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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Taking a Chance, Time for a Change

When my best friend first told me he was interviewing at the University of Hawaii, I half-jokingly said that if he moves to Hawaii, I was going with him. I never expected it to come true, not him not getting the job, but me actually going with him. 

Well, now it's real. He got the job and I'm in the process of securing my own job in Hawaii. This is a BIG move, a BIG change, and I'm taking one hell of a chance. 

I have lived in Michigan all my life and haven't really known any place other than Monroe or Ann Arbor to call my home. Looking back on everything, it's going to be very different out there, but maybe different is exactly what I need.

I began to second guess my decision a few days ago. Should I go? What am I leaving behind? I am leaving behind great jobs, working at Center for Yoga and UMove. I'm leaving behind a great yoga community and great people to work for. And if I chose to stay, I would have a great life here. I already do. I LOVE all my students dearly. I have big things happening if I choose to stay. But the most important thing I'm leaving is comfort.

My yoga teacher always tells me that I need to step out of my comfort zone at least once a day. I'm not sure if I actually do it once a day, but I'm going to take a giant leap out of my comfort zone. Moving to Hawaii is an opportunity for growth, both professionally and personally. And I can't imagine moving out there with anyone else. 

I am going to miss everything here so much. My family and friends, my students, Center for Yoga, Michigan football games, the snow, the list could go on. But I have to take this opportunity because if I stay, I fear that I'll get stuck here forever, and I refuse to let that happen.

So here's to taking a huge leap of faith, stepping out of my comfort zone, and taking an opportunity for growth. All I can say is, YOU ALL BETTER COME VISIT ME! :-D

I love you all and will miss you all so much! FOREVER AND ALWAYS, GO BLUE!

Super intense. Super vulnerable. Super awkward. Totally Necessary.

So I didn't realize that anyone actually ever read my blogs until a friend of mine brought it up last night. To those of you who read this, I hope you find all the awkwardness, vulnerability, and intensity as in inspiration. Maybe to share your story, open your heart, take a chance . . .

After talking to his friend, which may have been one of the most awkward conversations ever, I began to question why I even started a blog. Here's what I came up with:

Last April, I came across this Facebook event called "Free Love Day". A man, Justin Murray, started this event which thousands of people chose to attend. He said that he wanted to start this event as a way to increase awareness about depression and suicide. His high school crush was this beautiful, popular girl who seemed to have everything and then one day took her own life because she was struggling with depression. He asked everyone to put a heart on their wrist and observe a lifestyle of love and acceptance. To open up and share their story because everyone has one. Sharing their life so that no one ever has to feel alone. 

Then I met Brandon Doman, the creator of the passion-driven "The Stranger's Project". Brandon travels all around collecting people's stories. Stories of love, hope, depression, dreams, disappointments, the list really goes on. When speaking to him, I asked him what made him want to quit his job and run with his passion. His response: "I can't imagine not doing it." Brandon is the classic ideal of following your heart and allowing your passion to create something wonderful. Yeah, people are curious and sometimes apprehensive when passing by his table at a local coffee shop. But there's something about sharing your story, whether it's a happy story or something you're struggling with. There is something intimate about anonymity, and there's something comforting about just writing down your story. 

So this is why I write this blog. This is me putting my story out there. Maybe you or someone in the world finds comfort in my story. Maybe I find comfort in yours. Maybe you find it entertaining. But this is me telling my story so that no one feels alone. Allowing myself to be vulnerable, awkward, intense. Maybe this is my way of letting go. Either way, open your heart to share your story, be vulnerable, maybe a little bit crazy at times, so that no one ever feels alone. No one should ever feel so bad that they want to take their own life. Be an inspiration. Set an example of love, kindness, and acceptance. Share YOUR story, it's unique and it belongs to you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This Is My Story

I’ve been that girl. The girl that falls for the first guy who ever gives her any attention. The girl that loses her virginity on some stupid whim. The naive girl who falls in love over and over again just to get her heart broken time and time again.

You know that girl who lets everyone walk all over her? Yep, that’s me too. But at some point in my life, I decided enough was enough. That it was time to start living my own life and believing that I was worth it all. However, I didn’t learn that I had had enough until my heart got shattered into a million little pieces.
Being the naive and hopeless romantic that I am, I fell in love with someone I never intended to. I lost a job I loved because of him and was willing to give it all up for him. I turned into what I consider the worst version of myself, dropping all my responsibilities to spend any time I could with him. The catch: When I finally mustered up the courage to tell him I loved him, he told me he was in love with someone else. I thought my heart would never be the same, I had been in love before, but not as deeply as I was with him. My heart was on the floor and it had been stomped into a million little pieces. 
I couldn’t even begin to fathom how I was going to put the pieces together. And then it just happened. I just decided to let it all go. Because I realized that sometimes the one person you think you need is exactly the one person you don’t need at all. 
I learned that even though my heart was broken, I could still love more and bigger than I could ever imagine. To feel that bad, to feel that heartache, means that I got to love the big. To go that deep means to have loved that richly. 
Then I met someone new, and he was unlike anyone I have ever met before. He swept me off my feet and I thought this was the one. He was amazing in every single way; determined, strong, handsome. Then, in one night, it was all away. He got blackout drunk and treated me the worst I have ever been treated in my life. Calling me a slut, whore, cunt, you name it and slamming me up against a cement wall to just name a few of things that occurred that night. So in one drunken night of stupidity, everything that had been built up was immediately torn down. 
That night was the catalyst for something big, something bigger than I could have ever imagined. Now I am moving to Hawaii with my best guy friend. Had it not been for all the events that occurred before this, my journey would not be the same. Because yes, life can and surely will break my heart at times, but why not let it also break my heart open. Open to new possibilities, open to the idea of loving despite the heartbreak. I’ll take my chances and just live my life
“If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.” -Holstee Manifesto

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just. Let. Go. and Be. Free.

Sometimes all you need is one.

