Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Front Porch Yoga is moving.
Visit my new 'place to pause' at www.frontporchyoga.com
Also, please re-direct your RSS feed to:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Slow Food

How do you interact with your food?

Where do you purchase your vegetables?

Do you turn on your oven or microwave?

Notice the colors on your plate?

Taste the food you chew before you swallow?

Share a meal with your family or turn on the TV?

I have struggled over the past few years with truly savoring my meals. Factors that contributed to my rushed food habits: I used to get home from work and be absolutely STARVING, so the quickest remedy was most frequently fried eggs or a PB & J sandwich. And I live alone, so it always felt silent, weird, and boring to eat without music or television to accompany my meal.

A dear friend who's dining ritual is punctuated with patience and care has suggested that I feed myself like I would feed a guest. She suggested lighting candles and spending more time cooking (finding a rhythm in the preparation and a meditation in the quietness). But I think the truth in my struggle has always been giving myself the permission to relax and enjoy. When I do take the time to carefully prepare my food and then elegantly serve it, I always photograph the meal, perhaps trying to capture the feelings it invoked inside me: the feelings of pleasure and self-care and respect for my body. I have a great respect for my dear friend and for the people who created the Slow Food Movement. I am so thankful for those treasured souls in my life who remind me to nurture myself with food and help me to slow down...

This summer I decided to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in order to support my local economy. I have tasted new foods (including baby bok choy) and feel empowered by eating local, organic produce. There is something very romantic about picking up my basket of veggies and eggs every Sunday morning, and I am continually mesmerized by the bright colors: green lettuce and red strawberries to name a few.

The more happily and healthily you treat your body, the more fluid and strong your yoga practice will be, right? Just one more reason to slow down and enjoy good eats!

How can you slow down your experiences with food?

Choose love,

PS I love garlic! Anyone else love garlic?!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Clip, Rip, Glue, Recycle!
I will be leading a Journey Collage class in Cincinnati
at Park and Vine, my favorite green general store,
on May 30, 2009 at 11:00 am.
Please join me!
What you think you create.
What you feel you attract.
What you imagine you become.
-Adele Brasheer

I enthusiastically believe in the law of attraction: your thoughts create your reality. I have manifested my hopes and wishes over the past 10 years with the visual aid of journey collages recycled from old magazines. Seeing the images prompts my subconscious to stay focused on what I truly want. Oprah calls them vision boards, Sarah Van Brethnach calls them illustrated discovery journals, but I call them journey collages because everyone is on their own unique journey of self-discovery and exploration. This is a powerful tool to help you get what you want!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Savasana- a place to pause

A friend new to yoga recently attended a class with me. She commented afterwards that the most challenging part for her was the lying down at the end- savasana. She said the more she tried to relax her face, neck, arms, belly, legs, toes, the more tense and tight she became. The more she tried to trick her body into letting go, the more she became rigid and locked. So her mind analyzed why she was failing at simply lying down, and her thoughts raced around her body in circles, round and round.

I cherish savasana at the end of my yoga practice. But savasana wasn't always so simple for me. I remember when I first started practicing yoga, and I was super fidgety. I didn't feel comfortable on the hard wooden floor. My fingers twitched from all my muscles being pushed to their edge in ways they weren't accustomed to. I kept opening my eyes, afraid I would fall asleep. I remember being more afraid of being still than twisting my body into funny postures!

Why is savasana important? Savasana allows your body to soak up and absorb all the energy you have built and created through your flowing practice. Savasana is a literal place to pause. Savasana is the one time during my day where I can completely release and sink, dissolve, melt into the floor. It is the one time where I give myself permission to be peaceful and be totally present to the moment.

The rest of the time I find my mind buzzing and my body racing from one event to the next. I sometimes spend a portion of my day holding my breath (see? Even yoga teachers are tarnished...). So I crave those moments of silence during savasana, and I enjoy them to the maximum.

I invite you to find the SPACES in your day and savor them. Seek out those moments when time just stops. Allow yourself to be drenched in rest at the end of a yoga practice.

What are your tricks for letting go completely (in savasana or in life in general)?

Choose love,

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I am fascinated with balance, especially in regards to balancing activities in my life. I am a social butterfly, and lately my life has overflowed with a variety of fun and fulfilling experiences: yoga classes (taught and taken), theater, indy films, art openings, ballet performances, kirtan chanting, massages, and dinners with friends. I choose to surround myself with creative and amazing people and events, but sometimes I get caught up in the swift current of busy-ness. It is a daily practice to live in the moment.

Yoga helps me find balance in my life. It gives me a place to pause and reflect on all the wonderful swirls of love and laughter that fill my life to the brim, or to just settle down and catch my breath. It is super important to focus your drishti (gaze) when standing in balancing postures. In life, having a purpose or guiding compass (a way to focus your inward gaze) will help you to find balance because it will guide your choices to support your values. When choosing to participate in one thing, I am choosing to not participate in something else. Life is all about finding the fine line between busy and bored, entertained and overwhelmed, elated and run down, calm and anxious.

