shriyoga news

2023 Commencement – January 1st

The Earth doesn’t know that it is New Year’s Day…. or does she?

Contemplating all of the other New Years which relish a certain depth of Spirit, I wonder about today… it has always felt too close to the heels of Christmas… a premature closure with a taste of failure in not having enough quiet time to contemplate intentions.  The symbol of a ball dropping.

The others, often following a lunar calendar (vs a solar), such as the Indian Diwali, the Jewish New Year or the impending Chinese New Year of the Water Rabbit on January 22nd, 2023, which point to specific rituals of prayer, mantras and offerings to clear the path ahead in the midst of celebratory events.

It is not necessary for me to point out how, we, Westerners, are accustomed to celebrating the end of a year on our accepted solar Gregorian calendar (introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII).  The rituals seem to be about forgetting and leaving behind the prior year… and leaping into the next with a list of “to-dos” which have more to do with ego-gratification and achievement.

What if our intention was to enter 2023 with emphasis on being?

This year, I spent 4 days in relative silence (except for necessary conversation required to complete my samu assigment (work practice)) with my teachers and the Sangha of the Village Zendo upstate in Garrison, NY.  The Garrison Institute, upon arrival, is spectacular.  Set on the Hudson River, it immediately conjures up the magic of Hogwarts.  Dressed in our black robes, engaging in hours of zazen (seated meditation) and kinhin (walking meditation), chanting service, samu practice, silent meals and rest.  Days beginning with the sound of the bell at 5:30am, on our cushions at 5:55am (5 minutes early is on-time in the Zen world), and the day begins until lights out at 9:30pm.

My days began 30 minutes earlier being on “coffee duty”.  I privately laughed when assigned as I once romanticized being a barista in the early 90’s before Starbucks took over the city.   My dream almost came true this past week making espresso with the user-friendly Breville pod machine.

Returning to NYC in time to jump back into teaching for the final 2 days of the year got me thinking about why…. why I did stay for 1/2 retreat rather than the full retreat which ended this morning on January 1st? 


5 decades of conditioned behavior that leans into celebrating outwardly vs. inwardly.

On August 7th, I took Jukai, which means “receiving precepts”.

A beautiful explanation of Jukai, penned by Diane Eshin Rizzeto in Lion’s Roar magazine is as follows: 

“At a deeper level, ju means to open a space within the core of our being to what is natural and true. It is, perhaps, more like “making” a space in which the precepts can manifest as what is natural. So in this sense, ju opens to what is.

At a deeper level, kai refers to the precepts not merely as rules that keep us straight on the path, but as signposts that point us toward naturally acting for the benefit of all beings. The way of the precepts is the path of going beyond the dream of self. It is the path that reveals the truth that our own happiness and well-being is intricately connected to the happiness and well-being of others.”

…Our own happiness and well-being is intricately connected to the happiness and well-being of others.

May 2023 bring us closer to a world benefiting all beings.


