Tag: <span>Yoga Therapy</span>

Self Study, Svadaya in Sanskrit, is the 4th of the 5 Niyama’s of Patanjali’s 8-limbed Yoga.  It points us towards introspection as a way for self-development.  It recommends inquiry, awareness and self-reflection.  It challenges one to be present in each and every moment of breath, sensation, thought, emotion, and divine connection. My intention as facilitator is to integrate  various  yoga (therapy) practices with cosmic forces on order to create optimal conditions for expanded self-awareness.  Transformation, healing, or enlightenment are possible side effects.  Read more here.



Our workshop this weekend will take place on Sunday.  We’ll be alone and together online.

The chart at the left describes the astrological weather that will be in effect for all of us.

You can see that Neptune is at the top of the chart as we begin.  By 4pm when we end Uranus will have moved up to the top.  Leaving the details of the workshop up to these two guys is like opening up Pandora’s box and finding what you least expected…  Lucky for us the moon is in a sweet trine with Venus and the sun. which means regardless of whatever the universe sends us we will still have a pleasant and fulfilling time together….especially if you’re fond of exploring the subtle realms.

The mutable signs are emphasized and so with that in mind please expect a variety of activities carefully sequenced to keep you engaged.

This Inquire Within workshop will give you an opportunity to do the kind of inner work that became the hallmark of Kripalu programming   Participating from the confines of your home without the anonymity/distractions/challenges of the typical retreat experience will be an interesting experiment in svadaya. Please commit to sending in an evaluation form.  I need to know what works and what doesn’t.  Teaching on zoom has provided all of us with a huge learning curve.

Experiential portions of this program may include: Asana, pranayama, mudra, yoga nidra, meditation, art, journaling, expressive movement,  storytelling. Hatha yoga and experience with astrology is not necessary. The practices will be gentle & challenging at the same time. Experiences and insights that stimulate the mind-body-spirit connection can be profoundly transformational. Inner space explorations of outer space can at times stir up the unconscious and help us to see places we don’t often visit consciously.

If you’re interested in attending the workshop on 2/21/2021 please register at Zoom here.   Make sure you leave an email address for any last minute announcements.  You will be contacted by email with details and how to prepare ahead of time.  There is a sliding, suggested fee of $30 – $50 for this program.  Payment can be made here.





























Saturday, Nov 16   1pm-5pm

Sunday, Nov 17  10am-1pm 

Our workshops this weekend are designed to be taken together.   Sunday will complete Saturday’s inquiry.  That said, you are welcome to attend one or both.  During these half-day workshops a topic will be introduced (chosen according to the astrology of the moment) followed by discussion.  After that an experience or two will be offered as an opportunity to witness yourself and embody new information.  The experiential portions will include a variety of yoga practices that are in accordance with Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga.

Both the sun and moon will be in water signs for the whole weekend.  Go here for charts. The water element is what teaches us how to let things *flow*…..most especially with regards to our  feelings and emotional body.   Mars in Libra urges us to look at our relationships with others.  Our emotions are hard to separate from thoughts as understood in yoga therapy.

I’ll post more about our *topic* in the weeks ahead.

PROGRAM COST:   Saturday $65,   Sunday $45   Sign up for both  $95 .  (Class credits do not apply)

Registration for program is here.

Contact Ida with questions.

Group Rates  & Scholarships available.




























The ancient definition of therapy was “one who ministers’ or heals. Yoga Therapy re-organizes an individual’s perspective to bring balance and attention to the whole by including the causal & subtle bodies in its methodology. The whole, however, also includes the cosmic environment as referenced in many of the yogic scriptures.

Astrology is unparalleled as a tool for understanding cosmic forces. Using simple astrological techniques can help identify the most pronounced energetic blockages and thereby increase the potential for yogic healing.

The first challenge in writing about the integration of these two different paths is finding a working definition of both yoga & astrology that supports the intention of yoga therapy.

