Thursday, July 30, 2009

what the future holds for tulum

After being surrounded by ten sun goddesses
After ten nights of sleeping by the sea
And fifteen walks on the beach
After twenty two hours of teaching
And four yoga classes taken
After four massages received
One detoxing sweat lodge
And millions of stars to gaze upon

I left Maya Tulum.
Leaving Maya Tulum I look over my right shoulder to soak in the view of the turquoise sea one last time.

I see improvements being made to the road. I see a sidewalk and think to myself, "I don't think that was here last year." I see new eco chic establishments....a coffee shop, a boutique, and a couple new "hotels".

I can see the "progress" being made. My heart aches a tiny bit as I wonder what will become of this beautiful and sacred land in years to come.

Victor, the front desk manager told me that they are building an airport that will be within 45 minutes of Tulum.

Easier access means more people.
More people means money.
More money probably means bigger establishments.

I wonder how long one will be able to see the millions of stars at night.
I wonder how long before the beaches become crowded.
Wonder how long before the bulldozers come and the high rises are built.

But I'll happily take what I've gotten so far. The lessons. The experiences. The healing. The teaching. The laughing. The crying. The simple. And the sacred. It's more than I could have ever hoped for. Enough to last a lifetime.

In the meantime, I'll you'll find me back at Maya Tulum next July. And in all likelihood I'll be back before then. It's my happy place. **This concludes the gushing over Maya Tulum. Thanks for allowing me to indulge!**

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

forms of healing at maya tulum

"Maya Tulum is full of wonderful people, healers, and yoga folks who create an atmosphere of kindness, peace and healing. The resort is a place of ease, with delicious, fresh food, experienced bodywork professionals, and beautiful spaces to relax on the beach. Practicing yoga everyday within sight and sound of the ocean was restorative to my mind and body. By the end of the week I was able to find release from my chronic pain."

I was so delighted to see an email from a retreat-ee this morning. Her email got me to thinking about the various forms of healing that one encounters while retreating at Maya Tulum.

There are the obvious things that come to mind....
The healing that simply comes from being with like minded women. As one retreat-ee put it perfectly, "I loved walking into the restaurant and knowing that not only would there always be an open seat at one of the tables, that I would be welcomed with open arms and that I would spend the next hour to three hours conversing with other amazing, extraordinary, powerful women about all of the ways in which they were impacting the world through their teaching, their healing arts, and their vocations." Wow, that is pretty darn cool.

The healing of the yoga practice comes to mind. Getting a whole week, four hours a day to get reacquainted with your body, your breath, your mind and your emotions. Yoga is strong and powerful medicine. Even more strong and powerful in the context of a retreat. And I'm not the only one missing yoga at Maya Tulum...."I am writing this longing to be back in the beautiful round yoga room of Maya Tulum in class with Sharon and all of the very lovely members of the Barefoot Works studio." Ahhh, me too Rebecca. Well not in class with me...but me teaching. Or taking yoga. I'm not picky.

Healing for me took place at the ruins overlooking the sea in Tulum. I've been twice and didn't have the intention of even leaving the resort this trip (just like last year). A small group of the gals were going to the ruins on our free day. I awoke that morning and just had a feeling that I needed to go. So I did. And it was amazing to share the powerful place with the yoginis. But the most healing part took place under a tree during meditation, with little white blooms that lay scattered on the green ground. Yes, very Buddha-esque.

Healing took place in the food. Remember Louise with the sparkly, twinkly eyes? I believe she blessed each dinner. They were that good. And others agree...."I can't possibly say enough about the food: I was amazed by the love that seemed to go into the preparation of each deliciously prepared meal."

Healing took place with the body workers. Who are unbelievable. And amazing. Yeah you've probably heard enough in this area. Remember. We. Heart. Them. All. They pour such love into each and every encounter with you. I walk away every year feeling amazed that they can be that present and that giving when they see what must be thousands of yogis each year. Yet you feel like you are the only one.

Healing took place in the goofy times with new beach buds.

And in the reading and sharing of books.

In the quiet moments on the beach, in the sea, and resting in ones cabana.

