Living Yoga

DandelionsJust breath. Stretch into the unknown. Move towards stillness. Root down through the feet. Create space. All great stuff while on your yoga mat but what happens when you leave the candle glowing, oil diffused, and Kirtan filled room? Bam!! Traffic, obligations, bills, relationships, crime, pain, debt, worry, fear, self-pity, anxiety, greed, judgement. This part of our lives we have come to accept.
How do we bring yoga to this part of life?
By practice. By waking up. By committing to yourself. Commit to yourself through the eight limbs of yoga and you will wake up through practice.
We begin with the first limb which is the Yamas.
Ahimsa – Non-harming
Asteya – Non-stealing
Satya – Non-lying
Aparigraha – Non-grasping
Brahmacharya – right use of energy also celibacy (be mindful what you create)
Dig here first. Be mindful of the Yamas only because the repercussions can be detrimental to one’s wellbeing. There is no right or wrong, just consequences. I love this concept because there is no, “Don’t lie or steal” only be mindful of these five yamas. And the yamas all relate to one another. For example, be truthful as long as it is not harmful. Have sex, whether married or not, only if the other yamas are present. Lying (thinking of someone else while in the act?) and stealing (ones innocence?) or harming (cheating?) for the act of sex will have repercussions that will affect not only your partner but YOU as well.
We begin with the Yamas in YOU through
So begin with the Yamas in your thoughts. Are your thoughts harmful? “You’re so stupid”. Are you lying to yourself? “You can’t get that promotion”. Are you stealing from yourself? By wasting time in self-doubt, pity, and fear? Are you holding on to that one story? You know the one you grasp onto. Are you using your energy wisely? Are you mindful of what you create in your mind?
Dig here first. In your thoughts. Word and Deed will naturally follow. We live in harmony when thought, word, and deed are in alignment. Dig first in your thoughts.
It’s a lifelong practice. Believe me, you will fail but continue to practice just like you do on your mat. Begin with one yama at a time. Start with Satya, non-lying then move on to the others. Make that commitment to yourself and don’t worry about the end result. Live in the moment and in this moment you choose not to lie to yourself. Don’t worry about 5 hours from now. Stay in the Yamas NOW. Tomorrow will take care of itself. It always does!

Join me in this lifelong journey of YOGA





I sit alone on a deserted beach and watch the waves crash onto the shore.  The sun is warm on my shoulders and the breeze from the ocean is cool and refreshing.  As the waves begin to gently reach towards my feet I realize that it is I who is drawing them towards me with my breath.  If I take small shallow breaths, the waves break early on the sand and quickly recede back to the vast ocean.  If I take a long, slow, deep breath the waves slowly comes to shore and tickles my toes.  My long exhale draws the smooth wave back gently to where it came from as the next wave begins to swell.  The more deeply I breathe, the more controlled the waves become.  As I begin to pause between the breaths, I can feel the energy from the wave swirl throughout my warm body.  The movement of energy begins to flow through places within me that are tense and frozen.  Each pause between the breaths becomes more important than the next.  I begin to settle into the pauses and soak up the energy pulsating throughout my body which has become my temple.  My awareness suddenly shifts back to the beach where the sun has set and a full moon has risen in the east and I realize that I am not alone.  Others have joined me to draw from the same energy source of this vast blue-green body of water.  The waves look different for different people.  Some waves are small and others are long and reaching.  Some people don’t even notice the ocean or the effect they have on it.  But they are here and we are all the same, seeking the same ocean to draw from, to give to.  I begin to offer my exhale to others around me as I know I will take my next inhale from them.  The ebb and flow of energy around us is a beautiful rhythmic dance of the cosmos.  My soul begins to move to the gently sway of enchanting music I hear in the distance.  The more aware I become, the louder the music is to my entire being.  Listen.  Can you hear it?

~Michele Annette





What is a commitment?  According to the dictionary, the definition of commitment is a noun meaning, the act of committing or the state of being committed.  Dedication.  Synonyms for commitment are obligation, committal, engagement, and undertaking.   When I think of commitment, I think of a bond between two different people.  Family, marriage, friendships, our jobs, and religion to name a few, but what about a commitment to ourselves?  We enter into commitments with others all the time.  Some are broken and some are kept, but that does not stop us from committing to others.  Where is the root to this failure?  Why is it that we are unable to keep our commitments?  Why is it that we will continually commit to others and fail to see that commitments should start in us?  I would like to tell you about my first steps on the path of self-commitment.