The Year of the Mother – JULY 13th, 2022


There is so much I have wanted to write over the last year…. living took precedent.
It isn’t that I didn’t write because I do.
However, the effort to edit any of what I did write into something worthy of your attention was not within reach.
Every day I wake up to a deluge of newsletters full of insights, reflections, summations and new ideas from a collective of incredibly intelligent, thought-provoking humans.  Some emerging ideas crack my brain open, thirsting for more.
Some shared reflections break my heart.
Some summations leave me numb.
There is a lot of pain in our world.  Arguably, there is more pain than ever.
In 2020, we lived and moved through the fear of the Unknown, confronting the shock of the pandemic lockdown through varied perspectives based on causes and conditions uniquely ours.
Where I am sitting now is the same place I sat when I decided to remain here in NYC on March 16th, 2020.
My desire to do so was met with urgent concern from family and friends begging that we flee to safety.  Doors were open to us far and wide.
I even made a half-hearted call to a car dealership.
Despite the pressure, there was an abiding inner insistence to stay… to sit.
At that time, I was newly studying Zen koans with Roshis Enkyo and Joshin of the Village Zendo here in NYC.  Their zendo was quickly transformed into an on-line existence and through their guidance,  I learned “to sit” with it
The Great Unknown…. And bear witness.
Strangely, because society was sequestered and quieter than usual, it was the perfect entry point into zazen.  Zazen is a central form of meditation in Zen.
What is curious was that my attachment to who I believed myself to be for most of my life began to unravel.
Most notably, the belief that I was a social and gregarious person. 
It was a shock to face that I am not as social and gregarious as I was presenting to the pre-pandemic world.
In fact, I feel like that person, that Elizabeth was not the real me.  Let me clarify:  not fully me.
The more pure form of me is someone who has always loved learning from an early age, and then teaching my younger brothers math and science.  (Yes, I was the kid that brought home the rat from biology to show my family the dissection.)
All kinds of memories of a less conditioned form of me came to the surface, including my love of elders.  Through my teen years, Life afforded me the gift of having all 4 Grandparents and 3 Great-parents actively living!  Rose, Vito, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth,  Arturo and Antoinette.
My preferred weekend was spent with any of them, relishing their magical responses to the obvious pain and suffering always present.  Rose cooked like no other.  Vito grew mint in the alley next to the Chicago apartment.  Joseph, who grew up in a Polish orphanage after the 1918 Flu Pandemic took his Mother’s life, went on to become a successful dentist and businessman, traveling far and wide across the world with Elizabeth who’s ironclad memory gave her the ability to tell wild tales of their globetrotting adventures.  Arturo sang like Sinatra, playing multiple instruments, all the while holding down an executive position at Motorola….he also never missed bringing us donuts every Saturday morning.  His Antoinette, “Toni” was a fiercely protective lioness in a petite 5’0″ frame who drove me to downtown Chicago for my very first auditions and commercial shoots as a teenage actor. 
She also was the liaison between my Mom, her daughter, and me.
Between a wild child and a beautifully refined Mother.
My rebellion was to not grin and bear it.
I sulked.
…wanted piercings.
…to run through the streets barefoot with the boys.
Down the road, I moved to NYC.
My liberation, her heartbreak.
Somehow, she always managed to express her love for me even as my choices led me further and further away from the dreams she once had for me, the baby girl, who could sit for hours paging through books in a playpen.
And, now I wonder as I write this entry, has she been patiently holding the space for the quiet, studious Elizabeth to reemerge?
I will never know.
Any preferences she had for me have vanished.
My Mom has dementia.
(She hates “the D word” and would be very angry with me for even writing it here. Admitting to you, strangers, that she has it.)
She wants to be “Diane” she tells me.
She wants people to know that she “loves love”.
She never forgets that.
If my Mom could understand that I experience her now as the most radiantly beautiful self she has ever been… she might forgive me for this entry.
If she could understand the lessons she is teaching our entire family, she would hold her head high with pride.
Her disability (as it is referred in both medical and legal worlds) is a powerful elixir which has turned on the light of fierce love in her children.
We are all fighting for her care and dignity.
And, somehow , because we have stepped into this fierce kind of love, she is still mothering us.
Zazen, morning and evening, in 2020 was a unique preparation for the yet to be revealed “Year of the Mother.”
There is nothing more I could have done outside of zazen in 2020 to prepare.
Sitting.  Cultivating patience.  Letting the pre-2020 “me” disappear little by little into someone capable of taking action in 2021.
And now, July 2022, moving through a tornado of competing desires in a hailstorm of never-ending tragedies, I muffle my privileged complaints.
The question is do I dare to  keep sitting when most everyone else I know is up and out…dancing back and forth across the globe?
As uncomfortable as it is to not join in the emerging party, yes, I do dare.
And, yes:  I know it appears to be crazy sitting, facing a wall…
unless one admits that we will always be facing the Unknown.
Sitting provides the space to bear witness.
And maybe cultivate some Shraddha… Faith… that compassionate action is possible.
In the meantime, my heart reaches out to all of you.  Every time I write one of these “Shriyoga News” entries, I promise to write again sooner.  This time, no promises.  I am here. I am present and available.  Feel free to email any time.  I will write back. And, for those of you living in NYC, maybe we will joyfully bump into each other on the street.


My partner often quotes the famous Tai Chi master, Cheng Man-ch’ing, when I lose anything.

