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I met Lorien Neargarder in 2009 as her much gentler yoga class followed a vinyasa I was teaching at Willow Glen Yoga. As we passed each other at the door, she was always so friendly and welcoming, and she quite obviously had a sense of humor. Her students would wait patiently in droves at the door. They loved her.

When it was time to open our studio, my business partner, Rob, and I had put cancer recovery at the center of all programming, because our studio was built upon that mission. We needed someone who would tirelessly and graciously give themselves to providing cancer support. When I spoke with Lorien, she was enthusiastic and dedicated right from the get-go (and I learned that she was oddly tied to our location in so much that she used to teach aerobics in the building that our studio is in now when it was a ladies-only gym in the late 70s).

This studio is built upon relationship. Everyone who works at BTY has an integral part in the greater workings. Whether they are a staff member, wellness professional, or teacher, they care deeply about their work and constantly and intelligently look at how they can even be even more effective. Lorien represents the best of us. Since 2011, Lorien Neargarder has served thousands of people with cancer at our studio, provided thousands of students classes in yin/restorative and pranayama, run three festivals to support cancer care through Cancer CAREpoint, and trained dozens of teachers to offer cancer support in order to make her important work more accessible to those who need it.

Lorien is moving to Florida with her family to begin a new adventure. Her last Yoga for Cancer Survivorship class will be June 27th (yes, chances are excellent that we’ll continue to see her, albeit in a more limited capacity, through workshops and trainings).

We are fortunate that the brilliant and kind Lindsey Kolb will step into Lorien’s big shoes and begin teaching Yoga for Cancer Survivorship beginning July 3.

On behalf of all of us, we thank you, Lorien, for being everything one could hope for in a teacher and a colleague.

Jennifer and everyone at Breathe Together.

Join our Summer Instagram Challenge from June 3 – August 25.

Follow our Instagram (@breathetogetheryoga) and Jennifer Prugh (@jennprugh).

Yoga- asana has a long standing history of creating systems of 84 postures. But historically, most systems are of seated postures. So Jennifer Prugh weighed the history of yoga with yoga-asana of today and created a system of 84 postures that address the body of a modern yoga practitioner while still retaining a connection to early yoga. Learn the system, learn how to safely sequence your practice, deepen your understanding of yoga, share what you are learning with others and have fun doing it!

Each week we will post seven postures for the week. You post yourself in the posture, or a variation or modification of that posture each day. Hashtag us so we can find you!

Post daily for prizes or a chance to be featured!

To win the grand prize of a gift box full of items totaling $500, complete all 84 postures within June 3 through August 25. Be creative, show us whatever expression or modification that you wish. Let’s play!

Hashtags

#breathetogetheryoga
#BTY84
#JennPrughYoga

Take at least one business class. Be sure you can run the business the way you want within the letter of current state, local, and federal laws. You don’t have to like all laws, but if you can’t abide by them, owning a business will cause you a great deal of suffering.

Make a business plan. Then assume reality will be different than the plan.  Prepare for any and every possible scenario. Have all your agreements in writing before you open the business. Know that whatever you hope never happens probably will happen because that is often how life works.


Hire a good lawyer, be sure you’ve trademarked and copyrighted your business and programs. If you hate the idea of “owning” a trademark or copyright, the fact is that you work in the United States of America. Someone else may very well legally lay claim on the name of your business or program and it can be pulled out from under you.

Know what you are good at. If you are not good at accounting or book keeping, don’t do the books. 

If you are running a yoga business or a business where you want to make a difference to others, “people skills” are essential. 

You must be able to make hard decisions, decisions that others may not be able to understand and decisions that because of confidentiality, you can’t explain. Caring about being liked all the time will be your demise.

There are times you will have to go to battle to defend what you believe is right or the business itself. People in our line of work tend to not like confrontation. Do so intelligently and with the intention of doing no harm.

Develop a strong spiritual relationship with the God of your own Understanding. Meditate, Pray often. Maintain your practice and self care rituals. 

Do not act on your first emotional impulse ever. Develop a practice where you “sit with” any circumstance or feeling that comes up before speaking or taking action.

Get used to making mistakes every day. And someone said to me, “if you are the best in the room, you are in the wrong room.” Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Know the difference between co-workers, colleagues, students and friends. Have a few trusted friends who are not part of your business and with whom you can confide.

Things will not turn out the way you planned, people will not come through the way you thought. Learn to “go with the flow” and trust that your business, like life, will unfold as it should. Your business won’t ever run itself perfectly because you can’t control it into perfect submission, especially if it involves “moving parts,” as in, other people. Think of it more as a living, breathing creature. Your work is to lovingly attend to what it needs.

