Thursday, September 30, 2010

why building a business is like practicing warrior I

Greetings Friends!

Wow, what a day?! A day that started at 5:45 this morning. Not sure what is going on on the sleeping front....thinkin' it might be the excitement and anticipation of all that's going on. Or my kapha body is getting really happy and balanced and doesn't feel the need to lounge in bed so long. Combined with the fact that I've been going to bed earlier, all making for an early rising (and shining sometimes too :)

I did work for about in hour, part of which was an email I sent announcing the 500 hour yoga teacher training we'll begin hosting in January! Yay for the yoga love....
Retta literally got the info posted last night. We were emailing back and forth, back and forth some more. It wasn't even officially linked up to the site but I just couldn't wait! Not the most brilliant of marketing plans, but hey....The excitement definitely won out on that one.

I also spent time on the floor of my BIG spacious room doing sun salutations, standing flow, a seated forward fold, then finishing with chanting and meditation to prepare my body and mind for the day.

And the actual day o' business. Shewwww it was pretty intense. Our two days are broken into three core areas:
1. Business Models
2. Operations, Projects, Systems
3. Marketing

It's a small, lovely, diverse group of biz owners. I feel totally at home and at ease. We actually met around Michael's (leader) dining room table the whole day. Very informal. Just the way I like it.

I have so many notes. I'm looking down at them now and see things like:

1. What's the BIGGER picture? What are the offerings to provide to get you there?
2. Business is like a house. You start with a foundation then you continue to add and expand as time goes on.
3. What great entrepreneurs do: articulate what they offer, reconfigure what they have, and cross appropriate (which I had no idea what this meant and he followed up with take good ideas from other industries, ethically of course).
4. Good entrepreneurs must be willing and able to re-configure, change, and improve with the times.
5. Three reasons to have a target market: so you know where to find your people, when you show up they know you're dedicated to them, they have a network to help you share your thing, your gift.

And. So. Much. More. Michael at one point was a yoga teacher. He still has a yoga and meditation practice (it was upon seeing this in his bio that convinced me sign up for the program). All throughout the day he referenced yoga analogies (four of us six entrepreneurs teach and/or practice yoga).

He says building a business is much like practicing Warrior I. Hmmmm, ok. "Sharon, where do you begin Warrior I?" At the feet I respond. "Of course. Then what?" The ankles and knees, again I respond. "Yep, we keep building the business much like we build Warrior I. It's not about how pretty the hands are overhead in Warrior I." Yes, you're right Michael. I couldn't have said it better.

In talking about projects and how some will be successful and some will fail he referenced the deities of creation (Brahma), preservation (Vishnu), and destruction (Shiva). I totally got and loved this.

Perhaps my personal most useful yoga analogy came at the end of the day when he asked us two things we were taking from the day:
1. Greatest challenge
2. Something exciting

Most exciting = Working on planning my next 12 - 24 months! Yes, just the stuff I love.

My challenge = constraints. Nooooo! Isn't that why I own a business...not having to endure constraints?! Michael spoke about how we need to be disciplined and take time each day and do the work...creating the protocol, the systems, the blah blah blah. He says (hear that tone) that constraints will create more business freedom. But this was tough for me. Not my happy place.

His yoga analogy was practicing a yoga pose. We come into, align our bones and muscles. We consciously create stability (and yes this is exactly what I say when I teach). Then we use the breath to access space. And freedom. And the general juiciness.

So again, my aversion to being constrained comes up. The one final thing Michael stated that pretty much gave me goose bumps....

"Most times business problems are personal problems in disguise."

And I'll leave it at that friends. Have a sweet night....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 reasons why today was pretty perfect

1. Easy travels! Today most things were in my favor which was pretty awesome. A stunning drive from Lexington to Louisville airport. Sunny and I saw my first real hint of fall passing over the river and seeing the turning of leaves. Had a healthy breakfast at the airport, flight on time, good work done on the flight (planned two series/themes of blog posts), navigated Philly airport easily, got my rental car, drive about 45 minutes north to my destination....without getting lost! YES. Navigating cities for a gal from the holler is tough. The only "thing" was I sorta went through the easy pass thing without getting a ticket, which meant I had to hold up traffic and pay a bit more at a later point. Ooops.

2. Sweet peeps. I've met the nicest people so far. The guy that picked me up to shuttle me over to the rental car place thought I'd be upset for having to wait a few extra minutes longer. I was just happy to be there. He says to me, "Sweet gal from the Bluegrass State. Are you married?" I respond, 'Yep" and he asks how long..."Nearly ten years." He says, "And you're this relaxed?!" Must be the yoga. :)

Super friendly gal at the hotel who went above and beyond the call of duty when I inquired about a good vegetarian restaurant to eat at. Colleen is my new best friend cause the place she sent me to was heaven. And where I met the next super delightful person at Blue Sage. A veggies gal's dream come true.

