Category Archives: TCB

WTF, TCB, IKR, TSAFP, and ILY: the Alphabet Soup of My Life

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I have been thinking about writing here for a while, but just haven’t been able to make myself do it since November.  It’s been an interesting couple of months.  Life is surprising and wonderful things pop up where you least expect them that can turn your life around most profoundly, but regardless of how wonderful these things might be, change takes time to process and there’s a whole lot of “what the fuck” that goes along with it.  Life moves forward and you gotta roll with it.  You have to take care of business.  Sometimes it’s exciting, sometimes it’s frustrating, and sometimes it’s just so mind-numbingly stupid all you can do is look around and the closest equally bewildered person and say, “I know, right?”  It gets overwhelming, this thing called life.  It’s not always easy.  Sometimes it’s ice-pick through your pupil painful.  It can be wildly unfair.  It can hurt.  It can be depressing as often as it’s wonderful.  Here’s the thing: this shit ain’t for pussies.  Figuring it out can be the hardest thing until you realize that there really is nothing to figure out at all because the minute you figure it out, things change.  Everything is in constant flux.  Just when you think that you’ve found your solid footing, guess what?  That damn rug gets pulled out from under you again.  Better to just learn to float.  And that is when the only real thing that matters are 3 words: I love you.  Saying them to someone.  Hearing them from someone.  Saying them to yourself.  Whatever. I love you is the same as Thank you, but kind of squishier and fuzzier and, well, you know.

My life has fallen into these 5 categories.  I know it’s been a long long time since I’ve been here, so here’s a run down of some of what has been filling the categories of my days.

WTF

When we bought this house 11 years ago and started packing up our stuff to move, I came across a box of my hold high school stuff. I was ready to throw the whole thing out unopened, but Brian insisted we go through it.  Inside I found programs from operettas, old notes, pictures, the publications that had my poetry in them, senior pictures of my friends, my diploma, a high school memory book and assorted other flotsam and jetsam.  The memory book was barely filled out – even then I wasn’t the type of person to get too sentimental about that kind of stuff – but there were a few things written in it from friends.  I found it funny that probably 60% of the people mentioned my “funky style.”  I thought back.  While I certainly didn’t think it as particularly odd at the time, I suppose I did have my own flair.  I was almost always in jeans, white v-neck tshirt, flannel, and combat boots like most of my friends.  The only difference is that I would wear that outfit with pearls and with my long hair in a french twist.  Or I would wear a fancy dress with an army jacket, little black dresses with neon tights, flowered shorts with actual bowling shoes I stole from the local bowling alley.  Okay, my boyfriend stole them, but whatever.  I was also one of the first people in my crowd to have a tattoo.  In 1993, kids didn’t have tattoos.  I felt very comfortable in my skin and my clothes, but I got lots of “what the fuck” back then and now, 21 years later, I’m getting it again.  While my youngest son now wears my Doc Marten boots and I no longer wear an army jacket, I am still expressing myself visually.  I got my tongue pierced.  I got my septum pierced.  I got a full chest piece tattoo.  (You can see all this stuff on my Instagram.) They all mean something very important to me and I love each one of these new pieces, but it seems that folks wonder WTF has happened to me.  The answer is simple: Everything and nothing.  I am still the same person I always was.  And I change every day.  It makes me do my own version of wtf: what the fuck does it matter to you?  Maybe I’m a little sensitive.

I wrote not too long ago about an event that shook my little family of three to the core.  While that event got squared away, it spawned some other WTF moments.  One of the people who perpetrated the original awfulness decided to sue me.  It was the most outlandish, egregious, poorly thought out decisions I have ever experienced first hand.  There are a few people who know the details, which I will not expound upon here, and all of us collectively shouted to the world, “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK???”  This time, my sweet kiddos got in on the act and actually contacted and shook some sense into this person and the lawsuit was dropped rather quickly, but let this be a lesson to you all: crazy is as crazy does.

My girl dog, Audrey, has decided that she gets to get on the furniture now.  We’ve had her 2.5 years and she never got on the furniture before, but now she does.  WTF?

My main tv remote no longer controls the volume nor the power.  WTF?

I bought a new vacuum and love it more than any other appliance.  WTF?  (okay, maybe I have changed.  A little.)

