Month One Review

So Internet, I've been here for a month.  There's a part of me that panics about that, because my gosh the year is going to be over waaay too soon and I'm currently so incredibly happy with my living arrangements I don't ever want to leave.  But what's all that yoga stuff about staying in the present?

I would say that I've accomplished a lot in this one month but I'm not sure it's stuff I should admit meeting a cute boy.  Being dumped by said cute boy.  Knowing the names of the bartenders at the two cool places to drink in town.  Staying out too late.  Having an incredibly full social calendar.  Talking waaay too much.  Reconnecting with a friend in a totally unexpected way.  The list goes on and on.  I feel like Sara circa her college days-way too bright, bubbly, and intoxicating intoxicated.  

But then there's all the hiking, biking, yogaing, eating raw, siting in mediation for 45 minutes, and working I've been doing.  It all balances out in the end, right?

Although, I do feel the need to have some concrete goals for each month.  Things that I'm working towards.  That I'm making the effort to practice every month.  So, the 30 day challenge was born.  Which I must admit was inspired by a friend's facebook post (Hi Jason!).

The idea is to commit to practicing something every day for 30 days.  Sometimes I think we (or at least I do) have lofty, ambitious, broad goals.  This often hinders me from achieving them because, how exactly do I tweak my eating habits?  It's just too big.  Too overwhelming.  So I go the Wolf and have a beer and eat pizza because that's much, much easier.

Which so is not my goal.  And then before I know it the year is over and I've crossed nothing off my list.  And those of you who know me well know how pissed my Valedictorian of Everything will be about that.

So, I'm taking my intention list and breaking it down to small digestible chunks.  Things I can do every day each month that will get me where I wanna go in the end.

My first 30 day challenge is strengthening my core.  I need this for so many reasons, not just to kick up into handstand on my own.  But to tell people no.  To stand firm in what it is I truly want to accomplish this year.

So I bought a hula hoop.  That's right a hula hoop.  It's a great ab workout and fun.  And a metaphor my beloved friend B and I have been using for years to describe perfect personal boundaries (plus there's a girl here in town that makes hula hoops and you know how much my hippie heart loves local handmade goods).

A hula hoop has boundaries.  You can spin your hula hoop around and keep people at bay.  Or you can drop it and let people into it with you.  But it's kinda a small intimate space.  Not just anybody or everybody needs to be up in your hula hoop.  And it's work to keep it going.  You have to pay attention to your hula hoop or before you know it it's on the ground.  Just like how you have to be mindful of who you spend your time with and what it is you're doing in that time.

So for the next 30 days I will be hula hooping for at least 15 minutes every day.  What can you commit to practicing for the next 30 days?  Leave it in the comments here or on my facebook page and we can all support each other as we move closer towards achieving our ultimate goals!

Love you all so much!

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
-Mary Oliver

You Are What You Eat

I got into this whole mess because I did a cleanse with Cate back in May.  A cleanse that so completely shifted my awareness that I couldn't help but pack up my car and drive West.

Among my intentions, if you remember, is to tweak how I eat.  Because like Hippocrates said, I too, believe that food is medicine.  That you are what you eat.  And if you look around at what the typical American eats we're fat, processed, pieces of non nutrient garbage.  No wonder we have all the health problems that we do.  But that's a soapbox for another time.  A soapbox many a people have stood on and waxed far more poetically than I ever could like...

Food, Inc
Forks Over Knives
Mark Bittman
Dan Buettner

But all you need to know (for now) is that more green, more raw, more seasonal is my aim.  So, off to the woods I trekked with my fearless leader and her adorable sidekick (who just may be the greatest part of my job).

The fruits of my labor were a whole sack full of yummy, living, green things.

Which I promptly threw into my blender with a handful of other things I had around...

The best part?  It was totally free!

What are you eating?  And how are you feeling?


Taste the Rainbow

I get asked a lot about why I do yoga.  Which is a lot like asking someone why they breathe.  Because I have to.  Because it feels good.  Because I would die if I didn't.

For those of you who have tasted the yoga mango (to use a metaphor popular in the Anusara crowd), you know the answer to that question.  You also know that answer is hard to quantify with words.  There's this oomph.  This je ne sais quoi about yoga.  That you just can't explain.

Like a mango.  I can tell you all about a mango.  How to grow it.  What it looks like.  I can show you the tree.  Even let you hold the fruit in your hand.  But until you've actually tasted the mango you have no idea what exactly a mango is.

Moving here and joining this kula has been like putting a completely new fruit in my mouth.  I thought I knew what yoga was.  That I was pretty decent at it.  That I had a pretty firm grasp on the alignment principles and how they felt in my body.

Boy was I wrong.  Turns out I hadn't even begun to sink my teeth fully into the fruit.

This kula is full of people who eat marathons for breakfast.  Who hike and bike and generally kick nature's butt on a regular basis.  I, I am not, one of those people (yet).

So, when in the first fifteen minutes of class Bridget calls one minute handstands and everyone springs up, I look around in wonder (and jealousy, and awe, and I'll admit it a small amount of hatred).  Because I can't do that (yet).  And it pisses my Valedictorian of Everything off.

