Sunday, August 29, 2010

on joyful work

A Hard Decree
on the Tavern wall
A hard decree for all of love's inmates
Which read:
If your heart cannot find a joyful work
The jaws of this world
Will probably
Grab hold of your

This morning I woke and went to my yoga room to spend some time practicing yoga, getting quiet, and preparing for important calls for today. I took with me a book of poetry of Hafiz.

I sat down and opened up the book (it has 333 pages)and landed on this poem. It was the first time I ran across it. It speaks of joyful work, so of course I immediately loved it.

At noon I'll be gathering on the phone with yoga students across the US, in Cananda, Chile and Peru. These ten students will be joining me in Tulum for a 200 hour yoga teacher training. Needless to say, I'm so very excited and a bit nervous about meeting them on the phone for the first time today.

Our day will unfold as follows:
12:00-1:30 Call led by me and includes intros, travel details, general schedule, rooms, and preparing physically, energetically, mentally, and emotionally for our training. A yoga teacher training requires loads of inner and outer work. A lot assume it's mostly outer work, but boy....are they wrong.

2:00 - 4:00 Introduction to Sanskrit, led by Teresa. This will be a good start so that they can begin to familiarize themselves with Sanskrit before arriving in Tulum.

4:30 - 6:30 Meditation led by Lisa. When we arrive in Tulum we will begin with a daily 30 minute meditation. Lisa will give them all the juicy details about how wonderful a meditation practice can be, explain mantra meditation, and give the students a mantra that will be used throughout the training.

If you're reading this perhaps you could send a loving thought to me, the teachers, and the students embarking on sweet journey. It's much appreciated.

Have a wonder-full day my friends.

PS - Curious to know, what's the most joyful part of your work?

**Photo of me teaching and students practicing in Tulum from this year's retreat....certainly some of my most joyful work.**

Saturday, August 28, 2010

on blowing off my yoga practice and goodbyes

I re-learned Friday that I love to TAKE yoga at the studio. I've always said on here that doing my yoga practice at the studio is not that easy for me. There are plenty of distractions of both the internal and external variety. On Thursday I was doing my practice and most of the interruptions were of the external kind. Within a span of 45 minutes my phone rang three times and two people came into the studio. This was more than usual.

It was enough to make my blow off my practice and walk to Starbucks for an iced latte. Ahhh, decisions decisions. I was a lil' cranky. I called Andy on my way over to Starbucks, filled him in on my less than satisfying practice, and as I walked past Sunshine Grow Shop, I continue the whining part..."And the mums are here. And that means summer is almost over (insert sad whiny faced Sharon). I get the iced goodness and walk back to the studio and sit in the swing for about 20 minutes, which totally uncranked myself, thus leaving me ready and rearing to welcome the yogis to class.

So yes I'm happy when people call me on the phone. And I'm happy when people come in to learn more about our classes, not so happy when I'm doing a private session such as yesterday when someone comes in carrying a bag of Jimmy John sammies and says, "Excuse me, can I bother you for a minute..." And which I respond, "No thank you, we're not interested" as said student is trying to learn how to do chaturanga. Clearly this Jimmy John's gal doesn't do yoga or she would have known better to ask such a question, during such a pose.

Why I need to TAKE more yoga at the studio

I got the good fortune of taking Lisa's noon class yesterday which was soooo very good! Loved it. We have such gifted yoga teachers at the studio. Lisa always teaches "chanting asana" in this class during sun salutations. For each of the postures there is a chant (that's been chanted for thousands of years) that corresponds. With my new found love of chanting/singing/kirtan/yoga yelling it made me very happy. As did the yin yoga poses. Lisa has a very elegeant and accessible way of teaching. I so enjoyed being a student. I so enjoyed being a student at the studio.

One might ask, well then why not take more yoga at the studio. Pretty simple, eh? Well not so much. Being that I live in Nicholasville, the studio isn't just a hop, skip, or jump away. I drive a lot. Mondays are my "I refuse to drive anywhere day and you can't make me" day. Or else I'd come to Teresa's class and experience here loveliness. I'm at the studio Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The only classes I could take are the latest classes. I taught late for two years, not getting home till after 9:00 on weekdays. I've made the decision that coming home and seeing Andy is more important than spending more time at the studio. And I'm very happy with this decision.

I see at least two solutions:
1. Add a daytime class that I can take.
2. Give one of the classes I teach during the day to another teacher so I can be the student.

