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Hello & Season’s Greetings from Wendy Hammarstrom!
Please remember to take care of yourself during this hectic holiday season & come and relax at yoga class, let go of your concerns with a 30 minute or 60 minute massage, or experience the peace and contentment from creating your own mandala art.

  • I have created and hand made a large variety of mandala coloring card kits for children of all ages, as well  gift cards and greeting cards.  available at Korrie’s Pilate’s Place, 34859 Fredrick St, in Wildomar off Baxter Road, east of Rte 15 & up the hill  (Look for large YOGA sign)—by donation. 951-609-9080.
  • My Thursday night yoga classes continue at Korrie’s Pilates Place, 7-8:15PM– by donation. 
  • Hour massage holiday price for the month of December is $50, the same cost as for gift certificates – at your home or business or Korrie’s Pilates Place. 


Call me at 677-5962 if you would like to set up a massage or private yoga appointment,  purchase a gift certificate, or host or participate in a 2010 class in mandala creating,  pet massage, yoga or massage therapy.

I am looking forward to seeing you at this year’s end or early next year!    

I hope all is well with you,

Wendy Hammarstrom

solstice mandala Good news!As a result of hard work of many dedicated people  including lobbyists, California now has  state certification for massage therapists.  After becoming certified,  massage therapists can work anywhere in the state of California.  Before now, massage therapists paid for a city license and then were unable to work in another city unless they paid that city’s fee.  (Or in some places, there was an extra fee for crossing county lines.) Many states in the US have state certification, and soon it will be nationwide.

As a result of this I will be offering massage therapy at Korrie’s Pilates Place (formerly A Balanced Body Center) in Wildomar, and at The Herb Peddlers on Main Street in historic Lake Elsinore.

More good news:   With a lot of help from friends, writers, editors, etc., the book I have been working on for six years is almost finished!

Yoga class:  I am still not in my home on Via las Flores.  The lawsuit with the bank is still pending.  So I am gathering students for a  class at Korrie’s Pilates Place.  Evening?  or noon hour?   Or if you know a home or business that would like a class there, contact me and we can work out details.

If you would like to host an infant massage class, a pet massage class or mandala creating class, talk to me!

And as holidays are approaching, I am offering gift certificates for massage or private yoga, for $50 for an hour, or $25 for thirty minutes.  This includes house calls.  I welcome working with the elderly, hospice patients, people with physical challenges and special needs, and those recovering from accidents and trauma.                   

Call me at 951-677-5962 or email me at

I hope you are well & enjoying the beginning of cool weather,

Wendy Hammarstrom



In 1970, when I took a ceramics class at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I quickly discovered that I could not center clay on the pottery wheel.  After months of attempting to keep my clay creations from leaning to the left or right, I decided to ditch that idea and make pinch pots instead.  Over the next few years I studied tai chi and ten years later my studies took me into the heart of Kenpo Karate and White Crane Kung Fu.  It was those movement systems that taught me about finding one’s center, also called hara or tan tien.

The hara, also called “one point”, is said to be located just below the navel and about an inch inside the body.  It is a protected area and considered by many to be a sacred space.  It is not surprising that this is the womb area, and is immediately below where the umbilical cord connects mother and infant. Another factor that makes this area important is that the psoas, a major walking muscle and the only muscle to connect the lumbar spine to the legs is nearby. The intestines, located in the center, are where 95% of the serotonin is manufactured in our body.  The gut’s own nervous system or mini-brain has more nerve cells than our brain’s central nervous system.  The number of nerve fibers that carry messages from our GI tract to our brain is nine times more than those that travel from the brain to the GI tract.  Therefore, a calm gut or hara means calm mind and body.  (I have noticed when I take immodium to slow down motility, my mind relaxes also.)

As a yoga/movement instructor I emphasize that students become centered through mat work, stretching, conscious breathing and attention inward.  By focusing on the center, yoga practitioners are able to generate heat and healing energy throughout their body, at the same time bringing the person into the here and now, with less focus on worries.  The squat, the Iyengar standing and balance poses, dog pose, seated forward bends, and many others stretch the legs and open the hips to develop strength and flexibility in the lower body which encourages us to extend and open our upper body.  And what is the connector here? Our center – of gravity, balance and equilibrium.

Skilled dancers of all styles also move from their centers. In Contact Improvisation, dancers move with others in a constant flow of losing their balance, falling, catching and supporting, often with movements that mirror those of infants learning to move and to trust.  Many forms of movement originate from our center, and that includes bodywork.

The minds of skilled bodyworkers are focused and free of Ojai 12distraction so they are able to be totally in the present with their clients.  They may reach this state before beginning a session by consciously inhaling and consciously exhaling, and using energy awareness techniques such as yoga, meditation or focusing on a mandala.  This creates a free flow of healing energy so that the massage recipient experiences more than simply the physical sensations of having muscles rubbed.  They often experience a renewed sense of wholeness.

