Friday, September 29, 2006

Eternal Health Yoga

I had the pleasure of spending the day with my great friend Shelli in Louisville. I knew that it was going to be a great day as I drove into Louisville and saw about 100 hot air balloons floating high in the sky. I called Shelli and excitedly asked, "Do you see all those balloon?" She could also see them...they were directly above her as she stood in her backyard. For a moment we were both in awe over the spectacular sight. What a perfect way to start the day!

Shelli is the owner of a fabulous yoga studio called Eternal Health Yoga. As a yoga teacher, she is wise, witty, inspiring, motivating and just plain fun. This is a gal that knows her stuff and her love of yoga shines through in her classes.

Her studio has such a warm and cozy feel to it and as you can see just a bit from the photos, there is amazing light that comes pouring through the windows. The beautiful hardwood floors were restored and brought back to life (thanks to her husband and son, and Shelli of course). This studio is truly a great place to unroll your yoga mat and spend an hour or so bending, balancing, stretching, and flexing. Shelli has some great workshops and events lined up at her studio. Eternal Health Yoga is only one of three studios (as far as I am aware) offering a 200 teacher training that upon completion allows students to register as a yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She also has a weekend workshop with Doug Swenson (see "Down with Doug post) planned for January. You can pick up a registration form at Barefoot Works and/or visit her studio online at for additional information.

I also had the great pleasure of meeting Julie Bryan, a resident of Louisville who created those wonderful tee shirts that Shelli and I are wearing. I plan to have those cute chakra t's to sell in the studio soon. Chakra T’s are printed on 100% very soft combed cotton fabric manufactured in the United States in a non-sweatshop environment. You can check them out online at

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yogi of the Month - Teresa Thompson

I’d like to thank Barefoot Works Yoga Studio for naming me “Yogi of the Month” and for asking me to write a little about my world and my experience with yoga. I feel very fortunate at this stage in my life and am grateful to be exploring new friendships with Sharon, Leigh Ann, and the other students I see at practice. Barefoot Works has become my second home in recent weeks; I take advantage of every class I can manage and have learned something new and valuable with every visit. The spirit of yoga is alive and well in Patchen Village.

My personal adventure with yoga began more than 30 years ago. Comparing histories with friends, mine seemed in reverse with what may be typical for contemporary Western students; the asanas, or postures, were not my first area of interest. Through a complex series of synchronicities, I found a spiritual teacher who introduced me to part of what is known as "The Eight Limbs of Yoga": self-observation, the ethical disciplines, concentration, meditation, etc. He instructed that we should cultivate conscious awareness in all of our activities, whether it be during meditation or cleaning the toilet. I read, studied, and worked to refine my practice and understanding, trying as I could to apply the teachings to my own evolution, and to daily life. At this time, I did not have a physical practice, though it did eventually come about. I tend to believe that it happened when the time was right.

Just after my 50th birthday, I signed up for a yoga class in downtown Lexington -- without a doubt the best gift I ever bought for myself. At that time I was injured, arthritic, and smack in the middle of some serious post-menopausal feelings of stagnation, isolation, low energy, a job change -- doubting of my self worth. It got worse before it got better, but the improvements in my physical, mental, and emotional states, after only 3 months of yoga practice, were astonishing to me (and I’m not easily sold on quick remedies). In the 5 years which have passed since my first official asana class, I can say with a high degree of certainty that there's no going back. Recognizing a good thing when you find it -- or when it finds you -- is the only logical, practical choice. Observing, trusting, and responding to one's own inner voice may be a new experience, but it may be a turning point in life, so we must listen closely.

In current classes at Barefoot Works I’m happily learning about Vinyasa and Yin and working toward improved strength and balance, personal goals. Sharon has a gift for guiding students through centering and relaxation, pranayama, and the asanas. I trust her as an informed instructor, and more importantly, as a good human. I’m also very pleased to find a yoga studio that doesn’t just cater to leisure class folks. I have to work (a fact of life) and the evening classes are a great way to resolve and re-translate the day, and maintain the discipline of a daily practice with others -- just plain fun.

I really hope to be part of a growing community of yogis at Barefoot Works. People of like (or even similar) mind can effect such positive change in the state of our world, which is too often dominated by issues of personality, ego, fear, and distraction. Being equipped to be present in the moment, regardless of the quality of that moment, is an aspiration. I believe that as subtle doors begin to open within us, we are better able to express love and respect for ourselves and for others, and this is but a part of the legacy of the ancient yogis. May we all live to preserve these gifts and blessings, and to learn and share in "The Eight Limbs of Yoga" with friends, family, teachers, and peers.