Hmmmm more pondering needed for this one. But leaning towards option 2.

On other teaching note Emily is teaching her last class at the studio. :( But it's hard to be sad about our loss when it's such an exciting time for her! She and Adam are expecting their very first baby boy this December. And she'll be leaving to spend time in Alaska with Adam in less than two weeks. If you've ever taken Emily's class then you know what a true joy she is. She's free and fun and flowy, gliding around the studio offering support to her students. She was in my very first training group and was one of the first teachers at Barefoot Works. You will be missed Emily by all of us.

Beth too will be departing as a teacher, but you'll likely see her practicing on the mat next to you. Luckily for all of us she's not going to Alaska. :)

I'll keep you posted as we navigate the changes and continue to bring you great teachers to inspire you you on and off the mat. As always I value your feedback so if you have suggestions or requests then send me an email!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

moved by this....

I was just on my sweet friend Mia's blog and discovered this. It grabbed ahold of me. Maybe it will do the same for you in some sorta way.

Every I-Thou encounter is destined to come to an end; every person who was present in full self-creation and freedom is destined to slip back into the world of It—the world where we recognize one another as bodies and personalities, where we experience and interpret one another through concepts of mind.

But the rich experiences of being present with other persons of spirit are not canceled by their termination. And we can always be open to new encounters on the level of spirit.

It is a gift to recognize spirit in other persons. When an I-Thou encounter happens, we may wish to 'freeze' the moment, to make that being present with each other last forever.

Such flashes of encounter might be like noticing a butterfly: If we grasp the butterfly, we destroy it. We can only rejoice that we are present to appreciate the butterfly for as long as it wants to stay. In memory we can treasure moments of I-Thou encounter. And if we remember where we saw the butterfly before, we can attempt to return to that 'place', hoping for another moment of spiritual encounter.
- Martin Buber

Monday, August 23, 2010

bhakti yoga that resulted in general giddiness

When humans participate in ceremony, they enter a sacred space. Everything outside of that space shrivels in importance. Time takes on a different dimension. Emotions flow more freely. The bodies of participants become filled with the energy of life, and this energy reaches out and blesses the creation around them. All is made new; everything becomes sacred...
~ Sun Bear

This weekend was pure joy. Loved. All. Of. It.

Friday night we hosted a session at the studio on mantra meditation and kirtan. Pankaj, who is living in Louisville joined us again with a monk. This was Pankaj's second visit at Barefoot Works. We had a small intimate group of 10. We sat in a circle. We sang. And Mandhu chatted about the Bhagavad Gita. It is so very interesting to me. All. Of. It. Again.

Loved it so much that I knew I wanted to hear and experience more. Lucky for me they were going to Shelli's studio the next night. I decided to change my schedule around a wee bit to go. The plus side was seeing Shelli, participating in her monthly sadhana practice (from 5:00 till the morning folks!), having a slumber party, and helping her with the graduation of her new training class.

Pankaj and Mandhu presented the Bhagavad Gita in a way that was new to me (their teacher and teachings here). Some of what they shared I've been pondering a lot...wheels have been spinning in my mind. The great thing is, I don't have to share their views, I don't have to have all the answers. You know why? Because I get to choose!'s good to be human.

What I choose is to be in the juicy flow of life. To go in the direction of feeling peace-full and expansive (yoga speak for feelings of general giddiness). And when I experience that deep inner joy, that inner giddiness(even if only for a few moments) my whole life opens up and everything seems possible.

My experiences over the weekend left me feeling so full of life, so full of light, so very good. That's what I'm consciously working with today. To continue doing things, thinking thoughts, and taking actions in ways that lend themselves to staying connected to love, staying in the light. Enjoyin' all of it and not taking a single second of it for granted.

Wishing the same for you. Happy Monday. :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

could we all be genius?

A couple days ago I wrote about how I'm exploring the words that describe me when I'm at my very best. When I'm on my A game. In June I had a session with Grace about exploring a concept she touched on when she was here for yoga teacher training in early June....your unique genius. She expressed that each of us possess qualities that make us genius. And if we can operate/dwell/live from this place more often (dare I say daily) then we'd all be doing ourselves and the world justice. It's a concept she learned from her teacher Gay Hendricks. Before I traveled to Mexico I bought the book that delves into this...The Big Leap. And highly recommend if you're into this idea....of your genius. :)

Grace explained to me that sometimes our unique genius comes so easily to us that we often overlook it. She suggested (among other inquiry work)that I send an email out to friends/family/students and ask for their input. Which I did. Which wasn't easy. Something about asking other people to reveal my strengths, my gifts, that wasn't easy for me.

