Monthly Archives: August 2010

Overcoming Obstacles….

The idea of revisiting the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is not the most up-beat thing to talk about in a yoga class. But, I think it's important, as always, to revisit the past to see where we came from.
First - where we are now...from so long ago, New Orleans and the surrounding areas have come so far in rebuilding.
So far- the culture of the United States has banned together to see to it that we 'get back' as a community.
But also, we need to remember that WE are still in need...always.
It's a process to rebuild and five years goes fast.
And we're not out of the woods.
We still need help.
But, where are WE at?
What trials have we had personally that fog our perspective.
The idea that our country is in need is a definite.
But we also have personal trials that we deal with on a daily basis that have just as much weight as Katrina, but they aren't newsworthy because they are our own.
In the yoga studio, we have signed a contract with our selves to come into a room and work out together what we need to progress ourselves forward.
Every single trial is just as worthy as the next, individually and communally.
So, we come to the room and work on it together. That is important.
It is important that we remember what has happened in our history as a culture so that we have the strength to work towards our future in passion and stay rooted in strength and security in the moment of our present.
Without the timeline of these moments - trials and wins, we cannot see where we are and where we are going.
I am not happy for what has happened tragically in our past and lives lost whether it be through war or natural disaster, but in this tragedy, there is a gift to bring us together in peace, see where we are in our own lives and move forward with the passion and truth and guidance in trial towards the most powerful future we can create.
Living in NYC during 9/11 was not a good time. I wasn't teaching yoga then. But those events forced me to look at my life. So many lives lost. What do I have in my life?
What do I do with my life. If so many lives weren't lost and so much destruction didn't happen, it wouldn't have made me a yoga teacher. I wouldn't have been a yoga teacher had it not been for 9/11. No question.
In destruction, we have the choice in tragedy to look at our lives, how precious and lucky we are to be breathing and living, that we make the decisions we need to make to live the best lives we can for those that didn't have the chance.
I remember Katrina. Not the happiest thing you want to bring into a yoga class when your student is running late, the car has broken down, the kid has a summer cold, you are in a fight with the husband or had an altercation with a road rager on the freeway on the way to your mat, but, it puts everything in perspective, doesn't it?
I know, as a student AND as a teacher, we all have a moment before we enter the room. To be strong enough not to judge the moments before and just work out the moments within, is the greatest gift you can give yourself and the others in class.
You have no idea...what trials someone is dealing with. Some people cry in class or yell in class or leave in class.
We all have hurricanes within us, daily. It's important that we support and encourage rebuilding from the destruction so that we can find that sweet sunny calm after the storm whether it's five years post or five minutes.

When the dog bites…

Bite back!

***Warning...this is a stream of consciousness rant that come out.

Dear Oprah,

I believe that we draw certain happenings into our lives so that we can learn the lessons we need to transcend beyond our current circumstance into a higher plane of consciousness and awareness.

This includes moving on from relationships, jobs,

thrusting ourselves into a position we didn't have the strength to move on from

simply by making the decision and sticking to it in strength. Outside forces are recruited to give us the strength to press forward and onwards.

We can use an accident, an illness or a 'situation' as an excuse to move out of the something we no longer want to be a part of.

I kinda don't know what to say about my recent 'happening' other than, acknowledging its familiarity in other 'circumstances' in my life leading me to, um, here.

Here's the deal. I'm a yogi. I'm a person. I teach non-violence and peace and yet, I have been met, on multiple occasions, with violence and have needed to act accordingly.

When you are met with violence, sometimes you have to meet back to protect yourself, your physical AND emotional being.

I'm not going to get all too personal here, but I have had much guilt attached to reacting in violence out of fear for protection of myself. I think violence is wrong. And yet, I've been violent.

Not by choice, but by animal instinct when I'm threatened, even in the most peaceful and harmonious state.

When faced with fear for your life, you act in ways that don't fit the 'norm' for your everyday life and what you strive for.

You do what you can in an survive, as it is, as it was and as it should be.

I've lost a lot over the last few years but very much see the abundance in the loss. The idea that this loss has forced me to be creative in gain has been so beneficial for me. Losing a relationship of 7 years, a father, clients that I've loved for many years, jobs, furniture, cable, insurance, days off. All this loss has gained true friends, true passion and a new life and perspective that I don't know if I would have had the strength to make happen without the loss.

