The Benefits of a Spring Cleanse


By Alana Bray

The main focus of a cleanse is to “clean house”. We live in a world of highly over-processed, nutrition deficient and toxic food sources. Without even realizing it, the foods we eat everyday could slowly be compromising our health and shortening our lifespan. Dairy, Wheat, Hydrogenated Fats/Oils, Table Salt, Meat, Sugar, Caffeine, Alcohol, Genetically Modified Foods, and preservatives all have a dominant presence in our food choices if we are not aware of it. If not eaten in moderation, we can compromise many of the systems in our body from running efficiently. Do you have skin issues? Digestive issues like gas, bloating, or intermittent constipation? Bad allergies? How’s your energy level? What about your mood? Ever feel like you suffer from brain fog? Do you get obsessive sugar cravings? These are just some potential symptoms of food sensitivities to toxins in our diet.

Cleansing helps the body be more efficient in the “housecleaning” of toxins collected in everyday life. The body sends signals that it might need some detox help: headaches, digestive discomfort, skin problems, inflammation, chronic fatigue, low energy, irritability, and weight issues. Cleansing helps your body’s detoxification system recover and rejuvenate to operate more efficiently. When you eliminate culprits in your food, you give your digestive system, the home to 90% of your immune system, a much needed rest, and purge our body of toxins.

One of the main ideas behind a cleanse is to curb your unhealthy cravings. During a lengthy cleanse, we begin to crave less unhealthy foods and more healthy foods. Our bodies crave what they learn to sustain and live off of. The first days of the cleanse you might experience intense cravings, as the toxins are dying and leaving your system. Day by day it will get easier, your taste buds will become cleansed, and you will start craving more whole foods. Without the heavy flavorings your used to, when you eat a cleaner diet, whole foods become full of flavor in their simplicity.

Hippocrates said the key to a healthy long life is to “Eat Foods, not too much, mostly plants”. With this plant based cleanse we are educating and empowering you to create new eating habits that are sustained from the simple foods the earth provides. We learn how to eat non-plant based foods in moderation, and appreciate the beautiful balance of our diet that we have complete control of. This cleanse is not a diet, but a moment of change for the better, a “mindful evolution” towards clean, whole plant based sustainable food awareness in our life so that our body, mind and spirit can always be clear and healthy.

Our Shine Bright YB Spring Class Begins Monday March 31-April 11 !

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The Kaizen of Yoga

By Alex Pogeler

Phebi in Upward Facing Dog!

Phebi in Upward Facing Dog!

I like foreign words that convey a lot of meaning. I especially love it when a single term encapsulates an entire culture. These words normally don’t translate into English very well. They come from societies that hold different values and mindsets than our own. Language is all about expression. The different words that people choose to include in their particular language and the meanings they ascribe to those words are a direct reflection of how they view the world.


For example, I’ve always felt that the word which best embodies Spanish or Latino culture is “manana.” The translation to English would be “tomorrow” but it doesn’t actually mean that in a literal sense. Manana is more of an attitude than an actual word. It is the philosophy of putting off until tomorrow anything you don’t want to deal with today. This is a word that is emblematic of a culture that encourages daily “siestas” (early afternoon naps.)


“Toska” is a Russian word that means great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. This emotional state is undoubtedly responsible for a lot of excruciatingly long and depressing novels. Try slogging through “War and Peace” sometime and you will understand this suffering first-hand. Actually I would really discourage attempting that last one.


That brings me to my favorite complex foreign word which is the Japanese term known as “kaizen.” It is a simple combination of the words “change” and “good” but its meaning is much broader. Kaizen is the philosophy of continuous improvement. It is the idea that there is always a way to make something better than it currently exists.


The concept of Kaizen as a practical application came to prominence following the Second World War. The Japanese economy had been decimated and the American occupation forces were tasked with rebuilding the industrial base of that country. They introduced Kaizen as a business model of sorts and the results were dramatic. This philosophy would eventually come to permeate all aspects of Japanese business and within a few decades the country was an economic powerhouse.


Kaizen encourages all workers to actively engage and experiment with methods that will increase productivity and eliminate waste. It is a daily, collaborative process that involves everyone from the janitorial staff to the upper management. The idea is that these small improvements, made over an extended period of time at all levels of the company, can eventually lead to huge, positive results. This philosophy has proved so successful in the business world that it has since been adopted and implemented in other fields and disciplines.


