Saturday, December 28, 2013

No Bricks Required

"Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around to catch you."
~ John DePaola

I once heard a story about a man who achieved great success early in life.  He lived in the fast lane, both literally and figuratively.  One morning, as he sped to work in his brand new sports car, he thought he saw something dart out between the parked cars lining the street of an urban neighborhood.  He slowed down just long enough to glance in his mirrors.  There was nothing there.  He didn't think too much of it and continued.

Suddenly, he heard a loud thud on the passenger side door of his car.  This time, he stopped.  He got out of the car and found a dented door and brick lying next to the car.  He looked around and saw a young boy staring at him, wide-eyed and teary.  Angrily, he asked the boy if he had thrown the brick.  The boy responded that he had and was apologetic, explaining that his brother had fallen and he wasn't strong enough to pick him back up.  He said he'd tried to get the man's attention several times, but that he didn't notice, didn't stop, and there was no one else around to assist.

The man turned to look down the street and saw an older boy lying on the sidewalk with an overturned wheelchair beside him.  He softened, walked over, picked up the boy and put him back in his wheelchair.  He wished the brothers well and watched as they wandered down the street together.

As he walked back to his car, he decided not to repair the dent in the door.  He believed it was a good reminder that no one should move through life so fast that it is necessary to throw bricks at them in to get their attention.


Ghandi said, "There's more to life than increasing its speed".  However, we live in a forward momentum society where great emphasis seems to be placed on the fast track.  We somehow feel inadequate if we aren't constantly hustling and bustling.  We often have the illusion that there isn't enough time to do what needs doing, that we can't get enough done.  We deny ourselves the time to slow down because we feel it is a waste.  I would argue, however, that finding time in each day to clear your mind, still your body, and focus on nothing except your breath significantly increases productivity, reduces stress, and provides an opportunity to reset and refocus.

We must find ways to enjoy life more by slowing down… for when we go too fast, we not only miss the scenery and risk needing metaphorical bricks to capture our attention, but also we lose our sense of where we are going and the reason for which we are going there.

Live life at a "no bricks required" pace.

Slow Down Playlist

Friday, November 22, 2013

Not So Great Expectations

Have you ever noticed that some of life's happiest moments are ones in which we have no expectations?

Studies show that one of the common characteristics of happy people is that they have few expectations.  Expectations can lead to disappointment and a failure to appreciate what's right in front of us.  The more we expect, the less grateful we are for what we have and what we receive, and ingratitude is the mother of unhappiness.  When we let go of expectations, when we are able to simply accept life as it is, we are free to lighten up, live in the moment, and appreciate the everyday beauty that surrounds us.

Of course we all have things to do, deadlines to meet, plans to complete, ambitions to consider and visions for which to strive.  We expect a great deal of ourselves.  Letting go of expectations doesn't mean that we live aimless lives.  It simply means that as we work towards achieving our goals, we do so with a sense of self-acceptance and an understanding that we are exactly where we belong at any point along the path.  We have to recognize and appreciate the difference between having aspirations and having expectations.   Life doesn't always adhere to our to do lists the way we'd like it to, and therefore, we can either lament about the things we aren't getting done fast or well enough, panic about things not turning out as expected, or, just as we do on the mat, we can accept ourselves exactly as we are at any given moment, take a breath, and continue to move forward.

We instinctively want to create and maintain a sense of momentum around our responsibilities and desires, but in the grand scheme of things, our happiness doesn't really depend upon how quickly we progress but, rather, with how accepting we are of ourselves and our present reality.

"Live your life.  Sing your song.  Not full of expectations.  Not for the ovations.  Do it for the joy of it."
~ Rasheed Ogunlaru

Often we expect so much more than the world has to offer.  If we learn to stop expecting impossible perfection in ourselves and in others, we can live more fully in the present, better appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, and feel a greater sense of contentment.

Have you ever noticed that some of the happiest moments are the ones in which we have no expectations?

Expectations Playlist

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Failure is a Great Option

It is often said that failure is not an option.  While I certainly understand this concept in the grand scheme of things, I believe that failure is, indeed, an important option along the way to ultimate success.  Perhaps success should be defined as how you handle failure.  In the end, it doesn't really matter how many times you fall, as long as you get back up one more time than you fall down.

Failure is delay, not defeat.  Thomas Edison failed numerous times before inventing the light bulb and is quoted as saying, "I have not failed.  I've just found 999 ways that won't work."  He also said that our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  I believe that in this age where instant gratification is becoming more and more a norm, too many people fear failure and/or give up too quickly when things don't come easily or naturally.

