Thursday, September 29, 2011

proud yogini


Driving into the light
Sitting in sun spots
Twisted half moons
Beach breathing
Receiving that which we are seeking
Letting go of that which no longer serves
Zafu rolling
More sun sitting.
Supportive tree poses
Lifesaving poison
Joy and equanimity
Coffee and tea treats
Dipped in orange glazed biscotti
Possible adventures
Pondering next years focus
And trying to make it day to day
No more hospitals
Watching yogini Stacy
Move with poise, grace, knowingness
Beginners mind
All things retreat
And yoga teacher training
Two straight lines
Energy flowing with ease
It's miracle
Dancing yogis
Silly sharon
Guacamole and mojitos
Boxcar racing
Music blaring
Better than sunshine
Better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain

Monday, September 26, 2011

this yogini life: 9/26/11

breathe easy

I always keep a yoga book of some sort on hand. Yesterday Andy and I were driving and I picked up the book "Light on Yoga" that lay at my feet in my box car (sorry Mr. Iyengar). No, I wasn't driving silly. Andy was.

I flipped open to a page and my eyes landed on this:

"The normal rate of breaths per minute is 15. This rate increases when the body is upset by indigestion, fever, cold and cough, or by emotions like fear, anger, or lust. The normal rate of breathing is 21,600 breaths inhaled and exhaled every 24 hours. The yogi measures his span of life not by the number of days, but of breaths. Since breathing is lengthened in pranayama, its practice leads to longevity."

I love that he makes the connection of the breathing being upset by both physical and mental disturbances.

Pause. Close your eyes. And breathe sweetly for just a minute. Your body and mind will thank you. :)

Breathe easy this rainy Monday my friends.


**photo taken during a rainy Morning morning meditation**

Sunday, September 25, 2011

be the peace

Everything on the earth
in between, and above
Is arising from one effulgent source.
If my thoughts, words, and deeds
reflected this complete understanding of unity,
I would be the peace I am seeking in the moment.
~Translation of Gayatri Mantra

Friday, September 23, 2011

some of my most important teachings

Some of my most important teachings occurred this week.
It wasn't at the tree house. Nor on a beach in Tulum.
It wasn't to a crowd of wide eyed yogis ready to dive deeper into their practice.

It was in the hospital. Two of them actually. With my Mama and my sister.

It's been a week of all things yoga.
All things life.
All things breath.

On Tuesday she was nervous. Amelia suggested "breathe into your belly". Mama Alice says (with a bit of a huff I might add), "I don't know what that means."

I am instantly reminded that not everyone knows the beauty of the breath. Nor do they know the power of the breath. Nor what the heck the breath lingo is.

I tell her, "Put your hands of your belly. As you inhale feel your belly fill with air and your hands lift, as you exhale relax your whole body."

We all instinctively close our eyes. Me, my mom, brother, and sister in law. We breathe for a short while. When we open our eyes we all feel much more relaxed. I remind my Mama to close her eyes, breathe down into her belly, and silently count up to fifty breaths as they outline her scar, mark the spots for her radiation, bolt her down from her head to her chest, and send her into the scan.

She is a brave soul. The breath is her friend.

Two days later I am standing by my sisters bed at the hospital. Baby Max will soon be here. She is feeling anxious about her fifth C-section. The nurse comes in for the IV. I see her scared. And in pain. Anxious.

I ask her to relax her face, her jaw, and breathe in through her nose and out through her mouth. I am happy that the nurses also use our trusty friend the breath to help calm and relax her.

She come through as always.

She is a brave soul. The breath is her friend.

I watch him. So new. So little. So perfect.
He breathes and it's a fully body expression. His whole torso expands and contracts as he breathes in the newness of life. He is not stingy with his breath. It is not unfamiliar to him. He takes all of life in as he breathes in. Shares the goodness of life as he breathes out, by simply basking in his me-ness.

He doesn't need to do a thing, nor say a word. As my mom-in-law said, "New life is amazing." That sums it up...Amazing.

I stand in awe of the women in my life this week.

I stand in awe of the power of the human body to heal, to create, to support.

I stand in awe of the breath and it's magical powers to calm, soothe, and bring peace during all of life's moments. The moments of fear, joy, and hope.

