Thursday, December 1, 2011

Celebrate good times...

Dear sweet followers,

I am super excited to announce that you can now find all post from this blog at the new website for Misfit Yoga! The website still is and will always be a work in progress. Please feel free to email me with any comments or suggestions and I'll do my best to integrate your wishes into the site.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie...

October means pumpkin season is in full effect and if you know me you know this makes me very happy. I love pumpkin and all things pumpkin-esque - sweet potatoes, squash, etc... Here's a great fall smoothie recipe. Depending on what I have in the fridge I'll use either honey or vanilla Greek yogurt OR coconut milk (the thick kind) in this recipe.

Not only does pumpkin taste so freakin' good it's also good for you. Pumpkin is loaded in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and manganese. It's also an excellent source of folate, omega 3 fatty acids, copper, tryptophan, and B vitamins. (B1, B6, B3, B5).

{Pumpkin Pie Smoothie}

5 Tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (get organic and check the ingredients to make sure it's just pumpkin puree)
4 Tablespoons Greek yogurt OR 1/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 banana
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon honey
sprinkle nutmeg
handful of ice cubes

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New digs...

Holy Moses! I can't believe it's been a month since the last post. It's not that I've forgotten, things just tend to get a little crazy around the turn of the seasons. New weather, new job, new classes, new friends...and so on.

I have been busy chipping away at the new blog/website. It's still lacking a few things but the basic idea is up. You can check it out and re-read some of your old favorites, well only a few. Slowly but surely I have been transferring old posts over to the site.

I've added a few other sections that should, within the month(?), have a plentitude of information about my playlists, detox and cleanse programs, and traveling aka. adventures in wellness with NOMAD. I know so much new stuff! You can find recipes easier on the new site and search for topics you might be interested in.

Head on over to check it out and change your bookmark/rss feed. New stuff will be posted only on that site come December and I'd hate to lose touch with y'all :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

National Yoga Month!!! Yee Haw!!!

September is National Yoga Month!

Never done yoga? Have questions? Want to deepen and develop your practice?

In celebration of NYM I'm giving away 10 FREE private consultation sessions! Each session runs about an hour and includes discussion about what YOU want and can attain from a regular yoga practice and creation of your own personalized, at home practice. One session per person on a first come first serve basis*. Don't worry if you aren't in the Portland area, these sessions are also available via Skype. Send me a note for more details or with any questions you have.


*Offer expires 9/30/11.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everything is going to be okay...

Chronic back pain? At 31? For an active yogi? Seriously, what twisted version of the Twilight Zone is this?

There could be a hundred reasons why I'm dealing with this in my body and truthfully it's probably a combination of many things: working in the service industry for 12 years, ski injuries, falling off things, teaching yoga (yes it's hard on the body, demonstrating unwarmed, adjusting), years of poor posture, emotional stress, and so on. Unfortunately I paid no attention to warning signs that something might be going on and waited until I couldn't bear to sit or stand to do something about it. I found a great chiropractor, we're working on it, and a month and a half in I'm finally starting to feel a bit better, but the point here is not my back but what this injury has done for me in a positive way.

Being forced into a gentler yoga practice as well as other forms of activity that are kinder to my body has been a test of patience. When I finally let the frustration go that I wouldn't be able to do headstand for awhile or push really hard rock climbing because I can't risk falling, so many other things opened up to me. Instead of taking a vigorous hike I take a longer walk and notice all of the beautiful things on the trail. I have developed an even deeper sense of awareness of what is going on inside my body and how it reacts to certain things. I think about how my body might be affected by an action or movement. There is an incredibly powerful surrender and beautiful form of acceptance that takes over, and man alive when it does yee haw!

At some point in most of our lives we are faced with an injury or an ailment that doesn't allow us to live life as we normally would. Often this is incredibly frustrating, especially for those that tend to be active. However, with a little shift in perception and a little risk (admitting you like that water aerobics class is okay), you can find zen moments with yourself. Looking at the girl sweating and miserable on the stairmaster while I am contently jogging away on the elliptical was a pretty satisfying moment. I don't have to bust my ass everyday to feel good in my body. All I have to do is provide what my body wants and I feel great.

Everyday for the past couple of months has been a test of patience and an adventure of discovery. I'm not saying go get injured because it's great for your psyche and you'll achieve some wicked sense of enlightenment. You can do this without pulling, tearing, compressing or straining something. We often find ourselves injured because we tune out and turn off what is really going on in our bodies. We stop listening. We need to step back and ask ourselves are we really being good to our bodies. Turn down the vinyasas and treadmills and turn up the sound of our own beings. Find some balance. Search for some honesty.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homemade Banana Ice Cream!!!


Okay beautiful people. Two recipes in one week!! I'm tellin ya, being broke is awesome for the belly. So much kitchen love going on around here lately. Buy some groceries, pump that stereo and what do you get? Tasty treats for the belly and tasty licks from the tunes. What follows came about as an all out refusal to use the browning bananas for banana bread...I thought this was too cliche and I hadn't unleashed the ice cream maker yet this year which is just a travesty. Yum!


