Dry, Cold, Winter...Hydrate!

Water is one of the very most important substances that living creatures require. Sometimes it can be taken for granted. Chronic dehydration is linked to multiple health issues, and it's unlikely someone that is not health conscious would even notice, especially in the cold months!

In the heat of summer, it is easier to realize the need for water. Many people are watering the grass, going swimming at the pool or ocean, or sweating it out during exercise under the sun. Winter on the other hand might catch us off guard. It may not be appealing to chug a large glass of ice water while out to eat in January. Don't be afraid to ask them to hold the ice. Would you water a house plant with ice-cold liquid? No! Why do it to yourself?

Even in cold weather, the body will sweat if exertion requires it to cool down. This could be dangerous if an individual is spending extended time in the elements and over-cools. In addition, the cool, dry air of winter, and the hot dry air of the heater cause moisture loss in the skin. If internal liquid levels are down, this skin thirst can amplify to the point of cracked lips, and skin, increasing risk of infection and pain. One of the easiest ways to gauge hydration is urine color. Go for level 3 or lesson the chart.

So, drink up on H20 this holiday season! Especially during the weeks of holiday parties, where people often choose to drink more alcohol or coffee than normal, and may even eat more, digestion requires water too! Those two drinks actually rob the body of water. And do not forget! If you are heading to the slopes, take that bottle and refill often. High altitude also necessitates greater water intake.

Lets cheers to water in winter! Hot tea, water with lemon, and cocoa with skim milk are all healthy ways to take care of yourself this holiday season.


Be pecky!

You might be wondering "What in the world is pecky"? I too would have asked that until yesterday when I was watching my husband's new favorite show, Swamp Loggers. I learned about pecky cypress, and it's pretty awesome! Cypress trees often grow in swamps and for unknown reasons, certain trees are attacked by a type of fungus that creates lens shaped pockets throughout the wood (as you can see in the photos above). In addition this wood is extremely dense, much stronger than a cypress without the pockets. Some of the trees may be up to 1000 years old, and in fact one about that age weighs around 28000 pounds! This highly desirable wood is incredibly durable and stable, lasting hundreds of years more when it is used in homes or other places for human appreciation. It is given a value of around twice that of any other wood harvested in the swamp.

What can we learn in this lesson from nature? Sometimes the challenges of life permeate and affect us profoundly, even attacking us to the core. It might feel like a battle. However this difficulty can give us value, and beauty, and strength beyond belief in our lives and after. I couldn't have created an analogy for yoga philosophy any more amazing than this forest lesson.

Next time I do tree pose, I will be a pecky cypress! :) I hope you'll join me.




Happy Thanksgiving Yogis. I found the poem below, and felt it was a nice reflection on America and our past, present, and future. Times are tough, but we have a strong history, and for that, I am grateful. Please do get some rest during this holiday break! Namaste.

Giving Thanks

For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home --
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workingman's hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought --
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the "Land of the Free" --
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
Author Unknown


Thinkin' bout makin' my move...

What leads to those seismic shifts in life?

Some people seem to experience them regularly, others never or maybe once. A kick off to start your own business, or move to a whole new place and start fresh. To some this is stress, to others a relief. A new approach to life takes a distinct recipe that requires very special conditions. First, an individual has to be open to their true needs. Comfort can be a need, but too much comfort and we forget who we are, we are never tested and can never flash our vibrant and highly able selves. Not enough security and we feel as though strong ocean waves with an undertow are washing over us again and again, relentless and without mercy. We must find those moments where we have a combination of peace and push. The base to let us leap off a steady platform, but also the courage to reach out and embrace change.

Lately I have noticed myself becoming set in my ways about a few tiny things. Driving routes are less varied than before. New routes feel mildly odd. These things are small, but shocking. Getting in a different car to drive and not liking the set up. Wanting to use only my own mugs that are from Japan, I got them free in a box on a curb from a long-over garage sale and I love them. Plus I kind of fear items made in China, related to food. Coincidentally (or not) I have been away from yoga a bit more often, could my strong grasp on the known relate? As our bodies lose flexibility, so too do our minds? Sure. I know I read somewhere recently that our very blood vessels and arterial health can correlate with our muscle flexibility. So could it follow that physical motion and exploration allows our grey matter to dive and soar, just as we do in forward fold and then upward salute?

I renew my commitment to yoga. I now have a home space and I know I'm open to it. One day last week I woke up and headed down for 15 minutes of morning practice with music and pranayama. The day definitely felt better and it was a doozy, organizing a luncheon for 100 people, then yoga then a soccer game at 9:30 at night. I'm teaching two classes of yoga a week as well so that is nice, a constant source of the inconstant. May this shift towards the universe allow the energy around me to swirl, flow, and vibrate, crackling with expectation and hope, alive with potential and joy, and allowing openness towards destiny. I wish the same for you!



spring Forward, fall Back

Fall is upon us again. The shriek of the crow echos, hustling squirrels create mental maps, and warm hues of retiring leaves make me feel that this is a time of goodbyes (to the year). Maybe these vivid solar colors remind us to cherish the warmth that is due to leave our hemisphere for a while.

Another orbit around the sun is finishing up and as time moves forward, its normal that we return to memories of the season. I can remember picking apples, hiking with the Marchin clan, Halloween fun, and a brightly lit kitchen with chili cooking on the stove, a warm safe place as darkness fell outside.

Don't forget to set your clock back on November 7th. And do remember to set aside some time to remember autumns past. Happy Halloween!




What is surprise? Hard to pinpoint. It can be lovely I suppose. Many times I find it can be difficult, maybe I'm just a control freak. Today we went for a little walk at a park, and I had a happy thought that my family had been here walking one time. Then I got a great big shooting surprise as my mind realized that was just after my dad had passed away, and he would not be showing up in that particular memory. Ouch. Hard to win there at times, memories with him hurt, those without him do too.

A young baby typically loves surprise, peek-a-boo drawing out peals of laughter. What happens to us? Do we get conditioned by surprises at work, or otherwise that turn the joy over? I do love some little surprises...a dear letter out of the blue or when a rare but favorite song pops up on the radio. Seeing a friend somewhere when I didn't expect it.

I suppose surprises are shaped by the very expectations that we do have. If we can detach a little from our planned view, we we be affected a little less when any sort of strong shocks do come our way, for good or bad. I believe this is healthy. Tonight I went to a new experience, it was pretty good. I'm happy for those that made happy memories that will stand out.


If you want to sing out...

Recently I organized a Karaoke night out with the girls. I like it so much more than just going "out". Why? I don't know, it's cute. People put themselves out there. Some have awesome skills, some not so much (yours truly for example) but it doesn't really matter because a lot of well-loved songs are rolling around in the ether and the vibe is soothing.

Also, it addresses a chakra that I chose to work on. The throat chakra (energy center) is how we express ourselves, singing fortifies this chakra and grows it. Any time I sing, it feels great. Any time I go to a choir or vocal concert or even a symphony, I find myself happy and contented. I have delightful memories of singing in church with my family, a few notes of a certain song and I'm right there with them all. In addition, singing releases energy that we may not even realize we had stored up.

So, here's to expression! Wherever we find it!


More Labor?

"Waste not want not." Maybe this phrase applies to our lives, more specifically than using two kleenex when we only need one. Do we waste our lives sometimes? Work work work, what about relaxing? Do not waste your life away in only work or only play, but balance the two. Some people avoid work at all costs, they don't seem particularly joyful either.

On this Labor day weekend, take stock of what you're working for, or towards. Posessions? Children? The future? Try to incorporate that goal for the future into the present, and the labor may feel less burdensome. Post a picture of your dream car. Make some calls or a list related to your dreams. Many people do achieve their dreams, often a few steps at a time, rather than in one dramatic moment.



Perceptions of...

Happiness can be a perception often. We can understand our life to be difficult, overwhelming and painful. Or we can chose to see life as what we make of it. Often, we must move our focus from the difficulties to the beauty, or we can become lost, fixated or disenchanted. Sure you say, easier said then done. So what sort of toolbox helps us "stay on the sunny side"? Here's a few ideas that help me at times.
- Focus on gratitude. Think, well "x" is tough, but I am glad it's not... "y".
- Treasure time. Give yourself the chance to rest completely. We all need this, no matter what.
- Talk it out, try not to gossip. Seek friends that also have a positive outlook.
- Eat good food, find a little hobby you love, write a letter, help someone.
- Be kind. If you feel anger, get some exercise, a journal, or try yoga.



