Wednesday, December 28, 2011

end of year review how to


Last December I did something really delicious for myself. I wanted to take scheduled time to reflect on my year and ponder the upcoming year. With just a couple of books, pen and paper, food, a few change of clothes, and my yoga mat I set off on my very first silent retreat.

The location couldn’t have been any more perfect. I settled into a tiny cabin called Simplicity located at Cedars of Peace, an area designated for silence and solitude in central Kentucky. I built a fire daily. I walked on a blanket of snow. I ate simply. I talked to no one. I enjoyed utter silence with the exception of a crackling fire, a whistling teapot and the sounds of nature. I did yoga and wrote throughout the day.

It was pure bliss.

In her book “The Not So Big Life”, Sarah Susanka provides details on an exercise she calls the year end ritual. It is a most lovely ritual. Each year between Dec. 27 and Dec. 31 she schedules two hours daily for herself. She doesn’t answer the phone, or check email during that time. She instructs her family members not to interrupt her.

You can do as I did and go away for a retreat. You can take time off and enjoy a “staycation” at home. You can even do this ritual if you are working daily by doing it in the evening time.

She recommends you stick to the ten hours and try to avoid interruptions, fully gifting yourself with your undivided attention. She also suggests that you focus on three areas:

1. Questions about the past year.
2. Questions about the present.
3. Questions about the future.

Questions about the past year can include:• How have I spent my time?
•What were my challenges and how have I been changed by them?
•What were my accomplishments and how have I been changed by them?
•What were my sorrows and disappointments, and how have I been changed by them?
•What journeys have I taken?
•What habitual patterns have I experimented with or changed?

Questions about the present can include:•How am I different now from the way I was last year at this time?
•How can I integrate the key lessons of the past year in my life?
•Are there any things I’m being asked to do right now that I am rejecting? If so, what would happen if I simply did them?
•What recent synchronicities do I recall? What do they appear to point toward?
•To what part of myself am I giving birth to?
•What am I becoming?

Questions about the future can include:
•Specifically, what is it that I wish to focus on or experience in the coming year?
•Looking back into the future, what wishes, longings, or creations will I be bringing into being or engaging in some way?
•If I could sum up all my desires and longings in one simple statement spoken from the highest aspect of myself, what would it be?

These are recommended questions by Sarah Susanka and you can find these and more in her book, “The Not So Big Life.” For more details about the end of year review go to http://www.notsobiglife.com/resources/documents/TheYearEndRitual.pdf

My life coach, Grace Caitlin also recommends taking time during the month of December to focus on the completion of the year. When we take time and properly bring closure to the current year we invite new energy, space, and potential for joy and goodness as we greet the New Year.

Grace suggests that you “get complete” on two things:
1.Things than involve other people.
2.Your physical surroundings.

She uses the term “get complete” as a verb. An incompletion means you are using your attention and energy of something or someone repeatedly. Over time this takes a lot of energy and can be a drain on your overall health and wellbeing. If something (or someone) crosses your mind three times you need to address it in some way, getting complete on this issue.

This morning I was talking on the phone with a friend. She is having one of those “blah” days that we can all relate to. Finally she said, “I just need to get these monkeys off my back.”

The monkeys she was referring to are the tasks she has been blowing off. She even said they “are sucking the life out of me.” She’s constantly thinking about them, they are weighing her down. How many of us can relate? These monkeys, these things in which we are incomplete in some way take away our peace and joy.

In order to get complete with things that involve other people ponder if there were times in which you didn’t express yourself in some way. Were there any agreements broken by you or by someone else? Were there times you didn’t have clear boundaries in place and harbored resentment? Were there times you didn’t express thanks to someone else? Have you been mentally appreciating someone but haven’t told them so? Did someone teach you a great lesson and you have yet to acknowledge it?

These are some examples of closures that involve other people. What else can you add to this list?

Now let’s shift gears and give time and attention to your physical surroundings. Take a pen and some paper out. Walk into your kitchen and write “kitchen” at the top of a piece of paper. Look around your space with fresh eyes. Are the things in your space aligned with who you are and your values? Does the space represent who you (and your family) are? What are the projects you want to do with the space? What are the items you need to clear out? Do you need to bring in any items to beautify your kitchen? What are the little things you are tolerating that drain you in little ways (a light bulb that needs changed, cleaning out the fridge, a lingering spider web, unorganized cabinets, etc).

There are three criteria to decide to keep an item:
1. Do I love it?
2. Do I use it?
3. Does it serve me?

Continue this same process for each room in your house. When you finish you’ll have a master list. You’ll be able to complete some things this year. Some things like big projects you want to complete may need to hold off. That’s ok. Put everything you want to see happen in your spaces on your list.

Hoping you can carve out some time to review your year and dream for 2012.

I promise, it's soooo worth the time and effort.

Only three more days......

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

reflecting on the year


On my way back from Owensboro today I made a stop in Louisville to visit with a near and dear friend. A soul sister in the sweetest of ways.