3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 - 1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 - 4 ripe medium bananas
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract


Mix milk, sugar, and nutmeg until sugar dissolves (a wire whisk or hand mixer works well).
Mash or puree bananas until the bananas are pureed well.
Stir bananas into milk mixture.
For best freezing results, chill banana/milk mixture for at least 1 hour.
Add whipping cream and vanilla.
Stir well.
Pour mixture into ice cream maker.
Churn about 25-30 minutes or according to manufacturer's instructions.

The ice cream turned out a little too sweet and a little too banana-y for my tastes but other ravenous beasts around the house seem to love it. If I make this again I'll probably use 2 bananas before they get too brown and halve the sugar. I like the flavor of a not quite ripe, a little green at the top banana and I think this would go really nicely with the salted caramel that was added.

If you make this send me photos and let me know how it goes! I'd love to get a solid recipe for this so I can add it to the book!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So delicious...

After a long weekend of working and workshopping I was super excited to come home and home cook myself a bit of food. I know this sounds crazy but I made stew. Hot and hearty stew. Even though it's been close to 90 degrees here in Portland there was something pulling me towards a pot of veggies. Perhaps it was the vast amount of farm vegetables my mother bestowed upon me a few days ago. Potatoes, cabbage, carrots, green beans...what the hell else are you gonna do with it?

So here's what happened. Don't freakout about the lack of measuring. I'm mostly a baking kind of girl and a bit of a, as some would say, control freak. I would much rather call myself someone who appreciates efficiency and it really only manifests itself in some situations.

What Was In the Fridge Stew

3 stalks of celery
4 medium red potatoes
1 yellow squash
handful of green beans and wax beans
couple of crowns of broccoli
few carrots
4 cloves of garlic
1 yellow onion, chopped up
half of a Nappa cabbage
10 cups of chicken or veggie stock
3 sausages (meat free, bratwurst, polish, kielbasa) optional

I sauteed the onion in some olive oil on low heat until they started to soften and turn translucent, then added the garlic and celery. After that started to smell really good I added my stock and the rest of my veggies except for the broccoli and squash. I like to add these veggies a few minutes before it's done so they are crisp. If you add squash early on it tends to get squishy and disintegrate...which is kind of gross. You don't have to add the sausages and I wasn't going to until I realized the majority of my stew was going to be cabbage and potatoes, and when I think of cabbage and potatoes I can't help but think about sausages. Yum!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Willfully surrenduring...

Tonight is a full moon. In any given full moon there lies an opportunity to release. The moon has a very strong gravitational pull on the earth & when it is full it has the most power. Releasing what no longer serves you on a full moon is a very powerful way to align your intentions with the natural cycles of the universe, in this case, the moon. And since we are a part of the whole, this release is a microcosm of the macrocosm for what release is going on in the universe as all living things are naturally called to release on a full moon. You might not even realize it, but you are innately aware of these natural cycles. Sit, right now, and connect with what it is that you would like to let go of. Close your eyes and go there.
Now, spend another moment breathing deep, letting the intention of using your breath & your mindfulness as a form of prayer, devotion or love as an offering to a higher power, in which you are a part of. Your conscious participation in this release sets you up for the universe to illicit a shift in your consciousness to create more space from which you can create what you really want.

Surrendering all to the self is a difficult if not impossible task for most people. This is because we are not aware of the peace such surrender brings. There are many kinds of surrender: there is surrender in war, when the defeated side surrenders in order to preserve whatever life and property remain. This is a willful surrender to a superior force -- some thing like a plea for mercy in the hope of avoiding death and total devastation. Then there is surrender in a totally hopeless situation, the surrender of a man, for instance, facing an unavoidable death. And there is also willful surrender to some thing overwhelmingly pleasant -- like the surrender to a lover, or surrender to some desire or to the senses. Such surrenders are qualified by extraneous desires and circumstances, but there is a total and perfect surrender -- the surrender unto the self.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happiness lies where?

I was standing at the book store looking at a magazine rack and was overcome with a sense of panic. Different publications telling me how to live my "happy life" and textually screaming at me how to "be healthy now!". It seems that being healthy is a full time job and I already have a couple of those. But then I remembered that I already live a fairly healthy life. I do what I can, and feel good most of the time. It's taken me awhile to get to this point but after some small changes in my life living well has become just like breathing.

So...what does a healthy life look like? That depends on what source you're looking at as a reference. Cosmo will tell you it's flat abs and good sex. Lucky will tell you the key to happiness is in a pair of great fitting jeans. I, however, am a firm believer that a healthy life has many, less materialistic, attributions. It's not just what you eat, where you shop and how you exercise. It goes much deeper than that. I think of my own healthiness in categorical terms. If you know me at all you know that I'm constantly trying to compartmentalize and organize into boxes anything and everything I can.

My healthy life is this...

Establishing yourself in a community and becoming active with it's participants. Whether it's your kids' school, a sports team or the fellow Twinkie eaters of America. Find something that you love and become involved in the community of people that makes it up. Yes it is as simple as going and saying hello to your neighbors. They ARE your community, even if they don't take their trash cans in right away or they make their own fireworks on the fourth of July. You'll feel that you are a part of something bigger and this feels awesome.

