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Saturday, December 15, 2012


As we observe and process the horrific school shooting that occurred yesterday, an enormous amount of emotion and grief is unleashed into the collective.
We feel overwhelmed with sadness and anger and our minds can quickly move into imagining that event occurring in our own lives; the anguish of receiving “that” phone call or being in that situation.

I would suggest that we try not to go there; with our minds or our emotions.  For whatever reason yesterday, you did not receive the call.  You were not at the school to witness the events.  You were not shot.  You were not the shooter.

You could indeed have been any one of those people.

And so how do we understand the why and the how of such things?  My understanding of karma helps me to see the cosmic dance in a different way, and it helps me.  To think – to believe – that this was a lesson that these souls chose to learn.  That their purpose in this existence was lived out either before or at this particular event.  Some souls complete their journey here after two minutes; some take two years; others, twenty or fifty or eighty; our concept of time and assumption that we are allotted an 70+ period of time here are very Earthly concepts.

Mourn not for the lost potential of those children and adults; direct your attention to sending light to those left behind.  When our loved ones move on/transition/die – however you perceive it – it is often ourselves that we cry for.  For the gaping hole in the fabric of our existence that once was this person and the relationship. 

My grandmother buried two children and would proffer the idea that Hell was indeed here on Earth.  Death is indeed the only guarantee upon birth; but there is much more pain when it is not in the natural order of things.

What to do?  How to find peace?

Turn off your television; stop reading through the scroll of photos from the internet.  Life is for the living, and we are all absolutely and completely connected; the repetition numbs us – do not become numb.

Spend time doing the things that matter to you with the people that matter to you.  Pour that emotionality into service.  If you have children, spend time with them and love them the best you can.

Volunteer at a local school to tutor or read to the children; if you take a moment to truly look around your community you will find so many children living with poverty, abuse, emotional and physical neglect that it will shock you – let it shock you into action.

Listen to the people around you; some are crying out for a shoulder to lean on; for someone to listen; our society has become so disconnected.  Many, MANY people are on medications to relieve their sadness and despair.  Until everyone feels that connection and knows that they are loved, respected and heard, this will continue.

Do whatever it is for yourself that keeps you in the light, and of the light.  And then, never hesitate to share that light with those around you.

To honor the dead, be one who is truly LIVING.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Richard Gartner is Coming to Roanoke!!

Super excited to tell you that Richard Gartner is traveling to Roanoke next weekend (Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27) to present three workshops at Uttara. 

I met Richard on one of his trips passing through Roanoke on his way to points South.  He had Googled around to find yoga studios to stop at on his travels (sign of a dedicated yogi).   Last year I attended six hours of workshops with him on a visit to Pittsburgh, and decided you guys REALLY needed to meet him.
And -- hey -- let me tell you – setting up workshops is . . . work.  Cancelling the regular classes; figuring out what people are interested in.  Lots of time and energy, both of which are precious.
When I first opened I offered a lot of workshops; I was just honored that people wanted to come to Uttara to present their work.  Now?  I’m picky.  Realllllllly picky.
Richard reminds me a lot of my asana (asana means yoga poses) teacher, Kim Schwartz, in that he is about precision, alignment, and working at deep, DEEEEEEP levels with the physical and energetic body.  Yet, there is a joy and a lightness; real openness and heart. 
You do NOT have to have a super-incredible flexible-noodle practice to come to these workshops.  Just be a seeker on the path.
What makes Richard super special is his way with words; his language is precise, yet accessible.  He radiates kindness and dedication.  He’s about adapting poses, not people.
I have studied with many teachers, and would count him among the best.
His classes in Pittsburgh were packed, and although I know you have never heard of him (yet), if you can you should try to make one of more of these workshops.  Read the descriptions; his languaging is really beautiful.  Come see.
Friday, October 26                                                  6:00 to 8:30 pm
Yin Yoga Primer -- Yin Yoga is revolutionary in its quiet stillness. As opposed to most styles of yoga, which deal with muscle flexibility and activity, Yin focuses on stimulating the “chi” in passive connective tissues, ligaments and cartilage.  A Yin yoga practice reverses the contractile effects of aging on the shoulders, spine and hips. Richard will present Yin Yoga theory as it relates to Yoga philosophy, meditation practice and your own anatomy.  He will then guide you through a quiet Yin practice that will target the lateral fascial lines of the body. We will conclude with breathing practices to assist in harvesting your awareness.  Fee $35 prepaid/$40 at the door.