And sometimes that one person you need doesn’t need or even want you back.

Sometimes that one person you think you need is exactly what you don’t need at all.

So I’ve blogged a lot about my most recent heartbreak. It was tragic and painful. My heart getting broken into a million little pieces and having to glue them back together is something that, looking back, was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.  To turn that fear and pain into grace and compassion was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done for myself . . . and for him.

Yes, I have blogged about it being my time to let go. My time to free myself. But just because you say that you’re letting go because it’s time, that doesn’t mean that it happen right then. Letting go is process and something you have to do over and over, sometimes moment after moment. Then one day, you get it. You realize that it’s finally time to just let go. To forgive but never forget the lessons you learned.

So I recently found out that the girl who said she would never like (Guy) does actually like him. I didn’t find out in a very respectable way, actually, I was just straight pissed. This girl had become one of my close friends over the summer and I had always told her to just tell me if she ever fell for him. Well she did. And just didn’t tell me. I had to ask to find out. And when I did, there was a serious lack of compassion on her part. There was no “I know this must be hard for you”, “I’m really sorry for doing this to you”, etc, it was just, “Thanks! I knew you’d understand.” And the truth is, I did understand. Of course I understood why she liked him. He is a very likeable guy, after all, I did fall in love with him. And I am still in love with him, or so I thought. It hurt like hell. This hurt worse than telling him I loved him and not hearing it back. I felt betrayed. I felt lost. But her lack of compassion was the catalyst to really letting go. To moving forward . . .

After giving myself two days of being pissed and upset and just sheer madness of emotions, I decided that it was time to just move on. It was time. I just know that I began to stop feeling bad for myself and really living. Really living the life I love and doing the things that I love and being around the people that I love. And yes, that includes being around him.

At some point, I knew that I needed to confront him about everything that had happened. And it was difficult to find the words to say. And I didn’t know when to say it. But I know when I decided it needed to be said.

We had just got done stunting together and we ended up walking back to our cars together. This was the first time we had ever really been alone since I had found out that (Girl) liked him. It was awkward. We had that awkward silence then I just began babbling about stunting. It was on that drive home that the words came into form. And here’s what I came up with:
“You and (Girl) . . . I'm really happy for you. I know that she is everything that you've ever wanted. That being said, it doesn't mean that it didn't hurt like hell when I found out or the way in which I found out was respectful, because it wasn't. And it definitely doesn't mean that what you did to me was ok. But I am truly happy for you. And I'm glad that we can be mature enough about it all and still be friends. When you care about someone as your friend, no matter what, you always want the best for them. You want them to be happy and I know that (Girl) is exactly what makes you happy.”

These words needed to be said. And I thought it was only respectable to do so face to face. But after like a week of not seeing him, I caught him online on Facebook and just decided to start a chat. And I just let it all out. Honest truth just spewing out of my fingertips into the cyber Internet to his computer to be read by his eyes and interpreted.

Does it still hurt when I see photos on them pop up on my newsfeed on Facebook? Yes. But the difference is that I know he is happy and I am happy for him . . . and happy for me. Happy that every time I feel hurt, I know it’s because I care and I know that I can always turn my pain into compassion, forgiveness, and grace.

I believe that everyone comes into your life to teach you something. (Guy A) coming into my life taught me about self-worth. To value yourself above all else. That no one should ever feel like a replacement or second-best. To respect and love yourself no matter what anyone says and no matter how someone feels about you. It is the idea that you should never change yourself even if someone has a problem with it.

It feels so good to finally let go. To be where I am at right now. Happy for him. It may not have been easy getting here, but now that I am here, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life is hard sometimes. It’s rigid and it’s raw and it will bring you to your knees. The question really becomes: Can you dig so deep inside your own heart to find that place of forgiveness and compassion to turn your fear and heartbreak into grace? Let me tell you, it takes a hell of a lot of strength and courage to be able to be happy for someone who once shattered your heart to smithereens. But “holding grudges over love is ancient artifacts” and it feels so good to JUST LET GO and BE FREE! 

Teaching 300+ People at VS PINK Event

I was honored to be able to teach this class last Tuesday. Going through UMove, I was the first to respond to an e-mail by my supervisor. In the original e-mail, it was just stated that it would be a big class, but I had no idea how big until I met with the coordinators of the event. 

Let's just say that this was going to be the biggest class I will probably ever teach in my life. I was told to expect anywhere between 200-300 people. HOLY F*CKING SHIT!!! I have never ever taught more than 50 people at once. 

So I was excited about being able to teach the event . . . but I was also super nervous and anxious. I had to use a headset for crying out loud. Do you know how I sound on those things? Like a squeaky chipmunk! As the even drew nearer, I became more and more anxious. But I decided to be productive with my anxiety by preparing to my best ability. Making a playlist, a flow, changing the playlist, editing the flow, choosing the right quotes, the right theme. And I will just say that I changed everything at least four times if not more. I stopped counting after four. 

So the day of the event comes around. I can't even concentrate on anything else. I show up to see the beautiful ballroom all decorated for the event. It looked so cute with all the Victoria's Secret PINK stuff around. And all the FREE GOODIES! It's like I just stepped into Victoria's Secret heaven. ;-) 

Then the people started coming in, and I got more and more nervous. I began to think about what would happen if I choked. And then I remembered the advice I received from one of my teachers: just be yourself. Then I remembered what I do before every exam (I have horrible test anxiety). I take ten deep breaths and quiet my mind before I begin.

So that is exactly what I did. I breathed. Quieted my mind. And began. 

This is an experience I will never forget. So much energy and so many people all just moving and breathing together. And it was fun. I was so nervous that I decided to start the class with a little bit of laughter. I told them about the stories I have recently read. About how people have been reporting that they were having spontaneous orgasms while practicing yoga. Man, talk about an ice breaker. The ENTIRE room was laughing and some of them were looking up from their down dogs like, "Who the hell is this crazy woman teaching me yoga?!" It was great.