We can't all make a living at doing what we love. I doubt my IT friends love sitting in their cubicle 8-10 hours a day looking at code and answering questions like why someone's wireless mouse isn't connected to the computer. Find a way to tolerate. Have an active life outside of work. If you absolutely hate your job...quit. Shannon Kaiser says it better than I could in her essay at Tiny Buddha.

{Love} friends, family, lovers
Love a lot. Love ruthlessly. Love everything. Find a way to love what you do. Sometimes this means shifting your perspective but it's worth it. Love your community, they might become extended family if you're not careful ;)
Lead a life full of love. Give love and you will get love. Bring a friend flowers the next time you see them. Send a letter to someone in your family. Tell your lover how awesome they are. When you do this without expectation you will feel full of love and a smile might even creep up on that face of yours unexpectedly. Be open to love and if you are not or think you could (and probably should) do better then practice being open to love everyday...openness comes.

{Movement} exercise-ish
Move your body. Walk down the street, strike a pose, climb a tree, swim, dance to that song on the radio or jump up and down. Get your body moving for the sheer purpose of moving it everyday even if it's just for 5 minutes. If this is something that you haven't done for awhile it might suck and not feel good...until later...when you look back and smile because you hadn't done anything like that for a long time. Your body was made to bend so move those bones!

I could go on and on about the effects of food on our bodies and mind but it really is this simple: Bad stuff in, bad stuff out. Now, I'm not saying that a piece of cake is bad and if you eat it you will be a bad person that bad things happen to. But if you eat nothing but bad food you won't feel good about yourself, your body will feel gross, your brain won't work as well as it could, and you'll be tired all of the time. Eat food that is good for you and eat food that isn't with moderation. Have a drink! Eat ice cream! But eat some veggies and fruit and whole grains in there too. Your body will thank you in so many ways.

God, Jesus, Mother Nature, Allah, Yoga, Elvis...whatever works for you. We all have questions that no one will be able to answer. This is why we pray, vision quest, make pilgrimage, and meditate. We all search for something greater than ourselves, something to find solace in and hold faith to. Some of us walk into a forest and see God everywhere, some of us see our own selves. We practice spirituality to become more familiar with our inner selves. Spirituality is the idea of a path to self-discovery and of learning not only who you are, but who you want to be. It's cultivating a deeper connection and understanding of what surrounds us. And yes, if you haven't already figured it's complicated.

And above all...embody a sense of ADVENTURE. This doesn't mean you have to go bungee jumping or deep sea diving. Next time you're in Warrior II sink a little deeper into that lunge, explore a street in your neighborhood you've never been down, eat a fruit you've never tried before.

Yes, while I have made these little categories I know that there are more. I am always striving to live my life in a way that respects my body and my surroundings. Sometimes I forget but I always ask myself if what I am about to do, say, eat, etc...will make me truly happy.

Where do the successes to leading a healthy life lay for you? Comment with your two cents either here or on facebook. I'll choose one at random next Wednesday and the winner will get a special gift.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back in the side saddle...

shine shine shine

Ahhh home. Smoked salmon, yoga classes that I get to go to daily, farmer's markets, chai tea...ahhh the good stuff. Culture shock? Only if you consider my surprise at the abundance of skinny hipsters on bikes in Portland. I'm slowly acclimating to my old but new life. Hibernating a bit in the warm confines of local yoga studios working on those hammies and hips. I treated myself to a wonderful weekend workshop with the ever lovely Kathryn Budig where I got to reconnect with some old friends, favorite teachers and met some new friendlies.
The theme of the workshop was "all is full of love" and provided me a great space in which to think about what it means to be back in my "regular" life, how I want that life to be different, what I want to be the same and where I want to see this life going. Day one was a great flow including Kathryn's signature Aim True sequence. Day two was all inversions and arm balances. I thought my arms would fall off by hour two but powered through and felt great. Day three, however, was backbends and heart opening and this is where our story takes us.

An entire day of backbends?! Seriously, I know I signed up for this and at the time I think it sounded like a good idea but I really dislike backbends. I love the idea of heart opening but my upper back isn't that flexible and I always feel claustrophobic or like I'm about to have a panic attack when I'm in backbends. Yes I know, this means that I should practice them even more and, more importantly, this means that I could use some serious heart opening but for 3 hours straight in one day?! It's like deciding to go to therapy and start dealing with all that gross stuff you've been carrying around with you. Just breathe. This is what I told myself over and over yesterday. See, backbends are so much more than just a physical practice. In a backbend we put ourselves out there, exposing everything. We purposefully open our hearts and surrender to life.

Think about what you do when you're feeling vulnerable, stressed out, sad, self-conscious. We physically collapse inward. Our shoulders turn inward, we cross our arms, and shield our hearts. In a backbend we take all of these things and present them to the world, exposing our center, the very essence of where we came from to the elements, the things that surround us including the scariest thing of all...ourselves. Backbends are this incredibly powerful tool to explore and potentially conquer your own fears physically and emotionally. We learn to love what we are, all that we have and put it out there. We embrace what is in our hearts and let it shine upward and outward.

