Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mr Cuddly

Way too much to do. Mr. Cuddly is going to spend time with the folks up north while we whisk away to Spain on Saturday. I have lists to make and then immediately loose. Suitcases to overload and mindless errands to run. Of course I am looking for a yoga class in Barcelona. I did find a place that gives Anusara but I'm open to any suggestions.
Happy Hunting!

Monday, July 30, 2007

On The Mat

Yesterday I took an intermediate power vinyasa class. It seemed like a good time to try it, I am celebrating an anniversary. A year ago I headed off to my teacher training program at Kripalu in Western, Mass. I am not so sure about advanced vinyasa and entered the class with trepidation but yet a feeling I might now be strong enough to do this! At some point in a personal practice stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow a practice and make the base solid. Also, having a good repertoire of tools from a variety of yoga styles is beneficial to everyone. Now I have no desire to teach boot camp power yoga but what the heck! This could be fun! Party down, I'm going in!!!!! Two hours later I crawled out thankful that was over and I'm still alive. Partner work for handstands, Navasana over and over again and 15-20 minutes in frog! At the end of class one guy took his towel out to the street and rung it out. The sweat came pouring out like water from a faucet! Instead of feeling strong and proud and grateful I survived I had an uncomfortable sensation nagging me like someone who won't stop tapping you on the shoulder. "This is not where your at Miss. S answer me this question, Why haven't you developed a home practice? " The home practice is the one that will sustain a student through decades of ups and downs, crazy schedules and tight financial times. People say its where the real development occurs and breakthroughs happen. It's just hard to find the discipline to get on the mat and then figure out what to do once I'm there. I do have some DVD's. and I can always work on my sequences. So my goal for year two is to step out of the comfort zone of a pre prepped class with teacher assistants and props and spend more time on the mat at studio chez moi .
Any thoughts on the personal practice? goals? DVD recommendations?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


The little fish wanted to get swirly and silly and just have a little fun. Personally I hate the idea never mind the reality of getting on anything that is going to take me up, down and sideways really fast. I don't want to take a drive , find a parking space, stand in lines and just be bored. No thank you, this does not sound like fun. Off we go anyway ....... and you know what? Were all silly and happy in the car. We find the perfect parking space, there are no lines , its a perfect sunny evening and best of all... we are having a BLAST! Everyone around us is having a good time bonding with their little loved ones. No arguments or bad tempers, just lots of giggling happy people. A little boy is driving his father on a car track, delighted! His father has a huge grin on his face. They are loving life! Little fish and his friend are happy and relaxed and I am struck by the importance of down time with our little loved ones. Someday little fish is going to swim off to a bigger pond and he will muddle over adult things and need to keep an appointment book, watch for deadlines, and worry about a big ocean of things, but right now this precious boy is delighted to swirl and loop de loop and have silly fun. I am so blessed with the children who are a part of my life. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

I've been reading a lot about the 12 months school year debate. I certainly am not a proponent. Students and educators need time to just be children, and adults. I do not want to think about the repercussions of a year round school program. The burn out rate in education is all ready too high. One man wrote into a local paper stating his job was a piece of cake and he felt that educators should have to get real jobs like the one he had before teaching. Oh Dear!! Please tell me he's not in my system, he clearly could care less about teaching. Another woman stated her mothers' job as a nurse was a lot harder than working in a school system and we would all appreciate and complain a lot less if we had to work as hard as her mother. Is this a joke? Did she not understand the article was not about the medical field or her mother?

As long we have the summer off there will always be a place to let the schedule fall to the way side and remind us that the children in our lives are not a job that needs to be done but some of the best life has to offer!

Be Happy!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Book Review

Vacation is always a good time to catch up on all those books we have been meaning to read but haven't the luxury of time or energy to pick up or finish once started. I've managed to finish a few and thought I'd share my thoughts.
This is a recording by Barbara Corcoran is an absolutely fantastic read. It was written for the young teen crowd in the early '70's. This writer brings up surprising and controversial issues that are still relevant today. her main issues deal with the environment, conservation and behavior and attitude toward American Indians. She briefly touches upon growing up in an alternative house. i.e. a single grandmother rather than a mother and father. I really liked what she had to say and I'm going to look for books she's written.
Nigella Lawson by Gilly Smith. I love whatever I have made that came from a Nigella Lawson recipe. She has a fun, sensual attitude toward the kitchen which makes her recipes all the more intriguing. Unfortunately this biography captured none of the fun... all drag. Skip it.
Insatiable by Gael Green. Long time restaurant critic for New York magazine. She retells a good story about fine dining unforgettable wine and LOTS of lust in between. She understands food and brings you on a gastronomic ride, unfortunately the sex is unsettling on the stomach.
Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki. Mineko was the last of the superstar Geisha. An easy read but hard to put down. A complex personality with a unique and fascinating life. I love books on Geisha and this didn't disappoint.
That's it for now. I'm currently reading Buddha by Karen Armstrong. She's my favorite religious writer. I highly recommend the Spiral Staircase if you get a change.
Be well!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday's Feast

(Taken from Poppy Fields)


On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest) how much do enjoy watching sports on television?
Mostly a three, sometimes a four but if its the Olympics 10!


