written by Lydia Merl

Friday July 21, 6-9pm
Saturday July 22, 12-7pm
Sunday July 23, 12-6 pm

Connection Coalition (CoCo), the non-profit formerly known as Yoga Gangsters, works with youth organizations to share yoga, mindfulness and meditation to populations that wouldn’t otherwise have access. CoCo instructors visit aftercare programs, impoverished schools, drug rehabilitation centers, shelters, foster homes and jails around the country teaching these practices that calm the nervous system and improve decision making. Yoga practitioners from all walks of life have experienced these benefits first hand and the scientific research to back up these claims mounts exponentially every day.

Jodi Weiner, executive director of Connection Coalition, is the facilitator for this weekend and we are super excited to have her. Jodi’s passion for service in general, and spreading yoga, meditation and mindfulness in particular, is infectious. It is virtually impossible not to be moved by her enthusiasm. When asked what motivates her she says “it’s the awakening in the eyes of the kids, the trust and opening in their body language… When you finally make eye contact with the kid who walked in with shut-down, hunched shoulders, too fearful to look up; it’s that moment, that awareness, that these kids see you as safe. It’s truly an inspiring sensation that I hope to support others to find. Serving kids is a gift that needs to be felt to fully understand how much joy there can be in service”.

Promoting the benefits of yoga, meditation and mindfulness is a privilege and offering these tools to communities that have never experienced the empowerment, joy, awareness and self-control that they instill is beyond fulfilling. You do NOT need to be a yoga teacher and you do NOT need to be an “advanced” practitioner. All that is required is enthusiasm, a willingness to learn how to best serve and be sensitive to the unique needs of this population along with a desire to go out into the community and share.

This is Yoga Journey’s fourth time hosting this training and we are extremely excited to announce that we are joining CoCo’s Adopt-A-Yoga-Program. We already have many teachers/volunteers working with at risk youth in our community, but through this program we will start and support our own program at Wayne Barton Center for a full year. Yoga Journey strives to raise the vibration in Boca Raton and to give back to our community. The Adopt-A-Yoga-Program provides an immediate forum for attendees to apply what they’ve learned. We hope you will join us in supporting this incredible program.

Jodi insists that “once that flame of service is lit, it’s hard to ignore”. Jodi intends to ignite and stoke those fires. We at Yoga Journey are happy to be a part of CoCo’s mission and Jodi’s vision and we hope to be instrumental in stoking those fires of service within you, too. The CoCo training takes place over one weekend but the wisdom gained lasts a lifetime and the ripple effect on the community goes on forever.

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-1-50-09-pmNext month, some of the most nationally recognized yoga teachers converge on South Florida to present at the Yoga Journal conference in Hollywood. Yogis from all over the country will be flocking to The Diplomat Resort and Spa to learn from the likes of Seane Corn, Shiva Rea,  Rodney and Colleen Yee, Jason Crandell, Amy Ippoliti, and so many more. This year, Yoga Journey’s very own Leslie Glickman joins their ranks and will be teaching two Yin classes at the conference. It’s a big deal.

“When you look at the line-up of teachers presenting, It’s humbling for me to be sitting in the same arena with them at that level. It’s a huge honor and so amazing to me. I am grateful for the opportunity,” says Leslie

Yoga Journey has been a studio partner with the event for years. For the past two years Leslie has been assisting Seane Corn at the Florida Yoga Journal conference. Last year Leslie led a beautiful sunrise meditation on the beach for participants. This is the first time she will be teaching full class sessions at the conference.

The Yoga Journal conference only travels to a handful of cities per year and we are very lucky that it lands here on our doorstep. We want to support the conference to make sure it keeps South Florida on its radar! We also want to support Leslie as her participation could lead to so much more for her, and for our local yoga community.

Building community has long been Leslie’s passion, and the South Florida yoga community is strong. Leslie is excited to develop relationships with these high level teachers and hopes it will elevate even further the quality of the workshops and types of yoga programming she can offer here. She would love to be able to host some of these teachers for events at Yoga Journey. In addition, if given a national platform, Leslie hopes to be able to inspire other areas across the country to create stronger communities through yoga as well.

