Thursday, May 31, 2012

Struggles with Community Teaching

The yoga teacher training program that I am in is winding down. Only 2 more weeks left until I am a fully certified yoga instructor! Well, that is if I get all my hours in.

The program is 200 hours and you must fulfill a certain number of hours in several different categories. Alas, even though I've pretty much dedicated the last 6 months of my life to the study of yoga, I am STILL short on hours!

One category I'm short on is Community Teaching. We are required to teach at least 10 hours of yoga classes in the community for those who are underserved with healthful exercise. I currently have 6. Don't get me wrong, I've been teaching this whole time but mostly to friends, other teacher trainees, yoga parties, and random people in my building.

The problem lies is finding a place to volunteer. Who wouldn't want a FREE yoga class delivered directly to them?! Answer: apparently most people.

If you recall, I was volunteering with a community group for middle schoolers and that went great... for approximately 5 weeks. It took soooo long for the organizers to get back to me (and get my background check cleared) that the semester was almost over by the time I started! That AND one day I showed up at the normal time to teach and group leader told me that the kids didn't feel like doing yoga so I should come back a different day. So I returned at the specified date and time and NO ONE WAS THERE. I'm still a little bitter about this.

Upon realizing school would end before I accumulated enough hours, one month ago I lined up another community teaching opportunity... at my old job! I formerly worked as an Ecologist for the county government (i.e. desk job) and there are definitely folks there who don't have access to yoga in their otherwise busy lives.

Unfortunately, for the past month Risk Management and County Counsel have been sending my liability waiver back and forth. I just received an email that to teach a FREE volunteer yoga class during the employee's lunch break I will need the following:
-Business License
-Yoga Teacher Certification
-Management Sign-Off

Dear bureaucracy, I hate you.

Now I'm feeling DESPERATE! I posted on my facebook status begging people to let me teach at their jobs or community groups. I have over 500 FB friends so somebody has got to take me up on my offer, right? right?!?!?!

Just think... this you be YOU!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Elections are coming up this year. Who are YOU voting for?

This is even better than my Climbers For Kerry sticker that I sported in days of yore.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Domain Name!

Hi ya'll. I wanted to give you the heads-up that the URL for this website will be changing in the next couple of days! So get ready to redirect your bookmarks to....

I am SO excited to own a domain name! I've been researching all the different domain and hosting sites for weeks and I finally, oh finally, figured out how to gather me some web space! After hearing alot of smack about godaddy I decided to go with 1&1 because they were inexpensive and the website was pretty straight forward. I love love love when a website provides all specs for each option side-by-side.

The new name is just the beginning.... As I figure out how to build a website you will see my future business unfold right in front of your eyes! But for now tadasanatreks dot com will be this blog's new home.

...and as for Sheila the Wonder Bike, she is still riding strong :)

~Sheila says goodbye to the worldwideweb and hello to the open road!~

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Adventures at Bikram Yoga

I used to do Bikram Yoga about 5 years ago. My roommate would drag me kicking and screaming to class as she quoted all the benefits of why Bikram is good for me. Without fail, however, during the middle of class I would start to feel nauseous. My head would pound. The stench would overtake me. The nazi teachers would bark at me if I tried to rest or take water. And then after class, rather than feeling alive and energized, I'd feel exhausted and physically ill. So I stopped doing yoga altogether.

It comes as no surprise that upon receiving the assignment to take a Bikram class and write a comparative essay to Power Yoga I began to dread it. I know ALOT of people who go to the local Bikram studio and since I didn't want to have any of them see me vomit across the classroom, I chose to go on a weekday at noon when everyone else in the world is at work.

As I rolled up in front of the studio and struggled to park my bike I heard a familiar voice, "Melanie?! You don't go here!"  I turned and there was my ex-boyfriend in all of his glory heading toward the door to the studio. I stopped in my tracks completely frazzled. I couldn't even get my bike lock to close. The ex attempted to strike a conversation but I couldn't focus. All I could think of was how bad my hair looked, how my acne had exploded, how the shirt I'd chosen to wear accentuated my gut. He went inside and I stood next to my bike deliberating whether or not I should run away. But I knew my friend Jo was inside waiting for me and friends stick together and I couldn't let my ex win. So I sucked it up and went inside. Nothing tests your equanimity quite like an ex encounter (especially before a Bikram Yoga class!).

The woman at the front desk (the teacher) had a calm demeanor. She was warm and friendly - probably in her 50's or 60's. She tried to sell me the introductory special but I declined, stating that I didn't think I'd come back. "Why?", she asked, "You haven't even tried it yet!" I explained the ex situation and she reminded me that the insecurity I was feeling was just my ego trying to get the best of me. Feeling a bit more grounded from her earthiness and wisdom I decided the buy the intro pass and head inside.

Bikram Yoga only has 26 poses. Here they are.
As I walked into the classroom I noticed that it was incredibly less smelly than I had remembered. I attribute that to being earlier in the day whereas I used to go at night when the classes were jam-packed and one right after another. I headed over to Jo and set up my mat. I noticed that they'd replaced the gross carpet with a floor that reminded me of tangled up rubber bands. I spent the entire 1.5 hours focusing on drishti and avoiding looking at other people (especially someone located at the front left corner of the room) through the ubiquitous mirrors and I focused on my uji breathing even though breath was seldom cued.

The class began (and ended) with a weird pranayama, but many of the poses were very familiar to the Baptiste Power Yoga sequence. I thought the teacher's cueing was very powerful and without looking at another person I could figure out how to get into the pose using only the teacher's words. Honestly, I didn't think the class was very hard. What a change! I could see how someone who goes to Bikram would also like Power Vinyasa. After class I felt energized and not the least bit dehydrated.

So this time around I had an instructor with a kind demeanor, a less stinky room, it was hot (105 degrees) but not much hotter than a packed Power Jam class (95 degrees), and I was much stronger, more flexible, and aware of how to align my own body. Dare I say it? I LIKED it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Squirrels Multiplied!

