Monday, January 30, 2012

Surprises! Expect the Unexpected

"When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change." ~Wayne Dyer

I have recently had some sudden changes. A break-up of a 5+ year relationship, a move from a very urban setting to a very secluded mountain retreat, and a work trip that took me through London, Madrid, Berlin, and back through London to Los Angeles from Monday to Friday. I feel like the Universe has invited me to a party, and involved me in a child's game where I have been blindfolded, spun around several times, and now the blindfold has been taken off so that I can reorient myself to a completely new perspective.

When I shift my perspective, even a little bit, my entire life changes. I am a person who has learned to thrive on change. I am a believer that all change is good. I get another angle on life and it's experiences, which allows me to relate to others even more. We never know how a small shift will create a big change, so I encourage you to do things differently this week. Change it up and break up the same old routine!

Here are some practical guidelines for shifting your perspective this week:

TRY A GROUP CLASS. You know that class in your community? It's time to take the risk and be among others who are taking care of themselves just the way you want to take care of yourself. You are ready. You can be exactly you. Notice how that group inspires you. You may be inspiring the person right beside you, just by showing up. If you are already taking that group class, change your spot in the room. That's right, I know you get attached to that comfy safe spot, but it's time to make a bold move. Try the front row, or give someone else a chance and step to the sidelines. You never know who you may meet. I have met two of my major relationships in a group class.
Jenni, my assistant and friend, in Scorpion
GO UPSIDE-DOWN. They say reversing the blood flow is the fountain of youth. Inversions include: head stand, handstand, shoulder stand, wide-legged forward bends/down dog, forward bend. I do not do inversions with my clients due to my personal sensitivity to the compression of the neck/spine. However, that does not mean you should not try it. Teachers have their limitations too, and you should never let the limitations of a teacher stop you.

If you have an injury and cannot go upside down, watch my video (above) for inversion alternatives.

DO IT DIFFERENTLY. Take an alternate route to work. Try a different market, or a new spot for lunch. Order a different hot beverage at your coffee place. Routine can put us in habitual patterns which make us go on automatic pilot, and we miss the moment. One of the greatest benefits of travel is the adventure of a new place. Even the most mundane activities become exciting as we travel to a new environment.
OBSERVE YOUR OWN PRACTICE. It is now a proven theory that the observer of an experiment actually changes the outcome of the experiment. Imagine that you are a scientist performing an experiment. Once you begin to watch yourself exercising, it effects the result. I find that my results are more potent when I stay present. Is it my mind changing my body or my body changing my mind? What the bleep? Thats right.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Community vs. Individuality

There is power in the group. It's the collective that creates the trends of society, as well as the revolutions. We invent our world together, co-creating and sharing ideas and energies. It is undeniable that even within a group, each of us is a unique individual that adds his/her own personal energy, and has a perspective that nobody else has. We each experience the exact same event from a slightly different angle. It is each of our jobs to contribute exactly who we are.
As we look around and see how much our world has changed, we can see that our voices have a power collectively that they do not have alone. With the internet, the Occupy Movement, and our social media, suddenly what we say and declare really matters. Your voice has a real influence and a power. So now is the time to get super clear and declare yourself. You matter. A great example of this is Wikipedia. The protest they created by going dark for 24 hrs to stop censorship makes it clear that this site, which anyone can add to gives the power to the collective through giving each a voice.

One of my very favorite things about being a teacher is the unique energetic imprint of each class that I teach. There are no two classes exactly alike, with the same configuration of energies, the same day, mood, music and emotional and societal undercurrents. Participating in a collective energetic group is a palpable experience. There is an energy and a dynamic that is undeniable and, as the leader, I have the grace of being able to contain and witness it. Generally, I feel that I am simply conducting the energy. It's YOU that make the class. This spills over into other groups as well. Never underestimate the power of even a small group.

I know that it can be very scary to speak your truth. I have had to work up a lot of courage to speak out as a teacher. A teacher of mine told me to say out loud what I say to myself. I encourage you to join my Facebook community and VOICE YOURSELF on the WALL. We all get something from your questions and comments. Furthermore, find a fitness class to get connected to group energy, and notice how each day has it's own identity. It may start as just an exercise class, but you can use that energy towards any movement. 
This was my birthday spin. We had a blast! We had been doing a 40-day countdown which represented each year, going back in time. People were up in arms when then couldn't get into the class. Turning people away was hard. I was stressed, but then I realized: "Oh. It's 1968. Of course there's tension!" I knew I was on the right track.

