Category Archives: yogini rebel

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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Featured Teacher

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I am so honored to have been chosen as a Featured Teacher on the wonderful website Teacher Goes Back To School. (Click the link to read the interview.)  If you’ve ever wondered how this wild rebel got into the Yoga game, or what my classes are really like, this is the interview to read.  Thank you to Tami Hackbarth for giving me the forum to speak my truth.  Much love to you, sister and, if I may say so, word to YOUR mother!

Pura Vida: Living the Life of Brian

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Brian and I just got back from Costa Rica.  It was the first time he left the country since he went to Canada on a fishing trip in 1999 and only the second time to have left the country at all.  Somehow I always thought traveling the world together would look different.  Somehow I thought he’d be alive when he landed in a new land.  IMG_7263

The trip to Costa Rica was a gift from a very dear friend who also happens to be a student of mine.  It was planned, booked, and paid for long before Brian died.  It was very difficult for me to go, but some part of me knew it would be a crucial step in healing for me and I knew that Brian would be furious with me if I skipped it.

This post could be incredibly long if I let it get there, but I am still processing.  There are things to which I still cannot put words.  The yoga was so deep and powerful, both on and off the mat.  If you have the chance, please please please study with Silvia Mordini.  If you have the chance, please please please take a trip with Alchemy Tours.  If you have the chance, please please please say YES!

I wear Brian’s ashes in a necklace.  It is beautiful and elegant and made from sterling silver.  I had planned to take it off when I swam in the ocean or did other things because the idea of losing it is traumatic.  I know that’s irrational.  I have pounds of his ashes and the necklace can be replaced and, if it fell off and spilled the ashes, it’s likely that would be Brian making that choice to stay there.  Still, the idea of losing it… well, I’ve already lost so much.

IMG_7233The 2nd day in the jungle, our group took at 3.5 hour hike through the river to a couple of waterfalls.  It was beautiful.  It reminded me SO much of the countless days I spent with Brian hiking through creeks and the woods.  Interestingly enough, rivers and creeks in CR look almost identical to the rivers and creeks in MO, only the trees on the banks are different.  We came upon the first waterfall and there was a gorgeous swimming hole at the bottom.  I swam across it and joined the group of people who were lining up at the top of the waterfall. They started diving into the pool.  This terrified me.  Lately everything terrifies me.  While the jump was probably 10 or 12 feet, from above it looked like 25.  When diving off a cliff (indulge me here,) you not only jump down, you have to jump OUT to clear the rocks at the bottom.  I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did!  I jumped and I survived and I laughed!  I swam to the other side and sat there breathing.  I put my hand on my chest to feel my heart and realized that I still had the necklace on.  Brian had jumped with me!   In that moment, I became a aware of a few things: 1) that necklace is very well made. 2) I am not afraid of dying – dying actually seems pretty okay most days, but I am afraid to LIVE! and 3) I had just crossed an item off Brian’s Bucket List.  So I jumped off a few more times for good measure and then we hiked on to another, bigger waterfall.  No real swimming there, but the view was amazing!  On the way back, our guide was looking for our exit from the river back to The Sanctuary.  I had been down there the day before and had noticed some very interesting plant growth at the mouth of the trail.  It seriously was the only marker, but I remembered it and ended up being the one to find the path back.  I used the skills Brian taught me.  He was there in that moment.

Over the next week, I continued to cross Bucket List items off for both me and Brian.  Swimming in the ocean, snorkeling IMG_7275Tortuga Island, talking to the wild monkeys, writing his name on the beach, diving through large waves in the ocean, zip lining through the jungle canopy.  And for me, I achieved my aspirational yoga pose.  Breakthroughs, each and every one, and he was with me the entire time.  It got me to thinking that this whole saying YES thing and crossing off items from the list and living doesn’t have to stop at the jungle.  It must not stop at the jungle. I must continue to do these things at home and everywhere I go.  I have to say YES.  I have to live.  I have to because the difference between living and existing is enormous and he’d want me to live just like I want him to live on.  We’ll do it together, this saying YES thing.  We’ll cross off list item after list item until we’ve done it all.

