909, 2019

A Message From Desiree Rumbaugh

By |September 9th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Dear Total Body Yoga Community,

Andrew (Rivin) and I are looking forward to spending some time with you all this November.

Our hope is that these three days of training will change your practice forever. We have each had over 30 years of experience studying and practicing Iyengar and Anusara Yoga, two very established alignment-based yoga methods.

Over the course of our time on the mat, through all the ups and downs that 30 years brings to the human body, we have each explored, encountered and excavated our practice to keep our bodies and minds as sharp and strong as possible. These bodies are high maintenance in every way, and like any other valuable vehicle, the return on investment in self-care is priceless.

Many of you are already familiar with our teaching style as Andrew and Julia have studied with us and others and work to incorporate these ideas into all of their classes. We are excited about this opportunity to spend three days with you and take a deep dive into understanding how to work with these ever-changing human bodies. Even if you have taken many workshops and teacher trainings, there is always so much more to learn. Your body and mind are your greatest teacher and learning how to respond to their cues is part of the practice of yoga.

If you are a teacher, you will come away from this training with new tools that you can immediately implement in your classes. We hear this feedback often and we continue to work to keep our teachings as simple as possible. If you are not a teacher, but you love learning how to practice yoga and wish to know more about your unique body and what it will take to stay strong throughout your life, this training is perfect for you. The group will be small and the mixture of both teachers and students is potent and productive.

Desiree Rumbaugh

Desiree Rumbaugh and Andrew Rivin are a married team. These skilled, internationally renowned yoga teachers travel the world teaching yoga as a way of life. Join them for a 3 day, 15-hour immersion titled How Yoga Strengthens the Mind/Body Connection. Think of these 3 days as a mini-retreat. A time to vacation from work and invest in yourself and shore up your yoga practice. This experience will fill up fast so make sure you sign up today. We hope you will “mat up” with all of us for a one-of-a-kind experience that’s sure to leave both students and yoga teachers refreshed, recharged and ready to face life with a renewed perspective.

November 5th, 6th & 7th 10:30 am – 4:30 pm (30-minute lunch break) at Total Body Yoga
Desiree’s Website
Save Your Spot Today

709, 2019

Stopping the Pain Cycle

By |September 7th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

By Anna Ottolino

A while back I came across the quote below:

“Pain travels through family lines until someone is ready to heal it in themselves. By going through the agony of healing, you no longer pass the poison chalice onto the generations that follow. It’s incredibly important and sacred work.”

Very powerful words! Ever since I read this quote, I see examples of passed down pain in friends, clients, family and of course in myself and have been pondering the healing process…So where do we go from here? How do we actually heal? Here’s what I came up with from help from teachers, friends, and much thought and reflection.

For one…we meditate! Meditation seems too abstract a concept to have a definitive effect especially when there are so many different techniques, but in general, we are watching our thoughts and letting them go and in the process learning about ourselves as we observe what it is that comes up to the surface as we meditate.
Consistent meditation practice will change your brain.
Anthony William, the Medical Medium says “Meditation rewires your consciousness for peace and peace brings healing.” Our very own Bhante Sujatha calls this cultivating the mind.
So step one…make meditation a daily practice even if it’s for a few short minutes.

2. If we can look at people who have caused us pain and suffering through a lens of love and compassion and realize that their hurtful actions have been passed down to them by their own painful experiences and through generations and generations, we can start to see them as wounded souls instead of as perpetrators. This realization can help us to release anger. As Buddha says, holding on to anger is like holding on to hot coals and expecting the person you are angry with to get burned…so, how’s that working for us?
If we look at it this way, we can also remind ourselves that we are not at fault for others hurting us but we are responsible for putting an end to the cycle. Another great quote I saw recently says: “If you don’t heal from what harmed you, you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you.”
Practice love and compassion towards yourself and others especially those most difficult in your life! That’s where amazing healing starts and continues. (Remember! Being loving and compassionate does not mean making yourself a doormat…if you are practicing those same qualities towards your self you will have loving boundaries)

Lastly, Gratitude! Practice gratitude every day and in as many moments in the day, you can. Just like complaining is a habit that turns you into a complainer; gratitude is a practice that makes you Grateful. At first, it may feel forced and fake but true gratitude comes with practice and true healing with following.

Thank you so much for reading this far. I must thank my teacher Bhante Sujatha for his teachings and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as I left to teach this morning with this theme in my notebook I opened his Morning Coffee Wisdom email and it read:
“Everything is connected. Be a strong and beautiful link in the chain of life, until you are ready to let go completely.”