Failure is one of the greatest teachers that we have.  Life involves risk taking, and sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail.  Both states are equally important.  Using yoga as an example, I can't even begin to count the number of failed attempts I've made at challenging arm balances and inversions.  I've experienced humbling face plants and worn the back of the arm bruising to attest to this fact.  However, had I not learned from my failed attempts and continued to "try just one more time",  I would never have been able to master any of those poses.  In the process, I learned things about myself, my attitude, and my body mechanics... and those things can easily be applied to other poses, and more importantly, situations.

Robert F. Kennedy said, "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly," so go forth and fail.  And when you do, get back up and try again.  The courage to continue to press on until you are successful is what matters most.

Failure is the Only Option Playlist

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Road Trippin'

"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware."
~ Martin Buber

Summer vacation often brings to mind road trips.  Miles and miles of music, chatter, snacks and unexpected stops along the way.  The destination of a road trip is the goal, but the journey is often where true adventure lies.

In life, the journey IS the destination, but as with any good road trip, we have to know in which direction to travel, how to determine the best route by using the resources we have available to us, maintain a positive attitude and sense of humor, and understand who will make the best travel companions.

As an end of summer celebration, our sangha came together for a road trip themed outdoor practice.  Many thanks to the fabulous yogi(ni)s who shared this practice with me... it was a beautiful evening of poolside pose.  Enjoy the pictures and playlist.



 Road Trip Playlist

Friday, August 30, 2013


Recently, while dropping my youngest child off, I noticed a pair of kindergarteners holding hands and skipping into school  Physically, the two could not have looked more different... everything from their skin and hair color, height and weight to the clothes they were wearing and their fabulous choices in lunch boxes and backpacks, each indicating a style all his/her own.  Their joy in that moment was contagious, and I suspect I was not the only carpool mom smiling at the purity of their enthusiasm as they bounded towards the building.

And it struck me...

We start out so inclusive and accepting of others, excited, engaged.  We are pure in thought and without prejudice.  Somewhere along the way, though, so many people lose their ability to focus on this concept of togetherness.  When do we begin to mistrust people who we perceive as different from us?  What makes us judge one another based on things like gender, political party, religious affiliation, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, appearance and social status?

The truth is that we are tragically losing young people as a result of the divisive nature of labels... labels that are placed on kids, often from an early age, by other children as well as by adults, labels that are learned somewhere along the way.  We are not born with the “labeling gene”.  While we hope that we are raising our kids to know right from wrong, to be accepting and inclusive, the truth is that as adults, we do, indeed, model labeling behavior in both subtle and overt ways.  Labels bias our opinions and perceptions and have the ability to separate us, one from another.  While it’s true that labels also have the ability to connect us, it seems as though exclusivity can arise even in the most well-intentioned groups.  

W.C. Fields said, “it’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to,” that matters.  We often buy into others’ perceptions of us which, at times, can affect our outlook and actions.  Further, we try to neatly define who we are via various labels we create for ourselves.  None of us can be linearly packaged... we are far too complicated for that.  

We must evolve.  Whether it is our own bias and judgments, others’ perceptions of us, or our self-imposed definitions, the divisive labeling has to stop.  We are more alike than different, and we, as thoughtful people, must stand up and speak up for the voiceless among us.  

Namaste is sometimes simply defined as “I honor the place in you where, when you are in that place, and I am in that place, there is only one of us.”

We are one.  Let us cultivate metta and make a difference.


Labels Playlist

Friday, August 9, 2013

How Do You Get Through Your Day?

How do you get through your day?  Make it from one place to another?  One task to the next?

Take the time to watch this video.  Be inspired by the power and impact of unconditional love and no limits, positive thinking.  It is worth 8 minutes of your life.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Perspective on Perception

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
~ Abraham Lincoln

My stepfather is one of the most generous, joyful, positive souls I've ever known.  He also happens to have been a POW in WWII.  During the war, he was a medic.  He was captured when he crossed enemy lines in order to try to obtain more medical supplies to help the many wounded soldiers around him.  As a POW, he suffered many atrocities, including being thrown off of a moving train.  However, when he shares stories with others about this difficult time in his life, he does so with a calm, reassuring tone and always says "I was lucky.  I was a medic so I got to help people, I got to save lives.  I never had to hurt anyone or take a life".  Further, he feels that his capture was purposeful in that, because of his medical know-how, he was able to take care of the other prisoners with whom he shared his time in captivity.  This thought alone kept him afloat while he was imprisoned and allows him now, even all of these years later, to speak of this experience as purposeful.

