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Olhao, Portugal
June 19-26, 2023

Stay Tuned for travels through Portugal! ​




Our Blog

An ongoing series of Maui 300 Hour Yoga Training

Our First Blog Entry

October 6, 2019

Over thirty years ago I was blessed to meet my friend for life Barb Mandeville.  Our first encounter was as a dental hygienist/patient and then we met again at LA East where she encouraged me to become an aerobic instructor.  Through out our years of teaching we stumbled  into "Yoga" through a few injuries and the need to take care of our bodies. Now here we are in Maui taking our 300 hour Yoga training for five weeks.  You never know what adventures will come your way but what I do know is be open to what the universe offers you.  Listen to your inner voice and take chances.  It's O.K. to be afraid but make life about growth.  Everyday learn something new and breathe!  We woke up this morning in a new town, surrounded by locals, geckos and 11 new friends.  Can't wait to start our training tomorrow morning! Until then Aloha!

Our Second Blog Entry

October 7, 2019

There are many different styles of Yoga and today we experienced our first Iyengar Yoga class.  Iyengar is a form of yoga that uses physical alignment to create lightness in mind and body.  It builds strength, stamina, concentration, flexibility, balance and power. Virtually all the props used today in yoga studios around the world were invented by B.K.S. Iyengar.  Props allow the practitioner to experience the benefits of each posture, regardless of physical condition, age or length for study. We ended our day with this Iyengar class after a yoga practice in the morning followed by a lecture on the  autonomic nervous system and breathing.  Through neuroplasity (repetition) we can learn something new and try to obtain Jivanmukti,  an awakening in the body.  To be alive in our body is our goal in the yogic life. 

Our Third Blog Entry

October 8, 2019

We had our first philosophy class on the beach this morning.  We sat in a circle in sukhasana and within minutes found ourselves wiggling to get comfortable in the sand.  We were surprised how difficult it was to set on the earth.  Our instructor said it would get easier as we practice and the goal is to set there for a complete hour and move past the discomfort.  We chanted a beautiful sutra "sthira sukham asanam" meaning steady, stable, motionless, comfortable meditation posture.  I never knew sitting could be so difficult, after all Americans set approximately 10 hours a day... but of course this is in a chair with posture assistance.  "We should be able to it in the floor when we are 90" said our instructor...

Our Fourth Blog Entry

October 9, 2019

The body is always seeking stability...we carry tension in our shoulders and neck because we have not built the stability from the ground up.  Start with the feet, grounding into the earth find your 3 arches by pressing into your big toe and the outside edge of your heel.  Grow your roots in any circumstance.  The  tree demonstrates a beautiful  depiction of growing under any condition and having a firm foundation of roots.  Reexamine your life and find your stability or sthira.  

Our Fifth Blog Entry

October 10, 2019

I do yoga so I can show up in my life!  Yoga has given me so many benefits...better posture, ability to breathe deeply, a positive attitude and overall balance.  The two hundred hour trainees have found yoga at a much earlier age than I did.  One girl is only 17 and most are in their 20's.  I am so envious that they found yoga so young.  They will  reap the benefits for most of their life.  Barb and I were having a conversation at the beach before philosophy with the group.  They asked our age and commented that we are their parents age but yet we seemed so much younger than their parents.  They said their goals were to still be moving and taking no medication as they age unlike like their moms and dads.  This is why I do Yoga...  Yoga allows me to be pain free and enjoy life to its fullest.  

Our Sixth Blog Entry

October 11 2019

Sometimes you just need a break....we start at 7:30 A.M. and often go to 8:00 P.M.  Yesterday our instructor Nadia came in after lunch and said "lets go swimming!"  Our exhaustion was quite evident and she knew we all needed a little fun.  Spontaneous surprises are always the best... within 20 minutes we were in the van and headed to Twin Falls.  We hiked up a trail adorned with peace lilies, bamboo and flowers of all colors.  We got to this beautiful waterfall and all jumped in for a bit of cooling off.  On our way back to the Shala we stopped at Turtle Beach to see  gigantic sea turtles coming out of the ocean.  Nature in itself is yoga.

