Friday, March 30, 2012

I love being a yogi entrepreneur

I'm at Coffee Times working now and felt the need to take a break and share just a bit of my excitement in leading the daylong workshop The Right Brain Business Plan tomorrow.

I've had a ball getting ready for this workshop.

The books are at the studio.
The goody bags are all complete and ready.
The handouts and worksheets are all stuffed in big envelopes.
The snacks have been purchased.
The magazines have been gathered and ready to be cut up and collaged.
We've got scissors, and glue. and modge podge, and tape, and pretty paper, and so on.

I've relished each part of the process. I've made myself notes. Underlined and highlighted parts of my book. Outlined the day.

I've pondered my own creative, right brain business planning and journey in general.

Just this week I had a lovely conversation with Lisa, a virtual assistant based out of Colorado. We were chatting about our paths in entrepreneurship and she noted that it seems like I've been an entrepreneur for most of my (adult) life.

Then it hit me that I have. Much like my brother Joel who was a huge inspiration for me (and still is) in taking the jump.

The truth is that in my mid twenties I knew on some deep level that this was the road I desperately wanted to take. I have friends at that age who knew wholeheartedly that they wanted a baby.

I felt that way about my work, my passion. Yoga has been the container for all of that.

Several weeks ago I was highlighted on Jenn Lee's, Right Brainers in Business Summit. I watched the replay back and after saw how cheeky, grinny, smiley I was. I had to chuckle at myself.

One thing was very obvious to me. That was how excited, how lit up I got when talking about being in business.

So for these reasons and more I'm just over the moon to be guiding fellow dreamers and friends through a process that I have experienced and believe in. It's gonna be good! I can't wait.....

**I did some spring cleaning around the treehouse yesterday. This included moving the plants around and buying a new plant (cacti +succulent) for our altar. The photo above shows some of that plus the students who really brought their A game to yoga yesterday. They rocked it. I loved it.**

Thursday, March 29, 2012

leeann carey yoga

Here is a teeny tiny glimpse into our weekend with Miss Leeann Carey last weekend. I wanted to post a few pictures before it totally gets away from me.

This was Leeann's third visit in the past year. Each time just gets better and better. Our groups have been pretty consistent so Leeann has a good idea of each of us and where we are as teachers and students.

Each time she begins with a check in and I'm surprised by just how much she does recall about each of us. "How's the knee? Ohhh you still don't like backbends (that would be me) etc, etc. Although that supported fish pose in the bottom left corner of the collage pretty much rocked my world. Now I just need to hire someone to hold me in that pose daily for a couple of minutes.

I feel deeply deeply appreciative that Leeann travels all the way from Los Angeles to work with us here at Barefoot Works. I'm continually inspired by her teaching. The skill she has for seeing what's happening in the poses and in the body is simply amazing.

Plus she's accessible, funny and pretty freakin' cute. Just look at her. Agree?

Friday, March 23, 2012

my kentucky hOMe

I just returned home from three pretty perfect days at the beach. BFF and I have been traveling to Indian Rocks Beach for about 15 years, which officially makes me feel not old, not even necessarily mature, but maybe my actual age of almost 35.

We had perfect weather. Sunny, 80 degree temps, and a nice breeze. We took morning walks as the sun was rising to fetch donuts. Dolphins accompanied us up the beach on our first morning. The last day we discovered a great lil French bakery a mile walk down the beach the other direction. A good thing that was discovered on the last day.

We sat at the water's edge and read. We bobbed in the pool. We sat on the balcony that overlooks the Gulf and watched the sea change colors. We saw a breathtaking sunset. Got too much sun, had a lot of laughs, won the trivia match, met some interesting folks, and spoke of upcoming change and transitions.

Yet when our plane descended from the clouds and I saw Central Kentucky and all it's beauty, I felt a wave of joy. A feeling that only can be described as feeling at home, and in awe of this oh so special place.

I stepped outside the airport and smelled the rain, fresh cut grass,the blooming flowers and trees. A smile spread across my face and I realized there was absolutely, positively, no other place I'd rather be.

Spring time in Kentucky. There is nothing else like it.

hOme sweet hOMe....

**All classes are taking place this weekend as scheduled.* Come Friends.*

Sunday, March 18, 2012

happy random

Such a treat to live to here in the great bluegrass state! Spring is quickly arriving and it's such a feast for my eyes. I look around and see the grass growing greener before my eyes. Yet it seems like it happens overnight....spring, that is. How does it happen so quickly?

Simply astounding.