Too many business owners get into a habit of not paying themselves or not taking care of themselves in other ways, and end up suffering as a result. Martyrdom is not sustainable.

Keep a pulse on those you are serving. You may have one idea of what your business will be about, but the people who are interested in what you have to offer inform your direction. Listen to your students or clients.

Get comfortable with apologizing often. Ultimately, you alone are responsible for everything that happens in your business. Always seek mutual understanding whenever possible, and give up the need to be right.

Question your own conclusions often. Especially snap judgments. The question, “is this thought I just had true?” comes in especially handy.

Seek wise counsel. Listen to their ideas. But at the end of the day, you are the one who has to live with your decisions. Once you have weighed in, trust your gut. Act from your own center.

Live ethically. Use the Yamas and Niyamas or any tried and true ethical guidelines and refer to them often. The cleaner you are in your dealings with others, the more likely you are to attract people with integrity. 

Truth and trust are your best friends. Surround yourself with people you can trust. Do the work on the inside so that when you communicate the truth, you do so with love or at the very least, don’t hurt people with your words. Even the difficult people.

Keep excellent records. Be able to pull up any file you may need in a moment’s notice.

If you hire people, remember that eventually they will leave and “institutional memory” will be compromised. Who will be left is you. Be certain that anything significant is written down.

You will likely become very close with those you work with because you will be working all the time. Personal and professional lines can get blurred. The fact is that close relationships are a function of the working relationship. The mother ship enables close relationships. Take care of the mother ship. 

Manage your time well. There is always something to worry about. You can work yourself to near death every single day. Create working hours and stick to them. If you are able to live without your phone during hours of the day, all the power to you.

Keep inspiration around you. Web casts. recordings, apps, books, read and listen to people that inspire you to keep your head out of minutia. Walk in nature.

Do not be a “helicopter boss.” When you trust the people you hire, you empower them.

Address issues directly as they arise. Anything you ignore or are confused by will later return as a larger issue. 

If you are working with a group, treat issues that arise as policy issues not personal issues. What looks personal often is really a result of unclear or undeveloped policies. Kindly communicated clear boundaries make professional and personal life so much easier.

You are always surrounded by everything and everyone you need. Every answer will be right in front of you and your work is to get out of your own way. A consistent practice supports this ongoing realization.

Everyone and everything is a teacher.

Get a dog. When you come home after a day of things you couldn’t control or can’t tell anyone about, your dog will always love you. If you aren’t into dogs, keep love close. Love supports proper perspective. What an opportunity we have in this precious human life to contribute to shaping a world of our own making, to grow people around us.

xoxo Jennifer
Perhaps like you, I have been sitting with how to evoke change in our world around us, as well as the world at large. Two rather “yogic” phrases have been on my mind lately: “meeting the moment,” and “meeting people where they are.”
As I listen to many of you, I’ve realized that so many at Breathe have found unique ways in which to practice both of these ideas by regularly effecting change. As our studio looks forward to year 6 of being a community, we’ll begin to feature in our newsletters what our staff, members, teachers and students do to “live their yoga” as a means of continually inspiring all of us to “be the change we wish to see in the world.”
I recently discovered that our tea house manager, Jennifer Dong, is teaching her children about how to give. As a family, they prepare backpacks for the homeless filled with anything you might need if you were living on a day to day bases without shelter.  As a family, they shop, pack, find homeless or homeless encampments, and give the backpacks directly as a year round “practice.” She always has backpacks in her car, ready when she sees someone in need.  Her young children are learning what it means to provide direct support and comfort to those around us. Her actions have inspired me to share this “practice,” with my family.
backpacks
I’m inviting the entire Breathe community to participate as an extension of our practice. Would you buy a few backpacks, pack them and give them away to people who need them? I’m especially interested in this project because it offers us the opportunity to practice “meeting the moment” and “meeting people where they are” directly and with compassion. We’re all learning how to make the world around us a better place, and evidence suggests that we’re most effective when working together.
Thankfully, Jennifer Dong has provided the list of supplies she generally purchases and guidelines for how to put the backpacks together below. Let’s see what we can do!
Wishing you and for your family comfort and joy during this holiday season,

Jennifer


Suggested Items for Backpacks

Toiletries & Miscellaneous

  1. Shampoo
  2. Travel Toothpaste
  3. Travel Toothbrush
  4. Deodorant
  5. Comb or Brush
  6. Chapstick
  7. Gloves or Mittens
  8. Small First Aid Kit
  9. New Socks
  10. New Underwear
  11. Emergency Blankets
  12. Disposable Rain Ponchos

Food & Drink

  1. Small Gift Cards (Mcdonalds, Panera, etc)
  2. Ready to Eat Cans with Easy Open Lids
  3. Soft Foods (apple sauce, puddings)
  4. Lightweight Snacks (trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, crackers)

Love

  1. Words of Encouragement
  2. Eye Contact
  3. Smiles
  4. A Listening Ear
  5. Conversation
  6. A Moment of your Time

 

jennprugh4California yoga studio owners, yoga teachers and workshop presenters: 

 My hope in writing this is to educate yoga professionals at all levels in California.

