Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ending it Up

For students......

For teachers....

The end of the year. The holiday season. In keeping with my simplicity intention I bid you adieu until 2012. May your season be bright and your heart be filled with love. May your home be blessed with abundance and joy. I'll be back in this space in January. Love and Light! Sarah

PS.. scroll down to the next post to read about my New Years Day offering!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

For 2012!!!

Here's what's coming up for the very first day of 2012....
Hope to see you there if you're local!

start your new year with the potent combination of yoga and intention!

this active, mixed-level practice is designed to plant the seed of your resolutions deep in your body, mind and heart. we will explore the power of sankulpa, intention, in a wide range of asana designed to open and strengthen your body on all levels. soulful instruction combined with deeply playful asana will leave you feeling energized, confident, inspired, and restored. start the year with yoga and get ready for a powerfully transformative 2012!

”go confidently in the direction of your dreams. live the life you have imangined.” - thoreau

At Yoga Source $25 Register in Advance if possible!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My daughter is now 3 years old. It is a beautifully sweet time and we are totally enjoying each other. She is most definitely awake to the world and it is brilliant! With the awakening comes the desire to know know know about everything around her. Her appetite for knowledge and understanding is astounding.
And so we are crossing over into WHY world. Why is the stump black? Why is the sky moving? Why do we see the moon in the daytime sometimes? Why do we not see the stars in the daytime? Why? Why? Why? It is relentless and at times trying. At other times, precious and sweet and quite quite funny.
I am reminded of the teaching technique of giving what Todd calls Benefit Statements. This being with her reminds me that I have to tell my students WHY we are doing things. That I have to be the saleswoman for Tops of the Thighs Back and for Open to Grace.
Amy Ippoliti calls doing this the Why Mantra. She says I can instruct any action, like spread your pinky toe -- and then tell why to do it so many times that the students feel like they're going to save the world with their pinky toes.
I've been reintroducing the Why Mantra and Benefit Statements with great success. And so I'm thinking I must remind myself to treat the students in some ways like the most curious of 3 year olds. When I feed them with the Why of the practice they are excited, inspired, and they move deeper. The practice moves from gymnastics into yoga. Beautiful!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blow Wind Blow!

Back a month or so ago when all those teachers were leaving Anusara - there were questions from students to their own teachers: Are you leaving too? One certified teacher I follow on Facebook had the greatest status in response:

"I shall stay until the wind changes" - Mary Poppins

The wind is blowing from a new direction now in my life. It's been breezy for a while and I realized I've been like the crumpled last leaf, clinging to the branch of the already wintering tree - afraid to finally drop away and let what was become compost for what will be. It's not fear. It's denial and deep sadness.

I've been here before. I recognize the drama I'm playing, only last time the roles were reversed. The situation was handled with all of the honesty it needed but none of the compassion - at 17, I didn't know much about compassion. Karma's a Kali-ish witch coming 'round at the least opportune times. But when the wind blows in gusts like this - best to follow and drift into the new. Decay into compost for a while but yes, then grow into the new.

What I know is: Openings can't be forced. Hamstrings. Hips. Hearts. They do not open under pressure. I'm still rehabing injuries from learning the hard way on that one. What makes opening? Alignment, Alignment, Alignment to the very Highest - then patient acceptance.

And so I'm feeling the sweeping gusts and trying not to hold too tightly. Not to be angry to become compost. Not to mourn the end of the growing season. Stay or go, I'm not quite sure yet - certainly the wind could change back. But in reality, it may never blow the same direction again. So align and wait -- grateful for the other trees in my garden.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Quote

"Dreams and Dedication are a powerful combination"
William Longgood

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

3 As for the Holidays : Attitude

All this month I'm using the 3 As from Anusara as inspiration for my classes. This is actually coming out of using them as my framework for approaching the holiday season. It is really helping.
The 3 As in Anusara are the foundational framework on which the entire system rests. They are the starting point for the approach to the asana. And I'm finding them a great entry point for approaching more than asana, for approaching life -- particularly this holiday season.