Losses ranging between the ultimately meaningless (a favorite hat dropped somewhere between Lafayette Street and LaGuardia Place) and the profoundly irreplaceable (my Vedic chanting teacher, Radha Sundararajan (read the June 15th news below)).
These days I ponder Cheng Man-ch’ing’s quotation daily as it confounds me.  What did this Master mean?  How do you invest in loss?  What is the quality of loss?  Is there anything gained by losing?
A beautiful and magnificently intelligent woman who had been studying with me privately since earlier this year passed away one week ago today.  Her story is one layered with loss. Sometimes, before we entered breath-centered mediation or mantra chanting practices, she would amaze me with the stories of her life.  Because I hold confidentiality as an important part of the teacher-student relationship, I can only tell you that she knew the secret of how to “invest in loss”.
On February 15th, 2018, I was fortunate to attend Laurie Anderson’s live performance “All Things I Lost In The Flood” at Town Hall, here in NYC.   Then in the early March 2020 days of the pandemic lockdown, I watched the performance again when Town Hall premiered it on their Youtube channel.  I was overjoyed as I made dinner in my tiny kitchen grateful to re-experience the poignancy of this particular performance including when Laurie had we, the audience, let out a collective primal scream in honor of Yoko Ono.
Laurie ends the performance with lyrics from The Velvet Underground song, “Some Kind of Love”:
Some kinds of love
Marguerita told Tom
Between thought and expression
Lies a lifetime
Situations arise
Because of the weather
And no kinds of love
Are better than others
Some kinds of love
Margueirta told Tom
Like a dirty French novel
Combines the absurd with the vulgar
In some kinds of love
The possibilities’re endless
And for me to miss one
Would seem to be groundless
If my interpretation is LOVE is the constant underlying essence of everything and it expresses itself in infinite ways… endlessly.  It is who we are, and therefore, it is what remains when all is lost, all falls away.  Love is the forgotten gain.
A teaching from my long time teacher/mentor, the brilliant Sally Kempton, was “darling, you will just need to grow your heart bigger” in response to heartbroken questions in 2006 when I lost a lover and couldn’t imagine loving someone else.
Why do we forget?  Why do we persist in our attempts to “get over” anything or anyone in this life?
Why don’t we all love enough to remember the precious connections of our lockdown year…. When you got to see who really showed up and was present to engage?  When you learned who the actual people were in your local neighborhood.
I write the above, stunned, sitting at La Guardia airport, watching the US hiccupping in its attempts to re-establish per-pandemic times.
We are changed.  We might not want to admit that we are changed.  We have lost parts of ourselves that are not to return.  Some of the parts need to be mourned.  Some of the parts could return if we turn away from the loss.  Why do we want to turn away from the loss?  There is great harm in not recognizing what is happening in this world, to the Earth and all of her species.
We do need each other.
Last night, I was walking home through Soho contemplating this trip.  Lost in thought and looking down at my phone to see the time, I was approached by a young man with “Hey, can I ask you a question?”  He caught me off guard, retracing my steps back down Mercer Street to Grand after getting a bad vibe about walking. 
I stopped and said, “Sure. What?”
He asked, “Why is no one talking to each other anymore?”
I paused, pondering.
(Somewhere in the recesses of my mind Laurie Anderson’s musings from her Town Hall performance left an imprint, for in a flash, I remembered her theory that we have lost the back and forth of conversation.  She mused on ancient Greece and how she imagined Plato wondering  “What Socrates would think of that?”)
I spoke to the young man for 30 minutes.
His name, Thomas, 29 years old, the youngest of 6 children and loves boxing. I asked if he was training to be a professional.  He said, “Oh no!  I am training to teach boxing.  I want to teach it as a form of fitness, not to fight.”
I made a joke that there was going to be a niche market for the aging population all wanting to be on their toes for the alien invasion.
He laughed “Don’t scare me!”
I told him to watch some sci-fi.
He told me that he had never seen a science fiction film.
We spoke of my journey.  It hit him: I was old enough to be his Mother!  He laughed with a “Wow!”
He told me that he didn’t want to get married or have kids yet because he wasn’t fully formed.
I encouraged him to invest in himself and then, figure out a way to serve.
He lit up:  “Yes, otherwise there is no point, right?”
I told him that it took me until the pandemic to finally understand that there is no point unless there is a genuine intention of service because we need each other whether we like it or not.
We are interconnected and interdependent.
We are love.
We said goodbye.  I wished him safety on his train ride home to Crown Heights.
He turned around and smiled with another thank you.

ZEN STUDIES – JUNE 15th, 2021

On Friday morning, May 14th, I woke at 4:45am to the news that my dear Vedic mantra/chanting teacher, Radha Sundararajan, had unexpectedly passed away.

