Saturday, July 30, 2011

leave the familiar for a while

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new watermark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vetal fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of


*Photo by Martin Husch*

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

summer cleanse

All this week I've been posting pics of the (sometimes) delish smoothies and juices Andy and I have been having. I had told just a few people about our plans to do a 21 day cleanse. Yes, 21 days. First a little background.

The last time BFF and I were in FL we happened upon a Borders that was closing. I was in book heaven and bought a lot of books. A lot. One was the book Clean by Alejandro Junger (who is a M.D). I brought it home and read it pretty quickly. My plan was to do a cleanse back in the spring (when it was the theme at the studio). Well, for a variety of reasons, that didn't happen.

Fast forward a few months as I prepare to leave for Tulum. I had a short and brief discussion with Andy about doing a cleanse together when I got home. I felt like I was overdue for one and he is coming upon his really bad allergy time. I was surprised when he agreed. I (very subtlety) left the book Clean out in eyesight, packed my bags, and hitched a ride to Mexico.

While in Tulum I was taking a walk with a super sweet yogini and we were talking about what brought her to the retreat and her time leading up to the retreat. She shared that she and her hubby had just finished a 21 day cleanse. When I asked her which one, she said "Clean, by Alejandro Junger."

Wink, wink from the Universe. I filed this away and we walked on. When I arrived back home I was oh so happy to see the Clean book sitting out on the couch and a bookmark placed well into the book. Andy had been reading without me (forcing, I mean) encouraging him to.

We both decided that the following Monday (which was this past Monday) we would begin. And so we have. I've been posting one pic daily on Facebook of the drink we've been having for breakfast.

Today I got a few comments about the proportions of ingredients I was using plus someone wanting to know if I was doing a detox, and where I was getting the recipes from.

So here we are. The photo you see above are the main books I'm using for this cleanse. I've taken the premise of the Clean program, which is a smoothie/juice for breakfast and dinner + a healthy lunch and incorporated some other foods/recipes into it.

If you've got questions let me know. While I make no claims to be an expert I'm happy to share my thoughts and experiences on cleansing, juicing, and smoothie making. :)

more on the importance of safe zones

"There is more to life than merely increasing its speed." ~Gandhi

Yesterday I wrote briefly about our designated safe zone at Maya Tulum. Today I'm thinkin' about why I needed a a quiet, safe, spot to retreat to at Maya Tulum and why you probably need a safe zone of your own.

I had 20 amazing yogis join me in Tulum this summer. It was a nice size group. Some would consider this small, some would consider it large. It's all perspective. Regardless, it was 20 people that I was 100% invested in taking care of. Sometimes taking care meant offering assistance in a pose during class, other times that meant taking a walk to connect to their story and reason for retreating, other times it meant me sitting alongside them at lunch and hearing what this week means to them. Because I love to lead retreats, because I believe in the power of them, and because I enjoy the students that come, I really want to give. And give. And give.

But I've learned that I have to take care of myself and I do. In Tulum taking care of myself means going a couple days early and staying a couple days late. It means that I retreat to the safe zone. It means that I take a nice long walk on the beach after I've finished teaching for the day. It means that I get massage (preferably after I've finished teaching for the day).

What I do during retreat varies very little from what you do on any given day. Think about the people that you tend to, that you care for in one way or another. Andy, my husband is a teacher to about 800 students. Now that is a lot of tending to, caring for, and shaping the lives of precious lil kiddos.

This is only one part of your day. Think about all the other things you do like running errands, driving to and from places, the exchanges at all the places you go to, even the exchanges with people that you love all require energy.

Wayer Muller says, "Every gesture, every thought or touch uses some life."

We as yogis are familiar with prana, and even more specifically pranayama. Prana is essentially the flow of your life force. Life force being that charge that sustains you and your life.

I have this feeling that many of us are more aware of our breath, and our prana in general more on the yoga mat than we are off the mat. We may ponder how much energy we are expending holding Warrior poses, but we are less aware of how much energy we are expending when we continually say yes, add another meeting, and take another phone call.

