Registration Open for MINDFULNESS + PURPOSE Course


Copy of Mindfulness + Purpose Group

Thank you for your interest in this exciting group to be offered 6 consecutive Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7:00pm at Community Holistic Health Center (409 S Public Rd, Lafayette, CO 80026).  The dates for the course will be:  October 11, 18, 25 and November 1, 8, 15.  Preference will be given to participants who can commit to attending at least 5 of the 6 classes.  This course is offered on a donation basis, so please consider your current financial situation and the usual cost of such workshops and give as generously as you can to the non-profit Community Holistic Health Center, where we will be meeting. 

This will be a small and intimate group intended for those of us who have begun to get a sense that a new way of being in the world is possible, one that stems from compassion and interconnectedness, one that allows us to make our unique and tremendously important contributions to life.  This is not a career seminar, though sculpting our purpose and delving into what truly inspires us may indeed influence our work as well.

We will engage in a variety of approachable mindfulness exercises to get in touch with our core essence and also a number of experiential exercises designed by Rod Stryker, Bill Burnett, Dave Evans and others to gain access to what motivates us and what specific and special gifts we have to offer.  We will have frequent check-ins in the larger group as well as partner work, which will allow community to support us in unraveling obstacles and becoming accustomed to new ways of thinking and being.

Above all, we will be upholding a safe space where it is ok to experiment, try on new selves and attitudes, be vulnerable, and not feel any pressure to do anything right or well!  This is all about exploring with others who care and are willing to do the same thing.  Nobody will be pressured to share anything before they are ready, but together we will begin to face the fear that invariably shows up around the unfamiliar and unknowable.

I (Jen Peters, MA, registered psychotherapist and counseling intern at CHHC) am drawn to lead this group because I am constantly in the process of reinventing myself and updating my actions as new insights and necessities arise.  I feel an urgency in the atmosphere today from others who are trying to do the same.  I have always felt a bit alone in this venture.  So many people seem to be born to do a certain job, follow the American dream and live happily ever after, or at least, they thoroughly invest in appearing to do so.  For me and many of my closest colleagues and friends, it seems to be a bit more complicated…!

In my first four decades I have seriously pursued music, literature, neuroscience, yoga, meditation and psychotherapy, and I have been shaped by international travel, chronic illness, inspiring beings, and the increasingly difficult circumstances all Earthlings are facing at the moment.  It is not easy to find the common thread and crystallize a purpose that gives momentum to our most heartfelt aspirations, but consideration of this topic has been one of the most meaningful and practical activities I have found, and I would love to be there for others looking to do the same in their own ways.

Our group will be limited to 8 participants, so if you are interested, please register soon by going to my contact page and giving the following information:  1. your full name and 2. a couple of sentences about why you are interested in this group, and if you’d like, feel free to briefly share any hopes or fears that come up for you around this.  I will let you know about the status of your registration within about 48 hours!  Looking forward to this!  🙂

Meditation & Gathering for Peace



Hi Friends, I’d like to invite you to an intentional peace & community gathering tomorrow morning, Sunday November 13th, at 11:15am (after Mysore practice 9-11am) at Ashtanga Yoga Denver. We will learn and practice metta meditation (loving kindness) and chant a mala of lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu‘s (roughly translated as “may all beings be happy/free”). Afterwards we will have time to discuss our hopes, fears and plans for action, perhaps opting to head out into the neighborhood for coffee or lunch together. Looking forward to seeing you there and embracing our obligation to change the course of history for the better. Families welcome!  Bring your friends and your favorite cushion to sit on.  The event is free, however, I’m thinking it would be nice to choose an organization such as the ACLU in case anybody feels moved to donate.

Exciting new classes begin 9/4!



I’m thrilled to be offering a weekly mini-workshop followed by satsang as well as 2 new Mysore classes!  I’ve been looking forward to sharing in this kind of teaching format for years and feel so grateful for the opportunity.  Please see Group Classes for schedules.  See you there — Ashtanga Yoga Denver  🙂  Class descriptions:

Ashtanga Smorgasbord is a detail- and fun-oriented mini-workshop with a unique focus every week featuring postures with relevant variations drawn from the traditional series for exploration and adventure.  Each well-rounded session will delve into breath, bandha, alignment and attitude that together open the door to an asana practice that increasingly encompasses all 8 limbs of the Ashtanga system.  Ancient yoga scriptures assert that when we keep our attention in the core of the body mixing technique and counter-technique “to taste,” we unleash nothing short of a flood of nectar, so come on an empty stomach, ready for feasting!  This is a perfect way to reinvigorate and intensify your existing Mysore or other vinyasa practice while tailoring it intelligently and compassionately to your body and life circumstances.  Some experience recommended.

Satsang is a gathering intended to foster a sense of community and provide space for inquiry into contemplative practices, their contexts and their integration into our everyday lives.  We will begin each session with some silence followed by chanting, kirtan and/or instruction and discussion based on pertinent texts and topics brought up by the group.  Practice takes us into realms where interdisciplinary study can be enriching, venturing anywhere from Neuroscience to Psychotherapy to the Arts.  Keeping good company is said to be one of the most powerful means to deepen spiritual practice.  By sharing our enthusiasm as well as our challenges, we will build skills and discover support to access our most authentic Self and bring that realization into the world.  All are welcome, free of charge.