Shit comes up when you're present in your backbends and yesterday was no exception. I'd say it was a level 5 shit storm. I've been in a place of transition since before I left Mexico. My priorities are shifting and many seeds of change have been planted. I know where I'm at and have a general sense of where it is I'm going but this is a general sense. How am I supposed to expose myself when I don't even know what that self is right now? Savasana, a few tears and a great conversation later I was gently reminded that sometimes not knowing is a perfectly acceptable answer and I remembered that this is why we practice yoga. On our mat we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable so that we might see what it is that really makes us up and what it is that we want or need to work on. Through our practice we constantly discover little nuggets of awesomeness about ourselves. We find things that might make us frustrated or cry but then we find the things that make us smile and shine.

I'm working on a setup to start doing short videos for you and a little heart opening backbend sequence is at the top of the list. For now you can check out Yogaglo, they have some free classes with awesome teachers over there.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Holstee on...

Sometimes it really can be all that simple.

Holstee makes ass kicking, sustainable products that you should buy. This is their manifesto and I'm adopting it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A different kind of independence day...

I can't begin to relate how special my time here in Tulum has been. As I sit here I watch different lives unfold. The table of women enjoying their morning brunch, in front of a beautiful ocean after a 2 hour yoga class. The smiles on their faces, the joy in their hearts. For these women stepping away from their crazy lives in whatever city they've come from and focusing on themselves for a week is a huge deal. To be a part of that, to be considered as a facilitator to that is joyfully overwhelming.

I watch these women, most of whom never knew each other before 3 days ago, form friendships that many of us long to find. When we allow ourselves to step back from all the day to day ruckus, allow ourselves to withdraw from all the bullshit and be open...these bonds flourish. We let ourselves be ourselves. We get sweaty together, see each other without makeup, hear the stories and drama and still the person sitting across from you sees your beauty unwaveringly. It's honest and sincere.

As I go home I hope to take this with me. Being honest to myself, being my true self so that I can deliver that to those who surround me. I wouldn't want to give anything but my true self to those that I love, it's what they deserve and it's what I deserve. It's liberating, freeing and provides a kind of independence that nothing else can give you.

I've got all kinds of goodness coming once I get back to the states that I can't wait to share with you! Keep shining beauties and stay true to you. Always.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

everything in its right place...

Traveling was great and I'll catch up on stories when I get back state side. For now I'm mending from what is going on to be 2 weeks of illness. Food poisoning had me down for the count for a good 4 days and I haven't been right since. Now that the belly is beginning to feel slightly better and able to tolerate more than bananas and papayas I seem to have gotten a pretty rotten cold. Damn weakened immune system. This is when mama's soup comes in handy. So so soon!!!

New music! Sorry it took me awhile. I've been using this new playlist, with some old favorites, for the past month and a half or so and people seem to love it. I promised a few I'd post it so enjoy!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Moving on...

Fear conquered! Not too bad kiddos, not bad at all. Actually, it was really fucking awesome. Class turned into a mini flow in the Amansala restaurant followed by mango margaritas in the torrential downpour and kick ass conversation. Sadie is awesome and if you ever get a chance to take a class with her, go on retreat, or just hold some space with her take it. One unicorn down just a lifetime more to go!

And now on to do some traveling. Palenque, San Cristobal, Guatemala and Belize are on the horizon and I'm out for the next couple of weeks. I'll post a new playlist when I get back along with some tales or courage and heroism. Okay probably not but I'll think of something juicy for you! xo

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Getting over the fear...

One of my biggest fears in teaching yoga (yes there are a few) is that fateful day when my teacher Tiffany Cruikshank walks into one of my classes as a have ME teach them. The thought of it brings swarms of butterflies to my belly. I guess it is pretty foolish to think that in my travels and teaching I wouldn't come across some of my more distant teachers. Those teachers whose blogs I follow, videos I watch, talks I listen to. They're kind of like unicorns to me. I know they're out there prancing about with their manes and silvery horns, and I know I'll meet one someday, but you know...they're unicorns. I see photographs of these teachers, read this or that article, but I've never met or even been in the same room with most of them. And when I am I of course realize that they are just like me, a perpetual student, passionate about what they do and full of love.

The thought never crossed my mind that one day I might actually be face to face with one of these elusive creatures...until today. As the storm outside blew in I struggled with the sliding doors to let a rain lashed lady in. Once her hair blew out of her face I couldn't mistake those bangs and all black get up. Who else would wear all black in Mexico? Sadie Nardini, all smiles. Introductions were had and then the question...
Sadie, "Are you teaching tonight?"
"Yeah, for the last day of Bikini Boot Camp."
"Awesome! Can I come to class?"
"Of course!"
Cue me running away feeling like I want to vomit, explode, pee.

After about 5 minutes that feeling went away and was replaced by one of honor and gratitude. It's less of a star-struck attitude and more of a deep sense of gratitude and thanks to those, unbeknownst to them, who have influenced me. It's scary teaching those who have taught you most of what you know. I look at this as an opportunity to conquer another fear and grow as both student and teacher. Thank you universe.

Besides...what a fan-freaking-tastic way to end my stay here. Sadie has been an inspiration to my practice and my teaching. Tonight she flows with me and tomorrow I fly with her. I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The dangers of the wild...