The As are: Attitude, Alignment, and Action.

For this first week I've been teaching and thinking about Attitude. Attitude as the first A is the foundation of the foundation. EVERYTHING hangs on Attitude. "Our attitude distinguishes us and transforms us" so John Friend says. It is how we bring our hearts into our lives and poses. Attitude is where our intentions come from and ultimately what fulfills them. So in the last post, when I spoke of my intention for a holiday season with focus on what is simple, natural, and beautiful -- that arose out of the mental attitude that does not accept stress, that is open and that is awake to the deep love of this time of year and every time of year.
Thinking about for the holidays has been helpful as I approach holiday parties. Simple, natural, beautiful as my intention is in my home, and certainly as I get ready to go.... but once I get to the parties, who knows? Parties are a mix-up for me because I LOVE people and being able to visit with them, but group social situations are decidedly not my strong suit. (yet!)

Because I'm not in love with group social events I could easily go into the party with an expectation and the attitude "this is going to suck". I've done that more than I'd like to admit. Instead, this weekend as I went to two parties, I tried to soften expectations and have the inner stance, the Attitude of Openness to however it would unfold. That inner heart space that allowed for any outcome from each party was essential to my enjoyment. I was lucky to have the openness in mind because at the second party I spent most of my time in the basement with my daughter doing crafts, not upstairs visiting with the adults I'd hoped to see. It could've been a crummy, lonely time... but the Attitude of openness allowed me to recognize the beauty and simplicity of the sweet time with my girl. I'm grateful for that time, even if it wasn't what I might have expected at a holiday party.

So this month I'm going to continue to explore Attitude and the other two As as I move deeper into the darkness of December and the brightness of the Holidays. Feel free to join me!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Shift

And now, I welcome you, officially into The (dreaded?) Holiday Season! Yes, my friends, December is upon us... with all of its over-shopping, over-doing, over eating, over partying, over stressing, and over working. I, personally, am over IT.

December is so funny. It is a month where in the natural world every growing thing puts down the work and goes to sleep. Where the days get as short as they'll get and the creatures quiet down (when is the last time you heard a cicada?). The light is gone, and the world goes inside. I find exceptional beauty this time of year.... And yet, in the unnatural world, in our world, we completely speed up. We do more shopping, travelling, partying and generally try cram way more activities into this little month than into any other. And then we wonder why we're stressed out and rundown and getting sick.

I hadn't thought of December with awareness of the contradiction between the natural world and our behavior before this year. But it's helping me take a deep breath in my approach to the holidays. It's helping me step back this year and wonder: What do I really want out of this time of year? One thing I can tell you I don't want is to Shop (I hate to shop).

This year I'm trying something new. An idea, based on December itself. What if my Holiday intention could be: Simple Natural Beauty. That everything I do, create, and make happen could in some way be Simple Natural and Beautiful? It makes letting go of huge projects in favor of doing what I want- sitting by the tree drinking tea- sound much easier.

Setting an intention for a time of year or an event or even a moment is new and different for me. My intentions are usually reserved for the mat. But I'm finding that having an intention carries me into everything I do this time of year with a deep awareness and mindfulness. It gives me something to check against as I'm making decisions and it's keeping me grounded and focused.

So this month as I'll be striving for simplicity, for bringing awareness to nature, and for finding and creating tons of Beauty, I'll also try to report back on how it goes. Just thinking this way, I feel peaceful, more at home and relaxed. And that's all I really want this time of year.

Contemplation: What has your holiday season been like in the past? and What would you like your intention to be this year?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Simple Gifts - Friday Quote

Simple Gifts

'tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free
'tis the gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
'twill be in the valley of love and delight

When true simplicity is gain'd
to bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd

To turn, turn will be our delight
'till by turning, turning we come 'round right

-- Elder Joseph Brackett (1797 - 1882)
of the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine