Love Letters to a Raven, an online event, began October 22 on the 10 year anniversary of Gabrielle Roth’s death.  It was a global invitation to post pictures and reflections, installations and musings, a 10 day wave with two days dedicated to each rhythm.

As folks chimed in from all around the world, perception quickly grew of how impactful this overall practice is.  But what I really appreciated was how much potent and particular medicine each individual rhythm holds.  An invitation to write every other day?  From Day 1, I just dove in, of course:

I had already written earlier that week about Gabrielle so I simply posted the link in Love Letters in thanks for these two woke feet.  How every practitioner out there has a story to tell about when and how the 5Rhythms earthquake shifted their bedrock.  How  Gabrielle left a legacy that woke my feet up and then my whole body followed suit.  And my hope that she knows every day I give thanks for these two woke feet, wordlessly moving me across this ever-shifting ground.  Woke feet: so the essence of an instinct-laden flow.

Right away I knew in my bones this was my home rhythm. How embarrassing! In my naivety I secretly wished I could be all ravishing flowing or dramatically chaotic or even serenely still. Staccato seemed so lock step ordinary boring. Hah! So little did I know of the massive steely layers surrounding my soft beating tender heart. Clueless about the journey I was embarking on that would melt my steel cage father wound. How I would finally dance my way into utter forgiveness. The incredible impact of softening around my edges…without losing one bit of my fiery clarity. Staccato…I worship you, my home rhythm, for so many years I buckled under your mastery. And now, in a strange twist of fate, you are in abject service to me every day….

This morning as I staccato-collage I am remembering Embodied Heart in Tiburon 2005? 2006? Gabrielle asked us to bring a picture of our father and by day’s end there was an entire wall filled with the photos of 80 fathers. I spent countless hours at this wall. I looked at each man and saw his utter capacity for heartless cruelty. By week’s end I was able to see the soft tenderness emanating from each photo. What an incredible gift that immersion was.

Hmmm…staccato notions reverberating! Before day’s end just one more thing about this rhythm so close to my heart. First couple years of practice: teachers who utilized this rhythm to facilitate an exploration of boundaries. It felt like there was an assumption that we all needed to “work” on building/improving/strengthening our personal boundaries. Clearly some of my partners were challenged to create clear strong easy to read lines. I finally got that my work was something different. My lines were over the top powerful, boundaries up the wazoo. Offering up a softer version of clarity was my investigation. This has been an ongoing process. Now, when I teach in this arena, I hold it as an exploration of a continuum. The highly defended at one end, the sweet pushovers at the other. And then everywhere in between. And so often it is situational. I love to play in the rhythm of staccato exploring that entire juicy continuum.

And if staccato was my home rhythm, chaos was a foreign land.  One by one, over the years, there was a moment when each rhythm anchored into my body.  It was palpable.  But there was something about chaos that just wouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t land.  It took a world wide pandemic.  There was loss that dropped me into heart-wracking grief in a way I had just never had time to allow in the past.  The sleepless pain of it, the overwhelming empathic distress stripped me naked.  It went on for weeks.  In the midst of it, in my dance, I noticed the green EXIT sign over our auditorium door.  I realized if I could read it, my head was not released.  In an instant, my head let go in a way I had never experienced, sending a reverberating wave to tail bone and shooting out fingers and toes.  It was an extended journey from control and confusion to all out surrender.  And since then, the quality of surrender is weaving its way gently through all the rhythms/all my life.  Gabrielle used to say that sometimes you go for it and sometimes you have to wait for it.  Chaos….thank god, you have been well worth the wait.

Shapeshifter extraordinare, so many ways to move through the portal of flow, staccato, chaos. I call lyrical “The Big Whatever”. And, yes to the universal experience of lightness and joy and air, which became so real in Year One when happenstance dance-lifted me in front of a huge fan. Yes. But the cycles, the life cycles brought me home to the lyrical medicine deeps. I began this practice with my life in chaotic glorious confusion. As I stayed with, kept moving from trizophrenia toward integrity, as my body began to sister with my heart, my mind began to shhhh….the reason I was born here on Planet Earth emerged from shadow. Everything from inside out, the masculine feminine merge to creation, effortlessly shape-shifted into a lyrical destiny that had always been patiently awaiting. For me, the rhythm of lyrical is about alignment. The cohesion necessary to allow our soul to bear true fruit. And now, in gratitude, in the abundance of fall’s harvest, all these years later, I slip slide toward stillness.

I once asked Gabrielle, “So at the end of a wave, at the end of a class, at the end of a workshop…what is it, what sensibility, are you aiming for, wanting to create?” With not a moment of hesitation, she replied. “Emptiness and unity.” I call that up on the regular. I’m only just beginning to understand that it might be the same answer for the end of a life.

So much more I could have expressed.  The gestalt is reverberating inside me.  Love Letters to a Raven was an ephemeral cyber-space moment, no longer visible, just like the dance.  But, if this is your practice, this elicits such a beautiful DIY possibility.  A couple days to feel into each rhythm.  Meditation, writing, artwork.  Or simply noticing each particular energetic vibration—flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical, stillness— as it arises in your day, in your body, in your movement, in your heart, in your awareness.  Attune to your soul—what does it need right now?  Empty out, be still, let spirit inform you.

And if you want to investigate the territory as it was meant to be explored, come dance Wednesday Waves at Clara tonight November 2 6:30 and Sunday Sweat Your Prayers November 6 10:00, actually back in the garden just for this week and next.  There is nothing like it.

Love, Bella

Recent travel immersed me in the duality of moving with continual change: joy and exasperation, craziness and wonder.  Planes, trains, automobiles (remember that hysterical film with Steve Martin and John Candy?) only began this journey.  Every time I turned around another moment of transition was at hand.  And really…how is that any different from a same-old, same-old day?

All those daily under the radar transition moments: we wake from sleep, we stand from our chair, we open the door and go outside.  It’s sunny, then overcast. The wind is blowing, then it stops.  The mid-level transitions: we’re in one city then another.  Relationships and jobs begin and then they end.  We move from one home to another.  It’s a new day, the next week, the following month…the year turns over.  And then the Big Passages: a pandemic emerges, wars flare up and die down, elections alter the course of history, regimes come and go.  The climate changes.  Babies are born.  People die.

You know the Buddhist axiom: all things rise and fall.  But every transition, from the micro to the mega, has one thing in common.  The in-between phase.  The mystery betwixt before and after. Building skill at recognizing that moment is the work of a lifetime.  Because in that precise moment we have opportunity.  Sometimes an active choice can be made.  We can go right or we can go left.  We can turn toward or turn away.  We can speak or be still.   And sometimes we can make a choice to be passive.  Simply surrender to the way the wind blows, the direction the water flows.  Yield to the shifting ground, submit to the prevailing momentum.  We can surrender to being with things just as they are and patiently wait for time to pass.

Faster than ever, small and big changes happen all around us.  We can cultivate our responsiveness muscle during that pause between moments.  How?  Feel inside: breath, sensation, instinct, emotion, intuition.  Look out and tune into the big picture, the broad perspective and, at the same time, attend to the devil that lives in the details.  Awareness and attention, our allies in transition, paving the way to action or surrender.

Class practice invites honing that skill.  On Sunday we paused in the ready made transition between songs and I had a total aha moment.  I’ve spent twenty years growing my DJ-ing ability, part of which involves making the transitions as seamless as possible.  What’s that about?  What kind of preparation for life is that?  I was all about abrupt on Sunday.  Challenging the habitual is definitely a means to boost awareness and attention.

Cultivation of awareness and attention is a thread weaving through all Body Joy offerings.  This web page is a vision of change in progress; scroll down to see all three listings:

Tend Your Aging Body:  New people have shown up every Saturday for this 90 minutes of pleasure. They slide right into this slow gentle practice.  Since I have tons of prop options available and a great ability to articulate the practice and lots of knowledge on how to modify so its just right for you and clear visuals and divine music…well, it’s a good thing and this Saturday Oct 29 is the last chance to indulge until January.  Treat yourself.

Wilbur Hot Springs:  Do you know this oasis 90 minutes from Sac? I’ll be on the enclosed deck November 19-20 offering 3 Roll, Release, Align sessions (all props included).  These classes are included with your day pass or overnight stay. Come soak, come hike, come let go. I love this Northern California gem. Please join me! You need to reserve your day pass or overnight stay soon with Wilbur Hot Springs.  They sell out  on weekends.

Roll, Release, Align:  Actively in transition: name is a draft, description is a draft.  But a free class on a Friday in December is in the works.  Stay tuned!  Clara is definitely rented. Us three (from left to right: Kim Wagaman, myself, Jeanne Munoz) are totally excited, committed and ready to rotate Fridays 10:00 beginning in January.

