Tuesday, August 28, 2012

you are a drop

You are a drop:
Divine being is the ocean.
While you still live,
hold steadily before you
the vision of the whole
and you will be the whole.

Monday, August 27, 2012

meet meghan skirha

Meghan has been teaching the Yoga Basics class on Thursdays for several months now. That's her with her two daughters, Mia and Mara (they are about THE cutest lil' things ever). I'm excited for you to get to know this dynamic yoga teacher. AND she'll aslo be teaching our very first Rock Your Vinyasa next month (details below) and will co-teach a 6:30 a.m. Power Hour yoga class coming up next month. If you haven't taken a class with Meghan yet I highly encourage you to do so!

True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness, all one’s honesty. Albert Einstein
Namaste Everyone! My name is Meghan Skirha and I am honored to be considered a guide to your personal yoga journey. My goal is to impart to you, the joy and fulfillment yoga offers as well as the enlightenment one can experience each and every time you come to the mat. Plus, these workouts Rock!
My love for moving meditation grew out of the experimentation with variant dance forms, in both the performance and tutorial roles.  The formative challenge of choreographing the magical flow of movement sequences to music and coupling one’s spirit with their biomechanics drove me to be a lifelong student of physical expression. 
When academia/life/love/family led me to a direction apart from dance, it was only natural to seek out a continued energetic yet thoughtful movement.  YAY YOGA!   I immersed my toe in the waters, dabbled as it were, but did not find my diving off point until I traveled to Japan.  Then, with a nudge from a dear friend, I jumped in!  Head over heels, heels over head, or whatever asana was required.  After all, Yoga gives you nimbleness.
Being the stranger in a strange land taught me how difficult it can be to achieve acceptance.  Yoga was indiscriminate in that it accepted all, no matter your nationality, sex, ethnicity or belief system.  Also, living abroad availed me to a great influx of international mentors.  Their variant philosophies and unique styles imprinted upon me the belief that yoga isn’t to be approached as a cookie cutter form of movement.  It is a sanctuary of self manifestation that allows for a steadied mind in a world of stressors and day to day chaos.  Yoga gives you peace.
While pregnant with my first daughter, I practiced prenatal yoga on a nearly daily basis.  The experience deepened the spiritual side of my practice and intensified the bond between a mother and her child. Plus, her downward dog is perfect!  Yoga gives you patience.
Upon returning to California from Japan, I continued to experiment with the westernized forms of yoga in an attempt to find a niche to call my own. I began faithfully practicing at Harmony Yoga in Redondo Beach as it presented a physical challenge, a community of mutual appreciation, and the sense of aligned goal attainment.  Yoga gives you commitment.
Inspired by the eclectic cultural and musical flow classes while studying under Chappy and Najla, I passionately elevated my personal yoga practice and as I stretched to find the next physical, spiritual or intellectual level, felt exultant by the possibilities this journey might bring. Yoga gives you motivation.
When Harmony decided to offer a teacher training program, I leapt at the challenge.  I would rise to the ascent, and as I embraced this opportunity, I knew I had chosen something that is internally fulfilling and yet expressively giving to others. Yoga gives you humanitarianism. I wanted to breathe, sleep, eat and do as much yoga as possible, and like a sponge, I soaked it all up and was officially certified in the Fall of 2010.  And…
yep, you guessed it, well into my second pregnancy!

Yoga gives you confidence. After performing bakasana to tripod headstand (one of my most feared asanas!) for a final grade and then continuing to practice inversions and arm balances while well into my third trimester and with severely compromised center of gravity, one has to kind of laugh in the face of labor…..okay smile then?
After becoming certified, life brought me to Lexington, KY, where I live with my husband and two daughters (did I mention yoga gives you patience?) and am proud to join the talented teachers at Barefoot Works.

Much like people, the diversity of yoga was something that caught my attention and immediately attracted me to the practice. A firm believer that yoga is a personal and individualized journey, I am both appreciative of and receptive to all kinds of styles and forms.  Yoga gives you open-mindedness.
My own practice and yoga style is most greatly influenced by Vinyasa flow and I am exhilarated by the creation of dynamic, uplifting sequences by which to inspire my students. My classes are energetic and musically infused, each a little different from the last or the next. New and seasoned yogis are welcome as modifications are always offered and encouraged. I strive to make all yoga practitioners feel safe, comfortable and scrutiny-free irrespective of where you are in your life or in your practice. (You too mothers-to-be, I am knowledgeable and capable of modifications for the pregnant body, did you forget yoga got me through it twice?) Yoga gives you perseverance.

