The Power of Choice and The Yoga of Action

Life is Good

I mean, really, REALLY GOOD. It is easy, however, to get caught up in the not-so-good – the suffering, the disaster and the struggle. With so many of us fighting just to pay the bills and to put food on the table, it can be comforting to commiserate and complain with others who are experiencing the same thing. Lately though, I have noticed that focusing on the struggle is actually counter-productive. It is overwhelming and frankly pointless.

Suffering is Optional

I am aware that struggles will continue to occur in my life. I also realize that how I respond to the struggle is my choice. Yoga and mindfulness practices have helped me get to the point where I can notice the things in life, and in the world, that are unfair, unjust or downright difficult. I can notice these things and not get wrapped up in the hopelessness of it all. In the midst of crisis, I can still feel connected and comforted. I am fully aware of the suffering in my life and in the lives of others but I also see the potential that lies in each and every one of us. It is empowering. It is inspiring. It leads to the kind of action that can make a difference.

Unsure about what action you should take? Join the club.

If you find yourself feeling confused or helpless, know that you are not alone. Take comfort in your choices, even the little ones. Making a choice to live a life of mindfulness is taking action. Making a choice to roll out your mat or sit on your meditation cushion is taking action. Whether the choice is to go for a walk, to help a neighbor, or to simply feel better about yourself, the choice itself is the first step towards making a difference. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, when you claim your power of choice, it has a snowball effect in your life.

Why Yoga?

In yoga practice we confront ourselves both physically and mentally. We practice letting go of attachments in the simplest of ways. For example, we let go of thinking about our To-Do Lists and instead focus on breathing and relaxation. Yoga reveals to us our strengths, our limitations and our unhealthy patterns of thinking. It teaches us acceptance and shows us where we have room to grow. With that awareness, we are left with a choice. And just as we practice, we can choose to let go of fear and suffering and focus on solutions and potential instead. Take comfort in your choices because they contain your power for transformation, for change.

Every minute of every day is full of opportunity to claim your power. And it really is as simple as a choice – a choice, right now, between fear and LIFE. I choose life – fully awake, vibrant, healthy, active, compassionate life. And with that simple choice I am seeing evidence of my untapped potential. And it is good, really, REALLY GOOD.

So, how do you shift from worry and fear to decisive action? How does yoga practice help you make a difference in your life and the lives of others? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

Yours in Gratitude,


A Yoga Pose for Letting Go and Opening to Potential


Reclining Hero's Pose Variation

Practice moving into this pose with intention and deliberate placement of your body. Exercise your power of presence, choice and action.


supported hero pose supta virasana

Sit with your feet at the outsides of your hips. You can separate your knees as wide as you'd like to find a comfortable position for your knees. Keep your feet close to your hips with the tops of your feet on the floor and your toes pointed directly behind you. Place a bolster or  folded blankets behind you and begin to recline back, resting your upper body on the bolster. Your neck should be in a neutral position which means you may need to use additional bolsters or blankets to see that your head and neck are supported. Relax as completely and deeply as possible. Breath slowly in and out through the nose. Relax your shoulders down and rest your arms on the floor with your palms facing up. Allow your heart center to widen as if the skin and muscles of your chest and your ribs are opening side to side, exposing your heart and revealing your true nature, your choices in this moment, your power.

Yoga to the Rescue: Winter Warmth is Just a Pose Away

Snowed in and stir crazy? Or is it just me?

I am so restless in fact that I've moved furniture in the coldest room of my house so that I could have some space to get busy and heat things up yoga-style. I've even busted out the camera (and leg warmers and yoga socks ).

Here is a short yoga practice, about 20 minutes total, that I put together with the intention of heating up my body and soothing my nerves. The sequence includes a fire starting breathing technique, sun and moon salutations, strength building poses, deep hip stretches and backbends. And don't forget about final relaxation to help spread that fire to your whole body.

The audio and video quality is not the best but the information is there. This sequence (and my legwarmers) has been so helpful to me while I've been snowbound. I hope it helps you, too.

So, turn up the heat and move your body. Let's melt the snow together y'all.

Yoga for Winter Warmth Part 1 – The Warm Up

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Yoga for Winter Warmth Part 2 – Deeper Stretches and Heat Building Poses

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Post your questions or share your Yoga for Winter Warmth experience below.