Each way-experienced teacher puts her spin on loose, long and strong.  When I’m not teaching I’ll be on my mat out there with you.  It’s a bring-your-own-props class. I’ll be retailing what you need out of my trunk in the parking lot before each class in January.

And, of course, all things 5Rhythms:
Wednesday Waves tonight Oct 26 6:30pm.
Sweat Your Prayers Sunday Oct 30 10:00am with guest teacher Rachel Jordana from Santa Cruz holding it down for a Halloween celebration. Come dressed up!! Alter Egos are welcome.
Moon Lodge  Dec 5-9 at Esalen with Lucia Horan.  I’ll be assisting at my favorite place on Planet Earth.  Wanna come with?

Closing with this quote from Leon C. Megginson:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive,
nor the most intelligent,
but the one most responsive to change.”

Let’s build that responsiveness together…❤️Bella

Gabrielle Roth….I have some crazy stories to tell about the ten years I was her student.  And just as many tales generated by her practice of the ten years since her passing.  Because the rhythms are alive in every part of me.   That’s why knowing her in the flesh was just icing on a way big cake.

Every practitioner out there has a story to tell about when and how the 5Rhythms earthquake shifted their bedrock.  For me, it was twenty years ago…age fifty-two.  A bit late, but right on time.  Last kiddo launched, hemmed in by the daily grind, dark shadows obscuring all the light in my life.  Ready to break free, beyond willing to step into the mystery, destiny tantalizingly one step away.

On a whim, we made a sharp right turn off Highway 1 when the sign said Esalen.  Never been. One empty room: 24 hours for $200. In the dreamscape trance of early morning I stepped across the Huxley threshold and began to dance.  As if I had been dancing my whole life. Which in a way I had.  All this magic happened in the very room the 5Rhythms practice had been birthed.  By the end of the hour, my life would never be the same.

Gabrielle left a legacy that woke my feet up and then my whole body followed suit, moving me in professional directions I could never have imagined.  This practice ripped the crust off my heart to reveal childhood scars desperate to be danced, re-written, forgiven, celebrated.  And now 5Rhythms is a lens through which I view the world, a trusty guide through thick and thin.

When Gabrielle was alive, I felt a trembling overwhelm in her presence, bordering on abject terror sometimes.  Those sharp edges, that incisive look, her uncanny ability to call out the depth of my internal experience.  So. Many. Stories.  But now, in the dark of my bedroom, sometimes she comes to call.  She slips in wordlessly, just how she black-clad slid onto all those dance floors I was blessed to share with her.

But in my dreams all her sharp edges are muted now, holy hug of support, hushed, patient, benevolent.  I like to believe this was/is her true nature.  And I hope she knows that every day I give thanks for these two woke feet, wordlessly moving me across this ever-shifting ground.

This week the ever-shifting ground delivers me to Montreal.  It’s where my mom was born in 1927.  With my daughter and grandson, we’ll explore and feel and search for some of the places her feet traversed.  Leonard Cohen was born in the same neighborhood in 1934.  Perhaps their feet moved on some of the same paths.

I’ll be home just in time for Tend Your Aging Body on October 22…an offering that emerged right out of my soul when I veered off the straight and narrow professional path.  Thank you Gabrielle.  And then I’ll offer up Sweat Your Prayers October 23. Thank you Gabrielle.  Never, in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I’d be doing this work either.

Thanks to her and the winds of fate we are waking up together, wordlessly moving across this ever-shifting ground.


Back-to-back dance workshop weekends, live community moving in and through, déjà vu from a previous lifetime.  But I just hopped on that dusty dance bike and, a bit shaky at first, felt my trusty body pedal down that well-worn path.  Surreal, challenging, tender, revelatory…all packed into ten days.  As often happens when we steep in intensity, a dormant sensibility, an insight that had been scrambling toward daylight, slowly begins to tease itself out.

What is able to come to light during an expertly guided embodied exploration always astonishes me.  A word on that “expert” thing.  Because it makes a difference.  I bow to Kathy Altman, a teacher who has been guiding me on and off over the last twenty years.  Her precise, perfectly timed invitations, her gentle and solid presence gave me the courage to start excavating that dormant sensibility. And I kept digging around this nugget all week.

