Saturday, February 27, 2010

sequence for your saturday

Here's a short flowing sequence that I use when I want to get my clients' heart pumping and bodies warmed up in a short amount of time:

Start in Mountain Pose
Inhale arms up
Exhale forward fold (arms swan dive downward)
Inhale Monkey
Exhale walk or hop to plank and slowly lower (all on the exhale if possible)
Inhale cobra or up-dog
Exhale down dog
Inhale (staying in down dog)
Exhale walk or hop feet to hands
Inhale chair pose
Exhale sink a little deeper into chair pose
Inhale to tippy toes while in chair (I always say this is optional)
Exhale forward fold into uttanasana
Inhale to standing
Exhale hands to heart center
(Repeat multiple times)

Hope you have a fabulous Saturday!

Friday, February 26, 2010

just for fun friday

I love being a girl. I love make-up and finger nail polish and perfume and lotion and jewelry and fashion. Sometimes I find myself thinking this love of all things girly somehow goes against being a "good yogini." However, truly I believe the most important thing is that we accept ourselves and embrace ourselves as we are and I find all of these wonderful "girly" things allows me to be creative and feel my best. So, as a tribute to accepting my girly-beauty-fashionista side here are a few of my newest favorite finds:

1. essie's new "Neo Whimsical" fingernail polish: It is a fun, whimsical (as the name suggests), and perfect pink shade for spring!

2. Miss Dior Cherie perfume: I LOVE perfume. Seriously, when I got engaged the first thing I did, while most would begin looking for a dress, flowers, venue, etc., I started trying to find the perfect wedding scent. What did I choose? Flowerbomb-it smells fabulous! However, right now I am loving Miss Dior Cherie. I haven't yet purchased it, as I think the fact that I have about 8 perfumes currently is probably enough. I do hope to add it to my collection sometime soon, though!

3. Sebastian Potion 9, Sebastian Whipped Cream, & Beyond the Zone Super Sexy: I've actually used all of these in the past, but I just started mixing a dab of each of these all together, and I've found it is the perfect mixture for my curly hair!

I would love to hear some of your favorite recent finds! Do share!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

clearing space & yoga flow sequence

For the past few weeks at work, I've felt like I've been going a million miles a minute. I'm always very busy (which is one of the things I really appreciate about my job); however, sometimes it gets crazy busy and can feel a bit overwhelming. When I feel this way, the story I tell myself is there is too much to do and too little time. I try to get this thought out of my head, as I know it doesn't serve me well, but it can be a challenge.

With the pace of the last few weeks, my normally clear desk had begun to get very cluttered. Today, when I actually had a small bit of time, I decided to move de-cluttering to the top of my priority list. As I started clearing space, I could feel space opening within me. My shoulders got a little looser and my neck relaxed a bit. Sometimes it's a good idea to move decluttering to the top of your list of things to do. It's amazing how much of a difference even a few minutes of clearing space can make!

On another note, I thought I'd share a yoga flow sequence I used in tonight's class. When I used to teach step and floor aerobics classes, I would always write my routines and memorize them. One of the things I love about teaching yoga is that I never totally plan or write out a class. When I start teaching, it's as if I get in a zone and it just flows from me. Here is a small snipit from tonight's class:

Starting in mountain pose
Inhale arms up over head
Exhale forward fold (arms swan dive downward)
Inhale lifting half way up and out into Monkey
Exhale step left leg back to lunge
Inhale arms up into crescent lunge
Exhale hands to floor
Inhale plank
Exhale downward facing dog
Inhale left leg up into 3-legged dog
Exhale to plank w/left knee to chest
Inhale left leg up into 3-legged dog
Exhale left leg down
Inhale right leg up
Exhale right leg swings through to lunge
Inhale arms up to crescent lunge
Exhale hands to floor
Inhale left leg steps forward lifting to monkey
Exhale forward fold
Inhale all the way up
Exhale hands to heart center
(Repeat other side)

Hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

more thoughts on teaching yoga

Today I will be addressing the following question by Eco Yogini: "I have been considering it...and have been approached to take a local teacher training by the studio...but. But I am not flexible, nor am I advanced. In complete honesty, in order to be an accomplished, responsible teacher, should you be able to perform all poses taught?"