But this is something I was (and am) committed to...identifying, operating, and living from a place of joy. So I compiled the email, asked the following questions, and nervously hit the send button. Here are the questions:

1. What am I doing or talking about when you experience me most energized and happy?
2. When you experience me at my best, the exact thing I am doing is....
3. What do you see as a special skill I am gifted with?
4. How have I most contributed to your life (this was the hardest one for me to ask)?

Minutes later I started getting answers back. I couldn't believe my eyes. I couldn't believe how kind, how giving people were of their words. It totally broke open my heart, in a way I could have never expected.

This week I compiled all the answers emailed back to me. I have over five pages (and these will be creatively placed in my yoga room and read when I'm doubting myself). I've reviewed them, underlined, and re-wrote the words that came up again and again. In random order, here they are:

Mexico (surprise, right?)

And the qualities noted most:

So that's where I am right now. Will be my wordsmith self and probe deeper into them this week. And I'm having another session with Grace this week, so that will be great as always (soooo highly recommend her).

In the meantime, may be all be open to pondering, embracing, and owning our genius. It's not so easy, but I see the beauty in it.

To you and your genius Self.....have a sweet day. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

he dreams of tv's, she dreams of nyc

Happpppy Friday!

I have a few things swirling in my mind that I want to write about. So rather than making an eight mile long blog post, I figure I'll spew em' out and hopefully come back to some them. Here goes:

1. Mantra meditation tonight at 7:00!! It's a great way to spend your evening (and a free one at that!). We get few of these opps so puhhhlease come out and support. We'll sit, meditate, sing, and enjoy general merriment.

2. I love our studio space! And know what I love equally? When other people love our studio space! I literally just got off the phone with a guy bringing his 11 year old daughter to the studio. I'm workin' from Main and Maple (yay happy Friday). He's trying to find the studio. I explain to him the way I do to everyone, "We're in the two story FUNky wood building in front of Lowe's and behind Sunshine Grow Shop." He sees it and he says, "Ahhh I see it. And wow I already love it!' Which of course makes me happy and excited. I tell him he aint seen nothing yet, just wait till you step inside. He can't wait. I ask if he's gonna take class. He's not sure, maybe after seeing the building, maybe yes. I say, "When you walk in you're not gonna want to leave." He's happy. I'm happy. General happiness. I love all of it.

3. A fall cleanse. Yep it's coming up. I had a whole session with my ayurveda teacher yesterday about a seven day kapha reducing cleanse for me. Will be looking at the planner to find a good time and typing of the recipes and planning it all. However after leaving the studio I promptly had baked spaghetti and a piece of derby pie. Ooops, hoping she doesn't read the blog. Shhhhhh.

4. The wordsmith. That's what the new groom has labeled for Andy and myself. Andy was given the title after we presented he and Liz with a poem for their wedding, penned by Andy. I was awarded the title after my toast when the best man says, "Wow, she smoked me." And Tony responds, "Cause she's a wordsmith." I am a lover the word. And now I'm working with the words that explain me when I'm at my best, most energized Self. Which is realllly fun for me! Being a wordsmith and all.

5. Dreams. Andy had a dream a couple Saturdays about getting a flat screen tv. We go and buy one. See dreams do come true. He's been wanting one forever and all big purchases have been on a hiatus. But we've been very good and with his birthday and all we went for it. I had a dream last night about Michael Franti in concert and going to NYC. Wondering what that might mean for me? Hmmmmm....

Alright, hope to see y'all soon! Come out the studio...cause it's a reallllly special place you know. ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

happy birthday to mr. works

A super sweet shout out to the man behind the scenes at Barefoot Works. His humor and stability certainly bring a much needed balance to my life. Cheers to you baby... here's to another year filled with surprise and delight, fun and chaos too!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

what keeps you awake at night?

I could have posed this question another way....
"What scares you the most?"

Because truth be told....there isn't much of anything that keeps me awake at night. I'm a kapha kinda gal in that way.

But what scares the heck out of me?
The idea of wasting my life.

