Monday, June 20, 2016

Home is Where the Heart Is

Chicago, you gave me a warm welcome. I was reconnected with a radio show host that I quite like as a human. I met some true blue fans that felt like family.You gave me new friends who took me in, and gave me rides. You gave me a delicious breakfast.

New York City, you gave me a beautiful temporary apartment in a part of you where Ive never spent time: Gramercy Park. You gave me a local farm to table restaurant and my new favorite coffee joint. You gave me old friends, lots of visits to magazines, interviews and on-camera appearances. You gave me rainstorms, sunlight and an incredible rainbow. You gave me intimate conversations, martinis and long walks. You gave me a place to wait for a new phone.

Long Island, you gave me an early morning drive with a small dog in my lap and Hamilton the musical playing on the stereo. You gave me comfort, the ability to zone out completely, naps and laundry to fold. You gave me sticky heat and thick fog. You gave me space and support. You gave me the down time with a close friend that I can really relax with.

Toronto, you gave me a bedroom in an old students home where I was fed, welcomed to lay in the sun, watch movies on Netflix in between all-day interviews for radio and an appearance on a talk show that I haven't been on in years. You gave me a driver who needed my help. You gave me an adventure of being locked out of the place where I was staying....with my hosts. You gave me precocious children and floppy big dogs. You gave me a spinning bike in a basement and a glass of red wine. You gave me healthy, delicious greens. You gave me an Enneagram book in my guest room, that took me way back to memories of the '90's.

Rhinebeck, you gave me grounding. Oak trees, local organic foods that were cooked for me and served in the common cafeteria. You gave me willing women to practice with and to go deeper with during my long trip away from my home base of Los Angeles. You gave me bad reception, non-dairy chocolate, and a library filled with books on philosophy, religion, psychology, yoga, meridians, sexuality, health and mysticism. You gave me a sauna and nature.

New York, you gave me a second chance, and a few surprises. You gave me laughter and the opportunity to make a new friend. You gave me anticipation of passion, and long baths. You gave me activism and activity. You gave me friendly business meetings and make up artists. You gave me a short fuse and immediate opportunity to come clean.

D.C. You gave me play, an upgrade and a roof deck. You gave me great weather, the white house and the feeling that I was privileged. You gave me the Frank Sinatra Suite. You gave me a heatwave, #DCPride and willing participants. You gave me a fine host and a pair of cheap sunglasses. You gave me animal crackers and an organic manicure that lasted an entire week. You gave me two airports and a missed flight. You gave me a breakdown and a breakthrough.

Los Angeles, you gave me the chance to unpack, regroup, repack, revisit, revise and unwind just in time to leave you again.

Corte Madera, you gave me incredible weather, a surprise extra class, an athletic bunch to push, a bedroom with skylights, friendship, new friends for a pool side hang, walking into a strangers house by accident on fathers day, the last 5 minutes of game 7 and an historic moment in the NBA, a good nights sleep and organic cherries.

As I travel for this tour, I am finding love wherever I go. Truly living the meaning of "Home is where the heart is". Thank you thank you thank you. See the love wherever you land. Happy Summer Solstice.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Happy Accidents

I remember being in an art class in my mobile school for experiential learning. The first lesson was: "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents". This stuck with me, probably because I am such a natural born perfectionist. The idea that art transcends linear thinking, judgement and structure is a lesson I can (un)learn. I am perpetually faced with happy accidents, and challenged to remember this kind lesson in acceptance.

Just today, I woke up at 5am Eastern to make my Sunday early morning flight. As I arrived at the airport, groggily checking in just 90 minutes before take off (thinking: "I don't really need to be at the airport 2 hours in advance. I've cinched this."), it came to light that I WAS AT THE WRONG AIRPORT! Oh, how I wanted to blame someone, or force my way on to a flight from that spot...yet I knew better. I simply observed my frustration with myself grow and swell in my throat.

