This January marks six years since this wily beast came into my life.
She’s curled up in a ball at my feet as I write this and I just love the little bugger. I know everyone says their dog is awesome, but I’m going to go ahead and insist that she’s really is the best. I mean, look at that face.
Her foster dog family named her “Lady Mellow,” and she truly is one chill pup. Originally I’d wanted to small dog, a carry-on. But even though I can’t take her on the subway, I love all 50 lbs of her every day. Here are some of my favorite “Daily Kaylee” shots from the last year.
This morning I lay in bed musing about the day, knowing that the longer I stayed under the covers, the less likely I was to roll out the mat. So I got up and looked at my yoga space – filled with mail that needed to be opened, a dog leash begging to be used, and a suitcase that lay stuffed and ready for unpacking.
It was tempting. First I’ll clean off the counter, put away all this stuff so I can set my drishti on a clear, uncluttered space. I could just take care of the mail rather than let it sit. If I’m moving the suitcase, I may as well unpack and throw a load of laundry in before I start. Then the dog is up and looking my way, ready for a walk.
That’s how it goes some mornings. The mat stays rolled up in the corner while a bunch of other things on the list get done. I want to make things as close to ideal as I can in order to practice. I want to clear the space, so I can clear my mind. I want a home studio that looks like the ones in the magazine. But at what cost? It’s not helping me to skip my practice until it can look perfect.
This morning I set up my mat amidst the chaos. The room was a mess. My body ached and my waistline spoke of too much Christmas pie. My nose was stuffed up and I couldn’t pranayam my way out of a paper bag, but I did it. I got down in chaturanga with elbows as close to 90-degrees as I can get them. My trikonasana was crooked, but existent. And it was good.
As January approaches (how did that happen?), I wanted to gather up some of your favorite posts from this year.
Kripalu: What I Pack This was THE most popular post of the year, for sure. And timely, as I’m heading back up to the snowy Berkshires right after the holiday. Update on this post: I’ve upgraded my water bottle and now use and love my this one from bk – a lovely part of my Blogshop goodie bag.
Yoga in Bed: 8 Poses to Wake Up To I know. Sometimes it’s just too cold or too comfy to leave the sanctuary of our beds.
This & That: Moon Salutations I’m sensing a real Yin vibe from you guys this year. I think this is another perfect posture series to do around the holidays.
Have a wonderful year-end celebration everyone. And thank you for coming with me on the adventure.
I have been drawn to Ardha Chandrasana lately. For some reason, I can feel the dynamic tension between grounding and expanding so profoundly in this posture. The foot stable, roots deep through the mat, through the floor, into the earth below me. And my heart searching, yearning, turning upwards. It’s felt pretty amazing.
Am I drawn to it to relieve anxiety, to work my ankles, stretch my groin? Or is it that something inside me knows that ‘chandra’ can mean glittering, shining, brilliant light, and I’m approaching the idea of shining with everything I do?
Or maybe it’s just because I found a cool new way to come into the pose. I learned a long time ago to just do what my body wants when it comes to my time on the mat. I don’t ask too many questions.
Here’s my new entry into Ardha Chandrasana: (Here’s a more traditional entry.)
1. Start in down dog
2. Identify the point on your mat half way between your hands and your feet
3. Step the right food forward to that point
4. Adjust your right hand to be forward and to the right of your standing foot (like a kickstand or second leg)
5. Slowly, using your core, lift the back leg AS YOU rotate the body towards the side wall
6. Keep the left hand at your waist, or extend it upward to the sky, following it with your gaze
This is a pretty subtle variation to coming from triangle pose, but for me, I feel a big shift. It’s much easier for me to shift my gaze from my standing foot, to the sidewall, to my upward-reaching hand and shine.
Image from Fine Featherheads.
I do this thing. When I’m feeling unsatisfied, or insecure, I start collecting. I Pin beautiful images, and try to figure out how to make my life mirror them. I read memoirs and try to imagine my life as theirs. I look outside of myself for the missing piece. As if there is some room I can sit in that will make it all clear, or a tiny slice of wisdom outside of myself that is going to make the difference.
I know that’s not true. And still, I collect. I used to beat myself up about this but recently I took a look at one of my collections – a list of inspiring women – and I learned something.
What all these women seem to have in common is that they aren’t copying someone else. They’ve forged their own paths, ones that might look very different from what they thought – or what anyone else thought for that matter.
This is awesome and frustrating. Because there is part of me that is still looking for an instruction book on life: “The 5 Steps to Being Happy,” “Here’s How to Be Radiantly Yourself.” But the longer I go at this, the more I realize, there isn’t a model to follow. I can look at these women and be inspired by their stories, but in the end, they are not my stories. I can’t do what they did. I have to come up with this life on my own.