I have found that Kaizen applies particularly well to Yoga and I have tried to infuse it into my own personal practice. It’s pretty simple how it works, every time I come to the mat I try and find something to improve upon. It can be the slightest of adjustments in a pose or a simple mental reminder to maintain my breath. Maybe it involves internalizing feedback from the instructor on something I need to change. Perhaps it is eating the right foods that will give me the energy to sustain my practice that day. Sometimes it is just cultivating the right attitude for Yoga before I even get to class. Whatever it might be, there is always something to improve upon.


The purpose of Kaizen is to stay engaged and not fall into patterns of complacency. I know from personal experience that I would sometimes hit a plateau with my Yoga practice. I would reach a point where I could do a certain number of poses reasonably well and then I would just kind of just coast at that level for a bit. Approaching Yoga with a Kaizen mindset eliminates that kind of behavior. It creates the right environment to foster real growth and progress. It makes you into a better Yogi.

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Yoga Bound’s Vibe: New Video!


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What are the Yoga Sutras’?

Backyard Buddha

The Path to Happiness: 10 pillars of wisdom from the Yoga Sutra lead the way to true freedom.

By Hillari Dowdle, excerpts from an article from

Chances are, you ponder who you are and where you are in life, accept the current realities as best you can, and yet still plan a path toward your ideal. Your yoga practice undoubtedly helps you on this journey. And the yoga tradition suggests more than just postures to aid your transformation. Centuries ago, the great sage Patanjali laid out a kind of map—one that suggests not just asana and meditation but also attitudes and behaviors—to help you chart your own course to contentment.

At first glance, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, written in Sanskrit and interpreted in many ways, may seem esoteric and impenetrable. But the ancient manual is worth a closer look, because it contains essential advice for daily living. “Patanjali has offered us guidelines that will allow us to have enhanced emotional and mental well-being and a more fulfilling and meaningful life,” says Joan Shivarpita Harrigan, a practicing psychologist and the director of Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care. “The Yoga Sutra is specifically designed to lead to greater happiness and spiritual fulfillment for you and everyone around you.”

Much is contained within this ultimate guide to virtuous transformation, including the eightfold path of classical yoga (or ashtanga yoga), which suggests a program of ethical restraints or abstentions (yamas), lifestyle observances (niyamas), postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and absorption into the Divine (samadhi). They are designed to lead you, step-by-step, toward everlasting contentment.

If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you’re familiar with asana, pranayama, and meditation. But you might not know much about the first two steps of the path: the five yamas and five niyamas. These are the ethical precepts, or core values, of yoga as well as its starting place—meant to be practiced before you do your very first Sun Salutation. They provide a recipe for living in the world with ease.


 Join us at Yoga Bound this Sunday (March 9) and every second Sunday of the month for Sunday Yoga Philosophy Study + Tibetan Healing Bowls.
The second Sunday of every month is dedicated to our study of Yoga Philosophy. Taught by John Casey, PhD.,each two hour meeting will focus on one important and essential ancient Yogic text. In this discussion, we will summarize the key ideas and philosophies detailed in the text, why these ideas were so influential to the Yoga traditions, and how these ancient philosophies can relate to our modern life. The discussion will be 90 minutes followed by a 30 minute healing tibetan bowl meditation.

Dr. John Thomas Casey completed his graduate studies in Asian and Comparative Philosophy at the University of Hawai’i in 1996 and has taught courses in World Religions, Buddhism, and Sanskrit studies at numerous colleges in Southern California since 2000, including Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, UC Irvine, and presently at Chapman University. He has taught in the Yoga Philosophy certificate program since its inception in 2002, including Sanskrit language and textual studies of the Yoga Sutra, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Samkhya Karika. In recent years, he has been tapped as a philosophy instructor for Yoga teacher training programs and has conducted a variety of workshops and seminars through yoga studios and other private venues. Since 1998, Dr. Casey has sojourned to northern India and the Himalayas seven times as a teacher, student, pilgrim, and guide.

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Summer’s Playlist

summer's playlist 1

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Dont Mess with my Savasana by Alex Pogeler


There is a common misconception amongst those new to Yoga that movement is the most important aspect of the practice. It is easy to fall into that mindset, I know that I felt that way when first I began my Yoga journey. I think this belief is rooted in traditional, western forms of exercise. We tend to equate motion with hard work and results. There is this idea that if you are not moving, you are not working very hard. This is certainly true in sports such as running or cycling. It does not however have much relevance to Yoga.


In Yoga, the lack of movement is equally important as its counterpart if not more so. Maintaining a posture is just as significant as the movement that brought you into that posture. There is a sense of  duality to everything in Yoga. The inhalation of the breath is held for the same amount of time as the exhalation. After we complete one side of the body we complement that by doing the opposite side. The word “Yoga” itself means to unify. I like the fact that this term is so incredibly vague, it allows us to draw our own interpretations of what exactly is being unified. Is it the mind and body? Movement and stillness? Our spiritual being and our physical being?


