Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Importance of Play

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I love teaching weekend classes.  The students in my Saturday AM classes typically exude a sense of adventure.  Perhaps it has something to do with letting go of the burdens of their work weeks.  Or maybe it is because the weekend classes are packed to the walls and everyone’s  energy is percolating to the ceiling.  Whatever it is, I feel more playful as a teacher and I see more playfulness and curiosity in my students on the weekends.    After teaching last Saturday, I decided I needed a little more playtime. I came back to the studio (the owner of our studio lets teachers practice there if it isn’t being used for another reason), cranked up my Ipod and began to PLAY.  I was inverting, arm balancing and vinyasa-ing like a mad woman!  It was so much fun!  I even built up the courage to do a handstand in the middle of the room.  I went up, I held it, and I began to teeter …I panicked, I yelped and then I went down like a tree in the forest.  I landed flat on my back.  Yowza!
As I lay on the floor, ears ringing from the force of the fall, I began to smile.  I was still alive.  I could wiggle my fingers and toes.  All in all, I was 100% OK.  My playfulness had taken me to my edge and I went over, literally.  And even the aftermath wasn’t so bad.

Later that day, I was invited to take part in a photo shoot for Awear Yoga Clothing.  Awear is owned by my soul sistah, Jill Fox.  She’s amazing and you should buy her clothing.  Nuff said.

Side Plank and Hanumanasana

 

The photo shoot was all about play.  Seeing what we could do (or couldn’t do), holding it, smiling and then starting over. Sounds pretty Zen, huh?  Or a lot like life?  You show up, do what you can, shake it off if you can’t and begin again. Simple I know, and it sounds almost too good to be true, but the beauty is IT IS TRUE!  When we approach our practice and our life with curiosity, with playfulness – we tend to see the big picture.  That big picture being we only have life one moment at a time.  So why not make those moments fun!

Jill, Rachel, Me and Shaina

 

 

Tetris Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoping that you all get to experience a little play today.

My Journey Into Power

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I teach at The Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse.  The Funky Buddha is the first hot yoga studio in West Michigan.  We teach Baptiste Power Vinyasa at the Funky Buddha and while I have yet to formally train with Baron Baptiste I have been reading his books and articles, listening & practicing to his podcasts (and those of his master teachers) and watching his videos  since the day I was introduced to his work.  I am hooked on Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga!

This hasn’t always been the case.

I’ve studied Anusara.  Ashtanga.  Kripalu.  You name it.  While these disciplines/styles of yoga have all contributed to my growth as a student, it wasn’t until I was introduced to Baptiste Power Vinyasa* that I felt I could firmly stand on my place in this world. Baptiste Vinyasa and the philosophy which comes with it are the permission I’ve  needed to simply be myself without apology.  As soon as I opened Baron’s first book, Journey Into Power, I couldn’t put it down.

I had seen this book on yoga bookshelves before and I always passed on it because I thought, “Dude, what are you trying to prove? Buff guy with a bandanna does not = yoga”.  I was SO wrong!  Baron is on the cover of his book, in all of his buff-ass glory to say ‘Hey world, this is me! I take care of myself.  My body reflects this fact.  I’m not apologizing for who I am and neither should you!’ (Alright, so I have no idea what he’s actually saying, but this is my interpretation). Regardless of what he’s saying or not, I found absolute comfort and unconditional acceptance of myself through the pages of his book.  I no longer felt guilty for eating animals and animal products (nope, I’m not a vegetarian) and I no longer felt inadequate in the yoga world for not having traveled to some far away place to receive my teacher training. Through Journey into Power I came to see these and many other life altering realizations.  Mainly: That I do not need to be fixed, That I am not the sum of my mistakes, but the limitlessness of my possibility,  And that it is never too late to begin again.

Baptiste Power Vinyasa has changed my life.  It has changed my body, my ways of thinking and reacting, and my view of the world.  I wholeheartedly believe it can and will do the same for you.    If the hundreds of students that come to our classes each week aren’t proof enough,  I don’t know what is.

I’ll be attending a three-day workshop with Baron in March.  I’m already getting itchy with excitement!

*story on how I found Baptiste Power Vinyasa coming soon 🙂

The Perfect Day

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Today was the perfect day to start this blog.  Why?  Because I woke up in a really shitty mood.  The alarm went off at 6am and I felt as if I had just fallen asleep.  As I lay in bed thinking ‘ at least I have 10 more minutes of snooze’, my son woke up crying (he’s 17mo old) which actually meant I no longer had any time in bed.  My heavy footsteps carried me into the kitchen-my husband was beginning the preparations for banana pancakes – where the blinding light revealed I had something going on with my left eye. I couldn’t open it completely and when I tried it felt like I was grinding rocks in my eyelid. Great.

I was sluggish.  I wanted to be sluggish.  My husband was chipper. Too chipper.  His chipperness made me more irritated. I had awoken in a bad mood and that was the way I was going to stay, dang it!

After my husband left for work and Henri went down for his morning nap, I found peace.  Peace in the form of strong Peppermint flavored coffee.  The warmth in my mug hit my lips the way a sunrise meets a shoreline, saying “here I am, let us embark on another day.”  As the heavily creamed coffee coated the back of my throat I settled into the realization that this was the first thing I had done for myself today.  An ‘a-ha’ moment in the making.

Typically, I awake, roll over, place my feet on the floor and begin to meditate.  Sometimes I focus simply on the breath moving through my body, other times I repeat a mantra for my day (‘see the beauty’, ‘let go of control’ etc..). Today, however, I skipped this practice.  I was too caught up in my perceived obligations (i.e. ‘get your ass out of bed. your son is crying.  breakfast needs to be made.  the dog needs to go out. blah, blah, blah’) and completely neglected the one person to whom I should be held most accountable – ME.  Having not taken a few minutes to center myself before I faced my day,  I spent a good portion of my morning off-kilter.  Certainly affecting those around me in a less than awesome way.

I share this with you in hopes that the next time you find yourself having ‘a day’, you’ll take a minute or two to yourself. Regroup. Come back to your center.  Whether that minute is  sitting quietly with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath, taking a shower, or drinking a warm cup of caffeinated bliss – take the time to honor the one person you’ll be stuck with your entire life.  In doing so you’ll soon see that even bad days can become pretty darn good days.