This past week offered many other treats. I'm still reveling in the joy of having Wah! at the treehouse on Tuesday. A day a later Sarah, Jeanne, Laura and myself hopped on over to Louisville and had dinner at Zen Garden (an Asian vegetarian restaurant) then participated in a sound workshop taught by Wah! Total treat. Spending good quality time with gals I adore, singing, chanting, bonding, and have delicious conversations.

In the middle of the week I went on a work picnic too! I laid in the grass by the big pond (or is that a man made lake or are the same?), ate my lunch, read, made notes, and did some journaling. Between the beautiful weather, picnics, Wah! and roadtrips it was pretty perfect.

Then we had a great weekend of basketball games. I do love this time of year and am a big fan of college basketball! It' about THE only sport I actually delight in sharing with Andy.

Today I gathered on the phone with the NC yoga teacher trainees from 11:30 - 5:00. We talked about what to expect and getting ready for the training (everything from what to pack/bring, to making lists of "things" that we needed to do/tend do before arriving, getting all the hOMework completed prior to training, etc). My good pal Shelli Carpenter and antaomy guru Jules Mitchell also got to introduce themselves and share for a while on the topics they will be teaching.

It's sure to be an awesome group and I am filled with anticipation.

But first things first. With the week that felt like a total vacation I nearly forgot that I'm actually leaving tomorrow for an actual vacay. I'm taking my annual trip to the beach with my BFF. I take few trips that aren't work/yoga related (and no I'm absolutely not complaining) and this is one of the few.

Yip,'s time for big sunglasses, tank tops, flip flops, beach reads, tasty fruit drinks, key lime pie, swimming,late night talks, and long walks on the beach.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wah! in lexington

I drove home last night after the Wah! concert feeling so full.

My head was swimming with the happy reality of her being at the treehouse.
My heart was pulsing with a deep sense of gratitude.

Grateful for the opportunity to be a part of hosting Wah! This was a first for Lexington. Big kudos to Cindy at The Massage Center for calling me up to be a part of it. Big kudos to my yoga bud Shelli Carpenter who got this ball rolling. She is the owner of Eternal Health Yoga and is hosting Wah! tonight and tomorrow.

Grateful for being a part of the experience. I mean, really how cool is this? Wah has been a part of my yoga teaching life since the very beginning. She has sang to me and a bunch of yoga students through the years. It felt a bit surreal.

Grateful for the community of sweet yoga souls around me that sang and swayed and stretched and smiled throughout the evening. It was just the loveliest of things. Almost as if you could reach your hand out and touch love itself.


At the end of the night someone says, "Wow, this was just amazing. You guys are doing such great work. What's next?"

For now I'm resisting the urge to dive onward to planning the next thing. This doesn't come easily nor naturally to me.

Instead I'll continue to bask in the richness of the experience.

And follow Wah to Louisville tonight for 2.5 hours of a "sound workshop". It's gonna be a fun evening with a few treehouse teachers. I can't wait.

Feels like a vacation week.

Monday, March 12, 2012

coach cal didn't "fix" darius miller

Source: via 1 on Pinterest

The yogini in me makes her appearance in the most interesting places.

Yesterday she showed up during the big match, the showdown between UK and Vanderbilt.

First off, I'm a big Darius Miller fan. Maybe because he's a KY boy. Maybe because he's humble. He's got a way in which his fierceness shows up in a cool, calm, and quiet way. I can appreciate that.

So when I saw him play two games during the SEC tournament and not score a single basket, I was a little sad for him.

Yesterday during the Vandy game he got his mojo back. He was making baskets. Fist pumping and unearthing a big hearty smile. Oh wait, was that also the three goggles? Why yes, it was.

So I was slightly annoyed when the sportscaster said, "Coach Cal did what great coaches do. He fixed Darius Miller."
Oh geez. Really?

I immediately said to Andy, who was sitting on the coach (gnawing on his fingernails), "He didn't FIX Miller."

Call me crazy, but Andy wasn't in the mood to go deep into conversation about Coach Cals inability to "fix" people. We put it aside and went back to nail biting and rallying the Cats.

What I really think is that Coach Cal can inspire Darius Miller. He can remind Miller is his goodness, his greatness on the basketball court. Letting his know that it's very much present and there, waiting for him to confidently take back.

He can remind him that he's playing his last of four years (and come on, that's a rarity at UK now and should alone be celebrated) at UK.

He can remind him that he's a leader on this team and people are looking to him to lead the way.

