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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Uttara Yoga Teacher Training

You can always look back upon your life and reflect upon where you leaned in; where you took risks; where a challenge was laid down; and you stood up, and met it.  And also where you didn’t; where you waffled; waited.  Choosing to do nothing is still a choice.

One of my teachers often said, we incur much more difficult karma from what we leave undone in life, as opposed to what we actually do.

me and Katieji
When Katie Silcox came to me about creating the Uttara Yoga Teacher Training program two years ago, let me tell you, I was honored.  Katie is a rockstar in the yoga world, which is frankly irrelevant.  What matters was that I had taken her workshops, sat at her feet and learned a LOT from an ardent student of Tantra.  Katie has done THE WORK.  It shows up in every layer of her being.  So when she wanted to work with me, she helped me to honor myself; my journey; yoga teacher training in Roanoke?  Yes; let’s do it.  Our similarities and our differences make us a unique and very complete teaching team.
I had wanted to offer teacher training in Roanoke for many reasons.  First, Uttara has many students who are looking to grow.  Especially my Life Transformation Course graduates; these are people who are hungry for the deeper teachings; people who don’t want to scratch the surface of life; they are really to drill and dig into the why, what and how of Life.  Seekers.  Many people take the trainings to learn about the deeper teachings to grow their own personal practice, and not because they plan to teach. 

Second, we need more yoga in Roanoke.  More studios; more teachers; more people bringing yoga to schools, offices and hospitals.  More people who are passionate about spreading the word about this vital science that helps with human problems.  Yoga teachers who can teach a class, not just lead a class; yoga teachers who keep students safe.  Joy-filled, generous, kind, knowledgeable yoga teachers who walk the walk and talk the talk.

My training at the Temple of Kriya Yoga was intense and very complete; one solid year of home student with four long intensive weekends; my initiation into Kriya; more study with Kriology and Mystical Sciences Courses; many discipleship weekends and alumni trainings.  Continuing education and additional certifications and apprenticeships with many teachers outside of the lineage to broaden my view.  At this point I have taught literally more than 3,000 yoga classes and I want to keep spreading the yoga love.  
first graduating class!  2013-14

Why should you take our training?  Well, I know less every day -- but I know this:  my yoga is about love; it is about kindness, acceptance and non-judgment.  And that doesn’t mean you get to be lazy or sloppy.  Yoga to me is the highest service to humanity.  When you become a yoga teacher your very task is to change the World.  To help every human that you encounter to become their highest and best self.
And not just them; but you.  True yoga begins with the self; those of us that teach always remain students.  Our students become our teachers if you can simply open your heart to the lessons.

Would you like to shift your life?  Would you like to become an even greater blessing and force for goodness in the world?

Okay then; we have a few spaces left in our teacher training; maybe one of them belongs to you.  Email me,


Monday, July 21, 2014

Finding Beauty

We have a dear student at Uttara who began last Summer bringing an arrangement of flowers to class on Saturday mornings  Such a simple but appreciated kindness; fresh flowers; grown, selected and arranged with kindness and love.

And as the weeks passed by and we moved towards Fall, we had an interesting exchange as he brought in his weekly bounty.  "It's getting harder" he explained "now that the Summer flowers are gone."  "What is beautiful is less obvious; and I have made it a weekly spiritual practice -- on Saturday mornings, I go out and I find something beautiful."

And oh, yes, they still were beautiful; arrangements of leaves and greenery; of grasses and seedpods; colors shifting to the subtle but beautiful Fall hues.

It has been a joy to watch the return of the joyous colors of Spring and Summer.  One week he dug up a few little mounds of violets and arranged them in a clay saucer; gorgeous!

Remembering to look for the beauty and the bounty in life is indeed a deep spiritual practice and also a biological imperative.  There is real brain science behind the thinking that positivity and gratitude create a healthier, happier body and mind.

During a recent trip to Asheville to study with Michael and Stephanie Johnson we were studying the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and they were weaving the ancient text into the modern science of brain research.  Check out the book Buddha's Brain for more info. 

My simple take-aways from the weekend of teaching were two-fold:  one, that for every negative thought you need a minimum of 3 positive thoughts to counter that negative thought and neutralize it.  Wow, that's a lot of positive thinking!  Studies had shown that a 1 to 1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts meant you were in the depression zone. 

