Thursday, December 29, 2011

love & service Houston, TEXAS Retreat: Jan 2012

Jump start the new year with Love and Service. Enjoy yoga play time and quiet time with a beautiful Texas yoga commUNITY. Let the weekend to guide you into the New Year with intention and delight.

Grace Yoga Texas Retreat 
Jan 6-8, 2012

Retreat Includes
Weekend of fun, community, conscious discussions and activities on Love and Service. Potluck meals, 3 Vinyasa yoga practices, 1 thai & fly class, and Saturday night acro jam. Come rejuvenate in a lovely Mexican hacienda in the quaint west Houston town of Fulshear, Texas. Expect to share rooms and beds unless otherwise requested. Linens and kitchen supplies will be provided. In the spirit of community service, all meals will be community prepared/eaten. Please bring your favorite dishes to prepare and share. Thai massage is available for additional fee. (Email to book in advance or sign up on site.) FOR DIRECTIONS, SEE BELOW. 

$175 early registration by Dec 31st (email for payment info/RSVP)
$195 after Jan 1, (for cancelations, $50 non-refundable fee)
$75 Saturday all day
$25/class drop ins for Friday night or Sunday morning 

Mail Payment to:
Melissa Smith
3902 Rivermoss Lane
Katy, TX 77494

OMazing Events
5-7pm arrivals, settle in
7-9 Sankulpa yoga practice

7am walking meditation
8-9 breakfast on own
9.30-11.30 Vinyasa class
11.30-3.30 commUNITY pot luck lunch/free time*
3.30-5 Thai and fly
5-7 community dinner
7.30-late acro jam

8am walking meditation
9-10 community breakfast
10.30-12 class
12 departure

*Please join us for pot luck lunch and share in commUNITY and talk about our passions, Saturday, Jan 7th, from 11.30-3.30pm. This is free and anyone is welcome as part of the love and service Texas retreat. It's pot luck, so please bring something (yummy) to share.  Email to RSVP. 

Yoga Class Descriptions
Friday, 7-9pm, Sankalpa Yoga Practice
Asana and Pranayama, meditation, and stillness will culminate in setting a Sankalpa (like a resolution, but with a yogic twist) to guide us into the New Year with intention, intensity and delight.
We start where we are: on the banks of our own river; recognizing what change might be needed to begin our journey. A Sankalpa is designed to bring out the best in us. It's effect is to awaken our willpower within by uniting conscious awareness with our dormant unconscious forces. Sown in fertile ground with the heat of Asana, watered with breath, tended to with faith, humor and trust, we take the first step. Ultimately, very similarly to extending our yoga practice "off of the mat", a Sankalpa can become a motivating force that we live with and move towards every day.
All levels welcome. Melissa will offer variations and modifications to increase or soften the physical challenge.

Saturday, 7am walking meditation 

Sunday, 8am walking mediation
In walking meditation we use the experience of walking mindfully while using our breath as the focus. With bodies in motion, awareness is heightened, and we will seek to pay attention those sensations that arise. You will experience your body very intensely, and uncover deeper connections.

Saturday, 9.30am-11.30 Vinyasa Yoga

Sunday, 10.30am-12 Vinyasa Yoga
Experience a slow flow yoga practice that explores the balance between foundation and fluidity of postures and builds upon the principles of Leeann Carey YogaAll levels welcome. Melissa will offer variations and modifications to increase or soften the physical challenge.

Saturday, 3.30pm-5 Thai & Fly
Learn the fundamentals of therapeutic flying in this healing, relaxing and transformative group practice in a safe and supportive community environment. We'll also give and receive a Thai massage sequence. Everyone will have an opportunity to base and fly. No prior yoga experience or partner required. Come, play and have fun!

Saturday, 7.30pm-late acro jam
Playtime under the starry skies means fun, safety, personal responsibility and creative exploration. It's playfulness within a safe space. Weather permitting, we'll have a bonfire with dancing, acro, therapeutics, Thai massage and lots of love. Release ALL expectations and just have a good time. (*$25 drop in fee applies for the JAM, if you're not attending retreat).

