Five Yamas Friday #2

How has your week been? I know it’s only been since Wednesday, but it feels like I’ve been away from the blog for so long….and yoga, although I taught this morning. Something has had to give this week and for the next three days I have “CATCH UP” written on my schedule so that I can clear my lists. That and grade midterms. This is always one of my favorite times of the semester because I get to know my students a little better through their midterms.

The main theme of the midterm is to reflect on their yoga journey thus far this semester. I do this on the regular with meditation, the blog, and my teaching. I even wrote a whole series this spring about my yoga journey (12 Years of Yoga). But today I’m here to reflect on the week past and specifically the 5 Yamas.

  • Nonviolence – I have been careful with my body this weeks as I have still been suffering from allergies. With that mostly in check I tackled my Wednesday run like nobody’s business and dropped time and felt free. The run went great and even better was the workout after. However, my knees spoke to me the rest of the day and into Thursday’s teaching. I went back to my knee stretches and did some more supported deep squats and that took care of the pain for me. I was able to teach this morning pain free. I feel like my patience with others has also been high on the nonviolence scale this week. I’ve just been trying not to let too many things get to me and being as calm and understanding as I can in my interactions. Sometimes that means just shutting my mouth and walking away from a situation and other times I’ve lost my temper a bit in order to “Set the record straight”.
  • Honesty – If I’m truly being honest though, the “record” is subjective to the person speaking it. Things don’t always happen the way that you feel or remember them. I think that part of honest is realizing that your truth is only yours.
  • Nonstealing – I have tried to stay on top of my 30 minute work cycles this week so that I am not wasting my time. However, it has stolen a few other things from my schedule and this has not made me feel as satisfied with what I have accomplished as I had hoped. I stole away yesterday, twice, to take my kids to the park…..I mean it’s almost 80 degrees here in OCTOBER! Why wouldn’t we celebrate a cool 80 degree day at the park?
  • Moderation – I have tried to spend less time sitting down this week so that I feel like I’m getting stuff done, but it’s also led to a few early bed times. Moderation doesn’t mean go, go, go all the time….it also means I need to rest and I’ve been glad to recognize that going to bed before 10am once in awhile is not the end of the world.
  • Nonhoarding – I had to let go of the idea, this week, that I had some things figured out. I read a great thing in the Gates’ book about clutter in our physical lives and our emotional lives. I put a few things in the donation bag when I cleaned my room this week, stopped myself from adding more things to the schedule until after other things are completed, and let go of the idea that I have to have it all.
I feel like this painting today, but when I try to go to the blogspot that it was posted on I end up on spam, so don’t click on it.

Overall I have felt like this week has exemplified a lot of what it means to me to be yoga.

How did you live your Yamas this week?

Five Yamas Friday #1 – Delayed by Hurricane Matthew

I’m writing this post on Saturday instead of Friday for the simple fact that I decided to move my children out of the direct path of the hurricane yesterday. It’s “only” a Category 1 storm now, but I didn’t want them to have to sit in the dark for hours on end and wonder about if the water was going to come inside. So, we traveled north and west to family and are now just sitting through rain. It’s a horribly gloomy day.

But, time for reflection on the week past and the 5 Yamas that I am trying to live a little better each day….

  • Nonviolence
    • I did some good things for myself specifically this week. If you check in on my runs this week I had a great plan for going the distance. However, Wednesday afternoon my tonsils and sinuses revolted as a part of this impending storm and allergies. I ended up not running that day. I thought I could teach yoga on Thursday, but chose to rest instead. By Thursday night I thought maybe I could run, but listened to the fact that things were still not clear in my head and waited until Saturday (because of travel yesterday). My run this morning was also strained and I’m still living on allergy meds, getting green stuff out, and feeling the pressure in my face. Have you ever had your upper teeth hurt with each bite?
    • For others I have been trying to be more patient and to continue to choose good things to think about the choices that others make and to say nice things about them and to them as well.
  • Honesty
    • I can’t think of anything specifically in regards to living an honest life, but I have been more honest about myself with myself. Understanding the things that are important to me and making sure that I prioritize those. Sometimes what you want is more important than what you think you should do.
  • Nonstealing
    • I’m trying very hard not to get distracted by other things and not allow myself to steal from my own time. I wrote earlier this week about distractions and mostly I’m sticking to not allowing things to take all of my time and to staying focused on one thing at a time.
  • Moderation
    • This is a big one for me in so many ways. I’m watching my calendar fill up and trying to make sure that I’m choosing to be more moderate as it goes. I am getting done with projects and not taking on more. This is also something that goes in regards to the way that I eat and exercise. Having a plan has been helpful in allowing me to remember that I don’t have to do it all each day. I can choose to eat mindfully (I don’t always remember to do this) and know that it’s okay not to eat the M&M’s just because they’re sitting on the counter…..but man that sounds good to eat right now. 😉
  • Nonhoarding
    • Letting go has always been my biggest struggle and this week I would love to finally get rid of a few things on my plate. I had to remind myself at a meeting this week that I am not responsible for everyone. Let go of that need to take charge of everything, to put everything on my plate, let go of control.