Saturday, October 27                                                9:30 to Noon
Nurturing the Organic Body  -- The abdomen contains your life force: it is the center of digestion, filtration, immune function and elimination. Habitual tension can result in fascial restrictions around these organs and congest the circulatory and immune system channels. For those with third chakra excess or deficiency, the core may be either too rigid or too weak to give proper support to the upper chakras.

‘Nurturing the organic body’ focuses on understanding and releasing holding patterns in the torso, wringing out organs and stimulating flow and communication in the organic body. This approach involves the wise use of arms and legs—the organs of action—to maximize release in the torso—the organs of reception.  Please refrain from eating at least two hours before the session. Fee $35 prepaid/$40 at the door.

Saturday, October 27                                          2:00 to 4:30 pm

The Resolute Bow: Yoking Strength and Ease in the Back Body -- In many cultures, the bow is regarded as a show of respect or gratitude. It is also a means to draw one’s attention inward.  However, though the gesture is an act of softening, it involves stretching the strongest fascial lines in the body. Developing open hamstrings, calves and spine takes sthira (strength) and commitment.

Students will be guided through a sequence that safely and effectively improves their forward folds. Through discerning action in the legs and hips, this workshop also address sacral stability techniques.  Strong leg engagement helps us find our support, physically and emotionally. The English language has idioms that express this: "To dig one's heels in" and "land on your feet." It’s with this firm ground we can then find ease in our system.  Fee $35 prepaid/$40 at the door.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Giving . . . but mostly Receiving

New house; new home; new life; got back in early September from AMAZING trip to Scotland and France (really!!!); began the search and BOOM -- found the perfect place in the perfect location; just really, really, REALLY fast.

So, pulling it together quickly; less than two weeks from decision to HERE!  And, like many things flowing into my life right now, moving was a large lesson in accepting help. 

This is something that I am not so good at.  I am stubborn.  Stubbbbbbbbbornnnnn.  It has served me in some cases and in others, not so much. 

I can think of so many times in my life when someone said OR something seemed like a giant “NO, you cannot do that.”  And for most of my life I have squared my shoulders, set my gaze and thought.  “Oh YEAH?  Watch me.” 

Often it’s been up to me and only me to make the changes, to do the work.  Other times I have accepted help from people who took that indebtedness and threw it in my face, like a weakness.

So, for a very, very long time, I just made it work.  Just did it all.  Thought it made me noble to suffer and struggle.  Hmmmmm.
But man, this time, I had four days to pack up four lives and be settled enough to sleep there.  Not just my drama, my emotions -- three children dealing with school and friends and their parents divorcing.

Also needed to keep my full work schedule for the week. 

I needed help; and help flowed. 

Big love to everyone who brought me boxes and containers and bubblewrap – several of whom delivered it to my door (xoxo to Lori, Mary, Seth and Kristine).  Enormous love to my friend Pat who packed all the china, crystal and family heirlooms, as well as the junk from all four junk drawers.  To Olivia who helped me pack the entire kitchen in a morning as we both sorted through emotions of love and loss and letting go. 
Gratitude to Heather W. who came for the morning on moving day and kept me on track as my mind pingponged from task to task.  To my Beloved, who helped out so much I cannot even begin to make a list.  Love to Heather Q. for her continual and on-going support and help --  who has done a little of everything from entertain my children to moving boxes to bringing me lunch and dinner.  Huge love also to my office manager at Uttara, Kristine, who helps me here and there and -- everywhere
Love to my sister, who offered to drive the six-plus hours down here with her two children and squeeze in helping me to her already stressful life.
Thanks and love also to Arien and Martha, who offered over and over to help -- but really, I was okay!!  Though darlings, I still might need you near the end of this month to finish the clean out!
Big thanks to everyone who has wished me and my children well; who thought of us and sent us light. 
There is still stuff to unpack; and things to be organized.  But, there's good (no -- GREAT) news.

We’re home.


Thursday, September 13, 2012


So, you know – I am in the middle of a divorce.  And now, it is time for me and the children to move; to leave the house.

It’s really not terrible; a blessing in sooooooo many ways.  I cannot imagine getting this place ready to sell.  The painting and fixing and (sheeeesh) cleaning.

And I cannot afford to keep it or maintain it.

The kids will keep their rooms and the stability of their family home when they are with their Dad.

But now, I’ve gotta find a place; create a home; and say goodbye to the dream that was this marriage and this structure.

I really loved this house.  Well – actually, the outside is NOT attractive.  It has big, ridiculous columns on the front porch; so ostentatious and out of place (in my view) from the curb.  But the porch, actually, is quite cozy and lovely; and the view is stunning.  A huge front yard for the children to romp; an equally long driveway for cycling and scooters.  Many beautiful, large oak trees – and my favorite, Mother Oak, perched in the center of the front yard, protecting us.

