Monday, May 30, 2011

creating this weekend

Wow, can the weather be any more perfect? Really? The most beautiful three days of KY weather all year. In my opinion anyway. ;)

The sunshine and the heat have been good for my heart. It's truly been a long lovely weekend. I'm super happy that I've gotten to finally spend a lil time being creative. Sure I waited till the last minute, but better late than never right?

I've spent a good amount of time this weekend doing some fun projects around the Big Blue House. I even took my real, fancy pants camera out and took some real fancy pants pics to share but I'm still having trouble getting photos off my camera onto the laptop. It must be a laptop problem and not a camera problem. That's why you've been seeing so many cell phone shots. Not the best, but it works.

I was feeling the need to go out and buy a few new things for the house, but thought that I'd see what I could find around the house before going out, spending more money, and accumulating more stuff.

With some spray paint I revamped a couple of tables we already had at the house. I swapped out lamps from the guest room and the living room. Here is new cozy spot that I hang out often:


I also moved some things around and re-did our mantle for spring. I brought this cute white thing-ey from my craft room (that I have never used) and have started placing special lil items in it.

We have some magic rocks in there, a poem given to us on our wedding day (thanks Jennifer!), artwork (thanks Sara!), coral from Tulum, good luck beads from Peru (thanks Cody), lil driftwood from Hawaii (thanks Sarah!), and so on. I love it for the love it's holding. :)

I hung this piece of artwork gifted to me for my birthday from my Mama. It's titled Winter Fantasy, and the artist is Angela Debord. The white cabinet was handed down to me from Tracy (yes cute yoga Tracy). I love it. Can you tell I'm a fan of white furniture?


I did have a mirror hanging there but it will be leaving this summer in a yard sale. I've initiated a rule of when something like this comes in, something else goes out.

I spent four hours at the studio on Saturday and Sunday. Teaching felt really good this weekend. Lovely students as always. And subbing Teresa's Sunday Yoga for Stress Relief was a nice change of pace for me. After I finished teaching on Saturday I posted on Facebook "Love love love the yogis." It's true. There are times when I get this wave of happiness that washes through me when I realize how lucky I am to do what I do. Thanks to many of you.

I've probably taken three walks per day. Really soaking up the awesome-ness. :) Days like these I could live outdoors.

I spent some time in the kitchen today chopping and preparing things for the week. In an effort to get more of my kapha tastes/foods in I made a seasoning mixture of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, sage leaves, clove, and cayenne. Here was the process involved...

Gather all your mismatched spices (someday I will organize them and make them cute):


Grind the ones that are whole seeds....I use my coffee bean grinder.


Mix well and put your seasoning in a spice jar. I got a few of these jars at Fresh Market to try out. I want to make sure I love them before I organize all the other spices.


My plan is to use the seasoning on a variety of foods. Together the spices should give me a good spicy swift yoga kick. ;) I'll use it for veggie dishes, curries, soups, and other stuff. My plan is to consume this whole batch this month. Come the end of June I may be sprinkling it on top of cereal.

Hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend. Hope that you got to be with the ones you love, do things that brought a smile to your face, and made your heart feel full.

PS - I've had a lot of people asking me how my Ayurveda final went. It went super! Yip! I will be talking to my teacher this week and will officially find out how I did. I've also had super creative business and ayurveda ideas this weekend. I love when that happens. I keep getting awesome bings of inspiration and it's pretty exciting. I'm making a few calls this week and putting ideas down on paper. Hoping to share soon!

Friday, May 27, 2011

on creating and getting back into a habit


"Like an ability or a muscle, hearing your inner wisdom is strengthened by doing it." ~Robbie Gass

It's a beautiful day so far. Time spent writing and reading have already made me a wonderfully happy and contented gal. I've been wanting to get back to writing more regularly in my journal. Appears that when I became an excited and devoted student of Ayurveda, my writing was one of the things to take a backseat. But I clearly identified more writing as an intention for my year.

Coming to the closing of May and it wasn't happening. BUT in the last week I received three gifts (and three winks from The Universe) that let me know it was time to get on the writing wagon.

The first gift came in the form of three of the most perfect journals complete with the most perfect colors and quotes from BFF.

The second gift came in the form of "The Artists Way". Thanks Lisa! I've always checked this book out from the library, now I have my very own copy. Crazy enough, I'd been thinking of getting back into the practice of Morning Pages to tap into my creativity (ironic enough it's the theme at the studio this month) and get back into the habit of writing, for me, on a much more personal level then what you read here.