3. Blue Sage. If I weren't married to Andy I'd want to marry this place. The black bean soup, the salad, even the tea tasted better here! I'm gonna try my best to make it back!

4. Surprises! When I checked into the hotel I was surprised to hear that I had a jacuzzi room. My room is pretty fab. Big and spacious with king bed, sitting area, kitchen area, AND a jacuzzi. All of it was a bonus as I didn't know.

Also the restaurant I was going to didn't open till 4:30. I arrived at 4:00 starving cause I hadn't had lunch. I decided it was worth the wait. I drove down the street to see what I could find. After driving for a few minutes I didn't see anything appealing. I pull onto a street to turn around when I see "Bunn's Natural Foods". Yay, the perfect place to get a few snacks (dried cherries and a couple Lara Bars) and goodies for me. I got two packages of aromatherapy bath powders and foot lotion.

5. And lastly I LOVE that there is a bookstore close by. Even more so I love that every single time I go into a bookstore the very first place I go to are the yoga books. I love that I still love yoga this much. Sorry, that's a lot of loves. And of course, I bought a book. It was one I've been wanting. How can a gal resist?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

soul care

Helllllooooo Friends, I do hope you are well. :)

Life has been full the past few days. Yoga classes, private sessions, meetings with teachers, teaching ayurveda workshop, private sessions, paying yoga bills, coordinating subs for travels, working on newsletter, website updates/ mini re-vamp, uber BIG news for future yoga happening, working with designer, ayurveda studies/homework/quiz/phone meetings with teacher, arranging hotel & rental car for trip to Philly (leaving tomorrow!), staying connected to Mexico trainees, working out menu for Mexico food, ordering good for Mexico, and printing stuff, and gathering what I need, finalizing the schedule, and coordinating with guest teachers, and......whewwwww. I'll stop.

But what I did do was carve out time on Sunday to take care of my soul. Cause I knew that life was gonna get reallly full beginning this week.

On Sunday Andy and I took the dogs for a hike at Tom Dorman Nature Preserve. Love getting out and walking on the dirt and feeling the trees around me. Is there anything like being out in the woods on a new fall day?

Came home and made a healthy mango smoothie for lunch. Then I spent three whole hours in my yoga room. Yes, three! It was so great. I've been struggling with the idea of transitioning from summer to fall. My intention was to use the time to officially make the leap. I did yin yoga followed by vinyasa yoga (focusing on slow mindful movements), Meditation and journaling too. Right now I'm thinking of ways to celebrate the dreams that are coming true for me now (Mexico training and Ayurveda!) All too often I skip over the celebrating part and go right onto the next thing. But I so clearly see the value of pausing between.

I also spent some time also pondering the best ways to take care of mySelf in Mexico for what is sure to be an intense time.

Tomorrow I'm leaving for Philadelphia to go join sever other entrepreneurs for business mentoring. Yay for my very first business retreat. I'll be back Saturday. I'm taking the pinktop along so hopefully I'll have time to post about what I'm learning.

What about you? Any dreams coming true that you're celebrating/acknowledging? Have you make the transition to fall?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

peace and a cleanse, days 4 and 5

I got up early this morning, 6:00. My initial plan was to get up at 7:00 and review notes for the intro to ayurveda workshop I'm teaching today (you can still come!). However I woke up at 6:00 and pretty happily got up outta bed. Bella, mine and Andy's dog of 12 years follows me sleepily out of our bedroom.y

I gather my notes, notebook, planner, and pinktop to put on the chaise lounge. I make a cuppa healthy fasting tea from Yogi Tea. It's sits for five minutes then I add a splash of soy milk.

I return to the chaise lounge and begin reviewing my notes and timeline for today's workshop. All of a sudden I'm struck by a deep sense of peace. It was one of those moments you wish you could bottle up and savor again on a rainy day. I think it was a combination of the quiet, still dark, yet growing lighter by the minute time of day. Right now I begin to hear birds chirping. People are awaking. And driving as cars begin moving up and down the busy street I live on. It's the moments like these that remind me that peace can be tapped into at any time, if we so choose.

I also feel like the cleanse this week has created a clearing of some sort to allow this peace to be felt. To be known and appreciated.

The last two days have gone even better than I have expected. Thursday for breakfast (after teaching my 9:15 class) I had a pear. I went to Coffee Times to work for a few hours and had a cider chai. I imagine there was some sugar in this (and not just the natural sugar from the cider). It was actually waayyyyy too sweet for me. I didn't even drink half of it. That's a (big) change for me.

