Monthly Archives: October 2008

More car references…

I know, I can't stop. But I'm on the road so much; it's where I draw a lot of my inspiration.
I realized the other day that after two strange altercations with drivers, both of which went all postal, following me or riding along side of me honking their horn and yelling profanities for reasons, I seriously don't know, that it might have been the first time, in that moment, I didn't even acknowledge their existence or their problem with me or really, themselves. How's that for a run on sentence.
I was on the phone or listening to my delicious kirtan music or KCRW. When I finally noticed their irrational behavior, I just sang louder or laughed more with my mom on the Bluetooth. It's amazing how she fits in there so well.
I took a moment to realize that I didn't have those crazy feelings bubbling up inside of me when anger surrounded my metallic bubble. I did, however, start feeling really embarrassed for them. What if someone else saw these people goin' nuts on the road? How crazy do they look? And then I don't acknowledge them? How even more embarrassing for them. He he.
Listen up drivers. I know you might be having a bad day, but most probably, even if the car in front of you purposely cut you off because they thought you were driving too slowly, it's more personal to them then it should be to you. Chances are they are harboring anger and self loathing that has 0% to do with you and that they will hold onto somewhere in the fibers of their being and will make them sick. I don't mean to be so blunt. Yes, I do.
I don't go nuts on the road. Seriously, there are a lot of things I can't stand on the road, little habits and things people do. Then I notice that I might do one of those little things, by accident.
Cut some people slack. It might be everyday that you get cut off but it might be the first time the person who cut you off has ever cut someone off because they just didn't see you. They feel bad about it but there is nothing they can do. It's done. So don't make it your responsibility to feel anything either way about.

The more you react to a situation, the more a situation is created. The more you just let it go, chances are, the other freak on the road, now embarrassed for making a mountain out a mole hill, will have no other choice but to let it go too. Perhaps after saying some really mean things about you.

Zen and the Art of Driving 101.

That's me.
Enjoy your day.
Wishing you an open road and no crazies!

Kick my asana…

I love my girlfriends and their children. I'm not a big fan of chatting with them on the phone and having half a conversation with them as they are feeding Lucas or Hannah or Zion.

"No, honey, you can't eat that. Don't touch that. What were you saying, Laurie?"

And yet, aren't I the pot calling the kettle...
'cause I'm guilty too.
No, I don't have human children, but the children I speak to whilst you are on the phone with me will most probably be the Honda or Lexus in front of me.
"Please drive Lexus! A yield sign means yield, not stop. Are you asking for a written invitation, Escalade? The light is green. What were you saying, dear friend or mom?"

We are, as a society, multitasking individuals, capable of handling, sometimes successfully, multiple things at one time and rarely tuning into to what is really happening to us, within or being present in the actual moment; feeding a child or talking to a friend. It's both being done, yes, but probably half assed.

And yet, that time for singular duties must be available to us on some level in order to find the balance and nourishment we desperately need for ourselves in order for us to be able to give more to those around us, children and Lexus' alike.

When we get to the mat, it is an opportunity to resolve any issues we may be facing internally that we might not be able to handle while holding the little one, the blackberry or the wheel.

The challenges we face on the mat are most probably the same challenges we face in our external life. In the class room, we have just resigned ourselves to shutting up and listening to someone else guide us to a place where, ideally, we can listen to ourselves. It's a quiet voice within that we need to tune into like a radio, sans static and find the clear voice to communicate with. And some of us might never hear that voice, even in yoga. Especially if their is loud music in the room or loud mind noise within. It's a practice and it takes time. Nothing wrong with the loud music playing classes as long as you can find yourself through the noise. Unless, of course, you are going to yoga to avoid yourself and just 'work out' and that's fine too. You can stop reading now and go back to your lunch or phone call or both.

We are given the opportunity, if we are lucky to quiet the noise around us so that we can listen to our needs and passion that drives us out of bed, besides the alarm clock.

