Monday, June 27, 2011

excitement + overwhelm

Today I'm feeling equal parts excitement and overwhelm. I've got about a thousand things floating around in my mind.

Excited about the fantastic events coming up at the studio.
Overwhelmed by the things that need to be done for said events at studio.

Excited about fun additions to my day, doing things I love most (hint, writing + yoga teacher training).
Overwhelmed by the new additions and wondering how they'll fit on what feels like a full yoga plate.

Excited about sharing the awesomeness of Ayurveda.
Overwhelmed by where to begin.

Excited about being in Tulum in less that two weeks and sharing yoga with 20 people from all over. Excited about those ruins and that water above. Heaven.
Overwhelmed by what needs to be done before I arrive in paradise.

Was excited to spend the day with a dear yoga friend tomorrow.
But the overwhelm won and I had to cancel. Or was that guilt? Or a combination of the two?

Excited to spend the holiday weekend in Owensboro with The Tessandoris.
Overwhelmed by what needs to be done before Friday.

So today (again) I'm practicing the gentle art of taking it all in. Knowing that every single bit of it is temporary, both the feelings of excitement and overwhelm.

I'm taking care of myself in the process. Woke up early and spent time taking are of myself by journaling and doing my practice. While ago I took a break and had an apple and strawberries. I sat at the table by the window. Eating without distraction, unless you count gazing out at the sky, trees, and green grass a distraction. I've walked with the dogs in the cemetery, and I'm taking breaks as needed. I've had a bit too much caffeine, but oh well.

One by one, bit by bit, task by task, I do the things I need to in order to accomplish what I need to. Then the tough part of sitting back and seeing what unfolds.

And know that it will all get done. And it will be fine. I'll be fine.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

why did i wait so long?

You should know that I am having to try really hard not to call this post...oh the deliciousness, part II.

Seems it's been a weekend of good ol' fashion fun and much of it revolving around food. Andy and I woke this morning and went to our most fave breakfast spot of all, Alfalfa's. I had two delish pancakes and veggie sausage. Yum-O.

After a delightful meal we stopped at the Farmer's Market off of Southland. We saw cutie yogini Shannon and proceeded to fill our lil pink bag with all sorts of goodies.

We got two batches of fresh pasta from Lexington Pasta, zucchini, collard greens, garlic, and a bucket of peaches. We scooted over to the Co-op and got some more goodness. It's such an awesome feeling spending your money and supporting local farmers and businesses. Plus getting fresh and healthy food. I can't claim to do it all the time (cause I don't) but I love it when I do, therefore want to commit to doing it more often.

I made the pasta this evening for dinner and I have one question for myself.

"How can you live here this long and NEVER bought from Lexington Pasta?"
Well, they've only been open two years, but.....

Oh.My.Gosh. This was quite possibly the best pasta I've ever made. So quick (only have to cook two flippin' minutes!). So simple. So easy (a lil olive oil and Parmesan cheese). So very good.

I served it with a spinach salad with tomato, peaches, and pine nuts. Seems like quite the odd combo but Andy and I really liked it.

We took one bite of the pasta and Andy's first questions was, "Is there more left?" to which I responded, "No but we have some more to cook later this week." We then proceeded to eat without speaking although we made quite a variety of sounds you make when you are happily devouring your food.

We bought the garlic and herbs which we had today and tomato basil which we'll enjoy later this week.

I was late in getting on the fresh pasta boat, but I'm oh so glad I did.

And happy that I spent a good hour in my hot yoga room working up a good sweat. :)

Happy Sunday friends, hope you've had a great one.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

oh the deliciousness

Today has been a magnificent day. Filled with everything good. I started the day at the yoga studio, arriving before 8:00 so I would have time for a practice. I did so then had a cup of the green smoothie I brought from home (spinach, strawberries, and watermelon).

Class felt really sweet this morning with nearly 20 yogis joining me on a beautiful Saturday morning. I told them at the beginning of class, "this is going to be a fairly simple class with no fancy sequences. Simple poses with extra attention to what we're feeling."

Seems that several students thought simple = easy. Uhhh, not so much. Sorry yogis.;) I had several students say to me after class, "I should have known the half sun salutations at the beginning of class was a ploy." I also heard a "Thanks for handing my ass over to me." But each and every one of them was totally awesome. They can hang with anything I hand over to them.