When I got into the taxi to take me to the correct location, my driver kindly reminded me that I could maybe make my flight. Perhaps it was delayed. Then he said something that struck me: "Everybody makes mistakes. But you never know. Maybe it will get you somewhere 10 minutes later for a reason." I knew he was right, because I started to release my tears. I was trying to make it right. I was being very hard on myself internally, thinking that if I got my way I could correct this debacle. What a relief. Acknowledging and accepting.

I didn't make the flight. I am happily at the airport, organizing and enjoying my four extra hours here. I was reminded of yesterday at my class/book signing in D.C. There was a miscommunication, and so there were no books! It seemed tragic when I found out, but my publishing house came up with an even better solution: those who would order the book would receive a two for one and get my first book along with my second. Perhaps an even juicier deal! A very happy accident.

I'm taking deep breaths, reminding myself of that famous saying (was it John Lennon?) "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". How true. Let's experiment together, and allow the saying "everything happens for a reason" not to be an annoyance, but a guideline for staying present, fluid and adaptable. This way, we can enjoy the discovery process, and be gentle on ourselves and others at the same time.

May you make a beautiful mess today!
receive your happy accidents with joy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Mind Your Words: Intention Setting

In the middle of my book tour,  I had an opportunity to spend a long weekend at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies with an inspiring group of women. As we gathered together for a "Love Your Body NOW" workshop that I was leading, which fell upon a Gemini new moon, we experienced the magic of group intention setting. 

The plan was to allow the plan to unfold. I am an over-preparer, so this decision was contrary action for me. As fate would have it, we were an all-women group. I did not specify that it would be women only, but this is what occurred. It so happened that one of the attendees had lost her mother just two days prior to the workshop, another had lost her mother one month prior, and one woman's mother-in-law had a heart attack on the first night of our workshop. 

The loving attention that the group energy provided amidst the healing that was underway was certainly beyond me. However, the trust in the support of the surroundings, our lush home base, the incredible staff, and my twenty years of holding space as an instructor was all we needed to allow nature to take its course. Naturally, we were unified in the exact correct configuration, with just the right amount of levity, understanding, activity and space. 

The steps I highlighted were: 1. Intention setting 2. Grounding the energy 3. Mind your Words 4.Feel the energy in motion 5. Create/re-create 6. Define healthy habits 7. Balance in all things 8. Transformation will occur 9. Journey 10. Goals that are met 11. Share with the community 
12. Let go

Through vision boarding, grounding into the body with meditation, reframing our thoughts, feeling through the physical practice and creating we emerged from our second day. By day three, our morning was spent discussing healthy habits and relating with one another. A transformation did occur. We spontaneously began a circle and a conversation about the pressure on body image and what defines us as women. How much of that is a set up, rather than our organic wild nature. What a juicy delight to allow this learning, sharing and growing together. 

We then emerged from our group stronger as we said our good-byes. 

Where will this path lead?
Welcome to Omega! 
How beautiful to behold and uphold one another in that special jewel of a moment. Here is what it looked like:

We gather together in a circle
Gratitude abounds! 
Humor in the Cafe


Ram Dass Library





Some sunning by the lake.

Inspiration from the Vision Board

Hard at play.

Nature walk.

Journeying the labyrinth.

We stand together in the power of nature.
 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

YogalosophyIS Book Launch

The hustle and bustle of this week began with the long-awaited launch of Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy, and with it came my own heart-opening and joy-filled book signing.

So many terrific people came to take my class at the beautiful flagship Ron Robinson store in Santa Monica. I was greeted by some of you, as well as many of my dear friends, and expert contributors to the book. Attendees included my supportive family, and even an old love who inspired the broken heart that drove me towards the healing that I shared.

I had a few wonderful surprises as well. The amazing Chelsea Handler showed her support along with dear old friends Ricki Lake, Joely Fisher and Melora Hardin. Best of all, my former co-star from the cult classic Teen Witch (yup. Top That. That's me.) Robyn Lively showed up for a reunion. I was truly blown away.  The guests were served Owl Tea cocktails, Beaming gluten, dairy free snacks, and yogurt parfaits by Tarte.

