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The Eclipse Cycle – by Gwen Burdick


A concentration of energy occurs twice a year on average as the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up in space, creating solar and lunar eclipses. Solar eclipses take place on the New Moon and lunar eclipses on the Full Moon, always two weeks apart. They are events when the luminaries in the sky literally go into the dark shadow, compelling us to go inward for guidance. They are necessarily for our benefit.

The Sun, Surya, is the king of the solar system. According to Jyotish, this sattvic planet is the Para Atman and represents our non-individualized soul nature, the True Self. Shining continuously, he governs vision, self-confidence, and personal power. The Moon, Chandra, is the sattvic queen. She is the Jiva Atman and represents our individual heart/mind. Reflecting the light of the Sun, she governs motherhood, receptivity and connection to sentient beings. But we live out our physical life on planet Earth and it governs the physical body. Eclipses are important moments when body, mind and spirit line up in space; their effects can be felt for weeks.

On September 1st 2016 the Sun will be partially eclipsed in Leo, the sign of dominion that it rules. It will be a time for all of us to look inward to find our authentic centralized power. Anxiety usually rises as we struggle to do so. The Moon will be eclipsed on September 16th in Aquarius, the opposite sign of larger social groups. As the Moon darkens, a quiet mind will be needed to feel our connection to the rest of humanity. Depression is common. What advice do the great Jyotishi offer for an eclipse cycle? Prepare yourself so you don’t buckle under the pressure, witness yourself so you learn something, and wait for the return of the Light.

Yogi of the Month—Millie Rosenfield

Millie R

I grew up in Highland Springs just outside of Richmond, Virginia. At age 21 I became a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines, based in New Jersey, Miami, and Washington, DC. I flew for 11 years and then moved to Charlotte County in 1982. I have a son, Jonathan and a daughter, Kimberly.

Years ago a friend introduced me to my first yoga class, and I loved it! I couldn’t believe the calming and relaxing effect it had on me. But it wasn’t until I met The Yoga Sanctuary’s former owner, Bonnie Yonker, at the Punta Gorda Club about seven years ago that I really started practicing on a regular basis. I followed Bonnie to her first studio and then to the current location.

I practice gentle classes two to three times per week, and have also attended Level 1, Mixed, and Yin. Yoga has brought me more awareness, clearer thoughts, and better flexibility. It makes me feel more centered. I have also gained a greater awareness of my inner consciousness.

I don’t have a favorite yoga pose, but I tend to like the poses that challenge me. I sometimes have trouble finding more time for yoga. And quieting my mind is a continual challenge. I keep coming back because of the gentleness I feel each day when leaving The Yoga Sanctuary.

Outside of yoga I have a very active tennis life and love anything that takes me outside. I have been involved with C.A.R.E. (Center for Abuse & Rape Emergences of Charlotte County) for many years. I have worked inside the shelter and on the hot lines. I have also been a board member of C.A.R.E. and President and Treasurer of the C.A.R.E. Auxiliary.

Favorite quote: The Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Staff Spotlight: Introducing Naomi Medrano


I was first exposed to yoga at the age of 19 or 20 when my little sister—quite the workout video enthusiast—brought over her latest “thing.” We huffed and puffed our way through Alan Finger’s Power Yoga video, and I loved it. So I bought a few more videos and continued to take “classes” from the comfort of my living room in small town rural South Dakota. I didn’t take an actual class from a real live instructor until I was midway through my Bachelor’s degree at South Dakota State University. It was just a basic a gym yoga class, but opened up whole new world to me, and once again, I loved it. Also during that time, a friend invited me to a weekly guided meditation class, and I remember thinking to myself before that first session how “wise, centered, and well rounded” I was becoming. Ha! Little did I know that what I was really doing was planting the seeds that would end up sustaining me through an unpredictable and tumultuous time in my life, a time that was anything but centered. My yoga and meditation practices were erratic to say the least, but I always came back to the mat eventually.

Fast forward a decade or so, and I found myself at The Yoga Sanctuary, taking classes here and there, and feeling like I had found an actual yoga home. I felt a connection with the instructors, with the peace and refuge the studio provided, and with something inside myself. Then this summer, after two very difficult years—losing my mother to pancreatic cancer, moving my father into a nursing home memory care unit, followed by his passing less than a year later—I made, rather swiftly, one of the best decisions of my life. I chose to attend a teacher training program at Prajna Yoga in my beloved birthplace of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Studying with Tias and Surya Little was a life changing experience, of which alone I could write pages. Instead, I will sum it up with a poem that we read in class one day that spoke to my heart and resounded with the very core of my being.

The Journey

by Mary Oliver


One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

Mend my life!

each voice cried.

But you didnt stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations

though their melancholy

was terrible. It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice,

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do determined to save

the only life you could save.

My One Day had finally come, and I ran back to my roots in Santa Fe, back to nourish those seeds that had been planted so many years ago. Everyone’s life is a unique journey. My hope as a yoga teacher is that I will be able to draw from all of the experiences and people that have nurtured, encouraged, and inspired me on my journey, and pay it forward by offering guidance, encouragement, strength, and inspiration to others.

Yoga Sutra 1.3


Following up on yoga sutra 1.2 (essentially, yoga is the cessation of mind chatter), yoga sutra 1.3 states, Tada drashtuh svarupevasthanam: then the seer abides in itself, resting in its true nature, also known as self-realization. This sutra explains the ultimate result of yoga—the discovery of one’s true nature.

Once we are able to calm the fluctuations of the mind, our perception of reality becomes clear. No longer clouded with thoughts of the past or the future, reality sharpens and we finally understand our true nature. We recognize our connection to all that is. We recognize that our current state is just as it should be.

What a relief to know that this practice—this work we do on and off the mat to find that place where our minds become quiet and we become more aware—will bring us back to a place where we can finally, and again, realize our being-ness. This shift from doing to being happens gradually (and can also happen at a moment’s notice)—and it has nothing to do with idleness. It is a perceptual shift that changes our very interaction with life and with the people and situations we encounter.

These early sutras help us to understand right away the profound nature of the yoga practice and how it can transform our lives for the better. What better way to begin the book than to inspire us to begin—right now—to practice. This realization is not to be viewed as a far-away, barely obtainable goal. It is within you at this very moment. You have only to uncover it.

You are enough, just as you are. What you do and who you are matters.