Welcome to Ease into Yoga

Welcome to Ease into Yoga

May you be at ease in your body and your mind!

Like our lives, this website in a work in progress.

I invite you to browse and journey through the postings on this side.

For regular classes and upcoming events and yoga travel, please use the links on the right.
The pretty fractal image at the top your link to return home.

May you be filled with Loving Kindness.
May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May you be at ease in your body and your mind.
May you be at peace and happy!


A Day of Living Deeply at La Casa de Maria

A Day of Living Deeply at La Casa de Maria

Saturday November 5th 2011 9.00am to 4.00pm

Please join me for an entire day of  mindfulness. In community and within ourselves we hone the skills of living deeply. We talk, walk, breath, eat and practice chair yoga and silent meditation.

When we live deeply, we are aware of each moment as it happens. We feel life move through us. We practice the art of Mindfulness where we experience the body, thoughts and emotions with an attitude of open curiosity. This practice of mindfulness is sweeping our country and the world. It is a way of living that eases our suffering, and opens the door to joyful living, no matter what outer circumstances may constellate. Instead of knee-jerk reactions to outer events, we monitor our inner response and behave in the most appropriate way in each situation.

Our program includes some chair yoga, breath practices, seated meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating practice and a delicious lunch.  The labyrinth walk becomes a metaphor for our lives, walking the circuitous path in trust.

With plenty time to talk about our experience, we end the day with deep relaxation.

Go home relaxed, refreshed, renewed and more Present in your Life.

Yoga days almost always sell out, so don’t miss out. Sign up now and benefit from the early bird price.

Cost: $ 108. Get the early bird $98 by signing up before October 24th

Living Deeply Yoga Day
Living Deeply Yoga Day
Saturday November 5th. 9am - 4 pm. at La Casa De Maria, Santa Barbara "Early Bird" $98 before October 24th. After that $108 Sign up Now!
Available Qty: 16

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Soul Works: Creating Inner Security

Soul Works: Creating Inner Security

You are invited to join Paulette Dwyer and myself for the second Soul Works gathering. This is a forum for women in the second half of life: Sunday September 11,2011 at 1.00 – 3.00pm
September 11 is the tenth anniversary of a world-changing event. We choose this day to look inward at the changes within us, and to discover the hidden undermining forces that hold us back from full authentic expression of our uniqueness. Is there an inner terrorist? How do we cultivate inner security?
Using the tools of yoga, experiential processing, and the talking circle, we share what we know and what we learn from one another. The underlying paradigm of this work is that we are each enough. Yet we can grow to become more.
Wear comfortable clothing and bring yoga stuff.

Venue: Holistic Haven, 31139 Via Colina #205 WLV 91362
Cost: $25 by Sep 9th. $30 at door
Payment check to Paulette Dwyer: 2660 Townsgate Road # 730 WLV CA 91361
For more info call Paulette at 805 6608350
Email Maggie@easeintoyoga.com

Who are we?
Paulette Dwyer, Psychotherapist, Yoga Instructor (25 years),past owner of Westlake Yoga Studio, and Regional Manager of Westlake Village, YogaWorks, Wellness consultant, hiker, skier, closet karaoke singer.

Maggie Mellor, yoga teacher, world traveler, writer, grandma and mindfulness practitioner, delights in spending time with women talking about life.

A Mid-Summer’s Yoga Day

A Mid-Summer’s Yoga Day


Join me on Sunday August 7th  2011 for a Mid-Summer’s Yoga Day.

Casa de Maria


August is the hottest month.   La Casa de Maria is situated on a verdant hillside, with gentle ocean breezes caressing the air.  Join me for a cooling day at  this beautiful spiritual venue.  Our theme is the Practice of Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a revolution sweeping our land, and for that we can be grateful. The practice enhances everything we do, our jobs, our relationships, our entertainment and our pleasures. Buddha first taught this practice. Mindfulness creates a portal to contentment and happiness.  We learn to welcome each moment of our lives.  Come and be enriched on this gentle cooling yoga day. While gardening, cooking,  sitting at the computer or any activity that we do, Mindfulness  sharpens our capacity to be Present.