Yoga Cloth

Maybe sometimes our souls are trapped down a little bit in our bodies, and in the hurry busy of everyday American life, they get buried and even crumbled just a bit. Yoga cajoles, caresses, and appeals to our souls, drawing them back out, shaking them off, and straightening them out. Any injuries are mended and cured, wrinkles are loosened as the fabric is replenished. This silken soul can then easily connect the mind to the body once more, a gentle link that must be cared for if we are to be there for others in our life.



Sold Out to the Ballgame?

I was thinking today and over the last few days about cultural point of view. In the world there are many points of view. The American point of view is pretty young, adolescent you might say. Many teens don't tend to make the best choices, they are impulse driven. I know, I work with them. Not the best choices on diet, risk, time management. As a teenager grows up, they start to gain experience, they learn from mistakes. I hope our culture can perhaps do the same as it matures and ripens.

Lately, I have a rekindled desire for fresh food. I looked at some cookies in the store the other day, they expire in december. Ick! I do not want packaged and preserved - honestly if it can sit on the Hyvee shelf for 5 months that is pretty gross to eat, what is in there that is so toxic to mold and bacteria that they won't touch it? I guess there's no air in there but still, that's just great, anerobic cookies...mmmmm. Also I have a yearning for quality hand-made products - such as the solid oak dining table and chairs I recently ordered from Nebraska Furniture Mart (made by the Amish of Ohio). They won't come until mid-October and that is fine. Actually I enjoy waiting for them to be crafted, it builds anticipation. I feel happiness knowing my descendants will actually want them someday, rather than putting some particle board hunk out for the junkyard. I am tired of seeing the "made in...you name it" labels on almost everything. What happened to America? We somehow sold ourselves out.

There are many jobs to be had that do not exist here any longer. Maybe it's not popular to say, but it is sad that so many companies went overseas because they could not afford to pay the "required" wage here, maybe they are just too greedy, but do we punish them at the cash register and send them a message? Surely a hunk of these unemployed people would feel much better if they could get some kind of job?? rather than nothing at all to feel good about at the end of the day. But we could change back if we tried. Please consider trying. Think global, buy local. Consider reviewing THE STORY OF STUFF if you have not seen it at all, or for a while. It's true. And saddish if we don't grown up. Come on, we don't want to live in mom's basement when we are 25. We don't want to continue to be a culture of lavish excess and self-loathing. And that's the beauty of life. We don't have to stay in high school forever, we can graduate whenever we want.



Screen out, walk on!

Recently we went on vacation to the mountains. It was really nice to get outside each morning, and simply put one foot in front of the other, enjoying sunlight, breeze, weather, and nature. I decided to stay computer free for the most part, and honestly it was pretty easy, even thought we had the laptop and internet access.

I question, why have computers and gadgets so absorbed our modern minds and time? How many minutes are spent, that in days gone by were used in other ways? A conversation face to face vs. email, a call vs a nebulous text. A hike vs. a facebook flop? I'm not even really speaking to those my age, we are not as supersorbed although we are on the cusp, aol chat was super popular my freshman year at KU, I got email in high school. Many teens and younger are texting hundreds of times a day. Seems like hands and wrists are going to wear out if decades are spent that way. Really we're the first generation that will approach retirement after a lifetime of computers. Should be interesting. And now, unless you actively choose, you can't escape them, and for parents, it could become a battle with children. I read about one family that consciously does weekends electronic free, not a bad idea. All tv, video games, etc are shut down Friday evening, and are not restored until Sunday evening. I think I will aim for something like that if we ever have kids. One thing that may have gone by the wayside in all this is reading. Sad!

A friend recently told us that she doesn't find watching tv relaxing, and I agree, adding to that category any electronic media, it's actually mentally stimulating and tiring! A good book is much more restful. So, here's to reading and hiking. Good for the soul, good for the hands, not to mention legs. And for those weeks we can't avoid screens, a little yoga could be just the right complement.




Have you ever felt a dreadful sense of scarcity creeping up on you? I'd say a lot of advertising plays into this very human feeling of the fear of running out. Any major disaster sends people rushing out to buy batteries, water, you name it. That's an extreme example, how about simply "2 for 1, supplies are limited, get yours now!" Why is it so effective on us? Do we truly fear that if we don't get the item, we'll never have a chance again? Do we really need 2 of something, vs, the 1? Maybe. Probably not.

I thought of this lately when our power went out for about two days, in the heat of July. Suddenly power felt like everything that was unsatisfactory or not quite right in life, in a strange way. It was sorta like life stopped a little, even though time was marching stoically on of course. Time honestly did seem to slow down, we got to chat with the tree trimmer than was very jovial and a true character, and caught up with a family member that helped fix the electricity on the snapped line.

No cool air, couldn't open the fridge for fear of spoiling the food, no chance to dry my hair or even light to see to put on makeup, until I adapted, and used a mirror by the window one day, and just went makeup free a day or two, not a huge deal in the grand scheme of life, actually probably good for you! I realized if I have a kid someday, it's going to alter my life like this, but times 1 million, and lots of awesome parts too of course! I'm not sure what really bothered me the most about no electricity, in fact I found myself realizing that it felt like my time in Mexico and Spain, where natural light was abundant, and I found a true happiness of scrimping in using the same towel for a week, (although two would have been nice, there's the scarcity elf talking!).

Eww, the American in you might bemoan, but there is an honest and simple pleasure in using a bottle to the last drop, and I think it's missing from our American lifestyle. It may actually be a source of lack of satisfaction. Lease a new car every 3 years, throw your old clothes out often, huh? I do love the fact that my car is paid off and now it's free driving for years, I hope! I have a few shirts from high school that are very dear, connecting me to another time and place so they will never get tossed, even if they're a little worn. And yet there is that scarcity imp on my shoulder that does keep egging me on. Get a fancy newer car, you can "afford" it, the newspaper is no help, neither are the multiple emails to buy buy buy. Such a good question, "just because you can, should you?"

Yoga talks about many concepts where using only what we really need is good. I'm not going to to go into them today, but they are there. To summarize, you might say, "be good, do good", and part of doing good is not stomping a Yeti-sized carbon footprint all over this lovely little planet. I know I should try to embrace austerity, even though it's hard. I'm making some progress, even if it is in baby steps. I gave away my chair and a metal shelf that were simply taking up space, now they'll get good use. I stopped delivery of the paper and donated it to local schools, rather then collect them all when I get back from a trip and probably won't even have time to read them. These are tiny movements, true, but they do mean something. I read somewhere and it keeps coming back to me, the little things that you do, actually DO count. In the end, some happiness comes from not getting what we want all the time. It's actually loathesome if we never embrace a little scarcity. Look at Willy Wonka's delightful dispatch of several spoiled children. Charlie was much happier than the rest of that lot.

Here's to embracing or at least tolerating a little lack every once in a while, goodness knows we go for extra quite a bit, and balance is often the key to enjoyment of life. Now the air is flowing, the laundry is whirring and while I'm grateful, there is a part of me realizing I enjoyed washing a few dishes by hand, and now I really appreciate a little coolness as I come in from the swampy conditions of soccer camp each morning. Ahhh! Refreshing, and I wouldn't have realized it so well, without having gone without.



Thank You

Thanks to friends and family for sharing in a fun evening of laughter, conversation, and exploring YogaMar Studio. Remember, a class of two or more can be set up at any time by appointment. If you didn't get a chance to see the studio, give me a ring or email and we can figure something out.

Remember, a studio experience is by no means necessary for your yoga practice. One nice things about yoga is that you can develop your personal practice anywhere and anytime. To me, a group class is nice to develop new poses and fresh ideas, possibly to encourage yourself to a regular practice in order to maintain flexibility and strength, and maybe as a social approach to exercise. Often we choose social support whether it is a means to foster learning (social theory of learning, supported by Bandura), vacation tour group, or yoga! It may keeps us taking care of ourselves if we value not just the experience, but also derive joy when we share the experience with others.



Present Yourself!

I posted a poll on the blog recently and it turns out staying in the present moment is one of the more difficult parts of yoga for a few of us! I looked around online a bit for ideas to staying in the present, one idea stood out. Do each action for the joy of the action, rather than a further result. For example, take joy in each dish you clean, rather than seeking a clean kitchen to feel good. If you work in the garden, select several tasks. Recently a yoga teacher shared a pearl of wisdom from her teacher, "anything worth doing at all is worth doing well". And worth enjoying I would add!!