Squirrel in Bakasana (crow pose)

I shouldn't call my kids' class Squirrel Yoga, I should call it Rabbit Yoga because this week they rapidly multiplied!

Last week I had 3 students. This week I had 11 students! The kids must have enjoyed the class because a few from the first week returned and brought friends! Awe-some.

Granted the middle-schoolers were still super squirrely, but We meowed in Cat pose and moo'd in Cow pose, and I could tell that the kids really wanted to get it. I noticed that the kids squirreled, giggled, and talked the most when they couldn't figure out the pose or they felt uncomfortable. Honestly, the most success I had with getting them to focus was in Tadasana! Simply standing there, faced forward, and bringing focus to each individual body part really brought them to center.

I brought my bag-o-ambiance to decorate the classroom and during savasana I turned off all the lights. It turns out there are no windows in the classroom and my little battery-operated tea-lights don't provide much light, so it was COMPLETELY black. haha... ooops! - maybe I'd better find a lamp or Christmas lights or something!

Next week I'll simplify the practice so the poses are less twisty and more straightforward and less poses in general. I want the kids to feel empowered that they are succeeding in yoga! So next week: more balancing postures, less chaturangas, and more time on the floor. I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Living The American Dream

I'm not sure what the real definition of "The America Dream" is (I'm pretty sure it has to do with white-picket-fences), but The American Dream that I strive for is this:

Get paid to do what you love.

For a brief moment on Monday I felt this feeling for the first time since my college summer camp job.

In an attempt to find a market for myself in a community with a yoga studio on every corner, I've opted to go a different route: Yoga Parties. It's an excuse to get friends together, do a healthy activity, and maybe eat some food. How it works is this: You host the event and invite your friends and then I show up with my bag-o-ambiance, help set up, and then teach a yoga class all in the comfort of your own home! (or wherever else you want to hold the event).

On Monday night a student from the yoga studio I work at hired me to teach at her Yoga Party! My very first. It was a blast! I showed up 30 minutes early to help her move her living room furniture into the bedroom and set up the ambiance. There were 6 students at completely different levels from yogi-first-timer to advanced-yogi. I taught a 1.5 hour Vinyasa Flow class. I feel like the class went really well! The atmosphere was light and the students vacillated between focus and laughter. Afterwards the party host brought out snacks and everyone sat in a circle on the floor and chowed down. It seemed like everyone had a great time!

Until I get certified (June) my Yoga Party teacher fee is by donation (tips, if you will). Once I get more established I'll set rates. So get 'em while they're hot!

Contact me if you'd like to host a Yoga Party! Classes can go from 30min - 1.5hours from really mellow to super athletic - it's your party, it's your choice!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Falling Asleep on Roofs and Other Weekend Tales

A common misconception is that since I work every day I don't get to have fun. This is Not.True.At.All. Take this weekend for example...

The weather was beautiful! For three whole days the stars aligned and the sun gods worked in our favor. It was 80-85 degrees with clear blue skies and a slight breeze. I feel a smile spread across my face just thinking about it!

After having a housewarming slumber party Thursday night with my BFF Larissa (she just moved here last week!!!), I woke up bright and early excited to greet the day! I had breakfast and tea in her little bungalow and then jumped on my bike and rode toward downtown.

my old garden, oh how I miss thee
As I rode through my old neighborhood, I realized how much I missed that side of town and that when I return from my next traveling stint I'm going to move back there! Feeling free feels gooooood.

I ran into my friend Patrick who was also on his bike and we made our way toward his house. He showed me his garden, a few of our friends stopped by to say hi, and THEN he gave me an egg right after it came out of the chicken! PLOP! I took the egg, rode home, made breakfast (again -- there's no shame in eating two breakfasts!) Then I went to work.

Russian River

 I got off work Saturday at 1 and made a plan to head to the river! My friend Cole came over and after spending an hour discussing which river beach to go to, we slowly made our way out there. It took a couple of trips to get out the door because we kept forgetting things and then we had to stop for beer. But it had to be good beer and it had to be canned (no glass bottles allowed on the beach!) so we stopped again. But then Cole decided he was hungry so we stopped again at the grocery store. The whole endeavor reminded me of this episode of Portlandia.

Although the river is only about 20 minutes from my house, we arrived at 4 o'clock! whoops. Luckily it was still sunny and warm!

snacky time
catching some rays

We left the river as the sun was setting. I had made plans for that evening but since we didn't get home until 9pm we opted to stay in. My roommate told us there was a meteor shower so everyone in the building crawled up to the roof, where I promptly passed out. Luckily I didn't roll off!

On Sunday, my yoga studio had a booth at an Earth Day event downtown where I worked the whole day. It was a Stretch Shack where people from the streets could come in and be assisted in yoga poses. No, I don't mean street people as in homeless people... but then again, I did assist a homeless woman do yoga so there's that. But most of our stretchers were little kids -- adorable kids. So much fun!

I'm laying on the blue mat on the right :)
After cleaning up the Stretch Shack, I met my old friend Curtis, his wife, and their friends at a local brewpub for dinner. His niece has traveled the world studying and teaching yoga so I picked her brain particularly about India! She seemed to not have any trouble traveling alone through India and really loved it there! So I'm considering putting India back on my Asia travel itinerary. We shall see...

That was my work-filled weekend! How was yours? ;)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blog Re-Design - Open to Suggestions!

Hi y'all.

I'm looking at redesigning my blog (again!) and I'm looking for suggestions! For you, what makes a blog aesthetically pleasing? What widgets do you find useful, and where do you get them? Is there any additional content you'd like to see on here?

I'm keeping the same focus (yoga and travel), but my aim is to make this blog look professional and beautimous!

Please leave a comment below with your fabulous insight!


Thursday, April 19, 2012


One by one each of my body parts are going on strike. After taking a fall on my mountain bike one year ago, my right shoulder and right wrist haven't been the same. It's made getting into Wheel pose really wonky.