Our home for the day will be  the cool stone of the Terrace Room. We have available the pool, shady spots in Garden of Peace to be still or to journal. Our yoga and meditations will be oriented to being cool and awake.

Overview of the day: Yoga practice in the morning – no, not really challenging yoga, just the kind that takes you into your own silence, and allows your body to feel more open and free.  We talk about mindful living, honing down to the smallest details of what it means to fully present in the moment. We practice seated meditation.

Buffet style lunch of fresh salads and healing foods at the now famous Casa kitchen.  Optional swimming or journalling  during the lunch break.

In the afternoon we  take a Meditative  Chakra walk on the grounds, return to our cool Terrace Room for a talking circle and deepen our practice of Mindfulness.

Our day ends with a deep restorative yoga practice.

Go home relaxed, refreshed, renewed and more Present in your Life.

Yoga days almost always sell out, so don’t miss out.  Sign up now and benefit from the early bird price.

Cost: $ 108.   Get the early bird $98 by signing up before July 24th

Living Deeply Yoga Day
Living Deeply Yoga Day
Saturday November 5th. 9am - 4 pm. at La Casa De Maria, Santa Barbara "Early Bird" $98 before October 24th. After that $108 Sign up Now!
Available Qty: 16

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Visit The Shop

(If you want a massage on this day: Please call La Casa 805 9695031 when you arrive on site to schedule a masseuse between noon and 2 pm, or after the retreat which finishes at  4 pm. They will only take bookings at the office and you will need to pay beforehand by check or cash)


Food Glorious Raw Food!

Food Glorious Raw Food!

What are you Grateful for? Imagine being asked that by your server, as you sit down for a celebratory meal in a carefully chosen eatery!  We are celebrating Simone’s graduation from Berkeley University. We dine early to  allow time to walk to the ceremony.  At  4.30 in the afternoon,the place is well filled with a mother and toddler, several  groups of students, and our rather over-dressed party of four.  All the food is live, organic and vegan.  All that can possibly be locally grown is. I love all of that.
Oh what to chose, I want it all!  Raw or cooked? The menu reflects this primary decision by its lay-out, cooked on one side, and raw on the other.  Dishes have surprising names:

  • I am Cheerful, burgers made with sunflower seeds,
  • I am Sensational, a pesto pizza
  • I am Whole, a bowl of shredded kale and quinoa.

I settle for the I am Hopeful, a raw version of Pad Thai. It is truly heavenly!  Glancing around at the open kitchen, I watch the staff  mindfully pile up the plates, everyone  calm and focused. They have been hired for their willingness to prepare all the food with love and consciousness.     A thousand things spring to mind to be grateful for.  Just being here first of all, with dear ones, and, now, about to select from the most seductive  dessert menu a yogini could imagine.  No sugar or flour or dairy is used at all!  I am grateful for that. We share the I am Rapture, the strawberry shortcake and the I am Magnificent, the raw chocolate mouse.  Both dishes live up to their naming and are a most fitting crescendo to a symphonic meal of sheer delight.

As I check my make-up in the tiny bathroom, I look straight into the provocative question posted just above the mirror: “Do you know how beautiful you are?”  I take a deep breath and a moment of stillness, to allow that one in.  Yes, I am, and I am very grateful.

PS: Great news! Cafe Gratitude is now also in L.A.  Check it out!

South Africa safari is now filled.

South Africa safari is now filled.

The response to our invitation was so positive, we will undoubted do this journey again.  Please drop me an email, so I know that you are interested in the next journey.


Maggie and Chris Mellor invite you on an unforgettable journey to their former homeland.

September 22 to October 7th 2011

A cultural, historic, gourmet, scenic and transformative journey!

Chris and Maggie are now United States citizens, yet their hearts remain in the land where they shared so many years, and still have family and friends.  For scenery, cultural diversity and sheer excitement of seeing wildlife in the many game parks, South Africa is unparalleled;  We want to share that with you!


