Friday, June 29, 2012


Love is what is left when you let go of all the things you love. 

Let that sink in a bit. 

Those words describe the last week or so for me. As many of you know, Colorado Springs was deeply affected by a wildfire out of control this past Tuesday. A literal firestorm, if you will. Tens of thousands of people fled from their homes, not knowing if they would have a home to return to. I was one of them, along with my family. 

As I stood outside watching the smoke build and turn an ominous shade of orange, I knew things were getting bad. As snowflakes of ash poured down on my head, I knew the danger was growing. 

I am a yoga teacher. More importantly, I am a yoga student. I know about non-attachment. I like to think that I am pretty non materialistic and not attached to "things". But when you are faced with packing up your "important" belongings and fleeing your home, I can tell you.. non attachment is the last thing on your mind. Yes. They are just "things". Things can be replaced. Lives cannot. I had no issue with leaving. My life, the lives of my family... that comes first. Above all else. As long as we have each other, things have a way of working out. I know that. More importantly, I BELIEVE that. 

But dammit! Those are MY things. Things that I have busted my ass to have. Things that 10 years ago, I never imagined would be mine. And yet, its just stuff. 

I can't tell you what "stuff" is important. I can't tell you what things you should take with you if you are ever faced with a situation like mine. I can tell you that stressing yourself over what could happen, what could be, what I could lose, are things that you need to leave behind. Trust me. Even though I have digital backups of all the photos hanging on my walls, I wanted to take them. Even though I have more books than I could even think about carrying, I wanted to take them all. The time and energy spent stressing about that stuff, that clutter, is better used to keep you in the present moment. Thankful that you HAVE stuff to worry about. Thankful that you have friends and family that care about you and are concerned for your safety. Thankful that the people that matter in your life most are there with you. There comes a point where you just have to let go. 

Yes, I am a yoga teacher. I am a yoga student. And I know about non-attachment. More now than I ever did. The car is packed still, our area still in a pre-evacuation state. If I have to leave my home again, I know I will have all of my important "stuff" right next to me the whole time. Colorado Springs will rebuild and renew, as will the forest. The outpouring of support from this amazing community has been overwhelming. My heart goes out to all those who don't have a home to return to. And my heart breaks for the few that have lost their lives. And more than anything, I am ever grateful for the men and women who put their own lives at risk to save ours.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


"Pay attention to all the leaves, the flowers, the birds and the dewdrops. If you can stop and look deeply, you will be able to recognize your beloved one manifesting again and again in different forms. You will again embrace the joy of life." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I just returned from a walk around my neighborhood with my pooch, Riley, in tow. Or, as she would have you think, she had me in tow. The air was warm with a nice gentle breeze, heavily perfumed with the scent of lilacs, honeysuckle and dogwood all in bloom. I started to wonder if something was wrong with my nose.. there's no way the smell can be that strong!

All too often we have our noses firmly planted in our iPhads or electro-gizmos to stop and notice the beauty all around us. Too busy to stop and notice each other. Even as we walk, we have our devices with us, barely glancing up. I certainly am guilty. Today I left my tethers to an imaginary world behind and soaked it all in. The clouds deciding whether or not they would open up and douse my walk, the birds chirping and playing their songs, the robins scheming and guarding their territory, the children playing, flowers blooming. Even the crazy moths and their erratic dances.. Its days like this that I wish I could bottle up all the smells and sounds and hold onto it for a day that I really need it. Instead, I will soak up each millisecond, noticing the beauty and wonderment around me. Even as I sit here and type this post, I am out on my deck, drenched in all that this moment has to offer.

Normally in a class, I will talk all about connecting. Connect the breath with your movement. Connect your mind and body and universe. Today I challenge you to disconnect. Unplug. Get outside and savor this day. Even if it is just for a moment. Start to notice the things around you. Get your hands dirty and plant something. Fly a kite. Take a walk. Say hello to a stranger walking down the street. Be present. Om shanti, shanti, shanti... peace. 