Last week my right foot was stomped on by an overzealous bouquet-catcher wearing stilettos at my friend Erin's wedding. On Sunday I messed up my left knee in Ashtanga class. And today I realized that my left shoulder was giving me problems!
alignment... oh yeahhhh

Therefore, today seemed like a PERFECT day to hit up a Viniyoga class!

I've mentioned before that as part of my Yoga Teacher Training we are required to try different styles of yoga and compare them to Power Vinyasa Yoga.

After an hour-and-a-half class I really didn't see many similarities between Viniyoga and Power Yoga other than that they both use props for modifications. Viniyoga appears to be 'roll around on your back yoga'. When athletes claim that yoga is too easy, this may be what they are referring too.

The class started and ended on the floor with a few standing poses thrown in. Viniyoga is all about making microscopic changes to your pose alignment to adjust for injury, etc. The teacher even showed me how to make Child's Pose easier on my shoulder - awesome!

I liked the teacher, I liked the studio, and afterwards I felt so relaxed I almost fell asleep! But Viniyoga is way too mellow for me so for now I'll stick to Power Yoga thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Squirrel Yoga - Day 2

Remember last week when I taught my first community class to a team of Squirrel Children? I taught there again today, but with the noticeable absence of Squirrels.

Only one kid from last week returned. And she brought a friend.

I could chalk this up to my own personal failure as a teacher, but instead I'm relishing in the fact that this girl felt the benefits of yoga enough to come back! Perhaps the other kids had other things to do today. Or maybe because the class now starts 15 minutes later, the three kids who had to leave early last time decided it wasn't worth it to go to yoga for a whopping fifteen minutes. Whatever the reason, it's NOT about me.

After attending a lecture last weekend on Yogic Philosophy,  I'm focusing my energy this week on Letting Go. Attachment to things and ideas will only impede me on the path toward Enlightenment.

 The weather today was GORGEOUS. Clear blue skies and about 75 degrees. I pulled up to the middle school feeling bummed that I had to spend the next hour indoors, when I realized that I had the power to bring the class outside! So my three students grabbed mats and we walked to a grassy spot far from buildings and the parking lot. (Yes, THREE students - two kids and one mellow Boys & Girls Club facilitator).

In turns out that doing yoga on the grass is kinda lumpy, so I cut out all the balancing postures. The students were considerably less squirrely than last week and I was more grounded as a teacher. I really felt like I brought more of myself into my teaching than last time! After the girls complained that their arms were killing them because I MADE them do 4 push-ups (aka chatarangas) on the same day they had to run for PE, I switched gears to a more mellow yoga class.

I could tell that yoga had worked it's relaxation magic on the students because on the walk back to the building they were quiet and looked a little dazed.

My First Ashtanga Primary Series

As part of my yoga teacher certification program the students are required to try out different styles of yoga and write reports about our experiences.

On Sunday morning, I walked into my very first Ashtanga class ever and I was instantly greeted with a bright smile from the woman at the desk. She gave my two fellow teacher trainees and I warm welcomes when she learned it was our first time at this studio. I felt instantly at ease. As an yoga studio employee I was reminded how it's so important to make nervous new students feel welcome when they first enter!

Anxiety set in, however, when the instructor, walked in and bombarded us with questions and warnings about the Ashtanga practice.

Instructor: “Have you ever done Ashtanga before?”

Nervous Teacher Trainees: “No, but we practice Power Yoga regularly and we hear there are some similarities.”

Instructor: “Well this class isn’t easy and it’s going to be a struggle for you to keep up. Most people do their own practice without a teacher present. Unfortunately the instructor who normally teaches this class isn’t here to teach you (he’s a celebrity) so you’re stuck with me.”


We were all sorts of confused walking into the class. How were we supposed to do a personal practice through the entire primary series when the poses aren’t even posted?! So we placed our mats down, crossed our fingers, and hoped for the best!

The class itself was 2 hours long. It turns out we were actually supposed to follow the teacher and the ‘by ourself’ kind was a style called Mysore. To be honest, I really liked the style. The series started out with Sun A’s and Sun B’s and moved into poses that I was mostly already familiar with. The poses weren’t too difficult but they did offer some variation to the tried and true poses that I’m super familiar with (for example: Janu Sirsasana A,B,C,D... l-m-n-o-p). I'm pushing the edge on a few of the Power Yoga postures, so it was cool to see how the poses could be deepened.

To be honest, I think I would have LOVED the practice but the teacher didn't really teach. She merely said the pose names in Sanskrit and expected us all to go directly into the pose even when us newbies had never seen or heard of that pose before. My friends and I looked at each other confused as we tried to copy the yogis on the mats facing us, which was extra confusing when deciphering lefts and rights. 

As I struggled to figure out what I was supposed to do, the instructor often approached me and said things like, “No. DON’T do that, do THIS” or “You’re doing it WRONG” or when I we were supposed to get in a super pretzely posture: “What’s wrong? Are you not flexible enough for Lotus?” - to which I replied, “I can do Lotus, I just don’t know where I’m supposed to put my feet and arms”. After I went into the pose, the instructor informed me that I was too flexible. It was all very strange.

I’m not saying all this to be hyper-critical of the Ashtanga instructor, but merely to illustrate that I experienced first-hand why teachers should act empowering and that certain words will tear the student to the ground! I felt my insides shrink whenever the instructor approached me with negativity and had to remind myself that I’m actually pretty good at doing yoga, I just haven’t memorized this sequence! I felt lucky that I practice Power Yoga 6 days/week, otherwise there would be no way I’d been able to keep up! There is no way a beginner could have survived in that class.

All in all it was a good experience! I could definitely see how Power Yoga has evolved from Ashtanga: begin with sun salutations, continue with other standing poses, and then to the floor. Other than the pose sequence there were more differences: Ashtanga begins and ends with chanting, the instructor spoke mostly in Sanskrit (not only the pose names but also counting and explaining the type of breath), and no props are allowed.

