Advanced Yoga: One-Handed Handstand Prep Video With Marysia Weiss

Advanced Yoga: One-Handed Handstand Prep With Los Angeles Yoga Teacher Marysia Weiss

Perhaps you find yourself with enviable boredom with regular handstand and are ready to move onto something a bit more luxurious, the Ferrari if you will of handstanding…the one handed handstand.

Side Note: If you are a yogi who is offended by my reference to such a gas guzzling monster as the Ferrari rest assured that a yogi like myself is only referring to a eco-friendly Ferrari that runs on vegetables, rainbows and good intentions.

Ah, where was I now? Oh yes, the ever so elusive and seductive one-handed handstand…

To do this pose you will want to start small working with one hand on a yoga block on its flattest side. Your goal will be to keep the arm of the hand that is on the block strongly firming to the mid-line of the body as you kick up into your handstand.

Next place the block on its side at middle height and continue. You get the idea. The higher the hand that is not on the floor the more difficult it will become to balance in handstand.

Eventually of course you will get rid of whatever props you are working with and try to balance by shifting your weight onto one hand, coming up onto the fingertips of the opposite hand and then slowly lifting the fingertips and balancing in your one-handed handstand!

Happy One-Handed Handstanding Yogis!

Who is in Charge?

I am reposting this article with permission from My Life Yoga blog on the ego and our illusion of reality, enjoy!

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Pettry amzanig huh?

The above paragraph illustrates that we do not read by assembling letters into words from left to right. Instead we use forecasting to predict what a jumble of letters means. This allows us to read fast and correct for errors.

The key idea here is that forecasting is central to how we function. This is not limited to just reading but pretty much everything we do. The central aspect of forecasting is that it needs a model. A model is an idea of how something works. Once the model is in place we can input a limited number of details and simulate the rest. When we read the words in the first paragraph we are able to simulate the words in the original sentence through the model of English Language in our head. Somebody who is not a native English speaker may find it hard to read the first paragraph because the English model in his head may not be very good.

When sight is restored to somebody who has been blind since birth, he does not immediately begin to “see”. All he sees is fuzzy formless light. It may take months, if not years before normal seeing commences. This is because the person has no model for vision. Only once this is built can normal sight work. When we look around the room we do not scan every part of the room starting with the top left corner zigzagging down. Instead we take in the details of a few spots and simulate the rest using our in-built model for sight.

So here are some details of the models in our head:

1. Our models may not be perfect but they work.
2. Our models may work but they are not complete.

Some philosophers have suggested that since our perception of reality is based on simulation of imperfect models that all reality that we perceive is merely illusory. This may be not be an appropriate way of interpreting this discussion. The models in our head are pretty good because they work and reliably allow us to navigate the world.

However, we must not go to the other extreme. Just because these models work, in the current context, we must not assume that these model represent reality completely. These models are just good enough for our species to survive and get by. For example we do not see in the ultra-violet or infrared spectrum. We are completely oblivious to that portion of reality. In fact the model of reality in our head is like the tip of the iceberg. What we know and perceive is vastly undermined by what we are ignorant and oblivious of. For example, who knows how a whale percieves the world?

Similar to the models of the external world we also have a model of our internal selves. This model of ourselves is termed as an ego. Just like we think that the model of external reality is complete we are fooled into believing that we are our egos.

Our ego is not our complete self. It is at best a very incomplete model of ourselves in our head. The journey of yoga is a journey into a deeper dive into ourselves. It is a journey of discovery of that portion of us that lies beyond the ego. In fact the root of most of our problems lies in the subtle belief that we are our ego and the interest of our ego and our deeper selves is the same. We spend every moment of our conscious experience as captives of our ego-identity. We think, emote, and act on behalf of our ego, little knowing that we are spending our lives at the service of a wrong master.

The journey of discovery of our identity beyond our ego is not an easy one but it may be the most important journey we may undertake. After all who wants to spend a lifetime as a slave of something only to realize that it was all in vain?

Operation Shanti Fundraiser Donation Yoga Class Sept 17th

Operation Shanti Fundraiser

Operation Shanti Fundraiser
Please visit us on Facebook to RSVP!


When: Saturday Sept 17th 2011 at 3:00pm

Where: The Boys & Girls Club of Venice, Venice, California 90291

Join us for a FUN donation YOGA CLASS
…after party with DJ, food, wine, and raffle to follow!

