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Friends, grab your camera, bathing suit, camera and even a yoga mat. I am SO excited to announce I’ll be teaching yoga as part of a private tour through beautiful BALI Oct. 3-10.

Join us as we breathe fresh island air, take in lush landscapes, explore rice fields, bike through back roads of charming villages, eat nourishing, healthy meals, partake in an ancient meditation ceremony, hike up Mt. Batur (pictured below), take a Balinese cooking class…and of course optional daily yoga with me :)

The amazing Jess K. at My Adventure Travel put together a holistic tour to make sure you leave the island refreshed and inspired. I can’t wait and I hope you’ll join us.

Did I mention it’s really affordable?

Learn more here.

Need more inspiration??

OM in the World! Woo-hoo!

After countless rounds of edits, denigration at the hands of my critique partners, flattery from friends and family, and many glasses of wine, my very first book finally made its way into the hands of actual readers on June 11, 2013.

OM is available as both an ebook and a paper book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and pretty much everywhere else!
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You can also order a signed, personalized copy straight from me here on the Book tab!

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There is a great article, American Anxiety: Why we’re such a nervous nation on Today. com this week. And by “great,” I mean important and yes, somewhat anxiety-inducing in and of itself.As the article detailed how anxiety has become a problem for many of us, how our thoughts race, our hearts pound, blood pressure sky rockets, and we lay awake plagued by insomnia and worries, I felt my own pulse pick up and thoughts start to race–ironically getting anxious about my anxiety.Anxiety about anxiety? Surely, that is a level-two problem. And by “level two,” I obviously mean, “crazy person problem.”

Oh well, according to the article, I’d be in good company.

Here’s the thing though: when I’m not reading anxiety-inducing articles about anxiety, I’m actually fairly calm. Or at least calmer than I used to be, which was a high blood-pressure insomniac with a racing heart. But over the years, I’ve used wine, more wine, gallons of wine yoga as a tool to lower my anxiety and its many unpleasant side effects.

Here’s how you can too.

  1. Got an extra hour a day (and no injuries)? (If injured, proceed directly to #3)
    Take a yoga class. One with lots of core work will help burn off that agida.
  2. Are you LOL at the idea of having an extra hour? No problem. Got 15 minutes?
    Do five rounds of sun salutations as follows:

    • Stand with your big toes together (or hip-width apart) and heels slightly wider. Take a deep, slow inhale and sweep your arms up slowly. Exhale slowly, drawing your palms to your heart. Set an intention for yourself. Maybe it’s “Ground myself.” Take a deep breath in. On the exhale, engage your core and slooooowly fold at the hips, bringing the hands toward the floor. Bend your knees to get there. Inhale half-way up to a long spine, pressing the palms against the shins. Sloooooowly exhale out, bending the knees and bringing the palms back down to the floor.
    • Inhale and step the right foot back to a low lunge. Exhale slooooowly. stay here.
    • On the next inhale, lift the left foot and then hold here in a “knee hanging” high plank for 3 cycles of breath. Lift the navel to the spine for extra core work. Breathe slooooowly and deeply, extending the exhale.
    • After three cycles, step back to high plank on your exhale. Keep the elbows slightly bent.
    • Next inhale draw the right knee to the right elbow, exhale slowly return to high plank. Inhale and draw the left knee to the left elbow, exhale and step back. SLOWLY repeat on both sides.
    • Are your arms shaking? Oh good–it’s working.
    • Inhale and draw the knees down to the floor (or stay on your toes in your name is Clark Kent or you’re freakishly strong). Inhale and drop the chest only to elbow-height. Stay here, with the hips high, for 3 cycles of slow, steady breath. Keep extending the exhale.
    • On your next inhale, breathe through to an upward-facing dog. Take a cycle of breath here. Release the shoulders down, away from the ears. Release any tension they’re holding.
    • Tuck the toes under and with strong core engagement, lift the hips first up and then back to downward facing dog or child’s pose. Stay here for 5 breaths.
    • Inhale, walk the palms back to the toes. Stay here for a breath. Then roll slowly back up to standing.

    Repeat this 4 times.