The third gift was the most color-full and vibrant pack of 20 gels pens from the awesometastic Erin. These my friends made me pretty giddy. How did she know that something Andy and I do for fun is go to the office store and buy a new pen for fun?! Yea, we are that cool.

The three gifts are pictured above.

When I realized the significance of these gifts I knew I had to get on with it. So this morning with a cuppa tea (hello I'm in love with Twinnings Breakfast Tea), fave incense burning, my new journal, a bright blue pen, and my watch for the timer I sat in my cozy bed and spilled the thoughts that have been rambling around in my mind for 20 minutes.

It was great. I already feel lighter, my heart feels more at ease, and I've set the tone for the rest of my day. My goal is to do this five of seven days per week. I'll let you know how it's going. And you can ask too. Accountability is a good thing.

Plus, I'm thinking I've still got some time to do some creating. May isn't over yet!I may pull out the awesome Amy Butler stash I have up in my "craft room" (hehe, I have to laugh cause there hasn't been any crafting goin' on up there).

Have a safe and fun weekend. All yoga classes are on so be sure to come visit us and your yoga mat. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

why oprah is a yogi

Yesterday goes down as a pretty special day in my book. The final episode of Oprah's 25 year run with her show. I am a fan of Oprah. I had sorta enjoyed her show back in the day. But my love affair officially began with her magazine. I have loved her magazine and the deeper insight it has provided into O's life. With each issue that I pick up I excitedly flip to the very last page to read my fave part of the mag...What I Know for Sure. I do love reading Oprah's Aha's.

Yesterday was a bittersweet day (although O herself says it's all sweet) for me. It's amazing to witness someone do so much in a lifetime. I loved the simplicity of her show yesterday. No gifts, no makeovers, no trips, no celebs. Just O and what she does best in my mind, which is share from her heart, inspire others, and have this uncanny ability to reach through the TV to make you feel as if she's directly speaking and connecting with you. All things that I strive to do as I teach, lead and live my life.

Oprah is a role model for me without a doubt. Since watching the show yesterday I've pondered Oprah and the lessons she shared. I've concluded that although she may not practice yoga poses (asana), she is without a doubt a full fledged yogi.

She gave perfect examples of the niyamas (personal behaviors/observances) in yesterdays episode. She has given us brilliant examples of what it means to embody these ancient ideas in a modern day world. I'd love to share four of the five niyamas and how Oprah embodies them:

**Santosha is most often translated as contentment. I have written and taught on how gratitude is the gateway to contentment. Witnessing the beauty in the world and expressing heartfelt thanks helps us to feel satisfied on a deeper level, all of which lead to contentment. One can hardly think of Oprah and not think of the gratitude journal. Although this is not a practice that Oprah herself came up with we can thank O for bringing the art of journaling into the lives of millions of homes.

On contentment and gratitude Oprah says, "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never have enough."

**Tapas is translated at fire, willpower, and discipline. It is this fire in the belly that all of us have felt throughout our lives fueling our passions, needs, desires, and dreams. I nearly fell off of my chaise lounge yesterday when Oprah said that she has never missed one show, one taping in 25 years. She found a way to be there. Always. Talk about discipline. That is crazy inspiring to me.

Oprah has said, "I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity." That preparation is work, willpower, and discipline.

**Svadhyaya is reflection, inquiry and study of the Self. One of the reasons I love Oprah so much is that I'm constantly learning from her. She is clearly a gal that loves to learn and she is continually evolving. She asks the big questions in life and seeks answers. My kinda gal for sure.

"I am a woman in process. I'm just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience and learn from it. Life is never dull." Rock on O. I agree. ;)

**Ishvara Pranidhana is most often translated as connection to a higher good, a higher purpose, and/or power. I view it as feeling connected to something greater than myself. Call it what you want... Oprah has really opened people's eyes and minds about what it means to be spiritual being. Love that. Again.

"If you want to accomplish the goals of your life, you have to begin with the spirit." Amen sister O.

Lastly Oprah mentioned one other thing yesterday that really resonated with me. She was talking what she does when she needs clarity, or an answer. What does she do?

She gets quiet.
She gets still.
And she listens
.