Coach Cal can remind him of a lot of things.

Coach Cal does indeed do a lot of things.

But he can't "fix" Darius Miller.

Miller is much more than a young man (temporarily) playing basketball at UK. He's more than the baskets he does or doesn't make.

You can't fix something that's not broken.

Let the Darius Miller loving commence.

Friday, March 09, 2012

the power of one pose

When newbies come into the studio to have a chat with me or sign up to take classes there are a few questions asked repeatedly.

One such question is, "How often should I practice yoga?"

We then have a discussion about their schedule, their needs, their willingness to make a commitment to the yoga practice, and what they can realistically commit to.

Even with the newbies that don't yet know the power within this simple yet profound practice I tell them, "It's always my hope that students can do a little daily. Practicing one pose, taking five mindful breaths, or spending as little as five minutes can create positive change."

I've been thinking about this and I've got even more clear on it.

Students can come to class once a week or five times a week. They can blow through their practice. Be totally in their head the whole time, more concerned with the person next to them. Not listening inward, but dedicating all their attention outward.

Or a student can wake up in the morning, know they have a busy day ahead, and dedicate five minutes to themselves on the mat. They can set the intention that those five minutes are solely dedicated to loving and nurturing themselves. They are fully present. Feeling the presence of the breath. Noticing the interaction between the body and the breath. They receive the beauty, the energy, and the goodness of the breath.

So yes, while I want people to continue coming to the treehouse and learning yoga, it's equally important to me (and more crucial to their own health and well-being) that they commit to doing a little daily.

Maybe it's more about the quality and less about the quantity. Maybe it's not the number nor the complexity of the poses, but how you personally regard the pose and the practice.

As always, you get to choose.

If you are doing yoga to get stronger yet you find yourself only in restorative yoga classes you may not get the desired result.

If your yoga is a spiritual practice and you are practicing as a way to love, honor and trust yourself yet everything takes precedence over your practice and you rarely make it to your mat then you may not get the desired result.

Getting clear on why you do yoga is certainly fuel for your practice.

What's your one go to yoga pose you can do daily and love it up? I'm a total downward facing dog kinda gal.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

every drop fills the bucket

This morning I was listening to a recording my Babaji and of our efforts to walk this path and take care of ourselves and the greater good he says "every drop fills the bucket".

I think often times we tell ourselves it's not a "real" yoga practice unless we spend over an hour on our yoga mat.

It's not really meditation unless we light a candle and sit peacefully for 20-30 minutes.

I can't really write that book unless I carve out two hours to write daily.

I can't do more of what I love unless I quit my day job.

Babaji's words also reminded me of this passage by Danna Faulds that I love:

"As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward without even knowing where I'm going, that many times I can make the choice to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk slowly into the mystery."

Today I'm getting curious about the little drops, the short and sweet efforts I can make to fill the bucket.

Some thoughts include:

*standing up at random times and stretching my arms up towards the sky and folding down deep towards the earth.
*checking in with my body at each stoplight.
*verbally appreciating the efforts of each person who serve me in any way today (store clerk, barista, etc).
*joining my dog outside in the backyard for a burst of fresh air
*having a one song dance party
*giving and receiving one delicious and affirming hug
*sitting and feeling the sun on my skin for a few minutes
*send a kind text, email, or card to someone
*holding down dog for five breaths or five minutes
*read one poem
*call someone and let them know I've been thinking of them (and if I'm short on time saying, "Hey I've only got 5 minutes but I've been thinking of you......"
*setting my kitchen timer for 15 minutes and pick up around the big blue house.
*randomly doing something nice for someone
*writing five adjectives that describe my day in my journal.
*telling myself and others "you is kind, you is smart, you is important."

And in case you're needing to hear it.....

What are other short and sweet ways you can think of to "fill the bucket"?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

looking for answers

"O Friend, what you're looking for does exist, but not where you're looking." Babaji's teacher

For a long time I've been on a quest for contentment, although I didn't always use that word. It was my desire to feel whole, to feel full and satisfied in life. That was the answer I was seeking.

Yet instead of looking inward, I focused my attention and efforts outward.

I looked for it in getting away from my roots, my home, and going off to college.

Then in moving away after college, getting even farther from home, and finally having money.

I thought my marriage was supposed to make me feel content and whole. Sorry Andy, that's a heavy burden. ;)

I can continue in this way. Going through the list of things, people, places, and experiences I thought would make me feel content and settled.

It was during my first yoga class that I got a delicious taste of pure contentment. Sure there were other times I'd felt content. But at this particular time I was ready to make a full commitment to making change and living differently.

