Thursday, January 27, 2011


I've spent the last few months in transition. Big life changes, moving, and far-away adventures have tossed me around the world and jumbled my head. But like a snow globe after the shaking, my heart and mind are settling down in a new space and a new year. The clarity forming reminds me in sharp precision of what I care about most. Sometimes we're lucky enough to gain clarity by such dramatic means. For me, uprooting, facing big fears, and leaving comfort behind has allowed me to return to my roots and embrace my home and loved ones with an entirely bigger, more appreciative heart and a calmer mind.

In yoga, we often talk about rooting and grounding. When we fasten our palms to the mat in down dog or fix our foreheads to the earth in child's pose, we are connecting with the stability beneath us and in turn the strength and balance within us. Sometimes strength and growth happen in big scary strides forward, but such a fundamental part of that process is the reflection and stillness afterward. Allowing ourselves to pause, with gratitude, with compassion, and anchor deep within while the change and evolution filter through our beings helps it stick to our bones. Sometimes we have to carve out space and time to stop and listen to those subtle internal shifts and allow life's whirlwind flow to seep in.

While you flow on your mats, consider those moments of pause as an opportunity to let the delicious strength and energy you're cultivating soak in and simmer - let it lap at the shores of your heart - let yourself luxuriate in the beauty of your powerful body and nurture that power to pull deeper into the fabric of your spirit.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Yoga Debate

What yoga is, what yoga isn't, who owns the 'soul' of yoga, what are the true roots of yoga, who is qualified to teach much divisiveness about a word that means to yoke, or unite; so much debate and ugliness about a practice that offers the possibility for healing, wholeness, contentment, and even bliss. If you haven't read the article about Tara Stiles, 'Rebel Yoga' in the NYT, it is worth a read. I appreciate Tara's husband, Michael Taylor's response in his article "What Makes Yoga, 'Yoga'" via MindBodyGreen. He says if the yoga you practice is making you agitated, argumentative, and aggressive, probably you should go for a run; give yoga a try another time when you are ready to be with yourself. Right on Michael.

I would say a great way to gauge whether our yoga practice is working, besides a firmer butt, is to notice the quality of energy we carry, and ask ourselves, is it sweeter, kinder, more patient, more compassionate, more understanding? How do we treat others? Do we show up in a way that is meaningful to the people in our life we care about? I believe yoga is how we live to our highest potential, being our best selves in each precious moment we are gifted. It is being present for as many breaths as possible, knowing, as my teacher often reminds us, that we don't get any of this back. Every day I screw it up; and I pick myself up, and try to do better the next time. And in the end, being a better person, contributing in a positive way to the flow of life on earth, isn't that really what it's all about?

Lovingly from my soapbox,


Monday, January 24, 2011


There is an artist I simply adore, named Brian Andreas (check out his goods at, who creates funky prints, sculptures, cards and other unique items with amazing quotes that seem to say things in just the right way. I love so many of his quotes, it would be hard to choose a favorite, but if I had to, it would likely be one titled 'Bittersweet', which simply says, "She said she usually cried at least once each day, not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short." I know on some level we all know this to be true, but how often do we allow the knowledge that our breaths are numbered, that there is no guarantee we will see the sunrise tomorrow, have an impact on how we live this instant of this moment? Enter the practice of yoga. I continually seek to understand how this rich, amazing practice can make a difference in my life on a moment to moment basis, how breathing, meditating, twisting, turning, and bending can have an impact on my daily life. Most of all, I seek to understand how I can cross the bridge from physical to spiritual transformation, which is really the heart of yoga.

In my own life, the practice of yoga has given me strength when it seemed nearly impossible to stand at all, much less balance in Warrior 3. If life has not smacked you in the face with something bigger than you thought you could handle, chances are it will. I am not talking small stuff, but big stuff. You know what I mean...big hurt, big pain, the sort of pain that makes even your bones ache, a pain so deep that one simple inhale and exhale takes all of the energy you can muster. Maybe something big and ugly brought you to yoga in the first place. Maybe you already had an asana practice, but something unbearable led you to deeper places, past the physical, to the many gifts yoga offers if you are open to the experience.

I choose to practice and teach vigorous vinyasa, because I believe it best reflects real life. Frustration, discomfort, and challenge are built in to the practice by design and I am given opportunities to decide how I can stay calm, connected, and present when it is not the easiest choice. As I begin to place myself in postures that are exceedingly hard and uncomfortable instead of following the normal pattern of running away, I choose to take a deep, long, powerful breath. And in choosing to take one more big breath, in what would normally be something that is painful, in what would normally be something I would run away from, in what would normally be something I might fear, I am given the power to transform my reaction patterns, to choose love over fear, and to say yes to life, to all of it.