I went home and Andy and I were off with the doggies for a hike at the Central KY Wildlife. It was our first time here and we really enjoyed it. We had to keep the hike pretty short with a 12 year old Bella that can't quite do the hiking she once could. But all four us so loved being outside, in the woods, walking around the ponds, seeing all the pretty wildflowers, and smelling the goodness of it all.

We ate a late lunch at The Hub in Danville. I've decided Danville is a cute cute town and I'm a fan. Andy and I thoroughly enjoyed our time here.

At home Andy and I indulged in a lil nap then I went outside and pulled weeds from the flower beds. The weather was so nice and the breeze was just perfect.

I did a second yoga practice in my very own hot yoga room at the Big Blue House. I kicked my own yoga butt, made myself a sweaty mess, and loved every minute of the hour long practice, in which I finished with pranayama (breathing exercises).

Andy and I made ourselves cute and walked downtown to the local wine bar. I had a glass of wine + the most amazing coconut mango mojito. Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

All in all today was the sort of day you just want to bottle up so that you can take it out and sip in the midst of winter. Amazingness in more ways than one. The type of day when everything feels balanced and good.

Here these two cuties are all snuggled up on a perfect summer night....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

why breath wins

"There is an old Vedic story about prana that occurs in various Upanishads. The five main faculties of our nature - the mind, breath (prana), speech, ear and eye -were arguing with each other as to which was the nest and most important. This reflects the ordinary human condition in which our faculties are not integrated but fight with each other, competing for their rule over attention. To resolve this dispute they decided that each would leave the body and see whose absence was most missed.

First speech left the body, but the body continued though mute. Next the eye left, but the body continued though blind. Next the ear left, but the body continued though deaf. Then the mind left, but the body continued though unconscious.

Finally the prana (breath) began to leave and the body began to die and all the other faculties began to lose their energy. So they all rushed to prana and told it to stay, lauding its supremacy." ~ David Frawley

Clearly, breath is the winner here.

Ive been working one on one with my Ayurveda teacher for almost six weeks now. When I was in CA for my Ayurveda intensive I discovered some things that concerned me. I knew that the first thing I was going to do upon getting back home was schedule a consult with my teacher. And I did.

Together we've been working on my wellness plan (which is a total body, mind, spirit wellness plan) over the last six weeks. At some point I'll share more about this particular journey, but for now I'm doing the work and keeping it close to myself.

The most recent thing that we did add into my plan is carving out specific time to do pranayama (which is breathwork + expansion of juicy life force in general). I have such love for the breath (which is good since without it we are dead) and the breath is crucial in vinyasa yoga. The breath in the vinyasa is what makes it a magical and transformative practice.

But other than ujjayi (victorious breath) in the vinyasa practice, I get pretty lazy with pranayama. An occasional alternate nostril breath (nadi shodhana) when I'm stressed or an occasional kapalabhati when I'm feeling low in energy. Nothing set it stone, no formal practice for an extended amount of time.

So I'm in the process of changing this now. Using the breath as a tool to enhance the quality of my life. Exploring breath both as a tool to increase fire and soothe my nervous system. Like I said, it's pretty new. It's certainly not a habit. But I'm exploring it now and will see how it evolves and helps with the things I'm dealing with.

As a side note here, I think we need to pick and choose the tools that we use at any given time, otherwise it can get overwhelming. This is one of the ways in which I'm seeing such value in Ayurveda. It's knowing which tools to use, why to use them and and when to use.

Because there are a ton of tools. Some more important and better used at different times.

So yes, this is part of what I'm really loving these days. Looking at the big picture of my life - where I am and where I want to be - then looking at the tools of yoga and Ayurveda individually and seeing which are most needed for where I am in order to help me grow to where I want to be. Without being too obsessive and attached to the outcome (a challenge for me).

Never a dull moment friends. ;)

Thoughts? I'd love to hear....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

salutations to the sun

Happy Summer Friends!

Yesterday for the Level 2 class we celebrated the sun by doing about 55 minutes of sun salutations. We did five different styles before taking a few relaxing seated forward folds and then a nice savasana (corpse pose) for almost ten minutes.

