Between Heaven and Earth, from aspiration to application…

Is this not what we do each time we get on the mat, each time we enter the yoga space, each time we sit for meditation? We Center, we remember to remember that we are connected, we are, as Piere do Chardin said, “spiritual beings on a human journey.” Seemingly, this human journey can be filled with decay, suffering, and trauma. In the Jewish tradition, we are here to mend the world, to heal our brokenness, and to find the light that lies within all. In our yoga journey, we embody “heaven”, as qualities of harmony, connection, and integration. And “earth” as gravity, what “is,” and the effect events have on our subtle body. What if we can establish our ”ground of being” in awareness, in the body, and in each moment as a moment of presence…

Before moving into the “unknown” such as standing on your head, or bending over backwards, or public speaking, or surgery, or …, you fill in the blank, we can come into that ground of being, anchored in presence.

How to practice entering into this “presence”, and becoming established in a felt sense of harmony? Do we imagine it? Our intentions, aspirations, prayers can be specific and focused on a particular outcome, like world peace, financial stability, self-acceptance. Until we sense the reality of the “Bhavana” or felt sense of these in our body and in our heart, they remain a thought-form outside of our true experience.

Receptivity is powerful. Being a conduit means that it’s not all up to you. In Tadasana, we can feel the power of gravity and our ability to go with it or connect from the root and rise with the grace of gravity. Embodiment is a felt breath, a felt sense of give and take, a felt sense of every moment unfolding.

In this workshop, we will work with our eyes closed a bit. First with simple poses, eyes open, then moving through a sequence where you individually decide where your felt sense of extension, grounding, expansion lies. There is no right shape or form, rather coming through a sense of ownership, or felt sense in your embodiment, into agency, the doing of the backbend or the headstand.

If you have read this far, then I’m hoping you can join me on April 20th, 2-4pm, at the Center for Yoga LA. Call +1.323.498.0222, email, or click here for information, or to sign-up.

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Yoga for Post Pandemic Recovery

Yoga for Post Pandemic Recovery is a four day immersion with four colleagues, Joan Hyman, Annie Carpinter and Marla Apt and Cristina Holopainen, MARCH 16 – 19.   I teach on Sunday, March 18 at 1:00 – 4:00 PDT.  This entire weekend promises to be exceptional.

Life practices for healing and resetting the nervous system for your students, loved ones, or for yourself

In Buddhism the third noble truth is to recognize that we have agency over how we relate to the inevitable suffering (the first noble truth) that is inherent in growth, change, dis-ease, decay and all the uncontrollable nuances life presents. As we emerge from the pandemic all of us carry deep within the scar tissue of systemic change, whether that is on a personal level of health or in cultural shifts in values, policies and priorities. Change is hard. Sometimes it seems like we harden to new possibilities; and that shedding old ideas of how things should be in our world just makes us run to pull the blanket over our eyes.

Chronic illness can be on a physical level, like long Covid, fibromyalgia, diabetes or hypertension. Deep seated fear of change or loss can cause us to retreat into a shell, shun friends, and close doors to new horizons. Anis Nin said: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

To recognize how we all face challenges on small and monumental levels and that we can cultivate an inner resilience to adapt to change is YOGA. To recognize that while we exist in the ever changing moment we also breath with the small inner voice that can kindle and light the flame to illume our next moment with inspiration. This is also YOGA.

My workshop will include asana practice, dynamic and restive, along with meditation and discussion.

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Navayogimarga – January yoga Festival

Navayogimarga: “The modern yogi’s path” An Online Yoga Festival

Monday January 16 –Friday Jan 20 and Open weekend Friday Jan 20 –Sunday Jan 22

Begin your year with an inspiring festival of internationally renowned teachers representing different aspects of Guruji Iyengars influence over many facets of yoga. From asana practice to contemplative spirituality, breath and energy work to off the mat and giving back to the world, practicing with this broad spectrum of gifted teachers is a super opportunity. Join me to celebrate Guruji’s influence over modern yoga and to acknowledge one of my favorite teachers, Kofi Busia.

I will be teaching Immunity and Stress, Building Resilience through Iyengar Yoga.