The next weekend I was held in practice right here in Sacramento by Majica Alba.  This was her first independent (of me) 5Rhythms workshop offering.   It. Was. Stellar.  Words fail here.  Not only have I had the extended joy and trepidation of witnessing her growth and maturation, I’ve had the trembling responsibility of having a hand in this transformation and a front row seat to boot. So, to be a student in her space, to completely trust her to hold me as I continued with this embodied exploration, to feel the expertise of her support…see why words fail?  Maybe put yourself in my shoes a minute and feel….it was wondrous remarkable.

So what was hiding in the wings, waiting for its turn center stage?  It emerged during the first workshop as we moved in the lengthy span ‘tween courageous action on one end and being with things just as they are on the other.  The well-known serenity prayer is a quiet plea for wisdom, wisdom to know the difference between these poles.  When to be in action, when to surrender.  And that word—surrender—was just a murky insight that’d been scrambling toward daylight for awhile, begging to slowly be teased out.

I could have spent a year stretched out on a therapy couch intellectualizing how I unconsciously, habitually slip into busy, do-do-do action, unwilling to pause in that holy wisdom middle ground, fears about stillness being equated to irrelevance, worthlessness, death.  I am so long done with that couch thing.  Though I love my brain and I get how this process of writing helps my mind get what my body already knows.  So this embodied exploration of surrender continued in the second workshop, keeps moving through me, continues to reveal so much.  Can you feel the essence of this Mark Nepo quote?

“Surrender is like a fish finding the current and going with it.”

What does this word surrender mean to you?  How does it show up in your life?  Can you feel the pull of gravity in your body, maybe even right here in this moment, and source it for surrender?  How do you discern when surrender is maybe a tricky cover up for inertia or collapse?  In the face of tension or rigidity, can you feel surrender work like a fabric softener without the losing the texture of clarity?  Can you surrender to what is, just say yes, give up trying to know?  Can you tap into the greater energy permeating through your life?  Let go of preference, surrender to life being in charge?  Hmmmm.  A breath here.  Thanks for trying that on.

Thanks for exploring surrender with me this weekend at Clara Auditorium.  We start with Tend Your Aging Body on Saturday, rolling our mats out to facilitate surrender.  We release bound and resistant fascia by gently partnering with gravity, surrendering to the gentle touch of the toys. You can drop in any of the four Saturdays or pre-enroll.  I’ll have lots of props, no worries, just bring a mat.  Video recorded for you.

Just a word on that “expert” thing.  Because it makes a difference:

“Bella’s knowledge of the human body is clear and deep… She showed me diagrams, offered metaphors…enlisted my absolute curiosity to look and feel WITH her…Bella is a brilliant educator.  I am inspired now to cultivate a relationship with my psoas muscle!  I just needed the guidance of some patient and skilled hands….One session with her has opened many windows into my own body.  I am tremendously grateful.”  MT

Clara Auditorium for Sweat Your Prayers on Sunday morning, too.  It has been so beautiful to feel us coming back to this space.  With “us” being such a fluid word.  So satisfying to experience so many new movers finding their way through the door.  Many tears falling as familiar faces re-appear.  I’ll be up front Sunday morning with a score that invites continued embodied exploration of…guess what?  Surrender.

Metaphors.  It’s like dancing for my mind when I hear something like “fish finding the current”.  I just get it.  This metaphor is an anonymous quote but says it all:

I am learning to live between effort and surrender.
I do my best and hope for what I want
but I do not resist the direction of the wind.

Yours  in the current, in the wind….Bella


Karma: a Hindu notion, a slant on fate, a notion that our destiny is not random but is rather the effect arising from cause.  In other words: what we do today has bearing on tomorrow.  Karma is the sum of our actions in this life and maybe even in previous states of existence. This rings with truth as I waltz with memory.  Each recollection jigsaws its way into my puzzle.  Each event had a time and a reason and a perfection.  Cause and effect.

That’s the west view in my studio pictured above.  This wall has become an ever evolving altar, a random call to visual expression during Covid.  Some days it feels like a karmic exploration of all that has moved through me to create what is now and what will be.

From different streams, folks in need make a landing in this physical therapy studio. Most float in through word of mouth.  But in this brave new world, more and more internet searchers seek me out.  The healing work I do is kinda niche and the web site communicates with an accuracy that helps us find each other. Most cyber-searchers are really good matches.  They know what they want, they’re in quest of something unconventional, physical therapy with depth, treatment that reaches beyond the bounds of the physical, cutting edge—not cookie cutter.

That first time phone connect always includes the deal breaker/maker question:  “Do you have the time and willingness to come to your mat for twenty minutes most days for two weeks after our initial session?” Because two weeks of attuned follow through is so informative.  It tells us if we’re moving on the right healing track.  When there’s an excited “yes, please”, well, then I know we are good to go.