Leslie rarely asks for anything from her tribe. She gives a lot. She hosts Yoga in the park every Saturday morning in Sanborn Square in Boca Raton (and offers free live streaming of those classes). She hosts the Something Big! New Year’s Day event at Mizner Park. She offers many workshops for all, and continuing ed opportunities for teachers at Yoga Journey. She offers a donation based lunch & learn every Friday afternoon where people can come learn more about yoga. She offers so many events not just at the studio, but elsewhere in the community such as Farmer’s TableRaw Juice, and Eau Spa. This is a chance for us to show up for her in a big way (and enjoy her amazing Yin class in the process). Come to the conference! Sign up for at least one of Leslie’s classes. She is on the cusp of being a nationally recognized teacher and really needs our support to take her gifts forward and do even bigger work in this world. Show your support for her, and also expose yourself to the other amazing teachers there all weekend. Even if you can’t make it to the entire conference, just coming on Friday evening will be a big way for you to show up for Leslie. It would mean so much.

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Along with her passion for building community, Leslie feels driven to spread the message that people need to take responsibility for elevating themselves. She says everyone needs to be responsible for how they show up in the world, and they need to know that how they show up contributes to the whole. She feels strongly it’s her calling to bring this message to a bigger audience and is asking for her community to help her do that.

If you’ve never experienced the Yoga Journal conference, now is the time. If you’ve participated before, you know how special it is. Come out and support our teacher as she takes her next BIG step.

– Namaste’

Yoga Journal Conference, Hollywood Florida 2016
Nov 11-14th
Diplomat Resort & Spa
3555 S Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019
REGISTER HERE Use code LESLIE to save 15% on the pass of your choice! 


Photo Credit: Naya Rappaport & Andrea Blakesberg.



On this blog I’ve been covering the Yamas and the Niyamas, which make up one branch of the eightfold path of yoga, according to Patanjali’s Sutras. The Yamas tell yogis what not to do. Posts about these restraints can be found here: AhimsaSatyaAsteyaBrahmacharya and Aparigraha.

The Niyamas remind us what we should do. We’ve already explored four of the Niyamas, SauchaSantoshaTapas and Svadhyaya. In this post, I delve into the final Niyama which is Ishvara Pranidhana.

I do not write about these as a scholar, but as a fairly new yoga teacher, (three years in) and I am sure my understanding of the the Yoga Sutras will keep evolving over time. It has been my joy to write about them, allowing me to absorb the concepts more deeply as I go. If my writings about them resonate with readers of this blog in some way, I am grateful to have had that opportunity for connection.

The fifth Niyama, Ishvara Pranidhana, means devotion. According to Patanjali’s Sutras it means self-surrender to Supreme consciousness. It is when the will of the yogi lines up with the will of the Divine.

No longer are you doing your practice, trying to get in shape. No longer are you trying to get “better” at the pose. No longer are you worried about what you look like on the mat. No longer are you worried that you did’n’t get enough practice in this week. No longer are you interested in beating yourself up over anything. Ishvara means you surrender it all to something greater than your small self. You let go of anything other than being the highest version of yourself, in the moment. It is not done for accolades. It is not done to get ahead. It is not done for a prize. It is only so you might be of service to something higher.

The ego leads us to think if we take time to meditate,  we are giving something up. We don’t have time. When we are in the space of Ishvara Pranidhana, we are fully integrated with our Higher self, and the biggest secret is… it’s not a sacrifice. It’s bliss. No longer do we meditate because we should. We do it because it is wonderful. This state can also be found when we are “in the zone.” How many times have you been inspired seeing a person doing exactly what they came here on earth to do? A singer hitting that perfect note. A basketball player making the shot. Leslie Glickman leading Something Big? Their highest selves lining up with their human selves, bringing something of light to the world. Sometimes it happens in quieter humbler moments. A special education teacher taking an overwhelmed child under their wing. A chef excitedly preparing a new menu. A grandmother gently rocking a baby. No matter what we are doing, when we lose our small selves and merge with the Divine, we are practicing Ishvara Pranidhana.