It was so shocking that I felt my heart split open.
Even with Covid virus raging in India and having a “mild case” herself, Radha showed up two weeks ago on April 30th at my weekly Friday private Skype lesson to teach me.
She started the lesson with an unusual request:  “Chant for me Liz”.
I chanted.
She made no corrections and listened.  Unusual.
Normally, she precisely corrects my English-speaking tongue line by line, prompting me to chant over and over until I move within range of what the sound must be for a Vedic mantra to have its full healing potential.
 “Do you notice Liz?  You are beginning to learn now”.
I laugh and respond “Finally!” 
It has been one year and 9 months since our first weekly private lesson on August 2nd, 2019:  I am now beginning to learn.
 “I’ll see you next week Liz.”
Radha entered the hospital in Chennai days later.
“A teacher is like a mirror, encouraging you to trust yourself at the deepest levels possible.  To work at the profound level where you are not holding back requires unconditional commitment.  A good teacher can see where you are holding on.  If a teacher challenges you, see what comes up, and let that process you, rather than the other way around.”
I contemplate above commentary.  Radha is the perfect teacher for me in her sudden departure… especially, right now,  as I bawl my eyes out again with the understanding that she will physically not be meeting with me ever again.
It is clear.  Very clear:  I have been an “eater of wine-dregs”.   My attachment.  My desire.  My want of more….. “when will there ever be a day for [me]?”
Yesterday, May 15th at 12:30am Eastern Time, I joined a worldwide group gathered in a virtual room initiated by Radha’s colleagues and friends in Chennai, India to chant the Narayana-upanisat for her.
Hearing it, I remembered:  Radha chanted it last May 25th, 2020 for my partner, Judah ’s Mother upon her passing.
This morning I listened to the recording on my iPhone.
Thousands of years since these mantras first materialized in this world.
Today, they live even as we pass.
It took Radha’s death 2 days ago for me “to begin to learn” the lesson of Obaku’s Dregs.
Selfishly, I wanted more. More Radha.  More mantras.  More guidance. More Dregs.  More Slurping.  More.  More.  More. 
 “Holy understanding is forgotten in the activity that catches tigers and buffaloes”
Today, I contemplate:
“What about when there is no authority to depend on?”


…still under the spell of yesterday’s Full “Wolf” Moon, I went out for a walk in my frozen neighborhood with the intention of bringing my business to one of many favorite local coffee shops, the Urban Backyard at 180 Mulberry Street.  I ordered more than I needed attempting to embody all the people that used to be lined up down the block only a year ago.
All the great wisdom traditions teach that there is “no separation”.  Like most humans, I struggle with this notion.
It is also one of the primary reasons that I have remained in NYC during our on-going pandemic.  When I walk the almost empty streets here and see my neighbors also confronting this particular reality, the notion of separation is blurred.
One thing I have learned in my many blessed years of travel around this beautiful world is that there is no escaping myself.  Whether I was in Rishikesh, Paris or in Black Mountain, North Carolina, everything troubling me at those times, always came with me.
In fact, I often longed to be “home” in my 500 square foot apartment on Thompson Street.
Fortunately, I remembered this lesson at the start of the pandemic when there were many choices to flee the city or take up residence in a more appealing location.
My way is not “the way” and it is not a reflection of judgment of others who made different choices at this time in history.
As the great teacher Jon Kabat Zinn states “… this journey is a trajectory between birth and death, a human life lived.  No one escapes the adventure.  We only work with it differently.”
My work within this adventure is to not turn away from the collective despair and to remain vigilant in my practices so I remember that there is “no separation”.
We do affect each other.  We can make a difference in each other’s lives.  There is no escape from our interconnection.


Almost exactly one year ago to the day,  is the last time we sent a newsletter to the greater community of people who have either joined yoga and meditation practices at Shriyoga in its many iterations or have subscribed based on connection to me through various retreats and offerings around the world.

Stating the obvious, October 2020 is mind-bogglingly different than October 2019.  Our relationships and communities have shifted from dependency on the physical to the virtual.  Some of us are kicking and screaming in protest to swinging of the pendulum… missing physical contact… while some of us are quietly relieved (maybe even delighted) that the world has finally opened to us in the privacy of our homes.

I read below what I shared in my “NOTE TO SELF -Autumn 2019” entry.

