Dog Training - Or People Training?

Lily (a beautiful mini husky) is almost a year old, her birthday is on October 19th. YES there will be a celebration on her day of birth - I am sure she will receive special snacks, attention and toys!

Puppy training began late June, the basic commands of sit, down, shake, stay…..well still working on that last one.

The trainings were set up for once a week, then life happens and before you know it a whole month has flown by. However, what I have begun to notice is that the human is the one being trained in these sessions. Lily learns the commands the first go around, while myself may take a week to implement them correctly while she smiles and runs around laughing on the inside at the human companion.

Repetition is key to so many things in life, and this is no exception. I miss days of working with her as instructed, then I diligently get the training gloves on and go to work. A few minutes go by and I am feeling all accomplished, as for now she has begun to listen more attentively - probably feeling a bit sad for the human who isn’t learning as quickly as she. Lily doesn’t give up on her human companions, she is full of love, play and patience as we continue to learn what to say, how to say it, when to give snacks and when to reward with praise. She teaches us all of her natural ways of being by simply being her beautiful awesome self. Probably a lesson in there for all us humans.

Shout out to our trainer, Emmali Burnside - if you are looking for a trainer for your pup you can reach her @ 928-303-3672.

‘Service’ Defined ~ Being in Action for Others

How do you define ‘service’?

The word can take on many meanings:

  • Service from a local utility company

  • Service received at a restaurant

  • Service on a vehicle or machine

For me the word has a much deeper meaning. If you happened to read my first EVER Blog - “Humble Beginnings” you may get an idea of what the word means to me.

In retrospect of my life up to this point I see a pattern in my way of being. While helping others I excel and strive to be the best I can be for them as well as for myself. I see it showing up when I was raising my boys, being there for a friend in need - in almost every facet of my life.

Being in action for others is empowering to us all, it challenges us to be the best we can be. As of October 1, 2018, True North Yoga celebrates 5 Years In Service to our community. This month we have the opportunity to reflect upon where we started, how we have all grown, and what our intentions are for the future of True North Yoga.

Being in action whether it is by sharing the practice of yoga, being an advocate for the underserved communities, supporting our local teachers and youth - True North Yoga is a force moving forward by being in action for others.

Join in on the fun and celebrate with us, everyone is welcome!

How do you define ‘service’? Share your comments below!

'Vacation'....What Does it Mean to You?


What do vacations mean to you?  Vacations can have many meanings for all of us, i.e.: a time with family and/or friends, a time to relax or play hard, a time to reflect or forget.  Perhaps each vacation holds a special memory of a season in your life.

Recently I spent a week in Alaska, the first time I have visited the amazing and beautiful land.  My intention was to spend quality time with my youngest son, which happened along with a deep connection to the land and it’s heritage. The ‘vacation’ part of the trip was some time spent in the Denali National Park.  A time to become disconnected from the outside world and reconnect to self.

The Kantisha Roadhouse is where we had booked reservations for 2 days/3nights, the bus ride was a 6 hour ride into the resort and a 5 hour ride back to the front entrance of the park.  We were blessed in seeing many of the larger animals who live within the park.  Moose, Caribou, Bears, Doll Sheep, a wolf with her 3 cubs, and more bears with their cubs - told by our guide we were the 1 percent of all visitors to the park (600,000 per year) to have seen such a variety. 

The next morning we awoke to rain, and it continued throughout the day.  Regardless of the weather, we still ventured outside in our raincoats, enjoying the landscape.  Taking pictures of vegetation, each other and ourselves.

The following morning we awoke to clear skies, and the experience of the day to come will be forever in my memories.  We were some of the few people on earth to witness Mt. Denali, ALL DAY LONG the mountain shined its peaks and valleys for all to see.  The majestic site was breathtaking, I took the time to sit and meditate on top of Blueberry Hill, facing the giant mountain. Feeling blessed and full of gratitude for the experience and opportunity.

Vacations can feel like a lot of work to prepare for, in which they are.  Preparing our lives to be placed on hold, only returning from our time away to chaos - perhaps taking weeks to get our lives back to our normal pace.

Vacations can also connect us to each other, bring a grounding to our lives, putting into perspective what is one of the most important parts of living - being with each other, truly being with one another. To experience the day and come together in the evenings to share our experiences, pictures, perspectives, excitement - ALL OF IT. 

This ‘vacation’ was an experience to see the joy of life through nature.  To see how drastic changes in daily weather can create such beauty.  Through diversity growth can become a landscape of majestic beauty.  Not only for what our eyes can see, but for what our souls can feel.  

These pictures were taken by my son, Daniel Neal, who currently attends University of Alaska Fairbanks:

Lomi Lomi Anyone?


Have you heard of a Lomi Lomi massage? Have you experienced one?

While I have heard people refer to this style of massage, the opportunity to receive one eluded me.  Mostly while on vacation,  I would try to seek out one massage, and when asking for the Lomi Lomi they were always booked.