Then at the end of the day, week, or year we collapse and wonder why we are feeling sick, burned out, depleted, and/or sad.

Safe zones, sacred places are where we can go to recharge and renew. And if we can do that daily then all the better.

Also, I think it's important to mention the intention behind the safe zone. Because we can certainly take our work, our worries, and other commitments to the safe zone. The safe zone is a place we can rest, write, sing, do yoga, pray, and at the beginning or the end of the day light a candle in honor of safe and sacred time, pause and connect.

Here's to safe and sacred zones.....:)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the safe zone at maya tulum

On our first day of retreat, during our opening, I was going down a list of suggestions and recommendations, do's and dont's for the week such as:

Do have the mind of a beginner for this retreat and I'll do the same.
Don't freak out if a lizard makes your cabana it's temporary home.
Do give yourself permission to do whatever the heck you want to do.
Don't come to class if you don't want to.
Do give yourself the gift of massage while here.
Don't expect that everyone here is having the same experience as you.

{Of course, I wasn't that brief with everything, but you get the point.}

One of the ways in which I support myself and students in taking care of ourselves is by designating a space for "introverts and intimate conversation."

In crafting and holding space for this retreat I always want students to feel like they can have exactly what they need for this week of retreat. A lot of times students come to retreats because they are in need of, healing, clarity, peace, and so on. It's my role to do all I can to help provide them with the experience they need. And sometimes this is time with the group. Sometimes it's time alone.

I'd be lying if I said this space for "introverts and intimate conversation" was only for students and not for me too. Cause sister, it most definitely was for me too.

One day I was sitting in this designated quiet zone (it's in the restaurant) when a student comes over and says, "I know you're in the safe zone but I wanted to tell you....".

And so the safe zone was birthed. Safe zones are good. They are places that we can go to receive what it is we're needing. In Tulum I would go to the safe zone to have a quiet meal (what I needed was not to talk after teaching), to journal (what I needed was to process what was happening that day), and most daily you could find me there drinking from a fresh coconut (what I was needing was to prepare for our upcoming class).

Here at the big blue house I have my yoga room. It is a safe zone, a sacred spot for me to retreat to, to gift myself with what I'm needing in the moment.

I'm thinkin' we all need safe zones at work and at home. And we need to give ourselves permission to not always have to be "on". We need spaces that we can go to receive and rest after giving so much.

Because I have so much more to say about this, my plan is to write more on this topic this week. In the meantime, may you find a safe zone, take a few slow deep breaths, say a lil prayer for yourself or someone else, and remind yourself of what you have to be grateful for.

PS - Photo taken by Myra in Tulum. Cute gals + drinks+ delish food. Close to the safe zone, but not as quiet. ;)

Monday, July 25, 2011

on trust

I've spent the majority of the day thinkin' about it. Trust, that is.

Trust is next month's theme at the yoga studio so today I've dedicated the day to pondering and writing about the theme.

One of the biggest aha's I received was just how much trust I do have in the practice of yoga. No, not just the trust in the poses. Much more than that. Like trusting that the Eight Limb path laid out in yoga is one in which I want to live my life by.

What I put on Facebook was this:

"Sitting outside, drinking hot tea, writing, and pondering how much faith and trust I have put in the yoga practice to help me the best version of me I can be. In the moment life feels really full. And good too."

I'm far from perfect and make mistakes daily, but since I believe so much in the art, science, and wisdom of yoga it gives me a place to come back to over and over again.

Love myself and others.
Tell the truth.
Take what I need.
Reserve and conserve internal and external resources.
Let go.

Choose thoughts, words, and actions from a pure place.
Choose contentment and gratitude.
Focus & discipline are good.

Yes, that's the juicy goodness of yoga. And that's what I trust this ancient practice.

I took a break from writing and checking my email when I got a note from Jennifer Louden and guess what she too was writing about.....yep, (self) trust. She had this to say:

"To simply go on a retreat - of any kind or length - you have to trust yourself, at least a little. When you trust yourself enough to take action on your own behalf, the world changes. And the more you do it, the less you will accept a world that isn't fair, just, and safe for all.

