Day 12: Well, now that we’ve got all that background historical context of my cleanse out of the way, I can settle more into the present with you. Today I had the extraordinary pleasure of having a Yoga private with the incomparable legendary Yoga teacher and performer, Andrea Brook, at her home studio in Venice.

Andrea has been teaching yoga since 1998 and has led workshops and retreats around the world including the Omega Institute, the TED Conference, and festivals including Wanderlust, Burning Man, Lightning in a Bottle and the Envision Festival in Costa Rica. Her private lessons and semi-private classes, as well as workshops and retreats are designed to reconnect you to your own wisdom through your body’s expressions, your emotional responses and your mind’s internal dialogue, and to use yoga as a framework to help individuals facilitate change and live life fully.

The special thing about having a private with Andrea is that she totally customizes the session to your specific personal needs at that very moment. The first thing she does is check in with you to really get a deep sense of where you’re at, not only physically, but even more so, emotionally and Spiritually. With no preconceived prescriptions, her wisdom comes through spontaneously and intuitively out of the ether, sometimes even surprising her.

Today, I was having a particularly heavy emotional day regarding a specific issue that was upsetting me. First Andrea was simply an empathic compassionate listener, helping me get to the root of the issue with deep understanding. Then she integrated that issue with the macro picture of what’s going on in my life.

She tuned into the fact that the big thing my soul is thirsting for in doing this year sober after the cleanse is balance and integration of the different often extreme ends of the spectrum within my character. It was a powerful reaffirmation of my intentions to stop the yo-yo syndrome, and to be operating from my heart center.

But then Andrea does what no psychotherapist could ever do, which is give you specific Yoga asanas and breathing techniques that specifically address your emotional issues. In my case of achieving balance and integration in my heart she recommended that I practice ‘Pranayama’, the Hindu word for controlling the life force energy through breath. The core of my home practice of personally tailored Yoga moves that Andrea drew up for me was finding balance in the ‘in’ breath and the ‘out’ breath.

That may seem ridiculously simple in theory, but I challenge you to breathe in and out the same amount of seconds for an extended amount of time, and then to do an entire Yoga practice with that same breath pace. Knowing how difficult it is, Andrea pulled out the ultimate teacher for our practice: the metronome. If you’re not familiar with a metronome, it’s a device musicians use to keep time when they practice. The metronome is an unforgiving teacher that will keep you in perfect time or glaringly expose your inability to keep the pace steady.

Talk about keepin’ it real, the metronome took me right to the edge of my ability to keep up and i fell short several times. And that’s exactly where you want to be in your Yoga practice. Yoga is about riding the edges of your comfort zone so that you expand in your ability to hold poses longer and deeper, without forcing yourself beyond your present ability.

I am so psyched to download the metronome app on my phone and practice with it each day. Thank you Andrea for the brilliant insight and techniques! For more information on Andrea Brook, visit her website, www.yogagirl.com, or email andrea@yogagirl.com