Take a breath and think about a moment when you lost track of time and felt truly at one with your Higher self. It might have been for just a moment or two. A moment out of time, when everything lined up and you felt like you were right where you were meant to be.

What were you doing?

What is it that makes your sweet soul fill up? What are you doing when you feel most yourself?

Maybe do more of that today.

And if you can’t actually physically do it, take a moment to think about it, imagine it. Draw it near.



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Leslie Glickman has been leading yoga teacher training groups for seven years and with each group the training has evolved. The most recent 200 hour training class had the advantage of an entire faculty hand picked by Leslie.

“Each teacher on faculty is from my first 500 hour training group. Each shines in a particular area, and I picked them to cover that piece of the curriculum. This first group using the whole faculty is about to graduate and I feel they’ve had a very rich experience by having other teachers be part of their training team.”

Having a faculty ensures more individualized attention for the students, and also offers students an opportunity to hear things in a way that works for them. One teacher’s explanation of a pose or a concept might not click with a student, but another teacher will resonate. With each teacher having a rich area of interest, it ensures those areas are covered in an even deeper way.

Leslie says her yoga teacher training program will continue its evolution, and that the next session starting September 7th is going to be the most dynamic training yet. Two very special guests will be coming to town to enrich the education of her next group.

Leslie feels strongly that she is creating a lineage with the teachers she is bringing through her program, but she also comes from a lineage. She says teacher Juli Kagen (who is on the TT faculty) came up with the idea of exposing the next group of trainees to Leslie’s own teachers.

“I have a nice personal relationship with Seane Corn and Bryan Kest from years of studying with them, and respecting and admiring their work. They both have had a huge influence on me and my teaching. I reached out to them and asked if they would be interested in participating in my training and they both said yes!”

Two separate Wednesdays in November Seane Corne and Bryan Kest will be visiting the next Yoga Journey teacher training group! It will not be not open to the public. Leslie says the evolution of her teacher training program is exciting,

“Having Seane and Bryan join us will be a private thing for the next group. The students will get a chance to be exposed to where I come from, and I’m thrilled. I feel like I’m taking the training to the next level. I thought this year it was going to the next level by developing this faculty, but now it’s going one step further. The program is ever evolving and elevating and it just keeps going. It feels like a fast moving train. This is what I’m meant to be doing. The Universe keeps saying yes, and I have this real tapas, this real drive and desire to keep moving forward.”

Over the last 10-15 years, Leslie has studied with these teachers, staying in contact with them, traveling to learn from them, and attending their workshops whenever they are in Florida.

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Of Bryan Kest, Leslie says,

“He’s had a big impact on me. He gave me permission to be myself. He took away all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding yoga for me. I learned from him that I didn’t have to hold myself to some weird standard of what I thought a yoga teacher was supposed to be. He laid out that example of authenticity. Just be real. Speak it in your own language. Speak it in a language your students are going to understand. Be yourself. He taught me it’s not about what we’re showing on the outside, it’s what we’re doing on the inside. It’s about getting gritty, getting real.” 

Leslie first met Seane Corn when she wandered into Seane’s class at a Yoga Journal conference. She had no idea how transformative it would be.

“That one class changed me for life. I went to the desk and changed my whole schedule so that I could go to all of her classes for the rest of the workshop. She turned me inside out.”

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Leslie says of Seane,

“She was another one of those teachers encouraging students to get real, get honest, this is not fluff. She was all about the shadow. At the time, I didn’t even know I had shadows. If you looked at me on paper, my life was pretty good. I don’t have trauma, etc. I didn’t know I had stuff lurking under the surface. I thought I had it all together, and I was a freaking hot mess! I’m grateful to her for showing me that, because that vulnerability and that realization changed me forever as a teacher. I now can hold space to allow others to fall apart. I can hold space for others to get real with their own stuff.”

Of both Seane and Bryan Leslie says, “Without them I think I’d be teaching Asana (poses), I don’t think I’d really be teaching yoga.”

If you are thinking of signing up for the training, one of the unique things about Yoga Journey’s teacher training program is the open door policy for former students. Anyone that’s graduated the program is welcome to drop in on current trainings.