It has four bedrooms; essential in my life.  My children get along beautifully . . . . except; when they don’t.  And then, they DON’T get along DRAMATICALLY. 

We all need our space in this family.

But the one thing I will miss the most, besides the dream of living happily-ever-after here, is my kitchen.  Yep – I can say that – MYYYYYY kitchen.  I picked everything in it; the tile, the floor, the cabinets, the appliances, the handles, the paint, the shelves.  The curve of the counter, the placement of the windows.  Myyyyyy kitchen.

Except, now it’s not.

I love to cook; to bake; to feed people.  And for all my life, I have wanted a nice kitchen.  You know, not Southern Living or Crate and Barrel nice – just super-functional nice.  A gas stove.  At least three feet of counter.  A functioning dishwasher.  These are really-super-awesome things to have.

And a couple years ago my dear friend and contractor, Josh Crawford who owns JC Construction, created the most amazing and beautiful and functional and fabulous kitchen ever.  Here’s a picture.  It is everything I ever wanted in a kitchen.

And now, it is time to say goodbye.  Goodbye to the idea of comfort and stability that was that relationship.  Goodbye to the comfort and stability of the place I have called home.  And goodbye to this room that nourished us and nourished me.

Goodbye beautiful house, beautiful home; I know that I will find refuge elsewhere and create more beauty and more love.  Dearest Goddess, allow my children -- and me -- to trust this process.



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Break the Cycle

“You accept the unacceptable.”

Mind resists; really?  Do I?

 Actually, YES; I do.

                “Uh, yes.”

“You wear shoes that don’t fit; you put up with things that are unreasonable; you allow people to treat you in ways that are not acceptable because you don’t want conflict.”

Mind resists; really?  Do I?

Actually, YES; I do.

               “Uh, yes.”

“You must stop; I want you to take a pot; take it out into the woods.  I want you to place the pot on the Earth and say ‘I will no longer accept the unacceptable; I break this cycle as I break this pot.’  And I want you to break the pot; then bury it in the Earth.  It is symbolic of your releasing this habit, this pattern.”

               “Uh, okay.”

This exchange occurred several years ago; I went to see an intuitive who was promoted as being a dream interpreter.  But, when I walked in the door, her vision and message was different for me.  She immediately brought up things that had happened to me that I thought were deep secrets; she saw and knew things that I barely knew with my mind, but yet knew with my heart.  Within five minutes I was sobbing and my mind was jumping everywhere.

I used to be REALLY attached to being in control (um, probably still am); I was completely blindsided.

It took months to reckon with the information.

She was sooooo right.  I always tell students, my personality is probably more Laborador Retriever than human; for years I’ve been out there, wagging my tail, thinking “like me . . . like me . . . pleeeeease like me.”

Now, that may not be your impression when you meet me; but there is a large sector of my soul that wants peace, harmony, love, kindness, balance – all that goodness – at ANY cost. 

I have paid a huge price to keep that illusion floating around me.

There are these karmic patterns called samskaras in yoga; they are emotional/mental/physical patterns.  Little grooves that wear their way into our soul – from this lifetime, or from past lifetimes.  Perhaps even from our families, or our society. 

A lot depends on how much individual vs. group karma you are dealing with.

So, one morning, in my meditation, I knew; it was time.  I selected a pot; something handed down from my family (sorry Mom!).  It was a small sugar bowl; beautiful, yes – but to me it represented pretense and outward appearance.  Lovely on the outside – but really, I am finally learning that it’s not the vessel, but the contents . . . . yes?

I hiked in, pretty far; my little voice told me where to stop.  I spoke it out loud. 

I smashed the pot, and I buried it. 

There is enormous power in ritual; we have sadly lost much of this in our culture.

But, truth is, the habit/pattern/samskara did not leave immediately.  It took time; I like to THINK that it is weaker; sometimes, it feels like it is gone for good.

Though I still have clothes and shoes that I hang onto even though they don’t fit or feel just right.

Guess maybe the more important question for me now is what relationships don’t feel or fit just right. 

What are the karmic patterns that I have observed in my life; in my family; in my culture?  In any group that I identify with, whether it is women or daughters or mothers or Americans or Christians or Yogis or whatever other label I’ve been prone to slap upon myself?

We all have a dharma; a duty; and part of it is this -- to learn our karmic proclivities; to identify what is helpful and what causes harm; and to work to soften any negativity.  To decide within ourselves that the pattern will NOT be brought forward.