Each little step in the right direction is like a drop of water falling into the pond…..the ripples reach outward to making bigger and bigger changes in my life.

How did you live your Yamas this week?

Currently September 2016 – The Yoga Project

Biggest Pet Peeve – Posts that don’t post on time!

So, it’s Friday the end of September and I’m sure some of you are wondering: How did the 30 Days of Yoga go?

Well, it went better than expected and reignited my love of a daily yoga practice so much that I have a new plan for 30 Days of Yoga in October! But we’ll get to that in a minute. First a little reflection on the process.

At the beginning of the month my practice was heavily focused on the Asana and Pranayama limbs of yoga, but I ended up spending the end of the month in Dhyana….meditation. In total I meditated for 16 days this month using the Gates book and finished the section on Yamas just in time for the end of the month. The biggest portion of my meditations were spent on the idea of Aparigraha or Letting Go. There’s a lot of that needed in my life, but the best part of letting go was opening space for something new…..for more yoga!

This week’s meditations and reflection on the month, in particular,  have taught me that I still have some work to do on the Yamas. It’s a daily struggle and not something that comes easily in certain areas.

  • Nonviolence
  • Honesty
  • Nonstealing
  • Moderation
  • Nonhoarding

Which brings me to October and the start of the Niyamas…The Sustaining Practices.

How will I be sustaining my Yamas? By having 5 Yamas Friday for the month of October.  I will look back at the week and reflect on the best example of me living My Yoga Life through the Yamas.

How will I be sustaining my physical practice….my Asanas? Every odd numbered day of the month I will be working on the first of the three poses that I wanted to master this year. October’s Pose of the Month will be Garland because it pairs best with the knee recovery exercises I’ve been working on. I also plan to take pictures along the way to chart my progress.

How will I be sustaining my Dhyana? On the even days of October I plan to meditate using the Gates book. It has taken me 795 days to get from the intro of Meditations from the Mat to Day 61 in the meditations. I had planned to finish that book in one year and now it seems necessary for my continued progress in life.

So, expect updates along the way and 5 Yamas Fridays each week. Come back Monday for Mini Movie Monday – Exercises for My Back! I hope you have a great weekend and Join Me for 30 Days of Yoga October!

How are you living the Yamas?

How are you sustaining your yoga?


The Yoga Report

meditationI am still finding time to meet the demands of my self-imposed 30 Days of Yoga challenge, but finding it harder to make the time to write about it. Some of that is because it’s a personal practice and sometimes I just want to do it and not mention that I did it. Other times I just allow life to get in the way of writing.

So, here’s a quick recap of the practices I did last Wednesday through Sunday and my plan for this last week of September. Continue reading “The Yoga Report”

Days 10-12: Fear of Letting Go

I spent a little more time on meditation with the Gates’ book this weekend. I am still in the section of the Yamas regarding Aparigraha and I’m coming to realize a few things about myself. Last weekend, at the end of my meditation, I wrote down:

I am not the hoarder you think I am….I am worse

Maybe not the most positive thing I’ve ever thought, said, or written about myself, but truth none the less. Why is this truth? Continue reading “Days 10-12: Fear of Letting Go”

Satya: What is your Truth?

Yesterday morning I was out for a run. It was that same crappy course that I hadn’t been able to conquer just yet. I had my two sub 9:00/mile runs down, but still hadn’t hit my third. I was ready to move on, it was 6:30am and out the door I headed. I returned some time later and posted these notes to my MapMyRun report:

I wanted to get the course over with. I hated every second, but I pushed on…..even when it would have been easy to quit.

The result? I finished the 1.71 miles in 8:55/mile. Just barely under the goal, but I made it! So, this morning I was on to the next run in my series of progressive increases. I’ll tell you more about that later, but for now I want to tell you briefly what I thought about on that run. I thought about TRUTH.

