New Year, New You

It's going to be 2017 shortly and I am thinking about resolutions. Mine is to not be afraid in stepping to the next phase of my yoga career. I've busted my ass for the last few years, working on learning as much as I can and getting to the yoga alchemy lab... sounds adventureous but really, it's my living room where I ponder cues, practice sequences and get to pick out music for the juiciest of classes. I've been teaching public classes for a while and I LOVE IT but I'm ready to find like-minded people to join me one-on-one or in a small group (less than 4 people). 

I'm offering a 20 week membership where we practice yoga at least once a week until May - well beyond when most people fall off the wagon - to create a practice that you can stick to and love. I'm also offering all the gear (mat, blanket, blocks and an eye pillow) to go with it when you purchase the membership. We will try a variety of techniques, styles and find what works for you. Let's do this! Happy New Year!

Moksha, Knees and Hips, SUP!

It's been quite a week! I had the opportunity to attend the Moksha festival with the lovely Eryn this past Friday and it was a fantastic experience. We attended a Sufi music and meditation class that was intense. We used several religious mantras (Christian, Buddhist, Judaic) and incorporated them into light dance movements. But it was towards the end of class when we formed two circles, chanted "Shalom" to each person we passed in the circle, holding their hands and looking deeply into their eyes - this was a moment of true beauty for me. To be able to touch and simultaneously look into a stranger's eyes was something like an energy transfer. I felt joy and lightness from some people and others I felt sorrow and in one special moment, I felt the ability to be vulnerable to a complete stranger. I'll say it again, it was intense. 

Then I attended a Knees and Hips workshop with Jules Mitchell that was amazing. A biomechanist, she broke down the human body and the movements we make into a very rational and interesting viewpoint. We tried new exercises and attempted to repattern old, and in some cases injury causing, ways of movement. I've come out of the workshop with some amazing tools in my toolbox!

Lastly, I took a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) class at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. This is something I've really wanted to do for several years and haven't had the chance. It was wonderful to walk on water! I practice Bakasana, Warrior II and Pyramid and I've got to say that I'm ready for a SUP yoga class now. The techniques our leader Scott taught us were so helpful and it's an amazing way to experience the ocean. I'm ready to make the SUP a yoga mat and take it to the next level.

So many new and wonderful experiences were to be had this mid point of the Summer! I'm looking forward to my upcoming Restorative Yoga Training with Judith Lassater (cue chorus) and hope to share all that I've learned with all of you from all these experiences.

TTFN :) 

The Moon is a Loyal Companion

I had an urge to get back in touch with the moon recently. Once, I meditated in the light of a beautiful full moon and felt like I could hear my heart more clearly than I had before. There's something about the moon, with its waxing and waning, that emulates the human spirit. Sometimes we are bright lights that can't be dimmed and invite the world's deepest desires. We are full of energy and promise. Then, we rhythmically fall into the darker side, the contemplative side, that brings out our own inner most feelings. What happens when we watch both of these sides, without judgement or opinion? They are two halves to a whole, both live in concert with one another.

I read Judith Lasater's A Year of Living Your Yoga and found today's pearl of wisdom was that "Responding appropriately is an art." She writes about over/under doing things in our lives and finding balance - finding the right amount of effort. It is an art form and it takes disciplined practice and growth. Don't trees and flowers rise up to meet the sun every day? And conversely, they plant roots deep in the Earth at night, by the light (or darkness) of the moon.

Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.

The title of this post is from Shakespeare's Hamlet but the Bard knew yoga, too! The quote reminds me of another Sanskrit saying "As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind." This falls in line with the second Yoga Sutra from Patanjali  "Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah" or the English translation: The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.

We all hear the chatter of our minds. We look ahead in to the future, behind into our past but we forget the here and now. The here and now will constantly change. Time goes ahead, with or without us.

Lately I've been thinking about aging and growing older. It happens to all of us. I have a friend who says, quite frequently, that aging isn't for sissies. She's right. In our world the new, young and beautiful are highly revered. We see with our eyes. Our mind chimes in with our ego and we lust after what is to come or what has passed.

I remember feeling too young and inexperienced, particularly out of college. Then the "too young" comments were fewer and fewer. My experience broadened. I was sought after for my knowledge and it felt good. But when I looked in the mirror, I saw someone older - the face of experience. There are wrinkles, some gray hair and the skin's texture had changed. I see, very vividly, time moving onward.

In an ideal world I'd like to not be attached to the color of my hair, the smoothness and suppleness of my skin and to be accepting of the changes that are to come. But I fear that my ego chimes in again. It always will for that's its job. I turn to my ego and say "it's ok, you're just doing your job", give it a proverbial hug and move on. It's all I can do.

So when we're feeling our mind chatter it's best to examine what's the chatter? Is it something we can change for the better or is it something we need to change with?

Kids Yoga at the Americana

Yesterday I had the pleasure to teach Kids Yoga at the Americana/Brand on their green. It was wonderful to see all the kids and parents ready to play and do yoga. The program is designed for kids 3-6 years old but there were some very small yogis (and their caregivers) ready to stretch with other families!

The memory that resonates with me is doing Hello Mr. Sun with everyone. There wasn't a cloud in the sky so the sun was shining brilliantly. There we were; about 25 people saying "Hello Mr. Sun"! It was just fantastic.

The program is graciously offered by the Americana. And for the older kids, TheraYoga is offering a wonderful 6-week yoga series for children after school. It's led by Addie, an amazing Kids Yoga Teacher, and kid at heart. 

Come join us for Spring Yoga Fun.

Yin Training - deeper than I imagined

I'm happy to announce that I completed my Yin Yoga training in March and what a transformative experience. The first night we did a typical Yin class and although my teacher Addie said "only go to a 4 on the sensation scale" I found myself much higher and having to back off during the long (5 min) holds. That night I was already sore. The next day I found myself angry, pouty and I didn't know why. I learned we have "issues in our tissues" -  peptides/neuropeptides in the body that can hold on to past emotions and through deep stretching or massage they can release. That night I felt like I had the flu, complete with aches and a feverish feel. Strangely, I knew I'd feel better the next day. I fell asleep before my 22 month old baby girl, Ginger did...

The next day I felt free and ache free. I told the group about my spiral of emotions and it was wonderful to share. I was so much more open to the teachings, the people and the whole experience. It was like I had released something I just didn't need anymore and that allowed me to take in the good stuff; to learn through a visceral experience what a wonderful release can be like.

The main take away for me was that Yin Yoga is about long holds that stimulate the meridians via the fascial lines in the body but it's more powerful than I gave it credit. The times I had done Yin before I felt great; this was the first time I felt awful. But in feeling awful I was able to feel even better than ever. It reminds me something we learned in the training - you can't have light without dark. Just like the symbol of the Yin/Yang each are woven together and are a part of one another how we deal with both the light and dark makes us unique.