Situations have thrust me into change my present state and awareness couldn't decide on its own in strength.

...and little sleep, but the momentum of passion...keeps me awake.


Not sure, but pretty sure I know why what happened yesterday happened.

It was a normal, long day, full of work and obligations. It was day that left me with enough time to enjoy one of the one things I absolutely LIVE for, running on the beach.

One of the things I enjoy is the routine. I know my path. I mix it up, but I know it. I mix up my intervals, my iPod, but certain things remain the same. I see the locals. The old Indian guy with the happy stride and the Google t-shirt. The young tanned man in the baseball cap and the beautiful golden retriever. He tosses the tennis ball and the dog...retrieves it.

The homeless lady with the eternal sunburn and peaceful demeanor and camel toe.

The lady with the visor and full on sweat suit no matter how hot or cold it is. The pretty lady with the long curly hair that power walks. The old guy with the dog with no back legs and happy smile, the homeless guys at the foot of Entrada, permanently leather tanned, laughing and chain smoking.

I don't know any of these people intimately but I look forward to seeing them all because they are my people. They look forward to the same thing I do, the sun as it sets and the sea as it beams in it's reflection. The long day lost in another fine and magnificent closure. Peace. Yoga.

I'm the crazy girl with lots of energy that jumps over things and skips by the sea. I know I embody fun and love and experience of union, yoga with the outdoors and myself.

Someone always gives me a smile, a thumbs up or an, I'll have what you are having.

We are the same and we don't know each other at all.

Yesterday was a good day. I did good work and shared and even had time to reconnect with people, get a haircut and feel a bit pampered in the process.

I looked forward to my run above all else and my new mix of music on my iPod.

My feet felt good and so did I.

Lean and light.

Out of nowhere, everything changed. I was threatened and in an instant, feared and lost the last thing I held dear to me.

My one truest of all true loves, the one thing I had to keep me connected to myself in all this loss was not yoga on the mat, but yoga in running. Running on the beach made me feel safe when I lost everything else. It was MY yoga.

Don't you EVER take that away from me.

It's gone.

I was nearing my last mile, just at sunset, passing the homeless guys, my 'regulars'.

Out of nothing and nowhere, they’re dog leapt on top of me.

I don't remember anything...until later.

When I tried to sleep at 11, 12, 1, 3, 5 and woke up for my day.

I remember grabbing the dog by its face and tearing him and part of my thigh off of me.

A flash. A conscious panic, attack.

My other hand braced my fall and bikers and roller bladers slid to move away from me.

I was listening to a horrible mistake of a downloaded song called; you look better when I'm drunk.

I couldn't get my iPod to turn off. All I could hear were screams that didn't seem human to me and they were coming from me. I saw myself outside of myself.

They weren't horror film screams. They were screams of terror and survival as I used the same hand that braced my fall, full of blood, to protect my face.




Thought - going to die.

Thought- this is it.

Too cute,

Too young,

Too old,


Paul Simon,


I want a baby.



Call me.


balance my check book.

Coldplay, rush of cold blood to the head.


pay my debts.

Act - protect, hit, throw, move.


Did I give enough?



Smell the Jasmine.




Don't be another brick in the wall.

I hit a brick wall.

I want a cigarette.





Very fast.

Don't remember.

Remember later.



Om tat savitur varenyam

bhargo devasya dhimahi

dhiyo yo nah pracodayat.

-'May we attain the glory of god'




Can't stop shaking.

Shut off iPod and the homeless guy

Grabs the dog.

lokah samastha sukhinoh bhavantu

-may all beings feel peace.


I hear, give her some space, just give her a minute!

I don't know what a minute feels like.

I need many minutes to bring me back to me.

I see in the shadow of the sun setting, a hand reaching toward me.

Shanti, shanti, shanti.

-peace, peace, peace.

give me some minutes. A bunch to add up and save for one full day of "The Golden Girls" or Lifetime movies in bed and cookie dough.

Can't afford the time.

The calories.