This is yoga. Yoga is truly about quieting the monkey mind. Settling into stillness. Seeing, feeling, and knowing ourselves as amazing divine beings. In those moments another voice begins to whisper good ol fashion goodness. It is a brilliant and wise voice. And that's where the answers to your questions lie.

Yay Oprah. Thanks for being such an inspiring and fabulous teacher to so many people. Cheers to the next chapter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ayurveda test taking day


I take my ayurveda final today! As BFF just said as I was getting off the phone, "Finally, this seems like it's been going on forever." She also followed it up with, "Do you get some fancy new initial after your name?". Yea, she's funny. And cute too.

No fancy new initial. But if all goes well I'll be an Ayurveda Health Educator. Happy happy.

I've kept my schedule open and unbooked for yesterday and today so that I can study and focus. I made myself a tasty lunch today (see photo above). It's two corn tortillas topped with roasted sweet potatoes spiced with cumin, black beans, tomato, and spinach. They were de-lish.

Driving on my way to the studio I was pondering stuff from my studies...saying aloud...kledaka, tarparka, bodhaka, avalambaka, sleshaka, pachaka, sadhaka, alochaka, bhrajaka, ranjaka,and so on. Thinking of certain symtoms and identifying dosha, subdosha, dhatu, srota, and herbs for the symptom. Pondering prana, tejas, and ojas. And the gunas of course. And if the client would need tonifying or purifying. And the foods, scents, poses, colors, and more that would be balancing for imaginary vata/pitta/kapha client.

I was reminded of my drives to and from Cincy years ago when I was doing yoga teacher training. I used the driving time to memorize poses in Sanskrit, reviewed chakras, important Yoga Sutras and so on.

As a see this course coming to a close ideas are coming to me which is exciting. I mostly took this course for me. Since opening BW's this was one of the first things I've ever done without having a "big plan" for it. It's been such a joy being a formal student again just for the fun of it.

Alright, test taking begins at 2:00. If you've got some good happy thoughts to share, please send em' my way!

Monday, May 23, 2011

a plan for healthy eating....

"Except for accidents, all the repair and regeneration of our body must come from within." ~Dr. Norman Walker

I had a super birthday weekend filled with family, friends, fun....and a lotta great food. It was all capped off yesterday with a brunch with 9 of my fave peeps at Holly Hill Inn. Truly delightful.

I knew I needed a plan for the week to get back to healthy and wholesome eats (what lemon pie and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes aren't healty eats?)Off to the grocery store I went to peruse and purchase green goodness and such. Plus when I did my handy Ayurveda survey the number one thing you all wanted to learn more about was developing healthy habits and patterns. So here we go......

Back at the Big Blue House I spent a couple hours in the kitchen getting prepped and ready for the week. Green smoothies were first on the list. I used a head of romaine lettuce, celery, an apple, banana, pear, and juice of a lemon for about 75 ounces total. I used a cup of water in each batch. I had to make two batches in my blender (someday I will have you Vitamix)
The plan was to make five green smoothies and freeze them in mason jars. Each night I'll take one from the freezer and put it in the fridge to be drank the next day.


I also sliced veggies to have them ready for salads and snacking and dipping into hummus. I only do this if I know they'll be eaten in the next few days and will veggies that won't get soggy. I sliced celery, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper. I also have black beans ready for salads and wraps.
I made mine and Andy's lunch for today. Here is Andy's. I added the bell peppers, black beans, and corn to the mason jar. I added salsa on top (we eat tons of salsa around here) so it should have all the beans and veggies marinated nicely when he adds it to his spinach today.
There you have it! With a blender, fruits and veggies, and a few mason jars you've set yourself up for healthy eating for the week. Enjoy.....

Friday, May 20, 2011

notes to Self


"A man returned from college with a Ph.D. in making sugar from different fruits. He was asked if sugar could be made from guava fruit. After some deep thought he said, "I did not study that. It was not in my curriculum." Using common sense was beyond him.

It is not a pumping in from the outside that gives wisdom; it is the power and extent of your inner receptivity that determines how much you can attain of true knowledge, and how rapidly." ~Paramahansa Yogananda

Read the books.
Do the DVD's.
Go to class.
Take workshops
and trainings too.

Seek people that inspire you to live better.
Study that which you want to know more about.

Most important of all...
Do the work.
And then do it some more.
Ask the questions.
Reflection leads to discoveries.
Discoveries lead to change.
Change leads to transformation.

