Tag Archives: June 2012


“Greatness isn’t something you should always be chasing. There’s greatness within all of us, and I think that’s what we forget,” ~ Brad Meltzer

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“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

As a reminder, in response to my reader’s feedback, as well as my own “2012 Intention” to spend less time glued to the computer, I have shortened the newsletter format by eliminating the “Featured Deck and Quote” section, and changing the timing of my newsletter to every two months versus every month.

I continue to stock and sell one of my absolute favorite decks from local artist, Suzanne Vadnais Monson on my product page: https://betterdayyoga.com/products!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.


Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“Greatness isn’t something you should always be chasing. There’s greatness within all of us, and I think that’s what we forget,” ~ Brad Meltzer

My last newsletter focused on magic and suggested remembering a magical character you loved as a child. It’s ingrained in our society at a very young age to look up to a hero/heroin in our life. I’ve dwelled on the concept of heroes before. I even gave a speech once in college on the importance of heroes. The lessons brought to us through our heroes are lessons we need to learn, and what better way than via someone we hold in high esteem?

Who do you hold in high esteem? How about yourself?

“Self-esteem is the immune system of the mind and of the spirit.” ~ Lee Pulos, psychologist, entrepreneur and author

As important as the lessons you learn from the heroes in your life, it’s even more important to realize that the real hero in your life is YOU. The longest relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. Do you look up to yourself? Do you place value in your own advice—better known as your intuition, your gut, or your instincts? How well do you know yourself? Discover your own truth. Discover the hero that resides within.

We often forget that the heroes we look up to are just as real as we are—ordinary people who rose to the occasion. They’re not all comic strip characters, are they?  If they are, well that’s another story! Hopefully, deep down you realize you look up to the characteristics of their moral code.

When cuing Virabhadrasana (Warrior) poses, in particular Warrior II, I often remind my students that Virabhadrasana loosely translates to mean hero. I use the gazing point / drishti for the pose as a focal point to focus on an important goal or intention and suggest that each student “be their own hero” and make their intentions and dreams come true by single-mindedly focusing upon it. Sometimes I include a pulse up and down with the front leg straight and then bent again as you simultaneously raise the arms overhead and then drop them down again—all the while holding your gaze in the same spot over where the front hand’s fingers are pointing toward.  It’s a sort of “calling out” your goals and intentions reminding them you have them in your sites and nothing is going to stop you from attaining them. What you focus on expands, and if done during your meditative, relaxing yoga practice, studies show that you are more receptive to affirmations and intentions. (http://ezinearticles.com/?Practicing-Meditation-and-Affirmations&id=6446268 )

I like to make my cues self-empowering, fostering a belief in oneself. With this in mind, it’s no wonder I was attracted to a compelling article in USA Today by Brian Truitt that re-ignited my curiosity in the subject of heroes once more.

The article was about Brad Meltzer’s website and the t-shirts Brad designed to celebrate six icons. The name of the website hints at the powerful message—ordinary people change the world!

There’s Muhammad Ali’s t-shirt with the phrase “I will never apologize for who I am.” There’s Amelia Earhart with the quote “I know no bounds.” Eleanor Roosevelt’s t-shirt says “I know that an open hand is more powerful than a closed fist.” George Washington’s shirt says “My faith is not just in my country—it’s in us.”

He had me at Lucille Ball. Everyone loves Lucy, don’t they? The front of Lucille Ball’s T-shirt is a cartoon character of Lucille Ball (Brad Meltzer is, among other things, a comic-book writer), and the back is the quote“I know humor can take on anything.”

I’ve read that she found escape from a troubled childhood by entertaining people after she lost her father at the age of three. Troubled childhood? Who knew?  I didn’t know her mother had remarried to a man not fond of children and had Lucy sent to his parents to live while her younger brother was sent to her mom’s parents.  (For the full bio, please see http://www.biography.com/people/lucille-ball-9196958.) She also lived with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis from the time she was diagnosed at 17.

We rarely hear about her rough start in life. She didn’t let it bring her down. Her shows are still watched by millions of viewers yet today, and “her ground-breaking work in the area of comedy paved the way for future stars such as Mary Tyler Moore, Penny Marshall, Cybill Shepard, even Robin Williams.

Her genius did not go unrecognized. During its six-year run, I Love Lucy‘s success was unmatched. For four of its seasons, the sitcom was the number one show in the country. In 1953 the programmed captured an unheard of 67.3 audience share, which included a 71.1 rating for the episode that featured Little Ricky’s birth, a turnout that surpassed the television viewing for President Eisenhower’s inauguration ceremonies.” http://www.biography.com/people/lucille-ball-9196958.

You say you’re a fan of Star Trek and Mission Impossible? Her production company, DesiLu produced the original series. I could go on, but the point is this—she was her own hero. Rest assured, you can do that too! Don’t believe me? I understand that can be a tall order if you haven’t worked up to it. So work up to it!

I’m reading an excellent book right now by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer called Wishes Fulfilled. He uses the quote by Henry David Thoreau—“I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” He dwells on the use of the word “imagined” and suggests that this is your sacred, creative space. Never place anything in your imagination that you don’t want to materialize. If you start to notice yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, he suggests you put up a “do not disturb” sign and keep those thoughts out. He reminds you that your imagination is yours and yours alone.

I’ve often quoted Albert Einstein. He is known for the saying “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Dr. Dyer uses another one that’s appropriate: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Envision your everywhere. What does your “everywhere” mean to you?

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne introduced me to the fact that the words “I am” are the two most powerful words in the Universe because whatever you place after those words dictates who you believe you are and who you in fact become. Wayne Dyer uses the “I am” teachings heavily in this book reminding us that in the bible, God tells us his name is “I am that I am.” He so eloquently points out that “Every time you put a non-God descriptor after I am, you negate your Divine nature. The words I am are your sacred identification as God—your highest self.”  Check out your inner voice. What kind of descriptors do you put after the words “I am”? Remember you can “work up to it”. None of us are perfect! Take the opportunity to laugh at yourself from time to time as you continue to do the “work”. Soon you’ll be to the point where you won’t doubt your inner greatness and all of your “I am” messages will be just what you mean them to be.