Yoga for Clarity YouTube Video

Yoga to the Rescue: The Other Side of Confusion

Have you made your resolutions for 2011?

I can't say that I've ever been in the habit of listing my New Year's Resolutions at the years end. For one, I am constantly striving to be a better me. My goals and inspirations come to me throughout the year. However, this awareness of my un-involvement in, and in fact apathy for this very popular tradition has me indulging in introspection.

Is it because in the past I haven't seen myself as the deliberate creator that I am? Am I prone to a victim mindset (you know, faulting the economy, the job market, my upbringing, and other endless excuses)? I am simply too lazy to take responsibility for my life?

The question often contains the answer

Ouch. The truth sure stings sometimes. Still, I prefer it to living a life of illusion (not the Joe Walsh song – actually, I really like that song). With all of this in mind, I have begun a new practice, a "resolution" if you will. When I have a tendency to question, I turn it into a statement. The result is that I find clarity where there was previously floundering. With clarity I am more likely to take action. It is like this: When I state that I haven't recognized my power for intentional living and that I use excuses to let myself off the hook and that I can claim my power and my responsibility at any moment, a pretty wonderful thing happens. I know what my next step is.

Practice is the key word here. I am not always as present for myself as I intend to be. Fortunately, my default response to feeling knocked off my center is internalization and questioning. And as I mentioned earlier, the question and the answer are usually very close indeed.

Bonus: I always have my yoga practice which continues to reveal me to me.

Yoga Sequence for Clarity and Inspiration

I have designed this short asana sequence to relax and sooth stressed nerves and reveal a clear headed, confident state of mind. Practice when you feel confused or unclear about what you want, your life purpose or simply what you should do next.

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So there it is, my gift to you as we enter this new year (and new decade!). Please return to it whenever you need. I plan on posting more videos soon. Please let me know if you have any requests.

Also, I would love to hear your thoughts about this video or about your New Year's resolutions. How do you find clarity amidst the chaos? Please share!

Happy New Year!








camel pose youtube

Strike a Pose Saturday: A Camel Pose for Everyone [VIDEO]

Thought I would do something a little different this week.

People learn in many different ways. Simple pictures and reading works great for a lot of people but for those of us who are  more "visual" learners a video is very helpful. So, here it is: Tips and modifications for Ustrasana, Camel Pose … in a VIDEO!

It is very important that you warm-up before you practice this pose. 3-5 rounds of sun salutes should do the trick. Also, a counter pose after you practice Ustrasana is important to balance the stretch and stabilize your core and your spine. A great complimentary pose for Camel is Sasangasana, Rabbit Pose. Also, Balasana, Child's Pose or simply hugging the knees into the chest will serve this purpose.

In this video I offer modifications for every level and alignment tips to get the most out of your Camel efforts. Remember, yoga is not about achieving an idealized or "final" pose (that's just a myth anyway) but more about what you learn along the way. In other words it is not the pose but how you approach the pose that matters. Patience, acceptance and an open mind are helpful. Compassion and honesty and a sense of playful curiosity are good things to bring to your practice, too.


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So, there you have it. Please post your questions and/or comments below. Also, if you ever have a request for a video or tips for a specific pose, just let me know!

Lots of Love,


By the way, please practice safely. These articles express my opinion and while I have over a decade’s experience with hatha yoga practice, intensive teacher trainings and hundreds of hours of teaching, always consult your physician before beginning any exercise regimen and to find out what activities suit your uniqueness. Because you are special and doggonit … I like you.

Strike a Pose Saturday: Dancing with Your Inner Warrior

I am feeling all nostalgic for South Florida, the ocean and Hot Yoga Teacher Training.

So, this week’s Strike a Pose feature includes a picture of me yoga-posing it on Ft. Lauderdale Beach, in the thick of teacher training.

Jimmy Barkan’s Yoga Teacher Training was a life-shifting experience for me, symbolized here by the funny camera angle.

Reverse Warrior

I know this pose by several names: Reverse Warrior, Exalted Warrior and Dancing Warrior. I like all three names and use them interchangeably. Depending on the mood and the moment, each name can be appropriate.

