Yoga Farm: ‘Sanctuary and Playground’


Written by: Haley Doran & Emma McQuade

In a mission to help students find their goodness, Yoga Farm, a wellness center in Lansing, N.Y. offers educational classes and workshops to students seeking courses in yoga and meditation.

Yoga Farm is a welcome environment where students can follow three different approaches to find their goodness.

The center offers group yoga: private instruction, including yoga, meditation and coaching: and courses centered on a theme.

“For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a part of a group of people who were living and learning together – diving into some of the deeper truths about what it means to be a human – seeking something beyond,” said Grant.  “I always had a sense that there was something beyond.”

“People come here to remember their goodness and their lightness – lightness is playful,” said Hess.  “I help people fall in love with themselves, like I mean really fall in love with themselves.”

In addition to their regular classes and workshops, Yoga Farm hosts the Sacred Sunday Community event every Sunday, open to all community members.  This event allows community members the opportunity to have a deeply personal experience with body, mind and Spirit.  Sacred Sunday is a three-part event, but the community can come at the beginning of each hour.  The first hour consists of prayers and practices called Ho’oponopono, then gentle community yoga and the finally a meditation.

“People who come every week get a completely different experience,’” said Hess.  “It’s beautiful – it’s this sacred morning for anybody regardless of your denomination or affiliation, religions – it doesn’t matter.  We’re really connecting with the thread that weaves itself through everyone and it’s our goodness and our grace.”

Hess said the practice of yoga and meditation is often seen as serious to Western people.

She believes Yoga Farm guides students to the true nature of Spirit.

“It’s not always serious here, people something have it that the spiritual path has to be very quiet, a lot of bowing and ‘Namaste’ – there is that,” said Hess.  “But the nature of Spirit is playful and that’s something here in the West that I see people have forgotten.”

Pennee Barresi, a student at Yoga Farm, says that yoga can be useful in everyday life. “For me, it’s being in the present and it not only works my body physically, it wakes my body up emotionally and spiritually and allows me to combine those things and stay present,” said Barresi.  “When I’m sitting in traffic, trying to get some place and I can take a breath, reconnect my breath and be OK.”

Happy Birthday to Us & You!

Christopher & I launched one of Yoga Farm’s most well attended Courses, the ‘Come Home to Your Body’ series One Year ago!!!! Our Heart, Passion, and Purpose are thoroughly poured into each classroom, for and with, our students. It’s a 7-week Course that runs all through the year in 4 segments, which is delightful in that anyone can join at any point in the year… which means, that in January, a new series begins called ‘Come Home to Your Body; Ground’.

Who is the Come Home to Your Body series for…?

  • Anyone with the intention and desire to reconnect with their personal experience in their body, and to return to self care of the body.
  • Anyone who wishes to learn HOW to access and sustain a peaceful state of Being via gentle movements, and our skillful direction.
  • Anyone who seeks a kind Community in which you can step into, weekly, exactly as you are, and be thoroughly welcomed as you participate personally and collectively on a Journey of Self care & Self kindness.

Here is a 30-second sample of the yoga, designed so that anyone can do it:

Why did Christopher & I develop this particular program?

  • We married our individual Passions; mine as a razor sharp Spiritual Life Coach along with Christopher’s passion as a highly regarded Teacher of the Art & Science of Yoga.
  • We found that these two modalities, intertwined, created a highly effective experience for students such that they could heal & thrive, rather rapidly, with the consecutive weeks of yoga coupled with the personalized Life Lessons that students would take home and practice in all their Relations. Yoga ‘off the mat’, in essence.
  • See, the WHOLE purpose of Yoga is “Not to use the body to get into the yoga postures, BUT, to use the yoga postures to get into the body.”

In our private work with clients, again and again, we see how this ONE critical skill of learning HOW to be in your body, is a ‘game changer’ that steeps into all aspects of Your life.

We realize how simple this sounds, yet it isn’t easy. See, the body is ONE aspect of yourself that is ALWAYS present. You have probably heard the Wisdom in many forms of ‘Be present’ or ‘Be Here Now’, yet it’s not so easy, because the MIND wanders all over the place. Like, constantly. And, whether conscious of the mind’s wanderings or not, ‘wherever Your mind goes, You go.’

Yoga is the simple, potent practice of linking the ‘WanderMind’ with the Breath and the Body. Our stress and anxieties in life ‘happen’ in the mind, and they get lodged in the body, so this, coupled with sedentary lifestyles, are grounds for diminished Joy & Vitality in the body.

‘Come Home to Your Body; Ground’ gifts you highly practical skills and tools that you can immediately employ outside of class, daily, such that you can truly experience radical shifts in your experiences in BOTH your Mind AND your Body.

The Course structure is an intentional Journey that we developed together to offer you such that the gems of both Coaching & Yoga are within your daily capacity to utilize in your life.

