Yogi Reads: The Sun Does Shine

by Olivia Hughes

The Sun Does Shine

by Anthony Ray Hinton

Summary: This equally powerful and gut-wrenching true story is about Anthony Hinton who was falsely convicted (through mistaken identity) of a murder he did not commit. He lived on death row for almost 30 years before being released in 2015.

Hinton is an amazing storyteller and his book is hard to put down; it made me laugh and cry all at once. Similar to Nelson Mandela, Hinton even with his adverse circumstances found true peace and forgiveness. Hinton could have focused only on himself, but he was able to help 54 men find their own peace before being executed. Hinton’s inner transformation that then rippled through out the jail is an incredible testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Hinton emerged from this experience more inspired and purposeful then ever. He now travels the United States promoting prison reform and visiting inmates to discuss the power of forgiveness.

Why I Love It: In addition to being emotionally impactful, The Sun Does Shine also exposes the failings of our justice system and advocates for prison reform –  something, as a society, I believe we should talk more and do more about. We need to be held accountable for how we treat one another. I’m inspired every time I hear a story where justice and truth prevail. Stories like Hinton’s, someone who had every reason to be bitter about life but chose the opposite, remind me how I want to live my own life.

The theme of forgiveness also struck a chord with me because practicing forgiveness, specifically self-forgiveness, has been the single greatest tool I have used in my personal healing and development. I now offer forgiveness workshops where we employ these powerful words, “I forgive myself for…” Try it! I hope it serves you.

Recommended For: Anyone who wants to be inspired to live fully right now, no matter their life circumstances. There is so much we can learn from those who have suffered yet still participate whole-heartedly in life. We are all one – and the more we can believe it, act like it, and share it, the better. In this book, the underdog rises to the top, love leads the way, and justice wins. This book will give you all the feels! It doesn’t get any better than that.

“An urgent, emotional memoir from one of the longest-serving condemned death row inmates to be found innocent in America… A heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about truth, justice, and the need for criminal justice reform.” – Kirkus, starred review

Olivia headshotOlivia Hughes
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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Root to Rise, On and Off the Mat

guest post by Yoga One Student Stacey Ebert

thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com Genius, she is. Once again, after class ended and I asked Amy Caldwell why she thought I couldn’t quite grasp one particular pose– she knew exactly what to say. 

It wasn’t the fact that every body type has different possibilities. It wasn’t about my scoliosis and it wasn’t about anyone’s talent in yoga. And sure, it’s definitely got something to do with the internal and external rotation of the hips, but that’s not the point either. She said, ‘most of the time, in yoga, if you can’t get to a pose – the key is, sit up higher’.

On the walk home, I thought about what Amy said. Sure, in that moment, she was talking about the idea of putting a block under my hip and reaching on a downward angle towards the floor which would allow my back a different stretch than it ever had before. To me, the words held far more weight than those. It reminded me of another significant pearl of wisdom about going higher and 

reaching for better. It reminded me of decades of derision and lowly taunts of limited and hate-filled rhetoric and the charge to say ‘go high’, be the bigger person, aim for the better road, choose right. It sure isn’t easy. It’s a lot easier just to ditch the thought of ever hitting that pose, flinging up my hands and saying ‘I didn’t need that anyway’. But that’s not true, that’s not me and that sure isn’t the way to choose right, happy or joy – I know better, but we all have those moments.

Take a moment, take a deep breath – and roar

To me, her words meant more about trying to lift yourself and others up along the road of life. Through every journey, there have been highs and lows and 

hopefully along the long scope, we learn from both types of episodes. Both tell a story, chart a course and often set our souls on fire; but this time, it was something about the idea of elevating while standing your ground that made an impression. My twisted back and hips are rarely level, but with some assistance, they gain the stability to stand their ground. Perhaps, that’s what it all means. Perhaps whenever Amy starts her class with the idea of root through your feet to rise through the top of your head it means more. Perhaps, in this chaotic time where the world seems to turn on its head every minute of every day, that’s what we need to remember.