Self-trust makes us fierce and resourced enough to take on what needs to change.

So here is my heart inscribed shout-it-from-the-roof-tops message to you today:


So today I'm asking myself how I can better trust myself. Listening to the parts of me that are yearning for something (like time to fill my own yoga well), trusting what I hear, and figuring out the next step.

Happy Monday Friends.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

to seek

As a bee seeks nectar from all kinds of flowers,
Seek teachings everywhere;
Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze,
Seek seclusion to digest what you have gathered.
Like a madman beyond all limits,
Go wherever you please and live like a lion
Completely free of all fear.

-Ancient Tibetan Text

This truly speaks to the seeker in me. Much to ponder especially as I continue to process our most recent yoga retreat at Maya Tulum.

PS - A big thanks to everyone who came out yesterday and supported a great cause. It was such a joy for me to be at the studio all day (led a two hour private at 2:30) hooping and having general fun. I feel lucky to love the peeps that I see daily!

*Photo by Jennifer C*

Thursday, July 21, 2011

seeing with new eyes

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." ~Marcel Proust

I come back to this quote every time I come back from somewhere special like Tulum. This quote reminds me that I don't have to run off to Tulum or constantly be seeking new adventures in order to live a vibrant and happy life.

Last night Andy and I went on a late walk with the dogs in the cemetery. It was about 9:00 and the sky was simply amazing. Just where the slid had set where the most amazing colors of pink and orange and blue. I said to Andy, "Wow, look at the sky. We didn't have any colors quite this stunning in Tulum."

I have to consciously remind myself of the beauty around me when I come home. In Tulum it's the water and the wind that do it for me. At home it's the trees and the general lushishness of KY. The green. It's so green. Stunning.

We walk our general areas in the cemetery and I tell Andy how much I love the trees here. How the trees are the magic that I stay connected too. Big. Tall. Trees. Towering over top of me. Trees that say,

"It's simple. And you too have come into the world to do this. To go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine. " ~Mary Oliver

And so I'm keeping it all in perspective. Seeing the stunning scenery around me. Seeing my husband and my dogs. Seeing the tree house yogis. Seeing my BFF. All with fresh new eyes.

It's good. You should give it a whirl.

PS - Fundrasier this Saturday from 9:00 - 1:00. Be there. Or be square. ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

tulum, a place to play and pray in

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir

Last Saturday was the last day of our retreat. I spent the better half of the day saying goodbye to the yoga students that had joined me at Maya Tulum for my fifth annual yoga retreat. Crazy.

It was a bittersweet day. Sweet because it was amazing seeing these people standing up and giving hug after hug as it was time for their departure. At my table someone says, "Can you believe we all met only one week ago. Look at this. It's amazing." A lil bitter because goodbyes are rarely fun.

And it was. Nothing short of amazing. But just like that, it was over. Those that were leaving were gone. Those that were staying would not be gathering with me in the same capacity.

I was feeling a ton of emotion. I didn't think that yoga was the way to feel and deal with the emotion. Writing nor dancing seemed to fit either.

A long walk on the beach was what I needed. So I slathered myself in sunscreen and set off. I walked and as I did so I let my mind scan through the week.

In my mind I students as I met and introduced myself. I saw our opening session. The yoga classes in which they moved seamlessly as a cohesive group.

I walked faster.

I heard the conversations over meals. I saw them on the beach. I heard their laughter and saw their tears.

I walked faster.

Underneath my hollywood sunglasses, happy tears ran down my face.

I stopped, looked out at the sea. Threw said hollywood sunglasses into the sand and ran into the sea. Rather than walking tenderly into the water, I pounced through the sea. I floated. I flipped. Just me and the vast open sea.

I continued this game (thanks Allison for the idea) for much longer. Walking then swimming. Walking then swimming. I must say that it was a most brilliant way in dealing with all the emotions and the week in general.