I’ll definitely try out Ashtanga again, but maybe next time with a different teacher...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fear Of Death = More Vacations

Recently I've developed a completely unfounded fear of death. It's the same fear that pops up whenever I feel that I'm not living my life to its fullest. In the past several months I've operated under Mission Survival - doing anything I can to make a buck and living paycheck to paycheck. I work Every.Single.Day. Gone are days where I'd take my backpack into the wilderness and spend 4 days communing with nature! Gone are the weekends in the Bay visiting friends! Now I squeeze all my fun into Monday and Thursday afternoons.

This must change. Starting: NOW.

Like most people, I have a very long bucket list filled with everything I want to do before I die. Unlike most people, I have a crazy desire to accomplish it all in the next year. Not that you die at age 30, but it IS my Magical Grown-up Age....


The more vacations I go on, the more ALIVE I feel! That's just who I am. So I'm going to Florida.

I haven't been to Florida since I was 6 years old and my great aunt locked my brother and I in a basement for several days. I'm pretty sure this time will be different. First of all, she's dead. Second, I'm an adult now and can leave basements on my own accord. And third, I'm going to be staying with my cousins who from their facebook profiles appear to be fun, non-psychotic people. I dunno, I haven't seen them in 20 years. But one cousin is also a yoga teacher and in my experience, yoga teachers aren't really the 'lock em in a basement and throw away the key type'. I.Can't.Wait.


From now on, if I get invited to do something or go somewhere and I reallyreallyreallyreally want to do it, then dagnabbit I'm going to even if I can't technically afford it! I do have that tax return just aching to be spend on wild fun adventures in exotic locales! muahahaha

In other news, I might start getting paid to teach yoga! Maybe. I'll find out tonight...! More about that later :)

Soon this will be me. (Thanks GoogleImages!)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My First Community Class

"Well THAT was interesting..." Those are the precise words uttered by one of my students as they left my community class yesterday. I taught yoga at the Boys and Girls Club at a local middle school. The kids were between the ages of 12 and 14. Eight kids showed up. By the end there were only 3 left.

The vibe was really weird to start. The class began with the B&GC facilitator yelling at the kids while I was introducing myself. In my experience Yelling and Yoga are typically mutually exclusive. She immediately kicked out two kids and then she left. I started them off seated, eyes closed, and breathing, rolling their heads from side to side.

It was challenging to keep the squirrels, I mean kids, focused on themselves. Their little eyes kept darting to see what everyone else around them was doing. And they giggled themselves all the way to reclined pigeon. What worked best was cueing a focal point in every single pose and giving them a number of breaths to count (i.e. take 5 deep breaths here) in the longer held poses.

At the end of the Grounding Series three of the kids had to leave for soccer practice.

I gave the remaining girls a really long savasana complete with music (I KNEW I could use that battery-operated iHome for something!). As I brought the girls to seated for Namaste I could see something had changed - they had hit the zen spot! At the end I asked them how they felt. "Relaxed", one replied. The other two nodded druggily.

Next week I will work with them more in the beginning to set the tone as they walk into class and have them leave the frenetic B&GC vibe at the door. I'd also like to make a stronger effort to connect with the kids. It felt very middle school: I am the teacher and you are the student. I'd rather the students feel like we're all in it together! Also, usually I am Air and Fire all.the.time. For this class I tried to bring in the Water and Earth but then I lost the Fire and joy! blarg. I think I was too focused on getting them to calm down that I forgot that yoga is supposed to be fun! I've been teaching classes for my friends (successfully, I might add) and now I see that teaching yoga to hormonal youths is waaaay different.

"Well that WAS interesting" -- my thoughts exactly. If just one student got something out of my class (which I think happened) then I'll be happy. And if not, well, I'll try again for next week!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Birthday TO ME!

Yesterday I turned 29 years old on the 29th of the month - it's my GOLDEN birthday! Ahhh, this day has been long awaited. :)

The morning started off amazing. I opened the yoga studio a little past 6am like I do every morning, grabbed a medium decaf soy mocha, and sat at the desk greeting happy shiny yogis as they came in for class. As I am sitting at the desk, I hear the door between the studio and lobby open and there are the voices of a dozen yogis singing Happy Birthday to me while in Wheel pose!!! It was truly amazing - I felt SO loved. Then later on when I was taking class another group sang to me in Wheel pose! I riding high and THEN my boss let me go home 2 hours early (with pay!).

The afternoon was spent on the phone with friends and family from afar who called sending birthday wishes, responding to facebook birthday wishes, running errands, and creating a playlist featuring music from the 1990s. Why 90's music? Because I threw a 1990's themed party for myself! Let me tell you, it was a BLAST.

The playlist ended up being about 10 hours long which was great because there was plenty of a selection for my guests to choose from and dance to. About 30 people came and most were in costume! I was wearing white cutt-off shorts, a baby tee with a giant Happy Face drawn on (pics to come later - I hope!), giant curled bangs, and my hair half up-half down with a giant scrunchie. People asked who I went as and I responded "ME, when I was 13". ;)

My roommates totally rallied and the house was filled with decorations. One roommate went as Left Eye and the other as Cher from Clueless. Most people dressed up! There was dancing. There was boozing. And there were chocolate-covered strawberries (my most favorite food in the world). All the neighbors in my building came too and definitely held the fort until the wee hours. My most favorite part was when all of the guests came into the living room and united singing Happy Birthday to me! I will never get sick of being sung to :).  I felt so loved and appreciated. I have some amazing friends and I'm so grateful for them all!

Now off I go to enjoy the last 365 days of my 20's!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Online Dating & Sexy Austrians

When I was in high school I was OBSESSED with breath mints. I literally went to the student store at least twice a day to buy Mentos. I began frequenting the student store because I had a crush on a boy who worked there. I chose Mentos because I didn't like candy. I eventually grew sick of them and my boy crush stopped working there, so I moved on... to Altoids. At the age of 16 my friend Erin and I came up with a theory that in every tin of Altoids there is ONE Bad-Self-Esteem-Altoid, and when you eat it you feel like crap for the rest of the day.

Today I ate a Bad Self Esteem Altoid.