Throughout your yoga practice, I encourage you to find a balance between lifting up and rooting down, inhaling and exhaling, eyes open and eyes closed, strengthening and stretching. There is always an opposite, there is always a choice, and there is always a balance. If you can find that PLACE, you will be immersed in what IS.

How can you use your life purpose to encourage a balanced lifestyle?

Choose LOVE!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

An offering...

I wrote this love letter a few months ago to a kindred spirit, but I was bewildered to discover not long after writing it that I could have easily been writing to myself. And I re-read it from that perspective and was moved to soft tears. I decided to share it with all of you in hopes that you will compose your own letters of love to yourselves....what a beautiful gift...

Dear Love,
You spend a lot of time encouraging, congratulating, and writing love letters to others, and it's now time for someone else to honor you. The first thing that resonated with me is that your personal mantras are so positive and upbeat. You look for the simple things in life to bring you pleasure. You have an adventurous spirit, appreciating the discovery of new places and new cultures. You connect with others so effortlessly, always focusing on the inner beauty first, while suspending judgment. It's so refreshing to see that your family ties are so incredibly strong. You are selfless, always giving and rarely expecting anything in return. You are passionate about nature and remain respectful, knowing that there is much to learn from the wilderness. You practice yoga, which is just plain sexy. You are athletic and physically strong, and you take care of your body by eating organic foods as much as possible and supporting local farmers. You relish flavors and colors as you eat, not letting the art of good cooking escape your taste buds and tummy. The water is one of your best friends, and you soak, splash, float, plunge, and sink until your heart is content. You obviously adore snow because it's just another form of water: snow, snowstorms, flurries, ice, et al. You can't imagine living anywhere without a rainbow of seasons. You are musically talented, and you are kind enough to share this gift with the rest of us. You often find yourself in situations that give you the opportunity to laugh at yourself, and this goofy sense of humor reflects your confidence and charisma. You create work that brings you incredible freedom, self-expression and beauty. You are a healer in your core, making people whole again with a simple smile. You are grateful, always in tune with all the bountiful blessings in your life. But most importantly, you are real: you allow your inner light to shine for the entire world to see, and I find that to be the most attractive quality from this entire list. I would love to spend time with you and get to know you: push you high on a swing until your toes touch the sky, burn marshmallows at a campfire, water ski in a lake with happy alligators, grill corn muffins, road trip with no destination in mind, pick strawberries and stain our hands bright red, sing you a Grace original, explore the Children's Room at the library, take a walk and pick up pennies off the ground, dance outside in a thunderstorm, laugh hysterically until our bellies hurt…and just share in this thing called life. And even if this is the only moment we have: a moment where I am writing and thinking about you, and you are reading and thinking about me; then I am blessed. And I thank you from my heart center for the beautiful reflection.

Love and hugs,

Monday, April 20, 2009


I love being upside down. I've been known to randomly kick up into a handstand in the middle of the sidewalk on Main Street. When I'm upside down, the world looks different. One of my best friends and I used to tell each other "go stand on your head" when we were in a foul mood. When your head is below your heart, you allow oxygenated blood to cleanse and refresh your brain. Serotonin levels, which are your feel-good chemicals, also increase. And there's just something really thrilling about finding the exact spot of balance where you are floating in the air, stable and strong, toes reaching for the clouds.

But lots of beginners have a lot of fear of inversions, which is perfectly normal. The biggest fear is that you'll fall over and hurt yourself. I remember getting so frustrated each time I would topple to the ground. If I was lucky, I could roll out gracefully. But most of the time, I would just crash to the floor in an awkward sideways thud. I know that I'm not making inversions sound very appetizing here, but the reality is that you probably will fall the first few times you try them, and that's ok. I have some suggestions to help get past those awkward beginning moments...

Build your foundation. Get stronger. I recently learned that the key to a good handstand is not necessarily in your shoulders, but in your ABS (engaging uddiyana bandha, or navel lock) and lifting up OUT of your arms. So I have been working to strengthen my tummy, and I'm starting to feel much lighter when I kick up there. We always warm up for forearm balance (Pincha Mayurasana) with a couple dolphins first, to help strengthen our arms and shoulders.

Practice with a wall. Balancing against a wall is an extremely useful tool to help you build up the strength in the appropriate muscle groups to be able to balance comfortably in inversions. It also helps you eliminate some of the fear because you have something there supporting you. It's kind of like using training wheels when you first learned how to ride a bike. You used them initially to get the feeling and build your confidence, and then you eventually took them off and rode solo!

In my opinion, the more you practice, the less scary inversions will be! It's kind of like my philosophy about being a new yoga teacher...the more I teach, the more comfortable I will get! So pick an empty wall in your house, and every time you walk by that wall, lift yourself up into an inversion and breathe...

One last thing: Be sure to rest in child's pose after practicing inversions to help balance out the blood in your head. I don't want anyone passing out from standing up too quickly!

How do you turn your frown upside down when you're in a funk?

Choose love,