The yoga part is fairly easy. Even the minimal amount of research will teach you that yoga is more than just the physical postures (asana’s). There are many different ways to practice yoga and we don’t always have to use our bodies to reach the enlightened state that yoga promises. However, when we begin to talk about yoga therapy, we probably are going to use our bodies in some way. As one of my teachers would explain, it’s important to generate some strong sensations in the body so that we can then observe our own reactions and responses to that bodily ‘stress’ in the moment. It’s about practicing svadaya, or self-study without judgment, with the ultimate purpose towards creating unity of body/mind/spirit.

Astrology, too, is so broad a science/art that it  can not be defined  succinctly. At least, not by me.  After over 40 years of study and practice I can say that Astrology cultivates a perspective on life that releases a lot of stress. By connecting the movements of the cosmos to activity on earth, cause & effect becomes irrelevant.  But synchronicity becomes invaluable! That’s where the substance is. Once one recognizes “as above, so below” and experiences the magic of that statement then astrology reveals itself. There are gazillions of methodologies, techniques and systems to put this essential truth into practical practice. A teacher is mandatory. One needs to receive guidance before one can act as a guide to others. Yoga and astrology have a lot in common.


more here




Self Study or Svadaya in Sanskrit, refers to the practice of introspection and the ‘study of the self’.  It encourages one to practice awareness and self-reflection.  My intention as facilitator is bring in alignment various  yoga (therapy) practices and cosmic forces to create optimal conditions for expanded self-awareness.  Transformation, healing, or enlightenment are also possible side effects.


Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep is an ancient pratyahara practice from Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga.  When we practice reducing external sensory input, things become revealed to our body/mind. During Yoga Nidra long held tensions in body and mind are released.    Creativity is enhanced, vitality is stimulated, and the ability to manifest our highest potential becomes possible. Samskara’s dissipate. Time stops.

Yoga Nidra can be used as a therapeutic technique, a healing process, a spiritual practice, or a good nap.  The results are based on the intention you create as part of the practice. Yoga Nidra is also a technique that can “burn the rope” of karma and free one of the limitations carried over from past lives.

Our weekend will explore all of this and more.

Experiential portions of this program include: Asana, pranayama, mudra, yoga nidra, meditation, chant, integrative breathwork (optional, depending on content) art, journaling, expressive movement, dyads & storytelling. Hatha yoga and experience with astrology is not necessary. The practices will be gentle & challenging at the same time. Experiences and insights that stimulate the mind-body-spirit connection can be profoundly transformational. Inner space explorations of outer space can at times stir up the unconscious and help us to see places we don’t often visit consciously.

The location for this program has been a gathering place for astrologers and Vedic scholars from around the world for decades.  It’s a spiritual place. Although I understand the Vedic system, my focus is mostly on the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) which are not recognized in Jyotish.  Ergo, I welcome all to come, learn, practice, and grow.  More information will be posted as we closer to the time.

The course fee is $175 for both days.  Group Rates Available.  Discounts for Sanctuary Students also available.  To register for program go here.
Room and Board is separate.  Please contact Vimala at (570) 992-2339 Ext 210.  for arrangements.






























“Your days pass like rainbows, like a flash of lightning, like a star at dawn. Your life is short. How can you quarrel?”



INQUIRE WITHIN – Mysterious Blessings

Yoga Teachings & Experiential Activities for Grief, Sadness, and Loss.

Experience Renewed Peace, Serenity, and Comfort.  

Recently , one of my students died.  Our relationship spanned 35+ years.  She had been a witness to my life and a few of my ‘transformations’.  And, I to hers. She was more than a student to me.  Over the decades we were friends & rivals, neighbors & housemates.  We came from entirely different families and background but felt a kinship when we first met at the tennis club in Wall, NJ.  I felt honored and blessed that she allowed me to stay close to her thruout her illness, treatment, and hospice period.  It’s a very sacred time, as is birthing.  We don’t deal well with loss or death in our modern culture.  Nor with grief, sadness, or despair.  As a society we repress it and allow only a limited number of days of leave from  work, and responsibilities.   Then we’re told to “Get over it” and move on. Which might be the best action to take?  Who knows?  But, where does the rest of the grief go?  And what about the sadness from the less-final losses we experience?  Where does the leftover sadness go if it wasn’t fully expresses?