As one of my teachers, Dasaji, has often said -- THIS KARMIC PATTERN STOPS WITH ME.

I am learning the patterns that I need to release; which pots still need to be broken and buried.

Which pots need to be broken and buried for you?



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Relationship and Risk

What is relationship? 
Is it ties that bind you together?  Shared experience?  Where you want/need/desire something from someone?  And, if you’re lucky, they want/need/desire the same things from you?

At the beginning, relationship seems to be an energetic connection; a vibration that either draws you together or pushes you apart.

Like magnets, they make you aware of the other, either that pushing towards you OR that pushing you away.

Guess it is always a vibrational thing.  But, you know – vibration changes.  Only takes a tiny strike to make the bell change sound . . . .

There are so many types of relationships. It feels sad to reach the age of 45 and realize that you . . . um . . . don’t know much at all.

Oh, I think I understand an unhealthy relationship.  (Sorta . . . maybe.)  I do know the loud alarms. 

Like when a person treats you different than other people in their life.  If they mistreat animals or children, RUN.

When everyone else in your life wonders WHY you are with this person.  Believe your friends and family; listen to those alarms.

When your lover is too quiet and says nothing when you bring up intense emotions (silence doesn’t equal depth – sometimes it means they are thinking “duhhhhh . . . .”). 

When you have only one or two avenues of connection and on everything else you drag up the old adage “opposites attract.” -- They repel, too, darlin.

My favorite relationship saying -- “Love the person, not their potential.”

I have loved many a lover/friend for who they COULD be.  I could see clearly the fabulous within them.  Could I help them see it?  Maybe I could just FIX them . . . .

OR not even fix them, just SHOW them.  Or provide the love that made them safe . . . . or provide the outer structures that helped them to be who they could be . . . .



Maybe that’s why I became a teacher?

Back to love relationships.

When you reach a certain stage, you have shed an amazing amount of baggage; you can feel so proud and accomplished for sorting out what you want and what you know you don’t want.

Trouble is, you’ve generally packed a few new bags on the way.

My big issue (oh, I have many -- but this week) is asking for help.  Making myself vulnerable.  Not “doing it all” even though I still have to “do it all” if this doesn’t work out. 

Brings me back to a huge piece of the Edgar Cayce readings; which is this – you must do your best, have a pure and loving heart – and TOTALLY let go of the results.

Sometimes, when you’re a manifestor First Class, that last part is more than you can take. 

Seriously – create and let go?  Desire and drop? 

Am I not in control here? 

(“ahem . . .  yes, . . . and no . . . is that clear?”)

You ARE in control; each thought you form shifts the Universe into action mode.  But, the driving force is your heart; are you desireless in nature?  Wanting the best for others (and for you too); are you too caught up in things going down a certain way?).

Therein lies the risk. 

Anytime you create something, there is a responsibility for your manifestation; you start a relationship, sorry honey – you gotta either sustain or destroy it.  That’s the game plan here, and you signed up for it.

Sustaining takes work.  Destroying takes work. 

Nobody ever said being conscious was a breeze.

Sometimes it feels easier to destroy.  A word, a phrase, and the shields go up. 

SCREW this; what am I working so hard for?  I can DO this alone.

And then sustaining creeps in.  Mostly, this relationship makes me so happy.   More joy than I can ever remember; can’t you just work through this?  Why throw it out and start over – because you don’t just go to the craft store and get more of this. 

This is magic; it cannot be re-created.  You’ve lived some life; you know this.

One thing I have discovered is that you have to talk until your heart stops hurting.  Dig until it's done.  And it has to be all at once; you sit together all night if that is what it takes. 

There’s no sleeping on it and creating more drama in your head.  There’s no “space” and all the assumed clarity that would bring.  You both DIG; excavate while the shovels are out and the soil is damp; keep going until there is an honest smile from each of you and a hug that feels like it matters.

My therapist taught me to do this.  When you’re talking and there’s a miscommunication (AND THERE ALWAYS IS), you stop; you look each other in the eye; and you say . . . “What did you hear me say?” 

This brings in the spotlight; no makeup, no special lighting, no touch-ups.  Raw open emotions. 

And (hopefully) true clarity.

I’m not saying it always works; I’m not saying it always heals; but I’m (hoping) it keeps the lines open.

Relationship is worth the risk.

“Two is as four against the World.” – Shri Shellyji



Saturday, June 30, 2012

Choose a Vibration

I am a Kriya yogi.  The lineage that speaks to me begins with Shri Babaji.  Some of the most important angels, guides and teachers in my life spring from this precious and ancient lineage.