This theme of equal emphasis between movement and stillness is perhaps best illustrated through the final resting posture known as Savasana. Also known as corpse pose, this posture involves lying on one’s back like a dead person while the body absorbs the effects of the practice. It can be argued that Savasana is the most important pose in Yoga, which might seem counterintuitive given that it involves no effort or movement. Yet anyone who is experienced with Yoga will attest to the vital role that Savasana plays in the practice. For most Yogis, this is the most rewarding and relaxing 5 minutes of their day.


If you are new to Yoga, I cannot stress the importance of following proper Savasana protocol. There are some unwritten rules to this pose that should be adhered to. Basically it goes like this – if you need to leave class before Savasana is over, leave before it starts. Your instructor will totally understand and respect your choice. Never under any circumstances should you pack up your things and leave in the middle of it. Doing so will engender lots of resentment amongst your fellow Yogis. Just duck out early and there will be no hard feelings. If you do have the time however, I highly recommend staying for the full Savasana. It provides a natural conclusion to the process and it allows the body to integrate all of the benefits of the Yoga practice.

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Ahimsa: Non-violence and Compassion for all living things

tumblr_m2zrw1LpcN1qjle5bo1_500Part of the living principles of Yoga are the Yamas and Niyamas; Codes of Conduct. The Yamas are characterized as “wise characteristics”, and the first Yama, Ahimsa is the foundation of all the other Yamas.

Ahimsa is commonly referred to as non-violence, but in a broader sense it is the foundation which fuels your Yogic soul. It is the idea that all living beings are deserving of love and compassion. One of the primary questions to ask yourself regarding Ahimsa is: Are my thoughts, actions and deeds fostering the growth and well being of all beings? If you practice this Yama, all the others will follow. This question reflects the purest form of selfless service: a harmless mind, mouth and hand to navigate your everyday interactions.

A good place to start is by reflecting on your thoughts about yourself. Are these thoughts that we would confidently speak out loud? Practicing compassion even with how you view yourself, how you manage your movement, and even how you breathe, allows one to strengthen their non-violent practice towards others.

When practicing love and compassion with ourself, and allowing that practice to influence how we engage with others enlivens the unity of all sentient beings. Feelings of anger, rage or jealousy are important to recognize not as spiritual failure, but as a calling back to yourself, a deep need for quiet introspection while containing these energies for our own well being and protection of others. The vow of Ahimsa is broken even by showing contempt towards another man, by entertaining unreasonable dislike for or predjudice towards anyone, by frowning at another man, by hating another man, by speaking ill of others, by vilifying others, by harboring thoughts of hatred, by uttering lies, or by ruining another man in anyway whatsoever. To approve of another’s harsh actions or even to fail to relieve another’s pain is a form of indirect violence.

When thoughts of hatred or revenge arise in the mind they will try to control speech and body. Instead of acting on this hate in thought, speech or action, replace that thought immediately with an opposite thought of love or gratitude for this teaching. Practicing this for months and the negative thoughts, having no scope for manifesting outside will die by themselves.

Ahimsa is the weapon of the strong and the perfection of forgiveness. It is soul-force: hate melts in the presence of love.

Here is another article from mindbodygreen about the consciousness of all sentient beings to promote Ahimsa:

It is time for us to understand that animals, even the very small ones, are conscious. They have feelings, they show empathy, and they display intelligence in ways that humans cannot. Even lobsters and crabs feel pain. Birds mourn when someone in their community passes. Bees apply geometry to build beehives.

Currently, neuroscience has not found any region in the human brain that is specific as a center for consciousness or subjective experience. Yet sciencehas already shown that intelligence exists everywhere in animals with completely different brains (and even no brains as I’ll explain soon).

Understanding that animals have significant inner lives might make us treat them with less cruelty. Perhaps we’d think twice before forcing them into captivity, competitions, or onto our dinner plate.

Most people know about the intelligent behavior of dolphins, primates, and therapy dogs. But, if we look at animals with much smaller brains, we find amazing capacities. By appreciating the intelligence of these creatures, perhaps we could all become a little more compassionate.

Here are some things you probably didn’t know about animals:

1. Birds

With very small brains, birds are sometimes called “feathered apes” because of their many remarkable abilities. A cockatoo, for example, can use multi-step techniques to unlock a very complex puzzle. To retrieve a nut in a cage, the bird removed a pin, then a screw, then a bolt, then turned a wheel 90 degrees, and then shifted a latch sideways.