So embody Lucille Ball’s mantra for life and know that humor can take on anything. Perhaps it’s when you are least inclined to laugh that you need to the most. I like the quote: “The inside you needs the outside you to take care of you.” I’ve used it often in my classes, but am not taking credit for the quote. Some wonderful soul gave it to me. I just can’t locate the source.

Not only is it healthy to learn to laugh at yourself, it’s very healthy to learn to laugh whenever you can; and if you can’t, fake it. There’s healing in laughter. “…laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.” http://www.holisticonline.com/Humor_Therapy/humor_therapy_benefits.htm

Have you tried a laughter yoga class before? “I went to a seminar on laughter yoga, and I felt elated for hours later. I didn’t have any pain,” When you combine laughter and breathing, there’s healing there. ~ Jody Ross, certified yoga laughter leader. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/06/laughter-yoga-benefits_n_1478960.html?ref=healthy-living

Looking back on your life, what was something that came to you as a negative, but helped you develop one of your best skills?

Did the back injury bring you to a career in healing that makes you happier than you’ve ever been? Did the failed business bring you to a crossroads that changed your direction into a better opportunity? Did losing your job open up an opportunity to go back to school for what you really want to do? Did the love of your life leaving you make you realize loving yourself can carry you through?

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison.

Just as the oyster polishes the grain of sand into a pearl and the piece of polished coal becomes a diamond, your life lessons can be used to catapult you into finding something greater, or they can beat you down—only you decide—no one else. Be your own hero! Live your life and overcome any trials, discomfort or pain!

When you are focused on what’s inside of you, your core, you gather your inner reserve and can accomplish whatever you set your mind on. You can achieve balance, in physical yoga postures as in life, by one-pointed focus on your core power. If you’ve had a stressful day (week, month, year), balance will be illusive—both physically and mentally.

Single-minded focus on a spot (goal/intention) that doesn’t move (drishti), and adding extra root lift/lock (mula bhanda) and belly lock (uddiyana bhanda) adds more groundedness.


Single-minded focus on your goal or intention with extra emphasis on connecting to your inner guidance and your special talents will keep you grounded. Finding out what your special talents are is your personal mission. Getting to know yourself and setting meaningful personal goals and intentions is a continual life-time process. That’s a yoga lesson from the mat.

It is through your own “hero’s journey” that you become your own hero. “According to folklorists and other narrative scholars, the hero’s journey forms the basic template for all great stories. Described at length in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the hero’s journey serves as the tale every culture tells. The journey’s path is described variously, but in general it includes the call to adventure, a supernatural aide or mentor, initiation by trials and adventures, victory, and return. Many fiction- and screen-writing courses focus on the hero’s journey, and its universality can easily be seen in fairy tales and other traditional tales (like Moses and the Prodigal son in the bible), as well as in such popular culture offerings as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and George Lucas’ Star Wars.” http://www.cramster.com/definitions/heros-journey/553.

What is your “call to adventure”? What has been your initiation by trial? Write your own great story. Find your own victory. Inspire yourself. Discover your own truth. Laugh when you want to cry, believe in your own power—the power of one:

“When you realize your own magnificence, you will attract magnificence into your life.” ~ Anita Moorjani
(From the book, Wishes Fulfilled. Mastering The Art of Manifesting. By Dr. Wayne Dyer.)


Hero / Heroin Pose / (Sanskrit term: Virasana)

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Empower Your Yoga Practice
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I chose this pose to highlight the opening theme about “being your own hero”.  This pose is also used as a meditation posture which makes it a perfect pose to meditate on being your own hero.


  • Improves circulation to the pelvis and in the feet
  • Loosens thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Strengthens the arches—in particular the transverse arch
  • Improves digestion and relieves gas
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Reduces swelling of the legs during pregnancy (through second trimester). *Note contraindication below.
  • Counterbalances hip-opening postures
  • Calms the brain for meditation
  • Alleviates high blood pressure
  • Therapeutic for asthma

Propped version benefits using rolled blankets and a block or bolsters:

  • Reduces stiffness in the hip joints
  • Reduces inflammation in the blood vessels caused by standing for long periods
  • Alleviates pain or inflammation in the knees and tones knee cartilage
  • Relieves gout and rheumatic pain
  • Tones the hamstring muscles
  • Strengthens the arches of the feet, and relieves pain in the calves, ankles and heels

Contraindications & Cautions:

  • Knee or ankle injury
  • Total hip replacement
  • Heart problems
  • Avoid practicing this asana if you have a headache, migraine, or diarrhea.
  • Do not stay in this pose for more than three to five breaths if you suffer from varicose veins in your legs.
  • Some women in the last trimester of pregnancy find that their knee ligaments are too loose for them to practice comfortably, or that their thighs or lower legs are too swollen or them to enjoy the pose for more than just a couple of breaths.

“Hero-Heroine Pose is a paradox. Although it is not recommended for those who have any variety of knee injuries or undiagnosed knee pain, many students have found that it can help cure these very dysfunctions. Therefore, if you have significant knee pain or a knee injury, then practice this pose only under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.” 30 Essential Yoga Poses For Beginning Students and Their Teachers, by Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.

On a more personal note, my original 200-hour training through YogaFit® does not practice hero pose. I was introduced to hero’s pose more in-depth during my second 200-hour training with TeriLeigh, LLC. TeriLeigh had been hit by a car while walking across the street, which badly injured her knees. She started with hero’s pose using several blocks and gradually lowered herself down. Per TeriLeigh, her doctor was amazed at how quickly her knees healed. Enough said. “Practiced safely, this is an excellent pose for the knees.” ~ TeriLeigh.