The other day I was teaching yoga class and of course thinking ahead a bit (you sorta have to as a teach) and it was funny because it occurred to me that teaching yoga may actually be contrary to the goal (of yoga) to stay in the present. I do think teachers should take classes too, it's a 180 degree different experience! One blog I follow is a yogini that lives in Germany, most of her practice is personal, but she occasionally attends a class she calls, a led class. I like that, led. She enjoyed the group energy and interaction, which I think is one major benefit of coming together with others to explore yoga. It's at once a personal and connective experience. However, it's not the same as a shot at personal practice. Whenever I practice yoga alone, I am stunned by the experience as it guides itself.

I recall somewhere a teacher said to a yoga class I took (at the end), "coming back to the group, or if you prefer, not coming back to the group at all". I liked it, very free flow, I could have stayed curled in a ball til the others left. I'm not that advanced yet in my personal practice (or maybe it just seemed too individualistic) so I went with returning to the group, but it was cool that she threw it out there.

So honestly why the heck should we even try to stay in the present moment? After all it's very fleeting! Maybe because the past and future can be so difficult for our souls to bear. Old memories kindle, the future looms up as we try to lasso it and whip it into some kinda shape, basically we have no control in the past and future. The past cannot change, the future inevitably will. I've known a person or two that seemed perpetually upset because they wanted to control their life to the nth degree. I am sad for people that feel that way. A dent in the car or burnt cookies sets off rage and upset of epic proportions. We all have our moments of course, but for some they're having these moments real often and it's definitely not good for the health!

Some of the coolest experiences of my life have been totally the unknown. Living in Spain for a year (I came back 7 years ago today, happy fourth y'all,I think that was a Sunday too, how funny, oops I'm receding into the past Laura K!) was totally unpredictable and it was delightful. College. Australia. Teaching. All unknown avenues to embrace with my best effort. So, if we can somehow practice floating around in the present, maybe all of our greatest disappointments, hopes, fears, and pressures lift off of our souls and they can simply soar. Light but powerful, at peace in asanas, perhaps our soul adjusts and stretches out with this heavy load floating elsewhere. As we return to our typical state, the load is shifted, smaller, more manageable, and definitely easier to shoulder. So, please, give yourself a break and find the present. This could be in yoga or some other activity that takes your concentration to the here and now. A few that work for me besides yoga are: swimming laps, reading a great book, laying by a pool with some music, riding in the car with my husband on a trip, and gardening. Think of any activity in which time flies for you. I think children have an easier time with this, we adults must work a little to return to it, but it's definitely doable.

Here's to finding these Narnia closets to our present, they are different for each of us, and may even change during our lifetime but they are lovely and worth the search. One final quote I saw somewhere recently. "Why do they call it the present? Because it is a gift."




Is it better to have loved and lost? I say absolutely, yes. I refer to having a wonderful parent for many years, then losing them. I am sad to think of darling children that do not get such a parent to love. Precious memories are not perfect comfort when a loved one is gone, but they are droplets of bittersweet kindness that give us humans a special ability to reflect. Life is ongoing, cyclical, patterned. I was listening to my Garden State soundtrack today, and Frou Frou shares in the song Let Go: "there is beauty in the breakdown".

That song speaks to me, listen to it if you can. I think of a forest fire cleaning out the brush, new and fresh seedlings coming. Granted there is much pain and destruction in the breakdown as well. That reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her ma and pa when tragedies befall them, "there is no great loss, without some small gain". Wise words that ring true when it comes to grief. The pain does not necessarily weaken, but it becomes less frequent, and joy punctures through more often. And the memories will be with me forever. What is the gain when we lose a loved one? Hard to measure but personally: more appreciation of those loved ones still around us, more happiness from simple moments, frank chats, realization that we will all experience loss, more than once, and we can be there for each other.



YogaMar Open House!

YogaMar is having an Open House!

Friday, July 9th 6pm-midnight (Mission, KS)

Spiral down the stairs to see the space and strike your favorite pose, twirl around upstairs and show off your salsa skills! Feel free to bring a wine and cheese of your choice. Any questions? Send me an email at yogamar.connect@gmail.com



YogaMar Space Opening!

Hello YogaMar enthusiasts!

Thank you for your support of this yoga teacher journey.

I have been creating a home yoga space, and it is ready! We will hold classes on Monday evenings at 6:30pm-7:30pm this summer (except one week in July), starting Monday June 28th! To sign up, click the link above the calendar on this page.

Other times are available by appointment as well, feel free to email. Let me know if you are interested and/or have any questions! I hope to see you at yoga soon and thank you for doing something wonderful for your health!



Makin' Space

I have been thinking lately about how to create space using mindfulness and intention. Maybe The Office episode I saw recently prompted it all melding together. Michael and Jan are hosting a torturous dinner party, it turns out she takes most of the space and Michael is stuck squeezing into the remaining spots. Fun-nee, and sad too. But sometimes I feel like we DO get squeezed out by our possesions, maybe by other people, two words, close talkers. Hoarders being the extreme of their own physical constriction, but many of us are on the way there if we keep it all and keep buying more, something has gotta give people!

Personally my goal is peaceful space, both in terms of time, and also actually physical space as well. Ed and I have been working on a yoga spot in our basement, I already feel so happy that there is a nice portion of the basement now dedicated to useful and fun yoga! It's a great exercise place, and a very nice retreat to take a breather. I'll post some pictures in July!

In terms of my schedule, I have realized (thanks hubby for the idea) that I need to schedule some blocks of time here and there that are not "scheduled"! Ha, you might say, surely a teacher must have a lazy summer? Not really, and I am the first to admit, I made it that way. I'm teaching summer school through the end of the week, necessitating a 6am wakeup and then intense teaching for 5 solid hours. From there I have been adding in teaching yoga classes, and seeing if a chiropractor may help my rare but very icky headaches. Between these events and some meetings at school, my down time has not been much. I am really looking forward to my unofficial summer start next week. Space making goals include garden maintenance, a pool visit or two, and some reading and planning a little vacation for us in July.

I'm going to strive to make more space around the house as space opens up in my schedule. I'm considering a garage sale although I have never done that before! Any tips or ideas are appreciated! I already have a large bag of clothes ready to donate, and need to cull out some more. We have an old sofa and papazan chair that I might part with if Ed will agree too. I think both of us have work to do related to holding onto things, especially our own!

Maybe all this leads to a true yogini question. How do we make space in our hearts and minds? I do need to carve room for my new position at work, and I need to release my old one! Perhaps I will do some work to envision this mental shift as well. I'll leave you with a quote, the author surprised me but I love this message.

"The extent of your consciousness is limited only by your ability to love and to embrace with your love the space around you, and all it contains."
Napoleon Bonaparte



Vedanta & the Wisdom of Yoga for Today

Hello Yogis!

If you are looking to learn more about the spiritual roots of yoga, look here! Dr.Arvind Sharma will be speaking this Friday evening at 7pm at the KU Edwards Campus in Regnier hall. 12600 Quivera, Overland Park, KS There will be local music as well as refreshments, and the option of a free will offering.

He is hosted by the Vedanta Society of Kansas City, and is the Arun Kumar Sharma Memorial Lecture for this year. To learn more, here are a few links for you!

What is Vedanta KC?

Bio, etc for speaker:

Let me know if you plan to attend!


Local Yoga Studio Grand Opening

Above is a new yoga studio in Leavenworth, KS with their GRAND OPENING this Saturday! Let me know if you want to attend!



Bittersweet Symphony of Friends

As my thoughts have turned to music lately, let's keep the theme going! Albert Einstein was known to say that the music of Mozart, "was so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master." Kinda like E=mc2 actually. An interesting parallel grows between these two men, geniuses in unique ways. The thought percolates in my mind, if they had ever been able to meet (not possible due to the times they lived), they would have been great friends. To read more on this pair of masters, see the link to a NY Times Article here:


This brings us to the issue of friendship. They say good, and maybe difficult things happen in groups of 3. It feels like that right now. Recently in my life, three wonderful people and friends are shifting away in terms of location. The first is Jenny, a good friend since I moved to Kansas City and our little fab 4 was the midwest version of SATC. We went to Kona, went dancing, attended Bacchus events, and house parties, dined together and chatted about work, boys, and life in general. She recently got married and moved to a city just a few hours away. Her Simpson House wedding was wonderful with live music and dancing, but we are sad she is gone and miss her steady presence already.

Next comes my friend Amitha. While we did not spend as much time together, every time we did was a delight. This kind and intelligent doctor is such a sweet and cheerful person, she is a wonderful addition to the field of medicine. I was happy and sad last night at her wedding, as she moves away, a little farther than the first friend. I told her close friend Laura last night, let's plan a road trip...summer 2011!