Healing took place during the singing and chanting with Pedro.. Joining with those of a different culture, different ages. Yet feeling and knowing that we are ultimately one.

In the walking of a brand new labyrinth at Maya Tulum. Constructed by my new friends from Asheville, NC....Quiana and William.

Healing took place in the sharing of fears and struggles. In the stories of travel, success, life, and love. Healing took place when one became five. Healing the whole person.

Years ago. Before I had a yoga studio. Before I was even a yoga teacher.
I found this space, this place that now feels like home every time I visit.
I didn't find Tulum.
It found me.
So happy that it found these ten gals.

Ahhh, the gushing continues. ;)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

remembering who you are

Maya Tulum offers the most perfect opportunity for just that. When we strip away the phone, the tv, the internet, the modern conveniences. Who are we?

When we can remove the daily to do's....the driving, the appointments, the schedules to keep, the places to go, the laundry, the cooking....who are we?

When we can unplug from society and plug into spirit.....who are we?

We begin to forget that I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an employee, a boss, a student, a caretaker, a healer. We ask ourselves....really who am I?

We remember that we are
And light
And life.

We remember that we're Here to be
Filled with Peace

That this is our true authentic Self. That is our nature.

It can be hard making the transition at Maya Tulum. Going from who we are supposed to be to remembering who we truly are at heart.

The quiet, the space. Being surrounded by the jungle on one side and the sea on the other.Even the abundance of time can be unsettling for some. But I believe it's among the silence and the distance that true revelation, healing and understanding comes. And what a beautiful place that is.

That's why I continue to go back.
And back.
And back again.

**This photo of Sarah truly represents the Joy that we all are. Thank you Danielle for capturing it so beautifully. The aeriel view photo is provided by Maya Tulum**

Monday, July 27, 2009

maya tulum & my home....apples to oranges

That's what one of the gals said when I asked her how she was adjusting to life back in Kentucky. She told me, "Actually I'm having a harder time than I thought. I wake up and miss paradise!" We had a quick talk and both decided that to compare the two is silly and would only lead to heartbreak we continued to look at it that way. It's like comparing apples to oranges. Simply can't....or shouldn't be done. Two entirely different things.

So I was super happy when Andy and I decided to have a date on Saturday to Midway. Since we live in Nicholasville, we go a "back way" in which we wind through Central Kentucky, weaving through small towns of Nicholasville, Versailles, and Midway.

I needed to see the beauty of our home. The fences made of stones, barbed wire, and wood. I needed to see rolling hills, the green pastures, the horse farms, and the old beautiful homes. I needed to see the cows taking a siesta by the creek. And the beautiful horses frolicking in the field. I needed to hear the wind rushing in through the window and feel my hair blowing wildly around.

I needed to see the contrast of the green fields and green trees with the back drop of the blue sky with puffy white clouds. The display of green in KY continues to inspire me. So very beautiful.

And with this I finally let out a big E X H A L E. This is it I thought. The beauty that surrounds us. It's always here. Just waiting to be noticed. Much like the reading that I shared on Saturday (and below). How much (beauty) are we missing when we're making comparisons or simply rushing to and from?

Then I think back to the beauty that exists in the physical landscape of Tulum. I realized that one of my fave views is from inside the restaurant at Maya Tulum. Looking out this window and seeing the contrast of the green of the palm tree with the blue of the sea and sky. This is it. Although the photo doesn't do it justice.

It's as if the window creates this most perfect frame for a view that is awe inspiring. The simplicity of it is one of the reasons it's so dear to me. It's a complete contrast to what I see so much here of in KY.....lots of green with accents blue. In Tulum.....lots of blue with accents of green.

The grounds of Maya Tulum are so simple yet so astounding. I'm sure that there are far more fancy and "manicured" properties just north of Tulum in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun. I have come to the conclusion that one of the many reasons I love Mexico (and Tulum) is that is really reminds me of my roots of Appalachia, growing up in southeastern KY. Where many things can be so simple yet so complicated at the same time. A place that one must live in to love and (try to)understand.