Again I am reminded that teaching doesn't only occur in schedule time blocks.
And yoga doesn't just happen on the mat.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

the art of befriending yourSelf

I've recently revisited the book Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron. Last week I read a passage and it really hit home for me. In fact I shared the quote on Facebook last week and it's serving as inspiration for my classes this week. Here it is:

"Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we already are."
Isn't that reassuring? Even letting ourselves partially believe that we don't have to change ourselves, our lives, our emotions, or the experiences around us, but instead befriend ourselves in each moment as they come and go. Yoga philosophy teaches us not to get attached to how things are because change can and will occur in a moments notice.

I'm experiencing this now and continually reminding myself that nothing is permanent. I ask myself:

What am I feeling?

Can I meet myself where I am and extend myself loving kindness?

I'm delighted that we are offering you two opportunities this week to befriend yourself.
An eight week meditation course taught by Patrick Holloway begins tonight at 7:30. I can't even believe the price, only $40 for the eight sessions. FYI, Patrick is not doing this to add to his income, but because his teacher has asked him to teach and he has a true desire to serve and share what he loves. Read more details here:

This Friday from 6:30 to 8:00 pm Sarah Bowker is teaching this month's themed workshop on Contemplation. It will be the perfect way to greet the fall season. We still have some space so visit the website and get yourself registered (or do so at the studio).

Happy befriending....

PS - Image from Rumi page on FB. The words and iamges are a feast for eyes and heart.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

i'm thinking....

I'm thinking that if I plan and play my cards just right I can spend a full two months on the beach next year. Yes two whole months, part work, part play. Yay. Am I the only one planning out 2012?

I'm thinking it's about time I order new yoga pants. And these folks are the ones that have a huge selection AND petites for the shorty yoginis like me. :)

I'm thinking about the yoga goodness this week: an eight week meditation class that begins on Wednesday and Sarah's workshop on Friday, the first day of fall. Perfect.

I'm thinking about roadtrips. One with Andy to Cleveland area for a wedding (yay a wedding!!) and one with my BFF. BFF and I are overdue as the last one we took was a long and mostly miserable roadtrip when I moved back from TX. I don't even think that one really counts.

I'm thinking of all things yoga taking place at that amazing beach house above come next April. Excited for me and the yoginis signed up so far. Yip!

I'm thinking about the online yoga AND writing course I signed up for. How I debated if I should sign up for "one more online course". I've certainly been known to sign up in the heat of the moment, then not fully participate. Ooops. But this one, it's two of my fave things combined and I'm super excited. It begins in a couple of weeks.

I'm thinking about seeing friends I don't get to see. Dreaming of rendezvousing to Las Vegas and meeting two special gals (one in Houston, one in Seattle).

I'm thinking of a perfect upcoming yoga teacher training in Tulum. Ok, I'll settle for a little less than perfect, but not much less.

I'm thinking of fall flavors, pumpkin lattes and butternut squash.

I'm thinking that it's kinda crazy that Barefoot Works is now rockin' it's sixth year as a studio, eighth year as a yoga biz. Crazy. Cool.

I'm thinking about being the blending master and making nutritious drinkable meals for my Mama.

I'm thinking about my fave holiday of all, Thanksgiving. Teaching a donation class on Thanksgiving then going home to celebrate with family, eat too much, pretend to watch football, and walk up the mountain behind the house.

I'm thinking about another silent retreat to Cedars of Peace where I will make a fire, eat at the small desk, peer out the window into the woods, walk in the snow, cry, celebrate, and bring closure to the year.

How about you, what are you thinking about?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

how to create a vision board

Last week I posted a photo on FB of my kitchen table. It was scattered with a big piece of foam board, magazines, ripped photos, paint, glue, and so on. It was quiet a mess.

All week long it looked as if our kitchen table had puked up arts and crafts time. I declared to Andy on Friday that I was finishing my vision board up this weekend.

I did so today. Yay! Feeling inspired a giddy about my new vision. That's it posted above and there are visions for writing a book, having a place to practice yoga in the woods, a place on the beach, and more. I do love a good dream. :)

A friend had asked on FB how to go about creating a vision board. Here are some tips and ideas:

First off, some of you might be asking, "What the heck is a vision board?"

A vision board represents your dreams and desires!

You can use a poster board you use and compile words and images of things you want in your life, or images/words that evoke powerful feelings for you. Pretty simple, right?

Options for the vision board:
1. You can focus on a specific area of your life (work, family, relationships, home, travel, etc)
2. You can vary and cover major areas of your life (relationships, work, wellness, hobbies, home)
3. You can be even more specific by creating a theme (such as home, health, travel, family, etc).

