Monday, July 18, 2011


Teaching yoga is still a daunting task for me. I don't know what it is - the public speaking, the not knowing what is going inside the heads of the students (are they bored? is it too easy? too hard?), the constant mixup between right and left sides :) I feel like I haven't yet perfected the line between talking too much and not enough. So I decided to set up a free class in a park to get some more experience. 

I got to the park about a half hour early. Laid out my mat and radio and started stretching. Almost immediately, 3 high school students came and sat right by where I was at. They were dressed all in black, one with a Mohawk, all with piercings and cigarettes hanging out of their mouth. Your typical rebellious teens. I am embarrassed to admit, I immediately judged them. My first thought was "keep an eye on my mp3 player".

Since they sat so close to where I was, I decided to extend an invite to them, letting them know a free yoga class was going to start soon and they were welcome to join. To my surprise, they were like "maybe we will", but I didn't really expect it. They kinda sauntered to the other side of the park and I figured my invitation scared them away.

I had a few people show up to class (thanks for coming, girls!) and we got started. A few minutes into class, the teens came back. To my surprise, 2 of them got down on the ground and joined in! They continued to follow my instructions. Not mocking or making fun, but really putting in an effort. I was floored. One of them only stayed about half way through class then got up to greet another teen that had wandered in. But the other one stayed the entire class. I couldn't believe how much he was trying (and actually accomplishing). 

After class, the one who had stayed came up to talk to me. He asked when I would be doing it again, because he had really enjoyed it and would like to do more yoga. Without access to a computer, he gave me his cell phone number and I promised to text him the next time I was going to teach a class in the park. I felt completely ashamed that I had judged them so harshly just 60 minutes before. After talking to him you could tell he was a good kid just being a typical teen. A few piercings, shaved sides of head and black clothes do not make a bad person.  It taught me how much further I still have to go on this journey.

Since then, I have been very conscious as to mentally note when I judge someone. I want to stop labeling people in my head. I want to have a completely open mind when I meet someone, to see who they are on the inside without any preconceived notions based on their appearance or things I have heard previously. This is a tough lesson, but one I believe will pay off immensely. Connecting with another being is the most important thing in this world. And by stopping my judgments, I increase the amount of people available for me to sincerely connect with. Can't wait to teach my next class and see if they show up again! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Separate Lives

I haven't been blogging as frequently as before, and I have really missed it. I think the reason is that I have been having a hard time balancing my 3 lives - my Work Life, my Yoga Life and my Family Life.

When I was in Teacher Training, my Yoga Life took precedence. I had so much homework, so many responsibilities related to yoga, that my brain was constantly focused on that. In the sparse free time, my brain was still dialed into yoga so I was bursting with inspiration and had to write it down before I exploded.

When I was in Teacher Training, my Family Life definitely suffered. I rarely saw my boys (my boyfriend and his 5 yr old son) even though we live together. Seems like I was always rushing out the door, holing up in my office to do homework, or coming to bed so exhausted I could barely even whisper good night.

Now that I am out of Teacher Training, it seems like my Yoga Life has taken a back seat to my Work Life. I have been putting in a gazillion hours on a project I care nothing about to pay the bills and spending any spare time working on a project I care immensely about that isn't yet paying the bills (but has potential to in the future). Again, I find myself putting my Family Life on hold - turning down invitations to spend time with people I love in exchange for the dream I have of one day taking the project I am passionate about all the way.

I justify it by telling myself and others that as soon as I can get this project off the ground I will have a multitude of time to spend with everyone, as I will no longer have to take on time consuming yet dull projects-that-pay-the-bills. This is such a conundrum for me. I know "life is what happens when you're busy making plans" but at the same time, I am the type of person who needs goals and aspirations and will never be happy just working for someone else for the next 30 years.

While Work Life has a firm grasp on me, my Yoga Life also suffers. I am keeping up my daily practice, but the inspiration and motivation I felt on such a regular basis during Teacher Training has now subsided into random spurts. I miss that feeling. My side project has the opportunity to combine my Work Life and my Yoga Life so I can get back to living that lifestyle 100% of the time - no more ridiculous client demands and unavoidable office politics.

I've been pondering this a lot lately. If I give my Family Life the attention it deserves right now, I may be passing on an opportunity to merge my Work Life and Yoga Life together which would make a ton more room for Family Life in the future. Yet, what if there is no tomorrow? What if all of the time I am spending on Work away from my family and friends is all I get?

I don't have some clear cut lesson or conclusion. I am just going in circles on how much should I prepare for the life I want to live vs how much effort should be put into the life I am actually living today? I guess only time will tell.....