The second one was for you to spend four days in a row spending 20 minutes writing about the best possible outcome for your life.

We truly are permitted the choice; glass half full; glass half empty; who-took-my-damn-glass-anyway? 

Tomorrow; and the day after; and the day after that; I give you your mission; find the beauty; find the joy.  I promise you; they exist.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hell Yes! or No

A recent conversation brought up a new resolution of a friend of a friend of a friend.  My friend told me that this woman was planning her Summer and had decided that she would choose how she spent her time based on whether her internal response was "Hell Yes!" 

Anything that wasn't a "Hell Yes!" would be a No."

That conversation has permeated my life and my teachings.  In very good and profound ways.  Cause I don't know about you, but my life can end up being a whole series of maybe, sorta and I guess so.

How often when you choose to do something, is it a "Hell Yes" -- ?  The activities you choose, the meals you eat, the media you absorb.  The people you spend time on; the things you spend money on.  How much is perfunctory, obligatory, not-what-you-really-wanted. 

When you think about an average day in your life, are you enthused, inspired, excited; or just waiting for a future that never seems to arrive?

How much of your response to daily life is "okay," "probably," or "well, alright?"

Of course, there are responsibilities; of course, there are things we have to do; no one says Hell Yes to taxes or toilet scrubbing, but what if we approached even the tedious parts of our life with that attitude of getting it DONE and moving ON to the good stuff -- and knowing that we have created and accepted multiple experiences and opportunities for the good stuff?

I read a beautiful quote recently in Rob Brezney's Free Will Astrology (; I highly recommend his website.  It was proffered as a weekly horoscope for Libras; but I hope we will all take it to heart:
"There is always an enormous temptation in all of life," writes Annie Dillard, "to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end . . . I won't have it. The world is wider than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright."  -- Your assignment in the coming weeks, Libra, is to transcend whatever is itsy-bitsy about your life. The alternative? Head toward the frontier and drum up experiences that will thrill your heart and blow your mind.
So, my friends; here is your assignment, and mine, too -- I charge you with creating a life of beauty and service; of doing what thrills you and scares you and what you cosmically came to do.  LIVE YOUR LIFE. 

No more itsy-bitsy; no more maybe or just okay.  HELL YES! or NO.



Monday, May 26, 2014


Wilderness Adventures -- gorgeous Craig County, VA
I love yoga retreats.  I love even "retreating" to another town just to practice yoga; at least a couple times a year my beloved and I slip away to another town for a few days of yoga classes, good eating and time alone together.  We always return a little more ready to tackle our reality and responsibilities.

I've also attended amazing yoga retreats where you can just totally immerse in yoga and meditation with like-minded people.  Incredible expereiences; an amazing sound healing retreat with my Kriya Yoga sister Camella Nair! and also a great detox retreat with my darling Katie Silcox  Even made it to India this year with the awesome Lisa Bergley and Uschi Gibson

So whether it's 48 hours or longer if you can swing it, it is really important to get out of your own little patterns for even a couple days; to not just ignore the laundry, the dishes, the chores -- because even if you decide to defer those mundane duties they always seem to mock you just a little.  But to truly set aside time for yourself; to eat well, get rest, read, journal, whatever.  Add in yoga, meditation, nature and sangha, retreat can nourish the spirit in ways a regular vacation just cannot.

It takes effort to make space; to shut down the computer and walk away from the tv; to let go of driving the same streets to the same places and all the familiarities.  By definition a "retreat" is a movement back; a retracing of steps in order to regroup

Our Cabin!
You have to choose to treat yourself to "retreat."

Kimberly Vest and I are leading a yoga retreat next month at Wilderness Adventures in Craig County, Virginia.  A gorgeous little spot that is about an hour from Roanoke, even less if you're out Salem/Botetourt way.  Would you like to join us? 

We're keeping it pretty simple; we've got an entire building all to ourselves; it's rustic, in that it's a wooden cabin and rooms are shared -- but it's very modern and very sweet.  There's outdoor space for practicing yoga in the grass, as well as a large covered pavilion with ceiling fans if it's too hot or if it rains.  There's also indoor space for yoga if the weather requires us to be indoors, and loads of outdoor activities and places to wander.  There's beautiful pond, a rushing river and hiking trails.  Check out the website if you want more pictures and info.

