Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lori's Wednesday Rock Your Asana Class

Class preparation.

I was ready.  I had the music planned for my Rock Your Asana class and I just needed the sequence and my theme.  Before I teach I like to sit with myself and notice what is going on within. What do I have to offer?  What do I want to speak about in class?  I work on this for about an hour to two hours before each class.  Usually my themes are based on what I have going on in my life, my family's life, the community at the studio, yamas, niyamas, and or current events.

 Last week I traveled to Baltimore with Christy to see U2.  My fifth time seeing them and I have been a fan since 1982 when I saw their their first video on MTV  " Two hearts beat as one."  It took us 5 hours to get to Baltimore and we left to drive home right after the concert.  Construction traffic was not the best and we didn't get home until 4:30am.  Thursday I was very foggy.  Friday I was very tired and Saturday I got to take a 2 hour nap.  By Sunday I felt so much better. Needless to say I felt this trip for a couple of days. So as I sat down to collect my thoughts to prepare for class I asked myself the question "what prompted me to drive to Baltimore?"   Last year I sat down with fellow lululemon ambassadors and created a list of goals.  Seeing U2 in Dublin was on my list.  That couldn't happen because they had already played Dublin by the time I created the list.  So my goal became - see U2 in concert.  The quest - a concert I could drive to.  Baltimore.

As I was driving to Baltimore with a smile on my face because I was completing a goal that had been nagging at me for a while - I remembered I had done a similar exercise with Baron in Utah last September.  He had us do the same thing but a little different - write down something very specific that you want to accomplish before December 31, 2010.    I wrote that I wanted to raise $10,000 plus for the Eve Carson Scholarship with the Eve Ball.  At the concert U2 is known for their message boards.  In Baltimore there was a running screen of statistics - how many emails had been sent that day, how many google searches, how many people died of hunger, the unemployment rate in Maryland, and on and on for about 30 minutes before the come on stage.  One of the last blips across the screen "What do want?" "How will you ask for it"  

Yesterday as I created my theme for my class - I was inspired by U2 and this exercise that I had done with Baron.  How could I get this message across to the people coming to class. It is mid year you have 6 months to still make a difference.  Do you even remember your new year's resolutions?  As I was writing down my thoughts about how to think of what inspires you, what motivates you  - my vet arrived.  My husband and I have 6 dogs.  We have a vet visit our house because getting 6 dogs in a car is just not practical.  She needed to see 4 of our dogs yesterday and it took about an hour and half.  I needed to get the towels in the washer and dried and take a shower. She left at 2:30 and I needed to leave by 3:15 to check in Mike's class.  The play list was done, I created the sequence while she typed in notes about each dog.  I had to help her hold each dog for their heart worm test.  I was rushed by the time I got to the studio.   Mike's class was checked in and I meditated to get centered for 15 minutes.  I never went back to my notes for my theme.  I kept thinking I know this theme so well.  I wear it on my sleeve.  What inspires you to make a difference. 

50 people arrived for class.  When I mentioned what is something you would like to accomplish before the end of this year - I thought let's make it real.  Say the date of December 31.  Make it real.  So I did December 31, 2010.  There were soft whispers and I thought - wow they aren't happy about the gentle reminder of the date.  So I taught the class. I guess I mentioned it a couple of times.  End of the year, December 31st.  After class Philip came up to me and said did you do that on purpose "December 31, 2010? " And then it hit me - I had meant December 31, 2011 the whole time.  I had stayed in lululemon goal setting mode and Baron exercise mode the whole time.  Even now I still see these two pages in my journal in big writing - December 31, 2010.  My very clever mind kept me back.  One of my students emailed me that he kept holding up 2 fingers hoping I would see the number 11.  Hello yoga teacher not present.  Do I want to shrug it off and say this happens? Absolutely.  Do I want to laugh about it?  Absolutely.  But I'm a type "A" in recovery and that is so hard.  And this is my practice to not judge, to not beat myself up you know those things that type A's do when they try to achieve perfection.  

So what helps a type A in recovery?