By the time I made it back to my sweet Cabana (#19) I felt a happy and full sense of exhaustion. Not the kind of exhaustion where you feel depleted, but the kind in which you feel tired, yet full. If that even makes sense.

It was a reminder that sometimes (and a lot of times for me), nothing calms, and soothes, and heals quite like nature does.

For this yogini, Tulum is the magic hot spot that gives me strength and courage. A place to pray and a place to play. A place that supports me. A place to process emotions. A place to walk and swim. And repeat many times over and over.

{Photo by Jennifer Christmann}

Monday, July 18, 2011

and re-entry begins!

I'm sitting in the Atlanta Airport right now. Happy that I'm getting free Wi-Fi. It's the simple things right?

And so the transition from Tulum to "life as I know it" has begun. For 11.5 days there were no wearing of shoes, no watching of television, minimal speaking on the phone (less than 5 minutes with Andy), no riding in cars, no blow drying of my hair and no wearing makeup (unless lip gloss counts ;).

I waited until the very last minute to put my shoes on. My taxi picked me up at 11:30, so at the registration desk as I was finishing up goodbyes, I dusted the sand off my feet and slid into my sandals for the first time since I arrived at Maya Tulum.

I was ready to come home. I miss my Big Blue House and more importantly the love that lives there in the form of Andy and the four legged babes. Yet, it's always hard leaving one extreme for the other. A place like Tulum that is so quiet, so simple, so stunning, so good in so many ways.

The taxi ride was nice enough. In the backseat I pulled out the Frida journal that was gifted to me by the retreatees. Inside are the most heart warming words I could ever imagine. Such kindness shared in these pages and I read them slowly, savoring each word penned.

I was at the airport in 90 minutes. And it was easy enough. The lines were short and I had my ticket and got through security quickly. But the people, oh the people everywhere. Way. Too. Much.

I had some lunch. The same I always have when I travel back. Cheese pizza from Dominoes. If you have any idea the amazing food I'd been having for 11 days you would understand how depressing this is. I quickly ate my cheese pizza and ran away to find the quietest spot available. After I bought a soy latte from Starbucks of course. Is it sad to that the Starbucks is like a shiny sparkly star at the Cancun Airport?

And sitting here now in Atlanta at the world's busiest airport, can I just say that the chaos of Cancun doesn't hold a candle to the chaos in Atlanta, especially when you are making an international connection?

So here I sit, cross legged in a corner, trying not to face anyone, donning a dress plus the leggings I put on while ago, pondering my week ahead. There are emails to respond to, calls to return, a list of to-dos for the studio.

One thing remains certain to me, and grows stronger as time passes by. That is my need for simplicity in my life. I thrived for 11 days with very little. I had just a few books, a few change of clothes, minimal "things" around in the cabana that I've come to love. How much does one need at the beach?

Each night at bedtime I point the fan on me, turn on the small bedside lamp, and slide into bed for a few minutes of reading. I go to sleep and wake up to the sound of the sea. It is all wonderfully simple and satisfying.

I'm thrilled to get back to the yoga tree house. To see my fellow teachers and students. Excited to see my family and friends. Looking forward to grocery shopping, cooking, and sharing meals with Andy. I know I'll be taking lots of walks in the quiet of the cemetery, spending time in my yoga room burning copal incense, doing yoga, and writing.

In general being light and kind to myself as suggested by my dear friend in Philly. Yes for sure.

*photo taken by Myra*

Saturday, July 16, 2011

a week at maya tulum

"She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short."
— Brian Andreas

Wave watchers
Papaya goddesses
Mango mania
OMG x2 massages
Oh my heck
Dance parties
Journey proud
Talks of delish food
And legs up the wall.

Handstands in the sea
Cartwheels in the sand
Cerveza in the canal
And more copal.

And letting go.

And letters to selves

The safe zone
The sacred space
The sweatbox
Sunrise and sunset
And sea turtles too.

