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VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Why can't we be friends?

Friday, April 15, 2011

We would do well to emulate their behavior. Don't you agree?

Click here:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 4/24/2011 2:51PM

    I got an email that contained a video of a kitten who had been tended by a crow, of all things. We could sure take a lesson, couldn't we? LOL

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EOSTAR_45 4/17/2011 7:26PM

    Indeed. Very heartwarming. Brought a smile to my face.

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VEEJAY3 4/17/2011 2:30PM

    Also ... I have to tell you ... my son and I were both born in the Year of the Monkey. There's something so familiar about that orangutan's playfulness. Now where have I seen that?

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VEEJAY3 4/16/2011 8:01PM

    Oh! Thank you soooo much for reminding me of Bella and Tara!!!
Have you met them?

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WALKINGANNIE 4/16/2011 5:22PM

    Unexpected friends - a lovely image emoticon

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KELLEEH 4/16/2011 10:24AM

    Cute pic! Nice message!

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JESPAH 4/16/2011 9:53AM

    Of course you know I had to find and post this:

As always, a musical interlude.

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MARCHMAID 4/16/2011 7:10AM

    Where did you find this picture of me and my dog?

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MEDDYPEDDY 4/16/2011 1:52AM


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PEACEFULONE 4/16/2011 1:04AM

    I emoticon this!

Thanks for sharing.

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SINGAGAIN 4/15/2011 11:52PM

    I love this! Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/15/2011 11:41PM

    Beautiful! Thank you Mahalakshmi!

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STLRZGRRL 4/15/2011 10:27PM

    I'd seen that before... thank you for reminding me.. now the only question is... which of us is the monkey and which one is the pooch!!!

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WATERMELLEN 4/15/2011 8:56PM

    This is so lovely: thank you!!

I remember the time I was visiting the orangutans at the Toronto zoo when one of the girls came over to the glass and "told" me (not sure how) that she wanted to check out her face in my purse mirror. (She clearly identified me as the kind of girly girl who would have one of these . . .!!) I dug in my purse, held it up, she had a good look and then -- satisfied -- "thanked" me by looking me in the eye, and wandered off.

One of those great experiences you never forget.

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FRANCESCANAZ 4/15/2011 7:04PM

    I shared that with each of my classes today. It was the PERFECT way to send them off on the 10 day break. emoticon

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SUNNY332 4/15/2011 6:45PM

    You just made my day. I think We can all be friends definitely.

Love it and passing it on.

Thanks so much!


Comment edited on: 4/15/2011 6:45:41 PM

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GOANNA2 4/15/2011 5:26PM

    Isn't friendship great? Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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LYNNANN43 4/15/2011 4:50PM

    I am grinning from ear to ear after watching that wonderful video! emoticon

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DAISY443 4/15/2011 4:47PM

    Amazing! I think I once dated a guy a lot like the little orange headed guy!

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    thank you for the link. wonderful blog!

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Spirit of Place

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

As Carol Maureen (CMRAND54) knows, there are times that words are superfluous, redundant. That seems to be the case for me with William Stafford's poetry.

I will just say that all of my encounters with great blue herons have taken me to the place he so exquisitely describes. Look what I mean:

Spirit of Place: Great Blue Heron

Out of their loneliness for each other
two reeds, or maybe two shadows, lurch
forward and become suddenly a life
lifted from dawn or the rain. It is
the wilderness come back again, a lagoon
with our city reflected in its eye.
We live by faith in such presences.

It is a test for us, that thin
but real, undulating figure that promises,
"If you keep faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins
the sunlight and the rain: heads in the light,
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is."

~ William Stafford ~
(The Way It Is)

(On a plaque in Portland, Oregon's City Hall, its city's bird)

And as far as how this contributes to our SparkGoals, I know Ellen (WATERMELLEN) would concur that this is part of the whole world's conspiracy to shower us with blessings (Rob Brezsny writes about this in PRONOIA IS THE ANTIDOTE FOR PARANOIA), which will give us the *joie de vivre* and inspiration to live life to the fullest in optimal health!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 4/24/2011 2:57PM

    I love blue herons.....I have one that comes to my pond each year and he's a marvel. For some reason, it's always a blue heron that I see first each spring, either flying overhead or a chance encounter driving by a creek by the side of the road. I've come to depend on that sight each year, for some reason....and it never fails. They are spring's harbingers, to me, and kind of on the level of a familiar old friend, anymore, after all these years. Thanx for posting this!