“If you have ever been my student you will forever be my student if you still want me to be your teacher.”

She encourages teachers that have graduated from her program to sit in on subsequent trainings as much or as little as they want.

“It takes a village. I know I’m sitting at the head of the school as lead teacher, but I know not everyone is going to relate to everything I say or do. Having all different levels of experience coming and going, seeing the relationship I have with my students, that they come back, I feel like that says so much about the whole program. New students are stepping into a community. They are not just going to be trained for four months and disappear.”

Leslie says she is proud of the evolution of her teacher training program over the years.

“My curriculum has grown in 7 years. My experience being in front of students and teaching them to be teachers has grown. I own it in a totally different way now than I ever did before. I know that my system works. And I know that I’m delivering in a really cohesive and comprehensive way. It feels really good.”

Training Schedule:

Orientation Sept 7th
Sept 9-11~ Oct 7-9 ~ Nov 18-20 ~ Dec 9-11
Closing Ceremony Dec 14th

 raw juice

What could be better than Yoga, Raw Juice, and the funky music of DJ Sal on a rooftop, downtown in East Boca? Treat yourself to the healthiest of happy hours this Friday. Join us for a fun all-levels Vinyasa class followed by light bites and fresh juice. No registration required, just show up! It’s free! Bring your own mat.

Yoga Journey’s Lisa Poncek will be leading class. She says, “I’m  excited to teach at Raw Juice because it’s an event that really brings community together and I’m so proud to represent Yoga Journey there. Yoga Journey and Raw Juice are both such generous businesses.”

Come see your friends, and/or make some new ones!

Friday: 8/19/2016

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm 
197 S. Federal Highway in Boca Raton, 33432

Join Yoga Journey each month for this fun all levels vinyasa practice at Raw Juice.


On this blog I’ve been covering the Yamas and the Niyamas, (which make up one arm of the eightfold path of yoga). In review, the Yamas tell students what not to do. Posts about these restraints can be found here: AhimsaSatyaAsteyaBrahmacharya and Aparigraha.

The Niyamas remind us what we should do. We’ve already explored three of the Niyamas, SauchaSantosha and Tapas. In this post, I delve into Svadhyaya, which means self-study. Truly, the possibilities are endless. If you master this, and become the observer of your own self, you will never be bored again.

You can explore Svadhyaya right this minute by stopping, taking a breath and checking in with how you feel. Are you feeling rushed? Are you sad? Are you angry? Content? Blissed out? Just notice without judgement what your primary emotion is. Be with it for a moment.

Are you aware of a favorite color? Smell? Sound? Taste? You may have always loved the color yellow, but check in; is it your favorite color today?

Are your thoughts really your thoughts? Is your thinking influenced by what you’ve been told by others?

Pausing to notice how we feel, especially when strong emotions come up offers an opportunity to go deeper.  Do you know what your triggers are?

Most of us can see very clearly where others need to grow, but are we able to look at ourselves objectively? Likely not. We all have blind spots. How willing are you to explore your own blind spots? Your triggers will take you there. What bugs you? We are never upset for the reason we think. There is a whole extremely complex history behind every strong reaction. We give situations all the meaning they have for us. Another person faced with the same situation might react very differently or have no reaction at all to something that sets me off.  Observing our personal reactions is a rich exercise. The more we do it, the more empowered we are. With self study, when triggered, we can choose to “react” the same way we always do, or we can choose to “respond” differently. Self observation, Svadhyaya, is key to this awareness, and gives us choice.

Are you aware of how you treat people? Are you kind and respectful? Sweet as punch? Are you condescending? Are you a giver (to a fault)? A taker (to a fault)? What’s your nature? Again, no judgement. Knowing ourselves can help to keep these tendencies in check so we can have balanced energy exchanges with others.

Speaking of energy…are you full of energy? Or does it take a little while for your enthusiasm to build? Are you an early adopter to new ideas, or do you need to hang back a bit to decide? There is merit to both ways of being.

Do you have a biting tongue? If so, why?

A hearty laugh?

