Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Samskara, Dammit

I often draft my blogs as they come to me, but sometimes (as is this case with this post) it takes a while for a draft to make it to this site... 

I've heard our 3 year old son say to a couple people recently "my new favorite word is dammit".

It's funny, because he has started saying dammit - he's picked it up from the grown-ups in our house.  And it's hard not to laugh when he says it.

What's funnier, is his saying it's his new favorite word.  This is something that I have said a few times to my friends when I thought he couldn't hear me.

Samskara is a Sanskrit word that loosely translates to mean the generalized patterns, impressions, ideas, or actions that make up our conditioning.  Samskaras can be positive nor negative, but it's the negative ones that often hold is back in our personal growth.

My son repeating the "me new favorite word..." just reminds me that he, and all children, don't miss a thing.  They're sponges.  They hear & absorb what we want & don't want them to hear.

And we were all kids once.

All things that were said to us - good & not so good, true & not so true - we heard them.  And we absorbed what was said - good & not so good, true & not so true.

As we grow, we may forget what was said, the actual words.  But we still hold it, in our bodies, somewhere in our minds, in our spirits.  And often, it holds us back.  Especially, when we don't remember it.

For me, I'm not good at math.  I don't ever remember being good at math.  And I often wonder if it's just not my thing, or if somewhere, way back when I was young, someone told me I wasn't good at it.

That's a pretty harmless example - fortunate my phone has a calculator:). But a lot of what we carry is much more hurtful & harmful...I'm not pretty, I'm not smart, I'm not good enough, I'm not worth anything.

The practice of yoga often brings you face to face with these constructs.  In a challenging pose, in a challenging moment, what you've absorbed suddenly comes up.  And you may back away from that challenge & from what comes up for a long time.  But then comes the point that you recognize that it isn't you.  That in that challenging moment you can breathe & you can feel that you are everything you want to be - strong, worthy, beautiful, smart.  And as you breathe in & absorb that - you can breathe out all the rest.

You release the power of the past.  You come present & embrace the power of the moment - your power. 

That's why we call it power yoga. (http://www.sanctuarypoweryoga.com/)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


In the beginning, I resisted Facebook.  I didn't really get it.  I didn't have time for it.  If I had time, I wanted to connect with people in person, or at least on the phone.

Then I opened Sanctuary Power Yoga (www.sanctuarypoweryoga.com), and everything I read & everyone I talked to pointed to Facebook as a powerful (mostly free) tool to market your business.

I complained a lot about Facebook.  I didn't understand it (I'm still not sure I do).  There was no instruction manual (aside from google - I complained about that too).  I whined because no one liked us.  (we've come a long way since then!) If it weren't for the studio, I would have jumped ship on FB a long time ago.

Honestly, I still don't really get Facebook.  Yes, it's nice to see what friends across the country are doing (and by friends, I mean real friends - people I have met in person).  It's easy to send someone a message.  To track down someone you've lost touch with.  And of course, it's still mostly free to post about your business.

But given free time, I would rather grab a coffee with a friend.  I'd rather call up a friend across the country, even if I just get her voicemail - at least I get to hear her voice.  I'd rather read a book to our son, or talk to my husband, or do laundry or dishes (well, maybe not dishes).

Facebook gives the illusion of connecting with people.  But I believe real connection happens in the moment.  In being present.  In person, when possible.  The ability to look someone in the eyes when you are talking to them.  To touch them.  That is real connection.  And I also believe that this is what we need more of in our world.

That's one of the reasons I opened Sanctuary Power Yoga & it's one of the many things I love about it.  I see people come in as strangers, practice next to each other day after day, and then one day...they find they are friends.  The studio fosters connection & community & we all benefit from that.  I think many of us take that feeling of connection & carry it out into the world with us.  And we find ourselves making more personal connections in other places - work, the store, on the street.

More personal connection.  More eye contact.  More touch.  Yes, I realize the irony of this post, as many of you are probably reading it on FB.  But after this, try it.  Let your interactions today be more personal.  Make a connection.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We're All Human

There are some really great yoga teachers out.  Some are world renowned.  Some famous in their city.  Some, just loved by their small yoga community (and that's saying alot). 

I've often thought that the best teachers are the ones who walk their talk - practice what they teach, if you will.  And what I love about great teachers is the messages they impart.  Insight & wisdom on how to be a better person or how to live a more peaceful existence.  They share their experiences & their mistakes, what they've learned & how they've grown.  They let us see that they are humans, on a path, just doing their best like the rest of us.

The human part is important...really important.  Even great teachers are human.  They make mistakes.  They go astray - sometimes in really big ways & that attracts alot of attention.  Sometimes they hurt people.  Does that make them bad teachers?  Does it make them bad people?