Dining Hall
We're planning lots of yoga and meditation options; but remember, these are OPTIONS.  I have many times attended a yoga retreat and decided that what I really needed to do was sit in a rocking chair and write in my journal instead of attend the scheduled class.  Or that I needed to dig a little deeper into conversation with a new and interesting person I have met instead of doing another scheduled activity.  The meal times are pretty set, but otherwise everything is optional; following your heart and your head and create your own retreat.

Very auspiciously the actual Summer Solstice is that Saturday -- so of course there will be a fire ritual and intention setting -- oh, and s'mores!  Also keep in mind that you'll pass Carvins Cove, McAfee's Knob and Dragon's Tooth on the way to and from the retreat -- so maybe tke Friday off and go hike on your way; or Sunday as you depart you can add on a little outdoor adventure.
One of the Rooms
The food will be vegetarian and all freshly prepared and served in the main lodge -- though the cabin we are renting has a full kitchen that you have access to if you have dietary restrictions or any concerns about properly feeding yourself.

Here are the details and a rough outline of our schedule; space is limited and there is a discount if you pre-register/pre-pay by June 1.

Let's go!!

Friday, June 20, 2014, 5:30 pm check-in
Sunday, June 22, 2014, 12 Noon check-out

Summer Solstice Yoga Retreat with Jill Loftis & Kimberly Vest
The solstice is an essential point in the year where we can honor the flow of life on earth. It is a time for us to come back into balance and harmony. As the Earth moves through its cycles of darkness into light and back again, we also share a parallel journey. With the Sun at its highest point in the sky, we can be reminded our own light.

Now is the time to reconnect to the light within ourselves, the light of our highest self. Immersed in nature, you will experience yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, kirtan and satsang as well as home cooked meals prepared with fresh ingredients.

Immerse yourself in nature and practice asana, pranayama, meditation, deep relaxation and chanting. This retreat is appropriate for all levels, including beginners.

Accommodations are rustic yet modern, with separate double/twin beds, bunk bed style in each room of the lodge. The lodge has its own kitchen if you have specific dietary needs. All linens: sheets, pillows, pillow cases, blankets, towels, etc. is provided.

Free outdoor activities: canoeing & swimming on pond, hiking the 500 mile property, horseshoes, sand volleyball, Frisbee gold course, field game equipment for soccer, football, Frisbee, etc.

Note: Please bring appropriate shoes, clothing, rain gear, yoga mat, water bottle and insect repellent.

Retreat Schedule

3:00 - 5:30 pm: Arrival and settling in
5:15 pm: Friday night unwind – gentle yoga/yoga nidra
6:00 pm: Gather at Sly Lodge to meet the group.
6:30 pm: Dinner at Main Lodge
8:00 pm: [talk/gathering/informal tarot readings with Jill]
10:00 pm: lights out

7:00 am: optional meditation
8:00 am: optional yoga
9:00 am: breakfast
10:00 am: Free time
Noon: Lunch
1:00 pm: [lecture]
2:00 pm: Free time
5:00 pm: optional yoga
6:30 pm: Dinner
7:30 pm: Ritual/Fire/Chanting Social time bring smores bring instruments

7:00 am: optional meditation
8:00 am: optional yoga
9:00 am: breakfast
10:00 am: walking meditation
10:30 am: optional yoga
Noon Closing Ritual; goodbye!

Founded Uttara Yoga Studio in Roanoke, Virginia in 2008. Her ecletic style weaves together the knowledge of Kriya Yoga with her studies under many gifted teachers She leades classes and workshops regionally on a variety of topics including astrology, stress reduction, and group breathwork.

Kimberly has been teaching and practicing yoga for over 20 years. Her foundational training was in the Integral yoga tradtion and trained and studied in the Viniyoga and Anusara traditions. Kimberly is skillful at adaptng classes to the needs of her students.

$250.00 before June 1 / $275.00 after June 1
To register, please contact Uttara Yoga Studio at (540) 309-0071 or via email:


Friday, May 2, 2014

Ummmmm . . . . aaaHHHAAaaaa . . .

April was quite a month, eh?

Make time to meditate.
Oh – you didn’t notice?  Everything easy-peasy-breezy?  Oh good!  Such excellent karma for you; go celebrate; the rest of us are gonna chat for a moment.