Directions to el rancho:

If you have a toll tag, entrances to the toll off 59 S, 610 and Westpark, or Gessner and Westpark. Take the toll all the way until it ends (which is right past Grand Parkway 99). Keep going straight down what becomes 1093. You’ll hit Fulshear about 12 miles down the road. Take a right on FM 359 at the Shell Station. Go down about 1 ¾ miles and take a left at Rogers Road. Go till it dead ends and take a right on Pool Hill Road. We are down the road on the left and you will know it is ours by the yellow stucco walls. The numbers are difficult to locate b/c they are not on the actual walls. Address is 6030 Pool Hill Road.

I-10 W
Take I-10W. About 7 miles past Katy and Katy Mills, take the Brookshire exit. Take a left onto FM 359 and go under the freeway. Go down FM 359 about 4 miles. Take a right on Hunt Road. Take a left at the cross street, which is Pool Hill Road. The ranch is down on the right and you will know it is ours by the yellow stucco walls. The numbers are difficult to locate b/c they are not on the actual walls.. Address is 6030 Pool Hill Road.
You will need the gate code to get in: TEXT 713 357 8817 or 713 854 9333 for GATE CODE.

House number: 281.533.9017
Jennifer's cell: 713.854.9333

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Fulfillment of Hope

gift of hope: the elegant birdcage woman 

The anticipation, the wonder that comes from taking the post box key chain garnished with a small Ganesh and the hope that rises as the key turns and the mail slot reveals packages upon packages. Or the disappointment as most often nothing but papers filled with advertisements spill out unwillingly into my expectant hands.
This Christmas Eve was my first to spend alone as a newly single mom. Not for want of invitiations. I had many. Grateful for the abundance of friends and outpouring of their graceful companionship, I still chose to spend the evening with some thoughtfully sliced carrots, hummus and a glass of Malbec. Love Actually (the movie) kept me comfortably uncomfortable with the thought that yes, indeed, “love is all around”.
I don’t dwell on the fact that Christmas has become a barrage of commercialism. Instead I chose to... <click to view rest on Elephant Journal >

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson

melissa let's go of fear

Monday, December 12, 2011

lulu lemon yoga play list

Walking in, unrolling your mat ready for commUNITY yoga class... it's Easy by Lionel Richie...
Easy, Lionel Richie (thank you for the suggestion, king of Sunday morning leisure, carl)
Beautiful Day, Donavon Frankenreiter (pure sweetness)
Class begins... the theme... your soul... "you feel a river moving in you, a joy. you can feel that river flowing when you reach out and help someone in need, when you are in love, when you come through the fire of a difficult endeavor, or when you finally surrender to a painful situation- when you stop fighting the fear of heartache, and you give over the reins to something greater. When you tire of your own constriction and you open, come what may, to the flow of life, you and your soul become one, you feel a river moving in you, a joy." - E Lessor, Broken Open
The Day I Decide, Simon Gentry (album: Atmospheres. Simon: photographer, musician, yogi...)
Bolo Ram, Wah! (there's a short version & a long one. I prefer the long one.)
Angel Echoes, Four Tet (electronica and great to flow to)
Lotus Flower, Radiohead (love the strange video)
Dog Days Are Over, Florence + The Machine (if you haven't bought the The B-Sides Alternative to this song. download now. awesome)
Freedom, George Michael (takes me back to 1990 when I...) Let the Drummer Kick, Citizen Cope (also check out holdin on by Citizen Cope)
Words, Anthony David (turned on to this song by the beautiful Rose)
Bein' Green, Andrew Bird (who doesn't love the Muppets? Ok, well... give this song a go... I relate.)
Give Thanks, Fantuzzi (absolutely lovely. thank you, Laurence. I think of you every time I hear it.)
The Day Before the Day, Dido (stunning vocal)
Woodsong, Carlos Nakai (in almost all of my yoga playlists, American Indian Flute)
Ave Maria, Ashana (this is beautiful, year round)
Post class, bonus songs for Acro Playtime...
Mahna Mahna, The Fray, the Muppets: The Green Album (yes, i ❤ the Muppets)Shake It Out, Florence + the Machine (makes you wanna shake it) Reach Out, I'll Be There, The Four Tops (mo-town)
Om Hari Om, Gypsy Tears (acro yoga kirtan band, great sound find it on CD Baby)
He Ma, The Bhakti House Band (makes me grin)
Mine Is Yours, Cold War Kids
One Red Thread, Blind Pilot (a new great find from a Zen friend)
The World At Large, Modest Mouse Weighty Ghost, Wintersleep (I'm in love with this song; the choir comes in and love it.)
Moth's Wings, Passion Pit
Hey Mama, Mat Kearney (my sweet acro partner's fav... coming to houston in concert in the spring)
Open Your Eyes, Snow Patrol (mighty good)
I Summon You, Spoon
More playlists:
lulu lemon community class playlist
soundtrack of my life, by Melissa on Elephant Journal