There was deep appreciation.
And hearty laughs.
There was so much deliciousness in our recent stories of the spirit that one latte alone would not suffice.

We made a quick trip to the the local bookstore. A quick trip that resulted in me buying three new books of poetry. I was so enthralled with these words that my eyes landed upon in opening "Letters to a Young Poet" that I immediately dog eared the page so I could quickly come back to at as soon as I got home.

Here they are for you to enjoy and ponder:

"You have had many great sorrows, which have passed away. And you say that even this passing was difficult and jarring for you. But please consider whether these great sorrows have not passed through the midst of yourself? Whether much in you has not altered, whether you have not somehow changed in some part of your being, while you were sorrowful?

Therefore it is, also, that the sorrow passes by us: the new thing in us, that has been added to us, has entered into our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber, and is no more even there, is already in the blood. And we do not realize what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing had happened, and yet we have been changed, as a house is changed into which a guest has entered. We cannot say who has come, perhaps we shall never know, but there are many indications to suggest that the future is entering into us in this manner in order to transform itself within us long before it happened."

And so here I sit in my bed...
A new candle burning (thanks Mama Tessandori)
Two mini chocolates on the nightstand and a hot cuppa chamomile vanilla tea.
Three new books of poetry.
An Oasis of Stillness.
A ganesha notebook to fill with questions and answers.
As I reflect back on this year of.....

sorrow
sparkle
triumph
courage
fear
clarity
trust
wisdom
bravery
anger
frustration
magic
surrender
hope
love
broken
wholeness
pride

Oh 2011 you have rocked my world in every way I could imagine.

I bow to You and your mysterious ways.

I trust that the experiences I've had, the people I've met, the places I've traveled, the lessons I've learned, and the aha's I've received will bend, shape, and mold me into the person I most need to be.

*Photo by Jennifer Christman*

Saturday, December 24, 2011

may you always glitter



"May you be truly blessed to always glitter with a radiance that shines from deep within you." ~Barbara Becker Holstein

Greetings Friends! I'm in Owensboro celebrating the season with my family, The Tessandoris. We're cooking, drinking wine, reading magazines, napping, listening to holiday tunes, and having a merry ol' time.

I just wanted you to that you I am thinking of you.
I'm thinking of students and teachers, both near and far.
I'm thinking of mentors, family, and friends I've encountered in this game of Life.
Thank you for being in a life and making me who I am.

May you be blessed with goodness, grace and glitter.
May you shine like the radiant being you are.

Love.
Love.
Love.

namaste & a humble bow,
sharon

**photo from Rumi fanpage**

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

a digital detox?


Last week when I ventured off to Cali I made the big decision not to take my lil pinktop (netbook) with me. An unusual thing for me.

I thought that between my blackberry and ipod I would be as connected as I needed to be. I could still return brief emails and post pictures onto the blog and facebook.

But I gotta say that as soon as I arrived at the airport I thought, "What have I done?!" I'm connected often. Really often.

One of the many great conversations we had at my life coach immersion was the ways in which we take we remove ourselves from presence, as in the present moment. (The photo above is my last morning post yoga on the beach with Grace, my mentor.)

Around the circle and in general we discussed the things we do to numb ourselves.

Guess what mine was? Being connected. To email, blogs, pretty pictures and websites, facebook, itunes, and a variety of other random things. Just as I type this my blackberry is letting me know that I have an email. Even though I want to know what the email is I'm choosing to sit here and breathe instead. :)

It's easy for me to blame...uhhh I mean validate my connected ways due to the studio. "My work demands that I spend more time online."

I know it's not true and that I'm only trying to fool myself.

I enjoyed one whole week with minimal time digitally connected. It was a digital detox of sorts. I checked my email once in the morning and once in the evening, spending less than ten minutes. I listened to voice messages and returned calls once every day.

Guess what? It was realllly awesome. Loved it.

I do adore my online time when I spend it wisely. I get much inspiration from being online. But there are the minutes and hours I spend wasting time, numbing myself out.

So I'm going to explore being more present with this. Think of how I can use my time online wisely. Think of the boundaries I need to have in place to maintain balance in the digital world.

How about you? Do you feel happy with the amount of time you spend online and how do you create balance in this area?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

a sonoma ashram summary....fullness overflowing


Greetings Friends!

I arrived home late last night from California. Some of you have seen photos of Sonoma Ashram which is where I stayed Monday - Friday. The video above will give you a tiny taste of just how sweet this place is plus the amazing work they are doing in the world.

Sweet.
Everything about it.

I journaled nearly four straight hours on my flight yesterday from San Francisco to Chicago about my trip. I'm saving most of it for myself. For now anyway. My trip, especially my time at the ashram was very different than I expected it to be.

