My photo
Newnan, Georgia, United States
I am a yoga student continuously studying, taking workshops and practice, practice, practice.
Currently enrolled in a 230hr Yoga Teacher Training. I hope to share that with you here.
Born & raised in the south along the banks of the Mississippi in Louisiana. Married in 2003 and transplanted to Georgia.
A southern Yogini at heart.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fresh Start

Hi Wordpress, where have you been my entire blogging life??

I decided to make a move over to wordpress from my Blogger Account! Many reasons; but the main reasons is the additional features Wordpress allows such as "pages" so I can provide future students with my schedule! Another reason is a fresh start. Next month I will be graduating from my training. I know this will not be the end of my yogic path and learning opportunities. I am considering signing up for my 500hour with Stephanie and there are many many workshops in the future!

But, I wanted a fresh start with a nice neat new blog!

I am excited; because the future is wide open and many things are starting to change around me. I hope to start teaching more classes around Newnan after my training is complete. I head up to Asheville this weekend for the 8th weekend/month of training. It is our last weekend of actual asana and practice.

This weekend will include:
  • Sutra Discussions

  • Gentle Yoga class

  • Master Flow Yoga class

  • Student Teachings

  • Meditation and Silence from Saturday evening until Sunday morning at 8:30 am

  • More Meditation

  • Pheonix Rising Yoga


In May we go back to take our final exam (totally paranoid about that) and for graduation.

Also remember to check out Asheville Yoga Blog! I will be submitting posts from time to time. I recenlty published a brief piece on Spring Cleaning your Yoga Mat!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yoga, yoga yoga...

Had a pretty awesome mysore practice this morning. Nothing crazy Asana wise; although I am improving on my transitions and dropbacks (I need to work on both a little more on my own time outside of the practice)
Starting to see the same people every mysore morning and that is refreshing. A fellow student was talking about her pups this morning. One boxer and one french bulldog; thus we immediatly bonded over furry babies. I love my furrbaby. I need to post some new photos of her. She is stinkier and cuter than ever...

I felt amazing after practice; my wrist was a little wonky in the beginning but really grounding evenly through the palm helped stabalize it a bit.
After a super sweaty practice I cleaned up and headed to work. On my way out I ran into an old fellow monday night mysore student (from over a year ago when we would practice mysore in the little room with 7 of us shoved in there--it was our own little monday night meet up...and it was awesome) It was good to see her. Then I ran into another dear friend; one that I traveled with to Islamorada a few years ago in hopes of practicing with Guruji but he fell ill.
It was great to see her. The community around a studio is pretty amazing. I think I've been practicing with M and the studio since 2007. Such a great yoga family.

This weekend:
Saturday - Teach at 11 and 12, Dogwood festival with Denver & JP
Sunday- Mysore practice at 10, Assisting class at 12

I need to put the final touches on my final paper, gathern my homework for teacher training next weekend! Only 2 more weekends (April & May) and I graduate! :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Intense back bends...

Happy Monday!

Mysore this morning was intense. It started just fine; although I was a bit distracted with having to blow my nose a few times during practice...gotta love allergy season!

I was given some good tips for my chattarunga (a work in progress!) When doing it right it feels so right but it is so hard!

Back bending was intense today...seriously intense. I was short on time so after my last backbend my teacher told me to do shoulder stand and the savasana. After class and my whole drive to work I was super shaky and emotional. First time that has happened. Weird.

Not much else! This coming up weekend is the Dogwood Festival. Denver & I love going every year to look at the amazing artists and photography. So we will probably do that one day this weekend.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ashtanga Inspiration

Thanks to ArkieYogini for sharing her experience of the Old Shala Workshop at Miami Life Center.

This video is great! It has given me a few tips to work on; as I still am stumbling with my jump backs and jump throughs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Yoga Blog roll

I would have never found this blog list without the help of Joy of Yoga! This awesome extensive blog roll list is great (not because I am on it...) but there are a ton of great blogs and sites listed.

I was surprised to see I made the list, that is really nice!
So in yoga news; I am putting the finishing touches on my final paper for teacher training. My subject is Yoga and Buddhism. I am also building my sequence to teach, learning my sun salute (which is funny because I was assigned Ashtanga Surya Namaskar A- one I do know pretty well. Although I was kind of liking the Traditional Sun Salute- reminds me of Dharma Mittra's classes.



Today I made it to morning mysore practice at Balance...it was a rough practice today and I know it was because of lack of sleep and I was just due for an off practice. It was time. So I am glad that is out of the way! :)
I was a ball of mush once I got to backbending; but I made it through. Thank goodness!

I think I am doing something wrong in two things (and need to talk to my teacher about it) Chattarung- done the right way is feeling better; it is harder, but I still feel a bit of pain in my upper right arm. My headstands have been a bit "off" and I think it is tweaking my neck muscles. They are pretty sore today...so I need to be more mindful and pay attention.

Not much else to report. Besides the city of Atlanta was in a nice yellowish-green fog today. My silver car has a new paint job. Love the spring in Atlanta; and the Pollen is just a by-product. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Finally back on my mat

Mysore practice....after a week off!
Today I made it to the studio for practice; I haven't done a full practice in well over a week due to this cold. Today I felt ready. I had a few coughs and just a few times I had to slow down to remember how to breathe out of my nose...since I haven't been able to do that in a week as well!
The treat was that there were two teachers today; and a larger group of mysore students. So that was a nice surprise. Another suprise was that even though I haven't practiced the full series in over a week; I didn't loose too much ground. My body opened back up pretty quickly. My jump back/throughs were a bit rusty- but they are still works in progress :)
But the main asanas were not incredibly difficult. I was able to bind on both sides of Marichyasana D (with help from my teacher of course) and dropbacks were okay; a little intense today. But my teacher said she made me work a little harder with them than normal. :)
Felt great to practice; and so many familiar kind faces in the room.
Also practicing with the windows open and it 80 degrees outside is pretty darn nice! At the end of practice I felt better; able to breathe better too!