Gratitude for lululemon city centre houston for having me!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

waking up a different person

In 2010, I embarked on a mission to LIVE. Just get up and live a life that I've always dreamed I could. That mission rolled over into my 40th year. After hosting the an epic birthday party where everything from a gospel choir, to a beautiful dred locked fire thrower to a kirtan band was present and ready to usher me into the next decade, I woke up and faced a decision I have been grappling with for over 2 years. 
My 2011 journey has ebbed and flowed with both tremendous trials and explosive joy. I've morphed into a low-paying, intrinsically rewarding nomadic yoga lifestyle that is simultaneously intoxicating and displacing. the rest on Elephant Journal. 

In December I will embark on a daily writing journey called #Reverb11. Thanks Elephant Yoga and Michelle Fajkus for the push. I'll be a few days behind but then, no worries. Who says I have to be like everyone else anyway?  

December 1 – Palabra (Word) Encapsulate your 2011 in one word. Why that word? What would you like your word to be for 2012? Why?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the journey by mary oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save. 
~ Mary Oliver ~
(Dream Work)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I let a smallish person (my 5 year old) talk me into seeing the Smurf movie. I was prepared for the flash backs (a cartoon watching latch-key kid of the 80's) of how the evil Gargamel and his snarly side-kick cat, Azreal chase and attempt to capture the tiny blue happy Smurfs. Tra-lah-lah-lah..... lah, lah, BLAH! I felt completely Smurfed out after 2 hours of this popcorn infused bonding time. To it's credit, I did get choked up when the couple realized in the end: you must be true to yourself and follow your instincts in regards to work, make family time a priority, and allow room in your heart for magic to happen. "I smurf you", she says as she kisses her husband under the glow of the blue moon, and my son covers his eyes at the icky-ness of watching grown ups kiss.

Even lessons from the Smurfs seem timely as I turn 40 today. It's been more like a birthday month, than a single birthDAY. The whole fun of it has been in the planning process of the party rather than the party itself. (A little shin-dig I had over the weekend where there was a shark, fire thrower, gospel choir, Bhakti band, AcroYoga junkies, life sized flower creations, amazing photobooth, homemade food galore, henna, thai massage, and friends. Beautiful friends. Elves were invited but didn't show. I think I did have a smurf sighting at the Photobooth at one point. To enjoy the photos: click here.) 
As ridiculous as the Smurfs are, their purpose of to just to "be" is so relevant. That's it. Just be "smurfy" or happy. I think happiness is often the hardest most elusive place to be at times. It wasn't my party that made my birthday memorable, as spectacular as it was. It was the steps along the way which were smurfy. The cooperative sharing and plotting with friends who each contributed something they were good at, receiving help from them, and connecting with new friends all along the way. 
Through this journey, I've become "gutsy smurf", letting go of the fear that was holding me back and opening my heart wide, making room for the magic.
"Once you stare fear down. Once you declare yourself bigger than it, and take back the territory …your entire life changes." Living in fear is a paralyzing place to be. It's really true what they say about simply taking one step, then another, and another... that sense of eating an elephant (or small blue smurf) one bite at a time. That's how it's done. Anything, anything is possible. It really can be smurf-tastic. 