Anna teaches a Level 1-2 class every Tuesday at 9:15 am at Total Body Yoga. You can learn more about Anna on her website Her teacher, Bhante Sujatha, is a regular presenter at Total Body Yoga. Bhante will be leading an event called Meditation for Depression on Sunday, September 15th, 2019. Register on our event page.

607, 2019

Unplugging to Tune In

By |July 6th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

By Julia Jonson

Yoga teaches that wholeness and happiness are our birthrights. Yet, in our hyperconnected, hyper-busy, mobile-device culture, it feels like inner peace is a pipe dream.

Sure, online activities carry countless benefits such as instant access to a dizzying array of information, a swift sense of direction (would we be lost without Google Maps?), warp-speed Amazon delivery, food orders at our fingertips, and flashy verbs like Ubering. Yet, offline endeavors, the ones that don’t feed our desire for instant gratification, still nourish us the most—watching the sunset, reading a book, enjoying nature, or lunching with a loved one. The list goes on. To live a more meaningful life, it’s essential to put down the phone and make turning within and slowing down top priorities if we truly seek to achieve serenity.

Through the practices of hitting our mats, breathing, meditating, holding mudras, acquiring knowledge, and more, we are rewiring our brains to be at ease, at peace–in other words, to be happy. Part of the promise of a regular yoga practice is renewing a lost sense of childlike wonder, cultivating a grateful heart, becoming open, curious, present, and ultimately healthy and whole.

But it’s impossible to feed our minds and bodies with our mobile devices constantly in hand. As inspirational video guru Jay Shetty puts it, “If we don’t make time for our wellness, we’ll have to make time for illness.”

The physical poses (the asanas) are the beginning of our yoga journey. Moving mindfully brings our focus inward. Breathing and stretching from the center of the body outward, toward the extremities, moves life force (prana) through the entire body. Yoga practices calm the nervous system, allowing life and energy to flow easily again through our human form on a cellular level. It’s impossible to have a balanced brain and heart without a balanced body, so the poses are key when first embarking on our inner voyage.

If we want to be clear, really clear, then we must free ourselves from our smart-phone bondage and practice slowing down and turning within more often. Clarity and balance can only be found when we get quiet and go underneath the surface of our skin one layer at a time. Penetrating these layers or sheaths, what the yogis call the koshas, is said to lead us to our true Self.

And this is where the study of yoga philosophy can lead to a greater understanding of the inherent joy that is our true nature. Kosha is a Sanskrit word meaning sheath or covering. Koshas are elements or layers of our being which must be explored, welcomed, and ultimately transcended in order to experience the true Self. The five layers or koshas are body, energy, mind, intellect, and bliss.

The Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Sanskrit scripture, says that the practice of yoga is “skill in action.” At this time, one of our calls to action is to reduce the time we spend in cyberland and to increase the time we invest in activities that foster meaning and meaningful connection. When we spend too much of our time on Facebook we are missing out on the beauty of our surroundings, up-close connections with people, and the possibility of living to our true potential of wholeness.

If you are interested in learning more about the koshas and yoga philosophy, consider attending Gabriel Halpern’s 3-part intensive Strength in Numbers: The Power of 3, 4 & 5. On July 8, 15, and 22, Gabriel will explore number patterns in yoga philosophy teachings, delving into the koshas (there are 5 of them), the pranas, the kleshas, the gunas and more. You can register online at

1004, 2019

Vinyasa: To Place in a Special Way

By |April 10th, 2019|Categories: blog|Tags: |Comments Off on Vinyasa: To Place in a Special Way


By Julia Jonson

Ostensibly for some, going with the flow, being adaptable, and rolling with the punches comes easily. As we’ve all experienced, the dynamic and sometimes random nature of life makes it impossible to be prepared in any given moment. Since life will inevitably throw curveballs, adopting a more yielding way of existence does a body and mind good. This takes a lot of practice.

Vinyasa is a term used in postural yoga classes to describe an intelligent way of flowing and linking breath with movement. This concept can be directly applied to our daily lives. The term refers to gradual sequences that unfold with an inherent intelligence and accord. The word is derived from Sanskrit nyasa, which means to place, and the prefix vi, meaning in a special way. Vinyasa can also mean wise progression or an approach that takes practitioners from one point and skillfully moves them to the next. In essence, vinyasa could be viewed as a symbolic metaphor for life. When we practice trusting our instinct, garnering our wisdom, and learning from our experiences, we allow energy to flow more freely enabling us to thrive.  When we practice on the mat repeatedly, we create healthier habits for ourselves that may inform how we choose to live. Challenging physical, yogic transitions in class might tell us where and how we need to move towards growth. 

