Friday, August 29, 2014

"We Have a Cat."

After our first full day of yoga school last weekend, I got home, had dinner and fired up an episode of one of my new favorite shows, Srugim. About 10 minutes into the show, I began to hear meowing, pretty darn loud. I ignored it for a few minutes until I couldn't anymore and got up to look out the window. Laying down on my deck, with its face and voice-box pointed right at my front door was a fluffy grey cat. That's a first.

I break the vegetarian guidelines at my house in the name of Smokey all the time; Smokers is so far completely uninterested in anything meat-free. But would the cat like the dog food? I settled on some leftover hummus which I put on a dish and then out in the yard.

The next morning when I left, the hummus was gone and the cat was still there. When I saw my neighbor she promptly informed me that, "We have a cat." "So I see," I said. But neither one of us has seen much of the cat since.

Animal Speak talks about how cats are comfortable after dark, and are therefore associated with magic and mystery, "The truth is that cats have more rods in the retinas of their eyes, which enhances light perception. It enables them to see effectively in the dark." To see light, even in the dark, is a heck of a gift. Walt Whitman says "Every moment of light and dark is a miracle." So far I have a strong preference for moments of light; guess that's why I'm still in yoga school, I have more work to do on feeling neutrality.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"It's a Fire"

"[Love] is a fire. If you're paying attention, it is a vehicle for transformation. That's why we all want it."--Kay Kamala

Friday, August 22, 2014

Start Packing

One time, I was completely overwhelmed about moving to a new apartment. I stressed and stressed, and then I picked up packing tape. I went to the bodega on the corner and got some old boxes and then I stressed some more.

When I finally acutally started wrapping things in newspaper and putting them in boxes, I felt *so* much better.

Same is true for my lecture preparation for this weekend of teacher training. I culled resources, I looked through all my favorite quotes, I listened to some lectures, and I stressed. When I at last stopped gathering and started writing, I relaxed.

Action is where it's at. James Russell Lowell was hip to action, "All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action." You'll feel better when you start packing.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Barefoot Yoga Mat

I'm a lucky gal to say that the last three new yoga mats that came into my possession were gifted to me. Out of these three, there's for sure a favorite. It's my Barefoot Yoga Hybrid Eco Mat.

Being eco-friendly is very important to me, but over the years, most of my eco-friendly mats have fallen apart awfully quickly, so I've had my doubts about re-investing in one. This one, however, is solid; it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Another thing that hasn't been my favorite about my previous eco-friendly mats is their hue. I enjoy bright colors. I go to the salon because I like it when my hair is bright, and I like it when my yoga mats are bright, too. Typically, eco-friendly mats are muted, earthy colors that just aren't my thing. My Hybrid Eco Mat is bright yellow for my 3rd Chakra, which can always use some extra help.

Tomorrow I'm starting yoga teacher training again. This time though, instead of paying to do it, I'm getting paid to do it. I'll be giving more presentations and doing more practice teaching because of my seven years of full-time yoga teaching. And my super solid 3rd Chakra eco-friendly mat is decidedly doing the training with me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Two is Not Better than One

I been feeling this whole Robin Williams thing. The other day on CBS Sunday Morning, there was a clip of him from one of his one man shows. He had some joke about if one is good, then an alcoholic asks excitedly, "What happens if I take four?"

Earlier this summer, I had a very similar conversation with a friend of mine who had recently quit drinking. She noticed that one drink had lasted me all evening and she mentioned that she could never have just one, which is why she stopped.

Although it's been a while since I've felt the strong urge to have more than one alcoholic drink, I know all about the "two must be even better," feeling. The feeling happens sometimes when I get a shirt I really like, then, as fast as I can, I get another one in a different color. Invariably, the second one doesn't fit as well, or that second color isn't as great as the first, and it usually spends 6 months to a year in my closet before getting taken to the consignment shop. And the first shirt, which never did anything wrong, someone looses its luster, almost as if the second one dragged their average down.

I think it's time to start applying all the good learning I've been doing around patience to my desire for material objects. Next time I find myself voraciously wanting another one of something I already have, I'll think twice.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Take Offense

A few weeks ago, I heard this super smart lady talk about the term "take offense." She said it implies that in order to be offended, she has to decide to "take" offense.

Yesterday, I texted someone a question and while I was texting, I asked myself, "If they say 'no,' will my feelings get hurt?" Then I realized it was up to me, and decided that it wouldn't. I even wrote in the text to them, "If you say no, I won't get my feelings hurt." Nope, I'm not going to get my feelings hurt, at least this one time. And maybe next time too. It's up to me; what a relief.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You Are Invited!

Dearest Readers,

I wanted to take a special blog post just to make sure you know you're invited to the retreat I'm leading with my friend Liz this January in Guatemala.

Here are the details:

It's called Chakras and Chocolate!
It's with me and my wonderfully talented friend, Liz Passman.
It's from January 24th-31st, 2015.

It's going to be an exquisite week of rejuvenation and inspiration on the shores of Lake Atitlan.

It's a seven day retreat, and during that time, you will journey into openness and freedom through the power of physical yoga, breath-work, meditation and cacao. Using these practices, we will explore and open the seven chakras. Each day will begin with a morning flow class and each evening will culminate with a restorative class. You'll get a chance to find balance between effort and ease, moving and then ultimately, letting go. Then, after connecting to source and highest knowing: on the last day, we will participate in a Cacao Ceremony with a Chocolate Shaman. Sacred cacao (chocolate in its purest form) will assist your transformation and continued journey as you take your practice out of retreat setting and back to home setting. There will be optional group excursions to the gorgeous nearby volcanoes and into town for market. There is also a spa at Villa Sumaya, and you can make any of the renewing therapies offered there part of your week as well. And of course, there will be plenty of time to commune with yourself, your book and to just contemplate the sky, sitting by the lake, lounging in a shaded hammock, or relaxing in the hot tub. 