Being sick this last week was a reminder how attached I am to the physical practice of Yoga, and a reminder that there is much more to the "practice" than just asana.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Theres a new blog in town...

As many of you know I am a huge supporter of the Asheville Yoga Center. My relationship with AYC began last May when I enrolled in the 5-Day Vinyasa Teacher Training. I distinctly remember the first few days calling my dear friend and saying "I am not sure...I don't know..." about the studio, the teacher, etc...
By day 5 my world was turned upside down, I was also very touched by Stephanie as a teacher. After a lot of thinking and debtaing and discussion I managed to sign up for the 9 month teacher training that began in October of 2009. In just two months 25+ teachers will emerge from AYC.

Well, as the family continues to grow so does AYC! They just annouced their plans to build a truly green yoga studio! They are expanding their space to include a new building. If you know much about AYC; they bring amazing teachers to the Southeast; from Cora Wen, Doug Keller, Rod Stryker, Bryan Kest, Doug Swenson, David Swenson and Chandra Om...just to name a few!

Their plans are to build another space in order to have regular weekend classes; alongside the amazing workshop weekends!
Congrats AYC!


You can follow along with the AYC community on their new blog. Follow along with the construction of the new green studio and also read some inspiring articles or yummy recipes.
I really enjoyed Attaining Imperfection on and off the mat by Ann Ferguson.
AYC is creating a wonderful online community that is a true reflection of what goes on in the studio with the famous cloud wall (as pictured below)


My teacher & inspiration- Stephanie Keach

Other ways to follow AYC: Facebook and Twitter
If you are in the Southeast and want to attend some amazing workshops check out their site; also their teacher training is pretty awesome!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ginger

Spring is here! It is sun shining and 70+ degrees outside today.
Along with spring I have what I believe is my very first chest cold. I don't remember ever really having one before. Most of my colds are always sinus related.
So this has been a difficult 2-3 days. Yesterday I officially lost my voice. Today it is still very manly sounding and comes and goes. Doesn't work well with the phone calls I make for work.

Today I made some homemade ginger tea and that seemed to help with the discomfort a bit.
I will make another pot in a moment.
Very simple:
Grate or cut fresh ginger
Use filtered water
Place into pot and bring to boil
Cook on low/medium 10 min
Cover and remove from stove to steep for an additional 10min
Mix in Honey and lemon if you desire. Honey is great for soothing your throat as well; and raw honey is best.

**It can be pretty spicy!**

Not much asana this week. My body craves it but I can't truly breathe...so with advice from a friend I've done legs up the wall and meditation. That has been my practice this week.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pitta...all the way

So training this weekend was interesting! Filled with so much information and a little asana. The training is winding down. One more weekend of Asana and learning. Then our final weekend with our exam and one on one's with Steph!

So the weekend ended with Vishnu Das- a lecture and exercise on Ayurveda. I was SO inspired!
When we did out little worksheet and discussed our Constitutions...it was almost comical for me personally. I have an Ayurveda book (strange enough it is the one by Vishnu Das Teacher! I got it last year thinking I would take a course and the book was required reading...but I never followed through...but it entered back into my life...INTERESTING) and I haven't read it yet!
But I've done a few of the Ayurveda tests in the past. So I grouped up with a fellow trainee and we helped each other verify our own opinions.
Get this
4 Vata
30 Pitta
3 Kapha

I am like full-blooded Pitta...and Vishnu agreed. (Well he actually said that: and after he looked at my hands) It is comical...because for my constitution I do everything Opposite that I should do and "over stoke" my pitta/fire.
I have some reading ahead...I just feel it :)

If you are Pitta Dosha predominant, you are very intelligent, logical and perceptive, although very critical too. You are also prone to fiery emotions such as irritability and anger and have no problem expressing them. You can be very convincing and articulate. You possess a strong will and are dignified, yet you also experience righteous indignation easily. You make a good leader and are helpful and kind to your friends and followers, but you can be cruel and unforgiving to your enemies.

With a Pitta predominant constitution, you tend to be bold and adventurous, inventive and ingenious. You are not very sentimental, have good discrimination and also a good memory. You enjoy power and would like to spread your name and fame around the world. Try to remain calm, especially in the summer, and cultivate felings of peace and compassion. Meditation is a must for you.

When aggravated, Pitta Dosha can cause an aggressive, controlling and destructive behavior, along with feelings of hatred, jealousy and vindictiveness. Pitta type of disorders include hyperacidity, ulcers, skin eruptions, colitis, Chron's disease, chronic fatigue, liver problems and many inflammatory conditions. Pitta governs digestion, assimilation, absorption, body temperature and metabolism.

So Friday I made it to the Jivamukti class with Stephanie Johnson at AYC. She has a really nuturing tone to her class. She was tough yet kind. The class also kicked my butt :)

Friday evening I headed to training; we had the lovely Shala. She was wonderful (as always) and we did a flow class focused on shoulders and wrists. Followed by our group relaxations we had to lead. Then final meditation.

Saturday was Anusara with Joe Taft. His class was focused on Psoas...if you've read my blog you know I have sciatica caused by my piriformis on my left side. (I've had an x-ray to rule out spinal issues and soon after saw Gina Minyard who helped me understand my issue)

The class was wonderful and I highly recommend practicing with Joe if you are interested in Anusara!!

Saturday we also had Dr. Biddle. He was interesting (to say the least) and had treated many "recovering Vegans and vegetarians" I will leave it at that. He was very funny, and direct and interesting to listen to!!