Are you tired? Thirsty? Lonely?

What brings you joy?

On the mat, notice everything. Notice your breath. Notice the feel of the body as it roots down, lifts up, stretches. Notice where your mind goes. Ask yourself, who am I? Right now? And now? And now? Notice your emotional reactions as you breathe and move into each pose. No judgement.

Savor your self-study. Nothing is more fascinating than you.

And then ask yourself, who is doing all this noticing?

Take a breath.

Be with that.

Be still.

Now you’re cooking.

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Saturday July 9th Mary Ann Morgan-Fried will be offering a workshop on Empowerment and the Shadow at Yoga Journey. The workshop will focus on personal growth, shadow work and the third chakra, which is the seat of the emotions. It is also the heart of personal power and has to do with how we identify ourselves in the world.

Mary Ann says it is important to explore those parts of ourselves that we have shame about or have kept hidden.

“When we embrace the challenges that we’ve had in life, instead of trying to suppress things, we allow them to be something we can learn from, something we can grow from. When we make peace with our shadow side it really changes everything so much.”

The workshop, a Vinyasa flow, is for those who want insight into understanding their shadow parts and living a more authentic life.

“If we continue to live in fear and if we continue to relive the bad things that happened in life it really blocks us energetically. That’s why I feel so passionate about teaching the chakra workshop because it gives us so much insight about where we are and how we can make the change and make a shift. It becomes such a sense of freedom when we start to recognize, let go of, and make peace with the shadow side.”

Yoga Journey student Teresa Trunzo has taken many of Mary Ann’s classes and workshops. She says this about her teaching style,

“Maryann has a welcoming energy about her that wraps around you like a big hug that says I know how you feel, I’ve been there, and you’re safe here. You can relate to what she saying. No judgement, just be…she radiates love.”

Mary Ann encourages students, to “Be real, be you, be authentic.”

Sat: Date: 7/9/2016


Investment in your self – $45 Sign up here!


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Sunday, July 10th Anna Crane, certified yoga instructor and meditation guide, practitioner of meditation for over 40 years, will lead a workshop at Yoga Journey.

It will focus on three aspects of meditation. Mantra: The first entry into meditation, helps clear distractions and help our minds become quiet. A specific mantra (a word or sound) will be used at the workshop.

Mindfulness: The Bhuddist practice of mindfulness offers another way of responding to whatever is going on in our lives. We bring compassion directly to the core of the issue. This is the first step towards healing and releasing distress, whatever is going on.

Raja Yoga: The king of all yoga, focuses on the breath. Anna’s intention in leading the workshop,

“I hope participants come away with a profound experience of what a meditation practice can bring them. The word meditation means concentrated focus, getting used to something, and in this case, becoming familiar with the breath.”

She adds, “Meditation to me, means an experience of peace. Peace is within each and every one of us.”

If you’d like tools to bring more calm to your life, consider attending and learning from Anna’s wealth of knowledge.

The workshop is Sunday, July 10th from 12-1:30PM.

Investment in your own well-being, $20.00

Sign up here! 



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Melanie Haraldson practiced yoga sporadically for many years. She played soccer in college (and coached soccer as well, including coaching Leslie Glickman’s daughter Molli) and would come to yoga looking for a tough, challenging workout. In time she began to realize there was something more to the practice than just the physical, but it wasn’t something she felt ready to tap into.

“It was about a month after I lost my dad to suicide, through addiction, that I came to one of Debra’s classes, and while I was in Shavasana I started crying hysterically. It was terrifying for me. I always walked around with this front of I’m strong, and nothing can phase me, and I’m okay. Afterward, Deb sat with me for a long time and made me feel safe and held and loved and it made me feel like it was okay to go back. It took me a long time, but I did.”

Three months after that, in another class, it happened again.

“It really woke me up to the fact that I needed to pay attention to what was happening in my body.”

Leslie told Melanie to keep making her way to her mat.

And so, ten months after her father passed away, Melanie signed up for her 200 hour teacher training with Leslie Glickman. She had no idea how transformational it would be for her.

