Stay Divine. Fall with the Leaves. Breakthrough.

Fall..that smell of freshly sharpened pencils, new beginnings, boldness, courageous shedding of layers and breaking through old paradigms. 

AYURVEDA. Mother Earth. Witches from the Salty Seas.

Include these ingredients into your day now that the season has turned. 

Pomegranate: The pomegranate has been heralded for centuries, and in fact, it’s one of the oldest known fruits in existence. Lucky for us, this gorgeous fruit is still plentiful and we’re able to enjoy the benefits of its jewel-like seeds and juice, which is brimming with free-radical zapping antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve heart health, and possibly inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. On top of this, pomegranates are a great source of iron and vitamin C, and vitamin B-6 which helps keep your body functioning as it should.

Pomegranate seeds are delicious as they are, but they’re also incredible tossed into salads, soups, and smoothies. The next time you break out your juicer, try adding in a few pomegranate seeds to reap their rewards.

Pumpkin: It seems only natural to start this list with the most autumnal of them all, doesn’t it? Pumpkin is ubiquitous for fall and on top of being flavorful, this squash is also jam packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is incredibly rich in fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full longer and keeps your digestive tract healthy. Pumpkin is also rich in folate, which aids in cell renewal, and is an amazing source of vitamin A, which helps keep your vision sharp. Just 1 cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A!

While it’s great mixed into baked goods and smoothies, pumpkin is even better when it’s incorporated into savory dishes like soups and stews. You can even roast it and mix it into pasta and rice dishes for an easy meal. And don’t toss the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols, plant-based chemicals that have been shown to lower cholesterol, and they also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can help boost your mood.

Beets: People seem to either love or hate beets, and I fall into the former category. In my opinion, beets are pretty awesome. These jewel-tone root vegetables were originally harvested for their greens only, but over time people caught on to how delicious the roots were as well, and good thing, because these earthy vegetables are also nutritional powerhouses. Along with vitamin C, folate, and manganese, beets are also a unique source of betaine. Never heard of betaine? You’re not alone, but this elusive nutrient aides in reducing inflammation and has been shown to protect cells from environmental stresses and about a million other things. Beets are also an incredible detoxifyer and help to purify your blood and your liver. And don’t throw out those greens! Buying a bunch of whole beets is a nutritional two-for-one: the greens themselves contain even more iron than spinach.

Beets and beet greens are super simple to prepare. The root can be roasted, juiced, shaved onto salads, and thrown into almost anything. The greens can be steamed, sauteed, or mixed into soups and salads; whichever way you make them, they’re sure to be delicious.

Pears: After researching their nutritional benefits, I’m working on including this autumnal fruit much more into my day. Just the skin of pears contains over half of the entire fruit’s dietary fiber and three to four times as many antioxidants. Pretty incredible, right? Pears are also a great source of fiber and can help aide in lowering oxidative stress on our cells.

Pears are great raw, but my favorite way to eat them is roasted or baked as a dessert. They’re also an amazing addition to salads and can even be tossed on the grill and served as a sweet accompaniment to a savory dish.

Squash: Besides pumpkin, there are countless numbers of other squash available this season, and you should definitely pick some up. Depending on which type you choose, squash is generally an amazing source of fiber and vitamin C, and also contains high percentages of potassium, which can help muscle performance and vitamin A, which helps development.

If you’re new to the wide world of squashes, I think the two friendliest are acorn and butternut. Try trimming and roasting a butternut squash, or making it into butternut squash soup, or try making a stuffed acorn squash. Once you get the hang of it, explore the countless other varieties out there, each one with their own amazing benefits.

SPICES:
Cinnamon

Cinnamon doesn’t just smell heavenly, it also has a number of great health benefits and is actually a powerful medicinal herb used for years in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for colds and headaches, among other things. Cinnamon is known to be a great digestive aid and also helps lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar. Even the scent is said to boost cognitive function and memory! I love adding a small dash of cinnamon to coffee or tea, or on top of oatmeal. Cinnamon and honey in tea is incredibly soothing and delicious.

Juniper Berries Juniper berries are commonly used as a spice in preparing hearty type dishes. As a veg head, the only way I've ever consumed them was in a beverage, but they are delicious! Their health benefits including improving digestion, lowering blood sugar and improving kidney health. Mix juniper berries with cinnamon and cloves and any other desired ingredients, simmer, strain and serve hot!

Turmeric

Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and a member of the ginger family, and is thought by many cultures to be one of the most beneficial substances around. It is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian foods, and was also often used in ancient Indian medicine, Ayurveda. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that some studies show can also be used to block the growth of certain cancers. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory. It is best incorporated into food raw – just sprinkle a bit in soup or mix in with salad dressing and enjoy its mild flavor and many health benefits! Oh, and the unexpected uses – turmeric can be mixed with plain yogurt to create a skin cream to promote healthier skin, and it can also be used to make a really beautiful natural dye!

Nutmeg

I actually never knew this is what nutmeg looked like! I’m used to the ground, reddish brown powder that you get when these are ground up. Nutmeg is one of my favorite additions to sprinkle on top of soup in the fall – it has a very potent flavor so you only need small amounts. Medicinally, nutmeg has powerful antibacterial properties and can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth, preventing cavities and sickness – and nutmeg oil can be used to treat toothaches! Other health benefits include mixing with honey to help with nausea, indigestion and even anxiety and depression.

Cloves

Last but not least, cloves are another great seasonal spice that can help remedy colds, skin problems and more. Cloves work surprisingly well as an expectorant if you have a cough – add a couple cloves to your tea and let it do its work! For an unexpected use, a small satchel of cloves in a drawer can give your clothes a lovely aroma and also keep them fresh. Combine ground cloves with honey to make a homemade facial remedy that will help fight breakouts and balance out your skin.