From there, it was just like any other class, except it was a little difficult to move around and much larger. I had two very wonderful assistants and was really grateful for having the headset. It allowed me to talk at my normal voice the whole time without having to scream and strain my voice. I had a girl come up to me after class and tell me that she could listen to me talk all day long because I have such a soothing voice. I laughed at this and said thank you. I have never had anyone tell me that one before! 

I had lots of students come up and ask where I teach and it was really awesome. I felt like yoga at UM has been brought to a new level and I hope that I raised awareness to the many ways students can incorporate yoga into their lives. 

I couldn't have asked to teach a better class. Did I make a few mistakes, certainly. Did I let my anxiety get the best of me? Absolutely not. Why? Because I know how to BREATHE! 

This was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had and I certainly hope to have more like this. Teaching this class helped to affirm that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I continue to fuel my passion and follow my heart. 

<3 MAIZE, BLUE, and PINK forever. 

My two beautiful assistants and I.

Free goodies!!!

Child's Pose

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Letting Go

Let's face it, we all struggle with letting go. As humans, we resist change. Therefore it is our human nature to resist letting go. 

I personally struggle with this a lot. But I wanted to write this blog to inspire a good friend of mine and you know who you are. :-) I recently spoke with this friend and she seemed to be going through a very similar situation I had. She has a guy in her life that she needs to let go of. 

No one ever said letting go was easy, if it was, I believe that we would not resist it as much as we do. However, letting go is part of life. It is something we all must learn to go. Letting go means change, but change for the better. 

So to my good friend, letting go is a process. Letting go is something that we must practice each and every day, sometimes more than once a day. Letting go is hard and hurts like hell. But if you refuse to lose faith in yourself, letting go will continue to get easier and you will eventually be able to let go.

To let go isn't to forget, not to think about, or ignore. It doesn't leave feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret. Letting go isn't about winning or losing. It's not about pride and it's not about how you appear, and it's not obsessing or dwelling on the past. Letting go isn't blocking memories or thinking sad thoughts, and doesn't leave emptiness, hurt, or sadness. It's not about giving in or giving up. Letting go isn't about loss and it's not about defeat. To let go is to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on. It is having an open mind and confidence in the future. Letting go is learning and experiencing and growing. To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and made you grow. It's about all that you have, all that you had, and all that you will soon gainLetting go is having the courage to accept change, and the strength to keep moving. Letting go is growing up. It is realizing that the heart can sometimes be the most potent remedy. To let go is to open a door, and to clear a path and set yourself free.

Never forget this: When you let someone or something go, you are setting yourself free.

Thinking back on my own experience, here's what I have to offer for you. Go ahead and write an "I love you" or "Fuck you" letter. You may never send it, or maybe you will, but whatever you choose to do with it, it's nice to get it all out there. 

When I was younger, I wrote the story of a me and a guy I was with after we broke up. After I wrote it, I packed it away until I decided it was time. You just know when it's time to pull it back out. When I was ready, I pulled it out and threw it away in the trash. That was me letting go of him. 

In a more recent experience, one of which you know very well (see my Broken Heart blog), I wrote the story down online. I put it all out there so anyone who wants to read it can. I did it as a way of starting to let go. 

After visiting him this summer, I decided that it was really time to let go. I had been slowly letting go, but after visiting him, I knew it was time to really let go. So I wrote a "letting go" letter and sent it to him. 

I never received a response back and that's ok. I know that if he read it, then he knows how I feel. I opened my heart, let myself be incredibly vulnerable and put it all out there. If he chose not to read it, then it's his loss. 

I refuse to stop living my life because someone shattered my heart in a million pieces. If I did, I would be missing out on so many other opportunities. I would be closing my heart to the possibility of meeting the man that I am truly supposed to be with. I am not saying that I deserve better than him, but I am saying that I, at the very least, deserve someone who wants to be with me. Someone who isn't chasing someone else except me. Someone who will treat me like I am more than just an option. 

My wish for you is that you can let go so you can open yourself up to the possibility of better, something you've never even dreamed of because it is so wonderful. I know that letting go hurts like hell and is a process. But I have all the faith in the world that you can do it. And I certainly know that if I can do it, you can too. :-)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Very First Yoga Class

I had the opportunity to teach my very first yoga class yesterday. Center for Yoga was named Lululemon Athletica's Studio of the Month and they had asked a few of the recent teacher training graduates if they would teach on behalf of CFY. I jumped on the opportunity.

If you know me, you know that I like to plan things and be as organized as possible (as my fellow JKYTT classmates would tell you, I like "systems" :-P). While I had all my flows in my head and a general idea of the playlist, I had not had the chance to sit down and actually write them down and create a playlist. This was Thursday night. I thought I would have the chance in between meetings to do so, but unexpectedly, things ran late and I went from one meeting to the next. I was exhausted by the end of the night so I decided to wake up early and review the flows and create my playlist.

I wake up on my own, no alarm. It looks awfully bright outside to be earlier than 7:30am, which is what I set my alarm for. I frantically grab my phone and a wave of relief comes over me. It's 7:22am. So I get up and begin to get ready for my day. I ended having a doctor's appointment that morning so I go ahead and get to that. I get out around 8:30am. Later than I expected and I still haven't made a playlist for my 10am class or reviewed the flows. AND I still have to drive back up to Ann Arbor. 

I jump in my car and speed to Ann Arbor. By speed, I really mean that I made a usually 40-minute drive in 20 minutes. Breakfast? No time for breakfast! I throw my things down in my apartment, whip my computer out, and start making my playlist. I write down the flows on a piece of paper (writing things out helps me remember them). I hook my iPhone up to my laptop and while it's syncing, I run through the flows a few times. I begin to get things together for my class, except I can't find my keys to unlock my bedroom that has almost everything I need for my class. It's 9:25am at this point. I wanted to be at Lululemon at 9:30am. You'd think I would only need my iPhone, but I wanted to bring my yoga bag with all of it's yoga fixings in it. I'm frantically searching for my keys. Stop and breathe. That's what I should have done. I eventually find my keys sitting on a countertop and get my things from my room. I grab a banana and run out the door. 