Hatha yoga is not a path for the weak of heart. Choosing love over fear means that we are willing to loosen our grip, to let go and go with the flow. Choosing love over fear means we are deliciously alive, open, and equally receptive to the joys and challenges of life. Choosing love over fear means trusting that all is happening at the right time for our personal growth, transformation, and awakening. In class, I will often guide students to bring their hands through heart center as they transition between poses. I do this in my own practice as well, and though the moment may be brief, each time my hands pass through heart center, I pause, and say to myself, thank you God, for all of it, for this breath, for this moment, and for this sweet but oh so short life.

With love & gratitude,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's next to my bed.

I was inspired by Christy's posting of what is on her IPOD. Given that I still listen to nothing but my old mix cd's and pandora (I have not yet fully embraced the digital age), I decided to share with ya'll what I'm reading.

The stack of books next to my bed is out of control. I am always reading 5 or 6 books at once. Here's what I'm loving right now...

"Standing up to the Madness - Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times"
By Amy Goodman

"Grace (Eventually) - Thoughts on Faith"
Anne Lamott

"Sight Hound"
Pam Houston

"Listening To Your Life"
Frederich Buechner"

"The Book of Secrets"
Deepak Chopra

"The Gift of Change"
Marianne Williamson

"Lit - a Memoir"
Mary Karr

And "Yoga Anatomy"
Leslie Kaminoff

Amazing writers, inspiring words, thoughtful stories...just AWESOME!!
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Monday, January 17, 2011

A poem...

Darkness. No sound.
Nothingness. Void.
The vastness of time and. space feels like weight
Weight of gravity.
No form.
Thousands of thoughts clutter the mind
Confusion. Chaos.
Breath fills the void.
Light to dark, dark to light.
Giving. Receiving.
Creating and extinguishing

Breath of wind - shuffles thoughts like autumn leaves
Breath of earth - rooting and grounding, reinforces all connection
Breath of water - flows gracefully through the vessel of being
Breath of fire - burns through the open channel
Breath of spirit - charges all sensations
Breath of ether - births higher consciousness

Contrast is everywhere
Struggling in all directions, north - south - east - west
Shattered and broken, feeling swept by choices

Flowing through resistance.
Allowing gives way to freedom.
Freedom to reconcile.
Reconcile into wholeness.
Into newness
Into center.

Alone sometimes, never lonely.
Self-sustained and never separate.
Void and never lacking
Empty and pouring with possibility.

Every act of nature
Every element
Every person
Every moment
The opportunity to choose.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A New Level of Mastery

Coming Full Circle
The reappearance of a pattern is often a sign that we have come full circle and we are close to a new level of mastery.
Life is a circular journey through our issues and processes, and this is why things that are technically new often seem very familiar. It is also why, whenever we work to release a habit, change a pattern, or overcome a fear, we often encounter that issue one last time, even after we thought we had conquered it. Often, when this happens, we feel defeated or frustrated that after all our hard work we are still dealing with the same problem. However, the reappearance of a pattern, habit, or fear, is often a sign that we have come full circle, and that if we can maintain our resolve through one last test, we will achieve a new level of mastery in our lives. When we come full circle, there is often the feeling that we have arrived in a familiar place, but that we ourselves are somehow different. We know that we can handle challenges that seemed insurmountable when we began our journey, and there is the feeling that we might be ready to take on a new problem, or some new aspect of the old problem. We feel empowered and courageous to have taken on the challenge of stopping a pattern, releasing a habit, or overcoming a fear, and to have succeeded. At times like these, we deserve a moment of rest and self-congratulation before we move on to the next challenge.Coming full circle is like stepping into a clearing where, for a moment, we can see where we came from and where we are standing at the same time. Remembering that we will be tested again is important, but it's also important to pause and take a look at the ground we've covered, honoring our courage, our persistence, and our achievement. Then we can begin the next leg of our circular journey with a fuller understanding of where we are coming from
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"I'll get by with a little help from my friends..."

Hello to you all in cyber world. I am delighted to be invited to share with you all in this way as well as in the classroom. What a fun gift!!

In thinking about what I wanted to share I use the same criteria here as I do preparing for a own life. Yes, now you know. The truth is out. As I wake and sleep and drift and dream, teach, share, practice and navigate, I am constantly reminding myself to practice what I teach. As the incredibly flawed, clueless, confused individual I am, all of what I aim to share in class is from my own experience. Whether it happens to be good or bad, some lessons I have actually managed to learn and wrap my head and heart around, and others, well...not so much. I have to continually be reminded of what my head knows is true, but often have a hard time allowing my heart to line up to that truth.

Perhaps you can relate.

One of the ideas that I am most passionate about sharing is that we, as human beings, are perfectly whole. We are pure positive energy, source energy, amazing spiritual beings, experiencing being physical. That said, my very physical brain has a hard time staying connected (aligned, if you will) to my spirit. For any of you who have been in my classes, you have probably heard me say many times "you have everything you need. you need not seek outside yourself for anything." That is of course, if you can fully remember that truth. If you have a hard time, like me, and you constantly forget and need to be reminded, that's where friends come in.

