Category Archives: Writings

Testimonial: Birchwood’s 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Birchwood’s 200-Hour Yoga Level I Teacher Training “revitalized my body and reinvigorated my heart” by Amy Oscar I'd never thought about becoming a yoga teacher before but suddenly, as the 2015 Teacher Training approached, I felt excited, curious. When I saw teacher trainees around the studio, I watched them: I want what she's having, I…
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Natarajasana by Julie Lifton

Last week I taught Natarajasana, The King Dancer, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  As is often the case, I observed the link between the alignment of the body and the intention of the pose. In King Dancer the orientation should be forward, the gaze at eye level, the forward hand and the…
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What is Restorative Yoga?

Restorative Yoga is an intuitive, meditative, profoundly healing practice that utilizes a variety of props to support the body in deeply comfortable and relaxing ways. It is a simple, slow practice accessible to all ages and abilities, and can be modified to accommodate most body types or special needs. Restorative Yoga provides a potent form…
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Pranayama – Yogic Exercise in Respiration

Pranayama is the fourth step in Ashtanga yoga, the eight-fold path put forth by Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras. Prana means vital life force and ayama means expansion or extension. The controlled breathing of Pranayama practice expands life force throughout the entire body/mind system.

Breathing is the single pranic activity that is under our control and by using different patterns of breathing we can affect the nervous system and our states of consciousness in different ways. Pranayama helps us to regulate our breathing, helps to control and train our mind, and automatically leads us to the fifth step on the eight-fold path of Yoga called Pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses inward.

A full breath is composed of three parts:
Puraka, inhalation
Rechaka, exhalation
Kumbhaka, the pause in-between

Pranayama is the voluntary control of any of these three stages of breath. This conscious, deep, and rhythmic breathing reduces stress and brings about relaxation, tranquility, and a sense of well being. Pranayama gives rise to balance in our bodies and minds, and a soothes of the nervous system. Pranayama practice should be easeful and pleasurable – never forced or rushed, and should be practiced regularly on whatever time frame pleases you.

© 2016 Betsy Ceva


They were free spirits, sprites, denizens of a land covered in trees. They followed the calls of birds and chased squirrels who vanished into hidden lairs. They lived in a house dropped into the fork of Vrksha, the great old oak, and swinging on a thick rope they plucked leaves from her high branches. They…
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