Before going into hero’s pose, always warm-up with a few sun salutations, standing poses and forward folds. If you experience cramping in the legs while doing this pose, stretch out into staff pose (seated with the legs out stretched out straight and heels flexed.)

Alignment Cues:  Start by kneeling on all fours on the floor. Place your feet angled slightly wider than your hips and bring your knees together, if possible; or allow for some space between the knees for comfort, if necessary.

I like to err on the side of caution, so I recommend that all of my students automatically start with two four-inch blocks stacked one over the other and placed with the long side of the blocks perpendicular to the shins and in-between the legs. Experiment with the block’s position to be either parallel or perpendicular to the shins for comfort and support, making sure the sits bones (the bony part of the buttocks you feel when you sit on a hard surface) are evenly supported on the block. Then have a three-inch block handy to replace one or both of the four-inch blocks for increased sensation. For those who have really tight hips, or really tender knees, I suggest you add the three-inch block to the stack, or perhaps a third four-inch block to your initial stack. Have extra blocks and/or blankets handy if you need more height, or want a softer seat. You can always pull blocks out for more sensation.

Also consider the following precautions before you go into the seated position:

Before you go into a seated position, sit half-way down and grab the calves of each leg with each hand and roll them out and away from the knees to allow for a deeper seat with the calves out of the way.

Some versions suggest pulling the calf muscles from the top near the knee down toward the ankles. I prefer rolling them out and away. Once seated, your big and little toes will stay in the same plane, i.e., even left to right. One is not above or below the other, the toes are pointing straight back, and the soles of the feet are facing the ceiling. This means the tops of your feet will rest on the floor (or blanket prop—see below). Sometimes it helps to place the palms of the hands onto the outer edges of the feet and gently push on the pinky toe side of the foot if the pinkies are floating up, realigning the pinkies into the same plane as the big toes. The buttocks will rest between the heels.

It is very important that the sits bones make contact with the blocks evenly left to right. If they are not making contact, it is imperative you add another block until they do. Once in the pose, you’ll feel sensation. You want sensation, right? Otherwise why are you doing the pose? It’s what I refer to as a crescendo-ing sensation that you don’t want. You don’t want a building sensation. The sensation should be a mellow stretch, in my opinion.

One last thing, before you go into the pose:  Know that you can come out of the pose whenever you start to feel like you are in discomfort, or you’ve had enough (which is true in general, but I like to stress that for this pose since so many of my students are very protective of their knees.)

Sit with the chest stretched out, the top of the sternum lifted, collar bones wide, and the palms resting on the thighs. You are simultaneously rooting down through the pelvis and rising up through the spine. I love the dual energies creating length and expression in the pose.

Typically, a beginner will stay in the pose for only a short time, 30-60 seconds. This pose is also used as a meditation posture so you can work up to sitting for longer periods. I often review Donna Eden’s “four thumps” from her book, Energy Medicine, while my students are in hero’s pose. 

For a deeper pose: Once you have mastered the above pose and require no props below the sits bones, you can advance to Reclining Hero’s Pose / Supta Virasana (not shown). Since I do not practice this version, I won’t be going into the details here.

Add a prop:  I’ve already discussed using blocks at the get-go. Here are some extra props for ankle comfort and more knee comfort.

  • Add a folded blanket on the mat underneath the whole base of the pose, and add an extra washcloth folded under each knee as well as a rolled blanket for the ankles to rest on. The block below is pictured perpendicular to where the shins would fall. That worked best for me, here. So long as your sits bones are evenly supported on the block, you’re good. Experiment with the block being parallel or perpendicular for comfort and support.

  • Alternatively, you can place two bolsters parallel to each other as the “base” support in lieu of the folded blanket on the mat. This also takes the place of needing a blanket to rest the ankles on. Kneel on the bolsters and add a rolled blanket on your shins. Also add a folded blanket to sit on instead of a block or blocks between the legs. I’m thinking a block on the bolsters wouldn’t work as well on a soft surface. (Not Shown.)

To come out of the pose lift up evenly with hands pushed onto the floor and carefully navigate around the props to stretch the legs out in front of you. It feels good to bounce the legs a few times, if you like.

Spiritual aspects of Hero’s pose: This pose is named after the hero within each of us. In this pose, it is imperative that you create your own personal foundation. It takes personal knowledge of both your temperament as well as your physical limitations to practice Hero’s Pose safely. Many want to run from any sensation, preferring to stay where they are. Discomfort is unavoidable in life so learning how to safely work with your discomforts, your ups and downs, enables you to live your life and overcome the discomforts. Hero’s pose invites you to know the truth for yourself.

“Find the answer in your own words. Ground yourself in the foundation of your own experience. You cannot know something until you discover it for yourself.” ~ Yoga path Cards by Susan Woldman

This pose demands that you be humble in your approach keeping your limitations and requirements in mind, yet noble as you hold the pose reflecting the hero within.

Image Credit:



  • http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/490
  • 30 Essential Yoga Poses For Beginning Students and Their Teachers, by Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.
  • Yoga for Arthritis by Loren Fishman, MD, an Ellen Saltonstall
  • Anatomy of Yoga, An Instructor’s Inside Guide to Improving Your Poses, by Dr. Abigail Ellsworth
  • B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga The Path to Holistic Health. The definitive illustrated guide by the world’s leading yoga teacher, by B.K.S. Iyengar

Strike a Match

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magic of Yoga and Meditation
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Strike a Match

The solar plexus chakra highlighted in this newsletter is associated with the element of fire. Flame meditations are good ways to start your practice at home. Always use caution when working with an open flame!

Using a match to start has the added benefit of limiting your practice time as a beginning student who might be overzealous in want to try it for too long a period to start.

Exercise:  Strike a match* and hold it a foot away from you and look at the flame.  Be aware of the flame.  As with an eating meditation, focus your full attention on it.  I’ve heard this type of focus being similar to immersing yourself into the flame as you would with your ears listening to a piece of music. With intent focus, experience the flame so deeply that you become one with it.  That most likely won’t happen on the first try, but it is your goal.