Yes, I could have my right knee a little more bent in the picture above, with my thigh parallel with the sand but 3 weeks into the training, my legs and hips were ridiculously tight from the hours of yoga practice every day. Not to mention the sand and the surf – they made things a little tricky, too (hey, where’d my feet go?).


  • -The alignment of the bent knee is important to avoid straining the ligaments of the knee joint. Keep the knee centered directly over the ankle.
  • -Keep the straight leg very active and straight with the outer edge of the foot pressing into the mat (or sand … or whatever).
  • -Hips should be in a neutral position which means scoop the tailbone slightly and draw the navel and lower ribs in and up.
  • -Try not to lean into the hand that is on the outer thigh but rather lift up and stretch back.
  • -The tendency will be to straighten the front leg when you go back, so be mindful of the legs, with a little extra attention on that front knee, throughout the pose.


  • -Increases the strength and flexibility of the legs, ankles and feet.
  • -Stretches the groin, hip muscles and connective tissue of the hips.
  • -Stretches the side of the torso and the arm.

Read last week’s tips for Wheel Pose.

Thanks for reading and please leave any questions or comments below (I love questions!).

Lots of Love,


By the way, please practice safely. These articles express my opinion and while I have over a decade’s experience with hatha yoga practice, intensive teacher trainings and hundreds of hours of teaching, always consult your physician before beginning any exercise regimen and to find out what activities suit your uniqueness. Because you are special and doggonit … I like you.

Strike a Pose Saturday: Bending Over Backwards Never Felt SO GOOD!

I don’t know about you, but I love backbends.

There is something about the inside-out feeling of bending my body in this way provides such a release (and relief!) for me. It didn’t come naturally, though, and it took some practice and mental focus to overcome the fear I had around opening my back and my body. Then, once I was clear and trusting that backbends were actually GOOD for me, my body had to catch up with my mind. There was years and years of tightness and patterns to work through (still working through, by the way), a journey which is as much emotional as it is physical. This disciplined practice of yoga asana (hatha yoga) is all about FREEDOM and that is what this pose has taught me the most – freedom in my body and in my thoughts and emotions.

Hi, my name is Lindsay and I’m a Hatha Yogi.

yoga wheel pose

Here I am in Chakrasana, Wheel Pose at Weaverville Yoga in Weaverville, NC

Benefits of Wheel Pose:

  • -Strengthens the wrists and arms as well as the legs, glutes (your yoga butt!) and spine.
  • -Stretches the whole front of the body, the front of the hips, the chest and shoulders.
  • -Great for an energy boost (Try Skull Shining Breath while in this pose. It’s like drinking 12 cups of coffee – seriously!).
  • -Counteracts depression (I wrote about this here).


I heard someone say once in a yoga class that you know you’re a yogi if you have flexible armpits.

It’s true. For me, when learning this pose, the shoulders (armpits included) were especially tricky. For a long time, my elbows would bend and want to point to the outside (not ideal). I had to do a lot of preparatory opening before I could move safely into my Wheel. For some people tightness in the front of the hip prevents mobility in this pose. Also, flexibility of the spine develops with practice. Try to think of your spine as long and spacious with room to move between each vertebrae. Breathing helps.

Stretches You can do to prepare for Chakrasana, Wheel Pose.

-For the Hips – Low Lunge, Bridge Pose (this one is great for the spine, too), Splits

-For the Shoulders – Downward Facing Dog, Extended Puppy Dog, Shoulder Openers

More helpful tips from my yogi friends …

-Here are some really awesome tips and an incredibly effective shoulder stretch from Lucas Rockwood.

-And here is a video from Sadie Nardini where she demonstrates some more shoulder openers.

Please post any questions below and as always, thanks for reading!

Lots of Love,


P.S. You can read last week’s post for tips on Standing Bow Pose.

By the way, please practice safely. These articles express my opinion and while I have over a decade’s experience with hatha yoga practice, intensive teacher trainings and hundreds of hours of teaching, always consult your physician before beginning any exercise regimen and to find out what activities suit your uniqueness. Because you are special and doggonit … I like you.



Strike a Pose Saturday: King Standing Dancer, er, Bow Pose a.k.a. My Favorite

I know, I know … I’m not supposed to pick favorites … BUT … if I had to, this pose it IT. For so many years (over a decade now – sheesh!) I have been practicing this pose and every time I do, it reveals something different to me … about me, within me, and it’s always new.