I met a friend for lunch at the co-op and had a cuppa red pepper soup, greens (I love em' here), and a small amount of a veggie casseroley dish. I did check all the labels to make sure there was no dairy in the ingredients.

Dinner was another cup of tomato soup.

I was a lil nervous about yesterday because I invited some friends over to our house for dinner. It was a Mexican theme AND I still ate the right foods for my kapha cleanse. I made black bean tacos, bought mushroom quesadillas from Whole Foods, and made a salad. For the tacos I mixed ginger and curry powder in with the beans to spice em' up. Also had loads of cooked onions, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, and guacamole to top them with. I took all the veggies. And left the guacamole, as it's not a food I should be having this week. We also had chips...that I didn't eat. I didn't eat the quesadillas. And my friend brought a dessert....that I didn't eat. I couldn't believe that it was so easy to say no to the dessert. So I stuck with the black bean tacos and salad and felt reallllly good about it.

Last night we were hanging out in the kitchen and talking about cleanses/fasts. Of course Andy chimes in because I have somehow managed him to do some cleansing with me, most recently in the spring. And my sister who did about half a day of the master cleanse last fall when I did that one.

The difference to me is this is the first time I've done a cleanse and it hasn't really felt like a cleanse in the sense that I feel like I'm depriving myself. So that's a really new (and cool) thing too.

When I started this cleanse I wasn't sure how long I was gonna do it. I'm into day 6and it really just sorta feels like this is simply how I should be eating. I'll have to see what this means for me. Will keep ya posted with the eats!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

cleanse, days 2 & 3

At the end of day three for my cleanse and all is well! I had a moment yesterday. I was having a busy day, doing tasks that aren't my fave....not my happy places. I was feeling a little irritable and I thought, "I want a latte." So I stayed with that thought. Noticed how my body was feeling in the moment. And while my mind was saying to me, "Yes a latte will make all this better!", my intellect, the place of wisdom within me knew that I didn't reallllly need a latte. The latte craving was simply a way that I couldn't "sweeten up" my crappy mood. It was out of habit. Out of pattern.

Happy to report that I am still latte free. :) And eating wholesome foods. No dairy, no sugar, no bread. Here is what I've had the last two days:

Breakfast was a strawberry smoothie (handful of strawberries bleneded with a cup of soymilk. Lovvvve this smoothie. Not too thick and not too cold for me. That's it in the pic above.
Lunch was leftovers from the night before which was parsnip and apple soup, veggies, and a made a serving of barley.
Dinner was a cup of black bean soup.

Breakfast was another strawberry smoothie.
Had lunch with sis and nieces at Mr. Kabab. I had the lentil soup and grape leaves. The grape leaves were probably a little too heavy, but I made the best decision I could. I was gonna have the greek salad but they have them already made up and they were topped with feta cheese.
On the way home from the studio I had a peach and dinner was a cup of tomato soup. Yep, lots of soup. Good thing we're into fall. :)

As I sit here writing Andy and I are watching some show on TLC and this gal is addicted to soda. She has 30 a day! Yes, 30 a day!!

And I just realized I've posted three whole times on my blog today. Pretty certain that's a record. Adios mi amigas!

standing in awe

Just a while ago I stepped onto my mat. I kneeled down on my knees. And read a poem by Hafiz. His crazy, ecstatic, beautiful words have a tendency to stop me dead in my tracks. And they did.

What stopped me even more in my tracks was coming to stand on my mat in mountain pose. Bringing hands in front of my heart in a reverent way. Stopping. Eyes closed. Breathing.

Feeling such sense of gratitude and awe for this practice of yoga. For all of it. The ethics, the poses, the breath, the concentration, the meditation. Feeling so very lucky that these ancient yogi's were such brilliant souls. That they took the time to ask the BIG questions in life, to work, study, and experience how the body, mind, and soul could be affected. By poses, food, thoughts, nature and so much more.

That's what I'm thinking and feeling right now in this moment. Am so excited to get to teach two classes and a private session today and share a bit of that wisdom, elegance, and beauty too.

**photo of Sarah and Delia at our old studio. Sweet lil' place it was.**

yoga and ayurveda

I am always reminding you during class that you shouldn't base your yoga practice on those around you. Why is this? From the very beginning of my teaching I've wanted yoga class to be a time that you can focus on yourself, and not those around you. I've wanted class to be a time that you could honor your own body and your process with the understanding that this varies from the person next to you.

It wasn't until this year when I started studying Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga) that I realized why this system approaches the practice of the postures from an understanding of individuality, meaning the doshas. Asanas are categorized for their effect on vata, pitta, and kapha. Ayurveda takes into consideration the type of asana (pose), as well as the flow and speed in which it is practiced.