*singing smurf, andrew

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

lululemon community class playlist

Sunday, I had the privilege of teaching a community yoga class at the new lululemon at City Centre Houston where I'm honored to be an ambassador along with 5 other amazing athletes.

Can't wait for the next class!

Mateo with Playful Warrior, thanks for the musical requests and acro playtime post-class, and Kristina, who has an amazing Houston non-profit, Rawfully Organic, thank you for requesting the playlist!
Here's what we flowed to:

Daybreak Vision, Carlos Nakai (love the native American flute)
Guide My Way (Om Asatoma), Steve Gold (beautiful album.... especially love the song, so much magificence)
Amazing, One eskimO (try not to smile at this one)
Let Go, Frou Frou (indeed, let go)
Happiness, Goldfrapp (tech-y in a cool-vibe kind-a way)
The Mountain, Trevor Hall (my latest crush.... also check out: Brand New Day)
End of the Line, The Traveling Wilburys (thank you sweet Mandy for this one)
Roll Away Your Stone, Mumford &Sons (what's not to love?)
Lovin Yourself, Avasa & Matty Love (Very cool duo from CA)
Ong Namo: I call upon Divine Wisdom, Gurunam Singh
I Am, Guru Singh With Seal & Friends (Seal, THE Seal)
Wonderwall, Ryan Adams (this version is delicious)
Be Here Now, Ray LaMontagne (I love how the end of this song, puts you into a deep, dozy savasana bliss)
Encore, Soulfood (at the end, the sound of the ocean waves crashing into the shore...zzz)

City Centre Grand Opening Class with Kat, tomorrow, 5pm--click for more info.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I feel happy of myself

If this video doesn't make you want to conquer your next big project, dream, goal, adventure or nemesis...I don't know what would! Get inspired! 

To conquer-
I believe in myself project- The year of Me. (humble but let's face it, it's time to realize we are more than we think we are)
I believe in myself dream- writing 
I believe in myself goal- hand stands mastered
I believe in myself adventure- planning retreats(big one: Thailand!)

I believe in myself nemesis-releasing fear of moving forward

"I know you can do it. If you believe in yourself, you will know how to ride a bike!"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love Letter to the Vulnerable Warrior of the Heart

6 years ago, I entered a hospital room in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with an extra 32 pounds on my already thick frame. Ankles so swollen they resembled the stump-like shape of an elephant's. I was told not to eat and given my first enema. Hours pass as the medication given to me began to be absorbed causing volcanic waves of pain throughout my body. I called for relief. After a number of sticks into my spine, the IV went in. Still able to walk, I moved in slow shuffles circling the hospital's white corridors. Fiercely independent, sensitive and not wanting to be coddled, I wasn't good company. My husband, engrossed by football on the TV, checks on me periodically. Finally, the doctor, a Korean man with a lazy right eye arrives, and declares that it's time.
He pulls on knee high galoshes, removes the end of the 3 part bed made for petite little Asian women and forces my feet into the cold stirrups. Long after the pain medication wore off, I hear the soft whaling of a baby's cry. Tears stream down my cheeks and I can taste their saltyness as I kiss an angel's soft, bloody head. The nurses quickly steal him away to bathe, weigh and check a myriad of medical things required. Then, a tidal wave of nausea hits as I lean over and vomit an orange eaten nearly 10 hours before the labor began.
So began my journey as mother of not one but 2 boys, my first born over 10 years ago in rural Arkansas. I'm constantly amazed at how different the boys are. I try to refrain from comparing them to each other, myself or their father, in hopes that they come into their own fullness: their own mistakes, personalities, dreams, and identities. Constantly labeled as a child, I struggled to break free from the pre-concieved character traits given to me by both my father and mother.
My father's words replay in my head: "You never listen to my advise. You will never make it on your own as a single mom, just stay married.  You're too sensitive. Your son is not responsible." And, occasionally, he realizes how harsh his words are, and he reassures me that I am a good mother. I am. I am a good mom. I'm certain he's said a million good, complimentary things to me. It's just curious how I can't recall them. One negative comment can erase a dozen good ones. My mind can be selective. Words pierce like needles in my veins that lead to my overly-sensative soul.
My mother: "You can become anything you desire- Ms. America, even! You are magnificent..." all good and positive words expressed in an exaggerated manner. I realize now that the over-the-top encouragement was used as bandaids for my mother's own lack of love and connection she deprived of in her childhood.
There is a Sanskrit word, Vajra which literally means diamond. It's said that having vajra wisdom is like being a diamond. It can be used to cut but nothing can cut or break it. In my own life, I desire this diamond like strength and yet crave the ability to draw from the wisdom of experience without comparison, break the legacy of my parents patterns of behavior, create new paths for myself, and a doorway of possibilities for my children.