The final friend shifting places is my close friend at work, Hilary. We've seen each other almost daily for the last 4 years teaching together in the same community. Our friendship has grown as we've coached soccer together over the last two years. Her artistic skills in video and photography have created not just a documentation of the team, but a masterpiece of history for each girl that I know they will treasure for the rest of their lives. She always has creative but sensible solutions for the problems we encounter as teachers and coaches. We have been able to talk out our frustrations at work, and also move our students forward to new levels of leadership. She has done such amazing things for our seniors this year, with far more of them receiving substantial scholarships and college acceptances than in the last 3 years combined. She will be missed in our school. She is moving to California soon, for her husband's work as well. I'm just noticing a pattern here. I love you husbands, but you keep taking my friends away!! :) In addition, she is expecting a baby, what a wonderful experience. I am sorry I will not be there as close to share it. I do expect many pictures amiga!! I'm also hoping to explore skype!!

What creates lasting friendships? In the case of Einstein and Mozart, I don't think they even had to live at the same time, the traits they shared were a bond that surpassed space and time, Albert would like that I think. In some ways true friendship does require proximity, although the technology today certainly helps. I think of great friendships of my life that have faded little by little, due to moving from Spain, or spreading out after college. I do not treasure them any less, nor have they lost their brilliance. In Spain I felt and noticed that people tend to stick to their roots and traditions, and often remain near their place of birth, their families, and lifelong friends. At time time I didn't feel that way, but more and more I am thinking, what a wise idea, our young American culture has so much to learn.

I want to wish all my friends, and especially each of these three ladies all the best in their new endeavors, and although it will be a little more difficult to get together, I know we all will make the effort. As Anne of Green gables calls friends, "kindred spirits" do not change with years or location, our souls recognize each other instantly and joyously, and pick up where we left off. Cheers to you ladies and best wishes in your new places! Please come back to visit and we will visit you too! My house is your house, do not forget you have a home in Kansas City.



Follow your Melody

A quote I heard somewhere always sticks with me, "obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal". Maybe it's easier said than done not to look around a little, however if we practice, we can strengthen our focus both physical and mentally. Patanjali refers to these life hindrances as vikshepas and enumerates nine of them: illness, listlessness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, cravings, delusion, inability to progress, and instability in maintaining progress.

What might help us stay on track towards more satisfaction in life, whatever the goal? Sufficient sleep, a whole-food emphasized diet, and minimal stimulants/depressants is a good start in my view. Even several drinks a week or too much coffee can sway the delicate and complex biochemical balance and leave us sluggish or strung out. Once we address the physical, how could we help out our mind in our journey towards joy? Music is not a bad start to consider. Einstein was considered "stupid" as a very young man and subsequently benefited greatly from taking up the violin around age 5-6. It is said that some of his great mental contemplations were aided by listening to Mozart and Bach. These masterpieces that tend to move 60-80 beats per minute help us channel our right brain, while the left brain connects. Here is an interesting link to some ideas about music, memory, mind, and learning.




We don't need no Education?

Today at school, it has come to my mind: what makes a good teacher? Someone kind, talented, and knowledgeable for sure. What sets the truly great teachers apart? I think of some major teachers in my life. I would say a sense of humility, humor, and the ability to share information in a thorough and engaging way. This could be a teacher of many things, whether high school or yoga.

In addition, a good teacher sets high expectations, while scaffolding constantly for those that need the extra help. They set some ground rules, but also show flexibility for those in need of a break. They have a high vision of and for each student, and share this vision so that the student can grow to meet it. They take time to make moments special, and allow for personal exploration of the subject at hand. In the end, the best teachers also seek to learn constantly, and to review and revise, making the good better, and the better best. We all do need our education, and it never stops.



Where is your energy?

Percolating in my thoughts today is how our energy shapes us. Maybe because I see such interesting energy shifts in the team I coach. "Young at heart", vs. "old before his time" are not just a physical expressions, but rather a mental reflection of our energy. Our outlook definitely could shape our physical body, but it also shapes our path in life. If we believe, "I am nothing" perhaps it will come true. It is especially sad when kids take the negative messages of others and internalize them. I like to think the "Shakti" is helping us along, finding the right vibrations of this universe.

So, what is your energy in life? Do you think to yourself, "I'm old", just because you are 30? Or do you think about someone 97, and admire their grit, realizing you're a bit of a pup if you haven't passed half a century. Perspective is powerful.

Where is the energy of your professional life? Do you complain daily about your employment situation? Or feel grateful to have one? Maybe a little of both, but if you're truly hating your job, what steps are you taking to change it? Applying for jobs, polishing that resume, or even simple going back to school to get ideas?

What is your personal energy? Do you wake up each day with a smile or a groan of angst? Why? What could you do to make that first thought a good one? We do have the power to shape our days, but it may take a lot of legwork and foresight, not to mention the vision to see where YOU want to be and to walk toward it without flinching, looking around, or sidestepping your dream.

Here's to the energy of truth, honesty, optimism, and gratitude. With these energies flowing, we will thrive.




In education research you come across the term "resilient" a lot when it comes to urban children. I don't think most people realize that if some of these amazing kids actually make it to school for a day, they have shown great resiliency. I think about difficulties in my own life that happen at times. A loved one ill, a death in the family, lack of sleep, peace, food. It causes me to realize that my students have so many lessons to teach me. For many of my students this stress is daily, or weekly. I guess I am learning to be resilient. Maybe yoga helps us access our own inner power to focus, and lets the outer world around us flow past without putting a scratch on our souls.

As a soccer coach, I can go without food, warmth, comfort for a while, and I cope and push onward. It's not much to handle, compared to when a kid calls her mom and she says, "start walking" to her young daughter who would have to walk 10 blocks through a not so nice area in the dark. It's not so much when a girl is called out of class because her mom was in a car accident and rushes to the office scared. It's not so much when a kid came to me, homeless and cut off from his brothers and I help him find a place to stay so he can graduate. It shows me that actually I am so lucky. It gives me strength to accept the silliness of road ragers and snobs and people living on the surface. Because underneath life is a pulse of beauty. The glow of teamwork, of self confidence, of making a spot for yourself in the world, regardless of those that push you down, or try to take from you. Because when we have our resiliency, we have everything.



Yoga/Vintage Jewelry @ BeTru2U

Hello Yoga fans,

Looking for a fun and unique gift for someone in your life? Look no further. I've been fortunate to attend several yoga teacher trainings with a local yoga teacher and artist, Lora McKelvey. Read on below for her bio, and definitely check out her web page for some wonderful vintage and yoga inspired jewelry. Support Local Yoga and Art!



BIO: My name is Lora Cornell McKelvey. I am a yoga teacher, jewelry crafter, and single mom to two sweet, energetic boys. BeTru2U is the name of my jewelry company. I design, craft, create, and re-create pieces along two themes: vintage and yoga inspired. My yoga inspired pieces are simple and come from my passion for yoga, these pieces usually carry a written message. I love to create something that speaks to others. These pieces are featured on my website as Breathe Creations and can also be found at the Zen Zone in Lees Summit. My vintage creations are a lot of fun to make and are often more sparkley and blingy. In my effort to reuse, I re-create vintage pieces from antique stores and the jewelry boxes of my friends and family. I enjoy the treasure hunting of clip on earrings and cameo's, wondering by whom and when they were worn. I was thrilled when my two passions of yoga and jewelry creation were both something I could make into careers.


grateful for...

Soccer, teams, growth, help, knowledge, sleep, summer, immune system, digestion, water, team effort, calm, lavender, rosemary, seniors, potential, progress, process, spirit, passion, focus, positivity!


Visit the Prairie Labyrinth - May 1st 1pm-5pm

At my recent yoga training, I was fortunate to meet Toby Evans, the owner and creator of a really neat place! This labyrinth is carved into native prairie, and invites you to explore your chakras in a beautiful natural setting. Read on for a letter from Toby! Hope to see you there!

You are invited to participate in an Upcoming Global Event with the intention of spreading the healing benefits of the Labyrinth. We hope you'll join us for this second annual celebration of World Labyrinth Day(TM) on May 1st, 2010.

Last year, a variety of events were held at over 100 locations worldwide, including the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., churches, and even a women's maximum security prison. Countries joining the celebration included: the United States, Canada, England, New Zealand, China, South Africa, and Australia.

World Labyrinth Day(TM) is a wonderful opportunity for global community building and celebration, as we join with others around the world, walking the path of the labyrinth.