I was excited to see a dear yoga student and spend much time alone, contemplating the year. Similar to my silent retreat in the woods last December. I was planning to visit local coffee shops to read and write. Perhaps tour a couple of wineries. It is Sonoma afterall. ;)

I did very little of any, especially the latter. Much of my waking time was spent with people there. Either residents, fellow retreatees, and the monk who resides at the ashram.

I spent little time reflecting on my roller coaster of a year. Mostly I basked in the goodness around me. And it felt good.

Really.
Really.
Good.

I thought I wanted, that I needed to be alone with my own thoughts and emotions.

What I needed was to be in the company, in a community of others on a path of love. I needed to get out of my head and use my hands.
I needed to help. To give back. To be of service.
I needed to get back to my meditation practice.
I needed to sing, and chant, and walk with no particular destination in mind.
I needed to stop doing. And get back to being.
I needed to be reminded that I am indeed on the right path.
I needed to be in the presence of someone who reminded me that we are all divine indeed.
I needed to be reminded that there is magic and mystery all around us. And that sometimes all it takes is a pause.
I needed to be reminded of my intuition.

And the goodness of giving and the power of a smile and a kind word.

My time included twice daily meditations.
Daily group inspirational reading and discussion while sipping homemade Tulsi tea (the tulsi is grown and dried at the ashram).
Digging in dirt to help with a paving project.
Folding and stuffing papers.
Teaching yoga. Talking yoga.
Moving furniture.
Walking the labryinth.
Sitting in one of the many perfect spots for meditation or sun bathing.
Silent meals.
Listening inquisitively to the most enlightening yet practical teachings I've ever heard.
Sacred time spent with Babaji.

Happy. Happy.

It's only now that I realize just how much I needed this time.
Fullness overflowing.
Indeed.

I can't wait to see those of you here at the studio soon! I've missed you.....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

scenes from sonoma ashram


Greetings Friends! Here are a few photos snapped in and around Sonoma Ashram. The photos fail to express just how sweet this place is. I'm holding true to my word of staying disconnected. I'm typing now on my iPod. My time here has been nothing of what I expected and more than I imagined. I'm drawing deep and profound wisdom and joy from all those here.
Delicious.
Delightful.
For sure.

xo,
a happy sharon

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

be limitless

A birds eye view of my travels from Lexington to Chicago then to San Francisco. Ahhhmazing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

bringin' on the yoga


Hola Amigas!

Happy Sunday to all of you. I've only got a few short minutes here (I'm packing for a trip to CA tomorrow!) but we've got too much goodness going on at the studio for me not to take a minute here.

First off, I'm reeling from a fabulous weekend with Leeann Carey and the awesome yoginis I was surrounded by this weekend. Loved. Every. Moment.

Warrior II pinned to the wall with Leeann pressing into my legs and lovingly yanking on a strap all at the same time. Wowsers, that was something every yogi needs to experience. A good pain I tell ya. :) Seriously, all of you need to run to the studio the next time she comes back. Of course I couldn't let her get away without a "so when are you coming back to KY?".

Pure joy being on my yoga mat for three whole days immersed in the yoga love.

All of you should hop on over NOW and sign up for Sarah's restorative workshop scheduled for this Friday. For real, you are in for a real treat as you're getting her fresh from this inspiring weekend in which we explored lots of restorative yoga. That's Leeann assisting my pal Jen above. Cool, right?

AND did you here, I'm giving away a totally FREE yoga retreat to Shakertown. Yep, it's true.

I'm feeling the desire to give back, as I've been given so much from all of you. I am offering a 100% scholarship to one lucky yogi for our upcoming retreat to Shakertown. You can get the full scoop here: http://www.barefootworks.com/retreats_shaker_village.html

To enter, send me an email at barefootworks@hotmail.com with "new year retreat" in the subject. Tell me three things:

1. What your yoga practice means to you.

2. How coming to classes at Barefoot Works has enriched your life.

3. Why you would like to come to the retreat.

Pretty simple, right?! Please send me your email before December 15 to enter. I hope you'll take advantage of the sweet deal.

We still have two, maybe three spots open for the Shakertown retreat if you're interested in kicking off your new year in yoga style.

Also, it is my hope to serve all of you better than ever next year. In order to surpass all of your yoga dreams I need your input. Please take three minutes to complete a five question survey. Enter your name in the last question for a chance to win five yoga classes. Another sweet deal.

Click here for that link:

So please go, go, go and let me know how we can make you uber happy yogis in the coming year. It's gonna be a good one.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

my journey to bliss


At the young and impressionable age of twenty five I began my quest for contentment and bliss. At the time I had achieved a lot, especially so coming from the modest family I did. I managed to remove myself from my Appalachian roots and get myself away to college. I graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University .

I did the unthinkable. I left the state of Kentucky and moved away to Texas for a job soon after completing my master’s program. Andy, my fiancĂ©e (and now husband) at the time stayed in school and completed his degree. Within a year of starting my job and at the age of twenty three, Andy and I were married and we did what couples do next, bought a three bedroom house with a two car garage and settled in the suburbs of Houston.

