Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
New Year's Eve - the last day of 2103.  Tomorrow is a New Year & many folks are filled with resolutions.
I hear alot of statements like:
"I don't like my body - I'm going to lose weight next year"
"I hate my job - next year I'm finding a new job"
"This was an awful year - next year is going to be better"
I like the Law of Attraction & I try to use it as much as I can.  It's simple...what you focus your energy & attention on, you attract more of that.  Resolutions often focus on what we don't like about our life, our body, our job, our relationships.  But the thing is, there's got to be something good in what you don't like.  Some glimmer of hope.  And that's what you want to focus on.  And then focus on bringing more of that into your life in the New Year.

Maybe you don't like your body.  Maybe you want to lose weight & be stronger & healthier.  And maybe there are alot of things medically/physically wrong with your body.  But if you're reading this, you're alive.  You woke up this morning.  You're breathing.  And you can resolve to focus on that.  And to focus on each thing you do each day that brings you closer to being healthier & stronger.  You may have set backs, you may slip.  But instead of focusing on that slip-up, focus on what you have done & are doing that is good for you.

When you formulate your resolution, let your resolve be in your thinking & your energy.  Use the Law of Attraction. 

"I love my body.  I appreciate what my body does for me every day.  I move through my day taking care of my body.  Every day I am getting healthier & stronger."
And what I've learned from yoga?  You don't have to wait for a New Year to make a resolution or reset your thinking or your life.  Every breath is an opportunity to reset.  Be present.  Feel what you have, feels what works for you & resolve to focus on that as you move forward.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Anticipation is a Killjoy?

When I first heard a yoga teacher say that anticipation was a killjoy, I didn't really get it.  It took a while & some time on my mat before it really started to sink in & make sense to me.

Think about anticipating a really great meal at your favorite restaurant.  You can taste the food - delicious.  You can't wait.  You spend the day, maybe the whole week, anticipating it.  Then, when you get to the restaurant, there's a new menu.  And they aren't serving what you want.  You're disappointed, let down & the whole night is ruined.

The anticipation...and then the subsequent lack of fulfillment, kills the joy of the moment.

It's not that you can't look forward to something.  It's not that you can't have goals & dreams & plans.  But what you're anticipating is how you'll feel once you get something.  It's like when you were a kid & you spent the whole month of December anticipating Christmas morning because you couldn't wait to get stuff that would make you feel happy & joyful.  You base your joy on getting something.  And when that something doesn't deliver...there goes your joy.

What if, instead of anticipating joy based on getting things, you anticipated being joyful?  Or better yet, what if you just were full of joy?

Hold onto your hats, because guess what?  You are full of joy.  So am I.  We all are.  Seriously.  It's just that we get so wrapped up in worry & fear & judgement & anticipation, that we lose that connection to our joy.  It doesn't have to be just the season filled with joy.  It can be a life full of joy.  You don't find joy by getting stuff.  In fact, just the opposite.  The attachment to that stuff - stuff that you have or that you want, stuff that you get or don't get - that just takes you further & further away from your joy.

So how do you reconnect to this joy that you have within you?  Quite simply, start by by being present.  Take a few moments & just breathe.  Don't even try to empty your mind of all the busyness - if you can't, and you get frustrated, you just move further away from your joy.  So just breathe.  But really notice each breath.  How deeply can you inhale (and it's not a competition to see who can take the deepest breath!).  See how it feels.  How does it feel to be able to breath freely & fully.  Enjoy the quality of the air.  And then empty out completely.  And then do it again.  And again.  And again.  You are present in each breath.  Feel that. 

You might not be overcome with exhuberance & joy right away.  But maybe you feel a little less stressed or fearful or worried.  And maybe it's just for a moment.  But in that moment, you are closer to your joy.  You moved away from the stuff that separates you & your joy.