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MARCHMAID 4/17/2011 10:19AM

    What is it in me do you suppose that, even while understanding the beauty and the message of the poem, I end up feeling irritated by it because of the knowledge of other realities?

I used to be more moved and moveable, but color me jaded, tired, lacking in energy or peace or faith with head AND feet stuck in the truth of mud.

Comment edited on: 4/17/2011 8:27:30 PM

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PEACEFULONE 4/16/2011 1:06AM

    Wonderful, Wonderful, what more can I say. Your blogs are such a joy!
emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 4/15/2011 8:57AM

    How amazing when words are STILL capable of capturing thoughts & emotions that seem beyond words... Thank you for sharing!


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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/15/2011 12:55AM

    Feel so blessed to read this and also whenever I have seen blue herons. Thank you for sharing Mahalakshmi! xx

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WALKINGANNIE 4/14/2011 5:24PM

    Thank you dear Maha.


Annie x

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SLASALLE 4/14/2011 2:50PM

    I think they are astounding creatures, with one exception: I don't like it when they come to our water gardens because they can stand in them and just pick off our fish, one by one! And they have tried to twice!! So blue herons are a water gardeners nightmare!!

Now, if I'm on my bike and see them in a river ... I stop and stare, mouth open in awe of their being!!!!

So does that mean I'm fickle?

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CARRAND 4/13/2011 8:25PM

    Beautiful picture for a beautiful poem. I used to look for pictures to illustrate the poems in my collection. I should go back to that.

Carol Maureen is my name.

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FRANCESCANAZ 4/13/2011 7:54PM

    Te amo mujer fenomenal! emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 4/13/2011 6:44PM

    No question, great blue herons are definitely conspiratorial -- in that pronoia sense! I'm always thrilled when I see them, whether stalking frogs or flapping slowly across the sky with their long legs trailing behind them.

Love the poem: thanks, MAHA!!

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GOANNA2 4/13/2011 6:03PM

    Thanks as always for sharing Maha.
Beautiful words and a lovely picture.

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GIRANIMAL 4/13/2011 3:55PM

    LOL, I just had to decide between opening the email to this blog and the email to Rob Brezsny's horoscopes! Love it. (I chose you first, dear!) Also love the blue heron. What a majestic creature.

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DAISY443 4/13/2011 3:45PM

    Beautiful picture, beautiful words!

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VEEJAY3 4/13/2011 3:15PM

    Thank you dear for the education today! I learned a new word: pronoia, and am happy to discover that I suffer from it!!!

You're a treasure.

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JMGLEN62 4/13/2011 2:12PM

    Beautiful picture and poem.

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DMPRIDER 4/13/2011 2:02PM

    Oh, I love herons. Thanks for sharing this!

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    that pic made me happy!

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Have fun, my dears!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tenerife, Easter Islands


The sky
Is a suspended blue ocean.
The stars are the fish
That swim.

The planets are the white whales
I sometimes hitch a ride on,

And the sun and all light
Have forever fused themselves

Into my heart and upon
My skin.

There is only one rule
On this Wild Playground,

For every sign Hafiz has ever seen
Reads the same.

They all say,

"Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,
In the Beloved's Divine

O, in the Beloved's
Wonderful Game."

~ Hafiz ~
(The Subject Tonight Is Love -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLASALLE 4/15/2011 2:38PM

    Now how did I miss this one??? Think I've been a bit busy? Time to slow down and do some more reading!!!

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FRANCESCANAZ 4/13/2011 7:56PM

    Palabras hermosas shared by una mujer hermosa. emoticon

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DARKTHOR 4/13/2011 5:08PM

    Loved it.

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CARRAND 4/12/2011 9:39PM


Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,
In the Beloved's Divine

I always try to have fun.

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GOANNA2 4/12/2011 5:53PM

    Thanks for sharing Maha. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 4/12/2011 2:12PM

    Fun indeed! The universe is in a vast conspiracy to shower blessings upon us!!

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DDOORN 4/12/2011 1:23PM

This poem brought a lovely Chick Corea / Flora Purim song to mind...

