The Trends that Will Dominate 2017

1) The ultimate user interface will be the human body

This is number one on a list of 5 Transformative Creative Trends* for the next year. Sometimes I read articles like this. It’s exhausting. I don’t read them out of genuine interest. I read them because I feel like I should stay up to date in my field. That I should know what the smart people know.

But I had one up on the smart people this time. Because I already knew this. And so do you.

User interface is usually referring to the hardware and software you use to connect to experiences. And by connect I mean look at, buy, like, share. And by experiences I mean youtube videos, facebook posts, ecommerce. What the article is talking about here is more in line with VR, with Google Home, with Snapchat spectacles. That the ‘technology’ part will become more and more integrated with our daily life and physical body – until the technology integrates with the body itself. The future.

Take a step away from the jargon and the sentence becomes farcically obvious. So obvious that it makes me angry. Of course, the human body is the way we connect to experiences. Really connect. To real experiences. Our eyes see the sunrise, our skin feels the wind, our tongues taste and our noses smell.

This is what technology is after. To build a perfect replica of ourselves made from innovation and commerce. So we can ‘experience’ ‘connection’ through a seamless ‘user interface’ instead of simply and deeply experiencing connection with our human body and senses.

Why the hell do we want that? What is so boring about our bodies? What is so scary about what we can perceive and how we connect? We are so busy trying to replicate the human experience that we often don’t understand the original.

This is what yoga and ayurveda are after – understanding the original. Letting the technology of the human machine function at its highest and most efficient so that our hearts and minds can rise above, can sink it, can experience everything. To experience the body, not to create our experiences all over again outside of our bodies.

I read articles like this because I feel like I’m supposed to. I do yoga so that I can interface with my body. So that I can connect with my breath. So that I can hone my user interface. Because I hear it’s the next big transformative, creative trend.




*Ad Age article here.



Earth Room

What happens when your brain is spinning with ideas, but you’re exhausted at the thought of action? What do you do when you finally recognize your happy place, and it’s 300 miles and a lifestyle away?

I don’t know. These aren’t rhetorical questions. I don’t have the answer – except maybe this: go for a walk.

Walking is my jam. It’s my moving meditation – even more than yoga. And yes, I would love a walk in the woods. But in the city, getting to loamy soft earth takes more time and energy than I have sometimes.

So I tell myself: Do this. Walk home. Walk to the train. Put your feet on hard concrete and walk. And if you want to smell the earth, go here.


This is the Earth Room, a long-term installation in Soho. It is exactly what it sounds like: a room filled with dirt. In the summer it’s humid and the whole apartment is filled with a damp, visceral smell. It’s tempting to climb over the small retaining wall and let your toes roam. I didn’t dare touch anything when I visited, but people have.

When it comes to feeling disconnected, I tell my students – and myself – there is no better remedy than to tune in to that Muladhara earth energy and get grounded. Pound the pavement, or better, smell the earth.


The sun is shining and the to-do list is long. And I can tell you, I could use a good nap. Even better, I could use a long walk with dirt under my feet and a breeze in the trees. Or to dig my hands into the dirt and get the garden going.

I’m two weeks in to a three week cleanse.

This is the point where New York City feels more crowded than ever. Where well-meaning jokes don’t seem funny, and the normal volume of life is just too loud.  And where the only thing I can hear my heart say is “Gently.”

My vanity and ego drove me here – put the idea of a cleanse into my head. But the wisdom of my heart told me to take it slow. No juice diet for days. Just simple, clean eating with the support of added proteins and probiotics. It’s slow. It’s clean. It’s working – and not at all in the way I wanted it to.

I wanted five pounds gone. Eight, even? But what I’m getting instead is wisdom. Is my heart breaking open. Is resistance to the wisdom of my own intuition. Resistance to the voice saying things like, don’t forget about me, about who you really are, about what is truly truly important to you underneath all of that ego and discomfort.

I know I need to dig out to give that voice some space, some light, some air. Part of me doesn’t want to do it – wants to go about my daily business, and let the voice be muffled by layers of dirt, ambition and life. I’m tired of feeling and tired of trying not to feel.

The only thing left to do is dig.





Fully human

“Being satisfied with what we already have is a magical golden key to being alive in a full, unrestricted, and inspired way.” – Pema Chodron, Awakening Loving Kindness


I sit here battered and beaten. Muscles sore, hot, dehydrated. It feels as though someone has beaten me well with a rolled up yoga mat, dipped me in salt water, and left me to dry on the sidewalk.

There may be a small voice in my left knee. There’s a slightly louder one in my low back. And my mind, my mind is one that’s taking the brunt of it.

The past few months has seen a serious recommitment to physical movement. There came a point where I didn’t recognize my body anymore. Didn’t know what it could do, or what it wanted to do. We hadn’t been speaking really.

We went from feeling like strangers to having four or fives dates a week. Things got hot and heavy fast. Barre every week, to barre teacher training. One beginner ballet class, to a crash course twice a week.

I can’t tell if I’m renewing my commitment to health or if this is my mind’s way of punishing me for aging, or neglecting to take nude photos when my body was perfect. And publishing them on the Internet so I could stare at them and wonder who the hell that was.

Rebellion is present. Rebellion against stagnation, restriction, incapacity. And then rebellion again against movement and work. It comes in the form of self doubt, the sinking comfort of the couch, and glasses of red wine. I’m striving for something and then fighting against it.

I read this early this morning, on Satisfaction from Pema Chodron: “It’s very helpful to realize that being here, doing simple everyday things… Is actually all we need to be fully awake, fully alive, fully human. It’s also helpful to realize that this body that we have … And this mind that we have at this very moment, are exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.”