I wore CO+CO straight off the rack and was both sporty and spicy. 

The Gift Bags by Rachael were awesome, filled with goodies from Bombas Socks, Coobie seamless bras, Erno Lazlo, Essentia Water, Go Organic Candy, Hail Merry, Hello toothpaste, Larabar, Organic Living Superfoods, Philosophie, Pixi Beaity, Smarty Pants and Violet Love headbands.

Now I find myself on a plane to do my book tour. If you attend a class, you can get a free goody bag and you can enter to win a book for a friend. I'd love to see you in ChicagoNew York CityRhinebeck, D.C.Corte Madera, Portland or Vancouver. 

One of the greatest gifts I receive from teaching is connecting with people. In every way, this brings such meaning to my life. I wanted to thank you for loving me in this way. I can't wait to meet you and love you right back. 

As I mark the 20 year anniversary of being a teacher, I can say that everything I learned about loving, I have learned through teaching. 
Ta da! 

My book is my new baby.

Stretching ourselves on a Sunday morning.

Sharing wisdom and a zen moment at Ron Robinson

Wonderful friends Joely Fisher and Ricki Lake 

Mixing and mingling over Owl Tea-tinis, and snacks by Beaming and Tarte 

Goddess friends and book contributors Laura Amazzone and Andrea Bendewald

Signing books! 

Chelsea Handler showed up to support!


From my days as an actress, a long lost friend , Robyn Lively appeared...Teen Witch reunion!  The cherry on top.
Fantastic goodies for the guests courtesy of Gift Bags by Rachael.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

THE ABUNDANT PRESENT

It's the season to manifest. To reap what we have sown. The time of year that has us coming to our senses with all of earth's delights. The night blooming jasmine pulls my olfactory sense while I am taking my grounding neighborhood walk. The shores of the beach draw me in with the ocean’s roar. I get the feeling I am anchored deeply into the earth, mirrored by the palm trees that line my treasured Santa Monica bluffs. Even the sweet tanginess of ripe strawberries from the Farmer’s Market tastes more flavorful in Spring. I come alive when I get present to this moment. Just today I was cruising in my convertible and the Red Hot Chili Peppers came blasting on my radio and it felt as if I was hearing that song for the first time. A feeling of deep gratitude came washing over me, due to the grace of experiencing the present. It made me feel like my whole life up until this point has been a blessing.

I have an extra special month ahead. I am so excited to officially launch my book on May 10th! Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy is here. This book is about healing by coming to your senses to use physical actions in order to feel better, get present and find JOY during life’s transitions. So many are going through so much change. My last couple of years have been a time of letting go and shifting on a foundational level. The process of writing the book was filled with challenge and sometimes doubt, but showing up daily and returning to the present once again really paid off.

I feel so proud to be able to hold a copy of my book in my hands and feel its weight and texture. It's my baby. I own it. And I want you to own it too. It's available in stores and online.

I'm equally excited to get to come meet you in real time for class events and book signings in a city near you. Find a class near you here.  I will be in Chicago, New York, DC, Corte Madera, Portland and Vancouver!  I look forward to playing with you and hearing your stories. Click on your city to join an event and get your book signed.



Here are some ways you can come to your senses today and increase your joy:
·      TOUCH: Hug someone! A 10 second hug will increase your happiness hormones.

·      SMELL: During your neighborhood walk, take a moment to smell a flower.

·      HEARING: Listen to jazz or classical music. It will stimulate your brain.

·      TASTE: Nature provides. Taste your favorite fruit in its natural packaging.

·      SIGHT: Watch a sunrise or sunset.

Stay tuned for more news and a special event in the upcoming days!
 


Have a beautiful week. It’s a good life. Appreciate what you have. This life is a gift.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Find Your Center

Here I am. About to launch my new book. About to embark upon my eight city book tour. Usually by now, only one month before my publishing date, I like to have a plan. I like to have all my ducks in a row, my loose ends tied and my $h!t together. What is occurring is very different. I feel unhinged, messy, untethered, lost and overwhelmed.

