I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said I’m going to sit down and write and couldn’t. I would start and erase it, thinking it wasn’t good enough to share, that nobody cared or that I was complaining too much. I think it’s really challenging to share things as you’re experiencing them. It’s easier to say you’ve gone through something hard and here’s how you fearlessly faced it and this was the outcome and lesson. It takes being super vulnerable to be open and remain open. I started this blog as a way to be engaged with my students more. To share a bit deeper than the small talk before and after class. I never wanted to be someone people looked up to. Especially in yoga! I’m actually pretty shy and quiet, though my friends would say otherwise… I think I overcompensate sometimes ha. People look at Yoga Teachers like they’re all Zen, Namaste, pooping rainbows and glitter every day. They float into class without a care in the world, maybe posting inspirational bs on social media accompanied by pictures in unrealistic poses. That’s not the case, I promise. I think it’s really important to break any stereotype that teachers have to be some type of way. Every day I get to practice what I preach. When you know better, it's your obligation to do better. The last few months I’ve been reminded of some great things as I faced seemingly endless challenges. I’ve had to be fearless in the pursuit of what sets my soul on fire. Trusting that the Universe will provide because there’s an abundance, right?!? And getting REAL specific on what it is that I want. Remembering if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hard no! The answers are in stillness. Trusting that voice that comes up, even when it doesn’t make sense at the time or sounds scary or really is just not what you wanted; listening. Coming from a place of Love. Even when someone crosses you sideways and you’re ready to go 0-100, real quick…real f’ing quick. Pausing. Taking in a few yoga breaths. Knowing that they’re reflecting some kind of pain they’re experiencing your direction and going back to The Four Agreements, you can’t take anything personally. Whew, it’s a practice. Every.Damn.Day. The last few months have really felt like a full circle of events for me (finding myself working in the running community again, my first love) and a closing of some chapters (my teacher, Joseph Stingley, retiring.) I’ve wanted to run away and have someone save me but at the end of the day, I’m forced to grow. Embracing the sway that happens… (Thanks, Eli!) I didn’t get where I am because things worked out according to plan. Life got really messy and I felt suffocated at times. Like I wouldn’t make it through the day with the pain I was feeling. Things felt like they were falling apart, and still do some days! I’ve seen miracles and trust I will continue. Someone jokingly said that it’s like I have a direct line with God and my prayers. It’s true though. I pray with purpose and I get real specific. I also am very mindful with my words. I use to say all the time that my life was a hot mess, putting that vibration out there. I’m telling you, your words are spells. What are you speaking into existence? When you are open and vulnerable, you allow others to be.
As we near the end of the year, I invite you to revisit your word of the year for 2019. How did it show up for you? I asked someone the other day at lunch what their word of the year was after listening to their recent challenges. Warrior. And this is what the challenges were making her. She laughed and saw where I was going. I asked to be engaged and gave it a few areas I’d like to see it manifest. I asked to be engaged with my students more, Universe said I got you. I roll deep with my yoga sisters too, no mean girls in this squad. I asked to be engaged in uncomfortable and sometimes controversial conversations... the Universe said here are these opportunities for you to uncomfortably speak YOUR truth. I asked to be engaged with a partner in life, the Universe said you have to leave the house haha. What's next for 2020? Your goals? Your word of the year? Let's get some vision boards going and maybe some sound baths with my friend Kenny before we wrap this year up. See you soon!
It’s been almost 6 weeks since I quit my job at lululemon, my comfortable and fairly easy full-time job with benefits, to commit more time to 721. That ‘What have I done?!’ feeling is justttttt starting to kick in, ha! lulu was exactly what I needed when I needed it, seriously but I’m happy to have a bit of my time back. I’ve been able to engage more with my students too which was a goal of mine this year. What I’m about to say might shock you. lululemon was my first full-time job, like ever. I know! I’ve been a serial entrepreneur working mostly remotely from home so this was a huge adjustment for me over the last 1.5 years. What a blessing in disguise. I had no idea how much I would need lululemon when I applied for a seasonal part-time gig that I thought would just be a good opportunity to market myself in the yoga community and get a discount on clothes. It ended up becoming so.much.more.