"Pay attention to all the leaves, the flowers, the birds and the dewdrops. If you can stop and look deeply, you will be able to recognize your beloved one manifesting again and again in different forms. You will again embrace the joy of life." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, March 29, 2012


"Dwell in possibility." ~Emily Dickinson

Changing gears, ever so slightly here.
I just finished coaching an amazing group of women through Nutrition for Yoga Students at studios, and being so inspired by all of their support for each other and openness to learning (and teaching me a few things!), I've decided to dedicate this post to them.

We get so caught up, day in and day out, telling ourselves stories. Stories of who we are, what we are made of, what we can and cannot do... I could go on for an eternity. And again, I am not immune. What we actually do, when we tell ourselves these stories, is make it so. We prevent ourselves from moving forward, from progressing. So each time you tell yourself that you cannot run a mile, you cannot confront others with your feelings, cannot get a better job or change your life.. whatever it is, it will not be.

I encourage you, every day, to step back and "Dwell in possibility." Don't cut yourself short. The universe is waiting for you, ready for you to explore and find your true self. Your passion. Your bliss. It is all there, already inside of you, just look at the possibility. When we change our stories, we change how we live our lives. We start to make things happen.

From a more yogic standpoint, Yoga Sutra 1.4.. Vritti sarupyam itaratra.
At other times, when one is not in Self-realization, the Seer appears to take on the form of the modifications of the mind field, taking on the identity of those thought patterns.
Simply, when you are not focused on Self-realization, you are taking on the forms of your thoughts and well.. your stories.

So notice the stories you are telling yourself, and start to...

"Dwell in possibility." ~Emily Dickinson

And Ill finish with a recipe, as promised to the beautiful ladies of Nutrition for Yoga Students! Enjoy!

Cranberry Quinoa Muffins (Original recipe inspiration: Martha Stewart's Quinoa Muffins)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried (unsweetened) cranberries OR chopped whole non dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup almond milk or almond coconut milk (unsweetened) 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Cook quinoa according to package instructions
  • When quinoa is cooked, preheat oven to 350 F
  • Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cranberries, and 2 cups cooked quinoa; reserve any leftover quinoa for another use (think breakfast!).
  • In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, agave, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined; divide batter among prepared muffin cups. (Don’t over-stir or they will be tough)
  • Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes for regular muffins; 40-45 minutes for jumbo muffins
  • Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Sunday, March 11, 2012



We hear it time and time again-everything happens for a reason. Well, sure but how does that help me now? Sure, its easy to be content when things are going well. All the pieces fit. But what about those hiccups? When things dont go quite as planned. The challenge is practicing santosha when things are a bit out of whack. Your day isnt going as planned..

Today I found myself pondering that very phrase. Everything for a reason.

You see.. Chris and I had planned to wake up early and head up to the South Platte area of the state for some early season rock climbing. We were planning to head to a place called Parachute Rock. Its in an area relatively higher in elevation than town, but the spot we wanted to head to is south facing, so with the sun blazing on us it would have been quite nice of a day.

It wasn't to be. The dreaded time change and our ridiculously late night made for a slow morning. And when we woke, the weather looked less than optimal. So we vegged. We lazed about. Took the dog to the park for a quick jaunt.

Chris gets a phone call from an unknown number and finds out that a group of his climbing buddies did, in fact, go to Parachute today. They are stuck. They took a vehicle up there that is not 4wd and has low clearance. There is still a LOT of snow up there. On a dirt road in the mountains that is NOT maintained in the winter. So off we go in Chris's Jeep to see if we can get them out of there, or at the very least, give them a ride back to town. We are going to Parachute after all.

The crew is home safe. The vehicle is still in its resting spot, way up in the mountains.

And so the train of thought ensues.. If we had made it there before they did (we would have), we would be stuck as well, their vehicle blocking the roadway to the climbing area. If we didn't make it there before them, we wouldn't have climbed anyway and spent the time trying in vain to rescue the poor car straining to push its way out of the snow. Serendipitous, no?

So what does this have to do with yoga?

