Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Love & Light

The type of yoga that I teach is a very physical practice - that's what makes it so attractive, I think, to so many people in our culture.  You can skip the gym, you don't need weights or cardio - you get it all in heated power class.  It's a flow - it just keeps coming at you - kind of like life. 

It's also a practice of moving energy.  Even if you don't buy into the talk of moving & shifting energy, you can't help but feel it.  You can get on your mat feeling crappy & worried & stressed & fearful & like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.  And at some point in your practice you'll start to feel better.  Most of the time, that is.

The tragedy of last Friday is different.  I see people coming into class worried & fearful & filled with sadness.  I see people crying quietly in class.   I hear teachers, healers, saying they're not sure what do or what to say.  I'm not sure what to do or what to say.  What can you say?

The Winter Solstice is this Friday.  12-21-12.  It's also the end of a cycle of the Mayan calender.  People talk about the end of the world, especially in light of what happened Friday.  

I find myself talking about energy & intention.  You do awaken a tremendous energy within yourself when you practice yoga.  And you feel tapped in to a bigger energy around you.  Intention, to me, is the simple act of dedicating that energy.  Dedicate it to the people touch by Friday's tragedy.  To anyone out there in pain.  To world peace.

I imagine that same energy as light.  We are all energy & are filled with light.  When you practice, you awaken your energy & your light.  If this is starting to sound like a bunch of new age, mumbo jumbo, just remember the last time you met with a really dynamic person or,  for that matter, a really peaceful person.  Didn't they seem to give off light?  Couldn't you feel their energy?

I don't really know what to do or say about last Friday.  So I set an intention everytime I get on my mat.  I ask my students to set an intention.  I remind myself that I am filled with love & light & that the world needs more love & light.  And I send my love & light out into the world.  I remind my students that they are filled with love & light & that the world needs more love & light.  And I ask them to send their love & light out into the world.

I am inspired by my teachers & my friends who are healers who are also reminding people of this.  It can be easy, in a dark time, to turn to anger & give in to fear & close people off.  Sometimes it's more challenging to keep an open heart & to send out love & light, but it's needed.

The Solstice is a reminder that in the darkest of days, light will return - strong & bright & vibrant.  And this Solstice, it seems especially appropriate.  We all have the opportunity, every day, to share love & light.  Yes, I think it's especially powerful when you get on your mat & tap in & offer this up.  But you can do it anywhere - anytime.  Sitting at a stop light, cooking dinner, waiting in line - you can take a deep breath, feel your heart open & send love & light out into the world. 

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yoda was a Yogi, Part 2

If you missed my post from last week, scroll down & check it out before continuing.

After I wrote my blog last week, our 3 year old son sat on my lap & said "mommy, draw this truck".  I replied "ok, I'll try".  (I'm not the best artist)

I caught myself saying this & quickly followed the "I'll try" with a simple "ok, let's draw this".

My truck didn't look much like the original:)  But instead of trying, I just did it.

Later in the shower, I was thinking about the day & what we would do (first issue - I was totally not present & enjoying the shower....that's a blog for another day).

I found myself thinking about a certain frozen coffee-like drink from a fast food joint for which I have a weakness.  It's a comfort food.  It tastes great going down, but inevitably I wind up feeling not great afterwards. 

I'd been focusing on eating only good, healthy food that makes me feel good.  And when I started thinking about how good one of these drinks would taste, I told myself "I'm going to try to not have one of those drinks this week".

Wait a minute...what did I say?  I'd done it again.  There was that "try".  I reframed it.  "I'm not going to have one of those drinks this week". 

It was interesting to me to see how often I used that word.  I'm going to try to eat better.  I'm going to try to do a better job with my bookkeeping.  I'm going to try to...fill in the blank.  I did it alot.  I thought alot about trying instead of doing.  Alot of energy going into trying instead into doing.  Think about it, how often do you try instead of do?  And what happens?

Like anything, once you bring some awareness to what you think (and say), it becomes easy to shift it. And then what you think & say carries over into your actions.  And suddenly, you're no longer trying, you're doing.

I did it.  I went the week without the fast food drink.  And I'm writing & posting a new blog this week.

See what you can do when you're not trying.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Do or do not.  There is no try." - Yoda

My husband is regular blog reader.  He has some that he reads every day, some that he reads every week.  He reads my blog.  Periodically (like last week), he says jokingly "I really like this blog.  I wish the author would post again".

If you follow my blog,  I try to post every week.  I try to post on Mondays - a good start for the week.

"Do or do not.  There is no try."   Hmm.

The writing part usually isn't difficult.  I get inspired to write & it just flows.  I have a bunch of drafts, potential posts, waiting in the wings.  So that, in theory, on Sunday night or early Monday morning, I can just polish a draft up & post.  Done.

Or....not so done.  Sure, I can come up with all kinds of excuses about why I don't get to my blog.  There are other, more important things & people & animals that need my attention first.  Sometimes, I get too in my head about the blog.  I get hung up on polishing a piece.  Or I decide that since I didn't post on Monday I should just wait until the following week.

It's like anything that you want to do.  It's like Yoda says - do it or don't do it.  (Yoda was yogi, you know).  What is "try" ???  Try is that "well...maybe, if things go just right & everything & everyone is all set & the planets are properly aligned it'll happen".

Truth is, there's always going to be something or someone else that wants your attention.  Doing is different that trying to do.  Doing involves intention.  It involves commitment.  It's an energy that you call up within yourself & around you.  So that what you want to happen, does happens.  And hopefully with time & doing, it takes less & less effort & it flows.

At least, that's my theory & what I'm going to try...oops.  I mean, that's what I'm going to do with my blog.  Set the intention & blog every week.

Check back next Monday for a new blog!

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Monday, October 29, 2012

No buts...


The other day I was thinking about one of my friends.  She's a great friend.  I've known her forever.  She's family to me & she would do anything for me or my family.  She is generous, kind, smart, loving, funny - the list goes on.

We've had alot of ups & downs, but we've always been there for each other.

As I was thinking about her, I suddenly realized that my good thoughts about her end with "but".  For example..."she's generous, but she's so opinionated".

For every good thought I had about her, I realized, I had another, not-so-good thought.  Some characteristic about her that I thought could use some improvement.

And it struck me, quite suddenly, that by ending my good thoughts with these not-so-good thoughts, that's what I was really focusing my energy on, and attracting to me. And in the meantime, I was making myself feel not-so-good too.

I realized all I need to focus on & think about are her good qualities...no buts.

Her generosity, her kindness, her compassion, her abundance...no buts.

If there are things about her that I think aren't perfect, well, that's my deal, not hers.  We are all works in progress.  But we are all also just right where we are, if we choose to accept that.

And here's the thing...the moment I realized that it shouldn't be about the "but", I felt better & lighter.  I no longer felt icky for thinking not-so-great things her.  I could just accept her where she was - and focus on all the good that she is.  And we both benefit.

It doesn't matter who it is...your friend, your boss, your parent, your sibling.  Forget the buts.  What do you love & respect about her?  What do you appreciate about him?  Find some quality that you can relate to & focus on that. Seek that out, especially in the person you find most challenging.  Attract that quality to you.

No buts...