In Hot Yoga, it is know as Standing Bow or Standing Bow Pulling Pose. In other yoga styles, it is known most commonly as Dancer’s Pose. Doesn’t matter to me. You can call it “Show me your butt and I’ll pick my nose pose” … I’d still love it. Yes, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

Here I am at Bikram Yoga Asheville. Janet Horn, one of the owners was sweet enough to stay after class and give me some tips. She even took this picture for me. Janet ROCKS.

Lindsay Fields in Standing Bow Pose at Bikram Yoga Asheville

Did you notice that my toenails match my shirt?

Some Tips:

Beginners – This is a very challenging pose so please, be patient. And rest assured that at any level, you can still find a correct position and receive all of the benefits of the pose. Work on lowering the upper body first. Then, you can think more about kicking the leg back and up. For most beginners, if you kick back too much at first, you will not be able to lower the upper body down quite as much. The standing leg hamstring requires care and attention to open up (necessary to lower the upper body).  Allow the arm that is holding the ankle to extend back and away from your body while the other arm reaches forward with the palm facing down, parallel to the floor. Keep your eye gaze up over the extended fingertips (not down!).

Intermediate/Advanced – Your standing leg hamstring is key. It is, in fact, 40% of the pose. Notice that if you kick the leg back too quickly the hamstring won’t allow you to lower the upper body. However, if you don’t kick enough in the beginning, you’ll lose the dynamic stretching (the reaching and kicking in opposite directions) and again your mobility will be limited. So basically, experiment with this understanding that 40% of the pose is in the standing leg hamstring, 40% is in the backbend (happens naturally) and the other 20% is in allowing the shoulder and hip to move up and back behind you (hips are NOT square by the way!). Your two heels will line up from top to bottom in the full expression of the pose. More advanced students may grab lower on the leg (away from the ankle). Think of your side body as long and stretching with both sides of the body equal in length. The side with the kicking leg will want to contract – lengthen by kicking back more.


Stretches the shoulders, chest, abdomen, hips, groin and hamstrings.

Strengthens the legs, ankles and feet.

Improves balance.

Opens and strengthens the lungs and heart.

Improves circulation.


See you on the mat!


Bonus! Here is my first YouTube video ever … Standing Bow Pose Example.

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By the way, please practice safely. These articles express my opinion and while I have over a decade’s experience with hatha yoga practice, intensive teacher trainings and hundreds of hours of teaching, always consult your physician before beginning any exercise regimen and to find out what activities suit your uniqueness. Because you are special and doggonit … I like you.

Strike A Pose Saturday: My Forehead and My Knee – A Love Story

I love yoga.

And I do not discriminate. I love it all. So, if I had to consider only one style of yoga and pick my favorite part about it, it would be quite difficult for me. But considering I teach HOT Yoga and my blog here is called a Yoga HOT SPOT, I will pick my favorite thing about certain poses in this tradition of Hatha Yoga (the physical practice of yoga poses) known simply as Hot Yoga. By the way, you can read this post to learn more about this wonderful lineage and the evolution of Hot Yoga.

Okay, one thing stands out for sure (other than the torrid conditions – that’s just too obvious) and sets Hot Yoga apart from other classes for me. This is the emphasis on the forehead to knee connection … and I just love it (surprise, surprise). This is not to say that this position doesn’t make an appearance in other yoga styles. Of course, it does. In fact, the chin to chest action that happens when your forehead touches your knee is known as jalandhara bhanda, or throat lock, and janushirsasana, head to knee pose, is not unique to Hot Yoga. However, it is the emphasis on the forehead (not nose, not chin) touching the knee (not shin, not thigh) that really stands out. When this forehead to knee contact is made, the front side of your body contracts and the back side of your body stretches, creating a rounded, and emphatically so, position of the spine. Learn about the benefits of this rounded spine position here.




Janushirsasana - Head to Knee Pose

Janushirsasana Tips:

If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knee as much as you need to in order to touch the forehead to the knee (not your shin for crying out loud!).

If your hamstrings are not tight …. just shut the heck up, won’t you? Just kidding, if your hamstrings allow you to fully extend your legs in other poses but when your forehead is touching your knee, you just can seem to go anywhere, try lifting the pelvic floor in (a LOT) and also drawing the navel in and up. This will help lengthen the lower back and create more rounding. You might notice your forehead sliding up higher on the knee and you’ll be able to straighten the leg a little more.