‘Come Home to Your Body; Ground’ is a direct route, an efficient path for You to tend to YOU. When you afford yourself 90 minutes each week of thorough self care, we teach you to learn and lean into the value of how to, ‘take the oxygen first, THEN help those around you’ (spoken by wise flight attendants, every single day). Often we are skilled at helping others in life, our children, family members, and partners, however, we can feel deeply depleted when our own self care is not an equal priority.

In the longer stretch of life, it is true that we can truly only help others to the degree that we help ourselves. A content, joyous life is one in which we serve others from the Lightness of our own spirit, present, in Joy, and contentment… however, the depleted version of us tends to be tense and resentful inside, and we do our ‘best’ to not let those feelings out.

This is WHY we teach this Course. We are deeply invested in helping students and clients to “Discover You & Awaken YOUR Kindest Humanity”.

The Kindest version of our World is a world in which we we LIVE our Kindest Self…

It is the Present, deeply connected version of ourselves (and yes, you already know this aspect of yourself, to one degree or another) that lives an inspired, Joyful life.

The version of You that becomes flexible in your body become flexible, less rigid, in your mind, your thinking.

The version of You with a flexible, open Mind has the greatest access to the Wisdom and the warmth of your Open Heart.

We have some remaining seats available to offer You to participate in this groundbreaking 7 week Course.

You can write or call us with questions, and we offer an Early Bird Discount for this Course until the end of the upcoming Open House on Monday, 1/16/17, 5:30-7:30pm.

We also offer You a ‘Join-with-a-Friend’ rate, as most everything is even more Fun with a Friend you cherish…!

You are welcome to register online at: website link;

With Welcome You to this beautiful Journey this January.

Consider Gifting yourself 14 hours of tender Community, learning highly practical tools, serenity, and laughter in ‘Come Home to Your Body; Ground’.

We look forward to Welcome You!



What makes the holistic yoga taught at Yoga Farm different?

Yoga is a simple word with lots of different meanings to different people.  In the USA, yoga has become a hot fitness trend, with strong, flexible, beautiful people in pretzel poses and glamorous outfits gracing covers of magazines and social media from coast-to-coast.

body-image-1Here at Yoga Farm, we have taken a more holistic approach, de-emphasizing the physical fitness side of yoga in favor of a holistic approach.  To us, holistic means that ALL aspects of a person are valued and honored.  One meaning of the word yoga is ‘to yoke’ or to bring together.  In our classes here we bring together accessible practices for the body, the mind, and the breath.

We practice yoga poses to stretch and strengthen the body, since everyone who comes for class has a body.  However we select poses that everyone can do, regardless of age or fitness, and teach them carefully so they can be practiced safely with confidence and ease.  Each class is tuned to match the people in the room, which is possible because our class sizes are kept small.  We see the beauty and perfection in everyone, and don’t throw poses or sequences at students that will make them feel less about themselves.

We also teach meditation — what yoga used to be, before it became a hot fitness trend.  Stillness and mindfulness meditations are key tools for supporting a healthy mind.  The body needs to stretch, exercise, and be acknowledged for it’s inherent goodness.  The mind needs to rest, focus and be acknowledged for it’s inherent goodness.

benefitsofyogaThe magic key that yokes the body and mind together is the breath.  So our third major category of practices are breathing exercises. The breath can energize the body, soothe the mind, and bring balance to our daily life.  The breath is the surfboard to ride the waves of life, and we cultivate resiliency so we don’t get swept under by the turbulence that we all face, most days.

When we practice mindfulness practices, using the breath to yoke the body and mind together, the mind settles into the body, which is always in the present.  When the mind is in the now, accepting what-is, we feel refreshed, focused, and can think clearly, handling decisions and stresses without overwhelm.

This our how our body-mind is designed to work optimally!  We were built this way, to live happy and free, despite our human imperfections and challenges, or perhaps because of our human imperfections and challenges!

Our yoga classes are inspired by yoga styles including: Slow flow, Gentle yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kripalu, Kundalini, Yin, breathing, restorative and meditation techniques.

Here at Yoga Farm, we offer classes in a beautiful wellness center overlooking a gorge, surrounded by nature, where you can learn how to tap your built-in joy, mental freedom, and physical wellness that you know is there.  Our framework is yoga: an ancient holistic body-mind educational and training science offered here with flair.

We hope you’ll give our yoga classes a try! If you are new to yoga, consider our Come Home to Your Body yoga course.

Yoga Farm turns 2! Here’s our new intro video

Yoga Farm has been in service now in Lansing for two years. We’ve refined our mission statement as we have become clear about what we are working towards and why here at Yoga Farm.


During this second year, Daniela Hess has joined the team as Yoga Farm Co-Director, and she teaches and coaches here every week.