"Vajra sees things as they are, rather than seeing things with ego, which makes 
us opinionated, judgmental, and sarcastic.  The challenge for vajra types is to pierce 
through the fear of intimacy and embody tenderness through being vulnerable 
and open. The movement from the reasoning, intellectual doubter in the head 
to the clear sighted, vulnerable warrior of the heart is the transmutation of 
vajra from neurosis to sanity.  The challenge is, as always, to stop living life from 
the head, and to live life fully from the heart."-- Adi 

In a love letter written to son # 2 before he was born, I share my hopes, dreams, and how it felt with him growing large within me. In a love letter I wrote today, I share how I desire in the years to come, that he will see me as a mother who tried her best to give him the freedom to be uniquely his own and "live a life fully from the heart".
I love watching him explore who he is and who he has the potential to be. Giving him room for the grief, relief, misery and joy that comes with the winding, often messy path of growing up is the invocation of motherhood.

Monday, November 7, 2011

in the Grip of Gratitude

Only 34% of American adults say they are truly happy. How can we cultivate this elusive happiness? Perhaps if we reflected on the joys in our lives. In other words, what are you grateful for? 

the state of being grateful; thankfulness
There's a movement on Facebook. Yep, I know, I'm so over Facebook, too. Considering it gets more face time from me than my "'job" of teaching yoga. (Any other yoga teachers out there spending more time promoting their classes than teaching them? Or is it just me?) I'm turning the corner... and even finding gratitude for social networks.... here's why:

The movement: A Month Of Gratitude. A friend, (we're virtual facebook friends, anyway) is opening a yoga studio called Gratitude Yoga. She created this thankfulness event. And, it's spreading... invited me and a few friends...I invited a few friends...then, they invited a few... then their friends have invited a few.... now there are hundreds of us who are showing their gratitude. It's viral, in a good way. 

So what are you waiting for? Join me in dedicating the month of November to everything that we are grateful for. It's never too late to start.

Each day list 5 things that you are grateful for. They can be anything! Tell your friends and watch your gratitude grow...

5 things I'm grateful for today:
1. the best night's sleep I’ve had in a month or more (could have been a post-Halloween sugar coma and/or lingering bliss from an extraordinary, serendipitous weekend)
2. donated 2 huge bags of candy to a local dentist paying $1 a lb. (what's he gonna do with it? sounds suspect to me)
3. friends rallying around my 40th birthday party.... the event has gotten a bit out of hand... the latest addition to the party... an artist will create larger than life... well, now, wouldn't you like to know? you'll just have come to the party to find out! 
4. great music, check out this song by Aloe Blacc "Green Lights"
5. my sons. they hung the moon, as far as I'm concerned. 

