Ananda honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Pink October Yoga, online yoga classes and the 2nd annual Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke and Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin Breast Cancer Awareness Yoga Weekend



Happy Early October!

I am  launching Pink October Yoga, an online yoga class series for computer users, on October 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 8:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Stickam.com to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month and my grandmothers Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke (1915 – 1996) and Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin (1912 – present).  Click here to take the class with a live stream and web chat discussions:  www.stickam.com/anandaleeke.  If you miss the live class, don’t panic. You will be able to watch a recording of the show.  To learn more about breast cancer, visit The National Women’s Health Center’s Breast Cancer web site: http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastcancer.


My grandmother Frederica died of breast cancer in June 1996.  My grandmother Dorothy learned she had breast cancer at the age of 95 in 2008.  The news of my grandmother Dorothy’s her breast cancer made me want to do something for people impacted by breast cancer in my local community.


So I started the first annual Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke and Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin Breast Cancer Awareness Yoga Weekend in Malcolm X – Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C.  This year I am teaching two classes on October 24 and 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for the Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend.  Click here for more information: http://yoga.meetup.com/584.  If you are in the D.C. area, please join me for a kind and gentle yoga class dedicated to individuals impacted by breast cancer. 

I have included a webisode from Ananda Leeke TV that discusses Pink October Yoga as a form of Karma Yoga, the yoga of action in service to others.  Enjoy!


Thank you for stopping by!

Peace and Creativity,



Next Chapter Book Blogging Group – Week 2: The Joy Diet, Chapter 1 – Nothing


Happy Sunday Evening!

So week 2 of The Next Chapter Book Blogging Group is officially over.  The group’s homework was to read and blog about Chapter 1 of The Joy Diet by Martha Beck.  Click here to learn more about the group: http://tnc-thejoydiet.blogspot.com.  Read about the Group’s Week 2 adventures here:  http://tnc-thejoydiet.blogspot.com/2009/09/joy-diet-nothing.html.

Chapter 1 deals with nothing.  It’s exactly what I have been thinking about as I wind down with some latin jazz music playing on WPFW.  The music reminds me of time spent in Cuba five years ago. I miss Habana (yes Havana with a b instead of a v!).  While I was there, I spent a lot of time doing nothing in the early morning hours.  Doing nothing consisted of me laying still on my bed and allowing my mind to travel all over the place without any agenda, expectations, resistance, or judgment.  It was complete surrender to the morning chit chatter.  After approximately 15 minutes, the speed of the inner chit chatter slowed down.  It eventually settled down and made room for stillness.  

Yesterday I experienced a similar stillness while attending All Souls Unitarian Church’s annual Autumn Soul-stice Retreat (my 3rd experience!).  The theme of this year’s retreat was “Discovering Soulful Support.”  The first session I attended was entitled “Exploration Through the Narrative Room.”  It was held in the Church’s library filled with comfy chairs and a long board table.  Seven other people kept me company as we listened to two readings and used stem sentence writing exercises to explore our need for soulful support.  I wrote without an agenda and expectations.  The words that showed up in my journal surprised me.  See the excerpt below.

The soulful support I yearn for would allow me to be, do, say, think, and expect no-thing.  Is this possible? Am I just playing with myself on paper? Can it really happen? I’m not at all certain, but I do know I am willing to try.  So I return to the stem sentence and write it out again.  The soulful support I yearn for would be wrapped in my willingness to allow myself to be,  think, do, say and expect no-thing.  This support takes the form of space where I can let go, release, sit with, observe, explore, and understand all the things that pop up inside of me that create expectations, judgments, and time zappers.  The soulful support I yearn for would be more compassion and mitra, a Sanksrit word, that means unconditional friendship for oneself.    

I circled the word mitra and reflected on its meaning.  I wrote my own definition: mitra is my authenticity of imperfection smiling back at me. 

The second workshop focused on sound meditation and the Tao Te Ching. This was a transformative experience for me.  I embraced a passage from the Tao Te Ching as my own:  The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone.  It helped me see that my do no-thing intention to allow the experience to unfold without an agenda and expectations had guided me throughout the day.  I ended up getting so much from the experience.  Click on the video below to hear more about the session’s impact on my spiritual practice.

I am grateful that I had these moments of insight because they will help me as I gear up to launch my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery in late October.

Thank you for stopping by.  Have a great week!

Peace and Creativity,



Join Ananda for a conversation about yoga and creativity with Leslie Kershna, founder of Creative Space Yoga tonite at 7 p.m. on Go Green Sangha Radio



Leslie Kersha, founder of Creative Space Yoga (and one of my favorite yoga bloggers!), will join me for a discussion about yoga and creativity tonite on Go Green Sangha Radio at 7:00 p.m. EST on Talkshoe.com – http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/21325.  For more information about Leslie, visit http://creativespaceyoga.blogspot.com.


Ananda discusses “Healing Community Through Revolutionary Artistry” on Sisterhood, the Blog Radio today at 4pm EST


 Happy Sunday!

Today I am talking to Las Manas Tres about “Healing Community Through Revolutionary Artistry” on Sisterhood, the Blog Radio at 4:00 p.m. EST   Click here to listen to the show: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/42015.  Las Manas Tres is a group of Latina storytellers that includes  members Maya  Chinchilla, Cruz Grimaldo, and Milta Ortiz. Visit http://lasmanastres.com. If you miss the show, don’t panic. You can download a free recording from the web site.

Peace and Creativity,



Ananda’s 1st Day of Autumn Update


Happy Wednesday!

It’s the second day of Autumn.  The weather in DC is still warm. They call it Indian summer!  I hope it lasts a long time. I am not ready for the cool temperatures. 