“There were two other women in our teacher training group that had also lost someone they loved to suicide, very recently, and so I truly believe the power of the Universe, God, Higher Power, Spirit, whatever you believe, brought us all together in that moment and in this training. It provided a very sacred and safe space that allowed a huge amount of healing that I never would have known could have existed, if I didn’t have that first experience of releasing those tears on my yoga mat.”

In addition to her 200 hour training with Leslie, Melanie has gone on to study with Nikki Myers founder of Y12SR and Tommy Rosen founder of Recovery 2.0. Both programs are geared toward serving those in recovery from addiction. She recently got back from a conference with these teachers and many others.

“Each time I go to a workshop like this, I think I’m going there to help other people, that I’m going there to learn as much as I possibly can so that I can bring this back to my community, and I am, but I also am reminded very quickly that I am there for myself and that I too still have a lot of healing that I need to let myself go through. These places always have a way of cracking me wide open.”

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Melanie is now teaching yoga full-time and most of her classes are in treatment centers. This has truly become her life’s work – to help others on the path of recovery!

She teaches Yin at Yoga Journey, and talks about her initial resistance to, and then progression into loving the Yin practice.

“The long slow deep holds used to feel too slow for me. I needed that fast paced, sweaty workout. I was always seeking that. So often we’re so busy that very little do we actually take the time to slow down. There is a lot of magic in slowing down and being still and being quiet and becoming fully present in your body. I find it’s exactly what I need. To find that balance in my life, when for so long I’ve been out of balance. Often when I think I need something more intense, really what I need is something that is quiet and something that is still. Yin allows me to come back to me. To come back home.”

Melanie is currently in Leslie’s 500 HR teacher training program. Her Yin class at Yoga Journey is on Thursdays at 4PM. Join her this Friday the 17th for Yin with Candlelight and Live Music from 6:00-8:00PM. Sign up here! 



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On this blog I’ve covered the Yamas: AhimsaSatyaAsteyaBrahmacharya and Aparigraha. In review, the Yamas tell students that want to live a yogic life what not to do. The Niyamas remind us what what we should do. The Yamas and Niyamas are listed in the ancient sage Patanjali’s Sutras, under the Eight Limbs of Yoga.


We’ve already explored two of the Niyamas: Saucha and Santosha.

In this post I am going to delve into Tapas.

Tapas at its most literal means heat. It also means purification. It means to bring zeal to your yoga practice, to your life. For some, the hardest part of yoga is getting out the door, and/or onto the mat. It may take Tapas to peel the child off your leg, and honor the promise you made to yourself to get the studio! Another example of Tapas is bringing your very best to each pose. It might mean engaging your core, hugging thigh muscles onto bone during trikonasana, or plank pose. For others it might mean returning to the breath again and again as the mind wanders off during meditation.

Tapas is a form of self-discipline.

It is important to note that tapas should not be used as a tool to feed the ego. Tapas should not become a punishment or a tool to justify self-hatred. Tapas does not mean push yourself to the point of pain or injury or exhaustion. It means do your practice with enthusiasm, and give it your best.

Is there a pose that you hate or avoid? Bring the energy of Tapas to it next time you practice. See if you have a little more in you to give. Is there an attitude you carry around that is adversely affecting you? See if you can work on this during your practice, offer it up for purification, visualize burning it off and letting it go as you move and breathe.

Where in your life are you feeling dense, or sluggish? Where can you give it a little more oomph? Off the mat, how are your relationships? Are you taking them for granted? Tapas might mean doing something fun with your partner or friends to give those relationships a boost of energy. Turning off the phone and having a face to face heart to heart with someone you love might be a form of Tapas.

Are you feeling like eating junk and watching junk TV? Get up off the couch and do six sun salutations with Tapas. Notice your energy change.

Life is a gift. Tapas means don’t just go through the motions. If you are going to do something, put your whole heart into it. Whether it’s mastering a pose like vrischikasana or cleaning the toilet. Give it all you’ve got. Draw from your inner well. Be inspired. Think Tapas.

*photo of Yoga Journey teacher Laura Buchbinder Hedges. Photo credit, her sister, Sarah Jane.