TCB

I have been feeling the need to make some professional changes in my life for a few years.  Yes, it’s been a long long long time coming, but today I took the final step.  I am no longer involved in any of the managerial or secretarial duties at Yoga Sol.  I just teach and I have to say that, while it was a wonderful run and I’m grateful for the experience, I’m relieved to have scaled back.  The person who replaced me is doing a much better job than I did. It’s better for the studio, and it’s most assuredly better for me, as well.  Teaching will always feed my soul and I couldn’t function without it.  I’m grateful to be able to focus on that fully.

While I haven’t been writing here, I have been writing.  I am spending quite a bit of time on my other love: live music.  I’ve been blessed to fall into ranks with a community that supports, creates, and promotes real musicians doing genius stuff independently from huge labels.  I have been attending shows, interviewing artists, laughing and dancing and writing and living and … wow, it’s so much fun!  You can find interviews I’ve done over at MoonRunners Country and I look forward to more experiences coming up.  These people I have met have become my family and I couldn’t be happier nor prouder of my association with them.

IKR

It’s fucking cold and I fear Spring will never arrive. I could go on about other things, but that particular item has me so depressed that everything else doesn’t matter.

TSAFP (in which I violate the TSAFP code.)

A few years ago, two of my best girlfriends and I sat down at a coffee shop to discuss a rather unpleasant happening in one of their lives.  “Rather unpleasant” is putting it mildly, but discretion being the better part of valor and all, I’ll leave it at that.  While there wasn’t a solution then (and there isn’t a solution now,) we pretty much summed up the whole experience by saying This Shit Ain’t For Pussies.  Sorry ladies, I just released the code out into the world.

While I have learned over the years to not take on the troubles of others, I am a very compassionate and empathetic person.  Some of the people I feel closest to in the whole world are dealing with some serious stuff right now: addiction, domestic abuse, mental illness, divorce, declining health of elderly parents, poverty, serious physical injury, abandonment… it’s all really heavy stuff.  There isn’t much I can do but care, and oh, how I care!  Having been to the bottom and having pulled myself part of the way up, I relate to how hard things can be.  This Shit Ain’t For Pussies, but I’m with you.  I care.  I’m here.

ILY

Every single morning, when I walk out of my bedroom, I am greeted before I even make it to the bathroom by love.  Zeus, the puppy, stands up on his hind legs, puts his paws on my shoulders, and hugs me.  That’s 89 lbs of puppy love.  At least he has learned to jump higher than my bladder.  A few minutes later (after I’ve taken care of pressing matters,) my oldest child puts a cup of coffee into my hand (coffee that he doesn’t drink, but makes for me every single day,)  and kisses my forehead.  He’s taller than me now, and it’s funny how the role has been reversed.  “Good morning, Mom!  How were your sleeps? (a throwback to our conversations when he was a tiny one.) Did you have good dreams?”  I ask him what he has been reading that morning and tell him what our plan for the day is.  A little while later, the youngest comes out.  He sleeps a lot these days – growing so fast is tiring work.  Some days I’m lucky – some days he will still curl on my lap for a snuggle.  Other days, he kisses my cheek and stumbles, bleary eyed, into the kitchen to get his own breakfast.  He’ll usually bring me a glass of juice.  We talk a bit as they eat and eat and eat (teenagers!) About the time I pour my 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee, I either send or receive a “Good Morning” text to or from a person who fills many of my thoughts.  The last text of the day and the first text of the morning is usually interacting with this person and it’s a heartwarming feeling.

I go about my day, working on the kids homeschooling projects, making meals, making plans, making the most out of every minute.  I look at the calendar and see who is coming into town, which concert is next, what article is due.  Emails, Facebook, Instagram, each one filled with something that makes me smile.  Dog kisses, fresh warm laundry, the perfect cup of chai tea, lunch with a friend, memories flashing like shooting stars, music so raw and so pure it makes me have to remember to breathe.  Old friends and new friends texting, calling, checking in or asking me if I want or need to check out for awhile with them.  Asking “how are you?” and really meaning it and knowing that the people who ask me the same really mean it, too.  Impromptu dance parties with my littles who are far from little anymore.

I cannot count the number of times a day I say or I hear “I love you.”

When it all boils down to it, those are the only letters of the alphabet that matter.

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Hangover

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We’ve all been there at one point in time or another.  Waking up and peeling your eyelids open and wondering at what point during the previous night did you eat a cat.  The light hurts, your stomach spins, and you pray to whatever you believe in that, if you could just hold onto the bed long enough to keep the world from spinning, you’ll never ever have another night like the one before. Until you do.

