Category Archives: Yoga Practice

My yoga practice

Awareness and awakenings on the mat

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Oh my goodness!!!!! A friend (and yoga teacher) of mine hugged me today and said, ‘Congratulations, yoga teacher’…..and she was talking to me!!! I can’t believe she said that out loud!

“You are never to old to set another goal or dream a new dream” – C.S. Lewis

It’s enlightening how goals and dreams change along the way. If you asked me years ago if I was ever going to want to be a yoga instructor I would have looked at you as if you were nuts – fast forward three weeks and I’ve finished a 200-hour yoga teacher training course at my home studio. WHAT? I know; I feel the very same way!

Yoga One San Diego Summer Intensive Teacher Training Class 2018

Nine months ago we made the decision to move back to NY for a while. When Dad suddenly passed away a month later it felt as if the ground crumbled beneath my feet. Couple that with four blizzards when we were in NY and upon leaving, the husband’s leg break…needless to say, I never thought the sunlight would shine super bright again. It was a few weeks after we finally made it back to San Diego, were through the husband’s surgery and settled in an apartment that I made my way back to the studio. My friendly instructors gave me the most giant hugs and dried my tears as they regularly flowed in those first few classes. These people were there through it all.

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames” – Rumi

I hemmed and hawed over taking this three-week course for months on end. ‘Why should I, why shouldn’t I’ knocked around like ping pong balls back and forth in my brain and out of my mouth. My teachers may have known that it was something that would be great for me – but I didn’t. And now, a few weeks shy of my birthday, it’s finished. I heard tale of life-changing experience, soul-cracking open days and both body and perspective changing weeks – but I never expected this.

For those who have watched the journey – it’s been ongoing for a while. Perhaps it began the day I met a boy (now husband) in New Zealand, or the day we left for a one year around the world honeymoon, or when we were living in Australia, or when we returned, or when I left teaching in NY, or on other international adventures or when we finally set foot on California terra firma or many years ago – I don’t know, but I sure am happy to be on it.

Yoga One Summer Intensive Teacher Training Class 2018

There’s a lot to digest after these full three weeks. Walking home from class on Sunday night, the flood of emotions rolled in, the processing started and smidgeons of yogic wisdom began to seep into my every thought. Amidst the lessons on mindfulness and meditation, adjustments and asanas (poses), there was truth, clarity, light and insight that cracked through the surface and added thought into how to continue the journey. Sure, there were heaps of achy muscles, tired joints and days that started and ended in yoga pants – but in between – there was magic. People were growing, changing, and stretching (I think I might have even gotten a bit taller). Amy’s depiction of a curious mind, intrigued spirit and soul filled with love and light made more of an impact than I think she’ll ever know.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – 14th Dalai Lama

It’s been a few days now and I imagine it will take far longer than that to absorb all that I learned. Yoga (otherwise known as union or oneness) has more than made a dent in my world. Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, the sunlight crept back in, the world kept turning and people (both from long ago and five minutes ago) who truly feel like sunlight made their way through the exterior and into my heart. Although I know it will never truly be the same again, nine months later I feel lighter, happier, more grounded and more like me than I have in a long, long while (I think Dad would like that). I’m so excited to continue on this journey. Namaste.

Root to rise – on and off the mat

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Genius, she is. Once again, after class ended and I asked Amy why she thought I couldn’t quite grasp one particular pose – she knew exactly what to say. It wasn’t the fact that every body type has different possibilities. It wasn’t about my scoliosis and it wasn’t about anyone’s talent in yoga. And sure, it’s definitely got something to do with the internal and external rotation of the hips, but that’s not the point either. She said, ‘most of the time, in yoga, if you can’t get to a pose – the key is, sit up higher’.

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Connections in movement and mindfulness – an interview with a passionate performance artist

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My best friend in high school wanted to be a dancer. I remember countless nights practicing with friends as she choreographed our performance for the Senior Show. When she majored in modern dance in college, I went to visit her and see all of her years of work come to fruition. This week it seems another part of life has come full circle. Read the rest of this entry

Dropping in – on and off the mat

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sand dollars on Coronaado

When I hear the phrase ‘dropping in’ I often think of surfers grabbing their best wave, but when Zaquia mentioned it in her yoga class it seemed to have a different meaning all the same. Then @yogagirl wrote about how yoga is so much more than an on the mat practice and that hit home, too. Then I had a chat with a friend who maintains a plan to move houses every decade to try out a new space and be as present as possible in her new community and that landed the trilogy. Seems the universe wanted me to see that ‘dropping in’ is far more than finding the sweet spot atop the ocean. Read the rest of this entry

