Thursday, December 18, 2008

Teaching in the snow and dreaming of friends.

I taught my last Thursday class of the term today with snow falling outside and warm kindness being kindled inside. Two friends were the only students who braved the weather today and they were such a joy to teach. We unfolded together and slowly released tension moment by moment.

I have such good feelings about 2009. I think we are in for many ups and possibly a few downs, but in the end, the world is still turning and we are all slowly evolving. What could be more natural?

I imagined last night that I was speaking to an old friend who passed away this year and she told me to trust myself and others in order to be healthy and well. This conversation was so detailed and clear that I don't ponder for a moment about whether it emanated from within me or from a more spiritual space. I only know for sure that it was real and worthy of my attention.

Following this, I opened my yoga mudra book today and it fell open to a mudra that I had never noticed or practiced before. The VAJRAPRADAMA MUDRA or the unshakeable trust mudra over heart.

To practice this hand gesture you simply loosely intertwine the fingers of the left hand with the right and then place the two hands onto the chest, palms facing inwards. Begin focusing on your breath while scanning the body from crown of head to soles of feet and then slowly back. Proceed to deepen your feelings of security, self-confidence, and trust with each breath. Visualize yourself walking down a well-lit path and everyone you know and love is standing on either side of the path cheering for you and for your success. You may linger momentarily with each supporter or slowly continue your journey down the path. Eventually come into a circle of light that is beaming down onto your head and bathing your whole body in a warm supportive glow. Carry this warmth and security with you into the rest of your day as you slowly release the mudra and come back to present.

I trust that this post will find you bathing in your own brilliant light with a willingness to try something new,

Namaste,

Jan

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Giveaway ideas

I love the idea of giveaways. It feels GREAT to think about what I could give to others. I'm polling to see what I could raffle off here at Petalsyoga to a reader. If you have any great ideas feel free to leave a comment here and let me know.

Hope you find a way to give of yourself today too.

Kowabunga,

Petals

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Posting for fun

Snow is on its way and Portland is excited. Strangers in stores are stocking up on staples while playing that funny game of "I think we're in for several inches of snow how about you?".

How funny to think that white frozen water can get us so jazzed up. It's been leaking the boring liquid rain for several days and there is a noticeable LACK of giddiness when people have to venture out into plain cold rain. All precipitation is not created equal I suppose. I'm going to do my best though to tip my face up into the sky the next time I go out irregardless of the weather. I'll simply savor the atmospheric moment and enjoy it. Good training for whatever is coming my way.

My Yoga for Healing class is being offered again this coming month and hopefully enough people will sign up for it to make it a go. If you or anyone you know is interested in a gentle, meditative class to promote inner wellness feel free to send them my way and I'll get the details to you about the class.

Well, I hope this weekend is exactly the sort your body is clamoring for. Whether energetic or lazy, may it be sufficient.

Namaste,

Jan

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quick blog

Hi,

I know I've been delinquent here. Sorry. So to make up for it I'm posting something wonderfully inspiring and meaningful. Can you remember any songs from your childhood? Something that evokes memories of school lunches, playground tussles, and perhaps slightly off-kilter teachers. I can and did this morning. My old elementary school "school song". Sung to the tune of Eidelweiss: I think that's enough said to give you a good chuckle. So here it is:

Auburndale, Auburndale, proudly we sing thy praises. Hopes held high, as eagles fly... true to our red, white, and blue. Innnnn-Spiration for all our dreams, and our theme, is friend-ship. Hand in hand, we will stand, for our dear Auburndale.

Now why... you may ask... would I remember any of this when I can barely remember my husband's name and can't even clearly remember how he proposed to me? Simple, this makes a great dinner party gambit. Try singing this with good friends and watch them laugh their heads off!

Oh, I love nostalgia. This all comes via wonderful memories being stirred up over on Facebook.com . If you haven't had a chance to join yet, I'd bet you will soon. It's lure is irresistible and comprehensive. It's part voyeur, part slumber party, and part cause-crusader all rolled together. Go ahead, consider this your invitation to join the party.

I hope your week ahead is filled with joyful belly laughs and time spent connecting with friends and family.