It portends everything I would personally need to navigate the Unknown of 2020.

“A mistake can unexpectedly reveal something so beautiful that it is best to let it be… exploring a mistake, rather than just outright “fixing it”, requires a shift in perception. What, at first, is perceived as a mistake might be the key…”

In 2015, I embarked on an experimental musical journey with my brother, Johnny Rossa and Meredith Meyer, the evocative singer-songwriter.  Over the course of the next 2 years our collaboration grew to include some of the best musicians and engineers from around the world.

Then, in late 2017, after a pre-release live performance of CHAMUNDA at Salon 94our vinyl test pressings came back with serious sound issues.  We ran around the city playing the test pressings on various turn tables of musicians, dj’s and engineers to absolutely determine if we needed to return to press the vinyl.  The answer was an unequivocal yes.

The mistake presented by inadequate sound quality of the vinyl test pressings gave me pause.  The conversations around how to move forward became complicated.  Months passed. In the pause, which felt like a paralysis, I remembered a teaching:

Chant to Ganesha first.

It is a ritual.

August 2018 – August 2020:  GANAPATAYE


It was not a mistake after all.

A lesson in listening.  A lesson in intimacy.

A lesson in the importance of ritual in a time when the pandemic has been one of increasing rituals.

A lesson ultimately in FIERCE LOVE. 

Happy Navaratri!


September 22nd… day and night nearly equal in a time where equality in all respects is mightily challenged.

It is quite possible I will never forget the nuances of this particular September 22nd, let alone the days leading up to it.  And now, the heart-wrenching departure of the magnificent Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from this Earth.

The very last days of August, I spent at the glorious point of Orient, NY after 217 straight days and nights in my beloved Manhattan.
When I drove over the Williamsburg Bridge late on the last Sunday of August 2020, I felt pangs of attachment and, of a subtle conditioned response of betrayal…. To leave a hurting city and community even for just a few days.
When I arrived in the dark, another kind of pause enveloped my awareness.  The soundscape of seagulls and crickets, whispering to me that Nature was enjoying the slower pace of humanity.  Every second I relished.  The pineapple tomato, rosemary and mint from my dear friends’ garden, 4pm naps, the little bit of fear of sleeping in a town with no locks on the doors, the salty air and the heart stopping, ice cold dip off the dock into the bay.
On the drive back to reunite with the island I call my lover, a Full Moon deluge of rain expressed my full heart.  The magic of Orient fortified my understanding that my role to play in this next chapter, is to be part of the resuscitation of NYC.  This part is not for everyone.  It is a part only for those that deeply feel that calling.  It is for those that breathe a sigh of relief when coming back to the city.
For others, it will be to love and give from afar.  To offer support in other ways.  All ways of support are needed.  There is no intrinsic hierarchy in this web of life.  All parts depend on the others… a prominent lesson of these times.
One of my favorite yoga teachers, Erich Schiffman, taught those of us who studied with him to “pause, breathe, feeeeelllll…. And then dare to do what the feeling is telling you to do.”  He always said the word “feel” with extra emphatic elongation of the vowel E.  It was an especially poignant teaching in the time immediately following 9/11.  (Those of us who are vintage enough to remember life before and after, understand that there will be an after to this traumatic chapter too.)
Erich’s teaching never faded from my practice and studies over the next 18 years and NOW, HERE, in 2020, I find myself remembering him daily.  The sunlit room of the Sacred Movement Studio on the border avenue of Rose between Venice and Santa Monica, California is where I spent most of 2002 studying with him and Max Strom.  These early teachers encouraged me with great spirit to teach…. in a year where I was hanging in limbo between one life and another.  The Life I was relentlessly pursuing until 9:59am ET on 9/11 and the Life that slowly emerged in all the aching hours until the Autumnal Equinox of 2004 when Shri Yoga opened its doors at 443 Greenwich Street, NYC.
Over time and continual studies with other living masters, I have adopted the word “sense” for the word “feel” in my sharing of Erich’s initial teaching.
“Pause, breath, sense…. And dare to do what the sensation is telling you to do.”