Some real life pain and meditation happening in these parts. Our story goes starts with a little education and history lesson. Enter the Chechen tree and its little buddy tree the Chaca. The two generally grow within a few feet of one another which is a good thing since the Chechen tree is poisonous (relative of poison oak, ivy and sumac) and the Chaca provides the only remedy.

Mayan legend tells of two great warrior princes who were brothers of enormous strength and skill but of completely different nature. The younger brother, named Kinich, was sweet and tender and loved by all, while the elder brother, named Tizic, was a big stick in the mud who drew strength from the hate and anger nursed in his heart. Legend has it, they both fell in love (surprise!) with the beautiful Nicte-Ha. The brothers declared a battle to the death to see who she would choose.

The battle was long and gruesome, imagine if Robert Rodriguez remade Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. The Earth was torn and the Heavens went into hiding. Eventually both brothers died in each other’s arms. In the afterlife, they begged the gods for forgiveness, and a chance to return to the world of the living and see their beloved Nicte-Ha once more.

The gods granted their wish and Tizic was reborn as the Chechen tree, which seeps black poison from its branches (seriously) and burns anyone who touches it, and Kinich was reborn as the Chaca tree, whose soothing nectar neutralizes Chechen’s venom.

Anyhow, the point of all this is to show you our little run in with Chechen. Ben, helping the guys dig out some cisterns ended up chopping the roots of the aforementioned Chechen tree. Unbeknownst to everybody the black sap began to mix with the sand surrounding the cisterns and they continued to dig. Ultimately our dear, sweet Benjamin ended up covered in venom tainted sand. Here's a little of the healing process...

Calamine to draw out the icky stuff

Boiled Chaca leaves and bark tincture help soothe the fiery itch

Really getting down to business with straight Chaca leaves pureed with a little water. This my friends is the ticket!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Americanos, macchiatos and flan oh my!!!

I know my New Yorker and PDX peeps will scoff at this but have you considered getting on the caffeine free train? Here is a great to kick caffeine the easy way. Now I know this is hypocritical of me to talk about since I love my coffee. Americanos, macchiatos, almond milk lattes...mmmm mmmm! However, I think that one of the ways I move towards something or some idea is by talking about it. With my coffee I'm generally happy to have decaf. It's the flavor I love not the feeling. Those rich, chocolate, caramel, sometimes fruity flavors that tickle the tongue really, really make me happy. Sitting with a warm cup in my hands and smelling the aromas (yes, just like the Foldger's commercials) has become a morning ritual I look forward to. However, the deeper I get into creating a healthy lifestyle for myself the more I understand about caffeine and how bad it is for my body.

Here is an excerpt from the article over at Dr. Frank's. You can catch the full article and a 30 Rock reference here.

  • Day 1: Today, have your usual amount of coffee.
  • Day 2 – Day 5: Blend your coffee 50%-50% with decaf (preferably certified organic). Drink that for three days.
  • Day 6: Have 25% regular coffee, 75% decaf for one day.
  • Day 7: Start drinking pure decaf.
*Eventually, maybe you'll consider kicking the decaf.

I'll always tout the "everything in moderation" horn and for that I will, for the time being, still indulge in my coffee habit. Like most people I know I have a knack for loving things that aren't great for me. The funny thing is, many of those things I've found to be not especially wonderful for my body I eventually eliminate from my life. The more you begin to understand about your body and how it functions at it's best the more inclined you are to do good things for it. Sometimes this means allowing yourself something you really want. Right now I love a delicious piece of flan from across the road. I don't do it every night but I do treat myself, without guilt, without worry and with a big freakin' smile on my face.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Practice makes better...

As the days start to meld together I find I am able to define my time easier by the books I've been reading. I couldn't tell you what I did last week but I could tell you that last week I discovered a sneaky plot derived by a crooked tavern keeper to thwart a you Scotsman from liberating the coal heaving gangs in London. See, my book choices here are limited to what the wonderful beach bound BBC ladies bring, thusly devour and inevitably leave behind. I mean really, would you want to take home that trashy romance novel or a Tom Clancy epic with you? Thankfully no!

In between deep philosophical thoughts from the Tao, teaching yoga, and hanging out with the wonderful ladies of Bikini Bootcamp I've had the pleasure to pour over a few murder mysteries involving disappearing swimsuit models, romance novels starring wolverines, vampires and valkyries, and a few pages involving freedom and liberation in 18th century Scotland. All in all...pretty awesome.

Needless to say my mind has been craving a little academia, a little critical thinking and depth. Here's where the yoga part comes in. I've taken this need into my practice and realized that no matter what I need at any point in my life I can find it in my practice. A year and a half ago after leaving an unfulfilling relationship with a man that I loved deeply I found myself a wreck, in need of love, support, confidence, and mostly understanding. Just as my friends were there for me so was my practice. I found that all of the emotions I was battling were easier fought on my mat rather than in my head at 3am. Off of my mat all of those things I had learned on my mat now came into play.