Next up?  Riding a mechanical bull.

YES.

Pura Vida, Brian.  Pura Vida!

 

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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

Bandhas and Badasses: @TylerMahanCoe, the “Crown Prince of Country Music,” Talks Yoga

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Before we get started here, let me state right up front: I know the alignment is screwed up.  Ironic on a yoga blog, right?  I don’t know how this happened or how to fix it, but believe me, I tried and … yeah, I ranted about that on Twitter, too. Moving on.
I have had quite the week.  I randomly ended up on the river last Sunday dancing to some bluegrass.  A few days later, I got all up on my soapbox about Savasana, then I tricked my family into eating vegan fare, and it all came to a head when I started shooting the shit with Tyler Coe on Twitter.   I have spent more time in the last 10 days laughing and shaking my head than I have in the last 10 weeks combined.  When randomness rains, it pours.
When Tyler Coe brought up the idea of an interview, I was a bit perplexed.  I didn’t know much about Tyler at all and, even after Googling him, he was still very much an enigma.  Mostly he’s known for being David Allan Coe’s son and playing guitar with him, but I didn’t this interview to be about DAC or music because, well, that’s not what he wanted to talk about and it’s not exactly what this blog is about, either.  Finally, when you mention DAC to anyone, you’re likely to get one of three reactions: 1. Never heard of him, 2. That racist asshole?, or 3: I LOVE DAC.  It’s the 2nd answer that convinced me to do the interview.  Since this interview is not about DAC, I won’t go into it all, but suffice it to say that he has been misunderstood or at least misrepresented (even if he did some of the representing himself -we’re human and we make mistakes, you know?)  Anyway, part of what I try to show on this blog is that Yoga is for everyone and it is often misunderstood, as are the people who practice yoga.  To that end, this seemed like a great opportunity to again address that issue.
Over the course of several days, I interviewed Tyler via email.  I had hoped that he would be as colorful and unpredictable as his father and he didn’t disappoint.  I nearly didn’t do this interview, but I am so glad I did!  It was entertaining, educational, and enlightening, to say the least.
I’m sure many of you know who David Allan Coe is, but I promise that even if you don’t know DAC, you know his words.  DAC is one of the most impressive and evocative songwriters in history.  He was one of the original outlaws, spent 20 years in prison, lived in a cave, and still lives at the height of controversy (Google him.)  DAC is still touring, singing songs like The Ride  (embedding is disabled for that song, but watch it.  He’s wearing red Converse which, as you know, I have a soft spot for,) You Never Even Called Me by My Name (again, no embedding,) Tennessee Whiskey, and Longhaired Redneck, amongst many, many others.
Tyler Coe, b. 1984, is Coe’s oldest son.  Tyler started going on the road when he was 2 years old and first sang with his father on stage when he was 4 (see below.)  Tyler grew into a musician of his own right.  He taught himself to play guitar after a few official lessons left him cold.  Tyler has been touring with his father as a lead guitarist for several years now.  If you search YouTube, you’ll find a few videos, but even Tyler admits that the quality isn’t that great on any of them.  That said, they are worth checking out because, off to the side, you’ll see a tall, thin, red-headed long haired guy (the tresses were recently shorn, I assume) doing some magical things with a guitar.  You can find him on Twitter and roaming around Springfield, MO, thinking unique thoughts and stirring the pot.  No wonder I liked him immediately.  What follows is our conversation, and his responses are word for word directly from his mouth (um, keyboard – twas email, remember?)   Any emphasis in his answers (represented in bold) is mine.  And again, yes, I know the alignment makes all us yogis want to poke our eyes out.  If it bothers you that badly, just call me and I’ll read it to you.
I’m totally lying.  I won’t do that.
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Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.  I was a little surprised at first: people don’t usually approach me to interview them, usually it’s the other way around, BUT I think this is excellent.  I’m passionate about showing the public that Yogis come in all shapes, sizes, persuasions, political parties, religions (or completely absent of religion,) etc.  I think many people are put off by the idea of yoga because they believe that they have to be all dressed in white and chaste and sober and “pure” and chant and the whole nine esoteric yards.  I personally think that there’s room in the yoga community for *everyone,* so the inclusion of your story will help make my point.
TC: Hold up… You don’t have to dress in white and not fuck people to do Yoga?! I don’t even…
Okay, it is a couple hours later. I have calmed myself.
You’ve described yourself as “The Prince of Country Music.”  Growing up the son of David Allan Coe and touring with him as a guitarist in your father’s band doesn’t sound like the typical path that would lead someone to yoga.  How  and when did yoga become a part of your life?
TC:  Crown prince of country music, actually. But that is a distinction to be discussed another time. Yoga. I remember doing “yoga” as a kid, honestly. I obviously didn’t “know” what I was doing back then but I think that’s a major selling point of yoga, that it is a natural tendency that the body has. But it seems to me that a lot of people, at least in America, have a bad habit of disregarding signals from their body. (Like, I don’t know about you but if I eat a #3 from Arby’s my body only takes about 15 minutes to be like, “Dude… Look at what you’re doing to us right now…” And that fucking place is still in business.) As far as a conscious and deliberate “practice” it was not until my early 20s that I began to try to work it into my daily life. Credit most likely should go to Aleister Crowley for that. There have been periods since then when I have neglected to do any yoga at all and that was both reflected in and a reflection of the state of my general well being. (Not good.) 
I love what you say about honoring what your body is saying and how it is our natural tendency to move intuitively.  Do you practice a particular style of yoga? (Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Jivamukti, Bikram, etc.)  If so, what do you like about that particular style?  Anything you don’t like?