Mysore combines the very best aspects of private instruction (individualized attention and customization of the practice to meet your needs and goals), group classes (energy and inspiration gained from practicing in the companionship of others), and home practice (focused attention and personal accountability for your own path).  Students go at their own pace under the supervision of the instructor, arriving when they wish and finishing by the end time listed.  Six series entice us with unending challenges glimmering on the horizon while real life intervenes with plenty of opportunities to let go and learn to work with the inevitable obstacles and beautiful realities of embodiment.  No experience necessary.

The Lama and Unpredictability


IMG_2764“The Lama is the ecstatic, wild, and gentle figure who short-circuits your systems of self-referencing. The Lama is the only person in your life who cannot be manipulated. The Lama is the invasion of unpredictability you allow into your life, to enable you to cut through the convolutions of the interminable psychological and emotional processes. The Lama is the terrifyingly compassionate gamester who re-shuffles the deck of your carefully arranged rationale. To enter into vajra commitment is to leap from the perfect precipice. To find yourself in the radiant space of this choiceless choice, is the very heart of Tantra. To leap open-eyed into the shining emptiness of the Lama’s wisdom display, and to experience the ecstatic impact of each dynamic gesture of the Lama’s method display is the essential luminosity and power of the path” — Rig ʼdzin Dorje, in Dangerous Friend: The Teacher-Student Relationship in Vajrayana Buddhism

The Rainmaker: How to restore balance to ourselves and our world

beach molokai

Gorgeous beach in Molokai. Photo by Jen

There was a drought in a village in China. They sent for a rainmaker who was known to live in the farthest corner of the country, far away. Of course that would be so, because we never trust a prophet who lives in our region; he has to come from far away. So he arrived, and he found the village in a miserable state. The cattle were dying, the vegetation was dying, the people were affected. The people crowded around him and were very curious what he would do. He said, ‘Well, just give me a little hut and leave me alone for a few days.’ So he went into this little hut and people were wondering and wondering, the first day, the second day. On the third day it started pouring rain and he came out. They asked him, ‘What did you do?’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘that is very simple. I didn’t do anything.’ ‘But look,’ they said, ‘now it rains. What happened?’ And he explained, ‘I come from an area that is in Tao, in balance. We have rain, we have sunshine. Nothing is out of order. I come into your area and find that it is chaotic. The rhythm of life is disturbed, so when I come into it I, too, am disturbed. The whole thing affects me and I am immediately out of order. So what can I do? I want a little hut to be by myself, to meditate, to set myself straight. And then, when I am able to get myself in order, everything around is set right. We are now in Tao, and since the rain was missing, now it rains.’ — C. G. Jung in Jung on Active Imagination (Encountering Jung) (pp. 19-20). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition. 

Apparently Jung found this tale to be so important that he suggested telling it whenever giving a seminar on active imagination, his most treasured method of healing and transformation.  At this point our world seems to be in such disarray that we might need more than a few days in a hut on our own in order to bring it all back into balance!  It’s becoming clear to many of us, however, that it is precisely this inner work which will affect the massive changes needed.

Although this story has a certain hyperbolic or fictional quality to it that many of us would not tend to believe at face value, we should not underestimate the power of our own practices to recenter, heal, and revolutionize.  Surely we have all recognized how our state of overall well-being affects our immediate family, friend circle and professional milieu, and how this influence thereby spreads to the unseen multitudes.

Our work-a-holic culture would lead us to believe that we must work incessantly to survive and be personally available to every other being we have ever met in our entire lives (and with whom we are now in touch over social media)  with no end in sight.  It is a colossal accomplishment to find even a couple of minutes for ourselves in any given day to regroup.

However, when we show up rested, rejuvenated and inspired, we first demonstrate that this feat is possible and second, give others permission to take time for themselves.  We need to rewrite the popular discourse so that it’s normal to take space to breathe and care for our needs, whether “mundane” or “transcendent.”  The state of our world clearly reflects our tendency just to slop through, get by and numb out, hoping somebody else will save us, or counting on our own impending death to end this cycle of rat-racing.  More is possible!

So much for Love & Light



“The problem is that we tend to seek an easy and painless answer.  But this kind of solution does not apply to the spiritual path, which many of us should not have begun at all.  Once we commit ourselves to the spiritual path, it is very painful and we are in for it.  We have committed ourselves to the pain of exposing ourselves, of taking off our clothes, skin, nerves, heart, brains, until we are exposed to the universe.  Nothing will be left.  It will be terrible, excruciating, but that is the way it is.”  Chogyam Trungpa in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

John Cage on Sound Discrimination


IMG_2764“If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience… The most recent change in my attitude toward sound has been in relation to loud sustained sounds such as car alarms or burglar alarms, which used to annoy me, but which I now accept and even enjoy. I think the transformation came through a statement of Marcel Duchamp who said that sounds which stay in one location and don’t change can produce a sonorous sculpture that lasts in time. Isn’t that beautiful?” —  John Cage via Mark Epstein in Thoughts Without a Thinker