Sunday Conference 3.24.13

 Sunday Conference with Diana...

Continuing:  Years of Dragon and Snake
Balance of Stirha/sukha

Snake Dog/Cobra
3 lines of energy:  chest area, spine and hips
Heart opening – courageous, joy and happiness - large

Be mindful –breathe deeply– lengthen spine – deepen bend in mid-to-low back areas –
pull heart area through arms – hands flat - engage thighs - stay present

Continue:  “Research” (stretching) – Lunges prior to your practice
Hip/hip flexor opener – Hanumanasana – breathe deeply

Add:  Reclining Hero Pose or Supta Virasana
If comfortable (no knee strain); place block in between shoulder blades
for more heart opening.   … BIG inhalations

These poses will lengthen your hip flexors and rid you of your “plank dog.”

Homework and weekly messages:

This week, think of 6 impossible things known to you to be impossible.
(Hint:  Believe in the impossible)

Diana’s Storytelling:  
How she thought it was impossible to live where she does now.  Believe.

“The world is forever static, precise, dependable, predictable, fixed and logical.  
You, however, are radiant, imaginative, expressive, impetuous, totally alive, 
undulating creative energy.  You are the cause and the world is your effect.”
 – Dorien Israel – Unbound

“I tell people I’m too stupid to know what’s impossible.  
I have ridiculously large dreams, and half the time they come true.”
 – Debi Thomas

Sunday Conference 3.17.13

Notes from our Sunday conference with Diana...

Years of Dragon and Snake – Balance of Stirha/sukha
Einstein’s “Imagination” – imaginal cells
Thoreau’s “Walden Pond” – live consciously; every corner of our lives
Carroll’s – “Nothing is impossible”

Alice in Wonderland- “your muchness” – self-discovery/open to possibilities

Snake Dog/Cobra
3 lines of energy:  chest area, spine and hips
Heart opening – courageous, mild anti-depressant, joy and happiness

Be mindful –breath deeply– lengthen spine – deepen bend in back area – stay present

Add:  “Research” (stretching) - prior to your practice
Hip/hip flexor opener – Hanumanasana – breath deeply

Our practice can heal our mind and body; it is our “medicine”
Opening Chant: …
" who teaches the knowledge of the Self that awakens us to great happiness,
 who is the Jungle Physician and dispeller of the poison of conditioned existence”

Diana’s Storytelling:  
In graduate school, under tremendous stress = physical malady = meds
Dianas’s remedy:  
No meds; bathtub soaking, Calvin & Hobbs books, comedic readings (ha!)  = cured!
Lighten up – be silly – be joyous – be happy – be fun

Homework and weekly messages:
Be a little bonkers this week.  Laugh.  Make someone laugh.  Dare to be silly.
Imagine 6 impossible things this week – preferably before breakfast.  
Recite them all day, all week.


With spring comes the transformed growth of imagination

Diana's OC Register column published March 21, 2013
original article here

Spring begins – the day was perfectly balanced with the night on March 20, the vernal equinox. For us living in Southern California, the changing of the seasons are subtle.
The chill has lifted and we get out sandals and put our Ugg boots away until next fall. The city streets and hiking trails are alive with the colors of spring flowers and the smell of fruit trees in bloom. The whales are migrating south, and the mocking birds begin their night song. I am waiting to see my first caterpillar of the season.
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Diana Christinson

Related reading

"The Tao turns the tides and changes caterpillars into butterflies.
Do you truly believe that it has less magic, mystery or meaning in store for you?
Pay attention to what within you is beginning to awaken.
The caterpillar can feel the essence of the butterfly even before it begins to emerge.
Remember, butterflies are never born on the ground.
This type of total transformation occurs only after an arduous climb up the trunk of the tree and a perilous trip out onto the barest branch.
Risk is the cost of attaining anything of real value.
Create your own chrysalis of consciousness; a protective cocoon in which you realize yourself more wholly.
Dawning as a radiant light, awakening others in the same way.
Source: Tao de Ching 78th Passage, Translated by Dorien Israel
Caterpillars represent more than the coming of spring; they symbolize transformation and the possibility of metamorphose.
The caterpillar, a creature closest to the earth and chunky, literally transforms into a beautiful flying creature. The transformation of the caterpillar is a biological miracle with a message.
With my limited knowledge of insects, I always imagined the caterpillar in the cocoon transforming bit by bit, growing wings and butterfly antennas. But the metamorphosis of this creature is much more miraculous. Unlike mammals, the insect world transformation is almost alien or other-worldly. The caterpillar once in the cocoon starts to disintegrate into a pile of mush and decay.
While still a caterpillar, unique cells called imaginal cells show up in the caterpillar. The caterpillars' immune system thinks they are enemies and fights them off. The imaginal cells continue to grow like crazy, multiply and eventually take over. Cells start to cluster together into groups that resonate at the same frequency, passing information from one to another. One cluster becomes the wings, another cluster becomes legs and another antennae. Research professor Lincoln Brower reports, "And so the transformation of metamorphosis goes. ... Nothing like this happens in vertebrates – ever. It's a phenomenon of insects and it truly is a miraculous biological process of transformation."
What makes the imaginal cells miraculous is that while within the caterpillar they were not caterpillar cells, nor were they butterfly cells. They "imagined" themselves. "The term imaginal cell is given to those formative, embryonic cells embedded within the caterpillar which imagine and create the butterfly," according to Deanne Bedar, author of "Imaginal Cells: A Metaphor of Transformation."
The imaginal cell inspires us to believe in transformation and to imagine.
The equinox brings vibrant colors and smells. Seeing the first caterpillar will remind me of the Einstein quote, "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
What is coming? What is possible? The caterpillar's message, what can we imagine for ourselves?
– Diana Christinson is the director and instructor at Pacific Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Dana Point. She received her master's degree in psychology and has combined her deep appreciation for Eastern philosophies, mythology and meditation practices with the Ashtanga yoga system.