TC:  Particular style of yoga. I’m gonna go with Hatha but let me go recheck what all those words you just said mean on Wikipedia.  

 
Later: Okay, some of that shit is ridiculous. I’ve never taken a yoga class or anything like that. I’ve read a lot of books on the subject. (Some of them were ridiculous.) My two favorites are one called Awakening Ecstatic Kundalini by “Yogani” and one called Acu-Yoga by I don’t remember who. I’ve pulled a few pranayama exercises from other sources but could not tell you from where. Here’s what I do: a very light loosening up with a few asanas, three breathing exercises (Sheetli, Bhastrika and Nari Sodhan) and so-called “meditation” to just feel the effects of everything and let it all flow. This is first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything. If I have enough time and energy I will then go ahead and do whatever exercise I have planned for the day. I do the same set of asanas, pranayama and sitting at night, followed by one of the four routines in the Acu-Yoga book, followed by my last meal of the day. Is this boring to read? It seems like it is.
Not boring.  At least not to me! Do you practice while on the road?  If so, what is the reaction of others in the band?  Do they practice with you?
TC: I practice on tour if I am able. If it’s a toss-up between yoga and getting enough sleep, I sleep. If I don’t have a private area, it ain’t happening. The guys in the crew know I do something with the blue mat I carry in to the hotel but I don’t think they know exactly what. It probably keeps them awake at night trying to figure it out. (Probably not.) Nobody practices yoga with me. It’s a very private thing for me. Without getting too weird here, for me “actual” yoga is about getting in touch with my god-parts (I just made that up.) and having another person around can screw with that in a lot of ways.
I make things up often, too.  Creative license, right?  How would you say yoga has – or has not – shaped your life?
TC:  Um, Octagonally. 
 You live in southern Missouri, yes?  We’re neighbors! How is the yoga scene where you live?  Any favorite studios?
TC: The yoga scene in Springfield, MO is not something I’m very familiar with. I do know that a lot of girls are into Hot Yoga here. I’ve never done that so I can’t really comment on it other than to mock it like any other thing I don’t understand. Like, I have an image of chicks just sweating all over the place and there being a few dudes there who are either really into body odor or really oblivious of their own body odor. I’m probably very wrong about this.
I taught hot yoga for quite a long time.  Not Bikram, mind you, but hot yoga.  I loved it, but you’re right in one aspect: you never forget that smell.
What’s your favorite Asana?  Least favorite?
TC:  My favorite asana is not an asana but a bandha I do in the middle of an asana routine. Uddiyana bandha. I would try to describe it but I don’t think I could do it justice. (A thousand orgasms?) Anyone who has never done it, check that shit out. Try to not pass out. I would have to say that my least favorite asana is paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) just because I am really tight in the hips and it is so uncomfortable for me. It’s like having to sit and write thank you cards for the socks your aunt gave you for Christmas. “Fuck this. I don’t care. Fuck this. I don’t care.”
Ah yes, the “fuck this” mantra. I usually repeat it over and over and over again in full Navasana. Kapalabhati Pranayama, Nadhi Shodhana and Shiva Prananyama are my fav for practice, but Sittali (same as Sheetli, some folks use the H, others don’t) and Sitkari are fun to do because they freak people out.
 I used to get a shocked reaction from people when they found out that I am a devout, committed yogi and yoga teacher (sometimes I still do,) because I don’t necessarily fit “the mold.”  I would assume that has happened to you, as well, because of your heritage and your job.  If it has, how do you handle it?  What do you say to them?