Come to class prepared to sweat and smile and hopefully leave feeling a little bit inspired. And if you don’t, that’s okay too; there is still the nimbleness, peace, commitment, humanitarianism, confidence, open-mindedness, motivation, and perseverance; you get to take it with you.  And of course, don’t forget the sweat!

See you on the mat!
Calling all music and flow lovers! Join Meghan Skirha at Barefoot Works Yoga for a sweaty, creaitve, dynamic, rock your socks off vinyasa flow practice. We'll get movin' and a groovin' to some pumping music as we sweat and challenge ourselves on the mat. Expect to push to your limits with funky, flowing sequences, arm balances, and maybe an inversion or two. Bring a towel and expect to work hard. Funky flow + fantasitc music + fun time yogis for only $15. Not suitable for beginners. Friday, September 14, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

evolution doesn't move backwards

There's no such thing as
"the way things used to be."
Evolution doesn't move backwards.
That's the very first word in the book of Yoga Sutras.
It means "now".
Yoga is all about being in the present moment. It's taken me years to really get that. For a realllly long time I thought it meant that yoga is about being in the moment AND it means showing up, being in the moment in a joyful, peaceful, perfect way.
You know, the yogi way.
Early this morning I was walking in the cemetery. It was the time just before the sun was rising. The air felt cool, brisk. The trees looked different. You could smell fall lingering in space all around.
In the moment I checked in and thought to myself, "I feel good. I feel happy."
It was true.
With that single thought I realized I'd been pushing down the reality of my very first tri-mester during this adventure called pregnancy. The truth is all that many times I said I felt good, when I really didn't.
It's no secret that I prefer to have my face in the sun like a flower blossoming towards the sky. I'm an optimist (many times to a very annoying degree to Andy, family and friends) and always choose to see the glass half full. Aren't all so called dreamers like that? ;)
That has served me in amazing ways throughout my life. In fact it's one of my superpowers. And I love that about myself. You give me most any situation and I can find the silver lining. I'll tell you exactly where the rainbow is.
The downside of this, the shadow side is that I have a tendency to skip over the true nature of my feelings at times. Sadness, anger, grief, low energy, loss of focus. Nope, they've had little place in my adult life. I've restricted that space. I'm really good at being upbeat and positive, yet grounded and in control.
After this morning I realized I've been doing the same, not fully feeling my feelings all the way through over the past couple of months.
When I felt a loss of focus and motivation, I tried to will it, to force, to make things "the way they used to be". The way I used to be.
When I felt sad or confused, or emotional for any reason any newly pregnant mama might be....
I summoned gratitude. Joy. "There, that's more like it", I would think to myself.
The truth is, I believe we are powerful human beings who are fully capable of generating the feelings we desire. Awesome, yes?
But there is a place for confusion, sadness, and anger. They too have lessons to share. A voice to be heard. Ways to help us grow in the ways we most need.
If yoga is truly about being in the moment, isn't it about being with what presents itself in the moment? {Within reason, of course}.
The above quote has been my mantra since I read it a few weeks ago. I'm sorry, I don't even know who the credit goes to (but I thank them immensely).
It's my constant reminder that life is always moving forward. Regardless of what we have to say/think about it.
This isn't my first go round with this idea. I've felt myself clinging to the past in a variety of ways over the years. Wanting to re-live that awesome vacation Andy and I had. Wanting to relish in that retreat again. Wanting to experience that particular training, that moment, that meal, that conversation again and again.
Feeling a sadness hangover when I couldn't make it so.
I am learning today, perhaps more than ever, the power of the present moment. I'm getting that on a whole different level.
I can mourn the parts of me and my personality that are literally dying, while at the same being ecstatic about what's happening in the moment, and what's yet to come. I can make room for all of it.
I'm feeling a willingness to grow and stretch in all parts of my being, as my belly does the same. See above photo. :)
I'm wondering what you think? Not about me (I promise I don't need anyone "fixing" how I feel) but how you make space for all feelings and emotions? If you find yourself clinging to the way things used to be? If you feel you have to be any certain way as a yogi?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

all things connect

Source: oprah.com via Sharon on Pinterest

One of the definitions of yoga is "union"
To unite, is to connect.

Driving to the studio today I thought of the many awesome connections yoga has brought into my life. Some of them so magical, so mysterious that words simply do them no justice.

At my second yoga teacher training (as a student), I met some of the finest women I know. I thought of all three of them as I pondered my many wonderful connections.

I can recall the moment Shelli called me as I was pulling into Barnes & Noble. I sat in the parking lot for a good hour and she gushed about the space that would soon become her yoga studio. Shelli has been with me to Mexico and North Carolina to be a part of my yoga teacher trainings.