 A connection to nature diminishes our level of stress and increases our sphere of awareness, bringing us closer to our world and to ourselves.

Take the time to enjoy your beautiful surroundings.

Our Seventh Blog Entry

October 14, 2019

Today  in Philosophy we talked about Santosha-contentment...It's pretty easy to feel contentment in Maui!  However we still can find things to complain about!  We were so surprised when we checked into our apartment that we did not have air conditioning.  What?  It's 90 degrees every day.  How can we possibly sleep without the air on?  We found a couple of fans and sleep under a sheet every night.  We actually don't miss it at all.  We hang our cloths out to dry and walk to the grocery store for supplies.  Today we went to the fruit stand and bought passion fruit ,pineapple and fresh flowers for our room.  Even though we miss our family and friends we have complete santosha in Maui.  We are so happy to be here expanding our knowledge on our love-Yoga.  Try to find peace with your lifestyle even while experiencing  little difficulties.  We should accept that there is purpose for everything and we cultivate contentment to accept what happens.  It means being happy with what we have rather than thinking unhappy thoughts about what we don't have.  

Our Eighth Blog Entry

October 15, 2019

In Yoga and in life you should work in the "pain free plane" of action.  Reaching your edge is the goal but not over exceeding it.  We need to know and honor the slippery slope of going too far.  

Our body's were tired from eight days of Yoga so we  respected a few modifications that were given.  We worked on headstands and backbends in two different classes today.  We learned so many amazing ways to assist our bodies until we are ready for the full expression of the pose.  It is one of your superpowers to know your edge and honor it.


Super fun night moon bathing in the full moon last night!  

Our Ninth Blog Entry

October 16, 2019


.Aloha is the true meaning and symbol of the Hawaiian culture and lifestyle: respect and love one another, and live in harmony with everything around you. Aloha is not something that is spoken, it is something that must be experienced.

"Mahalo" is a Hawaiian word meaning thanks, gratitude, admiration, praise, esteem, regards, or respects.

.Namaste translates to "the divine in me bows to the divine in you."

After philosophy class and yoga sessions we end with all 3 words...At first we thought it meant Hello/goodbye and thank you.  There is so much more meaning to these words.  If we all would live by the true definition we would be such a kind compassionate world. 


Our Tenth Blog Entry

October 17, 2019

Our lives can be compared to a bowl of water setting on a table.  The water is calm without any disturbance for a period of time.  If you bump the table the water would splash out  and  become cloudy.  Just ;like our life...things happen that disturb our peace and it seems that the calm is gone.  Give it a little time and it will return to normal. It is temporary!   Try to protect your bowl of water from disturbances....don't seek situations that will disturb your souls peaceful state that it yearns for.

Our Eleventh Blog Entry

October 18, 2019

Yoga has been proven to make us smarter and more mindful by building insula in the front cortex of our brain.   Insula of the brain is one of the most vital components of the brain which controls our health and wellness. It is responsible for controlling our mental emotions and regulations of the body's homeostasis.  

Yoga has so many wonderful benefits...increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction.cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance and protection from injury. Now we know it has been scientifically proven to improve our insula and make us smarter  Every person could benefit and needs a Rx for Yoga!

Aloha Friday🌺

Our 12th Blog Entry

October 19, 2019

Today we worked with Karma Yoga!  While karma yoga can mean a lot of different things to different people, the general idea is taking the philosophy of yoga and putting it in action. This means stepping off of the mat and into the world. It means humbling your ego, serving your community, and being part of something bigger than yourself.

The 300 hour yoginis planted a garden.  We pulled the weeds and prepared the ground.  We went to the farmers market to buy plant starts.  Lettuce, lemon balm, kale, cucumber, mint, fennel, beans and flowers were planted to benefit the community.  We harvest a bunch of bananas and planted a pineapple.   We learned that after a banana plant produces a bunch of bananas it will never produce again so it must be cut down.  A pineapple plant takes three years to produce a pineapple.  

We had such a great time singing mantras to our plants and asking a blessing over them.  Plants grow super fast in Hawaii because the aina (land) is so rich and the sun is always shining.

