EQUINOX EAST 54TH / 5:15-6:15 PM







DINACHARYA | daily rituals

HOT WATER WITH LEMON – upon rising and throughout the day
EMBRACING THE RHYTHMS OF THE DAY – rise with the sun, sleep with the moon
YOGA – SURYA NAMASKAR IN FALL this should be done with the attention to rhythm and apana vayu – grounding the body, weighted blankets, emphasis on feet, etc.
APPROPRIATE PRANAYAMA & MEDITATION – no bhastrika, kapalbhati slowly and in a balanced way, better to focus on deep diaphragmatic breaths.Ujjayi, Nadi Shodhana
PROPER DIET (vata balancing diet)

The DIET for low Ojas (immunity), a.k.a. ksaya vata.

To replenish your vigor and keep levels of Ojas high this season, add these foods to your diet on a regular basis:

Sesame oil and other healthy oils such as coconut, olive and almond
Almonds (soaked and peeled if possible)
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds and Tahini
Warm, lightly cooked vegetables
Organic, easily digestible grains

HOMEOSTASIS through Ayurvedic Practices
There are 80 vataja disorders, which makes vata season for those with vata constitution the most vulnerable time of year for illness. For those with dual constitutions with vata as one half, experiencing vata imbalance is also very common and can be avoided through simple daily practices. While many people who practice Ayurveda are vegetarian people with Vata constitution which is prone to wasting/depletion or ksaya, meat and bone broths can be nourishing and grounding. However, farming practices and the quality of the meat, as well as, small quantities, once/twice a week only a few ounces is best.

Vata aggravating diet and lifestyle for many years, overscheduled and stressed.

Asatmyendriyartha samyoga
Srotarendriya > sabda -hearing
Sparsanendriya > sparsa -touch (hard/harsh touch, too much or too little touch)
Rupendriya > rupa -sight (excess light, witnessing violence)
Rasanendriya > rasa -taste (improper food combining)
Ghranendriya > ghanda -scent


Vrddhi = increase state

Ksaya = decrease state, wasting, malnutrition

Vata – voluntary and involuntary movements, proper elimination of the waste products in the body.

Vriddhi Lakshanas: of vata – emaciation, catabolic process on the body, a body that doesn’t build it depletes.
Temples hollow
blackish/grayish/ashen discoloration in the skin- circles under the eyes
Joints prominent
Abnormality, tics, tremors, roll shoulders, turn head, antsy, quivering lips, spasms/fine tremors in the muscles, heart palpitations etc. end of the range, epilepsy, Parkinson’s
Constipation – painful, dry, hard, infrequent, ease of transit and/or frequency changes. We would like to see them move their bowels every day, it’s not ‘optimal’ to move bowels less, output and input should be balanced, toxins getting reabsorbed, water is getting reabsorbed. Three different herbal remedies to get them to do this is probably not best, bloating discomfort, passing gas are signs they need help.
Loss of sense, poor taste perception, loss of feeling, tinnitus, insomnia -vata governs the 5 senses, if it’s eyes but the eyes are red then it could be pitta and vata, two dosas involved.
Meals and sleep, three hours before bed
Excess talking is a vrddhi lakshana of vata, content irrelevant.
Higher mental function- confusion, not really understanding things, cognitive impairment, not fully understanding things
Joint and muscle pain- warm sesame, mahanarayan oil, castor oil
Emotions – anxiety, fear, restlessness (physically and mentally) impending doom, self conscious, people are judging them.

Ksaya Lakshana: of vata – when vata is ksaya
Aversion to talking
Loss of appetite
Hyper salivation

“The entire world shines here within the Self, just as a complex creation appears in a single mirror. However, Awareness articulates & touches the universe [of its experience] in accordance with the flavor (rasa) of its own self-awareness—no mirror can do that. ||”

?- Abinavagupta curtesy of @hareeshwallis his translation

I know nothing except how to help you soothe yourself.

I’m not a healer or a guru – all I’ve done is create space for you to slow the pace of your thoughts, your breath. To encourage your own impulse to turn towards a thought you’ve been avoiding or a habit you’ve not addressed, or some shame or fear that’s been driving your behavior.

If you project upon me magical powers or a role or skill I have not asked for or pretended to be capable of.