Vata types are generally slight in build, with small bones and thin frames. They usually have a great deal of flexibility and agility when young, but lack energy and stamina. Of all the doshas, vata types can benefit most from yoga, as they can be somewhat frail and prone to excessive movement. Asana is also helpful for vata types as it can help access stillness for meditation.

Pitta types have medium or average builds. They usually possess a good musculature and flexibility. When they dedicate themselves to asana, they can become quite good. They can also be so very dedicated that they can make their joints too loose from excessive practice thus creating problems just as significant as too much stiffness in the joints. Psychologically pitas are aggressive and like to excel at what they do. This high achievement is not something recommended for asana. They can be good at the physical/technical part of the practice but lose the spiritual side of the practice.

Kapha types are usually stocky and hold weight easily. They are generally shorter than average, but sometimes taller. They usually have short bones and generally poor flexibility. Kapha types should not try to force themselves into poses that are not appropriate for the joints that they have. Kapha types tend to be sedentary and need to be motivated to be physically active. They need more active exercise stimulating their metabolism and increasing circulation. Sweating, even profusely is good! Being pushed and made to do stronger exercises than they like is good.

I think it's so very fascinating, helpful, and freeing when we can learn how to live in harmony with our body!

If you're interested in learning more about ayurveda, determining your dosha, and the types of foods you should favor, and the recommended way to practice asana please join me this Saturday from 1:00 - 4:00.

**photo taken this summer at our retreat in tulum, mexico! see how similar it is to our studio here in lex? love it.**

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

day one of kapha cleanse

Yay, all was well with the first day of the kapha reducing cleanse!

*At about 10:00 I had breakfast which was strawberries and a pear.
*Had plain cream, no sugar.
*Just after 1:00 I juiced two carrots, two celery stalks, two apples, and half a lemon. Would have thrown in some spinach but it had gone bad. This ended up being my lunch. I had planned to have something else but this did the trick.
*I cooked and Andy and I ate around 5:30 (we love to eat dinner early). I made a parsnip and apple soup and baked veggies (the ones in the pic above). I liked both of them ok, but I have to be honest and say they weren't my fave. I however, was a much bigger fan than Andy. Let's just say that he started the cleanse with me, but has now oficially broken the cleanse. ;)
*At about 8:00 I made a cuppa warm soymilk with ginger, pumpkin, and cinnamom spices. It was de-lish.

I felt really good all day long. I was never really hungry, maybe my tummy growled a wee bit before dinner. And it was Monday! I do love Monday. I do think ideally it's great to be able to take a staycation (and be at home) when doing a cleanse. Although I was super surprised when I did the 10 day Master Cleanse at how easy it way. Actually it was most likely cause there was really no food prep. You just drank the concoction!

Alright loads to do on this end! Wishing you a healthy and happy day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

happy, grand, conscious monday

Ahhh Monday I do love you. The start of the week. And the beginnings of a fall kapha cleanse for me. First off some of y'all know of my love affair with Monday. It's my designated no driving anywhere day and my designated day to do whatever I please.

The days usually starts about 6:30, when Andy is leaving for school (which is his work since he's a teacher :). I wake, make a cuppa hot tea,and cozy up in bed with all things ayurveda around me....books, laptop (for homework/quizzes), notecards, notebook, binder, pens, etc. It looks like the photo above.

I study for at least an hour and a half. Then go for a run, sometimes with ipod, sometimes without. This morning I took along and listened to yogi/kirtan extraordinaire David Newman. It was such a crazy beautiful morning. I was running along, listening/singing along to some of my new found fave chants all with a big smile plastered on my face. Don't get me wrong, there isn't always a smile plastered there. And get this...people responded to my happiness. There was an abundance of waves, smiles, good mornings, and hellos sprinkled throughout my run.

I got back to my house and went upstairs to another happy place, my yoga room. I open the door, step in, and immediately feel relaxed. The smell of sattvic incense lingers. My plant is green, long, flowing and happy. I scan around the small room filled only with things that makes me feel happy, healthy, and hope-full.

My purple yoga mat sits in the center of the room, a few feet from the window in front of me and the wall behind me. I spend another 30 minutes practicing sun salutations and mantra meditation. I leave this space feeling even better then when I came in. I even wonder now how that was possible.

I shower then make breakfast, my first meal for the day. I chose foods that (I thought) would make feel happy and feel healthy... strawberries and a pear. I have to say that this is the cleanse that I'm probably least prepared for. Yesterday morning I pulled out my fabulous ayurveda cookbook (that has so much more than recipes). I went through it and got an idea of what I'd eat for the week, mostly fruits, veggies, and light(er) grains. I'm choosing to eliminate dairy, sugar, and bread this week. And of course pay careful attention to how I'm feeling.