I arrive in the parking garage near Lululemon. It's 9:37am. A great song is playing in my car. So I turned up the volume, closed my eyes, sat in my car, and just breathed

I walk to Lululemon feeling much more relaxed and grounded. I get to Lululemon and begin setting everything up. Shit! I don't have a theme! I didn't make a theme! What am I going to say? Great, my rather last minute planning didn't work out so well. 

Students begin showing up and setting up their mats. What am I going to say? Ok, just stop and breathe. Wait, that's it! That's my theme! Why such a rush? Why not stop, slow down, and breathe? And BAM! There's was my theme.

I was very nervous, like so nervous I thought I was going to cry. Being the great best friend that she is, Nina attended my class and it made me feel much more at ease. :-) Class seemed to go very smoothly and I wasn't at a lack for words. Sure, I made a few mistakes, but who doesn't? 

After closing the class and thanking everyone for coming, I asked for some feedback, both good and constructive. I had a few students come up and ask me when and where I taught classes. I had others tell me that it was the best yoga class I've been to. I had a young man tell me that my yoga class was "clutch." I had a few girls tell me that they've never sweat that much before and it was a great class.

All the comments made me feel really great, but I wasn't getting any constructive feedback. Perhaps they were afraid of hurting my feelings and that was nice of them. I decided to sit down and give myself some constructive feedback from my point of view. I need to slow down just a little bit, and stop walking around so much. I came up with a list of other things, but I won't bore you to death. 

Looking back on the class, it was a great experience, and I am honored to be one of the teachers representing Center for Yoga at Lululemon. But I couldn't have done it without each and every one of my fellow JKYTT classmates as well as those who have helped me along the way. I said this when during our graduation ceremony and I will say it again: Each and every one of you is an inspiration to me and I have learned so much from all of you. Each and every one of you has a light of greatness that I hope you share with others like you have shared it with me. Each and every one of you has helped me grow not only into a yoga teacher, but also a person. I cannot possibly thank all of you enough. Words cannot express the place each and every one of you hold in my heart. With all my heart, thank you! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's On the Mind

So I decided that coming back to Chicago for a job interview was a good idea. In the car, I heard the song, "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkston and the lyrics, "Make a wish, take a chance, make a change, and break away" really speak to me. It was in that moment that I decided if I got the job, I would move to Chicago no questions asked. 

Then I get to Chicago and explore a bit. Still love it here, love that Argo Tea is here and I could literally have some EVERYDAY! Love the atmosphere and the people. The cab driver overheard a conversation I was having on my cell and when I got out of the cab, he said, "Good luck on your interview! If you move here, you will really like it!" Then, at a store I spotted a shirt I wanted over the weekend and went back to get today, the woman asked what I was doing back so quickly, and I told her it was for a job interview and she said, "Good luck to you!" as I was leaving. What friendly people Chicago has!

The conversation I had on my cell in the cab ride was a turning point though. It was a call from one of my teachers during teacher training. She was asked to call me by Jonny Kest and then was also asked to work with me individually so that I could possibly start working at their Ann Arbor studio as soon as possible. This is literally a dream come true. Jonny Kest is known worldwide and having this opportunity means a lot to me. Working for and with Jonny Kest for just a year would open a lot of doors to me. The catch: I'd have to stay in Ann Arbor.

So here I am: In Chicago, here for an interview. Now I am debating on whether or not to even go because I know I would get way more out of working for Jonny Kest than I would with Lululemon. I would probably also get paid more if I am teaching classes full time than I would get paid at Lululemon. This is not to downgrade Lululemon in any way. They are a GREAT company and I would love to work for them, however, I am a yoga teacher. I want to be a yoga teacher and inspire and change lives. Lululemon does offer teaching opportunities, but not to the extent that Center for Yoga would. Working for CFY for a year would allow me to really grow as a teacher, and learn under some of the most amazing teachers. 

I went and walked around a local park just to think and here's what I came up with: As much as I want to spread my wings, get out of Michigan, and make a BIG change, I'm beginning to think that staying in Ann Arbor for another year wouldn't be that bad. Yes, I'm ready to leave Ann Arbor, but staying there would give me a chance to save up some money and really explore some other job opportunities for when I am ready to really leave. Staying would mean that I could finish my classes for PA school and possibly start some research. It would mean Michigan Football. It could also mean a chance at love (even though I think that no matter where you go, there's always a chance at love). 

Staying would give me a chance to really say goodbye to Ann Arbor instead of just hurrying and moving within the next month or two. Chicago will always be here, and I have plenty of people to visit here. 

There are a few drawbacks. I'm afraid that if I stay in Michigan, I will get stuck and never leave, and I don't want that to happen. I'm also afraid that if I stay, it may be hard for me to stay away from someone I know is not good for me. 

So I have two job offers with two amazing companies in two wonderful cities. I've lived in one for the last 6 years, and the other would be new and exciting to explore. One would give me a chance to spread my wings and fly a little, and the other would keep me where I'm comfortable. 

Decisions, decisions . . . 

Monday, June 20, 2011

To Go or Not to Go . . .

So I have been blogging about how much I love Chicago, but what I didn't tell anyone was that I received a job offer from Lululemon.

I recently filled out the official application and received an instant reply asking me to come in for an interview . . . on Wednesday! 

I am going to go to the interview, and who knows if I will get it. If I do officially get the job, do I up and move to Chicago? 