Stay tuned for the next series on oils, stones and flowers that will uplift also.

An Island and a Dream #2

In October it will be 2 years that we moved to Long Beach Island and began this wanderlust lifestyle; Traveling between islands in Florida during the summer months while the LBI home rents.

Part of me screams, 'I'm getting too "old" for this shit,' (I'm so not old) while the other part belts out a resounding, 'You're at the precipice, where we're designed to stop, don't.' There's no turning back now. Once you've seen how big life can be, going back to playing small isn't an option, no matter how scary it gets.

You keep going forward, even if looking backwards has become a thing.

Just know, that the closer we get to what we desire, the more intense it gets and when all the tools we've learned need to be put into practice; Yoga, meditations, self care, nutrition, self worth, self love, education, community all become the life line.

Do you remember where it all started? An Island and a dream #1 blog talks about it and I needed to look back to remember because it's all getting really big and has officially fully come to life.

The signs carried us here and what we've gained and lost has all been important.

We've lost touch with some people, places, things and ideas, but the bonds with others seem to have strengthened despite time, space, distance and a lot of changes. I love seeing that truth come out.

I like to consider these years as a purification.

A time where what and who really was meant to be in our lives rose to the top, while the rest flew away to where it was meant to go.

We're about to embark on our last year of this purifying, healing, recovering, somewhat isolated island metamorphosis. The year ahead will differ in that we'll be taking bi-monthly trips into our favorite city, Philadelphia. The girls for school (and friends) and me for business (and pleasure.)

We're considering this year our re-acclimation into the land of the living and the urban lands we love; That keep the fire in our bellies alive, filled with connection, purpose and practice.

After all is said and done, a period "away from it all" has always served as a reset, reboot and realignment of who we are as humans. We've done it before and we'll likely do it again at some point. If you've never, you deserve the experience at least once for you and the family. I'm not talking about a two week vacation; Live outside the fucking box and get clear on who you all really are and what you're meant to bring to this life.

You will survive. I promise.

It's like when you're off with eating habits or vibes in relationships, fasting and abstaining has a profound affect. Furthermore, when you're manifesting something big in your life, islands, as well as peacefulness contribute a great deal. We are a testimony to that being very real.

2 years later, we assisted in saving a man his family beach home, we regained our health, we found a place deep within which was previously encompassed by noise, and nurtured it; We have an unbreakable bond with the sea, each other and the circle we've cultivated around us. Our purpose is clear as fuck and unshakable. We have arrived.

In the last phase of our island living, I'll be journeying on the priestess path and continuing to open the door for women's empowerment, health, wellness, fitness and business; The twins will be getting reconnected with their life in Philly, taking a journey with a devoted Ashtanga teacher here on the island before we go and growing their skills as brilliant artists.

It's been such a pleasure being able to reach people more globally and those who we normally wouldn't had we continued to be as social and less online based, which all changed while we were away and remote as three toucans in the rainforest.

That has been a gift, returned me to my writing, and blazed a trail that knows no bounds.

With that said, we'll be re-entering the land of the living little by little and selectively, our tolerance for negativity, bull shit, and toxic living has no home, we're more than who we were before, yet so much the same and who we've always been.

Destiny.

Time to go home.

Can't wait to squeeze you all up soon.

You know who you are🖤

Silence

 
Nurture your relationship with Silence. 
It was here before anything else. 
It encompasses everything else.
It came Before Sound. 
It Takes you directly to your center.
Silence Links our soul with the cosmos.
We gain ourselves in Silence. 
Without it we are lost.
Here we find re-creation.
Everything comes alive again with Silence.
It Brings brand newness. 
Don't bury this secret in the noise. 
Return to Silence🕊

Alana Blanchard doing the same workouts as the Goddess Project!


Photo Credit: Alana Blanchard 

Did you know my favorite surfer girl is Alana Blanchard? She's just badass, grew up in Hawaii, was home schooled, surfs so beautifully and has since she was a kid. She speaks and lives like a girl after my own heart.

Did you catch her live workout this week? I love simplicity. If I can workout anywhere, anytime I will not have excuses.  "But, I want to stay on the beach today."
Done! Grab a towel, or big blanket, your phone and GO!
The Goddess Project Program highlights some of the very same moves Alana suggested to us on Friday and so many more that were created by our in house Exercise Scientists, expert trainers, athletes and skilled team. 

Alana showed us 10 simple moves for booty gains and I've asked her to share with us her Core workouts next! So keep an eye out for that follow up blog.

Alana's quickie went like this (see below) We'll call it "The Surfer Girl Booty Gains"
1: High Knees, "Keep Your Core in" Alana says.
2. Jump Squats, or just squats without the jumping, "Squeeze Your Butt" Alana says.
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Burpees
5. Jump Lunges
6. Normal Squats
7. High Knees Plus Add 5 Tuck Jumps in between.
8. Plank and Knees to Elbow (this can be done from downward dog also)
9. IN and OUT squats ( light leap up, land softly knees together, knees apart)
10. Push Up Burpees with a Jump

Alana suggests, 10 Rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off.
Download an interval timer app onto your phone and so that you stick to the times and push yourself.

If your knees bite back, don't do the jumps, but still do the movements with a lot of emphasis on your core, form and focusing on what your body is working on, generating more strength to the areas that need it and around areas that need it.
If you want to increase the strength training aspect add weights.

Our Interval Timing in GL varies with Alana's demo. We suggest trying 5 minutes on 1 minute off with our circuits and doing a total of 30 minutes 5 days per week with 2 rest days. 