Om Shanti,


Monday, September 25, 2006

"It's Just Yoga"

"If you want to rule the world, you must keep it amused." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I like to teach my yoga classes in a very lighthearted style. There are times when it's okay just to stop and laugh during your class. It actually happened this afternoon while I was teaching. Many times yoga can be serious business. People can bring a lot of issues to their yoga mat and certain emotions seem to come from out of the blue. It's one of the great aspects of yoga, bringing certain feelings and emotions out in the open for us to address appropriately. It's just one of the many aspects that separates yoga from other "fitness" categories.

I use the phrase "it's just yoga" many times in my yoga classes. If I feel like someone is getting upset about not being able to do a certain pose or if I sense someone losing their patience with their yoga practice, I remind them "Relax, it's just yoga." Reminding them that ultimately, it's not the end of the world if we can't touch our toes. You can at least smile at yourself for attempting.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Why Dream?

"Life is a difficult assignment. We are fragile creatures, expected to function at high rates of speed, and asked to accomplish great and small things each day. These daily activities take enormous amounts of energy. Most things are out of our control. We are surrounded by danger, frustration, grief and insanity as well as love, hope, ecstasy, and wonder. Being fully human in an exercise in humility, suffering, grace, and great humor. Things and people all around us die, get broken, or are lost. There is no safety or guarantees.

The way to accomplish the assignment of truly living is to engage fully, richly, and deeply in the living of your dreams. We are made to dream and to love those dreams!

We are succulent, flexible, ingenious creatures, gifted with great intelligence, enormous resources, and endless creativity. We are mentored in our dreams by our ancestors. Our dreams sustain and support us, even when we're not actively living them. They infuse us with a hope and certainty. Every person living his or her dream is better able to help the world and other people not yet living their dreams."

Taken from one of my favorite books: Make Your Creative Dreams Real by SARK

I think that we all have dreams. However, it seems that as we get older, more mature we stop talking about our dreams and sadly, we stop exploring and pursuing our dreams. I think that it's so important that we remember what energizes and excites us. What are the things you love doing so much that you lose all track of time? What would you be doing right now if money weren't as issue? It's fun...go ahead and think about it!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Soothing Saturday

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. John Muir

As everyone is aware, we got a massive amount of rain last night. Areas all throughout Central Kentucky flooded and as I sit here looking out my window, the rain has started again. More flooding is expected throughout the day.

I wasn't sure how many brave souls would make it to class at 9:15 this morning. When I thanked those students for attending class, one student responded "I had to come to yoga, I had a really long week." Good to know that chaotic weather can't keep people from a good yoga class.

On my drive back to my house from yoga everything appeared so vibrant and alive. I avoid Nicholasville Road at all costs, choosing instead to take a very scenic route home to Nicholasville. Fields and pastures were green and fresh, creeks, rivers and streams were overflowing with water, and the beginnings of fall are showing in the leaves of trees. I knew that it was a perfect photo opportunity. So I hurried home, loaded my camera gear up and set out to take some pictures before the rain set back in. I took this shot about 5 minutes from my house. I drove up and down country roads taking photos of horses, cows, barns, streams, fields and wildflowers. I can't think of a better way to spend my Saturday afternoon. Taking pictures is my favorite creative outlet and being out in nature has a way soothing my spirit and mind.

Wishing you all a soothing Saturday.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Undivided Attention

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not complete the last one, but I give myself to it. - Ranier Maria Rilke

I really feel that yoga helps us to feel more connected to one another and this in turn helps us to feel more connected to the world around us. Just take a look around the room after a yoga class. For the most part, everyone is calm, peaceful, centered and relaxed ....or maybe really good pretenders ;-)

I think that in general the first thing you can do to connect to someone is give them your undivided attention. I remind myself of this daily as I prepare to teach a yoga class. There are days when I teach several classes throughout the day. I feel that as a yoga teacher it's important that I teach each class as if it's the first and only class for the day. As I'm teaching, I make every effort to teach wholeheartedly and give individual attention to everyone. It doesn't take a whole lot to let someone know that you care. Many times, something as simple as giving your undivided attention will be plenty enough. Give it a try :-)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Yoga for Runners

Here is a great way to stretch those quads and hamstrings after a run:

