Sunday, January 30, 2011

delicious moments

The past three days have been filled with goodness. Plain and simple goodness. Here's a rundown of the past three days that have given me much joy:

I started Friday by spending some time with one of my absolute fave people, my brother Joel. We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and shopped for office supplies at Staples. With any one else these may have been less than exciting. But spending time with Joel is always enlivening and wonderful. We got to chat about exciting business happenings and hopes for the year.

I jetted off to the studio. I was so happy to see Lisa at the studio. She was stopping by before leaving for Nashville for a weekend Yin Yoga Teacher Training (come to her class and experience what she learned!). Delia was subbing her class, which I had the good fortune of taking. It was hard to stay focused on the class cause I just kept thinking, "Wow, she is so very amazing at such a young age." Delia went through my very first yoga teacher training when she was a high school senior. She's been teaching for several years now at the University of Dayton. Lucky lucky students. Being in her presence is light a breath of fresh air. Simply refreshing. After the class I taught a private session, which I was totally absorbed in. I'm enjoying my private sessions these days with a new found appreciation and zest.

Andy and I capped the day with a nice dinner and I went to bed early to look over my notes for a workshop on Saturday and pleasure reading.

Saturday I was up and out the door early to get to Richmond by 9:30 for a two hour Intro to Vinyasa workshop I was teaching. So. Much. Fun. to be at the delightful Exhale Studio, a pilates and yoga studio. There were a couple of familiar faces there along with mostly yoga newbies. I had a blast leading the mixed group. I also felt happy knowing that both Anne Dean and Sarah were taking care of the Barefoot Works yogis.

After the workshop I went to a students house so together we could work on her private home practice. We started with a tasty veggie lunch. Yummy. Then she surprised me with the most amazing gift....a scrap booking kit! Together we scrap booked and I created my very first scrap booking page. So much fun! Then we got "to work" and created her home practice, which consists of a 10 minute morning practice and a 15 pre bed evening practice.

I drove back into Lexington and called my BFF. We planned a last minute dates that consisted of dinner, a trip to Bath and Body Works so I could buy tons o' Coconut scent stuff, Target, then to see Black Swan. Wow. Brilliant and engaging, and disturbing. And and and. Very happy I saw it even if I had to cover my eyes and nearly jump into said BFF's lap several times. As I drove home I felt happy and content. I was reminded that it's usually the best moments that are unplanned, spur of the moments.

And the Sun on Saturday. Not to be forgotten.

Sunday I awoke and read in bed for a while. Andy and I made it to the studio at 10:00. I wanted to be at the studio to assist Teresa in any way I could. I figured we'd have a full house. And we did. Yogi and yogi filed into the studio. Seasoned students, newer students, totally new students...all mixed, all equally welcome. I was able to get everyone signed in, info into software, witness the beauty of a yoga community, and take a seat by the desk for a little participation. Teresa is a total rock star at leading this class. I continue to be amazed by her and her wealth of yoga knowledge. Truly inspiring. I sneaked the above photo in. Hehe. We're getting loads on new students and it's so exciting and fun.

Brunch at Alfalfas was next on the agenda. AND I was able to parallel park. Happy moment (yes the small things). Delicious food with great friends. Doesn't get much better.

We came home and I got to spend lots of time outside. Cause, more SUNSHINE and warmer temps. Andy and I took the dogs for a long walk. I spent time in the flower garden, cutting stuff back that I've long neglected. Then I go on a second solo walk in the cemetery. Me + my ipod + Krishna Das + Sunshine = Delicious Moments. More of them. Ahhhhh.

A long hot bath with a great read. Now spilling thoughts here. I so needed these three days. And the two days of sunshine. Feeling so very full. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

today's classes....1-26-11

Noon class is cancelled today. Planning to have 6:00 class as of now. Will let you know if that changes! Be safe friends....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

first day of anatomy training

The first day of anatomy training was really great. There was just a little issue of Jules flight getting cancelled the night before. I got to teach a 90 minute session while Jules was flying to Lexington. This actually turned out to be a lot of fun. I didn't have the time to plan for anything special, but I got to use some of my past trainings in Yoga Therapy. It was so much fun. The time just flew by. And I'm finding it really interesting the ease of it all, especially since I didn't have time to (over) plan. The session I shared was all about neutral spine. Finding neutral spine from the floor, from all fours, from seated, and standing. Was delighted to hear Jules our teacher emphasize some same things later.