Here are my thoughts on this great question (keep in mind this is my personal opinion--if you have additional thoughts, feel free to comment!):

I am not sure what an "accomplished" teacher is exactly, but I do completely and totally think those who are interested in teaching yoga and who are willing to put the time and effort involved in it, should go for it! DO NOT LET SELF DOUBT OR SELF CRITICISM STOP YOU! You have to start somewhere, so start where you are and let your judgments go!

When I began teaching yoga, I taught 45 minute classes because I really thought that was the only amount of time I could fill. Now, I teach 60 and 90 minute classes and would usually like another half hour after that! We have to remember, we grow as teachers, just as we grow as students.

I, myself, cannot do every single yoga pose; however, I can do a modified version (at minimum) of the postures. I believe it is important to give all yoga students options and variations of poses. Even those "more advanced" students have days where they may not feel 100%, and they can appreciate the modified options for poses. Sometimes we can show these modified positions, and then verbally cue going into a pose deeper, if needed. When I'm in a modified version of a pose, I will simply say something like, "Some people are able to grab their foot with both hands in this posture, and you might need to do so to find your personal personal edge." They get it--they don't need to see me do it.

If you wait until you feel 100% ready or competent to instruct yoga (or to do anything for that matter), you'll probably never start. If you have a strong desire to begin instructing yoga, go for it!

Thanks so much for the questions! Let me know if you have others or more thoughts on this one!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

yummy & healthy soup recipe

Winter continues to linger, and one thing I find helps make the long, cold winter months a little more enjoyable is a yummy, healthy, home-made soup! Here is a soup recipe (I highly recommend) that we tried out last week for a dinner party (and I am in the process of making right now!):

Corn & Sweet Potato Soup

serves 6 (although we actually doubled this recipe and 6 of us ended up finishing it off!)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
7 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tsp ground cummin
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 lb corn kernels
salt and ground back pepper and lime wedges to serve

1. Heat the oil and fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and chilli and fry another 2 minutes.

2. In the same pan, add 1 1/4 cups of the vegatable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Mix in the cumin, diced sweet potato, and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Add the pepper & corn and simmer for 10 minutes. Process half of the soup until smooth and then stir into the chunky soup. Season and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

It's easy and delish! The recipe came from a book I love: The Complete Book of 400 Soups by Anne Sheasby. We purchased a Cuisinart hand blender with some of our Christmas cash, and we love it! It makes pureeing soups so much easier than using a regular blender. After step 3, I add half the soup to a crock pot, and puree it in there. Then, I just poured the rest of the soup in the crock pot, and it stayed warm until the dinner guests arrived and were ready to eat.

Hope you enjoy!


p.s. I'm not a huge fan of sweet potatos (even though I know they are very healthly), but I love this soup!

Friday, February 19, 2010

on teaching yoga & book recommendation

Thank you so much for leaving comments with questions about teaching yoga on my last post! I will work through answering each of the questions over the next week. For today, I will answer the following two questions:

1. How do you keep your yoga classes from becoming stale? Where do you get your inspiration?

2. What is the difference between "teaching" & "assisting"?

1. The question of how to keep yoga classes fresh is a great one--especially since I've been teaching for ten years now and over 1,000 classes. I know firsthand this can be a challenge! Here are my thoughts and recommendations:

***take classes from other instructors in a wide variety of yoga styles as much as possible!
Even if you are a vinyasa flow instructor it can be benificial to take some other styles of
yoga such as Bikram, Iyengar, Kripalu etc. I "borrow" ideas (wording, sequencing, etc)
from other instructors all the time!

***go to a yoga conference or workshop at a minimum once a year. Even though there is
always a lot of review in these for me, I always take a few great ideas away & it's great to
be with other instructors to find inspiration! This year I'm hoping to make it to the 2010
Mid-West yoga conferrence, and I'm so very excited!

***read yoga books

***do and just listen to yoga podcasts (I find myself listening to podcasts on my way to work.
It helps sometimes to just listen rather than be doing the practice because I can pay more
atttention to things like how the instructor ques, wording used, etc.)