Everything happens for a reason, right? I had never been in lulu before. I walked into the NorthPark store to ask for an in-kind sponsorship of reusable bags for an event I was hosting and had started following their page on Facebook to give them a shoutout. I saw they were hiring for seasonal work and there was an upcoming group interview over a game of sand volleyball so I decided to check it out. It was super fun and a great experience. I ended up getting offered a position and was set to start the following week! Then, just like THAT, my world was completely turned upside down. My dad unexpectedly passed. We were incredibly close. Being the warrior (or weirdo?) I am, I decided to still start work. I sat there in a group training, the day after my dad died. Trying to hold everything together and not cry in front of them, I had barely got out of bed that day. I should of known during my interview when I was asked what my spirit animal was (spoiler- it’s a seahorse lol) that the training wouldn’t be conventional either. Had I of known what the day consisted of, I 110% wouldn’t of gone. I assumed I would be learning how to work a cash register since I had never worked retail and Black Friday was my first scheduled shift. Nope. Instead? We did a meditation, journaled and wrote down 1/5/10 year visions and goals. Yup, how did I find myself here?! Haha! What kind of company was this?? As much as it hurt, and I didn’t want to imagine my life without my dad, I knew I needed to take time to figure out what I wanted and where I saw myself now. My life was about to look very different. What started out as a part-time job turned to a full-time family and support system during a super emotional transition. My dad didn’t just unexpectedly pass, he passed without a will so it was a long and drawn out process. On days when I felt like I couldn’t give any energy out, I was forced to get out of bed, even if it was just to go fold stretchy pants. It got me up. It got me out of the house and around positive and healthy people. Something I probably needed that first year for sure. lulu held me accountable for setting and working towards goals, something I had never really done and they paid for me to take several workshops and classes that have added tools to my toolbox and have really benefited me personally, physically and mentally along with helping to grow my business.
Reflecting back, life handed me lemons during this time for real. Just off the top of my head- my dad passed and I spent months in lawsuits with family, I took on my first full-time job, I ended a fairly serious relationship with my boyfriend, my car was hit and totaled by a drunk driver, and I sold our house and moved into an apartment. All while running a business and being a mom. Thank God for my yoga practice! I know I can’t control everything going on, the good, bad, messy and painful things life throws my direction sometimes but I can control my reaction towards them. Knowing that everything is really happening for me and not to me is key. I’m thankful for my lemons. Seriously. I’ve grown so much with each experience. Every one of them pushing me to be exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.
Each day I take a few moments to get still, to unplug, connect with my breath, check in with myself and listen to what’s coming up. Multiple times a day. I also take time to journal. I write about whatever comes up, sometimes that’s just a few words other times I get very specific. This is such a simple yet powerful practice. Last year my car kept leaving us hanging. It had been a great vehicle but had over 200k miles and was falling apart faster than I could fix it. I wasn’t sure what to do, I knew I didn’t want car payments but didn’t have the funds available at that time to pay cash for a new car. Instead of focusing my attention on not having money for a car, I started journaling what kind of car I wanted. I did a visual meditation where I saw the car, specifically what kind and what color and I imagined it sitting in my driveway. It even had a big bow on it too haha! Four days after starting to journal about this, my car was hit and totaled by a drunk driver. It couldn’t of happened any better way. My daughter wasn’t in the car, I didn’t see him coming, nobody was seriously injured, he had insurance, it was the biggest blessing! I remember the day it happened someone asked me what kind of car I wanted, I started to hesitate and say I wasn’t sure, that I needed to wait and see how much insurance paid out (living in fear/doubt) but I quickly changed my response to, “I’m getting a black Ford Edge.” I put that very specific vibration out because I had already taken the time to figure out what it was that I wanted. I already saw it sitting in my driveway. And three weeks later, I went to a dealership by myself and looked at only one car. A used, black Ford Edge that I paid cash for and ugly cried as I drove it home, thanking God, the Universe, my angels, and my dad for all transpiring together to help me. I wasn’t asking for anything crazy, I needed reliable and safe transportation for my daughter and I and I asked very specifically for it. Driving home I heard my dad tell me, “Happy Birthday, baby girl.” And at that moment I realized why when I saw the car in my driveway during meditation, it had a bow on it.
