Current Newsletter

September 2019 Theme: Compassion

What We Need Now More Than Ever Is Compassion

By Mary Beth Markus

In my office I have a small-framed picture of the Dalia Lama shaking hands with Barack Obama. It was a gift to me from one of my instructors who practices Buddhism. Although I am not Buddhist, I resonate with some of the simple, yet profound Buddhist philosophies, especially concerning the human qualities of compassion and loving-kindness.

I was privileged to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama three times as he lectured about life. Each time I was moved by the joyful, wise and loving nature of this great spiritual leader. He has touched many individuals of all religions and creeds with his teachings, not only with the philosophy of Buddhism, but also through the concepts of compassion and love.  

In one podcast, the Dalai Lama said: “Let us cultivate love and compassion both of which give true meaning to life. This is the simple religion I preach, more so than Buddhism itself. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

He goes on to say that compassion is one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. Having compassion and understanding for those who we may not agree with can bring us a sense of peace and tranquility.

On a lighter note, I read that compassion also keeps us young. Scientific studies show that people who practice rituals of compassion and loving kindness produce 100 percent more DHEA, a hormone that counteracts the aging process. It also reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, by 23 percent so you feel less stressed, have more energy and can sleep better.
How does one cultivate compassion?  Below are a few rituals I have practiced to cultivate compassion. They may be useful to you as well.

Morning meditation – Most mornings I light a candle on my home altar and consciously move into my heart. There I hold all those who have touched my life, including the relationships that have not been as positive as I would have liked. I meditate until I am filled with a sense of peace and send that light out to each of them.

Forgiveness meditation – One way I find compassion towards those that mistreat others is to imagine the suffering that person must have been through in his or her life to act in that way. It helps to put perspective on the intensity of the experience.

Act of Kindness meditation – Sometimes I reflect on simple acts of kindness bestowed on me and consciously open myself to opportunities to share kindness with others throughout my day.

Evening Meditation – Before I fall asleep, I reflect on the experiences of the day with appreciation. Moving into sleep with gratitude allows for a more restful, peaceful slumber.

Mary Beth Markus

Compassion is a practice that originates in our hearts. It can be a powerful tool to bring more light into our lives and the world around us. We need this now more than ever.

Blessings to each of you.

Mary Beth

Intro to Yoga

Intro to Yoga is $65 or bring a friend and receive a discounted price of two for $110. If you have already taken this course but would like to refresh your understanding of yoga, you can attend for $45.

The practice of yoga does not mean you have to be a pretzel, sweat in sauna-like conditions or have unusual acrobatic skill. Though we live in times that embrace these extremes, we teach what the traditional yogis have known all along: the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit. At Desert Song Healing Arts Center we’ve been sharing this wholehearted approach to yoga for over 30 years.

  • Research has proven that slowing down is the key to relaxation and optimal health. Desert Song supports this approach.
  • We teach safe alignment with custom variations designed to build strength and flexibility.
  • We teach mindfulness techniques to bring calmness and serenity into the way you live your life.
  • We teach breathing for better health to calm stress issues like anxiety, insomnia and high blood pressure.
  • We teach practical philosophy covering the 8 limbs of yoga and what it means to honor your body.

In this course you’ll receive 6 hours of instruction with a senior teacher. You will be supported every step of the way with hands-on instruction, handouts, question-answer time, and an ongoing resource once you’ve completed the course. As an additional bonus, you will receive discounts to continue on your journey to health.

Practicum Workshop for Teachers
Saturday, December 14, 2019 10:15 am-1:15 pm
Heidi Lichte, E-RYT-500, CYI


Enhance Your Yoga Classes with Functional Movement This practicum will focus on deepening the teacher’s perspective on presenting standing poses. There is endless study and information to be learned about asana. Is there a formula that can assist you in teaching a pose to a large variety of students? I believe there is and it’s not just about the alignment maps we’ve all learned to teach. I will be offering feedback, answer questions as well as share ideas on best practices based on functional movement, somatic awareness and natural alignment principles. This will be a supportive, low pressure environment where you’ll practice and refine current teaching methods you use while adding in new options that resonate with you. Whether you are a recent graduate or have been teaching yoga for years, our collective commitment to learning and exploring ideas increases the value we offer to our students and keeps it fresh and interesting in the process. Each session offers 3 CEU’s which you can apply toward your ongoing Yoga Alliance certification as well as toward your Desert Song 300-hr Certification.

