Knowing the Difference by Anne Esguerra

Lately, this has been the theme throughout my life: with work, with play, and within the relationship I have with myself and others. I need to feel the difference in order to know the difference. I need to experience the change to know which path to chose. How do I truly know something unless I feel it in my body and experience it for myself?

I never really felt it as much as I feel it now. In regards to yoga, my practice has changed a lot. The way I choose which class to take, the way I choose to take care of myself through discipline: all of this evolves. Like any relationship, my practice evolves. What I need each day evolves. But how do I know the difference? How is it possible to tap into that place inside that TRULY KNOWS what I need ALL of the time? There are days when that fight of trying to find what I need feels impossible, when I just want to curl up in a ball, when there are no words, there are no sounds, no way I could possibly communicate with anyone–not even myself.

I feel lost…

So I try. I try doing what used to work for me (or what I thought worked). There are times when I go SO far into the past that it makes no sense. I tap into the younger version of me. I drink, I smoke, I decide to numb what I feel. But that doesn’t work. So I eat crap, watch tons of TV, swipe through social media, noting all the cool things other people are doing without me. I hide from the world as I wallow. But that doesn’t work either. So finally I turn off the TV, put down the phone, and sit. Some would call it meditation. I sit. I listen. I listen to what’s happening now inside me. That’s where it can get scary. See, now I am faced with dealing with MYSELF.

I feel scared…

There is no one in this world more harsh toward me than my own voice inside my head. I get bombarded with the HOWs, WHYs, SHOULDs, COULDs, and NOT ENOUGHs. Most of the time I don’t even know where that voice comes from.

I feel small…

So I write. Sometimes it’s just random thoughts, feelings, a way to tap into the witnessing part of myself. This part is a lot softer, nicer, and can see all angles, causes, and explanations–for the most part. This is the part of me that’s okay without an answer right now. This is the part of me that shows up for my clients ALL the time.

I feel okay…

As a result, I decide I need to do something. I need to take action to do what would be best for me. Take a break, get some rest, do more yoga, dance, cook, visit with friends. Whatever it is, it is something I feel ready for, something I can decide quickly, instinctively.

I feel okay with being okay…

It’s a cycle I’ve fallen into all my life. For a long time I didn’t even notice it. In fact, I was searching, seeking, longing for anything. Most of the time I got away from it by turning my focus toward other people. I’m a natural caretaker, so it was easy to always help. But then I realized I was getting to a point that really didn’t help anybody at all–especially not myself.

My daily yoga practice (all eight limbs–I’m not just talking asana–it takes more than just a physical practice, but for a lot of folks that’s where it all begins) is really what keeps me moving forward. Whether I cycle through another round of this or not, at least I’m harnessing the tools to be kinder to myself.

I’ve been able to develop the side of myself that can witness without placing blame or talking negatively. 

I was posed with a question earlier today: “Do people go to yoga to get in shape? Would you guarantee them a level of fitness like a three-month gym membership?”

Granted, I wouldn’t say my opinion is in the majority, or that most yoga teachers would agree with me. But I replied, “No. When you walk into the studio, I’m not going to guarantee you anything. You are going to find what you are looking for, if that’s why you showed up. If you come for a workout, you will get it. If you come to lose weight, you will. If you come for peace, you’ll achieve that. If you show up for a physical practice and stick with the discipline rather than giving up on yourself, you will get exactly what you need.” 

People are familiar with the idea of a gateway drug.  A yoga practice has the possibility of being the gateway to finding yourself, of listening to your body, and learning to trust yourself. For many people, that concept is revolutionary thinking.

I believe we were all given a gift to share with the world. For some reason, we have crafted a world that has torn us away from that belief. The belief that mystery is okay and we are inherently good. That we have the tools to survive, free of all the extra stress life gives us, and that we can shake things off just as easily as the wild animals that share this world with us.

So if you find yourself jumping from one physical fad to the next, I challenge you to TRY to stick with one thing. Stick with ONE thing that makes you FEEL ALIVE. I GUARANTEE you, things will fall into place.


40 Days: breathe. love. grow. – Week 5

When our practice hits us in the face and we say “I’m not into it today…maybe I’ll just skip it. No big deal.” We remember that our daily asana practice sits with our self-discipline. When have you ever regretted getting on your mat? When have you ever regretted listening to your breath or feeling supported by others?

Let’s cultivate together!

#SelfDiscipline #40DaysBreatheLoveGrow #PPY #Portlandpoweryoga #PortlandYoga #MaineYoga #Connect #KnowWhichisWhich
#SelfDiscipline #40DaysBreatheLoveGrow #PPY #Portlandpoweryoga #PortlandYoga #MaineYoga #Connect #KnowWhichisWhich

Hands On: My Life As a Yoga Assistant Part 1

Student: You don’t assist classes anymore?

Me: Not any more, no.

Student: Why?

Me: The answer starts below…

I started on this back in 2009–the journey that is–with my first training. It was two years into a solid yoga studio practice, which before then was a practice that only took place in the comfort of my own home. I didn’t know what I was in for and honestly didn’t care. It seemed like the natural progression which I witnessed over and over again in the Western culture that I live in. Practice yoga. Train in yoga. Teach yoga. But I had no desire to teach, and it wouldn’t be until years later that I discovered why that was SO true for me.

