Tuesday, October 25, 2016


The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words,

and that if you know the words that the world is made of,

you can make of it whatever you wish.

Terence McKenna

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What's in there...In the dark?

This is the time of year where the days get shorter and the nights get longer.  Where we find ourselves at the beginning and the end.  The bounty of the growing season is coming to an end.  I cut my perennial gardens back and my beloved cut flower garden came out only 2 weeks ago and already feels long gone.  But we've still got kale and hearty greens to pick.  Root vegetables and squash to choose from.  The earth is not quite done with the cycle of this growing season, but close.

I LOVE this time of year.  This is the time of year we start asking ourselves what we want as we make our way toward a new year and reflect on what we wanted for the current year and how it went.   How did we do this trip around the sun?  What do we want for the coming year?  It's an ambiguous and inspiring space full of potential for the future and the same time an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for what we learned from the current year as it comes to a close.

I started this project, YOUR YEAR IN A WORD, for myself several years ago now.  The idea was to pick a word that would keep me focused as winter approached.  I would make a 'flag' of my word and put it on my nightstand so it would be the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night.  It would always kind of be out there to guide me like my own personal North Star when I got lost or off track.

In the yoga world we call this puja. Puja literally means 'to place in front of you what it is you want to become'.  How beautiful is that?! We set up a puja, or altar, in our yoga studios to recognize this for ourselves and each other.  To recognize we have a place to go where we get to do our work individually but together as a group.  More overlapping cycles of growth, change, and opportunity to design the lives we want and be thankful for the work we've done so far and recognize that in each other.

So, what is your work in the dark?  What do you want to move toward as we make our way through the end to a new beginning?

This Thursday I will teach the annual YOUR YEAR IN A WORD class.  I will start with a brief story on the 3 Goddesses and what they represent in the cycles of change and challenge metaphorically and then take the class through a brief meditation where you have an opportunity to start thinking about your word for 2017


Thursday, Oct 27th

6:30 - 8:00 PM

$12 Pre-Pay // $15 Drop-In

All Levels Welcome

Thursday, October 13, 2016

DEVELOP a HOME Practice < < <


This workshop is for you yogis who are looking to take your practice to the next level.  We will work on developing a home practice and working toward a apex pose through the understanding of sequencing.  Laurel Van Matre is known for her depth in the understanding of alignment in each pose and will break down the poses that elude most of us and make them feel easy and accessible in a way you've never practiced before.  Plus, she's funny.

All levels welcome.

Saturday, October 15th
We meet from noon - 3:00
Please send an email at laurel@yogagardenmpls.com to reserve your spot
You can bring cash or check the day of.
Or register ahead of time online and pay by cc here:

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Saving Up Summer For Winter * * *

Oh, Summer, I wish you could last forever.  Just kidding, I don't really.  I love summer but I like change too. I would go crazy without the change of seasons.  These are some of my favorite scenes of what turned out to be a blissfully long Summer.  I will be coming back to these pics 6 months from now, when we are buried underneath layers of ice and snow to dream of succulents, warm summer sun, patio time with friends and about what the future holds.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

YOGA is Not For Yogis, YOGA is For HUMANS < < <

I can't tell you how often I'm thankful that I found yoga years ago. Its not just about exercise - its about moving your body in healthy ways, while you contemplate the way you move through your life, while having time to think about the philosophy and laws of nature which help us to understand where we are in this experience of being human. THAT is yoga. And THAT is why I studied, and continue to study with Laurel Van Matre at#YOGAGardenMPLS:
This is my personal "Yoga Has Helped Me With..." List:
- Managing stress in college at the University of North Texas
- Managing spring #allergies symptoms for several years
- Transition to living in New York, New York
- Managing #anxiety when my income tanked along with the crash of 2008
- Bad bout of #depression in 2010
- Managing #stress as a new teacher / head of department in Idaho
- Sorting out what I want to do next with my life / career#NoForRealWhatAmIDoingHere
- Moving INTO the home I grew up in as a #GrownAssWoman
- Learning how the hell to #ACT for #VoiceOver after a dozen years as a vocalist, and keep my character by keeping me IN my #BREATH...
The last item was just this week. We all have our own list. And these#hashtags exist because in our modern world, we all deal with this stuff. Yoga is not for yogis, yoga is for humans.
I never ever ever intended on teaching yoga. I always loved that a yoga mat was a place for just ME - nothing to do with money, work, relationships, jobs.... it was a place to pause, so I could be better at those other things.
This stuff is about your own human #experience.
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Thank you Miss Calley Bliss - 2016 YGTT Graduate, singer (voice of an angel, seriously), and always fun to be with. 
P.S.  I can't tell you how thankful I am you found YOGA Garden xo
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+ SHOW Up EVERY Day + 
: )

Friday, August 12, 2016


A lucky lady am I to have such artistic friends.  They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  I feel blessed to be around people who have designed their lives around how they see beauty in the world and how much they appreciate the magic in that.  

I've centered my teaching and practice around the breath the past few years (you regulars are like "yes, we know").  I always (ok, almost constantly) remind my students to remember to pause long enough throughout their poses and shapes to feel their breath make it's way through them.  It keeps us grounded in our muscles and bones and gives us our individual experience while we work together as a group.  Feeling our breath move us in our practice gives us a memory of what it feels like to be grounded and empowers us to map our way back there off our mats, when we need it most.