That said, here are some women I admire for their vision, commitment and pluck, honesty, and individuality
Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind
Andrea Scher of Superhero Life
Katie O’Connell of Dragon Fly Yoga Barn (Not a website, a real-life place)
Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl
This morning I taught my ‘Yoga With A View’ corporate yoga class, from the roof of the office building over looking Central Park. And I completely nerded out. Talking about the squeeze-and-soak benefits of eagle pose from this place – all the way up here – I felt high.
I imagined teaching before I ever took a training. I could close my eyes and feel the class. That’s why when I found the right teacher training, it didn’t matter that I was scared. I knew I had to do it.
For years after that, I didn’t teach regularly. I played with the balance of teaching and working my day job. And now – with this small, beautiful class and a kids’ yoga session starting up in the fall – I am just so completely grateful.
That’s all, kids. I just wanted to be grateful and feel good and share it. That’s it. Just high.
written Monday, for posting Wednesday.
Tomorrow morning (oh, so, early) I’m leaving on a jet plane to visit my other martinis in Chicago. I know the Memorial Day holiday isn’t until next weekend, but it was time for a change of scenery.
I’m looking forward to some sweet time with Laura and her family. I am always relaxed and at home there. We might get some yummy breakfast, and I even heard a rumor there could be spa time.
I’ll be back next week. What are you doing for Memorial Day?
The other day I came home from work early. When I walked through the front door -wham- I could not believe the light in the apartment.
I would love to lay down my mat by either of these large-scale windows and soak up the sun.
The image on the left is from Luis Barragan and can be found here. The image on the right is from The Poetry of Material Things. P.S. I can lose hours on this site.
When I was a little girl, I hated missing school. I was a pretty high strung kid and I was afraid I’d never catch up on what I’d missed. Even when I was feeling sick, I didn’t want to skip. My mom would bring me with her on errands and it was the strangest feeling to be out and about during the day. I felt like everyone could tell I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be.
These days, I really have none of that anxiety. Okay, maybe a little. But I can handle it. And I love being out and about when I’m normally at the office. I look at people and wonder what they do, where their day is taking them.
I took a day off this week to… well, to just take a day off. I went to the gym, I spent time down by the water, I took the dog out for miles and miles.
And even though it was gorgeous outside, I even watched some tv and took a nap on the couch. I really needed it. And maybe I should? But I don’t feel guilty at all.
Recently my office moved uptown to Columbus Circle. I’ll miss Bryant Park, but now we’ll be really close to Central Park, and my old neighborhood.
Central Park is over 840 acres, and in there, plenty of room for laying out a yoga mat. I’m more likely to practice yoga in a group when I’m way out in the open, like this first image shows. Doesn’t that grass look amazing?
But I also like the idea of a secret spot tucked away in a corner somewhere to practice in solitude away from the hustle bustle. Either way, I think there’s some outdoor yoga in store for me.
The first image was found here. And the second here.
I’m a lazy cook. And by that I mean I don’t ever cook things. But what I do on occasion is put two or three ingredients in the same place together, and that’s like cooking in a way.
This is why salads are awesome. Several ingredients, no real cooking, still feels like food as long as it’s not all lettuce. Adding protein to a meal turns it into something hearty that will help you survive the Hungarian winter. I imagine. So here’s my easy, lazy protein salad. It involves eggs, arugula, red quinoa and a dressing of your choice – or consider a lemon squeeze if you’re feeling cosmopolitan.
I’ve gotten ahead of myself.
Now that we all know how to be fancy and poach an egg in the microwave (Because, here.), let’s go back to the original foolproof egg prep – hard boiling. I’m not going to tell you how to do this. (Okay, except 12 is the answer in case you were thinking of looking it up.)
– Boil some eggs. Did you know that peeling a hard boiled egg is easier if you run it under cold water? It’s real.
– Make quinoa. The best thing about quinoa is that it feels like a grain but it’s gluten free and protein packed. Shazam. Also, it’s hard to ruin. Simmer, sit. Swiffer the floor or something for 10 minutes. When it’s cooked it will pop a little bit in your mouth, which sounds scary but is awesome.
– Arugula. Buy some.
Okay, this is really the whole thing. It’s a salad so mix those things together. With a lemon vinagrete I actually really like this for breakfast. It’s protein-y and filling without being heavy and gross. In the summer slice up one of those precious $3 avocados in there and then just weep with joy because avocados will do that.
I’m learning to ride the roller coaster my brain provides me. It’s more and more clear that external circumstances are not at all what change my mood or even necessarily change the quality of my day.
Sure there’s usually an outside trigger, but how I react can vary drastically based on nothing else but an 8 lb maze of tissue and neurons that I will never fully understand.
The other day I actively talked myself out of a crap mood. You guys, I was so proud of myself. Which must be the mating call of hubris.
This morning my intention during my practice was to feel vibrant. And let’s just say I had less success. And so I’m going to try to be satisfied with slightly less than vibrant today and see how it goes.
Vibrancy hidden under packed powder at an amusement park in Japan. Image here.