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Prioritizing Practice During Busy Times – November 2018 Newsletter

Mary Beth Markus

One of my students, working in the legal field, is attending her third Intro to Yoga course and is determined that, “this time it’s going to stick”. She said, “I really let my health take a back seat to my career, but lately, my body is telling me I had better do something before I get sick”.

She described her symptoms as exhaustion, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, shoulder and neck tension, and the inability to concentrate. (…does any of this sound familiar to you)? She also admitted that when she used to have a regular yoga practice, she felt So…Much…Better!

Making time for yoga had given her:

  • More Energy
  • Better Sleep
  • Feeling of Being Rested
  • Positive Attitude
  • Enthusiasm for Life

We all get to places in our busy lives where we lose sight of our practice and allow life stresses and responsibilities to creep in and take over.

As we cruise into a busy year-end and holiday season, why not create a wellness, self-care schedule for yourself. Every year, we say that “next year is going to be different.” Let’s own that and get a jump on this goal by creating a healthy game plan.

Routine and ritual keep us healthy and balanced during stressful times.

Twelve ideas for “holiday stress relief” to feel great and stay present:

  1. Schedule time for your practices – get them on your calendar like any other appointment. Let Desert Song be your stress-relief valve. You will thank yourself later for planning ahead.
  1. Commit to at least one yoga, tai chi, meditation, or Pilates class per week. If it’s in your schedule, you will do it. 2 classes per week will offer twice the benefits. Your practice becomes a personal touchstone to sanity and peace of mind.
  1. Book a Massage. It will give you something to look forward to, and, when family is in town, a massage will provide some welcomed “Guest Relief”. Or, send your family members in for a massage and a little “Travel Relief”.
  1. Attend a Yoga Nidra class. It will help you relax, soothe your sleep patterns and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.
  1. Invite a friend to class before or after shopping.
  1. Plan a calming, relaxing, private class with you and a few of your good friends instead of meeting for coffee, dinner or shopping in crowded spaces.
  1. Move it. Walk every morning or evening for just 30 minutes
  1. Eat and drink with awareness. Take time to reflect on your food and drink traditions. Remember, you can have seasonal foods and drinks any other day of the year-really. Be mindful. Be thoughtful. Savor the treats you choose.
  1. Consider trying a private Ayurvedic session before the holidays set in. Make some healthy lifestyle changes before things get too hectic.
  2. Meditate just 15 minutes a day. If you can’t do 15, light a candle and set an intention to meditate for 5 minutes. It’s a wonderful way to start and end your day.
  1. Be Flexible. Remember, if your normal schedule is in disarray – try a different class. If you know you have an evening engagement, plan to attend an early morning class. Avoid making excuses for missing your practice. You will feel physically refreshed, emotionally available and spiritually restored for having tended to your own needs.
  1. Finally – Be Kind. Be Grateful. Be Patient. Be Forgiving.

We are here for you! Let’s do it together. It will cultivate a peaceful journey through a hectic time.

Blessings of peace and health,

Mary Beth

Intro to Yoga

Intro to Yoga is $55 or bring a friend and receive a discounted price of two for $90. If you have already taken this course but would like to refresh your understanding of yoga, you can attend for $35.

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.

Ayurvedic Cooking & Eating for the Seasons Series 4 sessions (quarterly)
Saturday, January 26, 2019, 12:00-2:30 pm
Debbie Kayatt, M.S., CYI, E-RYT 500, IYT, CAP & Patty Coughlin