With hugs,

Jan

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful List

I am thankful for:

1. The man who still thinks I'm witty and lovable even after 17 years of my warts and all approach to life.
2. The daughter who tolerates my MANY motherly missteps and still thinks I do a pretty good job most of the time.
3. The dog... well today I am thankful that she's still around... ask me again after a night of lost sleep due to her puny bladder.
4. My family (both acquired by marriage and birth)who support me and love me unconditionally.
5. My friends who also love me and understand that while I am an imperfect friend at BEST, my intentions are always to love them back with my whole heart and capacity.
6. My students who teach me every day how to be a better teacher, student, and person.
7. Chocolate... I really can't imagine being AS thankful for everything above without a liberal dose of chocolate thrown in the mix.

I hope your thankful list is full and fulfilling. I am also VERY thankful for the people who read this blog even when I think I am mind-numbingly dull. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are in the world.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Supporting a friend

Everyone take a moment to check out the new brainchild of my friend Sarah Dinsmore... Blissbrokers.com We've been working on getting her launched and so far she has a few nibbles and some workshops in the planning stages. I love seeing my friend move forward and being involved in the process.

Speaking of friends who are moving forward, today I subbed for my friend Victoria who is opening Poise Studios in January 2009. I taught her Power Yoga class before my own gentle beginners class. I think I should have called it Power"less" yoga. Seriously, those poor students left the class shell-shocked. (sorry Victoria!) Anyway, maybe the more intuitive style of yoga that I teach will eventually filter into them and they will find more value than I think they found in it! You just never know. I can definitely remember going into a softer style yoga class during my "RAMBO" health kick and thinking it was not challenging enough for me... and look at me now! Yoga for Cream Puffs baby!

Okay, enough of that. Take care of yourself inside and out and maybe remember to give someone a little support today who least expects it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Moving through discomfort

I spent today working on my personal meditation practice with Simon. He pushed me through the hard yucky parts and helped me see that through the nausea/discomfort (yes, I'm still working through this) there were moments of pure "aha". Joy and light. He also helped me realize that the discomfort is manageable and only comes in small doses that I can handle. It's obvious that all the things I hold inside are still there, percolating away and just waiting for the opportunity to come out during meditation. Today I let them come up for air and just let them bob along on waves of self-acceptance. I walked away from the session feeling more at peace than I have for a long time. For me this is the hard part... the dedication to regular meditative practice that I have to commit to in order to get to the next level both in my teaching and my life. Slowly I move forward, one step at a time...

Hope life is filled with good healthy steps forward for you too,

Jan

p.s. In case your interested in adding mediation to your own daily life...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hello from sunny Portland, Oregon

Yesterday was a rainy mess but today...today was sunny bliss. People were upbeat, happy, and had their faces upturned towards the sun. I taught a class today on being present and "in the moment". Having the sun pouring down during the class certainly didn't hurt my case!

I'm reading 3 great books this week about developing the mind/body connection for healing and wellness. I HIGHLY recommend Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine by Saki Santorelli This book has great applications for all areas of life but especially in the healing arts.

For instance this is Saki quoted on: Awareness of Thoughts and Feelings
"Rather than imagining that all the moments of feeling closed down, fearful, or distant are "sins" to be confessed or repented for, explore the possibility of allowing your sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness to blossom out of the clear moments of awareness. The heart-mind is a vast, fenceless field, full of the unexpected. Often where we hope to find joy we discover grief, where we expect pain we discover gold. Give yourself plenty of room to roam freely in this field. The rules are different here. When was the last time you were invited to play without the pressure of winning or losing breathing down your back? Give yourself the space to look around and learn. Traveling with the breath and with the intention to look directly and lucidly at what is - without preference or judgement - diminishes the feeling of a soap opera and gives rise to a straightforward, compassionate knowing."

He then goes on to lead you through a wonderful practice of allowing awareness to ebb and flow with the breath moment by moment. You can try this at home by simply becoming fully absorbed in whatever activity you happen to be doing. If you are eating then you simply become fully engrossed in the taste of the food, the texture of your mouth as it comes in contact with the food, the smell, etc. If you are walking around the house looking for something you become fully present in each object you touch and look at during the quest. If you start to lose your way and get lost in other thoughts you simply come back to your breath and it anchors you back into the moment. In this way we train our minds and bodies to let go of judging, reacting and instead simply be present. Many studies show that this kind of heightened mind/body awareness training can lower blood pressure, reverse heart disease, and heal the whole person.

So now you have an idea of the direction my teaching is going and the things I will be pursuing professionally in the near future. I'm so glad I took some time tonight to share this with you. Let me know what you think.