If I become erected by a fantasy of saviors and all knowing mommy’s or daddy’s and then become torn down by you for failing to meet this need. Then the relationship will disappoint you as many others have surely in the past.

The student teacher dynamic holds many insights into your unmet needs. With that awareness together in conversation and with commitment there’s possibility.

The wounds we’ve carried forward we will ultimately benefit from by acknowledging & addressing.

I can’t align your chakras – here are the movements and breath’s you might try. I can’t fix your mind but I can tell you about the teachers and the teachings that have helped me.

I can’t fix or prevent mental illness. I’m not trained to deal with or diagnose eating disorders, personality disorders or stand in the role of a doctor.

I’m not pursuing perfection or adulation. I’m not pursuing a pain free reality, it’s a fantasy and I know it would make me mentally lazy and callous to those less fortunate.

I pursue contact with reality and truth -a commitment to a conversation about how we got here and what we’ve learned. To make our body a more comfortable vehicle for inner exploration and outward adventure. It’s really very simple, there’s no magic. Except for the magic of the world as it actually is.

6:45-7:45 PM
Meeting ID: 823 1683 0124
Passcode: 376883
Meeting ID: 820 6892 5055
Passcode: 016287
VENMO CODE: @colleen-lila

When I first began to practice Yoga in 1993, Yoga belonged to a select group of; intellectuals, aging hippies and crunchie types, few celebrities, dancers, recovering addicts and people in the field of mental health. It was a fairly small group of well intentioned seekers. Some might even say a bit rag tag.

At that time most – if not all – studios were directly linked to the three main lineages descending from Krishnamacharya – Iyengar, Ashtanga, Viniyoga. Kundalini Yoga comes from a separate albeit made up lineage. In the past 7 years leaders from each of these lineages have been accused of egregious acts of physical, sexual and financial abuse.

As a result, collectively we have been reevaluating the teachings and practices that have long been held as commonplace. What we were taught in regards to; relinquishing agency to the guru, unpaid labor as seva, (selfless service), shaktipat – the touch of the guru as a way of immediate transmission of wisdom and insight as an excuse for unwelcome contact. These institutional practices are now seen in a very different light:

financial exploitation
exploitation of labor
sexual exploitation
physical abuse
cognitive dissonance
unexamined/unhealed savior complex
unhealed father / mother wound

The work being done here is profound, difficult and deeply meaningful. Difficult, because it challenges many of our unconscious beliefs and biases and uproots them at the cause (samskara).

This ironically is the ultimate purpose of Yoga and meditation, yet many resist this change as an affront to tradition. I ask those of you wishing to uphold the past and make the attempt to separate, ‘the teacher from the teachings’, to examine whether it is possible to make that separation and what is the value of doing so.

For example, pushing oneself past ones comfort zone. Could this be grooming for unacceptable behavior?. Ignoring ones physical needs as a method to ‘burn off the past’ and become more disciplined. Could this be another way of encouraging a practice of self betrayal and gaslighting? Selfless service and unpaid labor to the guru or organization. Is this a way of lead figure/s to gather resources that ultimately benefit only themselves?

My views have shifted as these allegations and convictions have come to light. Therefore, my practice has as well. This is a good thing, a very good thing. The older I get the more humble I become from realizing how little I know and how much more there is to learn. I celebrate that as a journey I expect to last until my last day here.

The sound AUM ~ arises from ether, ether in action is the air element, action creates friction and heat, through friction and heat, arises light, followed by fire… fire liquifies, creating vapor water, water then flows and becomes solid earth. Based on these principles the body generates and creates, it does so most effectively when in balance. Seasonal rituals are created to aid our bodies in adjusting to seasonal shifts in temperature, moisture, sunshine and diet to make these periodic transitions smooth. We achieve this by shoring up the immune system through a combination of nourishing practices, that are individually applied based on deficiencies or excesses in any of the five elements in the body.

Ayurveda is the overarching structure by which specific Yoga asana is prescribed. Ayurveda, is the tradition from which the art and science of sequencing and breath practices are informed. Both meditation and Yoga asana are key aspects in Ayurvedic lifestyle practices.

While meditation has the ultimate goal of enlightenment, for the everyday householder meditation has additional goals of increasing sexual vitality, mental acuity and overall radiance. Life force (prana), radiance (tejas), and vitality (ojas) are the measuring sticks by which Ayurveda assesses physical and mental wellbeing.