Reminding me to be present. Live in the now. Stop dwelling on what could have been, or what I missed out on. Learning that the universe will give me all I need, and things somehow have a way of working themselves out to our benefit, even when we don't see the purpose. The missed alarm. The red light holding us up from our destination. The child that inexplicably gets sick right as we are about to walk out the door to some event. I was lamenting the fact that we didn't manage to get out of bed early enough. Lamenting the weather being gloomy. Instead of just understanding that I was not meant to be in the mountains today, I was wishing for a redo.

Santosha is the choice to be happy, not the choice to be happy unless something horrible or undesirable happens, but the choice to be happy no matter what happens. Because, after all,  it can be no other way than the way it is.

Friday, March 9, 2012


"Be daring, be fearless and don't be afraid that somebody is going to criticize you or laugh at you. If your ego is not involved, no one can hurt you." ~ Mahala Punateer

Ah, the ego. Most of us go through our day overly concerned about our appearance, whether physical or otherwise. Concerned over who likes us, who doesn't. Am I good enough? Strong enough? Smart enough? The list goes on. And on.

Trust me. I am not immune. Although I try as hard as I may to drop the ego at the door and focus on my practice when my feet touch the mat, I still find myself glancing around the room from time to time. Fixating on a flaw of mine. I can't get into the splits, but LOOK at me! Do you see how long I can hold crow pose? Seriously, do you see my hair?? Why is it never as perfect as hers? And then I stop. Reconnect with my breath, and remember. I am here for me. I am discovering me. All this worry, all this concern over what they are thinking, is not serving me. As a matter of fact, it is chipping away at all the work I have done to build my confidence in myself. My strength.

I am not a competitive person. I will gladly let you squeeze in front of me in traffic. Ill readily give up the last brownie if you want it. Ill easily let you win a race, because the winning is not important to me. So why then, does that little (ok, maybe not so little) voice of the ego jump in and try to derail me at a time when I feel my most confident, most comfortable in my skin? Perhaps it is because I am no longer hiding in my shell, afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, wearing the wrong thing, being self conscious about the way I look...I am daring. I am fearless. I am learning. I am growing. I am remembering.

Whether on or off the mat-the next time you are looking at yourself, picking apart every little flaw and comparing it to someone you perceive as being "perfect"-take a deep breath, and tell that little devil on your shoulder to hush. YOU are whole. YOU are daring, fearless and brave. Those that would look at you and laugh or criticize you do so out of fear, or perhaps jealousy. Let go of your ego and laugh with them. Stand up tall. Let your feet ground you to the Earth. Let your spine be long and strong. Pull your shoulders back and reach the crown of your head to the heavens. Let your confidence shine. You are. I am.

So, wear that polka dot dress with the striped scarf! Topple out of your bound Runner's Lunge and laugh about it! Sing at the top of your lungs, wherever, whenever. Follow your dream, visualize it and make it happen. Throw caution to the wind. Let them laugh. Let them roll their eyes. You know something they don't. For now. Live.  

"Be daring, be fearless and dont be afraid that somebody is going to criticize you or laugh at you. If your ego is not involved, no one can hurt you." ~ Mahala Punateer

Thursday, February 9, 2012

the journey continues

Atha yoga anushasanam. 

The first yoga sutra teaches us that NOW begins yoga. Well, that's great! Im on my mat, and I'm doing yoga, so-whew!- thats done. Well.. not exactly. So what are these sutras that I speak of?
Simply put, the fundamental teachings of yoga.

When I first started practicing yoga, I thought it was great. I sweat a lot, so thats got to be good, right? I feel limber and strong, even though I flailed through most of the poses and wobbled on my feet. I didn't practice regularly, but loved the idea of it. Perhaps I was too shy to go to a class regularly, or just couldn't find the time. But it struck a chord deep in my soul and it continued to resonate. I decided I wanted to teach yoga. But life got in the way, as it has a way of doing.