Quite frequently they reveal they have already tried EVERYTHING or that I’m the last resort or they’re discouraged but willing to try again.  I’m not sure how I became that practitioner but the story stretches way back.  Dreizler Physical Therapy was absolutely known in this community as the top place for treatment challenges that were chronic and complex. And bits and pieces of my work before that had a similar touch. There is no doubt about this being my karma.

I have a long-honed ability to listen to complicated histories. Fine-tuned ears, an open heart, eyes that miss nothing.  And then I just clearly know/intuit where and how to embark.  And what the outcome possibilities are.  And how to move softly and gently, just the right amount.  And how to support and educate and encourage all in one breath. It is my karma.

And so is teaching classes rooted in this experience.  A group session is a nest for my patients to land for support.  It’s creative space for people to slowly explore and heal on their own.  It’s a welcome mat for folks to meet me, those who may need some individual help.  Yesterday I taught the very last on-line Roll, Release, Align class.  This was a Covid-motivated two and a half year undertaking.  It was an anchor for me and a dedicated posse.  I listened and learned and loved so much.  I will miss it.  A lot.

But it’s time to go LIVE.  Tend Your Aging Body  allows us to put our feet in these new community waters and take a reading.  See above about soft and gentle and just the right amount and support and educate and encourage.  Each 90 minute session is a luxury dive into your interior breathing pulsing vital space.  New and old ways to release what’s stiff or rigid; tone up what’s exhausted weak; stretch out, lengthen what’s tense tight; feel into effortless alignment.

Clara Auditorium is spacious, the music encourages us to let go; masks are totally O.K. Questions I’ve been answering:

  • Do I have to attend all four?  No, drop into any one that works for you.
  • Are sessions recorded? Yes, receive video by email and keep practice link forever.  Pre-enroll for four, miss a class…receive video link.
  • Do I bring my own props?  Bring your mat and 3 foot foam roller if you have one.  Roller not required.  Sometimes we are practicing with the wrong density.  Yikes, so important!  All densities there for trial.  Soft balls and tennis balls provided.
  • Can I purchase equipment on site?  Yes, after class purchase anything you fall in love with.
  • Will sessions be available in Video Library?  Yes, when the series is complete.
  • How do I know if my body can do this? Call me (916) 267-5478 and let’s figure that out together.

Maybe you also know what you want, you’re questing for something unconventional, new ways to deepen into your body, tap in and reach beyond the bounds of the physical, embark on something cutting edge—not cookie cutter.

I’m excited to be out there again.  With  you.  Let’s go for it.  We step into that healing space exactly one week from today.  It’s my karma.

Love, Bella

Sitting on an edge, far north Monterey Bay, Capitola tucked behind an echoing bluff.  Her old wooden pier an offering to the sea, Pleasure Point capping the farthest reach of land.  Here I’m gently held by the horizon, that asks nothing in return, just bestows silent comfort as it surrenders, softly circular, to the duet of earth and sky.  I find myself yearning for this, quintessential wide open space, whenever I’m hemmed in by urbanity.

I wish I could remember the name of a book read in my early twenties.  The young protagonist was newly embarking into the work-a-day world.  Her alarm rings on Monday morning and in that dream ‘tween state she imagines the 8 to 5 week ahead.  She fully awakens, stunned by the agenda she has unwittingly agreed to.  Trading her life away for a mere two days on the week-end.

At this same age, this realization slowly dawned on me as well.  It’s what spurned me to chuck it all before I turned thirty and crazy travel for four months.  Not once, but twice.  But life has a way of tumbling forward and all that brilliant awareness was buried under marriage and children, home ownership and careers.  The middle class American dream-come-true. And yet…so much beauty, not one regret.

But wide open spaces never stopped calling me out.  And what I am coming to understand is that the natural landscape/urban world dichotomy is a physical one, yes, but the metaphor of it lives inside us.  And I’ve been an eager student unknowingly soaking up the tutelage of wide open spaces my whole life.  Two decades ago my 8 to 5 shifted into something much less predictable but actually just as time consuming.  I appreciated the change up, barely knowing what the day might hold.  Time off was weirdly interspersed and, as the years went by, slowly became more plentiful.  Covid totally boosted that down time.