Get clarity by asking questions and perhaps journaling:
If money, time, judgments or fears were not factors – what would I want to do, be, or have?
What’s the one thing that will make me come most alive?
What are my dreams, big and small?
What excites me?

Now the fun part (ok I think it's all fun, but I'm sorta dorky like that)!
Flip through magazines (have a variety of types on hand)
Clip or tear out photos and texts you are drawn too. Don't analyze it, just go with your first instinct.
Sort through the images.
Arrange images into groups for themes.
Paste the words and images and decorate your vision board!

Place your vision board somewhere you can see it. Pay attention to it. Listen to your guidance. Pay attention to opportunities (then jump on them). Take a few chances. Be willing to make a few mistakes.

Just for the record, I don't fall into the camp that believes repeating mantras or looking at your vision board alone will make your dreams come true. I think that's only part of the equation and that we must be willing to do the work, take the risks, and reallllly believe that we are worthy of our dreams.

With the fall equinox just around the corner it's the perfect time to craft a new vision for yourself. Some people this time of year to be like a second new year. Happy almost (fall) new year!

Friday, September 16, 2011

a look back + so much thanks

As I'm running around today picking up flowers, candles, food, and other random items it finally struck me....I'm celebrating five whole years of yoga. Five years of a yoga studio. Five years of Barefoot Works.

I stopped midstream of putting the flowers in water and allowed myself a few moments to sit with the awe I was feeling.

Five years of any business is reason to celebrate.
Five years of a yoga studio in lil ol' Lexington, KY is reason to celebrate.
Five years of a yoga studio ran by a gal with no formal business training + no money to start said studio with is even more reason to celebrate.

Even in typing that I feel a sense of being careful. In moments like these I nearly pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. I love what I do. I truly, 100%, without a doubt love how I get to spend my time, doing work that I feel fierce about.

And I know without a doubt that if you are reading this, if you've ever been to a class at the studio, if you've even been on retreat with me then you are the reason I get to do what I love.

As I was going through old photos it hit me just how sweet my life really is. It's certainly not perfect, yet there are few things I would change. And the people I get to spend my days with....words can't even describe. The kindest, most thoughtful, interesting, compassionate people walk through the doors at Barefoot Works. It is truly an amazing community.

With a humble, grateful, and full heart I salute you. Enjoy a look back through the years.

Grand opening of Barefoot Works! These are my friends I went through training with. All lovelies!

This sweet yogini was just a teen here and was one of the first students I ever taught.

My very first group for yoga teacher training. Awww...I learned so much from them!

Me + Leigh Ann and her fine new mama self.

A par-tee, partner yoga style. Love this pic!

New in progress

Roadtrip to Nashville with BW's teachers to get our yoga on.

First class ever at the new location. It's early here. Not so sure the yogis are awake yet, photo taken before sun salutations.

Celebrating the birth of a treehouse....BW's new hOMe!

Yoga teacher training. This pic and this group of people make my heart sing + do flips.

Tulum....I got love for ya! And you too Becky.

Me + Appalachia + Yoga teacher training = dream come true. Fun times in Hazard

Fall yoga retreat to NC + crafty yoginis!

Mr. Works putting up lights at the studio. :)

Thanksgiving Day! A donation based class on my fave holiday. This just might be my fave class to teach all year. Love it.

Working on vision boards and welcoming the new year yogi style!

Yoga sutra study. Good times. For real!

Yoga teacher training!

Kundalini Yoga workshop with my bud Shelli Carpenter

Thursday, September 15, 2011

yoga birthday party!

Seven years ago this fall Barefoot Works was birthed. It was not your traditional birth, but nonetheless a birthing from body, mind, and heart. The first two years of Barefoot Works life we roamed all over central and eastern Kentucky teaching. The last five years we've had the great joy to call Patchen Village then the current tree house home.

One of the things that I'm seriously passionate about is witnessing and helping people connect to their dreams and blaze a path on their own. To me, it's such a natural fit with yoga. Stick with yoga for even a short while and you'll feel it's awakening effects on not only your body, but mind, and heart too.

Last year I wrote a love letter to Barefoot Works. You can view that here...

This year She and I want to share with you what we've learned together about crafting and living a life based on your deepest desires and dreams.

Here are five tips, life lessons that we've come up with:

1. Put forth the effort, flounder, fall and possibly fail. Life, yoga, and business are constantly changing. Most new things are uncomfortable and scary at first. It's ok to try and fail. Actually, it's better than ok. It's great because you're moving forward, changing, and evolving. If we want to learn a new balancing yoga pose, we risk falling. If we want to quit our job and strike out on our own, we risk failing. There are few guarantees in life. Bow humbly to your fear then move forward.