So, let me tell you some truth.  My Seventh House (astrology term) has been getting a little messy.  Let me back up.  That means the area of my life that involves important relationship.  It involves lovers, marriage partners, business partners, open enemies, combatants, contestants. 
Interesting little mix, eh?
I placed my primary teacher in this house; could probably place him in a number of houses.  Second House of values?  Yes.  Fourth House of emotional home?  Yep, wedge him in that too.  Sixth House of service?  Sure.  Eighth House and the search for the mystical?  Of course!  Tenth House and the Father and Dharma.  Hmmmmm, yeah.  Twelfth House, hidden things.  Sure, stick that in there too.
Clearly, I am NOT clear on this.
Our relationship has been shifting; I am (relatively-sorta-kinda-maybe) understanding where I am with regards to things.  Maybe.
And I have been addressing this issue the exact same way that I have been addressing the mountain of laundry that has been sitting in my living room for a . . . let’s say a week.  (Generously; let’s say a week).
I cast it furtive glances when I come in the door; I occasionally move it to other rooms of the house; sometimes I grab a couple small things and deal with them; and when I begin to tackle it in earnest something always ALWAYS draws me away.
A little gasp of surprise always greets me when I realize that I have not yet dealt with it, and the occasional emergency makes me dig through it.

So, into this space, this information arrives.  Last week I am teaching my normal Saturday classes.  During the 9:30 am Hatha 2, I always begin by chanting the Kriya Invocation of Goodness.  It is a beautiful chant; lovely to see, lovely to hear, lovely to vibrate.  I have been hearing it ever since I began my yoga teacher training; through my Kriya training in various courses; it is the sustaining vibration that has always made me feel “plugged in” to the energy of my lineage.

Yogic lineage is like family . . . only, deeper.  We can acknowledge to each other the many lifetimes together; we can search back for just a feeling of being together and not actual memory.  Lineage has been my rock; coming to me in prayer; in meditation; in the dream state.  Saviors and spirit guides; energies that love me true and love me well.

It has also been real life, Earth plane friendship.  My sisters and brothers in spirit are like no other relationship. 
It is intense and beautiful and humbling and connecting and fills up a hole in my soul that ached for them without even knowing they could exist.
Oh – yes – back to my Saturday class.  I wrap up the class, and a student approaches.  She is a wonderful “new-ish” student to me; who lived all her life in India and only recently moved to our tiny town.  And yet, her first yoga classes were here, at Uttara in Roanoke, Virginia; it has always felt like a lesson and a gift to have her and her husband coming here. 
She hands me the chant sheet, and instructs me on the Sanskrit; it is “SarVEshaam, not SarveSHAAM” she instructs.  I am busy looking around the room to check on students post-class, to answer questions; distracted; I gather my thoughts because I know, this conversation matters. 

She continues to try to instruct my English-oriented brain to the true Sanskrit pronunciation.  I try to  None of it goes too well, and throughout the week I wish I could call her and try to explain my crazy mix of gratefulness and confusion.

In the following week I practice it her way.  Remembering instances where we have discussed in the lineage how to follow the vibration the group brings up together; even a mispronunciation, if it originates with the Guru, binds us together in that the vibration is the same.
Do I stay “home” and do it the way I now know is improper; do I leave “home” and try to shift the vibration back to the original intent?  I practice throughout the week, and, Goddess knows, it’s hard to change.
Today’s class; I announce the shift; I have to look at the chant sheet CHEAT sheet that I pass out in class, because with the simple shift in pronunciation, the words flee my brain.
It felt good; it felt right.
It wasn’t easy.
Tonight I listen to a beautiful CD that I have had for a while; it chants to “Sani” which is the planet Saturn; I was taught to say it “son-y” and on the CD it is pronounced “shan-y.”  Another lesson; another change.

Another opportunity to decide what is right for me.
Who DO I follow; who DO I trust?  And can I change mid-course?
I am a Kriya yogi.  The lineage that speaks to me begins with Shri Babaji.  Some of the most important angels guides and teachers in my life spring from this precious and ancient lineage.
I pray I am making wise choices. 
Prem (Divine love with NO opposite),

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vanishing Summer

Oh my goodness . . . where is it going?  
I know that I am getting older; that time seems to move faster as we get older. 
Except for the fact that I talk to my kids about it and they ALSO agree that time is flying.
Let me tell you; time did NOT fly when I was their tender age.  I will never forget the amazing sense of freedom walking out onto the little cement stoop in front of our home and tying my little tennis shoes and realizing I had the whole unplanned day before me!  Breeze in my hair, breakfast in my belly – I was OFF! 