Itinerary  for our extraordinary trip to South Africa

Day 1: Saturday Sept 24 Arrive in Johannesburg early morning – check into lodge to freshen up and then visit   Cradle of Humankind, an extraordinary archeological site, near JHB.   This is a World Heritage Site and lays the history of humankind.  (Much revered by National Geographic!)) Early dinner and sleep at lodge. (L,D)
Day 2:  Sunday Sept 25. After a good nights sleep and hearty breakfast, we take local flight from nearby small airport to Durban (the now famous Kulula Air!)
From the brand new Shaka Zulu airport we drive two hours to the extraordinary private game,  Thula Thula .  Check into our luxury tented camp and take off on  our first game drive. Dine under African skies. This game park was chosen for its philosophy of socially and environmentally responsible life-style, promoting the best for all locals, animals and visitors.  Read more about it The Elephant Whisperer. Visit site at  www.thulathula.com (B,D)

Day 3: Monday Sep 26: After yoga and excellent breakfast , we are taken on a fully guided tour to Hluluwe – Umfolozi Game Park. This is wilderness as it always was. This is the historic land of the great chief Shaka.  Here we can see The Big Five. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Tuesday Sept 27:  Yoga and breakfast. Excursion to St Lucia Estuary  for day with picnic lunch, boat cruise to Hippo and crocodiles.  Return for afternoon game drive and dinner under stars. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Wednesday Sep 28  Bush walk and game drive – relaxing day at pool, with yoga in the shade. Time to integrate all we have done so far.  (Other options like cycling and other excursions  for those who don’t want to rest!) (B,L,D)
Day 6: Thursday Sep 29  Bush walk, breakfast, massage on your own verandah, yoga,  followed by lunch and game drive and 4 course gourmet dinner at Safari Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Friday Sep 30:  Yoga, breakfast,  bush walk. After lunch we go to an authentic  Zulu Village to meet traditional healer.    Evening dinner in boma. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Saturday October 1st: Bush walk, breakfast and transfer back to Durban airport.  We fly to Cape Town a 2 hour flight arriving early afternoon. Our descent into the Mother City should be spectacular.  Dominated by Table Mountain, this city is one of the most beautiful in the world!  We are lodged in a family run small hotel snuggled on the slopes of Table Mountain.  Dinner at an exciting new restaurant: Gold Museum, for a real African  vibe with drumming and all!  (B,D)

Sunday Day 9: We visit Robben Island former prison to political activists during the Apartheid Era. Our boat trip offers brilliant views of the city and takes us to the most famous prison cell in modern history.  Guides on this tour are former inmates, so delightful story-tellers.  Back on land, we drive a short way around Table Mountain for an elegant Lunch in Constantia, a verdant well-heeled suburb  (the Montecito of Cape Town,) under oak trees and enjoying the delights of Cape wines and food.  In the afternoon we head for Table Mountain taking the cable car up to enjoy a fantastic sunset.   Evening at the Waterfront.  This is a working harbor made visitor- welcoming with an array of shops, restaurants and street artists.  (B,L)

Day 10: After breakfast we set off for an  all-day Cape Penisula tour.  We see the topography that makes this place famous, and visit the old haunts of your hosts Maggie and Chris.   Stunning  views  all the way.  Lots of stops for exploration and photography.  Spectacular venue for lunch!  The penguin colony. Baboons on the roadside.  Safely home  to our lodgings, we freshen up and hit the waterfront for more exploration and (for those who like), shopping!   (B,L)

Day 11: After breakfast we take an historical heritage tour of Cape Town. The history of this country is everywhere to be seen. Lunch in town, cobbled streets, Green Market Square for informal trader shopping.  In the afternoon we have a   Cape Malay cooking demonstration.  (Malays are descendants of the slave trade that also colors the history here.) This cuisine is full of surprises, spices and delightful flavors.  You will go home ready to dazzle your friends with new culinary skills!  We explore museums, gardens  and  enjoy evening meal at Cape Malay restaurant. (B,L,D)