TC:  I have actually been asked if I do yoga by strangers after concerts (I don’t know why. It seemed weird at the time too.) and just flat out denied it because I didn’t want to talk about it to them, for various reasons, depending on the person. I’m not gonna try to explain to the dude in camo overalls drinking Hamm’s that he is god just like me. I don’t know. This question would probably be better asked of someone who isn’t me and thinks about me way too much.
I throw in random stuff on my blog all the time because there’s more to a yogi than their yoga.  To tie it into the other sort of stuff I have posted, I have a few more questions.
People ask me this question all the time and I tell them it’s like picking my favorite strand of hair, but give it a whirl and take a stab in the dark. What’s your favorite song?  
TC: I definitely do not have a favorite song. I’ve been listening to Pyramids’ self-titled album quite a bit. Also, Angels of Light’s We Are Him has been on my turntable a lot lately, in anticipation of Swans’ The Seer, which did arrive to my house the other day but I have not had an opportunity to listen to the whole thing. It’s long. 3xLP.
What’s your favorite food?
TC: Also, no favorite food. I’m not really a “favorite thing” kind of guy. I can tell you with no equivocation that the best meal I’ve eaten so far in my life was earlier this year at Kabuto, an edo-style sushiya in Las Vegas. I somehow managed to get a reservation for myself on short notice. You can order either a nigiri course or an omakase course. I had the omakase course and it was mind-blowing, life-altering. I did not know that food could have that effect on a person. I thought I had eaten good food before. Since that day Kabuto has been a recurring theme in 90% of my dreams at night. I can’t wait to go back.
There are a few YouTube videos of you and your dad.  Do you have a favorite?
TC: No favorite YouTube video. I’ve seen several and we are way too loud at our live shows for a camera phone to capture the sound accurately. The pro-shots from TNN when I was a little kid are funny. Everyone likes the “Daddy What If” one the best, I’m sure. I don’t watch it much because when my father starts crying it makes me cry. Not that this is a bad thing but I’ve usually got shit to do besides sitting around crying in front of my computer. Usually.
Close your eyes, Tyler.
I did a little research and found you have a few solo albums out there.  What can you say about them?  Any more in the works?
TC: I made one album. I can say that it was highly conceptual, wildly overambitious and I had no experience at all with the technical side of recording sound. With that being said, I don’t think there is anything else like it in the world and enough people whose musical opinions I respect have said things that let me know I’m not deluding myself in to thinking it’s better than it is. I’ve probably criticized it more than anyone else has, as a matter of fact. I’ve been “working” on a second album for quite some time, pretty much the entire time since the completion of the first, but I don’t think anything has been recorded that will actually be on the album yet. It might end up being a novella before it is an album, too. I’m not really sure. It solidifies more every day but it still has some growing to do before it takes material form. It probably won’t sound anything like the first album.
And because it’s always fun to stir the pot, what do you think about nude yoga?
TC: When I do yoga in loose clothing I trip myself up and it defeats the purpose. I can only imagine that doing yoga in the nude would be worse. The shorts I wear for yoga and exercise are ridiculously short and tight. I order them from China. You don’t wear underwear with them. They have a little jock strap pouch on the inside. That is what is comfortable to me, the support. I wear all of my clothing pretty tight. It just feels right.
 Anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your passions, your practice, your belief systems, or anything in general?  The floor is yours.

