Yoga Retreat

A 20-Minute Bout of Yoga Stimulates Brain Function

by on Jun.11, 2013, under Yoga Retreat

Nice Research:

“Researchers report that a single, 20-minute session of Hatha yoga significantly improved participants’ speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control, two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus and take in, retain and use new information. Participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice than after moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for the same amount of time.”

Read more here at the website below.


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by on Apr.22, 2013, under Yoga Retreat

The Value of Home Practice

   Lately, I have had a few really wonderfully connected home yoga practices. It’s not always that way.  But after listening deeply to what my body needs in my Authentic Movement cohort ( a group of woman peers who have been meeting monthly for about 7 years now),  I have been able to translate that witnessed experience to the unwitnessed one at home.

   When you enter a yoga studio class you become “witnessed.” On the positive side, this means the teacher watches and cares for you and your body/emotions during class. On the not so positive side, this can mean you may feel judged by teacher or fellow students, self-conscious, shy, competitive, seek attention, etc.  When we practice solo we really get to attend to our moment to moment body needs. We practice deep listening without the pressure to perform. It’s a little bit like a young child who can plays alone.  Do you remember those times? How deeply satisfying it was to be within your own uninterrupted play space?  Home practice can be like that.  Joyful and connected.  Sometimes the meaning of yoga becomes so much clearer in this quiet alone space. Today, I was moved to tears by our human incarnation-I discovered  this again through my body moving alone at my own pace.

  Being Witnessed can also be wonderful and enlightening. This is what  I try to pass onto my private students and clients- the safety of being in the body or practicing yoga with support and care.



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India Retreat Re-cap

by on Mar.27, 2013, under Yoga Retreat

Here are some pics from our recent yoga retreat to Goa, Hampi. Join us for our next exciting voyage. Julie:GANESHA


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Guest Blog India/ Hampi

by on Sep.17, 2012, under Yoga Retreat

Our  guest writer Abbas, from offers our yoga group  some invaluable info on Hampi as well as traveling on after Hampi.  We will be traveling to Hampi together by train but at the end of this portion of the retreat you will want to decide how to return to Goa/Mumbai/Bangalore. Options are listed below. Many will head right back to the Goa airport to fly into your next destination. Or you can take a bus all the way back to Mumbai/Bombay.  We will help you arrange this. In fact contact Abbas directly for more route information.

About Hampi
Hampi is a mesmerizing, pretty town of boulders and ruins. I remember a close traveller friend telling me ‘enjoy your first of many trips to Hampi’ as I boarded my Bombay-to-Hospet bus. Set in a boulder strewn landscape that continues forever, bisected by a meandering river and dotted by banana plantations, Hampi can be explorative, adventurous or plain relaxing, depending on how you want it to be. Unlike a lot of old Indian towns Hampi, fortunately, was abandoned centuries ago never to be inhabited again, saving it from being defaced by an ugly ‘messopolis’ Indian town being build around it. Hampi truly feels like an open-air museum left for you to discover on foot, bicycle or motorbike.

Hampi has many gorgeous temple structures to explore. A guide is recommended to get a deeper understanding of the history of the town. Even if you are not a history buff, you can just walk around admiring these structures. Remember, Hampi is well spread out and apart from the cluster of places to stay and restaurants on either side of the river it offers a keen sense of space wherever you wander. Hampi is certainly best explored on cycle and motorbike. We did a combination of foot, bicycle and motorbike (motorbike hire works just like Goa).


Experiences we recommend:
—Take the effort to wake up before sunrise, trek up to Mantunga hill and watch the sunrise over the magical kingdom of Hampi. The boulders are all red and they just light up in the sunlight (the most breathtaking experience during my stay).
—Catch the sunset as you sit by the river.
—Cycle around. A motorbike really allows you the flexibility to explore and ride beyond Hampi into the countryside
—Enjoy your meals with the view of the river and the omnipresent, majestic boulders which are beautiful, some three stories tall and precariously balanced.

Getting to Hampi from Goa and Back:
Remember the access town for Hampi is Hospet (14 kms away). Trains and most buses will drop you at Hospet.

Bus (most common option):
One can take either a day or an overnight bus to Hampi from Goa, or even Gokarna. As far as I know there is no ‘one’ leading, reputable bus agency plying this route. ‘Paulo travel’ buses are usually fairly comfortable.

I would prepare myself for a fairly uncomfortable ride, but certainly worth the effort. Bus tickets are easy to obtain from any travel agent in Goa.

Train (if tickets can be managed, a more comfortable option):
Train no. 18048 (Vsg – Howrah express) runs between Goa and Hospet. Vasco or Madgaon are the stations for Goa.
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday (approx 7:00 am dep, arr 15:00) is an extremely user-friendly website to book trains

Renting a car (convenient, but expensive option):
A car can be rented directly or indirectly through a travel agency in Goa. Remember this can be an expensive option if you plan to stay for multiple days as a car hire company would charge you a fixed daily amount irrespective of how many kms you use the car.