I wanted to “assist.” I wanted to speak with my hands. This is what seemed natural for me, to offer support to others within their practice. But even though I had received good, confusing, forceful, painful, amazing assists, I wanted to know more. When I was being assisted, I noticed that each one I received was SO different. Was it the person Assisting me? Was it my body? Was I doing something wrong? Was I being corrected? Was I being supported? Was this what it was supposed to feel like? Was I in trouble? My brain would flood with questions, and there never really seemed to be answers. I was consumed with judgement, blame, and finger pointing. Could I even speak up about this? In a way, I felt powerless around receiving assists. I would avoid certain classes where certain people assisted. I feared their energy, their smell, the way they looked at me or didn’t, the emptiness I felt when they touched me. So I went to the training and I had many insights–and so much more. 

The more came from within. It was a listening, a way of speaking that felt so familiar, even though it was new. It was like being heard for the first time. So naturally, I wanted to learn more. Because I had no desire to teach, I felt called to study yoga therapy, specifically with the style taught by Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Here is where I developed my language. I already had the hands-on skills taught by power yoga teachers and assistants, body workers, and anatomy specialists. But none of them offered me the knowledge I have developed through becoming a yoga therapist.

We all know what it’s like to walk on eggshells. We know how to tread lightly around certain people we’re speaking to, to have boundaries, and to approach certain people with conditional behavior. We learn throughout life what to ignore, what to be comfortable around, and how to be respectful. At least that’s the hope, right? So if I take my words away, and speak with touch, why is it that what once felt clear is now not so clear?

I was told once during an assistant training weekend I was leading that “you can’t teach energy.” I never claimed to, but felt the need to educate people who never even thought about it. When you meet someone, you get an impression. At first it’s based on how they look, how they carry themselves, then what they speak. But first, though you may not notice it, you get a feeling. Maybe it’s a gut feeling or an intuitive sense, something unexplainable, a “read.” Sometimes that feeling doesn’t match the pleasant, respectful behavior or words presented. Sometimes that person may be “nice enough” but leaves you with a feeling of question, something just “not right.” This is what I’m talking about. THIS is what was missing from all my trainings before yoga therapy. THIS is about INTENTION.

These are the things that live within the word INTENTION for me:

Why? (Why am I doing this?  Why am I here?)

What? (What am I saying? What am I feeling? What am I doing?)

How? (How am I approaching? How am I being? How am I feeling?)

Presence (What’s happening now? On EVERY level?)

Who? (Who am I touching? Who is in front of me? What are their whys, whats, hows, and presence)?

Why was I learning this last? Why was this NOT something I got from my trainings before this? I felt called to begin offering this myself and began to lead assistant trainings and even train people interested in the art of assisting in a class setting. I still refused to call it teaching. During that time I also trained with PRYT as a group facilitator, which meant I could lead an eight-week program focused around the PRYT methodology. I began to identify more with the word facilitator as I experienced what it was like to allow people to discover themselves. Training new assistants, it became clear to me that the first-impression-based mentality of our culture was actually what got in the way for most people. In the Western yoga world, I’ve heard moving past this refered to as an “unlearning.”

There was something that happened when people new to touch touched people. It blew my mind. I witnessed an uncovering of so much baggage. There was worry, anger, fear, resentment, over compensation, the list goes on. I had NO idea that placing a hand on someone could bring up so much. Every person training brought something different; they dealt a whole new deck of cards. If you think about a deck of cards, each card has two sides. One side usually states the brand of the card company. The other could be anything: a joker, a two of hearts. When you’re assisting someone, it’s like a deck of cards. On one side, the person in front of you is a person, a human being just like you. On the other side, they are older/younger, have had broken bones in the past, have been abused, are male/female/trans, have skin issues, mental issues, emotional issues, just got fired, dumped, lost a loved one, just smoked pot, reeks of alcohol, the list goes on. But they’re still from the same deck. They’re still a human being. It sounds simple, right? It’s not. How can I look at everyone with the same positive regard? How can I be neutral, despite everything I’ve been conditioned to think to be true? It’s something to think about.

Would you like to be assisted? How many people have ASKED you that question?

Become a Newcomer again!!!

Since the change of ownership back in September 2014, we have seen so many new faces and so many familiar faces make their way onto their mats. The reasons for why things change in life can be numerous, almost overwhelming. Life will always shift on and off the mat and so we invite to come back, check things out and feel what it’s like to start a practice. A practice can start at any time



New things happening EVERY DAY! With the recent weather (AKA – SNOW) we are offering updates through our website and Facebook for class schedule changes, last minute cancellations and even the occasional FREE practices you can do at home!

We’ve recently gotten our twitter (@portlandpwryoga) and Instragram( #Portlandpoweryoga) going so keep an eye out for those as well.

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NEW ADDITIONS this November!

Starting Veterans Day, November 11, 2014 we will be adding 2 more classes to our schedule!

Tuesday 4pm will now be an Hour of Power

PLUS Saturday 12:15pm Buti Yoga & Sunday 12:15pm Hour of Power


SPECIALS PACKAGE (available starting 11/8/2014)


(3 months of unlimited yoga – offering for a limited time)

NEW CLASS PACKAGES (available starting Sunday 11/16/2014)

$12 • DROP IN



(unlimited yoga for 31 days – limit one per customer)


(expires 6 months from purchase date)


(31 days unlimited yoga)


(365 days unlimited yoga * includes 2 workshops)