India… a Journey of Extremes

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I visited the KYM Mandiram this October for two weeks. This is the lineage of my teacher Mr. Bossart. Never have I learned so much as I did in these two weeks. Being a person that is geographically challenged and not traveling very well alone, I cannot believe I even agreed to this! But I am glad that I did. This country is filled with devotion, ritual, sounds and temples. It is also filled with poverty, pollution and a distinct class separation. I felt grateful to be there, on so many levels. Grateful that I was able to afford the trip, to take from my job and to have support at home to be able to be gone for this amount of time. KYM was an oasis in the heat and the noise outside. Being there on the grounds it felt cooler and quieter than any other place in Chennai. I know it must be because of all the Mantra that takes place there and the genuine caring that everyone there shows to their fellow human. I wish I could have know Mr. Desikachar…but even not knowing him, I can imagine him walking the halls and teaching classes there.  I am also grateful to my teacher for encouraging me to make this trip. This lineage has opened my eyes to how I teach, how I look at Yoga Therapy and how I work with clients. Will I go back again… I might. Which is a far different answer that I would have given you three days into the trip.

Be well. love. light.

Peacocks, they remind me of…

I was in a coffee shop (cafe Creme) on east Oltorf in Austin and saw this picture, it brought to  mind my friend Steph.  Steph has a peacock feather tattooed on her foot. I started to think about her and how I missed her, she and Cody had moved back to Jersey to be closer to family.

My curiosity for the peacock lead me to some fascinating discoveries: the peacock is a symbol of immortality, the ancients believed that the peacock had flesh that did not decay after death. Early Christian paintings and mosaics use peacock imagery, and peacock feathers can be used during Easter, as a symbol of immortality. The peacock also replaces their feathers annually, so some see the peacock as a symbol of renewal as well.

I remember my grandmother always had peacock feathers around. Growing up on the farm, my mom insisted that we have peacocks, I was fascinated by the feathers! They seemed to be alive, with their vibrant colors and texture of the feathers always felt really comforting in my hands.

My dear Steph, I miss not having you here in Austin with me, but each and every time I see a peacock or peacock feather I will always think of you!!

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Lets see what comes…

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In spanish this roughly means “lets see what comes out of this”… this was my thought as I approached Mehtab about speaking to the track of Kundalini teachers. I was teaching Meditation to the staff at Christopher House, its a Hospice facility on the east side of Austin. My life was busy with teacher training, regular classes, home, Kevin, Izzie and Mabel and reaching out for help has never really been my strong point, I am however learning!!

I could see that the Meditation was doing wonders for the staff, and that if I did not find some sort of alternative, I would have to stop teaching at Christopher House. This is what brought me to the Kundalini teacher training class that day. I had asked if I could address the group to see if anyone had an interest in teaching Meditation. Only 30 minutes, that was going to be my selling point! Everyone has time for 30 minutes. To this date I cannot really remember exactly what I said, but 5 students were moved to contact me.

Little did I know that this would be the beginning of CarryOM.org. My “passion project” I love the work we do and I am so grateful to the teachers that give so freely of their time and energy!! We provide so much good in just those 30 minutes, I am constantly amazed at the stories I hear from staff about how those 30 minutes are the best part of their day.

A ver que Sale.. see where it takes you!

Bluebonnets in College Station

I started this journey to College Station some months ago, there was all the background work that went into starting this track and the first day of class. What was I going to teach, how was I going to teach? No one told me that all my thoughts and fears from teaching my very first class would come back into play, I had stepped into my very first Yoga class again. I was taking deep breaths, asking students to close their eyes while I scoured over my notes. All that came rushing back that first night of class….

Then, as I began to teach that first class,  things were a little easier. I looked at my notes less, I started to look at the students, their breath, their movements. A dear friend told me “teach like you” sounds so simple, but there it was! Why indeed would I try to teach like someone else? I knew I had all the knowledge and if I did not there are so many brilliant teachers around me to help me find my way. Once I began to teach like “me” it fell into place.

Same thing begin to happen on the 2hr drive into College Station. I began to notice things on the drive, the lovely farm house in Dime Box, the beautiful rock house right outside Bastrop and the little antique store in Caldwell. I began to find comfort in these things, as I also began to find comfort in the 8 ladies that I was starting to know. They began to grow! Both in their body and their mind!

We had an amazing weekend of Meditation and on the way home I saw all these beautiful bluebonnets, they were everywhere! Just so lovely, I could not resist.. I had to pull over and take a picture. I also took a moment to be grateful … of what I had learned about my teaching, in turn making me a better teacher for my students. IMG_0048

College Station…who would have thought

IMG_0637January 31 is a day that will never be quite the same for me. It will be a date that will be celebrated much like my birthday or the day I graduated from college. It was the first day of Teacher Training, and I was at the head of the class! I am teaching teachers.

Never have I felt quite so nervous, excited, weepy, scared and challenged until 6pm on that Friday. I knew I had all the knowledge, I had prepared and had so many sleepless nights I was not sure I was going to make it. But I DID!! It was wonderful. Such beautiful smiling faces looking up at me all little sponges ready to dive in and learn! I had taken the first step and I knew it was an important step. To make a Kula out of these 7 individuals.

It started to come together. I started to see excitement in their eyes, to see the “beginner mind” where everything is new and shiny. The excitement contented as we learned about Asana, Yamas and the Niyamas, and practiced for 1.5 together and concluded with a Gong Relaxation. It blew them away. Some woke with awe, others with sweet smiles of surrender and others with feelings they could not quite pin down. But it brought us all together! “Practice and all is coming”

Like Sharon said “we make a good soup”

Christmas with our little Family

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Christmas with Izzy and Mabel..our little family. Christmas has always been so big with my family, there were 7 of us and always so many more. Either relatives, friends, friends of friends or people who just dropped by. It was always know at our house that my mom and dad had an open door. If you were hungry or you needed a tamale fix, you headed to our house. This time of the year at our house was always filled with food, family, friends and lots of noise, all this people laughing and talking get kind of loud!

Enter Kevin… only child. I can imagine Kevin as a child, probably much the way he is now. Reserved, quick wit, big heart. I always kid him about being born 100 years old. He has that quality, that…inner stillness. I can imagine as a child he might have been intimidating to adults, in a good way. I cannot imagine that any kind of baby talk went on with him, probably conversations about the state of the world and how things worked.

So its been different for me with our little family.. Kevin, the two dogs and me. But I love this time, we hang out in our pajamas and have a leisurely breakfast and I am content with the noise the girls make when they get excited about the homemade treats that Linda (kev’s mom) makes for them! Its much quieter, and smaller, but I would not trade our time together for anything.. except maybe more time!

Tamales with 4 Generations

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The “Tamalada” the most important tradition to teach the Young. Does not matter the culture, everyone has a version of this. For my Hispanic family, it involves tamales. I my opinion my mom, Martina makes the best!!

But really its about spending the entire day with loved ones, sure it hard work. But the work pays off… I tell my nephews and nieces they can eat as many as you make, its the rule. Over the years they have gotten better at “making” tamales, but I am quite sure it is driven by those tasty bits of hot masa and filling. Made with all the love and good conversation you can muster. Its 10-12 hours of eating, talking, laughing, eating, working, eating… you get the picture right!

I recommend this process, whatever you call it in your culture, spend some time with family! You pass on more than just food 🙂