It's all about perceptions. 

Our lives are not really about the things at which we look, but, rather, about how we choose to see and feel them.  We often have little control over what happens to us, and the fact is that what actually occurs is relatively insignificant compared to our perceptions of the situations and events.  Perception, created by the stories that we tell ourselves and others about what happens to us, typically becomes reality.

However, we do have a choice.  We can look at challenges as growth opportunities or as failures.  We can see the glass as half-empty or half-full.  We can view the world as loving or hostile.  Regardless of which path we choose, we will be correct, because our perceptions will continue to reinforce our choices and shape how we see our lives.  

Stephen R. Covey wrote "To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions".  While it may seem easier said than done to change our perceptions, I wonder what might happen if we make a conscious effort to do so?  

What if at the end of each day, no matter what kind of day it was, we took a few moments to ask ourselves the following questions?

1.  What surprised me today?
2.  What moved me today?
3.  What motivated me today?
4.  What made me smile today?
5.  What inspired me today?

Try it.  You just might find that you view the world from a different and better place.  You have the power to alter your reality simply by seeing things in more positive ways.   After all, in the end, what we see very much depends on the clarity of the lens through which we look.

My Perspective on Perception Playlist

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lessons from My Mat

While on blogging hiatus, I was busy  deepening my practice and learning new tricks at what was affectionately referred to as "Yoga Bootcamp".  I, however,  felt that "Princess Camp" had a nicer ring to it, despite the fact that we were not issued tiaras.  Either way, ahimsa was frequently called into question there since the words "Are they trying to kill us?" were uttered almost daily over the course of our three week adventure :).

Princess Camp was physically challenging and, at times, both mentally and emotionally draining.  It was also exciting, inspiring, a beautiful way for me to reconnect with my practice, and a strong reminder of the things yoga has taught me about myself and about people, in general... very little of which has to do with pose and proper alignment.

And so, because I love a good list, I give you "Lessons from My Mat"

1.  We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for, and we get stronger just by trying.  Certainly this applies to the physical practice of yoga.  However, applied to almost any challenge we face, there is truth in this.  The human spirit is, indeed, stronger than anything that can happen to it, and we grow stronger with each challenge we face and overcome.

2.  We are all exactly where we are supposed to be.  I do recognize this on a very regular basis; however, I was overwhelmed by it in the midst or our first shared practice at Princess Camp.  The road to camp, for me, was not simple.  There was some serious single-mommy-guilt at play as well as financial concerns.  It would take a village to make the logistics work.  I struggled with the decision until I received an out of the blue, serendipitous phone call that served as an "all systems are go" sign.  It was the push I needed to commit, though, frankly, I still questioned the decision even as I set foot on that plane.  Soon enough, though, I found myself in a beautiful space, packed with like-minded people participating in a moving meditation to the beat of an African drum circle.  The energy level was indescribable.  There was no question that I was, indeed, where I belonged.

3.  The only thing we can really control is our response to that which we can not control.  Viktor Frankl talked about the space between stimulus and response as being our one true freedom, and I believe this to be true.  The gift of non-reactivity is one of the greatest things I have gained from practicing yoga.  Certainly the physicality of yoga requires us to be non-reactive, use our breath to soften edges, calm the mind and quiet the body in order to do things like hold poses, be they of strength or surrender, longer than seems reasonable or try a new arm balance, inversion or bind; but it is the off-the-mat application of non-reactivity that has changed my life dramatically.

4.  There is no "can't"... there is only "not today".  Each moment on the mat is unlike any other, as is each moment off of it.  Therefore, we must accept ourselves for who we are each day, meet ourselves there, and love ourselves in spite of our perceived imperfections.

5.  In related news... yoga has taught me to love my body in ways I never did before because I know my body so well as a result of my practice.  My back is bendy and I can rock out some cool backbends. My core is strong and I can sit in boat and have a lengthy discussion with you about any topic.  I can do fun things with my legs while in headstand.  I can fold myself into a yogi sammich while standing or sitting, and reverse namaste is easy and comfortable.  I know that firefly is hard for me because my arms are disproportionately shorter than my legs and that "bumping up" requires blocks, for the same reason.  I know that half pigeon on my right hurts and needs to be modified, but on the left, I can hang all day.  Self-awareness and acceptance allows me to appreciate my strengths, understand how to use those strengths to deal with challenges, and embrace who I am at both my physical-boat-holding and figurative cores.