I was feeling sad-faced for most of the morning and afternoon, until I got home and saw an email from... The Austrian! The man who I spent a week in Paradise with in Mancora, Peru. The Austrian and I haven't spoken since last October so hearing from him was quite a shock! Curiously enough, immediately after The Austrian and I stopped communicating I started dating Man-Me (my now ex-boyfriend). As of last week Man-Me and I are officially off. After months of him messing with my head, I finally shut the door. I'm really sad about it, but as they say: when you shut one door, another one opens.

In the spirit of trying to open new doors, this week I began online dating again. So far: Nothing. I think it's because I was extremely transparent about the type of lifestyle I want to lead (vagrant) and most dudes aren't down for that. Strangely enough, OkCupid (the dating site) told me that my best matches are located in Austria! I scoffed. No kidding, Sherlock. Go figure.

Today as I read The Austrian's email I felt a flood of excitement! He reminisced on Paradise and talked about how he was incorporating equanimity in his new life. Nothing is hotter than a man using the word "equanimity" when English is his second language! He stated that he will finish his studies in October, at which point he will go traveling again... and he alluded that he would join me! (of course, he still thinks I'm headed to India... but still).

Are these signs that I need to go find The Austrian? "The Alchemist" - my favorite book - tells us that if we stop acknowledging omens, they will cease to appear. Is this all a sign that I'm supposed to be with The Austrian? Is it possible that I closed the door on Man-Me to reopen a door for The Austrian? I wonder....

Maybe I didn't take that German class for nothing...

The Ugly Duckling

Remember the story of The Ugly Duckling? That's kind of how I feel right now - except for the "ugly" part (well maybe a little ugly since I had the flu for two weeks AND I'm trying to grow my bangs out and they look hideous right now... eek!). But what I'm referring to is the feeling of not fitting in anywhere. You see, I've chosen a life path that does not coincide with THE AMERICAN DREAM, therefore most Americans (including my family and friends) don't get me.

My goal in life is to travel around the world teaching yoga. This isn't a new thing... my previous goals included traveling around the world teaching ecology and traveling around the world guiding wilderness trips. Do you see the common theme? I want to travel - more than anything. Which is why it really hurts when those close to me excuse me of trying to run away from my problems or say that no one will ever love me if I'm gallivanting across the world all the time. I've met plenty of couples traveling together! And, in terms of "running away", the only thing I'd say I'm running away from is a life of Boredom. Unless I'm on the move, I'm generally pretty unhappy. Even when I attempted to nest for four years with a steady career and my own apartment, I still jumped on a plane at least once a month to jet-set to some other state!

Some people are homebodies. I.AM.NOT. Some people like safety, security, and stability. I am not one of those people. The people I admire the most are the ones that can pick up on a moment's notice and fly to the far reaches of the earth with just a backpack for an undetermined amount of time.

The lesson I'm learning is to stop listening to other people and listen to my own heart. The naysayers will continue to try and get me down, but as long as I keep following what my heart knows is true, everything will work out and I will find love and happiness in my own little vagrant way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wanderlust Strikes Again

I spent the past week laying in bed with the flu. So I'm not sure how much of my wanderlust relates to seven days of doing absolutely nothing, as opposed to a sheer desire to get outta town. Nevertheless, I'm feeling antsy and I neeeeed to travel again asap! Yoga Teacher Training is half-way over and as I can see the end in sight, it's time for me to make plans for what I should do NEXT.

The problem I'm running into is that I don't know where I should go. I've narrowed it down to.... ASIA, which is kinda huge. At first I was thinking India, but to be honest, I'm a bit scared to go there on my own. In an effort to dissuade me from traveling to India, everyone and their mother has told me horror stories about that country, and well... it worked. Even as a self-proclaimed solo traveler, India is the only place in the WORLD that I'm afraid to travel to on my own. I'm debating whether I should just suck it up and go, or wait till I either a) feel braver, or b) have a traveling companion.

The second place I was thinking of going to is Bali. However, Bali seems kind of small and I wonder how long I could stay there before getting bored. After all, I'm planning to purchase a one-way ticket so I won't feel limited as to when I should come home. Perhaps I should save Bali for when I have a limited amount of time for vacation.

The third option is southeast Asia. I'm talking Thailand/Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam. There are enough countries over there that I could entertain myself for quite awhile (I'm thinking I'll be gone mid July- mid December). I haven't fully researched these countries, but I've definitely photo-stalked my Facebook friends who have visited these countries and their pictures are amazing! My goal is to reach "enlightenment" or rather to find myself, and I have to question whether I need to be doing yoga in an Ashram in India or will meditating in a Buddhist temple in Thailand do the trick?

The fourth option is South America. I know, I know, I just got back from South America in August... but I LOVED it there! I can't wait to go back. My heart's desire is to start in the tippity tip on Argentina, work my way north, and travel all the way up through Central America and back to California. This includes stopping in Brazil for Carnaval! However, logistically speaking, it would be silly of me to head to Argentina when it's winter there (I can't stand being cold), so it makes more sense to wait until January.

Wow, typing this through really helped! I know what I'm going to do now: head to Southeast Asia this summer, go home for Christmas, and if I still have energy... trek it to South America! And I'm going to spend my entire life savings doing it.... but maybe, just maybe, I can make some dollars teaching yoga along the way! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Students

Remember last week when NO ONE showed up for my yoga class? As bummed as I was, something good came out of it... I got more students! After missing my class, a few of the invitees called me up and asked for private lessons. So starting this week, I'm making house calls!

My private lessons are currently free for friends, but since ALL my clients are friends - I'm still poor. Hopefully after having epiphanal experiences in my class, my friends will start recommending me and I can score some paying clients! If I plan this correctly, it should be around the time I get my certification.

I know, I know, the concept of making money teaching yoga is highly controversial. I practice karmic yoga where they say your "payment" for teaching is the joy of spreading yoga and love to others. Which is all well and good if you can pay your bills.

