Thursday, September 6, 2012


Am I the only one that has a little crush on Sharath? I think he is so freaking adorable. And he was so sweet and nice when I went to led classes in Encinitas. Sigh. haha. Ok. Annoying teenage girl shit over.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Ahhh I want to go to Singapore so bad!! Even just for a few weeks or a month. I'm hoping to negotiate more vacation time next year... Keeping my fingers crossed for that. I want to go and be able to study with James. I just feel this really deep desire to devote more time to my practice. I feel so torn between my practice and my job. For some reason, it feels like it is hard to get a good balance between the two.

Ideally, I would work part time. 20 - 30 hours a week. Then I could go to practice group everyday and not feel stressed. I go everyday now, but sometimes I feel like I am rushing out to try to get to work at a reasonable time. If possible, I would also take a couple months off every year and go to Singapore or India. It sounds perfect.

Maybe one day I will be able to work something like that out... for now, I will just take life one day at a time :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Uncomfortableness of it All

Embrace the uncomfortable parts of life. Awkward social settings, emotions you don't like to express, annoying circumstances, everything. You already know what it feels like to be fearful of all of these things, so why not try welcoming the parts that make you cringe or back away? If something is making you retreat, it is probably something you need to experience for your own personal growth. Why not just stick it out to see what it feels like?

I had this thought while I was taking a bath tonight. I like to lay with most of myself under the water and close my eyes (my nose and mouth remain up). I listen to my heart beating, and I try to slow my heart rate with my breath. It's amazing how loud your own heart beat is under water. Whenever I practice this or some other meditation-like technique, I always have a small moment of panic where I just lose all concentration. I'm not sure what I am fearful of. In the bathtub situation it's not like I am actually going to drown, but for some reason the stillness of myself seems to startle something in me. Tonight I practiced getting through it and just pushing my own limits of comfortability. After my bath I decided to rinse off in a nice cool shower. The water was actually freezing, but instead of turning the temperature up, I decided to just exist in the cold for the experience of it. It was kind of nice. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Being a Bitter Betty

So I have to admit it: I've been a Bitter Betty for the last couple months. Before yesterday, I hadn't practiced in well over a month. What happened you might ask? LIFE.

On April 19th of this year, I lost a very special person to me. My Aunty Barb passed away suddenly. Coincidentally, I suffered a knee injury in Janusirsana C the very same morning. A bigg'un. That morning I was at practice group like normal. I was doing my practice like I had been for the last year. Almost every single morning I woke up at the ass crack of dawn, grabbed all of my practice and work stuff, headed to the studio, practiced for about an hour and a half, and then headed straight to work where I put in a good 9-10 hour day. This particular day my knee just wasn't feeling what I was trying to put it through and I felt and heard something pop horrendously. My husband was in Encinitas, CA (where I was to join him just a few days later) studying with Sharath and Saraswathi. I was devastated that evening, to say the least. A few days later, I traveled to Flagstaff, AZ to attend my aunt's viewing and funeral. Not only did I have to cope for the first few days after her death without my husband by my side, but I had to witness my entire family completely torn apart by grief. After the funeral, I flew directly to San Diego where I was to study with Sharath and Saraswathi for a week. With a knee that didn't work and a heart that hurt.

I practice primary series. Almost everything in primary series requires the use of my knee. It was terrible. While I was so grateful to be able to study with these amazing teachers, I was bitter and angry that I couldn't do my practice how I was used to. I am a naturally flexible person. From day 1 of my practice, I have been able to access pretty much every pose in primary series. I became very attached to the physical aspect of my asana (I know, I know... my ego). I associated my practice with these poses and the movement of my body.

When we returned from Encinitas, I became angry. Angry at God, the world, my husband, pretty much everything. I felt like I could barely breath. I didn't want to practice. Shit hit the fan in my life. I was grieving, I couldn't do my practice, and other aspects of my personal life began to fall apart. I also associated the pain of my aunt's death with my practice and my injured knee.

Instead of leaning on my practice and using it to get through this tough transition in my life, I just gave up on it. I refused to do it. I didn't like the uncomfortable feeling of not being able to bend my knee without feeling like it was going to dislocate. I began to blame my unhappiness and stress in my life on my practice and on practice group. I was tired of waking up so damn early every day for something I felt like failed me. I was tired of not having a teacher in town to instruct me and guide me. I felt like my practice and the Ashtanga system let me down. I was heartbroken.

A teacher from Singapore was also coming to visit for the 2nd year in a row in June. I wasn't planning on going to see him. What's the point? I can't do my practice and I hurt. I was a complete wreck emotionally and physically. The week before James arrived I went out for tea with a good friend (James' student). She encouraged me to come see him, even feeling as fucked up as I did. I was apprehensious, but decided it couldn't hurt. The day he got into town she texted me to see if I would come the next day. I went. And it was the best decision I could have made.