Being able to tap into my breath to get through a difficult moment or remembering that just because something may be arduous doesn't mean I don't possess the ability to rally strength and make it to the other side. I found love, compassion and gratitude towards myself as I had never known in the months that followed that breakup. Lately, I find what I need is intellectual stimulation and challenges. My practice continues to give me that both on and off my mat. I set boundaries on my mat during my physical practice. I push myself to find my edge and explore, listening to my body and heart to tell me how far I can go. I can take this idea into my everyday life and set boundaries, realistic ones mind you, regarding work and space...lord knows this girl needs her space.

These days I find my practice more intellectually stimulating as my awareness of my body deepens. I can feel muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints move, shift and support. This gets me thinking about the anatomy of the body in relation to poses differently than I have been. This influences the way, or how and what, I teach and hopefully works to make me a better teacher. I know...ramble ramble point is this (especially for those of you just starting your practice):

Your practice will always give you what you need even if you don't recognize it at first, even if you don't want it, and especially if you don't know you need it.

I'm doing just the thing that turns me off to blogs.
Too many words, not enough pictures.

Currently residing: Amansala Resort Tulum, Mexico

Thursday, May 19, 2011

getting some perspective...

I've been asked so many times in the past few months about safety and traveling in Mexico and I tell people over and over again, it's fine. Safer than you think. All this business about murders and death and destruction? Well that happens everywhere guys and ladies. Think that all the drama about illegal immigration and the sudden appearance of violence in Mexico is coincidence? Rather than listen to my long diatribe on the matter I'll pass along some excerpts from Tim Leffel's blog.

"...according to the FBI, “An estimated 15,241 persons were murdered nationwide in 2009″ in the United States of America.

Officially, 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico last year, a third in just two cities. Almost all of them were involved in illicit vocations, usually the trafficking of guns, drugs, or people across the border. This is 111 out of close to 8 million visitors, with nearly 1 million of those being part- or full-time residents choosing Mexico over the U.S. or Canada.

You know who else had 111 murders in one year recently? Boston. And Las Vegas. And Orlando. Are any tourists scared of going to those places?"

Now let's address the Yucatan, the state in which I am currently finding paradise.

To put things in perspective, the murder rate in the Yucatan state of Mexico is 2 per 100,000. That’s about the same as Fond du Lac, Wisconsin or Evansville, Indiana. Mexico City’s is 8 per 100,000. Despite being one of the most populated cities on the planet, that’s on par with Albuquerque, NM. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never felt scared in Albuquerque…

I think the most important point to take home here is that yes, it is safe to travel to Mexico, just as it is safe to travel to New York or Baltimore. You just travel to the right neighborhoods.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Guess what?! May 6th is International No Diet Day! INDD was founded in 1992 to celebrate the diversity of bodies and body acceptance. Blogger, Anna Guest-Jelley, has some great ideas on how we can all benefit and celebrate over on her Curvy Yoga blog.
News flash beauties, diets don't work. Usually the decision to diet means eating a bunch of foods that you don't like and preparing recipes that are unfamiliar and time consuming. Diets lack the necessary education and information about food and lifestyle habits that people need to actually achieve their goals. Diets rarely teach the individual about grocery shopping, cooking and generally encourage health-threatening restrictions like imposing extremely low calorie meals. People, we NEED calories for energy! Diets don't teach about exercise, they tell you to exercise but how is that really helpful.
The scientific side why diets don’t work for most people is because when you go on a low-calorie diet, your body thinks you are starving; it actually becomes more efficient at storing fat by slowing down your metabolism. When you stop this unrealistic eating plan, your metabolism is still slow and inefficient which causes you to gain the weight back faster, even though you may still be eating less than you were before you went on the diet.
What we really need to do is wipe the slate. Stop letting the media impose body ideals on us. Accept where we are on our path in life. Celebrate ourselves and cultivate some self love. If we are truly unhappy with the way we feel inside and want to live a healthier lifestyle...make that decision, educate ourselves on how to follow a path towards wellness and try.
And when things don't work out the way we plan, be okay with it. Easier said than done I know. I also know that there is so much more to this, but if we begin at this very basic level of acceptance, self-compassion and self-love we have strong foundation from which to find out what makes us truly happy. Everybody's bliss looks different. For me, I lead a path of non-restrictiveness, daily movement (yoga, stretching, playing), and lots of love. If I want a chocolate I eat it damn it! Nobody is taking that bliss away from me ♥

For a far more compelling and not so disjointedly written argument on why happiness does not equal weight loss go here. She's rad.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We have not come here to take prisoners, but to surrender ever more deeply to freedom and joy.
We have not come into this exquisite world to hold ourselves hostage from love.
Run my dear from anything that may not strengthen your precious budding wings
Run like hell my dear, from anyone likely to put a sharp knife into the sacred, tender vision of your beautiful heart.
We have a duty to befriend those aspects of obedience that stand outside of our house and shout to our reason, "O please, please come out and play."
For we have not come here to take prisoners, or to confine our wondrous spirits, but to experience ever and ever more deeply our divine courage, freedom and light.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

pain and meditation...