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Nourish yourself Beyond your Resolution! Ayurvedic Cooking and Eating for the Seasons Ayurvedic wisdom tells us the seasons are defined by the elements; air, space, fire, water & earth that are most present in the environment at the time. We have these similar energies in our bodies. When we recognize this connection to the Universe, we realize the importance of how we feed these energies. Each workshop will explore the elements as they relate to us, how they impact choices in food and our digestion. You'll be shown how to prepare seasonal offerings and get to sample the finished creation. Session 1 (Jan 26): Digestion & Spices - In Ayurveda, our health comes from how well we digest. In this workshop the importance of digestion, the six tastes and 'eating' will be part of the discussion. How to make and use ghee and spices will be introduced and you will get to sample how these are incorporated into dishes. Session 2 (Mar 9): Earth & Water - As we move through the end of winter and into spring, we want to begin to reawaken and mobilize our bodies. Discussion will include foods for the season, slow earthy digestion and balancing our Kapha. We will enjoy the foods and spices prepared for this seasonal offering. Session 3 (Jun 8): Fire & Water - As we enter the summer season through early fall in Phoenix, we want to cool the fire. Summer eating, fiery digestion and balancing our Pitta will be discussed. We will demonstrate seasonal offerings and sample the creations. Session 4 (Sept 14): Air & Space - Moving into late fall and preparing for winter, we want to warm and ground the body as we get ready to 'hibernate'. Discussion will include foods for late fall and early winter, irregular or airy digestion and balancing our Vata. We will gather and together discuss seasonal offerings. $50.00 per session. $45.00 if purchased a week or more in advance of each session.

Goodbye Anxiety, Hello Confidence – 3 Week Series
Sunday, January 27, February 3, 10, 2019, 12:30pm-1:45pm
Stefanie Sichler MC, LPC, E-RYT 200, YACEP

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Yoga & Psychology for Emotional Well-being Do you ever get tired of worrying about things that are out of your control? Do you struggle sleeping? Does your mind keep going in circles? Do you know what you “should” do, but can’t seem to get around to it? Join Stefanie for a 3 week journey toward understanding the causes and symptoms of anxiety and how to use a combination of yoga and psychology tools to help you feel steady and strong in yourself and how you move through life! What you’ll learn: Overview of anxiety How to interpret your own symptoms The body’s role in all of this Tools for managing & getting rid of anxiety Tools for improving confidence & finding your voice How to gain control by letting go of it Building a long-term plan unique to your own needs

Beyond the Physical Body: Chakra Energy 101
Thursday, January 31, 2019, 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Anita Farrah, E-RYT 200 CYI,

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Meet Your Chakras, Make Your Mala Have you ever felt disconnected or lost from your higher self? Does your life sometimes feel difficult or occasionally out of sync? We are so much more than just our physical body. Sometimes, it's what's on the inside that may need to be re-energized. In this workshop you will: Explore 7 chakras of the subtle energy body Discover your current flow of energy Learn ways to re-energize your flow Create your own unique Intention/Mala bracelet to activate your chakra energy flow. *This workshop is open to everyone, there will be some easy movement during class, no yoga experience is necessary. The workshop is from 12:30pm to 3:30pm. It will be preceded by an optional community lunch in our Desert Song garden from 11:45 to 12:15. Bring your lunch or something to share.

Upcoming Events

Acusound with Cailin O’Hara & Kelly Greene
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Cailin O'Hara & Kelly Greene

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A Fusion of Reiki, Acupuncture, Sound Healing & Chinese Medicine Inspire PHX is the combined forces of Cailin O'Hara, LAc and Kelly Greene, M.Ed. They deliver a variety of unique workshops and meditations to cultivate healing, growth and mindfulness. These Thursday night offerings are a fusion of Reiki, Acupuncture, Sound Healing, Chinese Medicine and a touch of magic. The workshops explore themes around emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. This meditation of acupuncture / acupressure combined with sound healing will leave you feeling blissed out, relaxed and inspired. Cailin O'Hara, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM, is a board certified practitioner of Chinese medicine, Chinese herbology and acupuncture. Her practice, Sun Tree Healing Arts, focuses on healing the roots of emotional and physical pain. ( 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. (

Intro to Tai Chi 3-Week Series
Friday, February 8, 15, 22, 2019 12:30-1:30 pm
Kathy Lucia, Tai Chi Instructor, B.Sc., M.Ed.

