Inspired to teach, teaching to inspire

Thanksgiving 2018

This quote has been on mind for the past few days. Can we do this? Each of us? Can we light the way for someone? Can we lift someone up? Can we save someone? I think, yes. Is it asking too much of ourselves to try to "help someone's soul heal"? I think not. Do you have to literally save someone's life every time you walk out of your house? No. Can you smile at a stranger? Can you offer encouraging words to someone you know is struggling? Can you look up from your phone and into the eyes of the person in front of you?
Simple actions that take a moment in our busy lives, but that can change lives. When we become a lamp, a lifeboat or a ladder, we start a ripple effect of good that will one day come back to us.



Santosha in New England


Although I love the seasons in New England, as the weather gets colder, so do I. And I find myself wishing for the warmth & light of summer.

This time of year goes by so quickly. For as much as find myself looking back at the summer, I find myself looking forward to the Holidays & the New Year. We have some exciting things coming up at Sanctuary!

The challenge, as always, is to be present & enjoy what is. Santosha is "contentment" in Sanskrit & it's one of the Niyamas. The other day, on a morning walk, I had a moment of clarity regarding Santosha. I reached the top of our road & saw view above. It's not the greatest view (it's not best picture). But I was struck by it. At that moment, it was the view that I had & I realized it was just right for that moment. Not the best view, not the highest mountain, not peak foliage. But still, just right. And that's Santosha.

Would I like a better view? Do I want more in my life? Am I looking forward to new projects? Yes. But for now, presence & Santosha. Because where I am, who I am & what I have is here, now, to be enjoyed.

I hope that as the Holiday season gets underway, you remember the summer, are excited about the New Year, but also experience Santosha & enjoy who you are & what you have as well.



For Mother's Day
I recently read a blog that included 5 tips to stay balanced & healthy as a working mom.  The tips were good. But most of them involved money. A lot of money. And required you to be able to take quite a bit of time for yourself. I'm a mom with a business & I have a great support network. But I can't afford a nanny, or weekly massages or to have someone deliver pre-prepared organic meals to my home.

So I thought about it.  I don't want to knock the woman who wrote the blog. She was operating from her reality.  And I'm writing this from my reality...while trying not to burn the rice or step on Legos, getting ready to empty my dishwasher & hang clothes on the line. With barking dogs in the background.  And our son calling me from the other room. So..what can a mom do to stay healthy & balanced? As moms we all take care of others, whether we run our own business or not. And we need to take care of ourselves.  I took her tips & adapted them to make them (hopefully) more accessible:

1. Delegate some of your mom responsibilities.  You don't have to hire a food service or a nanny for this one. You don't even have to ask your partner to cook dinner or do laundry.  I discovered a couple years ago that I could order paper towels & toilet paper from Amazon & dog food from Mr. Chewy.  It costs about the same as in the store. But it saves me from having to go to one more store & drag our son with me.

2. Hire Holistic Healers.  I'm firm believer in this. Reiki, massage, a haircut or a pedicure...yup, I'll count those as holistic healing.  This is the one I personally struggle with the most. So if I can get in 1 appointment a month, I'm doing good:)  When you have kids, even haircuts seem to fall by the wayside. Go out of your way to make an appointment for yourself & keep it. You don't have to spend a ton of money on this!  If you're good at something, say teaching yoga or cooking or watching someone else's kids, you can even barter for this.

3. Find uninterrupted time for yourself & laughter.  Uninterrupted time can be tricky. I'm lucky if I get to go the bathroom in the morning by myself.  But it doesn't have to be as big a deal as it sounds. Can you take an extra 5 minutes in the shower by yourself? Maybe when you baby is napping? Can you sit & sip your coffee or tea. Or read. Even just for 5 minutes. Most days, I start my day by lying in bed for 5 minutes before anyone else is awake & try to breath & embrace the day. (I'm reluctant to call it meditating). Start small & make it something that can actually happen.  And laugh. Whether it's reading silly jokes with your 7 year old. Or laughing at yourself. Or laughing with your partner. (Or even at those silly Facebook posts). Laugh.  

4. Don't let work totally consume your life. Whether you have your own business, or your a mom taking care of a house & family, don't let it consume you. Go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. Let that phone call wait until tomorrow. You're not going to get everything done today. And that's ok.

5. Turn off your device. Turn off the TV. Put down your phone. Look up - whether you're in line at Starbucks or at home on the couch. Connect, in person, with the people around you. Simple as that.

6. And if you can't manage any of the above today...or tomorrow...or this the very least, love yourself.  Look yourself in the mirror & say "you are amazing. I love you". Yes, totally cheesy. But trust me on this one. You'll feel good after you've done it.

