For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Yoga Alliance has made me bona fide. Earlier today, I may have checked the website for the eleventeenth time to see if my RYT was posted. Lo and behold, it was!

I don't know about you, but my lasik surgery of five years past isn't holding up like I'd hoped. I can't read that tiny print! Shall we examine a blow-up to confirm? Yes, let's shall.

Just in time too, as I believe I will be teaching yoga in a formal capacity starting this week. More on that to come, as I've not received the teaching schedule. But it appears that last weekend's audition was met with approval by the students, and I was invited onto Stroga's March teaching schedule! Swaha!

Did you know that bona fide is a Latin phrase meaning “in good faith"? I know it's most often used to mean “genuine” today, but I like the strict definition of origin. As I teach yoga, I am doing so in good faith that this practice is ripe with benefits of the physical, mental and spiritual kind. I'm eager to share those benefits with those eager to learn. What an amazing gift to partake of and now to pass on. I'm "genuinely" honored.

In the movie O Brother Where Art Thou, my husband's doppelganger George Clooney finds himself in a much different position. Let's take a look.

Finally, I've got the papers to prove my registered yoga teacher status. Proving to the world what I've guessed all along: I'm certifiable.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Three Thoughtful Tidbits

Examining the last two blog entries, one might think I’d had a guest writer. They both discuss the same snow topic; yet approach it from opposite viewpoints. Not yet ready to admit a split personality, I will however confess they both came from moi. The two entries are a testament to the effect that one’s outlook has on everything. Moving on, as those were then.

Today, a beautiful sunny Sunday by any standards, I am giving myself a wee pat on the back. Since completing my 200 hour yoga teacher training (TT) on 12/28/09, I’ve been looking at opportunities to teach in the DC metro area. Most recent TT graduates are unable to find employ at a yoga studio, as many studios require both a 200 hour certificate, and 1-2 years teaching experience. So where is a nubile yoga teacher to gain said experience? Why, yee local gym, of course.

This week I’ve had three auditions; two at gyms, and today’s at a new yoga studio. For the studio opening, I found an ad on Craigs List posting for yoga teacher auditions, and decided to inquire. Last weekend, I attended an informal “so you wanna teach at our studio” meeting. I was the sole teacher not currently teaching, nor with previous yoga teacher experience. I left extremely impressed with the studio management and space, yet less than enthused about my ability in this situation. Who am I to compete with these other, more experienced yogis?

Friends, I ask myself and encourage you to inquire the same within: WHO AM I NOT TO?

With more than a little encouragement from family and friends, I confirmed my audition time and prepared to give this opportunity my all. When I arrived at the studio, I learned that these free classes had been pulling 50-80+ people per class. I about dooked my slacks. I’m familiar with practicing, not teaching, in studios with max capacity of 50. Teaching experience (in the yoga realms) has been limited to much, much, much smaller numbers. Another phrase I like to use in times of potential pant soilage: FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT!

And so I did, but yet not. I guided these wonderful yoga students through an asana practice with everything I had, and found ½ way through that I had to fake no longer. I was having fun, I was sharing the gift that is yoga; and that is why I decided to attempt teaching in the first place. Third choice tidbit of the post: IF YOU CAN’T HAVE FUN, WHY BOTHER?

I won’t know for a while whether or not the audition was a success in the students’ or studio’s eyes. But for me, it was a great success. I overcame fears; big fears. I grabbed at a wonderful opportunity to strengthen my voice as it speaks the God-inspired yoga language. As a newbie TT, I can already say I’ve led large classes through Vinyasa practice. My proudest reflection though, is that I stood fast to my mantra, even when I wasn’t sure it’s what I was capable of doing:
Yoga is all of the above. Teaching today allowed me to walk the walk; not just talk the talk. Namaste.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Diving Bell of Being

Right before the big blizzard set in last week, I went to the library to stock up on books, cds and dvds. Me and everyone else had the same idea; thus, the dvd selection was slim. I ended up choosing a video based solely on its production company, Miramax. In my experience, Miramax films are more artistic, esoteric, thought-provoking and heart-felt than most. Though I’d never heard of this film before, I decided to check out The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Tonight, day 4 of snowfall (well it was when I wrote this), snow shoveling, snowed-in and all other ways snowfilled living, the husband and I sat down to watch. I will not share many details in case you too, dear reader, are drawn to watch this film (written in French, but complete with English dubbing and/or subtitles). But I will share that it starts out with a man who is a recent paraplegic. The audience is privy to his thoughts, though he is unable to speak.

Thinking back over his well blessed and lucrative life, pictures of glaciers, hundreds of thousands of years old melt and drop like so many world trade center towers into the ocean. The viewer hears his thoughts:

"Today, my life feels like a string of near-misses. Women I was unable to love, opportunities I was unable to seize, moments of happiness I let drift away. A race whose result I knew before-hand but failed to bet on the winner. Had I been blind and deaf, or did it take the harsh light of disaster to help me find my true nature?"

I can relate to these words. These past few days of being locked away due to snow, I have been writhing in disconnection and isolation from the outside world. Tucked away in a warm nest with my husband, at times I’m sure we’ve both felt like lashing out at the other if only because we’ve been on top of ourselves with little to do for too long.

flipping a bird with all love

And yet, this situation, like so many other wonderful ones that have graced the stage of my existence is nothing short of a great gift. When is the luxury of downtime ever available in droves?

But even as recently as this morning, I was reflecting on how many situations present themselves to me, and I meet them with a seeming built-in sense of dismay, dis-ease, disthymia actually. When all is on top, I still feel as though I’m pulling myself up by my boot-straps. This movie, with the protagonist lying in his hospital bed, brought me back to the days of my mother lying in her hospital bed, halo attached and she in pain.

When I tried to imagine myself in her place, I recoiled. I think I am claustrophobic now just due to snow, yet I have 1600 square feet of space in which to frolic. What of me locked inside a metal cage in which I am literally attached? She was an amazing testament to the ability of mind over matter, spirit conquering self, Self saving soul. I do not want to experience a tragedy to be able to look on current days and revel. I pray for an opening of senses that I may not bury myself in lost opportunity.

How do I do this? This movie is certainly not the first time I've felt I am losing time without appreciation. I was drawn to yoga in large part to help myself be in the moment, to enjoy the now. And while I am constantly reminding myself of the need for this skill, I feel it is ever elusive.

Mine is certainly not an unexamined journey, but I wouldn’t mind a few determinations as a result of all the analyzing. That may just be the very thing that keeps me from the appreciation I seek. Craving an outcome, when the process is the fundamental goal. Perhaps I’d best imbibe a glass of champagne and let the effervescence lift me up. Or, maybe I could just stop thinking so much and start just being more. Yes…just.