Monday, June 24, 2013


Mother. As I looked at the word "mother", I noticed the word "other" contained within it, so I became curious about the significance of the letter "M". When I looked it up, here is what I found: "M" is the letter that represents spiritual leadership. People with the letter "M" leading their names are usually courageous and self-reliant, yet they love being around others, love family, they work long hours to get security, they're tireless, tranquil, and they are not complainers. For those wondering about the negative qualities, here they are: they can be quick to anger, rash and impatient, and can be a total buzz kill.

I felt this was quite significant when considering the mother. (Plus the fact that my name begins with the letter "M"). The mother is a tireless spiritual leader in that she requires nothing of you, yet you are a direct expression of her. Although this is not all of our personal experience, this may be the ideal version. Nonetheless, negative or positive, your mother birthed you and was your vehicle into the earthly realm. I can think of nothing more tireless and giving.

I often look at the mothering I had. My mother, who's birthday is this week on June 27th (Happy birthday mom!), was only 20 when she had me. Just shy of being a teenager, this young woman was tireless, and the grounding force of our family fun. Mom gave me puppet shows each night and drew with me. She took an interest in my skills, particularly my curiosity, and painted a picture of security that only a girl of 20 could. In a way, my mother was more of a friend than a typical mother. Thank goodness for her Russian mother who worked in the coal mines herself as a teen, then the cleaners and the bakery as an adult, but mostly thanks to her mother's mother. This Grand Mother kept everyone in line, and may have even been a bit of a buzz kill herself, but was also the grounding and stabilizing force.

I am not a mother. I inhabit a body that has not given birth, and I do not have little ones to mind or nurture. Where does my maternal energy find expression? I have channeled that energy into my work ("M" people are also workaholics, did I mention that?). I remember that when I became a fitness instructor, I felt real love. The kind of love that I felt was indestructible and fully in the moment. I remember feeling that I loved my students for what I could give to them, without return. That kind of love, without needing back, is a feeling I treasure and experience mostly when I teach groups. Coincidentally, when I teach I usually see people as their child self, and I can only feel overwhelming love for them.

Beyond my mothering or the mother in me there is the Mother energy. The Great Mother. Mother Nature. The Goddess. To be held by the Mother. To be tirelessly and spiritually guided. Many would cower at the wrath that could befall one. But in my experience, when I fully surrender to the feeling of being supported and held in that Mother energy, all is well.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Short Trips & Staying Fit

I am writing this blog today from the sky. I am literally up-in-the-air, on my MacBook Air. Mid-air and mid-book tour. I am visiting 8 cities including my home town of Los Angeles, California in 28 days! I get to teach classes, meet many of you, and sign my book. (Sidebar: I actually got to pick up a copy of the New York Times at Dulles Airport in D.C. this morning to look at Yogalosophy on the list. #19. Hooray!) This rigorous flight schedule and series of hotel stays requires me to walk my talk regarding staying fit and self-care. I thought I would share these tips with you today.


1. Water! Simple? Yes. Easy? No. I am a big tea drinker, and I like my coffee too. Sometimes I forget to hydrate. This is why my new airport routine includes purchasing a large bottle of water and chugging it pre-flight. I then continue to drink bottled water throughout. (Aisle seat, please.) This way, I am insured to get my 60-100 ounces on a travel day.

2. Walk. Yep, it's doing something. It's nice to get to a new city and become acclimated to the environment. Once I've unpacked and checked out the hotel gym and spa, I step outside and walk for thirty minutes in any direction and then back. This way, I can find my local options. It helps me to know exactly where to find the juice and salad bars, fresh veggie markets, and local parks. Not only do I get to explore the local healthy haunts, but I immediately get my heart pumping my blood to my extremities, and I get to oxygenate my blood by taking deep breaths. Walking is a grounding action, especially after flying.

3. Create a morning routine. When traveling on short trips, it's a bonus that I get some isolated "me" time. When I am at home, there is always an errand to do, a friend to catch up with, or some work around my apartment that needs tending to. Being away from home lends itself to a little extra time and space (all you need is an hour) to create a mind-body routine. I like to begin my day with a fifteen- to twenty-minute meditation, a little journaling, perhaps a gratitude list or writing the way that I feel, and a pot of tea. Then it's off to the hotel gym to get 30 minutes of exercise. Once I have taken this "me" time, I feel centered, even though I may be in a completely unknown city.

I want to thank you so much for your energy, let you know that I am enjoying the variety, and particularly meeting each one of you face-to-face. There is nothing more heart warming than walking into a room I have never been in before to be greeted by friends whom I have never met.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Power Of The Word

Your body responds to your thoughts and hears everything you say. It's time you start paying attention to your habitual patterns of speech and the words you use. Each time that you speak, take a moment to hear yourself in a detached way. Is the tone of the words you are using negative? If so, is there another way that you can say what you want from a more positive position?

Reframing our declarations to reflect a positive perspective will not only alter the way that others perceive and receive (and therefore respond to) you. It effects your own chemistry. The body is affected energetically by the vibration, tone and charge of your words.

An example: I may say something like, "I used to be able to run, but my knees are bad." But what I mean is, "I started listening to what my body wanted, and I decided to slow down and move in ways that felt better to me."

Many times, I catch myself speaking to myself in a way that is unkind. If I really listen, I can hear the sound of my voice, and remember being spoken to that way when I was little. It hurt me then, and when I repeat that as an adult, I am reminded on a cellular level and brought back to that time.

With awareness, all of that changes. It is now a proven scientific fact that the observer of an experiment alters the outcome of the experiment. May you now begin your own experiment. Begin to hear yourself, and notice when the tone is negative. Simply noticing will already shift things. Soon, you will become adept at rewording and reframing your declarations.

The word is very powerful. Your words are magical, and carry a vibration and energetic charge. Words are like your own incantation or magic spell. Choose them wisely this week.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Yoga of Convenience

If you have been having a hard time committing to a yoga practice or any type of fitness class, have you tried something in your own neighborhood? Don't be hard on yourself for 'lack of discipline'. We all have those days when we struggle to squeeze a practice into our daily list of tasks. If you haven't found something that you love, or if you find it difficult to self-motivate, you're not at all alone. Convenience is everything when it comes to fitness. The best way to stay committed to your yoga is to find a local community class. The easier it is to practice, the more you will practice. If you haven't found something close to you, perhaps there is a YMCA or local studio close to work. Worst case, how about getting together a group of your own motley crew. You know who they are—the people you see on a daily basis, be it at work or in your apartment complex. The buddy system can be just the thing to keep you on the right track. 

Here are some convenient ways to continue being active right in your own neighborhood and daily life when you're in an exercise lull: 

Neighborhood Walk:
Walking will torch calories just as well as any other activity. I got myself back into amazing shape after a severe injury with two walks a day. 

Office Yoga:
Use your lunch hour to practice for thirty minutes, or instead of a coffee break, try a yoga break. (See the photo below of the Chelsea Lately crew. I travel to their workplace weekly to kick start their afternoon.) 

2-week Challenge:
Set up a short-term goal for yourself, and become accountable by doing it with friends. Many gyms and local studios offer two weeks of unlimited yoga for the new student for the price of a class. This has been a great way for me to maximize my dollar and reset myself into a consistent practice. I just love to make the most of my dollar! 

Buddy System:
Be accountable to your best friend or neighbor by having a daily check-in about your commitment to yourself for the day. I designed my book to guide you this way, but there are many options. Including a work-out buddy can make it fun.

Most important to remember is that since you only have limited time, set your yoga class and fitness regime close to your paper route.

The Chelsea Lately crew
Local Lululemon yogis