These pics were taken almost exactly a year ago in Joshua Tree National Park over Labor Day weekend.  It's absolutely one of the most magical places I have ever been.  It started to rain just as we were driving into the park so we had to pull over and wait.  It was incredible to see so much rain fall so quickly and recede just as fast.  But it was perfect timing, rain drops hung on to all the Joshua Trees and plants in the park and reflected the sunlight.  All that water made the colors richer and you could smell the earth in that way you only get after a good rain but like times 10.  I think of it often, it's beauty is just unbelievable.  And when I get lost or sad or lose my way I can map my way back to it's colors, the smell of the air, the heat of the desert and it brings me right back to my breath and my muscles and bones and makes me see the magic in getting to experience all that.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The BOUNTY Begins

The Bounty Begins! The tom's were a gift and the flowers are from my garden. How lucky are we to live in a place where we can trade food and flowers? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #bounty #summer #freshfromtheearth

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

> > > > INTELLIGENT Sequencing < < < <

"The Yoga Garden Teacher Training has profoundly impacted my study of yoga and teaching. Laurel is beyond knowledgeable and her methodical teaching style has given me the tools to continue to expand and grow as a yoga practitioner and teacher. Thanks to the YGTT, I now have a much more solid understanding of yoga postures and their alignment and can confidently teach an intelligent and well thought yoga sequence. I could not have asked for a better and more amazing experience." 

– Hannah Strom, 2016 YGTT Graduate, physical therapy student, deeply dedicated to knowledge of the body, and absolutely hilarious and so much fun to be around.
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The 200 HR YOGA Garden Teacher Training is a 12 week course. We begin Sept. 13th and run through Dec. 13th.  For more info or to register:


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

BEAUTY Inspires Us > > > > > > > > > >

My design will attract your eyes,

but my details will capture your heart.

- Efty Kvist

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I am a sucker for design.  I got these flowers from my friends Linda Wu and Laura McCabe on my birthday in 2014.  We met at a Balinese restaurant in SF and Linda handed them to me right there in the lobby.  I loved them so much and paraded them around all night until I was able to put them in a coffee cup in the room I was staying in.  The YOGA Garden logo was designed by my friend Ave in 2011.  She has been a dear friend for years, and I've been lucky lady-bird to trade yoga for her amazing graphic design skillz as my business grew.  

Beauty inspires us.  It makes us appreciate what we have and who we are and who we want to be.  Watching someone move into and through a beautiful pose, with grace and ease no less, makes us want to move the same way.  I found this quote by a Swedish designer last week and I can't stop thinking about it. We need that inspiration but our understanding of the importance of the way we put it together is what makes it beautiful, and ours.  

A well executed design shines when it comes from the heart. Whether it be a bouquet of flowers or a yoga pose,  the beauty shines when we care about the details. When we take the time to step into the process and make it a collaboration between what we understand now and making something new.  We truly shine on our mats in these poses when we understand the actions, the details that go into the making the shape.  When we have the heart to work with what we can do now and keep moving that forward from there vs trying to make a shape we don't yet understand because we skipped over the actions that take us there.  We have to slow down, and pay attention to the details to move from the heart and make it our own.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016


For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, 

it must come completely undone. 

The shell cracks, 

its insides come out and everything changes. 

To someone who doesn't understand growth, 

it would look like complete destruction.

- Cynthia Occelli

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I'm finishing up my very first 200 hour yoga teacher training with 6 lovely yogis and it has been both hard work and so much fun.  Starting something new is always fun.  That space between what is possible and taking the first steps toward making it real is an awesome space of infinite possibilities.  We love that space where we get to talk about it with our friends, and roll it over and over in our heads how great it's going to be.  We figure it all out in the shower or talking to ourselves in the car.  It's going to be perfect.

But it's the part about where we have to begin is when it gets tricky.  You all know what I mean, the part where you have to do the actual work.  Where you have to start a new process that is unfamiliar and full of new tools that you don't know how to use.  Where we get challenged to try something new and we start to question why we started the process to begin with.  It would be so much more comfortable to stick with what we know and learning in front of other people makes us feel stupid anyway.  Where we return to the physical.  The physical is where the magic happens.  Where our ideas take shape and evolve into collaboration.  Where we have to crack open our familiarity and comfort to reach beyond ourselves to learn and grow.

Since I opened YOGA Garden 4+ years ago I kept getting asked when I was going to do a 200 hour training and I really never thought I would.  One thing the world does not need is another 200 hour training.  But I decided I would give it a shot for a few students who had been asking and anyone new who was interested and see how it went.  And like always, the process of growth was frustrating and wonderful and ultimately so rewarding. I can't wait to do it again.


Friday, February 19, 2016

* * * * * Unassailable SERENITY . . . . . . .

I believe I know the only cure, 

which is to make one’s center of life inside of one’s self, 

not selfishly or exceedingly, 

but with a kind of unassailable serenity 

— to decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, 

glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, 

but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone.
- Edith Wharton

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I've been loving meditation more and more these days after years of fighting with it. It used to really seem like a chore, another thing on my list of things to do for the day I didn't want to and could easily knock off and not feel bad about it.  It used to seem kind of selfish and indulgent.  But I look forward to now as much as my asana practice.  I find boundaries in my breath that decorate the walls of my inner life like nothing on the outside can and now I can't get there fast enough.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Little Bit of SUMMER in WINTER * * * * * * * *

A little bit of Summer in Winter. If you asked me that question about the deserted island my Vitamix would be 1 of my 3 things. I know there's no electricity but I would figure out a way. (Plus, like I'm really going to get stuck on a deserted island). I feel like I get a little hit of summer every morning even when it's wintery and cold. #juiceforlife #theressummerintheresomewhere#beneaththesnow

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