When we practice yoga, we are using the senses, all of them, to study and ponder our body-minds which are always giving us the necessary information in HOW to proceed.   Touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and listening… Deep listening with every cell, as if each cell had their own set of ears.
Can we slow down enough in our daily routines to be able to sense when to move towards the physical, when to retreat to the virtual, how to engage in the physical world and how to manage the virtual…. And what combination of the two will best suit your health and ability to participate in this incredibly challenging chapter in our world history.
Our ability to master the dance between both virtual and physical will be critical to our ability to remain centered in the ever fluctuating Unknown.  It is our adventure to navigate.
Invest in connecting to your highest and wisest self, and dare to make choices which you sense to be aligned with that highest, wisest self.  It is ok that new communities are emerging and maybe some of the people you love dearly are not the ones whom you will be connecting with in the physical realm for the next leg of the journey.  The beauty is that they can be with you in the virtual with the ability to give their undivided attention and whole heart energy.  It is a powerful way to connect.  Do not underestimate its resonance.
And, in terms of the physical, it might be that those who end up in your “pod” are not those whom you would have expected at the start of the crisis.  Embrace the time you have with these people as time will also change that dynamic.  They are with you now and now is what is important.  Time will eventually shift that dynamic so do not squander or make the mistake that there will be another time down the road to be with them.  Be Here Now as my dear teacher, Ram Dass wrote and taught daily for all of his life.  I think of him more than ever as he passed from this world on December 22, 2019. It is challenging to fully integrate the loss of his physical presence here on Earth, especially now in this global crisis.  He would be the first to tell me, us, that it isn’t about the teacher as much as it is about the teachings.
There is no escape.
Be Here Now.
Keep aligning with your heart’s wisest sensibility.
Bear Witness and when you do choose to take action, Do No Harm.
Easier said than done.
Everything I have written above has been written before.
Can we continue to have fresh response to this time?  Can we stop pushing towards the future, where we think it will be better even though there is no proof that it will because it is “Unknown”.  Can we make the best of our lives NOW?  Can we do it?  Can we make it the best year yet even though dystopia rules the day? 
I think we can.  I know we can.
Life is an adventure.



The world is violent and mercurial–it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love–love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.

–Tennessee Williams

Keeping my promise to stay connected. 


NOTE TO SELF – Autumn 2019

We caught a typo reviewing the last Shriyoga News entry from three years ago.

Lesson: it’s never too late to make a correction.  In fact, I am learning along the way that to “course-correct” can be both exhilarating and healing.

And sometimes, a mistake can unexpectedly reveal something so beautiful that it is best to let it be.

Exploring the mistake is one of the potent lessons I have been learning in co-creating music with life-long musicians and engineers.  Exploring a mistake, rather than just outright “fixing it”, requires a shift in perception. What, at first, is perceived as a mistake might be the key to the entire song.

One of the keys for this shift in perception is deep listening.

Listening is also a directive of my yoga teacher, Richard Freeman.  Listening with the entirety of your embodied self.

Therefore, last month as we were looking back at this Shriyoga News page (to see where we left off),  my eye caught the delivery of a text on my Iphone.  I glanced quickly as not wanting to be distracted.

However, the text waiting was from the very “first friend” I made in NYC back in October of 1989:  Abigail Gampel.

Abby has always been a magical being to me.  Someone actually born in Manhattan (to two amazing theatre actors) and who understands in her bones the reality of being a child of “Hell’s Kitchen”… walking home from school along West 42nd Street when sex shops pre-dated Disney. 

The moment I met Abby at a rehearsal at the Tiny Mythic Theatre Company on Wooster Street, I was mesmerized.  As the costume designer of the production, it was my job to find the perfect dress for her, the lead actress.  Abigail was everything I was not and wanted to be.  She, wildly expressive, I, a still domesticated North Shore Chicago girl.

Later, I performed with her in my first NYC show at the legendary Theatre Club Funambules on Ludlow Street on the LES.  (I linked a Village Voice article for those of you wishing to recall that time in NYC history.)

So:  the text.

No personal message from her.

A poem.


What message was this poem carrying for me at this particular moment.


Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt——marvelous error!——
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures
–Antonio Machado
Translated by Robert Bly

“…making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.”

A poem referencing course-correction.


The last time I wrote an entry here in Shriyoga News, I made a “promise to share some news sooner than one year from now.

I failed to keep the promise.

It is three years later.

That failure created space for more study, more music, more real time connection… more honey.

The newsletter due to be sent on Saturday, October 19th, is the first in over two years.

Abby’s text of poetry jolted my heart and got me writing.