Here's what I know:
-I am ready to leave Ann Arbor.
-I really love Chicago.
-If I stay in Ann Arbor for one more year, and only one more year, I can hopefully teach yoga at Center for Yoga, gain some experience with Jonny Kest, and then hopefully have the opportunity to move wherever I'd like. And I also have the possibility to work with a research study where I would teach yoga in the hopes of alleviating some symptoms in depressed patients. I would also have the opportunity to finish the classes needed in order to go to PA school.
-If I go to Chicago, it's an opportunity to spread my wings a bit and enjoy life away from a place I have lived all my life. It's an opportunity to really put myself out there and see what happens. It's an opportunity to live somewhere I never would have guessed I would be and experience something new. Something different and something outside of my comfort box. 

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Time to Live

So I just got home from Chicago. If I had Blake there, I'm not sure I would have returned. I LOVE Chicago, I want to move there . . . like NOW!! I've already blogged about Chicago once, and also my experiences with the Yoga + Chocolate Workshop and my wonderful class at YogaView Elston. But here's something I haven't blogged about yet: a guy! :-P

So I met up with some people that I met in college, people I haven't seen in probably 3 years.  And it was so nice to see these people! I met up with them at a bar in downtown Chicago. The bar was packed when I got there and I circled around a few times to try and find my friend and that just didn't work. So I took Jen and Stella, the friends I went with, to the bar where I had a really creepy guy hit on me. I kinda just brushed him off. Eventually, as we are getting our drinks, a very short Asian guy comes up to me and tries to hit on me. Totally awkward. Anyways, just as this guy began hitting on me, my guy friend who I was meeting there came up and found me. I totally ran to him and gave him the biggest hug. Talk about perfect timing! 

Anyways, this guy friend of mine became my "boyfriend" for the night. As in, if a guy looked at me the wrong way or tried to hit on me, all it took was my friend coming up to me and putting his arm around me or taking hold of my hand. At one point, I was talking to one of his friends and he came up to me and just grabbed my hand. I just looked at him and smiled. He just kinda held my hand for a while, but I was totally okay with it. It was just kinda nice to hold someone's hand. Eventually, my friend pulled me into him and asked me when I was leaving and I said tomorrow. Then he asked when I was planning on coming back. I asked him why he wanted to know and he simple said, "Because I'd like to take you out on a real date." I was flattered and didn't know what to say except, "Oh, so you want to take me on a real date instead of a 'meet at a bar' date?" He just said that he wanted to take me out on a real date the next time I come into Chicago. 

After thinking about it, I was really shocked that I was just asked out on a date. But shocked in a good way. This is the second guy who has shown interest in me since A (see previous blog) left. And it's really nice. Nice to know that I attract nice guys, because both guys are really wonderful. It's also nice to know that I am living a life that I love and that the right people are falling into it. It's nice to be able to let go, let go of A and finally realize that I can be happy without him. Finally realize that maybe we just weren't meant for each other because we are truly meant for someone else. I have no idea who my someone else is, but I guess that's part of the fun! 

Live the life you love, love the life you live, and everything else will fall into place. 

Broken Heart

"Yes, life can break your heart . . . but it can also break your heart open."

This is a quote from Seane Corn when she taught a Yoga for Broken Heart class at the Midwest Yoga Conference this past May. This was a very tough class for a lot of people. People suffering from the loss of a loved one, divorce, break up, cancer diagnosis, etc. Most everyone cried at one point in time, myself included. 

Why did I take this class? Because I am suffering from a broken heart. Because I risked everything for someone who wasn't willing to risk anything for me. Because I fell in love with someone I never intended or even wanted to fall in love with. Because I went out on a limb and told someone I loved them knowing that I would not hear it back. 

I opened my heart and let myself be vulnerable. So I got my heart broken and he left for the summer. It was pretty awful for a few days. But then I decided I just needed to live my life. And really LIVE my life. 

Then came the Midwest Yoga Conference and I could not have had a better experience. I fell in "love" with Dave Romanelli and had the time of my life. I learned to really accept and love myself and more importantly, I learned to live the life I love and love the life I live. 

I have to say Seane Corn's advice could not have been better timed. Yes, life can and surely will break your heart at times, but why not let it also break your heart open. Open to new possibilities, open to the idea of loving despite the heartbreak. 

To let go is to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on. It is having an open mind and confidence in the future. To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and made you grow. It's about all that you have, all that you had, and all that you will soon gain. Letting go is having the courage to accept change, and the strength to keep moving. Letting go is growing up. It is realizing that the heart can sometimes be the most potent remedy. 

To that person: I hope that this does not offend you, it was not meant to in any way. This is me putting my story out there and telling you that it's time for me to let you go because I finally realize that your happiness is what matters most, and that your happiness may not be with me. So I'm totally head over heels in love with you, I can't explain it, but I am. I have no regrets about any of this. It was a learning experience that has helped me grow in so many ways. Thank you for being such a big part of my life for the past year. 

Friday, June 17, 2011


So I have been in Chicago since Wednesday evening. I have pretty much fell in love with Chicago, to the point where I have been shopping for apartments already and asking people what they think about Chicago, what they would change, about having their dogs in the city, etc. 

I have found that the people here are very kind and friendly, especially those in the yoga community. I have had at least four different people, all separate from each other, tell me that I have a beautiful practice. Like I said in my previous blog, I don't know what necessarily constitutes a beautiful practice. But it's always a nice thing to hear, especially as a newly graduated yoga teacher. :-) It was really nice to hear that I have a beautiful practice after wiping out this morning in yoga. 

That's all for this one! :-)

Humbling Experience

I pretty much love Chicago. I am debating the idea of moving here when my lease ends in October. 

The yoga community here is so awesome! They are super friendly and just simply an amazing group of people. I am so blessed to have met all the welcoming and compassionate souls here.  :-)

I went to take a Level 3 Vinyasa class at YogaView Elston this morning. The idea of a "Level 3" yoga class really intimidated me . However, as the class began, I came to the realization that I was in the right place at the right time. 

It's been a while since I have fallen in class. As my first and favorite yoga teacher always says, "It's good to fall. It means that you're growing." Well, we were practicing revolved bird of paradise and I totally nailed the previous side with ease. Well, with the right side, I totally fell. Like not just released my foot and put it down. Like totally wiped out. For some reason I couldn't release my bind, and I tried to step out of it and landed right on my ass. 