Yep, that's it. If anything kept me awake at night, that would be it.
Not making my life... this life count for something.

Mary Oliver is my favorite poet and there are a few lines in a few poems that when I hear or read, they pierce straight to my heart. They are:

"One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began."
"Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?"
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Yep these three phrases sum it up for me.
Because this is it. Life isn't a dress rehearsal. And it's reeeealllly important to me to get it as right as I can this time around.

So every single day I think about what it means to make my life count. What does that look like and feel like fore me? And it's always the same thing.

It's about making a difference. That's what I want to do. It's about reading, writing, practicing, exploring, seeking, dreaming, and wondering about all the ways that I can make my heart whole, happy, and healthy. Then sharing with others with the hope that they can heal in the ways they need to.

The things that I write
The things that I says
The things that I think
The things that I teach
The things that I do....

It all comes down to that....
making a difference
making an impact.

That's what I plan to do with my one wild and precious life.
What about you?

Monday, August 16, 2010

shhhh, it's a secret....16 things you probably don't know about me

I feel like I'm pretty open on my blog and share quite a bit of personal information. After three people referenced to me in emails today how happy they were that I blogged about my BFF's wedding I said to her, "I think people are just as interested (or more) in the personal posts than the yoga posts. Truth is, they are are intermingled and I find that we are all looking for people that we can relate to. We like it when people are open and honest. We like it when people reveal their light and their darkside.

I've been honest in saying what I will and will not share here on this blog. I share **my stuff**, not my families or friends **stuff**. I only share bits of mine and Andy's **stuff** if I talk with him beforehand. So here is a new list of things I've never said, but maybe you knew list:

1. I love to teach and present to certain people. These certain people are people that are already at least interested in yoga. I don't like convincing people of the power of yoga. I can do it if I have to, but I prefer not. This is one the many reasons I love leading yoga teacher training.

2. I prefer not to be the center of attention. In all areas, except again....anything that has to do with yoga. I gave a toast for Liz and Tony on Saturday. People thought it was really great, but I of course felt like I didn't express myself like I wanted. I also don't love to throw parties. Especially if it means I'm gonna be the center of attention. Sarah has however asked me to do a reading for her upcoming wedding. This will be another time that I'm ok to be the center of attention (so puuhhlease don't un-ask me Sarah ;).

3. It annoys me when people ask, "What do you do?" and I respond "teach yoga" and they ask "oh, that sounds like fun. what else do you do?" I either need to come up with a new answer. Or avoid putting myself in the situation where this is the first thing that people ask upon meeting me. Ask me what excites me about life and I'll love you immediately.

4. It annoys me when people ask, "So when are you having a baby?" Maybe tomorrow. Maybe nine months. Maybe never. If it's something I want to share, I will. If you are in my life in an intimate way you probably know how profound and complex this question is for me. If you aren't in my life in an intimate way you probably don't need to ask the question.

5. I had a job in college at Frisch's that I didn't show up for on the first day. And I felt bad and didn't want to show my face and return the oh so unattractive uniform. BFF Liz came through and took it back for me. Ahh the days of being young and totally irresponsible. I would never recommend anyone do this now.

6. I love being near the water. I love looking at it. And playing in it. I now know that I must be near a large body of water several times a year, or else I will get really cranky, sad, emotional, or any other number of feelings/emotions that aren't positive. The first time I saw the ocean was during my sophomore year of high school. It was for a business education conference. It changed my whole perspective. Not the conference. Seeing the ocean.

7. I'm building my life in such a way that I feed the parts of me that must be fed...creativity, stability, adventure, spirituality. I need both stability (as in the studio) and adventure (as in working in Mexico) to feed all the parts of my y soul. Creativity and spirituality is woven into everything that I do.

8. I would rather be doing too much than not enough.

9. I have the absolute best in-laws one could hope for. In throwing this rehearsal dinner Andy's dad drove three hours with his truck loaded with tools and other yard maintenance thingys. He spent the night and worked like a dog helping us get ready for the party. He even carted off the equivalent of a tree in the back of his truck because garbage pick up here in Nicholasville pretty much sucks....all the way back to Owensboro. Truly a saint.

10. It annoys me (last one I promise) when people hear of my travels to Mexico and ask, "Do you feel safe there?" Are you kidding? I grew up in the head of a holler in Appalachia. I have seen much more bizarre, odd, crazy, and scary things there than in Mexico. Not to mention the craziness that happens here in the States that we all turn a blind eye to.

