Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Seussical YTT Wrap Up & Review

I've long referred to my adventures in yoga teacher training immersions as "camp"… princess camp, ice princess camp, yoga bootcamp… you get the idea.  Having just completed a three week, 300-hour training in the motherland (Birmingham, Michigan), I noted that this camp concept has finally caught on with others, as evidenced by the fact that we had a talent show as one of our culminating activities!! There were some amazing displays of raw talent… singing, playing guitar,  naming all of the prepositions, reciting the states in alphabetical order, acro yoga, synchronized swimming on dry land, magic tricks, and, of course, the special ability to stick one's tongue in one's nose.  My talent is the ability to write in rhyme, and since so many kind souls have been asking about my experience up there, I give you the YTT Wrap Up & Review, Dr. Seuss style.

From near and from far we all gathered here
For a three week adventure we’ll always hold dear.

So in honor of each and every one of you, 
I’ve written some lines as a wrap up and review.

We certainly shared a full range of emotion,
And discussed many cool things like Bhakti devotion.

There was talk of the Gita and lots about karma
As we carefully considered our unique gift, our dharma.

Into each other’s beautiful eyes we did gaze
To listen empathically in more subtle ways.

On my birthday, all day, we sat silently in meditation...
At which point some yogis may have questioned their dedication.

The circle of suffering went on for days upon days,
Requiring countless tissues for our teary-eyed haze.

In the circle of death, we all conspired
Fortunately no one actually expired.

Which reminds me of our time spent in that sweat box
Finding new edges, and experiencing detox.

In related news, we completed the Quantum Wellness Cleanse
And as a result of one video some now see through a new lens.

We taught yoga to strangers all over the town,
And from very tall ladders, we all fell down!

We spent time at Barnum park learning assists and napping
And doing the craziest asanas, with lots of hand clapping.

We blindfolded ourselves and went out to lunch.
Birmingham citizens think we’re an odd bunch.

The pranayama and mandala exercise was a powerful one
Although Lauren’s experience with that sounded *quite* fun.

Leaking, juicy and nuggets were words frequently heard,
Quotes of the day ranged from the ridiculous to the absurd.

Many shenanigans happened at our condo on Hazel Street...
For 3 weeks of hotel living, we veterans vowed not to repeat.

Jira the Wonder Dog brought smiles all around
A YTT mascot... that’s breaking new "fertile ground"!

Jane reminded us all of the importance of self-care,
Jason’s hilarious dance parties were a breath of fresh air!

Jonny’s classes elicited buckets of sweat,
And that crawling in class? We won’t soon forget.

Yes, these awesome teachers inspired us in countless ways.
We’ll carry their lessons with us throughout our days.

We won’t miss the dungeon or the long hours,
prepping for feedbacks or going without showers,

But we’ve expanded our ever growing yoga tribe
And collectively lifted the universal love vibe.

As our epic yoga journey comes to an end, this I know
We’ll carry a piece of each other’s hearts wherever we go.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


We all wear masks.  Sometimes, we wear them for fun, to become someone or something else for a short time in celebration of a holiday, special occasion, or cultural tradition.  Donning a mask can also evoke real fear and intimidation in others and protect the identify of wearers in turbulent times and situations.  We wear them to ward off not only evil spirits but also bone chilling cold.  We wear them for protection from environmental hazards as well as fast flying balls, pucks, sticks and such.

What's more profound, though, is the invisible masks we often wear in order to hide our feelings, as a reaction to or protection from fear and pain, to escape rejection and/or try to please others.  We disguise ourselves so the world will like us, even when it's inauthentic and compromises our beliefs.

This social mask that we put on may feel as though it allows us to put forward our best foot, create a perfect image for the outside world… but what about the personal truth that lies behind that mask?  What about considering what we really believe of ourselves and of what we are capable?  There is power in knowing who we are at our core, and being that person no matter who is the audience.

Regardless of how frigthtening, we must dare to be ourselves.  Only in doing so, can we truly find our authenticity.  Eckhart Tolle wrote, "Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free".  The freedom allows us to live out loud.

A cover of a beloved song, even when it's a good cover, is never the same as the original.  While it may have a different beat, style, and sound, it's still just an altered version of a great song.  In much the same way, when we try to take on a different persona, to cover up feelings or present someone other than who we are, no matter how glittery the mask, it is still just a cover of our own uniqueness.

Brene Brown wrote, "Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.  It's about the choice to show up and be real.  The choice to be honest.  The choice to let our true selves be seen… true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance."

So accept yourself, uncover, remove the masks, because authenticity is far more attractive than any mask you might wear.  When you allow yourself to be authentic and vulnerable, you create space for others to do the same.  Let yourself be seen as you are, perfectly imperfect, uniquely you.  Walk forward in your truth.


                                     Masks Yin Yoga Playlist                               Masks Hot Vinyasa Playlist