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Nov 252015

Giving Thanks
By Ally Ford3E1B9512

This is a special time of year! The air is cooler, the holidays are approaching, and we look forward to celebrations with our loved ones, family and friends. Growing up, I enjoyed family gatherings, but honestly never really cherished them as I do now, having grown older and having experienced the loss of loved ones. I realize now how precious these times are, how quickly time passes, and rather than indulgence, I look forward to laughter, playfulness, hugs, kisses, and meaningful conversations.

It’s a time of Thanksgiving, or giving thanks, and giving in general. In fact, that is the exact opposite of how I viewed this holiday when I was young. It just didn’t dawn on me that aside from spending time with my family, it wasn’t about eating so much of my grandmother’s favorite dishes that I could no longer button my pants. Of course, I was thankful for that deliciousness, but today my scope of thankfulness has grown to include so much more… the ability to practice yoga, the connection with loved ones living and passed on, watching my children grow into young , responsible little people, the birds, the Earth, and simply the ability to breathe. It’s this deep gratitude for the simple yet profound things in life that to me brings the most joy, and it is this idea I am trying to teach my children.

One of the teachings of yoga that I have found most helpful is the idea of santosha or contentment (Yoga Sutra 2.42). Contentment means looking within for happiness, to be just as we are without seeking external things for satisfaction or joy. If something comes to us, let it, if we lose something, then let it go, but our sense of equanimity and balance does not depend on these external fluctuations. We can apply this useful tool in so many ways, especially during this time. If we find ourselves stressed about holiday preparations, pause for a deep breath and focus on something that is going correctly or perhaps on the fact that whether or not the meal turns out perfectly, the opportunity to spend precious time together is what really matters. Cultivating gratitude and giving thanks for what is at this moment is a wonderful doorway to santosha.

When we take time to focus on things for which we are grateful, it opens our mind to a broader perspective. We’re less consumed by our own downfalls, problems or short-comings, and more readily available to focus on others and how we can help those in need. Each and every moment of life is a gift and the sooner we wake up to this awareness the sweeter life becomes and remains. Every experience becomes richer, even the seemingly mundane tasks like paying bills and doing dishes, even the challenges including loss, and especially the sweet times. As Maya Angelou said, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” And when we practice santosha, we wake up the miracle that we are alive.

Sending you and your loved ones many blessings for peace this holiday season.

Yoga Sutra 2.42 From an attitude of contentment (santosha), unexcelled happiness, mental comfort, joy, and satisfaction is obtained.
santosha anuttamah sukha labhah

Nov 122015

Interested in growing your yoga practice? Some of you may be aspiring instructors who are interested in learning the art of teaching and becoming 11060950_964661756900571_2941490543039280074_ncertified yoga teachers, while others of you may simply be interested in deepening your personal practice and knowledge of yoga. If you fall into either of these categories, my colleague, Caroline Czubaj (www.beyondtheposeyoga.com), and I invite you to participate in our 2016, 200-Hour Vinyasa Yoga Training as a CERTIFICATION student or NON-CERTIFICATION student.

The CERTIFICATION option includes a teaching component that will enable you to graduate from the program as a certified Yoga Teacher, eligible to register with Yoga Alliance (www.YogaAlliance.org) as a certified, 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200).

The NON-CERTIFICATION option is for committed students of all levels who desire to grow their practice without becoming a teacher. This option includes study of the many facets of yoga practice and theory just as the teaching option does, however, it does not require that you participate in the teaching and practicum aspects of the program. Upon graduation, you would receive a certificate of completion for the 200 Hour Vinyasa Yoga Non-Certification training. Should you participate in this option and decide down the road you would like to become a certified teacher, you can participate in the teaching component at a later time.

This yoga training program will expose you to many facets of yoga practice and theory, including:

  • History and Ancient Texts of Yoga
  • Intensive Asana Study
  • Anatomy and Physiology — related to Asana Study
  • Principles of Pranayama
  • Meditation
  • Teaching Methodology
  • Sanskrit and Chanting
  •        Basic Adjustments
  • Subtle Body and Chakras
  •        Ethics and Business of Yoga and Ethics

For more information and to register for this program, please visit Caroline’s website and click onto “200 Hour Vinyasa Yoga Training:” www.BeyondThePoseYoga.com.

Next Course offered in Panama City, FL, begins September 2016- May 2017.


  • September 16-18, 2016
  • October 14-16, 2016
  • November 4-6, 2016
  • December 2-4, 2016
  • January 6-8, 2017
  • February 3-5, 2017
  • March 3-5, 2017
  • April 7-9, 2017


  • Fri 5:30-9pm
  • Sat 9:30-6pm
  • Sun 9:30-6pm

LOCATION: ONE HEART YOGA ~ 2993 W. 10th St ~ Panama City, FL 32401


  • CERTIFICATION OPTION: $2950 ($2750 if paid in full by July 1, 2016); includes $500 non-refundable deposit. Deposit secures your spot.
  • NON-CERTIFICATION OPTION: $2550; includes $500 non-refundable deposit. Deposit secures your spot.

SPACE IS LIMITEDSecure you slot now…

Oct 272015
With permission from one of my 200-hour yoga studies program students, I’m posting something she wrote in her journal about the first time she stood up in front of the class to practice teach. There is so much about this so many of us can relate to… new experiences, stage fright and the fear of public speaking, emotions that come up unexpectedly, and the willingness to put ourselves in  new situations for personal growth, even if we have achieved great success in other fields or areas of our life. Thank you sweet, dear soul for sharing this so openly and articulately, and for granting me permission to share it with others. You’re not the only one!