Sunday started with Marion...our last anatomy class. She is so wonderful at explaining anatomy. Seriously for anyone who hasn't taken an anatomy class this stuff is like an unfamiliar language.
However, Marion helps break it down for the "lay" people!!!

After lunch we haad Vishnu Das. Whom I mentioned at the beginning. Serioulsy, just take a moment and take the quiz on their site. Just look at it!

So...while heading out of class I started getting the allergy symptoms. Itchy throat, itchy eyes, etc...
About 20-30 min into my drive I was MISERABLE! I had a horrible reaction.
I took several benedryl. As of right now Iam still suffering. Itchy eyes, ears, nose and sore throat.

I feel like crap!

Ok...time for more benedryl, hot tea....and hopefully sleep if I can breathe!
P.S. Can't believe we only have 2 weekends left at training..... wow!
Here are some photos!


mark leading us in asana (above and below)


Ready for Chanting with Steph! (Don't I have the most beautiful amazing yoga teacher...Serioulsy!!!) And...she is an amazing singer!







Monday, March 22, 2010

A new week and a new Asana

Happy Monday!
And we are greeted with light snow in Atlanta! How odd!!
This morning headed to mysore practice. It was yummy...again. I know that typically after a good practice; the next one seems a bit "rough" but today was pretty good.
Also, the mysore community at balance seems to be growing. I think when I left the room had 6 people. That is pretty good.

My practice was sweaty (as usual...) and my body felt pliable. I think not eating after 4:00/5:00 is making a difference in my morning practice.
Still working on my "jump throughs" I will get it one day.
Lets see...getting my head closer to the floor on Prasarita Padottanasana A which means my hamstrings are waking up :)

Was able to "touch" my hands in Marichyasana D but I can't balance and bind without my teacher. But the thing is that I was able to tough on both sides. So that is showing consistent progress. The thing is that it is a tough tough twist for me...but honestly it feels pretty awesome on my spine.

Hmmm...what else about practice; Oh yes!!!! My teacher moved me onto a new asana. No more stopping at Navasana. lol
So worked Bhuja Pidasana Always fun to work on something new and challenging. Then onto backbending...which was wonderful. I love backbending. One day I will be able to come up on my own....one day.

So, this week will be busy. I finished both of my papers for training; Breathing book review and Yoga & Hinduism. My brain got so overloaded when I was doing the 2nd paper. Goodness!

Friday I head back up to Asheville. May is going to be here so quick!!
Okay, lots to do! Enjoy your Monday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mysore- quick post...

This morning I made it to mysore practice. Twice this week; that felt awesome!
I can see when I go to the studio more than once for mysore in one week; I seem big progress. Mainly because my teacher is hands on and there to help me into the poses she knows I need help in.
I can see changes...
Denver and I are not eating after like 6:00pm too. We noticed we've been eating sooo late. So that is making my morning practices a bit lighter as well.

Today I did bind on one side of Marichyasana D! My teacher also helped me through the entire backbending sequence; I've never done that...
And I bound on Padmasana (for about 5 seconds them my right hand slipped) but it is interesting to see the changes!
The last 2-3 practices have been nice; but I am not getting attached... Because nothing is ever linear!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice...

Reminder from my teacher:
It's a lot of work to travel down this path and you have to: 1) Have faith in it. Believe in it. See how others have benefited from it and keep reminding yourself that it works! 2) Choose to do the work and stay with it. Doubt in the practice and in yourself will get you no where.

Thought I would share. :) As she is always very inspiring to me.
Which is interesting because she sent me this some time last week. And on Sunday evening I attended Sangha where we talked about the 5 Hindrances in Theravada Buddhism: Sensory Desire, Ill will/Anger, Sloth and Torpor, Worry/Restlessness, Doubt.

I seem to always make it up to....Worry and doubt. Those are my 2 hindrances that I never get past. I think I have a good hold on the first 3 (although the sloth likes to appear from time to time) :)

On a different note: Friday morning I made it to the studio for Mysore practice. A few days away from the practice and I was worried. But it was a pretty good practice. I had some pretty good binds and dropbacks. Plus got my nose to my knee in the Janu's.

Saturday night we had the Partnering for Humanity Event. It went pretty well! It was a fun partner class and my partner was Rawls!


Sunday was a bit of a lazy morning. Then we headed to Sangha. It was a blissful hour long meditation and 2+ hours of dharma teachings. I really enjoy being in Bhante's presence; and being there with my husband is a great way to strengthen your connection.


This morning I was up and out the door at 5:30 for Mysore again. Even though it was a moon day. My practice was pretty good; it was definitely what I needed!


Some little accomplishments in Utthita Hasta Padangustasana; Reached my nose to my thigh in that! Plus my nose to my thigh in Paschimottanasana. So for me that is huge. I am more "back bendy" I have a sway back and those types of moves don't harbor me that much. But forward folding for me...has been difficult. The hamstrings say NO! But with consistent practice they are opening up a good bit; but it takes those 10 sun salutes in the beginning to get them going!

I was also able to touch both toes in Badha Padmasana! (Bound Lotus)

Little by little my body is opening back up to the primary series.


However, I am on this antibiotic that is making me feel so FUNKY! Dislike dislike, but it is the only that does the job :(

Other than that...life is good. Busy! I need to put the finishing touches on my 2 papers due! And Study!! Okay--happy monday!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Winding down...

Weekend 6 of training is complete; only 3 more left! I go back again this month, and then once in April and we Graduate in May. Just can't believe it!
I really need to set aside some time to study anatomy more.
I also have 2 papers to write and lots of evaluation, assisting and teaching to do.