Holy moly moon magic
Mango margarita
Mayan mud smeared bodies
Morning writing


Endless walks
Surrender into savasana.
Through the rain
And Be

The stories.
Oh my god, the stories.
Stories of pain and joy and sorrow and loss and hopes and dreams.
Then friends
And a soul group.

This one wild and precious life.

For all of this and so much more
I am forever in love with this group of 21 that became one over the course of one short week.

Not because I'm sad.
But because the world is oh so beautiful and life is short.

Live it up.
Love it up.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

when walls come crumbling down

"And sometimes the wind has touched my cheek like a spirit." ~Mary Oliver

Yesterday I opened my journal to begin writing on a new page. Instead of having the date it says,:

Tuesday, July something....

I simply couldn't figure out the date. And it didn't seem worth it to count the days since the retreat started. Tis the things that happen when you retreat at Mata Tulum.

I've been pondering the quote above throughout the day. Thinking about how it's so fitting for our time here in Tulum. Where every step you take feels sacred and the wind kisses your cheek like a spirit.

And the retreatees are feeling this too. Each day I see them letting go a little more. There is a sense of comfort and community here among the group. Walls are coming down. Hearts are opening up. Stories of struggle and joy are shared. It's an amazing thing to be a part of, an amazing thing to facilitate.

Last night at dinner I sat at a table alone (we have a "safe zone" identified for introverts and intimate conversations ;) so that I could write about the day. I looked over at the tables filled with people that just a few days earlier were strangers.

I heard them laughing, sharing stories, and having a grand ol' time. I see the way they give their full attention and listen deeply to those around them. A smile curled up on my lips and I thought to myself, "it's happening." Yesterday was the day when I could see and really feel the bonds that had formed.

There is always a point in retreats and trainings when guards are let down. Depending on the group it takes more or less time, but it always happens. Yesterday was such a day. A good day indeed.

It's like the Universe is blowing kisses.
The moon and stars shine down with love.
And the wind touches your cheek like a spirit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

sarah's yoga story....

{Interrupting the Tulum lovefest to offer up goodness from our very own Sarah Frank Bowker. This is nothing short of amazing and inspiring. Sit back, sip some tea, and savor these words from Sarah.}

A story like this begs to begin with an inspirational quote:

As a seasoned yoga teacher, I have heard many people proclaim, "Yoga saved my life!" The stories and people are unique, yet the conviction is always the same: "I couldn't have survived without yoga."
When I hear how yoga helps overcome the pain of injuries, accidents, illness, and emotional upheaval, I stand in awe. No longer an "it," yoga stops feeling like a mere routine, an entertaining form of exercise, or another spiritual "pursuit." It has become a living presence among us--touching and often healing those who come in contact with its power. When someone declares, "Yoga saved my life," what she means is "I saved my own life." She has reassembled what has fallen apart. The miraculous power of yoga does not sit out there in some ancient system of philosophy and body exercises. It's directly here and now inside the heart. Inside your core, your own true Self.
--Julie Rappaport

The week before I defended my master's thesis, I woke up in a panic. My alarm clock scared me into consciousness (a common thing those days) and I laid in bed, feeling my heart race, adrenaline coursing through my body. A sense of dread crept over me, as I considered exploring how tightly locked the left side of my jaw was, this morning. I knew the pain of unlocking it would probably be even worse this morning. I may have to skip breakfast, I thought.

But my worst fears were realized when I went to move my jaw, and for the first time, both sides were locked into place. OhmyGod, I couldn't open my mouth. Because of stress, I couldn't open my mouth. As the tears slid down my face, I worked for fifteen minutes to loosen the right side of my jaw, massaging the muscles of my face. "I can't live like this," I thought to myself. A seed was planted.

A few months later, after successful defense of my master's thesis, beginning my PhD education, and moving in with my boyfriend, I decided to make a New Year's resolution. Firmly convinced that I needed something to help me relax and handle stress better, I chose to explore what options Lexington had for yoga classes. I'd also struggled to find some kind of regular fitness activity since high school, and my lower back aching almost daily reminded me that maybe some strengthening work might help alleviate the pain.