We very often (and by often I mean all the time) need the people around us to reflect back to us the love, courage, generosity, joy, and enthusiasm that lies within us all. My fearful mind begins to tell clever stories about how I am a not worthy, that I am alone, that I am not good enough, etc. The stories are less horrific than they used to be, but the well-worn path my thoughts have taken for sooooo long have a tendency to revert back to their old ways. And then, low and behold, a phone call from my best friend helps steer me back to myself. Just when you think you're having a casual lunch with someone dear to you, it becomes a moment of such love and laughter and generosity that you could never have seen coming! My friends, my people, my amazing posse are the face of love, support, good vibes, fun and spirit that I trust is in us all. We need each other as reminders, as reflections, as inspiration and as that loving reminder that you are loved. you are never alone. you have people in your corner to lift you up and to extend a life jacket when you feel like you're drowning.

That is the truth and our only job, and of course the hardest part of all, is to receive the love that is being offered. To allow yourself to be lifted up, to trust in the love of others when your are having a hard time believing in yourself.

Celebrate your friends. Appreciate the love and support around you. Receive the phone call, the lunch, the conversation, the compliment, reach out when you know you need help and welcome it in when it arrives.

Keep being that person for others, for you never know who's moment, day, life you could be changing.

"A friend represents a world inside each of us that may never been born with out them"
~~Anias Nin

Much love to you all my dear friends,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What's on my iPod?

January 8, 2011 Playlist*

Sound the Alarm
Thievery Corporation

Gone Going
Black Eyed Peas

And the Living is Easy! (DJ Sayem Remix)
(This one's borrowed from Lori.)

Ganesha Windmix
Jai Uttal

the Love Song

Amerimacka (TC Remix)
Thievery Corporation

Jumanic Rapture
Rara Avis

hanuman 2

The Lime Tree
Trevor Hall
(Shout out to Andrea for introducing me to Trevor Hall. I am in LOVE.)

Michael Franti & Spearhead
(FSYC Song of 2011--as voted by Christy and Leslie. This whole album is amazing, BTW.)

The Forgotten People (Bon Temps Remix)
Thievery Corporation
(Yes. This is from the True Blood Soundtrack. If you haven't seen it, you should. Thank you, Lori!)

Ganapati Om
Dave Stringer

Many Roads
Trevor Hall

Om Mani Padme Hum (GlobeSonic Savasana Remix)
Reverand DJ Alsultany

Hanuman Baba (Dub Farm Remix)
Krishna Das

*Disclaimer: I never thought I was hip enough to make a proper playlist, but I've learned not to be embarrassed by what's on my iPod. (I'm still not hip, but I'm okay with that.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

You are my Heroes and Sheroes

Those of you who were in class yesterday may have noticed we did a ton of hero pose or in it's proper name virasana. Virasana is a pose where you sit your booty between your heels resting there with your hands on your thighs. We started in virasana to settle in and came back to it several times in the practice in various forms. For some of you I understand it is not a fun pose. It can be hard on your knees in which case you can open them up or just move into a pose where you sit on your heels. Virasana is important and useful to give you a stretch from your feet all the way to the crown of your head. This pose elongates your spine and helps you open up your torso. It allows you to access your courage and to reset from your habitual curling and rounding in that you do with your spine, emotions, and thoughts. It is a place where you can reset and fully live into your courage and learn to lead from your heart. We live in a culture that causes us to move from our thoughts, ego, and "monkey mind." Even if we have the desire to open our hearts and connect more fully to ourselves we are conditioned to retreat from our emotional self and connect to our more cerebral self which causes us to disconnect from our true essence. Virasana can help us settle in, feel our hearts, quiet our mind, and become grounded. My class was hard yesterday and you all showed up with courage and heart. You are my heroes and sheroes remember that each time you arrive on your mat. You are amazing and inspiring.
Lots of peace, light, and love to you fabulous FSYogis.

You Have More Impact Than You Realize

This morning on my way to the office, I had WUNC on the radio. I listened to a 55-year old man's recollection of how his classmates treated him when he was outed at the age of 13.

Even 40 years later, the pain was raw. The memories were vivid. And the feelings about the situation were intense. He wondered out loud if those classmates had grandsons or daughters that might be gay. And if so, what did they think about them?

It got me we understand the impact we have on one another? Each day we have the opportunity to affect people's lives, positively or negatively. Don't underestimate the power of what you say or do. Move through this life with the intent to positively affect the people you come into contact with. Your words and actions may end up staying with those people for the rest of their lives. Namaste. ~paige

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year FSYOGIS

"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice Wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is."
Mary Anne Radmacher

I always think the New Year is a funny holiday. Typically there is a lot of focus on getting out the old and moving into the new and it makes sense that we would do that at the beginning of another calendar year. We do need to let go of things and embrace new ways of being. It's funny though because we put a lot of emphasis on resolutions, or changes we want to make and really we have the capacity to make the change at anytime we want. What is every day is a new year? What if every moment is a new year? What if every breath is a new year? Move through each moment full of awareness, intention, light, compassion, love and approach each moment as an opportunity.
Peace, light, and love!