This is Ricardo. Every morning he rakes the sand at Maya Tulum, making beautiful circles. It's a process that involves time, patience, and several different rakes. What he makes is beautiful and our group is so very lucky to have witnessed his craft. His skill. I imagine that he might wonder if what he does makes a difference. But it most certainly did to our group, especially Tracy and myself. Most every day we would comment on how beautiful the sand was. He was a quiet guy. Made very little eye contact. And to get an "hola" from him was a bit of a challenge. Unlike every other person at Maya Tulum.

I'm so reminded of my family at home and their ability to be creative and resourceful. And simply speaking for myself, when I left home at 18 to go to college, I was a super shy (much more so than now), quiet gal who had a hard time making eye contact and being able to assert myself in a number of different ways. I now see myself in Ricardo.

There is a certain beauty that exists that is hard for me to explain. Hard to put words to. And some people are certainly concerned about the "realness" perhaps the "rawness" of Maya Tulum. For me personally, it's those things that make me want to continue to going back. And back. And back again.

As one of our yoginis (now uber fan of Maya Tulum) says,
"What I really want other people who are considering the trip to understand is that all of the things that Maya Tulum warns about on their website: the wildlife in your room, the lack of air conditioning, the lack of TVs and radios and all of the "conveniences" of the modern age, not having a hair dryer -- none of those things matter when you step onto the resort grounds. Those were things I was concerned about: can I live without my hair dryer?? Can I really survive without air conditioning?! And ohmygod, wildlife in my room???? And I didn't think about any of those things once I was actually there. None of my concerns were valid. The rooms were pleasantly cool; I loved the fact that I fell and asleep and woke up to the gentle caress of of the sea breeze and the sound of the Caribbean crashing into shore just yards from my windows."

**Thanks to Lisa Miller for so beautifully taking a picture above that truly represents Maya Tulums tag line.....Paradise at the edge of the sea. **

Sunday, July 26, 2009

maya keeps getting better

Since returning from Mexico quite a few people have asked me how this trip compared to past ones. I can say with all honesty, it simply keeps getting better.

First of all, I had a sweet surprise on the day the participants arrived. Ten was my magic number for this year. I went to Tulum thinking I had nine gals attending but learned the day the retreat started I had a tenth. Mary Jo, a delightful yogini from Chicago also joined us. So I was quite pleased to have exactly the number I was hoping for.

So how does the retreat get better? As far as the participants (or this is what I heard) this is what I'd say. The combination of yoga classes combined with the bodywork makes for a pretty fabulous, healing week in many ways. The yoga classes in Tulum are extra special for a few different reasons.

First off the space is amazing. Imagine our current space with thatched roof/ceiling, windows that look out to the sea on one side and the jungle on the other. There are three different light sources. We always have candles on hand AND they always provide a vase full of fresh cut flowers from the property. Between the ceiling fans and the ocean breeze it's just perfect.

Secondly we have so much more time to delve more deeply into the full spectrum of yoga. We meet for two hours in the morning (finished by 9:30 am so they still get a full beach/spa day in) and two hours before dinner. There is always a theme for the week (this year it was the idea of filling ourselves with something yummy each day...strength, compassion, acceptance, discipline, joy, gratitude). The theme is woven into the asana practice as well as yoga philosophy. The morning sessions are more vigorous and the evening sessions are more chill. It's a great balance.

The spa is simply outta this world. Words don't do the therapists nor the setting justice. As one of the gals recently said to me in an email, "I felt that the massage therapists were healers in their own specialities. I've never encountered so many experts in one short time frame--- they each seemed to care that clients on the table received what they were there for. Also, they made themselves available at unscheduled times!"

As many of you have probably heard we have a certain favorite therapist/healer/shaman by the name of Fabian. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at Maya Tulum and saw that he wasn't scheduled to be there while we were. The folks at Maya Tulum will do most anything to make you happy while there. So they arranged for Fabian to come in and just work with our group. All I had to do was pick the days and times we wanted to see him. They made it that easy. And he even led temalzcal (sweat lodge) for us. We. Heart. Fabian. And Adrian. And Chandree. And Elodia. And Gina. And Sergio.