I visited Barefoot Works the first time in January of 2007. From the very first class, I was hooked. It felt sooo good to move my body, explore my breath, and sweat! And I found such a supportive soul in Sharon. Yoga began to save my life - or I began to save my own life.

For the first time in my life, I felt that I was putting myself first by establishing my yoga practice. practice had later realized was that I was gathering the strength to make some Big Decisions in my life.

These Big Decisions included leaving an unhealthy romantic relationship, signing up for Sharon's yoga teacher training, leaving my PhD program--without my PhD, and signing up to go on Sharon's Tulum retreat, all in the span of one year! So what I'd initially thought about yoga- that I'd find ways to de-stress, I'd strengthen my back, and that it would support a fitness regimen--was just a tiny portion of the fruits of my yoga practice.

What my practice has done, and continues to do, is to shine a light on my most authentic self.

My practice keeps me connected to the Three Most Important Questions: Who am I? What do I want? What is my dharma (purpose)?

My yoga practice challenged many unhealthy habits I'd developed, that kept me from connecting to my most authentic self. Two habits in particular stand out - of doing things that others wanted me to do, without really considering if it was something I wanted to do, and of taking care of others first, and putting myself last (or not at all).

I've learned that my practice holds a space for deep spiritual connection and emotional release, in addition to the wonderful physical benefits of practicing asana. Most importantly, I've learned that my practice has helped me to remember how to save my own life, again and again.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

let the yoga party begin

"Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach waiting for a gift from the sea." ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Hola Amigas!

The yoga party (or the reeeetreattt) has officially begun! All 20 super yogis are here, safe, sound, and feeling quite happy if I must say so. Each year I lead this retreat I'm always a little bit concerned about how happy people will think of this place that I find perfect. I never assume people will love it as I do, but I certainly hope they'll find a sliver of the magic that I do here.

And that's what I'm hearing. Everything from a student from CA who said, "When I stepped onto the property I felt connected and relaxed." To the student from home who said, "Oh Sharon it's just perfect, a got teary eyed when I stood in my cabana and looked out to the water."

Happy, happy.

We all met for dinner last night at 6:30 then had an opening after that. We did intros, had a lil chat about the week, answered questions, then did a short restorative practice, finishing up at 9:00. I immeditately drifted back to my cabana and went to bed.

My day started at 5:45 so I could do my own practice before teaching the group at 7:00. We had a nice practice, starting with a slower, but strong practice focusing on the importance of neutral spine and using the core in the practice.

I've now had two delicious meals today (that included lots of delicious mangoes and home-made granola, two of my faves), walked the beach, laid on the beach and read, and now I'm sitting her typing and drinking from a coconut. Sweet, yep.

Two things that made me super happy today include finding a piece of coral shaped like a heart and running in a brief rain storm, making me feel like a giddy kid again.

Much to be giddy about. We're off to an amazing start here in Maya Tulum.

Friday, July 08, 2011

why everyone needs a special place

I took an hour long walk this morning in which I only passed three lucky people on the beach. Yes a full 60 minutes and it literally felt like I had the beach to myself.

I say "lucky" because they too are blessed to be here basking in the goodness of Tulum. As I walk down the beach I wonder how it is that there are so few people here. In a place of such beauty, how could this possibly be true? (Never mind that it's summer in Mexico.) ;)

Part of me wants to climb the tallest palm tree and scream, "This place is pure paradise! Pack your bags and run, fly, or drive here as quick as you possibly can!"
But part of me doesn't, cause I want to keep it to myself. Savor the solo walks and all.

I do wonder if it will last forever (does anything really)? Will this place still be dotted with palapas up and down the "beach road"? Will it be a haven for the sea turtles to make the trek from the sea to the beach here to lay their eggs? Will there be high rises and lights all around? Will one be able to walk for an hour and feel like this place exists for them and their happiness?