6.  The most advanced practitioners of yoga listen well to their bodies and modify their practices in order to honor that.  We are advanced practitioners of life when we learn to trust our intuition.

7.  Real growth, be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, on the mat or off, requires us to get the hell out of our comfort zones.  Yoga has taught me how to find my edge and use what is available to me in the moment to soften it.  It is a beautiful reminder that we already have everything we need in order to take on the challenges life presents.

8.  We must let go of things that no longer serve us.  Perhaps we let go of a block in a balance pose because eventually we find that we can hold the pose without it.  Maybe we forgive a transgression because we recognize that we are holding ourselves back by staying connected to a past that can never be rewritten.

9.  We all fall down; it is in our ability to begin again that we find success.  Each of us has a unique curriculum to master.  The lessons will be presented over and over until we have learned exactly that which we are supposed to learn.  In turn, we learn the most when life brings us to our knees and we must find a way to rise back up again.

10.  Gratitude is the mother of happiness.  Be grateful for each practice.  Be grateful for the days on which your mind, body and breath cooperate and things feel effortless.  Be just as grateful for the days on which it doesn't... for those are the days that make you more appreciative of the better ones.  Life is good, even on the days when it feels like it isn't.  There is beauty all around us.  We just have to take time to notice and appreciate it.

So get on your mat, and take what you learn there off the mat with you.

A tiara is optional.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Seuss Salute

Some people are naturally athletic.  Others are incredibly artistic.  Others, still, are musically inclined or mathematically brilliant.   We all have gifts into which we can tap.  Mine is none of the aforementioned talents.  It is, instead, the ability to write in rhyme with ease.  

As you might imagine, while most of the participants in my training cringed when given the assignment yesterday to "write rhyming cues for Sun Salutation Letter A", I was quite giddy.  Who knew my heretofore relatively useless talent would serve me well in Yoga Boot Camp?!

And so, I give you, Sun Salute A cues, Dr. Seuss style.

At the top of your mat, you will begin
Hands at heart center and then breathe in.
Reach your arms to the sky, long and tall
And as you exhale, towards the earth you fall.  

Inhale, lift halfway, elongate your spine
Exhale fold forward, you’re doing fine
Bring your hands to the mat, hop or step back your feet
High to low push up, stay on your breath’s beat.

Inhale, roll your toes, lift your head, chest and gaze
To warm up your spine, which moves in six ways.
Exhale, lift your hips, find your inverted V
Show off your sweet yoga asana for all to see.

Before moving forward, breathe five times, keep track
Inhale, half lift, now straighten your back.  
Exhale surrender, bring your chest towards your thighs
Inhale, reach up, follow your hands with your eyes.

Exhale, ground your feet, come to Samasthiti
Pull your hands to heart center, in prayer they will be
This is the end of sun salute letter A
Relax, take a breath and say namaste.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Confessions of an Imperfect Yogi

I have a confession to make:  I am not perfect.  Shocking, I know.

We yogis tend to get caught up in the concept of being yogic vs. unyogic  Guilty as charged.  I typically won't judge people's yogicness if they are not involved in yoga culture... but you bet your sweet bippy I occasionally catch myself thinking "how incredibly unyogic" about the yoga teacher who posts all kinds of "SYS" (shi... ummmm... stuff yogis say) on Facebook while wandering around the world spewing hateful things towards others.  *Blink*.  The irony of my views on this is not lost on me.  

I also confess that, at times, I swear like a sailor.  It's true, I do, though I often add the word "asana" (which means body posture) to my swear words, which makes them more yogic, n'est ce pas?  There is a certain emphasis that can only be expressed through the word fuckasana.  Clearly.

So, in honor of being an imperfect yogi, I thought it might serve me to closely compare my behaviors with the yamas and niyamas to see how I stack up in the yogic world.  The yamas and niyamas are the ethical guidelines of yoga, the foundation of skillful living, and, therefore, play a part in determining one's true yogic mojo... yomojo, if you will.