Did you know my fitness journey took a turn for, Real Deal, when I got my dads surf board from my brother's garage and started to learn to surf? It gave me such a purpose for getting strong. I find it helps to have a goal in mind, something tangible to push us to our best selves.
Something in me just must ride my daddy Dean's board!
The one missing component is a warm beach next door all year round. I do have a cold beach as my back yard, however I must admit I never "manned up" like the locals here in Surf City and went out in the cold waters of the winter with my full body wetsuit, after a certain point.
The twins and I will be making a new journey come July, which will be changing all of that...stay tuned.

Let me know how you like the Surfer Girl Booty Gains workouts!
Feel free to email me or message me for the video of Alana's live workout, sarah@mazeylotus.com, www.mazeylotus.com 

For the Feminine



If Aristotle is right and we are what we repeatedly do then as a total creature of habit I'm quite possibly part sea animal. I love few things more than water, especially salt water and all that comes w/ it. 

I hold close to my heart deeply rooted in nature, tried, tested and true (by me and science) key ingredients for my body inside & out. 

This one I feel really passionate about because I've been using it for over a hundred years (yes I have been here that long) and it still seems not many people use it, know about it, or realize how SIMPLE, CHEAP and POWERFUL this stuff really is. So tell me if you've heard of it before I want to know!

FOR WOMEN, this is the ONLY thing besides water that I would ever use to cleanse my flower's insides. It dredges what does not belong and perfects what does. It creates a seal to protect too. Ideal for post childbirth. Mix a little with steaming hot water and you have a total lotus! Even better pour a small cup in your steaming hot bath.

FOR TEETH/GUMS, mix a little of this w/ water and I mean a LITTLE this is a powerful salt that CAN NOT BE SWALLOWED. Swish it around in your mouth and even if you lost a filling, or needed a root canal this would seal everything up and protect you for awhile. I have personal experience w/ this.
I have a phobia of dentists and my dentist said this stuff saved my teeth while I was avoiding her.

I also heard from an angel who whispers to me in the wind at Essene Market that there is a natural body of Alum water flowing in MA and that the salt also has a spiritual component to it as well. I am there and will report back with my findings!

ALUM SALT. ALUM SALT ALUM SALT. The only place I know where to get it is at iHERB, a place I suggest all the time for savings on expensive supplements and shakes. Use my code for FREE Shipping and get your own code to get credits if people shop!
When I say cheap I mean like less than $7. for a bag that will last you 8 months to a year! Here's my link, 
http://tinyurl.com/LoveyourVagina 

Home Practice #7: Devotion

 If you listen gently, all areas of life worth living whisper divinely asking for devotion with an equal dose of relinquishing.  

After two years of home practice and study with occassional weekly, or monthly yoga classes with a variety of great teachers, my practice has left the building! Ashtanga has always called out to me because I saw that it had the ability to free me. My body, my mind, my cells, my heart, my spirit and my soul (my abs too). Like a wave crashing on a rock, or a surfer riding that perfect wave it can be felt in a most undeniable way, from a far distance. Unwavering dedication like to our babies, a lover, or dear friend is what sets the liberation in motion. 

My home practice went as far as it was going to go without a teacher, consistent daily practice and a yoga community. After two weeks of class, I can feel this space inside me opening up in a brand new way. I'm moving forward and getting freer. 
For years I've had this sort of aching feeling in the center of my back. Ironically, my sister and mother also feel this same tension in the same place of their backs. 
That tension is leaving me now. 
I can feel a full body unraveling, like the petals of a flower opening, blossoming. 
It's very tangible and so real, reaching into all areas of my life.

Stress withers away with this practice. It's my daily dose of therapy and pampering. 
The power of a yoga teacher, like a sage, or a spiritual guide has the ability to send people, once in a cocoon, out of their class a butterfly to live the life they have been craving. 
They are true healers and they give us the ability to unveil ourselves. Where there was once pain, there will be portals. My decisions have been so clear lately, which is having a huge impact on the direction of mine and my families future.

All of the teachers have had a profound effect on me, even though I've been quietly moving in and out of class, mostly. Loren Russo and her assists have shown me things inside myself that I didn't know were there. Her adjustments of my twists have shown me how my body should feel and what that energy is that does somersaults inside of me every single day and how to communicate with it.
Although I'm dripping with sweat, she comes behind me like a bright light, gently broadens my shoulders, guides me to turn just a little further, directs my gaze and hand placement. As I'm panting, or grunting, she shows me it's safe to fall back into her, while instructing me to plant myself firmly into the ground with my legs and feet. She seems to know my body better than I do for a few moments.

My legs, arms and back have always been strong, but asking my core to engage in all of this brings up so much emotion. Sensing myself enough to practice Bandhas and body locks could help make this so much easier if I would just listen, but I never not once judge my practice. This is my practice. My practice. My journey of the self, through the self to the self. 
Asking my chest to open widely and allow me to spread my wings dredges tears from I don't know where, but they are cleansing me from the inside out and I won't stop.

Allowing my hamstrings to be melted little by little...
The coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil, breath and agni...are gifts.
Reaching in bow as I watch  myself in the mirror, not resisting in pigeon and allowing the crystal healer that seemed to fly in from the clouds to work his magic on my blockages-
It's all vulnerability taking me deeper, further and changing me into a healthier, happier, clearer version of myself. 