Don't ever doubt yourSelf.
Nor your capacity to learn, grow, and change lives.
Remember that You know yourSelf better than anyone else.

Always have.
Always will.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

happy happy joy joy

Today is my birthday (weeee!) and I'm feelin' the love. Awoke to a special zoom birthday song from Andy, phone calls from loved ones, and so many sweet emails and notes on Facebook that remind me of all the love and joy to be found in the world. I also treated myself to a total chick flick after teaching this morning. At the movies. On a Thursday. At 11:30. On my birthday....yay!

I'm giving myself some space to ponder the next year and what I hope and dream for. Perhaps a little stroll to Starbucks with the wee bit o sunshine making it's appearance and a toe that's feeling better everyday. I even did Sun Salutations today minus chaturanga and up dog. Happiness.

Found this poem, thought it be appropriate for today. And every other day too. ;) Cheers to you friends. I'm delighted to "know" you in the small and big ways that I do.

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes
~Kaylie Haught

Saturday, May 14, 2011

workshops with Leeann Carey


Hellloooo Saturday! I was at the studio late last night as we hosted our very first workshop with Leeann at Barefoot Works. I gotta say.....it was good. Really, really good.

I have spoken with Leeann on the phone. We have emailed. I get her newsletter (with amazing articles written by the mentors on her team). I get a kick out of the updated they all list on facebook. I find the videos that she posts online super informative and helpful.

But having her at the studio and witnessing her in action was pretty cool friends. She's been doing this a long time and the way she was able to work with students one-on-one was nothing short of inspiring.

At the end of the workshop students whispered to me, "Wow that was great." And, "She is good." Then there was the general glow in the eyes that lets me know that students got something from the workshop that truly benefited them.

It's not too late and you too can still get in on the yoga love this weekend. Leeann is teaching a free class today from 11:00 - 12:45 and leading her signature workshop Bend 2 Mend from 2:30 - 6:30. If you decide to gift yourself with a day of yoga just bring cash or a check for payment.

Hope to see you later. And if not, may your Saturday be filled with goodness. :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

when yoga teachers hurt

video

This has come up for me too many times over the past week not to address. It's as if the Universe is poking me in the side, saying "Hey you, this is a source of discomfort." I even got this email from The Universe this morning... "Think of the one area of life that brings you the most discomfort, sharon, and that's where you're ripe for growth."

So here I sit at Coffee Times. Post latte, post time spent (wasted)on Facebook. Doing anything, but addressing and sharing what's really in my mind and on my heart.

Over the past week I've literally spoken with four yoga teachers about ways their body is or isn't working properly for them. I am one in that category of four.

As Brit Brit says in her new tune, "Keep on dancing till the world end." Well I was doing just that last Friday. My dancing abruptly ended when I stubbed my toe so hard that I was spinning in pain. I kept dancing till my big toe throbbed. It's ok. You can laugh. It was a laughable moment (and one that was recorded by my brother). That's me above doing a Big Sur Dance in earlier, happier toe times.

Which has led to many interesting and some uncomfortable scenarios. Like not being able to do asana in the ways I love oh so much. Making demo-ing some postures simply not an option. Showering, getting to and from, not walking my dogs, not even being able to play with wild and crazy Remy for fear of his 65 pounds crushing my toe. And being sensitive in more ways than one. Practicing the art of sitting and being with discomfort without pushing it away.

In short, I'm having to practice what I have preached to so many of my yoga students and teacher trainees over the years. I said to the student last fall in Mexico, "I know it's hard to believe, but this will make you a better teacher. When your student presents a similar pain or problem you'll know how to help. You'll be better equipped to witness other people's discomfort."

I've been lucky over the course of my yoga practice. We've had a pretty sweet love affair. Other than dealing with the occasional cold I've been healthy and well. My body may be tight in certain areas but She has always served me well. I am blessed. I know that. I don't doubt it.

Now with a hurt toe everything (ok a lot) is different. My practice has consisted of seated poses. This weekend while the amazing Leeann is in town I expect that I will mostly be observing and take notes from the sideline. Isn't it ironic that Friday's session is titled "Meet Your Feet"? Hehe. Again.

A lot of us as yoga teachers don't want to admit when our body is hurting, or not doing as we wish. But we don't want to tell you. Perhaps it's fear of acceptance or approval. Maybe we don't want you to see our less than perfect ways. Perhaps we feel it's none of your business. Maybe we want to keep it private. Maybe admitting it makes it more real.