I remember the time at the Jersey Shore when I was taken by the sea so fast, swept by an undertow I thought for certain would take my heavy set life.

Just as soon as that an instant, my dad reaches his hand down, lifeguard style and takes me back from the Atlantic thief that tried to take me away from him.

They took you away from me.

For an instant, I thought it was my dad, until the noise in my head quieted and it was.... Rick, the roller blader. He helps me up.

Every thing is fast, then really slow, then fast again.

All the noise was so loud that it was quite. You know, like static. It was so loud I couldn't hear.

Lucid dream.

He takes my hand and smiles and in the silhouette of the sun behind him, it is my dad.

He lets go my hand and we walk a few paces and keep tapping hands and holding slightly the way new lovers do, but it was me reaching for savior, for daddy, for help, for connection, for gratitude, for, I really don't know what the heck I was thinking, but he was their to receive it all and let me have his hand.

He did all the talking for me, calmed me down and took me to the lifeguard.

I was a little kid again with a quivering lower lip, but swearing words I don't think I knew before just then. And, maybe I had just made these words up.

I swore to the Lord.


Its so beautiful here.

Jai ma.

I have a great update for my face book.

Did I pee my pants?


Lifeguard seems high.



How beautiful, the sun.

Am I a good person?

How painful this experience.




Is Rick single?

Not my type.

What's wrong with you? You did this.

You are ok.

Thank you thank you thank you.

He walked me back to talk to the homeless guys, got their names and info about the dog,

did he have his shots?

Lifeguard was bitten by a dog in Ecuador.

Rabies. You can die in 24 hours.

I've never been to Ecuador.

What is Ecuador known for?

I want chocolate.

My heart rate is 144 and I'm still.

He told me what I should do next and made my mind ease up.

Emergency room.

Red, orange, pink.

Look at the sun.

This is my bliss.

This is terror.

My final respite.

My life is here.

You fight to hard to be here.

How could you hurt me so?

I love you so much.

It's not your fault.

Must love dogs.

I did what I had to do.

No, thank you.

My name is John.

My name is John.

Two Johns.

The dog is Duke.

They have no teeth.

He has his shots.

Duke had teeth.

I felt them.

Duke's is the place I went with my cousin Barbara when I was 10 and fat on a family trip to California.

I fell in love with you then, when I was ten and fat.


Dukes was called Carlos and Pepes when I was 10.

I love to drink water.

I'm a California girl.

I will always be a New Yorker.

Even in California.

Goodbye Rick.

Go to the emergency room.

Call your doctor.

Don't call Kathy.

Call Kathy.

She will call you back because you are sad.

Listen to the song.

Find the song on your iPod that reminds you of daddy.

And watch the sun.


And sob.

Sob like there is no tomorrow.

I walk home by myself, crying the whole way home with people looking at me like I was crazy, blood down my leg and gauze on my thigh.

I walk home and run every few moments with searing pain everywhere but a heart that is pumping harder than when I was in my peak zone and I just want my mommy.

My mommy.

Thought - mommy.



Not mom. I'm an adult and she's mom now.

There is no daddy.


Nope, she's mommy.

I want my mommy.

You always hurt the ones you love.

The ones you love, people, dogs, sunsets and beaches always hurt you. Love, but not too much.

Toughen up, Laur.

Your name isn't Laur anymore.

You are Lady.

I want to cry and be a baby and be scared.

God. Damn. Daddy.

I call the paramedics and they come to survey the wound. I call the police and animal control to follow up on the dog.

Pleasantries. Humor in hell. Always entertaining and making others feel at ease as I am dying inside.


My dad went into debt to make California happen.

He's buried on California Avenue in New York.

I live in California.

I love in California.

I love New York.

I'm bleeding.

I'm alone.

I wish I had wine.

No wine.

You can deal with the pain.

Everyone is kind and accommodating and the paramedics that come to my door are handsome in their uniforms and it is more men than I have ever had come to my apartment.

I'm lonely.

They are married. Because I look at their fingers.

How sad. They will leave and I will eat my soup and take a bath and pretend to rest.

I wait for the music to start and wait for them to take their shirts off, but none such luck, just bandages and smiles and you'll be ok.

I talk to my mommy, several times that night and she tells me that she thinks my life is a shit storm.