2. Own and embrace your perfectly imperfect self. For years I thought negatively of my non-yogi body. I thought my not so open and flexible body meant I was less than as a teacher. Now I know this isn't true and in fact it has been my limitations that have helped me to grow as a teacher and express great compassion for my students. What are the things holding you back in your life, why, and for how long? Are your so-called weaknesses really flaws or just an excuse to play it safe? Harsh, I know. I said I was passionate about this stuff.

3. Your dreams are your ticket to a juicy and joyful life. They are important for a reason, don't believe otherwise. You're never too old, too rich, too poor, too sick, too anything to stop dreaming. Know yourself well enough to know what's most important to you....staying home with your baby, climbing a mountain, becoming a baker, etc. Your dreams are a guidepost to further awakening your heart and soul. Don't let anybody tell you different. Open your mind, connect to your dreams, do the work, and watch your world change (it will appear that way but it's really you).

4. Know how to calm and center yourself. This is useful for times on the mat in a pose as well as off the mat in life. Life gets crazy. Chaos swirls around us and at any given time we can be brought down to our knees in agony, angst, and confusion. Not all dreams survive, many will die. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Who are the people you can connect with to support you? What are the practices that will soothe and bring you back to center? Turn on some nice music, light a candle, sit on your mat, breathe, cry, move, write, do whatever you need to process your feelings. Then pick up your frazzled pieces, learn the lesson, shake off your yoga mat, and bust a new move.

5. Keep good company and connect with those that inspire you. I have an unbelievable network of people that support and encourage me in amazing ways. Entrepreneur friends, coaches, mentors, family and friends have my back when I feel myself slipping. I have an amazing team that surrounds me at Barefoot Works. In fact Teresa Thompson has been my friend and fellow yogini for the entire five years we've been open. She was at the grand opening of Barefoot Works, attended the first class I taught, and four months later she began teaching. All of the teachers at Barefoot Works fill my heart with gratitude. They are a special bunch who helps make the tree house what it is, a sanctuary to nurture and nourish your body, mind, and spirit. Plus it's a tree house!

I feel so happy, so honored, so humbled that you in some way have shared and supported Barefoot Works. Without you Barefoot Works would simply be another pretty tree house. Your presence, your poses, your goodness, your greatness, and your spirit are what make it so very special.

I hope that you'll join me and the rest of the yoga crew for a celebration this Friday from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. We'll have a yoga class with live cello music followed by lite eats and good conversation. Saturday from 11:00-12:00 I am teaching a free beginner class. Please send or bring friends and family members for a delightful taste of yoga.
Thank you from the soles of my feet, to the crown of my head, and to the depths of my heart. I am eternally grateful.

Cheers to five more years and namaste,

anne dean

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I recently came across this poem and thought it fitting for a day like today (9-11).

I'm preparing to spend six hours on the phone with yogis from across the US and Canada as we embark on the path of our yoga teacher training in Tulum. I truly can't think of any better way to spend this day.

Peace, love, and joy to all.....may you honor all life.

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.
~Diane Ackerman

Friday, September 09, 2011

true yoga

"True yoga doesn't care about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life." ~Aadil Palkhivala

As many of you know, the theme at the studio this month is "contemplation". That's a pretty big container, right?!

This week in my classes and practice I decided to focus on ahimsa (nonharming), which is the first of the yamas.

Since the asana is a personal practice, meaning it's truly an aid to move from the external to the internal. {I say this loosely, cause really it's all connected.} I invited students to practice ahimsa by letting their thoughts (this includes mental chatter) and actions (this includes poses and transitions) come forth from a place of love and compassion for themselves.

Perhaps when we can dedicate love to ourselves we can then dedicate to our family and friends.

Then we can dedicate love to the person in front of us at the grocery store.

Then we can dedicate love to those in foreign countries.

Then we can dedicate love to those who have harmed us. Challenging? Yep.

Then we can dedicate love to all beings.

Anywhere and everywhere.

Then yoga takes shape in our body, our mind, our heart, and our entire life.

PS - The lovely Erin Smith gifted me with a CD yesterday (which I believe to be one of the best gift ever). In route to the coffee shop for my soy latte I was jamming out to "Where is the love". It certainly put me in the love mode. ;) Dance party??