This festival is Kofi’s vision. All of the presenters have some connection with this amazing teacher. He holds an advanced certificate from Iyengar and has been teaching for over forty years. He has studied Sanskrit and Indian philosophy at Oxford University and taught yoga in Oxford for more than 20 years. Kofi is one of very few teachers who seamlessly weaves wisdom teachings in a practical and contemporary way through out his classes.

He is respectful of all sincere yoga practitioners and inclusive in his willingness to bring us all together.

I hope that you will consider joining me for this extraordinary opportunity!  Receive a 5% discount when you sign up with the following code..

LWA1 into the “Discount Box” that appears AFTER pushing the “Add To Cart” button on the Festival Purchase Page at:

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Stress and Immunity: Building resilience with Iyengar Yoga

Stress and Immunity: Building resilience with Iyengar Yoga, a virtual workshop for our times. Saturday and Sunday December 10th & 11th, 10am to 1pm PST. All levels welcome. Presented by Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics with senior certified Iyengar teacher Lisa Walford and Alyson Ross, PhD, RN, CIYT.

For more information please contact Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics at or visit

Lisa was gifted with studying under Guruji Iyengar after she was diagnosed with HIV in 1986. Alyson worked for over a decade at the NIH as a stress researcher and has published extensively on the use of mind-body techniques in stress reduction. Together they will guide you through the science and yoga sequences to understand and feel how profound the healing process can be.

BKS Iyengar explained that what we do for ourselves when we are feeling depleted is different than what we must do to help strengthen our inner resources when we are in good health. Being pro-active about our wellbeing, physical, biological, energetically and emotionally is essential if we hope to live a satisfying life. The right effort rewards us on so many levels!

Join us and learn the fundamentals from both the Western and Yogic perspectives on the immune system and the impact of stress on our physiology and ability to maintain inner equilibrium. Principals in yoga asana to enhance inner resilience emotionally and physically are equally essential and will include sequences that Guruji Iyengar suggested for both new and experienced students.

Immune means protected, unburdened. In current times this concept takes on many dimensions: immune to gossip and slander or resistant to toxins and infection. And when we immunize ourselves – biologically through vaccines or emotionally through meditation and contemplative work – it is to strengthen our inner defenses so that we can adapt and protect against intruders – pathogens and reactive behavior. We can align and encourage our body’s innate resources to heal.

We have the tools, but do we have the skill? The Bhagavad Gita defines yoga as skillful action and balance in all things, equilibrium, and equanimity. What we do matters, and what we don’t do matters. This workshop explores the difference between a restful practice and a practice that restores inner equilibrium while enhancing core strength (core meaning our deepest root and most essential ability to restore health).

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For Peace

Dear friends.. Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a few friends. I found myself mentioning the “culture of nature”, referring to being deeply engaged and fully present with nature. My phrase “culture of nature” seemed odd to some, and we had a thought provoking discussion. I left feeling uplifted, only to sink upon reading the news coming out of Texas..

Within the last twenty four hours I again wonder if we are decomposing or deteriorating as a culture. What makes culture, or a culture?  The dictionary says: “the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group”. Who is to say that birds do not have customs? Or that the relationship between trees, bugs, birds, and seeds is not a social institution? I love the idea of the culture of nature. Perhaps if we study the natural world we may find an organic rhythm that flows, ebbs, rises and subsides. Of course, taking a bird’s eye view of history we will see these tides of change rise and fall. Ours is but a breath in the life of the history of our people. Yet every breath counts!

In the immediacy of the moment, I have to pause and find some element of grace around me. Take good care of yourself and those around you, today, and always.

This poem, by John O’Donohue (1956 -2008), Irish poet, priest, teacher, is what I will read every day this week.


As the fever of day calms towards twilight
May all that is strained in us come to ease

May we pray for all who suffered violence today,
May an unexpected serenity surprise them.

For those who risk their lives each day for peace,
May their hearts glimpse providence at the heart of history.

That those who make riches from violence and war
Might hear in their dreams the cries of the lost.

That we might see through our fear of each other
A new vision to heal our fatal attraction to aggression.