Yoga Therapy offers a multi-level perspective on the human body and provides healing opportunities in different and unexpected ways.  When unresolved and unexpressed emotions collect internally all sorts of ailments, dis-ease and dysfunction can occur. Raising our awareness of how the physical/subtle/causal bodies respond to different circumstances can help us remove  the unconscious blockages (samskara’s) that cause imbalance and prevent healing.

This half-day experiential program will help you to know how and where your body stores unresolved emotions particularly grief/loss/sadness.  The movements of Saturn/Pluto/Ketu (South Node of the Moon) over the past months have provided us with lots of events, news, and crisis to provoke these vulnerable emotions.  Participation gives you a dedicated time to acknowledge, feel, and heal what’s been lurking in your shadow.  Social Silence and Sacred Space honored.

Activities include: Gentle Kripalu Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation and off-the-mat experiences artfully sequenced to support you through this healing experience. Feel free to call with questions.   Group & Family rates apply.


Saturday, Saturday, July 27  9-1pm

$40/$60 Sanctuary students/others. 

Must register  by July 25.  Call/text 732.531.9013 or submit form.


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For those who have faced trauma, abuse, addiction, or self-harming behaviors.

You know that healing is an inside job. Tapping into your deep well of inner resource is paramount to healing. Maintaining a healthy connection to your inner guidance is the path. YOU have all you need right inside – your truth, passions, and purpose. Experiencing this connection in a safe and sacred place with like-hearted community is a garden from which you harvest your authentic self.

In this seamless and structured intensive, you will be heard, seen, and honored. You choose what you are ready to release and manifest. Transformation is possible – in fact it is inevitable with a YES and willingness to give yourself the time and space to come home to you. 



The Schedule is as follows:

Friday 7pm-9pm Here & Now. We will prepare the space and set our intentions for the program which begins promptly at 7pm. Feel free to arrive at 6:45pm

Saturday. 8am – 9pm       The Intensive
The day will consist of moving energy through carefully sequenced experiences evoking physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual transformation & healing. Keeping with the format of an ‘intensive’ there is very limited “free” time during the weekend. Please be prepared to practice social silence.

Integrative Yoga Therapy will be used to address the physical body. If you have any concerns about your ability to do the practices please contact Ida to discuss. All bodies are welcome. Practices will be chosen appropriately. Other experiential exercises may include: dyads, journaling, free movement, ceremony & ritual, Integrative Breathwork.

Sunday 9:30am – 12:30pm  Integration & Intentions. Taking it home. This session is essential to expand upon and enjoy your growth.

Saturday through Sunday noon meals are included. They will be simple and light thus designed to support your process.



Where: Bring this program to your location.

Cost:  includes program and meals for Sat-Sun noon.
25% deposit is due upon registration. 50% non-refundable. Information packet with instructions, contact info, maps, etc. sent upon registration. Limited to 12 participants, early registration suggested.

Registration & Self-Assessment forms must be submitted for acceptance to program.  Registration Transformation and Bliss

Please complete promptly.  Direct your questions to:  Sherri Rainingbird, LMFT 203-206-0544 or Ida Cullen, C-IAYT  732.531.9013 or ida@ifcullen.com.



 Ida and Sherri are honored to facilitate your work towards transformation, inner peace, truth, balance & empowerment.

Go here for more on The Facilitators.

Schakrachart_thumb.gifo I’m here in Newport Beach, CA for the annual IAYT Conference.  I’ve been wanting to go for years, but circumstances, timing, and other life stuff has gotten in the way.  But, not this year and I’m so excited.