Think Globally, Act Locally - 'Walk as One at 1'

Once again there is an invitation to ‘Walk As One at 1’ in an attempt to create a wave of peaceful energy moving around the planet. To participate, people are invited to walk a labyrinth at 1:00 P.M. in their local time zone.

Dear KC Community,

I am opening the Prairie Labyrinth on Saturday, May 1, 2010 from noon until 5:00 PM for anyone who would like to participate in this larger global event.

The Labyrinth is a walking meditation inviting you to relax, de-stress and reconnect with your own internal rhythm. It will be an opportunity to be in Nature in a self-reflective process as you join with the energy of those around the world focused on inner peace and oneness with the Earth and each other.

This is a good way to honor and align with the changes that are occurring in and around us, making ourselves available to ground the incoming light of Spring and the growth that it brings. Set your own personal intentions or walk as an empty vessel to receive what you most need.

Because of it being May day, feel free to bring a colored ribbon to tie onto the center pole in the labyrinth which will serve as a permanent May Pole. It will be a colorful representation of our individuated strands being woven together as we add to the matrix of this new energy web.

if you have never walked a labyrinth before, this is a good time to experience its balancing and calming properties. The seven-circuit pathway is 166 ft. in diameter and can be walked in 20 minutes or enjoyed for as long as you desire between noon and 5:00. The Chakra Labyrinth Cards will be available to use if desired.

For your comfort if sunny, you may want to bring water, sunglasses or hat. Wear comfortable shoes or go barefoot on the mowed grass path. The studio space will be open providing access to a bathroom.

This is a free event with donations appreciated.

Feel free to pass on to friends.

Hope to see you then.
Circle blessings,
Toby Evans

Directions to the Prairie Labyrinth

Coming from the Metro area:

Take I 70 East to Grain Valley/Buckner Exit (Exit 24)
Turn left or North onto BB Highway
Stay on BB for 6.5 miles
Turn Right on Neil Chiles Rd.
(There is an intersection sign just before this road and a brown house on that corner)

Come down Neil Chiles until Holly Rd.
Turn Left (It only goes left).
I am the first house on the left. 2-story old white farm house.

Red Building is the studio space.

1316 N Holly Rd

Coming from the North

Take 291 S to 24 Highway East
Stay on 24 East going into small town of Buckner
>From the stop light in Buckner continue on 24 East about 2 miles.
Take the 2nd Road on the Right - Holly Road
Come to the top of the hill - 1 mile
First house on the Right - 1316 N. Holly Rd.
Red building is studio space.


Meet your Feet.

At my Yoga training today and tomorrow we are discussing the complex and detailed world of human anatomy. It's pretty interesting and all familiar, it makes me wish I could look at the notes from my high school class. What interests me most right now is feet. Seems like a lot of body issues stem from feet. Personally, I think everyone has their own foot story. For example, when I was very little, I was given special shoes for my feet, they thought something was wrong with them, I still don't really know what or why. In sixth grade or so, I came down with pretty severe foot pain, plantar fasciatis probably. I was into wearing very flat Keds. Since I have placed a little arch support in my feet, tried to wear better shoes, and of course, I activate my feet in yoga, and I think it all helps, because I often stand for 10+ hours a day without too much pain, and I'm active in soccer and other athletic endeavors. I do think it's imperative to listen to your own feet and get in touch with them.

Walking barefoot is a great way to start. Mindfully walk around 3 or so minutes, trying to lift your arches, minimally contacting the floor with heel and base of toes. Personally, my arches are a bit low, and I'm sure this plays out in my calves, legs, hips, back and neck. In fact, I believe my migraines can be partially caused by wearing heels, my body simply isn't made for them. Consider the complexity of a foot, there is more than meets the eye! Read below for an idea of the intricacy!

The foot and ankle contain:

* 26 bones each(One-quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet)
* 33 joints
* more than 100 muscles, tendons (fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones), and ligaments (fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones)
* a network of blood vessels, nerves, skin, and soft tissue.

Pretty amazing. So, the take home message is appreciate your feet. If you stand all day, elevate 'em at night. If you sit a lot get out there in the evening and move those legs! Treat them well, and listen to them, and they will serve you well for life. After all, our feet take us exactly where we want to go. ;)



grateful for...

My soccer team, Wild Cat, Angus Burgers, No Kill shelters, perspective, wins, losses, growth, tears.


grateful for...

Yoga Patch, yard work, crimson tulips, Mick, potting plants, basil, catnip, moonvine, compost, Shawnee Mission Park, lakes, picnics, BBQ, Ed, the red shift, poets, projects, my soccer team, my high school, awareness, sandwich making, fresh laundry, bikes, returning plants like old friends, mom, my health, basement yoga project, warm sun, melanin, sunscreen, hats, water, dogs, model planes, veterans, Coke, camaraderie, Bewitched, Netflix, another day.




On the Beach at Night, Alone. by Walt Whitman

ON the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro, singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining—I think a thought of the clef of the universes, and of
the future.

A VAST SIMILITUDE interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets, comets, asteroids,
All the substances of the same, and all that is spiritual upon the same,
All distances of place, however wide,
All distances of time—all inanimate forms,
All Souls—all living bodies, though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes—the fishes, the brutes,
All men and women—me also;
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages;
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe, or any globe;
All lives and deaths—all of the past, present, future;
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d, and shall forever span them, and
compactly hold them, and enclose them.


Let it go!?!

I would say a lot of unhappiness is self created. Do you agree?

I encounter unhappy people somewhat frequently. Kids, adults, you can spot them in a heartbeat. Complaining, worried, dour, negative, critical, angry, self-hating. I think Americans have spent quite a bit of energy identifying ourselves with our *day* job. Our very language supports this. "I am...a doctor." "What do you do?" "My job is my life." The list goes on. None of these statements can even begin to explain a human being. And maybe we resent this association a little, as well we should. What's up with all the road rage? That's an easy one. Could it have something to do with not wanting to be on the road to where we are going, rushing along? I think it might. Each person is so much more than what we do from 8-5, or whatever the work hours might be. Are you rushing to the job to pay for the car, the house, new new new, too much too much too much? Something is wrong with that! It's enough to upset anyone, feeling like you are just breaking even, treading water.

I feel like I have a slightly interesting perspective on this, after the year I spent living in Spain. Far more than a job, in Spain, I found that each individual identifies with their family, their hometown, their foods, region, even neighborhood. Many young adults live at home longer, out of monetary need, but also enjoying family life, sharing of food, and the events of the day. Each person has intrinsic value as a daughter, sister, mother, brother, grandfather, you get the idea. What you do is a facet as well of course, but not so much more emphasized as we tend to do here. Society does not compartmentalize so much, the world feels open and more free, personal freedom is valued, leisure is treasured. Space may be a little more scarce, but kindness is flowing, and there is always time each day to share a cup of coffee.

I think if our western society could embrace this concept, our identity might learn to loosen up a little and truly we could breath easier. What is this that compels us to work, work work? 50, 60, 70 hours a week or more. For the health insurance? Where does it get you? Maybe a promotion, a little more money, but if life is truly a journey, and if the material things in life don't really make us happy, doesn't it make sense to slow down a bit? To read a book, take a nap, start a garden, call an old friend, perhaps try a new recipe? Join a club, travel group, or help with city planning for a fun event. I think a lot of people here get a difficult wake up call and it's so sad. They neglect healthy eating, exercise, personal growth. Maybe we feel we are entitled to perfect health, long life, total prosperity, because we worked hard. The truth is, many people all over the world work hard, but most don't have what we have and a sparkling tomorrow is never a guarantee for anyone. We should not feel guilt for our prosperity. It is worth enjoying what we have. Because at the end of our days, what will we look back and remember? The days we rushed from A to B to C, or those wonderful moments when time slowed down, we loved family, friends, ourselves, and we treasured the chance to simply be what we are: complex, multidimensional, and human.



grateful for...

Blog readers and writers, soccer, soft shirts, Fridays, kids, my principal, Mia Hamm, team captains, energy, force, work, power, waves, EARTH, Jupiter for not falling inward and smooshing us like (apparently) what happens in many/most solar systems, laughter, those kids that try me, fools, hyacinths, lilies, hostas, lilacs, quince, friends, change, progress, security, golf, deli, astronomy, Spain, cheese from Spain, arabic, Morocco, Iraq.



Spring has come slowly this year, creeping up, shrouded in wind, wet washes, and even snow. Suddenly this week, it leapt from behind a corner and whirled up in our faces. Daffodils nodding and much more. Here's a poem to celebrate it!

