeanine Ball, Jessica Ryan, Becca Thomas, Michi Bordeaux, Dorothy Sirrine, Christen Landry, Field Carden, Sandra Carden, Julie Schwalm, Kirsten Grimm, Kerry Satterwhite. Not pictured: Chris Rader.
UYTT 500 Graduation set for Autumn 2016.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

AYURVEDA: Science of Life WORKSHOP at Yoga4

What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is the most ancient healing science from which the other healing modalities such as traditional Tibetan and Chinese Medicine emerged. In Sanskrit, Ayus means life and Veda means science or knowledge. Ayurveda is being in harmony with the rhythms and elements of nature, and your personal nature, in order to live a long, healthy and balanced life.

Ayurveda and Yoga are sister sciences.
Through an understanding of Ayurvedic bioenergy types, or doshas, you will enhance your yoga practice by identifying your particular imbalances. These imbalances can be corrected with gentle changes in diet, yoga and lifestyle. Ayurveda is highly regarded as a disease prevention approach, correcting minor conditions before the disease stage is reached.

Rhonda Egidio, Ph.D., RAP is owner of Radiant Life Ayurveda in Kalamazoo, MI. She is a Registered Ayurvedic Professional and a Professor of Education at Michigan State University. Rhonda’s central belief is that all healing comes from the underlying field of consciousness and our connection with The Divine. We can prepare ourselves with readiness to receive divine healing through the time-tested practices and principles of Ayurveda.

Why Ayurveda? Because Ayurveda is customized, what is helpful for one person may actually be detrimental to another. Learn about your particular doshic makeup and what you can do to become radiantly healthy. In this training you will assess your own Ayurveda constitution (Prakruti) and current imbalance (Vikruti) to develop a custom diet, yoga asana and lifestyle plan for balancing your “deranged” dosha. You will also learn how to use Ayurvedic wisdom to support others– family, friends, students and those you care for. 

This workshop is for those new to Ayurveda as well as those with some grounding in Ayurveda knowledge. Please join us. Whether you are a teacher of yoga, a student or novice, discover Ayurveda’s very personalized benefits for yourself. Visit: for more information and Dr. Egidio’s free monthly newsletter.
Ayurveda with Dr. Rhonda Egidio
9 am - 5 pm Friday SEPTEMBER 4
9 am - Noon Saturday SEPTEMBER 5
Register at
or call/text 231-633-4453

Friday, July 31, 2015


Our UNION/YOGA Teacher Certification programs begin at Yoga4 in Lake Leelanau soon – both 200 hour Classic and 500 hour Master levels. 

I want to get one thing straight. I teach real yoga. It is my intention that those coming through this program experience real yoga. Whether you plan to teach yoga isn't important. That you intend to go deep is what counts.

Real yoga is not merely exercise. Nor is it mind/body exercise, but that's closer. Yoga is transformative and transcendent. Yoga uses the body as a portal to access deeper layers of self. Like setting a course over high seas, the intention is the realignment with your “true north,” your most honest, best, harmonious and full-blown healthy expression. Yoga helps you locate where you have gone off course and shows you how to find your way back to your stillpoint center. Everything improves when you are set on your sacred course.

There is no intermediary between you and your Source – the experience of true yoga is very personal, direct, immediate and brilliant.

Taking a yoga teacher training course is more about cleaning your lens so that you may see yourself more clearly, and clearing your vibratory self, opening your own expression in the world. This is not “Simon Says” yoga or show-off yoga.

UYTT 200 begins  September 19 and runs on weekends, about twice a month. Graduation is April 3.
UYTT 500 is 300 additional hours after your 200 certification. 500 starts on August 28 and runs as 4 9-day blocks. Graduation is February 21.  

See the sidebar (left) for your application form and all the other pertinent information.  

Namaste, it is a joy to share Real Yoga with you. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

UNION/YOGA Teacher Certifications– since 1997

We're very excited about the Yoga4 studio opening at the former UNION/YOGA site in Lake Leelanau– and getting close to the start of UYTT 200 Classic on September 19, and UYTT 300 Master (formerly called "500") on August 28. See more at, and on the sidebar, left.

The published scientific studies affirming the benefits of yoga continue day by day. We are at a major threshold in worldwide recognition and acceptance of yoga therapy and teaching as a valid and professional career touching all aspects of healthcare and well-being, beneficial from childhood through final breath.

UNION/YOGA Teacher Certification has been serving serious yogis since 1997. No matter if you wish to teach yoga or simply desire to enrich your own understanding and personal practice, UYTT will take you into the depths and breadth of yoga. This is not merely a teaching of asanas, but a comprehensive course encompassing all aspects of this ancient art, from physical to psychological, emotional and spiritual. This is not "fast food" yoga. This is a multi-course enrichment feast.