I do love to teach flow. I do love to watch students being in the groove and moving so beautifully, so in sync. So cool and inspiring to see. We dedicated our practice to the sun not only for the beauty it brings into our lives (just look at the amazing sun in the photo) but also for it's life sustaining ways.

I mentioned to the class that the next six months, until the summer solstice will be a great time for manifesting. In the next six months the earth will move to where the sun is now. Where are you now in your life, in your yoga practice and where do you want to grow to. What do you want your life to look and feel like when the Winter Solstice arrives six months from now? Make a plan that works for you and see what you can manifest and bring into your life over the next six months. Sounds like fun, eh?

Here is the poem I shared at the end of class. It's "The Sun" by Mary Oliver. Enjoy!

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone--
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance--
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love--
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world--

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

~Mary Oliver

{I'm in Richmond now hanging with my nieces and nephew. I was just explaining the summer solstice to my niece Lexie and how yesterday was the longest day of daylight in the whole year. She responded, "It was, we were outside playing till 9:30 last night and it's usually dark at 9:00. Ahh to be a kid and relish in summer.}

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Monday, June 20, 2011

the earth as a playground

"We are collectively here to remember ourselves as spiritual beings, empowered to learn, serve, and celebrate. As members of a community of souls, we have a responsibility to remind each other that our essential nature is not as flesh and blood machines but as embodied spirits, temporarily condensed as individuals. As carefree, innocent children, we experience the earth as a playground designed for the expansion of love and happiness." ~David Simon

Viewing the earth a playground....I love it. Time to bop in your down dog, dance your pants off, hop on the merry go round and slither down the slide. Whhhheeeee....

And perhaps making an effort to remind ourselves that we are more than the poses we do, more than the clothes we wear, more than the thoughts we think, more than the pain we feel, more than the job we perform, more than being a wife or a mom, more than all of it.

Cheers to that....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

embracing the new

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." ~Alan Cohen

I was seated on my yoga mat this morning doing a little physical and mental prep work before teaching my 9:15 class. In walks the first yogini for class. I greet her and she unrolls her yoga mat and proceeds to tell me, "I did something last week for Courage. I've made it my goal to do as least one thing each month for each theme." She continued to tell me that she went rock climbing with her two sons and their friend.

Rock climbing! How freakin' awesome is that? She said she surprised herself. And even has a fear of heights, yet there she was at the Gorge, climbing up and down big ol' rocks.

I felt so happy for her. That she succeeded in surprising herself. That she pushed herself out of her comfort zone. That she overcame a fear. I felt happy that her sons have a Mama this cool. And that they got to share in this experience.

I felt happy that in some small way I got to be a part of inspiring her to flex her courage muscles. I have to admit that sometimes I do wonder, "Are people reading the stuff for the monthly themes. They they like it? Do they even care?

Things like this morning affirm to me that this is a good thing for me, for the students, for the studio. That having a hand full of people doing one thing new and surprising for themselves is super cool and so worth it.

We're now halfway into the month (which I partially feel conflicted about because as much as I can't wait for July because that means Tulum, I also reallly love June. She is green and good and oh so lush). I can hardly believe it. It's still not too late for you to take a risk, to push yourself out of your comfort zone, to overcome a tiny bit o' fear.

Also a good time to reflect on something that is no longer meaningful in our life. Things that were once so important, so big, so meaningful simply may not be true for you anymore. And if so there is certainly something new and adventurous on the other side (giving ourselves permission to define what is new and fabulous and adventurous, because for some of us that may mean taking less trips, taking less risks, and relishing in the present moment).

Lastly, we've got a great group of yogis coming the workshop on this month's theme of Courage this Saturday from 11:00 - 1:00. Let me know if you want to join. Only $15 to explore courage on and off the mat.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

the softer side of courage

A day like today reminds me of the softer more unspoken part of courage. It's not even noon here at the studio and yet it's quite dark outside. I've got the lamps turned on and the incense burning. If feels warm and cozy.

As a type this I hear thunder and the rain returns. Everything is cool and the there is an abundant presence of water. All are more feminine, more yin, more cooling characteristics.