It was a few years later, I wandered into a small studio and the fire sparked in me again. As I lay in Child's Pose, my sweaty forehead plastered to my mat, gasping for air, I wondered.. why am I doing this? What am I getting out of it? But I felt the pull, and every week I returned. It became something that I needed. I wanted to find out more. Physically my body started to change. I didn't flail as much, and I became a bit less wobbly. My shoulders didn't burn quite as badly as they had in the beginning. I became stronger. Like many people, I tried yoga for its physical benefits. But without warning, the spiritual side creeps in. You start to look at things a bit differently. Perhaps, the driver that just cut you off in traffic is spared the blaring horn and the profanities, and you start to wonder what they have going on in their life that they need to hurry along with no regard for you. Maybe they are rushing to the hospital to be there for a sick loved one. Or better! The birth of a child. You begin to bring the calmness of the mat into your daily life. An angry customer yelling into your ear is greeted with kindness and a smile. You choose carefully what you put in your body and choose carefully the words that come out of your mouth. Speaking truth and compassion. And NOW begins yoga.

You're ready to explore the deeper dimensions of yoga and well.. your life. Lately I feel as if I am having a constant cycle of NOW begins yoga. I felt it when I signed on the dotted line to become a yoga instructor. I feel it every time I walk into a classroom and greet my students, eagerly awaiting my lesson for the day. Helping someone to find their NOW is amazing and humbling. As I watch you twist and sweat, and respond to my cues, I am reminded of myself flailing and wobbling not so long ago. I do still flail and wobble, but I gladly accept those flails and wobbles and take them in stride instead of getting frustrated with myself. Im embracing the ups and downs and the whirlwind moments, and I am so excited to see where I land. On and off the mat.

Every moment. Every breath. Every word. Every action has lead you to this very moment. What will you do with it and which direction will you choose?

Atha yoga anushasanam.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


"It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." ~ Sir Edmund Hillary, first to successfully summit Mt. Everest with Tenzing Norgay. 

And so it begins. I sit here and stare up at my mountain, figurative in this case, but a mountain nonetheless. My palms sweat, my heart races, and the nervous ball of energy is swiftly churning in the pit of my stomach. But I have already taken the first step and I am on my way. Unsure of what awaits me on my way to the top of the climb, but I have started.

Sound familiar? How many times were you faced with your mountain and backed down? I have. Plenty.
Let me start at the beginning..

I have never been the sort of person that sees things in black and white. I did not go to college with one end result in mind and work fervently towards it. No, not me. I have many interests, and I am an ever evolving ball of energy, bouncing from one great thing to the next. So you see, I have many pieces of paper that say I can do many things. This used to be a great source of stress and anxiety and well, frankly, self depreciation. I watched many of my friends and family members find their calling and go for it. And I thought, why dont I have that drive? What is wrong with me? How am I going to ever make it? Whatever making it amounts to.

So for a very long time, I was content with just going through the motions. I had a job. It pays me well enough. I find no satisfaction whatsoever in what I do, but who says youre supposed to? You just work.
Of course I became more and more discontent with that idea, and started really taking a long hard look at my life and accomplishments. I have done PLENTY! Now the conundrum was to figure out how all those pieces fit together. I pushed it aside.

I believe firmly that whatever I was doing was essential to where I would end up. I had to go through certain things for other things to fit into place. I made very hard decisions, unsure of what the outcome would be, hoping all along that they were the right decisions. In a blink, I packed my entire life and moved 1700 miles away from the only home I knew, to see what else was available to me. And my life has never been better.

I have combined my knowledge and all my pieces of paper, and with the help of some incredibly inspiring people that have come into my life (whether they know it or not), I have added to my collection of papers and given them all a collective name. Combining my passion for yoga, massage, and all that is health and wellness related, I am excited to announce that I will be venturing into the world of becoming a Health and Nutrition Coach. Soon. Very, very soon.

Sometimes you have to step blindly onto your mountain, ready to face whatever storms await and push through.

My mountain stands before me, but this time I am ready to run to the top and face each storm with open arms. Conquering my own doubts, fears and uncertainties.

What is your mountain?