11. I don't like cold weather. I love Spring. I love Summer. I love Fall till the leave fall, then I brace myself for cold. And winter, the hardest season of all. Uhhhh.

12. I've now been self employed for longer than I worked for the man.

13. I can hardly type "the man" without laughing at myself.

14. I most prefer my yoga practice in my teeny tiny yoga room.

15. I'm not naturally flexible. While I could probably work my way into those pretty, bendy, twisty, pretzel like poses if I devoted hours of practice each day....I prefer to study and apply the philosophy and psychology of yoga. And plan. And dream. And scheme of course.

16. I love to keep my mornings walk, to jog, to do yoga, to meditate, to work from the coffee shop, to play, to eat fruit, or whatever I choose. It's a perk for not working for **the man**. ;)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

wedding day musings

After a ridiculously fun, memorable, exciting, and exhausting weekend my BFF is now a Mrs. Andy and I hosted about 40 of the bride and groom's family and close friends at our house. The Big Blue House held up exceptionally well. She did not burst at the seams. She held her own. Provided a place to to play cornhole for the adults, steps (with a landing) for kids to play on ( love landings, all sorts of fun can happen here), a kitchen and dining room for drinking wine, eating vegetarian burgoo (and other meatie stuff I didn't partake in), and Derby Pie. The house was sprinkled with orange and brown balloons, candles, flowers, and photos of the bridge and groom, myself, and Andy.

The day of the wedding Liz and I woke at 7:00 and immediately got to making bouquets, arranging flowers, and pulling petals from orange and white roses. Liz took a flower arranging class in college. She is officially a pro now. She did the flowers for my wedding, her sisters wedding, and now her own. We had our nails painted, lunch, and our hair done. Everything was smooth as silk.
We arrived at Chrissman Mill Winery, got ready, had some pics taken, and those of us that love the bride and groom crossed fingers, toes, and legs hoping that the rain would stay away. It was an outdoor wedding and reception. As we lined up to walk down a long path of steps, across the gravel, over the bridge to the gazebo....I saw lightning in the distance. I prayed. Yep, please hold off....even if just a short while. Give us 30 minutes. Puhhhhlease. I didn't know it but Andy was on Twitter sitting in his chair at the exact same time keeping updated on the weather. He read, "Severe weather storm alert. Surrounding areas of Lexington need to take cover. Now." I'm glad I didn't know that part.

The rained held off. The ceremony was really beautiful and touching. And rain free. Bride and groom were ready for this and it was really evident. We all celebrated the union, the kiss, and the declaration and husband and wifery with claps. And a bit o' cheers.

The rain came about 10 minutes after the ceremony was over. It rained buckets. And I must say here how so super impressed and proud of Liz I was. She never once frowned. She didn't say one single thing in a negative light. Not once. It's a testament to her. And the reasons for her marriage. It wasn't all about the details that she has literally poured her hands, heart and soul into for months. It wasn't about making everyone happy. It wasn't about perfection. It was about her and Tony. It was about them beginning the rest of their lives on a high note (rain or shine). It was about what she has waited for, not a union that is perfect or without flaws, but a union that it so very perfectly imperfect for her. These two are meant for one another.

Cheers to happily ever afters. We all deserve them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

my best friends wedding

I really enjoyed that movie. AND my best friend is getting married this weekend. This weekend! As in tomorrow!

The blog has been a wee bit neglected this week. We've been in full out wedding mode here at the Big Blue House. For my friends gift I took her out 15 days before her wedding day to celebrate our 15th year of friendship. Andy and I have been gifting one gift per day. It's been sooo much fun! Complete list to come. We're also hosting the rehearsal dinner so we've been at it all week. Andy even made his yummy vegetarian burgoo and I'm decorating the house with daisies,candles, and photos of the two lovebirds. :)

AND Eat Pray Love comes out tonight. Cant wait. I'll be spending the night with the BFF at her house. The groom will be spending the night here at the Big Blue Abode. If we get wedding duties under control Liz and I might hit the late showing. With Goobers (her have) and Reeses Pieces (my fave) in hand. Watching a movie with a happily ever after seems fitting for her happily ever after.