    Next, sit down (on the floor, on your desk chair, anywhere). Close your eyes and breathe 5 cycles of extended exhale breathing. Return to your intention. Open the eyes. You’re done!

  3. Got 1-5 minutes?
    1. Do one sun salutation (above) OR
    2. Sit. Think of what’s stressing you out and take a deep breath. Exhale (extending it longer than your inhale) and flick your hands as though you’re trying to get something off of them (you are–the stress!). Also know as the “there’s no paper towels in the restroom flick.” Repeat 3-5 times. Now, settle into extended exhale breathing with the eyes closed, concentrating on your new-found wellness.
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There has been an influx of new students in my classes recently. Some are new to yoga, others are just new to my class, but the bottom line is the new students have been outnumbering the regulars.This always happens in the beginning of January with “The New Year Resolutioners.” I expect it in January. But it's the middle of July! What gives? (Besides the fact that word of my awesomeness is obviously spreading, natch).

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Anyway, an influx of newbies usually means disaster that it won't be the best class. The newness of students (both new to yoga and new to me) often means they'll struggle in my class: alignment will be crappy, mindfulness noticeably absent, and frustrations (theirs) high. (More on this another day.)

But last night, for some reason (I could delve into my yoga theories on why but I'm feeling merciful today so I'll spare you), this particular class was amazing. Amazing! The kind of mindful, hardworking, beautiful class that makes teaching feel vital and joyful and worthwhile.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one to notice. Two new students came up to me after class, dizzy with their yoga buzz, and gushed about how awesome they felt. I wonder if they'll ever come back. Then two regulars came up, yoga buzzed and somewhat puzzled, and said, “That was an especially awesome class!”

We talked about why there were so many new people (a mystery) and why the class had been so mellow (also mysterious). Then one of them, a super-fit dude (who I'll call Super-Fit Dude) who looks like he'd be more at home busting out a triathalon than triangle pose, hesitated. “I actually had a vision tonight in savasana,” he finally confided, looking a little uncomfortable. He looked like he's usually more comfortable debating the merits of muscle milk vs. protein shakes.

I tried to lift my jaw off the floor. “Really? Uh…I mean that's great.”

“Yeah, it was like my mind went totally blank and I had no thoughts and just peace at the end.” He tried to sound like it was no big thing but his face said, What the heck happened to me??!!

I could barely contain my glee/amazement. “That's awesome!! That's what yoga's all about! That's what everyone's trying to get to!!”

I stared at him. Didn't he know? This what monks and meditators and yogis and Buddhists and Hindus and seekers of all kinds are trying to get to: mental stillness! peace!no more monkey chatter!

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which is like the yoga bible, maps out an eight-limb system. Its first lines, in Sanskrit, obv, are: “Atha yoganusasanam. Yogas chitta vritti nerodaha.” Which, as I learned it, translate to: “And now the continuation of yoga (teachings). The goal of yoga is to still the fluctuations of the mind.”

Holy crap. Super-Fit Dude chitta (mind) vritti (restless fluctuations) nerodahah'd (ceased/stilled)? That's amazing!!

“Well, only for like a few minutes,” he demurred modestly.

OK, this bears repeating: Super-Fit Dude chitta vritti nerodahah'd! That's freaking awesome. I'm not sure who was more surprised: Super-Fit Dude or Super Fit-Dude's teacher!

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Just back from LA–jet-lagged, bleary-eyed, and still not sure which coast or time zone I'm in. BUT the trip and the LA Film Festival (LAFF), where I flexed my PR and yoga muscles, were pretty awesome.NOTE: “LAFF” is pronounced letter by letter “L-A-F-F” not “laugh.”And with that I hope I can spare someone else a bit of mortification. Not that I'd ever make such an uber-geek gaffe. Ahem. {whistles, looks everywhere else}

Anyway, you may recall from my very first post ever that once upon a time, I was a corporate drone/PR maven. Then I realized I was les miserables and I traded cubicles for yoga mats.