Interesting phrase: down time.  Because mostly I am finding it very uplifting.  Very seductive.  Very about time.  There certainly has been more travel to the landscape of wide open spaces, especially in the form of camping.  Which I’m up to right now.  But the fact is, I am increasingly tuned in to the wide open space when I’m home.  An agenda-less afternoon here; a list-free morning there; an evening with nothing in particular to do.  This feels new, at times interesting, curious, exciting.  At other times weird, frustrating, frightening, boring.

There are many emotional scales like this one.  Which is not particularly fabulous, but caught my attention this week:

You can look at it for general attunement to what you feel right in this moment.  Pretty limited, but a good starting point.  What captivated me more was where I generally hang out these days.  And it’s fascinating how that has shifted of late.  Because to tell you the truth, I am mostly, and most simply, content.  Pretty even keel.  Lacking of melodrama.   A little nostalgic for the old roller coaster at times.

Notice that right beneath content is boredom.  And here’s what I’m noticing: boredom is sprinkled throughout the field of wide open space.  Frustration and doubt are scattered there as well.  Travel up the scale to see all the other juicy feel-good inhabitants co-existing in the wide open space.

However, those challenging ones—boredom, frustration, doubt—can often turn out to be uber-rich fertilizers of that field.  These sentiments can be so exquisitely uncomfortable that we doubt the beauty of the field and do anything to steer away from those wide open spaces.

With all the changes in my work life, with all the ways I am working with younger people and willingly taking steps back, it sometimes feels like I’m putting myself out to pasture.  And I suppose I am, partly cuz I’m intrigued with this wide open pasture.  Willing to move with boredom, dance with frustration, be face-to-face with doubt.  Content to breathe and be.  Satisfied to sit for awhile, right here and now, and see what authentically arises of its own accord.

It was good, that life in the fast lane.  But you’ll find me way over in the right lane now. Falling in love with noticing, appreciating and harvesting the complexity and simplicity of an endlessly transformative scene slowly passing by.




Sitting here in the cool of this morning, knowing full well the temperature is set to go sky high again today.  Like everything else, the weather is just not what it was. Sounds like a refrain from a country song: “things just ain’t what they was”.  Change, continuous on so many planes, keeps us firmly entrenched in long term Zen training.  Some days it’s a big stretch to view all the chaos through a spiritual filter of surrendered presence.  It’s a big ask when it’s 115 degrees, fires burn the forest, division is the entrenched cultural norm, war & poverty are not even front page news, breathing air is unhealthy and Covid just keeps slinking around our edges.  Can we love life in whatever way it is being served up?

I keep answering yes.  Eventually.  Some days harder than others.  But the same priorities keep my yes alive.  Sowing seeds and harvesting fruits of connection to loved ones.  Coming to my mat to breathe and feel and tend. Partnering with astounding patients healing up in the studio.  Preparing nourishing food in a kitchen I love.  Dancing in this community. Watering my plants.  Breaking away for the devotion of living close to ocean and mountains.  And teaching.  How impactful holding space that supports us in movement has become.  And even though “things just ain’t what they was” all this still supports my love of life.

Teaching and practicing live is calling me.  Big time.  We are all gaining skill in personal health risk assessment.  Can you feel that?  I reached a tipping point when my physical health needs had to come in better balance with my emotional/mental health requirements. Who knows what the future holds but right now teaching, practicing and treating patients live is bringing me that balance.  The Clara venue is very spacious.  If you’re in the Sacramento region, we dance there Wednesday night and Sunday morning.  And I will be there four Saturday mornings in October for Tend Your Aging Body.  Feeling it out.  Possibilities for a weekday drop in class are beginning to brew.  If you’re feeling it, let’s be live together.

We’re aging.  Really.  And over the decades, guess what, our needs change.  There is tender self-care your body craves. This offering is so NOT boot camp! Pleasure mat skills with rollers & balls that free up tight fascia.  Core vitality accessed through breath-psoas intimacy.  Length for the tightest muscles.  Tend Your Aging Body is perfect if you want the motivation and confidence to come to your home mat to breathe and feel and tend.  It’s not complicated.  Even 15 minutes can make a world of difference.

If you’re a beginner to this way of being with your body? You’ll absorb the essentials. Experienced? Come to deepen your practice, feel the space.  Together we’ll be creating the support for a fluid body, powerful in motion.  Come breathe, come feel, come change.  Really.  Well maybe a picture is worth a thousand words:

I suppose if things just ain’t what they was, we have a chance to create whatever is next, whatever will someday be the new was, something that may even be better than the old was.

