Monday, September 17, 2012

Beaches and Bolsters

You realize you are a seasoned yogi when you open the hotel suite door and spot a bolster on the bed along with a pile of pillows and think...”restorative pose!” The bed full of supportive fluff smiles back at you and whispers “How was that looong car ride? Didn’t have time to stop and really streeetch those legs out?  Too confined for a spinal twiiist? Awwww, poor baby!” This cooing and persuading persists as you survey your temporary digs and check out the ocean view.  

No arm twisting needed, as soon as the husband steps downstairs to take care of business you go to work:

*Blanket on the floor? √
*Bolster under the knees? √
*Pillows stacked to support back and head? √
*Washcloth over the eyes? √

“Siri, set my clock for 5 minutes please.”


You quickly replace the linens and accurately reset the pillows in place, otherwise your husband would accuse you of having a pillow fight with yourself. Then you muse about how you can sneak that bolster down to the beach.......


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Prana on the Porch

"Have you practiced #yoga on the front porch of a bed and  breakfast? #imagineit #365yoga"

Tweeted by @neshobayoga

An early morning began with seated pranayama amongst a row of rocking chairs. I then rose and stepped over to the sunlit side of the porch to awaken a downward facing dog and flow through several surya namaskar A’s. I continued with some standing poses and an upright pigeon variation (I squatted deeply and extended my arms laterally while I envisioned a heron perched on a fishing pier.) Savasana was swapped for tadasana with hands poised at anjali mudra for several minutes-to provide myself with a grounded clarity for 
the day.

This grand Victorian Lady presides on an urban Pensacola street corner, it’s been her post for over one hundred years. I can imagine that she has witnessed some unusual events in her city, but has there been anyone else to practice yoga on her porch...or am I the first?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Double Vision Was Always One

I love Art. It doesn’t matter if it is painting, drawing, sculpture, needle arts, photography or pottery, I love the expression of an individual’s vision and creativity. I also like to meet the creator of such fine work and learn of their background and beginnings into their prospective art form; quite often they are some fascinating stories. 
As a yoga teacher, I do have some creative souls who share their practice with me. I am writing about two in particular, and since it is the summer blockbuster movie season dominated by super heros...I will affectionately call them the dynamic duo. The yogi and yogini are Dale and Brin Baucum of Baucum Pottery in Memphis, Tennessee. “Potters, ok...well that’s a nice hobby”, you say? Not at all, this couple has been spinning the wheel for four’s their livelihood. The couple met in the spring of 1972 at the Memphis Academy of Arts (now the Memphis College of Art), Brin was focused in photography and Dale was immersed in ceramics. It wasn’t until 1983 that Brin joined Dale in ceramics and began channeling her expression of the relationship between man and nature from photography into clay. From a yogic perspective, it is easy to see how yoga immediately resonated with them. I can just imagine how the turning of the wheel is a moving meditation for both of them, creating such pure beauty while spinning darkness into oblivion.
They have such an impressive portfolio of work that the Dixon Gallery and Gardens  has arranged a “Retrospective in Clay”, displaying pieces of their work over the past 40 years. This exhibit runs through October 14th, 2012, so set aside some time to  explore this as well as two other interesting exhibits and The Dixon Gallery and Gardens.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Creative flow of Living, Writing and Yoga

I have come to the conclusion that these three things (living, writing, yoga) weave tight into each other, and I don't think they are very well or healthy without each other. There are essays, poems and novels that wrap themselves around me and hold me tight. There are people in my life who bring me that same support and warmth- and pretty much without fail, my yoga practice does too. My yoga holds me high, lays out a few cliffhangers and gives me a few giggles. 

I wanted to share a poem from a former student who had to relocate to the foothills of Arkansas last summer. I still think of Jennifer and her delicate grace. At her last class, I read this poem out loud during our Sun Salute A sequence... and it was magical! It touched so many yogis and yoginis in the class with smiles, serenity, tears and community.