However, I digress. On Monday my friend Ryan came over to my house for yoga class. Yes, Ryan is a girl, so don't get too excited and think that I've started dating again. And... she lives in my ex-boyfriend's house (awkward). He will henceforth be referred to as LifeRuiner. Speaking of which, last weekend LifeRuiner tried to sneak back into my life by apologizing for an entire year of, you guessed it, ruining my life. Too bad that my forgiveness genes seem to be momentarily out of commission. Maybe meditation will jump start them back....


I also taught a private lesson to two more lady friends last night! This time I didn't use my notes and was able to remember the entire sequence with proper cueing! woot woot! Plus I assisted some of the poses! I felt really strong last night in my ability to teach a class. My students commented on how much authority I had while I spoke - awesome. My teacher will be proud. :)

I feel like I'm really a yoga teacher now and not just some hack in a teacher training program. Even though training this past weekend slowly crushed my soul and I felt completely disempowered from so much critical feedback, I feel like I'm now ready to teach a whole a full class!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


My house feels empty and sad. The walls are bare, the furniture displaced, and all the knicknacks which once adorned our living room are M.I.A. Gone are the yelps of an excited puppy as I walk in through the front door. Gone are the daily late-afternoon conversations about everything under the sun. The house feels... vacant.

You see, my roommate who I am very close to decided to move in with her boyfriend who was also staying with us. And she took the dog. I helped her pack up her life and watched as the van pulled out of the driveway moving them all to another world town. Obviously, I'm sad. This household played a huge role in my great transition of 2011 and it stood for something. It was my home. Now I stand in the living room and look around and it doesn't feel like home. I can only hope that my new roommates preserve the integrity of the energy of the house.

In an attempt to take advantage of the vast empty space, I planned on teaching a yoga class last night in my roommate's old bedroom. I sent out a message on Facebook inviting 26 of my closest yoga-loving (or potential yoga-loving) friends. Only a few people RSVP'd. NOBODY showed up.

What??!!! Helllooo... it's FREE yoga. Come on people!

Luckily, my other roommate who hasn't done any exercise for a year volunteered to take my class! I had a sequence of postures planned out but after the first few poses I realized that I was going to need to adjust the sequence for the audience. So I cut out alot. To date I had only taught yoga classes to people who do yoga regularly, so when I said "downward facing dog" the students immediately went there. When I said "downward dog" to my roommate, nothing happened - so I had to figure out how to cue her into the pose without taking the easy way out and showing her with my body. I could tell which cues worked and which didn't by how she readjusted her body. At the end (after a nice long savasana) she felt great!

So even though my friends flaked on a free yoga class, I still had the opportunity to grow as a teacher, and even better... my roommate can't wait to do it again! Another yoga convert. Yesssss. Sometimes I feel like a cult leader. Join yoga... it will solve ALL your problems and give you inner peace and joy... JOIN meeeee!!!... muahahahah!

at least THIS didn't happen

Monday, February 27, 2012

S**t Yogis Say

Another pretty accurate depiction of yogis / yet another knockoff of S**t Girls Say.

So this video was produced by Lululemon Athletica (the unofficial uniform of yoga girls). But what I found hilarious was what a BIG DEAL people made about the presence of the Lululemon logo in every scene. I know these people were frustrated at the shameless brand marketing, but c'mon guys, the fact that the girl was wearing Lululemon apparel and drinking out of a Lululemon water bottle and laying on a Lululemon yoga mat is not too far fetched from reality. Walk into any American/Canadian yoga studio and you are bound to see that little horseshoe in at least 5,000 different places! Lululemon is the Nike of yoga -- accept it.

Now where did I put that coconut water? ::sigh::

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I am a Pack Rat (ahem, packrat)

Today while working at the yoga studio, I was assigned the task of going through the Lost & Found to purge old items. In most industries, this task could be considered quite the adventure - like searching for hidden treasures in a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea! But alas, I work in a POWER yoga studio (read: HOT and SWEATY). Thus, the Lost & Found takes on similar characteristics as the studio at the end of a 50-person power class (read: Moist and Smelly).

Once I began to dig in I noticed that the Lost & Found didn't smell that bad. But what actually perplexed me the most was why I was chosen to conquer this mission. You see, I am a Pack Rat. I find sentimental value in EVERYTHING, and the things that I'm not attached to, well, I might need them someday. Anything can be considered useful.

I attribute this to being raised by Pack Rat parents. I grew up in an environment where my parents constantly complained about not having enough storage space even though we had an attic, a two-car garage, good-sized closets in every room, and for awhile, a spare bedroom. Not to mention, my aunt who has had a considerable influence on me, well, her nickname is Messy. As you can see, I never stood a chance. In the battle of nature vs nurture, nurture won and I became a hoarder.

Upon further investigation I learned that the word Pack Rat (which is actually spelled "packrat" according to the American Society of Mammalogists) is actually another name for the woodrat (Genus Neotoma) - a species indigenous to my homeland of California. Woodrats build nests out of anything they can get their tiny claws on. Their nests have many chambers and when their homes are encroached on, they will move to the attic or walls of their little houses. Similarly, my own house is packed with items which I've come upon opportunistically (I have a hard time saying no to free stuff). When these items encroach upon my territory (i.e. my bed), I will simply relocate to somewhere more open (i.e. the couch).

Woodrats are fond of shiny objects. So am I.

do you see the resemblance?

So for me, the HARDEST part of going through the Lost and Found today was not keeping souvenirs. I was about 95% successful in this endeavor, which is really good for me. Don't judge.

The question of the day is this: When I'm traveling around the world teaching yoga, where on earth am I going to PUT all my stuff ??!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Memories of Ecuador

Remember when this was a TRAVEL BLOG? It feels soooo long ago... I can't believe that I've been back living in reality for 6 months already! Nevertheless, I'm feeling ready to hit the road again.