You can do the same exercise, when you are ready for longer meditation time, with a candle.  Place the candle on a table about two feet away from you at eye level.  *Make sure you have a fire-proof place to drop your match quickly and make sure the surrounding area is fire-proof as well!

My June 2011 newsletter mentioned using fire as a way to initiate new changes or let go of what you no longer need. Write a list of things you’re afraid of or that you feel is holding you back.  Then drown the fears and limitations by immersing the list in water, burning the list, or burying it into the earth. You can also tear the

If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes.  Visit my Web-site, www.betterdayyoga.com for details.


Chakra: Solar Plexus (Sanskrit term: Manipura)

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Chakrascope ~ Your Vital Energy Centers, Newsletter
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If you are familiar with chakras, then you can tell from my logo that I love chakras.  The rainbow-colored spheres within my logo are representative of the chakra system within the body.

If you are unfamiliar, here’s a quick lesson:  There are seven energy centers called chakras (literally “wheels”) that store energy/life force/prana.  They are along the spinal column and correlate to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column.  Each has a different relationship to a gland in the body’s endocrine system.  Each stimulates different organs and systems in the body.  Hatha Yoga activates these energy centers releasing the energy that flows through the spine.  Yoga helps these energy centers/nerve bundles to function correctly clearing blocks that may be there.  Each chakra also is associated with a mental/emotional focus.  In each newsletter I’ll highlight how you can work with a particular chakra to correspond with the season.

Image Credit:  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Manipura.png


The theme of this newsletter has been on being your own hero—being your own power. Since the third chakra is known as your power base, it’s the focus here. (The “Healthy News” section below also highlights the importance of a strong third chakra for overcoming eating disorders.)

Your solar plexus energy center is where you house the power of your will. One of my favorite affirmations for the third chakra is:  “I use the power of my will to obtain the results I want”. Your solar plexus chakra contains your sense of self and who you define yourself to be.

The opening section introduced you to the idea that your imagination is your sacred creative space. Since the solar plexus chakra holds the energy of who you imagine yourself to be, it is also the source of your imagination. Since the solar plexus chakra is where you will your life into being, it holds your future and it holds your desires for what you want your future to look like.

The opening section also reminded you of the power of the words “I am” and the descriptors that follow when you describe yourself. The solar plexus chakra “is forged with the energies: ‘This is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is how I want to be seen.’ Energy Medicine by Donna Eden.

Donna Eden’s book points out the organs housed within the solar plexus chakra and the emotions attributed to each:  Emotions such as fear and caution go to the kidneys which detect toxins in your bloodstream, self-protective anger goes to the liver which breaks down whatever is harmful to your system, panic responses mobilizing you in a crisis are the adrenals domain, and assimilation of what you can embrace belong to the pancreas. The diaphragm is the final organ described as being the prototype for grief and finding closure with whatever is passing out of your life—since it sends stale air out from the body.  The following chart is also a great pictorial on emotions and how they manifest in the body. It came to me via a friend on Facebook:

Image Credit:  http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/546763_382909931729513_201564283197413_1251854_1990063845_n.jpg


Donna Eden adds that while all of these emotions shape our identity, we can’t forget about our family and culture. Outside influences—our parents, our friends, our acquaintances and social expectations—impact our identity as well. Here is where we can put into use Wayne Dyer’s suggestion to put a “Do Not Distrub” sign in our imagination (housed in our solar plexus chakra) and guard it as sacred ground. Re-read the bolded emotions in the above paragraph and determine that you need to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign over your solar plexus chakra.

The solar plexus lies at our gut—our center. So any offending emotions and influences hit us “where we live,” so to speak. The healthy news section below reminds us of the importance of a strong solar plexus chakra in overcoming eating disorders—social expectations hit us where we live. Again—”Do Not Disturb” becomes the appropriate mantra. “I AM” followed by strong, independent, healthy adjectives and descriptors becomes your antidote to societal and family expectations. Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” reminds of the “all purpose” mantra using the powerful words “I AM” as the opener:  “I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving harmonious, and happy!” Use it!

Another new perspective on the third chakra introduced to me in Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine book is that of a “belt flow” which separates the second and third chakras:  “The energy of the second chakra can be cut off from that of the third chakra, as well as the others above it. There is an energy between the second and third chakras called the belt flow… The belt flow, which goes around the waist, can become like a huge wall above the second chakra that cuts off the second chakra’s spontaneity, trust, and faith. When this happens, as it frequently does in Western cultures, the person may be tormented by merciless self-hatred, a desecration that often originates in the third chakra’s attempt to shape an identity that differs vastly from the natural child of the second chakra. Once the connection between the second and third chakra is opened, energy rises, knowledge about a truer, gentler self can filter up, and self-condemnation and self-hatred begin to dissolve in that knowledge.”

The “belt flow” reminds me of the granthis—in particular the brahma granthi. I’ve read that some texts locate this granthi or “lock” at the navel—or the solar plexus chakra. There are three granthis or “knots”. They are locks within the body that bind energy. The brahma granthi is the first knot we must unlock if we are to free the energies stored there and achieve all that we are meant to be. “Known as the knot of names and forms, the world of ambitions and desires..” The Chakra Bible by Patricia Mercier. This lock sounds like the third chakra gone awry, or perhaps the belt flow, doesn’t it?

The Chakra Bible referenced above, suggests withdrawing from the world of senses and practicing visualization and meditation, along with right living (practicing the Yamas and Niyamas https://betterdayyoga.com/tag/july-2011 ) as a way to begin to undo this knot. Again this speaks to the importance of our imagination as mentioned earlier. Visualizing while meditating strikes me as a great way to describe active use of our imagination to will our desired destiny into being, don’t you think?

