Peace & Quiet in Sin City

Nothing beats solitude when you need to do some serious thinking and for the last three nights, I was able to do just that.  How, you might ask?  By holing myself up in a suite on the Vegas Strip, of course!

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Now, you’re probably shaking your head in amusement, thinking that a trip to Sin City is anything but a nurturing, soul-searching experience.  However, I assure you that for me, it is.  I love the fact that I can get a beautiful suite at The Palazzo for a very reasonable rate.  Once I’m there, all of my needs are footsteps away – top-notch dining, a well-equipped drugstore, plus a gorgeous gym and spa with terrific yoga classes.

I escaped solo in order to devote my undivided attention to my Buddha House Yoga Day Retreat.  Prior to Vegas, I was attempting to bring this retreat into the world by frantically snatching bits of time here and there.  Needless to say, that was not working.  I owe this retreat more than that.

So escape I did.  And boy, were these three days INTENSE!  But my time in Vegas turned out to be cathartic and powerful, too.  I was able to fully develop the content for the entire day – from our 8:30 am arrival time until we say goodbye at 5:00 pm.  I also designed and wrote the Yin/Restorative sequence.  The only thing I have left to do other than fine-tune is to write the Vinyasa Flow sequence.  I have a good idea what I want to do there though, so it’s just a matter of sitting down to commit it to paper.

All in all, I am EXTREMELY proud of the work I’ve done during this trip.  I conceived a program which (I hope) will allow participants to stand more strongly in their power.  I feel like this retreat – the yoga as well as the other things I have planned – will really impact people’s lives.  If nothing else, it will certainly give folks a lot to chew on and mull over in the weeks and months to come.

It’s been deeply rewarding to watch the retreat fill.  In fact, while I was away two more yogis added their names to the roster.  That’s incredibly validating.  And I take this responsibility very seriously.  If you’ve already signed up and you’re reading this, thank you for placing your trust in me.  If you have been considering joining us, don’t wait.  As of this writing, I have 10 spots remaining.

Some Days Everything Feels Like an Uphill Climb

Teaching yoga is a demanding job.  It requires a lot of energy out and if I’m not careful to replenish those stores, I’m left feeling depleted and run down.

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To be honest, that’s been my reality lately.  My responsibilities have increased and with that shift, so have the demands on my time.  Everything feels like an uphill climb.  From the time my alarm buzzes me awake until I tumble into bed at night, I am in a constant state of frenzied forward motion.  To make matters worse, my Hashimoto’s disease has been flaring badly (no doubt due to an increase in stress).  One of the many symptoms I suffer from is unrelenting insomnia.  For the past month, I haven’t been able to fall asleep until after 3 am no matter what I try.  This only leads to more exhaustion and stress, which fuels the cycle to continue unabated.

I wanted to scream.  Or cry.  Or both.

Something had to change.  I could not go on like this.  Of course, I made an appointment to see my doctor so that we can align my medication with the current state of my thyroid’s decline.

Then I got out paper and pen and made two lists:

THINGS I CAN’T CONTROL
and
THINGS I CAN CONTROL

With regard to the things I can’t control, I made it a point to come to a place of acceptance and then lovingly set that list aside.  Burden lifted.  It is what it is.

Next, I took a careful look at the second list.  This list was filled with the daily tasks and responsibilities that are within my control to change.  I scrutinized each item like an IRS agent performing an audit.  Where was there “fat” or wasted time?  Was there a way I could streamline my workflow and tighten up the way I process things?  Which items required timely action and which could be grouped together to be handled later?  Was there a way I could get more done during those little gaps in my day, like when I arrive early to class and wait to teach?

I pulled out another piece of paper and drew a grid with the days of the week at the top, broken down into chunks of time below.  I scheduled in all of the permanent pieces first (ie. those things that are not within my control to change at this time).  Then I fit in everything else.  The pieces within my control got added in a way that not only makes sense but also allows me time for the things that refill my well – like journaling, meditation, reading, exercise, etc.

What a difference!  I now feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  Even though I have yet to face the week and put it all to the test, I feel better just knowing there’s a plan in place.  A way to move forward that takes care of me to the best of my ability.  It all comes down to self-care.

Can you relate?  I know you can because I hear as much nearly every time I teach.  Our current culture leaves a great many of us feeling as if we are forever moving uphill.  It is my sincerest hope that in sharing this experience you might be spurred to examine your own life with an eye toward streamlining your responsibilities while increasing self-care.  In so doing, maybe we can finally crest the summit and skip merrily downhill together.

Subbing Friday, Feb. 19

I’ve promised to do better about posting when I’m subbing around town.  Because my own schedule is so full, it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but it does happen.

This is one of those times, though!  If you’d like to come practice with me, I’ll be teaching:

Friday, February 19
YogaWorks Studio City
12:30 pm – 1:40 pm
Vinyasa Flow / Level 2/3

Come join me if you’re so inclined.  (If you’re not a member of YogaWorks, you can still practice as my guest.  Send me an email and I’ll put you on the list!)

Yoga on the Road

While I cherish the familiarity of my regular home practice, there is something truly special about practicing while you’re away. 

 
Here is where I’ve been unrolling my mat lately on the beautiful island of Maui.  In case you can’t tell from this photo, that’s the ocean off in the distance.  

If you practice yoga in any way, I strongly encourage you to bring your mat with you when you travel.  Remember this shot from my trip to Venice last year?…  



Nothing – and I mean nothing – compares to a practice on the road.  Not only does it offer a new perspective, but it also allows you to more fully immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the culture you are visiting.  (And I won’t even mention the benefits that come with unwinding the body after being crammed into a tiny airplane seat for hours!)  

So the next time you find yourself away from home, give it a try.  Even if you are confined to a hotel room, crack the window, breathe deeply and begin with just a few sun salutations.  You won’t be sorry.

Gratitude Prayer

While last year quickly fades into memory,
there’s still one promise I have yet to fulfill…

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During the week of Thanksgiving, I centered my classes around the notion that it’s easy to offer thanks for the “good” things in our lives, but can we be grateful for the things that have been difficult?  Here is the prayer I wrote and shared with my students.  Many of them asked me for a copy of my words and it is with a full heart that I share them with you now.  I don’t think the message ever goes out of season.

Thanksgiving 2015

On this day…

I offer thanks for my mistakes because they have allowed me to find a better way.

I offer thanks for pain because it has taught me to be patient and to be present.

I offer thanks for those who have been mean-spirited because they have shown me that I can be different.

I offer thanks for challenge because it has made me stronger and more determined.

I offer thanks for sadness, depression, and grief because those emotions are a normal part of the human experience, proving that I am vibrantly alive.

I offer thanks for injury because I learned that I could heal.

I offer thanks for loss because through loss, I know that I loved.

I offer thanks for every sharp edge or bumpy road I’ve ever encountered because I’ve discovered that I can be soft and roll.

and…

I offer thanks for all of the darkness because it has allowed me to see the light.