The weekend was fun. I went up early for Jivamukti class. That class was awesome.
Discussion on one sutra we were focusing on during class; a kick-butt asana practice, good music, pranayama and meditation. Just wonderful!
Friday night for training we had to lead our groups in meditation. That was nice.
Saturday was kids yoga and then Kundalini and Bikram.
Sunday was Shala's master class that was soo well rounded and wonderful. Then some more adjustment work and sequencing games.
We closed out with some time with Stephanie and chanting.
It is sad it is getting so close to being complete. Yet wonderful all at the same time.

So many ideas floating around in my head of what I want to do...

This morning I woke up and got on my mat. It was what I needed to start the week off right!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Celebrate!

Well today has been lovely so far...31 feels good.
I woke up later than I would have liked; but the overcast made my room so comfy.
Right now it is snowing outside my home office window..and it looks cold.
When I strolled into my office on my desk I was suprised by the cutest hello kitty bag!



My husband spoiled me with new books.
I've been looking at this one for sometime.
Mindfulness in Plain English. Denver has/is reading some other books by Bhante Guaratana.
Plus this is recommended on Sarah Powers reading list. So I wanted to add it to my Dharma books collection.



Then he found this book; One Nights Shelter. It is one you can't find in stores. He located a used version on Amazon. This is by Bhante Yogavacara Rahula. He runs the Bhavana Society with Bhante Guaratana. When we go to Sangha and mediate with "our" Bhante at the Vihara he has mentioned Bhante Yogavacara Rahula. it was after he realized I practiced and studied yoga. He said that Bhante Yogavacara Rahula was a funny guy and yogi. He mentioned this book and I was so happy Denver got it for me. It is an Autobiography of how Bhante Yogavacara Rahula "finds the path of Yoga and Buddhist Meditation, escaping the jungle of a Vietnam Veteran's trauma, of drug taking and dealing, of jail in Afghanistan, of an uprooted desolate life style... One Night's Shelter is an entertaining adventure book and at the same time a straight forward introduction into the Buddha's Teachings."



As if I wasn't spoiled enough! Nicole sent me a wonderful gift!!
A copy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - By Edwin F. Bryant
Nicoel talked highly of Edwin F. Bryant from her teacher training with Dharma Mittra.
It is such a sweet gift and a wonderful addition to my yoga/buddhist studies.
It is also just a beautifully put together version



I am on book-over-load! I still have several to finish for Teacher Training. But lets just say I have reading material to keep me busy until 2010! And the hard part is I want to read them all NOW! :)
Oh yes and I have my very own minature Probert thanks to Nicole :)
If you need to know who Probert is in real life take a look at him here and here (the cutest face EVER) well besides Chai of course... no person or dog can out-cute this face:



Off to enjoya mexican feast my husband is cooking....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Last day as a 30yr old :)

This morning I hit my mat for mysore practice at Balance yoga. My last practice as a 30year old. Tomorrow when I get on my mat I will be one year older....which is odd because I don't feel over 23-25 years old...

Anyway, this morning was a good turn out. About 6-7 of us I think. I was able to use my new Manduka Mat. It was a birthday present and the last mat that will need to be purchased for my use. It will take a few practices to get that slick layer off the top. Luckily the yogi toes is now getting used. It has been out of comission for awhile.

Anyway, my practice was good. I was able to bing in Marich. C on both sides; which was a first. I kept my practice a little light; just stepping back rather than jumping back (for most vinyasas) saving some of my energy; and trying to build stamina.
Made it to backbending; was able to do 3 on my own and with help managed 3 drop backs. It was intense; but felt great.

So this weekend I head back to Asheville for weekend 6 of training. We actually have a training weekend twice this month! I finished my paper and I am almost done with Miracle of Mindfulness by TNH.

So I am looking forward to the weekend. I can't believe we are almost done. In May it will be complete. I am debating on driving up early on Friday to attend the Jivamukti Class at AYC. My housemate went last time and said it was a really really good class. So I think I want to try it. I don't think anyone in Georiga offers Jivamukti Classes. I have the book and DVD (christmas present) I find it interesting and alluring for some reason. Perhaps because SKP Jois was one of Sharon and David's teachers. And when we went by their studio in NYC it was just captivating. There was a mix up when we went to the studio and we missed the class we intended to take. So we opted for tea in their cafe.
PLUS I like Sharon's book a lot. Yoga and Vegetarianism.

Well...lots of work to do and need to enjoy the rest of my day!
Hope you do the same!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Heavy...

This week has been so intense. My weekend was intense, my office has been intense. Just so much "intensity"
I think that affected my practice a bit today during mysore practice at Balance. I was present; very sleepy and very heavy.
M and I taked after my practice and it did occur to me that it was probably due to my 9:30pm dinner...that is what I get for working until 8:30pm at the office. No more of that!

My practice was heavy; like I mentioned. Once I got to Surya Namasakar B I knew it was going to be that kind of practice. But of course I received some great tips to work on; like the cycling of my feet. Something I've worked on for a long time. As a child I walked with my toes pointed out (imagine heels together and toes pointing out...kind of like a V) Well apparenlty my mom had to buy special shoes and all... Well that has carried over with the external rotation of my thighs in everything I do...sitting, standing, etc... Which contributes to my sciatia flairups...
And I think it also carries over to my practice. Like trying to pin down my pinkie toes in updog or in triang mukhaikapada paschimottanasana.

I think there is a disconnect between my brain and my tailbone and my brain and my pinkie toes. :)

I've been working from home today. Tonight I am headed to Decatur to work on a yoga project. I will give more info on that later.
Okay more work to be done. Updates this weekend :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mat time...

"Today I realized... I know where home is."

I've begun to offer up my practice daily as merits and to others who need healing, love, compassion, for those that suffer. I am trying to be unattached to the outcome/fruits of the practice. Otherwise ego is invovled. This method is working for me. Making me happier on my mat and not trying to "attain" anything.