Jules is a delight. As one would expect with a name like Jules. I appreciate the inclusiveness and ease in which she teaches anatomy. For such dense material, she is making it fun. Yay! Mostly what I'm appreciating is that she's sharing what she has learned from her teachers, studies, and experiences and she is inspiring in me a newfound curiosity of how I'm teaching, the cues I'm sharing, the poses in general, and how I practice. As you(may or may not) know, I'm a big questions girl. Some questions I wrote:

*What am I avoiding in the pose?

*Where is the spot I've never stretched? Never strengthened?

*What are the habits and patterns I've developed in yoga poses? Are they serving me?

*Am I being mindful as I move into and out of poses, or am I just going through the motions?

*What are the cues I am using over and over? Do they still work, am I teaching on auto-pilot, am I getting lazy in my teaching/cues?

*How can I better watch the student in a pose to see not only where the body is inhibited but where the prana/energy is stuck?

There was plenty of talk of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, fascia, joints and so on. Beautiful and use-full information to explore as a yoga teacher. Love doing so from the comfort, coziness of my own studio and being surrounded by familiar faces. Usually I'm traveling to take workshops and trainings, which means I may not know anyone at all. I'm more introverted and so I don't always love the partner work. I know, I know. That's "supposed" to be part of the fun. Not always so much so for me.

Alright friends, speaking of training, I best make my way from my cup of coffee at Panera to the studio. Have a delight-full day! The sun is shining! The sun is shining! The sun is shining! Just in case you didn't know. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

noon class cancelled - jan. 21

Buenos dias amigos! Noon class is cancelled today. Juicy yoga tips to can be found here. :)

Perhaps a good day to book a flight to Mexico for our annual summere retreat? Hmmmmm??

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

month of intention: how do you want to feel or "be" this year?

Hola amigas, Happy Wednesday all around!

We're into the third week of intention love at Barefoot Works. I gotta say that as a teacher, and as a student I'm still filling inspired by it. I'm finding that the idea of intention is on my mind even more this year (rightfully so) and I'm pondering it in new and different ways.

Last year as I was making my intentions for the year I made them into lists of

This year I made the list inclusive of the realms of physical, mental/emotional/intellectual/spiritual with the hope of balancing everything out. I've been working on my list throughout the month and hope to create a collage/vision board at the end of the month.

What I'm seeing it that we all want to have a lot of experiences. Usually our intentions are set up as actions. For example, on my list I have to do 3-4 cleanses (physical), spend more time writing (mental),and take 3-4 silent retreats (spiritual). Those are fairly action oriented.

I know that with intention, focus, and practice I can realize all those intentions. In fact I think that when we connect to sincere, heartfelt desires and we apply focus (softer terms would be mindfulness) and practice (meaning we do the work)there is little we can't do.

I also think we can use this same idea to develop inner qualities such as gratitude, courage, joy, patience and so on. Inner and outer, it's all about creating news habits and patterns.

So I've been thinking about how I want to feel, how I want to be, how I want to move through the year. And instead of just one word, I keep getting....

Sacred Courage.
Yep, that's is. I want to view life... this wonderful, scary, delicious, messy life as sacred. I want to see, breathe, and be courage. Which actually looks and feels softer, more feminine in my mind that what it looks like on paper. To be courageous is not to be filled with fear. To have courage means to have faith. To trust. And that's what I want this year.

Now when I go back and look at my lists of hopes/dreams/intentions I can view them through this lens of "sacred courage". When I say that I want a house that's uncluttered, simple, and cozy, I know that I want to surround myself in a space that feels good. That feels sacred.

Yesterday I was at Homegoods while Meredith was teaching her brilliant teen yoga class. I saw so many pretty pretty things, but I walked away with nothing. Instead of buying a mass photo, I reminded myself that I would prefer to surround myself with more meaningful things.