Here’s to a month of gratitude! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NYC: a portrait

There is shadow and light in all of us. Having dealt with the depths of the shadow now for longer than I care to admit, I'm grateful to not only discern the light in myself but begin to appreciate both sides of me. I don't want to remove the sorrows or shortcomings. I hope that they serve to shape and mold me into that stronger, wiser person that's already inside me. 

One of the most played artists on my ipod, James Vincent McMorrow, is featured in this engrossing video of New York City. Listening to this album non-stop on a trip to NYC this past winter, it quickly became my anthem for the spirit of the city and and with repetition became ingrained into the soundtrack that revealed the light and darkness within my soul. 

Hearing it now floods the movie screen of my mind with emotions. I experienced a life-changing therapeutics (a 5 day immersion), roomed with an arresting and brave 20 year old dutch girl in a youth hostel, found redeeming love and forgiveness with a high school sweetheart. Wounds healed and new bonds of friendships constructed out of complete surrender. 

When I can realistically acknowledge my failings and not dwell on them but instead allow them to propel me forward to my greater purpose or dharma, I feel freedom. To grow in the midst of pain, as a friend reminded me, is like finding treasure in the most unexpected places.

"Everything can change in a moment; we have little control over the outer weather patterns as we make our way through the landscape of a life. But we can become masters of the inner landscape."--Elizabeth Lesser

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What we SAY Does matter: Cultivating Conscious Communication

Empty coffee can, scattered cut out magazine pictures from Seventeen magazine and Tiger Beat, and glue stick in hand, I made my first "I can" can at 8. My mother fed me large doses of Zig Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peal and other motivational speakers on our monthly commutes to my Grandma Walker's in Oklahoma from Dallas. I recall a lot of eye rolling and pretending to be asleep so that my mom would turn the cassette player down in her Mary Kay pink Cadillac. Nothing could dissuade her from playing these talks to her car-captured audience (my older brother and myself). She believed they would replace the "garbage in, garbage out" influences of our youth. 

My "I can" can (made from a spagettios tin can) was a part of Zig's "See You At The Top" simple plan. Place your goals and desires inside, and these would soon become a reality. It seemed to work for Mom. Every 2 years, even as scattered as she was, my gypsy mother won another Mary Kay pink car and earned just enough money and prizes (including "add-a-diamond" rings) to keep our single parent family afloat. 

The power of positive thinking got me through my insecure teen years. And, now 30 years later, I find myself clothed by my mother's words: "have an attitude of gratitude". Let's just say that the words "I can" is the only option my house as a result.

In Judith Lasater’s book, "What We Say Matters", influenced by Marshal Rosenberg's “Non-violent Communication”, she explores the importance of practicing ahimsa, nonharming and satya, truth in our daily speech. Urging that our patterns of speaking are a direct reflection of thoughts and shine a light into our soul. She follows the tenants of Buddha's "right speech" in a very practical, usable way. As I began to implement the simplicity of this form of communication, I found I began to have more genuine connections. This authenticity helped me see speech as spiritual practice. "All spiritual practices are fundamentally about the same thing: being present and living with an open heart. It is the essence of living consciously. But in the hectic business of daily life and the habitual patterns of long relationships, most of us "go unconscious" when our patterns are triggered by our partner or circumstances."

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts ...with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. " -Buddha

Staying attune to that awareness on a daily basis with the barrage (often mis-understood) emails, texts and at home is challenging. Even with the desire to overhaul my thought process, my “I can” attitude wanes and needs restoration. The timeliness of my next lesson was Divine. While in Thailand, I was introduced to a course called "Conscious Language to Facilitate Conscious Living" by John Schmidt, a Texan retired abroad who has embodied this practice for over 20 years. In the 80's and 90's he facilitated share circles and open discussions in his Austin organic food company, Sunbelt Organics, as a way to transform the consciousness of his business. He weaves the elementary, yet influential phrase "I choose to make this (everything) fun and easy" in his daily life. 