With that in mind--this morning I was up and out the door by 5:00am. I made it to Balance for Mysore practice. Alongside a fellow friend/Ashtangi- which is always inspiring. She was acutally doing a full vinyasa between posese; which I don't normally pay attention to what others are doing. I am pretty centered (most of the time) but I noticed she was adding in more vinyasa ala Lino style.
It was inspiring.

My personal practice on my mat felt great. I can't tell you what it looked liked but I felt pretty awesome after! We worked on Marichyasana D more and slowly my upper body is opening and my darn shoulders are very tight! I never really noticed that until I started realizing binding is becoming more and more difficult (which has to be from typing at a computer all day).
Teacher did tell me to do Navasana...so we are moving on bit by bit in Primary.

Today I also did 4 Urdhva Dhanurasana (backbends) and my 5th one being a dropback.
During the backbending she made me pay closer attention to bringing my elbows towards one another while pushing up rather than "splaying" out to the sides as I normally do. This caused for a little more intensity and fired up my shoulders but it felt like the "right" way to get into it.
My dropback was fine...however I think I almost knocked my teacher over when I came back up! Oops!!

All in all a nice practice. My mantra still is and may always be "tuck the tailbone" or lengthen the tailbone to the floor (which ever version you like best) My tailbone has a mind of its own I swear!

But for me how I judge my practice (if there is such a thing) is how I feel internally after. I felt awake, clean, better, happier. So that to me equates to a great practice.
It was hard work...but worth it.

Tonight starts my assisting in the Friday night Intermediate class. I will just observe tonight and the next 6 classes I will be assisting/adjusting as the teacher directs. This is "homework" for my Yoga Teacher Training Certification. I have until May to assist at 6 classes, plus I have to teach at least 2 classes a month on my own. And there is lots of reading to finish up on, studying anatomy, 1 paper on the Endocrine system, 2 more book reviews and my large 5-10 page paper. All of this in the next 3 months.

*********************************************************************************
I have to say I've gone back and forth on styles/practices for the last 2 years. I've questioned every form I've practiced. When I start to think I've made up my mind or I think I've "figured it out" ...well that is when little things have a way of unfolding and showing what you really need.

Something clicked for me yesterday....Sometimes I don't need to question everything. Just like the Zen approach to meditation; I just need to sit. I need to sit and be still and calm my moneky mind.

Well the same thing with yoga practice. The Ashtanga Primary Series is referred to as Yoga Chikitsa, which translates as Yoga Therapy. The therapy is pretty simple to understand yet hard to execute. Asana (including Bandhas), Breath, and Dristi (gaze/focus)
So really just 3 things to remember. That is a stripped down very basic over view.
But really, I just need to show up, I need to sit with it, I need to be still within and let it happen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Birthday Celebrations!

In my house the next two weeks are Birthday Celebrations! No real parties or gifts, but my husbands birthday is this Saturday!


I teach 2 classes on Saturday but then we will probably head to the movies and maybe dinner? I'd love to get some friends together for maybe Green Sprout!
In one week and a few days I will be celebrating my 31st!



For my birthday the only thing I would like from my family or friends...is yoga! Of course lol!

Class Card at Balance Yoga and maybe the Matthew Sweeny- Ashtanga as it is book Which you can buy at Balance too! or at Amazon Or class card at Ashtanga Yoga Atlanta (pretty much the only other studio I go to from time to time)

I am not asking for gifts...I don't expect any either. But in case the family is reading and is inspired to get me something...there you go!


So 31....I can't believe it because most days I still don't feel over 25. I do sleep more and do more married-lady stuff. But on the inside I feel 25.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ZEN SPIRIT

TRADITIONAL ZEN SPIRIT

The most important things in our practice are our physical posture and our way of breathing. We are not so concerned about a deep understanding of Buddhism. As a philosophy, Buddhism is a very deep, wide, and firm system of thought, but Zen is not concerned about philosophical understanding. We emphasize practice. We should understand why our physical posture and breathing exercise are so important. Instead of having a deep understanding about teaching, we need a strong confidence in our teaching, which says that originally we have Buddha nature. Our practice is based on this faith.


According to the traditional Buddhist understanding, our human nature is without ego. When we have no idea of ego, we have Buddha’s view of life. Our egoistic ideas are delusion, covering our Buddha nature. We are always creating and following them, and in repeating this process over and over again, our life becomes completely occupied by ego-centered ideas. This is called karmic life, or karma. The Buddhist life should not be karmic life. The purpose of our practice is to cut off the karmic spinning mind. If you are trying to attain enlightenment, that is a part of karma, you are creating and being driven by karma, and you are wasting your time on your black cushion. …


Before Bodhidharma, the study of Buddha’s teaching resulted in a deep and lofty philosophy of Buddhism, and people tried to attain its high ideal. This is a mistake. Bodhidharma discovered that it was a mistake to create some lofty or deep idea and then try to attain it by the practice of zazen. If that is our zazen, it is nothing different from our usual activity, or monkey mind. It looks like a very good, a very lofty and holy activity, but actually there is no difference between it and our monkey mind. …


When we have the traditional spirit to follow the truth as it goes, and practice our way without any egoistic idea, then we will attain enlightenment in its true sense. And when we understand this point we will make our best effort in each moment. That is true understanding of Buddhism. So our understanding of Buddhism is not just an intellectual understanding. Our understanding at the same time is its own expression, is the practice itself. Not by reading or contemplation of philosophy, but only through practice, actual practice, can we understanding what Buddhism is. Constantly, we should practice zazen, with strong confidence in our true nature, breaking the chain of karmic activity and finding our place in the world of actual practice.