I'm learning to say the opening and closing mantra's. Some of it feels instinctual, like I've been here before. I'm still struggling with some of the flow of the words in Sanskrit, but it feels powerful leaving my lips with a little bit of my soul on it, while feeling the vibrations of those around me. Loren translates the "gist" of what they mean so well. "Because I want more peace of mind and stability in life, I am now going to practice yoga as it has been passed down since time immemorial." Her interpretation, "For the peaceful resolution of the deluding nature of repetitive existence, I bow at the lotus feet of the Gurus, and behold the awakened joy of my own Soul; this is the ultimate refuge that acts like a shaman, a true source of spiritual enlightenment."
Her Kirtan has makes me cry almost every time. All this talk of crying...
I called my sister Kate on the day I didn't leave class with tears in celebration, like I'd reached a milestone. It's involuntary, but I don't want to let it freak me out. I'm diving into those layers of myself and swimming like a dolphin right through the riptides. I'm not alone.
I know there is something waiting there for me. It's me. I won't stop until I find her and set her free more and more. Even if it means crying in a room full of people, dripping sweat, and seriously leaving smelling offensive to those around me.
I'm working on ingesting more and more essential oils & cleaning up my nutrition to remedy the stench effect of hot yoga & Ashtanga so stay tuned and don't let that deter you from practicing with me.
I'll make it all smell like roses soon enough. 

Allow the softness to speak all of its natural wisdom and fly freely within that space. 

Share your practice stories with me! 

Thanks for reading. Sarah xx


Home Practice #6: New Moon of Completions and Beginnings

Uninterrupted practice

I feel like starting and ending the blog there because that's the single most valuable advice when it comes to mastering the art of yoga, surfing, or life- Uninterrupted Daily Consistent Practice. A new teacher who has been guiding me, Irene Pappas says, "There are no shortcuts, only baby steps to consistency. Fall in love with the journey because really that's all there is."

Giving it away

There's something about sharing that keeps me moving forward. I remember the day Lezele looked at me and saw that I could put my feet flat on the ground while in downward dog, which is not easy considering most people have to work at having flexible hamstrings and since my home practice has wavered I'll need a few days, or weeks of consistent practice to get that back. Even Lezele who most certainly is a gifted yoga girl, has to work towards hamstring flexibility. She was really impressed and asked me how I did that. I told her, "because I've been practicing every single day." That was the day she began practicing daily and THAT is what got her to where she is now doing scorpion pose and handstands. She is teaching and guiding me now. That is the way it works when you give it all away. Having the ability to pay forward what I gain from my strength training was a game changer. The way to have that capability with yoga would be to take the leap and do the training to advance my practice and be able to teach others. I've been talking about a teacher training for years. I wrote in my journal and in my blog, that I would give myself two years to prepare for a yoga teacher training and in March of 2016 it will be two years. Time is such an illusion. Where does it go?

November is for Nurturing Dreams- it's my birthday month so there's no better time to begin again. Even when we're living our dreams we still have to be sure to nurture them if we want to keep them alive. They are constantly evolving just like everything else.

What I realized about myself is that right as things start getting good and just before things take off, I stop. It might be stress, time, pain, fear, distractions, autoimmune disease, or something else, but I stop and then have to start all over again. I convince myself that first I need to eat cleaner, get healthier, shrink my breasts, make stronger abs and THEN I'll practice again. But, when I see my teachers practicing in a cast, or after back surgery, despite traveling and being in tight spaces- I know I'm making things up when I convince myself to stop. There's never a reason not to try even if it's the laziest practice known to man for a day, or more- it's still better to do it. 

That's exactly the time to keep going just when I feel like stopping. Pushing past the obstacle of wanting to give up may not feel or look graceful at first, but afterwards there's a glow that everyone will see and feel. I think that is what feeds whatever that universal energy is we all share. That's a reason not to stop. 

I'm recommitting to an uninterrupted daily yoga practice. Developing a strong personal practice, or home practice has always been super important to me. Doing this prior to finding a teacher to take me through my training was always my vision. Although I may face sickness from the cleansing taking place, pain from the metamorphosis taking place, this time I WILL NOT STOP. No matter how ugly it gets I'm going to push through to the other side of that barrier and of that suffering. I'll be sharing that with all of you. 

These are my baby steps to consistency. I believe that what we choose to focus on becomes our reality and that we can create any reality we choose. Over the next two months I'll be breathing in my new story and breathing out the old.

Who wants to enter into 2016 feeling really empowered and and commit to a daily practice with me for the rest of the year, then keep going? 

An Island and a Dream #1

“I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came." John F Kennedy

I truly feel that I'm returning to my origins when I'm near the sea. For as long as I can remember, I would play the sounds of ocean waves at night to help me fall asleep. Now I fall asleep with my window open and listen to the Atlantic ocean. 

The universe is so in tune that even a passing thought can be heard. My intention was not to move to Surf City, Long Beach Island, but this hanging in my bedroom makes me know something mystical brought us here. The plan I had in mind was to move closer to my office in University City in order to finish up working on a study for Upenn before my big departure next summer, but the wind had something else in mind.
Lately, more than ever I've been drawn to what makes me come alive. I actually don't do "intentions". I ride this rhythm that I can't really express in words. I have the support of my tribe now so it doesn't even feel bold, or brave, or daring, or like I'm doing something out of the ordinary. I'm living my life. I'm listening to the voice inside of me and taking action on what I hear. I'm living from my heart and trusting that even if I fall I can always rise up again. It's how I realized who I loved and how to love him and be loved by him. It's how my daughter's health has returned. It's everything.

We discovered this bliss of an island over the summer when Justine suggested I check out Barnegat Light House. I haven't found a beach that I really connected with since we returned from Florida to the Northeast. With a giant Ron Jon surf shop and this vast, secluded beach with cities named "Surf City" and "Ship Bottom" I instantly fell in love. I mean come on it sounds like Sponge Bob Square Pants and who the hell doesn't want to live under the sea in a pineapple?