We often think of hangovers just in terms of alcohol consumption, but the reality is that we more often that not have hangovers that have nothing at all to do with booze.  We have mental hangovers, emotional hangovers, anxiety hangovers, trauma hangovers.  Those hangovers, believe me, are just as much of a bitch as the happy juice kind, maybe even more so because alka seltzer, a nap, and a greasy cheeseburger don’t do a damn thing to help them.

They say “hair of the dog” is what will cure you when you’ve had too much booze.  You know, the whole concept of “what got you in will get you out.”  Not so with the other kinds of hangovers.  While we might do things that feel or sound good or appropriate at the time, eventually the moment of reckoning comes and all we’re left with is doubt, guilt, shame, anger, anxiety, fear, or any combination of those.  In those circumstances, doing what got you there most certainly will NOT get you out, it will only get you in deeper.  It can be a horrible cycle of trying to explain things and that only makes things worse.  Kind of like when someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying, it does no good to clear up the situation by simply repeating yourself over and over again or, my personal favorite, saying the same things LOUDER.

For years, I have taught “hangover yoga” the day after traditional days of celebration: New Year’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, Homecoming, Halloween, etc.  Those classes were centered around asana that would cleanse the body of toxins, lots of twists, pranayama, forward folds, gentle inversions.  About 6 weeks ago, I realized that we all need to detox from our emotional and mental hangovers as well.  We need to learn to stop beating ourselves up over and over again.  We need to let go of the shame or anger we feel for ourselves or for others.  We need to let go of the poison.  We need, in other words, to get the toxic shit out of us so that we can forgive and move on.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but forgiving myself is the hardest thing in the world to do.  I often do things in the heat of the moment that cause me to feel shame or regret the next day or next week or next whatever.  It sucks.  It REALLY sucks and I have long moments of absolutely hating myself for it, but you know what?  We all do that.  We all do that because we are human.

1378623_10153428801170192_1386442562_nOddly, it’s not the original act that hurts us the most, it’s the squirrel cage circular thinking that does the most damage. There is a basic tenet of yoga called Ahimsa which essential means Do No Harm.  Listen, like I said, we’re human.  We’re going to fuck up.  The sooner we accept that, the better we’ll all be.  BUT here’s the thing, we don’t have to keep harming ourselves over our fuck ups.  We don’t have to make the situation worse on ourselves by reliving our mistakes over and over again.  We don’t need to keep beating ourselves up.  If we keep ourselves filled with shame, there is no room for acceptance.  And if there is no room for acceptance, there is no room for love.  We have to learn to let it go.  We might never ever be able to remedy what we have done.  Somethings just can’t be fixed, sadly, but we can keep the experience from hurting more than it already does.  Sadly, there is no AA for emotional / mental hangovers.  They are going to happen.  We have no choice over that matter.  What we DO have control over, however, is how we deal with them.  Feel the pain.  Feel the shame.  Feel the embarrassment or anger or anxiety or whatever it is, because if you don’t feel it, it will come back to haunt you.  Feel it, and then step away.  Ahimsa – don’t pour salt on the wound. Salt is for margaritas.

Are You Talking to Me? Obviously Not.

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I have debated writing about this for several days.  I have tried to gradually move this blog back into more of a yoga / mindfulness blog and less of a grief processing blog, but as I stated in my first Brian post, I just can’t separate the two.  Ultimately, this is a blog about my life and how I see it and what I learn from it.  Lotta strands in old Duder’s head. – and they are all tangled together.

While I wouldn’t say that this past week has been the hardest of my life (not by a long shot,) I can with certainty say that it was a fucking nightmare created entirely from the twisted minds of other people.  Yes, I know, I should be able to stop this post and my squirrel cage thinking with that sentence.  NOT MY DOING.  The end.  Easier said than done. While I have espoused for years the mantra of “what other people think of me is none of my business,” and I believe it, the fact of the matter is that when people take actions based upon their erroneous beliefs, the results can be devastating.

While my kids and I came out smelling like roses, there were about 36 hours of complete and utter terror in my house last week.  No one needs that in their lives, but it was especially traumatizing to us since we are all still trying to recover from the trauma of Brian’s death.  I won’t get into the specifics about it because to lend power to the events would be to lend  power to the instigators, but the details don’t matter so much to the lesson.  I will say this – one of the most painful parts of the whole thing is knowing that this egregious assault on character and lifestyle came from people who could have and most certainly should have spoken to me first, rather than making asinine, unfounded assumptions and acting out of misconstrued truths.

