< Back to blog

The Bird at the Window
8 April 2019

The Bird at the Window
8 April 2019

The Bird at the Window

The other night, I kept waking to a strange sound, and assumed it was a branch repeatedly hitting the window in the loft, from the ash tree behind the house. When I continued to hear it the following day, my husband climbed up for a look and found a robin hurling itself, over and over again, against the glass. Seeing its own reflection, we assume he/she thought they saw a rival, and was simply defending territory, possibly a nest in the branches. We draped a towel  over the window to mute the reflection, and the banging stopped, but the image (and the sound) have stayed with me. 

When I'm compelled to protect myself or what I see as "my territory" I don't bang my head against a window, but there are definitely moments when what I think I am seeing is clouded by my own hindrances, or obstacles...sometimes doubt, sometimes anxiety, sometimes aversion. In the early Buddhist Theravadan tradition the hindrances to growth on the yogic path are listed as 5 stumbling blocks that thwart progress.  When the hindrances get mixed into the soma, the embodied self, they can distort everything. They become a veil, obscuring the underlying life force. By derailing concentration, these obstacles or veils are preventing the direct experience of Samadhi—the ultimate experience of oneness, and the "goal" (if there is one) of meditation and by extension, all yogic practice.

The best way to work with the hindrances is not by theorizing or intellectual reasoning, but through feeling the hindrance as it arises, and then feeling too, somatically, in the body, the antidote to the hindrance. This can happen within the practices of asana, pranayama and meditation.

A robin is not going to stop and feel and notice what is arising and come to understand that he is attacking his own reflection (and he has good reason to defend his territory, even if it's a case of mistaken identity). For the rest of us humans, the practices of yoga, of meditation, of pranayama can be an effective place to feel into and work with the 5 primary hindrances (craving, aversion, torpor, anxiety, and doubt) and also their antidotes (non clinging, loving kindness, energy, calm and trust). Way more effective than banging our beaks against our own proverbial reflections.

This is the time of year when life regenerates, though slow to happen here in New England. I feel poised (like our somewhat reluctant Spring!) to break through into growth, and renewal, and to throw off sluggishness and torpor. there is tremendous ebb and flow, expansion and contraction, as the world breathes itself awake.  May our practices together continue to help us break through our own obstacles, physical, emotional, spiritual, to better see the clear window pane of "Shamatha", of grounded awareness. Through rebooting our yoga and meditation work we can renew a commitment to life, to the creative hum of the world and to the life force that sustains us.

See you on the mat!



Close window


The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

Close window


Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.

Practice on an empty stomach

If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

No food or outside beverages inside the studio

If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.

Bring your own mat

Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.

Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

Close window

Newcomers! 3 for $30

If you are new to Upper Valley Yoga, you can purchase a 3-class pass for $30! (For our first-time guests only, package expires 15 days after purchase)

Single Class, $18

Drop in to any regular weekly class

Single Class, Student or Senior* Rate, $15

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

10-Class Pass, $145

Expires after one year

10-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $130

Expires after one year

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

5-Class Pass, $80

Expires after 6 months

5-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $70

Expires after 6 months.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

Unlimited Yoga Passes

Monthly, Auto-Renew with credit card, $99/mo

Unlimited yoga. 6-month commitment is required; early cancellation fee of $50 applies if the auto renew is canceled before 6 months. This is the best value if you plan to attend at least 2 classes per week.

One month, unlimited, $150

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

One month, Student or Senior* rate, $140

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

3-Month Unlimited, $390

Unlimited yoga, 3 months

If you don’t yet have a mat, borrow one from us and please clean it afterward with the mat wipes.

We have a limited, need-based scholarship fund available for those who are struggling to pay for classes; please email or call us to inquire. We also gratefully accept donations for that fund in any amount. In addition, there are occasional work/study opportunities. If you are interested in being on the work/study list, please let us know!

Close window

Privacy & Terms of Use

Upper Valley Yoga requires the use of your personal information for record-keeping and payment purposes only. We are committed to safeguarding your personal information, and will do so by using state-of-the-art digital technology and encryption services. We will not distribute your information to third parties.

We may use your online information to contact you about class cancellations or other information regarding Upper Valley Yoga. We require your personal information in order to provide you with an efficient and safe online class-registration and payment experience. Please feel free to contact Upper Valley Yoga with questions about this website, our privacy policy and terms of use.