Day 12: After breakfast we check out our lodgings visit Kirstenbosch famous gardens before heading into the winelands of Franschoek.  Wine tastings and food.  Small villages, exquisite scenery and French Hugenout as well as Malay culture.   Our lodgings in the heart of this gourmet center of S Africa (Napa eat your heart out!) allow us to  freely wander the streets, museums, coffee shops and restaurants. Or chill out  at the hotel pool.  We dine in style. (B)

Day 13: After breakfast we visit a local village, have a picnic lunch at a very innovative wine estate Solms Delta. Here we will  see how far South Africa has integrated its painful past and is building a future that benefits all who live there.   In the afternoon you will be taken to Cape Town airport and head  the shortest route  back to USA. (B,L)


Day 14: Arrive in USA on Friday  October 8th

This will be a small group journey.   The itinerary has been carefully planned for you to experience the best of this land, just slightly off the main tourist route.  We have also avoided multi-national hotels and venues, and use eco and socially responsible  companies to host us.  The journey  will be personalized by your hosts, former residents of this country, who unashamedly are still deeply in love with all of it.  Please commit right away if you want to come. Oh, yes the yoga!  Daily at the safari camp, and then wherever space permits! We will circle  together often in conversation  to enrich our experience as we travel together.



International Air: currently $1700 return.  Book through Classic Travel to be on same, best priced, connected,shortest flight . Leave Thursday September 22 at 10.00pm, return Friday Oct 8th.

Includes all local transportation, both ground and air, all shared accommodations with breakfast and all scheduled entrances.  All meals are included, other than 1 lunch and 3 dinners in the Cape Town leg. (That is to allow for personal preferences in the gourmet centers.)

Not included:  Beverages with dinner and lunch, tips, personal insurance, laundry and shopping.

Does not include international air.
This will be an incredible journey.  Carpe Diem!

Namaste and love,  Maggie and Chris – AKA Soul Gypsies

Action steps:

1.       Email your response. YES

2.       Book your flight.   I highly recommend you book with Laurel at Classic Travel.  Tel: 805 585 3721  Email: LSottL@aol.com. She will get everyone on the same flight ensuring that you are picked up at JHB airport.  Please talk to her about your travel insurance as well.

If you are using airmiles, talk to me, to see where you can slot into the itinerary and adjust cost.

3.       Pay Deposit to Maggie.  Email Maggie for details.  Staggered for your convenience.


Southern tip of Cape

We meet him in the Bush!





Penguin beach along Peninsula Drive

Views forever from top of Table Mt

Wine tasting in Franschoek


Spiritual Technology

Spiritual Technology

It doesn’t matter what you may use, to keep reminding yourself to stay Conscious.   I have this  solar powered prayer wheel on the dashboard of my car.  As the sun rises it begins to turn.  The Tibetan Mantra Om Mani Padme Hum are inscribed on the wheel, and while I drive, it makes a subtle turning sound.

Recently I drove behind a truck that had a variety of stickers with slogans that are counter to the slogans I might choose.  For example, the Peace sign sticker had a circle with fighter bombers inside it, with the message Peace the Traditional Way – implying that force is the way.  Aaaarg!  I find myself in argument with the driver of the truck, who I have never met, and I discover a rising anger towards him.  Then I hear the subtle turning of my prayer wheel, and see the sun shine on its golden color: Ha, now the mantra comes into my Awareness. My thoughts shift away from  judgments and self-righteous ideas, back to a place of openness and freedom.  As soon as I realized where my mind was taking me, what story I was telling myself, I just laughed out loud and felt immediately free!

Driving with this reminder, keeps my mental/emotional body in check.  When the monkey mind wanders off down some well-worn pathway, we can be pulled back.  This is of course a spiritual muscle that needs strengthening, just as much as the physical body needs that.

I got my solar powered prayer wheel in Bhutan!  Saw it, and HAD to have it. I believe there are only 3 of them in our town.  If your desire nature has suddenly sky-rocketed,  shop at Amazon!