I know. I know. "I'm a YOGA instructor." I'm supposed to have unlimited resources of zen calm and access to balance in the face of chaos. Even my book is a workbook of tools and tricks, exercise and routines to help ground you,the reader, into a state of well-being and inner strength during times of transition and grief.

I'd like to tell you that all is figured out. I'd like to be untouchable and super human like the yoga masters that I see in the magazines and in the videos on my Facebook page. The 95 year old who looks 55 and can still do the splits in every direction and has achieved mastery over life's little problems, only I'm the yoga instructor who is split wide open. I'm the one who comes to you uncensored and imperfect. My heart in a sling. That's me.

They say you teach what you need to learn. I am a living, breathing example of that. This weekend has had me bursting into tears, without warning, feeling a lack of identity and lost as to how to perform the simplest of tasks, like making my travel plans. It's true, folks. This deep rooted insecurity is coming up for review at the exact most inconvenient moment possible!

What to do? Well, in my book (I wrote a book????) the first step in all of this is to accept where I am. To land squarely, right here, right now. I sit. I take a deep breath. I feel. I cry. I write this blog. I breathe. I stop. I sit. I allow. I allow the feeling of fear to rise up in me, from my gut and upward streaking my spine like a flash of yellow and I let the tears flow and spill out through my words to you. I allow myself to feel this fear and to witness it, and to share with you anyway. I let the weakness permeate my entire being and I lay myself before my closest friends. Then I choose to reveal myself to you in this moment. I know that it's okay to be here and to be human.

The spiritual path has been romanticized. It is seen as a place of serenity and pleasant energy. I find the exact opposite to be true. The path of the yogi is the yes/and path. The word guru itself means darkness/light. That is the path of the teacher. I am able to sit here and witness the dark. Bring it to light. Feel it all. I feel it all.

Today I offer this to you: if you feel lost or confused you are not alone. Even those who you see living a serene life and having external successes don't always feel like they know the way. Today I land where I sit. I breathe. I cry. I express. I expose. I hold space for myself. I give up. I start fresh. This is how I find my center.
Malibu. Photo credit Javiera Estrada

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Renewal

Spring time is for starting fresh. Nature tells us so. The moment of balance when light and dark get equal air time is fleeting and potent. I come alive in that moment. That moment of integration, when I have just let go, and am embarking on a new journey. I feel ripe and empty. I am aware and falling. My gaze is fixed upon my new aim. The warrior embraces the dark and light. The warrior is well-rehearsed and knows nothing, but feels what is correct in the moment. The warrior is relaxed and at ease, yet is a stalker.

Today is new for me. I have never been here before. Never. Yet, I have journeyed and have experienced my cycles. Death, rebirth, death, rebirth. It keeps happening. I keep waking up. I keep waking up in the dream again. Once again, refreshed. Forgetful of the impending finality of the new conquest. Of course, each beginning carries within it the potential for its inevitable ending. But I am a quick forgetter. Thank goodness.

My emptiness feels freeing. A new chapter. Spring.

I open up. I stand firmly planted. I stretch and reach. I am wide open spaces. My moments of stillness eternal, my senses active, my mind present, my gaze fixed, my body firm and active. When I stand, erect and empty, grace fills me up and moves through me energetically. What looks effortless has been well rehearsed in the dreams I don't remember. It is time.

The real new year begins now. In the first moment of Spring. The Winter resolutions that you grapple with have been turned over in your mind, flushed through your nervous system. They have been consumed, digested and released. What remains? Look around. What you see is what wants to be birthed.

Here it is. I want to be seen. Here it is. I want to share. Here is is.
Death Valley. Photo credit David Korman.
I want to give and receive love. Here is it. I want to lead. Here it is. I want to play. Here it is. I want to create more so that I may feel my impact on the world in order to know myself more deeply. I want a new experience of myself.

What do you want? Don't wait any longer. Act.