Typically courage is thought of as being bold, fiery and hot. It's certainly a more masculine way of being. It's more yang.

As I prepare to teach my noon class we will work in rhythm with what's happening outside. We'll enjoy a quieter practice, perhaps opting for moon (chandra) salutations instead of the regular sun (surya) salutations.

Lastly I am reminded that courage has a softer side too. Sometimes saying no appears to be a lack of courage, when it actuality it could be the most courageous thing you could do. Courage doesn't have to be live out loud and oh so bold.

Courage can be quiet yet powerful.
Soft yet strong.
Unclear and all-knowing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

shit happens...even to the Divine

I'm doing one of my absolute fave things....sitting outside working on daily materials for the yoga retreat to Tulum (less than one month away!). I was flipping through a book when my eyes landed on this passage by Jennifer Louden that I have underlined. I love it and think it's the perfect thing to read and ponder as work with the theme of courage this month. By the way, how's that going for you?

Here it is, enjoy!
"You can be as experienced as a Colorado River guide, planning your route through the churning waters with great care, and still capsize. And this is the reality you must be willing to welcome or at least open the door to. There is Divine guidance available, you do have knowledge inside you, and shit still happens. There are no guarantees that the decision you make will work out the way you want. It may work out better. It may simple work out differently. It may feel, ten years from now, like a huge disaster and, ten years after that, like an amazing blessing. All are possibilities."

You know what you want to do. You know what you need to do. Take a risk. Jump.

Friday, June 10, 2011

on walking

"I will tell you what I have learned myself. For me, a long five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone every day." Brenda Ueland

Now that the weather is nice and bearable(unlike Winter) I've been out walking as much as I can. On a good day I get in three walks. I aim for at least a walk with the dogs and Andy and a solo walk.

I enjoy walks with the dogs because they love it so and they need the exercise. I love walks with Andy and the dogs. We hold hands and walk down the street into the cemetery and if no one is around the dogs get off their leash. One runs like a wild crazy dog (that would be Remy), the one stays close by and trots at a slow pace alongside us (that would be Bella).

Solo walks are good for me. They are important to me. They are a necessity at this time of year. Walks are time for self care. They are times for reflection. On walks I usually gain insight and new ideas. But that's not my intention.

My intention is mostly to connect. I marvel at the trees. I recite e.e. cummings, "I thank you". I appreciate the sky and the sun. On last nights walk with Remy the sun was setting and it was just the biggest, most round, most perfectly colored Sun. In that moment, everything was perfect.

Sometimes I take my ipod on my walk and I chant and sing to David Newman, Krishna Das, Michael Franti, Bon Jovi, and so on. Most often I prefer to walk without the ipod. Sometimes I feel giddy and I skip. Sometimes I feel sad and I get a lil teary eyed. There is one spot under a tree that at times I will sit, close my eyes, connect to my breath, the grass, and nature around me.

But one thing is for certain, I always finish a walk and feel better. Much like the yoga practice. It's not so much about walking as it is the opportunity to connect with both my inner world and the sweetness of the outer world....grass, trees, sky, sun, clouds, birds. I feel joy and reverence for all of it.

I'm off in the next hour to head to the hills and my home holler to visit with my Fam. Walks will most certainly be a part of my weekend. A hike straight up to the top of the hill then around the mountain for a bit. Walks to and from the family cemetery where my family is buried. Where I will undoubtedly sit and ponder. And connect some more.

Wishing all of you a perfect weekend.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

summer yoga goodness

Greetings Yogi All*Stars*,

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You can also register for this month's workshop on the theme of courage for only $15. That's held Saturday June 18, 11:00 - 1:00. Come be Warriors, stand on hands and heads, roar like a lion, and do other vicious Warrior like things. ;)

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

morning ritual

"Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark." ~Agnes De Mille

Perfect quote for the theme of courage, right?