Then the coolest things happened. A student came in to my 5:45 class and presented me with The Most special gift. The piece of art you see above that she crafted with her hands. I am so smitten with this. I love love love it.

Since I'm talking about surrounding and embracing myself with sacred courage, I must show you a fave gift I got from BFF for Christmas. Two photos, one each from our wedding days, spaced nearly 10 years apart. Very special. Very sacred to me.

Have you given any thought to a word for the year? Or how you want to feel, or move through your year? Would love to hear!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

when work and creativity collide

Today has been a joyous blend of work and play. I met with the BW's teachers this morning at 9:00. Over pineapple coconut bread and hot tea/coffee we chatted about the month of intention, and the upcoming month of attention. We also talked about the wonderful influx of new students that January has brought us. With that comes the challenge of getting new student forms, payments, and introducing of studio and teachers. Thus a challenge of getting classes started on time. We also spoke of students that come in late, the best way of communicating the importance of getting to class on time, and creating a sanctuary for these yoga souls. It hardly feels like work at all being at the warm studio on a Sunday morning, complete with incense, nice lighting, and delightful company. My intention had originally been to stay for class, but I'd had that cough (cough, cough) and didn't want to be a disturbance during Teresa's zen class. Again, the sanctuary thing. :)

I left the studio and met a dear friend for coffee (I had hot tea). We got to chat about recent happenings and give each other a rundown of where we are with everything. I so appreciate this time with friends. Such value to me to have people to hold my joys, sorrows, and dreams with loving hands. We all need that.

I came home and made the most delicious chickpea and spinach curry. This is the second time I've made it and I am in love. It has mustard seed, onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, curry, cardamom, cinnamon, and some other spices I'm totally drawing a blank on, spinach, and chickpeas of course. Soooo good! After nearly a week of not so much cooking it felt great to be in the kitchen chopping, stirring, and listening to Michael Franti.

Andy left to go play hockey so I had the Big Blue House to myself. Perfect work conditions. I wanted to get some major writing finished today on next month's packet o' attention information. But it is Sunday and I didn't want to spend hours at the computer, so I hatched a plan.

Work a little. Play a little. And I did just that. I wrote for 50 minutes upstairs on the computer. I came downstairs and danced a jig for one song (this one),

did yoga for one song, then spent 20 minutes doing some fun creative visioning (photo above).

I went back and worked for 50 more minutes. Came downstairs, did the dishes (which I actually enjoyed) and spent about 20 more minutes with creative work.

I'm actually super surprised at how much writing I've gotten done in less than two hours. I was super focused during that time. And the time I spent dancing, yoga-ing, and playing were great fun too.

Thinkin' I might have to make this some sort of ritual. Work, play, create. Repeat.

Happy Sunday amigos! Wishing you a magical week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

i'm grateful for

My new year is not totally smashing so far. Sickness on many levels. And winter. I'm really trying to make nice and be friends with you. But it's hard.

So for right now I simply want to recall things that I'm grateful for. I'm giving myself full permission to let the joys be simple and around me now.

Here goes, I'm grateful for:
*A big, oversized, warm robe that keeps me warm in the big blue house.
*A hot and toasted pb&j sandwich
*Andy hugs and kisses
*Chocolates and coffee from Hawaii
*Spending 4 hours today with 4 funny, energized, inquisitive gals from Menifee practicing yoga
*A trip to the library and the good find of a book of stories about Ganesh
*A cute lil Bella sleeping on the couch with a cute lil pink sweater on
*A body that's feeling better day by day. A voice returning to normal.
*A father that's well today
*The support of a far away healer/friend/mentor
*Homemade waffles with blueberry sauce with Andy on a school day
*Getting registration open for Mexico yoga teacher training
*Turning in my ayurveda homework. And doing a pretty good job on my case study.
*A full house of yogis on a snowy winter day.
*A clean house
*OWN - I'm a fan Oprah
*treats from Fresh Market
*Sugarland's new CD
*Hot tea of all sorts
*The light of a fire, candle, and a lamp
*Good sleep
*A gifted hat from Alaska that's keepin me warm. Thanks Joann
*A potential trip to the beach with BFF (grateful for just the opportunity!)
*Dr. Bronners's soap
*My juicer that makes delish green juices
*All the newbie students coming into BFF
*Teachers that are rockin' this month's theme of Intention
*Camera phones
*Retta, cause she helps make my visions a reality.
*Sunshine!! Today. Totally restored me.