A Yogi's Prayer
(Salutation to the Sun)

Arms held high I greet the day in salutation to the sun
Feeling beams upon my face I know the day has come
Forward bending I let go with gentle yogic grace
Lunging back with open heart I welcome life's embrace
With my back a plank straight and true I begin to turn within
Sinking now releasing on my knees and chest and chin
Cobra-like I stretch up feeling strength within the pose
Downward like a sunbeam I gain spiritual repose
Lunging forward easily feeling sweet release
Forward bending I relax welcoming the peace
Joyfully I stretch up to be all that I can be
Prayerfully I greet the God in you and the God in me

Namasté    Namasté    Namasté

Jennifer Veblen 2010

Monday, June 25, 2012


Our yoga allows us to experience life in a richer, fuller HD format. The inhibitions and barriers start to crumble away as we begin to weave ourselves into the world community and explore culture, customs and languages foreign to us as well as our own native speaking dialects. Enjoy my images capturing life off the mat in New Orleans...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Make Your Own Space

Where ever you are, where ever you go, just carve it out of somewhere. Make that space for asana, pranayama and meditation. A baseball tournament put me on the road to Mobile, Alabama; this of course means finding a yoga studio that works with the tournament schedule or practice on my own. By the photo, you can tell I had to default to the later-which turned out to be bliss.

A breezy, sun dappled area combined with the bubbling water of the nearby hot tub made a great yoga space. I’m getting pretty good at turning inward and withdrawing from distractions (i.e. the sounds of traffic), by focusing on the water feature I was ‘in my zone’. I wasn’t bothered by anyone when I rolled out my mat due to the early hour of my practice, only a curious housekeeper peeking at me while she was cleaning the windows. 
It is so fabulous to practice outdoors, my gaze is directed to unique perspectives of nature. It’s is good way to help me off the mat and see different angles to a problem or challenge, or to be able to see a situation from someone else's chair. 
Even those pesky mosquitoes were in harmony with my practice, they didn’t  bite me once! What’s your favorite outdoor space?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The best of Puppy Poses

Share these photos with your teenie yoginis to inspire them in their own yoga journey.

Charlie demonstrates the super challenging pose Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle). Charlie tells us that this pose stretches the hips and spine as well as opens the chest. This pose also improves breathing and relieves mild back pain. Charlie is so intent with the spreading of the toes! 

Lizzy took on the flexibility challenge pose Krounchasana (Heron Pose), she has such an elongated spine. Lizzy wants us to know that this posture stretches the hamstrings and stimulatesthe abdominal organs. She is such a graceful yoga model!

Kerrigan is so adorable, he could have hung Ardha-Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). Doing this pose helps to strengthen that puppy belly, improve coordination and balance as you grow into those big paws and strengthens the ankles and spine. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

“Build it, and they will come”...or not (May 20th, 2012)

I can’t believe what I am seeing here, almost like a mirage in the Southern Delta desert. There stands an incredible junior college football stadium outfitted with turf, yes a TURF field, a Jumbo tron and a very likable press box. Next to this desirable stadium is a freshly built baseball stadium, all shiny and new with a fabulous batting cage, roomy press boxes and dugouts- Oh, I bet the locker room is pretty sweet as well.
This is why my son and I are here, to tryout for the East Mississippi Lions baseball team, a junior college in Mississippi that can’t be located on a Tom Tom. I think that every time my husband typed in the town of ‘Scooba’ the auto correct changed it to Scooby. My twitter photo pretty much captured my expression as we turn off highway 45 onto route 16, just blocks away from campus (I couldn’t send it, no service). As we turned, there before us stood a very fat and happy cow grazing on the side of the road-no he was not inside a fence, but literally just off the shoulder of the road. Later, I started to wonder if the AstroTurf football field was a necessity after all, to keep the cows from grazing and pooping on it. 

My yoga tells me not to judge; I am doing more yoga now from a stadium seat than I have in the last 7 days. My mind can’t help but evaluate, critique and rank things as I slowly roast in the Delta heat. “Where did all the funds come from to build such star quality facilities? Are those dorms, converted from old motels? THAT is the student center?

I’m closing the Mac to sit for a few minutes and breathe, shut up Judge Judy and send positive thoughts  to my son. But deep down inside I'm hoping he will take the offer from Southwest.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writer’s Block