… 

My hips are happy when I show up on that mat and my heart is happy when I show up to support justice and helping others – so don’t give up.

Show up – you make a difference

Thanks for the reminder, Amy – those nuggets of goodness gleaned from a yoga class hold weight on and without question, off that yoga mat. Sometimes you need to take those moments of time to hide under the covers and take care of yourself. Sometimes you need to spend time away from it all, hug your loved ones, regroup, do something to lift your own spirits and then return to the fight. Sometimes you need to realize your limits, get that support and do what you can. And sometimes you shove that block or blanket under your hip, boost yourself up and set your soul on fire. It was true on Wednesday, it’s true today and it’ll be true tomorrow. It’s not easy, but I’m going to keep showing up. What about you?

Please enjoy the full version of this article at The Gift of Travel.

Stacey Ebert
Guest Writer

Stacey Ebert is a freelance writer, educator, event planner, and volunteer coordinator who has traveled to over 50 of the world’s countries. Writing about adventure, journey and perspective changing life shifts, she encourages travelers to take the leap, use the world as their classroom and get outside their comfort zones. She has lived in Long Beach (New York), Melbourne (Australia) and is presently based in San Diego (California). Check out her blog at thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com.

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Yoga One, We Are All In This Together

When you sign up for Yoga One’s Teacher Training Program, you’re not only choosing to deepen your knowledge and relationship with yoga, you’re joining a supportive community of people on the same journey in life. Go here to learn more and to register for our next training.

Recent graduate Sher Cowie writes:

When I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training last year in July, I did it as a way to understand yoga fully and to deepen my own practice. Through this, I felt that it would transition into my teaching and help me become a better instructor. Little did I know that it would be so much more for me and that it would help get me through one of the most difficult periods in my life.

Yoga One Teacher Training started January 19, 2018. Our first meeting was held at our instructor’s home where we all shared a meal and got to know one another. Fast forward to February 4, 2018 when my world changed.

[I came] to class that night and told one of my instructors, Diana Beardsley, what happened. She hugged me and offered support through comforting words. [Soon] my other instructors found out, as well as fellow students. I received much needed love and support from my new yoga family.

The last three weeks of class have been difficult but if not for the teacher training, the instructors like Amy, Missy, Diana, and Michael, as well as my personal practice instructors – Missy, Jen, Nam and Arati, I don’t think I would’ve made it through this time with such inner peace and strength. They all, along with my fellow peers lifted me up during this darkest time and I will be forever grateful for this experience and the changes it has brought me.

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Gentle Flow with Mellow Grooves

Check out Yoga One’s newest class offering with Heather Fenwick, Gentle Flow with Mellow Grooves. Join us Sundays, 4:20pm-5:30pm.

Yoga One: What excites you the most about this class?

Heather: This class is exciting because we get to listen to awesome music WHILE we’re doing yoga! Oftentimes yoga teachers play soft, background music during class to keep the focus on the postures and breathwork. While this is a really wonderful idea, I also believe that listening to music can be a yoga practice in and of itself – we can tune in to what’s happening in the present moment by getting lost in a song, and let the music guide our yoga journey.

Also, doing gentle yoga on a Sunday evening helps set the tone for a well-balanced, calm transition into the work week – a pretty genius way to enjoy the weekend’s finale.

Yoga One: What are your playlist inspirations?

Heather: Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin got me hooked on proper music when I was in college, but they really just started to blaze the trail for musical inspiration from everywhere. These days, I love the Bahamas, DJ Drez, Tycho, even Thievery Corporation keeps putting out solid tunes… I’m also open to any suggestions from fellow music lovers – please feel free to hit me up on Facebook (Heather Fenwick) or Instagram (recoveringgypsy).

Yoga One: What do you hope your students will feel or experience?