Now I find myself at Main and Maple sitting in a sweet spot next to a window. I ordered a coffee (chose not to eliminate caffeine this week). I usually get it with some soymilk. They are out of soymilk. Mindlessly I turn to the counter behind me to get a splash of cream before realizing that I'm not having dairy. Oh yeah....

So that's what I'm doing this week for my cleanse. In the past I've done juice fasts, the master cleanse, fruits and veggies. This fall for my cleanse I'm going to eat foods recommended for my dosha and make more conscious decisions about what I eat.

Happy Monday my friends. May it be a grand one. And a conscious one too. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

why i adore yoga

A couple days ago I blogged about how I can't really tell how advanced you are as a yogi simply by looking at you. Also I didn't put a whole lot of emphasis on the asana (yoga poses) part. So if it's not about perfecting the pose what's it all about?

First off let me say that I love love love the asana practice. I love partaking in it, I love teaching it, I love being a witness to it.

In fact sometimes while I'm teaching I get totally blown away by just how beautiful the vinyasa practice is. Really, to witness a room of people moving with their breath, engaging in this dancelike yoga practice is ahhhmazing. For yoga teacher training students are required to observe classes. Over and over I hear, "Wow, I never realized how beautiful a yoga class is." **side note, we are taking applications for 2011 training in Lexington.**

I celebrate myself when I finalllly feel like I get a pose.
I celebrate you when I see you finalllly getting a pose you've been working diligently on. It feels pretty cool to feel stronger in a pose. And to feel more open and flexible in my body.

I know how fantastic the yoga practice is for our physical body. With this part alone you have the equivalent of the most amazing cake (most recently Sarah's wedding cake). I also know how utterly amazing it is for the mind and the heart (I use spirit and heart interchangeably, depending on the day and mood :) too.

You add the mind's the equivalent of adding sprinkles.
You add the heart/'s the equivalent of adding ice cream.
Yes, it is good!

Why settle for a portion when you can have it all?

I'd love to share with you why I love and adore to practice yoga asana. I dedicate this time for self exploration, a time to practice self acceptance, and as a tool for self transformation.

Self Exploration - during any given practice I might notice:
*the current state of my body. Where do I feel tight and where do I feel? Can I use my breath to enliven, awaken parts of my body? How did I use my body yesterday or today and how might that affect what I'm feeling? Where am i directing my thoughts? Why do I want to come out of this particular pose? Is there a way I can let go of tension right now? Can I breathe more deeply? Where am I holding? What emotions am I experiencing? What am I having for dinner? Oh wait...

Self Acceptance - I really make a strong effort to let my practice be a time that I get to appreciate my body for all that it does and all that it allows me to be. Typically those thoughts of ,"Why can't I do more? Why is this so hard? I wish I could get my leg higher? can and do creep into practice. As soon as those thoughts creep in, I shoo em' on out. Why do I not stress or give myself a hard time about getting better? Because I think that life tells us this far too often...that we're not good enough. And it's really important to me that the time I spend on the yoga mat doesn't become another thing to suck at. The media already tells us we're not _______(insert word of your choice) enough. It doesn't serve me. Or you. Or you.

Self Transformation - Yeah that's a pretty big word, but I hold true to this being a big reason for my practice. To me transformation is a marked change. It's one for the better. It could be radical, it doesn't have to. And the thing is, I always finish a yoga practice feeling like a different person than when I started. And I've witnessed too many people coming into the studio feeling tired, confused, hurt, overwhelmed, etc. Andt they leave feeling like a different person. Somewhere in that 75 minutes a marked change has occurred. A transformation on some level.

It's so not just about the poses.
It's so not just about your body.
It's about your breath.
It's about your mind.
It's about your own wisdom.
It's about accessing a rich juicy place inside you that basks in joy.

Wishing you a rich and juicy sorta day.
And as always, would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

six (or seven) spots left for fall yoga retreat!

Yogini's join me for a weekend of yoga, meditation, inquiry, rest, AND play. We'll kick the weekend off with a delicious vegetarian dinner. It is the first of several healthy and wholesome meals. We will have one session Friday night. Saturday we'll have three sessions together and one on Sunday. All of our sessions together will be about feeding the soul. Women are leading busier lives than ever. We're doing wonderful, fantastic, great things, but we're unsure of how to find stillness in the midst of the activities. Or perhaps we know what we do, but we don't give ourselves permission. We're still searching for "something".

Together we'll consciously contemplate, discuss, and explore those things that bring us back to center. By the end of the weekend it is my hope that you will have reconnected to one activity, one thing (big or small) that you can do that nurtures your soul.

That's the plan for the weekend. The cost is $300 and this includes everything for the weekend. One of the reasons it's so affordable is that rooms are dormitory style. There will be four women sharing a room. Bathrooms and showers are plentiful. There are plenty of spaces for quiet and solitude, and opportunities to be part of a group. This is another great thing about retreating.