At any given point, the instigators of this horrible week could have spoken to me about their concerns, asked questions, voiced their opinions (not that their opinion would have swayed me one iota,) and asked for clarity and / or more information.  These people chose not to do that.  They chose instead to gossip amongst each other, gathering hearsay data and mixing it with their own judgements, and jump to ghastly inaccurate conclusions.  The result?  My children and I were hurt and traumatized and have taken the actions necessary to prevent ourselves from further injury.  The result for them?  They don’t get to be a part of our lives.  Honestly, I think we got the better end of the deal.  When someone shows you who they truly are, believe them.

Satya and Ahimsa.  Speak the truth and do no harm.  We need to talk to one another instead of talking about one another.  In this situation, everyone hurts.  Had there been open and honest communication, we could have all been saved some pain.  Sadly, the other parties involved chose to hide behind other people and sneak around like thieves in the night to fulfill their agenda.  I won’t lie – there were days when I wanted to lash out and retaliate against these people for the agony they caused and the fearful distrust they have created in me and my children.  I’m human.  I wanted them to hurt as badly as they hurt me, I wanted them to feel the slap of betrayal as clearly as we have.  I wanted them to suffer, but (gratefully) I have learned to give things time and space so that I can act instead of react.  As I write this, my feelings at this moment are those of pity for them (and, admittedly, righteous indignation,)  but also pride in myself and my children, in our ability to see through the fog, in our ability to stop playing the dreaded “Telephone Game” of our youth and go straight to the source, and in our ability to make the choices that are best for us and the lives we want to lead.

Talk to each other.  Speak the truth.  Do no harm.

It’s really that easy.

Every Teacher is a Student, Every Student is a Teacher – Except When They Aren’t.

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Yeah. Not a teacher.

It happened again this morning.  I was drinking my coffee and browsing my Facebook and Twitter feeds and the news and blogs and all kinds of stuff and generally checking in with the online world and I came across someone saying that they are a “Yoga Teacher” now.

Of course they are.

A few minutes later, I was talking to a good friend of mine.  She mentioned that she had been invited to go to a yoga class in a nearby town.  When I asked if I knew the teacher, she said that nope, I didn’t and no one else did, either, because this person had had absolutely zero training.

Of course they didn’t.

I saw the newest lineup of “yoga” classes at a local gym.  I also looked at the lineup of “yoga teachers.”  Zero real yoga, zero real yoga teachers, and tons of blind yoga students being led by untrained teachers.

Of course.

Hear that? That is the sound of shoulders and knees going out, of hamstrings tearing, and of Ahimsa being ripped to shreds.

Now, look, I never once claimed that everything I write will be kind.  I also never claimed that I gave a hoot or a holler if anyone agrees with me.  What I have claimed is that I will write the truth as I see it, so put on your big girl yoga panties and get ready for a hearty slice of Satya.

Not every person claiming to be a “Yoga Teacher” is a Yoga Teacher.  I’m astounded and shocked at what people are accepting as adequate training before being allowed to teach yoga.  A weekend training does not a yoga teacher make.  A memorized DVD does not a yoga teacher make.  Not even years of practice does not a teacher make. And, if I’m going to be completely honest (why shouldn’t I?) not even all 200hr Yoga Teachers are Yoga Teachers.  I’ll wait here as you get on your soapbox and get defensive and start huffing and puffing.  Breathe, folks.  Hear me out.

Most of the gyms around here and even (mindbogglingly) a studio or two in this area require absurdly small amounts of training before “yoga teachers” are allowed to teach.  We’re talking maybe MAYBE 20 hours.  In these trainings, these students are told NOT TO TOUCH anyone.  They are told nothing about alignment, nothing about modifications, nothing about anything, really.  It’s insane.  It’s harmful.  It’s like sending your newborn to some dude in a garage for pediatric services because that dude once took a mandatory health class in Junior High School.  Know how I know this?  Because I did it.  I took that training.  I started teaching with that little amount of training and even then, even before I knew that I wanted this to be my life path, I knew it was a total joke.  Still, I taught with that small training and I nearly lost my job because I knew due to my own personal research and study that folks were busting their knees and shoulders and necks and so, in order to prevent injury, I touched them.  You BET I touched them.  I moved knees and heads and arms and feet.  I was willing to lose my job in order to keep others from losing their safety.  I regret nothing.  Clearly, I eventually left that location and into a real yoga studio and took the leap and got my 200hr certification and training.