I am honored to provide the esteemed yogic tools for self-empowerment and transformation through UNION/YOGA Teacher Certification. Please email me at or call 231-256-2100. Christen Landry, director at Yoga4 is also available to answer you questions at 231-633-4453.

Namaste, I look forward to serving you as you serve the world through yoga.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What to Wear for Yoga

Yoga costume, 1931 
Back in the dark ages, when Field and I started practicing yoga, what we first referred to as "sticky" mats hadn't been invented yet. It was the early 1970s. We took turns practicing on a folded Pendleton stadium blanket, which we still have. His mom, Nancy bought us a second blanket when she heard there was conversation over who would get the treasured thing if we were ever to split up. 

No sticky yoga mats. No belts, blocks, or straps. And no special yoga clothes.

It was the West coast. We were not practicing Bikram, so we didn't wear bathing suits, as they did back then. We both wore pretty much the same typical yogi attire: white linen or cotton drawstring pants and a cotton T-shirt or tank top. The pants had to be white. I got pretty good at whipping out a pair in about an hour on my old Sears portable machine. Eventually, as yoga stylin' evolved, some yoginis would wear a dance leotard with the prescribed white drawstring yoga pants. Our teacher, Joel Kramer wore a speedo bathing suit.  No kidding.

By the time we moved back to Michigan in 1978, the yoga pants might be shucked in favor of just the leotard. Bare legs. Not that half of us cared back then, but the bare legs and generous leg openings of the leotards was a bit of a modesty problem with seated split-legged poses. This was a whole different scene than the other side of the Mississippi. In Detroit, women were wearing matching latex tights and leotards of shiny fabric, often in animal prints like leopard and tiger. And lots of jewelry, makeup, and styled hair. I felt like a real hippie. 

The men were still wearing the white drawstring yoga pants, but we began to see shorts and even bathing trunks show up. A little company saw the need in the Ann Arbor Iyengar community and started producing a yoga short for men and women. The item, cut for modesty, was called the same as the company, "Hugger Mugger," which means “a well-kept secret.” Hugger Mugger is still in business, but I don't know if they still sell the shorts. I preferred Hugger-Muggers to the long pants because the position of the knees could now be visible to the teacher without having to roll up the pants. 

Around this time the dance-wear industry started producing leotards and body suits for yoga practice. I still like the look and convenience of a one-piece, but it's a hassle when you have to go to the bathroom. And I remember these could be pretty silly- with puffy little sleeves and belts, bows, and decorative pretend buttons. Oh, my. 

In the late 80s the industry Got Smart and things started to get much more sophisticated, fun and street-worthy. The universal uniform that has taken over the ubiquitous jeans scene around the planet – black yoga pants and a top of your choice. Anything goes. All you may need is a little jacket or swingy mini over your standard black stretchy pants and you are moving from studio floor to desk to dance floor with only a change of shoes. 

What a great time we live in.

Modeled by Marguerite Agniel in The Art of the Body
Harcourt, Brace and Co., NY, 1931

Friday, May 15, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

UNION/YOGA 200 hr & 500 hr Yoga Teacher Certifications

I am so joyful to announce the reopening of the studio once known as UNION/YOGA in Lake Leelanau, now as Yoga4, under the direction of Christen Landry. Yoga4 will open June 1. See
UNION/YOGA Teacher Certification 200 hour Classic Level begins at Yoga4 the weekend of September 19-20. The program will run on 14 weekends from September until April. Graduation is April 3, 2016. Christen Landry will be assisting each weekend. For more information email If you are on the UNION/YOGA emailing list, expect to receive an email newsletter with more details soon!
Congratulations to Christen and joy to all the returning yogis to this beautiful, sacred space. We are all so grateful.
Christen Landry, CYT 200, director Yoga4

Monday, May 4, 2015

New Yoga Studio in Lake Leelanau!

I am thrilled to announce the reopening of the old UNION/YOGA studio in Lake Leelanau!
Yoga4 will open June 1. Christen Landry, CYT 200 is the director. There will be lots of yoga happening there, including SUP (stand up paddleboard) Yoga classes, and more.  My classes at Yoga4 will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. Thank you Janine and Doug Fierberg for long-term leasing and renewing the beautiful sacred space in Lake Leelanau soon to be known as "The Local Branch." See you on the mat in Lake Leelanau starting June 1!

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

Please make your reservation with events coordinator Melissa at The Leland Lodge: 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