It happens to anyone who puts pen to paper (or finger tips to keyboard)- regardless of your experience or skill level, you feel like you haven’t an intellectual bone in your body and nothing to express. Heck, you can lock up when writing in your own diary or journal!  You may have the writable, reportable experiences, but they may be too raw to organize and communicate, hence the freezing action I suppose. It takes immense effort, meditation and pranayama to quite those nasty voices. 
I am back on the blog track and I recently returned back to social media after a several week hiatus. I was caught up in the throws of this disorder called “Senioritis” and it can be quite gripping. My last child graduated high school last month and ordinary events or rituals became “this will be the last time you ___, sniff sniff”. The month of April and May felt like one long roller coaster ride at Six Flags as we experienced senior projects, prom, Senior Awards, the last baseball season, final exams - and rumbled right into baccalaureate and graduation. What a spring 2012 was.
If you are not aware of it, there is a completely opposite end of the spectrum to the disorder known as Senioritis, and I was experiencing this version in tandem with the more youthful Senioritis. My father’s failing cognitive functioning skills (associated with Parkinson’s disease) started to drop off right before I had to place my mother in a nursing home as she is anchored in the severe stages of Alzheimer’s. So you see, I have had a lot on my mind and plate...and it was covering up my mat.
Some incredibly insightful moments took place during this time, and a lot of light appeared amidst the grey. When the time is right, I’ll be blogging about a few of them under the heading of Senioritis. 
Metta and Ananda to you all yogis and yoginis

Sunday, March 18, 2012

29 February 2012

My last day in Utopia

I dislike the feelings that swell up like a tide pool when I have to leave the beach. Regardless, I do have to thank my lucky stars (and planets) for my time in this little paradise: no flight delays getting here, no inclement weather and memorable experiences. 
My morning walk on the beach was bright and communal, just enough other folks with the same idea sharing a beautiful moment in time. The ocean was mirror smooth in a cool hue of aquamarine and the air was practically still-just an occasional light breeze.
The ocean invited me to sit for a while, 
So I knelt down into virasana posture to...I don’t know, 
But I closed my eyes and        sat.  
The ocean spoke slightly above a whisper:
Draw in
Draw within 
Rest your awareness 
In the first moment 
When The Spirit
Hovered over the water
And I did
And it became so quiet
Like I had slowly submerged under the water
But I still felt bright and warm from the sun
I felt like my spirit and my body temporarily separated
Experiencing calm and wonder 
Then the ocean asked me to breathe with her
And I did

Thursday, March 8, 2012

28 February 2012

Surfing the Vinyasa Wave
Yes, I told myself to not fixate on asana for a while and look deeper in the meaning and relationship of my yoga. But, I can’t help it...the Power Yoga at Bala Vinyasa Naples was mind blowing! Feeling the energy of the Bala tribe this morning just set my practice into motion and I hovered and floated through class. I realized that it is not very often that I get to practice at a Baptiste affiliate studio, so my time on the mat seemed more sacred. 
Paddle boarding the day before set my perspective and attitude in such a positive tilt. I only wish I was able to jump into the ocean every 10 minutes to wash the enormous amount of sweat off of my body, I was really getting nasty from lotions and moisturizers on my sunburned skin. Self, make a mental note to rinse off in the shower right before a HOT yoga class and things will flow smoother for yourself, ok?
Bala Vinyasa is about to open another location in Coral Gables, Florida, so here they go into my contact files--in case I happen to visit Miami or come back to Naples, a gal has to stay on top of things, you know? The vacation getaway is nearing it’s end and with it, the sadness of have to leave this little piece of paradise.
 It’s late in the evening, but I still have the Bala shatki pulsing through my body.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

27 February 2012

Pada Bannnndha Baby!
Pada= foot
Bandha= lock 
Bandha is usually translated as a lock, it also implies a "binding" or "harness". To create this effect in the foot, stretch and lengthen the foot. Spread those toes, baby! Don’t forget to plug in the front of the heel, base of the little toe, and the base of the big toe.  These pressure placements help the arch to lift upward. If you visualize a suction cup, you kinda get an idea of the engagement of the feet. This Bandha is used in standing poses to increase stability, balance and a sense of grounding.
Don’t waste this tool-take it off the mat and have fun with it, i.e. experience life! The Pada Bandha was quite handy in my first try at SUP (stand up paddle boarding). Spending the afternoon of the Gulf of Mexico with me and my board was incredibly fun and relaxing. Paddling with a canoe paddle will give you an abdominal and upper body workout; staying on the board is where alignment principles and Pada Bandha come into play and challenge you even further. 
Once I found my ‘sea legs’ and Pada Bandha, the time on the water started to feel like time on the mat- it was all mine. Free from life’s distractions and responsibilities, the dipping of the paddle, the bright sun and smooth breeze soothed my soul. My breath started to match the flow of my strokes... it just felt familiar and friendly.
Living my yoga.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