Christopher and Daniela shot a new ‘intro’ to Yoga Farm video to mark the occassion, and reflect on the transformations they have witnessed over the past year at Yoga Farm.

Give this 8 minutes of your time if you’d like to get a feel for what Yoga Farm is all about:

Yoga Farm to launch new educational program during ‘Pay it Forward’ Benefit Open House in Lansing

The following is a republished press release and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice …click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact us at

LANSING, N.Y. — Yoga Farm, a wellness center that has attracted students from across Central New York, is launching an adult educational program called The Ways of the Sacred Warrior that combines courses in yoga, meditation, inquiry, and healing in a comprehensive curriculum at its restored century-old barn in Lansing.

An open house and celebration to launch the center’s new educational mission will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, at 404 Conlon Road. The three instructors who will teach the series of six continuing courses will present the curriculum at the event, which will feature food, music and door prizes.

“This is a living curriculum that helps people live healthy, happy lives by teaching them more than just yoga postures and meditation techniques,” said Christopher Grant, founder and co-director of Yoga Farm. “Our curriculum teaches students how to care for their body and mind, cultivate healthy relationships and access lasting contentment and joy.”

Grant, a certified yoga teacher, founded Yoga Farm in 2014 after serving as CEO of Gorges, a software development firm in Ithaca. Since its opening, the wellness center, nestled on a 65-acre farm, has grown steadily, attracting more than 150 students a week for drop-in yoga classes, community events and courses.

The new curriculum, will also be taught by Daniela Hess and Ravindra Walsh, who are both life coaches and spiritual directors with the HeartPath Institute, which offers individual coaching, spiritual direction, relationship healing and group classes.

                Consider the quality of your life and your relationships if you gift yourself two hours a week of quality self-care,” says Hess. “Our coursework will guide you to reconnect with your self and what is important to you. In other words, now is time is to become the version of yourself that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Our courses teach you how.”

The seven-week courses begin the second week of September. Curriculum details are at Course registration is available at For more information, contact Grant at (607)280-2010 or at           

RSVP and see full event details and schedule for the evening on our Facebook event.


Give the gift of transformation!

Do you want to give the gift of transformation  to someone you know and care for? (or gift someone anonymously!)


Who do you know?

  • Is getting married, having a birthday or anniversary, or graduating?
  • Whose kids have left for college?
  • Who is sick and tired of anxiety, loneliness, and seriousness?
  • Who has said they always have wanted to try yoga?
  • Who, inside, is a warrior, and yet perhaps they don’t see it?
  • Is a Parent of a toddler who is ready for some mind/body tranquility ‘mommy time’?
  • Who gives and gives to others, and you’d like to give them the gift of relaxation and self care?

Our courses are suitable for people of all ages, body types, and levels of experience.

What can you give them?

3 class yoga drop-in pass:  $40

8 class yoga drop-in pass:  $80

Sacred Warrior Course: $195
Choose from: ‘Come Home to Your Body’, ‘Come Home to Your Heart’, ‘Come Home to Your Mind’

Sacred Warrior Course for you and a friend: $300
(For $300, you can choose any of the three courses for you, and gift a friend OR a full scholarship applicant admittance to any of the three courses.)

Sacred Warrior Course Anonymous Gift: $195
Pay it forward! We’ll select a student from scholarship applications and admit them into the course of their choice. Be a Sacred Warrior!

Call 607.280.2010 or email to get started


Work Study Opportunities Now Open!

freeyogaoakparkYoga Farm is growing! We are delighted to be offering work-study opportunities for those students who would rather offer time than $.

Our work-study program is perfect for you if you would like to attend unlimited drop-in yoga classes, or join one of our new ‘Ways of the Sacred Warrior’ courses launching in September.

Either way is perfect! We would love your help with construction, cleaning, gardening, marketing, video editing, graphic design, building maintenance, and more. What are you good at? What do you love doing?

Are you ready to be part of Yoga Farm? Are you ready to dive deeply into your own potential and learn and grow with us? We are building a great service team and welcome your application.

Take a closer look at details here.

MELT with Meredith For Better Sleep 

20141204_BrianLeighton_0147finalWe’ve all know the effects of poor sleep: low energy, fuzzy thinking, general exhaustion, increased anxiety, to name a few. Brain-mapping research has recently identified that deep sleep is critically important not just to the body in general, but to the function of the brain itself. According to this very interesting TEDtalk with neuroscientist Jeff Iliff, sleep plays a key role in the brain’s housekeeping functions—sleep is when the brain cleanses waste.

Amazingly the brain uses 25% of our energy while representing only 2% of the body’s mass thus generating a lot of metabolic waste. While the rest of the body relies on a vast network of vessels of the lymphatic system to remove waste, the brain is densely packed inside the skull without such a specialized drainage system to move waste byproducts.  So how does the brain remove its waste? 

