21 Days to Abundant Joy

Every summer for many years, alleyCat Yoga practitioners have embarked upon an early morning ritual of practice at sunrise (6:00 – 7:15 a.m.) for 21 days straight. And this year anyone from around the world can take the class LIVE ONLINE over Zoom. Why on earth would someone do that, you might ask? Answer: Because it could change your entire life. 

No joke. After 21 days of getting up and practicing yoga before you start your day, I’m convinced that you will experience one or all of the following benefits: You will feel like a new person. You will have more energy. You will be more confident. You will have better health. You will have more clarity and insight into how you live your life. You will be more loving toward yourself and others. You will be stronger and more flexible in your mind and body. You will love the morning.

This year the 21 Day Sunrise Yoga Adventure will be structured around the first and second steps of the yogic eight-fold path—the Yamas and the Niyamas. These are the ten ethical practices from the yoga sutra that help you live your life with more grace and kindness on and off the mat. Read More »

Yoga 101 4 Week Series

Monday, January 6-27

9:00-10:15 am

with Glenda Moum

 or

Wednesday, January 8-29

7:00-8:15 pm

with Susan Mathis

This class is designed for the new yoga student wishing to start at the beginning and learn the foundations of yoga asana, breath work and philosophy. Offered as a 4-week series and designed for those who are new to the practices of yoga, the emphasis will be on learning yogic breathing and common yoga postures while developing body awareness. We will study alignment and techniques for common postures, building the practice from the ground up in a safe manner suitable to beginners.

A regular yoga practice allows you to:

  • establish a deeper inner spiritual connection
  • stabilize your emotional responses
  • develop focus and concentration
  • release stress
  • build strength
  • increase flexibility
  • improve your posture
  • prevent injuries
  • improve your mental outlook
  • strengthen your immune system

No previous experience is necessary. This class is for every body type, level of strength and flexibility. Come as you are.

$60 for the series  Registration is required.

Register for Yoga 101 Monday 9:00 am
Register for Yoga 101 Wednesday 7:00 pm

Deep Stretch

All Levels

This experiential class utilizes asanas (postures), several meditation practices and pranayama (breathing techniques) to slowly open the body and direct awareness inward. A quiet, slow-paced class ideal for all levels of students, Deep Stretch emphasizes holding postures longer so the muscles can relax, leading to deeper states of clarity and freedom of movement. The class assumes no prior knowledge, experience or specific level of flexibility or strength and is open to all interested in exploring the deeper practices of yoga. In this class all or most postures are done on the floor. Saturday 10:30 

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The Story of No Story

Yoga teaches us that when we identify with our “story” (an identity or belief that is developed from our individual ego rather than identifying with our true nature) we are suffering, blinded by illusion. I was originally introduced to this idea by Sudakar Ken McRae and the concept allowed me to move beyond the limiting beliefs of my mind that held me hostage for many years. As a result of that I rarely talk about my experience with chronic illness because I do no longer define myself by that story. Yoga practices (Big Y Yoga) allowed me to use connection to the present moment to overcome the limitations I once experienced in body that therefore impacted my mind. However, I am making an exception to revisit my past experiences and share them with you.

II was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) when I was 16, unfortunately it was a very severe case. After years of suffering from anemia, pain, malnutrition and frequent hospitalizations I was sent to the Mayo Clinic to have the diseased gut removed at age 29. Unfortunately, the surgery resulted in a confounding number of other complications including obstruction, infection, and poor motility resulting in frequent hospitalizations for about 8 more years. My life at that time was one of severe pain and was limited by this severe illness.
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What Would Franz Do?

I was “hooked” from my very first yoga class in the Fall of 1974 and since then, through practice, teaching and study, my understanding of yoga has deepened many-fold times. Now, after teaching for 30+ years, with over 70,000 attendances in my classes, it is time to move on and create space for other teachers to follow. I have thought about this for many months now and every time, the message from my body is the same… it is now time to hand over my last yoga class, Saturday’s “Capturing the Spirit of Yoga”.

Interestingly, last Saturday, my class was titled “What would Franz do?”

The dharma talk started over 6000 years ago with the birth of Krishna in Mathura, India (a place I have ventured to) and weaved its way to Franz, the manager of the retreat center in Tuscany that I visited over 20 times as part of Global Yoga Journeys. In contrast to Switzerland, in Italy, excursions rarely worked out according to plans and Franz exhibited, the flexibility, the letting-go of the plan, the being-in-the-moment, the ceasing of the moment and rescuing it from disappointment. Letting-go of the plan is like letting-go of the grip-of-thought, a message clearly advocated by Krishna in his pranksterish way. Years ago, my Tuscan guests would soon say, when confronted with a choice, “What would Franz do?” and we would all laugh.

Lately I have been asking myself “What would Franz do?” and it is clear.

I am grateful for the many students here in Columbia that chose to come to my classes over the past 16 years, for those who ventured with me on my many yoga retreats to exotic international locations, for the opportunity to create the awesome Sunrise 21 Day Yoga Adventure and for the support of the teachers at alleyCat.

I still have a whole lot more to offer as a teacher but I will spend the next segment of my time diving deeper into personal study of the mystery of yoga as well as a few other interests that have caught my imagination. Should I feel compelled to share we will let you know.

Until then, remember, do your version of the pose, draw your attention present and breathe.

Jai Bhagwan (I bow to the light within you),
Ken Sudhakar McRae