When I say, on the mat, that is to say, when I am on the mat. Your yoga might be running a mile or being on the ocean on a surf board.

In brief, which for me means a diatribe, I just want to emphasize how important it is to find what it is that your yoga might be -the place you can find to simply be instead of do.

It's hard, I know, but all of our busy souls can find that union and peace somewhere.

It can be with your child, if you are focussed only on being with your child and not talking to me or listening to the news.

Practice mindfulness in whatever you are doing. Even if you are in traffic, like I am often in.
I escape to the phone. I sometimes call people I can't even stand just to kill the time. And that is all I am doing, killing time.
If I make the most of a sticky situation and just be, think or focus only on the road before me instead of what's next and what I can do, that is being in union.

It might not seem like yoga in the traditional sense but its a lot closer than multitasking and being miserable. If you find zen in multitasking then you are that much closer to enlightenment than I.

Which brings me to another topic of discussion.

I'm not only the hair club president, but I am also a member.
I am not only a teacher, but I am also a student.
I am finding, more and more, when I practice in class, and I've said this before in previous blogs, that teachers try to emphasize what is 'right' and what is 'wrong', not allowing the student to find out for themselves what is and isn't right for them.

Their are so many paths to choose from. When I hear, and its often, "I can't do yoga" or "I tried yoga and was no good," all I want to do is take them into a quiet room and show them just how much they CAN do yoga and maybe even better than I can.

We all have different starting points, physical abilities and limitations. If you practice yoga often, you know that one day on the mat might be a 180 different from the day before. Yoga, as an expressive physical and emotional experience that will challenge you differently each day.

If you've tried yoga once, try it a few times with different styles, different studios and different teachers to find the practice that might resonate with what you need.


Don't let an injury keep you from practicing yoga. I've worked with Chemo patients, injured athletes or regular people with injuries from work or accidents. It's possible.

What's impossible is a closed mind.

Keep your mind open to the possibilities that you can explore in a yoga class or practicing from a book or video if that is where you are at.

Don't let the 'pretty people', the gymnasts, the perfect looking poses, the toned, the label wearing or mat raging individuals that might be next to you keep you from practicing YOUR yoga.

Yoga is like life.

You are going to be exposed to all kinds of people around you. If you can accept them and accept yourself in the moment, you can feel the benefits internally and externally in a yoga class.

There is no 'right' way to do things. Only safe. And if a teacher makes you feel like you aren't doing something right, then most probably, it is not the 'right' class for you. Find another class. There are thousands in LA.

I still remember my first yoga class. I had bleach blonde hair, was caffeinated and barreled into the studio with a big smile and loud voice. I was promptly shuushed and told to take off my shoes and then ignored when I asked what to do next as it was my first time.

I have to say that even in many yoga studios, you won't find the most enlightened and kind people running the show. I've been downright treated rudely and disrespected by many a fine looking peaceful mannered passive-aggressive individual handing me a clipboard, grabbing my credit card and not even looking me in the eye as she or he chats on the phone about Ganesh knows what.

Get over it and don't take it as a personal affront to you.
Don't let that defer you. Just think, they have their own challenges that they are dealing with. Just 'cause they are in a yoga studio behind a desk, doesn't mean they are better than you.

On the other hand, there are so many studios in LA I have experienced that upon walking in the door, the welcoming smiles and encouraging personalities just make you feel at home. Some people like the sterility of walking in, signing in, taking class and walking out. Others like the community and camaraderie to create the experience. To each his/her own. But it's out there for you to find. The right thing is there for you to find.
You just have to look for it or ask me. I'd be happy to tell you where to go. I've been everywhere in LA and can pretty much say that I have had both good and not so good experiences everywhere. A lot had to do with where and what I was coming from too.