Yoga Therapy is a growing niche within the hugely expanding yoga community and I’m very excited to see how it’s being recognized by the medical community.

Yoga, for me, was always more than just the poses and the practice.  From my very first class in 1976 I recognized it’s potential for reaching deep inside and revealing those places where the samskara’s keep us blocked.  Since 2001, I have offered one-on-one sessions to clients and have seen amazing results.  Classes are a great way to allow students to practice but there’s no substitute for having personal attention and a program laid out just for you.  Not everyone can attend a class, or should.  Yoga Therapy is appropriate for everyone, regardless of your limitations, and doing yoga will absolutely change your life for the better.

Check out some of my articles under the YOGA tab on the top for more information.

Blogging The Sanctuary - Schedule & Stuff Yoga Yoga Therapy

Beginning 11/23 –   11/30, 2010 the North Node of the Moon (Rahu in Jyotish) will be in a conjunction with Pluto at  4 degrees of Capricorn.

(Pluto is not recognized in classical vedic astrology.)

For those of you who are comfortable with the concept of reincarnation and the wheel of karma this time period is  an important one.  Karmic forces are in control.  Not us. Period. Om shanti, peace.

The lunar nodes can be interpreted in a variety of ways.  One perspective is to see them as significators for your personal relationships.   The north node might represent those who take you forward into uncharted territory.  The south node, on the other hand, might represent those in your life who are less challenging and more comfortable to have around.    A piece of data like that can make all the difference between the struggle and/or the peace.

Another way to look at the lunar nodes, in a more spiritual way perhaps, would be to see the south node as the karma you face from your past lives.  The north node would be more representative of the dharma, or purpose of this life…thereby creating new karma for your future lives.   Do you see the wheel turning?

When we add the influence of Pluto to the lunar nodes the impact becomes Absolutely Transformational.

Yoga Therapists:  Deep Process experiences can be both agitating and therapeutic during this time.  Remember to be mindful of your own boundaries and deep issues and do not project your stuff onto your students. Om shanti.

Astrology Yoga Therapy

Looking backwards can be a useful practice at times; especially when you’re pregnant.

We’ve all had the experience of being gestated in a womb.  At least I hope so, still **.  Things are changing so fast now, so much more is possible with the advances (?) of science.  Things just don’t stay the same;  impermanence is the nature of all things.

The environment of the womb is not isolated or separate from the larger world, and  the mother is subject to external conditions & circumstances beyond her ability to control or even process!  Her emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs are transmitted loud and clear into the fetus.  The watery womb is the perfect medium by which energetic,  non-verbal information enters the fetus affecting not just the physical growth, but the mental and emotional growth as well.  Everything that is happening outside of the womb, happens in the womb, too.  As above, So below.

eclipseAstrology provides a unique insight into one’s pre-natal conditioning and can give you some important information that might have gone un-realized until right now. I am speaking of the Pre-Natal Eclipse. Astrologers locate this by looking back in the ephemeris to find the eclipse that occurred just before your birth. It could be either a solar or lunar eclipse.  Where it was located in the zodiac is where the information is stored. It’ll show up in your natal chart in one of your houses (bhava).

It is a significant place in the natal chart to study, particularly if you are pregnant, have had children, or want to.  It describes the cosmic weather that was and still is in effect during your own gestation.

If you are curious and determined to become more self-aware regardless of where it takes you than you might want to arrange for a consultation with a professional to talk about your personal pre-natal experiences because whether you understand astrology or not the conditions (external & internal) that were present during the ime of the pre-natal eclipse have marked you just as significantly as your personal DNA.

The more we can understand our own Birth Story/History the more we are able to understand and create optimal conditions for the future children we carry in our wombs.  Yes?  No?