The Yamas (Universal Morality)

Ahimsa is compassion for all living things.  It means not to injure any living thing, and to show kindness, compassion, friendliness, consideration to all people.  I strongly believe in the concept of ahimsa... unless you are a fish, in which case, I will eat you... or unless you threaten my children or others who are dear to me, in which case, as my friend Yogarina would say, "I will get all ninja warrior on your ass-ana".  And, since I already showed my hand on the whole not loving the yoga teachers who profess SYS publicly while snarling their way through their daily lives, I must confess that I do not love all people, though I do, indeed, go out of my way to be kind, friendly and compassionate as much as possible.  Frankly, though, this can be a challenge at times because there are plenty of jackass-anas in this world.

Satya is a commitment to truthfulness.  We must consider what we say and how we say it, how it affects others, and understand that honest communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship.  I confess that I actually have this one down pretty pat.  I learned a long time ago that the truth does, in fact, set you free.  However, I may have only loosely interpreted satya a time or two when writing school absence excuses for my children in which I accidentally wrote "appointment" instead of "leaving early for vacation".  I might also do something like decide to write an educational blog post about the yamas and niyamas under the thinly veiled guise of discussing my imperfect yogicness.

Asteya is not taking anything that does not belong to us, that has not been freely given.  Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, you say, right??  Maybe.  Let it be known that I am not a kleptomaniac.   Go me!  However, asteya is not quite so simple.  It not only applies to not stealing shit-asana, but also to things like not taking advantage of situations in which people have entrusted things to us or confided in us as well as to using something for anything other than its intended purpose.  I'm down with all that... I am trustworthy and can keep a secret.  However, there is also the notion that asteya applies to being considerate of others' time.  Here's where I might falter, as it is possible that, within my lifetime, I have been late a time or two or three thousand.  It is also possible that the end time on my classes is usually more of a suggestion than a hard stop.  I apologize profusely to all of my students whose time I have stolen.  I will try to end on time...ish.

Brahmacharya is the concept of sense control, used mostly in the sense of abstinence.  There are a few different interpretations of this, of course, and it does not necessarily imply celibacy.  Hallelujah, 'cause if you've read the research on how yoga can enhance your sex life, you would see that idea as a cruel joke.  I like the concept that brahmacharya means responsible behavior, which allows us to move towards the common goal of truth, and that using our sexual energy to deepen connections and in ways that do not harm or betray others, is a way to develop our spiritual selves.  Sense control is a tough thing for many of us to achieve... but it's one of the yamas in which I get to collect quite a few yomojo points.

Aparigraha is neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard wealth.  OK, let's be real.  I have a lululemon habit I need to feed, and I like to take tropical vacations.  A lot.  I need to acquire either some wealth or a sugar daddy in order to do those things.  My fine sense of brahmacharya rules out the sugar daddy option, so I'm stuck with working my ass-ana off to afford the imaginary lifestyle to which I would love to become accustomed.  Don't worry your pretty little heads about my yomojo here, though, because aparigraha also means only taking what we have earned so as not to exploit others.  Perhaps most importantly, it means letting go of our attachments to things and an understanding that the only constants in life are impermanence and change.  I have lived long enough to learn that practicing non-attachment allows me to live more freely and fully and that shit-asana happens, there are no guarantees, yet life marches on, and so, too, must we.

The Niyamas (Personal Observances)

Sauca is purity and cleanliness.  I shower.  I breathe.  I practice.  This would indicate that I at least have some of the basics of inner and outer cleanliness covered, thank goodness.  However, more important than the physical cleanliness is that of the mind.  It is about cleansing it of disturbing emotions... hatred, anger, greed, delusion, pride, lust.  Fortunately, I am not greedy, lustful, ego-driven or hateful.  I am not delusional... well, at least not as far as I know.  However, I confess, every once in awhile, I get angry.  The anger is rarely directed at other people, though, so I've got that going for me.  When I lose my patience or temper, I remind myself that the only thing in life we can truly control is how we respond to that which we can not control... and we can control so little, really.

Santosa is contentment, being at peace with one's life, even when it presents challenges, and understanding that there is a purpose for everything.  We cultivate contentment to accept what happens and be happy with what we have instead of wishing for that which we do not.  This is really difficult.  I am a believer that life presents us with the same curriculum over and over again until we learn the lessons we are supposed to learn.  I used to live by if/thens, if onlys, and when/thens and wished I had that which I did not, rather than living in the moment and appreciating all that I had.  I was presented time and time again with the same curriculum and it wasn't until a certain pair of boots walked into my life and some non-value added relationships walked out (ok, so maybe I pushed them out) that I learned the lessons.  The ability to find inner-peace in the midst of chaos is one of the most empowering things I have ever conquered.  What's my secret, you ask?  Yoga.  I learned this on my mat.  Therefore, I get a gold star and extra yomojo points, and maybe even a vegan cookie.