Truth be told though, I still do PR work. The difference is that now I work on a freelance basis, which means I get to choose my clients and projects. Currently, one of those projects is Dead Man's Burden, an independent film that debuted this past Saturday at LAFF. It was a huge success–the first showing sold out (actually the Festival over-sold it by 30 tickets and thus had to deal with 30 extremely disgruntled ticket-holders who had nowhere to sit!), the reviews have been AMAZING, and the after-party, planned by yours truly, was described as the best industry party ever.

And you know as well as I do that LA/film people are only ever brutally honest. They'd tell you if your party sucked. (Wait…right? Um…guys?? RIGHT??!!)

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When I wasn't working the premiere, I was teaching yoga to LAFF attendees, cast, and crew.

I was excited to bring my brand of yoga teaching to LA for the first time, to see how it resonated, and what people thought. The students seemed to react to it with a mix of, “Holy crap this hard!” to “I've never done yoga before–this rocks!”

As for me, it was a brain-twizzling experience to merge my two selves (or two of my selves, my author self stayed home) and blend PR and yoga. Previously, I thought that'd be like ice cream and ketchup (yuck). Turns out, it's more like ice cream and chocolate. It works!

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On the mat or on the page, change is a hard concept to consider. Recent writing events have reminded me of a scene in my book, about an experience that I once had with a student.
She—an athletic woman who was at least 6’ tall—was in Downward Facing Dog. She had compressed her pose in every conceivable way. It was like seeing Shaquille O’Neil in Danny Devito’s Down Dog. Which sounds kind of weird, but you know what I mean. Now, I know all too well the challenges of being a towering giantess. I’ve struggled most of my life with being “too tall.” But the bottom line is, you’re not going to get any benefit out of squishing yourself into something you’re not. 
So I went over to make a gentle adjustment and she tensed and refused. I verbally cued her and she yelled (yes, actually yelled at me—the teacher—in the middle of a class), “I’M NOT CHANGING!!!”
Startled, I stepped back. I considered my options. She’d said it clearly enough: she wasn’t going to change. So I walked away.
This interaction comes back to me now as I consider the challenge of receiving feedback on my manuscript. So far, I’ve shared it with my critique partner, my husband (note to self: do not share future work with domestic partner unless you’re OK with partnership suffering), a friend who’s a producer, and two agents who both requested the full manuscript but ultimately decided to pass. One agency provided feedback because, they said, they could tell I’d put a lot of work into it. The other had a vague, generic response.
 
My crit partner, husband, and producer friend all had extensive edits and ideas on top-level strategic changes as well. 
I considered, weighed, tried on for size, re-wrote, and re-re-wrote around every single one of them. To be clear, I didn’t keep every single one of them…but I did consider and try them. 
It isn’t easy to hear feedback. It doesn’t necessarily have to be painful per se, but it’s never going to be super-fun. Why? Because I’m going to guess and say that we all write to the best of our ability. If we thought it could’ve been done better, well, we would’ve done it that way in the first place, then.
However, because none of us is ever going to think of every angle, possibility, or opportunity, feedback from others is a necessary part of growth.
Or at least, that’s my theory. What do you think? How do you handle feedback and the invitation to change?
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*This article appeared in its entirety in a yoga newsletter over the holidays. This is the final installment. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
 
Holiday Scenario #4: You’re back in your childhood twin bed, at your in-laws, or bunking on the floor. Bottom line: Counting sheep just isn’t working. You’d kill to catch some Zs.
YA:
Restorative yoga to the rescue! Try child’s pose and legs up the wall pose (described above). Start with 5-7 minutes each, extending your exhale, and stay as long as you like.
Holiday Scenario #5: You ate a tad too much turkey, a few too many latkes, or way too much stuffing. Now even your elastic-waisted pants are straining.
YA: Twisting poses are your friend. They stimulate and aid digestion. Try any of your favorites or the following: Modified Marichi’s Pose. Sit on the floor with both legs extended out and follow as described above. Let the left fingertips find the floor behind your hips. Switch sides.
Lay on your back with your arms out in a “T.” Inhale and draw your left knee into your chest. Exhale and let the knee cross the body, moving toward the floor on the right (it doesn’t have to reach the floor). Stay for a few deep breaths. Switch sides.
A final word of wisdom? Yoga travels, so don’t forget to take your OM hOMe or with you wherever the holidays take you!
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