Yoga teaches us that the time is (always) NOW.   One of my teachers impressed upon me that what we feel, we heal and what better time to heal oneself?  We all want what’s best for our children.  Becoming a parent, a mother most especially, is such a unique experience.  The more we practice yoga, on and off the mat, the more we become aware of the myriad of sensations, thoughts, feelings, and insights that occur without pause, inside of us.  This is a moment of transformation, this new awareness.  We can intentionally insert a “change” order, if we are so inclined.  Regardless, taking one conscious breath while you continue to observe, is all that is necessary.

The whole birthing process has changed. The advances of  modern science & technology are competing with the previous advances of mid-wifery and natural birth.  The natural flow of intuition is being silenced by a money driven society and many women do not know what it means to ‘trust your body’.  It is vitally important that we remember who we really are.  It is vitally important that we care for our whole selves while we continue to pay it forward to the human race.


There’s another reason to study the pre-natal eclipse that’s very appealing to those who believe in reincarnation.  There are so many ways available to tap into this incredible resource of information….your past lives, that is. shamens,  Hypnotists, Psychics, Mediums, Regressionists, etc. all have powerful medicine to aid you in your search.  Astrology can also point a lens at your past lives and deliver some insightful, validating, and perhaps surprising details on who you used to be.  Searching the past helps one to understand Karma.  Creating a ‘now’ that will support you in the future is Dharma.  The pre-natal eclipse as stated above will describe the temporal environment at the time you were a fetus.  (Look for workshop/event on dharma/karma if you’d like learn more.)

to be continued…………………….


An interesting debate is available here:    Should we genetically engineer babies?

Om shanti, shanti, shantihi.

The Lunar Cycle

It’s been a while since I posted here.  A long while.

As I’ve written in many different posts ( here, here & here) the balsamic phase of a cycle is a time when we turn away from worldly concerns ( 1st chakra ‘stuff’) and redirect our energy inward ( or upward) towards the spiritual/cosmic/ethereal,  either voluntarily…….or not.

I have found that it’s best to just go with the flow of this time period rather than try to force anything .   Regardless of the local weather, you’re traveling thru some dense fog and smokey waters.  Meditation/Prayer is the best activity to engage in.  If you can find an ashram or retreat center near by, go.

I live at the sea.  It helps.

The Lunar Balsamic phase lasts 3.5 days.  That’s a pretty easy time frame to work with for pulling out of the rat race.  However, the days of the week may prevent some challenges if you’re on some one else’s schedule and not your own.

Every planet in the solar system goes through a balsamic phase at some point-in-time.  The solar balsamic phase occurs for the 6-week period every year before your birthday. ( The Solar Return occurs when the sun reaches the exact place it was in at the moment of your birth.

The Balsamic phase for Mars lasts approximately 16 weeks.  Jupiter’s balsamic phase lasts about 18 months and Saturn’s balsamic phase is approximately 3.5 years! Few of us live long enough to experience a balsamic phase for the outer planets…..except perhaps Uranus.

In addition, any planet transiting thru the 12th House would also initiate the same kind of energy as a balsamic phase.

All that said, I am currently experiencing a 12th house Sun transit, a balsamic Mars, Jupiter, AND Saturn………………all at the same time.  It’s a miracle I can function!  For those of you versed in Vedic Astrology I have  just completed the Sade Sati which is a 3 year period of Saturn aspecting the Moon, also similar to the balsamic phase.  Whew.  It’s exhausting for no apparent reason.   What keeps me positive is the absolute knowledge that when this period is over I will be poised for a creative cycle beyond that which I have experienced for quite some time.

Teaching yoga is a gift.  Spiritual practice and practices are highly recommended during balsamic periods.   Yoga helps to create a global awareness of body, mind, emotions, and spirit.  For me, yoga helps me to be in the world and in-spirit at the same time.

Today is a First Quarter Phase in my lunar cycle, a time for action, ergo this post.

For the past few months I have been busy working on a private blog which I hope to publish soon, perhaps as an E-Book.

The subject is Astrology for Yoga Teachers/Therapists. If you’re interested  in being contacted upon publication please send an email to: asanctuary@optonline.net.

Astrology journal entry lunar phases Yoga Therapy