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Me, My Mat & the Laundry

The other morning I woke with the plan to get right on my mat & practice.  I got my son breakfast, settled him in with a video & then took a look around.

There were toys everywhere (we hadn't picked up the night before).
The dishwasher needed to be emptied & the sink was full of dirty dishes.
The laundry basket was overflowing.  And the floor definitely needed to be vacuumed.

I was torn - I had limited time.  The disorder was almost overwhelming.  I new I'd feel better if I cleaned.

But I knew if I didn't practice right then & there, it would happen at all.

The first Yoga Sutra of Patanjali can be translated to "now begins the study of yoga".  Short, sweet & simple.

Now begins the study of yoga.  
As in - right now.  Not a month from from now when work settles down.  Not tomorrow when I have more time.  Not after a cup of coffee.  Not after I pick up the toys.  Not after I take care of the laundry.

And this is what I came back to that morning (and many mornings since then)....Now begins my study of yoga.

I walked past the laundry & the dishes, literally pushed the toys to the side & unrolled my mat.

And began my study, my practice, of yoga.
You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Right Place

Before we came to CT, we were living in the Boston area, renting an apartment from a friend.  The property was for sale - it had been for the few years we'd been living there. And the time came when the place sold and we had a couple months to find a new place to live.

It was the middle of winter & there weren't alot of apartments on the market.  At that time, we had two big dogs & a baby.  It became apparent pretty quickly that it would be challenging to find an apartment that would take all of us, that worked for us & that we could afford.

My yoga practice had taught me not to worry.  Why waste energy worrying?  Instead, I focused my energy on finding a place that was just right for us.  I believed it was out there, that we'd know it when we found it & that everything would work out in time.

I made alot of phone calls about apartments.  I'd start each call by saying "let me tell you first that we have two dogs & a baby".  At which point, there would usually be a pause on the other end of the line. Followed by an apology.  Either because they didn't take dogs or kids (because it wasn't lead-free).

We still managed to look at alot of apartments - probably close to 30.  And at one point we found two places that we liked & would work for us & we could afford.  In both cases, as I was driving to the realtor's office to place a deposit, I got a call that the landlord had independently found a renter & signed a lease that day.  Back to the drawing board for us.

It was discouraging.  It was challenging not to worry.  But our back up plan was to put everything in storage & stay with my Mother in CT until we found a place.  I knew we would find a place, but I began to wonder when.

About a week before our move out date, my Mother actually rented us a storage pod & had it delivered because she was so worried we wouldn't find a place.

It was around that point I remember having a conversation with my husband. I had been so sure that when we found the right place, I would know.  I would just be able to tell.  It would feel right.  It would be just right for us...all of us.

My husband suggested that I might need to let go of that belief.  That it was much more likely that we would have settle for any available apartment that would take us.  That we would have to make some compromises.

I had the same conversation with a good friend who was also a yoga teacher.  She said to keep the faith.  Keep believing, visualizing & asking the Universe for what I wanted.  She said I wound know the right place when we found it.

In the end, we found a place that wasn't perfect but worked for us.  I succumbed to practicality & settled & we placed a deposit.  The catch was, we still had to put everything in storage & move to CT for a couple months because the apartment wasn't immediately available.

It was once that we were here, in CT, that I stumbled across the space that is now Sanctuary Power Yoga.  And as soon as I walked into the space, I felt it.  It was perfect.  It felt like home. It was exactly what I had been asking the Universe for.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things....Part 1

 Kale is one of my favorite things.  Raw.  Baked.  Steamed.  You name it - I love it.

I don't think that was always the case.  I'm sure I haven't always liked it.  But through the practice of yoga & wanting to feel better, I began eating kale more.  And the more I eat it, the more I like it. 

Recently I've begun noticing the lines at the drive-thru when I drive by fast food restaurants.  I'm repeatedly stunned...there are almost always lines.  I get it - it's fast, it's easy, it's cheap....and yes, I have been there myself.

But, it's definitely not good for you.  It seems like a good idea at the time, but I never feel good afterwards.  And one of the problems with eating fast food consistently is that you forget what it feels like to feel good...really good.  You get used to feeling tired & heavy & foggy & cranky.

It can be a big leap to stop eating fast food.  One of the things that helps is easy, good for you food.  Kale has become one of my most favorite, if not my favorite, vegetable.  Especially this time of year.  You can get good, fresh kale - cheap!  At farmer's markets & far stands, and even in the grocery store.

These are three easy, great tasting recipes that are regulars in our house.  If the thought of kale makes you cringe - try the smoothie or the cooked kale first.  You may not be ready to take that leap of giving up fast food, but maybe you can bring some balance into your diet (and into your life) by incorporating these recipes into your routine.  And maybe you'll notice that you feel better when you eat better.  And that's how the shift begins.

Raw Kale Salad
1 bunch, fresh kale
1 lemon
1-2 cloves garlic
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper

Pull kale leaves from stem, rip into bite size pieces, rinse & place in bowl.
Finely chop garlic & add to kale
Squeeze juice from lemon onto kale
Drizzle olive oil over kale
Toss kale, evenly coating it with lemon juice & oil.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

This tastes best when left to marinate for a few hours.  The lemon juice softens the kale & the kale picks up the flavor of the garlic.  But in our house, it usually lasts only for minutes! 

Fruit & Kale Smoothie
3-4 kales leaves
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup pineapple
1 small banana
1/2 lime
1 cup water
agave (if desired)
additional fruit, if desired

Pull kale leaves from stem, rinse & put in blender
Add banana, blueberries, pineapple,  water & juice from lime.  If you like your smoothies sweet, add 1 tablespoon agave.
Blend until smooth.
This is great for kids who don't like greens - because of the blueberries, you can't see that there is kale in this (don't let them see you make it!).  The kale adds some texture, so start with just a couple leaves & then increase the amount of kale as you like.  You can use fresh blueberries - but I like to add ice when I do, for that icy consistency.

Cooked Kale
1 bunch, fresh kale
1-2 cloves garlic
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
salt & pepper

Pull kale leaves from stem, rip into bite size pieces & rinse.
Finely chop garlic.
Add oil & kale & garlic to saute pan.  Toss the kale as it cooks & cook until just wilted - add maple syrup.

**If you're feeling crazy...save the kale stems & use them for green juice!  Recipe for that will be in "A few of My Favorite Things - Part 2**

So, "when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when your feeling SAD" (standard american diet).  Simply remember one of my favorite things...and then you won't feel so bad.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lion's Breath

In my yoga classes at Sanctuary Power Yoga,  I've started teaching something called "lion's breath".  You take a big breath in then open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue & breath out - loudly.

It's a great release - it's fun & funny.  Try it.  Go for it.

People who've been practicing yoga for a while really get into it.  Newer students are reluctant.  I teach it when everyone is on their back with their eyes closed, so you can't see what anyone else is doing.  Even so, many people don't stick out their tongue, don't make any noise.  I can sense the uncertainty in people, the nervousness, the "this is weird, what will people think" feeling.

I asked my students the other day "remember when you were a kid & loved to stick out your tongue?"... Do you?

When we're kids, we don't care how we look.  If our hair stands up, our socks don't match.  We don't care what other people think about how we look.  We're not embarrassed to try something new & fun & we're not embarrassed when we fall.  We just get up & try again.