Yoga, like anything can become competitive, cutthroat (don't get me started on mat rage) and kind of stressful.
But, 'I can't do yoga' or 'I've tried' is just not good enough. Your yoga is out there for the finding. And it might very well not be doing downward dogs.

Take the time to uni-task. Ask yourself what it is that you need, whether you have an hour and a half to meditate or practice or you barely have the time to get sleep and get the kids out the door to school.

Find that moment of reprieve in your day to search out your yoga.
It's there.
It can simply be smelling a sweet rose or smiling to a stranger on the street.
If it is on the mat and in the studio, realize that perfecting a pose or 'looking' right doesn't always translate into living the perfect life.
Perfect is nothing more than a word in the dictionary.
Search out happiness, balance and mindfulness.
On that note, I must leave and do twelve things at once.
Be good to yourselves, drink lots of water and call your mother.

Jai ma,

Slow down to speed up…

I had a very wise client that told me she schedules EVERYTHING in order to have more time. I balked at this at this thinking,
how much work is that?!

I decided I'd give it a try because really, what did I have to lose but more time. I found that the more I scheduled appointments, social engagements, work-outs, phone dates et al, the more it did, in fact, leave room for more things including spontaneity which, in this day and age of technology with instant responses and gratification, can be all too difficult to adjust to. I work mostly with busy moms and dads. Their schedule is hard enough to manage and so I must adapt to their ever changing agenda accordingly.

And driving. If you haven't already noticed, it's something I do a lot of and it's where, instead of finding stress, I find inspiration. Inspiration to bring into my classes and into my own life as lessons. Oh, the lessons on the road.

My dad is a driver in NY and I've asked him for tips.
I feel very connected to him when I hit the battlefield daily and ask myself often, what would my dad do in this or that traffic or dicey road situation? The road is where I see my dad the calmest. Its the rest of his life that I see his frustration, but that's another blog.

When I'm on the road with the crazies riding my bumper, literally in my trunk, offering me no dinner or flowers or romance just gettin' on top of me, I take pause.
Leave him room, I think (my dad in my ear).
And when I find myself getting too close to my neighbor in the front, I say to myself, what the heck am I doing, but wasting my gas to ride his tail.
I think, leave him room.

The lesson my dad always told me - while driving - leave a cushion between you and another car. If someone takes that room by cutting into your lane then leave room between you and him.
This helps work with the flow of traffic and not against it. (He's never even done yoga!!)
It might sound like you end up drivin' like an old lady but I swear it works. The more you slow down instead of racing your heart rate and exhaust, the closer you will get to your destination with ease.

Upon leaving my class at Liberation Yoga in Hollywood tonight and driving home to Santa Monica, I noticed this big ol' SUV darting in front of me and others on the road. She weaved in and out for miles and miles. We apparently lived in the same area because after all that hard work, we ended up at the same light in Santa Monica, all the way from Hollywood!
While I was driving and focussing on the road whilst catching up with friends and listening to my Kirtan music she, when I looked over, was smoking an looked like she was about to pass out from stress.
He he.
Blessings to her, I thought. I hope she finds her peace somewhere else.

If you can find your peace driving, I think I you can find peace anywhere. I haven't mastered it yet but I'm applying the lessons from the great drivers (my dad) and yogis that went before me. The yogis in the Himalayas didn't have to deal with traffic in LA!!

Try slowing down, just a little bit and you'll get there faster if not in the same time you would have using your adrenals.
Just try it.

Schedule some things if you are finding your schedule to busy. You will soon be able to figure out what is important to do and what is not.

Another big lesson I learned, when my dad became sick, was how much I quickly realized what was important and needed to be addressed in the 'now' and what could be put off. I joke (even though it's not so funny) that there is nothing like Cancer to put things into perspective and fast!

I wouldn't go so far as to advise imagining the above circumstance as your own, but imagine if YOU only had a few more days to REALLY live. What do you need to do right now? Are you doing everything you enjoy and love even if it is stressful at times? If not, get rid of it. Why would you need it if you had thousands of days to live? If someone pisses you off today, is it really going to bother you in 3 years? If not, don't let it bother you now.