Heather: My wish for these students, and for all beings, is to feel chilled out, happy, and connected. The pace of life around us moves all too quickly… so slowing down and enjoying seemingly little moments is good for our health, wellness, and ability to shine brightly in the world around us!

Yoga One: Thanks Heather, can’t wait to join you for class! You can find our full class schedule here. Ommm.

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Beyond The Mat: Terri Hobbs

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat.

This month’s interview is with Terri Hobbs, who is leaving Yoga One after 8 years of teaching with us in search of new adventures. All the best, Terri! You’ll be missed.

1. Why do you practice yoga? 

I practice for strength, balance, mindfulness, serenity, and because yoga is a creative outlet for me.

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of your teaching when you first started?

Remembering the difference between right and left! Also I used to worry that I would run out of poses to teach before class was over. 🙂

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

Whenever a yogi tells me a chronic pain of theirs has disappeared, or the first time a student really “masters” a pose.

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc…it would be: the ocean.

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

I find a lot of inspiration from my co-instructors at Yoga One, especially Amy Caldwell and Mara Harris! I look to the internet and classes I take when I travel to help freshen up both my practice and my teaching.

6. Usually we ask what classes you teach at Yoga One – but you’re saying au revoir. What will you carry with you from your time at Yoga One?

Words may fail me in describing the Yoga One family. I’ve never felt so supported, valued, and loved as an employee and as a person. Why leave nirvana? Upcoming opportunities to travel and a desire for new challenges.

7. Anything else you’d like to add, share, suggest?

Be love.
Appreciate grace.
Make connections.

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

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Beyond The Mat: Lauren Dickson

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Lauren Dickson.

1. Why do you practice yoga? 

I practice yoga for so many reasons – from self-exploration to stress management in my daily life. I love that yoga increases my mindfulness and awareness of myself and the world around me.

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of your teaching when you first started?

Not always being able to offer one “right” or “best” way to practice when a student had a specific problem. It was hard to balance the organic and natural openness I feel a good teacher should have, while still being okay with being a student myself.

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

Seeing students find moments of ease and peace within their practice!

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc…it would be: Annie Leibovitz, a portrait photographer. I love that she captures the present moment exactly as it is and celebrates it for what it is.

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

Working (and practicing) towards living a balanced life, mentally and physically.

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One?

You can find me in the Nook and subbing at our downtown location, plus I teach offsite corporate classes. 🙂

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

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Beyond The Mat: Missy DiDonato

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Missy DiDonato.


1. Why do you practice yoga? 

I practice for the benefit of my mind, body, and all around life issues 🙂

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of your teaching when you first started?

Learning to stop expecting people to like me.

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

Seeing the emotional release of a student during or after a class. Also seeing people at their best or most vulnerable.

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc…it would be:  If yoga were a smell, it would be a fart. Because it’s necessary to live and comes in all different varieties!

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

My 3 year old daughter, Olive. Firstly, because she’s so flexible and that’s proof it’s something we’re born with and it’s only our habits that make us inflexible. And secondly, because she is so present.

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One?

I teach level 1 & 2 Classic Yoga on Thursdays at 4:30pm and an all levels Restorative Yoga on Fridays at 5:30pm.

7. Anything else you’d like to add, share, suggest?

I am constantly grateful for all of the yogis and non-yogis that come into my life. Thank you from the depths of my heart.

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

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Yogi Reads: Mudras

by Olivia Hughes

Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands 

by Gertrud Hirschi

Summary: Mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. The ancient practice of mudra can be used to relieve stress, practice presence, connect to your higher self, prevent illness, promote spiritual development, and so much more. Additionally, practicing mudra may help you become more open to and better able to focus on other holistic practices, such as breath work, affirmations, visualization, herbs, and nutrition, etc. Combined with intention, mudra creates a shift in your internal world, creating balanced healing from the inside out.