Guess what I learned after 200 hours of training, 200 hours of teaching, over 30 books read, and more than 16 years of practice?  I learned that I barely know anything.  Far cry from those folks who have 20 or 30 hours of training, one book read, 3 dvds watched, and a spotless yoga mat and think they know it all!

Let me stop right here and say this: EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE.  I know this.  I started there, too, remember? But it’s a starting place.  Just a starting place.  If you think you’re going to get a decent yoga teacher training studying a program that is designed to be taught in a gym, well, please stay in the gym and think really hard about what you’re doing.  You’re teaching Asana.  Asana is the smallest part of yoga.  It’s actually the least significant part of yoga.  If you want to stay with that, fine.  But don’t tell me or anyone else you’re teaching yoga because you are not. If you want to teach yoga, use that training as a springboard to get you into classes with a highly trained and certified YOGA teacher.  Be an apprentice.  Shadow.  Learn.  Take notes.  And then, for goodness sake, get some real training at a highly qualified yoga school.

Even that can be tricky, though.  What is a good school?  Folks will point to Yoga Alliance and, while it’s something, it’s not foolproof.  YA is not certification.  It’s registration.  There’s a difference.  I am certified through White Lotus Foundation, but I didn’t pay the fee to register with Yoga Alliance because it really means next to nothing.  Yes, you have to be certified by a Yoga Alliance accredited Yoga Teacher Training school, but dear lord, look at who they accredit!  They accredit folks who really really don’t have much training in areas that matter themselves, much less have any business training other people to be teachers.  Perfect example: one of my dear friends and former / sometimes current students recently completed her 200hr YTT at a yoga school that I thought would be perfect.  It’s not too far from here, I have (limited) experience with the yoga teacher trainer, I thought it would be perfect for her.  Yes, it’s true she learned more than most do about the Yamas and Niyamas and the other limbs of yoga Patanjali mentioned, she learned next to nothing at all about:

  • Modifications
  • Adjustments
  • Alignment
  • Contraindications

She kind of left wondering what the hell she spent all that time and money on.  I wondered the same thing myself.  I mean, if you aren’t taught how to modify, how to adjust, even the very basics of alignment, you haven’t been taught to teach.  My friend is a very studious person, however, and she’s taken notes on every class she has taken, has read way more than what was required of her, and knows that she still has much to learn, so her training has served her well in that it taught her that there is so much more to learn! Reminds me a bit of me (and everyone else who truly wants to learn the path of yoga), that girl.

So what do you do?  Start with Yoga Alliance.  It’s a good place to start and will at least weed out schools you really don’t even

Vitarka Mudra: the mudra of the teacher. Every teacher is a student, every student is a teacher. Sort of.

want to look at.  You ask around.  You ask for references.  You check and double check credentials.  You look at syllabi.  You research.  If you want to be a teacher, get fully trained.  Do not settle for a place that doesn’t require 200hours before unleashing you to teach.  Do not settle for a place that doesn’t teach alignment, adjustments, assists, modifications, contraindications, anatomy, history, philosophy.  Look, I know that there are some excellent teachers out there who have been teaching long before Yoga Alliance and there are loads of folks out there who are excellent teachers out there who are not accredited.  I’m not here to say that you have to have all of that to be a good teacher, but those people have been teaching AND studying forever.  They know that you don’t stop learning. They know that you have to keep learning.  And I’ll tell you this – they know that the more they know the more they have to learn. I also know that, if you ask them, they’ll tell you to get a high quality education, that there are no shortcuts, that a mat in the front of the room doesn’t make you a teacher.

They’ll also tell you that if this is what you believe in, if this is what you love, if this is the path you feel has been chosen for you, then do not let anything stand in your way.  If you feel drawn to this, as though you were born for it, follow it.  Go after it.  Do what you need to do to be the very best at it you can be.  Do not stop.  Do not give up.  Do not see obstacles.  Dive in, swim deep, and be.  They will tell you that the world needs you.  They will tell you all of these things — and I couldn’t agree with them more.