Pain has many faces, many expressions. physically our muscles and joints may ache, mentally and emotionally we deal with anger, loss and sadness. Any yogi will tell you that a little meditation can help but who really listens to yogis except for other yogis right? Well, a fancy schmancy research fellow by the name of Fadel Zeidan did a study last year with students at the University of North Carolina showing that, "Meditation reduced subjects' feeling of pain from electrical shocks during testing and increased their baseline pain tolerance." That's pretty sweet with the exception of the electrical shock, yeah?! Since most of us aren't exactly subject to systematic modes of pain such as this we can look at it in terms of a headache or other minor aches and pains in our bodies.

Through meditation we cultivate an awareness of our bodies, minds, surroundings etc.. When we train ourselves to bring our focus to the breath, these distractions become less important. When we feel a pain coming on, or an emotion welling up inside, rather than a siren sounding off in our heads we learn to approach these feelings nonreactively. Zeidan explains that even a basic meditation practice allows us to focus our awareness on the breath. When other distractions enter we are able to observe without judgment and gently bring our minds back to our breath.

He says that, "Pain is a subjective experience. Meditation is a way of changing the context of that experience. In meditation you experience each moment as it rolls by, and you realize there's no reason to react. You appraise sensory experience differently." And on that note I'm off to breathe this nagging homesickness away!

Love and miss all of you!

everlasting light...

Here's another playlist I've been using lately. One of my favorites right now! Melanie this one's for you. Just like ya wanted ;)


Friday, April 22, 2011


I don't know how they do it. Those teachers who teach everyday, two sometimes three classes per day 5 - 6 days a week. How does one manage it physically, emotionally, and mentally? I suppose it's one thing if you eat, breathe and sleep yoga but this girl doesn't. She helps run a hotel, organizes a spa, runs another business from 2,200 miles away, acts as counsel to countless numbers of women every week, and teaches. My body is rebelling against me and my heart aches at the end of each week. As a teacher you put yourself in a position of unconditional and constant giving. And it's not that your students don't give back. They give plenty, but it is a different kind of giving. They inspire, fuel my love for teaching, and give an open heart, but ultimately their role is to receive. After 7 days with the amazing women and men who pass through these doors, all of which are here dealing with their own issues, finding their own answers, discovering their own selves, I feel both exhilarated and depleted.

Little do our students know that we, as teachers are going through many of the same trials and tribulations. We are in a constant state of finding balance. For me, right now the balance is between work and life which is becoming ever more gray as the months pass. It's finding balance between work and play.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The thing I miss the most when traveling? Food from home. And coffee. Oh, coffee. Don't get me wrong, there is something wonderful about drinking a hot cup of Nescafe every morning but damn it, I miss my ethiopian yirgacheffe! So the spoiled, amenities and stuff loving lady is coming out in me today.

- 2 lbs of coffee from Heart
- small grinder
- french press
- 5 gallon tub of peanut butter
- American Apparel racer back tank tops
- TYR reversible bikini
- Any lululemon apparel
- st. eve cotton panties from The Rack

I always bring along a couple of comforts that make anywhere feel like home; the medicine bag my sweet mama made me, mala beads, journal and my yoga. What do you miss most when you're traveling? What are the things that make home home for you?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Playa del Carmen...

Due to an insane craving for peanut butter and the inability to find such a thing in Tulum I spent the second day off I've had since arriving in Mexico in Playa del Carmen. Yep, an hour and a half on a bus to get peanut butter. Playa used to be a quiet little beach town on the highway heading south from Cancun. Not so much anymore. Restaurant after restaurant, pushy sales people peddling the same blankets, scarves, sombreros, steaks, lobsters and massages as all the others, dance clubs next to one another so that as you walk down the street your ears and organs are filled with the thump thump and whoop whoop of 5 different techno songs converging into one seemingly discordant yet beautifully crafted score of beats.

All in all the experience was, at best mediocre. Found a great little place to sleep with a balcony overlooking the main drag through Playa. There was some question as to the legitimacy of the place while standing at the reception desk which doubled as the cash register of a cd store around the corner and down the block from the actual room, but everything worked out fine and Pedro and Aldo said they'd give us a deal next time. Unfortunately I don't think I'll make a point to get back to Playa anytime soon. Give me a sleepy beach town like Bacalar any day over the insincerity and exploitative qualities of Playa. If I want to party party party I'll head to Ibiza. However, the beach was beautiful and in the end I got some peanut butter, crema de avenella, natural yogurt, and a sports bra. Success!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011



Known as corpse pose - it is here in these final moments that we die. Not just as an idea but actually. Understanding that one has collected so much during their lives. Not only books, clothes, houses, but inwardly the memory of insults, flattery, neurotic achievements which give your position. to die to all of that without argument, without discussion or fear - to just give it up will create freedom. Die to everything you know psychologically so that your mind is clear, not tortured.

You come to your mat as one person, as a thinker. as you leave your mat today you are brand new. You are no longer your thoughts, your doubts or your fears. Each and every day you come to your mat this is what you do - you shed the old and become new - innocent...fresh. Through this innocence this is where you live. In compassion

Monday, April 4, 2011

no envy, no fear...