What I've learned is that it's part of my nature to want to learn and seek new experiences. And I'm ok with that. I actually really happy and enjoy this part of Me.

Yet I do have to keep myself in check. It's hard for me to put the brakes on at times. There are soooo many great things in the world!

I know that in order to be most effective in my life and in the world all the experiences I seek must come forward from a grounded and focused place. A place of me feeling nourished and deeply grateful for all that I am and all that I've been a part of.

So as I'm immersing myself in the life coaching realm and preparing to lead my very first Right Brain Business Planning workshop this month, I'm also staying grounded in my day to day self care practices, teaching and business to-dos.

Or attempting to do so. Some days it comes easier.

When I'm feeling unsettled, anxious, or impatient I have to get quiet, dive inward, and ask myself "what's really going on here?" Many times it's something I'm avoiding, something I've skipped over, something I haven't allow myself to feel or express.

Then I take some sort of action. A few deep breaths. Move my body. Do some writing or have a conversation with someone.

Some of this is a new way for me in being in the world and in my relationships and some feels very old and familiar.

Yet when I'm finished I feel connected to my own wholeness and I realize I don't have to be on a quest for answers nor contentment because they are already as much a part of me as my own hopes, dreams, and desires.

All I have to do is bring my attention to it and affirm it.

Friday, March 02, 2012

yoga is a religion, yoga is a sex cult, and yoga kills you

First off, I want to remind people of the very first time you walked into a yoga studio to take a class.

Do you recall how you felt? I do. I was nervous. And uncertain. I didn't exactly know what happened in a yoga class. Do they sit and meditate the whole class. Stand on their head. Chant words that will make no sense to me? I had little clue. All I knew was that the universe kept pointing me in that direction. Go. Do. Yoga.

Plus I was having my mid-twenties crisis and it just seemed like a good idea. I thought it might be able to help me calm my wild thoughts and help me center and connect to myself. Of course at the time, those were not the words I used.

It was more like, "Oh shit, my life is falling to pieces. I'm too young for my life to fall to pieces. What the hell am I gonna do? I've gotta figure this out."

When I see and read the articles in The New York Times and I hear that people actually think yoga is a religion it gets to me.

Not because it ruffles all my yogi feathers in a purist way. Ok, ok some if it has ruffled my yoga tail feathers, just a bit. I can't lie.

It's mostly upsetting to me because here we are adding to the list of reasons not to do yoga. As if people need more reasons not to do yoga. In general as a society we already feel less than.

Oh I can't do yoga because I'm too old, too young, too skinny, too fat, too tight, too weak, too conservative, too eccentric....on and on and on.

Now we have people reading these articles and perhaps thinking they'll either break their neck doing yoga or get lured into a sex cult.

Geez, really?

Yogs is not (and I repeat not) a religion. We have no place of worship. No god or gods we must pray or bow down to. Yoga does not tell you to pray to any certain thing nor person. Yoga actually encourages you to connect to any source that uplifts you. One of the niyamas is "ishvara pranidhana" which is connecting to a higher source energy. Be that source the sun, Jesus, Allah, your lover, whatever. Yoga does not attempt to define what that higher source is. And I love that. Wars break out, people fight, and do all sorts of crazy things in the name of God and love. We get so attached, so righteous about what we believe to be the ultimate truth. Really seems counter-productive to me.

Yes, yoga has deep spiritual roots that are there should one be interested in exploring that. It is not a prerequisite nor a requirement. You can come do yoga to get a nice yoga ass or you can come to connect to spirit. Whatever. It doesn't matter to me. We all have our individual reasons and that is a beautiful thing in and of itself.

Yoga as a sex cult....yes let's explore that one. Appears all this talk stems from the scandal happening around John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga. If you're curious just Google John Friend Sex Scandal and you'll get more information than you care to read.

First of all, yogis are not super humans free from struggle nor suffering. Yogis are humans. I'm not at all justifying his behavior. Mostly what I'm saying is that when you really think about it, it's not that utterly shocking.

Disappointing? Yes.
Sad? Yes
Shocking? At first yes, upon further inquiry maybe not.

Sex scandals occur all over the people, family people, politicians, religious leaders, and yes, yogis.

This is a reminder to each of us as a student of yoga. It's not about your teacher. Really, it's not. It's about the wisdom within yoga and You. I get that your yoga teacher can serve as a source of inspiration. Your teacher has been walking the path. Seeking and striving to live a good life and sharing what is true for them. It's not about them. I repeat. If they say it is about them, that's a big red sign. When it starts to feel like your worthiness is based on your teacher and it's more about them then I'd step back and ponder what's truly happening.