Then something happens & all that shifts (for most of us).  We're told how we should look & act & we gradually become more & more self-conscious about our appearance & our actions & we become concerned with fitting in.

I remind students when they're in class that they don't have to worry about how they look.  They don't have to worry if "they're doing it right".  Their practice doesn't have to look like anyone else's.  If they want to try something new that looks fun (or even a little scarey) - go for it.  I ask them to think less about other people & feel more.  Feel what they want to do & don't stop to overthink it.

With time, this creates another shift.  Back to that place where you become unconcerned with what other people think about you.  You don't care what they think about your yoga practice, the way you dress, the house you live in, the car you drive, the way you live your life.  You practice feeling what you want & you go for it. 

When I opened Sanctuary Power Yoga a year ago, it felt right.  It didn't necessarily make any sense - the country was/is in a recession, I didn't do any market research, we didn't really even have the money for it.  But it just felt right.  And with support of everyone who loves me - I decided to go for it.  I'm glad I did.

What would you do if you weren't concerned about what other people think?  What fun, scarey thing would you try?  What makes you happy?  What do you love doing?

Don't overthink...just go for it.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Monday, August 20, 2012


When my husband & I got our own place, we wanted a dog.  We decided to adopt.  I had never been to an animal shelter before.  When we left the first one, I cried.  I wanted to take all the dogs home with us.

We went to lots of shelters & met lots of dogs.  Our agreement was that if we met a dog we liked, we'd go home, sleep on it & then go back the next day & adopt him or her.

After trips to a bunch of shelters, we met Ace (that was the name we gave him).  When we met him, they were calling him Highway, because he had been found alongside the highway.

He was a total mutt.  He was big & goofy & beautiful.  He had been adopted a couple times & returned to the shelter a couple times.  We didn't care.  He had deep brown eyes & velvety smooth ears.  It was love at first sight.  As agreed, we left & saying we'd sleep on it & come back the next day.  Except as we were leaving my husband, who had to go to work shortly, said to me "You have to go back & get him today.  No one else can have him.  He's ours".

So I did.  We went home, I got the paperwork we needed & I went back that afternoon to bring Ace home.

When first got him, he would bark at us when we were eating - clearly he was trying to say something, but we didn't know what.  He was big - I guess he could appear scarey, but we were never afraid of him.  We finally figured out he didn't like his dog food & that's why he was barking - our food looked much better! (we got him better food).

We agreed Ace wouldn't sleep in our bed.  But then I went away for business in the first month we had him & when I came home, Ace & my husband were sharing the bed.

Ace talked a lot.  He grumbled.  He was kind of lazy, but when he ran, he ran fast.  He didn't like motorcycles or delivery trucks.  He was a big dog.  His tail would knock things off the coffee table.  But he was gentle.

My husband had wanted a dog since he was a child.  He & Ace were the perfect picture of a boy (albeit a big one) & his dog.  Ace was good with kids & he seemed especially fond of boys when we would meet them.  We speculated that maybe he had been in a home with boy(s) as a puppy.  After our son was born, Ace let our son climb on him, look in his mouth, snuggle with him.  We loved Ace & he loved us.  We adopted another dog after Ace & he tolerated her puppy nonsense.  We were a pack.  We were all very attached to Ace.

The last day of Ace's life here was a good one.  He hadn't been feeling well, but on that last day he did feel good.  He ran fast, he rolled on the grass.  He got alot of love.  

The practice of non-attachent (vairagya) is one of the basic teachings of yoga.  And on your mat, it's relatively simple.  You really, really want to be able to "do" a pose - you're attached to what you think is the end result of your practice - that "perfect" pose.  Or you're injured & your practice isn't what you'd like it to be.  Or you look around the room & want to be able to do what someone else is doing.  What you want & what exists are two different things.  So you practice being more in the moment.  Paying less attention to where you'd like to be & more attention to where you are.  You practice non-attachment & you find contentment in your present state, with what is.

The practice of non-attachment off the mat is another story.  Ok, so it's easier to practice non-attachment with things, but with people & animals that you love...well, it's just hard.  We loved Ace.  We were all very attached to him & it was hard to see him leave us.  Life is still good, but it's not the same.  It's not the way we wish it were.  We still miss Ace.  We wish he were still here with us.

Our 3 year old son sometimes sighs & says "I miss Ace.  He was a good dog." Yes, he was.

I guess that's why it's a practice.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Monday, August 13, 2012

How do I look?

A while ago, I'm not sure when, I became unconcerned with my appearance.

Let me be more specific...I became unconcerned with what others think of my appearance.

I like to be comfortable.  I gave up a "traditional" office job years ago.  Before yoga, I was a nanny.  My uniform for years has been comfortable clothes.  I never worried about how I looked when I went to the gym (that was a long time ago!).  And as a yoga student, I never bothered with my appearance.  I was going to practice yoga, not host a TV show.  All I needed was clothes I could move in. 

As a business owner, it feels tricky sometimes.  I am the face of Sanctuary Power Yoga.  I do care about how I look - I want people to see the healthy, happy person that I am.  My clothes don't always reflect this.  I have spots on alot of things from my dogs & my son.  It's ok - I like not being concerned when things gets stained.  It's not important.  What I wear shouldn't matter.  It's what's on the inside that counts.  But I care about myself - my health & well being & I want people to see this. 

First impressions do matter & many people, unfortunately, judge a book by it's cover.  I have sometimes have conversations with myself (or my husband) as I'm leaving the house..."can I wear this?  do I look messy?  do I look silly?  do I care?"

You see how it gets tricky...

People come into the studio in all kinds of clothes.  Some spend alot of money on expensive yoga clothes.  Some come in their gym clothes.  Some come in pajamas.  Does it matter?  Do fancy clothes equal a better yoga practice?  All that matters is that you show up on your mat.  And what you & your practice look like - well, as long as you feel good about it, that's all that matters.

And this is usually where I find myself as I am leaving the house.  If I feel good about myself...if I am going out to have fun with my family - well, that's all that matters.  And hopefully the strangers that I meet will see my happy, healthy self shining through from behind the stains.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Monday, August 6, 2012

Living Your Best Life

The style of yoga I teach, power yoga, is vinyasa - its a flow.

Especially in the beginning of class, when I guide students through Sun Salutations.  It can be pretty vigorous - they're meant to warm up your body, get your heart rate up & get you sweating.

Sometimes students will chuckle when I remind them, during this challenging series, to take their time & move at their own pace.  Students have even commented "how can you say that when you're telling us what to do?"

Some styles of yoga, and some teachers, demand that students do exactly as their told.  That the whole class move & breathe together & that everyone look the same in each pose.

That's not me.  It's not what I've learned & it's not what I teach.

Sure, it may seem contradictory that I'm telling you when to breathe & how to move....and then telling you to do your own thing.  Here's how it works for me...

When I teach, I'm a guide.  I'll teach a challenging class - you'll move, you'll sweat, you'll get a workout.  That's what I'm teaching.  But your practice isn't about me - it's about you.  So if you want to slow down...slow down.  If you want to take it up a notch...take it up a notch.  Its your practice - its about you.

As you move & breathe, you find your own flow.  You don't have to keep up with anyone.

The biggest thing about this, for me, is that it's a metaphor for life. 