 Have you heard that the California Employment Development Department is targeting yoga studios and yoga teachers trying to make the teacher the employee and the studio the teacher’s employer regardless of how many different studios you teach? Do you understand the financial and life changing impact this may cause?

 Historically, most independent yoga studios have operated under the private or independent contractor model with the premise that yoga teachers are running their own business, teach or run their workshop without any supervision, are compensated in a variety of negotiated ways, chose their own schedule, etc. The EDD does not care about these and other legal “independent” factors. The EDD wants studios to be employers and teachers of all varieties to be in an employment relationship.

 We built our studio business model on the private contractor legal foundation; we wanted yoga teachers to have the freedom to create and follow their own initiative. A few years ago the EDD’s actions became obvious to yoga studio owners. Breath Los Gatos was one of those studios. So we consulted a lawyer in case we would be audited. We have never dictated or supervised yoga teacher actions. We contract with professionals on various discussed and agreed terms and conditions. We believed we created a very good private contractor business model.

 The EDD has audited two studios in our area that we knew of; both lost their cases. Two years ago, the EDD sent a notice of “employment tax audit” to Breathe Los Gatos. 

 We wanted assistance, so we contacted Yoga Alliance. Since teachers at Breathe Los Gatos have paid thousands of dollars in dues, many for over a decade, we hoped that they were working to protect yoga studios and teachers independent status within our California government. The YA President returned our email saying YA offered an online course to determine if your studio should consider switching to the employer/employee model. Not much assistance. 

 So we contracted with an attorney specializing in independent contractor issues to present our case to the state. We and our attorney have analyzed our business model: Breathe Los Gatos contracts with teachers performing a variety of styles of yoga, tai chi and chi gong. The teachers contracting to work through Breathe Los Gatos create and manage their own businesses, are highly trained (at great expense), knowledgeable and experienced, most have been teaching close to ten years, and they teach through contracts with a variety of venues (corporate, private, other studios) throughout the Santa Clara, Santa Cruz County area, and the peninsula, and many teach workshops and at conferences in and outside of the United States. They teach patients in hospitals, the Veterans Administration, and work with prisoners in state prisons. Our model stresses contracts with highly trained professionals.  We purposely do not supervise or direct the manner and means they chose to teach. All these factors support independent contractor status. Also these factors allow us to offer the public a more complete expression of yoga and to a very wide demographic. From the beginning we have aimed to offer “yoga for everyone,” and this model makes that possible. 

 We know of no state wide professional organization addressing these issues. If you are interested in starting or joining such an organization, let us know. With enough positive response, maybe we could start something in that area.

 In the meantime, we’re writing from our own experience. Hopefully the above information and the below suggestions may save you and your studio(s) from our suffering and exasperation. 

 If you are a teacher bidding or contracting for scheduled times at a studio, you may want to consider:

·      Create a fictitious business name for your business. (Go on line and check with your local County Clerk. Find how simple this is.)

·      Read enough about your (any) business so you understand the basics. (Every business makes profit or loss. Keep records [revenue and business expenses] and have your tax preparer complete a Schedule C for your Federal 1040.)

·      Every scheduled class you accept creates a contract for you to perform your professional services timely during that short time. (Failure to perform is a breach of your contract and subjects you to damages you cause.)

·      You may perform your services at many different studios (including your own – privates or whatever) when you want.

·      Negotiate your compensation; even rent a studio’s room for your own students.

·      Keep track of the amount you earn from each class. Then prepare and send your business invoice to the studio.

·      Advertise by word of mouth, website, flyers, newsletters, etc.

·      Remember you are not an employee – do not act like one.

 If you own a studio and contract with yoga teachers as independent contractors, look at the above and treat those independent contractor businesses like a business/independent contractor. If you treat them like an employee, you will be their employer.

 If a studio faces an EDD employment tax audit: you need an attorney who knows that special law and the EDD; you will pay exorbitant legal fees, live under the stress of a long drawn out audit process. (And likely lose the audit according to the EDD anyway. They do not necessarily follow that law. There are appeals.) That whole audit process and with ultimate assessment could cost tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our advice is do not pretend that this issue doesn’t affect you. You will eventually be audited. Talk to an attorney about either converting to the employer/employee model or strengthen the studio’s independent contractor relationship with its yoga teachers in case of an EDD employment tax audit. Whether or not you’ve known about this, we highly recommend not pretending this issue is just going to go away. Many studios will not survive once they are audited. The process, assessment and aftermath is expensive. 