Would love to hear what you're grateful for these days....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

classes on for 1-11-11

If you come out for classes this evening, be super safe! See ya soon yoga friend. :)

why you already have everything you need to realize your intentions

There is a really phenomenal article in this month's Yoga International. I picked this issue up at the bookstore last month before going to Owensboro for Christmas. I had flipped through the mag and when I landed on an article titled "Inspired Intention", I knew it would be a perfect resource for our month of Intention at the studio.

I've gone back and read the article several times. A key part that I keep going back to is a statement by Richard Miller. He says that a sankalpa (intention) arrives with everything we need to fully realize it. This includes will and energy, action, and the wisdom of how to deliver that action. Pretty cool, huh?

Richard says, "These are all aspects of the Divine, and they live within us. When the true sankalpa comes in, we awaken these three qualities of the Divine. You don't have to ask where you'll find the will to do it. The energy and will is already there. The sankalpa informs us of the action we're willing to take in the world."

In this month's packet of Intention information I've broken setting intentions down into four areas: physical, mental/emotional, intellectual, spiritual. I had two intentions for compiling information this way:

1. To give an overall view of the whole person and to create balance in all the areas.
2. To give a tool that helps people to connect to themselves more deeply, moving beyond the physical and mental.

I believe that it is in moving more deeply to the spiritual aspect that we can identify an intention that is part of our soul's mission. When I look back over the past several years and reflect on the intentions I've set, I can see some that have manifested and some that haven't. I believe that those intentions that have come true have been imperative not only for my physical, emotional, and intellectual growth, but also my spiritual growth. And these days I'm all about the widening and growing of my heart. I really want to expand in this way.

I can also see how Richard Miller's words rang true for those intentions. I identified something really important that I wanted to do or be. Amazingly I found the will, identified the actions I needed to take, and tapped into the wisdom I needed to do the work to fulfill the intention. And it didn't feel like that much work. Sometimes with goals that we identify we think it will just be treacherous work. Looking back at it now I see it wasn't treacherous because I loved it and it was that important to me.

What about those intentions I've set that I haven't realized? I now look back and see it's not a big deal. I'm not missing them in my life. I'm ok. I'm happy. I don't think we only get one shot with our intention. There is infinite and unlimited potential that exists in this world. It's waiting for you. For me. For all of us.

My advice is to dream big about yourself, your abilities, and your capacity for greatness this year. Believe in yourself. Trust that if it's part of your heart and soul's mission then it will come forth. For. Sure. Everything you need, you already have.

PS - Here is the article I was mentioning above. It's a must read.

PPS - I've scheduled next month's workshop for the theme of Attention for Sat. Feb 19. Do plan to come on out!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

intention setting for the new year

Detoxifying yoga practice
Journal writing
Silent savory lunch
Contemplating physical, mental/emotional,intellectual,spiritual balance
Hula hooping
Visioning for the year
Writing letter to Self dated six months from today
Creating a vision board
Fresh juice toast (new fave of tangerine, carrot, lemon, ginger)

Feeling uplifted and inspired after spending the day with a great group of yogis.

AND check this out....haven't seen this yogini since our Mexico retreat. She came home and got a tattoo of Maya Tulum's logo so she wouldn't forget her experience. So cool.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

3 lessons learned while teaching yoga & losing voice

Tonight was a first.....I had a complete few moments of losing my voice. I'm dealing with some upper respiratory thing and while I feel ok, I certainly don't sound ok (poor students in this mornings class, oyyyy).