I am fascinated by the concept of hara and or center because I know what it is like to be not centered physically, a good example being last year when I was moving a large box in a dark garage. I fell backwards and literally flew through the air and landed on my hipbones. Also there were several times I tripped over grapevines in the hill behind my house which resulted in my completing a somersault mid-air.  I also know what it is like to lose my center emotionally/spiritually.  I know what it is like to “fall out of rhythm” as Brooke Medicine Eagle says, and to be helped back into my rhythm with the help of bodywork and movement.

The center is the starting point when I begin creating a mandala and my calligrapher neighbor has shown me the difference between making a line on paper, and making the line from your center.

Centering is a foundation of my Quaker upbringing and of yogic philosophy.  In Quaker worship, we meditate by calming our thoughts, centering and opening to divine communication.

When I was a child, an elegant family friend always impressed me with her graceful manner and movement.  After her husband died, she immersed herself in Zen Tea Ceremony.  When I bumped into her in New York City decades later, she was still striking, graceful and moving from her hara.

WisdomToday’s blog is a rambling blog, from computer break down to finishing a book, to the role of communications via cyber space, to finding our center.

Mercury has been retrograde the last few weeks, which means machines, cars,  and communications break down.  I am told we have the opportunity to look back at old or recurring issues. (Do we have to?)  Today it is going direct again so things should begin to feel a little smoother.   My computer decided to pass over during this retrograded Mercury.  Thus,  two and a half weeks later I am catching up with LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress blog, my emails, and haven’t made it to Digg or Delicious yet.  And need to pay the website domain before they make it public again.  Why do we use these methods of communicating and networking and how do they help?   Why is it so difficult for massage therapists, yoga teachers, dancers and artists to stay in that left brain flow?  I welcome any feedback and ideas.  I have gotten a few bites from all this work, but very few.  I always have enjoyed making connections between individuals and groups, so that in itself is rewarding,  but why do I feel like I am waiting for it all to happen?  Is it where I live?  A quasi-cultural wasteland?  Would the time spent on the computer making contacts  be better spent on the phone making follow up calls?  Actually speaking with people?  My animals think my time would be better spent massaging them, and so do my friends and family.

Soon,  thanks to the return of Microsoft Word and Outlook express (and the people that use it) I will have a finished e-book, or self-published book about my 30 years in the wellness field working with special, unusual and wonderful people (and animals.)   My book has gone through years of stops and starts, revisions, critiques, editing, stalling and blaming it on single motherhood, more revisions, editing, stalling, blaming it on losing my home, but  I think it is about to take shape.   Have others out there had help from social networking with selling books?  I have gone from 1000 pages to 500 pages to 250 pages.  It was about me and my life as part of a tapestry, then it was a compendium of knowledge, then hundreds of hands-on techniques and exercises, then my grandmothers stories of living in Greece, and soon will be the perfect balance of them all. 

I was initially dismayed at the thought  life without my computer, but during the two weeks or so without a computer I slowed down.   I felt like my internal compass was navigating, and my brain wasn’t a constant whir of input and ideas.   How do we keep our “center” while remaining receptive to the world outside?  Light

Mandalas:  The art of centering

“There exists no circle in the world which is not made from within a single point which is located in the center…and this point, which is located in the center, receives all the light, illuminates the body, and all is enlightened.”  From the Zohar

Mandala is a Sanskrit word for circle or wheel that signifies beginnings with no ends.  The variations of patterns are endless, but each has a specific center, and concentric rings that emanate from that center.  Every culture and spiritual practice has their own representation of the circle, evident in their art, architecture and rituals.  In ancient Britain the Druids told time and performed rituals within their circles of large boulders. The circular Aztec calendar was also a time keeping device as well as a vehicle for religious expression.  The 12th century Christian nun Hildegard von Bigen created mandalas to express her visions and beliefs.  The mandala is a recurrent Christian image: the rosary, halo, Celtic cross, crown of thorns, rose windows, floor of Chartres Cathedral and more.  In Islam the entire building of the mosque becomes a mandala as the dome of the roof represents the arch of the heavens and turns the worshippers’ atttention towards Allah.  The Star of David is a Hebrew spiritual symbol.  Natives of North America create and use medicine wheels and dream catchers.  Navajo Indians spend days or weeks creating sand mandalas. Indigenous Australians have bora rings, and the Amish have hex signs on their barns. Some cultures regard the mandala as an eye of God, or of the Goddess.

Zen Buddhist monks also spend days or weeks creating a sand mandala, only to sweep it up and disperse it into flowing water, to demonstrate the impermanence of life.   According to Buddhist scripture sand mandalas transmit positive energy to the environment and to the people who view them, even after they are swept away. The circle with a center pattern is the basic structure of nature, from the smallest molecule to the conceptual circles of family, friends and community, to the seeming endless Milky Way galaxy.

Psychotherapist Carl Jung created mandalas for his own growth and with his patients and said that a mandala symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.” Whatever your belief systems are, creating your own mandala design, or coloring one, lets you express yourself. Flowers, rings found in tree trunks, and snowflakes can be your inspiration.  The act of creating the mandala – with crayons, markers, paint, collage or stones — is relaxing and centering.  When you have completed it, look at what you have created.  Notice where your eyes land, and where they travel.  Then go to the center of the mandala and focus on it as you_Mandala become aware of your own center.

mandalas-earth energy