The solar plexus chakra is associated with the element of fire. Fire represents the power of transformation. Free the energies stopping you from being all that you can be by realizing your inner radiance, your inner hero, your inner fire. Claiming your inner fire, your power, can be scary. There are no guarantees in life—risk is part of taking your power. All the lights won’t be green on your journey. Develop your inner power by taking appropriate risks in honor of your inner hero.

Image Credit: 


Fire energy can burn out of control, however, and I think Donna Eden’s caution to not forget the “creative innocence and natural child” of our second chakra is an important one. An imbalanced solar plexus chakra expresses a competitive, egotistical, stubborn, controlling nature. Keep your ego under wraps with appreciation of the hero within vs. the villain within. Let the “kinder, gentler self filter up”. Since the solar plexus chakra is associated with the fire element, you can add the water element to soften any out of control fires. Breathwork practices (like the ones I highlight below and in all of my newsletters) are a great place to start. Taking some time off to be still, whether it’s an extended vacation, or a few minutes each hour, will go a long way toward soothing too much fire energy. Of course, a meditation practice is always a great idea. Check out some of my “Meditation On the Go” sections for some ideas on how to add meditative practices to your life, or perhaps consider signing up for one of my meditation workshops.

This is one of my favorite affirmations for the third chakra taken from The Prosperity Bible: The Greatest Writings of All Time On The Secrets to Wealth And Prosperity:  “I can succeed. All that is available to anyone is available to me. I am successful. I do succeed because I am full of the power of success.”  Bring all that you desire to be into fruition using the solar plexus energies of fire, will, and imagination.

Breathwork and Visualization from Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine book: 

“Holding and Cradling a Chakra:

Feeling thankful is good for your health. Having gratitude lifts your energy, and you can single out any or all chakras for channeling in your gratitude and thanksgiving. For instance, hold your hands over your third chakra, bring your elbows to the sides of your body, and hug and cradle the third chakra like a baby. Bring your mind’s eye into the chakra and breathe deeply. Send thanksgiving and gratitude. Your body responds when you treat it like the holy vessel that it is. Be open to whatever you experience. The solar plexus chakra is so overactive in our culture that it is a good chakra to use in learning this technique. Especially when you are feeling tormented by an inner voice scolding you about what you should do, or did wrong, cradle your solar plexus, rocking it like a baby as if rocking it to sleep. I make a “Shhh” sound as if to calm the baby. The forces that cause you to judge yourself, or another, helped you survive, and you can sincerely feel gratitude toward your third chakra. This makes the chakra less reactive, helping it evolve and support you in feeling more centered and confident. You can cradle and express gratitude toward any chakra in this way and it will respond.”

Source:  Energy Medicine: Balancing Your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality by Donna Eden with David Feinstien, Ph.D.

Another quick breathwork: “Breathing in” sunlight is an excellent way to activate the Solar Plexus Chakra. (The Chakra Bible by Patricia Mercier.)


  • I can succeed. All that is available to anyone is available to me. I am successful. I do succeed because I am full of the power of success.
  • I use the power of my will to obtain the results I want.
  • I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, and happy!
  • I know humor can take on anything.
  • I deeply love and approve of who I am.
  • I am worthy of my own-self-love.
  • I love and respect myself at all times.
  • I trust in love.
  • I trust my worthiness.
  • I am worth my weight in gold.
  • There are no failures. I learn from everything I do.
  • I believe that everything is for my highest good and greatest joy.
  • I love life.
  • I listen to and trust my deepest insights.
  • I am worthy of the very best in life.
  • I release judgment and let my life flow.
  • I am my own hero!

(Also see the Favorite Yoga Music section below for the link to the PDF of affirmations from Steve Halpern’s Self Esteem CD.)



The Prosperity Bible: The Greatest Writings of All Time On The Secrets to Wealth And Prosperity

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne


Diet and Solar Plexus Chakra: 

  • Granola and Grains: pastas, breads, cereal, rices, flax seed, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Dairy: milk, cheeses, yogurt
  • Spices: ginger, mints (peppermint, spearmint, etc.), melissa, chamomile, turmeric, cumin, fennel

Source:  http://healing.about.com/od/spiritualdiets/a/chakrafoods.htm

Aromatherapy and Solar Plexus Chakra:

Juniper, Clary Sage, Geranium

Young Living Essential Oils™ for the Solar Plexus Chakra :

Solar Plexus Chakra (Spleen) / “I CAN” /
Element: FIRE
As this chakra has to do with your gut instinct, power and control,
oils that will help to balance and open this chakra are Juniper,
Surrender, Release, Sacred Mountain, and Dream Catcher.  Rub one drop
in clockwise direction on stomach (upper abdomen), rub hands together
and inhale 3x.


If aromatherapy interests you, I use Young Living Essential Oils™ which are therapeutic, food-grade oils.  Please inquire if you are interested in purchasing a favorite scent and I can add your request to my personal monthly order.  Essential oils raise the vibrational frequency of the body. When the vibrational frequency of the body drops, we become more receptive to ill health: http://justalist.blogspot.com/2008/03/vibrational-frequency-list.html. Therapeutic-grade essential oils are great to have in your arsenal of health promoting natural products.

Gem therapy and the Solar Plexus Chakra: 

Gemstones amplify the energy when placed in contact with your chakras.  For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy.  Nothing is really solid.  Why wouldn’t the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies?  At the very least, I find that holding a favorite stone is like a talisman for me, or a “worry stone”.  As my favorite author, Wayne Dyer, likes to say, “If it’s a placebo effect, I’ll take two”.

Some Solar Plexus Chakra gems are:  topaz, yellow tourmaline, citrine

If gem therapy interests you, you can find a great selection at www.crystallinelight.com or you can also link to her Web site from my links page at www.betterdayyoga.com.  I’ve known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products (and her)!

