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.

Biofield Tuning AZ – Hips
Saturday, February 29, 2020 12:30 pm - 2:00pm
Sharon Danley, EEM-CP, Certified Biofield Tuning & Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner - EEM-CP

Secure Payments

A Group Vibrational Tuning for Sound Health Relax and release tension in the low back / hips / psoas: This session focuses on the psoas, a vital muscle that connects our top half to our bottom half. The psoas can hold a lot of unconscious tension resulting in a still or sore lower back and tight hip muscles. We explore the different kinds of emotions, fears, experiences and beliefs that are keeping tension in this part of our bodies.

Art Exhibit

New Artist Exhibit: Vikki Reed
Starting Monday, March 1, 2020
Then and Now

Vikki Reed - Then and Now Please welcome our current artist to Desert Song. Vikki's show will be available to view from Monday, March 2nd through Mid-May. Artwork is located in Yoga “A” hallway, the Central hallways AND the Massage wing. Pieces will be available to purchase. Artist Bio After a career in medical management, Vikki began painting full time in 1989 and established herself as a watercolor artist specializing in desert landscapes and botanicals. In 2004 she was called back to mandala work (mandalas had been a natural part of her childhood expression). 2016 brought unprecedented changes, to life, medium (watercolor to acrylic), and style, (representational to contemporary). Having always instinctively used color frequency in her work, Vikki became drawn to the concept of sound frequency healing in 2018, becoming certified in the Biofield Tuning Method. It was a natural progression which continues to evolve Vikki's work on the canvas and beyond, ever yielding new ways to explore frequency and its universal role. A growing awareness that everything is energy brings an even deeper mystery to Vikki's work as she delves into the power of art beyond the visual. Vikki continues to paint a variety of subjects; favorites include the divine feminine, landscapes featuring paths, florals and animals. Link to Artist's video on YouTube:

Upcoming Events

Intro to Ayurveda

Ayurvedic Basics
Saturday, March 7, 2020 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Debbie Kayatt, M.S., CYI, E-RYT 500, IYT, CAP

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Ayurveda, Yoga's sister science. Ayurveda is a natural science that aligns with the teachings and philosophies of yoga. Ayurveda is a holistic and preventive based form of healing, and its ancient wisdom teaches us that our health and wellness come from within. Although it recognizes we are connected to everything, instead of looking outside of ourselves, Ayurveda promotes looking within and learning to listen to our own body. Ultimately by creating balance between our mind-body-spirit and living in harmony with the universe, we can experience optimal health and well-being. This workshop covers the basics of Ayurveda and how it applies to you. Through lecture and discussion we will begin to explore the history and basic principles of Ayurveda. Through learning what your dosha/mind- body type is, you will understand how this knowledge can help you better understand yourself, the choices you make, and even what type of yoga classes you might prefer.

Exploring Ancient and Emerging Modalities
Saturday, March 14, 2020 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Stefanie Sichler, E-RYT 200, YACEP/Heidi Lichte, E-RYT 500, CYI

FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT We aim for mobility instead of just flexibility where we explore multi-directional use of our joints and tissues within a healthy range. Functional movement is also about knowing how to get beyond a one-size-fits all pose or exercise. We learn to navigate and embrace our own unique sensory experience within any movement. We will share our experience with applying functional movement in our classes and we’ll take questions from attendees. An optional 15-minute experiential session will give you a couple of simple movements you can begin to practice in your daily life.

Erin Finkelstein, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner M.M., GCFP

Feldenkrais®- Awareness Through Movement
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm
Erin Finkelstein, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner M.M., GCFP

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Flexibility Intelligence - Awareness Through Movement ® Workshop “What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies, rather flexible brains. What I’m after is to restore each person to their human dignity” - Moshé Feldenkrais This workshop will explore novel ways to improve flexibility through the Feldenkrais Method®. Don’t miss this unique approach to learning that can assist from looking over your shoulder in your car, to your yoga practice. Newcomers welcome, no previous experience necessary. Included in the workshop price is a recording of the movement lesson available for your personal use for one month. $20 in Advance / $25 at the Door - preregistration is encouraged.

Ayurvedic Intensive
Saturday, March 21, 2020 & Sunday, March 22, 2020
Debbie Kayatt & Mary Beth Markus

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Yoga and Ayurveda are Sister Sciences Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences dating back thousands of years. They compliment each other and guide us toward being our most authentic selves. In this workshop we explore how these sciences come together through asana, pranayama, mudras and meditation. When our practice honors our Body Mind type or Dosha, it will help us find balance and optimal health. Teachers, this weekend, through exploration, lecture/discussion and practice (both as student and teacher), you will deepen your knowledge about these sciences and how they can help you understand your students needs and how to teach to those needs. Saturday, 3/21 10:30 - 1:30 - Students and teachers 2:30 - 4:30 - Teachers Only Sunday, 3/22 10:30 - 4:30 Teachers Only (Potluck Lunch) $235.00 Teachers for weekend/14 CEU's (includes homework) $45 Students

Aromatherapy for Pain Relief
Saturday, March 28, 2020 12:30 pm -2:30pm
Elisabeth Peabody, Certified Aromatherapist

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Explore the Pain Fighting Power of Essential Oils Evidence-Based research has found a significant positive effect of aromatherapy in reducing pain - from Chronic to Acute, headaches, sore muscles and joints, rheumatoid arthritis, post operative pain and more. - Explore some of the best essential oils to address pain and inflammation while also providing the gift of emotional support and harmony. - Learn the Basics of CBD and the power of using it with essential oils -Experience pain relief blends and create a personal blend to take with you. Elisabeth Peabody, Certified Aromatherapist - Creator & Owner of 50clarke - Personalized Aromatherapy Solutions. A provider of Wellness Workshops in the workplace and community & Custom and Signature Scent blending for businesses and individuals. Any questions email:

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