 Special words for workshop presenters or teacher trainers: Take heed of the above. While you are the most likely yoga teachers to be found by the EDD as independent contractors, there are no guarantees. Ask the studio owner where you contract whether or not that studio is following the hiring employees model or contracting with independent contractors model. Be sure you are filing invoices in order to be paid. Be sure the independent contractor relationship between you and the studio is clear. 

 Generally speaking, evidence suggests the California EDD wants to convert yoga studio/teacher relationships to employer/employee regardless of what the studio/teacher may want and may think they have created. While I can understand their impetus, (i. e., easier to collect taxes) and we may be able to live with that, we do object to the way the EDD is implementing their change. Make the rules clear and allow the companies that follow the rules to maintain independent contractor status. Don’t penalize all yoga businesses, including those that do follow the rules.

 A new highly reputable study was published last week stating that yoga was an effective anti-depressant in relieving depression. Yoga and mindfulness based practices save all of us millions of dollars in taxpayer money. We have high hopes that those running the EDD and overseeing the EDD auditors get to know the industry and the benefits it bestows on the yoga public. Perhaps then EDD could lighten up by applying the law to yoga businesses that effectively benefit thousands of residents at relatively low cost and no tax dollars. California could actually decrease medical costs while benefiting thousands of resident yoga students and teachers by following the law.  

 Breathe Los Gatos is well within the EDD audit process and will receive word soon – assessment or no assessment. So it’s too late for us. But it’s not too late for you. If you know yoga teachers or studio owners, please send this to them. I’d love to save anyone from having to go through this experience. 

 Jennifer Prugh

Owner, Breathe Los Gatos 

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I am quite fond of sweet potatoes, especially the purple ones. They are less sweet than their orange family members, with a delicious flavor. Like all sweet potatoes they are not part of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) but belong to the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). My favorite one is the Stokes Sweet Purple Potato, particularly for this recipe. They got their name because they were first grown in the Stokes County in North Carolina. In California organic ones can be found in many stores. Their purple color indicate a high content of flavonoids known as anthocyanin which is a powerful antioxidant also found in blueberries, acai berries, black currents, or red cabbage.

Freshly baked these potato dollars are crisp outside and soft inside. Their taste and the sugary smell when they just come out of the oven remind me of cookies! Yummy and nutritious cookies, though! The next day they are more moist. To make them crispy again they can be toasted. We often have them for breakfast, together with raw cultured butter.

Why organic raw cultured butter? Butter from grass fed cows is a veryimportant source of fat soluble vitamins such as true vitamin A (retinol),Vitamin D, and K as well as trace minerals like manganese, zinc, chromium and iodine, especially when the cows feed on green grass. Weston A. Price writes about this in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration where he emphasizes that adding green pasturage yields in higher amounts of these fat soluble vitamins.

Butter from grass-fed cows has a good amount of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which has strong anticancer properties. Other fats in butter are lauric acid which is a medium chain fatty acid and known to be antimicrobial and antifungal, otherwise only found in coconut oil, as well as butyric acid (a short chain fatty acid) which has antifungal properties as well as antitumor effects. Additionally, butter has small but nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Pesticides and other environmental poisons can accumulate in fat, so it is important to look for butter from organic or pasture-raised cows as pasture is usually not sprayed.

Cultured butter is made from fermented, or soured, cream by adding beneficial bacterial cultures which help to break down the trace amounts of lactose sugars before consumption.

Raw butter is not heated and contains active enzymes and a broad spectrum of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria which makes it easy to digest. Besides, raw butter contains the Wulzen Factor which is called the “antistiffness” factor because this substance protects from calcification of the joints and hardening of the arteries.

If you want to read more about the health benefits of butter then go to Dr. Axe’s article about butter or to this article by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD.

Now, are you convinced about butter, especially raw butter? Then try this great combination of sweetness and cultured abundance, and let me know how you like it!

Guten Appetit!
Judith
The Nourishing Yogini

——————
Recipe for baked purple potato dollars 

purple potatoes
coconut oil
raw butter

Wash purple potatoes. If preferred the potatoes can be peeled. Slice potatoes and lay on parchment paper. Depending on thickness bake for 45 – 55 minutes at 375F.  Let cool.

Enjoy with raw cultured butter!

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Wash your purple potatoes, especially if you don’t peel them.

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  • Peel if preferred and slice them.

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Lay on parchment paper and brush with coconut oil.

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Bake for 45 – 55 minutes at 375F.

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Let cool down a bit, or completely, and enjoy with raw butter!