Excerpts are from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki, Weatherhill, 1973, p.99-102.




This was received in my monthly Zazen email....it was interesting enough to contemplate. But I suppose if I am contemplating it I am creating karmic life or ego-centered ideas. But it is how I am wired...I question everything. I suppose I should just sit on my zafu.

The practice of Zen Buddhism interests me. I like it; and I like Theravada as well.

Zen is simple...really really simple yet difficult (and you know what I mean if you've ever sat on your Zafu for 2 hours straight)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ashtanga

What a weekend of weather!
Friday evening I had plans to attend Kino MacGregors Demo, meditation and discussion. But 4 inches of snow in my driveway and the roads surrounding my home decided I had a different set of plans :(
I was able to make it to Kino's Mysore class today at balance
It was a packed studio and I was lucky enough to practice next to my teacher M.
My actual practice was okay. I did realize at one point I had forgetten 2 postures.
Oh well, I reminded myself...non-attahment and keep going.
I was the first one completed in the room. My practice runs about an hour since I stop at Marichyasana D. I asked M before class if I should only practice up to Marich D and she said yes.
So I went onto closing and then I was done. It was great to practice among friends and with my teacher and with Kino whom just fills a room with light.

I was sad that I didn't attend the entire weekend like I had hoped. But lack of funds kept me from signing up and it sold out pretty quick.
I am blessed enough to have been there today.

After practice I went to Whole Foods and grabbed a quick bite and headed home. I did come home to some sad news. But "this too shall pass" and I will deal with the sadness.

I am looking forward to a good week. We are looking at getting MORE snow in the morning too!

Be Safe & stay warm!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pure Joy

What a wonderful weekend!!

Friday I drove up to the beautiful Mountains for Yoga teacher training part 5. We only have 2 visits in March, 1 in April and one is May. Then We graduate!! It is flying by.

Friday & Saturday we spent with Shala. She is truly wonderful.
Friday we did our typicaly check in then we did some restorative/yin poses and then discussions on the Gita.

Saturday was yin/yang class, more Gita/Vedas discussions, The sutras discussions, working with forearm balance, before lunch we did a 20 min Yoga Nidra. After lunch was a video of Sharon Gannon & David Life. Then later that evening was an introduction to Chakras and a yoga sequence and meditation for the Chakras.
The visual meditation was wonderful.

Saturday most of the ladies headed out for Thai food. I went back to our house. Ate some food and took a lovely hot shower and read. It was nice getting a few quiet solitude moments in the hectic weekend.

Sunday we worked with another teacher in the Iyengar Tradition working on shoulderstand and headstand.

Then we got to spend some time with Stephanie; whom I adore more and more each time we work with her. She cranked up some fun music and we did a master inversion class working with forearm balance (pincha), Handstand and headstand. Lots of flow and hips in there too!

Then we ended with the Gayatri mantra (which we always do when Stephanie ends the weekend)

I am sure I am missing something...but it was a great weekend.
I only got one photo!


Stephanie is truly amazing, to me anyway. She is a jewel in my yogic path. I am lucky to have found so many wonderful people. She will always have an impact on my practice.

So, I said good-bye to Asheville for a few weeks and headed home. I listened to my saints play on the radio and made it home just in time for that insane on sides kick. My husband, Chai and I hung out and enjoyed the victory. Received calls and texts from family memebers. History was made :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Discipline

I've never practiced with Doug Keller. But someone posted on Facebook about his book Yoga Yoga as Theraphy

I know he is part of the 500hr training AYC holds. So I searched for him on youtube.

I like this interview and the best little jewel I got out of it is at the very end:

"Discipline is remembering what you want"

Workshops, Mexico...a girl can daydream

Yesterday I went to Mysore at Balance.
Not a lot of changes in my practice. Still working up to Marchi. D. Can't bind yet!
But I was given lots of wonderful tips to work on in my practice from my teacher.
Things that you always notice you are doing; but becoming habits and not good ones.
Like my tailbone (that thing has a mind of its own!) and some good suggestions for improving my chattarunga.
Today, My hamstrings are reminding me what Mysore practice feels like.

Speaking of Ashtanga Balance has some new people on their workshop list this year!!!
Check it out; Kino next week, Tim Feldman this Summer and Paul Dallaghan in May!
If only money grew on trees I could spend my time going to so many amazing workshops.

Also AYC has a HUGE list of people this year. Some of which include: Chandra Om, Bryan Kest, and Doug Keller.

And what I wouldn't give to go to Maya Talum for a week with Stephanie during Thanksgiving!!
But we will see where the cards fall.
Work is picking up and if things continue it might might might (slightest of slight chance) actually work out where I can go?? I am staying open to the idea.

Plus I have to travel to the great midwest this year (Chicago) to see dear friends and my little niece and nephews too! So I will roll with the punches and see what turns up!

So, remaining present--back to the now- I woke up with a major headache (sinuses) and decided to work from home today. Right not I am enjoying coffee and catching up on emails. About to do a short yoga practice and then get to work.
Lots to do before I head to Asheville tomorrow for week 5 of Teacher training. Officially we are over the 1/2 way mark. Can't believe it.
Lots of changes in these last few months (more internal than external)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Operation Lotus

There are many pieces of wisdom in the piece below. Written by an amazing yogini; Kino MacGregor of Miami Life Center.

She will also be here in Atlanta in just a few weeks!

So read on and enjoy the MANY jewels in this piece.

Operation Lotus by Kino MacGregor

The experience of your first yoga class feels like embarking on a mysterious adventure into a whole new terrain. As your curiosity peers into the incense-filled hallways lined with Ganesh and Shiva the open-hearted calm beckons you to travel into your own sacred inner realm. The seductive power of yoga is an addictive calling to go deeper into yourself. Once you experience first hand how magical yoga is, all resistance becomes futile.