This is what we practice in yoga.  Being present for each breath.  One breath at a time, distancing ourselves from our fears & worries & judgements & even distancing ourselves from the anticipation of joy.  One breath at a time, practicing being present.  One breath at a time, experiencing joy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013



I am the sole owner of a yoga studio: Sanctuary Power Yoga (www.sanctuarypoweryoga.com). I say some owner, but I have alot of support & help from my family & friends & teachers (that's a blog for another day) all of whom are very invested in the studio.

Still, I am the one who makes & adjusts the schedule, writes checks to pay bills, stocks the studio with what it needs, handles questions, emails, etc from students, updates the website...you get the idea. 

I send out email blasts with updates on activities & happenings at the studio & more than once I have missed a typo.  Most recently, someone pointed out to me that I wrote "CLAEN" I instead of clean.  Yes, in capital letters...I'm sure some of you saw it if you read the email. 

I try to be professional & I like my work to be professional.  I'd like to say I have it all together.  But the truth is...I don't.  I make mistakes.  I miss typos.  I forget things. 

When someone pointed out the typo in the email that went out to over 1000 people - I laughed.  Yeah, it looked really unprofessional, but what can I say?  I did my best.  And when I saw the typo, I did my best again - I didn't freak out.  I kept breathing.  I let it go. 

And that's my yoga...off my mat.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Where Do I Practice?

Where do I practice? 

Pretty much anywhere in the house that I can find enough space to unroll my mat...and a yoga mat is not that big, so I don't need alot of space.

It'd be nice to have a special room, or even part of a room decorated & dedicated just to my yoga, but it doesn't fit in with where we are now & I'm totally ok with that.

We have a 4 year old son & he likes me to be near him when I practice, so most of the time it's not quiet - he's watching a video, playing or talking to me.

Once I'm in my mat, our dogs want to me near me or on my mat with me - I'm negotiating around the little dog or moving her onto her bed.  (The picture is my Sivasana yesterday...small dog asleep on my legs).

Most of the time I put my mat down on the carpet, but I've practiced on the linoleum in the bathroom when everyone was asleep.

It's never warm enough, so practice wearing layers - long sleeve shirt & fleece & I fire up the space heater in winter.  If I don't have alot of time or can't track down my yoga clothes,  I practice in my pajamas.

Don't get me wrong....I LOVE to practice in my studio (www.sanctuarypoweryoga.com).  It's warm, peaceful, quiet, serene - no distractions.  But I practice where I can, when I can (I try to practice first thing in the morning).  Yoga is meant to be practiced in life - anywhere & everywhere.  So for me, throwing my may down amid everything that's going in the house & in my life...well, that's my yoga on & off my mat.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013



I have a friend who's mother is a schizophrenic.  She told me her mother literally hears voices in her head & they tell her what to do.

Her mother has been this way for a long time.  She's tried medication, which quieted the voices, but she didn't like the way the medication made her feel & the silence made her mother uncomfortable.

What struck me about this, is that we all hear voices.
Undoubtedly schizophrenia is a much more serious condition to deal with, and I'm not trying to minimize that in any way.  I greatly respect both my friend & her mother for dealing so gracefully with this situation.

Most of us have voices telling us what to do. What not to do. Telling is that we aren't good enough. Or smart enough. Or pretty enough.  Voices talking us into & out of things every day.  Voices reminding us of what someone said last week or last year & how it made us feel.

It's disconcerting.  It's distracting.  It's unbalancing.

Yoga & meditation offer a way to learn to quiet those voices.  It takes practice & it takes getting used to.  Because much like my friend's mother, the silence that comes with quieting the voices makes many us uncomfortable.

Sivasana is the final pose of any yoga practice.  You lie still & quiet.  For many, it can be the most challenging pose of the entire practice.   There's nothing to look at, nothing you need to do.  And the suggestion that you quiet the voices & empty your mind of thoughts leaves many people feeling uncomfortable.

But with time & practice & patience, if you can find that quiet, you can find your center.  You can find your balance.  You can find some space for yourself.  That quiet becomes comforting.  And it becomes something that you carry with you off your mat.