Maya Angelou
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

I remember that I smiled quite a bit while I was teaching that class.  A smile from my heart.

With much love and gratitude.


20 Things you may not know about David Palmer

Twenty things you might not know about David Palmer:
1) He has an artificial tube in his right ear.
2) He was the times table champion in second grade; that is when his math skills peaked.
3) He values directness, although perhaps not at first.
4) His favorite food: Everything bagel (from NYC, of course) with wild smoked salmon and cream cheese.
5) He loves aardvarks, kinkajous, and koalas; wishes he could have one of each as pets.
6) He is an expert on the history of lesbian and gay sex in the United States.
7) He loves to sing in the car.
8) He has completed four marathons.
9) He aspired to be a game show host in grade school.
10) One of his biggest pet peeves: spelling “you’re” as “your.”  Ridiculous – I know!
11) He knows a lot about many sports, though is proficient at very few of them.
12) He did not recognize his breath in yoga classed until over a year after he began practicing.
13) He prefers mountains over beaches.
14) He gets very competitive when playing racquetball.
15) He does not like when people say “y’all.”
16) He likes when colors clash.
17) He has a fondness for pop music – but only the good stuff, of course.
18) He is rather obsessed with making lists and drafting outlines.
19) He likes some around him when he reads.
20) He loathes musicals.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

20 Things you may not know about Jacqueline Solis

I am a librarian at UNC.

I grew up in Idaho surrounded by lots of fields of corn and alfalfa, and lots of cows.

My family didn’t actually have any cows, but sometimes the neighbor’s cows would get into our yard.

I was a member of the Boise Dance Collection, a pre-professional dance company, in high school. We did ballet and jazz performances all around the Boise area.

I have been trying to learn Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (the language formerly known as Serbo-Croatian) since 2007.

I have also experimented with learning Bulgarian, Turkish, Romanian, Italian, German and Latin. 

I actually did learn French and Spanish.

I lived in Mexico City in 1993. While I was there I made a money selling cassettes at music markets.

I loved doing laundry in the concrete sinks on the 5th story roof of my apartment there.

I rescued two dogs while I was in Mexico – one an injured German Shepherd mix, and one a little girl puppy left out for the trash.

With the exception of Mexico, I have always lived in the western US and I never dreamed that I would live in North Carolina.

My cat’s name is Miran, which means calm in Croatian. It turned out to be an ironic name.

Miran obsessively plays fetch with rubber chew toys.

I am a Detroit Red Wings fan and a fan of hockey in general.

I talk to my sister in Idaho almost every day.

I have been to Bulgaria five times.

I am always hungry and I think about food way too often.

I love grocery shopping and always buy too much food.

Sunlight is very important for my mental health. I have a tattoo of an ouroboros within rays of the sun to signify eternal sunshine.

My favorite yoga pose is utthita trikonasasa. Or maybe paschimottanasana.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why Africa? Why Yoga?

