Sunday, April 20, 2014

Yoga and Easter

I am not very religious.

However, this morning I am compelled to unroll my yoga mat and pray.

I have a lot to be thankful for:  health, family, an amazing kid, a job I love and friends who keep me grounded.  All sprinkled with joy , laughter and my husband's interpretation of a recent pop song.

Today I pray for those who need hope, love and maybe a basket colorful eggs.

My daughter sprang from her bed very early with wide-eyed anticipation of what was in her basket.  After a few moments and some extra strong coffee, I watched her organize her jelly beans and chocolate eggs into perfect piles.

I asked myself, is this the meaning of this day?  Organization of sugar?  (oh there is a conversation)

Hmmm, no answer.  Maybe the gods are still sleeping.

I opened my new favorite magazine,  Mantra Yoga & Health and found an article about the Bhagavad Gita by elephant journal pal, Bob Weisenberg.

"Yoga calls for direct experience and straightforward wisdom (over scrupture, dogma and ritual)"


Today on Easter Sunday, a say a prayer of thanks for all I have and a prayer of hope for those who have real challenges, like breast cancer and poverty. I sit on my yoga mat surrounded by plastic eggs, jelly beans and chocolate filled with hope for all that is in the future.

With little anticipation, I am doing my best to embrace this moment.  I feel like my yoga mat has been washed clean and I can start anew.

I am filled with spring and love.

I hope you are too.

See you on the mat.

Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Exploring Spring Break

It is always nice to travel out of town in the spring.

The transition from the cold and challenging winter into a warm and breezy spring & summer moves seamlessly with a short stay in a great hotel.  No cooking and no cleaning can serve you well.  It serves me well!

As I consider a healthy spring cleanse, I am derailed by the local cuisine.

A local beer here, a fresh made dessert there, my cleanse is postponed until next week.

The sleep is one of the greatest treats.  With no worries or alarms in the morning, I am able to wake up naturally and enjoy a care free breakfast.

I often hit the hotel gym or unroll my yoga mat in the room.  My practice is with me everywhere my adventures take me.

My spring break is not filled with overindulgences at a tropical resort.  It is filled with ease, fun and family.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Graduation -- Another Step on The Path

On this eve of my graduation from my 300 hour advance teacher training, I reflect on all that I have learned and acquired these past several months.

The numbers surprise me:

500 HR Registered Yoga Teacher
3200 hours of teachers, over
11 years
6 official trainings
lots of continuing education workshops & conferences
And most importantly, the hundreds, no Thousands of students.

The students who carve time out of their lives to unroll their yoga mats in my classes.  With faith and trust, they receive all that has been shared with me through my teachers. My students are all the kids, the seniors, the Pre-Natal moms, those who like it Hot or Not, the beginners and the experienced students.  All of the students in the studios, in their homes, in corporate settings and community centers opened their hearts and minds to explore their practice with me.

 I share with my students all of my experiences, my trainings, the philosophies & lineages I have studied and the fun of what can be found in a yoga practice. 

This training was exhausting, patience testing, challenging and extremely rewarding.

 Mostly, this yoga teacher training has been a family affair.  

As chief cook and school lunch maker in my home, some of my domestic responsibilities were covered by my husband.  After a full work week in the jungle, he cared for our home and our daughter while I spent hours learning Sanskirt and Shamanism.

I am grateful for his willingness to take part in the mundane tasks of parenthood and domestic bliss.  It was beautiful to watch my daughter and him share time together, cook dinner for me and create their own special adventures.

As a parent, my schedule is always challenging and overwhelming.  Without yoga, I would be cranky and stressed out like most suburban moms.  Without teaching yoga, I would be much less of a person than who I am with it.

The gift of yoga has served me well.

The numbers and the paper of certification are part of the business of yoga.  As I prepare for what comes next on this path, I look forward to new yogic adventures.  More trainings, conferences and networking lunches of kale and chai are definitely on my calendar.  And more students, who make me the teacher I am and bring me so much joy.  Thank you.

See you on the mat.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Do Not Teach Yoga From Your Practice

As yoga teachers we get our inspiration from many sources.

The traditions and lineages we study and practice fuel us with details. Often this provides the start of a path that guides us as we grow into teachers.

As we progress along, we gather experiences on the mat that shape our practice.  Our off-the-mat lives provide obstacles, celebrations, challenges and purpose to every class we lead.