I heard so many great things about so many other therapists that I haven't worked with. I'm not sure where they find such powerful people, but they do. And I am all the happier for them doing so.

This year I added a special treat for our closing night. I arranged for us to do singing/chanting with another local Shaman by the name of Pedro. When I was in Tulum in January with my brother and sister, Pedro led the sweat lodge and we did a lot of singing. He has the voice of an angel. I knew I wanted him to share with the group. So on our last night, they set our yoga hall up so beautifully with a big circle, lots of candles and extra special touches. For nearly an hour and a half we sang amongst the group, with Pedro and several other local ladies all dressed in white. It was beautiful. And powerful. And inspiring. We'll definitely do this again next year.

Other goodies.....On this trip you can be with the group as much as you'd like or you can have your own private time. It's very easy to do and I feel like everyone easily finds a balance between the two.

"I looked forward to meal times together, and to beach business with girlfriends." Beach business...I love that! And as far as alone time, it's so easy. You can rest in your cabana, find a quiet nook on the property, take a walk on the beach, walk to the shops just up the road, or read a book at the restaurant. And every ones fave alone time....getting a treatment.

The food was even better this year than last. I didn't think that was possible. Louisa is the new night chef and her food was ahhhhh. Heavenly. And she's so kind and humble. Every night she stands out by the buffet greeting our group and telling us all about the yummy food for the evening. She has a kind way and I swear her eyes twinkle.

I love going to Maya Tulum in the summer. And I say this even after being there in January. To me I really didn't notice that much of a difference with the temperature. And no I'm not lying. All the gals can vouch for me when I say, "It's really not that hot." Sarah was quite amazed really at how comfortable it was. The ocean breeze is so much more than what one would think.

But the two main reasons I love going in the summer:
1. It's so very quiet. Really, it's like you have your very own private beach, private resort, and private restaurant. It's fabulous.
2. It's cheaper. The airfare, the cost of the retreat. Pretty much everything.
Bonus #3. The timing is perfect for me. By the time the retreat rolls around, I've just finished teacher training and summer time is much more slow for me.

And mostly the retreat rocked this year because of the group. Aren't they so cute? Loved that we had two mother/daughter duos. Some recent graduates from teacher training, some friends, some newbies for me and it all worked out splendidly. I feel strongly that each one of us needed to be together at that specific time at that specific place with those specific people. In order to grow, to share, to teach, to learn, to heal and be healed.

Thanks to all you gals that attended. I feel blessed to have shared such a week with each of you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

stop and hear the music

Reading that I shared this morning. Thanks for passing it along to me Lisa. Enjoy!

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning in 2007. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the best music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made...
How many other things are we missing?

*I've had lots of people asking about our amazing journey to Maya Tulum. Beginning tomorrow I'm going to post each day about our trip. I hope you enjoy. :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

makes me happy

*How the top of the mountain was lit by the setting sun last night.
*The remains of a golden glow from Tulum....inner and outer.
*Getting back on schedule with work.
*Seeing people I haven't seen in a while at the studio.
*My mom and niece away on an adventure together.
*My brother-in-law.
*Seeing the movie "The Hangover" for the second time with my brother and sister. And laughing hysterically. Again.
*Planning for the rest of the year.
*Working out with Andy.
*The new website.....still.
*The thought of seeing my friends.
*A girls trip to Chicago this fall with Liz.
*My sister's strength.
*Meetings with people about the upcoming yoga teacher training. Dates coming this week.
*A new nephew that will be welcomed into the world next month.
One of my BFF's new website.
*The compassion of so many people I know and love.
*Walks with the doggies.
*Morning beach walks have gone back to morning cemetery walks. Both beautiful in there own ways. Could there be any greener place than in KY? And I still have birds singing to me on my walk. What more can a gal ask for?

Have a happy happy day!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

maya tulum magic

My time in Tulum was cut a tiny bit short. I am such a blessed gal to have the time(s) there that I have. Here is a teeny tiny conversation I had with Pauline, the originator/owner of Maya Tulum (who happens to be from Lexington and went to UK)......