Well . . . I don't like falling. I don't think anyone does. I was pretty embarrassed because this seemed like a pretty elite yoga class. Despite that though, the man with a beautiful practice next to me just said, "Nice fall." and started smiling at me. I just looked at him and smiled and I just began to laugh. 

Needless to say, even though I was totally embarrassed by falling, I really needed to fall. Looking back on it, I really do believe that everyone needs to fall every once in a while. It teaches us not to be cocky and teaches us one of the core values of yoga: humility. It also teaches us to smile in the face of adversity. There's a quote that comes to mind: Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. Life's challenges are supposed to help you grow, so why not smile and enjoy the ride? 

If you can smile and laugh in the face of adversity, or even when you fall in an elite Chicago yoga class, I think that life will always be good. :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yoga + Chocolate + Coffee :-)

So I drove to Chicago for a Yoga + Chocolate Workshop by David Romanelli. No surprise why I drove 4.5 hours for the workshop (in all fairness, I am here for the weekend visiting friends and family too). 

The workshop was great! Loved David and his hilarious stories and the class. Much more mellow than what I'm used to because if you know Jonny Kest, you know his classes are way intense! But I needed this mellow class today to slow down and really get into my breath and body. And to keep my cool. 

Found a Vosges Chocolate store near YogaView and bought myself some chocolate to take home.  :-)

Met up with David for coffee. Needless to say, I was quite nervous. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to keep my cool or would totally choke. Thank God I have my breath and I know how to use it. Conversation was great and I learned a lot from this amazing man. I asked what his secret was and he just said, "There's a quote on my friend's shirt and it says, 'Trust in your journey.' So you just need to trust where you're going and where your journey takes you."

Such wisdom comes from great yogis. Trust your journey. Trust where you are right now. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. So I don't have my future figured out yet . . . I think I'm ok with that. I'm perfectly fine living my life day by day, moment for moment. 

As we were walking, Dave asked me what I thought about his workshop and if he thought that others liked it. Well, of course I loved his workshop, it's kinda hard not to love a yoga workshop that ends in a chocolate tasting. :-) And I got rave reviews from all the other people that were in the class too. He proceeded to tell me that I have a beautiful practice, which is always nice to hear from your teacher. I don't exactly know what constitutes a "beautiful practice", but I'll definitely take the compliment. This is the third or fourth person to tell me that I have beautiful practice in the last month, but I honestly think this one meant the most . . . I wonder why. ;-)

So, Dave and I eventually got onto the topic of crushes . . . lol . . . and he asked me to stroke his ego and tell him who. So I putzed around the subject for a while and then finally told him I had a crush on him until I found out he was engaged. Haha, later he told me that he thought I was very beautiful, but he is engaged. My only response to that was, "Yeah, the age gap is a little much for me." And that is totally true. He is 38 and I am 24. Other than yoga, love for music and chocolate, I'm not exactly sure how much we would have in common. After all, he didn't know who Dashboard Confessional was. :-P

Dave commented and thanked me for my kind comments. I like being known as "kind." Normally, I'm not a labels person, but I will take that label gladly. I mean it's better to be kind than cruel right? Dave mentioned that what goes around comes around. And isn't that the truth? You reap what you sow, so why not be kind, loving, and accepting? 

In any case, I had a great coffee "date" with the wonderful David Romanelli. And again, because of my breath, I was able to keep my cool. Most importantly, I was me, just me, completely me. No holding back, no fear of rejection. And I think that was the best part. As nervous as I was, I was still able to be me . . . totally and completely me. And isn't that what life is all about? When you're nervous, scared, or in the face of adversity, the true test is: Are you able to stand your ground and be yourself? My answer: Yes, I am able to be myself no matter what. And that is one of the many lessons yoga has taught me. :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Keeping Your Cool While Practicing Next to Your Crush

So I’m at the Midwest Yoga Conference where I meet an instructor where the first thing he says to the class is, “I have this theory that you fall in love with your first yoga instructor.”

Anyways, I walk into Jonny’s Vinyasa class today and there aren’t any open spaces to place my mat except by the door. Well, my yoga mat then ends up next to David Romanelli, the same instructor I had the day previous.

I decided to put my things down first without making eye contact and I feel someone rub my back and say hi. I look back and it’s David. Then I just put my mat down because he obviously recognized me and that was the closest open space for my mat.

Well I immediately get nervous because I’m practicing next to a yoga instructor who is like my new crush. Will I embarrass myself? How can I stay calm and not get giddy like a teenage girl?

We start with a simple sun A and it’s nice to just feel my breath and movement. We move into a Sun B, which is a bit more complex, including balancing postures that aren’t by any stretch of the mind easy. I never lost my breath . . . and just moved with it. Then we start dancing and I mean dancing. Jonny plays “Dancing with Myself” and we all start dancing on our mats. I totally get into it, without fear of what anyone thinks, I just let my body move and groove and do what it does to a good beat.

At some point during warm ups, Jonny tells a story about this massage he got where his massage therapist put rubber gloves on at some point during the massage. He said it was the best massage of his life. David asked if he was kidding, and I just said, "No, he's really not" with a big smile on my face. 

Then we move into core exercises where we are asked to hold hands with the people next to us. We are supposed to lift them up. I did all the core exercises without giving up, mostly because I was helping other people too. I tell David that he can use me and push on me and he just says that I’m little and I said it’s okay, he can put some weight on me. 

Then we are asked to get a partner and David asks me to be his partner. This was a very intimate yoga partnership. It literally involved one person sitting Indian style and the other person straddling them then the person sitting Indian style crosses their hands behind their back and the person straddling grabs their hand. The person sitting Indian style goes back and the person straddling helps them up. Later I found out that the yoga pose was supposed to be the person using the back of their knees to hold the other person's legs down. 