Why I Love It: A teacher once told me, “Teachers are here to share their knowledge and skills with others to help them grow. If you know something, share it. Educating someone is the most powerful thing you can do for them.” When I started teaching, I took this advice to heart and shared things I had found to be true; even if it fell outside of the mainstream.

I love this book because it adds another layer to my own yoga practice and teaching. The mudras help me connect more deeply to myself and my spiritual world. Yoga is so much more than a handstand or a warrior two – yoga is about a shift in your mind, a feeling in your heart. Yoga is kindness. Yoga is love. Yoga is connection. The seemingly small practice of mudra helps me connect with this deep level of yoga, and I feel compelled to share it with my students.

Recommended For: Those who want to deepen their connection to self, others and the present moment. The practice of mudra is so uniquely personal and portable – no yoga mat needed, no time in your schedule to set aside, nothing to see or watch. The back cover states: “This yoga in your hands can be practiced sitting, lying down, standing, or walking, at any time and place!”

I recommend choosing a mudra you connect with (there are hundreds) and trying it out once a day in your daily routine. This book breaks down how to practice each mudra step by step but also dives into using mudra to develop your spirituality.

Sample Practice: The Lotus Mudra (my favorite!) from page 150

Bring your hands together in prayer and then separate and open up the three middle fingers, keeping the base of the palm together along with the pinkie and thumb. This mudra is the symbol of purity.

Visualization: Imagine the bud of a lotus flower in your heart. Every time you inhale the flower opens up a bit more – until it finally is completely open and can receive the full sunlight into itself. The lotus lets itself be filled with light, lightness, warmth, love, desire and joy.

Affirmation: I open myself to nature; I open myself to the good that exists in every human being; and I open myself to the divine so that I can be richly blessed.

Olivia headshotOlivia Hughes
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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Keep OM Trucking: Featuring Arati Lane

Do you take your yoga with you when you travel? 

Our Yoga One family has spread to all corners of the globe and we’re excited to share some of their adventures.

An Original Yoga One Yogi, Arati Lane has been teaching at Yoga One from day one. Yoga One began enhancing the well-being of San Diego residents and visitors in 2002 and Arati has been with us every step of the way. When she’s not teaching you can sometimes find her riding on her high horse. But her yoga keeps her humble. 🙂

Arati has been teaching Yoga since 1989, completing her first training with Sivananda. Arati currently teaches yoga classes and workshops for fertility, pre- and postnatal, infant massage, couples yoga, healthy backs, flow and hatha. She counsels in AYURVEDA and loves sharing these amazing life-enhancing methods to heal and maintain balanced health in all forms! She teaches at Yoga One Sundays at 10am. You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

No matter where you go, you can Keep OM Trucking with Yoga One! Visit Yoga One at 1150 7th Avenue to get your own hat and while you’re there, join us for class. 

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Beyond the Mat: Kairou Chiou

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Kairou Chiou.

1. Why do you practice yoga? 

I practice simply because I’ve experienced the myriad benefits of yoga physically, emotionally, spiritually. I feel stronger, more confident, more at ease with myself and capable of facing life’s challenges.

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of your teaching when you first started?

Being vulnerable. I was scared that I didn’t know enough. I thought, “Who am I to teach about yoga when I am still learning?”

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

Witnessing and experiencing personal growth for myself and for my students. I love to see students overcome challenges and obstacles and to share in their excitement and empowerment.

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc…it would be: first thought… I don’t know why… sherpa blanket. Fluffy, white, clean, comforting.

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

I see all of life as my yoga inspiration. Everything has become a yogic lesson – people, events, situations. Yoga has become my first response.

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One?

I teach a Level 2 Flow class on Thursdays at noon. It’s an “advanced” yoga class, one that challenges not only the physical body but more specifically our mental and emotional selves.

7. Anything else you’d like to add, share, suggest?

Yoga is a practice that creates space, perspective, opportunity and accessibility for a life that can be fulfilling, gratifying, and empowering.

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

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