Me, "You have something very special here at Maya Tulum."
She, "The people that need to find us do."

Eleven of us found them and I'm quite certain our lives are either a little or a lot changed after being there.

I'm glad to be home and looking forward to teaching at my fave place....Barefoot Works.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

yoga for a good cause

Please share the word:

Community Yoga at Barefoot Works
Third Tuesday of each month
July 19, 4:00 - 5:00

Free/Donations Welcome that benefit Florence Critteton Home.

More silliness from myself and 2009 yoga teacher trainees. I promise we did work. ;)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

a brand new look!!

I'm so very excited to have the new website finished AND a beautiful blog to match! I got home late last night after teaching and the drumming workshop (which both were outta this world cool, watched the mini version of Michael's memorial, went upstairs to check email and checked to see if the new website was up yet. When I saw it I nearly did a flip!

After a couple days of calling Blue Host and Go Daddy, and what felt like a trillion emails to my old graphic designer the new site up sitting pretty in the world of web. It's been a process as I hadn't planned a whole new website but I am beyond thrilled with the end result.

Retta has been amazing throughout this process. We've met at Panera by the studio, Panera close to my home, chatted before and after classes, she came and took photos, and we've exchanged more than a trillion emails. If you ever need a website I so highly recommend her. As you can see she's quite talented. And the time and effort she takes to really get it just the way you want it is simply astounding.

This yoga retreat page is my most fave. It's one of my fave Tulum pics and one of my fave quotes. I recall asking Retta quite tentatively, "Any way you can make this into a postcard and include this amazing quote?" I think I had actually grown a little fearful of making requests with my previous folks (hence the change). She excitedly says, "Ooooh that would be cool! Let me work on it." And she did. And it's perfect. I love it. And Retta. She's truly a website goddess. Gush. Gush.

I really feel like this website represents myself, the studio, and our yoga community a little better. I was forced to sit down and think again about what we're trying to do here and who we're trying to attract to Barefoot Works. Writing the intro for the flash slideshow was fun. I debated on several things here. Quotes, long passages, or a blurb by me. Went with the blurb and still got to use the quotes that you find sprinkled about the website and the passage here. I love the colors. Love that we actually have pics from the studio, pretty pics of the teachers. We have a couple new pages, one for a yoga therapy program, private sessions, and one for studio rental (we're hosting our first yoga/book club event in August!).

We have a handy FAQ page along with the handy "guide to yoga at Barefoot Works youtube video. You can find us on facebook, twitter, and youtube from the homepage. AND my second favorite page is the Love Letters page. You have to see it from the homepage, scroll on down. That was another request for Miss Website Goddess...."Can we use this quote from Addie and make some sorta fun image to link from?" And it's so very perfect! Love the Love Letters.

OK I'll quit with the new yoga website excitement. Cause I still got Tulum to be excited about! Yay! Leaving on a jet plane early in the morning. Don't know when I'll be back again. Kidding. I'll be back in two weeks. On the 23rd.

If I didn't see you last night (with the packed out yoga/drumming class) I didn't get to say "bye" and give you a hug. So I'm sending one out via long distance. From me to You. And You. And You. I'll miss you (honestly), but looking so forward to being in my favorite place of all. Appears that "favorite" is the word of the day. :)

Be happy. I'll catch ya in a couple of weeks.

PS - I'll probably blog a few times from Tulum, so check in!

PSS - If you have any trouble viewing the new website or blog please let me know.

Monday, July 06, 2009

beach books?

OMG, a whole week has passed! Crazy.....Lots of stuff going on these days and sadly I just haven't had time to hang out with Miss Blog.

But the very important question is....If you could take only one book to the beach, what one book would that be?

I'll have some extra time in Mexico this year and I'm hoping to get a good amount of reading in. I would LOVE to hear some of your faves!!

Have a sweet day. Don't forget that class is tomorrow at 6:15 and set to drumming. So cool! Come on out, even if you don't usually attend class on Tuesday evenings. I'm hoping to see a lot of you yogis! And following class is a workshop from 7:30-9:30!