I had to keep my cool and I couldn’t look David in the face, we would have been total kissing distance, so I kept talking to the girl behind me and turned my head to the side every time I came up so I wouldn’t be face to face with my new yoga crush. What would I do without my breath.

Last night, I’m walking out of the Girish and Janet Stone concert totally exhausted from all the dancing and I see David and Priyanka talking. David looks at me and points at me and says, “She was in my class earlier!” I stopped to say hi to everyone and I talked a bit with them and the whole time I’m just embarrassed because I think that David knows I have a crush on him or Priyanka said something. Well, as everyone is finishing up their conversation, David comes up to me and gives me the best hug ever. It was amazing. I was giddy like a little girl that I couldn’t sleep! So I went and hip hop danced it out for a bit. 

Looking Back

I've heard that Jonny Kest's teacher training is life changing, but never truly believed it until now. Upon completion of my teacher training with Jonny Kest, I can honestly say that it has changed my life. I went from feeling lost and not knowing where my life was headed (where I participated in some seriously dangerous activities and behaviors on a regular basis) to a life with purpose and meaning. And according to the yogis, that's the only way to live life: live a life filled with purpose and meaning. 

Initially, I wanted to do teacher training so I could get a job. I started yoga because it was something my mom and I could share together. This was eight years ago. I never did yoga consistently until last December, when I started practicing yoga everyday. 

Teacher training became so much more by the second meeting. I was asked to write an essay about my highest aspiration. Deeply personal, I had a hard time starting it, but no problem finishing it once I started. I was asked to read my essay aloud in class that evening. I was scared shitless. Not only was I being asked to read something in front of the entire class (I believe that I am a terrible writer), but I was being asked to read aloud something very personal. I read my essay, shaking and rocking back and forth. Once I finished, everyone clapped and I felt some relief. After class was over, many of my classmates came up to me and said that what I wrote was beautiful and it really touched them. I didn't get full relief until my teacher came up to me and thanked me for reading my essay. He told me something that will stick with me for the rest of my life: "To open your heart and be vulnerable allows others to open their hearts and be vulnerable too."

If that was all I learned from teacher training, that's enough for me.

BUT . . . 

I learned so much more! I learned how to love and accept myself for who I am. I learned to not let the little things stress me out. I learned to really love the life I live and live the life I love. Most of all, I've learned that when life knocks you down to your knees, it's an opportunity for growth. Lastly, I learned that when I start to get scared, stressed, or upset, that just breathing will do. :-)

To all my fellow classmates and my teachers, thank you for allowing to me be in the presence of greatness. You are all great in your own way and I know you will all make great yoga teachers. I love you all and thank you so much for helping me find my way and who I am. 

All I Have Left is Twenty-Four Hours

When I first read about this assignment, the first thing I thought was, “There are so many things I didn’t get the chance to experience!” I never got to go to Greece and Italy, I never got married and had children of my own, I never went sky diving . . . oh, the list could go on. I honestly do not think I would sleep because there would be so much I would want to do and say. I would tell everyone I care about that I care about them and I am glad they are a part of my life. I would ask for forgiveness to those who I have hurt or harmed intentionally or unintentionally.
            Among the most important things I would want to do would be to spend time with those that I love. I would not want to feel morose, morbid, or regretful. I would want to celebrate a life full of great memories and experiences. After all, everyone’s life experience is unique, similar to the idea that no two snowflakes are ever alike. Life is yours and it is mine and while we are connected, our life experiences are remarkably extraordinary and distinct.
            I would repeat to myself that I am exactly where  I am supposed to be, right here, right now. Despite the fact that I wouldn’t want to feel regret, I would feel some sort of regret. This regret would stem from not knowing whether or not I made a difference in someone’s life, anyone’s life. Though as I type these words, I am constantly pondering what the end of my life would look like.
            We all have things on our Bucket List, things we want to accomplish before we die. We all want to feel connected and know that we mattered and made a difference in some capacity. We all want to be remembered for our best points and not our worst. Here’s the thing though, we never know when the next miracle is going to come from the next smile, maybe even your smile. We don’t necessarily know if we made a difference in someone’s life by simply having a conversation with them or by volunteering endless hours for a non-profit organization. But if we open our hearts and minds to the possibility that we all have made a difference in some way, and believe in the certainty of it, then we have nothing to regret. The lives we have lived had a purpose and we all fulfilled our own individual purposes. So go ahead and tell me I have twenty-four hours to live. I won’t get to go to Greece, Italy, get married, have a child, or go sky diving, but I will have made a difference in the world. And knowing that is so much more rewarding than my completing my Bucket List. So here's what I say: Live fully, love richly, and laugh loudly. 

