November 2013

A doctor who speaks the language of yoga

Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 4.09.43 PMI arrived at Dr. Slattery’s office yesterday feeling anxious about how things are going.

But after this doctor’s treatment, I felt like a whole new person.

Walnut Grove Animal Clinic caters to cats and dogs, but I must tell you they also know how to treat a person!

On my newly-adopted poodle’s first vet visit, I had a list of questions a mile long – contributing to my tension.  Is he eating enough? Is he eating too little? What about accidents in the house?


Well, let’s just say this vet’s office had me at ‘hello!’

First, no forms.  No clipboards with pens from drug companies. No reams of paper asking for my signature. The receptionist asked the pertinent questions like “Why are you here to see the doctor?” And that was it.

Second, no waiting.  The waiting room looked comfortable enough, but I can’t tell you for sure because we never sat down.

The vet tech escorted me and my new pup immediately to the treatment room.

After she asked me a few easy questions (again, no forms!), Dr. Slattery and his big smile walked into the room, shook my hand and took Pup’s paw.

“Looking good!” he said.

Wonder how my next visit to my primary care checkup would go if the doctor entered the room with this line.

The doctor gave Pup a thorough looking-over, and pronounced him healthy and “normal” – pending the blood work and urine sample.

“At this point we have every reason to believe this is going to be a great dog for you – possibly one of the best relationships of your life,” he said.

Wow!  I liked the sound of this.

Slattery’s philosophy on dog ownership sounded so familiar to me, it made me wonder if he studies the Yoga Sutras.

“The most important thing is awareness,” he told me. “It sounds like common sense,” he said, “but everything depends on awareness. If you listen to him and learn what he likes, you will know your dog.”

He told me to try different things to see how Pup responds. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else.

“If you spend time with him and stay aware, then you and your dog will have a long and happy relationship,” he said.

Who would have thought that raising a dog could be so much like practicing yoga?

Yoga practice helps me become aware of my body and myself. I pay attention to my body – listen to it and learn what it likes. I give it the kind of food it wants, and avoid things that makes it sick or sluggish.

I get to know myself from the outside to the inside.

I’m planning on having a long and happy relationship with my dog and with my body.

Finally, Dr. Slattery’s treatment that put my feel-good meter over the top:

At the end of our visit the good doctor looked me in the eye and said, “You’re doing a really good job with him. Keep up the good work.”

Kquvien’s workshop – reflections

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 2.34.29 PMKquvien came. She saw us. She inspired us.

When I took class with her a few years ago in Atlanta, I found Kquvien Deweese to be an inspiring and refreshing voice in Iyengar Yoga. And of course I wanted to share that with my Memphis peeps!

It’s risky to sign up for a yoga workshop. You might not even know the teacher, but you your friend tells you she/he is awesome or inspiring. So you commit to go.

There’s trust involved. You set aside hours of your precious weekend to focus on you and your yoga. To learn something new about yourself or to challenge yourself physically.

I appreciate all who participated in the weekend with Kquvien. You showed up and brought with you your whole selves – with an open mind and a willingness to see and be seen.

And if you didn’t make it this time, no worries. Kquvien will be back next year!

Plus, your friends who attended present here some highlights from their experience.

Namaste, Everybody! Looking forward to seeing you all in class! Leahsignature


“I appreciated Kquvien’s teaching because she started with the toes, moved to the feet, worked on the ankles and on up until we had awakened every bone, muscle and joint in our bodies.  She helped us build on our understanding of the asanas. It begins with the foundation” – Elaine


“Kquvien exuded such confidence in our ability to do what she asked that it enabled me to start a pose with more confidence in myself to execute her instructions. I loved the workshop. Kquvien is an excellent teacher.”
– Kathy


“When leaving the studio she didn’t just say goodbye. She said something like…’Good luck out there in the real world.’ Not sure that was it verbatim, but she said it on Saturday and again on Sunday. It reminded me that yoga is not just about what you do in the studio or on your mat, but how you apply the knowledge in the real world.
– Laura


Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 2.35.06 PMLearning the difference between the pain of evolution and the pain of destruction.  In life, in yoga, in relationships, in work…Knowing that growing muscle in any way takes pains….but it’s also important to know when the pains you’re feeling aren’t growing muscle so smart.”
– Courtney


“I think Q was thoughtful, precise, humorous and her knowledge of sutras was inspiring. I liked the way she commandeered the class keeping everybody engaged. There were a couple of  students who had never done yoga before and she managed to keep them engaged while focusing on the teaching. She is a good teacher. I would like to take her workshop again.”
– Shailendra


“I found Kquvien’s translation of one of the yoga sutras particularly meaningful. The scholarly translation: ‘Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations of the mind.’ Kquvien’s translation: This sh*t takes time!‘”
– Leah


“Very often, the yoga sessions are very serious business and trying to get the poses right is challenging! I can still hear Kquvien say: And now smile! I believe this is the first time I have heard this instruction and it certainly contributed to the 2:30 minutes flying by!”
– Elisabeth


IMG_0420“I had been so proud of my knee lift – it was the first, maybe only, foundational move I had mastered completely. Or so I believed until I met Kquvien. I now know that I hyper-extend, that my lift came from pushing back not pulling up. I spent the rest of the workshop in deep communal thought with my knees, trying to engage with them from a new position – that level of targeted body awareness is a wonderful feeling!
– Diane


I loved her concept about the pain of evolution vs the pain of destruction. And how she incorporates the sutras into the asana practice. Also, it struck me when she said to stick with the yamas and niyamas and not get greedy to do the pose. Also, her explanation of samadhi – absorption”
– Theresa


“Prior to the workshop with Kquvien, I have felt SUPER limited with vrksasana  – and I did have the “oh no” reaction when she said this was the next pose we would be doing. The way she broke it down little by little, reinforcing the instructions with each progression- facilitated my cognitive and physical understanding of this pose and I was really pleased with my success in getting into and sustaining the pose! YAY!!!”
– Susanne


IMG_0403“Kquvien, I thought it was so interesting that you worked on a small number of poses in order to perfect each pose. You managed to work with each student, even in a large class I liked your sense of humor, and was impressed with your memory for names.  I hope you will return to Memphis.
– Gerri


“I’ve been fortunate to study with Kquvien for several years, but one thing I learned was about the use of breath in asana. In particular, the use of an ujjayii breath to lift the foot higher into the perineum in vrkasana. Kquvien also used a metaphor of water under a rocky overhang to describe the breath going under the ribs in pranayama – I found that very illuminating.”
– Bob