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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.

Prenatal Partner Yoga & Massage
Friday, November 15, 2019 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Desert Song Prenatal Instructors

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Expectant Parents Date Night In this workshop, the expectant mama and her partner will have the opportunity to connect more deeply to themselves, each other and the baby. We will explore yoga poses, breath awareness and massage as well as support techniques the partner can use to assist before and during labor. Through visualization and relaxation exercises we will explore different pain relief options. Join us for an evening of relaxing yoga designed specifically for expectant couples. Whether you are hoping to learn poses you can do together to increase flexibility and strength or seeking to learn tools for managing pain during labor, this offering will be tailored to meet your needs and goals. No prior yoga experience is required. Mamas may bring any partner who will support them through pregnancy and labor.

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

Feldenkrais®- Awareness Through Movement
Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Erin Finkelstein, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner M.M., GCFP

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Awareness Through Movement® Awareness Through Movement® Workshop: Finding ease in getting to and from the floor through gentle and novel movement explorations". New and returning students welcome, no experience necessary.

Applications in Yoga Anatomy and Physiology
Sunday, December 1, 2019, 10:00 am -12:30 pm
Judy Pyanowski, RYT 200, LMT, NBCTMB


Deepen your understanding of the basic workings of the physical body and your ability to apply them the practice/teaching of yoga. This series offers a continuum of lessons to expand your knowledge and understanding of anatomical and physiological concepts that build your ability to incorporate them in your practice/teaching of yoga. Exposure to how our physical body is put together and functions brings understanding and more awareness to how we move and feel. Learn these concepts through lecture, visuals, demo, discussion, asana, and pranayama. Helpful for students and teachers to : -Enhance and deepen your yoga practice. -Expand sensory awareness by discovering the "parts", how they function, and their relationship to other "parts" and to the whole. -Minimize risk of injury in your practice of yoga asana, as well as in your daily life. -Better understand your specific physical needs. -Better understand the teacher's verbal cues and your ability to apply them to your body. -Gain a basic understanding and practical knowledge of medical terms and conditions that you might hear from the doctor. Helpful for teachers to: -Improve the accuracy of and confidence in your teaching. -Get better at "seeing" your students' bodies. -More safely and effectively guide your students with your verbal cues and hands. -Minimize creating conditions for the risk of potential injury. -Gain an understanding of musculoskeletal injuries and medical conditions, their description in medical terminology, the possible causes, and how to prevent further injury when practicing yoga and pranayama.

Upcoming Events

Practicum Workshop for Teachers
Heidi Lichte, E-RYT-500, CYI


Yoga: An Invitation to Wholeness

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

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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. $500 deposit to secure space, refundable by January 15, 2020. Call the office to reserve your space. (602)265-8222 Trip dates: June 6 - June 13, 2020 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