You get on your mat & you rush & you push to keep up & you struggle & it's not your best practice & you don't feel good.

You move through your life & everyone around you is moving fast - you gotta keep up...get that job, buy that house, buy that car...you gotta keep up.  You keep up & you push & you struggle & it's not your best life & you don't feel good.

It's simple. 

Your mat is a mirror for your life.

If you can slow down or stop when it feels right, no matter what's going on in class around you, no matter what I'm saying.  I respect that.  You're listening.  You're listening to your body & your heart & spirit & those are your best guides.  Yes, even better than me (or any teacher).

If you feel like you need to keep up in class.  If you feel like you need to keep up in life...ask yourself why.

If you can slow down & move through your life, listening to your heart & doing what feels right for you,  others will respect that.  Your life may look very different from the lives of those around you.  People may look at you a little funny when you tell them about it.  But when you talk about it with enthusiasm & exuberance, they'll feel that & respect it & you'll feel you're living your best life.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Monday, July 23, 2012


Some people live for the weekends.  Slog their way thru the day, getting by, getting thru, just waiting for TGIF.

Those same people live for vacations.  Just one more month, one more week.  Counting the days until they can enjoy their life.

I was one of those people once.  Even though I had a good job, one that I enjoyed, I couldn't wait for my time off. 

I can remember thinking "I just have to get thru this week".

And then one of my vacations didn't go the way it was planned.  Our flight was canceled, we missed our cruise ship....we got there eventually, but wow, did that mess me up.  I was totally overwhelmed & upset when I found out. 

I had put so much energy into something that hadn't happened yet.
I had such high expectations.  And then when it didn't go as I planned...I came unglued.

Looking back, it wasn't a big deal.  It worked out.  We made it to our ship, we had fun.  I could have handled it a lot better.

That was before I really got what yoga was about.  I was teaching then, but mostly just practicing on a physical level...not the whole package.

We were on vacation last week.  A few days before we left people asked "are you excited?".  "I bet you could use a break" they said.

Sure, I was excited.  I was looking forward to dedicating time to just my family. 

But I try to be excited every day when I wake up.  I try to be excited that I woke up.  That I have time for my family.  That my "work" is something that I love.  That every day I have people & activities to be joyful & excited about.

My intention was to enjoy every day of our vacation & I did.  But my daily intention is to enjoy every day.  To make the most of my time, to take my time.  To breathe & be present. 

And that's my yoga.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Carried Away

You wake up in the morning & hit the ground running.

As you brush your teeth, you worry about the presentation that you have to give at work today.

In the shower, you wonder about the engine light that just came on in your car & worry about where you will find the money to fix whatever is wrong with it.

You half-heartedly pay attention to the story your child tells you as you frost the cupcakes for her class party that day...you worry that another parent's cupcakes will be better & wonder why you volunteered to bake them in the first place.

Driving to work, you check your emails, make a few quick calls, a go through your to-do list for the day...errands, bills, shopping for a friend...where will you find the time for everything & everyone? 

"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone & everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times" - Thomas Merton

Work is work - you have to do what you have to do.  Bills need to be paid - there's not alot of way around that.  You care about others & want to help. 

There will always be a multitude of things & people that you can worry about.  There will always be things & people demanding your attention.  When those demands & worries take over your life...you feel stressed, worried, angry.  You lash out at others, eat too much (or not enough), drink too much, complain...it's the opposite of bringing compassion into the world (which is what you want to do when you offer to help someone).  You add to violence & the chaos of the times.

You have a choice.  Succumb to that violence or cultivate compassion - be present & breathe.

Every time you get on your mat, you have that same choice.  When you move through a challenging practice - you can get angry & frustrated at yourself & the teacher & the class & the world.  Or you can cultivate compassion, for yourself & others.  You can be present & breathe.

When you're present - you're calm, grounded - even if everything going on around you totally sucks.  You're not off & running through your day, worrying about where you have to go & what you have to do.  The bills won't go away, your boss & work won't go away.  But you feel your strength & cultivate compassion & breathe through those challenges as you move through them.  (You might even find yourself enjoying frosting those cupcakes with your kids).

You can succumb to the violence or cultivate compassion.

Cultivate compassion.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Monday, June 11, 2012

If I could just....

I love my body.

It allows me to do so much.  Run & play with my son.  Hug & kiss him & my husband.  Embrace family & friends & students in time of both joy & sorrow.  It gets me through those mundane everyday tasks - dishes, laundry, cooking & cleaning.  It carries me up three flights of stairs to my beautiful yoga studio.  It allows me to enjoy a powerful, strong physical yoga practice.

I am so grateful for all that my physical body does for me.

And yet....

As I stood in front of the mirror the other day, I couldn't help but think "if I could just loose my baby belly then..." (my son is 3 years old, afterall).

And then immediately I thought "well, then what?!?"

If I "lost" the baby belly...would I suddenly be happier?  Wealthier?  Smarter?  Prettier?  Would I win the Nobel Peace Prize?  Find a cure for all disease?

Not likely.

I'm already happy & smart & living a life of abundance.  Oh, and I'm beautiful too.

We all have moments like these.  "If I could just..." - you fill in the blank.  Get a bigger house, drive a nicer car, be thinner, smarter, etc

If things change, life may be different, may be easier.  But you'll still be who you are.  If you want to feel better, right now - embrace all that you have.  The things you love about yourself & even the things you're not crazy about.  Wake up every morning filled with gratitude because you did wake up!

Love yourself & your body & your life - imperfections & all.

And then watch as it just gets better & better.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What, no phone?!

The other day, my iphone wouldn't work...wouldn't turn on - nothing.

So I made an appointment at the "genius bar" & set out to leave the house.

My mother said "you need a phone - take my phone" (she was going to be home all day & actually still has a landline).

Imagine...leaving the house without a phone....whatever did we do before cell phones, before fancy phones with internet & gps & everything but the kitchen sink?

We waited.

When we were driving home from the store & remembered that we wanted to tell our friend something, we waited until we got home to call them.  And then maybe we left a message on their answering machine (or just waited to call again) instead of immediately texting them too.

When we thought "who sang that song in that movie?" - we waited until we saw someone that we could ask.  And if they didn't know the answer, we asked the next person.  And we had several conversations & personal interactions with different people.  Maybe we found the answer - maybe we remembered - maybe not. Was it really that important anyway?

When we needed to know who the Governor of Alaska was in 1985, we might have waited until we could to Library. We talked to the Librarian.  We looked through real books - not ebooks or ibooks.

Waiting.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  Waiting in line at the grocery, maybe you strike up a conversation with the person in front or behind you.  Waiting at the Doctor's office, maybe you take  a few minutes to meditate, reflect on all the great things & people you have in your life.  Waiting for the bus to come, maybe you notice how really blue the sky is & how warm the sun feels.

Waiting gives you time to notice what is happening in the real world - your physical world - at that moment.  It gives you the opportunity to connect with real people.  It allows you to be present.

That's yoga...off your mat

Next time you find yourself reaching for your phone instead of talking to the person in front of you....wait.  And see what happens.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's the Story?

For years, before I taught yoga, I worked as a nanny.