The birds in this study were untrained and able to figure it out in less than two hours. Others learned by watching. Also, once they were able to open it, they never forgot how and could do it immediately.

Birds aren’t just clever; they’re compassionate. Recently, an entire flock of jayswere observed sitting in trees mourning a fallen comrade for 48 hours without any foraging. Songbirds name their offspring and are known by that sound for their entire life. Finches learn grammar by listening to mentors and use strict syntax rules.

Birds can also recognize their reflection in a mirror, construct tools, and learn skills from their elders. They can count, categorize objects by color and shape, and learn to understand human words.

Consider the gray parrot, Alex, famous for studies done by Dr. Irene Pepperberg, a leader in the field of animal cognition. He understood zero, could add and count up to eight, and invented words such as “banerry” for apple—a combination of banana and cherry. Just before Alex died he told Dr. Pepperberg, “I love you. See you tomorrow.”

2. Lizards

The “reptilian brain” used to be synonymous with “stupid” because we assumed that reptiles used a less-developed part of the human brain. Turns out they have completely different brains than humans, with advanced capacities.

Reptiles recognize family and care for their children. They exhibit social learning, play behavior and cooperation. They build complex burrows that they use repeatedly and improve upon. Babies are very affectionate to each other, even choosing a leader and walking behind in a line. They protect each other from predators.

Anoles (in the lizard family) demonstrate advanced learning, counting, and problem solving rapidly. One study on anoles involved a wooden block with two wells, one empty and one with a worm. Each was covered by a cap in a different color. Anoles were able to identify the correct well and use an invented technique to open the cap. When they were wrong, they immediately reversed course and remembered it the next day.

3. Bees

Individual bees show extraordinary intelligence and abilities with a very small, unique, brain. Bees use a complex symbolic language to share locations, including angles related to the sun, travelling routes, and qualities of locations and individual flowers.

Bees find and bring back information using kaleidoscopic memory for five miles of scenes. They can find their way out of mazes and use abstract concepts, sequences, combinations, and each day solve advanced mathematical problems—finding efficient routes between many different quality stops. If a bee makes a bad choice, others don’t copy it. Bees also understand future rewards.

They can detect and distinguish different flowers by their electrical signals. (Yes, flowers and bees emit electrical charge: when bees land on a flower, it changes potential. Flowers combine the electrical information with bright colors, patterns and fragrance to attract bees.)

Bees can distinguish a dangerous fungus from a harmless one and expend tremendous effort to bring an antibiotic mixture when needed. When harmless fungus spores were placed in the hive, they physically removed them without using the antibiotic.

Bees are even able to build a honeycomb, which is a remarkable feat of engineering. It’s the most efficient and strongest way to store honey that has been conceived by human engineers. To make the honeycomb, special bees circle providing heat to melt semi molten wax. Each bee works in a tiny compartment next to each other, kneading and tamping the wax into place. The wax flows at a specific temperature with surface tension stretching the wax. The wax then pops up forming a point that becomes the angle of the hexagon. These fuse with other walls forming a perfect hexagon.

4. Amoeba

The smallest animal is the one-celled amoeba. Even without a brain, it has some remarkable capacities. When food is scarce, individual cells join together to form what looks like a multicellular animal. This slug, made of individual cells working together as one, crawls to a place with more food. There, the slug cells break apart into individual cells and the colony forms a new structure, looking like a plant with a stalk and a fruiting body.

The fruiting body separates from the stalk and either flies away or is carried by an animal’s foot to a new place. What’s incredible is that the individual cells that form the stalk sacrifice themselves for the community. Those in the fruiting body escape and start a new life somewhere else as individual cells.

It’s been shown that cells are more likely to join the stalk if they are members of the same family of cells going into the fruiting body. In other words: they are more altruistic in order to save their own family. The communication necessary for such actions is extraordinary. How can they do this? We don’t know. But it makes you wonder where empathy comes from.

So what do we know? Big brains are not necessarily better.

Even the smaller brained (and no-brained) animals demonstrate great intelligence and consciousness. Hopefully, humans will realize the tremendous value of unique animal brains with unique talents before they are all destroyed by human behavior.





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What Does the World Need More Of?


By Alana Bray

Now begins your Yoga practice. The world needs more of your intention. Your conscious capacity to open, create mindful connection, hold space and maintain awareness, gives love to this planet. How can you hold yourself up high with soft strength in the face of anything? To not react, but mindfully respond with softness behind your eyes. Land on the earth with steady feet, aware of the connection; receiving sustenance and giving back grace.