A loud "get out of here for awhile" echoing in my head one sleepless night in Washington Square West was what led me to discovering our new home in Surf City. All of us were craving more health, sea air and serenity. Washington Square West, Queen Village, Society Hill, all stunning, classy, historic, friendly neighborhoods in Philadelphia near Pennsylvania hospital and the heart of the city, but I wouldn't describe it as peaceful. My lungs have been persistently requesting salty, clean air with diagnosis like, "exercise induced asthma", I got the hint. While searching for our next home I ran across a lake house that was renting for the winter at a really low rate. I couldn't understand why it was so cheap. BUT, turns out there are a TON of OFF SEASON rentals that are gorgeous and can be rented for an astoundingly low rate for the winter. Apparently the beach is not as stunning during the winter? That's news to me. Just yesterday our neighbors pitched giant tents on the beach, drove their jeeps near the breaks, with their surf boards and fishing poles in the back. With water boots, beach chairs and blankets, they spent the entire day on the beach, catching and later cooking their dinner. This is living.

I am now saving $500 on a 3 bedroom, fully furnished gorgeous home and get to squish my toes in the sand every day, watch the sunrise and sunset as I run barefoot through the still warm water. I won't ever rent unfurnished again! My home on 7th and Lombard was $500 more and half the size. I'm still trying to clear out all the furniture. I'm breathing the fresh air once again and gazing at stars all while still getting to enjoy the vibrant city life in Philadelphia during the week. I will always love the buzz of the city. That will never change, but I knew I needed a place where I can think and focus on building my new health and fitness business. Being part of a number two team comes with its own buzz. Who knew it could save me money, make me money and save my health to chase my dreams. To think this all started with my daddy Dean's surfboard, a return of my loved one's illnesses and the frustration that comes with not living your life to the fullest. I'm never turning back. I can't wait to tell you where we will be headed in June! What's your dream?

Do it Yourself

"knowledge alone does not suffice; it has no heart." Peaceful Warrior
After I wrote this, "Do it Yourself" blog I realized the idea is actually already a thing, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_it_yourself 
Below is my DIY story and how I came to be a fan.

 Even if it’s a flowing tidal wave, hold on tight and maybe grab a board, but go with it.

While getting healed, healing myself and learning what may facilitate the healing of others I saw the power to heal ourselves rests in our own hands. Each of us has what it takes to save our own lives and no one can help us do that part. Once we know how to save our own naturally we become a vessel which nature happens to blow through to save others, but this is not an effort, or conscious action- it just happens if we allow it. If we add thought to matter it changes form. Let's keep simple what we were all born to do.

Those of you close to me witnessed my life face a sort of vortex, a Bermuda triangle, a cyclone. It picked me up, spun me around and somehow landed me right back where I started. Don’t you love when that happens? The blood flow puts a glow on your face and curl in your hair that can't be bought or sold. My head is still spinning a little and if you were in close enough range during this time likely so is yours. This fire storm, tornado, earthquake, tidal wave, tsunami, spoke to me as loud as the sun burns bright. So don’t look at it directly for too long. It said, “What we do, and from which place in our bodies we do it from, will determine whether we live or die, whether we generate life or not, whether we feel joy or pain. Trust in that force you feel pulling you. It is very real. Don't run from it or chase it, love it and hold on tight."

You know that cliché, “listen to your heart”? I learned to actually do just that, literally the organ, feel it beating and stay there quietly, patiently and go with that feeling. Trust that instinct. Do everything from that place and believe in what you hear from those chambers. Ask it questions. “Is this real or is it not? Is it this or is it that? Should I go here, or there, Sam I am?"

That should be the first and last thing we learn in school. The rest possibly could be summed up in another cliché, “go with the flow.” Even if it’s a flowing tidal wave, hold on tight and maybe grab a board, but go with it.

Many foundations to our existence and how to keep existing, while not a secret are not always acknowledged, or acted on, implemented or prescribed. I’m not sure if that will ever change, but I know we all have the freedom and choice to make that change if we just listen and believe what we feel to be true.

Final cliché for today, there really is wonderful magic that happens when your heart has been "cracked open." Flying free from here on out as open as can be.

Bee Bosnak often speaks of this type of idea in her, "Heal Yourself" work, http://www.beebosnak.com/ 
 

Home Practice #3 Snow Yoga

January 2015 

The tools we gather in our youth and innocence are more valuable to us now than ever before


#snowyoga2015
Photo by Lulu (Lezele A. Chrispin)

It really is all in our minds. 
If it weren't for my thoughts I could get into a full split right now. 
My mind believes I have limitations I do not. 
Sense the tight spots resisting and release them with breath. 
  
Garland of Letters in Philadelphia a place with a pulse has become a refuge. 
Something about this space helps me clear through the mud and come out a lotus. 
A gentle, yet firey spirited white bearded yogi and nurtured therapist wander throughout. 
Garland is an oasis filled with a world of cultures, healers, educators, beauty and so many sacred in-describe-ables
Recently they sent me home with the antidote for a dense San Francisco-like fog that began to hover around my yoga practice. Sandalwood suggested by Kevin Starbard, "what it smells like in India's Temple's" and attending the Hatha classes held with Dr. Pratap were my prescriptions. 

I lit the incense like a torch in my yoga corner where I breathe like a dragon, focus and hug myself into a playful, thoughtless, fearless state.
The billowing clouds of smoke seemed to chase away the fog and penetrate the air with something new."Sarah, there you are" I said. It opened me right up, again
I was like a new born baby in no time (a dab of Dr. Green's green honey also helped.)

I'm freer, happier, younger and closer to my origins everyday.
It doesn't have to make sense.
I can feel it working.


"This is something we all can create and master it's been around since the human spirit" Kino MacGregor on Yoga, stillness and inner peace. 

Quite a lengthy timeline to tackle.
The academic and scholarly portion of this study is extensive and seems to constantly expand, while it blows my mind. The history and lineage in discussion predates Christ. The Bhagavad Gita, The Sutras, Sanskrit, Goddesses, Diety's, Ayurveda, Lands, Ancient texts, teachers of teachers, Guru's and treasured secrets that light the path during the battle for self-mastery.