There is no deadline for registration. We have 6 (or 7) spaces available. I expect to fill up as we did last year.

If you'd like to register, you can do so here....
Or you can call me at 859-433-7787.

are you an advanced yogi? psst, it means more than just twisting yourself into a pretzel

Both yoga and ayurveda are highly refined practices. On the outside the yoga postures appear to be gross, exaggerated and BIG. We can see arms, legs, and torsos forming triangles, squares, side angles, trees, lions, and even warriors.

But I think, practice, and teach that there is soooo much more to yoga than meets the eye. The real juice to the practice is much more subtle, it's so refined that it cant be seen with my eyes as I'm leading you through a class.

To me this is where the pose (asana) meets the mind and the heart. And we might use the breath to access both. Matters of the breath, mind, and heart are much more subtle than the actually pose on the mat.

This is one of the reasons why I always say that one can never tell how "advanced" a yoga student is during an asana practice. Sure you may be able to pull off amazing feats with your physical body, but what amazing feats can you perform when it comes to matters of the mind and heart?

You may be standing in a forward fold so deeply that the crown of your head is on the floor. You could be thinking....

"When are we even gonna move onto another pose. Clearly I've already mastered this one. Why the heck are we even doing this pose,I mean this is a Level 2 class after all. I wonder what I'll have for dinner tonight. Mmmm, hummus sounds good. But I had that yesterday. Oh good, we're finally moving onto another pose. I thought that was never gonna end. Inhale....

You could be in the same class, same pose (even standing next to this person above) folding forward, fingertips no where near the floor so no chance the crown is going down (unless you fall over of course) and thinking....

"Alright this is where I am for today. Even though my head is no where near the floor I can be in the moment in this pose and feel a sense of gratitude for my body. I can practice patience right now. Oh wait, I'm thinking....inhale, exhale. Repeat.

You tell me which is the more advanced student? Especially when it comes to matters of the body, mind, and heart. Luckily for us, practicing the full scope of yoga (not just the poses) brings better balance to all. Yipsters!

I present these two angles not to show how different we are (cause ultimately I really do believe that we are one and want us to act this way).

I present these so that we start to open our minds about the yoga practice and our experiences with our body is only a lil' part of the overall yoga picture. :)

Happy body, mind, and heart to you today my friends!

Monday, September 13, 2010

weekend ramblings of wishes, teachings, webinars, collages, and the blog post that set my soul afire...

Happy Monday!! This day is off to a beautiful start. Woke at 6:30 and studied ayurveda for 1.5 hours. Laced up my shoes and went out for 30 minute run/walk, enjoyed 30 more minutes of yoga, solo chanting/singing/yoga yelling, brief meditation, then journaled about a fabulous idea for a future retreat that came to me while running (yippy!!). I had quite a bit of honeydew left from the par-tee on Friday night so I made a green smoothie with it (honeydew, spinach, and water) and had a nutritious breakfast. I made it more dosha friendly for me by making it more thin and soupy and used water that was room temperature.

I had a really great weekend. We had our fourth anniversary celebration Saturday with white balloons, pretty flowers, yummy food (and cupcakes too!) and made complete with great acoustic music by Harmony Gullette, henna by Jamie, and a sweet lil wishing well. It was an invitation for students to write what they were grateful for as far as BW's and make a wish of their own.

I loved that Andy wrote "family" for the studio. Even though he doesn't take class very often, he knows that's what it feels like, what it is. Community was also written, and I think that's the same as family. Other words included healing, love, peace, abundance, magic, tranquility, and so on. It's so sweet. If you didn't get to attend the party, please write on your rock this week at the studio. That will make me a happy happy gal. :)

Jamie also worked her henna magic. The yogis always crown around her, look at designs, and patiently wait their turn. This time I asked Jamie to paint "wish words" and she obliged and went along with the theme love. We have a Sanskrit book at the studio and Anne Dean was brilliant (she was also dazzling when she taught her first class at the studio on Saturday) when she suggested Jamie use it to paint the Sanskrit words.

Yoginis had lovely words such as anjali mudra, vishudda, anahata, om, and so on painted on. I had Kali painted on me (the word, not the image although Jamie suggested we some day paint her on and I think that's a fabulous idea), cause I want to own my power and kick some yoga ass as needed. And stick my tongue while doing so.
**this is the equivalent as two other yoginis (names with held) who wrote "balls" and "joan" on their rocks for themselves**

We've added another awesome teacher to our roster too. Anne Dean will be rotating with me every other Saturday. She taught a great class Saturday morning with a heart centered (anahata) them. She finished and we applauded. Yep, she rocked it. Students said to me after class, "Wow she is a grrreat teacher." And she is. Do come see for yourself.