Open Heart, Open Door
A post-Valentine Blog

I have an open door policy at my studio,
Sanctuary Power Yoga.

The door stays unlocked when class starts. You can come in at any time, no matter how late you are.
You can also leave at any time. Any time, even if the class is in sivasana.

I don't need to know why you're late. And you don't have to explain why you're leaving early.

My policy is based partly on personal experience. I have been shut out of class because I was late. And I've had a less than positive experience when leaving class early. I have my reasons, and I could explain them here, but I'm intentionally choosing not to.

At Sanctuary, we don't need to know why you arrive late. Or why you need to leave early.
We don't need to know why you practice yoga with us. (Although we hope that it's because you enjoy your time with us).

There are simply too many, different reasons for why we do, what we do. And I can only begin to guess at what those reasons are for other people.

I also believe that this practice can meet you where you are...wherever you are. I don't force anyone to do anything. You simply do what you can do on any given day. I want this practice to be inclusive. And I want to it be about more than just moving through poses on mat in a room. And so, for me, that naturally includes an open door policy.

For me, the open door is representative of an open heart. Come as you are. When you can. Stay as long as you can. And know that you will always be welcome in our studio.

Monday, November 21 2016

I've spent the month of November posting daily on social media. Posting things, people, ideas & practices for which I am grateful. It's been fun & sometimes challenging. Challenging to post every day. Challenging to feel grateful, even when there's a lot going on.
But I'm grateful that I have been doing this. Especially with emotions running so high before, during & after the election. I was filled with gratitude & hope that I could shift the attention of people reading my posts.
One of the most challenging pieces of all this for me for me was/is this idea that the practice of gratitude needs to be a challenge on social media. When did that happen? We've come so far as a culture - we are so advanced in so many ways, and yet...
Still, I am grateful for social media. It allows me to reach people that I would not otherwise reach. And as much as I hope to inspire others, I am grateful to connect with those who inspire me.
30 days of Gratitude is not enough to cover everything for which I am grateful. 365 days is not enough. And in spite of any challenges that I have faced this month & this year, I do my best to remember to begin & end every day with gratitude.
Thank you to everyone who makes up our community at Sanctuary & to everyone who is a part of our online community. YOU are Sanctuary. Each of you. Each of us. Together we support, uplift & empower each other. I am filled with joy & gratitude every time I walk into the studio.
Wishing you a joyful & peaceful Thanksgiving & Holiday Season.

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Tuesday, October  14

Everyone thinks yoga teachers are patient. Calm. Peaceful. Zen-like. Every day, every moment of every day.

Guess again.

Here's something about me you may not know.

I am not always patient, Calm, Peaceful, or Zen-like. I don't even know if I can call myself a patient person.

Yes, me. Yoga Teacher, Yoga Studio owner, practitioner of yoga for over a decade.

Here's what I've noticed about myself:

When I cook, I turn the burner to "high" because I want the water to boil. Now.

Our old-school alarm clock - I push the minute button over & over again when changing the time. Even though I could just hold the button down.

Brushing my teeth for 2 minutes with my electric toothbrush feels like forever. I have things to do! Now!

What's the point of me telling you this? Well, first, to show that I am human. Yoga teachers are human. We have our strong points, but we also have our "flaws".

Second, I may not be patient, calm & peaceful every moment of every day. But I observe when I'm not (that's svadyaya - self study) & I try not to judge myself for it (ahimsa - compassion) & then I do my best to practice. Patience. Being Calm. Peaceful. (Practice being the key word here).

I use these moments in my life as opportunities to slow down, breathe & practice my mat.

And honestly, all that being said, I am a lot more patient, calm & peaceful than I was 15 years ago, before yoga.

It's practicing all the pieces of yoga, whenever & wherever you can.
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Recently, in a yoga workshop, the instructor asked us if we were ready.

"Are you ready?" he said.

He is an internationally recognized yoga teacher & we had all signed up to spend the day with him. We all replied "yes!"

He asked again "Are you ready?"

We answered again "yes!"

And then one more time, in a slightly different tone - less excited, more curious - "are you ready?"

We all paused.

He laughed & joked about it & went on to take us through an asana practice.

I thought about this a lot, on & off, for the next couple weeks.

"Are you ready?"

And then I recalled the quote from Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure" - Marianne Williamson

We ask to be great. We ask for success. We ask to be strong. We ask to be loved.

 And then it happens.  We get what we asked for.

Are you ready? Are you ready to recieve & celebrate what you asked for when it comes into your life?

Are you ready?