Spaciousness and calm are waiting for you.Read More
It's really an amazing time of year...
This spring I've been loving spending time in the sun, rolling out my mat outside, going for walks, making smoothies, and taking time to slow down and breathe it all in.Read More
Here are a few things that I know, in this moment.
Yoga is a practice.
And my practice is in a constant state of flux, just like me.
Postures will come and go.
Inversions? Fancy transitions? They do not define me.
Today I practiced yoga for the first time in a week, and my body felt stiff and tight. My joints ached. I tried for binds in Goddess pose and Extended Side Angle, and felt as though I was in a different body than my own.
I felt uncomfortable. I kept going. And, in Shavasana, I felt relieved and a little proud of myself for sticking through the discomfort.
I've heard other teachers and students talk about 'taking a break' from their practice. It has been years since I've done that with mine, but in the last few months there have been moments when I'd rather do anything than yoga.
I know I've spent a lot of time comparing myself to other yogis, teachers and students, deciding who has a 'stronger' practice, who knows more, who is capable, who is worthy.
I'd love to let all of that go.
I journaled about it today, actually. How I'm tired of letting my practice define me, rather than support me.
I don't live to do yoga; I do yoga in order to live a more balanced, happy, peaceful life.
Let that be my mantra. Let the comparisons and judgments fall away.
I want to be remembered as a yogi who loved wholeheartedly.
I want to be remembered as someone who cared, who took care of herself with grace and kindness, and who refused to let fear get the best of her. If handstand is in that picture, OK. If not, OK.
How do you practice ahimsa in your yoga routine? How do you let go of a fear of failure, of not being good enough?
What makes me a badass—I refuse to let fear outweigh my ability to make decisions and choices for myself. I’m far more afraid of missing out on living my life fully, than leaving a job or relationship or whatever else doesn’t serve me. One of my favorite authors, Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild Things Are” (excellent read by the way….not just for kids), did a radio interview on NPR about five years ago. He talked about a lot of things including life and death. He said, “It is a blessing to get old. It is a blessing to find the time to do the things, to read the books, to listen to the music. I wish you all good things. Live your life, live your life, live your life."
If there’s anything worth anything it’s knowing that what scares me can only be one of two things: 1. Stories in my head, or 2. Things I have absolutely no control over. I recognize however that I have a choice in how I react to both. When faced with that, I know these are the moments when I feel tested to truly live my life. I’ve actually grown fond of saying “fuck-it” and pressing on. I’m a work in progress, but there won’t be even the smallest part of me if I’m blessed to grow old and gray, that won’t have lived a life filled with experiences that I choose; with big huge amazing love—with people, and words and books and music and pictures and the sound of ocean waves lapping up against a shoreline. All of these will be moments that will have seeped in and grown wild and will have become a part of me. Life is, in fact, too short not to be a badass.
When do you feel most confident?
When I’m surrounded by people I love.
How did you get where you are today?
It’s been a twisty road. Simply put, recognizing I had something to give, and then giving it.
What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate?
Chocolate, dog kisses, yoga -- not necessarily in that order.
Who has inspired you or encouraged you lately?
Anyone that knows me, knows I am madly deeply in love with my best friend. The wildest, craziest soul I’ve ever met…who just happens to be my dog. He is one of my most favorite teachers. Partly because he doesn’t give a fuck and partly because he lives in every single moment. There is nothing more encouraging than knowing this is actually possible, because he does it every day. Maybe Bruno should have done this interview, because he is for sure living his life. No regrets, no apologies. He makes me want to be a better human every single day.
What advice would you give to someone who's having a crappy day or needs to feel badass in this moment?
I would ask them, if your life depended on it—could you let go of what’s making you feel crappy? If the answer is yes, then try to remember your life will inevitably be filled with these moments, but how much of your precious time do you want to spend on them. Is it worth it? Find your inner badass and let it go, maybe even tell it to fuck off...
How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? ;)
By living life of course :) At the moment I’ve also been growing a yoga photography business.
My little creation born from my love of yoga. Elsie de Wolf has continued to be a source of inspiration for me lately with my photography. I have a book that offers a small window into her life detailing her experiences during WWII through the use of photographs. I’ve heard her described as the mother of interior design. She said, "I’m going to make everything around me beautiful—that will be my life.” And she did. This has been something that has stuck with me lately. Getting the opportunity to shoot with so many different and equally amazing yogis, is kind of awesome. Surrounding myself with beauty in all it’s forms, for no other reason than, it feels good.
- Consider trying a new studio once a month. Explore your local yoga communities. Get a photo in front of the space or in the lobby with your teacher after class, or ask a new friend that you meet to take a quick picture of you after class on your mat. Use the photo opportunity as a way to connect with new yogis, inspire your conversation, and maybe even make a new friend that you'll cherish for years to come!
- Be cognizant of studio etiquette. Often our yoga studio rooms are sacred space where we ask people not to bring their cell phones. If you are going to take a photo, ask your teacher before or after class if they're OK with it (chances are, they'll be happy you checked in, and more than willing to take the picture for you!)
- Ask yourself the question, What poses am I hungry for? Are there any poses you generally tend to hate, that you're ready to try again? Is there an arm balance or an inversion that you want to master? Once you are willing to commit to practicing the pose on a regular basis - every day, or maybe up to 5 times a week - you'll see incredible progress. Be kind to yourself in the process, and stay devoted!
- After you take a photo, take time to notice your body alignment in the pose. Notice lines of energy. Where is the action of the pose? Where are your feet and hands? Is there anywhere in your body that energy seems 'stuck'? Are you holding your breath or scrunching up the muscles in your face? What do you notice? Often these little details will help you unlock new understanding of the pose, increase your knowledge of human anatomy, or find a new trick that helps you.
- Today my hips are more open and closer to the ground
- Today my chest and shoulders are more open and heart chakra is more able to give and receive love
- In the left picture, I was a teacher in training; on the right, I'm a full time teacher prepping for a consciously sequenced class to get students into this pose
- Then: more hair :)
- Now: more tattoos
- Always: grateful for my yoga practice!