I always wanted to study abroad but never did and thought my chance for that was over. I'll come back to that part of the story.
I started taking yoga classes here and there about a decade ago. I liked the stretch, I liked how my body felt after, and I was curious about why something always felt like it shifted emotionally by the end of a yoga class. This curiosity kept growing and growing until I decided to take teacher training with the one and only Lori Burgwyn. What I noticed immediately in Lori's class is that she is always asking you to think big, to move outside of whatever limitations you or others have placed on you, and to dream, dream, dream. She is an amazing visionary and is always thinking of what to do next to keep the studio alive and vibrant as well as the practice fresh and transformative. A couple of years ago the studio was doing a fundraiser for the Africa Yoga Project (AYP). Now I hadn't heard much about the project before that and I saw a video about the project posted on FSYC's facebook page. Soon after that I had lunch with the wonderful Angela Bardeen and talked about my desire to go to Kenya and volunteer for AYP and then it all came together. I decided to become an ambassador for the Africa Yoga Project. Now this is a big stretch for me. I've been out of the country once to Ireland, Paris, and the occasional trip to Canada. Not to Kenya, which I know will be a very different experience from my soiree in Europe in 2001. My partner, Jeff Herrick, and I are going to Kenya to volunteer in January of 2012. I'll be working with young women teaching yoga, meditation, relaxation, and talking about PTSD. Jeff will more than likely be working a building project, doing soccer with the kids, and making music.
Here is my chance to serve, and study abroad and who knows where it will lead me.
I have to pinch myself at least once a day because I cannot believe this is happening. You never know what can happen when you dream big, when you aspire to be transformed and you see that the world can change and is dynamic. You never know what can happen when you pause, breathe, and decide what you really want and how you want to move in the world. You never know what will happen when you let go of your plan and follow the path the universe is sending you signals about.
Please join us this Saturday for the Yoga Mala which is a joint venture between two studios I love and adore Carrboro Yoga Company , (CYCO) and Franklin Street Yoga Center (FSYC). It is from 3:00-5:00pm and you'll see Jeff and I, be led in 108 sun salutes by Lori, Sage, Jennie, and I, and you'll learn a little more about the Africa Yoga Project. The mala is donation based and more information can be found at CYCO and FSYC websites. All the donations will go to the fundraising campaign of $10,000 that Jeff and I are raising to donate to AYP before we go to Kenya.
If you cannot attend the mala you want to donate you can do so at FSYC this week or go visit my fundraising campaign page here.
You can also watch this video to learn more about what I will be doing while there. Watch here.

All the peace in the world to you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Africa Yoga Project

I first met Paige Elenson in Utah in 2008.  We were at a training with our teacher Baron Baptiste and Paige was assisting.  I literally met her while she assisted me with a pose and you know those moments when someone assists you and the pose becomes so much more.  That was the moment I shared with Paige.  She probably doesn't remember it at all but the memory is very clear for me.  The assist was full of confidence and love.

Later that day we watched a video Paige had created about the Africa Yoga Project.  As most of you know I can cry at anything.  I was lying on my back propped up to watch the video and I was so moved and so emotional that the tears were just flowing down my face. This is what yoga is about for me.  It is an action word.  It is about transformation and unity.

 It takes someone full of confidence and full of love to create an organization like AYP.  Paige was on a family vacation in Kenya and decided to stay in Kenya and the Africa Yoga Project was created in 2007.  AYP teachers have introduced thousands of students in Kenya to the practice of yoga, as well as provided educational scholarships, job training, food stipends, temporary housing and health services.

Their students, ages 16 to 30 years old, come from impoverished backgrounds in Nairobi, Kenya and live on under $2 a day. Many are personally affected by HIV/AIDS and are living or have lived on the streets.

Africa Yoga Project offers financial support to 48 teachers in exchange for teaching yoga in the communities of Nairobi, Kenya. Their teachers come from the slum areas in which they teach and are able to reach the communities for positive social change. Many yoga teachers come to AYP via acrobatics or dance, which they performed on the streets as a way to sustain a living.   Africa Yoga Project offers the yoga teachers confidence and hope. Yoga is a way to give back to the communities in which they live- AYP promotes unity and non-violence. For many AYP teachers, it is a way to earn income to support their families and continue their education.

I am currently mentoring an AYP teacher and FSYC is paying her living wage for one year so that she can teach for free.  Michelle and her husband will be traveling to Kenya in January 2012 to work alongside the teachers and their students.

So I ask you to support the Africa Yoga Project by making a donation - not because of me, Michelle, or Paige. Let your donation be a reflection of what yoga means to you.  From the first time you stepped onto your mat to today - what has yoga meant to you?   Your donation will help this organization cast its net bigger over Kenya.  One love for Africa.