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Tools for Effective Movement and Balance This 3-week class is designed for any student new to Yang Style Tai Chi or anyone wanting to learn the 24 Step Tai Chi Form taught in the Wednesday and Friday Tai Chi classes. Focus is on stretching, balance techniques, flow of breath with the body, and all the hand and foot movements of Tai Chi. The first 3 steps will be taught, one step per week, of the 24 Step Form. One can be better prepared for the current day classes we offer on Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:15am and 12:30pm after taking this intro class. Wear toe socks (sticky bottom socks) or a very light-soled shoe. The class is performed standing, but the option is available to sit in a chair to rest when needed.

Intro to Meditation

Intro to Meditation 3-Week Series
Mondays, February 11, 18, 25, 2019, 7:15-8:30 pm
Emma Swan

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Gain Clarity, Focus & Spiritual Awareness Having taught 100s of beginners all around the world, Emma Swan will be providing an introduction to a meditation based on the chakras. Each week will include both a sitting and lying meditation, as well as a discussion focusing on a particular element. Week 1: Internalization of consciousness. Inner qualities as the device for meditation. Week 2: Practicalities – where and when to meditate. Posture, and what to do about pains in your body. Week 3: Dynamic awareness. How to bring what you’ve learned into your daily activities. Emma is an expert in meditation, having dedicated her life to the practice for the last 16 years, including a decade of intensive practice at a retreat center. She has taught numerous meditation workshops not just in the US, but in Europe and Australia. Emma is passionate about helping people explore their inner world in quest of further self-knowledge. She also understands the challenges of modern life and has a patient approach, creating a safe and loving space for her students.

Intro to Yoga Therapeutics 3-Week Series
Thursdays, February 14, 21, 28, 2019 12:30 - 2:25 pm
Debbie Kayatt - E-RYT 500, CYI


Save $20 when you bring a friend A Gentler-Paced Intro to Yoga Intro to Yoga is designed specifically for students new to yoga. The series focuses on primary yoga postures, principles of safe alignment, breathing techniques and yoga philosophy. Students will enjoy personal attention and hands-on adjustments and refinements from the same instructor each week. The afternoon Intro to Yoga is a slower paced class that makes yoga very accessible for gentle students or students with limitations. Props and chairs are incorporated into the classes as well as basic therapeutic moves for better posture. Different variations of the poses are practiced by everyone, so that students can experience the options. You may retake our intro series at any time to refresh your depth of knowledge at a "refresher rate" of $35. You can also register by calling Desert Song Healing Arts Center in Phoenix, AZ at (602) 265-8222.

Intro to Yoga 3-Week Series
Thursday, February 14, 21, 28, 2019 6:00pm – 7:55 pm
Mary Beth Markus – CYI, E-RYT 500


Save $20 when you bring a friend This is the Year to Start or Come Back to Your Mat Intro to Yoga is designed specifically for students new to yoga. The series focuses on primary yoga postures, principles of safe alignment, breathing techniques and yoga philosophy. Students will enjoy personal attention and hands-on adjustments and refinements from the same instructor each week. You may retake our intro series at any time to refresh your depth of knowledge at a "refresher rate" of $35. You can also register by calling Desert Song Healing Arts Center in Phoenix, AZ at (602) 265-8222.

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

Feldenkrais®- Awareness Through Movement
Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm
Erin Finkelstein, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner M.M., GCFP

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Calming your Chaos - Awareness Through Movement Workshop for Neuromuscular Reorganization. Come experience the calming and centering work of Moshe Feldenkrais in this gentle and non-evasive ATM lesson. Lessons are an investigation of skeletal relationships, and explore novel new options for movement. Students of this work uncover new areas in their body and nervous system to use in daily functioning. New and returning students welcome, no experience necessary.

Partners Yoga & Massage
Friday, February 22, 2019, 6:00-8:00pm
Mary Beth Markus, LMT, E-RYT 500

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  Pre-Registration Required The Partners' Yoga class is an ideal class for couples, partners or families to unwind and connect with one another in a relaxing, supportive way. For over 25 years Mary Beth has taught the Partners' Yoga/Massage class, which incorporates partner stretches, soothing massage and restorative breath work. Whether you are new to Yoga or have advanced in your practice, this workshop offers poses at various levels of expertise, depending on your level of experience. Let this class be a part of your healthy relationship. No experience is necessary.