I think everyone probably has different ideas about this.  But I was thinking that we do need to remember that we're all human.  That we all do make mistakes.  Being a great teacher means practicing what you teach.  But being a great student, or more importantly being a compassionate human, means remembering that is a practice.  It's a practice for the student.  It's a practice for the teacher.  And really, we're all students.  Its remembering that every time you make a mistake - in the studio or out - you just need more practice.  Remember it about yourself.  But also remember it about those great teachers.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

10 Reasons to be Grateful for Living in New England in March

This morning our son said he wanted to buy popsicles because we hadn't had them since the summer & that was "a really, really long time ago".  It does seem like it was a long time ago!  And with everyone complaining about the cold (including me) I thought I'd try it put a different spin on things...so here are:

10 Reasons to be Grateful for Living in New England in March

1. Beautiful sunsets
2.  Strangers talking to one another, even if it is about weather:)
3. Winter sports - snowshoeing, skiing
4.  Animal tracks in the snow
5. Days are longer!
6. It's March, not February - Spring is that much closer.
7. Continued need for flannel sheets
8. No landslides
9.  Heated yoga feels even better when it's 9 degrees out! (www.sanctuarypoweryoga.com)
10.  This one is up to you - fill in the blank!

This is yoga off the mat - finding gratitude any way, every day!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


We finished our last day on Martha's Vineyard with a couple of delicious, organic, vegan smoothies from Blissed Out in Vineyard Haven & then hopped on the ferry to head home.

I had read about Blissed Out before we left home & was super excited to find a smoothie place like it.  I make raw vegan smoothies at home almost everyday, but I love trying ones made by other people.

One of the things I read in the online reviews was that they were pricey - $8-9 for 16 ounces.  They were worth it!

While we were on the Vineyard, the refrigerator there broke down for a couple days so we didn't have all the usual snacks to pack for the car ride home (we're big on snacks).  And we'd eaten our way through almost all the food we'd brought anyway.

A little more than half way home, we found ourselves at a rest stop on the Mass Pike.  And we opted for fast food for lunch.

Almost immediately after I'd ordered & was standing in line (with the rest of the people in the picture above) waiting for our food, I had buyer's remorse.  Was it really a good idea?


But I waited for the food anyway...I don't even eat meat - French fries & frozen drinks are my vice.  The food was, well, barely food.  I let the dog have most of the fries - not all, but most:)

Our fast good lunch cost us only a little less than our "pricey" breakfast smoothies.  No buyers remorse there.  The smoothies were made to order.  Fresh, organic ingredients. And really filling!

It was a good experience in contrast.  I needed that fast food to remind that I don't really like it.  Not anymore.  I find I need reminders like that sometimes - we all do.  Eating, experiencing something that doesn't feel good helps you remember & fine tune what it is that does feel good.  And that helps you create the life that you really want.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The other morning while I was practicing yoga at home, our big dog pooped in the house & our toilet overflowed. (I specify our big dog, because it's usually just the little dog who poops in the house.  Little dog = little poop, big dog = big poop).

It occurred to me later when I was teaching...there's always poop.  Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.  Sometimes it's your poop, sometimes it someone else's.  But there's always poop.

Looking back (especially before I found yoga) there were times when I was up to my eye balls in poop - flinging it around, just hoping it would stick to someone else.  I've been covered in poop & have made poop mountains out of molehills. 

The other morning, I found myself laughing about our poop situation.  It wasn't a big deal.  We cleaned it up, we moved on.

There's always poop.  And I realized it's how you handle it (carefully) that makes the difference.  You can fall into into, you can dive into it, you can get stuck in it, you can cover yourself in it, you can fling it - all that's really messy.  Or, you can walk away from it, you can step over or around it.  You can even pick it up, flush it & wash you hands of it.  No fuss, a lot less mess.

Like I said, since yoga, I have a lot less poop in my life - thank goodness.  And when I do encounter it, I try keep my sense of humor & stay as clean as possible. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Without my Yellow Hat....

....I'm not - me!"

We've watched alot of Curious George over the past 4.5 years.  And even if you don't watch him, you've probably seen or heard of the man.  The man with, well, the yellow hat.  That's who he is.  And he says it - "without my yellow hat, I'm not - me!"

You can feel like that about anything.  Without my job, I'm not me.  Without my car, I'm not me.  Without my house, I'm not me.  Without my favorite yoga mat, I'm not me.

Thing is, these are all things.  And they aren't us.  They don't define us.  We don't have to let them define us. 

We live in a society that does place alot if emphasis in material goods.  If you watch TV, you're bombarded with it.  Buy this car, buy these clothes - you'll feel better & happier - you'll find you!

Things don't define us.  We let them, sometimes, define us.  Without our things, we can define ourselves.  We can be free to be who we really want to be.  Out from under the weight of searching for things outside of us to make us happy, we find contentment - santosha - in who we really are.

Without his yellow hat, the man would still be someone George loves.  The people who love you would still love you without your car, without your job.  Would you still love yourself?

Imagine....how would you feel without your car.  Without your house.  That's not to say, without a place to live or a way to get around.  Just without what you're attached to now. Without the things that you've let define you.  Without your "yellow hat".