Wishing you a happy happy weekend. May it be a delight-full one. :)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

retreat & return

Students and friends have been asking me about my re-entry from Mexico. Actually I think this was the easiest year yet for re-entry into "real life, real world" stuff. Maybe so for a few reasons:

1. I was there for three weeks. My longest visit yet. And while I would have been happy to stay longer, I was happy to come home. When Andy and I were driving home from Cincy from the airport, after gazing out the window and observing the scenery I said, "Ky is beautiful too. Different than Tulum, but so beautiful in a much different way." I quickly connected to how much I love KY. I haven't always felt this so soon in coming back.

2. I got to come home with Andy. And that made me happy, making that transition with him. It seems interesting cause one would think that being there without him would make re-entry easy. Not the case. Andy has always had a hard time understanding why it's such a challenge to me in coming home. The noise, the tv, the food, the driving, the traffic, the talking ;) the past it's always been a little overwhelming for me. After being at Maya Tulum for a week and getting into this natural rhythm, enjoying no tv, no phone, and little interaction with people, Andy finally got it. It was even a challenge for him getting to that bus stop in Tulum, taking the ride with "all those people", AND THEN subjecting ourselves to all those people in Cancun. Uh oh. Tough. Tough. Tough. Now he gets it.

3. When our sweet student suddenly passed away I felt a deep longing to get back home. And particularly to the studio. It just felt like the place that I needed to be. And the place that I wanted to be. I missed the BW's teachers. I missed the BW's students. I missed walking into our beautiful studio. I missed the teaching. That being said, it took me a few days to get back into my teaching game. I felt really raw and emotional with the passing of L. But there is nothing like teaching at the studio when I've been away. It really feels like coming home. Cliche as that is.

4. The BW's teachers totally rocked while I was away. They made it so easy so step back into the studio and teaching. I was pretty amazed at how well organized everything was. Student accounts were good, plants were alive, the studio was clean, students were happy. Wow...pinch myself cause I'm pretty damn lucky to have such committed yoga teachers. Thanks to all of you.

5. My BFF is getting married. This coming Saturday! And we're hosting the rehearsal dinner at the Big Blue House on Friday! There was so much happening while I was away that I missed out on. I was excited to come back and be a part in the pre wedding festivities. Andy and I have waited a long time for her to meet Mr. Right (not that she hasn't, right ;) and we can't wait to have a big ol' partay and celebrate the nuptials. I'm giving a toast....and wondering if I'll get it out minus tears?

6. I'm going back to Mexico in October! It was totally easier for re-entry just knowing that I'll be back in Mexico. Usually when I leave there is a feeling of "Oh, I wonder when I'll be back....pfftt, pffft." And I get sad. Not this year! Cause I'll be going back to lead our first ever (and already sold out) 200 hour yoga teacher training in....drum rolllll....Tulum, Mexico! Sorry I couldn't resist.

Alrighty yoga and blog friends....
have a super sweet week!

Thursday, August 05, 2010


“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.” - Pearl Buck

Pondering this and thinking it's going into "Sharon' new definition of contentment" file.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

today's remedy

Today's remedy was teaching yoga....hands down. I had a pretty hectic, mind here, there, and all around sorta day. My day went like this:
7:00 - 8:30: wake, run, yoga, shower
8:30 - 9:00 respond to emails work on
9:00 - 12:00 walk to coffee shop in on august newsletter and checking in with teacher trainees for Mexico coordinating coursework prior to arriving in Mexico, talk with Teresa about a Sanskrit session on conf. call with said trainees, text Lisa about meditation call with said trainees.
12:00 - 12:30 walk home and enjoy a yummy lunch of toast, avocado, hummus, tomato, cucumber
12:30 - 1:00 finish and email newsletter, email with mexico trainees, process payments
1:30 - 2:00 review anatomy and physiolgy for ayurveda module. feel a little scared about today's talk with teacher.
2:00 - 2:45 skype with ayurveda teacher, review homework and quiz for module 2. goes much better than I anticipated.
3:00 - 3:30 leave for studio
3:30 - 4:00 happy to see Meredith, catch up, sign in students for teen yoga
4:00 - 5:00 go to Panera to do work while teen yoga is happening. Have a terrible cappucino (note to self never order this from here), work on breaking down nearly 200 pages of yoga teacher training material for Mexico into four documents to put on online forum. files are too big. or I'm in the wrong place. And there is a man at the table next to me gagging into a napkin what feels like every thirty seconds, making it really hard to suck down the nasty capucinno. I'm definately getting a little sick to my stomach. I get a break when he goes out to smoke. I try not to make judgements. It's hard. I want to tell him about ayurveda. I opt not to and continue with no success in getting manual uploaded.
5:00-5:15 arrive back at studio. chat with the cute yogi's, say good bye to Meredith
5:20 first student arrives for 5:45 class. It's time....lets do this!