Another group leaves :(

I've said it before, each group is so different and the connection made is unique to the the each. The collective touches you deeply as do the individuals. I've had the chance to make special connections with so many people this past month and it's always hard when they leave. Each person touches the heart in a different manner, inspires something inside of me. Whether it's to be a better teacher, listener or all around better human, every person I encounter here drives me to look inside and be more (and sometimes less).

On a completely unrelated note, I just started a ping account on itunes and will be putting playlists up there. Here is the first one! Just click on the link below the playlist to link to my ping. You can keep up with new playlists on this blog or follow me on itunes. Either way it would be great to have your feedback about songs you like (and don't) to yoga to!


Thursday, March 31, 2011

you too could be a cover model! if...

If you're involved in the yoga "world" you have probably seen all the commotion about Yoga Journal's "Talent Search".

Since when did yoga become a talent? Okay, we can look back in history and say, "oh yeah, that Leonardo da Vinci was a talented fellow!" Some argue about the talent or lack there of in regards to Andy Warhol or Jackson Pollock. What about Lady Gaga? Talented evil genius or spoiled rich girl from New York?

So what is it that makes a talented yogi/yogini? Well, here are YJ's official guidelines to be considered a searchable, potentially talented cover model:

Make sure we can see your whole body in the frame.

Show us your face, if possible.

Wear something form-fitting and bright, so that you stand out from the background.

Show off a pose you’ve mastered, rather than something more advanced that you can just barely do. (Great alignment impresses us more than difficulty.)

My kind of talented yoga person doesn't need to wear tight clothes, or have a pretty face, nor do they have to have the kind of body that generally graces the cover of yoga mags. In my talent search this yoga person is compassionate, knowledgeable, playful, humble, able to listen and learn to each student, artful in their way of teaching, inspired and in love with life. I mean, when was the last time someone like this was on the cover of YJ?

I guess those are difficult concepts to translate to the cover of a magazine though? But hey, we're selling yoga these days right?

Thursday, March 24, 2011


After a couple of weeks of hard work a day off is on the horizon. I'm sad to see this last group of ladies leave but very excited to be heading out of town for a couple of days. Today we leave by bus from Tulum to Valladolid for the next day and a half. Little colonial town, tons of cenotes to get our swim on. Being on the giving end of things everyday all day for the past few weeks...well, I'm ready to receive. More on that later, right now my brain, body and heart can't write another word.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Like whoa...

Week one (and almost two) down!!! What an amazing experience this has been so far. It feels like everything I've learned in these past 31 years has been for this. We've been talking a lot this past week about intention and letting go. It's interesting that when you start talking about these things with your students how much it effects you, how much you also start delving into these ideas. Sometimes it's hard to separate yourself and continue to be the teacher when this happens but sometimes that's okay. I think it's good for your students to see you as a real person that deals with the the same emotional obstacles they face. It allows a space for you to share your own experiences in a way your students can relate.

We have had some extraordinary people pass through these doors the past two weeks: a gold miner, traveling yoga goddess, stay at home mamas, bankers, photographers, and a singer or two. One of these amazing humans did an interview with me about yoga and the like. She's been traveling around doing these little one on ones with yoga teachers for awhile now and I feel absolutely honored to be included. She is rad, I love her and what she is doing in this world so please check out her website. She's trying to figure out the process of getting youtube to select another cell since you know...I generally tend to have a smile on my face :) And yes, that beautiful scenery is my front yard. We happen to be sitting right outside our beachfront yoga palapa. Not to shabby right? Let me know how it is since I can't seem to watch it with as slow as the internet is around these parts. Hugs and love to all of you. xo ks

Friday, March 11, 2011


Bartendress extraordinaire gives up amazing life to become a traveling yogi in Mexico. Shirking off all adult responsibilities and absconding friends and family she finds herself in paradise. Paradise? We'll see how this little country bumpkin, workaholic fares in the amazing jungles of Mexico!!! So on and so forth it goes. It has been interesting getting here. Only took me two years....or two weeks depending on how you look at it. Two years from the first time that little seed was planted about attempting to make a little life here and two weeks since I was here last on vacation, offered two opportunities for rooming and board in exchange for teaching, and took them without hesitation.

Yep, two weeks ago. I absconded. Left behind 3 amazing jobs, wonderful roommates, family, friends, and a lover. All to teach yoga in this little town along the Mayan Riviera. I flew home two weeks ago with a laundry list of things to do...quit jobs, make as much money as possible, sell my camper van, transfer bills, rent my room, and pack. Oh the packing!!! I hurriedly searched for more yoga clothes about my home, knew I had buy copious amounts of underwear, and figure out how to fit 50 tampons into my suitcase. You see, the underwear purchasing situation down here is fairly non-existent. It's at least an hour drive to any store where I could buy something and having spoiled myself on American Apparel undies and fancy french silk things makes the all cotton, full coverage options they have here less appealing. I won't even get into the tampon thing. Not on here anyhow.

So, here it goes kiddos. My little adventure. I'm curious to see where it takes me, who it puts in my path and how it shapes my life. The very first entry in my book of daily Taoist meditations talks about Beginning. We are always beginning something, even if we are unaware of it. Beginning a new job or task, new friendship, new day, new breath.

currently residing::Amansala Resort