Words and our emotional body contain strength and potential. Our subconscious responds to feeling and is always operating. With our conscious mind, we have the power of choice and by making small adjustments in our subconscious mind, we can choose spoken words that will transform our lives and impact others positively. The most practical, immediate application for me is that I would often say what I choose not to do, rather than what I choose to do. For instance, I would say, "I won't do that again", "I hope this works out this time" or "I'll attempt to be there". These words: "hope, attempt, almost, possibly, perhaps, in process and try" create vagueness and conditions that have to be met. Instead, choose to either do something or not. It's yes or no. Open or close. I choose open, so that my thoughts, words and emotions will create a reality I desire.  I choose: I can. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Morning Meditation in delight of the unexpected

seated in child's pose 
every breath removes any tension I'm holding
softening my jaw, I begin to release the chores of the day  
inhaling, I give them over to the Divine, knowing my best will be Enough
exhaling, I release my "I want this" & "I hope for that" list
inhaling, I believe that all good things will come
all good things have already come
and, I have Enough
as I rise, I stand in awe 
in delight of the unexpected

"Expectations are tricky things. As soon as we get our minds or hearts firmly fixed on something--whether it's a tantalizing menu item that's no longer available, or a choice work opportunity that fails to materialize--we set ourselves up for disappointment. When we decide what is best, we judge anything other than that to be less-than-desirable. But the answer is not to avoid longing, to abandon our endeavor, or to become numb and indifferent to loss. The answer is to hold our expectations loosely, believing that God's surprises--even the most confusing ones--have the deep capacity to delight...and that maybe, just maybe, we don't know best what it is we need most."
--Leigh McLeroy 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Warm Love

The hippie love bubble, that's where I am. In the opening of one session, Scott Blossom and his twin brother, Tim along with Acro Yoga co-founder, Jenny Sauer-Klein, lead us a Van Morrison tune, Warm love. Scott's 2 adorable children were bobbing in and around, while we all formed a puddle around his guitar and swayed to the song. Then, he taught us a self massage sequence based on Ayurveda, complimented by a Thai massage in partners. Pure bliss.
Each day has been filled with a morning of inspiring acrobactics and partnering, followed by an afternoon of therapeutics and Thai massage. I feel every muscle in my body speaking to me as if it really weren't alive before now. With careful instructions to be safe, playfulness is the high on the agenda.
"Three is the smallest community." Building on the Acro Yoga tenant that the practice grows you as an individual, builds upon a partnership and brings it all together in community. Flyer, base, spotter. Hanuman, Sita, and Ram. Acrobatics, Therapeutics, Thai massage. Trust, connection, playfulness. It's an infinity circle of 3 that is growing and changing as it's being co-created by the founders and the community that is evolving. My body, heart, soul are overflowing.
"Warm Love. Warm Love. And, it's ever present everwhere"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Flying Whale