Holy crap, two super-strong eclipses sandwiching the Uranus-Pluto square; if your life was stress-free and awesome, that’s great; but did you read the news?  See the weather?  Have you been extra tired?  Lots of crazy dreams?  Big choices to make?  Endings?  (Which are actually beginnings . . . )
We are all connected and the fabric of our existence is under siege.  Many of us are at a crossroads of existence; what/who do we keep?  What/who do we let go of?

Rishikesh, sacred space.
If you figure it all out-got-the-answers-sure-no-worries-mate . . . then please text me at 540-309-0071 and let me know what to do. 

Cause it’s hard for me; really hard.

But I will tell you what has helped me; no, SAVED me during the past few weeks.  I have been meditating every day. 

Well, of COURSE Jill meditates everyday  – you say – she’s a yoga teacher, spiritual healer, all that stuff . . . yeah, but that doesn’t mean I have always made the time to do what I know works.  We usually all know in our heart what is right, what works.  It’s choosing it – that’s the sticky bit. 

For me this past month, it has been SO easy to meditate; to make time, to understand how important it is; my soul knows I am keeping myself sane.  I am literally sucked onto the cushion; and even then I usually have a little routine;  invocation, pranayama, mantra, etc.  But that has dropped away these past few weeks into just sitting; just BEING, sitting, shifting, listening, breathing, living, dying, birthing, receiving, giving, nothing.  It’s been awesome; and so hard not to be attached to that experience.
There is a window of opportunity open for us all right now; it is a time of making hard choices; of reaching for light and removing darkness; of letting go to make space for opportunity and also receiving great gifts of Earthly and Heavenly joys.  Of finding other spiritual seekers on the path; of finding great love or letting go to create space FOR great love to unfold.

My dear ones; be brave; be strong; hold to the light.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The healing waters of  Ma Ganga.

So you ask me to tell of India, but one doesn't "tell" of India . . . India wraps itself around the core of the Soul, and as it slowly unwinds, perspective, speech and habit subtly change. The transformation is the tale. -- Layne Neville

How about that beautiful quote from my new friend Layne?  She is one of the many reasons I had an amazing trip to India.  Not just a trip really, but a spiritual pilgrimage.  With a healthy dose of tourist-type experiences and shopping for beautiful things.

Me, Lisa and Uschi in an auto rickshaw
I have the enormous blessing of spiritual sisters all over the place, and one of those sisters is Lisa Bergley the founder and primary teacher at Spirit of the Lake Yoga in Excelsior, Minnesota.  I tagged along with her group of yogis and non-yogis, meeting up with the fearless and fabulous Uschi Gibson who runs LuckyUschi.  Be sure to check out her website,
which encompasses her women's empowerment work in creating a line of fair-trade clothing and also offers her incredible knowledge of the country and culture in coordinating journeys in India.  (AND be sure to check back with me at Uttara because I'm going to have some of these gorgeous creations for sale at the Studio soon!)

While I was in India, I realized people would ask me about my trip and let me tell you -- there are no sound bites or quick, snappy sentences that can even hint around at what it is to experience India.  Places like Varanasi, Bodh Gaya, Rishikesh and Hardiwar -- places with enormous spiritual power.

Meeting the women; Charrie and I said we liked to dance so they asked us to dance for them!
Any time you travel, you are changed in small and large ways; and sometimes the changes reveal themselves slowly.  I came home with a deep appreciation for what I take for granted; feeding my children so well (even if they complain and they do!); my house still seems enormous.  I came back with a strong sense of wanting to spend my time wisely; to make more time to meditate, to pray -- to take my troubles to the Goddess instead of talking them to death.  And to spend more time with the people that I love. 

I feel more responsibility as a privileged woman with a large amount of freedom to make wise choices for my sisters in other places; I never really thought that much about the bargain yoga pants I bought at TJ Maxx; now I wonder; who is sitting where and in what conditions making my ultra-cheap clothing?  That beautiful silk scarf -- someone sat a loom and made that fabric; like the beautiful mittens my friend Pat made me for Christmas one year that I cherish and make sure to never lose -- could I be more wise with what I purchase and value the time and the person who made it?

There was also so much joy there -- children flying simple kites of newspaper, life spilling out everywhere, dogs nursing puppies, markets and mess and life and death and everything in between; nothing is hidden in Mother India.

So as I integrate my experiences, there will be more writing, more thinking; and hopefully many more trips to that complex and beautiful country.



Uttara Yoga Studio, LLC. Blog design by Jessica Hedrick