I sort of fell into it & for the most part, I loved it.  I was paid extremely well, had great health benefits & took care of wonderful children.  I spent my "work" day at the beach or the playground...it was way better than any other job I previously had.

But there was a big back story behind being a nanny.  I had fallen into the work, but only because I had ended a relationship, lost a job & had to start over.  It was a back story filled with hurt & anger.

When I would meet people & they would ask "so, what do you do?".  And I would answer "I'm a nanny...  but..."  And then I would go on to tell them how I had gone to College, worked in Social Services & Event Planning & how I pretty much just landed in this job without planning it.  I felt I was being judged for my job choice & that I needed to justify it, & my abilities, to complete strangers.

At some point, I stopped caring what strangers thought about my job choice.  At some point, I became confident about what I did, the reasons why I did it & why I liked it so much.  At some point I let go of the hurt & anger & the history that had led me to being a nanny & I just embraced what I was doing.

At some point, I realized I was writing the story & it didn't have to be one of hurt & anger & justification anymore.  I closed the book on the old story & started to write a new one. 

Sure, there were people who walked away from me when I told them what I did, but that was their story.  The choice to feel judged & the need to justify - that was all me.  I realized that every time I brought up the back story, I was re-writing it.  In the same way.  Over & over again.  And in the process, giving it more power & energy.    

I periodically meet people who are still writing & rewriting the same old story.  A story of hurt, or deception, wrong-doing - real or perceived.  They are focusing their energy on what has happened in the past & they keep sticking with the same story.  And every time they tell that story, they bring up that old, negative energy.

 It took me quite a while to realize that's what I was doing.  Writing & re-writing the same old story.  Giving power to the past & bringing up that negative energy. 

That was all before yoga.

It was Yoga that helped me realize that I could close the book on the old story & start writing a new one any time I wanted.  With each new day...with each new moment even.  The old story may have been powerful, but my ability to write a new one gives me the power in this moment.

What's your story?  Are you stuck in the past - giving it power over the present?  Writing & re-writing? 

What good things are happening in your life right now?  What great things are about to happen?   

What story do you want to write?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Save Yourself First

I met with a group of very dear friends recently.  Strong, smart, funny women that I have know since High School.

We were talking about the demands of modern life.  Specifically, we were talking about the demands of being a woman.  But really, it applies to everyone.

There's always someone who needs you, something that need your attention - it's constant.  Especially in this day & age with cell phones & email, when you can almost always be reached immediately.  And people expect an immediate response from you.  It can drain you.

One of my friends shared (only half jokingly) her motto..."save yourself first".  (Giving credit where credit is due, she said she had picked it up from her cousin & dear friend).

Save yourself first.

She told us her motto & then she gave the analogy of being on airplane that was going down.  The airmasks drop.  Your first instinct may be to help your child or your parent.  But if you don't put that airmask on yourself first, you can't help anyone.

Save yourself first.

I tell this to my students all the time...just not in those exact words.

When you get on on your mat - let it be about you.  Put yourself first.  Don't share your practice with anyone in your head. (If you want to physically bring them into class with you, that's another story).  But if you spend the whole time thinking about other people, worrying about them & what you need to do for them - you've given the time & the practice to them.  It becomes a practice for them, rather than for you.  And that time on your mat should be just for you & all about you, in the best possible way.
The effort that you make to find the time for you on your mat...use it to focus on you.  Replenish yourself.  Renew your energy.  Take care of your body, your mind, your heart, your spirit.

And then you can focus on others - then you're better prepared for it.

Make time for yourself. Find time for your practice.

Save yourself first.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I don't know why I like Yoga so much...

One of my students said to me recently that she didn't know why she liked yoga so much.  She'd done the gym, rhumba - all that stuff.  And found that Yoga really resonated with her.

 I think we spend alot of our lives being to told what to think & how to feel.  We're told what we're good at & what we're not good at.  We're told what we should do & what we shouldn't do.  And somewhere along the way, we lose our way.  We lose the joy that resides in our spirit & our heart.

And then you get on your yoga mat (with a compassionate teacher) & Yoga tells you..."you are just right the way you are".  Yoga says you can drop all the labels when you get on your mat - you don't have to be a teacher, or a mother, or a father, or a partner, or a parent, or a doctor, or firefighter...you can just be you.  Yoga explains that you aren't all about worry & stress & fear.  Yoga lets you know that you don't have to be responsible for anyone else while you're on your mat.  That you don't have to fix anything or anyone while you're practicing.

Yoga tells you that you can relax...you can let go...you can be you.

And you might not even know who you are when first start your yoga journey.  You might not know what you feel because you've been told what to feel & think for so long.  It becomes a process of getting to know yourself again.  Finding the joy that does in fact reside in your spirit & your heart.

Sometimes the journey is a rocky one.  Sometimes you wander away from the practice & then something brings you back.  But the more you practice, the better you feel.  The lighter & brighter you become.  Because you come back to joy & learn to love yourself just the way you are. 

This is why I teach.  Because yoga has helped me find myself again.  It helps me find joy & I feel lighter & brighter when I practice.  And that is something that I want to share with everyone.

When I try to explain this practice to people, it's challenging.  Because its much more than what you see.  Just like each of us...there's so much more to each of us than what you see.

That inexplicable reason for liking yoga...because you feel good.  Because you find you.  It really is something to be experienced for yourself.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Saturday, April 14, 2012

How does it make you feel?

I feel very lucky in writing my blog because most of the time, it flows effortlessly for me.  Someone says something or I have a thought & it sparks an idea, which then blossoms into a blog post.  I know it's right, because it does flow & it feels good.  I'm connected with Source, I open myself up to whatever is out there, and before I know, the blog is finished.  It's very similar to the way I teach.  And it feels good.

Today, as I was about to get on my mat to practice, my Mother told me about something that was going to be on TV later in the day & it sparked something in me.  As I started my practice, thoughts came together & I was writing my blog in my head.  I paused on my mat, and typed my blog out on my phone.  It didn't take long & when I was finished, I went right back to my practice.

As I practiced, what I had written stayed with me...which is unusual, because usually once I write it down, I let it go.  But I kept coming back to what I had written & it felt it off - I felt off.  I felt off-balance & almost angry.  And I finally realized that I written a rant, rather than a blog.

Now, I know alot of blogs out there are exactly that - rants.  Usually about things that the blogger doesn't like.  And that's fine for them.  But for me, I try to make my blogs about what I want to see more of.  It's the Law of Attraction...I hope & believe that if I write about good things that are going on (like practicing yoga & taking that practice off your mat), then maybe it will lead to more people feeling better & doing better & maybe the world will become a better place.  And I use how I feel when I write as my guidance system - if it doesn't feel good, it probably isn't a good idea.  And if I don't feel good, I try to think about & reach for something that feels better.

So as I continued to practice, I realized that in what I had just written there was alot of focus on the negative.  Things that I think are wrong.  And writing them all down just made me feel worse...a little angry, a little off-balance.  And it took me almost my whole practice to work out those feelings.

In talking with a student not long ago, she started to tell me about some trouble she was having with her computer.  And then she stopped abruptly & pretty much said she didn't need to elaborate & go into detail about...it was enough to say that it had left her feeling overwhelmed.  She got it.  She recognized in that moment that if she brought the whole thing up again & went into details about everything that had happened & gone wrong - she was going to feel lousy & overwhelmed again...just as she had at the time when she had the problem with her computer.  She chose instead to stop & re-align her energy.  She kept it simple.  She was having a good day, she'd just had a good practice - she was feeling good & wanted to keep it that way.  Enough said.