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sassy Chassi

Just got a call that I wasn't prepared for. Growing up, horses were my life. Long before we were thinking about boys or clothes, my neighbor Tif and I were 'training' her pony licorice. I remember being so proud riding one of her horses Sally by myself down the road - up until she spooked and raced home with me dragging behind, foot caught in stirrup and head flopping on the ground. Tif's mom, Carol, made me hurry up and get right back, knowing if she didnt before my mom (who had witnessed the whole thing and was deathly afraid of horses) got there I would probably never ride again.

While we were in high school, Carol added another horse to her barn. Although named Chassi, she was just as often called Sassy Chassi. She was young, and full of spit and vinegar. I remember sitting for hours trying to get her take a bit. I hadn't realized there was someone more stubborn than I was! She would stick her nose so high I had to stand on the trampoline just to reach her. The day she calmly opened her mouth for the bit, tears welled up in my eyes. I hadn't ever, to this day, felt more accomplished about anything.

She stayed true to her name - dumping our trainer more than once with her bucking bronco routines. Riding her became a dance - my right heel in, her left hind leg kick out, my left heel in, her head tossing around. Round and round we would dance, her ears perked and alert, betraying the "bad horse" act she was trying to put on. There is not a doubt in my mind she enjoyed those rides as much as I did.

Depending on her rider, she would adjust her attitude. If it was a child, unsure of themselves, she would plod around the ring like a trustworthy pony, taking care to not stumble or go too fast. Then an experienced rider would get on her and she would race around crow-hopping to her hearts' content.

Chassi was smarter than any horse I had ever met. Not only would she find ways to escape her own stall at night, but she would often "free" all of her friends from their stalls as well. When new horses came into the barn, she became "mom", protecting them from the bullies. She would sit for hours while I untangled her mane, just loving the attention. Year after year she would surprise us with her depth, wisdom and awesome personality.

The call I just received was that she passed away. So many memories attached to that amazing mare. On one side, I am overwhelmed with the guilt of having moved on with my life and not being around her as much as I should have been these last few years. On the other side, she was so well loved and had such a great long life, I should feel honored just to have played a small part at all.

Chassi was an amazing soul. She will be missed by many.

Thank you, Chassi, for all of your lessons and love that you shared so generously with all of us.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Subjective Truth


  [suhb-jek-tiv] –adjective 1.existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought ( opposed to objective). (
So many people believe the concept of "Truth" exists. It is one of those things we just grow up learning about - Truth versus lies. When you were growing up, how many times did your parents ask if you were telling the Truth? We never think to question what that means, it is so ingrained in us. Our entire legal system is built upon it. But does a completely True statement ever really exist?   So much of this world takes shape through the specific lens each individual looks through, that I am starting to question if there is such a thing as a global, undisputed True statement. Everything I am finding is one person's Truth, which may or may not be mine as well.
Last week we went to see some fireworks. It was a beautiful show - huge explosions coming one right after another, us ohhing and ahhing at the brightness. After that night, I could have confidently came up with some True statements about fireworks:

  1. Fireworks are loud
  2. Fireworks are bright
  3. Fireworks explode high in the air
Fast forward 4 days to me returning from a quick business trip. My flight took off about 9pm, just as it was getting dark. I was looking out the window and part way into the flight, started seeing these weird shooting star type blinking lights, close to the ground. I perked up a little, confused what I was seeing. I would see one over there, then one up there a bit, then another one back there, then again up there a bit. What was going on??!?!
Suddenly, one happened directly under my window - the closest one yet. I could see the individual pieces making up what I thought was a blinking light and I understood, I was seeing fireworks. Being the Friday before the 4th of July, it seemed like every city between Philadelphia and Detroit had their fireworks shows going on! I saw bigger displays with many going off at once, I saw what was probably backyard shows with a sporadic one here and there.  It was an amazing site - seeing so many shows at once, knowing the people on the ground were only experiencing one show. It was like I was connecting them all together by being in that plane to see them. 
Seeing these fireworks, and comparing them to the ones I had witnessed under totally different circumstances a week earlier, brought out this quandary in my brain. A statement as simple as "fireworks are bright" was negated in that plane, with the ones I was seeing much less luminous than some of the building and streetlights surrounding them. They certainly weren't loud since I couldn't hear them at all in the plane. And they weren't high up since I was much higher than they were. Everything I could have confidently stated about fireworks a week before were all falsities in this new situation I was in while viewing them. 
It got me thinking to arguments and how useless they are. My week-ago self could have argued with my plane-self about the brightness or loudness of fireworks, and they would have both been correct. They would have been each telling a True statement - with the Truth subjective to their individual experiences. How often in arguments do we believe we are correct and the other person is wrong? What if next time, you try to believe you are both correct? How would that change your way of arguing? Seeing that there might be two or more True sides to a story removes most ammo and instead leads more to a need to understand versus a need to be right, which leads to a much more well-rounded view of your existence. Try it next time. No matter how wrong you think they are, try to see their argument as if it were correct, like they see it. It is amazing how much you can learn with this simple task.