It also sent me on a hunt for more of Mr. Machado’s haunting words of the deep heart. 

Below, might reveal what has (and hasn’t) been going on in the three years since the last Shriyoga News:

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
Walking makes the road,
and turning to look behind
you see the path that you
will never tread again.
Wanderer, there is no road,
only foam trails on the sea.

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
sino estelas en la mar.

–Antonio Machado from “Proverbios y cantares” in Campos de Castilla, 1912



The task of genius
is to keep the miracle alive,
to live always in the miracle,
to make the miracle more and more miraculous,
to swear allegiance to nothing,
but live only miraculously,
think only miraculously,
die miraculously.

–henry miller

It has been over a year since I wrote the last bit of “news”.  Reading back below at what I predicted for 2015, I was on target. It was a year of intense study and practice.

The practices and time spent with my primary teachers, Richard Freeman and Sally Kempton, were priceless.  I also was introduced to an incredible teacher in Tokyo, Shinnosuke Takaoka, who challenged me to find new strength and integration in my yoga practice.  Meeting Shin has made me a more honest practitioner.  He shined a light on my practice that revealed shadows and places I was hiding.

2015 quickly became a year of unraveling so many preconceived ideas.  It was a year of humble deconstruction.  It was a year unlike any that I have lived.  It was a year I found a newfound closeness to what many call The Inner Teacher.

The early months of deconstruction led to an impulse.  A musical impulse.  And, then, with humility, I asked two other musicians to humor this impulse in an experimental session. It was… miraculous.

We continued together through the summer and into the fall and what emerged from these miracle sessions was a music project.

The very first week of 2016, we officially recorded our basic tracks at the Canyon Hut in LA, up in the Laurel Canyon.

At this moment, the details of this project are not of importance.  What is of importance is that my yoga/meditation/philosophical studies and practices led to a deconstruction of what “I thought” to be “the way”.  The excavated space revealed a longing to merge my various modalities of study and practice.

My dedication to yoga, contemplative practices, meditation and philosophy bridged a reconnection to my childhood studies of music/classical piano.  In late 2007 I learned to play the electric bass and after years of playing with friends’ bands, I enrolled in music school through an on-line program with a focus on bass in 2013.  The commitment to more formalized study of bass created a foundation for a more profound understanding.  This understanding allowed me to “let it be”, and in the “being” of playing bass I began to have experiences almost impossible to put into words.

The one thing I can share is that I can feel this instrument through every cell of my body-mind.  The bass has shared its secret knowledge of how the low end is in fact a very deep spiritual plane of existence.  A miraculous place of existence where no thought exists.  Pure vibration.  Pure Joy.

So now what?  In the process of editing, mixing and mastering.  And, yes, studying, practicing, teaching.  All of it interconnected.  All of IT.

With gratitude, I am now off to teach yoga on retreat with Sally Kempton.  Our third at the Mount Madonna Center in California amongst the redwoods.  And then, in just a few months, I will be studying with Richard Freeman and Robert Thurman for a week up at the Menla Mountain House.

I am definitely grateful.

And, I promise to share some news sooner than one year from now.



trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.
–e.e. cummings

I chose this passage because it encompasses a profound aspect of the inescapable unknown; which is that we are largely not in control except for our ability to choose to love, again and again. To move from the infinite capacity of our hearts.

It is a great lesson which keeps bringing me back many times a year to my primary teachers, Sally Kempton and Richard Freeman. Why? Because the clarity and knowledge seeps in drop by drop. The practices can be elusive as the Mystery itself. It is a constant effort to center/ground oneself within All That Is.

It requires practice to continually open to the unfolding of Life without fear.

Letting It Be. Letting it Become.

Shriyoga and its dedicated community were practicing quietly the second half of 2014. There was nothing “incredible” to report. It was a time of practice, practice and more practice.

The prediction for 2015?

And a good dose of intense study.

Love from Molokai as I embark on the first practices and studies of the year under the generous guidance of Richard Freeman, Mary Taylor and Robert Thurman.

Looking forward to sharing what I can when I emerge from retreat.

In the meantime…
Live by Love



Many years have come and gone according to the mind’s perspective of what is happening on this planet called Earth.  And, as my primary yoga teacher, Richard Freeman, so succinctly said during a led Primary Series at The Yogaworkshop in Boulder this most recent January 23rd, 2014:

After all these Years, it is still the Present.