Regardless of your intention when you plants the first seeds of your lotus flower the transformative power of this ancient spiritual science works on a deep level of your being. Many people start yoga for fitness reasons only to find that yoga changes their lives in ways far beyond the physical. Even if you are not a true believer and only wish to receive the physical health benefits of yoga, merely attending a yoga class regularly will have a lasting impact on your life. The beauty of the physical yoga postures is that you do not actually need to believe in them in order for the healing power of yoga to work. Hatha yoga approaches the transformation of the human spirit from the body first and then works its way subtly through to the mind and soul. The body itself is an avenue to the spiritual that works from the inside out. As you water the seeds of padmasana the full blooming lotus opens in your mind and soul.

Entering the new world of yoga is the first conscious step to live a more peaceful life. The initiatory phase of yoga is your chance to powerful create your life moment to moment and live your highest potential every day. As a neophyte it is important to remember that it is natural to feel overwhelmed when you realize just how demanding spiritual discipline really is. Rather than a recreational activity that you can keep separate from your life, yoga asks you to transform your whole life to abide by yogic principles. If at first you find yourself drawn to the physical display of power in advanced asana you quickly see that the heart of yoga reaches far deeper than the postures themselves. Indeed the asanas are only used to purify the body, practice meditative states of unified consciousness and prepare the physical form to be a home for divinity in the world of mind and matter. The more advanced asanas are not ends in and of themselves. Instead the real work of yoga happens on the inner body and is actually the seed of your own enlightenment beginning to flower.

Like a open invitation to the spiritual path yoga never places commandments on practitioners from above. When you start practicing yoga the body itself becomes more sensitive and then asks you to live a more pure lifestyle. While the moral and ethic codes of a yogic lifestyle ask practitioners to be an instrument of kindness, compassion and healing in the world, the choice to live a peaceful is meant to be a sincere feeling that each practitioners feels for themselves before acting upon it. Practicing asana makes the body more sensitive so that you feel more clearly the impact that unhealthy behavior, negative thoughts and destructive emotions have on you. Yoga never tells you what you can and cannot do. It is a path of liberation not bondage. It is a path of direct knowingness rather than rules and edicts. The practice of yoga itself opens your body and mind to desire wholly a new way of being, living and interacting with yourself and others. It is the heightening of your own awareness that facilitates the transformation. You change not because your teacher tells you to but because yoga opens the door to a new way of being that you choose to walk through with joy, ease and grace. The journey into the lotus heart of yoga is a lifelong spiritual practice that bears flowers in this life and beyond.

Faced with the seemingly insurmountable goal of ultimate enlightenment many new students doubt their ability to ever progress along the arduous path of yoga. They look at their teachers or other accomplished practitioners and wonder how they will ever get from their relative feeling of confusion to the clarity, grace and precision they see in the masterful art form of yoga. Yet small seeds do not doubt whether they will become trees. They trust the natural process of evolution and growth that takes them from seeds to sprouting seedlings to flowering, fruitful trees. With proper nutrients, care and love the flower of your inner lotus is sure to grow to maturity in the fertile soil of your own consciousness. Every accomplished yogi today has benefitted from the guidance of their teachers and been nurtured by the yoga community. Every yoga teacher today has also nourished their own journey with their own dedication and devotion. If you are a new students of yoga remember that you hold the key to the power of yoga. It is in your own heart that the seed of spiritual investigation must take root, watered by the flow of your own consciousness. When you embark on your own operation lotus know that this journey is timeless one that never ends, only deepens. Small treasures abound when you attempt challenging postures that seem impossible that with time, dedication and guidance evolve into possibility.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Flow with the breath, be mindful, no judgement

What a weekend. My home team; the New Orleans Saints; are going to the Super Bowl!!! :)
History in the making!



I stayed up past my bedtime then was up at 4:30 am. Headed out the door by 5:00am for Mysore practice at the Studio.
It was a pretty busy room this morning.

I set an intention for this practice: Flow with the breath, be mindful, no judgement.
I repeated this often to myself. It helped keep my practice lighter.

I didn't eat dinner late and I could tell a bit of a difference in my body. I re-read David Swensons book recently and reviewed some of his tips on Jump Backs and Forward.

With instruction from my teacher I am still only practicing up to Marichyasana D.



I can't fully bind yet. So, she really wants me to get that prior to moving into the next postures.
So I am keeping with it...and not judging. Apparently my shoulders are just too tight.
But..no judgement. Just keep working through it :)
Backbending today was good. I was tempted to try dropbacks; because I dreamed about them last night. How lame am I to dream about my yoga practice! lol
I love it...can't help it.

So the rest of the week is home practice. Lets see if I can keep up with my intention for the entire week: Flow with the breath, be mindful, no judgement

Sunday, January 24, 2010

National Yoga Day

Today was a great turn out.
Started at 9:30 and went until 4:30.
Intro to Yoga - I took this class; it was lovely.
Yin/Yang Class-More Yang than Yin. But nice.
Intro to Mindful Meditation- Really relaxing meditation
Intro to Vinyasa Yoga- I taught this class. Since it was expanding from the other classs we really built up heat and played around with some fun invesios.
A discussion on Mindful Eating
Ended with 15 meditation.

A really great day!