I thought about truth because recently my Yoga I students were studying the Yamas and Satya is the second Yama in Yoga. It asks us to live our own truth….at all times….in all ways. I read two great posts this week that I wanted to share with you in which both of the women were brutally honest. They both shared their truth and continue to live with it. Please read them both here:

What is my truth? That in all of my life, in regards to fitness, I have not consistently pushed myself hard enough. I have rested when sometimes I shouldn’t have; I have walked when I could have kept running; I have quit….just because. But, yesterday I didn’t. And I got up this morning and tackled a longer run and hit 8:51/mile. My truth that I plan to live is that I can do more with my fitness. I will push harder because it feels good to do so.

What is your truth?

TOLT #31 – Asking Why?

Yesterday was my first day back at CFCC and I decided to use the Meditations from the Mat book for my Yoga II class. I picked up where I last left off on Day 51. I felt like I had read and journaled about that reading already, but I needed it again anyway. It was back when I was working with Aparigraha: non-hoarding, non-grasping, not holding on to. Essentially, this is the yoga way of Letting Go that I have referred to often.

The reading spoke about letting go of old ideals that maybe aren’t your own, but that were imprinted upon you. I needed to let go of something else. This is probably one of the most personal posts that I’ve ever written and I almost hesitated to put pen to paper on this one.

Tuesday night I had a dream that I took my family to Colorado. The dream is all choppy in my memory, but it went something like this….we were driving around Colorado Springs where I used to live. But, someone was after us. So, I dropped my family off at this house to keep them safe and made some slick maneuvers to get away from the chasers. I drove our truck (we don’t own a truck) up this steep mountain road to where it almost flipped backward and then I bailed and slid down the dirt to a shed at the bottom. In the shed I found myself at the back of a restaurant I used to frequent there and I ran through the restaurant and out the front door. I went down the sidewalk past all of these tall houses. Houses like I’ve never seen in Colorado Springs. I ended up in the dark, back at the place I had stashed my family and I went inside. We were not supposed to be there, and I knew it, but I kept them there anyway. We started eating food and letting the kids watch tv. I went upstairs to the master bathroom. I knew whose house it was, but I didn’t know why I took my family there. And then…..they were home. The people who lived there. The woman with the blonde hair, the twin boy and girl, and him. It was my ex-husband’s house. He was staring at me standing in his bedroom.

I don’t remember anything else about the dream/nightmare. But, over the past year I have had these weird feelings about him. We are no longer in contact and I am very happy in my life now with my family. As they say; No Regrets. So, as I sat there in meditation with my class, I did something I hadn’t done before. I recalled the dream and asked myself: WHY?!

  • Why can’t I let go of him?
  • Why would I even be there?
  • Why would I take my family there?
  • Why does he keep coming back into my mind?

I feel trapped by these things I don’t understand. Most often in my meditation I sit on an idea and clarity comes to me. Maybe just a different way of thinking of something, or feeling about it. But not today. Today I am still at a loss for an answer. So, I propose this to myself, because maybe I’ve been missing something all along:

Day Thirteen: Ask why more during meditation; be more inquisitive about the signs and answers being given to me; understand my meditation better.

A special Thank You to Amanda for the outlet for my mind today.

Smells Like Team Spirit

I’m in Marion, NC for the weekend for another NETA workshop and luckily for me Fox is covering the Iowa State v. Iowa football game! You seriously cannot hear how giddy I am over this! The game was late to come on tv due to the Yankees v. Blue Jays game going into 11 innings, so I decided to head down to the ol’ fitness center and run on the treadmill (which I hate to do) and watch the game there. Just something to keep me from sitting in my room all night. I conquered 4.17 miles of running up to speeds of 7.5 mph. It was a good run. Check it out at MapMyRun!

So wish I were there! Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

However, while I was running my brain started thinking. ISU is My Team…in this game, but who is “My Team” in real life? You know that old saying, “It takes a village”? Well, I started considering all the ways that I depend on different people for different things. It’s kind of nice to know that I’m not alone in this big world and that I have go-to’s. On Sunday I wrote a little about Ahimsa and non-harming of myself so that I have enough to give to others. This week I have needed my teammates more than ever. Here is a little week in review:


Monday was the start of the walking group that I am leading as an inMotion coach for the local New Balance store. I plan to write a lot more about that and my new shoes in the future. Here I was gaining a whole new team in my life. So far it’s consisted of the three women signed up for the program and the two people who work full time at the store. Each of these people is bringing something new into my life and pushing me to be a better me. I feel like it’s a little piece of what I lost when I left the world of personal training and campus recreation. I am leading and creating a group training program while organizing special event sessions. I am a coach…that is my role on this team.