Golf Conditioning Workshop

Golf Conditioning Workshop
Saturday, December 14, 2019 12:00pm-2:00pm
Kathy Lucia, B.S. M. ED


Zen and the Art of the Golf Swing Although golf season never ends in Arizona, now is a great time to work on improving your game. This workshop offers each participant: - A short pre-round warm-up - An individual evaluation of your address stance and posture, plus individualized exercises to improve your swing. - How to increase flexibility for the golf swing using movement based on Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga. - Eye training using Tai Chi for putting - Mental and emotional preparation will be addressed at the end. Clubs will be available-no need to bring your own. Register on or before Friday, 10/25/19, cost is $60. As of 10/26/19, the cost will be $65. Space is limited, so register early!

Winter Solstice Sound Healing and Toning Meditation

Winter Solstice Sound Healing and Toning Meditation
Saturday, December 21, 2019, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Kelly Greene and Matthew Helton

Secure Payments

Rest, Recharge, Replenish and Heal... Midwinter is a time for deep contemplation, a time to rest, recharge, replenish and heal. Join Kelly Greene of Prana Reiki and Matt Helton for this Yule time meditation. Through sound and toning, we'll journey to deeper darker spaces to find your inner light. Kelly Greene has a Master's of Education in Counseling Psychology and Human Relations. She is a Reiki Master Teacher, Master Sound Healer and Medical Reiki Master. At her practice, Prana Reiki, she is passionate about supporting others in their emotional and spiritual transformations. ( Matthew Helton hails from New York City where he spent many years performing on stage and singing music from all areas of the world. Matthew holds a BFA in Classical Voice from The City College of New York and loves to share the gift of music with those who need it. Matthew is grateful for the opportunity to join Prana Reiki and add the healing touch of music for all who take part.

Candlelight Yoga Classes in December

Candlelight Yoga Classes in December
Monday December 9, 16, 23, 30, 2019 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Erin Barringer-Sterner RYT-200


Candlelight Yoga Classes in December 7:15pm Community Flow Monday Dec 2, 9, 16 Monday, Dec 23 - Holiday Candlelight Community Flow Join us for a joyful candlelit community class celebrating the winter solstice and holidays! We'll turn down the lights and flow through an immersive playlist that grounds the body, quiets the mind, and opens the heart. Modifications and plenty of props make this class suitable for all levels. Monday Night Candlelight Community Flow Beginning on 12/30, we'll be changing the format of our regular Monday night community class to become Candlelight Community Flow. We'll continue to explore breath and movement through vinyasa in this chill candlelit class. Modifications and plenty of props make this class suitable for all levels. Come wind down your Monday with a relaxing flow, the perfect segue to sleep!

Candlelight Yoga Classes in December

Candlelight Yoga Classes in December
Wednesday, December 4, 11, 18, 2019 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Nicole Haas RYT 200, CYI


Candlelight Yoga Classes in December Community All Levels Class

New Artist Exhibit: Students of Kathy Taylor

New Artist Exhibit: Students of Kathy Taylor
Monday, December 2, 2019
Finding Peace - the Healing Heart

Finding Peace - the Healing Heart Artist Statement: All of the artists exhibiting in this show study and create at Studio 6020, Center For Creative Development. Most have been painting for many years and a few are new to our program. The theme for this exhibit is SERENITY. The artists have created with their unique voice, a “feel” of inner peace. Some artists use color to express this theme while others use symbolism. It is our hope that the viewer will also “feel” the sense of calm that this exhibit evokes. Enjoy! Kathy Taylor Growing up in Southern California during the “60’s”, Kathy was exposed to endless change and a bohemian lifestyle. In the early 80’s she relocated to Phoenix, Arizona where she studied with numerous artists including Dick Phillips her greatest influence. As an intuitive artist, the content of her work is often ambiguous and rooted in a trust of that intuitiveness. In 2007 Kathy founded Studio 6020 where she nurtures budding artists and shares these concepts through her Creative Development courses. Taylor exhibits in galleries throughout the United States and Europe. Her work is in numerous private and corporate collections including: Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler, AZ; AT&T, Phoenix, AZ; Campeau Corporation, Boston, MA; Juhl Marketing Inc., Scottsdale, AZ; Stroebe, Zine & Assoc., Portland, OR.