Monday, January 18, 2010

Mysore, National Yoga Day and Haiti

The weekend was nice. Relaxed, cleaned the house, got another anatomy book to study for teacher training, finished one of my papers for teacher training. :)

This morning I was up at 4:45 and rolled out of bed and was out the door by 5:15. Headed to Mysore practice.
I was the 2nd student there this AM. I like it when it is nice and quiet. :)
I had to bring back my old orange Jade harmony mat; the travel mat from Jade is good, but not enough cushion for Ashtanga. Tops of my feet were getting bruised when I try to jump through because there is no cushsion.
So I pulled out my trusty older Jade Harmony mat- the thicker one that has been around for 3 years. It is flaking and such, but it did just fine.
I told myself if I keep up with Mysore practice once a week until my 31st Birthday on March 2nd then maybe (if I can afford it) I will finally buy that Manduka Pro mat. They sell them at the studio and I do not want to buy the mat unless I know I will get use out of it.
My harmony mat is fine for daily hatha- but if I intend to keep with a vinyasa/ashtanga practice I need a thicker heavy duty mat. My teacher is going to keep me accountable as well :)

I am in a much more upbeat mood when I go to Mysore classes; I have no clue why.

So practice was sweat inducing and pretty difficult. When Marsha assisted me in urdhva dhanurasana it was intense. I came out after 3 of them and told her I could remember when I could crank out 5 of these and not be THIS tired. But after 3 I was exhausted.
Seriously I am a believer in the "if you don't use it you lose it"

I mean I suppose if you do Ashtanga daily you are getting in all those crazy hard poses and build up endurance.
My endurance is just gone! But I am building it back up.
Don't get me wrong! I love doing yin at night, I love the Jivamukti DVD too. I also balanced such a raja based practice with nice long meditations the last 2 practices and it is a really good combo for me.
After practicing Ashtanga the last day of training a few weeks ago at Asheville Yoga Center; it sort of re-lit my fire and passion for it.
And reminded me that I have an amazing teacher close by that I should not pass up the opprotunity to practice with.

So that was practice today. Now lets see what I do when I get on my mat tomorrow at home :)
I am subbing a class tomorrow night atLotus at 6:30 I think it is a hatha heart focused class. I am going to teach vinyasa and work in a lot of chest openers.

Then on Friday night I am teaching the lovely group of ladies in Atlanta. Then Saturday is National Yoga Day. I am teaching Intro. to Vinyasa at Lotus for donations only going to the Humane Society!!! Plus these help towards my teacher training hours. So two great causes!!

I am also in the works of maybe doing a donation only class at Balance Yoga Atlanta one Saturday for donations to go to Haiti disaster fund. That might be happening next weekend? I'll let you know if that works out or not.

So lots of yoga stuff.
Today I am working from home. So time to get back to it! Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lose it....

This morning I rolled out of bed at 4:45 AM. Well I woke up at 4:15 sooo thirsty so I got up and drank a ton of water. Then I was really UP at 4:45 getting dressed and ready to head to Atlanta.
Walked Chai, grabbed my tea and headed to
Mysore Practice at Balance Yoga Atlanta.
The drive up was about 50 min. which is enough time to drink tea and wake up.
I was the first one at the studio so Marsha and I have a moment to catch up and talk about my lack of Primary series practice lately :)
So we decided I would work up to
Marichasana C. Since I can't fully bind in that yet.

My actual practice was a bit on the sluggish side. I should have expected it though. I tried to stay positive because even being there was an accomplishment. Some progression in poses some steps backwards in others. But it happens.
When you don’t use it you lose it. And in my personal home practice I noticed I am not “using it” as much as I used to in Ashtanga.


So at the end of practice ever student gets a yummy gift of a cool peppermint towel. A wash cloth they soak in water with peppermint oil and place in their fridge. It is nice when you are sweaty and going into Savasana.

One good thing is I was able to make it to 20 breaths in sirsasana (headstand) and come down with straight legs. :)
Practice, practice, practice.

So I am at the office working away.
TGIF!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Snowy mountain tops and lots and lots of yoga!

This past weekend was the 4th weekend of our 9 month teacher training at Asheville Yoga Center.

It was SO much fun and both physically and mentally draining. In the good way. From discussion on Nutrition, Ashtanga Yoga, Anglea Farmer, Restoartive and so on.

But the training was awesome. My favorite weekend yet. From beginning to end it challenged me. And we eneded with a full primary series class. Wow. Stephanies approach to that practice is so light hearted. I mean it is a sweaty demanding practice regardless of who teaches it. But she made us giggle and laugh several times through and that made is a little more exciting.

My jump backs and everything was no way in tip top shape. I can tell I've not been practicing the Primary Series as much as I had hoped. But things are shifting and I am not going to fight it. I am trying to really embrace this training. It will be over before I know it and I want to gain whatever is avaialable.

However, it made me wish I lived in Asheville. I literally daydreamed about how it could actually work out. But we have 6 acres here and the whole trip reminded me to make the most of what I have in my life. Denver and I are talking about some ideas for our land. After this weekend I am really really considering doing a Hoop house this spring? With all the veggies we could think of!!Denver has a really good green thumb. (Not me!)

So this weekend was everything I truly needed to get grounded and back on track. The weather was so cold and it snowed very lightly but the remains from the previous weeks snow storm was very visable.

I truly love Asheville. It is a place of many happy things thus far. Looking forward to the next few months!

So a few pictures from the weekend:

Stephanie showing the Ashtanga Float forward
Student assits in the floating forward

Beuatiful Camel pose
Bow Adjustments

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Trusting the Flow....

Now more than ever I am turning inward; truly listening to that inner voice (not the voices in my head silly!) But my true voice, true self?? It was brought about through my teacher training over the last few months.

Slowly opening up more. Listening more. Trying to be receptive.

But now more than ever I think I need that part of myself. I think that part of me is needed to keep the peace in myself to keep the balance in my life. Some days I want the Ashtanga Practice. Some days the Flow is nice. But, I am just at a place in my practice where things are shifting and I am doing my best to trust.

I am hopeful for 2010 and looking forward to finishing my training by May. It has been transformative thus far and I am curious where it is taking me.