If you could completely memorize any one work of fiction, which one would you pick?
All of the poetry of John Keats.

What is your favorite breakfast food?
Baguette fresh from the bakery with apricot jam, two eggs soft boiled, blood red orange juice and fresh pressed coffee.

Main Course
Name something fun you can do for less than $10.00.
Take a hike in the woods with my dog.

How long does it usually take you to fall asleep?
10 minutes if I have the energy to read otherwise I go right out.

I'm back from France, slightly jet lagged but working through it. The vinyasa classes help tremendously but mostly I just need patience and my body will eventually land in the states, hopefully not on someones roof!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lovely Day

Yesterday I visited my absolute favorite museum, the Musee Carnavalet. This is a museum dedicated to Parisian history. I always find myself lost in some century, pen and paper in hand taking notes for a good discussion over a nice wine and cheese later on. I have a wonderful memory of my Mum and I lost in the halls of history, transfixed, unable to get beyond the first floor. This summer the museum has an exhibition of Wily Maywalds’ photography in black and white. I highly recommend this artists incredible work. Feeling I had taken in enough for this visit ( I have never actually seen the whole of the museum) I wandered back into the Marias to stroll, people watch and take in the atmosphere. Fabulous! Today was a warm sunny day which came as a celebration after days of rain and overcast. Lots of walks with Rocco and my own practice with Sudha Carolyn Kundeen one of my Kripalu teachers from my teacher training. Lovely day, blessed practice.

Happy 14th all!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Third eye blind!

Today I decided to try another Iyengar yoga class but at a different studio. I made my way to the 5th to Rasa Yoga, a beautiful oasis not far from the Notre Dame. As I was making may way across the overcrowded church yard, I saw a young man with a feather stuck in his tight curly hair acting in a bizarre and uncomfortable manner. A foot away from him a woman with her seeing eye dog was seated with a friend chatting away. This young man silently came up to the dog and began pulling at his harness. The dog was lying down and looked at who might be pulling him to stand, definitely confused. I stopped walking and began to wonder if this uncomfortable peculiar man knew these women. One of the women seated had sight and took no notice and kept chatting. The man began to berate the dog jumping up and down by the dogs head, attempting to tease or frighten the animal. The woman without site seemed unaware this was happening and finally her friend looked up and said something with a small chuckle. The young man made one last attempt at something abusive and left. Meanwhile I was moving in, looking around at the throngs of people paying no attention to the abuse this disaster of a human was inflicting on this animal. No one seemed to understand the venerability of this blind women unable to defend herself. Everyone seemed oblivious and unaware. That young man himself seemed unaware I was standing closer and closer to him, ready – frightened- but ready to step in if needed. He drifted off and slipped into the crowd. By the time I got to the yoga studio I was deeply shaken and in tears. I had not planned my trip out properly and arrived too early. I made my way into the dressing room and completely broke down. I finally managed to dress for class and splash cold water on my face. I found a quiet spot in the waiting area to calm myself. There were many yoga books to peruse. I picked up the Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar and this literally jumped out at me.

A himsa is a cruelty or injustice. “ Dust that lands on the skin is harmless, but if only a tiny particle gets in the eye, it is very Painful.” Yoga Sutra “Someone who is searching for clarity becomes sensitive because the eyes must be open, even if what they see is sometimes very unpleasant.” T.K.V. Desikacher

I proceeded through another Iyengar class with a much nicer teacher, warm and encouraging. I just don’t think Miss. S and B.K.S. see eye to eye at this time so perhaps we should just shake hands and say perhaps another time. Today’s journey was about karma not hatha yoga anyway. Reaching home I swung the door open and my little Rocco came bounding over full of excitement and affection. I gave him extra kisses and cuddles and rubs and told him how special and wonderful he was, then we headed out for a nice relaxing walk. Day over, the end.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I woke up this morning with a neck ache. Strange and unsettling dreams involving Tony Soprano and flying saucers told me today was a good day to curl up with a good book and hang out with my favourite Petit ami Francaise, Rocco. We have spent much time together both in the States and France. Long walks all over Paris, trips to the beach in Normandy, hiking the AT in the States, we are a sporty little couple. Dogs bless my life with love and happiness I hope I give a little back in return. Rocco and I have been napping and having lazy walks along the Seine. Late in the afternoon I decided it was time for a little yoga. After my experience yesterday I did not feel like venturing out into the world so I slipped in a Sean Corn Vinyasa DVD. Not bad! The instructional session is about an hour and 15 minutes. She takes you through a gentle vinyasa. The sequence transitions well from one pose to the next particularly in the standing portion of the session. Her directions are very clear and she does not rush you through the session. Sean Corne used breath and a very nice invocation in the beginning of the session and a brief but strong closing. I choose the late afternoon for my time of day which was perfect as the session was relaxing and unwinding. Just what the doctor ordered, now back to my book…….

