Arden Sundari

Pre-Conception course – Yoga Therapy for the Psoas

I had the great honor of attending a birth last week as a semi-retired doula. I was amazed and humbled by the unfolding joyous and challenging experience of how our physical selves enter this world. Like the spiral of the morning glory bud, you know the blossom is inevitable and glorious. A birth day is a day out of time to witness the depth-full beauty of life. So to all the birthing beauties out there, embrace and surrender to this miraculous unfolding!

I am excited to offer a new pre-conception course alongside pre and postnatal offerings! Though it is called “Yoga Therapy for the Psoas”, it is all that you would want for a mind-body approach to fertility. It is gentle and all levels are welcome.

Yoga & Art: Healing for Regular People

Yoga & Art:  Healing for Regular People

Simply to be alive and embodied is one of the greatest creative acts. The combination of yoga and art celebrate this and gently guides anyone needing renewal, recovering from life circumstances, or needing guidance in taking the next step in life. This guidance helps people discover and awaken to a deeper meaning, and brings that joy and truth into the world.

Everyone is on a life journey to learn, heal and grow. In order to do this consciously, it is necessary to be able to look inside and reflect upon your life and experiences to understand truth.  Our personal truth is made potent through art and creative acts. Clarifying through yoga practice, (poses, breathing, visualization and deep relaxation) creative expression can provide resiliency to the mind and a positive outlet for emotions, and also serve as an affirmation to one’s life and goals.

Once or twice a year I co-facilitate with Joanne Lucia, award winning art teacher, our Vision Journey with Art & Yoga Workshop (for regular people). Yoga practice is gentle, no experience it art necessary. Next: April 5 & 6th 2013 See schedule of yoga program listing

yoga and art


Psoas Awareness for Back Pain & Stress Reduction & Better Births

Psoas Awareness for Back Pain & Stress Reduction & Better Births.


Those who are in my classes and take private yoga therapy with me know that the condition of the psoas (pronounced so-as) muscle is of primary concern if the student has back and/or neck pain, knee pain, stress, anxiety, pelvic imbalance, sacro-iliac dysfunction, scoliosis or poor posture. Women in my prenatal yoga & labor readiness class create more space in their womb for their little one to grow and have easier births with attention to releasing the psoas as well.

The psoas muscle, clearly a core muscle, runs down from the lateral and front surfaces of the lumbar spine and pelvic bowl and insert into the inside of the upper thigh bone on right and left sides. Besides needing this muscle for standing, walking, and good posture, it is core to our flight or fight reactions. The psoas is keenly in touch with our emotions and stress. It’s mass is so large running through the inside of the pelvis, it rivals the size of the gluteus maximus. I jokingly call the psoas the “inner ass!” All this, and yet we can not see the beautiful workings of this muscle like we do our quadriceps or biceps.

Besides working with me to explore this muscle to improve your well-being, I will be hosting an introductory workshop called Neurogenic Yoga which is a unique approach to improving psoas function for mind and body health on Sunday May 19th, 2013. Check it out!


This week in Parent and Baby Yoga

This week in Parent and Baby Yoga

This class is a relaxing way to meet  your postnatal yoga needs!

We begin class by arranging our yoga mats in a circle with all the parents and babies facing in towards each other.  At the start of class, some babies are sleeping, some are nursing, some are happily playing or looking inquisitively across the circle at other babies.   Every class begins with a check in.  This is a way for parents to report on their needs for this particular yoga class.  Our teacher, Arden Sundari Pierce, listens to all of our requests, making helpful  suggestions for self-care or jotting down notes for how to structure the class to meet our needs.  Requests from parents range from ways to manage stress and fatigue, to ways to relieve back and shoulder aches or strengthen core muscles.

This week, we began class by laying on our backs with our heads in the center of the circle.  Arden lead all the parents in a breathing exercise.  The wave breath begins with a deep inhalation that slowly expands  as it moves all the way up the spine, followed by a slow exhalation.  A wavelike rhythm forms as we breath deeply into the diaphragm, follow the breath up into the lungs and back out again.  On a really expansive breath, I can sometimes follow my breath all the way to the top of my head. Focusing attention on the breath in this way, helps to bring awareness to these parts of the body, gently expanding and relaxing these areas. This was an excellent way for me to ground myself in the present moment, let go of any concerns (other than caring for my baby’s needs) and prepare myself to get the most out of this yoga class.

Arden guided the class members to see if we could pause for a moment at the end of our exhalation. She said that this could be thought of as a “little vacation” in the breath cycle, and she asked us to explore for ourselves what this felt like.  For me, it felt like a little break in the activity of breathing – yes, like a little vacation in the continuous cycle of breathing. The wave breath can also become a simple form of meditation that I can use at any point in my scattered day.  After this breathing exercise, I felt relax and refreshed.  This simple activity addressed the needs of the group to both relieve stress and revitalize energy. This is one of the many wonderful exercises from our Postnatal Yoga class!   Next week’s focus: exercises to strengthen the core muscles.

Oli yoga

Class at Center for Midwifery

baby yoga

Class at Center for Midwifery




Parent and Baby Yoga

Parent & Baby Yoga Class

I am a new mom of a two month old boy and a student of Arden Sundari Pierce.  Arden is the gifted teacher of a wonderful Parent and Baby Yoga class – the perfect postnatal yoga experience. This class has enabled me to carve out some time in my week to move and to connect with my new baby.  I love all the simple poses and often do them at home with my son. This week, our class focused on breathing techniques for relaxation, core strengthening and relieving tension in the often tired neck and shoulder area. By the end of class, I am sure to feel more open and grounded, and my baby is sure to be happy and relaxed too!

The class description:
The first few months of your baby’s life is a precious time.  This class offers an opportunity for either parent and baby to explore the many dimensions of this time in order to bond, nourish and connect with other parents. All practices promote postpartum healing and wellness in an atmosphere that encourages sharing challenges and joyful discoveries.  No yoga experience necessary – all abilities welcome.
Often, babies are gently and safely incorporated into the class through partner poses and practices that comfort and support their optimal development. Nursing, walking, bouncing, changing diapers and soothing fussy babies are perfectly normal in this space.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Quarterly on Yoga Therapy

I was recently interviewed by the Alumnae Quarterly to give my comments on yoga therapy as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

In the interview, I shared along with several other CAM practitioners about how our fields are helpful in specific areas of healthcare, ie; stress reduction and back pain reduction. There is a growing acceptance of CAM in conventional medicine as it becomes more evidence-based.  The International Association of Yoga Therapists has greatly contributed in recent years to this effort to fund research and promote the findings. To find out more go to: Specifically, the research on techniques in yoga therapy that I am closely aligned with have excellent trials in stress and back pain reduction.

In 1997, it was at Mount Holyoke College that I first studied yoga therapy during my college semester abroad in India. I had already been teaching yoga since 1992, but I wanted understand more how to serve my students. This was a fabulous and unforgettable experience, truly the pinnacle of my college career giving me my life course. I studied two yoga therapy centers, The Yogic Institute and Kaivalyadhama, that were immersed in research and application which involved interfacing with modern medicine. After graduating in 1999 with a degree in South Asian Studies and Cultural Anthropology, I immediately furthered my training and became certified in Structural Yoga Therapy in 2003. Read more.

MHC Frances Perkins Scholar