I've settled into a really beautiful morning routine. A few weeks ago I expressed that I wanted to get back to writing more, specifically just for me. I'm now two weeks into a sweet morning that looks like this:

6:30 Wake, let the dogs out, feed them, make my hot tea (now on a chai kick)
6:45 Go upstairs (with said tea) to me sweet yoga room, sit down, choose a pretty pen and write non stop for 15-20 minutes.
7:00 Do yoga for 30 - 45 minutes. This has been a sweaty, flowing, moving sort.
7:45 Read from The Artists Way
8:00 Go for a 20-30 minute walk

Happy happy happy. What a delicious way to spend the morning? I've been offering up Ayurveda challenges in the newsletters for a few months. The very first one was taking a look at your morning routine and making a few tweaks here and there. I can't say enough about carving out some type to set your day up in a sweet, special, fun and sacred way.

PS - Photo of Tulum palm and beach, taken by the awesome Martin Husch. Jettin' off in less than a month now! Wheeee, the countdown has begun.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

notes from seane corn workshop

My workshops with Seane Corn this weekend were ahhhmazing! I met took classes with Seane over four years ago when I stalked....I mean supported her by taking all of her yoga classes in San Francisco at the Yoga Journal Conference.

This summer marked the fourth year she's been coming to Indianapolis for a visit. I've made it to three of the four. I think that these workshops were among some of my most fave.

Saturday morning was a Shakti Flow class. And oh my, was it intense? Yes, it was. There were 71 yogis in this room and it was warm. It took me a while to start the sweating but once I soaked though my clothes, dripped from my nose in down dog, and poured down my face in various other poses. People were making a variety of noises, it was all pretty great.

I came fully prepared to get my yoga butt whipped into shape in this particular workshop. It was for intermediate/advanced and I've taken classes with Seane before. I knew fully I was going to be drenched in sweat. It was 2.5 hours of a hard, sweet, and sweaty flow. At the end I felt like a million bucks. I felt totally in the flow and so loved the challenge. Andy snapped the photo above post sweaty Seane class.

The afternoon session was Yoga for a Broken Heart. Yep, that's right. We spend an hour having a discussion before the practice. Seane's father died last August and this was his request to her. That she offer this workshop as a way to offer and engage in dialogue about grief and being broken open.

During the discussion people were talking about about their losses, their griefs, and emotions. I sat there, feeling awe that complete strangers can come together and share such intimate parts of their lives. I was shocked to hear the losses, the hurt, and struggles this group of people had experienced. I was saddened by the hurt experienced by so many people. People that many would assume "have it all".

It's a reminder to me that when never know what the people around us have experienced...the person next to you on the mat, standing in line behind you, the co-worker in the next cubicle....I think we'd all be surprised to learn the hardships that they've all encountered. That we've all encountered. I'm reminded that we all have hurt and hearts to heal, in one way or another.

You could feel the raw emotion in the room. Grief was lingering in the air. It was uncomfortable, and hard for me to breathe at times. But I stayed with it, as yoga has taught me to do. Stay with the dark and the light, cause it's all yoga.

We moved to our mats for a practice. We weren't 30 minutes into the practice and I heard people crying, some sobbing on their mats. To practice yoga, to really practice...we can't separate the body from the mind and the emotions. They're all right there. Deny your emotions and you create tension in your body. It's much better to deal with it in the moment. I was again in awe of these people, the practice, and Seane. It was truly amazing.

The session Sunday was about Everyday Miracles so the practice was about gratitude and me moved and grooved in a way that felt very sacred. It was sweet and felt like the perfect ending to the weekend.

Here are a few valuable things I wrote in my journal:

In dealing with challenges, ask yourself:
1. What is this?
2. What does it mean?
3. How can I grow from it?

Also, when you don't want to deal with challenging times, people, situations, how do you deal? Do you use food, drinks, tv, gambling, etc to deal? What is really going on and what's healthier way of coping?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

why i love my job

I get to have awesome leisure mornings where I get to make de-lish smoothies (this one is a frozen banana, strawberries, cuppa water, a lil vanilla) and sit by the window and write.
And I get mail from a student coming to the Mexico Intensive Yoga Teacher Training and it's got stickers that say, "Hi Sharon"
AND when I flip it over it says this....
It excites me so to see students excited about teaching yoga. Happiness.

in honor of courage

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on to fruit.
~Dawna Markova

I've posted this before but as I'm tapping away on the June materials for Courage, it seemed like the perfect thing to share. This poem continues to inspire me just as much (if not more) than the first time I read it in O Magazine.

Begin to flex your courage muscles's gonna be a good month. :)