Anyway, apparently I neglected to post this blog entry after I wrote it and it's been sitting in a file labeled "drafts". So here you go, three entries from Ecuador! As you can see I liked Peru ALOT better.

evil monkey

Peruvian paradise

flash flood
July 18, 2011
It’s all a learning process. The jungle trip will be a lesson in patience for me. Today I grew very frustrated with NorthDakota, but in the great span of things, the drama with him means very little. Just look at all that has happened in 2 weeks! Two weeks ago I was sick in Arequipa and that was the only thing I could focus on. Since then I had that terrible night in Piura, had a week in paradise with The Austrian, had the border crossing/bus trip from hell where I practically got kidnapped and was terrified for my life, got caught in a flash flood and rappelled down humongous waterfalls in a canyon, and today I was robbed by a monkey. In the context of all of this, NorthDakota leading us down a road to nowhere while I was ogled at in my bikini and then jeopardizing our jungle trip with his indecision, well it really doesn’t mean that much.

fern gully

piranha dinner
lago limoncocha
July 20, 2011 - The Amazon - 
I am ready to leave the jungle. The Amazon is so immense and dense that when you hike through it you really don’t see anything besides more giant plants. Being on the water is better because you can see unique birds, monkeys, and fish for piranhas! Speaking of which, piranhas don’t taste that great. They are okay, but the biggest problem is getting the meat from between their razor sharp bones. They have bones/spines where normal fish don’t! If you accidentally swallow a bone (which I did), it really hurts!

Anyway, I think I prefer the cloud forest for hiking - it is just as beautiful but you can see so much more! Tonight we are going out on the boat/canoe after dark to search for caimans (relative of the crocodile) and tomorrow we will head back to the bus for a 6-hour ride back to Tena. On Friday morning I will head toward Quito and then at the Quito bus station decide whether to go to Otavalo or Mindo next.

Otavalo Market
for the eatin'

July 22, 2011
Ecuador keeps getting negative awesome points. I arrived in Otavalo today and ALL the hotels/hostels were full. Tomorrow is the famous Saturday Market in Otavalo, but it happens EVERY Saturday. How was I supposed to know how quickly the rooms would book up?! So I walked around the city for HOURS lugging around my giant backpack which slowly crushed my spine and spirit in search of a place to stay. Hotel after hotel I was declined entry. I found a Catholic church and planned to hide out and sleep in the back corner... they have to let me in, right?! No room at the inn - a classic story. Is this how Mary felt when she went from inn to inn and there was no room? Did she first feel abandoned because she had to sleep in a crappy manger, but then feel lucky that she had SOMEWHERE to give birth? Next to the church I dragged myself into yet another hotel and when the man at the desk said they were full, I burst into tears. Between sobs, in broken Spanish, I explained that everywhere was full and now I had be like the virgin Mary and sleep in a church or barn! The man, sensing that he had a lunatic in his presence, picked up the phone and dialed every hotel in town until he finally found a place to send me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yoga Mat for sale. Used once.

My roommate just introduced me to the Best Of section of Craigslist and in there I found this gem. Click here to see the original posting.


Yoga mat for sale. Used once.

Date: 2011-09-13, 10:32PM PDT

Yoga mat for sale. Used once at lunch hour class in December 2009. Usage timeline as follows:

Register for hot yoga class. Infinite wisdom tells me to commit to 5 class package and purchase a yoga mat. I pay $89.74. Money well spent, I smugly confirm to myself.

Open door to yoga room. A gush of hot dry air rushes through and past me. It smells of breath, sweat and hot. Take spot on floor in back of room next to cute blonde. We will date.

I feel the need to be as near to naked as possible. This is a problem because of the hot blonde to my left and our pending courtship. She will not be pleased to learn that I need to lose 30 pounds before I propose to her.

The shirt and sweats have to come off. I throw caution to the wind and decide to rely on my wit and conditioning to overcome any weight issues my fiancée may take issue with. This will take a lot of wit and conditioning.

Begin small talk with my bride to be. She pretends to ignore me but I know how she can be. I allow her to concentrate and stare straight ahead and continue to pretend that I don't exist. As we finish sharing our special moment, I am suddenly aware of a sweat moustache that has formed below my nose. This must be from the all the whispering between us.

Instructor enters the room and ascends her special podium at the front of the room. She is a slight, agitated Chinese woman. She introduces me to the class and everyone turns around to greet me just as I decide to aggressively adjust my penis and testes packed in my Under Armor. My bride is notably unfazed.

Since I do have experience with Hot Yoga (4 sessions just 5 short years ago) I fully consider that I may be so outstanding and skilled that my instructor may call me out and ask me to guide the class. My wife will look on with a sparkle in her eye. We will make love after class.

It is now up to 95 degrees in the room. We have been practicing deep breathing exercises for the last 8 minutes. This would not be a problem if we were all breathing actual, you know, oxygen. Instead, we are breathing each other's body odor, expelled carbon dioxide and other unmentionables. (Don't worry, I'll mention them later.)

It is now 100 degrees and I take notice of the humidity, which is hovering at about 90%. I feel the familiar adorning stare of my bride and decide to look back at her. She appears to be nauseated. I then realize that I forgot to brush my teeth prior to attending this class. We bond.

It is now 110 degrees and 95% humidity. I am now balancing on one leg with the other leg crossed over the other. My arms are intertwined and I am squatting. The last time I was in this position was 44 years ago in the womb, but I'm in this for the long haul. My wife looks slightly weathered dripping sweat and her eyeliner is streaming down her face. Well, "for better or worse" is what we committed to so we press on.

The overweight Hispanic man two spots over has sweat running down his legs. At least I think its sweat. He is holding every position and has not had a sip of water since we walked in. He is making me look bad and I hate him.

I consider that if anyone in this room farted that we would all certainly perish.

It is now 140 degrees and 100% humidity. I am covered from head to toe in sweat. There is not a square millimeter on my body that is not slippery and sweaty. I am so slimy that I feel like a sea lion or a maybe sea eel. Not even a bear trap could hold me. The sweat is stinging my eyeballs and I can no longer see.