Presently yours,

Jan

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A tired but love-filled Saturday...

A lazy day to relax and recharge. We're thinking of a family movie later or maybe just a chinese food foray for dinner.

Yesterday was our 17th anniversary and I spent the first part of the day floating happily and thinking over our years together with great joy and gratitude. We've been through sickness and through health, richer and poorer, good times and a very few bad... I think the vows are just about right. All of these things make us better versions of ourselves as indivduals and as a couple. I am speechlessly grateful for the years of love and support from my husband and our family and friends. It feels great to still be here and to be here together.

Love and happy milestones to you too...

Jan

p.s. This is a picture of the gorgeous golden dolphin Dinkums gave me for our Anniversary.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween and all things hallow...

Another Halloween celebrated with family and friends. This is one of our VERY favorite traditions. It has evolved into a giant food fest with crazy costumes and lots of games and sugar-crazed children. In the past hubby has dressed up as an inflatable clown, Superman, and even the Big Bad Wolf. This year he surpassed all others by donning a giant baby costume complete with bonnet, giant milk bottle, and rattle. Izzy conned him into it by promising to make him breakfast in bed for a week. I don't think he even got breakfast in bed THIS morning! He is such a great dad!

My Mom and Dad are leaving tomorrow and of course this will leave a big hole in our day to day lives. We love having them around and Izzy will certainly be missing the spoiling she has come to count on!

I taught my morning yoga class today and I suppose because it is already a small class (only 5 participants), is team taught by 4 teachers each sharing one Saturday a month, and because it was the day after Halloween, I only had one intrepid student show up.

She was lovely and our session was fulfilling and inspirational. I feel that I've broken through in my teaching and found my voice again. All feels authentic and light. Ahhhhhhhh....now THAT is a hallowed tradition.

I hope you are filled with many hallowed moments as well,

Jan

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday with blue skies....

Today was one of those rare perfect days. Gorgeous weather, happy exchanges with friends and family, great yoga class taught. Perfect.

I'm finishing the giant haul of Read Naturally training (an intensive reading program) at Izzy's school this week. I've spent 19 hours in the school working on the program and getting the volunteers trained and ready. Big sigh of relief that I'm almost done. Then I just continue working 8 hours a week instead. Much better. Have I mentioned that this is a volunteer position? I must be spending too much time at school as two teachers today mentioned that I should apply to be on the payroll. :-0

My yoga class today was a joy. I was in the zone and it felt great. I had a student come up to me after class and tell me that I helped her feel so much happier than she had when she arrived in class. She gave me a giant hug and said "thank you". I can't imagine achieving ANYTHING better than that. Not to mention getting paid to do it!

So my day was fruitful and light. I hope you have the same.


Jan

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday in Hood River

Izzy had the day off of school today for parent/teacher conferences so we went with my mom and dad to Hood River for the Harvest Festival today. It was beautiful, fun, and refreshing. Just what the doctor ordered. The more time I spend in natural settings, the happier I am. Simply taking a different route to work that takes me through a small copse of trees is enough to bring a smile to my face.

On a more prosaic note, Izzy's conference with her teacher went well and she is having a great year. She loves school and is making good friends. What more could we ask for? Okay, winning the lottery WOULD be nice!

Hope you are finding yourself surrounded by satisfaction and joy as well,

Jan

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just Thursday

Sitting in my car listening to kids chattering, music playing, heart pumping... but is it an uplifted joyful kind of listening or an overstressed, "had it up to here" kind of listening? The choice is mine. I can take any circumstance and choose to react with either loving-kindness or angry rejection. This back and forth can happen for me in the blink of the eye. I have certainly bounced lately from deeply felt contentment to fiery rejection within a few hours. I notice it especially after a session teaching yoga in which I come close to connecting the dots for my students but just miss by a few steps. I become frustrated after a session that has many elements that are well-crafted, but somehow doesn't "do the job". I know I shouldn't expect perfection, but it still frustrates me that even one student might leave my class unmoved by my efforts. My mind tells me to let go of ego and accept my humanness, but the larger ego gets in the way and demands more. And so the joy in teaching turns to frustration and disappointment. And then another day passes, another class is taught with more skill and intuition, and the crisis passes. Life goes on .... breathe in... breathe out... repeat. I still choose to breathe in more joy than disappointment and I hope you do too.

Namaste,

Jan

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lazy lazy lazy...