Finding your Sva Dharma

Diana's article for the OC Register published Feb. 15, 2013
original article here

About a year ago I was asked by a friend why I didn't surf and my immediate answer was fear.
The fear of not being a strong enough swimmer, of not being able to control the conditions, or not having enough breath when I really needed it, but most of all the fear of the raw and awesome force nature packs behind a powerful wave as it hits the beach. It's a strange sensation, as I feel so connected to the water whether I am on it, in it or just listening to the white water as it comes ashore in the aftermath of the same powerful wave I am so fearful of.
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Diana Christinson in her Dana Point Yoga Studio at 24901 Dana Harbor Drive, Suite 130.
My 20 years of yoga practice have taught me to surrender rather than struggle and stay in the flow. Yoga has given me breath and core strength for what would seem to be the perfect foundation for learning how to stand up and ride a wave, yet my fear continues. It's confusing. Water is my home. How can I invite it in to where I live? I am encouraged by a Sanskrit term in traditional Indian culture, sva dharma, meaning "self path," or really, "your path." When the pull is strong and the passion is clear, humans naturally understand and follow their sva dharma.
The film "Chasing Mavericks" is a story inspired by famous big-wave surfer Jay Moriarty. Moriarty started surfing when he was 9 and began training to surf the big waves at Mavericks in high school. In the film his mentor, long-time surfer Frosty Hesson, trains him to not surf big waves, but how to survive them. During part of the training, he asks Jay to write an essay on fear. The most powerful, inspiring part of the movie was Jay's response and what he was truly afraid of.
He lived his sva dharma. Despite the danger of facing off with a 20- to 80-foot wave at any moment, he is drawn to the big surf by something he has found inside himself. Heeding this internal path, he finds the courage and allows his passion to show him the way. In the film, Moriarty challenges the universal question, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" For me it raises the question, "What am I willing to fail at in order to succeed?"
Modern life has a way of forcing us out of our comfort zone. It may be a small, simple task, speaking the truth or making a difficult decision. You do not have to ride a 40-foot wave to practice courage. Courage is found in the little corners of our lives – the daily business of working and loving. Poet and author Annie Dillard reminds us to bring our passion and courage into every minute and hour of the day: "How we spend our day is of course how we spend our lives."
I'm still scared of the water but my friend and home is calling. This is an opportunity to step out to practice courage and passion. Today is a great day for surfing.

Sunday Conference 3.10.13

Notes from our Sunday conference with Diana...

ASANA- Chaturanga and Up Dog/Cobra

Year of Dragon – Chaturanga (stirha/strength)
Year of Snake – Up Dog/Cobra (Dharana/concentration/consciousness)

Be mindful
stay present
why hurry?
breath deeply

“Snake-Dog/Cobra” demos by Eric Berg

#1 – open, widen and expose heart area, lengthen spine,
legs/feet engaged, shoulders away from ears, hands flat, dharana

#2 – Entrance is all of the above, except to drop hips,
fully active feet and pull heart area forward

Lines of energy:  chest, spine, hips, legs/feet

Who?  1832 – 1898 – a writer, photographer, logician, mathematician?
Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland:  about self discovery, a hero’s journey, open to possibilities

Homework:  Read or watch Alice in Wonderland to inspire your “muchness.

Costa Rica Retreat

Costa Rica Yoga Retreat in 
Nosara, Costa Rica
July 20-27

Prices starting at $1,700 (does not include airfare)

For more info, email Lauren at or click  here