This room stinks of asparagus, cloves, tuna and tacos. There is no food in the room. I realize that this is an amalgamation of the body odors of 30 people in a 140 degree room for the last 55 minutes. Seriously, enough with the asparagus, ok?

140 degrees and 130% humidity. Look, bitch, I need my space here so don't get all pissy with me if I accidentally sprayed you with sweat as I flipped over. Seriously, is that where this relationship is going? Get over yourself. We need counseling and she needs to be medicated. Stat!

150 degrees and cloudy. And hot. I can no longer move my limbs on my own. I have given up on attempting any of the commands this Chinese chick is yelling out at us. I will lay sedentary until the aid unit arrives. I will buy this building and then have it destroyed.
I lose consciousness.

I have a headache and my wife is being a selfish bitch. I can't really breathe. All I can think about is holding a cup worth of hot sand in my mouth. I cannot remember what an ice cube is and cannot remember what snow looks like. I consider that my only escape might be a crab walk across 15 bodies and then out of the room. I am paralyzed, and may never walk again so the whole crab walk thing is pretty much out.

I cannot move at all and cannot reach my water. Is breathing voluntary or involuntary? If it's voluntary, I am screwed. I stopped participating in the class 20 minutes ago. Hey, lady! I paid for this frickin class, ok?! You work for me! Stop yelling at everyone and just tell us a story or something. It's like juice and cracker time, ok?

It is now 165 degrees and moisture is dripping from the ceiling. The towel that I am laying on is no longer providing any wicking or drying properties. It is actually placing additional sweat on me as I touch it. My towel reeks. I cannot identify the smell but no way can it be from me. Did someone spray some stank on my towel or something?

Torture session is over. I wish hateful things upon the instructor. She graciously allows us to stay and 'cool down' in the room. It is 175 degrees. Who cools down in 175 degrees? A Komodo Dragon? My wife has left the room. Probably to throw up.

My opportunity to escape has arrived. I roll over to my stomach and press up to my knees. It is warmer as I rise up from ground level - probably by 15 degrees. So let's conservatively say it's 190. I muster my final energy and slowly rise. One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. Towards the door. Towards the door.

The temperature in the lobby is 72 degrees. Both nipples stiffen to diamond strength and my penis begins to retract into my abdomen from the 100 degree temp swing. I can once again breathe though so I am pleased. I spot my future ex wife in the lobby. We had such a good thing going but I know that no measure of counseling will be able to unravel the day's turmoil and mental scaring.

Arrive at Emerald City Smoothie and proceed to order a 32 oz beverage. 402 calories, 0 fat and 14 grams of protein -- effectively negating any caloric burn or benefit from the last 90 minutes. I finish it in 3 minutes and spend the next 2 hours writing this memoir.

Create Craigslist ad while burning final 2 grams of protein from Smoothie and before the "shakes" consume my body.

Note to self - check car for missing wet yoga towel in am.

  • Location: Bellevue
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Man Cave

Apologies that my last post had absolutely nothing to do with yoga. So here we go-->back on track.

This morning during yoga class I fell over in reversed triangle pose. No, I didn't fall out of the pose... my triangle literally toppled over whacking the woman beside me. She was very forgiving, but I was less forgiving to myself as I tried to jump back from crow to chaturanga and belly-flopped smacking my nose into the mat. What is happening to meeeee???!!!!

I'll tell you what happened: I took two whole days off from yoga which extinguished my ability to make it through an entire class without causing an apocalyptic domino effect. Muscle memory? Ha! My muscles have amnesia. There is only one thing I can blame: having the day off work.

Fact: until Sunday I hadn't had a day off work since January 15th.
Other Fact: I decided to take full advantage of my one day off. From Saturday night at 7pm to Monday morning at 5am, I utilized every single hour living life to its fullest. Sleep would have impeded on my fun so it was skipped. So was bathing.

Where did I spend my 34 hours of freedom?

I discovered The Man Cave on New Years Day of this year. I was too busy getting broken up with on New Years Eve to muster any energy to go out, so I brought in the new year snuggling with the dog. I went to bed early and the next day I woke to find a man sitting on my couch. The man grinned widely while he explained how he'd been out partying all night and in the wee hours stumbled upon my house (that's what I get for living downtown). My roommate's houseguest had let him in and now here he was! The man was very hungry and thirsty (hangover) so I fed him breakfast. The man then described how in an attempt to get some new years booty he had lost everything. No car. No phone. No wallet. Not even a jacket. The man was lost in this world with no identity, no means of communication, and no way to get back home. He hopped in my car and together we rode around the town stopping by his friends' homes asking them to help him piece together the puzzle of the previous night. Two hours later we found his jacket with the phone and wallet in it, stopped to get coffee, and then I drove him back toward his hometown. Along the way, the man suggested we go for a hike so I steered us to a local park and we spent time bonding in nature. The daylight had begun to fade and it was time to take the man home. He directed me to his house and invited me in. Obligingly I went and it was there that I encountered The Man Cave.

In The Man Cave reside three men, all in their late 20s. Three single men I might add. Which made my first night there slightly awkward. But after the awkwardness passed I soon realized that the four of us together were none other than.... the cast of New Girl! Starring my girl-crush, Zooey Deschanel. Each member of The Man Cave has his assigned character and as we watched an episode all together, the boys were dumbfounded to see that the characters were in fact their very own personality doppelgangers!


In case you were wondering, the man that appeared in my house was the Schmidt doppelganger. But if you've seen the show, that shouldn't surprise you. Henceforth, I will only refer to the boys by their doppelganger names.

The first night there (New Years Day) went something like this:

And thus a beautiful friendship was born. Eventually the boys mostly stopped shamelessly hitting on me and we all became friends. And it was with them that I spent my 34 hours of freedom. Which is why come Monday morning I could barely lift my eyelids. And why instead of taking yoga class Monday morning, I slept on the sofa in the yoga studio (true story). And it is why today my sense of balance is completely off and why red wine now flows through my veins where blood used to be, slowly intoxicating my muscle memory.

And I don't regret it one bit!