That those who enjoy the privilege of peace
Might not forget their tormented brothers and sisters.

That the wolf might lie down with the lamb,
That our swords be beaten into ploughshares

And no hurt or harm be done
Anywhere along the holy mountain.


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Grief: how it deepens our common humanity. Yoga: how we evolve through grief

Please join me on Saturday April 2nd, 2:00p – 6:15p PDT for a workshop I am teaching titled Yoga for Grief, via Zoom. Signup details are below.

What do we do when confronted with suffering, when we are disillusioned with life, when someone betrays or harms us, when the unimaginable happens? Losing our footing – as we say- and slipping into despair, frustration, anger or grief is a natural reaction when life throws us a curve ball. We tend to think of this as a personal phenomenon, but we are experiencing cultural and global grief on a scale not seen in nearly a century.

Covid, the political divide, the war in Ukraine, our economic see-saw, just when we thought we are getting over, or working through a traumatic series of events, something new arises. The truth is, there are no guarantees in life, roses have thorns, and the Buddha reminded us that life is suffering. The Buddha also suggested that there is a path to the end of suffering.

We generally think of grief as the inconsolable emotional depths we go through when we lose a loved one. Yet we go through similar patterns to process any loss, all loss. Grief exists on a spectrum. On one extreme, “pathological grief” is when an individual is unable to process loss and incapable of resuming their life, even after a year or more. Yet many of us will recognize that we go through many of the classic stages of grief for smaller events. We lose a job, money, a friend, an ideal.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance were first coined by Elisabeth Kubler Ross in 1969. Since then there have been different versions of this process, but I find that these five give us a good framework to recognize our every-day inner dialog that accompanies loss.

In our current affairs, the shadow of Covid stalks our past and our future. We read that many people are in denial of the virus. Some people are angry that they must wear masks, some are angry that others choose not to wear masks. Our liberties are challenged. Everyone reassures themselves that their beliefs are based on fact. The bargain is that, if we do the right thing, this will all go away. And then another mutation appears to shatter our optimism and we get depressed. These stages are not like a step ladder, they are not linear, but you will recognize the pattern.

When we recognize that loss is a part of everyday life, that we are generally ill equipped to deal with loss, that loss exists on a spectrum, and that there are things that we can do to alleviate our suffering, why wait? When we recognize that loss and suffering affects us on all levels, psychological, physiological, it effects our sleep, our relationships, and that there is something we can do to improve our health, why wait?

Yoga, conscious breathing, reflection and meditation are all effective ways to practice the life skills that help us build inner resilience. Just as we need to learn how to strengthen a muscle, we can learn how to flex this compassionate self-abiding.

Some yoga classes are designed to help you build cardiovascular health, some to strengthen your bones, and some can help stabilize the nervous system. Our yoga practice will help reinforce the relaxation response through a discussion and experience of the effect of various poses. Metta meditation, Tonglen and basic pranayama are equally profound balms to sooth the heart.


May we be safe and protected from inner and outer pain.
May we be at ease in our body and in our hearts.
May we be happy, may we thrive and live a creative and connected life.
May we be at peace.

Tonglen is a meditation practice that is known as “giving and taking”, wherein we first settle into a tranquil inner state, and then open to the suffering of those around us. It is a progressive practice that begins with people who are familiar and comfortable to us. As we are able to transform the feelings of darkness into those of ease, the practice suggests that we move on to relationships that are less comfortable. This meditation helps us condition our inner dialog from one of aversion to pain into one of being able to open to compassion.

Workshop Details

Title: Yoga for Grief
When: Saturday April 2, 2022, 2:00p – 6:15p PDT (includes 15 minute break)
Who: All levels are welcome
Where: On Zoom
Teacher: Just me, Lisa Walford

To sign up, please visit I look forward to seeing you there!

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In-studio workshop @ CFY! Jan 8-9 – 1:30p – Join Us!