Tapas does not translate from Sanskrit into "small plate of food".  Rather, it refers to disciplined use of energy... the ability to heat the body in order to cleanse it.  Tapas is about keeping fit, eating well, and paying attention to breath and posture. It also refers to our ability to handle our inner urges without any outer show.  OK, so perhaps the Twizzler I just ate doesn't constitute "eating right",  I may have fallen off the cardio workout wagon recently, and my yoga teacher might have called me out on holding my breath at one point last week.  However, I recognize my imperfection here as this practice continues to be a work in progress.

Svadhyaya is self-study and refers to activity that cultivates self-awareness, the goal being to have it in all we undertake, and to develop the resulting ability to recognize and accept our limitations.  This self-reflective consciousness teaches us to be centered and non-reactive, and to extinguish our undesirable tendencies. The ability to handle difficult circumstances in a non-reactive way has been one of the greatest things I have learned along this yogic journey, but I am far from perfect at it, as evidenced by the fact that I got a lil' impatient at the man driving in front of me today who clearly didn't need to be anywhere until next Monday afternoon.  That said, the past two years have provided me with countless opportunities for self-reflection, understanding, compassion and the practice of non-reactivity in some of my life's most challenging situations.

Isvarapranidhana is the celebration of the spiritual and means "to lay all your actions at the feet of God."  Regardless of one's religion, isvarapranidhana requires that we consider, recognize, and appreciate that there is a higher power directing the course of our lives.  I consider myself to be deeply spiritual, but do not feel that I must sit in a church pew week after week in order to feel my connection to God and the divine.  I feel closer to God climbing a fourteener than I do in an organized church service, though I will happily do both as appropriate.  I do, indeed, take time each day to recognize the many blessings in my life, but I am far from perfect within the practice of this niyama.

The reality is, of course, that we are all imperfect, yet somehow, we are perfect in our imperfection, and this doesn't make us unyogic.  I would argue that our ability to recognize our imperfections, to embrace them, maybe even to celebrate some of them makes us not only more yogic, but also more human.  Being yogic brings to mind things like loving-kindness, compassion, acceptance, and non-judgment, yet, when we see our own flaws, we don't always extend these things to ourselves.  Perhaps we should.

The Zen Master Seng-tsan taught that true freedom is being "without anxiety about imperfection".  Be free.  Be alive.  Be perfectly, beautifully, fabulously flawed.  Be yogic by understanding that we are all, indeed, perfect in our imperfections.

Yamas Playlist

Monday, June 3, 2013

Scattering Sunshine!

What do you get when you gather 90 yogi(ni)s on a rooftop with sunny skies and perfect temperatures?  You get a beautiful practice with incredible energy.  Many thanks to all who attended and to Rebecca who not only took these great pictures, but also provided ahhhhh-mazing assists!

Yogis arriving on their mats and soaking up the sun.  We figuratively associate sunshine with happiness on a regular basis, but there is scientific evidence that sunshine does, indeed, boost our mood!  A study out of Boston University showed that an hour of asana (body posture) practice in the sun increased the level of GABA in the brain by 27%.  Low levels of GABA are associated with depression.  

Our theme was bringing sunshine into the lives of others and appreciating those who bring sunshine to ours.  We committed to scattering sunshine throughout our worlds and creating sunshine even on the cloudiest of days; for in doing so, we can not keep the sunshine from ourselves.  

Spinal twisting and sun saluting in the radiant sunlight.

Sunglasses, sunscreen, bikinis, hats... all part of the practice.  

Your sunshine comes from your soul, who you are at your core... so heating up the core can only increase your ability to scatter sunshine, yes?!

Going out on a limb here... 

I asked participants to close their eyes and find their tree poses.  It was challenging, unsteady, even scary, for some.

However, once they extended their arms, held each others "branches" and scattered their sunshine to one another, their trees grew taller, steadier, more rooted.  Trees need sunshine in order to grow.

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."
~ Helen Keller 


 Free flowing... 


Thank you for sharing your sunshine and your practice with me.  I am humbled by and grateful for your presence.  I am so blessed to be able to do what I love and, therefore, love what I do.  Namaste.

Sunshine Playlist