Daily Archives: July 12, 2008

I have four blogs…

Like I have three phones, two televisions, two ipods, cause after you buy one the other one becomes obsolete. Now it's just clutter. We always want more. I'm speaking for everyone, I know, but really, we are rarely just content where we are. A lot of times we fill our space with stuff we don't need or do nonsensical things, checking our email fifteen times a day, web-surfing, googling our ex-boyfriends or ourselves or the recent physical ailments that are bothering us, organizing our underwear drawer.

We fill the space 'cause space is intimidating. It's quiet and expansive and terrifying. You ever go into an art gallery and look at the space between the art. Its fascinating. Try it. Or don't. But I like to explore that space. The space between things. That's where I can find strength and answers to my questions. That's where the yoga comes in.

I'm not one of those girls that preaches yoga in the way you need to do a down dog and sit still in meditation for twenty minutes a day to get closer to enlightenment. No, my mom taught me that. She gets just as much out of drinking a cup of tea, watching Oprah and petting the dog as I do sweating it out in a yoga class just to get me to calm myself into a space of clarity and contemplation. I'm not a preacher or guru or better than anyone. I'm just a guide.
I've had a ton of experience in life, good and bad and I only teach from that experience in order to support you on a path of wellness, balance and feeling strong on the inside as well as the outside.

I still can't do a handstand away from the wall. I can probably teach you how to but I'm not attached to doing one myself and I'm ok with that. Really, I am. No, seriously, I could give an Om Shanti.

I'm gonna publish a lot of tips and stuff here that can help you start you on your way to yogic/fitness bliss. Maybe it'll motivate you to take a class or join a gym, consider the option of practicing privately with me or my amazing team of teachers and trainers. Maybe it'll get you to think about taking a class or just think, period. Thinking is good. It's a start.

Here's the deal, I started yoga because I ran a lot as a teen and young adult. I was very tight and couldn't touch my toes. I was also a very overweight child. In addition, I've also experienced tremendous injuries that kept me from being active. With great therapies like Weight Watchers, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage, I was able to move through these limitations, lose weight, run marathons and become a yoga, pilates and fitness trainer. I am livin' the dream.
And, I simply offer this, not to vent or say, hey aren't I fabulous, but to let you know that whatever limitations YOU might feel you have, fitness and yoga and feeling good are possible if you just open your mind to it. You are here so that's a good sign.

I practiced yoga a bit in LA when I lived here ages ago but didn't really get into the whole bare feet, speak softly thing. I was a gym rat and marathon runner. I knew I liked yoga but I wasn't quiet ready for it. Or maybe it wasn't ready for me.

When I was living in NYC as a temp and struggling, I used my down time to smoke, drink, party and 'have a great time'.

Then September 11, 2001.

Shape up or ship out. I started to practice yoga consistently. I needed to heal as those around me were. The other outlets I was using to 'have a great time', I discovered, were really only ways to disconnect and escape, not feel, heal and grow. I'm not saying that the above aren't good in moderation. Anything, absolutely anything can be destructive if not used in moderation. Balance is the lesson and balance was my lesson learned. Um, and I'm still learning.

I signed up for a yoga retreat in Costa Rica and went with the head teacher from the studio where I was practicing. I love my teacher. She is beautiful and strong. Very toned and has a lot of energy. She looks more like a fitness trainer than the waify, pale, aloof, yoga teachers I was used to practicing with. A stereotype I had witnessed, yes, but it was all I saw when I started and I never felt like I could, 'live up.'

I always envied my yoga teachers with their bare thin arms, tiny boobs, thin waists, and roundish bellies. I never understood that. How could they be so thin but have these gorgeous pouches? They were the definition of beauty to me. The definition of woman and soooo not me.
Until I met Lauren Hanna. The idea of the 'yoga teacher' disintegrated as I reshaped MY idea of what yoga could be in my life. She was the new definition of yoga to me. Still is. Even though she is tiny in stature, she represented a grandness, strength and steadiness I could identify with. Her personality, too is one of fire and passion. I wanted to be that! If only I could calm the heck down.

In Costa Rica, there were two vans that took us from San Jose airport to the Samasati retreat center, bliss in the rain forest, hello!! I was in the van with Lauren and two other students. Our van broke down in the dark of the night and in the middle of nowhere. While our van was being repaired, that's when Lauren and I talked. I don't think we ever had a real conversation until right then. She knew I was an actor, temping to make money. She told me that I had a great practice and the kind of personality that would be attractive for teaching yoga. Really? No, really?

Hmmmm, I thought and thought, the whole time I was blissed out in Costa Rica and even when I returned to Manhattan and sat with a glass of wine and a, exhale, cigarette, I thought, do I think I can really do this?

And that was that. I grew out of bad habits. Not sayin' it was easy, but I did it.

7 years later and I've come a long way, baby. I traded work to afford my way through the training. I took all the pictures for the studio's website, brochures and teacher training manuals so I could pay for the Yoga Alliance Certification/training course. It was, bar none, the best experience of my life and one that's changed the course of my life dramatically.

I know its slightly trendy now. To be a yoga teacher. A very popular teacher here in LA said that today's yoga teachers are yesterdays waiters. That's a devastating blow, because I've tried to be a waiter and I suck so bad at it.

