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  • On Love and Partnership

    It's all about the Metta.

    Lovers, are you still basking in the glow of the recent romantic holiday? Or recovering from the I'm-so-over-it mentality you so proudly protest? Depending upon how you view February 14th, Valentine's Day is either a hyped up "holiday" or a time to show gratitude and appreciation to the one that you love. This practice is called Metta (sanskrit), or loving kindness. Metta is a mindful or meditative state that grows our capacity for loving kindness, friendliness and goodwill. It is not only a selfless act making your loved feel special, it's reciprocal,  benefitting you as well. Metta opens your heart and draws the pull of benevolence and warmth in your direction. 

    Be a lover, not a fighter.

    One historic account of the holiday's namesake is from 3rd century Rome under the rule of Emperor Claudius II. He outlawed marraige for young men, believeing that they would make better soldiers without wives and families. Saint Valentine performed unions for young lovers in secret, but his rogue actions eventually caused the order of his death. A martyr for love, now THAT'S romantic.

    Ask the Universe for your Italian boyfriend.

    A day that used to hold no particular meaning for me is now one I hold quite dear. Three years ago on a wintery Valentine's evening, I held a special heart opening yoga class. This was just one of my regular Thursday night classes, but I themed in lessons on what it means to love yourself and to be a good partner. A man attended class that night that had drawn my attention before. In fact, every time he came to my class, my world stopped for a moment and I felt the entire energy of the room shift. I was keenly aware that something important was happening and I knew that he would be someone big in my life. Being respectful of teacher/student boundaries, I kept this curiousity to myself...and all of my cooworkers. I joked with my front desk girls that he was my Italian boyfriend, he just didn't know it yet. I put it out there, testing the waters of the Universe, to boldy bring to fruition what my intuition had already told me. I would find out later that Adam shared the same instant knowing and daydreaming. He told his friends he was in love with a woman, he just hadn't talked to her yet. On this evening of the 14th, many friends came to class with the plan to stay and hang out, have some wine and toast our singledom after-hours in the studio. After sharing our first real hello, I invited my future to stay and join us. He did. And in a warm, cozy room full of my dearest, the stars began to align.

    What a story, right?! So, in celebration of this day, I hold partner yoga workshops to share some of that love and create special moments for the taking. In guiding couples through acro yoga, the art of assisting, and thai yoga massage, we talk about what is needed for a solid partnership on and off the mat:

    1. LOVE YOURSELF: In order to be available for someone, you must nourish yourself and believe that you are deserving of the things you want. Sometimes, that takes practice and unlearning patterns that have caused hurt and doubt along the way. 

    2. STAY ATTUNED TO YOUR PARTNER'S NEEDS: Pay attention to your partner. Know their goals and dreams. Support them and help them to grow. Love them using their love languages and yours.

    3. GIVE 100%: Don't keep tabs. You will have constant awareness of the equality or lack thereof in your relationship if you are concerned with fair shares. Giving 50/50 is half the capacity that you both could be operating on, and that's hardly fair to one another. 

    4. BE A GOOD LISTENER AND CLEAR COMMUNICATOR: Seek to understand; seek to minimize miscommunications and find mutual resolve. Whether bestowed with the gifts of listening and communicating or not, it is your JOB to grow these skills and to be adept at both. 

    5. BUILD A FOUNDATION OF TRUST: We all need a safe place to explore who we are. We need a foundation of trust where our truth can flourish. We need to be strong and we need to be vulnerable in an environment of acceptance.

    Be a fighter for your lover.

    "Hold the line, love isn't always on time". Truth, Toto. Just like the roles in acro yoga, you will at times be the base- holding the line, making the foundation and serving as the grounding force. You will at times be the flyer- the bold and brave one, soaring into new territories, forging new paths of growth. Accept the peaks and valleys and the necessary role of both. Be with one another, hold the line, pull one another out of the trenches and raise one another up to new heights. Be proud of the partnership you have built and protect it.

    Then, celebrate your love with THIS PLAYLIST!

    Photo credit: In the Streets Photography, Duncan Littlefield at Charlotte Yoga.

  • Resolution review

    It's been a month since we all spotlighted the things we want to change about ourselves and formed them into neat, well-intended resolutions. So, how are you doing on yours? As a yoga instructor working full time in a yoga studio, I enjoy watching the month of January bring dozens of new yogis, signing up for classes and memberships. An enjoyable dichotomy of perplexed and humble looks around the room and complete surrender with gratification. Some will come back on occasion, fitting yoga into the many group exercise spots they bounce around to. Some will go back to their couch.  And some will have found something profound that they are ready to see- themselves. 

    As the New Year rung in, I reminded my yogis of their dharma. We all have intentions, goals, and desires. The realization of those deepest desires is our dharma, the true nature of you realizing your potential. Your dharma is not something that you need to make up, search for, or begin on a certain day of the year. You already are that person. You already have those tools. With the new year only a month in, let's wake up to what we have already been endowed with. What is there underneath the dormant layers? What works to spark your potential? And as we awaken to this, don't sprint away from last year's experiences. Reflect on them, grow from them. Revel in the fact that while you can not change the past, you can use it to inform the present moment and the future. 