I had an extremely stressful day last week where I literally had to be in six areas of town for intense meetings within an hour of each other from 8AM until 9PM. It was an insane day that I shared with a buddy who was along for the ride with me or to just witness how insane my days can be. Although I had moments where I thought my head would pop off, I still look back at that day and wouldn't do anything differently. I had prepared myself that the day would be stressful and I rolled with it where I could and when I got stressed, I belted it out like Patti LuPone when I could. You have to just roll with it when it comes.
Like when you are at the beach and you spot a huge wave. You see it coming and if you are in it, you brace yourself for it's fervor or, you just hold your breath and go under 'till it passes. Both are good choices.

Tell people what you think in the moment (unless they are hurtful thoughts and words). If you don't think quick on your feet, take some time to formulate your thoughts for delivery in a kind and gentle way. Being loving and gentle in your delivery will be more effective then speaking in anger or in haste, even if those feelings come up.
If you are too frightened to confront or stand up for what you want, go through, in your mind, the ideal transaction that you would want to have with that individual, with all your kind but specific wants and needs expressed and received.
See how that resonates within your body. Perhaps all you needed was to picture that scene, vent into a notebook, to a friend or to your mom. That might be good enough for you to move on from a tense feeling within or situation with someone else.

The list of to dos will always be there. As long as you are moving, breathing, creating and accomplishing goals, there will be more to do.

So chill the freak out while you are doing your tasks and you will feel a whole lot better. You will feel the same bliss doing your to dos as you do whilst doing your downward dog.
At least that is what I keep trying to do.

That's one of my lessons (to learn AND to teach)

If you are passionate and full of ideas, work through a few of them. Your life may or may not be enough time to do everything you want, but you can try, with zeal, the things that you are drawn to the most.
Trust me, I've tried to do it all. And I'm not even married or have kids. Do the things that make you feel the most free, enabled, healthy and all the rest of the crap will move out of the way. Schedule your life in order to provide it with the room you need for the good things to come in and maybe the stray car, but that's ok. Cause you will leave more room and more room will be found and filled with what you want and what you need.

I have this dynamic girlfriend who called me the other night to work through some things in her life. She had so many questions that I knew she knew the answers to, but I let her work it out. I asked her to try on, like a fabulous new dress, the decision to say no to her situation and the decision to say yes to the situation. See how it looks and feels outside and in. Maybe walk around the apartment for a few days with the dress. Look at yourself in the mirror, at different angles, sitting down, bustin' a move. What FEELS most right will be evident trying on BOTH decisions.

I've done that quite often. Even with dresses I wasn't sure I wanted to keep. And with many other decisions. Let me tell you. I have a lot of returns and store credits. And that's ok.

I'm not the best yoga teacher. I don't know who is. I know I have a great intuition about who comes into the room an what they need. I think it works out most of the time. But, all I really know is what I can give, what I've been trained to do, what I have experienced and the mistakes I've made to learn from and teach from.

I saw this yummy supima cotton t-shirt at Santa Monica Power Yoga. It was forest green with that burn out effect of worn in deliciousness.
At the bottom of the shirt was fancily inscribed, 'my life is my message'. I was instantly repelled. And yet, I know that's all I can do is use my life as my message.
I did try it on. It was indeed yummy. It was also 40$ and the money didn't partially go towards the rainforest or kids in Africa so I passed.
And I'm quite fine with that decision.

Slow down, just a little bit, me and everybody. Take a breath and we'll all get where we need to go faster and in a better state of mind (and with better karma instead of cutting people off). Try on your wants and needs in question.
Be good to yourselves. Drink lots of water and call your mother. If you don't like your mother, call your touchstone. If you don't have one, you can write me.

Jai Ma,
(glory or hail to the divine/mother)