shriyoga news


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. 



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.