I wonder these questions with each visit. Maybe it's part of why I feel the need, the urge to be here as often as I can. With each new year, and each new article highlighting Tulum, and each person that sees an opportunity to make lots of money (and some not caring to keep it as it is) it will cetainly change.

I love this quote by Jospeh Campbell, "You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers that morning... a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be."

It speaks to the importance of having a sacred space to retreat to. I like to think that people need more than just a room, that we need a special place, a place that lights our heart afire. That place for me is Tulum.

Some people are lucky enough to have a place that lights them up closer to home. I know some have found it at The Red River Gorge(ous). My BF's Mom found it at Dale Hollow. My brother feels it in the Appalachian Moutains.

Me, I feel it here in Tulum. Here I am most reminded of who I am and who I can be. Some may point out that as a yogini I don't need any particular palce to help me to feel connected, happy, and whole. Don't I already have everything I need within? Isn't happiness a state of mind afterall? Yes, I'd agree to both of those.

Yet for thousands of years people much wiser than me have spoke of how certain environments, landscapes and places have not only inspired them, but helped them to live in a state of grace, and feel inner and outer harmony.

Such places can draw us back to what's truly important. Such places can remind us how good it feels to live more simply. Such places help us to feel that everything is right in the world. Such places help us connect to our core.

And it is always my hope for both myself and my students that retreat to reconnect to their very own goodness and beauty. That they are reminded of what brings them joy. That they revel in the beauty around them. That by withdrawing from the world they know, they learn new things and carry these revelations back to their life, their home, and their community.

I'd so love to hear if you have a special place, and if so where?

**I snapped the photo as I was coming to dinner. Right now I'm sitting in this fabulous open air restaurant sipping a glass of wine and tapping away.**

Thursday, July 07, 2011

guess what????

I'm here. I'm here. I'm here!

Greetings Friends!

Happy, Happy, Happy. It was an early morning start in KY with the alarm going off at 4:45 (yes a.m.) There are few things that interrupt my sleep but early morning travel can do it. Especially when it’s a BIG fabulous trip to Tulum. So yes up at 4:45, out the door at 5:10 to catch my flight that was departing at 6:10 from Lex. Travel was sooo easy and perfect today. I had a short flight from Lex to Atlanta (53 minutes to be exact) and an hour layover in Atlanta before departing for Cancun. I had just enough time to sit and drink a latte before boarding my flight. I so love when that happens.

The coolest thing happened on my flight. Over 90 minutes into the flight I look to the gal seated in the window seat (her hubby was between us). She had her netbook open and was working. I’m not entirely sure if I was totally snooping or what (appears I was) but I saw the word YOGA typed on the screen. My heart did a lil flip. I sat there and pondered for just a moment whether or not to say something (which totally gives the snooping away) or not. Well I couldn’t resist and ask her if she teaches yoga. And she does. We chat some more. The usual what’s your name, where are you from, where you going….

And get this?! She had tried connecting with me just yesterday! She joined our Barefoot Works FB page and said she messaged me to see if you could join in on some of our yoga classes here in Tulum. We had just the loveliest conversation. She invited me to come teach a workshop in Knoxville (yea she’s just down the interstate) and gave me her biz card. I’m pretty sure we’ll stay in touch. I just love it when things like this happen. Winks from the Universe.

Everything was easy in Cancun and before I knew it my shuttle was taking me away to paradise. I was reading a pretty juicy book. A friend emailed me last week and told me to indulge in some juicy, can’t put it down reads. Crazy enough (or not), I don’t do much fiction reading. But this morning at 5:45 I bought the juiciest read from the airport. It was a last minute thing since the reading I brought mostly consists of my own, poetry, and yoga books. Oh and The Artists Way (thanks Lisa!).

The book has been perfect to have today. I read on the plane. On the shuttle down. And thought that I needed to make a habit of at least one good juicy book per trip. Every once in a while I would like up and see something like the trees filled with orange blossoms that I’ve come to love. I would smile and think, “I’m on my way to Tulum!”