Like, how many more things can happen to me?

I think its funny.

It just makes me a better yogi, person.

Lots of crap. I need to crap. What the crap?

But in that crap night last night, I got clarity.

I've felt guilt in the past for acting in ways I had to defend myself physically, thinking it was my fault or that I was wrong.

But in the heat of attack, you do what you do.

You can be in bliss and when attacked, do what you do.

So, for all of those times I've been attacked before, there is no more guilt.

It took this dog.


Because I see now that I do what I can do to survive. And sometimes, that means violence. Ripping someone off of you or hitting him or her to get off of you. It's ok, even in yoga.

I was in yoga last night.

I was in the moment, present, out of body and in animal. Get. That. Animal. Off. ME.

I didn't have to pay a therapist to teach me this.

But I clearly needed this lesson several times on my path of being a yogi, teaching non-violence and peace to understand that sometimes, you have to bite back.

Sometimes you have to fight back. You have to understand violence and non-violence to teach the difference.

Yoga means union of both. You need both to exist. You need to experience both to teach it.

And, this was a dog. But people can use words. They can make you feel bad for doing what you did. Dogs can't say anything and I don't feel bad for hitting him and grabbing him and throwing him off me from fear.

And I don't feel bad about the other times either. Not anymore.

From the people that made me feel otherwise.

I am peace and I live peace. But, don't attack me, because I will fight back.

I'm scared. Because, I never thought I'd be attacked again. But I was. And I fought. And I have scars. And I have bruises. And I have PTSD. And I teach Yoga. And I teach from experience.

And I can't say anything else because it's too close to me.

But I can say that if you read to the end of this. Thank you.

I'm sorry for acting violently. But I'm not sorry.

I did what I could to survive.

I will never feel bad again for that.

I will never have anyone make me feel bad for reacting in the way that I needed to survive.

I know it's not yoga on the mat. It's yoga in life.

Don't re-act in anger when you don't have to. Don't react unless your life depends on it. Reaction is minutia unless you have to fight to protect yourself.

All reaction is your body's way of digesting a circumstance. Let it get through you. You have to live that as fully as you would peace to understand the difference between the two.

My karma.

It takes me to the next level on my path. Not the most pleasant, but perhaps I chose this to force me into change of circumstance.

Thanks for reading.

I'm still processing and this is all just coming out because it needs to.

It's like gas, you must let it out.

Gratitude, healing, bright yellow and pink sun, dark blue and purple bruises.



All we are saying is….