I tell you this as an example. To encourage you to take time to figure out what it is you want. Write it down. Get specific on details! Do a meditation where you visualize these things. What does your ideal job look like? Relationship? Home? What does it feel like? Sit with it. Revisit your journaling, remind yourself to stay focused. In tune with the vibration of what you want. Make a vision board and hang it somewhere you’ll see it regularly. Don’t just reach for the stars when there are realms far beyond. Living in fear is an easy default, having faith takes courage. Use your faith on purpose. Live in practice. Do the work. If you need some motivation, reach out!
One thing I love about teaching yoga is that I am always a student. Every time I tell my students to stay with their breath, to stay present, that it's okay to be pushed out of their comfort zone, whatever, I am again telling myself. Reminding myself. Every time a student comes to me and asks recommendations for anything from deodorant to face wash, it makes me do a self-inquiry too. Am I being mindful in those areas of my life? Where can I improve? To follow up on my last blog post and my word of the year, engaged, I wanted to share some information on oil pulling and Sargassum.
I, like most Americans, didn't have dental insurance for a really long time, I went years without going to the dentist and if I needed treatment, it was done in Mexico due to the significant difference in cost. I had mentioned this to my teacher, Joseph Stingley, and he asked me to research oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurveda (the traditional medicine system from India) practice of swishing oil in your mouth like mouthwash every morning. I put a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth while I'm showering and split it in the trashcan after about 15 minutes. This is believed to kill bacteria, prevent cavities & gingivitis, help with bad breath, whiten teeth and detoxify the body. After, I brush my teeth with a charcoal toothpaste, then dip my toothbrush in baking soda and brush my teeth again with the paste, and finally I floss my teeth...sometimes up to 3x a day. I've talked about oil pulling already with a few students, I know it's a challenge to get used to at first but it's something I've practiced for a few years now and I've seen benefits. Last week, my daughter and I went to the dentist for a check up/cleaning and neither of us had cavities! The Dr. said keep doing what you're doing. I know every body is different but I wanted to share so you can do your own research. Most of the time when I mention oil pulling to someone, they have never heard of it.
Next I want to talk to you about Sargassum Seaweed and I'll tie the two together. You probably haven't heard of Sargassum, it isn't something new but for the last few years we have seen a significant bloom of this algae that is washing up on the coastlines from Cancun all the way down to Belize in record setting numbers. I'm talking about COVERING beaches! It's something I saw last July when I was down in Tulum and it really broke my heart. The hotels, restaurants, volunteers were endlessly trying to manually clean the beach, except that only resulted in HUGE piles of rotting, stinky, toxic seaweed with nowhere to go and new mats of seaweed washing in daily. You can imagine the negative impact this has on tourism, and their economy. At first I wanted to make a Facebook post about it, sharing pictures of what I had seen but then I thought of all my friends there. That make a living on tourism. I didn't want to hurt their business so I didn't post about it. Instead, I organized a yoga retreat to take some of my students and teacher to the place I love, that is being impacted and I educated them along the way. I talked to them about the importance of being mindful of what we wear in the water, what lotions and sunscreen we are putting on our skin, carrying a reusable water bottle and taking note that no restaurants there have plastic straws and don't really hand out single use plastics. Why is Mexico, a third world country, serving agave straws at restaurants and here in the United States we are serving plastic? It is because they are seeing first hand the impact of global warming. The sargassum is thriving in growth due to warming water temperatures and run off nutrients like fertilizers and feces. All of our waste here in the States running off into waterways, finding their way to the Mississippi River and into the Gulf. Yes, we have a responsibility in this. As these large blooms of seaweed wash in, it creates an extreme lack of oxygen in the water that is contributing to killing off the reef and marine life. Using heavy machinery to remove these piles on the shore will erode the beach and disturb the endangered sea turtle nests so clean up has to be done by hand. Sadly, there's just too much to do this by hand. The government tried to put barriers out at sea to prevent it from washing ashore but efforts failed. Business are suffering but most importantly our Mother Earth is trying to tell us something. We NEED to change. We HAVE to make a change.