Laziness in tandem with spurts of wild activity these last two weeks has led to the slowdown of my blogging. I'm back today and I will make every attempt to continue to post at least once a week, but you know, I'm a very sluggish sort.

Izzy has been finding magical creatures all over the house. Gnomes, fairies, and even a small Yom Kippur Koala have made recent visits. They leave magical stones and sometimes even messages. She is entranced by the magic as are many of her 3rd and 4th grade friends. They call and email about the things they are finding in their own backyards and playgrounds. One even called to say she found a gnomestone in her shoes... who could imagine?

The real magic to me is that in such a cynical world, children who no longer believe in Santa or even the tooth fairy are so eager to embrace a magical gnome who visits and leaves pieces of "glass" money for them to collect and share. I don't know who gets more out of the whole game, Izzy and her friends or the adults who are accomplices. I do know that having a nine year old who still believes in magical creatures keeps me younger and happier as well.

Hope this finds you looking at your world with a little more wonder and a lot less stress,

Jan

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where has the week gone?

I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted. Just shows that being busy doesn't actually equate to being interesting. I've been teaching, playing at the beach, enjoying family and friends, and just breathing... in... out... repeat...

My classes last night were more effortless than they have been lately. I just let go and let myself be more free and honest with the class than I have been since the beginning of term. It's amazing how much deeper a practice can go when you begin to develop real connections between people. AHHHHHH... this is the part I love about teaching. Knowing that I make a difference in someone's life if only for a few precious minutes is the ultimate gift. Last night definitely felt as if I was giving "value for money" to put it crassly. I had several students tell me they came into the class "cranky" and left much more relaxed and balanced. What more can you ask for?

Hope this blog finds you easing into joy as well.

Hugs,

Jan

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Warriors

I spent my day connecting with people today. From sharing laughs in Simon's WILD Wednesday yoga class (officially now called "LaLaLand"), to catching up with dear friends over lunch, to finally spending quality time with my mom and Izzy over yogurt and Halloween costumes, today was definitely about getting in touch. This can be so exhausting for me but so essential as well. To share with friends, family, and acquaintances the ups and downs of our lives is what being present is really about. Today I heard about five friend's health problems, family struggles, and job worries. We also managed to weave about 25 giggles and guffaws into all of this strife. Not a bad ratio really. I hope you have equally nourishing interactions with folks in your sphere of influence as well.

Happy Wednesday,

Jan

p.s. I really want to make some new circles in different countries on my ClusterMap placed on the right side of this blog. Could you please forward my blog to friends in other places so I can start seeing spots?

Thanks,

Jan

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Profound thoughts on toilets

I want to rewind for a moment to my experience at Bushi-tei restaurant in San Francisco. Yes, the food was extraordinary and I had Baramundi to die for, but let's talk toilets for a moment. I know this won't make it into most food reviews but the toilet at Bushi-tei was so remarkable that even now many days later I'm still longing for a repeat visit to the loo.

It was a Toto Japanese toilet and it did everything but blow my nose for me. Seriously, this toilet had the works. Heated seat, front and back sprays, air drying for the tush, you name it. The funny thing was that it didn't really flush well, took 3 tries to finally perform the function you most readily expect from a toilet. Oh well, you can't have everything.

Here's an article about this toilet to give you more info about it. Now I know this makes me a real hayseed to be blogging about this toilet but I can't help it. I want one. Now. I don't know if I can go another day with out having my bum anointed and cosseted.

As luck would have it, just two weeks ago the seat of one of our toilets broke and I was shopping for a new seat at Home Depot. I flirted with a soft cushy model and a quiet lid-closing model but now that I've experienced heaven in porcelain, I don't think I can just settle for a boring old toilet again.

Oh well, such were my thoughts when I woke up today. I'll have to teach a LOT of yoga to be able to afford the Toto of my dreams though.

Happy Saturday to you all from the still slightly wounded turtle,

Jan

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No worries

I am profoundly grateful for so many things and one of them is Ibuprofen. Taken sparingly this little drug is somewhat miraculous. I'm actually in very little pain this evening and was able to teach my class with very few modifications. The forward fold with wide legs was a little intense but otherwise all is good.

I'm enjoying being back into my teaching mode and I hope I just continue to grow and blossom as a teacher. I still have much to learn but as long as I'm giving students nourishing and relaxing classes I feel good about my teaching. Of course, the balance between satisfying students who want a more athletic experience versus the relaxation faction is always challenging. Oh well, I've come to terms with the fact that you can't satisfy all of the people all of the time.