It is the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain where the wastes are dumping into this fluid at night  during sleep as a cleansing flush using the outsides of the blood vessels that provide its nutrients to transport the CSF. During sleep, the brain cells contract, allowing the CSF to circulate freely and cleanse the brain deeply. This cleansing flush only occurs when we are sleeping!  Without this nightly cleanse, the brain begins to accumulate wastes.  As new research is suggesting that high concentrations of particular wastes are associated with brain deterioration illnesses like Alzheimer’s, it is ever so important to care for our quality of sleep!

How may we offer ourselves a better restful night’s sleep? MELT!  When we MELT, we assist in calming the nervous system, and bringing it back into the balance necessary for good sleep.  MELT focuses on the health of the connective tissue system and linking  it to our nervous system and regulating itself!   When connective tissue isn’t in ideal condition, this intricate regulatory balancing act between stress response, stress recovery, and digestion falls apart, and we begin to experience all kinds of symptoms—poor sleep being one of many. 

As the body’s natural healing processes are most active during sleep, good sleep is vital to your body’s ability to heal.  MELT will help you  sleep more deeply, and your body and brain to function most efficiently! 

Meredith Mickelson

With the greenery and flowers of May, now is the perfect time to MELT and see your rejuvenation. Give yourself the gift of sleep and experience moving back into better health now! 

Upcoming MELTMethod schedule:

Wednesday May 25th, 10:30am
Friday May 27th, 11:30

After that, our summer schedule will be:
Tuesdays at 11:30am
Thursdays at 8:30am

All classes held at Yoga Farm!

Have the best summer internship EVER with us in 2016!

playshopAre you looking for the perfect opportunity to learn, work, make new friends, practice yoga and meditation, and build a meaningful contribution to our society?

We are a substance-free intentional community of varying ages nestled just north of Ithaca on 65 acres who have come together to support our personal wellness and collective awakening  through meditation, yoga, self-inquiry, and community service.

We run a wellness center called the Yoga Farm out of one of our converted barns where we offer daily meditation, yoga, dance, reiki, and other workshops that connect us to our own inner peace.

garden workWe are looking for people to join our team from late Spring to early Fall (2-4 month commitment) Specifically we are offering 2-3 full immersion positions where you camp on our land and immerse yourself in our community, working 5 days a week, about 6 hours per day.

We also have a few spots for weekend warriors who will come most weekends (3-4 month commitment), either Fri & Sat, or Sat & Sun, to work two 8 hour days (lunch breaks and yoga class included). You are welcome to pitch a tent for your weekend or commute if you live nearby.

Read more and apply today….



Demystifying yoga: helping you embody exactly who you want to be in all aspects of your life

“This course helped me to incorporate yoga practices into my life on a daily basis. The benefits included body strength, awareness, and spiritual presence which enabled me to give and receive love more authentically.” – Cindy W., participant in Come Home to Your Body, our beginner’s yoga course.

This week, we concluded our first semester of our first full length course at Yoga Farm. A deep and lasting shift took place here over the last two months, as we guided 60 students, most of them new to yoga, into a new relationship with their body, mind and spirit.

traits-for-massive-success-in-businessBy any measure, this first semester was successful for Yoga Farm. However, we measure success not by dollars or class size, but rather by hearing the words that people share about what has changed in their own lives at the conclusion of our yoga courses. The reported results after 2 months of a class that meets once a week were deeply humbling and awe-inspiring.

Yoga may seem mysterious to some, but to be honest, its very straightforward

dandelionSome people want to learn to interrupt their patterns of anger, to deepen into the calm that yoga and meditation brings.  Some may want to lose weight, some want to be able to tie their own shoes and wipe their own butt for as long as possible.  Some want to improve their golf game, some want to maintain their independence as long as possible, to preserve their dignity, some want to keep their vitality for as long as possible as the body ages.

What do you want for your life?

The results you get in your life from a practice like yoga reflect the depths of your longing. Yoga is not just for people who want to deepen into their spiritual practice. Whatever your goal for your life, your body, your relationships, your work — yoga is a universal support system.

Do you want to live your best life? Do you want to improve your relationship with yourself, co-workers, spouse? Do you want strength and flexibility and energy? Do you want to cultivate a smile that won’t quit?


yoga class gratitude retreat5Join us for one of our next courses: ‘Come Home to Your Body’ is our beginner yoga course, and ‘Joyful Vitality in Your Body’ is our intermediate yoga course. We also offer immersions and teacher trainings as part of our educational curriculum called ‘The Path of the Sacred Warrior‘.

The teachers, presenters and residents at Yoga Farm are always available to talk, contact us anytime!

We wish you the very best of health and happiness for you and your family.

Christopher and Daniela, co-founders of Yoga Farm and generators of the ‘Path of the Sacred Warrior’ curriculum