This was a relaxing weekend at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami. We came together for a weekend retreat, supporting self-care by taking care of yourself. I love being in a class setting because I am in communion with others who are doing the same.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Be Your Own Authority

I am such a rebel. Nobody likes to break the rules more than I do. Believe me, the moment someone starts telling me there is only one way to do something, I want to find the out. My father (who rebelled against his father) introduced me to Iyengar Yoga. This is a very specific practice that uses props and focuses on alignment. While this is wonderful to have as a foundation, as I have grown up and come into my own with yoga, I have found that being a little less rigid is important for me. What feels right for my body may be very different from what feels right for someone else’s body type.
We all must take authority over our own lives. Each of us must connect from the inside out. Whenever I am defining myself within a structure, it is important for me to find freedom from within. Discipline is actually the flip-side of freedom. To be really free in my body, I have to have discipline. This is a secret that only those who have a consistent regular practice understand. Nothing feels better than working very hard and then finding the freedom within the work. I do encourage you to draw inward this month to ruminate and become the authority on what your authentic goals and desires are for this year. Think about what you can eliminate, and where you would like to improve, as well as what you have done well. That is true sovereignty.
The center of your body connects you with your identity. This is your original cell. It's where you were connected to your mommy when you came into this world. It is what nourished you and kept you alive in the womb, and it is directly connected with your will to live. Trusting your gut, and knowing what you want are essential to survival. Boat Pose will activate this area of your body. My New Year's Resolution (intention) is to follow my instincts and go with my gut. Yogi Abdominals for me, please.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Happy Birthday to me! Yes, 1-11 is my New Year. I like to come right out and say it, sing it, write it. Everything is special on my birthday. When I was a little Capricorn girl, I was quite shy. I kept to myself and was almost afraid of being seen. I used to be afraid to call "TIME" on the phone even though it was a recording, for fear that just one time, there may be another person on the other end of the line, requiring me to speak up! Many times I felt the fear that I might fail, so I did not complete something I started. Other times, I let fear of the unknown keep me from taking a risk. I have had a fear of being seen for much of my life. Fear that people may not like me if they truly knew me, or that I would disappoint and not live up to expectations. Fears that I did not have enough knowledge, or enough to give, or did not deserve success. Yet somehow I found a voice within that gave me strength - an encouraging voice that would cheer me on (often by encouraging others to keep on going!). There has always been a mysterious something in the Universe that reached back to me. With all those number 1's in my birthday I had to declare myself a pioneer and a leader at some point. It seems that no matter what area I approached, I was called to be a leader of a pack. And I was seen. I have since learned that this gift is something to be treasured, acknowledged and shared!
We each have an inner voice. Mine has told me that there is plenty for everyone, and that it doesn't take away from anyone else for me to be as big and bold as possible. In fact, it is contagious. People LOVE it when you do well. It means that they can do well too! People are rooting for you! And you know it! That is why the below quote resonates with so many. It is in fact our BIRTHRIGHT to be awesome!
Marianne Williamson
So CHECK ME OUT! This is just the tip of the iceberg!
Mandy Ingber & Jennifer Aniston

These are some of my accomplishments that have been public. I assure you, if this shy little girl could grow up and live out loud like this, surely you can too. Join me! All for one and one for all!

Click here for a free birthday download!

Monday, January 2, 2012


If you are like most people, you have already started the year breaking your New Year's resolutions. Congratulations! You now have an entire year to accomplish your dreams. I have learned to keep an open mind when setting myself up for the year, because I want to set the stage for blessings to surprise me, not just go with my rigid and limited idea of what I "should" be doing. This calls for intention, more than a 2012 to-do list. What theme would I like to encompass my year? I dubbed 1997 the year of JOY, in which I felt happier than I have ever felt. Regardless of what was happening, joy absolutely permeated my existence. In 1998, I vowed to feel LOVE everywhere, all around me - the love that was already present everywhere. I absolutely fell in love with myself, my world, and what do you know, by April I was in my first ever long term love relationship!

For me, a resolution is a decision to commit to a view. It's different than goal-setting. I enjoy goal-setting, but it is a different art. Sometimes I will decide “I am going to practice yoga for 30 days and see what happens” or “my goal is to touch my chest to my thighs”. One of the most common mistakes with goals is that we set our sights too far ahead and get discouraged because we do not see the results. That's why I believe in short-term goals. All goals begin in the present moment. Starting in this moment, in this body, as it is RIGHT NOW. In truth, the primary reason to have a goal is to be able to have the experience along the way. Which brings us back to resolutions....

One New Year's Eve, the year before I became a yoga instructor,  I was in my yoga class and the teacher gave each of us a handout of a quote to choose. The one I chose was very poignant to me, because it was a quote I used to hold in my heart as a young actress and it goes:
This was very prophetic , and has unfolded in the most fulfilling and surprising ways. Words and intentions have power, so take your time and center into not only what you would like to create, but the lens you would like to look at it through. Some dreams are so large, they take longer than a year, however they happen in an instant.

The practice of yoga is a process... the destination is the journey, right? Since January 11th is my birthday, I don't try to accomplish a lot at the beginning of the year. Instead, I ease into it, taking stock over the first 10 days, to set up my shot for the year as best I can. Winter is the time of ruminating and inner work that the hibernation period offers. It is at this time that I create a vision for myself.Take some time this week to watch for the signs, and align yourself with your highest good.

Happy New Year!

Oh, by the way...this year, my theme popped into my head quite early and unexpectedly: 2012 the year of following my impulses and trusting my instincts. POW!