Change hate/anger/fear into our greatest teachers. Bowing to them, as they enforce our practice. How can we be our tallest self when we resent rather than learn? Respond beautifully, then let it go. Now begins your Yoga practice. Commit to an internal experience; Breathe and move as you connect to the slow and subtle opening of every level of our being. The world needs more of your attention on this intention. To be with the graceful subtle messages of your ecosystem, and change the neural pathways that move your nervous system to the highest vision of you.

When you change the tone of your nervous system you are alive to respond to the subtle hints of life everywhere. Present as you land your feet wherever you are…you are there. You connect with an open calm in your eyes. Now begins your Yoga practice.

“There will never be a storm

That can wash the path from my feet,

The direction from my heart,

The light from my eyes,

Or the purpose from this life.

I know that I am untouchable to the forces

As long as I have a direction, an aim, a goal:

To serve, to love, and to give.

Strength lies in the magnification of the secret qualities

Of my own personality, my own character

And though I am only a messenger,

I am me. ”

—Rod Stryker’s Four Desires p51

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The least judgmental place on Earth


By Alex Pogeler


The new year begins with the promise of rebirth, renewal and transformation. Goals are set, resolutions are made, and old habits are discarded. For many people, the start of a new year is an opportunity to atone for the overindulgences of the Holiday season. Whether it be too many Christmas cookies, too little exercise or heavy drinking to make those annoying relatives seem tolerable, it’s easy to go overboard during the holidays.


The start of January has thus become synonymous with people getting back to the gym and launching new diets. I think it is also a period when many consider taking up Yoga for the first time. The fact that so many people now have access to this amazing form of exercise is a great development. The tragedy however is that for every person brave enough to walk into a Yoga studio for the first time, there are many more who are too intimidated to take that step.  Maybe they are too self-conscious or they are scared of trying new things or they just feel awkward in Yoga pants. Whatever the reason may be, they are missing out on a wonderful experience.


The ultimate irony is that a Yoga studio is arguably the most accepting and least judgmental place one can go for a workout. A typical Yoga class is full of people who are doing their utmost to focus entirely on their breath and movement to the exclusion of all other stimuli. Nobody pays much attention to anyone other than the instructor. Similarly, everyone there has gone through that beginning awkward phase at some point or another. They know first-hand what a humbling experience it is to take that initial class. Consequently they are the last people to think less of someone who is struggling through a Vinyasa for the first time.


If you happen to be reading this while contemplating your first Yoga class I would urge you to put your fears aside. Don’t be hesitant to make it your resolution for 2014 and beyond. If you make that commitment and stick with it, your life will be transformed in an amazingly positive direction. Trust me.

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This is what the sound “OM” or “AUM” looks like

In the wake of our amazing healing workshop detailing the meaning and context of the sound “OM” or “AUM” I found this article super interesting…Enjoy!

Cymatics is the study of visible sound.  Sound literally has geometry to it.  You can see the visible geometrical vibrations of any given sound by placing sand or coated particles on to a metal plate, and then playing a frequency into the metal plate.  The vibrations of the sound make the particles arrange themselves on the plate, sometimes in beautiful sacred geometric patterns and mandalas.

This video shows what happens when “Om” is chanted inside the Great Pyramid, and then the recording is played back on a tonoscope (the metal plate device) to measure the effects this ancient sacred sound has on visible matter. What you see will amaze you.

Why is it amazing that an elliptical shows up?  Elliptical paths are the routes planets take as they orbit the stars, such as our sun.  The do not revolve around the sun in perfect circles, but in oval-shaped elliptical paths just like you see in video.  This is also the shaped of the orbits the sun and other stars take as they revolved around the galaxy.  In other words, ellipticals appear to be the way in which celestial bodies respond to gravity, the force that holds everything together and makes life possible.  Here is the video.  The magic begins 1 minute in.


In ancient Hindu traditions, Om is believed to be the divine sound that was present at the beginning of the universe. The sound Om is thought to be what actually created all of existence, which isn’t actually too far fetched when you understand that everything physical in the universe is really a manifestation of vibrational waves.  In fact, Om is what Dr. Eben Alexander claims to have heard resonate throughout the spirit realm during his near-death experience, specifically during his close encounter with the Source.

Here’s a thought. What if the reason we see geometric patterns, symmetry, and fibonacci sequences in flowers, snowflakes, and the rest of nature is because they are somehow responding to a sound that is causing them to display perfect mathematical relations in their appearance?  What if we are just dancing vibrational waves in God’s or Om’s symphony?  Interesting to consider.



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