Love and gratitude,


Monday, June 6, 2011

20 Things you may not know about Leah Barber

20 Things You May Not Know about Leah Barber
1.        I’m half Brazilian and was the first person on the Brazilian side born in the US. I’m named after the matriarch on the Brazilian side of my family.
2.       I lived in Vancouver, Canada from ages 16-19.  It was awesome. 
3.       Cutting cilantro makes me gag but I will eat it if somebody cuts it for me.
4.       My husband and I eloped and were married at the Hillsborough County Jail. 
5.       I collect and listen to vintage Jamaican vinyl (ska, rocksteady, reggae). 
6.       I’ve been a DJ at WXYC 89.3 for 7 years.  My show is every Sunday from 8-10am.  My call name is DJ Dias and I’m a DJ 4 life. 
7.       I found my calling for teaching 10 years ago while helping a few hundred kids learn how to swim. 
8.       When I was 21, I worked as flight attendant but quit my job on 9/11. 
9.       I was a waitress at Hard Rock Café in Boston when I was 20. 
10.   My first car was a 1969 VW Fastback (a station wagon) and I’ve only owned station wagons since.  They include: 1 VW, 3 Volvos, and now a Saab. 
11.   I went on Phish tour when I was 19.  As a result, I will never eat a cold burrito again. 
12.   When I was 8 years old, I was an extra in Pagliacci and a leopard in The Magic Flute (they are both operas).
13.   My dad and step-mom took me on a Paul McCartney tour when I was 11.  We followed his band through 4 states
14.   On my mom’s side, I’m the youngest sibling by 8 years.  On my dad’s side, I’m the oldest sibling by 8 years.
15.   My friend Elena and I have been best friends for 25 years.  We even know our anniversary and celebrate it every year. 
16.   When I was growing up, I lived in Tulsa with my mom during the school year and in Chapel Hill with my dad in the summer.
17.    I started flying by myself when I was 6 years old (see #16)
18.   I have an extra body part but I will not reveal that body part on this list. 
19.   I taught myself how to quilt and made 2 quilts. I gave the 1st one to my older sister.  If I had more time, I would sew every day.  
20. Ever since we met, my husband and I take the same vacation every 2 years to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.      

Thursday, June 2, 2011

20 Things you may not know about Leslie Roach

20 Things You May Not Know About Leslie Roach

1.   I have an outie belly button

2.   I was an all-state basketball and track athlete

3.   I went to College of Charleston to play basketball and run, then ended up transferring to UNC

4. I double majored in Psychology and Exercise Physiology with a minor in Biology, Yes I am a nerd

5. I have only tried coffee once in my life

6. My favorite flower is Hydrangea

7.    Friends is my all time favorite show, I own all 9 Seasons

8.   I might be the most stubborn person I know, actually I am the most stubborn person I know, NO REALLY I AM ;-)

9.   Music makes everything better, especially when I turn it up so loud I cannot hear anything else and dance to it (in my car)

10. My dad is one of my favorite people ever!

11. I have two brothers, Bill 28 and Wes 22.

12. My family has created a word for me, “Leslisms” because I can be slow to understand things... ex. In fourth grade I asked the safety (police) group why they called their dogs K-9 if they only had 8 of them; it made since to me.

13.    I had two cats growing up, Champ and Wiggles

14.    When I was in second grade I wore shorts everyday, because my mom told me I couldn’t wear shorts everyday, so, literally I kept a calendar and checked off the days (all 365) of wearing shorts (refer back to #8)

15. I used to Strongly Dislike reading because it made me feel stupid. I stuttered when I read out loud and it took me FOREVER to do. Finally, we figured out that I am dyslexic and have a tracking problem (meaning I saw things backwards and would just flat out skip lines or words) Now I LOVE reading and am fine to go at my own pace.

16.    I love playing Words with Friends on my Phone

17.    (a)My first concert was Amy Grant, House of Love... I didn’t make it till the end fell asleep, not because it wasn’t good, I loved it, but I was too tired. (17b. I have never pulled an all nighter)

18.    My first CD was either Boyz II Men or Ace of Base

19.  My Grandmother is one of my biggest inspirations and I hope one day to be as graceful, joyful, generous and loving as she is

20. I love Yoga, and not just the asana. I love that it asks us to be open, to live and let live. To be dedicated to the process, not attached to the results, and continue to search for compassion, love and kindness in ourselves so that we may share that with those around us... Just be Kind and Love