5:30 - 9:00 teach yoga class and go over teacher evaluation. Thank you sweet students. Thank you for coming to the studio and working to bring peace and ease to your body, mind, and spirit. On a day like today in which I felt so scattered and so all over the place you provided me an opportunity to get outta my thinking head (in a way that wasn't feeling so good) and focus on you.

You gave me a job, a very fulfilling and rewarding job....and once again I finished teaching yoga and felt such peace. I love my job so much. Thanks for the reminder. It's truly appreciated.

Monday, August 02, 2010

avoiding discomfort

Last Thursday after I finished at the studio at 7:00 I went downtown to a student visitation. She was a student of the studio that suddenly passed away while I was in Mexico. It was important to me to go meet her husband and her children and pay tribute to her.

By the time I arrived over 2000 people had been in to see her. I got into the line and waited patiently. It was interesting to hear people around me talk about Lucy, her family, and her peace filled ways. At that moment I felt very lucky to get to know Lucy. I felt lucky that yoga brought her into the studio, therefore into my life.

Before reaching Lucy's husband I wondered what to say to him. "I'm your wife's yoga teacher." "I was your wife's yoga teacher." I simply wasn't sure of the best way to address it. In the end I'm not even sure what I said, but I do remember the look that washed over his face. Our hand shake evolved into an embrace. He told me how many times he saw her looking over our schedule, wondering when she could make it in. He said she loved yoga. She loved the studio. And she loved me. I moved over and met three of her four kids, all males. I was astounded by both their strength and the struggle of being there. It took all I had to keep the tears in.

I made it to my car and the tears flowed freely. I felt such sadness for her family. Such sadness that people that are needed so much get taken quickly, without reason. I went to reach for my phone, to check it....see if I missed a call, a text message, anything.

And then I got it, I was simply distracting myself to avoid the discomfort of dealing with my emotions. Checking my phone was a lot easier than staying with the feelings of sadness.

Rather than zoning out I checked in with myself, first my body. I felt a lot of sensation on the left side of my abdomen. There was lots of energy buzzing in this space. I noticed my breath. My breathing was shallow and I could feel my chest rising and falling with the inhale and exhale.

I began to work on evening and deepening my breath. And when I did so I felt the sensations in my abdomen subside. I relaxed my face, my shoulders, my belly, hips and thighs.

Then I allowed myself to check in with my emotions. I felt a wave of sadness wash over my whole body. I let myself experience the grief I felt for my student and her family. I didn't try to censor myself, or hold it in, or hide it. I allowed myself to be present with all of it.....anger, frustration, sadness, confusion.

Now I'm thinking about how often we do this in life....both on the yoga mat and off. On the yoga mat we might avoid discomfort by fidgeting, scanning around the room, coming out of a pose early, or completely drifting off to another place or time.

Off the yoga mat we might avoid discomfort by simply removing ourselves from a situation (this use to be my all time fave way and I still resort to it now and then), we say mean things, we shrink down, we eat, we drink, we shop, we give up.

So today I'm thinking of healthier ways of being with discomfort. For me, the most readily accessible ways are checking in with the body and the breath. So much to learn here. And some other things I do:

1. Write....get it out of my mind and onto paper.
2. Talk to someone....for me it's not about someone having an answer for me, but just listening, holding space the yogi's, life coaches, and new agers would say. :)
3. Get outside.....connecting with nature it always helpful for me.
4. Listen to a song that helps me to feel whatever emotion I'm feeling...ranging from a sad song, angry song, inspiring song, and a song to express joy by shaking my booty.
5. Take a bath.
6. Scream into a pillow. And perhaps hit it a time or two.

Do you ever find yourself reaching for the phone, the radio, the computer, chocolate, or a drink when you are feeling strong emotions?

As many times, the first step is awareness. We have to cultivate listening to the part of us that's usually quieter and stiller....but oh so wise. The one that whispers and says....hey wait a minute, let's just pay attention to this, we don't have to act right now.