*The list goes on and on spurring questions like, "Ashtanga" shouldn't it really be called "Korunta" which started it all? (Korunta, the ancient text by Vamana Rishi, teacher of Rama Mohan Brahmachari who then taught Krishnamacharya in Tibet who then taught Guruji or Sri K Pattabhi Jois who studied the Korunta and brought the Ashtanga Yoga system, which means eight limbed yoga described as disciplines by Patanjali: restraints, observances, posture, breathing, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation, unification of subject and object.) 

Patanjali , the great Sage who wrote the Sutras I believe it's unclear if Patanjali was a she, he or even an actual being- the philosophy seems to be accessed through practicing the asana's.
Ashtanga Guru Pattabhi Jois  says, "...99% is practice..." 


That's where the real learning happens it's there in the posture itself
Hence, I'm crawling out from under the piles of book, dusting off my limbs and exploring my own timeline. "I'm practicing," says Kate Ryan Maring.

Sense the tight spots resisting and release them with breath. 
Practice being like an infant alive with instinct, sucking on your toes (Ella inspired) without hesitation, fear, or apology.
Find the focus point. Breathe. Relax. Soften. Surrender. Repeat.
*each posture has a specific gaze: nose, belly button, sky...
and 
*the method that makes it work, like pressing forward on the sacrum after stabilizing your pelvis and internally rotating the thighs to get into an easy Ustrasana relaxing the neck and using the natural form of the cervical spine
I have to really pay attention to the looking points (drishti/focus points) or I can easily drift away and topple over. Intellectuals fall victim to this particularly in headstands"wait where am I...?" Timber!
It's mystifying sometimes when I fall. I may not see it coming because I'm looking inward, you know? I'm really deep inside of myself I have disconnected from senses and don't feel a damn thing!
But, once you learn how to fall you fear it less.
Guruji said to Kino when she was struggling, "Asana(postures), Pranayama(Breathe), Drishti(focus withdrawing from the senses) Do this for many, many years and you will find peace."

Talk to your body with not one thought of anyone or anything else in existence.
It's on the cells of the body the secrets of the universe live.
It's where the lessons are learned and downfalls are revealed. 
Struggles overcome.
Battles won.
Diseases cured.
It's where you will get to play hopscotch with your genuine self, roll down grassy hills with reckless abandon.

"... It's like psychotherapy without the 'why' just experience it." Kino MacGregor says on practicing. 
Among what I am drawn to in the Ashtanga method is the way it exhausts me to relax me; still your mind which is the real body part we are alchemizing. Everything else follows.
It's a stoking the fire method I realized recently when the cold rolled in and I was pulled to build more heat in and around my body (hence the smokey incense which I haven't used in years, fire ignites. Moxa is great for this also.)

It went like this, 
 I ran out of excuses, It was raining, 30 degrees and dark, I felt the wind give me a push and so I ran anyway (I have a history with braving the elements.)
In moments it was Bikram 105 degrees hot.
Agni (fire) was ripping through my bullshit and dripping down my back.
I ran all the way home like a fucking Viking and I'm so happy I did
(See results on Strava Run titled, "Winter Fairy. Blink Green.")
This took my practice higher just when I felt like caving in. 
When I stopped running, I got into my first headstand.
I was alive and bending like a baby, again.
It took months, but on 1-6-15 I got onto my forearms in headstand and can completely flatten my hands onto the ground when bending down to touch my toes without much bend in my knees, or injury to those around me.

It dawned on me while being nibbled on by cold winds roaring over the bridge exiting Penn's campus. 
It's me I'm bending into, rushing into my splits to get to me, falling on my mat while Liana tries to show me how to slow down, to get to me.
I'm in there, I can see the real me, and I want to play with her.

"Subtle Truth: you are what you love" Rumi.

It doesn't all have to make sense.
I can feel it working.
Keep practicing. 


References: 
The Bhagavad Gita Translated by Eknath Easwaran.
The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice by Kino MacGregor. 
Liana Cameris, Yoga Goddess Instructor, Spirit Dancer, Light and Guider West Coast USA.
Caroline Ashurst, Acupuncture Practitioner and Yogini at heart in Philadelphia PA
Garage Yoga with Ashtangi Liza DiGaetano in SanDiego

Garland of Letters Book Store with Kevin Starbard Thai Massage Therapist Philadelphia, PA.
Yoga Research Society and The Sky Foundation with Dr. Vijayendra Pratap, Ph.D., D.Y.P.


Thanks for reading.

Sarah

ADD - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.


Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage,
I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table,
put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
and notice that the can is full.

So I decide to put the bills back on the table & take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox
when I take out the garbage anyway,
I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table,
and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks,
but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
so that I don't accidentally knock it over..
The Pepsi is getting warm.


I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold..
As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,
a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye..
They need water.
I put the Pepsi on the counter and
discover my reading glasses that
I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk,
but first I'm going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter,
fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote
someone had left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,
I'll be looking for the remote,
but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs.
But first I'll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers.
Quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
So, I set the remote back on the table,
get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
the car isn't washed
the bills aren't paid
there is a warm can of
Pepsi sitting on the counter
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done,
I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day,
and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem,
and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.....

Do me a favor.
Forward this message to everyone you know,
because I don't remember who the hell I've sent it to.

Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!!

Home Practice #2 Listen



Murphy's Law- nothing is as easy as it seems. 
 I am a Murphy so it goes.

"change, release, repeat." This has been my mantra lately. 

Releasing stiffness feels the same as releasing fear.
It melts away the more I try. 