I channeled all my physical and mental energy to become what I thought was successful. Success must look completely different than everything I knew as a child I thought. I advanced in my job quickly and was promoted two times. Anything I lacked from my childhood years I was making up for. I actually had freedom and the money to do things I’d never been able to do before. It was a whole new world.

Everything was great except I felt alone and deeply discontented.

I was also very confused. I had worked so hard to have all the things I had. I was at the place I had always imagined as perfection. I told myself I should be more grateful for my husband, home, opportunities, and general abundance. I was one of the fortunate ones in my family after all. If happiness wasn’t found in my home, marriage, and job then where would I find it?

Rumi says, “You are a sea of gnosis hidden in a drop of dew,
You are a whole universe hidden in a sack of blood.
What are all this world’s pleasures and joys
That you keep grasping at them to make you alive?
Does the sun borrow light from a mote of dust?
Does Venus look for wine from a cracked jug?”

Turns out I was grasping for the things I thought equaled contentment and joy. I wasn’t living in my own accord. I didn’t know myself well enough to know what true joy looked like. I would have to untangle my thoughts and beliefs about what bliss was and what it looked like for me. Not society, my family, and my friends. Not even my husband. I had to define happiness for myself and give myself permission to create and color my own bliss in a way that felt true to my heart.

This was the beginning of a radical time of growth and transformation. It was also the start of my yoga journey. As my world around me unraveled it was my desire to know myself and the meaning of pure joy that helped me keep it together.

My yoga practice was a safe haven during an otherwise treacherous time. It was my yoga practice and the spiritual books I devoured that helped me to open my eyes and allow me to begin seeing life in a whole new light.

Yoga didn’t give me all the answers I desired. As I moved, bended, twisted, stretched, and strengthened I connected to my body in new ways. This felt very different than the exercise I was doing at the gym. I found that by focusing on my body and breath for 75 minutes I was able to disconnect from the endless chatter in my mind that consisted mostly of worries and fears at the time. Yoga helped me to connect deeply to my heart.

From that place I began asking myself, “What is it that I really want for my life?”

Something amazing began to happen. I began to see clearly what I wanted for myself. I was able to identify my hang-ups and my old ways of placing my happiness in the hands of others around me. What I recall most is being excited about my future, something I hadn’t felt for a while. My yoga practice helped me to get a glimpse of the possibilities that existed in my future. It was that time I was able to begin to visualize and define what I wanted my life to look like. It was radically different than what my family history was. It was different than what my beliefs were about what an adult is “supposed” to do in life.

As it turned out what I really wanted my life to look like was radically different than the life I was currently living. I wanted my husband and a handful of treasured friendships I’d created in Texas but that was all.

Rumi says, “Destroy your own house, destroy it now!
Don’t wait one more minute! Pull the whole house down!
A treasure greater than Pharaoh’s is hidden under it.
Go and build with that a million houses!
In the end, whether you like it or not,
Your house will be pulled down and destroyed,
And the treasure under it revealed.”

I would need to destroy my house if I wanted to discover the treasure underneath it. That was the path I chose. Part of me was nervous and scared as hell, but a bigger part of me knew this was the way.

I was setting off on a journey to bliss.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

ode to bliss



At lunch I sent Andy a text that said, "I just had one of those moments where you feel pure joy for no reason. I'm excited for the holiday." Or that was what it said in mine and Andy's odd and lovely lingo language. ;)

First of all did were you as mesmerized as I by the frost, the sunrise, and the glorious colors of the landscapes this morning? Even my drive down Lex's most nightmarish road (Nicholasville Rd. of course) was intoxicatingly beautiful. Bliss.

I'm not certain if it was jammin' down Nicholasville Rd. to Sugarland, hearing Jennifer Nettles scream to me (my volume is stuck on one level and to say it's loud is putting it mildly)....

"Gotta get a handle on a situation.
Operation, working vacation."

I couldn't help my smile. This yogini can so relate to those words. Bliss.

The happies could have come from the mystery magic citrus that I learned of two days ago. Once a month a big truck comes from Florida with boxes and boxes of goodness....oranges and grapefruit.

I felt like I was part of some super secret club when I pulled up to the big truck, rolled my window down, and all the gentleman said was, "We're selling from the parking lot behind Applesbees." Hmmmm are we speaking of citrus fruit I wondered?

I decided that even if the oranges tasted like ass it was worth it just for the experience. But they are oh so good. I have a fridge full to last a month before the semi truck full of citrus returns for two hours to sell in a parking lot. Bliss.

My morning class was filled with yogi awesomeness. Bliss.

I set in what may be my new fave spot at Coffee Times. I am a fan of the nooks. You know the cozy spots that just call for you to get cozy. They are most often built for one and they call out to me. They have the sweetest nook in the very back where they grind the coffee beans. One cozy chair + two side tables to put books, coffee, and such. Bliss.