Guess maybe I’ve been looking for that feeling ever since and have yet to recapture it.  I know now I cannot in this lifetime.  Though, I have tried to recapture it for my babes; to give them that sense of openness, and freedom and adventure.

And in that assignment, let’s be generous and give me a D+.  Not only because they are different people than me, but it is an entirely different world.  Hell, it’s an entirely different world than when I CONCEIVED these tiny beings.
Even though we really do resist electronics (my children are 14, 12 and 9 and I have not yet given into getting them a cellphone -- though, fyi all you mammas out there – an ipod touch is about the same thing),.  Even though our tv time is monitored (though I ponder daily canceling our cable – you get an hour of tv and you watched Cupcake Wars?  Seriously???).

Even though we resist these ways of checking out, of stepping off, my small family still cannot seem to find the slow, deep natural heartbeat that belongs to Mamma Earth.
So I dig around for understanding -- this Summer has been seriously vanishing; is it the fact I moved my business the beginning of May?  My divorce and all that change?  The fact that one is moving into high school next year (DID YOU HEAR THAT . . . HIGH SCHOOL . . . . ).
We never even got around to making our annual Summer 100 list; about the second week of June we talked about trying to do a Summer 50 list; at this point, the whole Summer is booked; seriously, stacked out. 
Part of it is the early school start (August 20!); but part of it is the cycle.
An enormous amount of change is in the air; can you feel it?  I’ve been talking about it for years.
Please re-read these blogs; they may help you through the cycle.
In the meantime – make yourself put everything down tonight and go watch the fireflies.  Turn off the tv and play a game of chess with your beloved.  Build a fire and roast some marshmallows.

This IS the calm before the storm (unless you live in Colorado); breathe . . . .

Sunday, May 20, 2012

So, you might know I’ve been mountain biking at Carvins Cove.  And I lovelovelove it, and it has really helped me to arrange time for myself, to get out in nature, to get a sense of freedom -- and get me used to doing things that kinda scare the crap out of me. 

And ever since beginning, my rider-friends have been suggesting/ coaxing/plain-ole’-bugging me to get clips.  You know – these special shoes and special pedals so that you actually attach your shoe to your pedal?  It makes your pedaling more efficient and with mountain biking it also makes it safer because your feet aren’t bouncing off the pedals when you hit bumps and rocks and roots.
My first attempt was in my front yard on my 45th birthday; and I was happy to admit to anyone that I was scared.  Falling down hurts.  But hey, trying to cultivate a little courage during this cycle, so let’s throw a little challenge in amongst the cake and accolades. 
And let me tell you – epic fail.  I am on the asphalt driveway (yes, clearly the wrong choice); clip in just great; unclip one foot just great – except it is NOT the foot that I lean to.  So with right foot unclipped and ready, I lean to the left; smack. 

No major injuries except to my ego.  Fear 1, Jill 0.

Okay; let’s go again – in the grass this time thank-you-very-much.  Not so bad; but still, not so great.  So my plans to test drive the clips on the greenway that lovely Spring day disappear as my fear of running over some toddler or taking out a runner come seeping into my consciousness.

Carvin's Cove, March 2012
I practice numerous times in my front yard and on the road in front of my house.
Fast forward to this past weekend; away at a yoga retreat (which was just fabulous in case you were wondering) right near Douthat State Park.  My dear friend Steve built me a magical 29er bicycle and he had brought both our bikes along – new clip-in pedals on mine -- and when the afternoon free time came up, we went on over. 
Have you ever been to Douthat State Park?  Holy fabulousness!  So beautiful; and the mountain biking trails are unreal; it looked like the mountain laurel had been planted by a team of horticulturalists and the trails dusted with pine needles by  fairies.  Did I mention the mountain laurel was actually blooming?!  Just hundreds of bushes surrounding us; rocks and trees and streams and nobody but us and a couple day hikers.
Fearlessness Mudra
So, it is on these brand new trails that I am trying my brand new pedals.  Let me tell you – I was afraid.  Intimidated.  Scared.
It wasn’t because my companion would be mad if I was slow, or upset if I needed to stop. He is one of the most patient people I have ever met.  

It is that I was upset that I would have to be slow; I was upset that I would need to stop.

Mixed in with a healthy fear of falling on something hard and breaking a body part.
What did I learn on this ride?  First, I learned that fear wears you out.  Just that little inkling of fear lurking around in my mind made me so tired and so unable to be myself.  It made me think of times I had lived in sustained fear –  fears from 25 years ago -- fear of not being able to make the mortgage; fear that my first husband would hurt me.  Fears from 14 years ago -- fear that my baby wouldn’t make it through her open-heart surgery; fear that I would be a horrible mother. 