Honoring our Mother all day, every day. When each of us do something small, it can add up collectively to something pretty significant. As I thought about writing a blog on oil pulling, it again made me do a self-inquiry. I'm trying to teach my students something, but in turn you have again made me grow. I noticed that yes my dental health is on point but also that I'm using plastic toothbrushes and A LOT of single use flossers. I need to change, I need to do better. I am not perfect but I will do better. I invite you to implement small changes too so collectively we can make a difference.
Where can you be more mindful in your single use plastics? What are some alternatives that you can share with me for toothbrushes and floss? I've included two really good, short videos below. I ask that you take the time to educate yourself on this global issue and mindful tourism. Where can you honor y(our) Mother (better) all day, every day?
7 Minute Video - Sargassum explained by George Buckley, Harvard University
Oh hey, new blog.. who this?! I've gone back and forth with the thought of a blog but honestly felt I didn't have the time to write. However, I really wish I didn't have social media but I know I need to stay connected and I have a lot to say... so much so that it never ends up fitting on social media so I end up just not posting. I figured a blog would be a good outlet, I don't promise it to be professional and flawless, pretty raw actually and probably not consistent. This is my way of staying engaged with my students, especially for those who aren't on IG or FB.
What is going on in my world? I’ve been a bit quiet lately but I wanted to share a few things that I’ve been up to. I’ll start with my word of the year and goals, did you make yours? If so, please share! This year I want to become fluent in Spanish. My Spanish is meh but not great. I need it to be great so I’ve committed to using Duolingo daily & lessons with one of my students (which I haven’t been successful with YET lol but Miles is holding me accountable every time she sees me on my phone and not on Duolingo.) So if you speak Spanish, make me practice when you see me! My word of the year is engaged. Yessssss, engaged! Engaged with a partner in life, engaged with my students more, engaged in uncomfortable convos and using my voice. I’ve been in the process of moving and selling our home. Super emotional for me, trying to tie up everything after my dads death 16 months ago, but we finally moved into our new pad and we LOVE it. Stop by and bring your fav plant! #plantmom Part of being more engaged with my students, I want to have some post yoga pool parties after my MW morning classes this summer! Ready to hang with my friends and catch some sun! I’ve also been working toward getting my Thai Yoga (Massage) setup and going, I know everyone’s ready for that! You can catch me leading a Massage Jam during the Soul Motivation 200hr YTT, still time to register! Maybe colab with my friend Kenny on some Gong events? Another retreat? A few ideas are being thrown around! How will I engage in uncomfortable and maybe controversial convo in 2019? From a place of Love and not fear. Sometimes I worry about what others will think. I fear their reaction to me speaking my truth so I stay quiet. Especially when it comes to holistic healing and medicine because everyyyyyyone has an opinion and we’ve been taught to listen to our western taught doctors instead of our bodies. I’ve shared some pretty “out there” things I do with my students. I share about skin brushing, oil pulling, I talk about plant based and alkaline diets, herbs like sea moss and bladderwrack and other plant medicines. I always encourage people to do their own research, every body is different, but I like to plant those seeds of holistic healing that have worked for me or that I’ve tried. Something I recently tried was Kambo. Anyone heard of this? Comment below because my friends think I’m weeeeeirddd haha. It’s a medicine I’ve read about for a few years now and I finally tried. Traditionally used in tribes before hunting to increase senses like vision, hearing, intuition, decalcify your third eye, clear chakras, it's also been used for pain relief from fibromyalgia and to support immune health. I had been seeking it for physical, emotional and energetic healing. It’s often used with rapeh and sananga. The whole process was intense for sure (imagine battery acid being poured in your eyes and lasting for a solid 5 minutes, your skin being burned for the medicine to enter the blood stream, purging... with the possibility of pooping yourself lol then habanaro chili pepper being blown in your nose to finish it off.) but my lovely new friend, Angela, made it such a great experience. I look forward to working with her more! Research it. Maybe we get a group together to go see her?!
Share your thoughts on this, the blog, your goals for 2019 and word of the year. Keep that daily meditation game strong, fam.