The weather turned cool here after a mini heatwave and I for one am happy. Hubby is a bit out of sorts as he is Mr. Tropical but I'm always happier to feel a breeze in the air.

Take care and learn from my mistakes.... look before you turtle,

Jan

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ow says the turtle...

Having a great week just beebopping along and then WHAM I did it. Let my ego override good common sense and put myself into turtle pose without appropriate caution. Next thing I know I'm hobbling around the house putting icepacks in weird places. It's so typical... the class was OVER... I was just trying to show off I guess. I don't know what got into me but I just thought it would be an easy pose to demonstrate to a student. What a mistake. At least I know how silly I was and won't do it again. (I hope!) Anyway, I have to teach a beginners class tomorrow and it should be interesting to say the least. Say an OHMMMMM for me please!

Happy Wednesday,

Jan

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back from San Francisco

Wow... wow... wow. We had a blast.

Highly Recommend:
Bushi-tei restaurant--- THE MOST AMAZING MEAL I'VE EVER HAD!!!!
Alcatraz Island --- made it there and back- it was a great audio tour and very moving.
Spring Awakening --- Winner of 8 Tony Awards. This was a mesmerizing and thought provoking play... BUT DEFINITELY NOT FOR KIDS!!!!
Laughter Yoga ---- We laughed so much that it hurt, literally.
Angie & Martha's Hair Salon --- Family forced me into having my hair colored (for the first time) cut and styled. Angie and Martha were nice, funny, and reasonably priced. I LOVE MY NEW LOOK!

Gotta run but I'll post more later. Tomorrow is the start of the fall teaching schedule and I can't wait to get back to it.

Hope you are well and have a highly recommend list too!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Long time between blogs....

Sorry for the absence but what with school starting back and family here it's been a little busy. I went for a nice walk around Commonwealth Lake yesterday and saw the most amazing creature... This blue heron!!!. Unbelievable. We faced each other from a distance of just a few yards and I finally bowed to this noble creature and continued on my walk with a greater lightness in my step. I am so lucky to live around the different creatures and flora of the Pacific Northwest.

I'm leaving tomorrow for a San Francisco getaway with my mom and sister and we will be staying at The Clift Hotel and dining at Bushi-Tei the first night. Talk about decadence! But the next night we will be participating in a laughter yoga club and that is what I am MOST looking forward to. I will try to find time soon for a nice long catchup blog.

Hope this finds you all in good spirits and good health,

Jan

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sad, bad, glad....

Sorry for the break between posts. So much to talk about with so little time to blog.

So although I am thankful that Gustav wasn't as bad as it could be and my friends Lisa and Nathan escaped with minimal damage to their home, all is not well. Unfortunately Lisa's Dad is in hopsice as of today and after a very long illness, her dad is slowly seeping out of this world. It just proves that the universe is always giving us messages to think about. How important is a house in the great scheme of things? Isn't losing a beloved parent another kind of homelessness? How do we maintain balance when Hurricane Life cruelly sweeps away our roots? I guess I'm feeling this even more keenly as Lisa and I have been best friends since 5th grade and we grew up together. We shared parents back and forth so not only does it feel as if I'm losing one of my own, it reminds me of the frailty of my parents as well.

Okay, on to the mildly bad. My van blew up this week. Two new tires, all new brakes, and major repairs to go. The front tire blew as I was coming back from a relaxing Yoga Nidra practice with Simon on Monday. Talk about going from Zen to Fren (as in frenetic)in no time flat! (ha ha) It's been a source of frustration to me but thankfully I can keep my perspective and as the repairman told me today, "this is just a speedbump to get over." Also, I'd like to share my gratitude for the nicest guy who stopped to help me and changed the flat tire for me without any fuss or trouble. Thank you to David from Verizon Wireless who certainly deserves only good things to happen to him. May someone always be there for you too.

And finally the tremendously glad. Izzy started back to school today and is for the very first time completely happy. She loves her teacher, friends, and school. This is something that makes me so filled with joy for her that it feels like it's own kind of miracle for me. She is so rarely completely at ease in any situation that it is really something to celebrate. So we are.

Okay, that's the last few days for me condensed. I hope the universe is treating you with great nurturing and support.