And so it was the same with what I had written.  My intention in writing was to spark some positive energy in the people who would read it.  But I realized that if it was mostly negative & made me feel bad, it probably wasn't going to make anyone else feel good.

So I've left what I wrote where it is - saved on my phone.  Until I figure out a way to turn it around & re-align the energy of it so that it feels productive & good.

And instead, I wrote this.  And this flowed easily & it feels good.  I know that sometimes you do need to talk about bad things that have happened.  That you need to release them from your heart & spirit & body & that the only way to do so is to talk about it.  And I respect that.

But I also know that repeating the same negative story over & over & over again, just brings me back to the way I felt at the time...not good.  And I want to feel good.  I want to be happy.  We all do.

So next time you start to think or talk about things that aren't right, take a moment & see how you feel.  How you feel before you shift your attention to the negative.  If you're having a good moment & feel good - stay with it, enjoy it.  If you're feeling not-so-great, instead of lowering your energy even more - reach for thoughts & words & images that make you feel better.  This is what the practice of yoga is all about.  Feeling better.  And you can practice it anywhere, anytime.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don't Cry Over Spilt Juice

The other day I was driving to the studio to teach & was really in my head.  I was thinking not-so-nice thoughts about someone...nothing terrible, just things about someone that I maybe wasn't so crazy about & how that someone "made" me feel not-so-great.

And as I slowed to stop at a light, my tall cup of juice tipped over in the cupholder of my car & spilled everywhere.

It was alot of juice & it was juice that I had just made.  It was really good (it was going to be my breakfast) & now it was in my cupholder, all over the center console & on the floor.

I admit - there was that moment of "Oh No!" - and I might have used a choice word:).  But then I sighed, looked for some napkins (I had a few) & just did the best I could to wipe up the mess & move on.

It got my attention - that's for sure.  It got me out of my head.  It immediately felt like a reminder from the Universe to be present, to enjoy what going on around me at that moment...it was a beautiful day & I was joyful to be headed to the studio to teach.  It was a reminder to let go of negative thoughts about that person & instead find the qualities about them for which I was grateful.  It was a reminder that I could shift how I felt, just by shifting my thinking & becoming present.

When I'm teaching, I remind my students all the time to breathe & be present.  I remind them that we all have the power to shift how we feel by shifting the way we think.  If you're on your mat practicing yoga, but you're thinking about how much you dislike your boss...you're missing out on time for yourself.  You're missing the joy of the moment & the practice.  And you miss the opportunity to feel better.

If you're driving in your car on a beautiful day, after having just spent time with your wonderful family, on your way to teach yoga to a wonderful group of  people in a studio that you love, but you're thinking negative thoughts...well, you get it...I was missing out.

It was a great reminder for me.  We all need reminders & they come in different shapes in sizes - you just have to be open to them.  For me, it was a reminder to practice my yoga off my mat.  To take a breathe or two, get present & enjoy all that the moment & the day had to offer.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Sunday, April 1, 2012


During the Holidays, I read a couple moving articles about people helping people.  Some were helping in big ways - anonymously paying off bills for others.  Some were helping in small ways - stopping to change a tire for a stranger.

In the stories that I read, the who received helped referred to the strangers who helped them as "Angels".

Angels are different things to different people.  I believe that Angels do live among us & are always helping us - sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small ways.  To me, Angels are about intention.  The intention to help & expect nothing in return.  And it doesn't have to be fancy, with bells & trumpets & streaming light.  Just that intention to make it better day for someone else out there.

Angels pop in when you least expect them & disappear just as quickly & quietly.  But they leave a big impression.  And the suggestion that anyone, yes anyone, can be an Angel.

The Holiday seasons seems like so long ago - Spring is upon us, Summer will be here soon.  But Angels & their intentions are a reminder that the spirit of the Holiday season can continue all year long.  Peace on Earth...Goodwill toward others...Giving Thanks...Hope.  That's what Angels bring.

Angels helping people.  People helping people.  We all have Angels around us & the possibility to be an Angel within us.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Going Nowhere Fast

As I've been driving around lately, I notice alot of people in a big hurry.

I'm fortunate to not have to do much driving on interstate highways anymore, so my daily travels take me mostly through residential neighborhoods, business areas, country roads & two-lane highways.

As I'm driving along, at or around the speed limit, a car will suddenly come zipping up behind me, tailgate me only until the driver can pass me & continue hurrying along.  Sometimes I get passed where it's legal, other times - where it's not.  And if I happen to be on a stretch of road with a travel lane & passing lane - I'm almost always in the travel lane getting passed. 

Funny thing happens though...a 1/4 or 1/2 mile up the road, I often find myself at a stoplight, behind the car that passed me.  We get to the same place at the same time.  It's in the getting there that we have very different experiences.

And I know this, because I used to be that driver always in a hurry.  Cruising along, pulling up behind that car going "too slow".  So I imagine the inner dialog of the driver behind me going something like this:

"Are you kidding me?!? Is she really going to drive this slow?  Does she know that she's in my way?!  Doe she have any idea how crazy this makes me?!?  This is ridiculous! She should get out of  my way.  She is totally pissing me off!"...and so on, until the driver can pass me....and then get stuck at a red light or behind another car.

Meanwhile, I'm driving along, enjoying myself.  Taking in the scenery, the weather, enjoying my drive as much as I can.  I'm not trying to agitate anyone.

The other driver does that all by himself (or herself).  In the moment that driver comes up behind me, he has a choice...to slow down & enjoy the ride.  Or succumb to frustration, anger & animosity.  No one is doing anything to him.  He's all on his own.  And in those moments of frustration & anger - there's no joy.

We're on the same road...we even arrive at the same place at almost the same time. But our journeys are very different.

And really, it's a metaphor for life, right?  Who is really doing what to you?  Who is really responsible for making you angry?  Who is really responsible for for making you frustrated?  Most of the time...it's just you.  Not anyone else.  We're all on a journey - it's a choice.  What do you want your jourey to be like?

You have that choice.  To keep rushing along, pissed off at everyone who "gets in your way", passing them as you go.  Missing out on the scenery.  Missing out on joy.

Or you can slow down & enjoy the ride.  Practice breathing & staying calm when you find someone (or something) blocking your way.  Finding joy whenever & wherever you can.

And either way - I'll see you at the stoplight.

Monday, March 19, 2012

When do you do yoga?

The other day in the studio, one of my students asked "when do you get to do yoga?".

I teach class at Sanctuary Power Yoga 6 days a week & I love it. And I love to take class in the studio with the other, wonderful teachers. And I love to practice in the beautiful space that does feel like a sanctuary.

But when I'm not teaching, I want to be with my family. So for the most part, I throw my yoga mat down on the floor at home & let my son watch one of his programs while I take myself through a physical practice.

Every time I get on my mat, I focus on creating the practice that I need that day.  Some days it's fast & very physical.  Other days, it gentle & nurturing.  Some times, it's a long flow. Other says, only a few minutes to clear out & reset.  Most times, I read my affirmations & inspirational quotes as I practice.  And every time, it's a meditation in motion.  And because I'm with my family - I love it.