An experienced practitioner will examine an individual through the Astavidhi Parikshan which includes the examination of: pulse, eyes, urine, stool, skin, tongue, voice, build, to determine the state of prana, ojas, tejas and the distribution of the five elements.

Prana- the vital force that maintains the respiration of the cell. Prana is the flow of intelligence in the cell. Prana governs all higher cerebral activity. Prana governs the biological functions of the other two essences. Prana is carried by the fluids in the body and is the vital energy we take in not only through foods but through liquids and through breathing. Prana is responsible for enthusiasm and expression in the psyche without which we suffer from stagnation and depression.

Tejas- intelligence of the cell. It is the essence of the heat we absorb , not only through our food but also through the skin, where we absorb sunlight, Tejas is fed through visual impressions. Tejas governs mental digestion and absorption, without which we lack clarity and determination. Tejas has subtle energy, and heat, we rise because of tejas. Tejas helps us get to a transcendental state, without tejas there is no awakening. Tejas unfolds the intelligence to burn past life karma. It is the light of your true nature that burns brightly.

Ojas- essence related to vitality and immunity. The pure essence of the bodily tissues (dhatus), it is a protoplasmic, biological substance, not a romantic concept. Natural resistance to fight infection. Ojas must be strong to avoid invaders or chronic illness. Ojas is influenced by the power of agni, which determines digestion and the quality of assimilation. Ojas is fed through the sensory impressions of taste and smell. Ojas provides psychological stability and endurance, without which we experience mental fatique and anxiety.

Nature possesses a qualitative energy through which we can either expand into wisdom or contract into ignorance.

-David Frawley, Ayurveda and the Mind

Yoga asana has the goal of creating physical health and mental equilibrium. Ayurveda seeks to nurture physical vitality and mental clarity to allow for living life to the fullest.

Ayurveda, like all good medicine, is both an art and a science. Science is based on laws and requires scientific uniformity of symptoms and treatments. Ayurveda looks to uncover the deeper causes of disease, including but not limited to thoughts and behavior. Thoughts and behaviors can solidify into bad habits and lead toward preventable illness. Ayurveda assists in uprooting them at their cause.

Because the habits and behaviors that lead to illness vary from person to person treatment in Ayurveda differs, person to person. Though there may be uniformity in certain treatments, dosage and carrier substances will vary by constitution. The prescriptions consider the following variables; time of life, time of year, state of imbalance, individual constitution and ability.

Fall is a challenging time for people of a vata (air + ether) nature, but harmonizing for people of a kapha (water + earth) constitution. Individuals will benefit from practices that consider nature (dosha) and other variables. Generally, we can apply seasonal recommendations to suit the needs of the larger majority of practitioners then work individually in more complicated situations.

The Three Pillars of Health:

Ahara – diet
Vihara – lifestyle
Ausada – herbs

Health as Purification: Tattva Shruddhi

Balancing the five elements in Yoga is called Tattva Shruddhi. Tattva Shruddhi is the process integrating our felt experience. Think of the body as a collection of the 5 elements: earth (prithivi), water (apas), fire (agni), air (vayu), space (akasha). Creating balance between these 5 elements brings the body back to harmony.

The Five Elements in the Body:

Earth ~ (prithivi) element, lower body
Primary Areas: feet, thighs and knees with relationship to the hips, sciatic nerve.
Connecting to the earth through the four corners of the feet honors the four directions. Thereby setting a strong foundation. Ankle loop, shin loop, thigh loop.
earth = all solid structures within the body

Water ~ (apas) element, hips
Area of focus: hips, sacrum and psoas
water = secretions and digestive juices, mucous, plasma

When aligned in this area it brings fluidity and flow to the body. Without fluidity this area promotes ‘stuckness’ and uncoordinated movements. Pelvic loop

Fire~ (agni) element, navel
Primary areas in practice: core, lower back, diaphragm
fire = grey matter of the brain, retina (perceives light), digestive fire, metabolism and enzyme systems

Organs of transformation (heat), metabolism, digestion and assimilation. Power to direct, power to change, ability to absorb, take in and let go. Alignment of the torso is essential for enhancing the effectiveness of this element.