So all this work may not get me to some end. My body is my body. It’s getting stronger but it’s not going backwards through time. My mind is my mind. It whirls and sometimes it stops. My heart is full and it breaks. Fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.

The Breath

Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 3.35.38 PM

I’m on the couch with a heating pad and a dog and a laptop. The snow, still more snow, is swirling around outside and I just stumbled on this beautiful short film.

reathing is at the essence of being human, but not just because it keeps us alive. Like laughter and facial expressions, breathing is something of a global language, capable of communicating a surprisingly wide and nuanced range of emotions without a single word.

This collection video from The Mercadantes, the husband-and-wife filmmakers Daniel and Katina Mercadante in California, explores the human breath and its innumerable forms – from the first gasping cries of a newborn to the sighed relief of a well-earned chance to rest.

If you haven’t taken a deep breath today, I highly recommend it.

Watch the film here.

Shift happens


I don’t decide who to be every morning when I wake up. I just am.

Shift happens over time, it happens when we’re not paying attention. It happens when whether we’re busy or contemplative; intentional or unconscious.

But what if I could decide? If I could wake up each morning and decide who to be. I can’t wake up and change my job, my house, the weather, my friends and family – not every day. But what if I could decide who I am at my job; how I live in my house; how I respond to the weather; who I am as a friend, sister, daughter?

I’m starting to think I can decide. And I’m not talking about faking it. I’m talking about real, authentic shifts in behavior chosen based on what I feel in my soul. I’m talking about the possibility, just the mere possibility, that I might be able to behave differently, to choose differently, based on who I am and who I want to be.

These shifts aren’t drastic really. I’m not thinking of picking up and moving to the ashram – which is something I’ve considered a fantasy option for some years now. I love my life, it’s really, really close to exactly what I always wanted. But there are some things that feel out of control: the obligations, the pace, the isolation.

For example, I don’t want to be harried. So, what if I chose to start the day with a walk or a book, instead of checking email while I’m still in bed? Not such a big shift. But over time – who knows?

If I were to embark on this experiment, and test this theory, how do I do it? How do I know who I want to be each morning when I wake up? The only way I know how is to ask.

Ask, listen, act. And then maybe, just maybe, I can decide.

The Power of New


Pulling out the sweaters for fall. Picking up a new shade of lipstick. It’s amazing what a little change can do. The thrill a little bit of new can bring to your day. Whenever I get my haircut, I feel like a star (silly, right?). I’ll look around in meetings and wonder how we could all be talking about anything else other than this blunt cut.

A haircut or a new pair of shoes doesn’t change who we are. We’re the same person, and every task we’re faced with on a daily basis is the same. But the fresh scent when you change your shampoo, or put a new bedspread on the bed, it just feels different. Game changing in tiny ways.

This weekend I started practicing forearm stand. I’ve been doing yoga for fifteen years and this one has always seemed beyond my scope. I should know better. I tried it Sunday, and flailed around. But I find myself waking up thinking about it. I dream about it and I can feel my body strong and light.

I’m still practicing against the wall for now. And I haven’t felt it all come together quite yet. But I’m walking around thinking about it. Imagining sneaking into a conference room and shutting the door. How can any one get anything else done when there’s forearm stand to practice?

This beautiful pincha mayurasana is from Jessie Barry.



Fall is somehow all about expectation. Maybe remnants of back-to-school time. Some people look forward all year to the lazy, heavy days of summer. And I do like toes in the sand. But I anticipate tall-necked coats and hot tea in my hands. Sleeping with a window open to the chill and breathing hot breath with the covers over my head. Crunching leaves under my shoes as I walk, and walk, and walk with no end and the architecture of the city plays a movie for me.




There is plenty to do, always. I find that when I wake up in the morning there are a million things I want to do first. I want to get up really early, snooze one more time, play with the dog, get outside, get on the yoga mat, get in the shower, get breakfast in my belly. I want to do everything first. Nothing can wait. But I am really in no hurry. I’m slow in the morning.

I watch the sky turn from dawn to day. The other morning, I watched the clouds. Dark grey and rolling ominously over the city. Then eggs, scallions, fried in a pan. Deep, rich black tea. Swing the door open and eat breakfast on the porch, chased inside by the chill.

There’s a lot to do. Plenty of time.


In this dish:
Black beans
Oil & Vinegar


These beautiful collages, by artist Travis Bedel, merge anatomical imagery with illustrations from vintage etchings from science guides and textbooks. And I think they are just too cool.

[via Erica at honestlywtf.]

travis bedel

I agree. Just too cool.

Reminds me that my body is ready for springtime too. Just like the little sprouts that are trying to persevere the cold and push through the soil, I’m itching to push outside the walls of my routine – get outside, move my body. So ready for spring.

Using Yoga

Everything is changing. But everything is always changing. In several different places in my life, there is movement and change. I know my instinct in the past would be to get quiet and hibernate. But this time I feel the need to move with it.

As the focus of my days shifts to my career, it started to shift away from my practice. But it’s getting to be pretty clear that I can’t replace yoga with work. They just occupy two completely different facets of life. I still need yoga. Maybe even more now.

My almost two-decades-long practice (oh, no. not really) is still serving me. It’s reminding me to breathe, it’s nudging me to get back on the mat. It’s telling me that even though “yoga” might not be my focus, that this is the time to truly integrate yoga into my life. This is where all the lessons come into play.

I need to USE yoga to stay sane, to keep moving, and to breathe.