Some days, in the middle of my flow, our son interrupts me for something he needs, or just to talk.  And that's part of my practice too.  If I feel myself getting frustrated because he's interrupting my practice I remind myself of what yoga is really about. 

It's about love, compassion, breathing, staying calm & finding joy.  It asks for our continued commitment & devotion, in spite of interruptions. 

So when I start to feel frustrated, I remind myself to really practice yoga.  To find the joy in the silliness of what my son has to say.  Or compassion by giving him the help he needs.  And then the commitment to get back on my mat & refocus & continue.

And all of that helps me remember to continue my yoga practice after I get off my mat, with all the people & situations I encounter as I move through the rest of my day. 

So the answer to the question "when do you do  yoga?" or better yet "how do find the time to do yoga?"....Mostly, I practice yoga (the asanas) on my mat at home.  But always, I'm trying to practice my yoga everywhere I go & everything I do.  And I hope to inspire others to do same.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Sunday, March 4, 2012


My brother has an allergy to some foods.  Not deadly allergies, thank goodness.  But a few foods, that when he eats them, he just feels really sick & lousy.  Sometimes he says he "can't" eat them.  More often, he says he chooses not to eat them.  He chooses, instead, to feel better.

I also have a food allergy - a food that I absolutely can't eat.  But then I have those foods that I know I shouldn't eat.  When I avoid them, I just feel better.  Most of us experience this with one food or another.

And yet, I sometimes choose those not-so-good foods.  I eat them, and feel lousy.

And then wonder why I made that choice.  Why I didn't instead choose better food & feeling better.

You know the choice...between fast food & fresh food, say.  The fast food is kind of fun & yummy going down.  But afterwards, it doesn't feel so good.  The fresh food - leaves you feeling fresh & light.

It's similar with thinking.  For some reason, we more often choose to think & talk about the negative. Just look at the evening news...not alot of love & light there.

When everyone is standing around gossiping, it can feel kind of fun & exciting to be part of that.  You feel included & almost like you're acquiring some special information.  But afterwards, it doesn't usually feel good.  Especially if you said some not-so-nice things about someone.

When you have that choice, to think or speak or act in a way that isn't positive...pause for a moment.  How do you want to feel?  We all want to feel good...in the moment & later.  Choose to feel good.  To feel better.  Say to yourself " I am full of love & kindness.  I accept only loving & kind thoughts.  I act & speak in a loving & kind way.  And I attract to me others who are filled with love & kindness".

This is the beginning of choosing to feel better.  That, and fresh food:)

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Gift

Last night after class, a student stopped me & thanked me for class.  She had very kind words to say & I was touched - I always am when I hear from students.  It reaffirms for me the reason why I teach yoga.

I was still very much in the zone of teaching.  I thanked her & said simply "it's a gift" - meaning, my teaching.

I didn't think about it all until later.  There were other students leaving & students coming in for the next class.

When I did think about it much later, I felt almost embarrassed about what I said...about saying "it's a gift".  There were other people around who heard our exchange & I suddenly became self-conscious & concerned that what I said might have come across as egotistical or insincere.

For me, when I teach & am really "in the zone", it is a gift.  It's effortless.  I am filled with pure joy & love for what I am doing & the people that I am with.  It's not something that comes from me it's something that flows through me - it comes from source, the divine.

Wayne Dyer talks about it.  About sitting down to write his books, being connected to source & having words effortlessly come to him.  How easy & simple it is, when you are tapped in.

It is a gift.  It's the feeling of receiving a gift & then sharing it.  And the most effort is in staying open & receptive & trusting in what you a receiving.  This is what I feel when I teach.  This is how I felt when I was thanked by a student.

It was later, when I started "thinking" about it, that I felt that twinge of self-doubt.

The irony of all this is that in class I was speaking about the youtube video "Jessica's Daily Affirmations".  If you haven't seen it, it's a 3 year old girl, in her pajamas, in front of a mirror, saying "I am great!  I love everything!  I can do anything good!"...and she goes on like this for almost a minute.

She's still tapped into source.  She still trusts herself & all the gifts that she is receiving.  She trusts that she is great (we all are!)  No self-doubt.  Not at all self-conscious.  That's something, unfortunately, we are taught to feel as we grow older.

When you love what you do & are sharing it with others, it is a gift.  And we are all gifted in different ways.  It is something to embrace, to enjoy, to love & be grateful for.  It is something to share & simply feel great about.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/ 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where are my keys?!?!

Last week, as I got ready to leave for the studio, when I reached for my keys, they weren't in their "usual" spot.


I checked all the alternative spots - not there.

Then the rest of my house got involved in the search.  We checked everywhere that we could think of- no keys.

I decided they had to be in my car from the night before. I said my good-byes, walked to the car - no keys.

Back to to the house!  We looked again.  No keys to be found anywhere.

At this point, I HAD to leave for the studio.  There were going to be students waiting for me for class.  My Mother let me borrow her car.  One problem remained - without my keys, I couldn't get into the building or into the studio.

As I drove to studio, I called my landlord, who put me in touch with another woman who worked in the building - she was able to let me into the building & into the studio.  Class started on time & it was a great morning.

When I returned home, I looked in my car again & there were my keys.  They had fallen down beside the seat.  I had been rushed when I looked previously.

I practiced alot of yoga that morning.  As much as I wanted to get frustrated, angry & throw up my hands in defeat when I couldn't find my keys - I stayed calm, kept breathing, and stayed focused on getting to the studio to teach yoga to a great group of people.  And it was another reminder to slow down & really focus, even when it feels challenging.  (If I had done that, I would have found my keys the first time - no self-judgement, just observation).

When I left the house without my keys, I didn't really have a plan.  But I didn't get worried - with or without keys to the studio, I knew everything would be ok.  And it was.

Later that day, when I told someone what had happened, she said "I guess you had a bad morning".  Funny thing...I didn't have a bad morning.  I simply couldn't find my keys.  It could have been a big deal, but it wasn't.  And I never allowed my mood to be altered by the fact that I couldn't find my keys.  It was what it was.  And everything was ok.

This is yoga, off the mat.  This is why we practice breathing, staying calm & focused as we move in & out of challenging poses.  This is why we practice observing how our bodies & minds behave on our mats.  So that we can take that practice into our everyday lives & feel how a simple thing like loosing our keys doesn't have to turn into having a "bad morning" or "bad day".  And it is empowering to find that other people & events don't have control over how we feel & act - all of that is within our power, with practice.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's with the stuff?

When I was in my 20s & early 30s, I was all about stuff.  I wanted the right stuff to wear.  Stuff for my apartment.  Nice stuff to drive.  I saw cool stuff that other people had & wanted to get it.  I had stuff stuffed into my closet.  Stuff in cabinets & on shelves.  I had alot of stuff.  And I wanted more.

There was a period of years where I moved almost once a year.  And every time I moved, I packed up my stuff & took it with me.  For a while, my stuff was in storage - but I still had it.  I liked it.  My stuff made me feel good.