We yogis often hear in studios about 30 day or 108 day challenges.  I’ve never embarked upon this journey because the word challenge put me off somehow. The dictionary definition of challenge is a noun meaning, a call to take part in a contest or competition especially, a duel. Synonyms for challenge are dare, defiance, and provocation.  What a difference in the feeling of the words, challenge and commitment.   I face so many challenges in my everyday life, including time on the yoga mat, why would I want to add another challenge, especially to yoga?  These challenges include working on forgiveness and humility in the outside world and finding openness and full breath on the yoga mat.  One day I was thinking about commitments and how we enter into them lightly and break them often.  I’ve had my share of participation in such activity.  And it dawned on me, I make very few commitments to myself.  Every year I break my commitment of New Year’s Resolutions.  Actually, every year but one.  In 2003 I made a resolution to stop fantasizing in my head.  Not the kind you think, you sick puppy!  The kind of fantasizing where I went in my head and fantasized about a different life, starting with my childhood.  Talk about NOT being in the present moment!  Well, this was a liberating commitment!  Whew!!  I cannot express to you this kind of liberation from my own mind!!!  That has to be experienced.  If you have experienced this, please come talk to me.  I want to hear your story too!  I cannot just sit with mine alone.  I have a few of you around me.  Let’s grow together!  Oh, by the way, I made a New Years Resolution this year to trust and be free.  If you came to Dragonfly’s New Year’s Day class, I whispered these words in your ear, “may you be trusting and be free”.     I’ll let you know how this commitment goes. 

I was inspired by Tara’s 30 day commitment in November 2012 and Jackie’s 108 day commitment in 2012.  After reading Tara’s student blog, (scroll down to read) about her commitment to her yoga practice and hearing about Jackie’s commitment on Saturday mornings, I was deeply touched.  It was at that point that I decided to make a commitment to myself to practice yoga for 108 days.  Not a challenge, but a real commitment.  I started on January 1st without any awareness of changes that were ahead for me.  I assumed my asana practice would change but thankfully I am receiving much more from my self-commitment.  As usual, yoga goes deep.  I started to keep a journal but then stopped because writing is a challenge for me and I did not need to add an additional challenge at this time, especially with my new commitment.  I have gravitated towards practicing at home and enjoy practicing alongside my friends at dragonfly a few times a week.  There were days that I could barely squeeze my practice in but those were the days the practice was most precious to me.  One night I woke up and realized I did not practice that day because I was not feeling well and feel asleep too early.  So, I broke a small part of my commitment.  I have missed one day thus far.  A wise friend of mine named Liz, you may know her, said to me, “do you know why we do 108 times?  So that hopefully we will only miss 8 and have done 100 in the end”.  It took some time but I forgave myself.  The resulting action was self-forgiveness for allowing the missed day.  Wait a minute, forgive myself?  That was the one piece of advice my dad, Luther, said to me over and over again regarding my divorce (uh…a broken commitment!) was to forgive myself.  Myself??  What about my ex-husband?  He’s the one that needs forgiveness haha!!  Well yes, but forgive yourself first, that is where it begins.  And you know what?  He was right. Hey Luther!  Fools don’t grow old, huh?   

So what I am learning from self-commitment is how to stay in my current commitments.  I’m learning how to forgive myself and let go of my mess-ups, how to be kind and understanding (allowing myself to not journal without self-judgment and self-criticism), and how to trust.  The root of this transformation is that I am learning how to have a relationship with me, my little i with my big I.  I am learning to have a relationship with All That Is, to God, in other words.

 Perhaps now that I know how it feels to give and receive understanding, forgiveness, and trust, I can begin to give and receive these transformative actions to others that I commit to.  I can stay committed because I have not left me, i.e. completely turned off my light.  I am realizing that I can trust myself and that is where the real work begins.  Within me, not others.   I can trust me.  Little-girl Michele can trust big-adult Michele.  In this alone, I am finding freedom from fear.  Ohhh, that is a whole other discussion.  Fear. 

I will be rethinking some commitments that I have broken.  You know who you are.  I will be coming around.

I will continually refresh those commitments that I already have.  You know who you are, be ready!

I will mourn those commitments that are lost and practice forgiveness and trust for of all those involved, including me.

I also make a commitment to my fellow yogis at Dragonfly.  I commit to provide a safe space for transformation, for healing, and for community.  I commit to practice next to you, to read with you, to meditate with you, to listen to you, to be your friend.  Join me….let’s walk this transformative path of self-commitment together, in trust and kindness. 

Much love,

Michele Annette


Please don’t take my word for it!  Go experience self-commitment for yourself!  Remember, be kind to yourself!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2012.  A year not to be forgotten.  Dragonfly Yoga landed in the north valley and spread its wings with a mission to offer a space for transformation.  My desire to bring yet another yoga studio into this world stems from my passion for yoga.  Or better yet, because if I had not, I would bust!  Yoga transformed me.  Yoga saved me.  Yoga showed me another path that brought me to my higher self.  For the first time in my life, I have something to share.  Yoga is a knowing, a knowledge that comes from deep within, not because someone told me, but because someone reminded me.  Yoga is a remembering, a waking up, a deep stretch into a hidden knowledge that has always been there, from a cave within me.  I mention in my first blog that I would share my story later so here it is in a nutshell or sutra.