Big fears all rising back up because of this little fear.

I also learned that you can’t go half way.  At the beginning I got the great idea – HEY!  I will just clip in on one side and leave the other unclipped!  I can have it both ways!
Nope; not so much.
Cause only going in half way was actually worse than not clipping in.  I had one foot connected and the other one just sliding all over the place; absolute stability competing with absolute instability. 
Either clip all the way in; or just don’t.  This half-way stuff doesn’t work.
I also learned this; that falling down doesn’t hurt nearly as much as not trying.  You get your scrapes and you get your cuts – but isn’t that life and living? 
The same dear friend who got me the bike and pedals also bought me a card once: it said, “Life Begins At the Edge of Your Comfort Zone.”
We had a beautiful ride.  And yes, I did fall down, and will continue to do so.  And that is OKAY with me.
Time to clip in, my friends.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Attachment (awww, really? again?!?)

I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesterdays are buried deep – leave it any way except a slow way, leave it as fast as you can.  Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead.  Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.  The cloud clears as you enter it.  I have learned this but, like everyone, I learned it late.

                                                               Beryl Markham, West With The Night

Have you heard?  I’m moving Uttara.

 Wow.  NOT an easy decision.

Our current space is absolutely beautiful; I am so attached to the windows; the view; the light.  Then again, I am NOT attached to the fact that the windows leak air and it’s cold in the Winter and hot in the Summer; that the City view also means City issues like lack of parking and noise and students getting towed.  Our big reception and seating area also mean a smaller space for the actual yoga class.

Don’t even get me started on the leaking roof. 

Time for me to make hard decisions about what really mattered to me, to the Studio, to the students; and what did not.

 Lisa Wade, who is an instructor at Uttara (and also an amazing massage therapist) decided to move her massage practice to The Sanctuary; a former church in the Old Southwest area of town.  Now, I had looked at this space before; GREAT space; but I was looking for a second location and decided it was too close to the first one -- I had no INTENTION of letting go of the Kirk Avenue space.


Good question.  But it all goes back to attachment.  I had spent so many hours trying to make that space work; issues with the City, issues with my landlords, issues with my students getting towed  – just so many things that ate up time and energy.

And then – there was the absolute beauty of it; Uttara’s birthplace; a space in which we have taught and learned and grown and bonded and laughed and cried and loved and been blessed.

It is a space in which miracles have occurred; all that history backing up in my mind and creating this connection that I thought unbreakable.

Reminds me a bit of my current separation and pending divorce; you have this massive history that truly deserves respect and recognition; but at what point do you realize that the relationship used to work – but now it does not – and it will not work with where your path is taking you.


It is exciting to have a new space; a bigger room, really beautiful floors, easier to get to, more direct sunlight, loads of two-hour street parking, and landlords who have been so kind and accomodating.  To re-invigorate, to re-establish; to re-invent, really. 

A big piece of my soul was so resistant; I am personally going through so much change.   “Why?” I pleaded to my inner voice, “Why NOW?”  But my inner voice was resolute; it was time to move, and this was the place.

So -- here we go – on April 30, Uttara Yoga Studio will be located at 1217 Maple Avenue in Old Southwest; right near the Walnut Street Bridge, off of S. Jefferson Street and right on the trolley line. 

We’re having an open house on Saturday, May 5 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm; I hope you’ll stop by to say hi and to help infuse our new space with the blessing of your presence.

I’ll keep you posted as we move and groove into this new cycle of being.

And if you see me around the next few weeks, could you please remind me –

“Hey, Jill, remember  – B-R-E-A-T-H-E . . . “



Thursday, April 12, 2012

On Crying

Crying sucks. 

Though, there is a cleansing beauty to it.  To let go; to break free.  A good cry can be like a good sneeze; -- cathartic; opening.  A cry tends to last longer than a sneeze though a sneeze is more socially acceptable than a good cry.

I have had times; LONG times; months; when I would not or could not cry. 

Never sure which was more in charge, the "would" or the "could." 


When I WOULD not cry, who the hell cries?  I was the steel and the stone; totally controlled.  A freakin' fortress.  But then; at some point; I realize ---


I am not; I am not the steel; I am NOT the stone.  I NEED to cry; And yet -- I cannot; steel and stone; they no longer protect me: they entomb me.