With gladness for good friends and family,

Jan

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Praying for the Gulf States

Just a quick word of support and prayer for all who are in Hurricane Gustav's path.
You are in our thoughts and prayers during this time of uncertainty and fear. May the storm simply fizzle out and may you return to fully intact and healthy homes.

With love especially to my friends Lisa and Nathan who only just finished rebuilding their home after Katrina.

Love,

Jan

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Waiting for the repairman....

Today is my cliche day. I'm waiting for the repairman to fix our phone line which keeps cutting out during telephone calls resulting in the inevitable, "Can you hear me now?" fiasco/scenario. (for those of you living outside the U.S. you can see the advertisements that spawned this phrase here). Actually, even as I am posting this blog someone called and said, "Can you hear me now?" because the connection was so bad. I started laughing but it was just too complicated to explain.

Today is looking beautiful outside so of course I have to stay cooped up waiting for the repairman. Grumble grumble. Izzy is drawing and painting today so she's happy enough, but I'd like to get out to walk and breathe in some sunshine while I can. I'm sure I'll find some time today to do it.

So mom has attended two of Simon's yoga classes with me this week and although she enjoyed them she felt nauseous afterwards. It's not hard to see that my apple fell from her tree is it? I think she needs to avoid forward bending because I think it puts too much pressure on her abdomen which has had extensive surgeries. She likes the class though so I think she'll persevere as long as I help her with modifications.

We're enjoying having family here and I'm certainly happy to have an extra pair of hands around to help me with Izzy. She loves being spoiled by her grandparents and they seem more than willing to oblige.

Well, that's all for today. I always seem to have great ideas to blog about until I actually sit down to do it. In any case, hope you are out soaking up the sun for me today.

Happy Thursday,

Jan

Monday, August 25, 2008

Family laughs

It was wet, gray, and cold down in Astoria and we had a great time. Izzy couldn't believe we went all the way there and basically just had lunch and a look around, but it was worth it. Astoria is enchanting even on a wet day and just traveling with the family is worth it anyway.

I was laughing so hard driving down that I was afraid I'd pee in my pants. We kept passing trucks going back to Portland with 2 giant chickens, 2 sharks, a carnivorous fish, and a balloon/bobble head person on them and I was the only one who saw each one of these things. My family thought I was hallucinating until they all finally saw a truck with a giant turkey on it. Turns out yesterday was the end of the Hood to Coast relay and those funny cars must have been related to the race. The turkey one was part of the Road Kill Grill team and I am so thankful that everyone saw it. For a moment there I began to think I WAS losing my mind.

Today I'm taking mom to Simon's yoga class and it should be interesting. Whenever I try to practice yoga with her she begins giggling and making funny noises. This should be fun.

Thanks for giving me your input on the giving and receiving blog. I'm thinking that giving feels better but being able to receive is crucial to good health. More on that later.

Happy last week of school-free summer to you all,

Jan

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Heading to Astoria...

Having lots of fun with my parents and setting off today to see Astoria, Oregon for the first time. Topic of the day: Is it better to give or to receive? Talk amongst yourselves.

More later... gotta run.

Happy Sunday to you too,

Petals

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fun with the folks....

So the parental types have landed and the fun will ensue. My mom and dad came in last night, having driven cross-country for probably the 5th time in 3 years. They are seriously not into flying!!!

Mom and Dad arrived in time for dinner...a not too shabby chicken/ veggie stir fry I whipped up.... and then we went with them to help unload their luggage into their condo. To finish off, my mom and I went for a short walk at 9:00pm just to stretch our legs. More excitement at night than I've had for weeks!

Today will be an Izzy day I'm sure, and she will be spoiled and cosseted throughout the day by doting grandparents. She's already had one big dose of this treatment in Australia this summer so I'll have to watch to make sure she doesn't get too aggressive in her demands. You know like, "Can I have another Webkinz? I only have 300." If by some chance you have managed to escape Webkinz mania then you are truly lucky and probably much wealthier than the rest of us poor saps who keep pouring money into this endless obsession.
Come to think of it, my mom is the one who started this Webkinz nonsense a few years ago... it won't hurt her to buy the next round after all!

So that's what's up in our world today. Hubby and I continue our yoga training and he's still the driving force behind the nightly practice, so it must be doing him some good.