NOW.  The Present.  NOW.  The Yoga.

The thoughts still bubble up… wanting to define, to create form and meaning, to defend against the NOW, against that it is still the Present, that there IS a Past and there WILL BE a Future, and that TWENTY FOURTEEN is THE YEAR to finally make a shift, jump a level, make a difference, become the best version of myself and not only speak the Truth, but BE the Truth.

All high ideals.  All ideas, concepts, hopes, dreams, intentions within the NOW.  Within the Present.  Doing begins to replace Being.  Lists are created.  50 items long, then 100, 101, 102, 198, 500+ and growing.  The NOW is full.  It is pregnant with potential, and it so vast, intelligent and, luckily, also… EMPTY.

I could sit here and list for you all the amazing, heartbreaking, surprising and yes, mundane moments within the NOW that encompassed the last 6 months of 2013 leading from the Summer Solstice to this moment called January 31st, 2014.  I could. The question is:  what is the intention of recounting that which has seemingly passed if the Present beckons us to relish NOW?

Can this day, January 31st, 2014, (another perceived new beginning) The Chinese New Year of the Horse, be an opportunity to realize that it is still the Present?


For further information on what may unfold in TWENTY FOURTEEN, please go to our RETREAT PAGE for details on the exquisite philosophy and meditation master, Sally Kempton’s retreat of Transformative practices.  I have the privilege of teaching the yoga sessions each morning.  Please consider joining us for what promises to be powerfully rejuvenating retreat for your practices (and your soul!) in the ever-PRESENT Now.


Since the below account of the journey from the last Solstice through the beginning of March, Shriyoga life has been much about study, and further study.

In class our community classes on Greenwich Street we regularly invoke the Santi Path:

om saha navavatu
saha nau bhunaktu
saha viryam karavavahai
tejasvinavadhitamastu ma vidvisavahai
om santih santih santih

We ask for protection and a nourishing, brilliant study together when we come to our mats.  This concept of study has been the theme.  Studying ourselves in the context of the practice.  Taking the time to really discern what is going on.

Elizabeth thanks Richard Freeman for teaching her the Santi Path and for further igniting the desire to study originally set afire by Sally Kempton.


We started the New Year inspired by Leo Villareal’s Buckyball and the Celestial Communication contemplative group practice we shared in Madison Square Park on December 20th.

Alive and well on January 1st, Elizabeth asked everyone “to ease into 2013” as we began our first practice of the year.

Then, Sally Kempton’s provocative suggestion to “stop struggling” raised the intentional bar.

Letting go of the struggle seemed like the only sane thing “to do” because so much was already on the calendar for first quarter 2013.  When one of Elizabeth’s two dearest cousins, Kathy Beimfohr died on January 6th, 13 hours shy of her 60th birthday, letting go became an organic expression.

There was no longer nothing “to do” except hold space to pause, breathe and notice existence as a pulsing, creative, never-ending unfolding of consciousness as everything and everyone

We continue to experiment with letting go of the struggle and LIFE continues to carry us with her constant flow of ideas, exchanges and relationships, old and new:

Costa Rica at favorite friend, Jeff Gossett’s The Sanctuary at Two Rivers was sublime.  Our band of Shriyogis most definitely retreated.

Then to Italia to talented yoga maestro, Piero Vivarelli’s most gracious ATMASTUDIO for February 14th evening workshop.  Piero’s translation brought a linguistic music to Elizabeth’s teaching.  By the end, each downward facing dog was an exquisite pranam to some experience of Kundalini Shakti.

The whirlwind trip to Italy also carried with it gifts of punk blues rock in Firenze, consciousness conversation over Bergamot risotto in Parma with new friends Monica and Claudio from Associazione Culturale Samsara and a joyful reunion with old friend and gorgeous inside/out yoga teacher, Marc Holzman.  We originally bonded tearfully on Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, Utah, circa 2003.  More on Marc’s teaching coming soon!

Shriyoga classes here on Greenwich and Canal Street grounded with the clarity that we do not need to rush as we already arrived.

Next up is Thailand as Elizabeth takes off her teaching cap and becomes a full time student under the masterful guidance of Richard Freeman.  2 weeks of Ashtanga Vinyasa, study of the grand Bhagavad Gita, chanting, satsang and meditation.

Letting go never felt so good.