1. Standing nice and tall with pretty posture - Inhale to reach your arms up taking your palms together. Tilt your head back and gaze up at your hands.
2. Exhale reaching your arms apart and fold towards the ground. Let your fingertips reach towards the earth. If they don't reach - no worries- just rest them on your legs.
3. Inhale to bring your head up in line with your spine, creating a flat back. Press your bottom back and extend your spine forward reaching through the crown of your head. You can rest your hands on your shins or fingertips on the ground.
4. Exhale bending your legs enough to place your hands on the ground and step back to downward facing dog (looks like an inverted V). Reach your bottom up towards the sky and relax your heels towards the earth.
Hold for 5-8 deep breaths.
5. Inhale to take a big step forward with the right leg. Now you're in a low runners lunge. Your right knee should be in line with the right ankle. Your back knee reaches up off the ground. Hold for 5 deep breaths.
6. Exhale and lower the left knee to the ground.
7. Inhale to bring your torso up and rest the hands on your right knee, lunging forward to feel a stretch in the left quad. Hold for 5 deep breaths. 8. Exhale your hands to the inside of the right big toe as you walk your hands forward relaxing your torso towards the ground to stretch the hip. Hold for 5 deep breaths. Don't force yourself down - use your breath to help you relax into the pose.
9. Inhale as you walk your hands back.
10. Exhale as you press your hips back and stretch your right leg forward. Flex the right foot and lengthen your body over the right leg to feel a yummy hamstring stretch. Hold for 5 deep breaths.
11. Inhale the right foot down to the ground as you tuck the back toes under (this may take a little adjusting). Come back to that low lunge.
12. Exhale as you press the right leg back for downward facing dog. Hold for 5-8 deep breaths then repeat sequence with the left leg.

Happy Running :-)

If this sequence made absolutely no sense, then come visit me and take a yoga class!

PS - That's Maisy and Remy in the photo, two dogs that are as fast as the wind!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Flow Into Fall at Barefoot Works

Hip Flow: A Hip Opening Journey -
Saturday October 7, 1:00 - 3:00

Enjoy an afternoon of hip openers in this 2-hour workshop with Leigh Ann. This practice will begin with focused meditation to identify areas in the hips, pelvis, and lower back that hold tightness and tension. We then will transition into a standing flow to warm the body and gradually release the hips. The afternoon will close with a slow-flowing sequence of seated and supine poses that target the hip area and loosen the surrounding musculature while increasing range of motion. You will leave the workshop feeling relaxed and renewed with a better understanding of working with your hips. Suitable for all levels. $25 is you pre-register, $30 at the door. Minimum of six registrants required within one week of workshop.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Happy Days

I just got home from a long day at the yoga studio. I'd never imagined I'd be so thrilled to work so many hours! But it's true. I just love being there and I love teaching yoga, meeting new people and trying to figure out this whole "business" aspect of yoga. I've already met so many wonderful people and it's only been three days. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to Barefoot Works. I'm honored that you share your stories and a part of your day with me.

PS...And I love hanging out and sipping hot tea with you :-) Hot chocolate will be here soon!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Studio Celebration

Here are a few shots from the grand opening that was held this past Saturday. It was great to have people hanging around chatting, eating some yummy food, and breaking into the occasional down dog and tree pose. Two past college roomies were even reunited. It was a good day :-)

"She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short."
Brian Andreas

I just love those words so much. That's how I felt when I left the yoga studio on Saturday (blissful, but exhausted). I was just so darn happy to have made this all a reality.

Love that passage as much as I do? Check it out at You can send ecards and get a daily story sent to your email. It's quite fun!

Friday, September 08, 2006

It's Here!!!

Tomorrow at 10:00 am Barefoot Works Yoga Studio officially opens and I couldn't be more excited! I just took these shots tonight after everything was in place. The last photo is a before shot when the studio was a bit of a mess. I must admit that the studio has come a long way and I just think it's fabulous. It's very serene, soothing and simple.

So many people had a hand in making Barefoot Works a reality. I'm so thankful for Andy and his persistence in getting rid of the old floor, my dad, brother and cousin putting in the cork floor, Liz and her amazing abilities with a drill, saw and any other tool that she can get her hands on, daily phone calls from friends cheering me on, computer savy friends, friends that helped me to market and advertise the studio, family members donating and investing in Barefoot Works, and the most fabulous yoga package that traveled from Texas. The list just goes on and on. Thank you all so much. I just love knowing that so many people poured their energy into this space. It really makes it much more special.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I've been called a dreamer many times over and over. I'm constantly thinking and dreaming of all the potential that exists in the world. When I read the following words, they really spoke to me, reminding me to continue taking risks and to follow my dreams. Enjoy...

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on to fruit.

- Dawna Markova

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Weekend Celebration

My brother got married this weekend! It was a three day celebration of love, family, community, food and music. I was moved to tears as I stood as part of a huge circle and witnessed Joel and Amelia exchange their vows. I've never known two people that are so perfectly meant to be together. They are both destined to do extraordinary things and live fabulous lives. Congratulations to Joel and Amelia!