Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween- Save the Date

Oh, wow. I haven't read a blog or written a blog post since the beginning of September. It's now November. Oh well, life happens. I'm gonna try writing this one on my iPad.

Lots has been going on. Changes, some happy some sad. And finally, our wedding planning is pushing on! While I was in CT last month I managed to secure a photographer and buy my dress. Since that's happened I really have slowed my progress down. Because all that matters is the dress, right? Just kiddin.

We've had successes, like the dress, and setbacks like the officiant and DJ not working out. While I was in CT at a party we were talking about doing a photo or video save the date to email out to everyone. Since people will be traveling from Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Orleans we wanted to let them know about ten months in advance so they could plan accordingly. My uncle suggested dressing up as a bride and groom for Halloween and sitting at a table with champagne glasses cheering and then saying save the date. I started to tell Ben about this idea the day before Halloween and he decided it was great.

So, the night before Halloween we ran around to thrift stores looking for a suit for him and a wedding gown for me. We needed a veil, gloves, face paint, etc. Somehow, we pulled it all off. The next day we carved pumpkins before tearing, cutting, and soiling our clothes. Then we picked up our friend Gabe who helped us with filming.

The whole thing only took a few hours, and then a few more to put together on a computer, and voila! It's done. We sent it out to our guest list (almost everyone got it) on Halloween!

Take a look and let us know what you think:

Friday, September 30, 2011

White Lotus Memories

I've got White Lotus on the mind. I cheerfully reminisce with people who've done their training there, I have a student ask me about my time there, I run across photos of the beautiful landscape and I'm drawn again to my yoga teacher training.... and I want to go back. I want to go to deepening your practice, the therapeutic yoga training program, thai massage training, and I want to go back for weekend retreats. Here are some photos from my time there:

my friend Cara in scorpion
gurus <3
lovely sitting area overlooking a cliff
cool water to swim in
kirtan night
ganesha rock
our yurt! yurt #7
my friend Mike in the cuzzi overlooking the moutainside

Thursday, September 15, 2011

doin it for God

One night at yoga camp we had bugged our fearless leader, Ganga White, enough so that he finally agreed to teach us about the history of Tantra.

After dinner he walked through the dining room and exclaimed loudly, "Anyone who wants to talk about doing it for God be in the asana room in two minutes."

No matter who you are practicing for- sending love to a friend- or devoting practice to a higher power- your yoga practice is about you. Have you ever kicked up into a handstand knowing that your arms were feeling weak? Did you ever take that extra bind because you wanted your teacher to be impressed? Or maybe a cute girl happened to be on that mat next to you and you wanted her to see how badass your trikonasana was so you grabbed your big toe and overstreched your muscles.

Well, yoga is for you. I recently wrote a short little post about it and sent it to Elephant Journal who, today, published it! It's my first professional yoga writing! It's super short and easy to read. Check it out: Make Your Yoga Yours

leave a comment and please share it!
foolin around

Monday, September 12, 2011

Listen up!

I've gotta say, this is an exciting post :) Well, to me it is.

I love music. I love yoga. Yoga + Music (to me) = mind blowing.

I said that I would post the music I play in yoga classes each month...but I decided to skip right to August since it's been my favorite playlist so far. It's fun and still relaxing/peaceful. Hope you think so too. One of my students told me that when she can't get to the studio she practices at home to the playlist!


1) Shalom/Salaam- Matisyahu from Youth
2) Shiva Puja and Chant- Krishna Das from Heart As Wide as the World (couldn't find a perfect version, but this live one is close).
3) Be the Change- MC Yogi  (not great, but kinda fun to see a live version) from Elephant Power
here's another link to that song: Be the change (this is much better)
4) You've Got the Love- Florence + The Machine (Featuring The xx) from You've Got the Love Single
5) Om Purnam II- Deva Premal from Dakshina
6) Bangles- Niraj Chag from Putumayo Presents Yoga
7) I Will Be Light- Matisyahu from Light
8) Bolo Ram- Wah! from Putumayo Presents Yoga
9) Ave Maria- Chris Cornell from Great Expectations Soundtrack
10) Ruled by Secrecy- Muse from Absolution
11) Cerulean- Ben Leinbach & Geoffrey Gordon from Putumayo Presents Yoga

I love every one of these songs. Some of them, like Cerulean I use over and over. That particular song is just so nice when it's loud and you're blissed out in savasana.