    This year, don't resolve to change yourself, resolve to BE yourself. Seek the divine within you everyday.

    And as requested, here is the New Year's Countdown I wrote and shared with my students. In the style of things you might do and experience on a big NYE night out, here you go:

  • How to make a playlist like a boss

    One of the most enjoyable parts of my work as a yoga teacher is making playlists (most recent playlist pictured above). I used to lament the time and effort that it took to put together a respectable, booty-shaking hour of tunes, but now it is cake. I have it down to a science; quick and dirty; git 'er done. Streamlining the process allows me to keep the music fresh and produce about one playlist per week. Here's how:

    1. Get a SiriusXM subscription for your vehicle. 

    This was life changing. Pre satellite radio, I was listening to the sad old local radio stations driving around town and scraping the dregs of my iTunes library which, let's be honest, contains an embarrasing amount of 80's music and Indigo Girls. Now, I use every moment in the car to Shazam the shit out of everything. Your drive time will now double as your work time. I have a wide variety of stations at the ready and have a contest with myself to see how many playlist-worthy songs I can tag in one single trip to the grocery store. 

    2. Shazam the shit out of everything.

    I'm talking radio, movie theatre, the catchy song on the television, break out your phone at the mall. Everywhere. 

    3. Subscribe to Spotify

    Stop kidding around with iTunes or Pandora or whatever else has formerly had your heart. I know....I know. It's so hard to say goodbye. The learning curve is not too hard, you don't need to own the songs forever squirreling them away in the bowels of your computer so you'll have them, just be free. And pay the $10 a month, you cheap bastard. It will be good to you. I get the remainder of my playlist music by browsing through Spotify. The app will begin to make playlists for you of music it knows you will like. Spotify--acts of service are my love language, how did you know?

    4. Connect your Shazam to your Spotify. 

    Go into the settings of your Shazam app and select "Connect to Spotify" under Music Streaming. This will automatically create a new playlist in your Spotify account titled "My Shazam Tracks". You may rename it if you like.

    5. Move your tracks into your new playlist.

    Select all your newly Shazamed tracks in the playlist and drag them into your new playlist. Rearrange the order of the tracks to your liking. I use the bell curve methodology for my yoga classes. Begin with slow songs to ease them into what you are about to bring, faster paced songs to bring it, and then slower songs again when it's already been brought-en.

     6. Share the love! 

    Make your playlists public. Make them awesome. Give them a name. Right click on the title of your playlist to select "make public". You can find over 80 of my public playlists here. You are welcome.

  • Privilege is the new duty

    This week my new site is up and running and it is all thanks to jury duty.  On Tuesday I was summoned to appear at the Mecklenburg County Couthouse at 8am and plan to stay until 5pm or longer, should my services be required on a trial.  I am no stranger to jury duty. At three times serving, I feel I have done my fair share in the 16 years that I have been eligible.  But I would gladly welcome the chance again, and let me tell you why.  

    This was a PRIMO chunk of time to get things done, and I took advantage of it with fervor.  I planned what I would be doing, brought sustanance, and settled in for the long haul.  My planned could have been instantly foiled had my name been called to be a potential juror in one of The Honorables' courts. But when names were being called in the assembly room, I slumped down in my chair, put my proverbial hat down over my eyes...and it worked. I was off the hook time and time again. 

    Now, let's be honest. My life is kind of free time. I am lucky to have a lot of it. I teach yoga, work on my art, walk my dogs, run a household for my Italian and a set of twins (more about these loves of my life later). I busy myself all day long with the minutiae of everyday life: tasks and errands and to-do's. I find solace in that actually.  Being able to complete something and check it off a list  is satisfying to me and tackling a larger project that has no end in sight is downright anxiety producing. And although I own my business and my work ethic is directly responsible for it's success, I find it hard to buckle down with such open boundaries and loose return on gratification. That has to be some kind of syndrome, right?!  Anyway, I'm working on it.

    When jury orientation begins, a video plays cleverly reinterpreting jury "duty" into jury "service". We are being asked to view our time here as a contribution to the judicial system and a privilege to take part in upholding the rights and justice of our fellow citizens. Basically our court system, regulatory laws of society and therefore the world as we know it, would fall apart if it were not for us.  It was genius.  Spun beautifully. I sat up a little taller in my seat and I bought it all, every last bit of it. I started thinking, as I do,  "How can I use this witchcraft in my yoga class as a lesson?" 

    And so here it is. The areas of your life that you see as a duty/unwelcomed or unenjoyable responsibility/a challenge with no instant gratification--these are the areas in need of a little wizardry on your part. Actively begin to view them, talk about them and experience them as a privilege. As a lesson. As a service, not with a martyr complex, but with a humble, patient heart. Our minds and mindsets are powerful, but our choices are more powerful. Even if your new outlook feels a little forced or inauthentic at first, stick with it. Your shift will affect how you feel about your duty and your emotions connected with that are real. Your new understanding and new appreciation will be your new normal. 

    In summary, welcome to the blog. Visit often and thank you for reading. 

    New website- check.

    First blog post- check.

    Enviable work ethic and perfect time management- I'm working on it.