TC: I would like to share that everything is going to be FINE.

Yes, it is, Tyler.  Finer than a frog-hair split four ways.  Thanks for your time and, if you ever make it to Columbia, first drink and first class is on me.
 

Rebels, Yoga, and Twitter: Unlikely Mat Fellows

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I was futzing around on Twitter the other night, stirring the pot and being ornery because, well, because that’s what I do on Twitter at night, and I happened to see a tweet from Tyler Coe that made me laugh.  So, of course, I had to respond to it because, well, like I said, stirring the pot and being ornery is what I do.

Now, before you go getting all up in arms about me posting a screenshot of this conversation, let me state right here that neither Tyler nor I protect our tweets.  That means that anyone and everyone can read everything we say.  It’s a matter of public record, I guess.  Okay, now that that’s clear, moving on.

There are several things I find interesting about this little exchange:

  1. Did he just offer to interview me?  Or did he offer for me to interview him? (hint: I’m an idiot.)
  2. Yoga twice a day is pretty impressive – YAY!
  3. “If the “environment allows.”  What exactly does that mean?
  4. The fact that I’m discussing yoga with Tyler Coe.

That last one might throw you and I can see why.  I mean, I discuss yoga with everyone. EVERYONE.  Well, this time, I just happened to be discussing yoga with Tyler Coe, son of one of the original outlaw/ controversial / ass-kicking and name-taking / middle-finger-in-the-air country-rock legends of all time, David Allan Coe.  Tyler Coe also happens to be a rather impressive badass himself, having toured with his father his whole life.  He’s playing guitar in the David Allan Coe Band for the last 10 years.  To take that even further: Tyler Coe, who tours with his father, David Allan Coe, is a YOGI.  I won’t take the time to fully explain why this blows my mind, but let’s just say that DAC (and, by extension, his band) is not exactly who pops to mind when one thinks of yoga, one love, and Wanderlust. (If you want to know, Google “David Allan Coe” and you’ll be swimming in controversy by the time you can say “Redneck.”)  Come to think of it, though, neither is a thrice tattooed, whiskey loving, motorcycle riding, cowboy boot wearing, foul mouthed girl with a love of long haired dirty boys.  Touche’ .

So, of course I had to reply.

Clearly I was not yet awake enough to have my wits about me when I read his first reply to me the next morning.  Of course I’ll be interviewing him.  Why would he interview me? *face palm*  In all fairness to myself, I do have chronic insomnia and I hadn’t slept much last night and, well, let’s face it – I hadn’t even had my coffee yet.  Yeah …….

In any event, he didn’t hold my stupidness against me because, after a few direct messages on Twitter, we set up an interview.  Look for it to appear here in the next few days.

I find all of this incredibly exciting!  Reminds me a bit of when Michael Franti and I exchanged Twitter love notes.  It’s like I have a new patch on my Super Hero cape – and it’s covered in electric guitars, rhinestones, and beard beads. I cannot wait to find out how he came to yoga, what type he practices, and how it has helped (or hindered) his life on the road!

Yogis come in all shapes and sizes, folks. Judge not.  Keep your eyes and ears open; you just never know who is going to share a practice with you!

If you’re reading this, Tyler, thanks.  You’ll hear from me soon. 