Yesterday, I created an audio blog update about my Autumn activities. Click on the button below  to listen to my update.


What are your Autumn plans?

Enjoy your day!

Peace and Creativity,



Celebrate jazz musician John Coltrane’s birthday today and his connection to my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One




Happy John Coltrane’s Birthday!

Today marks the 83rd birthday of jazz musician Ohnedaruth John William Coltrane. Ohnedaruth is the Sanskrit spiritual name that Coltrane adopted. It means compassion.  Below are some of my favorite Coltrane quotes:

“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being … When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups … I want to speak to their souls.”

“My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play there’s no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being.”

“There is never any end. There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we’ve discovered in its pure state. So that we can see more and more clearly what we are. In that way, we can give to those who listen the essence, the best of what we are. But to do that at each stage, we have to keep on cleaning the mirror.” 



Coltrane’s spiritual name Ohnedadurth is also the name of one of the main characters in my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com).



Ohnedaruth is the brother of Love’s Troubadours main character Karma Francois.  Karma and Ohnedaruth visit St. John Coltrane Church in San Francisco, CA.  Click here to learn more about the church:  http://www.coltranechurch.org. Coltrane’s music is also featured throughout the book.


alice coltrane

Alice Coltrane

The music of Coltrane’s wife Alice Coltrane is also featured in my novel.  For more information about Coltrane, visit www.johncoltrane.com. Click here to learn more about Alice Coltrane: www.alicecoltrane.org.


Love’s Troubadours (iUniverse, Inc. – August 2007 – www.lovestroubadours.com) tells the story of Karma Francois, a thirtysomething Oakland-born BoHo B.A.P. (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. The novel begins with Karma’s life in an uproar. Her relationships and the museum curator career that she struggled to form in New York City have crumbled, leaving no viable options to rebuild. Relocating to Washington, DC, Karma struggles with denial, depression, and debt. A lack of full-time employment opportunities forces her to craft a gypsy existence as a Jill of Many Trades: yoga teacher, art consultant, and freelance curator at Howard University Gallery of Art. Unable and unwilling to appreciate these jobs as gifts, she wallows in a pool of lost identity-and doesn’t see a way to keep from drowning. When she looks in the mirror, Karma sees a woman whose choices have dishonored her true character. Now, for the first time in her life, Karma must learn to see herself for who she really is.

Love’s Troubadours is available on Amazon.com for $20.95. To purchase a copy, click on the link below.



What is your favorite John Coltrane composition? 

I love Coltrane’s “In A Sentimental Mood” composition that he and Duke Ellington created together.  It was featured in Love Jones, one of my favorite movies!

Enjoy your day!

Peace and Creativity,





Week 1 – Next Chapter Book Blogging Group – The Joy Diet by Martha Beck







Happy Tuesday!  Happy Autumn!  Happy OneWebDay!  Happy National Yoga Month!

As you can see, I have a lot to be happy about this month.  It is a really sweet September because I am joining the Next Chapter Book Blogging Group (http://tnc-thejoydiet.blogspot.com).  Our latest reading adventure is with The Joy Diet by Martha Beck.  I love Martha’s column in The O Magazine.  Click here to read Martha’s blog: http://marthabeck.com/blog.

The Next Chapter Book Blogging  Group started on September 18.  Click here to learn more about what the Group has been doing since the official start date:  http://tnc-thejoydiet.blogspot.com/2009/09/welcome-to-journey.html.

Jamie Downtown

Jamie Ridler

Jamie recently created the Creative Living with Jamie podcast. Click here to listen to the first episode:  http://jamieridlerstudios.ca/podcast

2008 TWAM Photo Shoot 1 059

Ananda sitting in Balasana (child’s pose)


I started reading The Joy Dieton September 11.  The first chapter encourages readers to do nothing for 15 minutes.  I call it my do-nothing experience.  So far, I have been doing no-thing in the morning as a pre-meditation session.  I wake up and allow myself 15 minutes to just be.  In this state, I don’t resist the whirling thoughts moving through my brain.  I just let them go where they want to go.  I start my 15 minutes in one of my favorite yoga poses called Balasana (child’s pose) and move into Savasana (corpse pose). 

On September 12, I filmed a webisode about reading The Joy Diet and the Next Chapter Book Blogging Group for my OneWebDay 22 Countdown Campaign sponsored by kg yoga life practices (http://kgyoga.blogspot.com).  See the video above.  OneWebDay was established in 2006 on September 22 honor the presence and power of the Internet in our lives.  Click here for more information: www.onewebday.org

I’ll be posting another blog post about my adventures for Week 2 later in the week. 

Thank you for stopping by!

Peace, Joy, OneWebDay, Creativity and Yoga OMs,



Get ready for OneWebDay & the 1st Day of Autumn by taking my kind & gentle yoga class for computer users (15 min.) on Stickam.com



Celebrate National Yoga Month and get ready for OneWebDay 2009 (http://onewebday.org) and the first day of Autumn with my free online yoga class called Kind & Gentle Yoga for Computer Users.  Click here to watch the video: www.stickam.com/anandaleeke. The class is 15 minutes. It aired on September 19 at 9pm. During the class, I shared tips on breathing exercises, eye yoga, and keyboard yoga.  FYI – I am offering Pink October Yoga classes for Breast Cancer Awareness Month on October 6, 13, 17, 20, and 27 on  www.stickam.com/anandaleeke.

If you are in the DC Area on September 22, join me for kg yoga life practices’ Meetup Group’s first annual celebration of OneWebDay and National Yoga Month. The FREE morning yoga class for Internet users will be held from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park in DC. For more details, visit http://yoga.meetup.com/584.