Monday, April 6, 2020

Yoga via ZOOM

Namaste Dear Yogis!

During quarantine, we will be practicing together online, thanks to the miracle of modern technology!

I’ll be offering two classes per week from the Temple of Joy Yoga Sanctuary, my home studio, until quarantine ends. These will be relatively gentle "slow flow" classes, with options for more challenging explorations, and suggested modifications for those who need an even gentler practice. All are welcome to join in, from anywhere in the world!

Wear comfortable clothing, and gather any props you have available that you might need.   It is best to refrain from eating for at least 90 minutes before class begins. Please arrive at your device 5 minutes early so we can troubleshoot any technical difficulties. For security purposes, I will need to admit you into the meeting, so please be on time so there is no disruption after class begins.

Link for Thursday Class:

These Zoom classes are offered on a donation basis, with everyone welcome regardless of ability to pay. If it is within your means to make a donation, here are the options:

Venmo: Jody-Kessler-1
PayPal: If you select "Friends & Family," they won't take a commission out of your donation.
Check: made out to Jody Kessler, 305 Taylor Place, Ithaca, NY 14850
Class Cards: Some of you have purchased 6- class cards and have given me permission to mark your card for each class you attend online.

Thank you, everyone. I look forward to sharing practice with you online, until we can meet again in person!

Stay healthy & positive!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Taking a Hiatus

Namaste Dear Yogis,

As we all ride this wave of response to the Corona Virus, there are new challenges that we are invited to meet moment by moment, one day at a time. 

ISLAND HEALTH AND FITNESS HAS SUSPENDED ALL GROUP FITNESS CLASSES UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.  They have also closed down the saunas and steam room as a precautionary measure. Please visit the Island website to keep abreast of any further updates and changes.

For those of you who are in my CHAIR YOGA special program at Community Corners, we will resume classes as soon as Island management, in consultation with the experts, determines that it is safe to do so.  We can extend the series into May to make up for the time we missed. I will keep you posted!



I've made this decision partly because I have not been feeling well. Mostly I have a very bad case of laryngitis, and sinus congestion.  I have had no fever, and have no reason to suspect that this is anything other than a typical upper-respiratory bug, but I think it's best that I not spread it around, and that I give my voice a chance to heal up. It seems like the Universe is telling us all to slow down and take some time to gather inward, so I'm going to listen to that nudge.  I appreciate your understanding.

I encourage all of you to practice yoga on your own, and as spring weather graces us with buds and blossoms, use this opportunity to exercise outside!

There is a lot of uncertainty we are dealing with now that can make us feel vulnerable and off-balance. Let's use everything we've got in our yoga toolbox to find stillness and grounding during this tumultuous time.  We are living in an unprecedented, ever-evolving story which, hopefully some day, we will be able to look back upon and tell our children and grandchildren that we got through it together with resilience, grace, faith and love. And a whole lotta hand washing.

Keeping Positive,

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Evening Glow Yoga

Namaste, yogis! I'm happy to share that my evening candlelight yoga series was so well-received that folks are asking to continue the class into the spring. Since daylight savings time will bring longer days, we'll shift the focus away from candles and use other ways to create sacred space together. Come join us at the Temple of Joy Yoga Sanctuary for a midweek ritual of rejuvenation and renewal. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Maha Shivaratri--The Great Night of Shiva

As a longtime and dedicated practitioner of yoga, I enjoy learning about and honoring the spiritual and cultural roots of this tradition, which includes the rich mythology of India. 

This Friday, February 21st is Maha Shivaratri, or Great Night of Shiva, a Hindu 
Festival dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is celebrated with all-day fasting and all-night chanting and dancing. Elaborate and beautiful pujas (devotional ceremonies) are performed in which the Shiva lingam, a stone icon, is worshipped, bathed in holy water, honey, butter, milk and sacred leaves, and is adorned with garlands of flowers. 

I’ll offer here a very simplified encapsulation of the story (which has many, many versions): The Devas and Asuras (gods and demons) were churning the bottom of the ocean, both parties in search of amrita, the nectar of immortality. 

In the process of this churning, a terrible poison was released-- a poison so potent that even just breathing its powerful fumes would destroy every living being on earth. 

What to do? They enlist the help of the all-powerful god Shiva, who agrees to drink the poison in order to save humanity. However, Shiva knew he could not swallow the poison—he had to hold in it his throat until sunrise, at which point the substance would be neutralized and lose its potency.  

In order to do this, Shiva needed to stay awake all night. He could not fall asleep, because he might inadvertently swallow the poison. So, the gods and goddesses danced and sang all through the night to keep Shiva awake. By morning, the poison was transformed, but in the process, it turned Shiva’s throat a bluish color. Hence, another name for Shiva is Neelkanth, the blue-throated one.

While I don’t receive these stories as literal truth, I do enjoy mining for the jewels of wisdom that are glistening within them. So, here is the teaching that speaks to me: 

As we churn the ocean of our own being, our own minds, in search of what is immortal and eternal (the Self, or True Nature), we can discover some nasty gunk, in ourselves and in the collective ocean of human consciousness. We find the poisons of greed, fear, possessiveness and attachment.  We find the toxins of ignorance of our true 
nature. We find egoic self-centeredness. In yoga, these common human afflictions 
are called kleshas.

The kleshas are qualities of the ego, and we all grapple with them to some degree. They’re just a part of our humanity, and they show us where our work is on our spiritual path.

On this Maha Shivaratri, and also each and every day, may we call upon the transformative power of Shiva to help us stay awake and alert enough to purify our being (from the poisons of the kleshas) and touch into the eternal and immortal Self—that which is not bound by time and space.

There’s a beautiful mantra that asks Shiva to help us to remember who we are beyond the body, and beyond the identities held by our minds:

OM tryambakam yajamahe
sugandhim pusti vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan 
mrtyor mukshiya mamritat

OM. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes all beings.  As, in due time, the cucumber ripens and is freed from the vine, may we be freed from attachment and fear of death, and realize the nectar of immortality.

There is a beautiful photo of Shiva sitting in meditation, with his left hand in Jnana Mudra (the mudra of wisdom) and his right hand in Abhaya Mudra (which dispels fear). These two mudras remind us that cultivating the wisdom of the true Self is the great antidote to fear. When we really know who we are as infinite and eternal, we do not fear the death of the body, nor do we fear the dissolution of who we believe ourselves to be. 

This night and always, may we drink the sweet nectar of the remembrance of our own divinity.

Om Namah Shivaya!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Chair Yoga--Spring Session

By popular demand, I will be offering another Chair Yoga series! The spring session starts March 4th!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

More Candlelight Yoga!




with Jyoti

Wednesdays   5:45-7:15 PM


305 Taylor Place, Ithaca

In these cold and dark months of the new year, we can enjoy the loveliness of the darkness with the warmth and glow of candlelight practice. In this 8 week series, we will come together to unwind from the day with a de-stressing and enlivening asana flow, ending with rejuvenating relaxation.

Series runs on Wednesdays from Jan 8th through Feb 26th.

Feel free to attend as a drop-in when you can, or make all 8 sessions a regular part of your self-care of body, mind, heart, and soul.


Poetry, readings & words of wisdom from modern and ancient sources