Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Actually Won Something! The Perfect Prize For Me: A Yoga Book

I've never won the Powerball. I've never won a free vacation. I don't think I've ever won a gift basket.

So when author Meryl Davids Landau announced a giveaway of her new book Downward Dog Upward Fog I really had no expectations of ever hearing about it again.

Not only did I win a free copy of the book, it was a prize way better than any gift basket!

Downward Dog Upward Fog is what I call chick lit for women with a brain. Don't insult my intelligence with Harlequin romance type stories of a woman finding herself only when she finds the perfect man. Give me the story of a woman on her own path finding her own way.

This story delivers just that. The heroine of the story Lorna is a special events coordinator at an ice cream company (does a cool job that like that really exist? And if so where do I apply?), with a difficult mother, perfect but not-perfect-for-her boyfriend and an older more spiritually enlightened sister.

Lorna's yoga practice leads her to a weekend silent retreat (again, where do I apply?) and onto a spiritual path where she practices daily meditation and kindness.  She soon discovers that it's easy to be spiritual while secluded on a retreat, but her inner peace is tested daily with difficult coworkers, neighbors, family and life's daily drama.

There are a few times in the book that it all seems a little too easy. Things seem to work out too perfectly with just a minimum of effort. A couple times I wondered if Lorna would be so dedicated to hour long meditations if she had a bunch of kids and laundry to attend to. But she doesn't, so I don't begrudge her time spent sitting and focusing inward. In fact, I envy it.

Unlike a lot of the other yoga books out there now, Downward Dog Upward Fog doesn't require a trip to India or radical life altering decisions. Rather, it emphasizes we have the choice in how to react, we have the choice to respond with kindness, and we have the choice to pursue whatever path we feel led to. It's a great book when you are looking for something yoga and/or spiritual to read, but also want something light and enjoyable.

Thank you Meryl Davids Landau for sending me the book, and for the great read!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meditation Tips For Beginners

Feeling stressed?       Meditate
Feeling depressed?    Meditate
Feeling confused?     Meditate
Feeling sad?              Meditate
Feeling grateful?       Meditate
Feeling happy?         Meditate

I know, I know you don't have time. Or it feels weird. Or you don't know how.

Meditation doesn't have to be scary or weird or something only those freaky yoga people do. To get you started, or just to learn more if you are even semi-interested, here is my new Elephant Journal post:

Meditation Tips For Beginners And Those Beginning Again

And if you enjoy that, please be sure to check out my other Elephant posts, listed on the Elephant page here on my blog:

Elephant Journal

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learning To Breathe: My New Elephant Post & My Intro to Energy Work and Chakra Balancing

As my close friends know, it's been a shitty year. My mom died in February and since then it's been an endless series of injuries and illnesses for me.

Is there a connection? Well of course.

Am I ready to deal with it all? Well, I'm ready to start.

In the midst of all this I received an email from a publishing house asking if I'd like a copy of a new book, Learning to Breathe by Priscilla Warner. Warner is also the author of the bestseller The Faith Club.  I get more than a few of these requests and honestly don't even remember saying yes to this one.

Eventually I got a second email asking if I was enjoying the book. Oops. So I dug through my book stack, found it, and started reading.

And couldn't put it down.

Thank you Priscilla Warner for sending me your book. Thank you for being so honest in describing your journey to wellness. And thank you for encouraging me to begin my journey.

How cool is the Ms. Warner? As I was reading and doing my internal work, she even took the time out of her busy book tour schedule to send me encouraging messages. She's a big time famous author! How humble and human of her.

Warner had access to a wide range of well known meditation teachers, rabbis, therapists, scientists and other experts and masters. My access is very limited here in rural Tennessee, but when the student is ready the teacher comes.

My teachers did come. From a massage therapist in the small town of Atoka to a chiropractor/energy worker in the even smaller town of Covington. I had read about energy work and chakra balancing, but had no idea I was about to embark on an exciting, scary, exhausting yet much needed journey of my own.

Energy work, chakra balancing and emotional tapping - yes it's all very woo woo and out there. But I'm here to say it's the real deal.

To read more about my woo woo energy work and even more about Priscilla Warner's Learning To Breathe, please click here to read my latest Elephant Journal post:

Searching For The Brain Of A Monk; Dropping A Lot of Tears Along The Way

Whether you know what energy work is, or you just are looking for a bit of peace in your life, I recommend Learning To Breathe. You won't be disappointed.