Travel and teaching. I love it. Thrive on it. It makes me feel alive and by now, it's certainly no surprise to anyone who knows me. However, last week. I teetered on the edge of exhaustion and certainly not for the first time, extreme mommy guilt.
Not able to sleep all night, I tossed and turned and dreamt of 101 ways I could possibly leave the remote Indian Reservation where the Yoga Conference I was attending was held. An all day trek to arrive, it would be even more challenging to leave on a Saturday (airport and rental car places closed on  Saturdays?!). I had a strong intuitive feeling I just needed to be home which I don't get very often. I trust and know that my kids are very well cared for while I'm away teaching and training. The sensation of needing, wanting to be home was stronger than I've ever had. After my sleepless night, I found out son #2 spent the afternoon in the ER after a pillow fight escalated into a crash into the sharp edge of the coffee table. #1 son, at the same age 5 years ago, also had a trip to the ER with 5 stitches above his right eye and a small scar for a souvenir. After what felt like something out of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I was able to come home a day early and spend the afternoon and evening with my boys.
Sitting in a coffee shop, getting properly caffeinated by a man in a "who's your sugar daddy" t-shirt, it is another weekend away, and I'm trying to find my inner peace among the inner demons.
My culprit this weekend is not mommy guilt.  The latest perpetuators are: Inadequate, Overdrawn and Scattered.
Inadequate. While all body types are welcome in yoga, there is a definite fine line in Acro Yoga of who wants to work with who based on not only your skill level but your size. Today I feel like a whale. And, when I start to go shopping down that junk food isle for the brain, I tell myself "I am enough." I stood outside this morning looked at the harbor and shouted at my inner demon: Be OK with who you are today, damn it! Even if I just hallucinate it to be so.
Overdrawn. More giving and supporting than receiving makes a girl feel zapped. Some stunning bohemian yogi came up to me after class and said, I'd like to meet you. We chatted about Thailand and her family and life... all while she massaged my hand. I began to cry. I'm usually the one take the hand of the person I'm talking to, a habit I started this summer after my Thai massage course. To tenderly receive from a stranger was moving and sweet. I need more of that in my life.
Scattered. Hands so full of things I needed for the day, I set my coffee cup set upon the roof of the car. Quickly pulling out onto the road, we heard the heard the shattering of the mug. My drug, caffeine, immediately absorbed into the concrete and the shards of porcelain scattered along the road.
Breathing in, I take an hour to journal this morning. And, immediately, those thoughts of inadequacy, being overdrawn and scattered begin to dissolve the cavity they were forming my mind.
I shared with my classes this week, on how yoga allows me to let go of these labels I give myself. No one else is worried about what I think about myself. No one is thinking the same harmful thoughts toward myself that I am. So why do I entertain them?
All that I am, all I desire to become, is beauty. Not outward beauty, because god knows that fades as fast as the sun.
Getting up, walking toward the sunrise, all I feel is Radiant Light.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Soundtrack of my life... or at least from a yoga class

Here's one of the playlists from teaching at Wild Rose Yoga Studio this summer in Thailand: From the Elephant Journal Article, (please read and comment on the EJ page, your fav songs... from the soundtrack of yoUr life). Enjoy! 

Had a few requests for playlists... here's just one from a class I taught at the Wild Rose Yoga Studio
(Song, artist, album title, my comments):

Green Quiet Mountain, Dean Evenson and Li Xiangting, At Ease 2 -- lovely, great instrumental to start
Narayana/For Your Love, Krishna Das, Yoga Revolution World-- Krisna Das, need I say more?
The Only One, The Black Keys, Brothers (Deluxe)- next best thing to their concert? Rocking Sun salutes to them
One Day Like This, Elbow, The Seldom Seen Kid- this song just makes me smile. it's that simple.
You Make Me Smile, Aloe Blacc,  one from Rose
Keep Ya Head Up, 2Pac-  for a sweet friend Sienna... queen of gangsta yoga 
Gloria, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Sound Of Sunshine-- featured on cover of Origin Magazine
Rise, Eddie Vedder, Into The Wild-- love this one & his newer songs where he plays the ukulele
Wagon Wheel, Old Crow Medicine Show-- for PJ who makes the most amazing Lanna Rollers.. ahhh
I Am, Guru Singh with Seal & Friends,  The Sounds of Yogi Tea - i dream of Seal singing in my class for savasana one day
Amazing, One eskimO
Om Namah Shivaya, Steve Gold, So Much Magnificence - bliss
Sri Krishna Arati, Bhagavan Das
Horizon Of Gold, Ben Leinbach
Breathe, Alexi Murdoch, Time Without Consequence- if you don't know this one: something beautiful, you should.
The Moon, The Swell Season, Dear John (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Be Here Now, Ray LaMontagne, Till The Sun Turns Black- dreamy
Concerto in D II. Largo, Parkening Plays Vivaldi, Warlock, & Praetorius
All Is Well, Ollabelle, Ollabelle- Love this because it's true, all is well. All will be well. All is well.
Thoughts of You, Michael Hoppe/Martin Tillman/Tim Wheater, Afterglow- a grammy winning composer, beautiful.

Have a favorite?

pictured: beautiful rose & nanci