I’m my own Rock. Who knew??

JIP

“You’ve got foundation down solid in your teaching. Keep that!”

I’m going through an intense certification process in the Baptiste Yoga Methodology. Two week-long boot camp style trainings, one 3-day marathon of hands-on assisting practice, countless hours of teaching leading up to all this, along with several essays and reviews surrounding the ginormous topic of yoga have led me to the final piece of the process…

The video. By far the most nerve-wracking and self-tormenting experience of the process. And also the most essential. Taping my class, and trying to self-evaluate it later without throwing orange peels at every misstep is no picnic, but the insight gained is extraordinary. Areas I assumed I sucked at were solid, while several blind spots I’d never thought about glared back at me (was that really me? Leaning against the wall as I asked my students to hold their Warrior two breaths longer? Lord.)

My come to Jesus call with my reviewer from the Baptiste Institute (these reviewers/yogi angels watch every one of our videos start to finish and provide invaluable feedback for us to incorporate into future classes before submitting the second round of video) revealed a huge surprise.

my welcome home from Baptiste L2

my welcome home from Baptiste L2

That I’m solid as a rock. Who knew?? She applauded my mastery of teaching Foundation (one of the Pillars of Baptiste Power Yoga – the others are Breath, Gaze, Flow, and Heat) in class through succinct cueing, hands-on assists, and my own body language.

I was shocked. Just five years ago I felt light. Flighty. Shaky. Weak. Give me a pair of running shoes and I’d fly like the wind. A set of bicycle wheels and I’d ride far and fast. An open-ended plane ticket and I’d take off without an itinerary. But to root down, stand firm, hold up my own body weight – no chance. Not until I re-committed – this time for real – to a daily yoga practice did I begin to discover the comfort and security of standing on my own two feet.

Yoga does that. Commit to the work, power through the poses designed to challenge you, ground your hands and feet firmly into the mat, and you begin build your own unique bad ass chunk of granite that will hold you up. On the mat and off. Every time.

So with that solid foundation, I’ll get my back off the wall, incorporate my reviewer’s “stop doings” and “start doings” and stand solid through the remainder of this awesome certification process and beyond.

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Why I’m so enamored with Pooh right now

Winnie the PoohAbout once a week I post my teaching schedule on Facebook. I try to limit these posts to once a week so the world recognizes I’ve got more going on than cuing and assisting downward facing dogs all day long. But truthfully, some days I do just that – share the joys of downward facing dog and the myriad ways this awesome practice can break open all sorts of kickass possibility.

Rarely do any of my friends who pause mid-scroll at my post ever show up for my class as a result, however. And that’s totally fine. Because my intent isn’t really to get people to drop everything and come to my class. I simply want everyone who crosses my Facebook path to wake up joyful. To be inspired. To at least consider rolling out their mat – on a studio floor, near their coffee table, in the back yard. Doesn’t matter where. What does matter is they see my post, and find a little spark of hope in spite of whatever crap is circulating in their heads at the time they land on my post.

That’s where my pal Winnie the Pooh comes in.

Yesterday I included an illustration and quote from the wise little bear and his sidekick Piglet with my schedule, and it got me inspired. Gave me a little spark of hope as I struggled to circumvent a giant pile of head crap that was quashing my joy as I posted my schedule. Still new to the Philly area, longing to kiss and hug my nieces and the rest of my family so far away in my hometown of Seattle, and over-analyzing every detail of last night’s class (did I give that strong young guy in class a deep enough assist in revolved crescent lunge? Did I pace around the room too much?), I felt completely alone. Curled up in the corner of the Septa train heading back to my condo in the burbs on the brink of tears, I decided to pull out my phone and look at my post again and see what effect it could have on me. And I’m so glad I did. Because it was as if Pooh and Piglet were speaking directly to me:

“Any day with you is my favorite day. So, today is my new favorite day.”

It was then I realized I was only 20 minutes away from landing in the arms of my sweet husband who is always eager to greet me, hug me, and assure me that my students have better things to do than worry about whether their teacher paced around the room, gave a lousy assist, or got a left and right backwards in last night’s class.

So if you’re following me on Facebook, check out my schedule posts. Winnie the Pooh promises to offer a few words of wisdom to get you onto your mat and into your day.

How pets – past and present – have gotten me out of my head and into my heart

Nora at Main Line Animal Rescue

Nora at Main Line Animal Rescue

Three friends on facebook this week have lost, or are about to lose a beloved pet: a yellow lab with soulful eyes; an affectionate cat who prioritized cuddling over everything else; a beautiful brindled coat pit bull terrier whose owner deemed her the best friend he ever had.

Reading these posts, and the long stream of supportive comments below them confirmed my belief that owning and caring for a pet is something every human should experience. Pets have the ability to burst your heart open wide – pulling you out of your head (clogged with future agendas, past regrets) and into the beauty and delight of right now. Give your dog or cat the opportunity, and they’ll show what it means to be 100% in the moment, unconcerned with tomorrow’s meeting with the boss or yesterday’s guilt over chowing down too many Holiday cookies.

Losing a pet sucks, and the pain that came with grieving over my beloved Bentley (a proud, black standard poodle who remained at my side through massive life changes) made me ponder whether I should have owned a pet at all it hurt so bad. But three years since his passing I now cherish the lessons he taught me, and am convinced I would not be living life as fully or with as much gratitude had I not spent 11 precious years with this goofy boy.

After reading and weeping (yep, I cried with each post), I spontaneously sped out to Main Line Animal Rescue to volunteer for an hour in the afternoon. I don’t typically volunteer Thursdays as I have a full morning teaching yoga, but I had to find respite and knew my favorite pups here would provide it. Nora, a one-year old black lab who has yet to get the hang of walking a straight line (left! right! find me a ball to catch!). Windy, a petite, white pit bull terrier with the cutest damn ears I’ve ever seen – so what if they don’t work? (she’s deaf). Casco, who shares a run with Ginger Spice, who didn’t get out because Ginger Spice wasn’t about to let me get him out without taking her too (sorry sweet boy, I’ll grab another volunteer to help me get you out both next time, promise!!) Just an hour with these pups pulled me out of my grieving for my friends’ pets, for my Bentley, and brought me into the joy of the moment.

Scout and Junior, my rescue kitties

Scout and Junior, my rescue kitties

And that evening I sat on a velvet bean bag covered in fur snuggling with my two rescue kitties as they purred and gazed into my eyes, and my heart.

If you’ve never owned a pet, consider it. Visit your local rescue and allow a four-legged pal to show you what it means to really love.