With these amazing teachers:
*Ashley Albrand, *Gigi Synder, *Garth Hewitt,
*Angela Kukhahn, *Ally Hamilton, *Vytas Baskuskaus,*Ashley Turner,*Kyra Haglund, *Cristi Christenen, *Jennifer Pastiloff

Suggested donation is $35, all proceeds go to Operation Shanti.

follow us on facebook:

View Photos from Operation Shanti Rocks the Southbay! We had a blast!

“Heart of a Warrior” Backbending Workshop August 13th with Angela Kukhahn

Heart of a Warrior: How to Backbend with Strength and Grace

Angela Kukhahn in King Pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) photo by Jasper Joha

August 13th, 2011
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
$35 (Online Price)
In this workshop we will unlock the secrets of the spine so that your backbends blossom with strength and grace. We will explore the relationship between the pelvis and the ribcage to fully understand how you can achieve a deep, healthy and beautiful backbend! Come with an open heart, a willingness to sweat and the knowledge that you too can find joy in backbends! For beginners to advanced students alike, this workshop will deepen your understanding of backbends and encourage growth throughout your yoga practice!

OM Magazine Cover Model

OM Yoga cover Angela Kukhahn photography by Jasper Johal I am so excited to announce that I am this months cover model for OM Yoga! I am grateful for my wonderful photographer friend Jasper Johal, who took the photo and submitted it to OM for consideration.

Never in a million years did I ever anticipate being on the cover of any magazine, let alone a yoga magazine of this caliber. What an honor!

Thanks OM, Jasper Johal and all of the wonderful teachers I have had along this yogic path!

Operation Shanti Yoga Fundraiser Shout Out!

Teachers at The Operation Shanti FundraiserThis post is really looooooong overdue and I apologize!

I wanted to post to acknowledge the amazing-ness that transpired in March for the Operation Shanti Yoga Fundraiser! (To view a photo album of the event click HERE or click on Garth’s name to view another album on his facebook page)

My good friend and yoga teacher Garth Hewitt has taken it up the commendable task of holding yoga fundraisers to build an orphanage for underprivileged children in Mysore, India!

I feel really honored that I was one of the teachers that he chose to be a part of this event. The other incredible teachers were  Suzy Nece , Jo TastulaJulie Rader ,Genevieve Fischer , Marla Wedge , Greville Henwood
and himself Garth Hewitt.

There were also a lot of others who put in a lot of time, energy and love into the fundraiser they include  Greta Recinto-Casino (organizer) Michael Jammerz Callon (DJAlex Yogitoes (Yogitoes, and organizer) Karen Komenkul (organizer) Hale Davis (photographer) Susan Singer (Yoga Earth), Nu (organizer, … think I spelled her name wrong) and the Manduka team (donated yoga mats and goodies) and many more that I don’t know their names.

The event was amazing! We had around 85 students that came (or that is what I counted anyways) and managed to raise over $8,000.00 to go towards building a new orphanage for these adorable children!

Afterwards there was a healthy shot of vitamins from Yoga Earth (beats jagermeister any day) and then a raffle and a live auction. I want  to give a shout out to some of my wonderful and incredibly generous friends who came through with donations!

Operation Shanti Yoga Fundraiser. Photo of students taking Yoga Earth shot

Thanks to all of my talented friends…

Josh Gil who auctioned off a dinner for 7 where he takes you to the farmers market helps you choose ingredients and then cooks for you and 7 of your lucky friends. He also gave away two tickets to Supper Liberation Front which is a Los Angeles based collective of professional chefs who offer one four-course menu for $35 at an unknown location in LA. The menu changes weekly.

Leelu Morris who contributed an all day photo shoot session. I just did my second shoot with her and she is so fantastic to shoot with!

Raffle items at the Operation Shanti Yoga Fundraiser Event

Jennifer Paquette with EV Vintage clothing, she donated several super soft yummy pieces of her clothing line. (and even gave me a piece for myself!)

Seda Aksut who gave a Reiki healing session. I am looking forward to doing a session as well one of these days!

Frank Gjata with Conscious, Ink a temporary way to wear your personal positive intentions! Here is an earlier post about Frank and what he does Get a Tattoo and Change Your Point of View

Students getting ready for some yoga at the Operation Shanti Yoga FundraiserJasper Johal contributed a beautiful piece of art, that was a popular auction item.

Robert Sturman blessed us with some of his amazing art, I gotta admit I was a little jealous of the person who went home with the praying monks!