January to December to January

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2016 is ending. Through what seemed like a constant supply of gut punches and salt-filled tears, the world said goodbye to more cultural icons than we can count, sat stunned in the wake of political insanity and stood gobsmacked as the world seemingly continued to fall apart around us all. Being a global citizen isn’t always easy. Finding your smile isn’t always easy. The year ticks away from season to season and somehow turning the pages or clicking ‘next’ on our calendars is meant to change things. But there was good, there always is, it only often gets overshadowed by the surrounding and much louder ick. Syrian children are fighting for their lives. Refugees are trudging through awful to wonder if they’ll gain entry somewhere with the promise of a welcoming community and better life. There is a homeless epidemic. I got a yoga wheel for the holidays and promptly busted a rib. I found a new yoga teacher I liked, her class is getting cancelled. I voted for the first time in California and wound up in the fetal position on the couch the next morning. Ugh. The universe feels like it’s spinning out of control…but, is that really the whole story? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Read the rest of this entry

A birthday paddle to remember

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Shot with Go Pro - courtesy of Liquid Stand Up Paddle Board, LLC. - the gift of travel

I’ve always loved birthdays. They’re that one special day of the year when people do their best to remember to tell you that you matter to them and that they’re glad you’re in their life. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you even wind up with sparkles or chocolate as part of the day. I remember gymnastics parties, backyard bashes and trying my hand at cupcake making where the best part was licking the icing off of my fingers. Often around Labour Day, my birthday sits smack in the middle of camp ending and school beginning each year. I turned eighteen my first week of university and the few friends I had just made did their best to make it a spectacular event. Last year, this new decade began with a morning yoga class, chips and chocolate cake on the beach and a day spent outside on a Maldivian island. As always for me, experiences are the best gifts. I have always loved birthdays. Read the rest of this entry

Joy in Simplicity

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Pure Bliss - the gift of travel

Almost a decade ago, my cousin got married in North Carolina. I flew in for her wedding and stayed with a summer camp counselor and her family for the night. They picked me up at the airport with their two little girls in tow and we chatted the entire drive home. Along the way, her husband (who was also a camp director of mine) pointed out whimsical trees, purple flowers on the center median and even a deer on the side of the road. The visit was great, the wedding was beautiful and the time with family and friends precious, but Chris pointing out wildflowers to his young daughters has stuck with me. Read the rest of this entry

Yoga’s gift…aging gracefully!

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Yoga’s gift…aging gracefully!

To the lady in the front row of beach yoga today…THANK YOU!

This is the year I turn forty. It’s been filled with Facebook posts, surprise parties and escapades of friends experiencing the same milestone. Amidst the happy birthdays and ‘fabulous forty’ posts there comes that dread of ‘oh my goodness-how on earth am I going to be forty?’ If I’m lucky, in just a few weeks, I’ll reach the same milestone as so many of my fellow 1996 university graduates. Here’s hoping the next forty years are filled with as many amazing adventure as the first forty.

Today started as a traveler’s morning in my own town. A morning beach yoga class on the sand at Lafayette Beach provided by Kristen, our beach yoga instructor. This class was bigger than it’s been all summer. A total of twenty-one people ranged in ages from early twenties to late sixties came to greet the day with their toes in the sand and hips in the air. Read the rest of this entry

A different type of journey…The Gift of Yoga

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Written 28 June 2012

“Take one last breath, seal in your intention for your class today” said the instructor. I think my intention would be something about trying not to fall and eat sand. “Now squat down with your feet wide, place your hands in front of you on the ground, lift your bum up and place your knees on your upper arms. Be sure to look forward while starting to lift your feet one at a time” said Kristen as I stared at her quizzically. Are you kidding? This is definitely not normal was all I was thinking as I fell face first into the sand on my first attempt at crow pose.

Since I was fifteen years old I have worked every summer. I’ve been a sleep away camp counselor, a lifeguard and spent many wonderful years as an aquatics director & private swim instructor. Until last summer that is, when my best friend convinced me to take the summer off from work and go back to school in September a more rejuvenated teacher. I loved my summer job and had great difficulty giving it up; but, I decided it was time for a change. With a heavy heart, I passed the torch to my assistant director and asked her to take care of my campers.

For the first time since moving to Long Beach (& for the first time ever) I was actually going to enjoy all of the benefits of living here-the ocean air, the sand between my toes, the people watching on the boardwalk & time; that elusive entity that we all hope to grasp but never seem to be able to find. Those first few days were strange-not having to make my lunch, head to work and be exhausted upon my return home while hoping to stay awake long enough to shower & eat never mind having an actual conversation with my husband. Then I found my feet and went for that first summer walk on the boardwalk and felt that rush of relaxation with each step as the rays of sunshine hit my face. I was past National when I saw what would change my summer-a yoga class on the shoreline practicing to the music of the waves.

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