If it just kills your knee to have that foot at the inner thigh of the other leg, you can position the extended leg directly in front of you (rather than 45 degrees out) and place the other foot underneath the straight leg thigh.

Relax your shoulders. Even with the chin to the chest in what is called a “throat lock,” let your shoulders come away from your ears. Shrugged shoulders create a lot of unnecessary tension, leak energy you could otherwise use and limit mobility and the desired rounded spine position.

Find it difficult to breathe? Well, if you are used to breathing shallow and only in the chest you will probably feel a little claustrophobic in this position. Try breathing as if your lungs are on your back and as if your are trying to stretch your back muscles (which you are) with the breath.

Again, you can read about the many reasons why MY FOREHEAD LOVES MY KNEES so much by checking out this post here. And if you have any additional questions, please post them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!


Strike a Pose Saturday: I Like to Stand on My Hands

A new feature on my blog … sort of my Wordless Wednesday or Photogenic Friday … but, you know, on Saturday.

I will be sharing a yoga pose, with some tips and info every week. Mostly, I am just posting what I am doing these days, places I am visiting, my current favorite (or darn it – why can’t I freakin’ do this?!?!) yoga pose.

Here I am at the Main Street Nature Park in downtown Weaverville, NC

yoga in the park

Still a little timid when it comes to handstanding it away from the wall but thanks to my friend, the tree here, I ventured out of my safety nets and the handstand practice I am accustomed to.

One of the biggest challenges with handstands is overcoming you fear of falling. Best way to overcome that fear? Just do it. And know that you are going to fall at some point. I have – plenty of times. Learning to fall correctly and safely is an important part of the process … but you will probably learn the hard way. For example, I fell once and broke my left big toe. The good news? My fears were realized. What I dreaded has already happened and now I can move on. Oh, and the falling incorrectly thing? It hasn’t happened again.

In the beginning, the hard part will be to straighten your elbows and have your arms be solid and supportive like tree trunks. You can prep yourself for this pose, strengthen your upper body and arms with other poses such as downward facing dog, plank, forearm balance, etc.


  • Strengthens wrists, arms and shoulders
  • Improves  balance
  • A good pick me up when you are feeling sluggish or down. Nothing quite like shifting your perspective – literally!
  • Invites playfulness


  • Back, shoulder, or neck injury
  • Serious heart condition or high blood pressure
  • Ladies – core muscles are crucial in this pose so better not to do it when your lower belly area is busy doing other, monthly, female specific stuff … chances are, you won’t feel like doing it anyway.

Please check out my first ever giveaway …. you can win a yoga DVD!!

Thanks and love!


By the way, please practice safely, especially with inversions and when practicing outside of the yoga room. These articles express my opinion and while I have over a decade’s experience with hatha yoga practice, intensive teacher trainings and hundreds of hours of teaching, always consult your physician before beginning any exercise regimen and to find out what activities suit your uniqueness. Becuase you are special and doggonit … I like you.

Foot Yoga – Foga? How yoga and stretching your feet can help with pain, stress and more! [VIDEO]

Many yoga postures stretch and strengthen your feet and ankles. Standing poses such as Warrior II and balancing poses are great for this purpose. In addition to regular yoga practice, it is helpful to add to your routine some targeted stretches for your feet.

In my experience, if my feet are able to function pain-free and as the built-in shock absorbers that they are meant to be, I do not experience a transfer of impact up my legs and back when I’m walking. With happy, healthy feet my knees and hips find a safe and comfortable alignment. Also, I have noticed that stretching my feet  has had a beneficial effect on my other yoga postures. For example, in Downward Facing Dog Pose, I have noticed that with wide open feet, my legs naturally relax and I find a spaciousness in the pose that … well, I can sum up in just one word: YUMMY!

And have you ever experienced a foot massage? If not, what the heck are you waiting for? Seriously. With massage, you can release unnecessary tension and find relief from stress and your overall energy increased. Just the thought triggers my drool reflex …

So, without further ado, here is a video where I share my favorite stretches and tips for loving your feet:

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If you enjoyed this post, please share and as always, I welcome any questions or requests!

With Love,