Hands in the Dirt

Hands in the Dirt

Oh the joys of spring, renewal, and another chance.  I am repotting the bamboo.  Having been advised by many gardening friends that bamboo should not go into my backyard, as it will take over, I have kept it in pots, which together, form a nice, moveable hedge.  Dividing it every year into new pots, means my hedge is growing.  Plant abundance, a joy that every gardener knows.

I ponder the qualities of bamboo – fast-growing, flexible, and very resilient  to the force of wind.  Bending wildly in gale force winds,  bamboo resumes its tall stately shape when the storm has passed.  Bamboo is hollow on the inside of its thick stem.  The small leaves are lovely in their drooping angles and cross overs.   Bamboo has endless uses: the shoots are delicious food for people and panda bears, the stems form excellent building materials for homes, furniture and tools. Bamboo flutes transform  the human breathe into the sweetest sounds.  Nowadays we even wear clothing soft and comfortable, made from bamboo.  What’s more, throughout China bamboo is considered Lucky.

Dividing the roots is not always easy.  There has to be some surgery, sharp tools to separate the deeply entangled roots tucked into the now too-small pot.  Where exactly to tear and cut for minimal damage?   I recall The Secret Life of Plants, a book read some 30 years ago, of how plants are in  relationship with the environment.  I speak sweetly the bamboo, reassuring it that all is well, the pain of separating and relocating  is brief, compared with the ease and space of the new container.  Is the plant really screaming, I wonder?  I tuck it in with new soil and a dose of Vitamin B1, rescue remedy for plant trauma!

I want to be like bamboo:  growing fast, (in consciousness, thank you, not in my body!) flexible, able to constantly adjust and adapt to the strong forces around me,  to sing my note and, oh, yes,  I’d like to be really useful too.

Yoga Day in Montecito

Yoga Day in Montecito

Free your Body Free your Mind

~ “Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice… No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out.” ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

Casa de Maria

Join me on Saturday April 23rd 2011 for a Yoga Day.   Casa de Maria is one of the most beautiful spiritual venues that I know, and in spring, it is at its best! What’s more, it is just south of Santa Barbara.  I do several retreat days a year, and this venue is always so popular.  This spring, Jim Dreaver joins me.  He has written a book called end your Story. Begin your Life.  In it he describes how to free ourselves from upsets, emotional challenges, in fact how to free ourselves from suffering.  I am so enjoying Jim’s teaching and skills at facilitating this learning.

Overview of the day: Yoga practice in the morning – no, not really challenging yoga, just the kind that takes you into your own silence, and allows your body to feel more open and free.

Buffet style lunch at the now famous Casa kitchen.

Meditative walk through the grounds.

Jim leads the afternoon session in an interactive and meditative way.  You will love it!

We end with a deep relaxation and visualization.

More about the day and how to sign up

You are Light seeing through 5 Veils.

You are Light seeing through 5 Veils.

Did you know you are a soul living in a body?

Did you know your soul, (Atman in Sanskrit) is veiled by 5 sheaths?

Did you know your soul is currently having a human experience?

That is quite different to trying to live a life that is more spiritual. We already are Spirit, yet often we forget.

This forgetting, say the ancient yogis,  is the cause of a lot of trouble for us in life.

Simply put, let’s  try to remember this:

You are Light, Soul, Consciousness, Spirit, Self, Atman, Brahman.

Your light shines through 5 veils or koshas.

Anamayakosha is the Food Body, Pranamayakosha is the Energy Body, Manomayakosha is the Mental/emotional body,  Vijnanamayakosha is consciousness and Anandamayakosha is the Bliss body.  All of them need to be tended to live a whole and integrated life, and to evolve our consciousness back to recognizing who we truly are. We are the Light.

Sanskrit breakdown:  Each of the 5 layers include the words maya(veil) and kosha(sheath).

Ana – food  maya – veil – kosha – sheath

Prana – energy – maya – veil – kosha –sheath

Mano – mind/emotional – maya – veil – kosha –sheath

Vijnana – knowledge/consciousness – – maya – veil – kosha –sheath

Ananda – Bliss – maya – veil – kosha –sheath

To follow: How to tend all the layers of our Being.