I think of Jen and her love of cooking and how she wore flip flops to our yoga teacher training during a cold Cincinnati winter. I see her with me on the beach, on a paddle board, scribbling dreams in a journal, but mostly in a kitchen in the outer banks of North Carolina where she fed me and nine other ladies in the yoga mansion. We were well nourished beyond a belief. Jen is now embarking on her own culinary adventure, Kitchen 452.

I see Mia and her sweet cute self. I see her conquer her fear and perform a headstand perfectly. I see Andy and I driving for one day to Cleveland to see her get married. I see her recently at the studio for the first time. She is still taking notes furiously. Asking brilliant questions. So present.  Letting her guard down. Today I see her upcoming adventure. She too is following her dreams. I see Sarah and Misty connecting with Mia and I smile. Connections. They're just the coolest.

Debra was in one of my very first yoga classes I taught. She was the first person I ever had as a sub (long ago days at Hartland). She was in my very first yoga teacher training. We've spent hours over coffee, had countless lunches at Jo Beth Cafe, and spent a week business retreating at Maya Tulum. She was my connection to Grace, my coach, mentor and friend. A connection Grace and I still can't quite figure out..

Grace has traveled to Kentucky to be a part of my yoga teacher training. I've traveled to Santa Cruz to be a part of her life coach training.  I still have the very first email I sent to her nearly three years ago. It's safe to say, she is yogababy's fairy godmother.

These are just a few connections that have magically wound their way into my life through the doors of yoga. There are countless, priceless others.

A yoga student once said to me at the end of a teacher training that a little part of me would always be with them in their teaching.

I see it all as a big web.
Teachers I've had.
Students I've trained.
The students they've gone on to teach.

It all pretty fantastic.
All things are truly connected.

Monday, August 13, 2012

glimpses of my former self

This morning as I took my dogs for a walk, I wondered.....
"Would it be bad to have that mini Butterfinger for breakfast?"

I quickly shook the thought out of my head and continued onward with Remy pulling me one way to investigate a new scent while Zoe pulls me another way when her little rat terrier eyes land on a bunny peacefully hopping through the cemetery.

Back at the Big Blue House I walk past my Vitamix and juicer on the counter. Are they collecting dust? Yea, I think they are. It's been about three months since they've had any use.

I feel a little sad. I make a quick judgement, "If I were a good yoga mamababy I'd still be gulping down my green smoothies and creating juice concotions. Like I used to do." I go for the mini Butterfinger instead. In two bites I savor the chocolaty concotion made of......well I'm not so sure.

And actually the mini Butterfinger came after the tablespoon of raw brown rice I'd eaten earlier as instructed by my Ayurveda teacher. Andy and I came back from Mexico with some sort of fabulous bug/parasite. This was the natural remedy she suggested. And yes, she did tell me not to rule out going to the doctor.

"Eat one tablespoon of raw brown rice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for one week."
OK. I got it! I can do that!

Do you know that one tablespoon of say..... peanut butter, is much different than one tablespoon of raw brown rice? Do you know how long it takes to chew raw brown rice? I thought I'd be able to get it all down in one big bite. Fifteen minutes later I chew the last few grains of rice for what feels like an eternity.

Shew. That wasn't so bad. I can do that. I love you yogababy. I'll even eat raw rice.

Between the bug from Mexico and general first trimester symptoms my eating has been a mess.

I nearly cry to my Ayurveda teacher...."When I do want to eat all I want to eat are carbs. And it's soooo against my Kapha diet."

Bread. Give. Me. Bread. And I could eat a whole dinner of potatoes....mashed, fried, and baked. That's well balanced right?

I wonder how many times I've said to Andy, "I just don't feel like myself."

All the things my former self loved.....reading, writing, being out in nature, collaging, getting quiet, tuning in. Even my sweet and sacred practice of yoga. It's. All. Different.

What I've been doing instead. Sleeping. And watching tv. One day I watched a marathon of Pregnant in Heels. It's true. Who are you, I would ask over and over.

One evening as Andy and I watched the Olympics I said, "I am so tired of this commercial." The words had barely escaped my mouth before the tears slid down my face and I thought again, "Who the hell are you?" I don't watch much tv and the fact that I had seen a commercial enough times to be sick and tired of it freaked me out. Just a bit. A wee bit.

Ok. A lot.

Intellectually I know that everything is changing within me.
Intellectually I know this lil' being is affecting me, my desires, sensations, and my personality.
Intellectually I know that this too shall pass and one day I will again be excited to read and write and I'll have the appetite to return to my beloved Vitamix.

I'm just patiently waiting for it to sink in on a different, deeper level. Until then, I will be patient. On a good day I'll be patient. On a bad day I'll just cry and remind myself that these wild emotions are temporary.