Lastly, this idea that "I'd better not do yoga because I might hurt myself."

News flash....I can spill my hot coffee onto my lap and hurt myself. I can slip and fall on the street and hurt myself. I can literally dance my big toenail off and hurt myself (yes still slightly traumatized by that one).

Asanas (the yoga poses) are physical. You can hurt yourself doing anything physical. A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Both students and teachers have responsibility when it comes to safety in a yoga classroom. We as teachers are looking for signs of students overdoing it and straining. That's why I always say, "If you can't breathe in this pose, don't do it!". I've had conversations with students and essentially said, "I don't think you're ready for this pose."

Students have responsibility. Just because we teach it, doesn't mean you have to do it. Honor your body. Listen deeply. Find your edge in the pose and don't push past it. Be more concerned about your body and pose than your neighbors. How do you know if it's too much?

If you can't breathe you shouldn't be in that pose.
If your mind is freaking out you shouldn't be in that pose.
If it's a pose that requires great strength and you're just not there yet, you shouldn't be in that pose.
If it hurts (and this is more than simply uncomfortable) you shouldn't be in the pose.

Actually when the article by William Broad came out in NYT I felt really good about my method of teaching and the process I lead trainees through in yoga teacher training. I believe it to be wise, safe, and sustainable.

Basically I love yoga. I want everybody to do yoga.

I truly believe that if we all did yoga the world would be a much better place. I do. I believe that deeply, in the core of my being. When I read some things I just want to bang my head against the wall because it seems so unbelievable to me.

Don't believe everything just because you read it or someone told you to believe it. Take it in, try it on, and then choose for yourself. The same thing is true for yoga.

Shew. That was a lot. I shall now step off of the yoga soapbox. Thanks for listening. Or reading.

Have a great day friends.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

living in appreciation

Hello Blog.
Hello Friends.
It's been a while....

I'm happy to be here with this soy latte, my manual for my life coach immersion, and my pinktop.

I have so much to say about my time in Santa Cruz. My heart and my head sorta feel like their opening and exploding all over the place. Tha aha's, hmmmmm's, oh shits, and hell yea's are abundantly flowing.

Today what I'm feeling is appreciation.

And just how happens we spent a whole day in my life coach immersion deep in the throes of appreciation.

Each day we have a commitment that we explore. This was commitment #9 and reads like this:

"I commit to living in appreciation, both fully opening to receive and to giving appreciation."

The counter-commitment reads like this:

"I commit to feeling entitled to "what's mine", and to resenting when it's not acknowledged in the way I want. I commit to withholding my appreciation of others. I commit to taking others for granted."

We explored this commitment in the yoga class I taught this morning. During centering we appreciated things in the outer landscape....

The sun and the way the light danced in across the studio floor.
The sounds of the birds chirping.
A bright blue sky.
Plants, flowers, trees.
Spring beginning to burst forth in all Her glory.

We then turned out attention to our inner landscape. An invitation to appreciate our very own magnificent inner landscape.

The feeling of hands resting on legs.
Our legs, belly, back, and chest.
The breath and it's magical ways.
The mind and it's marvelous ways of working.
So much to appreciate.

We began to move and appreciate the marriage of body, movement, and breath.
We appreciated our fingers, wrists, and hands.
They allowed us to drive here, hold a mug of hot tea, hug a dear one.

We appreciated our shoulders in cow face pose.
Our hips in warrior II.
Our hammies in hand to big toe.

We moved into our edge in poses. That place where it feels uncomfortable "to be".
We pondered how appreciation can show up even in these uncomfortable places and feelings....

Could we appreciate our body, our pose, our feelings for what they were now, even in having room to grow in the pose on the mat...
And in our life off the mat?

"I commit to living in appreciation, both fully opening to receive and to giving appreciation."

This is so much of what I strive to bring to my life and my teachings within yoga. Yoga and life...Life and yoga as expression of love and appreciation.

This is the stuff dreams are made of.
This is the stuff my dreams are made of.

I'm feeling deeply, deeply appreciative today.
Too put words to it would take too long.
I'd say too much.

e.e. Cummings says it best with,

"I thank you God
for most this amazing day.
For the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a true blue dream of sky.
For everything which is natural,
which is infinite
which is Yes."

It's good to be home. I've missed You.