And if you want to read more of my Elephant posts, you can find them all listed on the Elephant Page of my blog here:

Elephant Journal

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Goddess Prayers & Tears Under The Full Moon

"Momma, do you see the moon? Isn't it pretty?"

Ironically that call from my 10-year-old daughter came in as I was driving miles out of my way to try and get a decent picture of tonight's moon.

"Yes baby I see it. It's stunning."

What I didn't tell her was when I first noticed the big full moon hanging so low in the night sky, it brought tears to my eyes.

I've been doing a lot of energy work, emotional muscle testing and chakra balancing lately. It's left me feeling emotionally beaten up, exposed and drained.  So honestly it doesn't take much lately to bring me to tears.

Before I got in my car tonight, I had a conversation that included me saying "you know for constantly being surrounded by people I'm very lonely." Powerful words to admit out loud.

I've always been drawn to the moon. It calms me and soothes my soul. Based on Ayurvedic science this makes sense. As a pitta dosha type, the moon cools my fiery personality.

But tonight was different. Tonight when I looked up over the trees lining the highway, what popped in my mind was  'you're not alone.' 

As I waited at the rugby field for kid #2's practice to be over, I browsed through Twitter and Facebook. There were numerous tweets and posts from yogi friends all over the country commenting on the moon. The same moon that I was crying over.

It was like an old fashioned Goddess circle of women holding hands and praying under the full moon. Except we were doing it virtually via social media.

But still, it reminded me, I'm not alone. None of us are.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm So Cool

As I was getting set up for class tonight a student asked me if I was holding an iPad. Yes, it's where I keep my class notes I told her.

"Wow, you're such a cool yoga teacher," she said.

Uh huh, I'm cool. I almost put on a pair of dark sunglasses right there and taught my class. Ya know, cause I'm so cool and all.

I have a friend who is anti Apple products. Yes, such people exist it's true. I always tease him all the cool kids have Macs. I can't wait to tell him I'm right.

Continuing with the I'm so cool theme, earlier today I was told my boots and yoga pants looked cool together.

And there was even some fun banter on Twitter today from one of my students talking about "chillin' and enjoying the awesomeness" of class.

Yep. I'm all that and a bag of chips baby!

As I sashayed into the house tonight after teaching, I removed my dark shades and waited for the accolades from my family.

And waited. And then started doing the dishes while waiting some more.

"Mooommm". Ah yes, the sound of a 10-year-old little girl calling for her mother. Surely she wants to shower me with love and affection.

"Look, my teeth are right here in this bag under this edge of my pillow. See them? Can the tooth fairy please not forget - again - tonight?"

Before I had a chance to explain that the tooth fairy probably forgot to leave some money because she was busy spreading yoga love through the land, another kid hollered Moooommmm. And then an argument over headphones and taking out the trash began. Oh and the toilet is clogged and the TV in my room doesn't work and three of the kids need money for school tomorrow.

Wait! Stop! Where is my love? My appreciation? My yoga students tell me they love me! And all I did was tell them to breathe. I gave birth to you kids now tell me I'm the coolest mom ever!

Damn, I just lost my cool.

As soon as you think you've got it going on and all together, your ego comes along to slap you down and remind you that you are just the one who can unclog a toilet.

But the shades do make you look cool with a plunger in your hand!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Month of Gratitude

I know that one of my weaknesses is I sometimes get bogged down on focusing on the small negative rather than enjoying the much larger positives that I have in my life. Usually this happens when I'm feeling hurt/angry/sad/rejected. Fortunately,  I'm usually pretty quick to pull myself out of it and return to my half-glass full way of thinking.

My yoga practice has been a big help in keeping my perspective in check and reminding the power of both negative and positive thinking.

To help instill a sense of gratitude even deeper inside myself, I'll be joining hundreds of others, some yogis some not, in A Month of Gratitude.  Each day I'll list five things I'm grateful for. I'm not setting any rules for myself, somedays there might be repeats and somedays I might have to really stretch to find something to be grateful for.

To hold myself accountable, I've created a Month of Gratitude Page here on my blog. Each days gratitude list will be posted there.

What are you grateful for today?