Monday, November 28, 2011

Overcoming Excess

December usually brings a lot of celebration and expansion, but it can also mean an expansion of the waistline and a tendency to overindulge in pleasure. I love a good party. In fact, I feel that with yoga and exercise: there's a party happening in my body! I feel so lucky to be able to be physical and move, yet I constantly take this for granted.  Celebrating the ability to move freely in the body helps me  find much more presence. If I am truly present, one bite of chocolate will do the trick. Savor it and indulge!

A few guidelines I have during the holidays:

1. Meditation. Stopping and being still is a wonderful practice all the time, but especially during the Holidays, it helps me to be exactly where I am and helps with the practice of mindful breathing. Mindfulness when transferred to partying can mean mind-full-ness! It helps to pay attention to when I am full!

2. If it's made with love, taste it. That's right. If I am going to indulge in sweets during December, I make sure that it was something prepared from scratch, by a person that I can thank immediately. This rules out alot of processed and packaged foods and sugars, and helps to remind me to be selective while indulging. I tend to eat just the right amount when I am consciously tasting. Plus, love is a very healthy ingredient.

3. Start fresh the next day. There is a tendency to fall off of the exercise wagon when we are over indulging. The next day, simply start fresh, and you will see that the number on the scale will not move that much if you maintain your healthy exercise habit. Burning calories, building muscle and burning stored fat will increase your metabolism. It also helps mentally to press the reset button and stay present in your physical body.

4. Eat your greens. Make sure that you continue to eat healthy foods. Do not replace meals. Have a salad before you go off to a feast. Drink 16 ounces of water. You will feel delightfully satiated, and will not be so hungry that you overindulge in too many empty calories.

I write this on the heels of a Thanksgiving feast! Off to take a walk now. Happy and healthy!

Monday, November 21, 2011


The process of transformation is incredibly powerful, but it is not easy. There is a quote that I love that I used in my VISION MAT that says:
"Make no mistake about it—enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretense. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true."

In my lifetime, I have gone through many little deaths in order to shed my skin and experience rebirth. Collectively, this is happening all around us. In the west, it seems our entire system is turning upside-down. Mostly because we are taught always to be number one; at the top of our game. Even within the new age spiritual community, there is a fear of the dark and an addiction to light. I have found that my deepest, most intimate moments with myself, have given me the most power. I have come through the very darkness that I have been taught to disclaim. As long as I perceive it as "out there", I can blame it on everyone else and be a victim. When I claim it, I own the power that comes from facing it within and developing the skills to use its power to transform.

My need to connect and to feel deeply has been satisfied by the confrontation that occurs during periods of intensity. While exercising, there is often a point when I feel that I want to give up. It is at that exact point of challenge when the part of me that wants to break through, gets stronger. This has happened when I hit my threshold physically, emotionally and spiritually. So, I say that if this feeling brings me closer to my goal, bring it on!

During my trip to India, I found that many of my most valued securities seemed to dissolve right before me. This feeling of letting go and being out of control has not been my favorite, but I have learned to face the devastation of my own structures with a humble thank-you. Surely witnessing this process first hand in the face of less-than-cushy circumstances is a great teacher that even the lowest and the darkest may be infused with great light if met with humility. Destruction of the old structures is necessary if we are to build new, more useful vessels. So, if things around you start to fall away, let them. Release what is no longer needed and watch what will arise in its place. Easier said than done? Yes. Am I in it with you? Yes. On the path. Right beside you.

Many thanks in gratitude this month, for the loss...and whatever comes next.

Monday, November 14, 2011


This is a top secret, no fail motivator. When all else fails, think about sex. Seriously. Sexual energy is creative energy. You can create an entire person with that energy. Have you ever noticed that when you have a crush on someone, you can stay up all night and not get tired, that you are not hungry, and everything rolls off of your back? Tapping into this aspect of yourself is both energizing and completely entertaining. And, guess what.. No one needs to know what you are thinking. Plus, as an added bonus, it is a fact that you burn more calories when you are thinking about someone you have a crush on!!

This is a picture I drew of my ideal relationship. I drew this picture right after my heart was broken in my first relationship. It took about 4 years, but this art project looks alot like my current relationship. Until I was in it, I found crushes, and developed a bit of a crush on myself. I flirted a little bit, and wore fun and cute workout outfits, and changed my hair occasionally, and just tried feeling sexy from the inside out. 

Even at my heaviest, I tried to imagine that I was carefree, and I would wear shorts and feel sexy in general. This increased my confidence levels, and my body responded accordingly.

If you are in a relationship, you have homework: make out session.
If you are not, homework is: get out there and get a crush on someone.

The last time I gave this homework assignment, I gave it to a spinning class I was teaching. One of the students decided to get a crush on me. And the above art project came to life. You never know the power of creative energy....

The second chakra is the point just above your genitals, and it is the place in the body where we relate to one another. It is connected to our passion and our deep desires. Connecting to this area of the body directly relates to the bodily fluids and is supposedly the secret to a lot of mystical powers. Sexual energy is the most potent energy we have. We can create an entire person with that energy. The deepest sense of intimacy and connection to god and to another can come from healing this place within. The practice of Tantric Yoga touches on this. There is also a Taoist version of yoga that reveals we can heal ourselves with this energy. (SEE MANTAK CHIA)

Sexual energy, being the most potent and powerful energy that we possess is not to be taken lightly. Transcend the superficial, and use it as fuel. To transform and recreate your body, mind and spirit! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Intensity Empowerment

What if every single thing you are living right now, no matter how painful or difficult, is here to help you become the most empowered and deepest soul you can possibly imagine? The phoenix rising from the ashes, represents the ability to die and emerge with far more perspective. As low as we can go, is how high we can get.

Coming out on the other side of loss has given me the sense of true empowerment every single time. After many experiences that were less than desirable (and certainly nothing that I would've signed up for!), I am learning  to view the intensity of loss as a gift, without understanding "why". Life has not let me down so far. One of the greatest challenges to my faith is loss, but I am learning to accept it in the moment: I get on my knees and I get thankful for the exact thing that is happening and causing me pain. I accept it and I would have it no other way. Yes. Yes. Yes to losing my career and my sense of identity. Yes to my body falling apart. Yes to my break up. Yes to being fired. Yes to 9-11. Yes to my father's cancer. Yes. Yes. Yes. Imagine this “secret”: you are already doing it! Your spirit and soul want it exactly this way. 

  • The next thing I do is I get present in the moment.
  •  I take a bath.
  •  I go for a walk. 
  • I make myself a cup of tea, share with a friend, or go to look at the ocean.
  • I practice yoga and I work it out.
Life has been an amazing example and teacher as to how to deal with pain and intensity during exercise! During exercise, there is often a point when I feel that I want to give up. It is at that exact point of challenge when the part of me that wants to break through gets stronger. This has happened when I hit my threshold physically, emotionally and spiritually. So, I say that if this feeling brings me closer to my goal, BRING IT ON.
With that fresh perspective I have been able to emerge and focus the energy in a completely new way. Many of my creations have appeared as a result of loss. From the DVD I created, to the book I am writing. SO I now say YES to the intensity, in my relationships, life circumstances and on a lighter note:

This is a picture I drew when I was very angry at being fired. Shortly thereafter, my apartment burned down.

The saying whatever doesn't kill you makes your stronger is in my bones. That is intense AND empowering!