A Growl. A Grunt. A sigh. A long hummmm, haaaaa or aaaahh.
A moan. A melody. A giggle. A tickle. A dance.

A lot of pain from a little stretch reminds me that I promised myself I would live a certain way and I get closer each day. I take notes on what makes it more difficult and try to reverse those behaviors.

This is not a race. You are not running, Sarah Kelly. You are not playing tennis.
It's a seduction. A delicate, precious interaction that can not be rushed. No negotiating.
You are engaging in a relationship with yourself.

As I practice, I have trouble remembering to soften.
Allow myself to bend and fall slowly. Succumb.
Give it time. Abandon thought. Give it a bit more muscle from the core.
Soften again.
Allow the process to unfold.
This can not be pursued or it will run away. Do not rush it and spoil the fun.

Sometimes a little breakaway can be a great assist.
Getting away from people makes you less available to them, but it also makes you more available to yourself. (This always makes you a greater contribution later.)

Personal time is filled with lots of lessons.
"Listen" says Rumi.

October 2014 Continuing to master the Primary Series

a yoga class for Upenn CHIBE retreat in Cape May

Photography: Hoag Levins
Now I know why teachers who have been studying and practicing for well over a decade say, "after you've been working at this for about 15 years, then you can teach it." Great teacher said.


CHIBE-ROYBAL Retreat with UPENN at Congress Hall in Cape May gave me the chance to lead a group of scientists in the art and medicine of yoga.



What a courageous group of intelligent and empowered women.
I got my feet wet with guiding a group in yoga. Sort of.

It showed me how far I have to go and how far I've come.
Teaching has taught me.

My practice of disciplined ashtanga study and asanas, is in its infancy and leading me to the foundations of Hatha practice.

I tried to lead them, for an hour, at 6:30 am. after a night of bonding beach side with plenty of martini's.

The class began regardless of my emotion, sleepiness or otherwise.
Alcohol does not increase bendiness (Lucas.)

I found myself faced with the eyes of 10 others- looking for instruction. I was prompted to begin immediately despite thinking to myself quickly, "why are they looking at me, do what you do usually..." There was an intensity to their eyes I won't soon forget.

I tried to bring them with me, on this most gorgeous of mornings on a blissful beach, to a journey I have come to adore. Emily demonstrated sun salutations and we infused a little Rodney Yee, pigeon and Ustrasana towards the end.

Emily Kane demonstrated, while I walked around to each individual assisting and adjusting their postures- I could not actually do yoga and talk at the same time. That is a fine art of flow, for sure.

I gave them each a stone to hold onto, some grasped it for dear life, while others wondered what they should do with it.
I immediately saw in each person the subtle shifts that could help them with these asana's going forward, as they plunged ahead with such power and might. Later asking, "what's the secret? It's just to relax isn't it?" There are so many "secrets" and none at the same time.

Dana got into Ustrasana quite boldly. I loved seeing her impressed with herself when she saw it was all in the method.
Pam Shaw, I saw in the elevator this morning and she took up another yoga class the next day, determined! She has such life in her eyes that one.
Alison held a beautiful practice with a deep connection to herself and her independence just before plunging into the ocean and delivering a lecture on her massively impressive research project.
Emily has such a united flow about her and helped lead this class and me, without her fearless youth and confidence it would not have been the same.

Joelle is determined and her focus uninterrupted- those students challenge the teachers.
She is a force and is the one who brought this group together. Joelle & Beth the gatherers.

Most importantly we all now share a special bond from this morning on the beach. When we see each other in the med school the light returns to us for an instant.


Reminding each student as  Liana reminded me, "nothing is right or wrong here today- do what comes naturally to you."










Another scent that brings on a sensation

Photo Credit: H&M Michaela MacDonnell, Nick Slade Model @miquelavos, Amberly Valentine on the IG of tiare_hawaii
I'm one of those people highly affected by aroma's and scents. Therefore I don't like many of them. Superior purity alone gets lathered onto this beauty.

If I'm writing about it here, it really made an impact.
I wrote about only one other oil in the past, Vetiver. I compared the oil to a lover because it was the scent of a lover that sent me in search of the feeling Vetiver delivered.
It brought about a tranquility that's difficult to describe (the Aura cacia Frontier brand only.)

That same luring emotion snuck up on me this time while at Plough on the Stars with my mother on her recent trip to Philadelphia.
Frank and Myrrh both have a rich history dating back to the beginning of time.
However, only one brings me to a place that feels like heaven.

So far Everyone loves this one. "So much depth" said Anna who I can't stop mystically running into on the lovely streets of Queen Village. "Wow what's that smell" said a man who speaks only when he must.

Ancient Essense with a strong feelings towards Ahimsa (non violence) has created heavens elixir-
My mom dabbed some on my wrist while I was sipping on a Malbec.
Every time I try to stop thinking of this particular succulent being, waves of him crash into me from unsuspecting corners of the universe. There it was that spice, that seduction, that sensation. This time the scent found me.
I thought Vetiver had it- and it does, but this scent hits closer to the home I spoke of when I described the sensuality that vibrates off of this particular man. With a layer of respect and experience- like the aged quality of a fine wine- it sends a chill that makes you want to embrace it.

That sort of Essense that is layered with healing and magnetism- royalty and rebellion.

It can't be described with words. If you need proof I'll give you a peak.

I'm convinced.
One sniff from a lover and he was hooked- insisting much more than usual.
The sassy salon owners daughter left my house doused in it and it made her blush.
My highly selective twins both love it.
It gets its hooks into the universal "you" and changes the air around we breathe.

It's on the top of the list of products- click the link to purchase. Like the brand for the Vetiver I recommended don't try to duplicate with other brands. There is something unique done by both Ancient Essense and Frontier that make the Frank and Myrrh and Vetiver stand apart from the rest.