Yours in the Big Whatever….❤️Bella

Me and Leonard Cohen go way back.  He and my mom were born in Montreal around the same time so I’ve always felt this strong connect.  And it was a thing of beauty to finally get out of the Covid-house and see this film gem in a theater.  Plus it was with my friend who is just as gaga about this incredible songwriter.  I never knew the whole story behind his most famous song, which took him seven years to write and longer than that to become known for the masterpiece it is.

Poetry is a form I’ve played in on and off since I was just a wee one.  I can feel the way regular writing in essay form has pulled me away from the virtue of verse.   I suppose inspiration from this film immersion after so many hours of silent isolation was the fire that ignited this poem.  By the time you’re reading it I’ll be resting in the Sierras, looking out over Tahoe’s Emerald Bay.  It is my offering.


No longer searching, said Leonard Cohen.
Just softly alive, befriending myself,
off the record.

Feeling the urge to activate rise up,
then nimbly sidestepping,
as the impulse fizzles
in the absence of outcome or documentation
or Brownie points.
Letting the itch die of its own accord.

There’s liquid mass melting off my bones,
sensory tides that ooze porous on erratic currents.
I’m adrift on the ebb flow of theta waves.

Slow is an elusive rhythm
that seduces then repels us,
that promises then lies to us,
that tempts us, then asks for restraint.

He also said, I reside in the foothills of old.
Practice death little bit every day,
K Pattabhi Jois said that.

Every moment we opt for a stop,
cease fire to pause and be chill,
take the silent stand as witness…
we shed gestures of testimony,
smack dab love arrows aimed
right into our weary hearts.
And, in an act of concurrent genius,
we infuse the needy breast of this planet.

May you be inspired this week to opt for a stop, pause and be chill, take the silent stand.  Send love arrows just where they are needed.  And let’s be together soon.


Well, I’ve joined the ranks of Covid initiates.  So many of us in this no longer exclusive club.  And that is a good thing, feel like I’ve contributed to the possibility of herd immunity.  No cake walk for me though; it was pretty challenging, even given the ingenious medical boost.  So grateful for that and for the return of breath as each day brings a bit more energy.  The isolation may have been an amazing retreat if I had only felt well.  But in the quiet challenge a bunch of long view reflection kept surfacing.  This writing is only a pie slice of that.

Fifty years ago.  Berkeley. Rented a walk in closet just big enough for twin mattress and suitcase.  A place to lay my head when I wasn’t finishing my physical therapy internship. The last hoop to jump through before being set free in the world.  Back when a bachelor’s was all you needed to practice.  A doctorate required now and I’ve been grand-mothered in.  Most of my expertise never came from books anyway.  In such a hands on profession being thrown in the deep end is the best education.  I certainly had plenty of deep water.

Except for one thing.  The hours invested in anatomy education never cease paying huge dividends.  Those 20 weeks in lab, 8 hours a week…forever imprinted on my soul.  11th floor, UCSF.  Huge windows overlooking Golden Gate Park, bridge in the distance.  10 cadavers stretched long on plinths, breathlessly waiting.  Me, three classmates and one dead body…bonded for the duration.  At first, it took everything I had to hold back the gag, not sure if I was going to make it.  The formaldehyde alone felt like a deal breaker.  But it’s strange what you can get used to.

After week one, my curiosity got the best of me.  I was totally hooked.  All the other lab-learning required X-ray vision to imagine what was happening below the skin.  And what a world it was underneath!  Sectioning out each unique muscle and life-giving blood vessel, teasing out those message-sending nerves, peering directly at origins and insertions on white bone.  Me and Gray’s Anatomy were one.  That fifty year old dog-eared copy is still my every day go to.

In 1992, twenty years later, after touching countless live bodies—hands a bit more enlightened now—I was invited to return to that same lab.  In the company of other intrepid seekers and my original teacher, a now wizened Mrs. Nordschow, I spent all day deep in exploration.  Asking questions about deep rotators and flexors and joint spaces that only a hands-on adventure could answer.  I surprised myself by slipping right back in, like no time at all had passed.

Could be that the intensity of these experiences account for my utter obsession with all things anatomy.  It is so friggin’ geeky.  And I totally indulged that geek-iness this year in a way I absolutely never thought I might.  On September 20, 2021 I taught a Roll, Release, Align class on feet.  Prepped by spending all the time I desired diving into bones and muscles and joints, what it means to weight bear, mechanics of gait, trouble we get into, solutions for the most common owies.  A 90 minute class initiated with screen share so students could actually see what was underneath the skin.  It was a full body class but we just kept bringing our attention back to feet.