Its not that you have no compassion; that you are hard and harsh; it's just that there are inner walls and outer walls and you become an expert at building inner walls.  People in your life think that they have hit your inner limits and so you let them and -- yet -- really -- it's just the outer sanctuary of the inner life -- and you smile and you talk and there is still that fortress -- a good mile from the real inner center and excuse-me-but-i-prefer-you-stay-here-thank-you-very-much.

The tears do come; they will; it is a terrifying moment; more than a moment, a huge shift; down come the walls; even though you realize it marks progress; the interior has been breached.

Inner alarms sound: and yet -- you welcome the healing flood that you so-long feared.

My insides have been in knots; managed the whole first part of 2011 inert; remember buying the movie "Up" -- have you seen it?   First two minutes in and I am tearing in gushes, like the Nile.

Children hovering; comforting and worrying; (sweet, but the guilt flows in, too); each moment of the beginning crushes me with emotion; and then the silly-damn-movie starts and and I can get a grip.

I did get a grip -- and also recover -- recover the gift of tears.  Which visited me often: often and flowing, over the Summer of 2011.

Hiding in the shower; on the porch during storms; I received my pain.

Could once again feel -- but also suffer -- a portal had opened, and, dammit, would not close.

Tonight? Another frightening opening -- the chance for love and change brings a huge cry, big tears; trying to find my way, my space in the Universe.  Who will receive my love; who will receive my pain?

Do I scare you?  Cause I scare the HELL OUTTA me?

My biggest obstacle is -- OF COURSE -- me.

Feel what you feel; express what you you feel; be so grateful not to be "shushed" through your tears.

AUUUMM shanti,


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Relationship Karma . . . again

I think I am learning a little bit about relationships right now.
. . . [ridiculously long pause] . . .
Actually, I appear to have registered for a crash-course in relationships at the not-so-young age of 44.  Emphasis on the term “CRASH.”
Part of the reason there have been no posts to this blog is because my life is exploding on many levels.  Not necessarily in negative ways, but yet for me during this period it has been a good practice to conserve energy, keep my head down, and watch for incoming objects (ie, emotions, reactions, events).

So, tonight -- I am up late.  I am printing some astrology information for my files.  And in the process of printing, I am noticing some things.  Like how when I use the printer,  I’ve got to put the sheet of paper in just so – if I put in a sheet that already has writing on it – ie, some life experience, it’s been through the mill – then I better put it in the correct way, or I just print right over the old stuff.  What results is just a mess.  In order to print a fresh, new page, I’d better learn to insert the paper in the correct manner.  If the paper is bent up?  Not receptive?  It will never, ever work out the way I want.  Hmmmmm.

The other thing I notice is that impatience gets me every time.  If the printer is ready to roll, but the paper is not, then best not to just stick the paper in there.  Because, BAM, it jams right up.  You can predict this; it’s not unexpected; it’s not odd or confusing.  If you pay attention, you figure it out within the first three or four times you run it.  The printer needs to be ready to receive the paper, not the other way around.  Totally predictable result that you can directly link to impatience.  Hmmmmmm.
Once again; once AGAIN, I have failed at maintaining a pivotal relationship in my life because of . . . . well, truthfully; many things.  But my perceived primary responsibility for this failure?  I did not speak my truth.  I did not ask for what I needed, and for what I wanted.  My needs were put aside, swept under the proverbial rug; when things were not okay I shrugged my shoulders and said “sure.”  When it hurt and felt limiting and my voice went unheard, I let it go.
And, truth is also that I will admit to feeling noble for sacrificing my desires, my needs; for ignoring my absolute utter fundamental ideals; in order to keep the peace and maintain what was, because I was afraid of what would be.  Because the pain that I already knew felt more comfortable than the dark unknown.

So, just like the printer . . . BAM. 
That is, of course, the short emotionless version. 

Reality is, the relationship is over.  I think of love like well.  Each interaction either fills or takes.  The healthy well ebbs, and flows.
Thousands of times I dipped down into that well – thinking it filled with bottomless love and devotion; and then, there is the final time – and my bucket scraped hard and loud across that stone floor.  There was nothing left.

Learn from my mistakes.  Feed that which you wish to grow.
Speak your truth; love with your heart and your head; love with your honesty, and with your voice.

If you know the printer jams when you force the paper in – you know yourself and where the pitfuls of you and your partner await -- and you intend to keep that printer -- then, maybe, this time, you will be patient; you will understand how its fundamental nature.
If you are dealing with a printer, you will wait; if you are dealing with a person, you will SPEAK.


Uttara Yoga Studio, LLC. Blog design by Jessica Hedrick