While nooking it I decided I wanted to deck out the studio for the winter season. I figured the first day of December was the perfect time to do so. So I set off and bought two lil baby trees, greenery, fresh wreaths, poinsettias, twinkle lights, and white candles. I decorated with sinigng along with Krishna Das.

I finished, turned the lamps on, lit the candles, and basked in a`bit o bliss. It looks oh so pretty if I do say so myself.

Perfect timing at the yogis filled the studio for a lovely evening class. I do love the way the studio glows at this time in the evening. I can see the sun set from the studio then the sky turns a brilliant color. Yogis are moving are unison, their breath fills their body, their energy fills the studio with goodness. Bliss.

Welcome December. I'm a fan.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

on gratitude


A week ago I had this grand plan. My plan, my master plan was to get all my big to-do's done before December. Then December would be one big month of leisure. I'd relish being a student and having Leeann Carey teach me. I'd travel and spend a week in California for work, play, and retreating. I'd teach my classes, keep up with day to day happenings. Spend time with the Tessandoris and celebrate Christmas with the grandness that they do.

I'm still doing all those things of course. Two days ago I realized that December was coming much quicker than I thought. Heck, I think I lost a whole week somewhere along the way. Needless to say, I'll be doing more that I was hoping this month. But that's totally ok. It's more than ok.

So here I sit. Thinking about this month's theme at the studio....gratitude. This is the last day of November. Craziness.

I have to much to be thankful for. Words fail to express the ways in which I am blessed. I imagine if you are reading this, you too are beyond blessed.

Blessed doesn't mean easy. Sometimes perhaps. Certainly not always. I've spilled more tears in the last four months than I ever have in my entire life. I've cursed. Yelled. Kicked. Screamed.

You name it and I've probably felt it and acted on it.

Yet I am blessed. The closeness, the tenderness that I'm feeling for my family and friends is unlike anything I've felt before. My heart and soul has always been tender. It became even more tender and vulnerable with my years of yoga. The last four months my heart feels like it's shattered into a million pieces, spanning near and far, wide and deep. I'm tenderly putting the pieces back together again. To say that I've been cracked open is putting it mildly.

I am blessed for this baby of mine, Barefoot Works. I am blessed to do work that I love. Work that I feel fierce about. Work that makes a difference. Work that changes my life in more ways than I know.

This work that I am blessed to do allows be the great honor, the great privilege to hear your stories. My heart is not the only one that's recently been breaking. I hear your stories too. I am moved by them. I stand in awe of you and your ability to be brave in the face of scary and uncertain times. I hold you and your stories with great care and great reverence. I relate to your joys and your challenges(and the tight hammies too ;). I am blessed.

I was telling dear dear Andy tonight at dinner, "I feel like the theme of this whole year in impermanence." This has been my reality. It is my reality. I'm reminded in more ways than one just how fragile life is and that nothing last forever.

So I'm reminding myself to appreciate it all.

The colors of the sunset tonight.
The feel of Andy's hand in mine.
The look of my students face.
Cuddle time with the dogs.
The warmth the treehouse exudes.
The presence of sensation when I stretch into down dog.
How the sound of my breath soothes me.
Fresh veggies to chop.
Juices that nourish me.
A warm cozy robe.
The sound of my parents voice.
Poetry that heals and fills my heart.
Teachers that show up in the most random places.
Hills to hike.
Mountains of magic.
In-laws I love.
Old records and rum and apple cider.
Opportunities to learn, grow, and travel.
A BFF that makes the call that I can't.
Students that trust me and trust themselves.
Even in the midst of a hurricane.

So. Much. Goodness.

Tonight I am bowing to you with a grateful and tender heart.
Near and far.
Far and wide.
Over and over.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

with gratitude,
sharon

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

on the power of your thoughts


“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

two healthy 10 minute meals





Beun dia amigos!

Last night I was driving home from teaching at the studio. I was so hungry I nearly ate my arm off at several stop lights.

I knew that I better get a quick dinner plan together or it was not gonna be good. For me or Andy. Not only was I more likely to eat something unhealthy but I was more likely to be a major miss cranky pants. Yep, that happens when I get realllly hungry.

I recalled the delicious looking sweet potatoes I bought at the grocery on Sunday. Usually I buy super big potatoes to slice and roast but I thought we might like to have some for baking. Perfect.

Then I remembered how much I love black beans with sweet potatoes and I was suddenly happy due to my uber quick dinner plan. Not even the traffic on Nicholasville Rd. made me a miss cranky pants. ;)

And this meal....ahhh so quick. We're talking less than 10 minutes.

I microwaved the sweet potato, taking about five minutes.
I sliced it apart and added salsa and black beans (rinsed a can of beans).
Put it back in for about another minute.
Added a touch more salsa and some spices (salt, pepper, and my kapha seasoning).

In less than 10 minutes I was sitting at the table, eating, and happy as a clam.

I finished eating and started to put the black beans in a container but felt inspired to make something with them so Andy and I could have the makings of lunch today.