Enjoy! :-)


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EMRANA 4/12/2011 12:35PM

  I always love Hafiz. Hadn't seen this one before ~ thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful day, Maha!

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 4/12/2011 11:22AM

    emoticon I came, I saw, I had fun!

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    oh that is pretty!

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PEACEFULONE 4/12/2011 10:37AM

    Fabulous poem! Thank you for sharing dear Maha! Just the encouragement I needed to tackle the day with a smile.
May your day be overflowing with joy and fun!

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JLWOF1 4/12/2011 9:32AM

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

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DAISY443 4/12/2011 8:39AM

    Have fun, indeed, my dear Spark friend! Live, laugh, enjoy!

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The Gift -- take it, it's yours

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Words...naw. Just slowly take Stafford in, as you would a fine wine.

The Gift

Time wants to show you a different country. It's the one
that your life conceals, the one waiting outside
when curtains are drawn, the one Grandmother hinted at
in her crochet design, the one almost found
over at the edge of the music, after the sermon.

It's the way life is, and you have it, a few years given.
You get killed now and then, violated
in various ways. (And sometimes it's turn about.)
You get tired of that. Long-suffering, you wait
and pray, and maybe good things come - maybe
the hurt slackens and you hardly feel it any more.
You have a breath without pain. It is called happiness.

It's a balance, the taking and passing along,
the composting of where you've been and how people
and weather treated you. It's a country where
you already are, bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air, calling,
every morning, "Here, take it, it's yours."

~ William Stafford ~
(The Way It Is)

What does this have to do with wellness and SparkPeople? EVERYTHING!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAYKEEPER 4/19/2011 10:54AM

    Oh... I just love this !

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CORPUSANNIE 4/11/2011 5:04PM

    Put my head just where it needed to be. Love ya as usual, my friend n inspiration!
montie emoticon

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DMPRIDER 4/9/2011 11:10PM

    Beautiful. Thank you.

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EARTHSEAME 4/8/2011 4:52PM


Oh, yes, William.

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SUNNY332 4/8/2011 2:54PM

    I'd say it does.

Thanks for a very good post.


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JESPAH 4/8/2011 8:10AM

    Forgive me, dolling, but I saw the title and I thought of this song immediately:

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JUSTBIRDY 4/8/2011 1:12AM


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EVWINGS 4/7/2011 6:12PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am so loving his wordsmithing. emoticon

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NONIE_C 4/7/2011 12:41AM

    And what a gift it is!!!
Thank you for sharing emoticon

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/7/2011 12:29AM

    This poem made me feel so thankful for health and wellbeing, Mahalakshmi. emoticon
Usha xx

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CARRAND 4/6/2011 8:57PM

    Great stuff!

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STLRZGRRL 4/6/2011 8:20PM


YOU beat me to it, Woman!

I'm gettin' there... I'm GETTIN' there... let me have some fun with mah little pinprick o' illumination I'm ambling towards...

I LOVE this, btw...

and you, too, but you know that...

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WATERMELLEN 4/6/2011 8:15PM

    "The composting of where you've been and how people
and weather treated you": yeah, at my age I can relate to that. Sometimes say that being a parent is pretty much being the compost in which the new generation can flourish!!

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FRANCESCANAZ 4/6/2011 8:03PM

    emoticon I'll take it!

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SLASALLE 4/6/2011 7:00PM

    Here you go again!!! But that's a GOOD THING!!! :-) Another poet I am unfamiliar with, until now (and you), of course!

As always, thanks for sharing!


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GOANNA2 4/6/2011 5:07PM

    Wonderful words. Thank you. emoticon

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PENNYAN45 4/6/2011 12:50PM

    His words weave a rich tapestry of images - all representing what makes up our lives and what we bring with us to each precious day that is given to us.
Truly beautiful!


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    absolutely beautiful

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SUCHAHOOT 4/6/2011 9:37AM

    Very timely. I hope you are well and enjoying this sunshine. Knowing you, I can be certain of it!

Happy Day to you!

"Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air, calling,
every morning, "Here, take it, it's yours." " Beautiful.

As always, thank you for taking the time to share this.

Comment edited on: 4/6/2011 9:38:15 AM

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MISS_VIV 4/6/2011 9:14AM

    MAHA, you always find the ones that ring the bells, set off the alarm and bring us to our senses.