We don't want you to see that we don't have all the answers. That we falter and flounder just as often (if not more) than you.

BUT the thing is we're growing and changing. Constantly. We're observing, witnessing, and being with all of it. At least that's what I try to do. The good, the bad, the hurt, the joy, the uncertainty....there is room for all of it.

As The Universe confirmed this morning, it's the dark scary parts that are ripe for growth and healing. That's what I'm taking from this shitty freak toe accident. ;)

a rockin' yoga weekend

Greetings Yoga Rockstars!

I am so super excited about the jam packed full weekend of yoga goodness we have coming up. You don't want to miss out on this rare opportunity to practice and learn from Leeann Carey.

We'll start Friday evening with the two hour workshop, "Meet Your Feet". Before the evening is over you'll be amazed by your tootsies and will learn the relationship between your feet, legs, and pelvis in yoga postures. And it's only $20! Yes, that's right. Class is 6:30 - 8:30 pm, be there!

Saturday from 11:00 - 12:45 Leeann is gracious enough to teach a free session that will give you a glimpse into the Leeann Carey method of teaching. This is perfect for teachers and those interested in teaching someday.

Saturday from 2:30 - 6:30 Leeann is teaching her signature workshop, Bend 2 Mend Restorative. From what I hear this is THE workshop of all workshops and that experiencing it will transform how you practice and teach yoga. Not to be missed yoga friends and it's a great deal at $55.

Want to see some videos of Leeann in action? Check them out here: http://leeanncareyyoga.com/yoga/news-room-2/

Ready to register? Do so here: http://leeanncareyyoga.com/yoga/workshops-2/

You can come for the classes without registration, just be sure to bring a check or cash to pay. However, we recommend pre-registering as space is limited.

The yoga fun continues Sunday with a Mala Making workshop. This is the workshop for this month's theme of "Create". Taught by a published beading goddess, Fran Mandel. Workshop is from 1:00 - 3:00 and $20. Don't have any beads, email me back and let me know if you'd like to purchase a kit from Fran.

Register here for the mala making fun: http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ws.asp?studioid=2996&stype=-8

Shew. I can barely wait for the weekend. Hope to see you there!

happily,
sharon

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

my philosophy of yoga


I believe that yoga helps me to be a better person and gives me the skills and tools to not only take care of my body but also my mind, my heart,my relationships, and the Earth.

I believe that yoga has the capacity to change our relationship to our body, to calm our mind, and to heal our heart.

I believe that being flexible, strong, and balanced on the mat helps us to be flexible, strong, and balanced off the mat.

I believe that yoga can change the world.

I believe that yoga should be accessible for all people in all communities, not reserved for those who wear Lululemon.

I believe that if you do poses over and over in a way not suitable for your body and mind you will hurt yourself.

I believe that the philosophy of yoga is magical and transformative.

I believe that teaching yoga is the best job in the world.

I don't think we can tell how advanced a student is by looking at their pose, for the deeper dimensions of yoga lie within.

I don't subscribe to yoga gurus (sure I do have a yoga crush on Seane Corn but there is no bowing down to). I am my own guru and you are yours.

I don't think there is one right way to practice yoga. I think there are many ways, all leading to the same place.

Connection. Harmony. Joy. Peace.

**This was part of a recent email I sent to a yoga student interested in our Tulum, Mexico Intensive Yoga Teacher Training. She asked about my philosophy of yoga and this is what spilled out as I tapped, tapped away on the keyboard. What a great question, right? I realized it's been a while since I truly pondered the question and I'm planning to spend more time on it and add to this. And the student signed up and is coming to Mexico....awesome! We're about halfway full which is so very thrilling!**

What is your philosophy of yoga?

Monday, May 09, 2011

on time spent in CA


Happy Monday Friends! I just returned yesterday evening from 10 days in California. Five days were dedicated to an Ayurveda intensive and five days were dedicated to a road trip down the coast with by brother.

The time spend on Ayurveda was really inspiring. Being in the company of great teachers and generally awesome people is certainly a good thing. The five days were dedicated to in person studies/work that it's pretty much impossible to do via long distance (such as an intro to pulse diagnosis) and reviewing material up to this point. It's amazing how much this time in CA added to my overall program. Now that I'm back I'll spend the next couple of weeks studying for my final and take that at the end of the month. My plan is to integrate Level 1 into my life and teaching then decide if I would like to continue on to Level 2, or if the nearly 600 hours I've spent on Level 1 is enough for me!