I made another quick meal, a black bean and corn salad.

It was essentially black beans, corn, bell pepper, and garlic.
I added olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, salt and pepper.

This may have taken a touch more than ten minutes due to some slicing, but not more more.

What are your fave quick, easy, healthy and yummy things to make in a pinch?

Monday, November 28, 2011

leeann carey coming to lexington!



I'm so very delighted that Leeann Carey is coming back to Lexington December 9-11. Big yay! This weekend is a must for yoga teachers and students wanting to dive deeper into their yoga practice.

If you haven't experienced Leeann's awesomeness then you can get a small taste here with her videos. And you can read some really insightful articles here too.

Happy to say that the early bird registration has been extended until Dec. 1 Click here to register.
We've also added an option so that folks that can't commit to three days can still come get the yoga love. Come and enjoy a day or two for $150 per day. If you want to do this please let me know and bring cash or check (made to Leeann Carey Yoga) when you come. Easy peasy!

Below is the general outline although it may vary a bit depending on how the flow of the training is going:


Friday, 9am - 6pm: Intro to Yaapana Yoga, Purpose, Practice, DOING, BEING, STILL (Strong static and Relaxing poses held with support, and Savasana) Holding Patterns, Safe Alignment Skills, Key Positioning Skills

Saturday 9am - 6pm: Pose breakdowns/Modifications for therapeutic results, "DOING" standing poses, Pose breakdowns/Modifications for therapeutic results, "DOING" Backbend Poses, "DOING" Inverted Poses, "DOING" Seated Poses

Sunday, 9am - 6pm: Pose breakdowns/Modifications for therapeutic results, "BEING" Standing Poses, "BEING" Backbend Poses, "BEING" Inverted poses
Pose breakdowns/Modifications for therapeutic results, "BEING" Seated Poses, "BEING" Prone Poses, "STILL" Savasana, Yaapana sequencing and Class Mapping

*Manual not included if only taking a segment of the training.*

I'm so excited about stepping onto my yoga mat and being a student for three whole days. Whhheeee!

Local students, we won't be having class the 10th and 11th. Us yoga teachers need time to hone our teaching skills so we can be even better teachers to you. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

meet me here




Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
~Rumi

I have a lot of favorite passages by Rumi. This is one of my favorites of my favorites.

This photo taken on our annual Thanksgiving hike. This particular area is halfway up the hill where an old family cemetery is located.

We chased the sun up the hill. Those that are familiar with hollers will know what I mean. You only get several short hours of actual sunlight at this time of year.

You can see the top of the hill basking in sunlight. If the climb weren't so steep we'd all have gotten there much quicker. This particular hike never felt this strenuous as a kid. Funny how things change.

Yet so much remains the same.

Like the magic that exists in these mountains. Of all the places I've traveled. All the beautiful and majestic mountains I've experienced, none of them speak to me quiet like these.

These mountains will take you in and fold you into their arms.

People like my parents are forever embraced by these hills. Even if they want to leave they find themselves back here, unable to break away.

People, like my brother went away and returned to live in these hills. He is more in love with these mountains than anyone else I know. He knows the names of the rivers, streams, and the trees. He knows the topography of these hills much like he knows the back of his hand. He is changed by these mountains I believe these mountains are changed by him.

People like me, have had a complicated relationship with these mountains. At times wanting to run away and at times wanting to run far and deep into the woods. With each visit to these hills I find much to celebrate. Much to learn. Much to love.

When I think of places where there are no ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing I think not of a meadow but these hills that I still call home.



We should all be so lucky to have such spaces.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

my future tiny cottage


Today Misty and I laundered the blankets at the studio. You can now snuggle your face into fresh blankets that enjoyed a day at the spa. :)

After loading the blankets into the gigantic washers we dashed over to Panera for a little treat (we were doing such a good deed afterall). Misty and I were having many lovely conversations.

One particularly juicy one was on living in another place. Misty asks me, "If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?"

I paused, and thought for at least three whole seconds before answering, "Tulum".

When Andy and I moved back to KY from Texas I used up my one time quit your job, sell your house, and move back across the US card. While I love travel, and change, and all things new my husband doesn't adapt as easily.

So we've compromised and said that one fine day we'd love to have a lil vacation home.

Fast forward a few hours. I've burned the spiced pumpkin seeds and Andy has ran around our house screaming in victory, celebrating a big UK win.

I go upstairs and open the door to my oh so sweet yoga room. Yep, at this time my yoga room gets the most amazing light. I spend an hour in a delicious slow flow. I had no intention of kicking my own yoga butt. Sweet. soothing, feel good movement and poses.

At the end I sat up and quietly sat for a few minutes. When I opened my eyes, I landed on my vision board in the corner. The phrase "practice in paradise" is there with a lovely cabin in the woods.

My mind immediately goes to the cottage I saw earlier this week on Kimberly's blog.
My heart immediately went pitter patter.
A tiny cottage in the woods.
A reallly tiny cottage in the woods.