We hope before we leave we see our crops produce an abundance of good produce.  

Our 13th Blog Entry

October 20, 2019

Yoga asana allows information or situations to bubble up to the surface while we are on the mat.   Pay attention to what you are feeling while practicing.  We should try to deal with these occurrences rather than ignore them.  It is like organizing your closet and throwing out the things that no longer serve you.. If we allow things to build up we can become very irritable or sick from the clutter. 

 We especially store emotions in our hips.  Yoga allows little doors to open to release past hurts or regrets.  Embrace hip openers like bound angle pose (baddha konasana) for a good emotion release.  

Our 14h Blog Entry

October 21, 2019

Tonight we had an Iyengar class lasting 2 hours on breathing techniques. According to the teachings you can not have a strong pranayama practice until you have a strong asana practice.  We held poses for 1-10 minutes while trying to maintain our breath.  The breathe work allows you to clear the obstacles to prepare for meditation and see the true self (Prakasa) Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana, or vital life force.

Begin seated in a comfortable position, such as Easy Pose (Sukhasana). Relax your body and gently close your eyes. Let your mouth drop open slightly. Relax your jaw and your tongue.

Inhale and exhale deeply through your mouth. Feel the air of your inhalations passing through your windpipe.

On your exhalations, slightly contract the back of your throat, as you do when you whisper. Softly whisper the sound, “ahhh,” as you exhale. Imagine your breath fogging up a window.

As you become comfortable with your exhalations, maintain the slight constriction of the throat on your inhalations, as well. You will notice your breath making an “ocean” sound, softly moving in and out, like ocean waves.

When you can comfortably control your throat during the inhalations and exhalations, gently close your mouth and begin breathing only through your nose. Keep the same constriction in your throat as you did when your mouth was open. You will continue to hear the “ocean” sound as you breathe through your nose. Direct the breath to travel over your vocal cords, across the back of your throat. Keep your mouth closed, but your lips soft.

Concentrate on the sound of your breath; allow it to soothe your mind. It should be audible to you, but not so loud that someone standing several feet away can hear it.

Let your inhalations fill your lungs to their fullest expansion. Completely release the air during your exhalations.

Our 15th Blog Entry

October 24, 2019

Seeing turtles on Maui is such an amazing experience because they just give you that bubble of joy when you see them. They’re just so darn cute! Today we were taking a break from our training and went to the beach.  We had 3 sea turtles come up onto the beach while we were sitting there.  

  Our turtle friends inspired us to try Kurmasana.  In Sanskrit ‘Kurma’, means ‘tortoise’. This pose is considered to be an intense pose connecting to one’s inner self, the spiritual aspect. While in this posture the human body resembles a tortoise, having the limbs stretched out and the torso rests in a forward fold where the back resembles the shell of the tortoise. In this seated pose, the legs are spread wide apart, while the arms are placed on the floor from below the knees, and the torso is placed on the floor in a forward fold, bringing the chin to rest on the floor. It is said that practicing this pose, withdraws one from the distractions around you, while the nervous system is completely calm and quiet. The flexibility of the hips, shoulders, neck and the entire back is very essential to enjoy this pose while also gaining the maximum benefits. An advance level pose, and hence should be done with caution and with guidance.

Turtle Pose helps boost energy in the body.

Get ready Balanced Life....Kurmasana coming your way! 

Our 16th Blog Entry

October 25, 2019

After attending the Ayurvedic class today I have a challenge for each of you that our instructor challenged us with in regards to intentional eating...End each meal at the first belch, burp, or slight movement of air in the chest or throat.  Finding this signal takes awareness.  Most people say they don't belch when eating"  Yet almost everyone has discovered they do. This air movement is the Ayurvedic signal that you have had the perfect amount of food. Sitting while eating, chewing thoroughly (chew 20-30 times per bite) only drinking 4 ounces of liquid during your meals and allowing at least 2 1/2 hours between meals will help assist your efforts in mindful eating..

Our 17th Blog Entry

October 28, 2019

Today we attended a workshop on the "Fascianator"   and the benefits to Fascia.  Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.