Beards and Bikinis Part 2: Redneck Enlightenment is Contagious

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Earlier this summer, I wrote about the deal I made with my husband in order to get him to grow a beard.  I’m here to tell you that I wore that dang string bikini all summer.  Well, not exactly that one.  See, it turns out that I bought the wrong sized bottoms and it took me 3 tries to get it right.  Apparently, I was trying to wear bottoms that looked more like Depends underwear than a string bikini bottom (Don’t let that Lisa Rinna gal fool you – they are diapers, no matter how great your ass looks on the red carpet.)  If you read this blog often at all, you know I live with a serious case of body dysmorphia and have for all of my adult life.  I honestly have no idea what the hell I look like truthfully and so I am always buying and returning clothes because I never buy the correct size.  My husband calls it shopping bulemia.  Whatever. Anyway, when I finally got the right size, I ended up buying 3 different correctly fitting bikinis. I even started wearing shorts for the first time in years and years and years.  Yep, shorts.  SHORT shorts. With cowboy boots (always with the cowboy boots.)  I’ll not lie – I’m ready for the bikinis to be put away and out of the light of day until my next trip to Mexico in February, but that doesn’t mean that their influences will be hidden away as well.

See, this whole beards and bikinis thing has led to a revolution in my house and in my life.  It has given me (and my husband – more about that in a minute) permission to be ourselves.  REALLY be ourselves.  I cannot speak too much for him, but I have almost always struggled with just being me regardless of what other people think.  If you know me, that might be hard to believe, but it’s true.  It’s a daily battle that was born when I was very young, the child of a prominent minister and was, thus, forced to behave like a member of the Cleaver family when things were really closer to the Manson family at home.  Okay, Manson is a stretch, but it was not remotely good at home.  I have always put on a face, an act, because I always felt my truth was never good enough.

Part of the reason I got into yoga all those years ago was to combat this and it has helped more than you can ever imagine.  Through yoga, I have learned to accept myself the way that I am.  It took a long time to get rid of the shoulds and ought tos and competition and judgement and expectations on the mat, but when you’re upside down or twisted like a pretzel, there really is no room to pretend to be someone or something other than who you are.  I wish I could say that I have that mindset of totally acceptance every hour of every day, but I don’t.  I’m getting better at it, certainly, and my hours of acceptance are longer, but I can most definitely say that I don’t hear those harsh messages while I’m on my mat (probably explains why I’m on my mat all the time.)

That said, the influence of the deal has spread much further than my mat.  My husband has never ever done yoga.  It’s been a journey for me to stop riding his ass as if it had a saddle on it about starting a practice, but I’m proud to say that I have stopped beating that dead horse.  This little fact, however, hasn’t stopped the benefits of my practice from impacting him.  I was able to pull on that bikini because I have been able to roll out a mat.  He is going to grow that beard because I pulled on a bikini because I roll out a mat. And it goes further: my husband used to have really long hair but it’s been short for about 8 years now.  He decided that if he’s growing a beard because I pulled on a bikini because I roll out a mat, he’s going to give himself permission to grow his hair back out, too, and finally start getting the tattoos he’s always wanted.  And if my yoga practice brought this openness to both of us, he says he might check it out, too!   It’s a full circle, yo!  Yoga -> Bikini -> Shorts -> Beard -> Long Hair -> Tattoos -> Yoga.

It goes even further!  I am allowing myself to be myself and getting the joy out of seeing my husband give himself permission to be himself, and it is easier and easier to allow other people and other issues in my life be themselves.  That crazy habit someone I know has of repeating everything I say the second I say it?  Doesn’t drive me as apeshit as it once did.  The people in who continue to do things incorrectly because that’s the way they “were taught?” Well, it’s easier now for me to explain why what they were taught is wrong, but let them go on being wrong if they think they are right!  My dog, Hank, won’t eat his food unless he dumps it out of his dish and all over the floor.  Used to drive me insane, but now I let it go because who am I to say he doesn’t have a valid reason.  His food on the floor might very well be his string bikini!

It all starts with my yoga practice.  Breathing in, Breathing out, letting go, taking chances, and loving – or at least not fighting – the process.  They are all important steps on the path. Yours might not be a Redneck path to enlightenment, but you have a path.  What does it look like?  Where can you take the next step?  Enlightment – catch the fever!