Big hugs

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EMRANA 4/6/2011 9:07AM

  OOH I love that ~ composting of where you've been. Not the end of anything, but the energy evolving into something new.


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DDOORN 4/6/2011 8:51AM

    Wonderful thoughts...often I struggle, feeling that I'm not using the gift of my time wisely enough...


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Cardio and stretching with photos

Sunday, April 03, 2011

My preferred cardio is bicycling (oh! that I could regularly achieve five days of one hour of cycling each-and-every week) and my preferred stretching is hatha yoga (my goal is at least a 1/2-hr. daily practice). The third piece of the *movement* equation is strength training, which I'm inconsistent about and need to add lower body strength training to, for a total of 40 minutes, three times per week. I'm planning to transition from free weights to resistance band strength-training in light of my summer trip to South America.

I got a friend to snap a couple of photos sporting my new Specialized helmet, to which I added a VERY useful clip-on mirror.



Besides my home practice, I have taken classes since 1998 at Cedar Rock Yoga with Anne, who has been an Iyengar-certified instructor since 1991. Having taken yoga from many different instructors of many different traditions, I can say with certainty that Anne is a gifted teacher. Teacher-trainee Sharon, who also teaches at the studio, exhibits great promise as a teacher and is working toward certification.

I must say that "stretching" is the least of the benefits of a regular yoga practice! This is excerpted from Anne's website about Iyengar yoga:

"The poses are designed to affect every part of the body. Every part is stimulated for promoting better circulation, which is the key to improving the immune system. When our bodies are physically stronger, it is reflected mentally and emotionally. When we are more flexible, not only can we move better, but our mental attitudes are also more flexible. Yoga helps bring this balance with strength and flexibility.

"A knowledge of anatomy and kinetics is important when doing yoga, especially when it is for therapeutic purposes, to aid in healing and to help prevent injuries. Maintaining the proper alignment of the spine and joints is critical for the health of the spinal cord, discs and nervous system, and the integrity of the joints and surrounding muscles.

"Strength is required to support the framework (bones) of the body and of course the internal organs. Flexibility is required so we can move the muscles that move the bones. Without adequate strength and flexibility, not only would we not be able to move, we would not be able to breathe, since the muscles of respiration must also be strong and supple."

Here are some photos of the studio, teachers, and students taken Friday afternoon and yesterday (Saturday morning):

Turning off of Scenic Hill Rd. into the driveway of Cedar Rock Studio (see the studio in the background?)

Anne owns the beautiful studio that her husband Hans primarily built

Becky, who I've known for most of the time I've attended classes there, with the studio in the background (a bank of azalea bushes borders the studio)

Walking up the driveway to the studio

Walking on the other side of the studio -- see the tulips

The windows and French doors as seen from the inside

Upon arriving early for a restorative yoga class (thus all the props on-hand) taught by Sharon Friday evening, I asked her to do a favorite asana and she chose virasana to supta virasana:

And look at Cory's fabulous bridge prep to full execution (from setu bandha to urdhva dhanurasana):

And Becky's triangle-to-half-moon (uthita trikonasana to ardha chandrasana):

Sharon demonstrating a restorative asana:

(with a reflection of the manipura chakra piece on Sharon's hand)

Janet, another longtime student of Anne's whose sister Debra, also a student of Anne's, created all the stained glass pieces in the studio

YES! As Ellen said, praise be to the new moon, which reaches its zenith in about 1/2 hr. (10:30am Eastern time, April 3, 2011). BTW, this is my very fav of the pieces in Anne's studio, but I couldn't afford it, and the crown chakra is fabulous too, and affordable!

Tonight, the New Moon Sisters gather on a friend's 75-acre farm. We will celebrate, commune, break bread, drum, and sit around the bonfire, burning things it's time to let go of.

Anne and Hans are avid gardeners; Anne does most of the flower tending and Hans cultivates fabulous vegetable gardens. What you see of the grounds is barely the "tip of the iceburg," e.g., by next week the bank of azeleas (see the above outdoor pic with Becky) is going to be bursting with bloom:

Winter greens

My pics of the following four chakra pieces aren't large and well-defined enough to absorb the beauty, but here's a glimpse anyway:

Solar Plexus Center (Manipura)

Just below the navel, the Sacral Center (Svadishana)

Heart Center (Anahata)

Throat Chakra (Visuddha)

Here's a closer look at one, the Crown Center (Sahasrara, known as the Thousand-Petaled Lotus), one of which I gifted myself for Christmas from Debra

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Oh, so lovely. I see why you're drawn to practice in such a place. I practiced Iyengar yoga eons ago and was never fitter (mind, body, spirit). Hmmmm... I do believe you are inspiring me... again.