My twenties and the first part of my thirties I was living life with eyes closed.  John Lennon said it best, “living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see”.  In my twenties I was married, working days, and going to school at night.  I lived on diet cokes and fast food (yes, I know), late nights and little exercise.  I was also living with endometriosis, a very painful disease that brings infertility.  Advil was my drug of choice to get through most days.  I entered into my thirties with an amazing job in sales and was doing very well for myself.  I was happy because of external gain.  A hysterectomy in 2003 relieved me of my endometriosis pain forever.   My infertility was never grieved because I was too busy with life and told myself that I did not want to have children anyway.  By 34 I was working as office manager at my husband’s law firm.  However, fulfillment and true happiness was out of reach. My body was starting to cry out for help.  My knees were shot, my doctor was suggesting surgery.   I had heart palpitations, insomnia, bad skin, low back pain, to name a few.  However, success was apparent on the outside, but I was drowning on the inside.  Looking back, I imagine a very small speck of an individual with the vortex of yoga whirling around her.  Yoga had been a curiosity for years so one day I looked up “Yoga Albuquerque” online and Bikram Yoga popped up.  I called the studio and talked to the then owner, David, who told me to start drinking water and wear comfortable clothing to class.  Anyone who practices hot yoga will know why I needed to hydrate!  Something special happened in that room.  A fire was before me and I jumped in.  My body began to change.  My mind began to calm.  My breath began to deepen.  My eyes began to peel open and the light before me was bright.  Within the first year I knew I wanted to teach and by year two I knew I was going to open a studio.  The means were not there but I knew it would happen one day.  The pain in my knees went away thanks to Supta Virasana.  I slept like a baby, a deep sleep, the kind of sleep I had as a child.  One day I realized that my heart palpitations had melted away.  Gone!  What is this thing they call yoga????  It is a science and an art, Michele.  Oh yeah, I remember.

Another change happened, I was very aware of lying.  Everything around me was a lie.  My life was a lie.  I told so many lies during a day and I was very aware of each and every one of them.  That was painful!  I couldn’t do it anymore.  This fiery practice of Bikram yoga was starting to refine me on the subtle levels and I was letting it happen.  With this refinement brought change and this change brought something very painful, separation from my husband of 15 years and two years later, divorce.  I did not attend another Bikrams class after my separation.  I did not need the fire anymore.  I collapsed on my mat at High Desert Yoga and entered teacher training.  It was there that I began to understand why I was so aware of lying.  Non-lying is one of the yamas which is the first of eight limbs of yoga.  As the yamas, Niyamas, klesas,vrittis, pranayama, and asana were presented to me, it was more of a remembering than learning.  I had moments of, “oh yeah, how did I forget that?”   Satya (non-lying) became about no longer lying to myself.  This is the hardest thing to do.  You can no longer be the victim if you cannot lie to yourself.   Ahimsa (non-harming) at the thought level is liberating because I could no longer judge myself.  Aparigraha (non-grasping) at the thought level is a life-long lesson or letting go.  The study of Ayurveda was a lesson of self-acceptance.  I am a vata girl and when vata is out of balance, I can expect anxiety, worry, insomnia, forgetfulness, and fatigue. Believe me, I lived here for many years.   When in balance I can expect to be lively, enthusiastic, creative, and energetic!  No more do I have to wonder, “what is wrong with me?”  I am either in balance with myself or out of balance and there is no more judgement!  How liberating!

As I practiced asana, I began to grieve my infertility. The refinement of yoga was going deep and going after emotional pain I thought was not there.  Thankfully through salamba sarvangasana (shoulder stand) I could no longer ignore it.  As I inverted into this pose, it was as if my empty womb was falling into my heart.  That was very painful emotionally. I avoided this pose for months and to this day, I only practice it with a chair.  Asana brought to light that I had to deal with this and I could no longer lie to myself that I did not want children.  Every day is a journey toward healing!  One day, I will not use a chair in sarvangasana…today I do and I am okay with that.

Yoga is a seed of life within me that was dormant and the hard shell around it finally cracked and was receiving oxygen and water.  I couldn’t help but sprout and grow!!  Yoga has brought transformation and vibrancy to my life. I wish I would have found yoga earlier but I trust that I stumbled into my first yoga class at the exact time and exact place I was supposed to.   My purpose on this earth is to share yoga with my community.  My desire for Drangonfly is to provide a space for those who are seeking, for those who know they need to make a change but don’t quite know how, for those who are ready for yoga.  Yoga is always there….it is there for you when you are ready for it.  Are you ready?