One of my teachers has often said:

Do Not Teach From Your Practice

As he explained it, I, as a student, understood his point of view.  Yet, as a teacher this didn't come together with distinct clarity for me to teach my students.

I explored this for some time.  I practice, but I shouldn't share my experiences & discoveries with my students?   I should only teach from my teaching? 

I recently completed a 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training.  As a final project, we researched a long paper to support a workshop.  Hopefully, a workshop we can market and teach.

One of my fellow trainees wrote on a subject near to her heart, trauma.  We read her paper, asked a few questions, then she taught us the workshop she designed to support her research.

However, the workshop didn't match her paper or her mission statement.  The teacher trainee has an aggressive Ashtanga practice that could very easily cause a student with trauma undue stress feeding their traumatic experiences. 

 She taught from her practice.  It was crystal clear.

As the workshop progressed, my stress increased with each sequence.  This is exactly what my teacher was telling me.

If I, as a yoga teacher, am trying to sooth and calm students who have experienced trauma, my practice of Ashtanga is not the solution.  In this case.

It may be more beneficial for me to teach the teachings of the lineages, teach a Theme and focus on my audience.  Teach my students.

I value the wisdom my teacher shares with me.  Sometimes I need to sit with his teachings before they are clear to me.  Now I know for sure, this important lesson.

Do Not Teach From Your Practice.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Paradox of Co-Existing

Inspired on the yoga mat today, I am asking myself and you, how do you Co-exist?

Here in on the east coast, we have experienced winter in all its white, cold, snowflake, windy glory.  For many folks, it has been too much winter and they yearn for spring.  Now.

So Mother Nature teased us with our attachment to warmer weather and she gave us a taste.  A little sunshine here, a little 50 degree warmth there, just to wet our taste buds.  Then, as she often does in the month of March, she roared at us with some cold winds whipping our garbage barrels down the street.

LOL, Mother Nature declared, do not forget your hats and gloves and scarves today. Spring is soon, but not yet.

This is the time of year for transition, the paradoxical time of shifting, changing and reaching into what we hope will be.

We must make space for both dark and light, fear and excitement, happiness and sadness, cold and warm, like and dislike and accept both experiences simultaneously.  There is no choice and we must not pressure ourselves into making that choice for the other, for the opposite.

How do we allow ourselves and create the space for co-existence and balance?

Just like it is not good for the body to whip from a forward bend to a back bend, it is not good for the body to whip from winter to spring.  We need transition.  A kind, gentle, peaceful, easy and smooth space, to move from one to the other at the same time, experiencing both.

The earth is exploding and pushing to ready for growth.  Our bodies explode with allergies, head colds and lots of moisture; just like the earth.

As I opened by shoulders on my yoga mat, creating space for more breath, I released that tightness for a different sensation.  I allowed space for what is, my tight shoulders, and accepted the openness as it unfolded.  I embraced the winter that is still here, while preparing for the spring that has yet to arrive.

Soon it will be here; the flowers, the rain, the bugs and the color.

Just not today.

For today, is perfect in its paradoxical mystery.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Another Snow Storm - I Love It

I sit in anticipation of another snow storm. It is Sunday morning. Yes, “Easy like Sunday morning”.

It is quiet, peaceful and perfect.  Everything is still, absolutely still.

If the predictions are right it will snow for hours, from Sunday through to Tuesday.  Days of snow.

There has been a lot of snow here this winter.  Folks are restless for the summer. 

Not me.  I love it.

I love the opportunity for inward reflection. 
I love looking outside to the lack of movement.
I love how the animals are quiet in their preparation.
I love the opaque clouds that will soon burst with snowflakes.
I love this gift of this moment, right now.
I love the opportunity to stop.
I love to listen to the nothingness.
I love the sensation of Gratitude this offers me.
I love how this is my Yoga practice.

The snow will fall. 

Right now, I simply love this gift of wonder.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Write On!

Today starts an online writing adventure for 30 days.  Everyday for 30 days write for an hour, or two or three.  Simple.

It is co-hosted by Creative Rehab, those groovy and worldly folks from Rebelle Society. and Kale & Cigarettes.

Set your alarm, keep your phone and email closed, perk the coffee and WRITE. 

No work stuff, creative stuff.  Fun stuff, silly stuff and colorful stuff.  The stuff that makes you cry and the stuff that makes you laugh.  The sad stuff and the happy stuff.

Write your Story today.

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