Getting to/from Hampi from Bombay (Mumbai) or Bangalore:
Bombay (Mumbai)
VRL logistics – Runs a very good quality bus between Hospet and Bombay and vice-versa. (tickets can be purchased on the website)

There are convenient overnight trains between Bangalore and Hampi (and vice-versa). Recommend using

Coming soon… a little write-up on Bijapur (4 hours from Hampi), an example of a former pretty town now defaced thanks to an Indian ‘messopolis’ build around it (yet the monuments certainly warrant a visit).

About Us
I’m Abbas (, we run a travel service that assists independent travellers plan and book their trip around India. (India Someday
We are more suited if you are planning to visit multiple places or regions post or pre your stay at Yab Yum and need advice and assistance while planning and making travel/hotel arrangements for the same.



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The Body- Spirit Question

by on Jul.28, 2010, under Yoga Retreat

I’m going to try to blog a bit more regularly, and much more spontaneously. Like writing an email to a friend. That way I will actually sit down and blog, and satisfy those of you who have wondered if I’m posting new content these days.

Apparently, the blogosphere is abuzz with all the New York Times coverage of yoga this past week. This is good news on many fronts. First, it’s interesting in this e-age, that the Times- a good old fashioned printed newspaper -still gets people’s attention the way it always has. Second, how cool that everyone is talking about yoga…again.  This time the articles deal with the review of two new yoga books ( in the Book Review)  and one yoga teacher ( in the Magazine)  John Friend.
I’m posting the links to it all here, including Friend’s response to his Times profile. I’m not going to go on too long about the Anusara (Friend ) profile just yet. What I’m really interested in exploring is how both the Book Review, and the Teacher Review, focused on the split in the yoga world between the physical and the spiritual dimensions of the practice.  Both articles addressed the lament of many yoga teachers that Americanized yoga is too focused on the yoga poses, and not on the spiritual side of things. This is a topic that has been raging for years. Usually, the story goes like this: “yoga students and teachers are too focused on the physical asanas and are not getting the deeper teachings of yoga. They are ignoring the spiritual side of yoga in pursuit of the perfect pose, the toned and buff body.”  For me, this argument just misses the point of yoga entirely. The deeper so called “spiritual” teachings are contained in that continuum called the Body/Mind. Yoga aims to integrate us.  Hatha Yoga is a practice of body and breath and mind (spirit). Note that I say a practice. What can you practice?  Asana and Pranayama. Everything else flows from these basic, rudimentary practices, including the spiritual stuff, including meditation, including even the yamas and niyamas.

The yoga of the American yoga studio is Hatha Yoga- the point of this practice is that the body becomes the vehicle for liberation itself.  It’s not the end in itself, but the body stands as the field of practice.  Alongside these physical practices you could be studying the texts from the different traditions of yoga such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, The Tantras, The Gita, etc. but the experience of yoga transformation is a direct one. You either have it or you don’t, on a moment -to -moment, or practice- to -practice basis. The beauty of this practice called Hatha Yoga is that it actually includes the Body.  How many other spiritual practices do this?  Usually the body is either neglected, or vilified. So, this question of “over- practicing” yoga poses seems caught in it’s own criticism. We do need to practice. And when we practice “off the mat”- guess what? We’re still in our bodies. Every moment becomes an opportunity for the balanced pose.

Don’t get me wrong. I do understand the very real aversion to the material aspect of the practice. The other day, I was taking a fun and advanced Vinyasa class with a good teacher. After about the 6th creative arm balance, I had the impression that we were acquiring yoga poses, the way we acquire material things. “Enough,” I thought. I felt full enough of yoga poses and was ready to be still and quiet. But I wouldn’t have felt that way without the body practice. There was too much on my mind. I needed the practice to discharge my “mental fluctuations.”  Because although I have practiced for years, I’m still a beginner at this thing called life-throwing- me-obstacles.

Another important issue for the detractors of physical yoga to remember is this: people in the US are sedentary. We have lost our connection to hard physical labor, our bodies are yearning to be used to their potential.  Not only is there an epidemic of obesity, but also of depression and anxiety. Hatha Yoga has been proven in several studies to help control the symptoms of depression and anxiety. People are flocking to yoga studios to ease their minds through the body, the breath and spirit, and in community. People want to reduce their personal suffering,  and they do get immediate results through yoga practice.

What yoga teaches us is that our personal liberation, and transformation is tied to that of every other living creature. The way forward for yoga in America is to connect to each other through embodiment of our spiritual ideals.


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The yoga of writing at Green Gulch Farm

by on Mar.08, 2010, under Yoga Retreat

The Green Gulch Yoga and Writing Retreat is now open for registration.
In this annual workshop, co-led by Julie Rappaport and Dashka Slater, we will explore the intersection of the body and the written word, finding ways to move into our writing, to embody our stories, and to pay attention to the present moment
The setting of Green Gulch Farm (part of San Francisco Zen Center) nestled into a canyon near the Pacific Coast’s Muir Beach in Marin County is truly inspirational. A place to clear the mind, renew, and celebrate 4the body and the word.
Open to all levels of experience. We will be engaging in multi-level vinyasa and restorative yoga practices. Writing for both fiction, non-fiction and memoir writers. Contact to register or go to the retreats page of this web site.


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