Dear Oprah,

You still haven't come to take my class. I'm waiting. Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone have taken my class...multiple times. They have both been on your show, so what's the hold up?
I think you will like the new direction my classes are taking.
Each class I look to a time in history and relate it to our time now, on the mat and in life.
I take quotes from authors, musicians, politicians, philosophers, yogis and super smart people that say cool things and reference that time or cultural emotion in history and pepper them in as I guide you through your practice.
When you look back, you can see how far you have come.
When you look back, you can see where you are now.
When you look back, you can better see where to go next.
You can be in the present moment with the past and present beside you.
It's easy to see the yoga in history, in our culture, whether you have ever stepped into a studio or not.
My last few blogs are a testament to that.
Yoga is a part of our cultural fabric. It's a business, an advertisement, a way of life.
It's in your heart and on your TV.
Technology and life is moving so swiftly, we can hardly catch a breath and catch up to our advances. Everyone has heard of, done or is practicing yoga in some way shape or form. And we look cute doing it. We are advancing in mind, body and spirit.
But, we are still challenged.
Honestly, it would suck if there wasn't a challenge.
Staying rooted, grounded in simplicity is difficult when we are consistently drawn in many directions...and think we have to look cute doing it.
So, as a teacher, I look back.
Our challenge, if we chose to accept it, is learn from our mistakes historic, anatomical or emotional, from the place we fall or fail and get back up again and try.
We are always in practice. Every day.
In history, we celebrate, but we also remember the mistakes we made along the way so that we can move forward in a wiser, more peaceful way towards success.
When we do this, we return to the now, learn and become better people, together as one.
The last class, we remembered a tragic event in history. But, we took the event, the bombing of Hiroshima to remember the great mistake we made and lives lost, see the error of our ways and understand that war is not only in neighboring countries we only see on the news, but on the road in the car next to us, our spouse in the bed next to us, or within ourselves as we learn to expand our ability to love and share that love fully.
Each day you fall or fail to love yourself or your neighbor, is an opportunity to learn from and try again, to love again.
So, it is this week that we celebrate the anniversary of an historical event that changed rock and roll history, the Woodstock Music Festival.
Over 40 years ago on August 15, 16 and 17, 1969, what was just a simple idea, spread like wildfire in upstate New York and became 3 days of peace and music.
I see....YOGA! (insert Oprah voice here)
The 60s were a tumultuous decade. I wasn't around, but the assassination of JFK kept the world glued to the TV for days and made the country uneasy as to where we were headed.
In Vietnam there was a war with so many lives lost and questions unanswered that protests and rallies became an every day occurrence. Revolt within our own country began to separate us like oil and water.
Racial issues were abundant and in the first time in history, the media 'drafted', for lack of a better word, so much attention to this separation that we were all clearly aware that there was an 'us' and 'them'.
We wondered... where are our priorities as a community and power? How can we move forward, so divided and so hurt?
So, WE did something about it. Well, my parents did. We listened but we acted.
The longing for equality beat like a drum from the core of the earth and made waves throughout, sounding loudly, "WE NEED CHANGE."
Then, for three days, the world stood still.
There was a small idea, some money, a space.
Then it became 32 musical acts, 500K concert goers, unbelievable chaos in traffic and sanitary conditions and they along peacefully.
Janis Joplin, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater, Crosby Stills, Young and Nash, The Band, Blood Sweat and Tears, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi F-ing Hendrix and dozens more played sang their hearts out to the idealistic hopes of the 60's and the promise of a peaceful loving tomorrow, that the 'hippy' generation, their kids and their kids kids are still celebrating, making films and talking about till this day.
An event with such small promise inspired events like Lilith, Lallapalooza, Burning Man, The Horde festival and numerous others.
The idea of celebrating our likeness and differences in a communal way in times of peace and war can only be called....
Woodstock was not a cure all, but the energy created must be recognized as one of the many catalyst of that time for positive change.

The challenge of physical postures can be enough in a yoga practice, but when you place your downward dog on the mat, you can also place your pose on the pulse of a society that is always in yoga, moving forward in a flowing rate that is staggering, but amazing to witness and be a part of as a catalyst for positive change. We are all a part of the change. In strength and weakness. In success and failure. In sickness and in health, till death do us part. In history and in the future. It is up to us to decide how we are now, to effect the rest of how WE play out.
And how we feel changes every day.
What we do effects everything.
When we are challenged, choose to celebrate.
When you don't know where you are going or you are at war with someone or yourself, come to a place where you can commune with others, like minded and different and strike a pose, grab your surf board and head to the sea, meet some old friends for a cocktail or hang out in the kitchen with your old neighbor that smells like Lysol and talks too much about her cockapoo and share a cup of tea over some Oprah. Whatever you chose, make it one YOU want and DECIDE to make that decision and ACTION towards positive change.
Chances are, because you have shared space and created positive energy with others, you will be fueled and fired up to share that energy with others.
A little goes a long way. A good moment created by you, catapults the next moment into goodness. An unwise, negative action only depletes you and those around you and that sucks, gets you stuck, makes you tired and creates fine lines and wrinkles.
To think we don't have an effect is silly.
We have a responsibility, to ourselves and each other...
to do and be the best we can and spread it like wild fire.
But, it ain't easy.

When you show up to class in a good or bad mood, late or early, you have signed in at the front desk, yes?
When you sign in to take an hour and a half practice you have signed your name up on a list with many others.
Think of that signature as a contract.
You have drafted yourself, chosen yourself, selected this moment to put yourself...
in a contract for peace.
Whether you achieve that at the end of the session is up to you.
No pressure.
Keep practicing.
Keep signing up.
Keep communing with others to create that change YOU want to see, in yourself as well as others.
It has an effect.
And Oprah, come to my dang class, will you? It's been long enough.
...give peace a chance.
~Laurie aka Lady Yoga