Upcoming Events

Yoga: An Invitation to Wholeness

Yoga: An Invitation to Wholeness
Saturday, February 22 - Sunday, February 23, 2020
Christina Sell

Secure Payments

Weekend Workshop with Christina Sell While the postural practice is clearly a physical practice, there is no reason to limit its scope to physical-only. Hidden in every cue, alignment protocol and posture is an invitation to greater self-knowledge and self-understanding. As we examine the poses and learn to observe ourselves in them, an interior world of energy, insight, and clarity emerges. This weekend workshop is a dynamic foray into asana practice, inspiring philosophical teachings and simple mindfulness techniques to help you connect more deeply with yourself. Christina Sell's teaching style is progressive, clear, and fun. Expect demonstrations, explanations, and practices designed to meet you where you are. -- Standing Pose Emphasis 10:30am to 1:00pm -- Forward Bends Twisting Emphasis 2:30 to 5:00pm — Back Bend Emphasis 10:30am to 1:00pm — Restorative Poses and Meditation Emphasis 2:30 to 5:00pm $65 per session / $235.00 for the full series Christina Sell has been practicing yoga since 1991 and teaching since 1998. She is the author of Yoga From the Inside Out: Making Peace with Your Body Through Yoga, My Body is a Temple: Yoga as a Path to Wholeness, and A Deeper Yoga; Moving Beyond Body Image to Wholeness and Freedom. Known for her practical wisdom and down-to-earth teaching style, Christina travels nationally and internationally leading workshops, trainings and seminars on yoga and spirituality. She resides in Buena Vista, CO with her husband, her aging father, two affectionate cats and the world's best dog, Locket.

Doug Keller – The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga
Save the Date!! Friday – Sunday, May 1 – 3, 2020
Doug Keller, E-RYT 500


The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga 10 CEU HRS Under Electives. Preregistration required. Full payment required with registration. Space is limited, so register early. Doug Keller has been teaching workshops and trainings in the therapeutic applications of yoga over 17 years and is known not only for his effectiveness in communicating this ever-evolving approach in these trainings, but also for his extensive writing on the topic in magazines, journals and his two-volume work, 'Yoga As Therapy." In addition to traveling and teaching, he has also served as a Distinguished Professor at the Maryland University of Integrative Health in their Master's Degree program in Yoga Therapy. This program is state-approved and accredited for granting a Master's Degree in this field and is fully accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Laconda from afar

Yoga Retreat to Italy
Saturday, June 6 - Saturday, June 13, 2020
Mary Beth Markus, LMT, E-RYT 500, CYI

$2540 per person double occupancy/$3050 single Occupancy

Picture walls of stone aged by the centuries. Fresh, cozy rooms filled with ancient and exotic furniture. Gardens on manicured lawns and olive trees. The scent of lavender and rosemary filling the air. A swimming pool kissed by sunlight. Numerous paths running through woods, down to the stream in the valley below. Aperitifs sipped on the verandah watching the setting sun. Candle-lit dinners and calm nights under a star filled sky. All around, just beyond the crown of hills stand Umbria's many cities of art, abundant in their treasures, elegant shops and traditions. 2020 Italy Trip Details: Trip cost: $2540 per person double occupancy, $3050 single occupancy. Last day to reserve your space: January 15, 2020 Secure your space with a $500 deposit (refundable until January 15, 2020 minus $50 service fee) Additional Payments Schedule: by Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - $1500 is due by Wednesday, March 17, 2020 - final payment in full is due No refunds after May 1 - unless the spot can be filled. Trip schedule: Coming soon. Included in Trip Package:  Scheduled Group transportation on days of arrival and departure  Exclusive use of Villa for 7 nights, three meals a day while on premises, (beverages not included), Spa, Pool, wellness area, wireless internet access, use of Yoga Studio, daily room service, towel change every 3 days etc.  1-2 All Level Yoga and/or Yoga Nidra sessions per day with Mary Beth.  Three optional excursions to the nearby Umbrian towns of Assisi, Gubbio and Orvieto, abundant in treasures, traditions, art and shopping.  Yoga mats and blankets Not included in Trip Package:  Air Transportation  Spa treatments or resort extras  Wine (available for purchase at Locanda, corkage fee for wine not purchased from Locanda)  Transportation outside designated dates and times