Is that not the cutest thing in the world? Quick, look. Yes....now.
Cute, huh?

So yes, a tiny cottage such as this on the beach in Tulum (ok it will need some cement and certainly a thatch roof of some sort).

Or a tiny cottage in the woods, somewhere in KY where we could be there in a few hours drive. And close to a stream. Andy and I both need to see and hear a creek of some sort.

Yep, this tiny cottage will certainly find its way to my vision board.

If you could have a vacation home, where would it be?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ode to thanksgiving



Oh happy day. I do love you Thanksgiving. And I love the days leading up till Thanksgiving. It finally hit me today.....

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, yay!!

I made a special Thanksgiving playlist for tomorrow's class. Here it is:

Harvest Moon - Neil Young
This Land is Your Land - Woody Guthrie
In My Life - the Beatles
Life is Beautiful - Keb Mo
Beautiful Day - U2
Thank You - Alanis Morrisette
Thanksgiving Day - Denise VAsquez
Home - Michael Buble
Let It Be - Jennifer Hudson
Everything - Michael Buble
Better Together - Jack Johnson
Shelter - Ray LaMontagne
Homeward Bound - Simon & Garfunkel
Diamonds in the Sun - Girish
Simple Gifts - Jewel
What a Wonderful World - Willie Nelson
Hallelujah - Justin Timberlake
Angel's Prayer - Ty Burhoe


After teaching my noon class today with shopping list in hand I made my way to Whole Foods. I was prepared to be overwhelmed by all the people. I was pleasantly surprised when I didn't get overwhelmed.

Perhaps it was my shopping list that focused mostly on the sweet treats I'm making and taking to the Beverly Thanksgiving tomorrow.

I came home, tied a pretty apron on, turned on the thanksgiving playlist and got to mixing, food processing, blending, stirring, and baking up a fury.

And I loved every moment of it.

I ended up with vegan chocolate peanut butter rice crispie treats, pecan pie, and a vegan chocolate pie. Yum.

There is much to be grateful for this holiday season. I'm not taking a single moment for granted.

May your body be nourished by delicious foods.
May you sing, dance, twirl, and swirl with loved ones.
May you enjoy hearty laughs
May your heart overflow with love.

Lots and lots of love.
Happy Thanksgiving Friends.

xo,
sharon

Saturday, November 19, 2011

treehouse lovelies

I had the great joy of spending two full hours at Greentree Tea with these lovelies. They make Barefoot Works such a special place and I'm oh so thankful for them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

thankful for.....



thankful for
the 33rd treatment on 11.11.11
monkey dance parties
and the mask that will be made into art.

thankful for
brick walls and beautiful spaces
seats by the window
hillbilly tea
and triples shot soy lattes
cozy chairs by the fire
and city girl farm coffee

thankful for
candid conversation on competition
a challenge to think bigger
commitments to take care of body, mind, heart
and reframing the idea of contentment

thankful for
lyrics and rhythms that move me to tears
the ability to pause and repeat
sound of rain on a boxcar
and finding my voice again
over and over

thankful for
time to declutter and organize
the inner and the outer
colorful embroidery Mexico
an old pink lamp that is new to me
that lights my way in the early morning

thankful for
sincere, compassionate
thoughtful, grateful students
who inspire me
to learn more
do more
be more

thankful for
husband and wife secret language
a future thanksgiving gathering
mountain top sitting
possible moonshine sipping
in a hot tub
wedged deep in the heart of Appalachia
our very own hillbilly tea

Friday, November 11, 2011

more on change & suffering


I've gotten quit a bit of feedback about the posts from earlier this week on the three causes of suffering (which I love and appreciate the comments). I realized it would be helpful to continue the dialogue on this juicy yoga sutra I am referring to, which is sutra 2.15.

My fave translation of this sutra is presented by Desikachar. He says,

"Painful effects from any object or situation can be a result of one or more of the following: changes in the perceived object (parinama), the desire to repeat pleasurable experiences (tapa), and the strong effect of conditioning from the past (samskara). In addition changes within the individual can be contributing factors."

My dear friend Mia commented on the blog post, saying this:

"Parinama is interesting - but can't it also be a good thing? Can't a "change in a perceived person, place, or general object" be positive as well - for instance, I can be driving and perceive this person who cuts ahead of me to be a personal attack whereas I can change that perception to one that is more of "that person is probably a parent rushing from work to see his kid's show in school" (or something like that.) So perhaps in that sense it's not necessarily a cause for suffering? Or maybe that's just my misinterpretation?"

I agree with Mia that change can certainly be a positive thing. I'm quite the proponent of change. :)

I probably should have been more clear and noted that this sutra is speaking specifically to sorrow, suffering, which is noted as "dukham" in this sutra.

Clearly people are affected differently by change. Two people could have the exact same job, be presented with the same challenge... let's say a change in their job.