I arrived here at lunch, perfect timing right? I got settled into my fave cabana of all (19) then had some lunch. When I wasn’t reading on the shuttle I was dreaming about guacamole. Delicious, delicious guac. So I had a ton plus a spinach salad. Then I started to crash.

Not sure if it’s the non-stop work that had been going on since Sunday evening, the lack of sleep, or the travel (all three I imagine) but I was exxxxhausted. Shew. Tired, tired Sharon.

So I lay for two hours on the beach and drifted off for a baby nap. I snapped the above photo before lounging. I got to chat with the lovelies at the spa, give and receive big hugs. I took a walk. On the beach. In Tulum! Before I turned to walk back I stopped and did some good stretching in the sand, facing the sea.

I made in back in time to hit the restorative yoga class up. It was just what the doctor ordered. Felt oh so good. A nice long hot shower and the smell of copal incense here in my cabana and I’m feeling like a brand new yogini. ;)

I wish you could be here right now in this very moment as I type. It’s turning from day to night. The lighting right how is beautiful. The waves are crashing just out in front of my window. A nice breeze blowing and birds still chirping. There are no sounds other than the sounds of nature, which to me are the most poetic and beautiful of all.

Thinking of you. Sending warmth and light and love from Tulum.

PS – I should warn you that posts over the next 11 days will likely include lots of the following words: Tulum, paradise, magical, juicy, and happy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

a recap of tulum adventures

I'm leaving tomorrow for the happiest place in the world. Whoever said that place is Disney World has clearly never stepped foot onto the powder sand of Tulum and been embraced by the sweetness that exists there.

Today I taught my class at the tree house for a bit. A student said, "You have that Mexico glow." I respond, "Soon. I'm not there yet." To which she smiled and said, 'Yes, you are." And I kinda agreed.

I talked to my sister yesterday and she asks, "Are you getting tired of going there?" To which I respond with no hesitation, "Uhh no."

The truth is I am just excited now as I was the first time I visited Tulum. Maybe more so because I know how good I feel here.

Today I was driving to the studio and I got a the feeling of flutter of butterflies in my belly. I connected to my breathing and felt a surge of excitement when I realized that tomorrow at that same time my plane would be landing in Mexico.

It's been non-stop for me since Sunday at 7:00 pm. Now it's finally hitting me.

Tomorrow I'll be in Tulum. I'll get to re-connect with people that work at Maya Tulum. I'll get to see yogis that I normally see at the studio, in another country. I'll meet new and interesting and amazing people from across the US.

I'll make up for the massages that I haven't gotten this year. I'll take daily dips in the sea. I'll teach yoga by the sea. I'll go barefoot for 11 days. I'll savor the silence without tv's and telephones. The sea will soothe me to step and be there when I wake.

I'll feel more connected and in tune with nature than I do in any other place.
I will eat healthy and fresh and delicious food.

I'll feel oh so thank-full. And grateful. And full in general.
I'll pinch myself daily to make sure this is really me, doing what I love, in such a magical place, with amazing people around me.

As I think back to be past trips to Tulum, my heart feels big and full. Here is a look back at the past retreats and trips to the place that always feel like home:

2007 - Paradise Found

2008 - Paradise at the edge of the sea

2009 - Ringin' in the New Year with my brother and sister - Isla Mujeres & Tulum

2009 - Loads of gushing this year (and I had bangs!)

2009 - A self crafted business retreat with my fellow biz bud, Debra! Reflections from Maya Tulum2010 - Three whole weeks in paradise!

2010 - A day of retreat. And the sweet & sucky.

2010 - 200 hours of yoga teacher training in Tulum -oh my!

Now back to packing and getting things together. Hoping to peek in and post on the blog while I'm in Tulum. Adios amigas. :)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

yoga schedule this weekend

Greetings Friends,

Here's the yoga schedule for the holiday weekend:

Sunday 10:30 class is on as scheduled.
Sunday 4:00 class is cancelled.

All classes are cancelled on Monday, July 4th.

Have a safe and joy*full time this weekend!