On another note....I have been getting hit with a few glimpses of my former self.

A spontaneous moment with the window rolled down and my hair whipping around as I sang as loud as I could. And smiled when I felt what can only be described as an inner spark.

The class I taught on Saturday (see photo above) when I felt super present with my teaching and the students.

Dancing with Andy yesterday in our kitchen to Johnny Cash with the dogs barking and jumping around us.

Connecting with the students of the upcoming yoga teacher training in Sonoma. I'm already smitten and when we hung up I felt such excitement at the thought of  meeting them and reveling in all things yoga.

Yes, I've had a few glimpses of my former self.
I'm also getting more comfortable with the idea that I'll never feel exactly the same again. The Sharon I knew will forever be different with this yogababy.

That thought scares me.
And it thrills me like nothing else has before.

In fact, I can feel an inner spark right here, right now.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

weekend yoga fun

Please excuse the randomness of these photos! The Blogger App has a mind of it's own.

Yesterday was filled with lots of yoga awesomeness. I taught class at 9:00 at the newly opened Lululemon.

Such. A. Delight.

Jenny Wiseman  manager/yoga extraordinaire) has simply done a fantastic job. I love the space and the yoginis that came out for class were just the loveliest. There were some very familiar faces, such as the cute yoga gals I snapped photos of above. Some new faces. Some I hadn't seen in a long time. And five women who came out and took their very first class. Loved the mixed group!

I only had a few minutes to look at all the yoga merchandise before skipping off to the studio to meet with the treehouse teachers. Loved seeing all the smiling yogis streaming out the studio and off to enjoy their Saturday. Word was that AnneDean taught a superb class. Of course she did!

I met with the teachers for over an hour and we have some new and exciting things coming up for the local yogis......think new classes, a challenge,workshops, and yoga teacher training (yep, it's coming back to Lex!).

After our meeting concluded we rolled up our sleeves, got the broom, and cleaning goodies out and took to give the studio a nice deep clean. It felt pretty awesome having these gals that love yoga and teaching at the studio, chatting, laughing, catching up, all while cleaning. I am blessed to have people like them on my team. Forever thankful.

And check out the cute boys frolicking in the studio. Cute, eh?! Those yoga rock stars belong to Liz, a dear student and friend.

As I drove home I couldn't help but smile the whole way.

Big thanks for all those who helped put that smile on my face. :)


Friday, August 03, 2012

how to be a light - thoughts on the chick-fil-a fiasco

Seems that everybody has an opinion these days. It only takes about two seconds on Facebook for me to see that.  From the upcoming election, to the Chick-Fil-A fiasco, to Shawn Johnson being photographed with Ronald McDonald.

Segregation is running rampant these days.
I see so much "us against them".
They are bad. I/we are good.

It's making my head spin.
And my heart heavy.

I shared this with Andy over breakfast. At home, I take the dogs for a walk and I got all weepy just thinking about it.

It would be easy for me to throw my opinion into the mix. To make my own judgments about those judging others. I've had to stop myself from "sharing" a photo on Facebook that would "make" them see how absurd this is. But I know that wouldn't work for me.

So instead I'm seeking a solution. I'm emailing mentors. I'm connecting to my own truth. I'm looking for my own answers about how I can create positive change in the world while maintaining my own peace and sanity.

At my life coaching training with Grace we explored a different commitment each day. On day 14 this was it.....

"I commit to being the resolution or solution that is needed: seeing what is needed in the world as in invitation to become that which is required."

Questions we asked include:

Where am I complaining about something, but taking no action?

Where am I wishing something would change, but making no new commitment?

How could I be the resolution in this situation?

It's easy for all of us to sit back and throw stones.
It's much harder for all of us to authentically ask these questions.
Then take action.

And I haven't been able to fully answer these questions. I'm not perfect.
But for the moment I feel more peace in my heart for noticing where it is that I am casting blame and judgments while getting curious about how I can find a win-win resolution.

Just while ago I was laying in my bed and seeking answers on this heavy heavy subject. Across my room I see the words by Neal Donald Walsch taped to my mirror. They seem perfect for today. May they resonate with you in some small way.

How to Be a Light

Embrace every circumstance,
own every fault,
share every joy,
contemplate every mystery,
walk in every man's shoes,
forgive every offense (including your own),
heal every heart,
honor every person's truth,
adore every person's God,
protect every person's rights,
preserve every person's dignity,
promote every person's interests,
provide every person's needs,
presume every person's holiness,
present every person's greatest gifts,
produce every person's blessings,
and pronounce every person's future secure in the
assured loved of God.

**May we all be happy, peaceful, and free from suffering.**