It allows the muscles to move freely alongside other structures and reduces friction. It can be found immediately beneath the skin, around muscles, groups of muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels, organs and cells. Fascia is everywhere. Biologically, it’s what holds us together. Like a snug pair of pantyhose (as if there is any other kind), fasciae are the bands that bind us.

The Fascianator is used to roll out the fascia much like a self massage.  Today in class we worked on our lower body.  We used the roller on our feet, calves, quads, peroformis and I.T. band.  The Fascianator is designed to smooth out those hard knots, returning the fascia to its normal fluid and adaptable self.  It can also reduce tissue tension and muscle tightness to increase joint range of motion.  Using  rollers helps reduce tightness and increase joint ROM, which are important prior to a challenging workout.

Ready for a foam rolling workshop?

Our 18th Blog Entry

October 29, 2019

Today we had an amazing workshop on back care with our Iyengar instructor.  We started class with legs over a folding chair with a sandbag on our bellies and a bolster across our shins.  It was so incredible to start class in a restorative pose.  We moved through the class with many  props that gave us space in our spine to relieve any discomfort. 


One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. Back pain accounts for more than 264 million lost work days in one year—that's two work days for every full-time worker in the country. Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives.

We will be offering a back-care class in the near future!  I think we could all benefit on learning a few techniques to relieve suffering!


Our 19th Blog Entry

October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween1  Today I taught Halloween Yoga at the Shala.  I played Halloween fun music and took the students through a power yoga class.  It was a blast and honor to teach at such a beautiful studio.

During anatomy class today we had had personal assessments on our posture.  Our instructor gave us postures to improve our individual imbalances.  We learned that it takes 400-500 repetitions to learn something new but if we approach the situation with a child like attitude we can change a habit in 20 repetitions.  That is the reason children learn so quickly.  

I lock out my right knee to gain stability and turn out my left foot due to weak adductors.  I have strong trapezius but weak latissimus dorsi.  We can't wait to help all of you with your assessments.


Our 20th Blog Entry

November 2, 2019

Today we worked on inversions in class.  There is a suggestd progression to work through.  First pose is Forward Fold (Uttanasana), Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) ,Crow (Kakasana), Halasana (plow pose), shoulder stand (Sarvangasana), Sirsasana (headstand), handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), Pincha Mayurasana. (forearm stand).

So many benefits to going upside down:


Work smarter, not harder! Use gravity to provide the brain with more oxygen and blood, thus improving mental function, including concentration, memory and processing abilities.


The lymphatic system is a key player in keeping the body healthy. As lymph moves through the body it picks up toxins and bacteria to be eliminated by the lymph nodes. Because lymph moves as a result of muscle contractions and gravity, getting upside-down allows lymph to more easily travel into the respiratory system, where many of the toxins enter the body.


Feeling that 3pm slump coming on? Get upside-down! Heating inversions such as Handstand, Headstand and Forearm Balance get more blood moving to the brain, which results not only in physical invigoration but mental revitalization as well.


While the heating inversions energize, inversions of the cooling type (Shoulder Stand and Legs Up the Wall) work to calm the nervous system, thereby activating the parasympathetic nervous system and producing feelings of balance and calm.


Up the ante! Once you’ve mastered balancing on one or two legs, the obvious next step is finding equanimity on hands and head.


Of course inversions don’t just work your arms or legs — they’re total-body toners.


While that first kick up into Handstand might induce varying levels of trepidation, once we “get it,” things like that upcoming job interview suddenly don’t seem as daunting.


And before we “get it,” those many attempts remind us of how much more we have to learn, and how truly it is about the journey, not simply the destination.


As we become accustomed to reacting to our world in a predictable way, inversions teach us through both physical example and metaphor that there is always another way to approach the situation/person/problem.


Inversions reintroduce us to our inner child and remind us that though yoga is a contemplative endeavor in many ways, the asana practice is also a time to be playful and lighthearted!

Ready to experience the world through a different angle?  Guess who is in the headstand at the Shala?