I met a lot of new, interesting and fabulous fellow students in CA. We had people from all over the US and into Canada, Brazil, and England. As is the case with yoga, Ayurveda brings together a group of people that I enjoy. I did spend a lot of time alone on this portion of the trip also. Not sure if I was feeling more introverted or if the long college like days had zapped me!

We were together for six intense hours of work. We were given 15 minute breaks a couple of times per day in which I went out for a walk through the nearby neighborhood to see and be with some pretty magical redwoods. I didn't want to sit at that point and felt really drawn to those trees!

I would set my timer on my watch, go for a walk, stop and take a few pics with my phone, send to loved ones at home. I always came back a few minutes short so I could do a lil yoga before going back to sitting and turning my brain back on and taking notes. :)

We finished on Tuesday at 5:00 then I went to Sacramento to meet with my brother. So much fun to meet up in CA! Fun times. We spent a night in Sacramento and watched Chris Robinson play a great show and hung out with some of Joel's friends. We left Wednesday morning for Santa Cruz, our next destination. Halfway between Sacramento and Santa Cruz we stopped at a winery for a wine tasting, that was literally on top of a 3,000 foot tall hill. Appropriately enough it was called Ridge Winery. Joel has drank this wine for a few years so it was super to be there! The setting was too much for words, the wine was delish, and again the company was great.

Santa Cruz was fun. We hung out at a sweet lil coffee shop, walked around town, ate at Italian, walked the pier and watched swimmers and paddle boarders and volleyball players. Geez, talk about an active bunch?!

From Santa Cruz we entered Highway 1, the two land road that winds around the Pacific Coast. We stopped often to take pictures. We almost ran out of gas and had to turn around when we realized, "that was THE last station for a long time."

Sixty miles down the coast there was a landslide so the road was closed. We were told to turn around and go back rather than driving the 48 miles across the mountain on a one lane road. We scoffed. We did grow up in Eastern KY. Wow, talk about a drive. We twisted, turned, twirled, and chugged our way up a mountain that overlooked Highway 1, overlooking the Pacific. It was crazy amazing.

It took us almost 15 minutes to go three miles. We had another 45 to go. They were not kidding about the road! But we chugged on and for those 48 miles there was not one single house in sight. I had never witnessed anything like this and it turned out to be a highlight of our trip.

After the beautiful but exhausting drive (poor Joel, I got to enjoy the views!) we stopped and spent the night at a small resort and spa outside of San Luis Obispo. We had a hot tub on our deck and got to fill it was hot mineral water from the spring. We drank wine while enjoying the detoxifying mineral bath. It was a long drive after all.

We arrived in the LA area on Friday after making a stop in Santa Barbara. We chose to stay in Santa Monica and I nearly peed my pants when I saw all the yoga studios within eye sight of where we were staying. Oh. My. Gosh. I was in yoga heaven.

Santa Monica was pretty great. We walked, talked, took in the sights, and had more awesome food. Friday night I danced on the side of the road on top of yet another mountain when I stubbed my big toe sooo badly. Badly, badly, badly. FYI, no wine was involved.

Yep, that's right. It was 7:30 and we couldn't find anything of those handy little Urgent Treatment Centers open. Joel thought we should go to the ER. Which we did.
So we got to add that lil adventure to the highlights of the trip. Who has been in the ER in CA? I have, I have!

With a busted up toe we opted to drive all around the LA area on Saturday. We saw all the areas, all the amazing streets we've seen on TV so often. We drove on Rodeo Dr, Melrose Ave. We drove up in the canyons and the Hollywood Hills. We saw Bel Air and Malibu. We saw it all folks.

Travels yesterday were smooth and easy with a 6:50 departure from LA. I'm happy to be home at the Big Blue House and looking forward to being at the studio this week and enjoying workshops with Leeann and mala making this weekend.

Can't wait to see all of you. I miss my yoga home while I'm away. CA may have a rockin' yoga scene, but they don't have a yoga tree house filled with awesomeness like all of you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

igniting your creativity - a guest post by Sarah

Thinking about our month of create, at the studio . . .