Spring Quiet
Christina Rossetti (1847)

Gone were but the Winter,
Come were but the Spring,
I would go to a covert
Where the birds sing.

Where in the whitethom
Singeth a thrush,
And a robin sings
In the holly-bush.

Full of fresh scents
Are the budding boughs
Arching high over
A cool green house:

Full of sweet scents,
And whispering air
Which sayeth softly:
“We spread no snare;

“Here dwell in safety,
Here dwell alone,
With a clear stream
And a mossy stone.

“Here the sun shineth
Most shadily;
Here is heard an echo
Of the far sea,
Though far off it be.



Weight a minute!

Spring is exploding around us. That means summer is around the corner, time for tank tops, sun dresses, shorts, bikinis, in general, nice sunny days and lighter clothing. With the warm season comes a chance to evaluate our weight. In the depths of winter, for me it is easier to have an extra helping of something warm and comforting as we snuggle in our fuzzy and total coverage pjs and the wind and snow whip around outside. Body awareness may actually decrease! Maybe not for all, but I think mine does. Some people seem like they easily manage their weight throughout life, while others feel like they are on a roller-coaster that they are not driving. What is the key? Honestly I believe it boils down to one simple (but challenging to follow) sentence: You will lose weight if you eat less than you burn.

A few years ago my sister shared a pretty cool web page with me. Kinda a geeky approach to weight loss. It's very well done though, and addresses the fact that losing weight is hard, you will feel hungry, cold, maybe even angry and upset as you give up calories and your stomach growls up at you. But it offers a lot of great scientifically driven points. One is that exercise is good for you, but it's not the key to weight loss. I agree. The calories you burn for the time it takes are not going to save you if you are eating that tasty donut or burger extra. However, exercise will boost your metabolism and mood, so I recommend it of course.

The Hacker's Diet. By John Walker

I like the idea behind his key snacks if you are hungry and must eat (and are trying to LOSE weight). Pickles, bouillon in water, you get the idea. Sounds icky but it's TRUE. Very low calorie, but filling. You could drink water, eat celery, eat lettuce, find low calorie and space taking stuff. I have lost about 25-30 pounds since college and have kept it off. How? Eating less bad stuff and more good stuff and less in general, moving more, but also making sure to listen to when I am actually hungry, which I totally was not doing in college when I gained the weight. Was it hard to lose that weight? Yes. Sometimes I am still amazed that I carried the equivalent of a large sack of rice around on me constantly. Thank God it is gone!!

I was hungry at times, but I lost it over about 4 years so that's only a pound every couple months, not as hard if you stretch it out. I would actually recommend 1 pound every week or two over less time but whatever works for you is what is best. Some of my own personal thoughts were roadblocks like, if you are hungry your body will just store everything as fat. No! Not true! I was hungry sometimes and lost 25 pounds. So if you can find the edge of your hunger, embrace that. For me, food actually tastes much better when I'm a little hungry. Don't worry, you will not starve! Or another thought to stop me, it's more natural to gain weight in the winter. I'm still battling that one!

This blog post came about because I would like to lose 5 pounds. I know I'm close to my personal ideal weight, but just above it and gained a pound or two over the last six months. Doesn't sound like a lot but if I do that for 10 or 15 years, I'll be back at 150 and I'm not going there! Five pounds is not a lot, but maybe it's harder to lose weight as you get closer? Maybe that's just another mental roadblock. I already monitor my weight and have done so for years on a chart, so I recommend doing that to help manage your weight and simply bring awareness to it. If you do record it, be sure to look at trends, rather than highs and lows. The human body is mostly water and in losing the weight it was not a regular daily decline. Some days up, some down, overall the moving average became lower. Also, it's a good idea to get a scale with body fat percentage as well. That way if you do work out or retain fluid, the weight might not change as much as the % but you will have two sets of data to help you figure out if what you are doing is effective.

In conclusion, my goal is to be healthy and feel good. This is a different place and weight for different people, but in general if we are at an typical weight or a little below, we will live longer, have less health problems, and probably feel better. Carrying around extra mass is tiring! I wish you all the best of luck and energy with your own weight goals. Please feel free to share anything you would like to share here!



grateful for...

Tea, yoga chats, the Wizards, my team, hyacinth, lilac, daffodil, tulip, johnny cash, family dinner, progress, Zeke, Inka, Mission.


Black and White

What makes us happy? Feel refreshed? New, contented, renewed? It depends. Often it is the lack in life that creates fulfillment. Meeting a need or craving and it's oh so sweet. Don't we tend to want what we don't have in the here and now? Sitting around a lot, suddenly a long walk is heaven. On the run all day, a cozy spot on the couch is divine. Lots of tension? A massage is just the ticket. Quiet days? Noise delights. Crazy loud environment and silence becomes golden. The fact is, we may be creatures of habit but we NEED contrast. Why is yoga so much to so many? Because most days for most of us we simply don't get to explore the body's range of motion. In yoga, we enjoy the chance to stretch to our limits, literally! Not to mention slowing down the mind, shutting off the rapid fire thoughts of the day.

Lately the cool of winter has relented and hinted at heat to come. I love the seasons, this enduring contrast of nature. What is the contrast of the universe? Expansion of all will someday compress, will time reverse? Fascinating. Wish I could sit down and chat with Einstein 'bout it.

For a moment, let's all focus on that aspect of our life we have not explored, where we have yet to exist, or maybe rarely have. For it is here that happiness rests. And it will constantly change.




As we grow older, we tend to lose some flexibility in our bodies, although our practice can greatly slow and in some cases reverse this progression. Imagine butter vs. olive oil, one holding its shape, the other as fluid as an ocean. I got to thinking today that we might also tend to become more inflexible in our spirits/souls/personalities. Things that appealed to us at a younger age now seem overwhelming and even undesirable. Perhaps a last minute road trip, staying up all night, approaching Westport on St.Patty's...you get the picture. We might even have a certain restaurant, perhaps our favorite table, drink, meal, the list goes on and on. Why is something best, simply because it is familiar? Or is it just easier?

How do we maintain both our mental and physical ability to accept change, bend in the wind, and enjoy surprises? Hard to say but I think this is a worthwhile question to ask and one I may ponder for some time. One thing that could definitely help is being around young people. They tend to see life through totally different and lovely lenses, and can revive our sense of fun by simple exposure to their spontaneous style. Coaching, tutoring, teaching are all great ways to give back to the community and liven yourself up a little too. Yoga of course helps us. I think travel, reading, social groups, and old and new friends can help us see the world in new lights and on different levels. Here's to any sort of continuing education. When we are learners we are excited for the present moment and revelations unfurling like leaves.



grateful for...

Zen zone in Lees Summit, massage, group healing, the basement, KC yogi/yoginis, groceries, fresh clean water from a tap, mini-pizzas, spring break time to relax, lavender, tulip tips, daffodils, freshly painted walls, soccer practice, kitty cats, hot shower, glasses, contacts, eyes, health, friends, family, sunshine, fresh air, 50+ weather, birthdays, doctors, yoga, potential.



There is a very heady yoga cocktail circulating around in my brain right now, I have been to 7 trainings and things are synthesizing. The Level 5 training had a lot of deep themes, some very much "in your head", thank you Delores O'Riordan. I agree with the idea behind some of it, other stuff was kinda annoying to me. I loved the group healing, maybe not quite as much as a full on massage, but the kindness overwhelmed me with gratitude. Gratitute is a wonderful sensation and I think it does help us heal much.

Today we watched a movie, The Secret. I almost felt like it was 5am and all the other channels were black and white fuzz, you know? People basically saying, "your thoughts determine your fate and financial future". Huh? I'm sorry but sh** happens sometimes and it is totally random and atrocious. People get in an accident, or get cancer, and its horrible and they are wonderful humans that didn't deserve a lick of it. This world/universe is not totally fair. Some wretched people drink, smoke and cuss their way into their 90s only to blissfully pass from this world stinkin' rich. So, anyway, I do kinda agree that if you constantly project a certain attitude, others can pick it up. If you are mopey, head down, crying all the time as you walk the neighborhood, yea, some mugger might pick you over the 280 pound glistening body builder that is grinning as he sprints to JTs "bringin' sexy back".

I do like the idea of a vision board. I think my journal is often a graphic vision board. I write goals thoughts and later when I reread, I discover my subconscious worked at it and lo and beyond it's happening, yea boy! Anyway where was I? I do think positive self speak is powerful. Kat, I respect you. Kat I forgive you. Kat, I love you. Say those to yourself aloud, see how it feels. It's nice.