Our 21st Blog Entry

November 4, 2019

A new research study shows that a little yoga or meditation a day might just keep the doctor away.

Stress-related health problems are responsible for up to 80% of visits to the doctor and account for the third highest health care expenditures, behind only heart disease and cancer.

Mind-body practices like yoga and meditation have been shown to reduce your body’s stress response by strengthening your relaxation response and lowering stress hormones like cortisol. Yoga has been shown to have many health benefits, including improving heart health and helping relieve depression and anxiety.

Coherence Meditation is medicine for you mind. A simple meditation of gratitude can change your brains neuro-plasticity. Just 4-5 minutes a day is beneficial.   

Our 22nd Blog Entry

November 5, 2019

Most of us don't associate yoga with surfing but surprisingly, engaging in yoga greatly helps your surfing ability.  

The whole point of surfing is to get up on the board and ride the wave.   Turns out, this requires focus, a clear mind and a strong balanced body... three benefits that yoga can help you achieve.   Learning to breathe, clear your head, and hold strengthening poses to engage necessary muscles, is an ideal out-of-water practice for surfing.

Today a group of yogis headed to Lahaina to try surfing for our first time ever!  Our guide Uiam was impressed with or skills.  After just a couple of attempts we were standing and riding the waves. We started in a prone position on the board, we had to come up to our knees (bitilasana)  and then bring one foot forward,(Anjaneyasana) after stabalizing we turned our foot to Prasarita Padottanasana standing.  Who knew these yoga poses would be used today while surfing.  

Yoga prepares you for the sweet things life can offer if you just open your heart, focus your mind and find your enter strength.

Our 23rd Blog Entry

November 6, 2019

We have had exceptional training with Kylie Cole on Prenatal Yoga.  Yoga is an ideal preparation for labor and birth.  It trains the mind and the body for the concentration needed in labor and birth.  

Prenatal yoga can:

Improve sleep

Reduce stress and anxiety

Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth

Decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath

Prenatal yoga can also help you meet and bond with other pregnant women and prepare for the stress of being a new parent.

Prenatal yoga coming soon to Balanced Life Studio.  

Our 24th Blog Entry

November 8,  2019

Shanti Sound Healing at the Maui Yoga Shala

Tonight we took a magical journey through meditation and vibrational sound. We were  enveloped in a divinely inspired chorus of healing vibrational sound… Tibetan singing bowls, created by Nepalese artisans and infused with blessings by Himalayan Monks swept us away on a transcendent sound journey. Crystal quartz singing bowls, tuned to the vibration of the universe were also  used in addition to various chimes, crystal quartz pyramid, and water gong that took our meditation as deep as the sea.

Each instrument was played with loving intention to gently transend participants from his or her normal waking state to a highly relaxed state of consciousness. In this relaxed state, a person’s own innate healing abilities are able to work more effectively to bring them back into optimal vibrational alignment that enhances overall health and well-being.

During a Sound Bath, participants dress comfortably and lie on a yoga mat with the optional use of pillows/bolsters. A harmonious sleep-like state is reached while lying comfortably on your back in Savasana (corpse pose). It includes a guided chakra meditation, aromatherapy and individual attention by Christina during this beautiful immersion of healing sound.

Our 25th Blog Entry

November 9,  2019

Our last day on Maui was magical.  We started our day at the farmers market in Kula where.local farmers and artists displayed their achievements.  We bought locally grown strawberries, mango, passion fruit and had a shot glass of turmeric juice, beet juice and an açaí bowl.  

Next stop was the Maui Yoga Shala  for our graduation celebration from our 300 yoga teacher training.  We set in a circle as we shared stories and gave our gratitude to all of our teachers.  Tears of joy and sadness were shared as we completed this chapter in our lives.  Connections were made that truly will be forever imprinted in our hearts.

May the Tree of our life be rooted in the soil of love

May good deeds be the leaves on that tree

May words of kindness form its flowers and may peace be its fruit

Let us grow and unfold as one family united in love.


Thank you to all of our family and friends for making this dream a reality.  We are humbled and grateful!


Barb and Dewana

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