Back to my full day of yoga on Tuesday. Here I am part of several different teams. First there is the morning class of mostly retirees who are kind enough to share about themselves and ask many questions about my life and the practice of yoga. I feel like I can share with them about My Yoga Life. Here I am still the coach because I lead the sessions. I continue coaching as I move through my teams at CFCC and then into the night with more classes for the City of Wilmington. At each place I have a team manager who takes care of important business at the facility and the organization of the classes….I don’t have to do it all.

Also on Tuesday I have another team….on this team I am the team manager. It’s my family and we have a specifically coordinated schedule to run through that day. This is where Cote, our nanny, comes in. She is my Special Teams Coach. This Tuesday Ike had a little vomit incident in her car on the way to school. He missed school for the first time that day, but don’t worry, he wasn’t sick. She takes care of the most important part of my life for me when I’m not there and I have to rely on her to make the big decisions.


On Wednesday I took over with my home team again and we had dental appointments. Then there was tutoring that I do for my friend’s son. While I am his “tutor”, I count us more as teammates in this endeavor. I rely on him to provide me with the information about what he’s learning about and then also to give me the patience to remember how to do high school math 16 years later. The hubby and I also worked on some projects in the back and other than saying that we’re “co-owners” of the team, I can’t think of a better title for him. He is always there when I can’t be and supports my efforts to be the scheduler, financial officer, concessions and janitor.


It was back to yoga in the early morning and then home to get Ike off to school. Eli and I spent the morning at the park where I took charge of my own fitness coaching again and then to the dentist once more. I had a Skype call with Sam on Thursday afternoon. She is my team owner at NETA. She schedules my weekends, gives me assignments, and has the final say on my work. I like having her as my team owner because I feel like she brings positive coaching aspects to her responsibilities. She’s not overbearing and a micro-manager; instead she’s very respectful of others’ ideas and talents and what each member of our NETA team brings to the field. That evening I was back with my New Balance team setting the pace and leading them through more walks.


As I traveled yesterday for work, it required me calling in part of our second string: the Grandparents. The boys are spending their weekend at their house while I am here in Marion and the hubby is at home working on projects around the house that are hard to do with kids around.

Now I am here in my room after my run feeling blessed to have so many others on my team. In yoga we talk about being part of something bigger than ourselves and uniting as part of one big yoga community. Who is part of your team? What role do you hold on your team?

Well, my team just lost….so…..Deep Breath together!

Living My Yoga Life

Hello All and Welcome to the New Site!


I apologize first and foremost as it is very messy! I will be changing and cleaning up a lot of stuff over the next few months. I hope to have all of the bugs worked out of the new site by the end of 2015 so as to start clean in 2016. Please bear with me during this time.

So, this is my first post on the new site and the reason it’s coming on the 6th day since I “moved” here is because life has happened. And it will always happen. I want to tell you about all of the amazing things that I have going on here, but this post should not be that long. So, instead I want to tell you about the new site a little more and why you should stick around and come around more often.

This site will be far more about how I am living my yoga life. What does that mean? Well, over the last year and a half of blogging I have spent more and more time thinking about how learning yoga and researching more about yoga has impacted the way that I live. I am first and foremost a fitness person, but yoga has changed the way that I approach life in all aspects….including fitness. I chose to move to my own site because I am a serious fitness professional and I wanted a place to direct those I teach to learn more about fitness and health, wellness and yoga. I wanted a place to write about how these things are an integral part of my every day life.

Each Tuesday I spend about 7 hours a day teaching yoga and Pilates. This past week in the classes at CFCC I began teaching about the different paths to enlightenment….that is the ultimate goal of all yoga practice. The path of knowledge is known as Jnana Yoga and is most often taken by studying of the scriptures of yoga practice. However, the yoga of thousands of years ago doesn’t necessarily apply to my life today. For one thing, I’m not a man living in India; and for another, I came from a postural practice first. However, I do love to study and learn about yoga and I do this mostly through reading all the books I can get my hands on.