My 90minute yoga playlist for August also had:
- Haiti by the Arcade Fire
- December by Norah Jones
- Emperor of the Air by Kingsley Durant (ben's dad!)
- Carries on by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
and more... I may reuse these songs for September so i'm not linking to them..also, it takes too much time and I need to go check my mocha brownies :)

Leave me a comment and let me know what you like to listen to while practicing- or any other time of the day! Maybe I can use a suggestion in my next playlist. Happy Listening!

Friday, September 9, 2011

start your journey

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice,
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save. 

~ Mary Oliver ~

traveling through Michigan- detroit airport

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

make your yoga yours

Being a yoga teacher gives you a whole new perspective on class. You hear how everyone is breathing, you see them making small adjustments in their posture, and you pick up on the energy of the room. It's wonderful. Just wonderful.

There's something funny about being a yoga teacher though- everyone does exactly what you say. If I say inhale and lift your right leg (even though we just did right and I meant left- that happens less frequently lately) people lift their right leg anyway. If I offer a way to move deeper into the pose for those who would like to try it almost everyone will do it.

Therefore, I consider what I say in yoga class carefully and know that it is an honor to teach.

However, asana is only a small part of yoga. In the home of yoga, India, (I have heard) that most people don't practice the poses at all. Yoga there is meditating, breathing, and devotion to God. While that's in yoga classes in America also, there can be some misconception about yogic texts here. Some teachers talk about Patanjali's yoga sutras in class and from one teacher to another you can find different perspectives on it. (Also, teachers never seem to refer to the hatha yoga pradipika- what's up with that?)

The writings in Yoga Beyond Belief by Ganga White (my teacher!) really resonate with me. (It's a great read and I suggest anyone interested in furthering their yoga practice pick it up) In making his point that you have to find your yoga and what it means to you Ganga mentions how the concept of brahmacharya is interpreted as responsible sexuality or making your sexual union special when it is more likely referring to celibacy. People take the text and choose to read into it what they need. He goes on to say,

"We can learn from and use the tradition in an approach tempered by the realization that what we call tradition is truly our own, or another's, interpretation of what something may have been in the distant past... Relying too much on doctrines and texts for guidance in living cuts one off from direct perception and from the living awareness of insight. Yoga should be viewed as an art as well as as science. Structured, more scientific, aspects of yoga and techniques also involve unstructured, indefinable dynamics that require artistry and awareness to apply. Living in wholeness and creativity has structural components, but life is more an art than a science...Yoga is practiced within the tradition but must be applied according to the uniqueness of wach person's life and situation. We should not simply idealize the past and assume that teachings, purportedly unchanged from the ancient past, are perfect, superior, or appropriate for the present...

We cannot learn to fly by following the tracks left by birds in the sand, We must find our own wings and soar"

The best yoga practice is your practice. Returning to your mat daily, sitting in meditation, taking pauses frequently to deepen your breath, and showing compassion to your neighbors. I'm not at all saying that you should or shouldn't read the ancient texts- like the translations of the Yoga Sutras. I'm attempting to humbly suggest that by noticing your thoughts, using your body, and finding some peace you are practicing yoga in all its glory- your yoga.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

what is that chanting?

Pretty often I get a huge compliment after yoga classes: people are always asking me about my playlist and saying how much they like them! I am so very pleased that my students are enjoying the music I choose for their classes. I take time when making playlists and almost always have a home practice to the music before playing it in class. It's important. Sometimes we use more gentle music, with less vocals, and sometimes we play chants in sanskrit or popular music that you hear on the radio. I hope that you've all enjoyed what I've played so far and continue to in the future. 

This week I received an email from a student asking me to share my playlists. Well, I think I will :) 

I'll start with a June playlist from lunch flow (which is a 60 minute class) and soon follow up with my July lunch flow classes. In September I'll share my August playlist for lunch flow. If you'd ever like to hear my longer playlist- from all other 1.5 hour classes, please just leave a comment or email me. Here ya go!

If you click on the linked songs you will go to youtube so you can listen to them, but they may not be the 'official' videos.

June Lunch Flow Playlist- 13 songs, 1:08:26 total time
8) Elephant Power (feat. Bhagavan Das)- MC Yogi (another live video, not a great one- sorry)

Enjoy! Please also let me know what you think by leaving a comment. And, don't judge me for putting New Soul on there. It's a great song even though it's played way too often in yoga classes ;)