What else is percolating/precipitating? Oh yes, yoga as a business. It's a huge and not highly monetarily beneficial investment to have a studio full time (probably lotsa other kewl feelings), but renting space or better yet free in a small town could be a nice part time gig. I'm thinking Cameron or Chillicothe! It would be cool to travel around to businesses and take yoga on the road, but it is also a lot of travel time, scattery, and draining, I've felt that myself as a sub and even my weekly class, luggin' stuff around. Home studios seem the best to me in a way, but it might be more difficult to actually live off yoga, seems like no one but maybe YogaFit has really ever turned a profit on it. Maybe Rainbeau Mars. That's fine, it's a passion and a need in my life, I shall keep flipping the yoga business thoughts around in my head, I feel like I can't do a ton until I have my RYT anyway. Although, many established studios/teachers don't have it so perhaps carpe diem is betta.

Another theme that piggybacks off the secret is interesting. The idea was well stated by Shakespeare, "Methinks thou dost protest too much". Basically, say what you want, not what you don't. It's true that's what teenagers hear, I'm not sure about the universal ears of beyond. For example hollering, "don't drop your milk" at a 5 year old is more likely to produce some tears as you sop up the calcium enriched floor. Rather you should say, "let's drink our milk up and head to the park". It's more friendly anyway. It really got me thinking about my family and our dynamics, what we say. I think Ums, I don't know, etc, are a form of rejecting things, I seem to do that, but also it's hard with so many people, lotsa variables. I think my parents worried a lot, so a lot of negatives that never happened were certainly brought up. I felt a mental shift on the way home from training. I was afraid my husband would dread a (my side) big family get together tonight (just before the early work week) but I just framed it positive and he was fine with it. Picking up our favorite Russian beer didn't hurt either ;)

All in all it was nice to attend level 5, but I don't feel closure quite yet, no RYT hand slappin' for me. 3 more training loom. I like them, it will be interesting to get into anatomy since I already have background in that. Also, I am fascinated by seniors/prenatal/kids so that will be nice as well, I hope I can finish this summer. Maybe I'll end up in India someday, probably not but you never know. (did i just make that come true?? ha ha ha)

Just remember, the theme of the day is that we do affect our body with our mind, and so maybe we also affect our path through life. It would hurt to throw a little hope into life. Hey, maybe I'll get that parking spot, dream job, a check in the mail, instead of thinking, gee I hate my job, I never get parking, all I do is pay bills. Try it for a day, see if it simply makes the day more bearable!

Ching Ching and cheers to you and your yoga and life journey,


Ginger and Peace

Serenity Prayer (credited to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr)

God/Universe, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I was recently talking to a delightful nurse named Ginger. She is 67. She was a sweet little lady and as we chatted about school and work she mentioned a prayer she keeps in her house and looks at every day. She has some loved ones with alcoholism and it helps her. It made me think about the really hard part, how do we know what we can't change? Are we giving up or are we getting to ahimsa (non-harming of ourselves) when we let that one thing go that just about kills us? I know that sometimes I just can't quit worrying about my students and what some of them go through, or other things in my own life too. When to act, when to rest?

The poem says it takes Wisdom, which takes time, and experience. Maybe as we grow older, we gain this peace. Makes me look forward to 40, 50, and beyond. Yes we may lose some physical abilities we once had, but what we can gain in serenity could make all the difference. I simply have to think of Ginger,my dear grandma at 96, and my great aunt with a birthday coming up and wonder at the world. Such lively wise souls beam out.

Cheers to the ripening of our spirits, may they become more sweet and complex with each passing moment. I know we have come far already, but yet have farther to go.



Yoga No Flow?

I recently felt compelled to pause the yoga class I teach. A deep spiritual part of my soul is asking why? Am I avoiding yoga? No I can say without hesitation. Honestly, I think super-duper overfilling my schedule would be detrimental to my health, definitely contrary to the goal of yoga to stay in the present moment. I do crave yoga but not the stress of the rush it would require weekly. In addition, teaching is a different experience from taking a class, of course! When teaching, I am there for others, not myself.

With soccer coaching looming I am feeling strain considering the long days ahead over the next couple of months. I do also feel joy but it is blanketed by worry for the incredible business that will accompany. I think if each of us squeezes a huge amount into each day, week, etc, we are constantly more likely to hop out of the present moment and into the next. We're shoving ourselves along, rather than consciously moving with purpose and grace.

I have a yoga training coming up and I'm really looking forward to taking some yoga after the small break recently. Stretch.It.Out. Ahhhhh. I also want to take this time to visit a few studios around the city here and there, some different instructors. I will know a few people at the training so that will be wonderful to kick off spring break. If I could I might "break" spring break up and just have 3 day weekends every week for 5 weeks it would make more sense in a way.

One issue my yoga soul needs to figure out is the morning routine, for that greatly impacts the entire day. I can't seem to flow in the morning, mentally or physically and I have tried for 4 years. I feel abruptly wakened at 5:30, rushed to shower, get ready, eat, make my way to work, harried through the hall of some glaring adolescents some are fine, exhausted by 7:30am when school starts some days. It's partially my own fault for dallying then rushing but other things are factors too. The early hour is definitely part of it. What else is it? My own personal circadian rhythms tend to favor night owl style. Or at least a 6:30 or 7am wakeup, slightly more natural with the sun. I could try to do yoga, but I feel frozen sometimes, until coffee, which I left a while back, only to pick back up. That's okay, I am fine with it for now but I definitely want to find a way back to natural rhythms. Now that daylight savings is imminent, that should help immensely. Sun I need ya!

Here's to the future raise to the past, bless this present clear full glass.

Grateful for...

Tulips, neighbors, cats, dogs, my immune system, family, kicks, kleenex, nutella, mangos, compassion, optimism, resourcefulness, organization, rest.


grateful for...

March, Zeke by me, all my new little seeds setting on warm damp soil waiting for the sun (catnip,lemon basil,peppermint,moonflowers,mammoth dill,bouquet dill), orchids, money in the bank, cran-grape juice, Ayla, ancestors, bison, spring sports especially soccer kicking off TOMORROW!, doves, self-expression, yellow, spring break, Ping, heels, daylight savings, Rambo, inner energy, vitamins, fruits and vegetables, water, sun, the earth mother.

Sea change

I've shared many poems and words of others. Here is a poem I just conjured up for ya, totally edit free (well pretty much)! Hope you like it, my thoughts on Spring and beyond, so close and yet, so far.

Sea Change.

Lately it seems to be,
spring is here but cannot see,
warming soil, trilling birds strive,
ever-lightening morning drive.

Wicked damp that cools your bones,
peeping sprouts curl past stones,
Painful change, and cutting wind blows,
Earth is heaving, winter's death throes.

During this time we try to find,
A sunny still place to rest our mind,
Calling summer back to this land,
I dream of heat, growth, and sand.

Welcome March. February, ciao.


grateful for...

energy, sunlight, seedlings, quiet moments, Spain, soccer, African violets, my classroom, spring break, soul food, spider plants.


grateful for..

skin care, friends, shelter, dessert, walks, Mission, skiing, snowboarding, curling, athletes, inner beauty, dogs, cats, rest, blueberry pancakes, vitamins, weekends.


Good Morning

In honor of Black History Month, here I share a poem by Maya Angelou. I'm listening to her "Letters to my Daughter" on CD, I highly recommend it for your commute or leisure time this February of 2010. May we all continue to listen to this little blue planet, and, of course, each other.

The Rock Cries Out to Us Today

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the tree.
Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.
Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers--
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.
I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours--your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
Into your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Maya Angelou



grateful for..

All my teachers that I ever had. Especially Mr.Coleman, Mr.Lamb, Mr.Beecraft, Ms. Jenkins, Mr.Dick, Mrs.Broyles, Mrs.Reeke, Mrs.Rhinhardt, Mr.Wickman, Dr.Sodamann Mrs.Anderson (kindergarten), Mr.Shane, Senor Steere, Senora Kramer, Senora Khan, Mrs.Abernathy, Mrs.Messer, Mr.Woodford, wow, it's kind of amazing how well I can remember them.

Hilary and her good ideas!

Wyandotte Swimming Pool!


Wearing Jeans to work on Friday. Why is that soooo awesome?



grateful for...

Clean water,a nice husband, kindness, Maya Angelou (listening to letters to my daughter on CD, wow), human resiliency, peppermint, candles, pine trees, waves, salads, friends, March, April, even February with its whirling wind and ice, and little babies, so new.