Yesterday I spent seven hours (yep seven) on a marketing webinar. And guess what? I totally loved it! Loved the approach, the information, and the collaboration. People from all over joining together. Ahhh technology you can really rock it. I'll be back in webinar heaven for sever more hours next Sunday.

I did however take time last night to make the collage you see above of amazingly powerful, beautiful, and inspiring women. You cant see but on the opposite page is a printout of this blog post by Danielle Laporte titled the initiated woman that totally set my soul afire.

This Saturday and next Saturday I'll be teaching an Introduction to Ayurveda workshop. This Saturday at Om Place in Winchester. Sorry folks it's all sold out at 30 students. I think it has more to do with Erin being a yoga rock star than me (Erin if you are reading, I will someday get you a shirt).

Next Saturday (Sept 25) I'm teaching at the studio from 1:00-4:00. Apparently I put October 25 in the newsletter. Oops, I was a month off.

Friday, September 10, 2010

the bride, yoginis, and a wish party

Sarah had her own version of a wish party this past Sunday when she became Mrs. Bowker! I am completely in love with this photo of BW's teachers taken by the amazing photographer/yoga extraordinaire Crystal Heis.

So if you haven't heard, we're having a party tonight celebrating four years of yoga love! Please come out for music, henna, wishing, lite food, drinks, and Babycake Cupcakes! 6:30 - 8:30!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

the art of balance and a computer cleanse

Hola Amigas!

I hope you've had an awesome week. I've been taking a little computer cleanse this week. When I took stock of just how much time I was spending online I felt pretty shocked. I saw the signs.....
I wasn't just reading the several blogs I check in with daily.
Wasn't just checking email a few times.
Wasn't just visiting facebook a couple times a day.

Nooooo it was much more. On Saturday evening, what started with me doing some "research" online (isn't that what we all call it) ended several hours later with me feeling dizzy, dull, and in a general stuper. Foggy is putting it lightly.

If you have read or hear about the gunas (both yoga and ayurveda lingo), I was certainly in a tamasic state. The three gunas exist pretty much everywhere, being a part of primal nature. According to Ayurveda we're all made of the same elements that exist in, air, fire, water, and wind. What makes us different is how much we have of each. That's also how we identify our dosha. Haven't taken your dosha quiz yet? C'mon...go here (not now, after you finish reading).

Anyway, back to the gunas. There are three:
1. Rajas (realllly active qualities)
2. Tamas (realllly inactive qualities)
3. Sattva (ahhh perfect balance)

Sorta like Goldilocks sampling the soup. One was too hot (rajas) one was too cold (tamas) and one was just right (sattva).

My computer overload time left me feeling pretty darn dull (tamas). And I realized that I was getting in a pretty bad habit with just how much time was being spent on the computer. Truth is, that's not what I want to spend my mind time. Here and there it's fun. Sleeping with your laptop. Not so much.

To move back to a place of balance (sattva) I knew I had to limit myself. On Sunday absolutely no computer time. Monday just a few minutes on facebook (I wanted to see the pretty bride Sarah in pics). The rest of this week I've only been on the computer if it's a must for work. Guess what?! All the computer info and love in the world is still there! Ahhh life is good.

I started thinking more about the gunas this week when I read a passage in the Bhagavad Gita. Essentially it said that one's consciousness is elevated when one experiences inaction in action and action in inaction.

Which got me to thinking about the gunas. I think that ultimately we each live lives in which we are falling in and out of balance. Sometimes the arms are even flailing around. And again and again (as many times as needed) moving back in the direction of balance (which is of course all relative, right...balance for me is totally different for the next person).

So that's my reason for being absent from the blog. And ponderings of the past couple days. And I gotta be honest and ask.....

Do you find this interesting? Surely I'm not the only one so very intrigued by all of this. Or maybe I am. ;)

Friday, September 03, 2010

insight + experience = wisdom

I've been studying ayurveda since the spring with California College of Ayurveda. It's going well. This is the first time I'm taking a course that is primarily distance learning. Being here in Kentucky, it's pretty much the only option. I Will be taking some time out in California next year for my studies.

When I attended Journey Into Healing in February with the Chopra Center, Deepak said something that stuck with me...

insight + experience = wisdom

To have an understanding of something is one thing.
To have an understanding and to experience is a totally different thing.

We've all been told what we should do.
What we shouldn't do.
The right way, and the wrong way.

And while in makes sense mentally, we're still missing....

I had a direct experience with this today, on my morning run actually.

For two months in my ayurveda course I've been studying anatomy and physiology. I've studied the twenty attributes, the five elements, the five doshas, the five subdoshas, the seven dhatus, the four states of agni, the thirteen (basic, cause there are really too many in the body to count)agnis, the three stages of digestion, the sixteen major srotas.....well you get the point.