I think anyone who has the courage to change their life and follow where they are lead, gets my respect. It ain't easy and not everyone can do it, so there.

If you asked me at 16 if in 10 years I'd be a yoga teacher, I would have laughed hysterically.
And yet, I can't imagine my life without yoga.
And yet, still, yoga for me isn't always down dogs and headstands. The definition of yoga has changed for me even since whence I began, long ago and Sonic Yoga in New York City.

I think that even when I started, I wanted to be like Lauren or the waify belly girls. It took me much time after getting certified, working at a lot of gyms and studios to really decide what kind of teacher I wanted to be. I still admire the same teachers but know that if I try to emulate anyone else, I'm just doing myself and my students a disservice.

So, I teach what I like to be taught. And hopefully, you like the way I teach. And if you don't, that is totally ok, because I understand. It's hard to find that person that you want to practice with daily, weekly and beyond. Even I waiver between teachers and practices depending on where I am at in my life and the seasons, yes the weather. Not all practices are meant for you and if you have ever taken a yoga class and had a bad experience, don't blame the teacher or studio and please don't blame yourself, just see how you feel and what you need and you will find the class for you. More on that later.

Yoga, to me, was a new way to exercise. I didn't know that all the other benefits of yoga would sneak up on me and nip me in the butt. I wouldn't have it any other way.

It lead me to
Dharma Mittra in NYC, a very old, Brazilian guru that can do rings of poses around the youngest and most agile of practitioners. His practice is the most simple to understand and the most difficult to put into practice. I'll include his info later. But with him, purity, truth, listening to your heart, eating well (no meat, I know), reading the Bhagavad Gita (the yogic bible) for guidance and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, meditating, simplifying your life, being good to yourself and others and not wanting more or what someone else has, those are the rules to live by. That's what I've taken from him and what I attempt to share with my students. His stellar practice is ridiculous and after 7 years, I still can't do half of his class! But I still go back because simply being in his presence is enough.

It lead me to
the Self Realization Fellowship and the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.
He's one of the main guys who brought yoga here, to us Americans.
There are two locations in Los Angeles alone where you can read his teachings, sit and meditate and talk to the people who work there. Or start by reading the book or get the book on CD, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. It's a staple for yogis. SRF is a leader in meditation and living yoga everyday.

It lead me to
teach in China. Having the chutzpah to go over to a country and a city that BARELY speaks English and share yoga with the beautiful people of Shanghai changed my life.

It lead me to
Pilates and fitness training, meditation and breathing techniques, thinking outside the down dog into the meat and potatoes or, tofu and potatoes of yoga.

It lead me to
find yoga in little moments whether it is washing dishes, talking with a friend, walking on the beach, driving in LA (a totally different blog entry). Yoga is everywhere and it doesn't always require a mat.

Most importantly, it lead me to
YOU, the client. I love all of my students and have learned my most important lessons on teaching from you. You are a daily inspiration and strength that gets me up in the morning, in my car and over to your house or studio. Our experience together is worth more than anything material and for that, I am grateful.

After we chat and find out what you want to get out of your sessions, that's when we design a program that's specifically for you. That's the way they did it over in India and that's the way it is now; whether its yoga or fitness programs.
Classes are awesome and great for the communal energy exchange and encouragement.
Private sessions help you get inside yourself, find out where you wanna go, design the path and get you there. It's important to know where you are starting from so you can figure out where you want to go.
Sometimes a session is simply allowing yourself the time for yourself, away from the job, the phone, the kids, the to-dos.
Sometimes you have your own goals and don't know how to reach them or need someone there to keep you accountable.
Sometimes you have no idea what you want but you know you want to try yoga or get in shape or mix up your fitness routine because you are tired of what you are already doing.
Maybe you've never worked out or downdogged a day in your life and want to see what all the hubbub is about.
Well, those are all valid reasons.
So let's get started.

I love what I do. The lives that have changed from the people I have worked with astound me. My students continually amaze me by what they can do. I am just a witness to their greatness.
It is my job to go out there and learn and grow and take what I can from a myriad of sources and bring it to you.
I will help you discard whatever clutter is hangin' out in your life, uncover the obstacles keeping you from your goals and help you uncover that space between that you can fill with exploration, growth, play and strength.
Surprise the hell out of yourself.
You will be able to look at yourself objectively.
You will discover what your yoga is whether you ever find your toes or not.
If their is something I don't know, I'll find the answers from the best.
If their is an answer I can't get for you, I will find the right person for you.
I work with amazing Yoga, Pilates, Fitness trainers and teachers, nutritionists, acupuncturists, Ayurvedic healers, massage therapists, psychics, housekeepers, movers et al.
Teaching is how I make my living but I will never charge you a dime if you have questions.
If I can guide you down the right road or introduce you to the right person to help you on your journey, that is my service. My contact is below and on my site. I hope to provide as much as I can on my blogs and the rest, is up to us.

amazon.com for books above
NYC: www.SonicYoga.com
NYC: www.Dharmayogacenter.com
Visiting Shanghai? www.yplus.com
massage in LA www.chiangmaihealthspa.com
acupuncture LA www.originalbreath.com
Meditation in LA and beyond www.selfrealizationfellowship.com
Fitness www.NASM.org
Pilates www.pilates.com
Pilates in LA www.bacepilates.com
Be well!
More soon...