Yoga is a sacred journey.  It is a path, a lifestyle, a way of being.  It is not something you do, it is someone you are.  Don’t cheat your students or yourself out of all the incredible gifts that a thorough, consistent, dedicated, all encompassing education can bring.  Don’t be in such a rush to call yourself a yoga teacher that you forget that you must first – and always – be a yoga student and all that entails.

Love and light from your ever-opinionated, constantly learning, 200hrCYT, highly flawed, rebel yogini.

Namaste

#365yoga Day 117: The King and I

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I woke really early today.  Before I had a cup of coffee and before the sun was fully up, I was already on the computer answering emails and sending others in regards to the new studio.  There is so much more involved to opening a studio than I ever imagined and I only know a tiny portion of it.  Emails about my son’s birthday party today started rolling in, folks requesting to guest post here arrived in my inbox (folks, I appreciate the offer, but I recruit guests posts when I want them,) and my kids needed breakfast and my vehicle had to go to the shop and …. it was a crazy busy morning.  I was feeling a little dizzy and I still hadn’t even gotten dressed.

Wondering how I was going to do it all without going insane, my youngest son ran out to get the mail.  He came in laden with packages for me! The Shining Shakti pants I ordered arrived and I got a little birthday-love package from my darling Flying Yogini. The pants are beyond incredible – get yourself a pair post haste. I put them on and felt groovy and centered and happy and alive.  I opened the package from Nancy and got all misty-eyed.  Nancy is just incredible and I’m so honored to be her friend – she really gets people and she really gets “it.”  Inside my package was a beautiful journal, a large bar of dark chocolate, and The Essential Rumi.  See what I’m saying?  I don’t call her “Awesomesauce Alder” for nothing. 😉

I sat down a bit ago and flipped through the book.  I came across this immediately:

There is a joy, a winelike freedom

that dissolves the mind and restores

the spirit, and there is a manly fortitude

like the king’s, a reasonableness

that accepts the bewildered lostness.

But meditate now on steadfastness

and clarity, and let those be the wings

that lift and soar through the celestial spheres.

I don’t know how everything is going to get done.  I don’t know where we’re all going.  I don’t know the exact steps to take to prevent getting lost or bewildered.  I do know, however, that if I keep going, if I keep my eyes and ears and heart open, it will work out, the path will be clear and steadfast and true.  I know that I will soar – maybe with a little help from the cape of a king. 😉 

Namaste

#365yoga Day 90: The Wheel

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At 11:27 am CST, I locked the door to 300 Saint James Street for the last time.  I had just finished teaching my last yoga class at our temporary studio and it was a lovely class filled with committed yoga students and beautiful energy.  I got into my car and had to sit there for a little while and reflect.  

It was about 2 years ago that I decided to become a yoga teacher.  2 short years.  It’s something I always thought about, of course.  I wanted to do it for a long time, but certain things (read: feeling like I didn’t deserve to do it, wasn’t worth it, etc.) kept me from pushing through and doing it.  I’ll never forget the moments that got me to the other side of that: several yoga teachers at the gym I attended kept asking me to “finally get” my “yoga training in so” I “could sub already, dammit!”

What can I say, they were persuasive.

20 months ago, I did what I could with what I had (very tiny budget and very little time,) and took a very little basic yoga teacher training.  Within 3 days I was able to teach at my gym.  And teach I did!  It was only a few weeks later that I had my own regular class and was subbing frequently in multiple locations all over town.  My goodness, when I think back on some of those classes, well, let’s just say that most yoga students are benevolent, patient, good humored folk!  I kept teaching, though, and I kept learning and growing and asking questions.  I kept searching and trying and trusting in the process.  Yoga Sol was born and I moved my mat from the gym to a studio.

Yoga Sol lived at that studio for 14 months.  My classes grew from one student (or, at times, none) to wall to wall mats.  I met amazing people and felt amazing energy and got to witness the transformation that comes when you commit to a regular yoga practice both in my students and in myself.  I met mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, artists and actors, poets and photographers, teachers and students, and Michael Franti and his gang.

The wheel keeps on rolling down the road, for sure!

Somewhere along that road, I realized that I DO deserve to follow my bliss, I DO deserve to have a bright future, I DO deserve a real and proper training, so in October I packed up my bags and headed out west to The White Lotus Foundation.  For many of you, this might not seem like a big deal. For me and my family, however, it was revolutionary.  I left my homeschooled children and husband (who works in an industry that is fueled by college sports,) alone for 16 days during the 3 busiest weekends of the year: homecoming and games against the 2 top rivals.  Used to be that I wouldn’t even think about scheduling lunch during those weekends, much less a trip across the country!  Yoga transforms, eh?