One could embrace the change in the job and respond in a positive way. The other person in the exact same situation could react in a very negative way. Perhaps they develop insomnia, withdraw from their family, engage in unhealthy behaviors and develop migraines as a result of the change (poor heart).

This is dukha, suffering as a result of change. Essentially the inability to deal with stress creates the suffering.

Yogis have advised us for thousands of years to get our shit together mentally or suffer as a result. Modern day science now validates this. Stress is killing lots of people today.

Ancient yogis told us that yoga is not the ability to turn, twist, bend, and fold our body. But the ability to keep our mind settled, calm, and clear while life turns, twists, bends, and folds around us.

Thoughts? Would love to hear....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

i am a light chaser



Sunlight fell upon the wall;
the wall received a borrowed splendor.
Why set your heart on a piece of earth,
O simple one? Seek out the source
which shines forever.
~Rumi

I am a light chaser.

When I work from home I have three spots that I love to work from:
In the early morning I work next to the window at the little white table in my kitchen. This space gets the most gorgeous morning sun.

In the afternoon I love to work upstairs in our office. A big desk situated in front of a big window. Outside there is a tree in which squirrels run amuck. The space gets the most gorgeous afternoon sun.

In the early evening I love to work from my bed. A bed with cozy blankets, propped up on pillows. Behind me is the biggest of all the windows. A whole wall of windows. This space gets the most gorgeous evening sun.


This morning at the studio she comes into class. I'm delighted to see her. Delighted to see her unroll her mat in the "sun spot". Bathed in light in front of the big window at the tree house.

Halfway through class she moves her mat over to chase the light that has now moved to her right. For savasana she makes one last move. Her yoga mat now lies at a diagonal across the floor.

She is a light chaser.

There is something magical about the sun. The moon. And the stars too.

The light they emit is captivating, spellbinding.

There are times when I tap into this inner light, this source energy that shines forever, that Rumi and the ancient yogis speak of. And when I do it's the most majestic of all moments.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

love letter to autumn in KY



Dear Autumn in Kentucky,

Thanks to you I've fallen in love with this great state all over again. You have provided a feast for my eyes each and every day since I returned home from Tulum and yoga teacher training.

Returning home from Tulum is usually really hard for me. Time in Tulum is the best medicine for my heart and soul. Upon returning home I am prone to emotional outbursts and general symptoms of crankiness and occasional brattiness. Not pretty. But true.

This fall season, as in the one I've gotten to revel in over the past week is simply beyond words.

Every day I see a new tree standing, donning the most amazing of colors. I try to capture the magic by snapping a photo. I find your beauty cannot be totally caught nor replicated in any picture.

I find myself doing things more slowly so I can enjoy you more fully. Driving and walking I look around in amazement. Amazed by the bluest of skies. Amazed by the colors I see, shades of orange, red, yellow, gold, and green. You are making it easy for me to walk slowly and savor the sights.

I've been amazed by the naked tree proudly standing, baring it's bones, it's limbs that grow in all directions. It stands next to the dazzling tree donning bright red leaves. Each equal seekers of light. Reminding me that beauty comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Each deserving of the goodness that comes from simply being a participant in this earth party.

You, KY autumn have been the exact thing I needed in returning home. You have been medicine for my heart and soul. I love you as far as the moon and stars. I love you as close as the leaves of the trees in my yard I can touch.

xoxo,
sharon

Monday, November 07, 2011

on change & how it leads to suffering



The Yoga Sutras even tell us that suffering is a part of life. Even the wisest of the wise are subject to suffering simply because they too are in a body. Having a body and being a human being means that some things are out of our control or we have little control over. Some suffering is inevitable. We all experience hardships, trials, and tribulations.

Shit happens.

It is during these times that yoga provides us with the necessary tools to deal with and lessen suffering.

For thousands of years yogis studied the mind. They discovered that most of our suffering is a result of the workings of the mind. In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali tells us there are three reasons why we suffer:

1. Parinama – change in a perceived person, place, or general object.

2. Tapa – a thirst or a desire to repeat pleasurable experiences even when we suffer as a result.

3. Samskara – habits, patterns, effects of conditions from the past that continue to inform the present.

This information has provided me much relief and contemplation in the last month specifically in dealing with my Mom’s diagnosis and treatment of cancer and being in Mexico for our annual yoga teacher training (and eventually evacuating during said training).

I’ve been sitting, writing, and living with these three reasons for suffering. I love that one sutra, one thread, one little nugget from the sutras has provided with so much to contemplate and practice.

Of the three I've noticed that the first one, parinama has recently been my greatest source of struggle. Change is certainly the name of the game with parinama.

Interestingly enough, parinama is listed as one of the three cause of dis-ease in Ayurveda. In the Ayurvedic sense parinama is in reference to physical and mental change.

Even thousands of years ago the wise yogis were saying that if you can't get your mind under control, if you can't reign in the flow of your thoughts dis-ease will follow.

What do you think? Intriguing? Can you relate to any of the three?