Home Practice #1 Shower Yoga



I yogini while I cook dinner, in the shower, while I work, talk on the phone, run to work, watch Shameless episodes, scrub up messes, while I'm having sex (this one is my favorite- a proven way to get your feet behind your head without even realizing it.)
If I think about a posture or even smell it, I immediately get into it.
Without hesitation, or any thought. Actions are everything. The more I do it the better I do it.

After a ton of graceful guidance from the local yoga schools and body workers in Philadelphia - I have taken my practice home with me.

Once I began practicing yoga every single day, I saw a lot of changes happening.
I realized what it would take for me to get the satisfaction out of this I was looking for.
I'm constantly visualizing myself getting closer and closer to that more drenching stretch- my toes touching my forehead, my spine elongating, my core strengthening, my splits spreading, my soul awakening, my focus unyielding.

It makes sense to practice at home as a prerequisite to committing to regular studio time.
It's a frustrating and personal process. Transforming is not always something you want to do in a group, until you've come out of your cocoon (maybe that's just me.)

It's like preparing and studying for a test. Know the lingo and how to get into the postures.
This is when the classes will be very helpful. Come with your homework done and then join a community. It was joining a yoga studio that made me realize this. A private lesson or two can also help you along.

The Ashtanga Primary Series is a starting point.
This sets up the foundation for all yoga postures going forward.
Primary Series is that. A series of positions to get your body warmed up to grow in this discipline.
Both studying the Light on Yoga text book by BKS Iyengar, with great focus and a highlighter, and the video instruction of Kino MacGregor spoke to me.

Until my personal practice has evolved to where I will  benefit from time at the shala in India, Kino's studio in Miami, David's Ashtanga school down the street, Rodney Yee's Manhattan digs and Dhyana's homey studio- I'll be gettin' down every day (except moon days), looking for video instruction, text books and doing warrior pose while I brush my teeth.

August 2014 Began Ashtanga training and studies. Mastering the Primary Series.


Below are a few good interviews. See related blog posts for instructional videos. 
*Kino says Guruji said these three things for many years will take us there:
Finding my focus (pratyahara) by looking (drishti) practicing my asana's (getting all twisty) and breathing (pranayama.)






This also made me see me in her- fun story about her humble beginnings,

All sorts of layers of flavors in this sauce-ay.

Roberta DeCarlo, www.rockyshotsauce.com
It's like a full course meal of flavors- kind of like Willy Wonka's "gob stoppers"...

The medical school is fixing my computer today, changing my IP, my passwords don't work. I was left with no choice, but to leave early after speaking with a couple handfuls of patients in the Oncology unit at Penn hospital. Beth, if you are reading this I promise I worked very hard today! Considering that I speak with people about how they want to die for most of the day, I usually look for a replenishing something to do after my day.

I'm a foodie, so I shop for food. So many things about Whole Foods make me feel happy. They deliver to my house, it smells delicious and healthy inside, such a wonderful combination. There are always so many smiling faces and aisles plush with people who genuinely care about their health and the world around them. It creates a vibe throughout the store. I heard they got bad press recently and so many are always discussing how overpriced they can be. Maybe they are charging a surplus for the joy and aroma oozing throughout. I personally only shop at WF for butter, for example, to get the best deal. The power of supply and demand is relevant here regarding price. I get the huffing and puffing about the cleanliness of the foods. People are dying from toxic food. Hence, the value and ingredients are a life and death matter for some shoppers.

Another perk to perusing the grocery aisles are the samples. I once entered to pick up lunch and left the store full without yet having spent a dime. Crab salads, burgers, veggie scewers and an adorablely bubbly chef that frequents the store serving up her plenty. She holds cooking classes for kids every Tuesday, at the store. Her and a former employee Joy cooked up the idea. I also met Maria Lee, who battled blindness and now frequents the red carpets with her secrets in Shea butter. A total boy next door, as demure as anything, Brandon, who battles baby brain cancers with his recipes and today I met a new hot sauce story.

Rocky's Hot Sauce a local culinary treat. Roberta DeCarlo was at a restaurant and asked for the ingredients to a sauce she was super impressed with. At first, she was not given the recipe, "It's top secret miss, I'm sorry."  Later to her surprise, the chef had an argument with the owner, as he was storming out of the place he whispered the recipe into Roberta's ear. Roberta later went home and played with those ingredients, today that experience yields Rocky's Hot Sauce.

I'm not a hot sauce person necessarily, but recently I was looking for it when a recipe I call, "Tarzan's Catfish" called for it. The bottle I chose did not have nearly the flavors and layers that this sauce has. I wouldn't normally be raving about a hot sauce when I use it maybe once a year, or twice. But at first bite, there are an array of flavors garlic, subtle seasonings of sweet, sour, spicey and bitter varieties and then moments later you get to feel a dangerous, but friendly bit of fire. It's a surprising twist it has character. I'd recommend it. Try it! I could doctor that review up, but take my word for it on this tiresome hump day blog post. It's freakin' yummy, interesting and makes you get all curious like,
"what is that, why is that so good, how did you make the hotness of the hot sauce delay its arrival?" I saw a lot of faces agree, asking for seconds at the sampler table takes courage and that was happening a lot. The dude with the shades could not resist, the little lady with her toddler squealing for chocolate in the background took time to take another bite. Something intoxicating about this sauce, I mean it. the humble Roberta aims to please.

"Tarzan's catfish recipe"
A pinch of hot sauce black pepper garlic Pepper Rica hehe melted butter in a bowl Mix alll together probably a full stick dip the catfish in the butter creation and throw it in a hot skillet coated with whatever you want olive oil sunflower cranola organic of course whatever yummy delicious

By SKG 8-20-14