I just read a great article by Ronald Alexander called "Six Techniques to Ignite Your Inner Creativity and Passion." He starts off this article with this, "Most of us were taught that creativity comes from the thoughts and emotions of the mind. However, the greatest singers, dancers, painters, writers and filmmakers recognize that the most original, and even transformative, ideas actually come from the core of our being, which is accessed through an 'open-mind consciousness.'"

So what does that mean? When I think of this type of consciousness, I go to the idea of flow. In college, I read a fabulous book called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Csíkszentmihályi. Basically, his theory is that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow- a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing.

So, which one comes first, creativity or the flow? I think they both feed on one another. So how to get a little more of both of these in our lives? Well, there are six techniques, thank you for asking!

Alexander's book, Wise Mind, Open Mind, outlines these techniques. Here they are, and with a little commentary from me:

1) Mindfulness Meditation Practice
From Alexander's article, "One of the most effective ways to become creatively toned and start accessing core creativity is through a mindfulness meditation practice. Mindfulness allows us to listen and pay attention to what we might otherwise overlook, whether it's a fresh idea or a new way of perceiving a situation, enhancing our creativity and letting go of our obstacles to innovation."

2) Dabbling In The Arts
What do you like to do? Write poetry? Sing? Paint? Knit? Dance? There are so many different ways to dabble in the arts. Feeling a little nervous about this? Craft shops have kits that can help you jump start in the arts. I'll admit, this is one I struggle with because I am such a perfectionist. But the honest truth is, it is so much fun to create art - don't forget, you're creating for YOU.

3) Immersing Yourself In Nature
When you close your eyes, and think of a place in nature that inspires you, are you on a sandy beach? A wooded mountaintop? Perhaps in a flower-full garden? Reconnecting with nature is a surefire way to tone your creative muscles! And if resources are scarce to make the actual trip, are there sights/smells/sounds that you could surround yourself with? For example, I have a friend who keeps a bottle of coconut scented lotion on her work desk to remind her of the beach. Perhaps finding an audio recording of waves lapping against the shoreline or crickets in concert in the woods would do the trick.

4) Entering Sacred Space
From Alexander's article, "In ancient times, sacred spaces, such as churches, temples and sites for group rituals, were built on land whose features evoked a sense of spirituality . . . sacred spaces can exist wherever you feel a sense of spaciousness and connection to the creative, life-supporting forces of the universe. Arranging the space in your home or office to bring in light and nature will help you feel expansive and access your core creativity as you open up to your important role in all of creation."

5) Seeking Out Creative Stimulation
Visit a place that inspires you - it could be in your backyard, in your city, or a road trip somewhere great! Visit somewhere new - are you inspired by music performance? Architecture? History? Let the internet do the heavy-lifting, and then GO!

6) Mindful Movement
Many forms of physical movement can be an entrée into open-mind consciousness. Of course, yoga is just one activity that you can do to cultivate mindful movement.

Awesome, thanks Sarah! Check Sarah's blog out here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

ayurveda intensive -days 3 & 4

Hola amigas! So I've got a little behind in posting about my intensive. It's been soooo great, and soooo exhausting! Lots of intake of information, so I'll have to take some time to process and sort through it all.

Day 3 we went over herbs and worked through the pathology of a case study. The herbs was super fun. We got to explore making a medicated ghee, taste all sorts of herbs, talk about the different actions of herbs, explore warm and cool herbs (as they will vary depending on the doshas and this is the biggie that differentiates Ayurvedic herbs and Western herbs).

The latter portion of the day we worked with a teacher through a case study. This was a great way to review, refine, and learn some more. But again, at the end of the day, I'm beat! Evenings have been super chill. Going to bed early. Waking early. That's been really nice.

Yesterday we spent the day with Dr. Halpern, founder and director of the college doing an intro to pulse diagnosis. Another fabulous day. We learned about the presence of the five elements in the pulse. We felt many, many pulses yesterday. Rated the presence of ether, air, fire, water, and earth individually in the pulses. Then later as a group. We started with feeling the superficial pulse (which is the vikruti, or imbalances of the doshas), then later worked to identify the deeper pulse (which is the prakruti, or the inherent dosha). Crazy cool stuff for sure. A nice intro indeed. So when I get back and ask to feel your pulse you'll know why. ;)

AND my brother is here in Cali now! I'll finish up here today (we get to be present for a consult today and chat about it later), then head back to the airport where I'll meet Joel. Then it's five days of roadtrippin' it for a lil brother/sister vacay. Yip, yip!1

Monday, May 02, 2011

working with the studio theme of "creating"!