Interestingly enough, a few weeks ago I checked out a book from the library entitled Do Your OM Thing by Rebecca Pacheco. I had failed to open this book for the entire three weeks that I had it checked out and then I moved my site with all of my intentions of living this new yoga life in my blog. I renewed the book, opened it up, and kicked myself a few times. Guess what her book is about? Living yoga in a modern society. So, needless to say, I am loving this book! Pacheco’s book provides suggested moments to “Do Your

OM Thing” and they have been helpful in defining my own yoga life further as well as giving me ideas for discussion questions for my classes to help them live their yoga more meaningfully. I hope to share with you some of these ideas as I write about my own experience. I have not yet checked out her blog, but you can find out more about Pacheco at

The thing I am focusing on this week in regards to living my yoga is the very first Yamas of which I have discussed before: Ahimsa or Non-Harming. The first thing I need to do for myself (and for this blog) is to take care of myself. I need to make sure that I am not harming myself or others by over-scheduling myself and my family; by over-committing to others when I don’t have enough to give; and by not over-practicing the physical yoga as I get further into this semester. I encourage you to take a moment to think about what the word “Yoga” evokes in your mind when you think it or say it. Are you interested in living a more yoga life? Do you know what all that entails?

Me on my first trip to LA doing yoga at the beach as part of my NEW LIFE

Join me and let’s take that next deep breath together!

Meditation Monday #9: Aparigraha

It is beautiful in Wilmington today! 71 degrees on this, my grandmother’s birthday (and I need to call her). However, the weather will be changing back to normal temps later this week. I was kind of sad and excited at the same time today when I finally shaved my legs….like for real shaved them. It’s been awhile and if you haven’t been over to Fit is a Feminist Issue lately, here are some interesting posts on shaving: Body Hair and Winter Months. But I’m also glad that it’s still jeans weather for a few more months. Mostly because I went to Clothes Mentor yesterday and got myself a great “new to me” pair of Silver Jeans. You can read all about how much I love them in the discussion between myself and my friend in the comments section here: How Many Do You Really Need?

I am not a clothes shopper. I wish it were all smiles and fun with friends, but for me it is not and never has been. I refuse to shop online because I cannot try things on and see how they actually fit on my body before I purchase them, but I equally hate going into those tiny mirrored boxes they like to refer to as “Dressing Rooms” to put the clothes on. I could go on and on about the lighting and the mirrors and how close you have to stand to them etc, but my real problem has more to do with one of the Yamas of yoga than it does with the rooms themselves.

I’m talking about Aparigraha, the non-hoarding yama.

Not this kind of hoarding, but it certainly applies, but more of this definition:

Aparigraha asks you to both let go of possessions as well as ideals, thoughts, and other matters of the mind/heart that hold you back from growth. This includes a resistance to change, possession of a partner, or of an identity which you no longer fit (youth, athlete, etc).

See the part that I bolded and underlined? As I was shopping I was looking in the mirror and struggling to get on jeans that I thought (by looking at them) would surely fit me, no problem. However, when I actually stood there and looked at myself in the mirror, I saw hips and thighs that didn’t used to be there. I had in my mind the type of jeans that I wanted to wear and held those in my hands, but they were not the type of jeans I needed to wear.

The funny thing is that when I realized that I do not have the legs and hips that I once had it filled me with both rage and relief. I was mad at myself for being so blind to the condition of my body. When I got home I looked at those same legs and hips in my bathroom mirror, realizing that the mirror does not show as far down as I would need to see to see the widening of my body. I felt that as a Fitness Professional I should always be aware of what is going on with my body. I’m a yoga teacher, I should be in touch with these things.

The relief set in when I found the pair of jeans I bought. They are a pair of the same Aiko Silver Jeans that I said that I wanted. Something with a mid rise and that was relaxed through the thighs. I knew already that my thighs needed more room. I knew it, so there was no reason to beat myself up. I was also relieved because knowing that something is different allows me to make two changes in my mind and my actions. I choose to see myself and the way my body is now as me. By viewing this body as me I choose to be happy with who I am and to let go of who I am not. The action portion means that if I am wanting to see change, there are things I know I can do.

I know that part of the weight gain is due to the pill that I was taking up until last week. The weight came on quickly, but it is not permanent. I went for a walk today to add in more “fat burning” and I will slowly add in more leg exercises to accommodate more muscle building in that area. In the end, I felt really good about my purchase and my experience and how I handled myself. I wish I could be this present and thoughtful in all of my difficult life moments.

Is there something in your life that you are holding on to?
Have you ever thought about hoarding in regards to people and ideals?
What is clothes shopping like for you?