At some point, a shift happened.  I started practicing & teaching yoga more.  I took a good look at all my stuff.  The stuff that I hadn't used or worn in years, but had wanted to keep because it made me feel good.  It was just taking up space.  I didn't need it anymore.  I realized that it might be more useful to someone else.  I started giving my stuff away.

I gave away alot of stuff once I started.  Instead of thinking "well, I might need this one day".  I thought "someone else might need this now".  I had less stuff.  But I had more space.  Yoga helped me realize I didn't need stuff to make me feel good.

Don't get me wrong, I still think I have too much stuff.  But it's no longer all about the stuff.  Sure, I see cool stuff & think "it'd be cool to have that stuff".  But then I realize I really have everything I need.  And then some.

My life is full - full of love & joy, abundance.  Full of friends & family.  And I am full of gratitude.  Once I started to get rid of the stuff,  once I made some room, I could see this.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Choose your medicine

"In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?"
~ Gabrielle Roth

Think about it...these days, if you went to your Doctor complaining of being disheartened, dispirited or depressed, you'd probably be prescribed a pill.  In fact, you could probably tell your Doctor which pill you want (at least, that's what all the commercials say "...tell your Doctor").

There's a pill for everything - whatever ails you, there's a pill out there that will take care of it.  And that's not to say that I'm not tremendously grateful for modern medicine, because I am.  It's just that a pill, the quick fix, isn't always the answer.

The practice of yoga is just that - a practice.  It takes time.  It takes commitment.  It takes self- discipline.  It requires you to sit with yourself, in silence.  To face your deepest fears.  To embrace your whole self fully.  

When I read the above  quote, I thought "this is what yoga is all about".  Yoga is a dance.  Your spirit sings.  You become re-enchanted in the story of yourself.  You take comfort in the sweet silence of your quiet mind.  Whatever you feel you are missing from your life, I believe yoga can help you find it...within yourself.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/  


Friday, January 20, 2012

Is yoga good for you?

There's been alot of activity in the yoga world this week - alot of back & forth about yoga & whether or not it's good for you.  Personally, my life is better with yoga in it.  Every time I practice yoga, I feel better & I am grateful that the Universe brought this practice into my life.

If you've read my blog before, you know I have been teaching heated power yoga for more than 10 years & have my own studio, Sanctuary Power Yoga.  I have my 200 hour certification through Yoga Alliance & have taught with & learned from, many gifted, talented teachers.

Part of what I teach is asana - physical poses.  It's these physical posesthat attracts so many people in our culture.  Part of the attraction is the movement - the vinyasa, the flow.  Not many of us are ready to sit down & meditate for 60 or 90 minutes.  Part of the attraction is the prospect of losing weight, getting stronger, more physically fit.  I believe that for every person who comes in the door, there's a distinct, special reason that brings them to the practice.  I also believe that whatever the reason, at the heart of that reason is self-care.  It may not manifest as that initially, but I believe that if you scratch beneath the surface of weight loss or "just looking better" you find that people want to feel better.  Feel better about themselves & who they are.

Unfortunately, in many cases we've been conditioned to do more, push harder, "feel the burn".  And that can lead to injury.  Not just when practicing asana, but when doing anything.  Although you're pushing yourself physically, there's a real disconnect from your physical body.  You're listening to your ego & voices from the past (and present) telling you that you're good enough, that you shouldn't "wimp out".  You're not listening to your body...or your heart...or your spirit. And you wind up beating yourself up.  And it doesn't feel good on so many levels.

I said that part of what I teach is asana.  The other part of what I teach is yoga.  That's not to say that asana, the physical piece, isn't yoga, but it's only a small part of yoga.  So yes, I teach asana.  But as I teach that,  I also teach about the other pieces of yoga.  I teach self-care - listening to your body, your heart & spirit - and learning to trust yourself.  I teach breathing (pranayama), I teach compassion, love & non-violence (yamas), contentment (niyamas), focus (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and the possibility of samadhi.

To an outsider (and sometimes to a new student) it may look & feel like I'm just teaching a physical workout.  Squats, lunges, pushups.  But that's only a part of it.  I'm teaching yoga - I'm teaching to a person's whole being.  From my whole being.  I'm teaching to their body, their mind, their heart & their spirit. And I'm asking them to feel connected to all that.  I'm asking them to feel their littlest toe on the ground.  And their heart swelling to the sky.  In this moment.

That's integration, union - all the pieces of yourself uniting & becoming whole again.  That union is yoga.  It feels good.  And that has to be good for you.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I'll admit it, I've been known to get sucked into some of those "reality" dating shows.  Not quality programming, as far as I'm concerned.  And really, nothing but a waste of time. (No offense to anyone out there who loves these shows or who might be involved with them).

Here's the thing...you could "fall in love" with just about anyone, on those shows.  Participants are sent off to beautiful, exotic locations.  They stay in wonderful accommodations.  They have nothing to worry to about when they're there.  They simply need to focus on themselves & "finding love".

Back at home....work, bills, traffic, sick kids or parents, a broken car, laundry...it's a different story.

As crazy as this sounds, the same holds true for yoga.  Practicing yoga is comparatively easy when you go off on a retreat.  When you remove yourself from the details & demands of your everyday life.  When you surround yourself with like minded people.  And your only concern is practicing your yoga.  Pretty easy.

Back at home....work, bills, traffic, sick kids or parents, a broken car, laundry...it's a different story.  These things become obstacles & excuses as to why we can't practice.  

Maintaining a loving relationship in the face of the demands & details of everyday life can be challenging. Rewarding & worth it beyond words, but challenging.

Practicing yoga in the face of the demands & details of everyday life can be challenging. Rewarding & worth it beyond words, but challenging.

Finding time for yourself, to get on your mat, and practice asana (the physical poses).  Finding the strength & patience to practice yamas & niyamas (the "10 commandments" of yoga).  This is challenging in the face of your everyday life - but this is where you need it the most.  This is where you, and everyone around you, will benefit the most.

Your practice is meant to be taken off your mat - into your everyday life.  What you learn in the studio, on your mat, at a retreat, in a bootcamp - this is meant to be carried into your everyday life.  And by taking your yoga off your mat, by living your yoga, you show others how they too can benefit from this practice.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/ 

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I pass a local gym on the way to my studio, Sanctuary Power Yoga (http://www.sanctuarypoweryoga.com/).  It has a sign out front about joining. It lists the monthly cost & says "no commitment".

Now, I get it - it means you can sign up for one month & not have to commit to a year of paying your monthly membership fee if you change your mind about the place.

But it strikes me as funny...no commitment.

I get a lot of questions about what it takes to join Sanctuary.  You don't have to join, there aren't membership fees.  Anyone can show up for any class.  You can pay for one class at a time.  You can buy a series of classes or purchase a monthly unlimited pass - lots of options.  For me, yoga is about options & making the practice accessible to everyone.

But yoga does take one thing - commitment.

Commitment to yourself.  To your health & well-being.  To peace of mind.  To feeling better.

You name it, and you'll find it on your mat.

But you need to make that commitment.

Whether it's yoga, or going to the gym, or biking, or walking - it does require commitment.  And it does take time.  There aren't any quick fixes, (despite what some commercials would have you believe).

And that's the great thing about yoga - with that commitment to yourself, you can begin anytime, anywhere.  You just need to show up. And keep showing up.

Make the commitment.

You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/