Air ~ (vayu) element, chest
Affected areas: shoulders, lungs & heart
air = pulsation of the heart and breath in the lungs, sensory movements and nervous system
The area of contraction and expansion the ability to freely express oneself. Tightness in the neck affects this ability, therefore the application of good shoulder alignment promotes the freedom of air through the throat.

Ether ~ (akasha) element, neck
Affected areas: throat, forehead, mental field
space/ether = the spaces in our bodies, mouth, inner ear etc.

Space governs the idea of creating space in the body and mind, personal space and boundaries. It controls the regulation of our emotions and passions. It is the primary area of governing spiritual progress. In physical practice, we enhance the efficiency of the element ether through the application of skull alignment.

Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) share many commonalities. Both systems are person centered rather than disease centered. Both traditions emphasis quality of life, & treat illness and disease in a holistic fashion. Both systems have similar philosophies that classify individuals, materials and diseases using a 5 element theory.

Traditional Chinese Medicine, views humans as the center of the universe acting as an antenna between celestial and earthly elements.(Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Comparative Overview, NCBI). However, the 5 elements vary in specifics and express in nuanced ways revealing both culture and climate in the ways their philosophies overlap and diverge.

Water, earth, metal, wood and fire are the five elements of the material world. According to Chinese medicine. The world and its movement gives rise to yin and yang. ?? Yin and yang, describes ‘opposites’, such as, active or passive, heating or cooling. These opposites seek to create homeostasis in the body.When one rises the other declines or ‘yang is raised to produce a decline of yin’.

The four bodily humors (qi, blood, moisture and essence) and organ systems help to balance yin and yang. Proper formation, maintenance and circulation of these energies are essential for health, diet, herbs, movement and acupuncture are the ways in which TCM maintains harmony to prevent and/or repair disease.

Ayurveda perceives the universe to be made up of combinations of the five elements (pancha mahabhutas), akasha (ether), vayu (air), teja (fire), aap (water) and prithvi (earth).

The five elements can be seen to exist in the material universe at all scales of life and in both organic and inorganic things. In biological system, such as humans, elements are coded into three forces, which govern all life processes. These three forces (kapha, pitta and vata) are known as the three doshas or the tridosha. Each of the doshas is composed of one or two elements.

Vata is composed of space + air.
Pitta of fire + water
Kapha of water + earth.

Vata dosha has the mobility and quickness of space and air; pitta dosha the metabolic qualities of fire and the fluidity of water; kapha dosha the stability and solidity of earth and the nourishing fluid quality of water.

Similar to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda also views immunity to be linked with essential essence that; nourishes, maintains and develops tissue. In Ayurveda this energy is termed, Ojas.

These systems developed over thousands of years and offer unique insights into understanding the causes of disease and offer practices, techniques and treatments for finding and maintaining homeostasis. Each tradition offers a view into immunity and has developed protocol for COVID-19, both in prevention and treatment.

In this retreat, we will explore these traditions in approach and practice. Live within the lifestyle prescribed for nourishment.


In summer favor foods that are, sweet, astringent and bitter .

Favor cool over warm or hot, raw food is okay for pittas in warm months, dry, dense and sweet foods. Favor mild over sharp because of the pitta tendency to be tiksna (sharp).

Herbs: small quantity of black pepper, cardamom, clove, coriander, fennel, ginger, turmeric, tulsi, mint, cilantro, neem, saffron.

-sweet apples, sweet berries, apricots, cherries, coconut, dates, figs, grapes, limes, mangoes, melons, sweet oranges, papayas, pears, pineapple, plums, pomegranates, prunes, raisins, watermelon
-avocado, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, dandelion, collard, kale, leafy greens, leeks (cooked), potato, pumpkin, radishes spaghetti squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, okra.
-tapioca, wheat, spelt, pasta, quinoa, basmati and wild rice, couscous, crackers, durham flour, barley, amaranth
-adzuki, black, black eye, garbanzo, lentil, lima, mung, navy, pinto, split peas, soy, tempeh, tofu, tempeh, white beans, tofu
-butter, cheese (soft unsalted, not aged), cottage cheese, ghee, goat, goat cheese, yogurt
-almonds, charole, coconut, flax, halva, popcorn, pumpkin, sunflower
-buffalo, chicken, fish, rabbit, shrimp, turkey, venison
-coconut, flax, ghee almond, olive, primrose, sunflower, soy*, walnut


Ayurveda is one of the most elegant systems of medicine. It is widely misrepresented and misunderstood. Ayurveda translates as the ‘Science of Life’, it is a lifestyle practice that considers many factors as having influence on health and wellbeing. Health is maintained through a balance of individual constitution. Constitution is unique to the individual and can be determined by pulse and a thorough intake form by a licsenced Ayurvedic Practitioner, Health Coach or Doctor.