“Elevator Up”

At 47 years old, I have been through quite a few things since I took my first breath in 1968. Fortunate, in so many ways. Challenges….highschool, at that time, was a beast. College——well, that’s a story that would make a great Hallmark movie/Harlequin Romance. My friends, who are similarly privileged, have a saying….”the struggle is real”… Right??
I had to take two college courses online in order to renew my teaching certificate (I am/was a secondary social studies teacher) a few years back, this involved an actual IMMUNIZATION. Yes, you read that correctly. A shot. In the arm. So that I could attend FSU ON THE COMPUTER. I guess stepping onto campus to get my ID made me a risk?!? This electronic class thing took me mustering all sorts of moxie and technical skills that come so easily to our kids. BUT I DID IT. and I learned a lot. (Clearly, I was not an English teacher:) I was scared, but it was behind the comfort and safety of my home office. But I digress. It was such a first-world issue, but a challenge is a challenge and its all about perspective.
This yoga training????  WOW. It’s dredging up some things from the seemingly bottomless pit of my emotions. Which Chakra is that again? The thing is, I LOVE IT!! And… it makes me cry. And that is a good thing. Feeling things. Lots of things. Being put on the spot to explain a pose made me feel like the time I got my period, for the first time, in high school, in gym class, in white sweatpants. There’s a word for this type of emotional scar that I can’t recall. Stage fright, fright fright, spot light, want to crawl into the yoga closet and hide under the woven blankies. Enter crybaby. I truly do not melt down like this on a regular basis, but I am an emotional babe, and I’ve managed to live my life to the best of my abilities. Yoga training is pushing my boundaries, and I didn’t realize I had some of the ‘edges’ I am coming up on.
I love the Yoga Sutras. They are clear and concise while being open to interpretation on so many levels. I apologize for all the tears, but I attribute my strength to the depths of my despair, and like Prince said, “If the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy! Punch a higher floor! If you don’t like the world you’re living in take a look around you. At least you got friends.” (and yoga:)
Happy that yoga is bringing me to a higher floor. Motivation to practice more.


Oct 262015

Location: Yogani Studios, 1112 W. Platt Street, Tampa, FL 33606
Dates: Tuesday, January 5 – Friday, February 5, 2016
Times: Monday – Friday 9:30am – 4:30pm and Sundays 7:00am-9:00am OR 9:30am-11:00am
Tuition: $2950 plus required text books, which you can order here. $500 non-refundable deposit required to hold your seat. Pay in full by Dec. 1st, 2015 and save $200. Apply today. Click here.

I’m honored to be partnering with Yogani Studios to bring the utmost in yoga education to Tampa Bay! Founded in 1999 by Annie Okerlin, Yogani is one of the longest running yoga studios in all of Tampa Bay, and is a thriving community for yogis and yoga teachers in Tampa.

Interested in deepening your practice, dedicating time to renewing and refreshing your body and mind, or perhaps even beginning your journey into teaching yoga? Kick start 2016 with a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in an authentic, supportive, educational, and healing program.

With guest teachers including:TeacherTraining5

  • Annie Okerlin on Yoga Nidra and founding the Exalted Warrior Foundation;
  • Jessica Lynn Trese on her journey into Ashtanga Yoga;
  • Denise O’Dunn on Ayurveda;
  • and Lisa Jameson on functional anatomy.

You will study:

  • History Of Yoga -Dive into fascinating discussions of the the vast history, source and purpose for the practice, and the founding fathers and texts of the practice.
  • Intensive Asana Study – Review alignment and appropriate modifications and variations for the poses of the primary series of Ashtanga and understand how this foundation lays the groundwork for all power and vinyasa styles of yoga.
  • Anatomy and Physiology – This is a foundational level for anyone teaching yoga, an overview of the systems of the body and how yoga affects these systems.
  • Principles of Pranayama -Understand how to breathe properly in asana utilizing the bandhas and how and when to guide these techniques with students.
  • Meditation -Build a foundation through discussion and meditation practice every time we meet.
  • Teaching Beginners – Practice breaking down alignment and develop effective communications to deliver clear and important guidelines to students.
  • Bhakti Yoga (Chanting) – Experience the calming, centering and clearing effect of traditional Sanskrit chanting in a group each time we meet, learn correct pronunciation and meaning, and incorporate your favorites into your own practice.
  • Adjustments – Receive hands-on guidance and practice with aiding students with alignment through the use of gentle touch.
  • Sanskrit names of Asanas – Learn the appropriate pronunciation and meaning of names of poses.
  • Yoga Sutras – Read, discuss and chant the Sutras and learn to incorporate them into your daily life.
  • Subtle Body and Chakras – Explore the ancient map detailing exactly where body meets mind and how yoga affects and balances the energetic body.
  • Business of Yoga and Ethics – Graduate with a plan on how and where to get started as a teacher.

For more about the program see the overview page. For questions please contact Ally Ford at 727-599-8867. This program requires a minimum of 10 students to commence and accepts a maximum of 20 students. Apply today to hold your space.

Oct 212015

Location: Indaba Spa at Innisbrook
36750 U.S. Highway 19 NorthPalm Harbor, FL 34684
PHONE: 1-888-794-8627

Pay today to reserve your seat. Questions? Email Ally@allyford.com