Thank you for reading my story.  I hope to connect with you on this journey we call yoga.

Here is to a transformative year!  I’m excited to be on this path of change!  See you on the mat!



The Practice of Letting Go

I am feeling immense gratitude this morning for the opportunity the practice of yoga affords each of us to willingly surrender each time we arrive on the mat.  Whether it be surrendering worries and troubles by turning the palms up in offering, nestling into the stable embrace of the earth in child’s pose, maintaining equanimity in a difficult posture, or submitting to the breath and body’s demands rather than the needs of the ego, yoga offers us many ways to practice letting go, surrendering to a greater will than our own.   In choosing to practice this we perhaps find that this space of surrender becomes a welcome space; a familiar ground for change where we are no longer victims of circumstance, but rather are resolved to embracing life’s way of transforming us.  Maybe then when we find our knees have buckled in fear of the unknown or that which we cannot control, or we find ourselves prostrate on the floor in grief, life having whittled us down to a pile of rubble, we can proceed to exist in this space without it feeling like a threat or so uncomfortable that we try to escape.  From there, we can trust the process, sit this not-so-comfortable seat with minimal wiggling and writhing, and simply be, knowing what it is to truly let go, to submit to the path and what it has to offer, and to breathe.  While the circumstances that drive us into this space of surrender are often painful, they are worthy of our gratitude, for we never leave the space of complete surrender unaltered.   May we each find the ability to experience ease and peace in even the most trying situations, and may we be comforted in the knowledge that the tools we need to carry on will always be available to us.

“Surrender is a beautiful movement in which you gracefully, willingly, languidly fall, only to find midway that you have been gathered into some unimaginable embrace. Surrender is letting go, whether or not you believe the embrace will occur. It is trust to the hundredth power–not sticking to your idea of the outcome, but letting go in the faith that even the absence of an outcome will be the perfect solution.”
~Daphne Rose Kingma


Many blessings to each and every one of you,


Beautiful Injury


    I teach a fun and fast paced power flow class every Saturday morning. There isn’t anything we won’t try, all with the emphasis on the balance between stability and freedom. This morning, student after student came in with numerous injuries: shoulders, knees, necks, hamstrings, low backs. Being a Yoga therapist, I had a mini freak out in my head as all these injuries layered in on top of one another. I questioned just how this practice might pan out with so many diverse concerns. My intention in teaching is that each practitioner walk out feeling better than they did when they came in or they have learned something about themselves, their practice or their patterns. Maybe both. I was in for it and had a fair amount of tension in my own body that brought me to reckon with the opportunity of such a class.

                Then, as often the angel of Yoga does, I was reminded that injuries aren’t bad. Injuries are inherently imbalances that teach us where and what is imbalanced. Usually, they do this in the form of alarming pain, which we naturally resist and want to avoid. Suddenly, the fear of facilitating a class that addressed numerous injuries transformed into the opportunity to embrace all the injuries as teachers, friends even. I welcomed the students to see where in their bodies, breaths or minds, they were struggling or facing some sort of pain. Like a good friend, sit with the pain for a bit and see what it wants to say. The injury’s job isn’t to hurt us; it is to alert us to what needs to change. Upon working with many of the conditions present in the practitioners, under the scope of “Injury as Teacher,” a beautiful thing happened. The uncertainty and fear of the injuries were softened. People who had come in with pain on their faces had started to smile, shine even. The pain, while still present perhaps, was not a threat. It was a friend who cared so much about our well being that it asked us to pay attention and return to balance. It asked us to be kind to ourselves. It was asking us to embrace everything at our disposal as a way to return to wholeness, including our pains and that which we would push away. Beautiful injury – what a concept.

                And, it worked because we worked it. The attitudes of trepidation were shifted to attitudes of friendship. There is, after all, nothing to fear. When we can replace our reactions of dread with choices to connect, we find our lives much better for it. As Rilke said: “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” Now, I like that, and I hope that that the students who courageously stepped up to sit with their injuries today found they walked out feeling better for having done so. If nothing else, perhaps some of us learned we could all stand to shift the paradigm.

Welcome to our Dragonfly Yoga blog!

Namaste!  Welcome to Dragonfly Yoga’s blog site!  Dragonfly Yoga has a diverse community of teachers and students and this site is a way to show case each teacher and any students who wish to share their journey of yoga.  Each of us has traveled a different path to our practice of yoga and here is a platform to share your journey.  I welcome you to express yourself here, ask questions, share information, and let us get to know you!

How I got here is very sacred and precious to me and I am grateful for my journey to this point.  My path has just begun! I will share my story in later blogs.  I want to hear from you, so contact us by email or let one of our teachers know if you are interested in submitting a blog for our site.

Much love,