In closing, I know some of you weren’t able to attend, but not to worry, Garth is having two more fundraiser before the close of the year! Below I have included Garth’s contact info and link to his website if you are interested in attending, participating in and way or have an item or service you would like to contribute to the auction or raffle!

Garth Hewitt at the Operation Shanti Yoga Fundraising Event
To get involved or stay up to date on the next fundraiser contact Garth Hewitt
By e-mail:
Phone: 310-800-8614
Sign up for Garth’s newsletter HERE

The Gunas, Yoga Philosphy and Your Yoga Practice

What Do The Gunas Have To Do With Your Yoga Practice? 

Yoga philosphy says that all of creation is made up of three energies or the three Gunas. We can see these energies at work in the ways in which we approach our practice and life.

The three energies are Tamas (heavy energy), Rajas (fiery energy) and Sattvas (balanced energy).

The yogi should avoid the fearful attitude of the Tamasic nature, and demanding attitude of the Rajasic nature. The third Guna however is the serene Sattvic nature in which  you are showing up in your yoga practice and in your life doing your best, and then letting go of the results.

Is it with fear? Doubt? Complacency?

The attitudes with which we approach our yoga practice are the same attitudes that show up in our life.

What can you learn from your yoga practice about the ways in which you are moving through your life?

Do you notice a pattern of liking only the things that you feel you are good at, or do you gravitate to things that are really hard all the time?

Are you the type that as my friend Marysia says “When the going gets tough, you take child’s pose“, or are you on the opposite side of the equation and you like to push, punish and muscle your way through every yoga practice trying to grasp the next pose?

Somewhere in the middle there is a balance between the two.

All of creation is made up of three energies or the three Gunas.

The three energies are Tamas, Rajas and Sattvas.

The yogi should avoid the fearful attitude of the Tamasic nature, and demanding attitude of the Rajasic nature. The third Guna however is the serene Sattvic nature in which  you are showing up in your yoga practice and in your life doing your best, and then letting go of the results.

What do you most look forward to in your yoga practice?

What do you find yourself dreading?

Do you love the heart-quickening Sun Salutes, yet loathe letting go in Savasana?

These realizations can offer deep insight into what is happening beyond just the yoga poses.

I like inversions the best, because they require a level of faith that is exhilarating and helps me believe in the limitless potential inside of me.

It wasn’t always that way however. I was absolutely terrified of going upside down. I told myself that I didn’t want to. In truth, didn’t believe I was capable.

I approached my practice with fear, shame, and a feeling that I wasn’t worthy.

Inversions were for people stronger than me.

Does any of this sound familiar?

As in,”since I think I will suck at this and completely embarrass myself, I will decide to not even try?” I think we all have done that once or twice.

It’s sad. It crams us into a tiny box of limited potential.

We clip our own wings so nobody else has to.

It took me four years and a good kick in the sitting bones from the people at the Yogaworks TT to get me upside down the first time.

It was scary. I wanted to cry. Too late.Two other girls beat me to the waterworks. Since crying seemed played out at that point I sucked it up and kicked up into my first handstand.

I did it!

I felt limitless!

A strength began to grow inside me.

If I had the courage to do handstand,  who knew what else I was capable of?!

Probably just about anything I figured as I dangled upside down, seeing things literally and figuratively from a whole new perspective.

So here is a little push from me to take the leap out of your comfort zone and see what happens.

Approach your yoga practice with curiosity, and then watch what happens in your life.

Southern Brazil Yoga & Adventure Retreat March 11th-19th 2011 With Angela Kukhahn and Anthony Ippolito

Brazil retreats

Hello yoga enthusiasts and adventure lovers this retreat is for you

Our week in Southern Brazil will be a wonderful experience of culture, natural beauty, and adventure. In addition to practicing yoga in energy filled, breath taking locations, we will spend some time exploring the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and the dune ecosystems that surround them on Santa Catarina Island.

We’ll sail through the coastal islands to the Baia dos Golfinos (Bay of Dolphins) and have lunch on a distant beach.  The bay is appropriately named as dolphin sightings are frequent in this area.  At night we’ll slip away to dance to traditional forró music.  Whether you want to dance or not, it will be extremely difficult to keep your body from moving and getting involved with the local crowd, gyrating and effortlessly gliding around the dance floor.