2.7.10 Grateful for...

ed's birthday!

my washer and (new) dryer





Terrible's Casino, ha ha, seriously. Free pretzels people. nuf said.



Grateful for...

My E.

Spring - I know you are hiding under a rock, behind a cloud, in a drop of water. I shall wait, of course, you knew that.

My health.

The office oasis.

Getting to work at 8am tomorrow, instead of 7. Dracula emerges from the dark. Ah!



Elizabeth Anne.



Exploration of new avenues.



My advisory students, they are awesome.




Haircut and colors.

My soccer girls, they are awesome. Even when they test me.


Foe types, they strengthen my character to be a better person and not "stoop".

My grandparents with whom I spoke this week. Key quotes, "farming is good when you're old, it's a gamble". and "I'm not doing anything very interesting". One is 89, one is 95, they are miracles on earth. I love them very very much.



Change Change Change

“Change is the only constant.” Ain't that the truth. What is changing in your life right now? Take some minutes to reflect, consider writing it down and looking at it. True, some things can be constant for many years, but even within that realm, micro-adjusts are twisting around so subtly it's hard to inter. Our views change, our bodies change, maybe somewhere, somehow our soul retains some constant vibe throughout the eons? I think so. It's a cozy and comforting thought for me.

How can we adapt so often and so much without being thrown off our base? Honestly sometimes I think we could call Yoga "How to deal with Change". Breath, stand strong, be flexible, listen to your body and mind, and let it all go. The more we go through life, the more change we may be subjected to, at least, I feel that way in light of my dad passing away. Often I think of childhood as a safe and secure time, timeless, but nothing is timeless really. Some children aren't as lucky, their childhood is rife with chaos, emotional turmoil. For these individuals, I believe it will take much more effort and focus to find a source of strength and calm, they never found it or saw an example of it. Since each of us must look within for this, how can we open a window? Even awareness of a safe place? I think one yoga class, or maybe more, many strong walls can grow.

Some of these human beings end up in bad places, even in adult life. Consider taking yoga to a prison, a shelter, a place where those that land need more than just food for their physical body. Do bad people exist? I guess I must say yes, at least people with bad actions. Were they born that way? I don't think so, our childhood shapes us so powerfully.



ON Friday, January 29, I'm grateful for...

A cozy warm house.

The chance to help children.

My new snowboard, bindings and boots, all ordered on ebay separate days, arrived all at once!! If that is not a sign, what is? Look out slopes, I'm coming.

A comfortable bed.

The chance to work out.

Mexican food.

Ed's house skills, we are almost done with our spare room, office design imminent!

My new little philodendron micans plant and the chance to pot it. Nothing like a little fresh dirt under your nails in the winter.

Midwestern kindness.

New York style.

San Diego sand.

Bromley decaff green tea, the best in the world.

All pending babies, Melissa, Emily, Dulcinea!

My dad and his wonderful impact on this world and me, and his sense of humor.

My mom and her kindness to us.

Marble and marbles.

Friday nights.


Renewal. Change. Shifts in consciousness. Vision.

My robe and slippers.

A pristine and peaceful kitchen table.



Wonder Workout, No sweat!

So, in a book I read recently (Happiness Project, aha!), the author alluded to a highly efficient way to work out and get good results, related to weight lifting. The idea I took from this is to do ONE set of reps (I tried 8-12 reps) using higher weight than you would normally use with more sets. So...I tried it and I really like it. I felt like I did more than 3 sets, and in less time. Time will tell how sore I get, consider Epsom salts and massage for muscle soreness if that gets to you.

I definitely think it's important to warm up first, because this is more muscle demand and more of a potential shock to the body if not warm, due to greater muscle challenge over a shorter period. 5 minute speed walk, then 3-5 minute jog, and some very light stretching is my advice for a pre-lifting prep. Do your circuit of 10 exercises, about 1 minute each. Cool down with a gentle yoga workout for 5-10 minutes. Total time? 30 minutes!

If you work out 2+ times a week, be sure to alternate muscle groups for maximal benefit. I recommend reading on lifting before starting a regular routine and of course consult your doctor before starting anything exercise-related! And of course, it can't compare to yoga for flexibility and balancing benefits.


On Sunday, January 24th, I'm grateful for...





Homemade jewelry


Cards for people

Blackberry and blueberry Pancakes (Black n Blue)

A stable home

A stable earth

2pac...we have to be real to our women

Bob Marley and all family, aka Damian

Jimi Hendrix

Vans Snowboard boots



my husband

my family

organic milk

watch batttery replacement = instant gratification!!



Grateful for...

I'm going to try and post what I am grateful for once or twice a week. Feel free to comment and share what you are grateful for as well. I think I have a bunch stored up so this list may be long!!

1. Snowboarding and Snow Creek
2. Raspberry Jam from Switzerland - Favorit Swiss Reserve (World Market)
3. Seeing my family all together
4. Melting ice on the roof, and snow in the driveway.
5. All kitties
6. Antiques Roadshow
7. The Happiness Project - Read it, doing it.
8. A clean kitchen.
9. Office progress - closet wallpaper freeish
10. My education - I hung all my framed degrees up today to remind me.
11. Martin Luther King Jr.
12. My ginkgo treelet
13. Red Cross
14. HGTV
15. Ed's housework saavyness and kind style.
16. foggy walk with my mom and Mick
17. Triscuits (hint of salt thanks to Mad) and Cady Creek Cheddar, mmmm...
18. A fresh semester and my new organization plan. Let's go students.
19. Soccer Conditioning starting.
20. 2010.
21. Bacchus.
22. Get togethers with friends.
23. Dark Chocolate.



To board or not to board.

I would like to start with a brief timeline of my history with snowboarding/skiing. I've loved it all in retrospect, but at times is is an amazing life challenge and yoga has helped.

Winter 1993. First skiing ever, Snow Creek, tough and scary but okay.

1994-2002. Various family trips skiing, great memories of my dear Marchin clan, downhill and cross-country skiing, even hot springs once, never boarded, didn't want to waste "ski" time.

Jan 1999. College road trip to Vail. Decided to check out boarding for the FIRST time. My friend's strap broke, hated icy griddle iron of a hill, switched to another friend's skis for remainder of stay and gave my board to the other guy.

Feb 2006. Board lessons at Snow Creek with Ed, taught by very young person, went okay but rocky.

March 2006. Winter Park, CO, Started out on board, after one crazy morning of falls and eventually physical and mental exhaustion, succumbed to skis once more.

January 2010. Snow Creek once more, skied in the morning, decided to switch over to boarding along with a friend, Ed was on his all day. Actually got the hang of it. I don't have it 100% yet, but in a couple hours, I only had one icky fall, and was starting to carve a little. I'm so excited to try it in Colorado someday and felt the call of the board!!

Oh yes this is cool you ask, but why is this on a yoga blog? Well, it's yoga and life and this has been about a 15 year journey in my life. My yoga exploration began in approximately 2003 and from 2005 on I have been practicing yoga pretty much weekly or more. Is that why I finally cracked the snowboard mystery today, my first time on since yoga began? Maybe, I definitely felt better core strength, smoother ability to twist my upper body, more quad and knee flexibility, and I "found" my center of balance on the board. Oh yeah, and I am NOT goofy, I'm fakie (used my board regular with left foot forward, but my board was set up the other way). Maybe yoga helped me realize that for my body regular is most natural.

Namaste and see you on the corduroy!



If you're happy and you know it...

My sister recently mentioned making a trip to Salvation Army to donate some items she no longer needs and mentioned she's reading a book on happiness. I saw on the news that they are in great need of coats, hats, and any warm weather gear at the KC, MO Salvation Army, there is more need this year than many others. Recently I adopted a family of 8 in Kansas City, KS and with the help of many friends and family we were able to provide this family with some nice gifts for the children for Christmas. They told me this was a record year and they had more families than ever. In these times of lost jobs and great need, how can we maintain our happiness?

This book shares some excellent options. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Craft Rubin highlights ways we can start our own Happiness Project. Find out more at her web page, click the title of the blog above to go there or you can copy and paste the link below!


Clap your hands! Stomp your Feet! Read the Book!



Ring it out!

To celebrate the new year, let us turn to a famous poet. Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote "In Memorium" to a dear friend. This section, 126 (CVI) seems to relate well to my thoughts as we close Chapter 2009 and open to 2010.

In Memoriam A.H.H.


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.


Summer Sparkler!

Wow! It's been a while since I've visited Blog-Landia. Are you still out there my friends?? Now I'm a mom times two!! Can you be...