The retreat package includes:

* A 7 night stay at the gorgeous Villa Sumaya

* 3 delicious and nourishing vegetarian meals daily

* 2 yoga classes a day

* A Sacred Cacao Ceremony

* Unlimited Tea and Coffee Service

* Unlimited Filtered Drinking Water

* Guatemalan Taxes

**We can accommodate gluten-free/dairy free upon request

Add-On Options Include:

* Any/all of the 3 Planned Group Excursions

* Any/all of the fabulous treatments offered in the Harmony Spa

* Chicken or Fish added to meals

This retreat is perfect for all levels of yoga experience; it is ideal for any and all ages, families, friends, couples, or individuals who want to come by themselves. It is a perfect opportunity to continue with your already strong daily practice or to jump-start your 2015 commitment to yourself and your health. These practices combined with this awe-inspiring and healing setting will transform you.

*Airfare and ground transportation not included* *Ground transportation can be easily arranged through Villa Sumaya*


Early Bird Discount:
If you sign up by October 1st
Prices range between $1,200-$1,520
A Screaming Deal!

After October 1st
Prices range between $1,375-$1,695

*rates depend on occupancy and room availability*

To secure your spot, we'll need at $500 non-refundable deposit, and then the remainder of your balance will be due November 24th, 2014.

I hope you can come! Please email me at with any questions or to sign up. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Other People, Other Dogs

I'm only a baby at Al-Anon, I haven't started the steps yet, but I've been averaging about a meeting a week and I gotta tell you: it really helps.

In Al-Anon, we work on trusting our "Higher Power," and thus, our Higher Power's plan.

There's this dog who lives in my neighborhood. I've never seen him on a walk and I've never seen him go into the house with his people; he is always tied up outside. In the winter, in the summer, he's tied up outside, sometimes he lays peacefully and sometimes he barks at people or cars and it completely breaks my heart.

The other morning when I was getting my mail he barked at me, and instead of feeling sorry for him like I usually do, I had a little something to say to my Higher Power. I said, "I love that dog and I believe in your divine plan for that dog." It felt so good to think that that I kept thinking it, silently to myself, all the way to yoga and even during yoga class. I realized it's none of my business to feel sorry for other people, other dogs, whatever, or whoever. It's my business to trust my Higher Power and when I do, I trust that my Higher Power has a better plan than I could ever even imagine.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's Your Thing

 "It is better to do your own duty badly, than to perfectly do another;
you are safe from harm when you do what you should be doing."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hummingbirds Are Kind of a Big Deal

Hummingbirds have been everywhere lately. Lots of times, hummingbirds mistake my ristra wreath for a flower, there's almost always one around the yurt at Ojo, and sometimes it even seems like one might think I'm a flower when I'm out on my deck having a smoothie and it gets awfully close.

Swami Satchidananda talks about the name "God" versus the word "OM" in his translation of the Yoga Sutras. "...'God' is also a limited [name] because the very vibrations of the letters are limited. So Patanjali wants a name that can give an unlimited idea and vibration and which can include all vibrations, all sounds and syllables, because God is like that--infinite. So Patanjali says His name is 'Mmmm..' We can't easily say 'Mmmm,' so it is written OM."

We OM in yoga class to connect to the source through the vibration that is the source. That vibration is in me and it's in you and, clearly, it's in hummingbirds; when we OM together, we do it to be reminded of that. Hummingbirds are always OMing and next time you see one, you can OM with it, even if it's just silently to yourself; or, like in yoga class, you can choose just to listen. As Satchidananda says, "But you need not hum to feel God's presence. There's no need to create him, but just to feel him in you. If you close your eyes and ears, sit quietly, allow the mind to be completely silent and then listen within, you will hear Him humming. He talks to us always, but we talk (read: think) so loud we fail to hear his speech."

Friday, August 1, 2014

Yoga Sutra 1.14

I had a B.E.S.T. client a few days ago who asked, "How long do I have to do this for?" I told him that my clients who get the most out of B.E.S.T. are the ones who come every week.

Yoga Sutra 1.14 says, "Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness." It is my experience that anything that's good for you, that's worth doing, is even better for you if you commit to it and make it part of your life.

People who "diet" often don't get long-lasting results because they only want to commit to their diet for a finite period of time. Changing habits, whether it's adopting Meatless Mondays, or developing a routine around walking everyday, or any other number of "lifestyle" changes, is what will ultimately make a difference in our lives. And new and healthier habits are different for everybody; just because your neighbor started working with a personal trainer doesn't mean you should too.

Swami Satchitananda, in his commentary on Yoga Sutra 1.14  says, "And the last qualification: in all earnestness. That means with full attention, with the entire application of your mind, and with full faith in your achievement."

If you commit to Meatless Mondays, but really wish you were eating steak, it won't work. Surrender to your choice and let it change you. When I decided to try being vegan, it was the end of January, I thought I'd give it a go until my birthday, which is in the middle of March. That was 3 and a half years ago. It was the right choice for me, I committed to it then and I commit to it again every new day, so far.

Leonardo Da Vinci said "It's easier to resist at the beginning than at the end." Give yourself a good chunk of time to try your new habit and let go of any resistance to it. Patanjali says "a long time," but he doesn't say how long.