Here is what I've learned from that joyous experience:
1. It could be worse. Interestingly enough, in tonight's class we were cultivating acceptance, joy, and gratitude for our body in the present moment. Even in a moment of losing my voice I was able to feel a sense of, "Hey it could be worse...."

2. You can only repress something for so long before it erupts. In tonight's episode what I really needed to do before losing my voice was cough. I realllly needed to cough. But hey, it's a yoga class and yoga teachers shouldn't be coughing their head off. So I repressed the cough. Which resulted in a tickle. Which resulted in the loss of the voice. We're talking like at least a full sun salutation of me doing something between a whisper and a wheeze. So repressing only works for so long. Might as well express in the moment Sharon.

3. Shit happens. Pull your yoga pants up and go on. Also interestingly enough I've been speaking to my classes this week about recovery. When a pose, an incident, a person, or life throws us for a loop, how quickly before you recover? Can you bounce back? Can you let the past be done and come back to your center, a place of poise.

Tonight I got to practice what I preach. ;)

PS - Tomorrow I will be taking a day of silence. Mostly out of necessity so I can teach/speak for a full day on Saturday (reeetreat and intentions!). So please don't call, just text instead. ;)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

the month of intention: the journey to bliss begins

This is the very first blog post I'm writing for our year long exploration of themes at the studio. Each week I'll be writing one post specific to our theme for the month. Rather than jumping straight into intentions/goals/resolutions/hopes/dreams/visions I wanted to give you a little map of where we're heading.

At the end of 2009 I traveled to Tulum with by good friend Debra. We spent a whole week exploring what brings us most alive. We charted our values. We thought about how to bring those values to life. We talked our businesses and what was most important to us. It was a phenomenal week in so many ways. At the end of the week we each had chosen one word that we wanted to move forward with. Mine was spirit. Here I am writing it in the sand:

I wasn't sure how this word would guide me. I couldn't put my finger on why it was so important. I just knew that it rang really true for me. I came home and put that image on my vision board and got on with my life.

Over the course of this year I referred back to that trip and back to that word numerous times. It's now that it's a year later that I can get some perspective on it and see how the idea of spirit guided me throughout the year. Here is what I've come up with:

1. I attempted (attempted being key word) to live my life day to day feeling connected to my own heart, my spirit.
2. I attempted to share teachings that came from my heart, that were guided by spirit.
3. More so than ever before, I've started writing in a way that reveals more of who I am.
4. I made more decisions from my heart (which was pretty hard at times).

As I navigated the year I was particularly drawn to the koshas (Sanskrit word for "sheath" or "veil"). The koshic model for yoga tells us that we are comprised of five layers. As we peel back these layers we move from the gross to the subtle, we move from the obvious to hidden. The five layers are:

1. Physical Body (annamaya kosha)
2. Breath/Energetic Body (pranamaya kosha)
3. Mental/Emotional Body (manomaya koshs)
4. Intellectual Body (vijanamaya kosha)
5. Bliss Body (anandamaya kosha)

It is the koshic framework that shows us why yoga is considered a body-mind practice. It is this framework that shows us how to integrate body, mind, and spirit.

I began thinking in these terms daily. In a discreet way I began teaching to these layers in my classes. Both my summer and fall retreats that I led were guided by the koshas. During the yoga teacher training in Mexico I used this model to plan out the days sessions, making sure we had a balance in all five areas.

When I look back at the year I can see that the times I was feeling reallly good was when I was most balanced in all those areas (what I will refer to as physical, mental/emotional/ intellectual, and spiritual). Rather that viewing the "bliss body" as a final destination or somewhere to reach, I started asking myself day to day how I could let my heart (which is the place of spirit and bliss) guide me.

As we set intentions and travel through the year together these koshas will be a light that will guide us. I don't expect all of this to make total sense to you if this is something new to you (and I expect it's new to most of you). No worries, I've written about all of this much more in depth. This information should be ready for you on Wedneday. Yay!

I'm so excited to share this year with all of you. I'm hoping this will be a great way to learn, grow, and share together.

PS - We still have space for the day long retreat this Saturday. I promise that it is a super powerful way to begin your year. If you are interested in creating and living your life with more intention then this is for you.