It is easy to ruminate over transitions and unavoidable obstacles. This is a significant struggle for many of us! A powerful symbol for being adaptable is that of a mountain stream. Even when the stream encounters obstacles, it adjusts effortlessly and keeps flowing forward. If we could better understand the symbolism of moving water, we might notice that life’s complications and transitions feel decidedly less stressful or overwhelming. Yoga requires that we cultivate an awareness that links each action to the next—one breath at a time.

Vinyasa, which is not a style of yoga, but a pattern of flow present in all yoga traditions, is a reminder that constant change is a normal part of our existence. Therefore, moving skillfully and wisely on the mat can likely assist in our proceeding with prowess, wisdom, and heart in life. Rest assured, we will all get thrown off course over and over, but this also provides ample opportunity to grow and transform! Spiritual activist Dada Vaswani wrote, “sincere practice makes the impossible possible.” May it ever be so that you embody the free flow of the mountain stream because you’ve chosen to practice becoming more adaptable.

1503, 2019

Choose Peace Over Misery

By |March 15th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

By Julia Jonson

“If peace comes from seeing the whole, then misery stems from a loss of perspective.” This reflection by Mark Nepo, author of the New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening, is a pointed reminder that even when most things in life are going reasonably well, misery is a moment of suffering that is allowed to become everything.

This rousing observation reminds me of Richard Carlson’s 90-10 trap. Carlson, who wrote, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens, encourages young readers to become aware of how easy it is to focus on the negative parts of life. In his book he writes, “the 90-10 trap stems from an observation I’ve made (that has been verified by hundreds of people) that most of us tend to focus our attention, thinking and conversations on the worst 10 percent of our lives. The 90 stands for 90 percent of what happens during our day, which is usually pretty good, and the 10 stands for the remaining 10 percent, which is usually problematic and filled with hassle.” Carlson says he calls this a trap because it’s our human tendency to focus on what’s wrong rather than to put what’s right in the spotlight.

For me, yoga has been a catalyst to help me to acknowledge, accept and process what’s not going right and to celebrate life’s little blessings (which are often really the big blessings). A friend once reminded me during an intense personal struggle, “don’t let anyone steal your peace.” That simple yet profound advice combined with my daily ritual of yoga helped me to navigate that tough situation and, of course, many others. So now, when I’m feeling low, frustrated, agitated or suffering in any way, I will pause, reflect and challenge myself to look wider than my woes to the bigger picture. Taking a yoga class or simply pausing to pay attention to my breath always helps!

The daily, off-mat practice then becomes: What defines my day? Is it that one thing that’s going wrong, or the little miracles of life that are there to be enjoyed if I just observe them?

1807, 2018

Embracing Discomfort

By |July 18th, 2018|Categories: blog|Tags: |Comments Off on Embracing Discomfort

By Thomas Tiernan


Most of us reading this are blessed enough to be living in a great amount of comfort.  We wake up in cozy beds in climate controlled homes. We have climate controlled transportation, which brings us from one comfortable environment to the other.  To top it all off, we have the ability to order products and food without ever having to venture out and impinge on our sense of well-being.

As a society, we have gone to great lengths to make sure we have access to something comfortable at all times. With the advent of technology, it would also seem that our overall quality of life is enhanced, but has technology really helped us? The downside to making sure that things feel agreeable and easy is that we either forget or never learn how to deal with discomfort. Try leaving your phone at home sometimes when you leave for work. It would likely make you feel so unsettled that it would feel better and more sensible to drive back home to retrieve the phone. I’ve experienced this myself!. Our minds associate certain objects and emotions with comfort so when discomfort arises, the mind revolts until comfort is restored. We have not trained ourselves to remain centered, to embrace the discomfort and to learn from the moment. This is one of the reasons so many struggle to meditate.

When we sit down for a meditation session, we must then deal with all of the discomforts of our mind and body at the same moment. Turning within strips us of all the distractions we have created to help us remain in our respective comfort zones. I know it doesn’t seem like a great sales pitch for meditation, but bear with me. In the beginning stages, most of our time sitting in meditation is spent arguing with our ego. The mind says it is boring, that this activity is a waste of time. The mind is so convincing that it tells stories to lure the meditator away from his or her seat of stillness to other, seemingly, less boring ways to problem solve.

Then something beautiful happens. One day the mental arguing ceases and the space between thoughts emerges. Within this space, no matter how minuscule it may seem in the beginning, lies peace, equanimity, bliss, quietude and what we have been looking for all along, comfort. Over time, you’ll come to find that the type of comfort that comes from meditation is one that will never fade.

It’s important to remember that meditation, the practice of finding the quiet and peace within, is a process that will take time. Meditating requires patience. If we are gentle with ourselves, we can slowly open the door to the endless beauty of Life and create a space within that we can return to time and time again.


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