I sent in my final paperwork for my 200RYT last Saturday.  I DID IT!

Today I locked the door at the temporary location of Yoga Sol.  I taught the last class there and I will be teaching the first class at the new location, 210 Saint James Street, which just happens to fall on my 35th birthday.  I think it’s highly significant.  I feel it’s a rebirth, of sorts.  I will be opening the studio not just as a teacher, but as the manager, working very closely with one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, my mentor, friend, and Yoga Sol owner, Polly.  What started out as just the two of  us in a dance studio has now grown into the first indoor / outdoor yoga studio in Mid-MO, if not the entire state of Missouri.  We have a teaching staff of  8 other teachers on board now as well as our own classes filled with students who have followed us both through the trenches and into the light.

And the wheel is still rolling!

Yoga is very much like a wheel.  The more momentum it has, the further it goes, and will usually take you further than you could ever imagine if you just let it go.  I cannot wait to see where this leads, but I’ll tell you this – I hope I never stop the wheel from turning.  I will watch it with amazement and awe and joy because it is bound to be an awesome ride.

GUEST POST -Meet Melissa!

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A couple of days ago, I asked Yoga Sol’s newest teacher, Melissa Menard, if she would like to do a guest post here at Sarahsana to introduce herself to the community,  What follows are her words.  Love and Light, S…

First, since this is what is busting out of me at the moment:  I am so pleased to be able to introduce myself to a new population of yoga lovers!!  I really am… I’ve been giddy for months now, and it only gets amplified every time I meet another Yoga Sol student!  There’s
something lovely about people who practice, isn’t there?  Once I recognized it, I even see it in people out and about, living their lives off the mat; it’s in their eyes, their gait, their patience and compassion… and tucking myself in to a whole community of fellow explorers on the
journey just invigorates me to my toes!

If I may introduce myself, I am Melissa Menard, and I have recently joined the lovely and passionate women, Polly and Sarah, as a teacher serving the vibrant community at Yoga Sol.  Yoga is something I’ve studied as a philosophy and practice since 1998, and have been
teaching to students of every age and ilk since 2002.  I have always been of the philosophical sort.  Growing up in the wide open middle of the Nebraska prairie, philosophy and introspection were the best scenery to be had apart from the sky, and a girl can’t lie in the grass forever!  And, also having grown up dancing, the language of the body as a
teacher was something that made sense to me instantly.

The two major influences on me as a child were church which, for me, was still the healthy and nurturing kind of church that centered around scripture and lives well-lived, and dance.  Dance was introduced to me as a way of fixing my flat feet and swayed back, so these two disciplines were both, in my mind, approaches to whole-being wellness.  So, when I found yoga in college, in the life and body of this beautiful, 70-year-old dancer who moved like a young woman and lived like a playful sage, it was this perfect complement to the mental and physical landscapes of my childhood.  Mantra and motion, philosophy and practice, compassion and exertion, blended in a way that perfectly married my two loves!

As I’ve continued to explore the opulent hallways of yogic philosophy, it has been its ability to be a healing balm to every layer of a person’s being that has continued to captivate me.  We learn on the mat to meet our bodies with grace, forgiveness, acceptance and the determination to nurture our bodies to health with gentleness and respect.  And it is the effect that process has on our hearts that teaches us to extend the same grace and compassion to ourselves as emotional beings, as intellectual beings, as individuals in relationship with the world around us.  (It is also this process that teaches us to find bliss in the details, and maintain our bliss even in the midst of struggle, but that’s a conversation for another time!). Then, knowing how to live compassionately with ourselves, we find we have this personalized
template for how we can best extend compassion to the people who surround us.

And this, ladies and gentleman, is how yoga changes the world!  I believe that we are all lovers before we are anything else as humans.  We exist in close enough proximity to each other that everything we do makes ripples that touch someone else.  So, wherever there is a philosophy that teaches people to love better, to live gentler and more beautifully, and to be well and vibrant in our bodies, hearts and minds, I want to hear and share every last morsel of what it has to say!  I couldn’t be more excited to be embarking on the part of the journey that will find me at Yoga Sol!!  See you there!