I went into the room and began my warm up. I did my sun salutations and went through the standing postures. James didn't even glance at me. I thought, "That's ok, there are at least 10 other people here. He has a lot of students and I am just another person (who he has only taught a handful of times. mind you)". When I sat down to begin my seated postures, he came over to me and gave me the biggest and most heartfelt hug I may have ever received. He held me tight and patted my hair. The world stopped. I could feel that he cared and was concerned for me. He said something to the effect of, "I know you have a lot of problems right now so lets start with your knee". He spent a few minutes just massaging it and reminding me that injuries aren't permanent. He went through every seated posture with me and showed me every modification to make my knee work with my practice.

I felt so incredibly blessed and restored by the end of the practice. I did get stopped at Marichiyasana A, and I decided that that was ok. I came to the brink of tears multiple times during my practice. I realized that it isn't about what my body can do for me or what kind of contortionist I can be: it is purely about showing up and being present. James and my friend who encouraged me restored my faith in the practice and the method.

Bad things in life will happen. Suffering is inevitable. I will, one day, lose another person that I am close with. I will also probably suffer another injury at some point (from the practice or just from daily life). Maybe, if I have my practice and continue to cultivate it, it will make these bad things a little bit more bearable. I can't blame the bad things in life on my practice and how it has let me down. A practice doesn't guarantee a pain free life. It just helps you get through the pain a little easier.

It is not any easier to get through each day without my aunt here on this Earth. It wont be for a long time. Sometimes I think I am ok, but then I just lose it. These things will happen. Death is going to happen to those I love and to myself. The best thing I can do for myself is to grow as a person and just learn to be ok. I cannot expect to have a perfect life, because I will be let down.

It has been a true test of my ego to not be able to do the entire primary series this week. It is hard knowing that James will only be here for a few more days, and I will not progress any further than I did last year. But that is ok. It isn't about what series I am practicing or whether or not I can stand up from my drop backs. I just need to be there.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Visiting Teachers

The ashtanga practice group that meets does not have a regular teacher. We are basically all just meeting together and helping each other out with what we can (which isn't a whole lot, but better than nothing!). Lately, it has felt like the group has been in a slump... low attendance, everyone is tired and busy with holidays, etc. Curtis and I were talking in early January about how we really need more teachers to come through or else we are nervous the group will just peter out. Well, to our surprise, Stefanie received an email from a teacher in Portland looking for a place to practice while visiting. What luck! Stefanie emailed them back and asked if Jason would be willing to teach, and he agreed. Jason runs the ashtanga yoga program in Portland Oregon out of another studio (somewhat similar to how our practice group functions). We had great turnout while he was here, and I think we all learned a lot. His big emphasis was back bends. All of us are lacking in back bends. He completely changed how I approach urdva dhanurasana (my sanskrit is horrible, please excuse any misspellings). I have a tendancy of rolling my shoulders in, and he helped me get the feeling of rotating the other way and opening my chest. His has great technique for talking students into the correct alignment with backbends. I'm going to show Curtis what he showed me; maybe it will help some of his students. Having Jason here to teach for a few days was inspirational and refreshing for my practice. I feel a little renewed, and I'm looking forward to spring :)

Speaking of teachers, Manju Jois has been teaching in Encinitas for a few months, but we have been unable to make it down there to see him... Well it is finally happening this weekend! Curtis and I are going to drive down there on Friday morning and stay until Saturday night. Unfortunately, we can only do Saturday's mysore practice due to our work schedules, but it's better than nothing! We are hoping to go see Paramhansa Yogananda's Meditation Center for Self Realization (I think that's what it's called) on Friday afternoon as well. We are so stoked, and I promise I will blog about it when we get back... :) and hopefully my arms aren't broken from adjustments haha

It's been awhile...

Well hello! It's been awhile since I have blogged. To be honest, it has been from lack of enthusiasm not so much out of lack of time... I've also lacked some inspiration... Ok enough of what is "lacking" :)

So what's been going on? Winter blues. I get so down in the dumps and lazy in the winter. Something about the cold and dark makes me want to eat all the time and curl up into a ball (and NOT practice).

Curtis and Stefanie needed to take a step back from the practice group, so we are only meeting M, W, and F right now. On top of that, attendance has been dwindling. I never realized how much I rely on the collective energy to get through my practice. While I have missed seeing other bright, shiny faces there, the days that I have made it to my mat in the almost-empty and silent studio have been some of my best practices for myself. Not that I accomplished any crazy pose, but it was silent and still and there is something nice about that. In fact, I had a great experience in stillness on Sunday. I was bound and determined to do my home practice, but I was exhausted after the workshop on Saturday. I started out my practice with the opening chant, did 3 surya namaskara A's and B's, I took the three lotuses, and I did the closing chant. After my savasana, I had the most quiet and peaceful few moments. They were delectable. I savored each little moment knowing it would pass, and was ok with that. I existed in that moment seeing it for what it was. Or at least that is the best way I can describe it.