Check that mirror of yours... I'm behind you on the path (metaphorically speaking -- not in the stalker variety, lol)...


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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/4/2011 11:55PM

    The whole place and grounds are like an invitation to unfold into your true nature. Exquisite. I can see why you love going there.
And that mirror on the bike helmet is a cool idea to increase road safety.
So much beauty of form and function!

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PELESJEWEL 4/4/2011 10:22PM

    emoticon Maha, what a beautiful blog! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us! My bear drum for Taos want to join your drum circle! Woot!

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GIRANIMAL 4/4/2011 4:22PM

    Thanks for sharing so much beauty - the studio, the art work, the bike...and YOU!

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BUNNYCATS 4/4/2011 5:18AM

    Thanks for sharing the beauty and the serenity. emoticon emoticon Namaste

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REYVE01 4/3/2011 7:20PM

    I can't wait to try yoga.... great blog. Love blogs with pictures.

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CARRAND 4/3/2011 6:24PM

    I am just getting started with yoga, and I love it already. I'm gaining strength, stability and stretching with some spirituality, too.

I love the yoga studio with the beautiful stained glass.

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    Love all that! You go, girlfriend! Trip to So. Am.? Bet it is hard to wait!

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LYNNANN43 4/3/2011 12:00PM

    I feel restored just reading/viewing your blog, MAHA!

I'm going to close my eyes and place myself in that gorgeous studio now:-)


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EMRANA 4/3/2011 11:16AM

  Oh my goodness, where do I even start to comment?!

I love those rituals with fire. Burning things has been so therapeutic for me in my life. To do it coinciding with a new moon is perfection.

That studio is beyond wonderful. If I owned it, I would never want to leave. Add a couple of indoor wandering cats, and it would be a complete dream come true. (I guess you couldn't do that since some have allergies though).

I was especially struck with the half moon photo. It used to be one of my favorite poses and I haven't worked far enough back from injury to be able to do it yet. I'll start on the wall as I first learned before moving away. But ooooohhhhh....I love half moon.

Also love Sharon's woven mat. I don't like sticky mats so mine is woven too.

Aaaahhhh....could go on for a long time. Such a magnificent post!

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SLASALLE 4/3/2011 11:10AM

    Wow!!!! I LOVE the calalily (sp?) stained glass piece (Beth's favorite flower). What a beautiful spot to have yoga classes!!!

Thanks for sharing ... as always!

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MISS_VIV 4/3/2011 10:52AM

    I can hardly breathe - it is so gorgeous. The space you have around you. So calming and creative thought inducing area surrounding the studio. Totally in awe. emoticon

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KATFERRIS123 4/3/2011 10:13AM

    Wow! Great story, and inspiring pics, thx for sharing, I need to get a bike and attach it to the back of my big truck. Walking has helped, but I would really love to ride instead. Have a wonderful day! emoticon

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DDOORN 4/3/2011 9:01AM

    Thx for sharing such great pics! My massage therapist sister never ceases to drill into everyone: stretch, stretch and MORE stretch! Can't do too much, according to her...!


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WATERMELLEN 4/3/2011 8:50AM

    Glorious photos -- love the space in which you practice yoga, with the generous windows, the tulips outside and the stained glass pieces (including a new moon) illuminating everything!!

And: that mirror on your helmet is totally nifty! What a good idea!! You look so healthy and happy and centered!!

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JESPAH 4/3/2011 7:48AM

    Ah, such beauty.

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SUNNY332 4/3/2011 7:39AM

    How nice. Thanks for sharing.

What a beautiful location and lovely Yoga Studio.

Have a Blessed Day.


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GOANNA2 4/3/2011 5:40AM

    Your pictures always tell a story.
They are wonderful. emoticon

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    Nice photos!

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    your pictures are fantastic!

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NONIE_C 4/3/2011 2:23AM


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