25 February 2012

Day Two
Witnessing Mother Nature’s creation from the balcony is a truly inspiring way to start the day.  While overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, I watched the sky light up over the gorgeous water, the tropical landscape glowed, and the faint sound of the surf touched my ears.
The second chakra is associated with water and is located in the sacral plexus or abdomen.This chakra is also known as Svadhisthana-which translates as “one’s own place”. Anodea Judith writes that we should stand in our own place within this chakra and define our sexual and emotional issues in a way that is suitable to our individual character. 
I feel great peace, pleasure and fulfillment in the presence of an ocean or a large scenic lake. It should not  surprise me that water affects me in this way as pleasure is the motivating principle in the second chakra. Calm, content emotions start to consume me as I walk along the shore. The tide summons me to jump into the surf so it can wash away worries and fears. 
I’m thinking that my last stop (or home) on this Earth will need to be close to beautiful, swim-able water. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

24 February 2012

My first day of our getaway long weekend started the night before with an unexpected round of food illness (or poisoning-I won’t be ordering the Jimmy John’s lettuce wrap tuna salad ever again.) When I woke up this morning, I felt like I had been drugged and then thrown in front of a bus. Along with a 32 ounce bottle of water, Pranayama (breathwork) kept me sane and calm as I boarded the plane. I sipped, snoozed and meditated my way through Atlanta; my focus: So Ham. 
So Ham in its English translation means “I am that”. It is such a breathy mantra to me, your body practically makes the sound ‘soooooo’ on the inhale and ‘huuummmmm’ on the exhale. This mantra keeps me on a peaceful, non-reactive course in a way that nothing else has in quite some time. There is no memory, image or other type of attachment to these two words to distract me in any way. 
I continued with my game plan all they way into Fort Myers Airport, the deep breaths helped soothe my aching ribs and the continual H2O IV drip of the water bottle slowly revived me.  I enjoyed a leisurely tour of Naples and a relaxing afternoon by the hotel pool...lots of Vitamin D!
Feeling well enough to consider dinner, the hubby and I had a spectacular meal at Sea Salt in Old Naples; fresh fish does not get any better and the eclectic recipes were stunning. I have to admit that the crowning moment to our first day on vacay was the universe’s cosmic display: Jupiter, Venus and a Cheshire Cat shaped moon. The universe does not disappoint, neither does South Florida.
So Ham

Monday, February 13, 2012

“With a sheepish smile, she took herself out”

Say that three times in a row...
Ready? sheepish smile, sheepish schmile, smeepish schmile!
Not too long ago, I was subbing for a fellow teacher who had come down with mono. I don’t mind subbing for other teachers, especially if I am already familiar with the facility and know some of the students. I have become more comfortable with subbing over the years, but still, the students have their reservations about a sub! I totally get it, I was the same way not too long ago. 
The students began to file into class wearing those ‘deer in the headlights’ expressions, and I quickly began to explain that the teacher was out ill, and that hopefully she would be back next week. One student replied, “Did you say she was sick?”  There were some surprised and puzzled looks in the crowd, “Yes, unfortunately, the teacher has mono”, I responded, “Please keep her in your thoughts and maybe send some healing energy her way”.  “Wow, I thought if you do all this yoga then you don’t get sick”, someone said. Somewhat surprised, I replied, “Well... it happens sometimes”.  I thought to myself, “We are all organic, we are all human, and we become ill once in a while”.
The pranayama practice was flowing along and we began to transition into some Asanas. The students were moving through half vinyasas as I walked the floor, I stopped for a moment and realized that I was not able to take them through any Sun Salutes. Earlier that day, I was working on handstands and tweaked my wrist. Plank and down dog would not be possible because I couldn’t do one fourth of my Pilates reformer class that afternoon. My wrist flat out hurt and I wasn’t going to push it for Pilates or for Asanas. As the students came to Samasthiti (equal standing), I addressed the class that  any new students should feel free to follow along with others through the sequence as I would continue to verbally cue. I explained a minor wrist setback would allow me to do only standing and non weight bearing floor postures in class that night. As you may have guessed, there were more surprised and puzzled looks.
I began to cue Sun Salute A and then interjected into my dialogue, “ We teachers, we become sick and we do get hurt... even injured by more advanced yoga postures” I kinda shrugged my shoulders and sheepishly smiled when saying this, I knocked myself off of any pedestal I may have been perched on and the response was heartwarming. By their expressions, smiles and giggles, I believe that the students who showed up that night were at peace with the idea that teachers are students also. We are one in community and in practice, and that there isn’t a need for teachers to be on a pedestal (at least that is my opinion). I do understand there is some yoga drama and politics; desiring to be upheld, idolized and popular, I personally don’t think it’s healthy or necessary, at times it may be dangerous. 
Hmmm, Samasthiti...equal standing indeed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Missing the Puppy Bowl Already?