Since that day, every Friday morning, I’ve let my geek flag fly.  And I’ve adored this year of systematically working through the entire body.  A few more classes remain to wrap up the shoulder, arm, hand unit.  Then a unit on the head will bring the year plus to a close.  All in all, when complete, a fifty plus class library is available.  Feels like kind of a legacy and I’m really proud of the work.  But more satisfying really is how a whole lifetime, beginning in that cadaver lab 50 years ago, led to this endeavor.  And I am so grateful that the shape of my relatively cushy life has allowed me to indulge this depth of investigation.  And beyond thankful for the students who actually came along for the ride and appreciate this embodied path of learning.

“I’m feeling better, walking better, my posture is improving, my spine is more flexible, my body awareness has increased exponentially, and I can actually sense and activate the psoas muscles for the first time ever!
I am very grateful to you!”   L.N.

It’s interesting that Covid came when it was relatively convenient: cancelled a camping trip, no dance until September, a handful of re-scheduled patients.  Thank you universe.  Also, in case you didn’t hear, Ritual/It’s All Yoga has closed.  So I had some quiet time to re-imagine the venue/date for Tending Your Aging Body.  It will be live at Clara, four consecutive mornings in October.  Whether you are an on line experienced practitioner or a novice curious one…you’ll love this series.  Because it covers all the best self care bases and will inspire you to no end.  Promise.  Trust the geek.

Yours in quiet reflection.

I love historical novels.  Just finished The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams chronicling the decades long effort that created The Oxford English Dictionary.  In addition to the mix of fact and fantasy, it was a language exploration, how words are derivative of experience but also shape our experience.  Dictionary definitions—spring boards into a huge language pool.  I often use them in writing to illuminate how our interpretation of each word is shaped by our unique experience of a constantly evolving reality.  It’s a miracle we can communicate this way at all!

So take the definition plunge with me.  Today I’m curious about how our needs for self-care change over the decades.  Consider the word care:

1) provision for the health, welfare, maintenance, protection
of someone or something
2) to have feelings like concern, responsibility or love
for someone or something

Many of us are quite skilled at bestowing care for others. Pointing the finger right at myself.  But what happens when we personalize this meaning:

Concern for and taking loving responsibility for my
health, welfare, maintenance and protection needs.

There are so many ways self-caring might manifest.  In the best of all possible worlds, we minister to the needs of our vulnerable hearts, tangled minds and wild spirits.  But you know where I’m headed: caring for our tender bodies is foundational and naturally opens the portal to all these other realms.

Some examples of how NOT to care for a tender body:

  • some habitual drill we latched onto when that first owie desperately needed attention years ago
  • some routine drilled in ad nauseum by a personal trainer in the last century
  • a latest and greatest internet guru series
  • a pre-fab list your medical provider handed you as you walked out the door
  • fill in your own version

Here’s what I know from direct experience, with my own body and a virtual multitude of bodies: our needs are super-personal and our needs change.  This is just plain common sense.  Each new body trauma reshapes us and begs for re-calibration of care.  As does the passage of time.  I so very often work with folks on the brink of a decade change intuitively sensing this.  They come in with an almost instinctual need for a shake up in self-care.  What we need in our thirties is very different than what we need in our sixties.

So after Labor Day when you’re ready to rededicate, recalibrate, restore, renew…and receive, come for expert guidance. I’m returning to Ritual (the old It’s All Yoga) on 6 Saturday afternoons for live-in-the-flesh classes that help you suss out what you need. Limited to 12 participants for optimal spacing and personal attention  Six exploratory chapters: tender, gentle, pleasure-filled.  Each session filmed for supported home practice.  Tending Your Aging Body: stay tuned, enrollment link active soon.

It’s all about the shoulder lately in Roll, Release, Align.  You can be there on line this Friday morning to feel, breathe, move, change. What the heck is a latissimus dorsi?  Did you know this power house muscle connects your pelvic bowl to your arm?  Look at this big boy…amazing:

And this Sunday morning is literally the last dance…until after Labor Day.  Majica and I share the mixing, back and forth to offer up two waves on the fly in the garden.  After we move together, let’s eat together.  Come out of your cave…bring a potluck offering…feel the joy of connection, the support of community.  It’s a good thing.

Grateful for all our tomorrows and the human way we are able to rededicate and renew….❤️Bella