I like to be good.  To excel.  To master something.  And here, I'm so the low man on the totem pole.  I huff and puff and sweat while everyone else effortlessly glides through a practice using a blanket instead of a sticky mat (which should classify as a form of torture, just so you know).

But then I come back to the mango.  And how sweet it is.  And how nice it is to taste something for the very first time.  And I laugh at myself when I fall out of Sirsasana onto my butt.  Because how cool is that?

I have a whole new fruit to explore.

I can't wait to see what it's like.  Even if it does make me say cuss words every once in awhile!

Love you,

First Things First

It's no surprise that I'm pretty flexible.  Not just in my body, but in my relationships.  I'm the girl who, in the past, has contorted herself into all sorts of positions in order to keep relationships.  I beat the dead horse.  Say what the other person needs to hear.  And solider on even though I should have long ago waved the white flag of surrender.  I do this until I'm so tired of it I wake up in the middle of the night and announce, without warning, "Get out.  I can't anymore."  Then I find a new way of bending.

I do this on my yoga mat by bypassing muscle energy.  I don't tuck my tailbone strongly enough.  Don't puff my kidneys.  Don't hug in.  I flow, and slither, and fall into poses.  Then I come out and wonder why my low back is tweaky.  Why my neck and shoulders ache.

I'm not engaging my core.  Not connecting with that which supports us all.  I'm, Sara, and I do Cheat-asana.  That's right I cheat on my mat.  Which means I'm cheating off my mat too.

I'm not having the hard conversations I should.  Not making the tough choices.  Not really opening my heart but just pretending to.

I see it in how easily I become the person my customers want me to be at The Wardrobe.  One minute I'm saying those are fantastic shoes and the next I'm claiming I'd never be caught dead in them. 

I see it in agreeing to do things I'd rather not.  Then cursing under my breath the whole time while smiling and laughing outwardly.

I see it in not standing firm in my intentions.

I see it in my weak flabby abs.

So as much as I want to pull my shoulder blades on my back and melt my heart, if there's nothing there to support that opening then chances are it isn't going to happen.  You have to have a firm foundation to support you before you can truly open.  Before you can kick into handstand and hold Bakasana.  Before you can say, "I'm sorry but I don't really want to do that with you."

My, first thing first, is engaging.  Firing it up.  Saying what needs to be said even when it's hard.  Working the heck out of my abs and getting stronger so I can fully unfold my heart.

What is it that you need to do first?


What is it that the Road to Hell is Paved with Again?

"Watch your thoughts, they become words.  Watch your words, they become your actions.  Watch your actions, they become habits.  Watch your habits, they become character.  Watch your character, it becomes your destiny." -Frank Outlaw

A very wise woman told me before I left for this great adventure that I needed to get really clear about my intention for the year.  She went even further by adding that I should remind myself of whatever it is I decide daily.  Being the slightly hard headed girl that I am, I sort of blew off that last part.

Yes, I wrote down my goals, did a practice, said a prayer.  But then I slipped them in the front of my journal and got on with the business of immersing myself in my new city.  Which has included staying out waaaay too late, eating more than my fair share of flour and sugar, blowing off yoga one too many times, and distracting myself with new friends.  Those darn trees.

Which is not at all my intention lemme tell yah.  Kinda hard to gracefully float into handstand when yesterday's pizza is hanging out on your hips.  And forget about quieting your mind when all you can think about is that stupid thing you did last night at the Wolf.  And who can practice when your phone is blowing up with come hiking with me messages.

I feel a bit like Arjuna these days.  But I don't wanna practice.  I don't wanna eat raw.  I don't wanna get up at the crack of dawn and bend like a pretzel.  It's too hard.  I can't.  I'm scared.  Then I hear the voices of my teachers, my friends, God saying, "Sara get off your butt and do your duty.  Fight already.  It's what you were made for."

I mean, what a punk I would be if I squandered this amazing opportunity on cheap thrills.  But it's what we are naturally programed to do, right?  Take the easy path.  Go for the immediate gratification instead of the long distance haul.

It's hard to stand firm sometimes.  To say no.  To leave the party early. Which is why this practice-yoga, prayer, good community, good food-is so important.  It pulls us out of those patterns.  It chips away at the muck that prevents us from being fully committed to our duty.  It helps us say no to those things that draw us off the path.  It helps us live our best lives so that road is paved with gold instead of good intentions.

Do your actions align with your intentions?  Are you becoming who you want to be?  Or do you need to stand up and fight already?

Love you dearly, 

P.S. Because it's so easy to get pulled off the path I'm taking my wise friend's advice.  I'm turning to the front page of my journal and reminding myself why I'm here and I'm telling you so you can hold me to it!
  1. To make a positive impact on the community here...good friends, good yoga, good times!
  2. To deepen my yoga practice...arm balances you are mine!
  3. To tweak my eating habits...more green, more raw!
  4. To find my husband...
Ok,well maybe not that last one, even though I was told numerous times that was in store for me here. :)