Yoga poses for the Solar Plexus Chakra:

All yoga poses essentially activate the chakras. Some yoga poses to stimulate the solar plexus chakra include: hero’s pose—as highlighted above, plank pose, stomach crunches, belly rolls, revolved abdominal curl, cow pose, spinal twists, and camel pose, among others.


Ahamkara Mudra / Sanskrit: I-maker

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Hand Mudra
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Mudra means “seal” in Sanskrit.  It’s a symbolic or ritual gesture using primarily the hands.  Each position is believed to have a specific effect.  Specific positions can lead to specific states of consciousness symbolized by the hand positions.  For example, if a person frequently and with feeling does a position of fearlessness, they will also be freed from fearfulness in time.  Mudras are said to engage areas of the brain and/or soul influencing them, sometimes physically, by their use—not unlike an affirmation, or reflexology for that matter.

“One way that all of us can better care for ourselves is by developing techniques for coping
with the irritations and anxiety that are part of life…

Think of these gestures as self-talk for your hands. These simple movements, the gestures that we often make unconsciously, can help us focus on our work, calm ourselves, release anger and energize us. Used for centuries by many different cultures, mudras are seen in Eastern dance and meditation, in ancient Egyptian friezes, even in Byzantine icons of Christ. Most of us use them today, too: we wave goodbye, we press a hand to our chest in distress, we wriggle our fingers to release energy, or press fingertips together to calm ourselves.

Easy to learn, mudras can be done anywhere, at any time: at traffic lights, in meetings, in airplanes, when we’re arguing, when we’re grieving, when we need to prepare for sleep. The word mudra can be translated from the Sanskrit as that which brings inner peace, and that s what mudras are: a physical means of quieting our bodies.”  Product description for Mudras: Ancient Gestures to Ease Modern Stress by Emily Fuller Williams.

A great video about mudras:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7-iXzMdfIs&feature=player_embedded#at=147

Ahamkara Mudra / Sanskrit: I-maker

This newsletter has been about being your own hero to create the life of your desires and dreams. You learned about using the power of the words “I AM” to create that life. Akamkara in Sanskrit means “I-maker”.

The solar plexus chakra was highlighted as being where your sense of self is and who you define yourself to be. It’s about using the power of your will. Fear is one of the signs of an imbalanced solar plexus chakra. A strong self is a sign of a balanced one.

Use this mudra when you are feeling “less than” and need to relocate your inner hero. This mudra is used for self confidence and self assertion and for counteracting fear and timidity.

How to do Akamkara Mudra: Index finger is bent slightly. Place thumb on the middle of bent index finger. Middle, ring and pink fingers are extended. I know, I know—looks like I am trying to make shadow puppets, yes?

Hold the finger positions, with both hands, for at least a couple of minutes.

Source:  http://healing.about.com/od/east/ig/Mudra-Gallery/Ahamkara.htm



Yoga Therapy for eating disorders

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News
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This newsletter’s healthy news focuses on eating disorders and the benefits of yoga. (Scroll down below for the healthy news.) This subject is near and dear to a good friend of mine, the owner of Krista Artista Gallery in Anoka, Krista Rothmaler.

My regular readers and students know that I have been teaching Thursday nights at this wonderful gallery I often refer to as the absolute best gift shop/gallery I have ever been to. Let me repeat that again—the absolute BEST gift shop/gallery I have EVER been to! I don’t say that lightly. Krista Artista Gallery features the work of more than seventy local artists, with everything from paintings to pottery, woodcuts to woodturnings, jewelry to glass. Seriously, I challenge you to go there and not find at least one item you simply can’t live without. Add to that the big heart of the gallery’s owner, Krista, and you have an idea of why I adore this place. (See the Happenings Section below for her exciting news about her move to Main Street in Anoka!) Read on for the story of one of Krista’s many charitable works:

About these t-shirts:

“Casey” is a local teenager and gifted young artist. Some of you may remember the pretty painted flower pots she sold here last summer.

She has also been battling anorexia for several years and has been in and out of treatment. Her mother told me that her illness began after intense bullying by a group of “mean girls”. Since October she has been at an inpatient facility in Arizona.

I have been writing to Casey and trying to figure out a way to help her and her family with the staggering expense of her care. Recently, Casey’s mom stopped by to show me a “doodle” that Casey had done. Right away I had the thought of putting it on t-shirts, even if it was just to help Casey believe in the value of her artistic gift. 100% of the $15 purchase price will go to her and her family. I am donating the actual cost of the shirts.

The world needs people like Casey. Her grandmother told me she “sings like an angel.” Maybe in this small way we can help her find her voice again.


An excellent article on Yoga and eating disorders from Casa Palmera’s Website:

Casa Palmera is an exclusive, private freestanding behavioral health treatment facility. We provide help and healing to individuals and families needing treatment for drug and
alcohol problems, eating disorders as well as chronic pain and trauma/mood disorders.

Yoga and Eating Disorders

Yoga has helped many women with eating disorders learn to accept their body and recover from their illness.  A study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly reported that mind-body exercises, such as yoga, are associated with greater body satisfaction and fewer symptoms of eating disorders than traditional aerobic exercise like running or using cardio machines. Why is this?

One simple answer is the goal of traditional aerobic exercise versus the goal of yoga. Aerobic exercise is often performed in order to burn calories and lose weight, which directly feeds into the fears and goals of an eating disorder. The more you exercise, the thinner you’re supposed to become. The problem is that an eating disorder distorts your self-image, so even if you’re fit or losing weight, you will see a fat person in the mirror. This creates a vicious cycle of self-judgment, self-loathing and the compulsive need to exercise more or restrict calories in order to lose weight. There is also a mind-body disconnect found in the gym: the music is blaring through headphones, the televisions are keeping you distracted, and you’re constantly comparing your body to other people in the gym.

The goal of yoga, on the other hand, is to teach you how to strengthen your body, your mind and the connection between the two. During yoga, you’ll practice poses that challenge people to build not only strength and stamina, but also mindfulness, stillness and physical and inner balance. The only way to maneuver through difficult poses is to listen to your body, trust your body, and let go of any ego or judgment.