Get your furry fix with Pansy, the February Poster Puppy! Pansy is demonstrating a variation of Bitilasana (cow pose) and I must point out she has graceful form and a serene expression. Admire the extension of her limbs, energy radiating out of her blooming toes and a table-top pelvis, what a dedicated practice this young yogini has.
Puppy Notes about Bitilasana:
*Stretches the front torso and neck
*Provides a gentle massage to spine and belly organs
*Strengthens core muscles
*Improves balance
Be careful when practicing this pose at home, your own precious pooch may give you a big smack on the lips!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Details on the Detox

Notes from my 21 day detox:
Hot dang, I made it! I was really doubting that I would be able to stick out the Whole Living Magazine’s 21 day detox plan, but I am really proud of myself for getting through the first obstacle--you know, the  ‘withdrawals’. I had several friends and family check in with me to see how I was holding up, they were interested in hearing my observations and thoughts on what food groups or ‘vices’ I thought really were not good for all of us.  Below are some thoughts that I jotted down throughout the journey:
* A little weakness day 2 and really alert and really, really hungry
*Monster headache day three, like my skull is being crushed
*Monster headache when I woke up on day 4, had to take Advil. then much better...hmmm eyes don’t look so puffy
*Feeling like I am focusing better day 5 -- still weak but my mind wants my body to workout hard, and the bod just won’t respond 
*Day 6 Feel like I have lost power- but noticing something else that I wont’t comment on just yet
* Day 7 OMG its here, I know tomorrow I can eat fish and some scrambled tofu (never eaten scrambled tofu before). Lentils and beans are on the menu as well

During week two I am low on endurance for cardio work, so I scale back, but have to continue Pilates reformer work because the sessions are already paid for. In a word, I am chapped by this turn of events; I have been working since November to increase cardio endurance in order to enjoy more intense weekend recreational activities with biking and hiking.  By Friday, I decide not to extend any more energy on workouts(recreational or otherwise), I feel that I will likely injure myself or become sick. I spend the weekend performing a different kind of detox:  cleaning out and reorganizing bookshelves and closets. I am disappointed to report that I did not get to every closet in the house, but I’m glad that I made the effort. I am flat out whining for dark chocolate... every     single    day.
Week three really is taking a a positive turn, laying off for three days allowed my body to regain some power once again. I am able to go out to a “healthy” restaurant with my husband and devour an organic vegan salad without having to prepare it. Additionally, The Cosmic Coconut and Whole Foods were able to help me out a couple of times during this week for pressed juices and a lunch that fit my detox guidelines. I can only think of chocolate, it is the one thing my body still craves...I think it is fair to say  that I could possibly commit a capital crime if I were not able to eat chocolate for the rest of my life. 
Interesting happenings post detox:
I went to Starbucks to get a hot chocolate with hazelnut and my body basically showed that treat the door. Introducing coconut milk, Almond milk, and Soy milk into my eating plan has made me realize that I can find nutritious alternatives and use less cow’s milk. I tend to be lactose intolerant at this stage of my life, and the organic cow’s milk doesn’t seem to appease my body chemistry. Yep, I snuck into Baskin Robbins too, and also treated myself to Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc. I’ve had about 5 ounces of chicken (no other meat) since I started the detox, and I am not really missing it too much on a day to day basis. I really don’t miss breads, but I miss organic crackers. 
Finally, the thing I wouldn’t comment on during week one: I saw a difference in the texture and shine of my did my husband, who rarely notices stuff like that. My eyes are a lot brighter and skin is really even-toned. I attribute these changes to raw juicing and killing the added sugars, and I also believe that there isn’t really anything (potion or procedure short of botox or facelift) on the market to match the cosmetic results from juicing. Yes, the start up cost is expensive to juice, your grocery bill will likely go up 20-30%, but you will be healthier and look better. In my opinion, the elevated costs are a wash when you don’t have to buy as many cosmetics products, hair products and probably not be as sick- reducing medical costs.
I have two suggestions for anyone considering a detox plan:

1. Don’t start a detox if you are just recovering from an illness; I felt this situation may have made it harder  on my body.
2. Don’t do heavy workouts your first week on detox, take it easy and knit, read, draw or paint. 
The first week after the detox I gave in to a few of the indulgences, but the second week of post detox had me looking back to the healthier substitutions like Coconut milk, Almond mild, soy products, Cacao, kale and other less popular vegetables that tend to be super foods. It looks like I am giving up green tea, and will opt for teas with no caffeine. I didn’t realize how much I was consuming until I got on the detox plan.  I can’t go caffeine free every day of the month, gotta have that cacao or dark chocolate- I will be managing it better now that I realize how much my cognitive memory has improved. I think processed food, added sugars and caffeine could be the culprits in robbing our memory and critical thinking. 
We yogis are blessed with enhanced body awareness and pick up on subtle actions within us, this insight is such a valuable tool when taking on detoxes and food elimination diets. Take notes if you need to in order to identify any changes that may be related to the ingesting of particular foods. Take a chance and take the plunge! (but...maybe wait until after Valentine’s Day).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Who doesn’t love puppies......and yoga?

A dear, sweet student of mine showered me with such an adorable gift that I am compelled to share it with all of you...each month. You guessed it, it’s a yoga calendar with a twist: Puppy Poses!
Our puppy model for January is named Hoover and he is demonstrating Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2). Hoover has such an adorable drishti (gaze) over his front paw! 
Puppy Notes about Vira II:
  • Strengthens the arches, ankles knees and thighs
  • Stretches the hips and shoulders
  • Broadens the chest
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Lengthens spine
  • Enhances muscular endurance
  • Stimulates digestion
Could the reason it is named Warrior because it builds focus, develops willpower and stimulates the mind- what every strong Warrior needs in order to succeed?
The next time you do Virabhadrasana II, think of Hoover and let yourself smile from the inside out.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Begin again...from the beginning (part 2)

Allow me to flip the calendar back several weeks to November 18, 2011- the night of the Yoga Woman screening at Lifetime Fitness. I suppose I was too blissed out to realize that I left my yoga mat at the movie until the next morning when it was time for me to teach my vinyasa class.  I was frantically running around the house trying to find my mat and then I stopped dead in my tracks and said “Oh, no I didn’t.”  I called the gym asking if my mat had been turned into lost and found; nope, it couldn’t be found anywhere. With my head hanging low, I headed off to class and used a house mat to teach class. For 24 hours I fretted and then, reluctantly, went online and ordered another mat, as I could not stand the idea of not having my own mat. I wanted my old mat more than anything; there were just too many memories embedded in that dense olive rubber: workshops, faint pen marks from teacher trainings, and “aha!” moments. I dreaded that I would never see my old friend again, so I tried to stop the aching by ordering another mat. 
Two nights later, I was reunited with my mat! I stopped into the gym to take a class and someone had found my pal and lovingly propped it alongside the cubbies outside the yoga studio area; oh bless whoever that was!  As chance would have it, my new mat showed up at my front door the very next day (love that amazon prime free 2-day shipping), but I no longer need a new mat -I had my buddy back. I let that new mat sit in its box for seven days and I stared at it ...a lot. 
Something was a-brewing at my core and wouldn’t  let go. An inner calling suggested that I make a tangible distinction between the yoga teacher and the yoga student in me. This idea really ignited me because a handful of teachers in my community have either cut back on classes or taken a break from teaching in order to make more time for their families and their own personal practice. I had already dropped one yoga class and a fitness class off of my schedule this year. I was feeling good with the amount of time that I was teaching, but I just needed a compass or guide to help grow my yoga. I felt this symbol (new mat) would amplify my aspiration of an abundant student practice.  So, I kept it and threw away the shipping box!
Now, let’s fast forward to January 2012: my first few home practices on the new mat in this New Year brought back some old memories. Remember the ‘break-in’ period, the constant slide-y down dogs and triangles, and the peculiar odor? Not only do I feel nostalgic but also very uncoordinated and off balance. I am sensing that this fresh pursuit of the yoga student may assist the yoga teacher in me as the new yoga folks show up to practice for the first time ever, or the first time in many years. Some of those awkward scenarios will be fresh on my brain...I remind myself that these moments can be frustrating and disheartening because we are human and we have an ego and that I should find a way to communicate this to the class. Each practice I’ll encourage them to just show up and do what you can-when you can -and let everything else go. 
I really love being a student