To begin to understand how to live your Yoga with Ayurvedic medicine and lifestyle practices, we should first understand the world view that informs the practice.

All things influence our health some examples of considerations and causes for imbalance include, time of life, time of year/seasons, diet, lifestyle, relationships or lack thereof & the proper or improper use of the senses.

Summer is Pitta season – the season of, water + fire. For individuals with Pitta constitution summer weather may aggravate Pitta people leading to imbalance and illness.

To stay in balance we regularly employ the three pillars of health.

The Three Pillars of Health
Ahara -diet
Vihara -lifestyle
Ausada – herbs

Each disease state has causes. Pathogenesis, the path towards disease formation teaches us to identify disease very, early in its development.

The Three Causes of Disease:
avoid the cause, nidana parivarjana

Asatmyendriyartha samyoga: improper use of the senses

Prajnaparada: improper use of the senses (asatmya- improper, unwholesome/indriya- sense organs, jnana indriyas/ artha- sensory objects/samyoga- combination)

Parinama: temporal factors

Prajnaparadha- prajna – wisdom, paradha – crime, mistake, crime against wisdom, intellectual blasphemy; improper use of the faculties of the mind. Most serious as it causes aggravation of all three dosas . It is not prajnaparadha if someone doesn’t know better. Before you knew better it was not classified as prajnaparadha.

Dhi dhrti smrti vibhrastah karma yat kurute subham |
Prajnaparadham tam vidyat sarva dosaprakopanam ||

Dhi: impairment of intellect- perceiving bad things as good: temporal things as eternal, power of discrimination is cloudy
Dhrti: impairment of self control- mind is impatient and seeks immediate gratification
Smrti: impairment of memory, inability to remember former experiences/ convenient forgetting

Atiyoga: excessive exercise, sex, activity, etc.
Ayoga: not enough movement
Mithyayoga: suppression/ forcible initiation of urges, acrobatics, extreme sports, excess tattooing, self mortification, piercing, masturbation

Atiyoga: excess thinking, no mental rest
Ayoga: minimal mental activity -reading, conversing, thinking
Mithyayoga: excess fear, fear, anger, delusion, jealousy, desire, criticism, planning to harm/hurt others; criminal plotting, psychedelics and addictive behaviors. Metta meditation, physical practice
Atiyoga: talking too much; at too high a pitch; too much singing
Ayoga: prolonged silence
Mithyayoga: lying, quarreling, untimely words, unpleasant words, irrelevant talk, insults, harsh words

Seasons have a dramatic impact on health as the body needs to adjust to the available foods and the changes in temperature. This can have both a positive and negative effect on our health.

Parinama- Temporal
Passage of time
Seasonal changes
Life and cycle changes




Sancaya-? Prakopa-? Prasama-?

Summer is Pitta season so be aware of the following changes to your body as signs of an increase or decrease in Pitta dosha.

Vrddhi Pitta: (increased pitta) EX.??

yellowish/reddish discoloration of the skin/stools/urine/eyes- ranges from a little to a lot (yellowish eyes ? jaundice)
Hot red angry,’itis’, superficial inflammation of the skin, pittas are more reactive by nature
People with allergies tend to shy away from herbal and topical interventions because they tend to react to things.
Increase body temperature and burning, feel they are burning up, they feel parched and thirsty, always thirsty
Disturbed sleep, predominately vata or pitta?
Fainting, vertigo, dizziness
Weakness of the sense organs particularly the eyes
Bitter taste and sour belches
Emotional state, angry, irritable, road rage, criticism (explosive), fighting with people

Ksaya Pitta: (decreased pitta) EX.??

Dull complexion
Slow bowels
Decreased body temperature

© 2018 Colleen Lila Yoga