“This heightened sensitivity and responsiveness to bodily sensations is associated with less preoccupation of physical appearance, more positive views of the body, and more healthy regulation of food intake,” says the study’s author, Jennifer Daubenmier.

This may be why the study found that people who practice yoga report less self-objectification, greater satisfaction with physical appearance, and fewer disordered eating attitudes compared to non-yoga practitioners. “Through yoga, this study suggests that women [and men] have intuitively discovered a way to buffer themselves against the messages that tell them that only a thin and ‘beautiful’ body will lead to happiness and success,” the author explains.

Yoga Therapy for Eating Disorders

Many eating disorder treatment centers today offer yoga therapy to help patients release feelings of negative self-worth and transform their relationship with their body. So how does yoga therapy work?

First, let’s look at the effects yoga has on the mind. During yoga class, the teacher constantly reminds students to let go of negative thoughts, let go of judgment, and let go of ego — the tiny voice inside that tells you to ignore your body’s cues and push yourself beyond what your body currently wants in order to hit a pose or to look like the person practicing next to you. There is no comparing in yoga: each person is on his or her individual journey. What you may be able to do one day in class, you may not be able to do another day; and what the person is doing next to you should have no affect on what you’re doing on your own mat. There is a saying in yoga that there is not right or wrong, no good or bad, no better or best.

Finally, let’s look at the effects yoga has on the body. Yoga is a centuries-old practice that has been developed to stimulate very specific points in the body, called chakras, that allow energy to flow through the body. There are seven major chakras on the body, and each one is associated with different types of physical, mental and emotional well-being. The first chakra, which is located at the base of the spine, has to do with the physical body, survival and safety. If this chakra is blocked an individual may feel fearful, anxious, insecure and frustrated. The second chakra, located in the belly, is associated with self-worth, confidence, emotions and intuition. If this chakra is blocked a person may feel emotionally explosive, obsessed with sexual thoughts, or lack energy. The third chakra, located below the breastbone, has to do with ego, impulses, anger and strength. When the third Chakra is out of balance you may lack confidence, be confused, worry about what others think, feel that others are controlling your life, and may be depressed. Each yoga pose has its own purpose in terms of stimulating these chakras, and studies show that yoga improves all sorts of physical and mental ailments associated with these chakras.

Yoga and Eating Disorder Treatment at Casa Palmera

At Casa Palmera we believe that treating a person’s entire well-being — their physical, mental and spiritual health — is the fastest path to full recovery from an eating disorder. Our residential eating disorder treatment program will provide individual therapy, group support, nutritional counseling and holistic treatments such as yoga to reconnect your body with your mind and spirit.

Don’t let an eating disorder control your body and mind any longer. Call Casa Palmera and start the journey to healing today: 866.768.6719.

Source: http://www.casapalmera.com/articles/yoga-and-eating-disorders/


Related articles:  http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/yoga-for-eating-disorders/



Greek Quinoa or Couscous Salad

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Delicious Recipes À la Christine
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One of my dearest friends cooks, bakes, and grills like a professional chef.  She loves to chop vegetables, says things like “ramekins” and has her own tablecloth named after her—The Christine—for purchase at The Palate in Stockholm, WI:  http://www.thepalate.net/.  Preparing food has been her passion since before my husband and I met Christine and her husband, Mark, over 15 years ago.  It has been our good fortune to be the lucky recipients of many delicious meals and absolutely wonderful times in their home.  Since I am all about following our passion, this is my way of letting her have an outlet for hers.  Enjoy!

Greek Quinoa or Couscous Salad

Spring is the time of year when we start to wear lighter clothes and also lighten up our meals. We still want to feel satisfied but we don’t want to feel weighed down. This salad is a fresh, satisfying meal that can be a main dish for lunch or a nice side with some fresh Copper River salmon that is just coming into season.

To really get the satisfaction out of a meal you want it to taste good, as well as be quick and easy to make—but most of all you should enjoy the process of preparing the meal!  You might think it’s easier to just buy your produce washed and chopped for you, but you should consider preparing the meal yourself.  It’s a great way to unwind after work; and if you have kids, it is a great time to teach them to cook. Most importantly—the food will taste better AND it costs less~ Christine


1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh grated black pepper
3 cups cooked quinoa or couscous
1 red bell pepper chopped in 1/2 inch piece
1 small cucumber cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bunch green onions ( scallions) chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 can garbanzo beans/chick peas drained and rinsed
1 cup roughly chopped baby spinach or arugula
2 tbsp Fresh chopped herbs such as parsley, dill or oregano
1 pack of crumbled feta cheese


In a small bowl, mix the first four ingredients together with a whisk. Pour over the quinoa or couscous and stir well. Add the veggies, beans, spinach / arugula, herbs and cheese and mix to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour so the favors can meld.


Since this newsletter is focusing on being your own hero, and increasing your belief in yourself, I knew exactly which CD I’d be highlighting!  My favorite sound therapy artist featured on my products page (https://betterdayyoga.com/products) with other beautiful CDs is Steve Halpern! His “Self Esteem” enhancing CD is awesome! I’ve played his music in my classes since day one of my yoga teaching career. I highly recommend his work!

Product Description: Positive self-esteem is vital for the health and happiness of children and adults. It is intimately related to issues of addiction and violence in our society. Recommended for all age groups. Special discounts available for counselors, schools and churches.

Recommended by John Bradshaw and many others, this program is enhanced with a series of short, positive suggestions, recorded subliminally.

For a full list of affirmations used on this CD, please refer to the liner notes which can be found by clicking on the link below.

About the author (From his website):  Steven Halpern is an award-winning composer, recording artist and producer whose healing music has helped millions worldwide to experience the blessings and benefits of deep relaxation and inner peace. CHAKRA SUITE, his debut release in 1975 helped establish a quiet revolution and a new genre in contemporary instrumental music. To date it has sold over 700,000 copies. Halpern’s cumulative sales exceed 6 million units and his current releases continue to set the standard of excellence in the field.