The month of May has brought us a new studio theme of creating! Fun, right? Here are some ways to get your going this month. You could also begin your own list to have handy on those days when you have time to do something just for yourself. Here goes:

- Design your own creative yoga practice. The only rule is that it's fun and you love it!

· Update your wardrobe to better reflect who you are.

· Choose one room in your house to update. Move furniture around.

· Get a haircut that you love.

· Make a piece of jewelry.

· Hone your cooking skills. Make a new dessert.

· Host a party.

· Create your very own massage oil.

· Grow something.

· Explore a town nearby.

· Write a short story about your life.

· Write a poem about your favorite tree, beach, mountain view, etc.

· Create your own recipe book using a binder or taking photos of your fave dishes them making a book.

· Trace your family's ancestry.

· Keep a small notebook on hand to record thoughts, ideas, and inspiration.

· Make a list of the books, people, places, and/or websites that stimulate your creativity.

· Ponder your purpose. Write it in five words. Draw it with one image.

· Creatively raise money for your favorite charity.

· Create a dream deck using index cards and images from magazines.

· Make a list of next steps you need to take on your creative journey to your dream.

· Create your own affirmations for your dream.

· Write a love letter from your project/creative dream having it tell you the next step. I'm planning to do this one while I'm in Cali!

Choose at least one thing and rock it. Let me know how it goes!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

ayurveda intensive - day 2


I've now completed two full days of my intensive! Day Two we focused on physical exam/structure and pathology (understanding the disease process from an Ayurvedic stance).. Although overall the topics were not quite as personally juicy to me as the philosophy and psychology (big shock) they were phenomenal. Here are a few notes about stuff I **heart**:

Yesterday I mentioned that we are made of the same elements as those in nature (earth, water, fire, air, ether). What you have more of helps you to figure out your dosha (and your dosha is determined at conception crazy enough). I personally have a mostly earth, water, and fire (kapha and pitta).

There are three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) but infinite ways that these can mix and intermingle. Keeping yourself balanced and healthy in body, mind, and spirit so that you can pursue your dharma and bliss are the two goals of Ayurveda. Fabulous, eh?

The doshas also relate to the seasons and even time of day. Clearly we all see and feel the difference in the seasons. Summer is hot (pitta). Fall is windy and dry(vata). Spring is water (kapha). April showers do bring May flowers after all. Or so we always hope.

Depending on your dosha you want to be extra vigilant at certain times of the year. For example, right now is prime time for us Kaphas to get a "spring cold", as it's the Kapha season.

The cycle of twenty four hours also dances with and through the doshas.

Kapha time is from sunrise till the first third of the day, 6:00 - 10:00 am. It signfies the "creation" of the day when we're getting ready for our day to come.

Pitta time is the mid third of the day, from 10:00 - 2:00. This is the "productivity" time. Its peak is Noon, when the sun is blazing at it's highest. The world is on fire, the sun is doing it's awesome thing.

Vata time is the last third of the sunlight, from 2:00 - 6:00 pm. This is the time we begin to let go of our day, to be reflective, and begin brining it down.

Starting at 6:00 pm we work through this same cycle beginning again with Kapha. This dosha dance, this flow is happening regardless if you know about it. When we can learn the energies of the day (which is essentially us living more in balance with the natural world) we can literally go with the flow. And feel good. :)

**Of course these vary depending on where you live and the times aren't exact. It's a dance, a flow from one dosha to the next.**

On eating a big meal at night and going to bed. Food is energy. At night you are sleeping. Your body is resting, not working. We don't need the energy of the food. So instead of metabolizing we store. I think this makes perfect sense to me, is simple. Yet brilliant and powerful.

Not all cravings are intelligent cravings. When out of balance you crave the things that will keep you out of balance. Sigh. So true.

The goal again is balanced. The middle path. If we veer too far to the left perhaps we become rigid and ruled by perfectionism. if we veer too far to the right we just don't care. We're sleeping our way through life, complacent and dull. The middle road looks like a pretty amazing path to me.

**Photo above is where we are meeting. This is the "Lotus Room" and sits behind the main building for the college. It's set in a beautiful area. Within a ten minute walk to downtown (which is one of the cutest I'm encountered) yet nestled within a beautiful area. On my breaks I've been venturing off and walking among the tallest, most magical pine trees and enjoying blue skies beyond this world.**