2. I'm hoping I am understanding exactly what this particular question is asking. "Teaching" is what every instructor does when they are leading a class. "Assisting" or sometimes called "adjusting" is when an instructor places his or her hands on a client to help the student get deeper into poses or get alignment correct. If you are an instructor in a gym, it's important to check in with the policy of doing assists. For the first 9 years of my instruction I was in a gym, and didn't do assists. Now that I have my own place, I only occasionally use them. It's important before doing adjustments to first establish if the client is comfortable with being touched. In the past I have given out cards (with focus words on them such as "peace," "balance," "breathe" etc.) before class and had clients who were comfortable being assisted put the cards on the right side of their mats, and those who weren't put them on the left side.

In my opinion, assisting should really be the last option used when trying to help students get into poses with correct alignment. I always first make sure to have modeled the pose (sometimes moving directly in front of them and going into the pose myself). If this doesn't help, I try to use different verbal ques to help them. If this doesn't work, I will put my hand in the air outside of their body, and ask them to move a certain body part toward my hand. Last, I would do an assist. I'm actually reading a great book on adjusting right now that I highly, highly recommend (even if you're not going to be doing much assisting, this book is a fabulous resource!): Yoga: The Art of Adjusting by Brian Cooper PhD All you yoga instructors out there should definitely check this out!

I hope these responses answered your questions. Thanks again for sending them. If there are more questions out there, keep them coming! More to come...

Have a fabulous Friday!


Monday, February 15, 2010

need your feedback

If you are an aspiring yoga instructor--or even a current yoga teacher--what are some questions you have about teaching yoga? Any and all questions are welcome here! Don't be afraid to ask anything! I am going to use these questions for a potential future workshop. Feel free to leave any and all questions! I appreciate your time greatly!


thoughts on whole living

from body + soul magazine:

1. Take the guilt out of pleasure. Sometimes the thing you want most is just what you need.

2. You can't force flexibility. It's about releasing and opening gradually.

3. Invest in experiences, not just objects.

4. Don't overthink: Some happy moments are best left unanalyzed.

5. Real intimacy is expressed not with words but with meaningful ones.

6. Try a little less housework and a little more sleep.

7. To find your strength, push past your comfort zone.

8. Rather than just beautifying your skin, nourish it.

9. Finding answers to your health issues won't come from feeding your fears.

10. Sometimes getting lost is the only way to figure out where you really are.

Which one resonates with you today?


Saturday, February 13, 2010

feelin' hot hot hot

This morning I will be teaching my first ever hot yoga class. I thought a Valentine's HOT Yoga class would be a fun specialty class to include on this months schedule. It's been over 10 years since teaching my first yoga class, and I will admit, I am feeling the excitement and anticipation of teaching a new style of class. This will be a little out of my comfort zone-for multiple reasons-but I think it's important to take those leaps and occasionally do things that may scare you just a little bit!

What is something you'd like to do, but you haven't because it wouldn't be comfortable or it scares you just a little? Perhaps you should take the leap and just do it!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

newsletter museletter

Yesterday was a snow day, so I decided it was the perfect time to write a winter newsletter. One of the items on my "List of 35 Things to do by my 35th Birthday" is to write at least 2 newsletters per year. Well, Ladies and Gents, one of those is done! If you would like to be added to my newsletter e-mail list, please send me your e-mail address to (please use "Newsletter Request" as the subject) & I would be happy to send it your way!

Today is another snow day! (I'm excited now, although I won't be when I'm still going to school in June.) So, more time to hibernate, reflect, & create! My goal for the day is to finish up some creative ideas I've had for the cover of a yoga cd I plan to make, as well as write the introduction to it. (If you haven't already, I would really appreciate your feedback by participating in the poll on the top, right hand side of this blog!)


Monday, February 8, 2010


Would you be willing to kindly take a moment and answer the two polling questions at the top right hand side of this blog! If so, THANK YOU!!!!

XOXO & Namaste'

p.s. If you have suggestions, ideas, questions regarding the polling topic, please feel free to leave a comment. And, as always thanks so much for stopping by!

a few recent pics


Friday, February 5, 2010

early out

Today I got to leave work 3 hours early due to snowy weather. It is so nice to have an extra few hours this afternoon to spend sipping a mocha, reading, and exploring on-line. This weekend I am looking forward to an afternoon of Valentine's Day card making with a girlfriend & hosting a small Super Bowl gathering (I don't really enjoy watching sports on tv--now which teams are playing again?--but I enjoy the time with friends! I will actually be getting a knitting lesson at the party, so I'm really looking forward to that!)

How are your weekend plans shaping up?