The Rhythm of the Universe, HaTha Yoga

The breathing universe: Inherent in Surya Namaskar, entering and exiting a pose, from the opening Tadasana to the closing Savasana, the rhythm of life beats through every move we make and every breath we take. Whether extending the arms to open the chest or folding into Paschimottanasana, once we feel the shakti inherent in expansion and release, stepping forward into the world and resting in stillness, we can apply these qualities to everything.

Up close and personal in our daily practice, how we show up for whatever arises, can seem arduous, complex, even murky. Yet with patience and perseverance, we can ultimately follow these prophetic words from the Persian poet Hafiz:

The beauty of the mountain is talked about most from a distance, not while one is scaling the summit with life at risk.        (scroll down to find my workshop!)

On Saturday – The dynamic, energizing standing, balancing, and backward extension poses are expressive. Movement excites and animates us, and we can all benefit from a little of that these days! The sequence will accommodate all levels.

On Sunday – The receptive, sensitizing qualities of twists, inversions and forward extensions balance the assault that city life has on our sensory neurons and will help us open to the healing qualities of deep rest. While inversions can be dynamic, they nourish the heart, lungs, and nervous system in profound physiological ways. Preparations for, modifications and variations while in these poses will all be explored.

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Center for Yoga, Reborn

Opening day, the inaugural class at our rechristened Center for Yoga. As I sat before forty students, all masked, all vaccinated, all eager to be together, eager to begin again; I realized that this was not so much about “my” moment of returning, as about all of us connecting.

“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time.” -Little Gidding by T.S. Eliot

Ah! To return to the place where I began my journey, over forty years ago. My personal deep dive into the “Self”, and where yoga would take me. Be with the simplicity of recognizing the moment; a very Zen thing to do. Be Here Now. Breath in;… and breath out. I felt the space, made sacred through thousands of hours of practitioners connecting with their breath, with one another, with the space, with Yoga.

As a young woman, I sought to “find” myself in my Yoga studies and practices. Now, I seek to “lose” myself, on and off the mat.  My yogic journey has been an epic one that often pushed me against my own resistance, face to face with fear, aspirations, disappointments, falling apart and putting myself back together. I lived through the excitement and ascent of the yoga wave, during the early aughts, complete with the promises of transformation and Nirvana. In between, my father died in my arms, my mother died as I stepped out of her room. I packed both homes up. And I showed up on my mat, over and over.

What happened? The student became a teacher, and the teacher became a better student as the pulse of experience and maturity drove me deeper into my practice. The more I studied, the more I realized I did not know. Or at least “know” in a sense of a comprehensive truth. Now, I seek less to ‘know” and more to “lose” myself and appear in the moment, as sensation, as perception, as breath, as connecting.

What else happened to yoga? The day I saw Christy Turlington on the cover of Time magazine (2001) I knew things were changing. Lululemon, mega yoga conferences, Instagram, Guruji Iyengar listed one of the top one hundred most influential people in Time magazine (2004). Communities splintered as their vaulted leaders fell to the lure of their students; communities spread, as yoga franchises opened from coast to coast; and the 200-hour teacher training programs became “soft” yoga. Caveat: I suppose I am somewhat biased here! In the Iyengar system, there is no such thing as a “pay for the course and you get a teaching certificate.” Maty Ezraty (founder of YogaWorks) and I would never consider that idea.

The reborn Center for Yoga will evolve, as we all do. Every community grows through the collective efforts of individuals, through events and through adversity. Everyone who enters its space will shine a little light, shed a few problems and/or pounds, loosen around the edges to live life a touch more deeply. We share so much talent and have so many characters in our community! May we all celebrate, as I am, returning to the Center.

A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world’s torrent.  -Goethe

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2020 into 2021

2020 – the year that upended our lives. It turned me topsy turvy, and landed me in a new state, both figuratively and literally. 2020 hit us as we were off doing other things, unsuspecting, adrift in our small stories. There are big dramas; why did the dinosaurs disappear? Sometimes I feel like a blink in the life of the universe.

Yet my blink is worth a lifetime of growth, glory, gibberish, grief, and a little about God. The gibberish that floats around in my head can be annoying, but I accept that it is part of how I grow. I grow mostly through challenge; when I fall down or “fail” (we are almost always our own worst judge, right?) or when I am pushed into something unfamiliar. And it is not comfortable. Well, 2020 was not comfortable! A lot of grief, growth, gibberish, and a little about God.