I'm totally immersed as a student of ayurveda. Reading, writing, processing, memorizing, doing all that I can to retain and understand the information.

And today I took a step in the direction of truly getting it when insight collided with experience. Insert booming, crashing and clanging noises.

In my ayurveda studies I'm learning more about my dosha (learn about yours here) what I should and shouldn't eat, lifestyle practices to balance my dosha, proper use of my senses, and so on.

While I'm getting it on a mental level, I wasn't really "getting it." Somethings been missing, it's the direct experience part.

Yesterday I had cereal for breakfast, lunch was a falafel sandwich, and dinner was avocado mixed with salsa served up on crackers. And the best part, a scoop of ice cream.

Mind you the week before I had a whole session with my ayurveda teacher about what I need to eat to reduce kapha. Let's just say that it wasn't what I had yesterday. Any of it.

This morning I set off on my run. I'm feeling good. It's Friday. It's a nice day. Gonna be a great run.

Ummm no. I've been doing intervals for 30 minutes. Walk 2 minutes, run 4 minutes. Repeat. Really early in my run my legs felt like lead. I felt heavy. Not very motivated. My disciplined self pushed through. I recall what I ate yesterday. All heavy, cold, oily foods. Everything I shouldn't have had.

While I'm running I think back to my run on Wednesday. It was great. I told Andy as soon as I talked to him "I had such a great run today. It felt awesome!". I think back to what I ate Tuesday. Much ligther (except the scone. I'm not perfect :), warmer fare, and I skipped dinner cause I was at the studio till 9:30.

Now I'm starting to get it. Becoming a bit more wise in the ways of ayurveda. It is exciting to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

insight + experience = wisdom

I like it....

**photo of Sarah in Tulum this summer. AND she's getting married on Sunday!**

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

a love letter to my business... barefoot works

Dearest Barefoot Works,

In September of 2004 I gave birth to you. It was official and the state said so. At this time you were not a physical space. You were a way that I could begin to fulfill a dream. A dream of having a job that I truly, truly loved. A way that I could support people and help them connect mind, body, and spirit. Even without a space, you were real to me. You were my baby business and together we were going to change lives.

I researched every possible place that I could teach yoga. I drove near and far. As far away as Whitesburg where I taught two private sessions and a group class once a week. As close as the gym down the street from the house I rented. We taught in a gymnastics facility (those bouncy floors were fun), a clubhouse, gyms, schools in Frankfort and Nicholasville, and corporate settings downtown. We were never picky. We left no stone unturned. We turned no opportunities down.

I think back to this time with such fondness. The drive that we had is even surprising to me now. Together we kept going and going. We showed up for classes with no students, one student, or ten students all the same, with knowingness that what we were had to share had the potential to change a life, even if only for a moment, even if only for a breath.

We were on a mission. It all felt so right and I knew that it would all somehow work out. But we couldn’t continue on this way forever, with the mats, books, cd’s, and stereo in the backseat of the car. Together we decided to take another leap of faith. Your physical presence made its way into the world in September 06.

The very first class I taught at Patchen Village, two people showed up….my BFF Liz and Teresa (yes the same wonderful Teresa that teaches at the studio). Again it didn’t matter. On that day it felt like 100 students were celebrating you.

In January 2009 we moved across the street into a space that makes me melt every time I walk through the doors. It fits you. It’s filled with light and love too. It’s spacious and supportive enough to hold all that enters. It’s special. Really, really special. Yes, I would say it’s quite magical indeed.

Because of you the world is brighter and sweeter too. Last week I received an email from a student that only had three private sessions with us. He said that if he had paid ten times as much for the lessons it would have been worth it. Can you believe that? And he sent a picture of himself rockin’ crow pose. Crazy cool, huh?

Another student said that you will hold a sacred space in her memory forever. That you were a haven for her during the most difficult time in her life.

Another student said her life shifted fundamentally, to the core, from the first day she opened your door.

What is all this worth? Can you even put a price on it? Because of you we’ve helped a lot of people. You’ve provided a place for people to receive love. And patience. Strength and balance too. People feel welcome and accepted. They feel like who they are is enough, more than enough.

You’ve provided a place for healing of hamstrings, hips, and hearts. Tears have been shed on your floor and the sound of joy has echoed through your walls. You’ve been stood on, walked on, danced on, flipped upside down, and twisted around on. If your walks could talk, I’d sit all day and listen. Yes, you are so very important to me.

Because of you I get to fully explore my purpose.

Because of you I get to spend my time with students that inspire me to continue on the path of living, learning, and sharing.

Because of you I get to travel to Tulum, my favorite place of all and do what I love most of all…share yoga.

Because of you I know that dreams come true.