The Edge

I have always been a perfectionist and a pusher: pushing to be the perfect role model, daughter, student, significant other, friend, gymnast, cheerleader, employee and even the perfect yogi. I felt that the only way to reach true success was to be perfect in all aspects of my life that those who push towards perfection never make mistakes. After all, that is the very definition of perfection, right?
            My edge became reaching towards perfection. I normalized constantly stretching myself too thin, spreading myself is so many different directions that I began to feel nothing, and I became so busy that I could barely take care of myself. I had started with a great passion for all the things I decided to commit to, but in the end, I lost all passion and was just going through the motions day in and day out. I continued to let this pattern go on until I was forced to slow down.
            I was diagnosed with an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety my freshman year of college. I had become so focused on being perfect on the outside that I had destroyed myself from the inside out. I was so busy that I felt I did not have time to eat and was afraid of gaining weight so I worked out constantly. Everything else in my life was spiraling out of control and the only thing I felt I could control was my food intake and how much I worked out. I went to therapy once a week and also saw a dietician once a week. I had bi-weekly check ups with the doctors. I felt like a total failure. This is not how a perfect person’s life should be.
            Therapy challenged me to define perfection, which I did without hesitation, but it also challenged me to see that perfection does not always equal success. I needed to find that balance between being successful and being imperfect, allowing myself to make mistakes and learn from them. Most importantly, it has taught me that being successful is not defined by how quickly you progress, because I learned that the faster I moved, the more I felt like I was out of control and the more it led to self-destruction.
            The idea of “the edge” really hits home for me, because I have been on both sides of the coin: the side where you move way too fast and the side where you give up all hope. Now I find my edge on my yoga mat. On certain days, I feel empowered, strong, beautiful, and linked to my breath and body. And some days I feel weak, vulnerable, powerless, insecure and not so in tune with my body, but the breath is still there. I learn more about myself on the days where I feel vulnerable. That’s where I find my edge. I never used to let myself slow down, surrender, and drop my knees until now.
            Most people think that their edge is a place where they just cannot push anymore, but I know that if I push too hard, I move towards self-destruction. So my edge is found by knowing when to slow down, surrender, and take some deep breaths. My success is defined by both my achievements and failures. Without both, I do not have room for growth, learning, and change. My yoga mat empowers me to feel both strong and vulnerable, knowing when to pull back and when to push just a little bit more without being self-destructive. The edge is no longer a place of perfection, but rather the edge is a place of self-acceptance, a place of knowing when to go a little deeper, but more importantly, when to let go and surrender. 

Mind Matters Most

“Man’s Search for Meaning” is a book not only about an incredible personal experience, but it is also a book of one’s will to survive under the most tragic conditions. Viktor Frankl speaks about his experience at numerous concentration camps during the heartbreaking time of the Holocaust. He continues to refer to the idea that “He who has a Why to live can bear almost any How.” Frankl watched a prison life destroyed most people. He refused to let the Holocaust break him down mentally, even if the constant work wore his body down physically.
            We would all like to think that we are in control of our possessions and that no one can take them away from us. However, Frankl points out that there are “forces beyond your control [that] can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” This freedom, the freedom of response, can truly change our lives. In order to change how we respond to situations, we must change our thoughts. We are our thoughts and this is evident by the prisoners at the concentration camps. Those who gave up on life and felt they did not have a purpose or that their purpose was taken from them often died. Frankl decided to take a different approach stating that no matter the conditions, even the worst of conditions, life holds a potential meaning. He used the idea of love, the idea of thinking of his beloved wife or things in his past that brought him joy, to get through the Holocaust. Even under the most tragic conditions, conditions that no human being should ever have to endure, he believed “that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire.” Upon this realization, Frankl tried to share his theories with others to uplift their spirits in the hopes of finding meaning in their lives and a will to survive. As Frankl helped out in the sick bays, he found a purpose while in concentration camps.
            Imagine for a moment that everything you have is taken away from you: your family, house, career, clothes, and your entire life. Imagine being crammed into a train car not knowing where you are going. Imagine landing in a concentration camp, being given a number instead of a name and having to work for little to no food. Your body whittles down to skin and bones and you are given a piece of wood to sleep, but you have to sleep sideways on it and you crammed with others. You experience brutality and see death everyday. You dig graves for the people you used to share a wood board with. Would you choose to let your mind wander to the darkest places and seal your inevitable death? Or would you choose to find a meaning to your life in the worst and most tragic conditions? To choose love, above all else, to push you through this horrid experience?
            Our thoughts are what we inevitably become. They can build us up or tear us down. So why not choose the thoughts that create a strong mind filled with compassion and kindness? Why not choose the thoughts that uplift the lives of others? Why not choose love? For if you choose love, you have found your Why to live and you can bear almost any How.

Amazing Aspirations

      It is incredibly hard to define one’s highest aim over an entire lifetime because so much changes about a person and their life over the course of a lifetime. When I was a little girl, my highest aspiration was to become a teacher. I went to college with that intention and came
out with a confused sense of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Nursing? Medical school? Find a job?
After working more than forty hours a week and trying to be a full time student, I realized that I needed to choose: work full time or be a student and work part time. Ultimately, I decided that being a student was my best option, because I feared that if I left school I would never go back. This has put a strain on me financially, however, I still believe that I made the best choice. 
As of right now, my highest aims are to be a great student and learn as much as I can not only about the subjects I am studying, but also about myself. I recently lost myself in the worst way and yoga is helping me to realize that even though I completely lost sight of my goals and myself, they were always still right there. If anything, yoga has provided me the opportunity to regain strength and confidence in myself. My goals have reappeared and manifested in a way that is so clear to me now. Yoga reminds me to keep working towards those goals and when I accomplish one goal, I need to set another one. Most importantly, yoga has taught me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I may not have taken the path I would have preferred, but the path I took was the path I was supposed to take. Had I not taken it, I would have a skewed sense of self and my goals. 
One of my biggest future aspirations has nothing to do with my career choice. I would someday like to start a family and be a great mother. This is not to say that I do not have career aspirations, as those are there as well, but at the end of my lifetime, I want to have loved someone unconditionally and to have children with that person out of love. I want to raise my children to be caring and loving towards all beings. I want them to set their goals high and never settle. I want to raise them to be patient with themselves and others and accept themselves and others as they are. I want them to be of the mindset that nothing is more important than family. 
Yoga incorporates all of the values I wish to instill in my future children: love, compassion, caring, patience, acceptance, goal setting. Yoga continues to teach me all these values and how to incorporate them in my relationships and everyday life. Yoga continues to be my connection through my best and worst moments and all the moments in between. Yoga is strengthening and uplifting at the worst of times and at the best of times, yoga is humbling and grounding. On a day-to-day basis or the transition moments, yoga is whatever I need it to be and it continually teaches me about my mind, breath, and body. Yoga helps me to deal with my everyday stressors and the stresses of life that can sometimes be overwhelming. Most importantly, yoga teaches me to just be in the moment and that all things come in time. Knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be is one of the most powerful mantras in my life, and I someday hope to teach my children to remember the past, hope for the future, but more importantly, live for the moment.