We’ll travel up the chiseled mountains of the Serra Gaucho to our home base the Pousada Morro Grande, a 5th generation working ranch.  On horseback, we’ll ride through fields of native wildflowers, majestic Brazilian Pine forests and breathtaking canyons.

You will see the striking difference of the vegetation inside of the canyon and pass many beautiful little waterfalls and swimming holes to cool off on our hikes out.

Rare and endemic giant tree ferns are numerous in the canyon and take on surreal shapes and growth forms like trees out of a Dr. Suess book.

Each night, the stars of the Southern sky will begin to poke through the impending dark canopy.  New constellations only visible in the Southern hemisphere will present themselves.

Our finale will be the barn party.  We’ll feast on the famous Brazilian barbecue, dance the traditional Gaucho dances to live accordion music and be swept away in the warm atmosphere of the traditional Gaucho lifestyle.

Our hostess with the mostess Vera at the ranch after making us breakfast

Short Itinerary for our fabulous week in Brazil!!!!!

March 11th – Friday – Depart the U.S for over night flight to São Paulo, Brazil

March 12th – Saturday – Connection to Florianopolis; beach, praia Mole, yoga

March 13th – Sunday – Morning yoga, sailing to fort and Bay of Dolphins, evening yoga

March 14th – Monday – Morning yoga, rafting in rainforest, Tabuleiro State Park; cachaçaria tour, evening yoga

March 15th – Tuesday – Morning yoga, horseback riding to Pelotas Falls, evening yoga

March 16th – Wednesday – Morning yoga, horseback ride to Uncle’s ranch and Canyon Bicudo

March 17th – Thursday – Horseback ride back to Morro Grande, evening yoga, barn party

March 18th – Friday – Morning yoga, Avencal Canyon, Sete Quedas (7 Falls)  Park, yoga

March 19th – Saturday – Morning yoga, beach or market, catch flight back to U.S.


Yoga Retreat in Brazil Early Bird Price (Paid in Full by January 11th 2011) $2, 300.00 After that $2, 500.00

$600 to hold your spot, Another $600 due by December 1st 2010, The remaining $1, 300.00 due by Febuary 1st, 2011. (For early birds $1, 100.00 is due by January 11th 2011)

All deposits non-refundable and non-transferrable. No Exceptions!

  • Sailing to Bay of Dolphins and Old Fort Adventure
  • Rafting in rainforest
  • Ziplining
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hiking
  • Explore Avencal Canyon and Canyon Bicudo
  • Cachaçaria tour
  • 1 night stay in Florianopolis
  • Overnight stay at Uncles Ranch
  • Brazilian BBQ and Barn Party
  • 12 yoga classes (3 outdoor and amazing locations 9 indoor)
  • Connecting flights to and from Florianopolius
  • Breakfast, Lunches and Dinners

Airport transfers to accommodations, all accommodations, ground transportation, all meals, all activities, tours and the services of extremely fun and knowledgeable guides and instructors


International and domestic are not included in the above prices. International airfare varies from US$550-700 and the domestic airfare to the South is around US$150.  Also, Brazil requires a tourist visa to enter the country at US$120.  All drinks and souvenirs are not included.

(These are all actual photos from my trip to the ranch in ’08, and I will be posting more soon!)

Anthony on horseback at ranch in brazil

“Heart of a Warrior” 2 Backbending Workshops With Angela Kukhahn

Angela Kukhahn in backbend

Heart of a Warrior: How to Backbend with Strength and Grace

In this workshop we will unlock the secrets of the spine so that your backbends blossom with strength and grace. We will explore the relationship between the pelvis and the ribcage to fully understand how you can achieve a deep, healthy and beautiful backbend! Come with an open heart, a willingness to sweat and the knowledge that you too can find joy in backbends! For beginners to advanced students alike, this workshop will deepen your understanding of backbends and encourage growth throughout your yoga practice!

Time: Sunday October 3rd 12:00pm-3:00pm

Price: $25 for Sunday or pay $40 and come on Sat for Andrew Wilkinson and Brian Aganad’s Arm Balancing & Inversion workshop!

This workshop will be held at Yoga Belly studio in Mountain View, CA

Location & Map Info

Don’t live in the Northern California?

Join me at The LA Sports Club (Sepulveda location) Sunday, November 14th from 2-4pm!

Everyone is welcome to come as this will be a promotional workshop which means FREE for you! Tell your friends and come for some backbending fun!

Please join me or pass the info along to someone you know by retweeting or Facebooking this info below! Thanks and Namaste! Angela