Monday, July 9, 2007

Blocks, Straps, Blankets, and Chairs

Today I took an Iyengar class. I’ve been really curious and wanted to check it out. One of my Baptiste teachers, Brandon Compagnone says using props such as blocks are a way of laying the ego aside and loving oneself with deep respect. Absolutely! Modifications and props enhance the practice, bringing the self closer to the essence of yoga. Evidently my enthusiasm for props is but a one sand pebble in a vast dessert compared to B.K.S. Iyengar’s exuberance for using anything and everything. This is not a grab your mat and we will practice right here type of yoga. This is an I’ll back the truck up to the door and we’ll unload everything you’ll need, type of practice. Although daunting this was the least of my problems. There wasn’t any spirituality brought fourth during the session and absolutely no breath work. I guess I really didn’t need these aspects as I was far too busy trying to jam myself into positions with blankets, straps, blocks and chairs and occasionally all simultaneously. In all fairness my teacher demonstrated great skill and technical ability. It was evident she has a strong belief in the truth of this practice and really cared about what she was teaching her students. Her students with the exception of moi, were dedicated to their teacher and enhancing their bodies and healing through this technique. That said, I found her cold and the over emphasis on the technical made the experience sterile. The modifications and assists were abrasive and I felt for the first time in all my years of practice I might actually get hurt in class! How uptight B.K.S. must have been to develop this style of yoga. Restrictive, rules driven with little to no emphasis on the spiritual aspect of the practice. How much emotional baggage does this guy carry around? Evidently a boat load as demonstrated by the amount of objects you need to use in his classes. By the end of class I was relieved it was over but did not feel well….satisfied. I have not given up totally, I will try one more class but my gut tells me my direction lies elsewhere.

Jai Bhagwan

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Here is a little something nice to begin or end a class with:

May I be filled with loving kindness
May I be well
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be happy

Sianna Sherman

Today in workshop we learned about the four noble qualities of the heart.
Friendship with ourselves
Giving oneself space

We practiced many asana’s which open the chest. This allowed the heart to shine brighter and brought a happy glow to all of us in the workshop. I am bringing a wealth of knowledge back to the states as well as into my own classes and my personal practice. I can’t wait to share this with others!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sianna Sherman

I am attending an Anusara Yoga workshop. My teacher and presenter for this weekend is Sianna Sherman, a senior Anusara yoga instuctor. In this type of yoga there seems to be a heavy focus on opening the heart. I am not too surprised I found myself seated at this event since the universe has insisted I open my heart and appears to be divinly guiding me into areas which will support this process. I do believe that opening certain parts of the body physically, gives freedom to emotional and mental issues, allowing the mind as well as the body to release any emotional and physical trash which may have built up and needs to be gotten rid of. In my personal practice I have done great deal of work on the mid back and the hips. I never had a deliberate plan of action, my body just guided me into the practice best suited to work these areas. I actually found Bikram style yoga was extremtly healing for my mid back. A strong broad side gave me courage which eventually led me to Forest yoga which was tremendously healing for tight congested hips. My loose hips have led me to a more vigorous vinyasa. Go figure.....

Sianna is wonderful. She clearly loves what she is doing and she emanates happiness and a sense of well being. She feels that each person is a cathedral. "Everything about this cathedral was built in the service of light. Open up your senses, awaken to the beauty and the light that's inside of us."

I'm happy to be attending this event. This morning I just wanted to roll over and fall asleep . I did not want to ride the metro for an hour to look for a place I've never been to. I'm so glad I did and bonus on bonus the workshop was in English and French.

Je t'aime bebe, tu sais?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4rth of July

God Bless America

Land that I Love

Stand beside Her

And Guide Her

Through the Night

With the light From Above.....

Monday, July 2, 2007

What are you feeling?

Each of us is a lake of love,
Yet strangely enough we are all
Swami Kripalu

Lately I have been taking a lot of Baptiste Vinyasa classes. Many of these classes include deep chest opening poses. Today while in a variation of Gomukha-asana I felt climbing a mountain barefoot in winter would be preferable to the sensation I was experiencing. I wanted to collapse in a heap and maybe have a little cry. B.K.S Iyengar, says, "If you keep your armpits open, you won't get depressed." He is of course referring to opening the chest, shoulders and placing the head in midline allowing breath to flow through the upper body. With Independence Day just around the corner I think I’ll take some liberating steps of my own and include a series of heart openers in all my classes.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


This weekend the little fish went off to camp. Sun, woods and Tipi’s! Next weekend I’m off
to an anusara weekend. This will be my first experience with this type of yoga. I’ve heard so much about John Friend I’m eager to check it out. I plan to spend a couple of weeks on the mat developing my own practice and working out sequences. Perhaps some Iyengar classes as well. The next two weeks are about slowing down, giving gratitude and just breathing. Happy holidays all!