Based on his own spiritual and health-related experiences, Steven discovered secrets of combining ancient sound healing traditions with quantum biology and energy medicine to produce recordings that support relaxation, stress management, yoga, meditation, massage, sleep, accelerated learning and pure listening pleasure.

Halpern’s most representative and best-selling recordings include PEACE OF MIND, MUSIC FOR SOUND HEALING, INNER PEACE, IN THE OM ZONE and the Billboard-charting DEJA-BLUES. Before focusing on keyboards, in his earlier career, he was a dynamic jazz-rock trumpet player inspired by John Coltrane and Miles Davis, a guitar and bass player with old school R&B bands, and a long-time student of World music and shamanic sound

Steven Halpern is more than just a musician. He is a Renaissance man who is also an author, media spokesperson, seminar leader, pioneering sound healer and entrepreneur who helped create the alternative market for lifestyle-support music outside the traditional music industry. Steven has been recognized by Keyboard magazine as “one of the 30 most influential keyboard artists of the past 50 years.”

Steven’s music is an ideal complement for meditation, yoga, massage and other therapeutic bodywork, psychological counseling, and accelerated learning. Halpern’s music gets listeners “in the zone” and is used by leading business professionals, success coaches like Mark Victor Hansen and Brian Tracy, and entrepreneurs, students and teachers worldwide.

Steven has produced over 70 recordings in the Inner Peace Music® and SoundWave 2000™ subliminal audio series. He has influenced two generations of recording artists and music therapists, and has performed and recorded with a who’s who of well-known musicians including: Paul Horn, Paul McCandless, Babatunde Olatunji, Al DiMeola, Larry Coryell, Rick Derringer and Georgia Kelly.

After being initiated into what he has described as a ministry of healing music, Steven was encouraged to scientifically validate the extraordinary effects his music was having on listeners. This became the focus of his graduate studies, and his landmark research exploring the connections between sound, consciousness and healing were the first to employ the more subtle and sophisticated new technologies of brainwave biofeedback and Kirlian (aura) photography.

This research, and his first two books, Tuning the Human Instrument (1977) and Sound Health (Harper & Row, 1985) established him as the pre-eminent spokesperson for the emerging field of sound healing. He was the first in his field to appear on national television, including The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. In 1991 he was profiled on CBS-TV’s 48 Hours.

Halpern’s work has been covered in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as by CBS, ABC, NBC and the BBC. Steven has written hundreds of articles, as well as a syndicated monthly column for over 20 years.

Since 1975, Steven Halpern, Ph.D. has been a popular speaker at leading holistic health and complimentary healing centers and conferences worldwide: He has presented workshops at Esalen, the Omega Institute, and Kripalu, and has spoken at the Sixth International Conference on Stress (Montreux), the National Music Therapy Association, the American Massage Therapy Association, The International Alliance for Accelerated Learning, The Whole Life Expo, and many others.

For interviews or PR please contact Diana Ziegler at 415-485-5321 or at dvz@innerpeacemusic.com.

You can hear the full CD during one of my yoga classes, or purchase it for your own listening pleasure at: http://www.innerpeacemusic.com/prod/music-for-learning/enhancingselfesteem.html




Better Day Yoga LLC is relocating–stay tuned!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magical Events at Better Day Yoga LLC
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Better Day Yoga LLC will be moving!

  • The building where Better Day Yoga called home was sold effective May 1st. The new owners plan to convert the area into a senior center—so the good energy of our location will continue on! In the meantime, I am looking at various options to relocate!
    I will be at the current Little Canada location—2905 Country Drive, Ste. 120, Little Canada—until the end of July! Stay Tuned!
  • Starting June 21st I will be teaching yoga Thursday’s at 6:45 PM at St. Anthony Main Massage & Healthworks.
    I am so excited! We will look at other times for yoga, as well, as we get feedback from their clientele. They are located at:

    212 2nd Street SE #129, Minneapolis MN 55414, ph: 612 703 2407.
    St Anthony Main Massage & Health Works serves the entire Minneapolis metro area specializing in therapeutic massage designed for pain relief. We can help you feel better whether you are experiencing sore muscles, dealing with constant migraines or just need a relaxing afternoon. We provide a comfortable atmosphere for you to enjoy as we melt the stress away.
  • Krista Artista Gallery is moving—to a better, high traffic spot right on Main Street in Anoka! Congratulations, Krista! As a result, Better Day Yoga classes in Anoka on Thursday evenings at Krista Artista Gallery will be ending with the current session. 

    I have had the honor of teaching yoga at Krista’s location for the past couple of years and have treasured every minute of it! Thank you, Krista!

    Krista Artista’s Beautiful, stunning, must-see Gallery will be moving to:  118 E. Main (between Dan Gould Jewelers & Jensons / I. Appeal in the old “Wren’s Nest” space.

    More details to follow for her retail store, but for the next 2 months or so it’s business as usual at 2013 2nd Avenue.

  • My fourth in the series of “Cosmic Numerology” articles for Yogamint has been published! Here’s the link: 
  • I am partnering with TeriLeigh Schmidt on the “Prana Pages” blog. Take a peek at:  http://www.terileigh.com/blog/author/sandy-krzyzanowski/
  • Want to have me work one-on-one with you on correct alignment?  Maybe you have questions you want to ask but can’t during class time?  A private physical assessment will help me to recommend particular yoga poses for your body after we discuss your questions and history. Feel better about your practice! 
    Schedule a private consultation
    at (https://betterdayyoga.com/products/services)


“I’ve worked on comic books, particularly superheroes, for over 20 years, but I’ve always known the real heroes are the ordinary people we meet in our ordinary lives.” ~ Chris Eliopoulos, comic book artist.