For my self care routine incorporating a monthly massage is paramount for my back to release tension and to be more malleable.  While actively seeking a therapist with whom I vibe, I believe I have found her - and during our first session she mentioned she also offers…..yep - you guessed it - Lomi Lomi!  

Well, that was it, that is all I needed to know - and as soon as my first session was complete my next session booked with her was a Lomi Lomi massage.

Living in the desert in Arizona is a bit far from the amazing Hawaiian Islands, however, today I was whisked away to a Hawaiian beach and experienced the ocean breezes during an amazing full body massage.  The experience was phenomenal, and I am completely humbled and full of gratitude for having this opportunity.

Vonda & Kari  Kari Flink - Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Master.  You can schedule with her through Cerbat Chiropractic @ 928-718-2225.

Vonda & Kari

Kari Flink - Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Master.  You can schedule with her through Cerbat Chiropractic @ 928-718-2225.

Performed for centuries in Hawaiian Temples as a rite of passage, this full body massage felt like my therapist embraced me in her arms while she moved in rhythmic waves of motion sending deep relaxing sensations throughout my body.  My body was able to fully let go while my spirit was renewed and restored.  

I am so thankful for this day, and for having met Kari!  

I would highly recommend one if at all possible, you will have no regrets.

Self Care…it's a 'real' thing!

What do you do for your self care?

Self care is a 'real' thing that I am finding completely necessary in order to be in service to humanity.  The picture with this post is a few years old, seems like a bit of a long minute to wait for another day to relax!  However, I'm sure I have had days with no appointments or To Do Lists, sometimes upon reflection it may seem like it has been years.

Today was a day that NOTHING was scheduled on my calendar, I had to check it a few times before I realized there was nothing forgotten - this was real.  For me cleaning and straightening up my home gives me time to simply be in the moment, so as I lingered in my pj's I managed to make a few days worth of green smoothies, wash the bedding, steam clean the floors (after Eufy vacuumed - which I will share was the BEST use of $200), did an amazing online yoga class with one of my favorite yogis, Kelly Heath, took a long shower, ate a giant salad and relaxed with some creative computer time.

Somehow, self care for me today was not having a schedule. I do have the occasional massages, hikes, jacuzzi times - but for me today simply meant being in my home.  Taking the time to reflect on what I have accomplished and what I am up to, this time has helped me to fully embrace the day!

What can you do to create a little self care for yourself?  Creating the space on our daily/weekly calendars is a great place to start!  Even if we don't have anything scheduled, creating the time for something or nothing at all is beneficial - something will unfold and you will be glad you had the time to be present for it. 

Humble Beginnings


Where to start?  Vonda (me) found yoga in 2005, my personal trainer at the time handed me Journey Into Power (dvd) by Baron Baptiste, and suggested I give it a try to help with my flexibility.   

My personal trainer became a close friend, we ventured out in 2006 to see Baron Baptiste in person - in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado - where we indulged in an All Day Immersion and were barely able to walk the next day.

Fast forward to 2010, my friend wanted to become a Certified Baptiste Teacher.  At this time I was really loving the experience of yoga and what it was bringing to my life not only through the physical poses but the meditation and self inquiry were intriguing to me.  As we headed off to Hilo, Hawaii (sounds exotic doesn't it?) we were so excited to have a whole week of boot camp style yoga with our teacher, Baron!  After a week in what we fondly called the 'plastic bubble' (a quonset style building they had so conveniently wrapped in what seemed like plastic wrap to keep our bodies even more wet with sweat) we were blessed to have the tsunami warning and were able to stay an extra day to recover before heading home.  The tsunami didn't happen, thankfully!

I was hooked, I began sharing yoga classes with my family and friends (a total of one girl friend and my oldest son at the time) followed up by heading to Level 2 in August of 2010.  I was headed towards becoming a 200 Hour Certified Baptiste Teacher.  

Through my 16 month process of becoming certified I found a mentor in Las Vegas, NV., Zeek Vincent.  Zeek is a Certified Baptiste Teacher and helped me navigate all the pieces to move towards my certification. When I began sharing yoga at the local Day Spa, Zeek supported me in building our community through specialized workshops. Eventually leading to him sharing his love of yoga in his own Teacher Training program - Zflow Power Yoga.

This 6 weekend intensive was presented during a very hot Arizona desert Summer with 9 participants - for the most part the entire yoga community in our town.  About 3 weeks from graduation Zeek mentioned the grads may want to teach.  Definitely took me by surprise, so I asked them…they said YES!  By the time graduation happened we had totally renovated a small downtown space from top to bottom, created a full schedule and opened our doors October 1, 2013.

Fast forward to 2018, we are celebrating 5 years in service to our community.  We have hosted four 200 Hour Certified Teacher Trainings with 34 graduates, we currently have 14 teachers and 30+ classes on our weekly schedule.  Stop in and say hello, we welcome you with open arms!