In Light on Life Shree B.K.S. Iyengar used “God” as an acronym for generate, organize and distribute. Somewhat akin to the Hindu trilogy of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In the later case, Shiva is also the destroyer or transformer. 2020 brought change that will continue to reverberate for years to come.

In 2020 we recognized the importance of leaning in to support one another, it was essential. To survive entire communities had to pivot, and the zoom room was waiting. We generated a new reality.

My community, YogaWorks, had to reinvent itself; to prune down to its bare essentials, the teachers. It had to shed the beautiful glossy studio vibe and close dozens of what were, to some, temples of yoga practice. We grieve the leaves that we lost as the teaching faculty had to be trimmed. While the feel good of hearing a class chant “OM” together may be over for now, ultimately yoga was meant to be an intimate experience, self with self or perhaps a small group. Now, we each have a sacred space in our homes that is our yoga space. Thank you YogaWorks!

We were confronted with unimaginable tragedy. I remember last January, my husband and I went to the Sundance festival. Our last hurrah! Incredible fun! Then, Shiva waved his trident and the world shut down. We heard about animals roaming vacant streets. We read about the environment, free of our decadent excesses, clearing up. We worried about Italy (first lockdown), then New York (trucks becoming refrigerator morgues!), then about going back to school, and if unemployment would continue. We worried about first responders, we worried about the fires, and the election. Shiva waved his trident again and the United States reeled under the Black Lives Matter movement. We learned new words: woke, ecoanxiety, information bubble, covidiot, social distancing.

2020 was the year that upended so much that I took for granted. Now, amidst the uncertainty of what lies ahead, I slowly turn towards a light that I know never fades. It is the light of hope. The light of love. It is the light of remembrance, and the light of that smile that I sense right now in your heart.

Thank you 2020, and good riddance. May we lean in, lean in towards the light, and welcome 2021.

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Yoga Gives Back, join me Nov 21

Yoga Gives Back.. It is the time of year when my mailbox is filled with organizations asked for donations. I have a few causes, across a very diverse spectrum, that I donate to regularly. And this year I am supporting Yoga Gives Back “YGB”. Many women and children in India live under dire conditions. YGB meets the needs of 1400 women and children in Southern India and West Bengal. The Covid lockdown and recent Cyclone has left many homeless. I will be teaching alongside a group of excellent yoga teachers and ambassadors of peace. PLEASE consider donating join me at Yoga Gives Back’s FIRST GLOBAL GALA (Nov 21-22) to give back to Mother India!

Check out an unparalleled abundance of 50 yoga, mindfulness, and fun cultural sessions, donated by YGB’s generous global Ambassadors and supporters.

Why? I have traveled to India over twenty times. Mostly to study with the Iyengar family, but also to experience the wonders, smells, tastes, sights, and tragedies of such a rich country. The first few trips, in the 1980s, were the most difficult, of course. The poverty is overwhelming. I can’t say that I ever grew accustomed to it; only that I grew to acknowledge how much we take for granted in this country, America. The first time I was surrounded by street kids I was abhorred and drew my skirts in close. Once, I was flanked inside a rickshaw. I had just returned from the dentist office (top notch, at more then half the cost) and was wearing a partial across my two front teeth, in preparation for a bridge. As the youngsters grabbed at me, I removed the partial, to reveal what looked like two fangs. Screams and screams as the kids scattered. I carry such privilege.

In recent years, now that Pune has transitioned into a near first-world economy, I rent a car and driver to shuttle me around the city. I have done more then gather my skirts, I shield myself. When we stop at an intersection or for a red light, the car is quickly flanked by peddlers with bobble heads, fly swatters, pin wheels, sponges, and oily sweets. Generally young girls or boys race between the cars until the light changes. Often barefoot and missing teeth, their big eyes beckon. Oh dear! I have to turn away. Well, actually, I did buy a two little bobble headed dogs. They now ride in my posh car; I named them Rhythm and Rhyme. Wish I could have taken every little girl.

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