Take care and I hope you are having fun with your folks today too,

Jan

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yoga at home

So, I'm done with teaching for another 3 weeks or so until the Fall term starts. Actually I'm not really on hiatus because I've been teaching my husband every night after work and fairly intensively this weekend. He started out as VERY dubious about the efficacy of yoga to "help him get fit", but he is now yogi addict. He won't leave me alone in fact and today was even giving me ideas for this blog about "how yoga opens new vistas of self-awareness". Talk about a conversion! He's pestering me all of the time to work with him and I can't say I mind. It's helping me get in better shape and it's fun working one on one with him. I haven't managed to get Izzy into it yet, but my Mom and Dad are coming for a visit next week, so maybe I'll get them going as well. Then my blog can morph into the yogi family blog...;-)

Other than yoga I didn't put my nose out of the house because I'm reading an amazing book called The Lost A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn. I'm finding it both engrossing and emotional as I can relate so much to his descriptions of relatives and his childhood. I find myself going back in time to sitting in Aunt Ida's house eating Sunshine Lemon Cooler Cookies and trying to avoid her endless requests for this or that to be done for her. "Honey get the remote for me... then get me some water...honey my eyeglasses... honey my mail... can you bring me my purse... honey honey honey..." that was Aunt Ida. In The Lost it all comes flooding back to me and yet is still very alien because it deals extensively with the part of his family that was lost in the Holocaust. I'm sure we lost members of my family in the Holocaust, but it was never a family focus as it was for Daniel Mendelsohn. His story makes me regret that I didn't spend more time interviewing my relatives for their histories and stories when I had the chance. Now it is too late to recover most if not all of the history of my family before they came to America. My father has recently had some luck finding immigration documents but we've lost many of the stories forever. So, if you are interested in genealogic storytelling then this book is a great read and highly recommended.

I'm off to bed now. Hope you have some good reading in front of you too,

Jan

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A day of rest...

I've spent the last several days whizzing around from teaching yoga to screaming kids at pools and parties. It's been so good but I can admit I'm tired today and glad to have an unscheduled day to recharge my batteries.

Which brings up something that we touched on in the meditation class that I led yesterday. Giving and the act of giving in relation to ones own wellspring of energy. Many people in the class had an adverse reaction to the word "giving", as it touched on what I think is common for those of us who spend much time "taking care of" others. They felt depleted and taken advantage of by others, and therefore the word "giving" for them had a negative rather than positive connotation. I can easily see how people (and especially women) in this day and age could get to this point. We give as parents, friends, and even children to aging parents almost incessantly. In "taking care of others" we often forget to take care of ourselves.

Now, this was not exactly the type of giving I thought I was bringing into the classroom. I naively thought that if we brought forward acts of giving that we had experienced or witnessed, it would be inspirational and instructional as to how acts of selflessness have deep and lasting impact on others. Instead this resistance to giving came forward and was very real and emotional. I realize now, that the act of giving is so deeply tied to our feelings about ourselves and our own ability to give to ourselves first. If we do not take the time to heal ourselves, recharge our batteries, and set healthy limits for ourselves, then the simple act of giving becomes a mountain to conquer rather than a cool lake to refresh ourselves in.

I don't think "giving" need be tied an action at all though. To me, giving can be a state of mind. If I live in a world where I consistently exercise the muscle of "giving" then I don't need to work at this. By assigning value to the "idea" of giving and embracing it as an ideal, I release myself from feelings of guilt or oppression. If I begin to feel that I've missed an opportunity to give of myself in a certain situation, I can simply send feelings of loving-kindness towards the object of my intention and then move forward from there. Of course there is no substitute for action but a simple thank you is after all, an act of giving.

I must say that I brought the discussion home with me to my husband, and it brought up roadblocks for my husband as well. I now see how loaded this concept actually is. (Actually his problems had more to do with his whole-hearted belief in the necessity of revenge in order to attain justice, but that's a whole other matzah ball.)

So I thought I'd pose this as a topic for discussion and thought. If you'd like to comment or continue this conversation, please feel free to post below to share your ideas and wisdom with the rest of us.

Until then, a very heartfelt thank you for reading and staying in touch with me,

Namaste,

Jan

p.s. Good luck Simon cleaning up the mess I made with your class!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back in the zone...

Yesterday I subbed for Simon and taught 3 classes in a row. It was scary, fun, nourishing and energizing all at the same time. I started off slowly during the first class (my first teaching since early June) but found my feet again by the second one and was totally in the zen zone by the third which was luckily a movement as meditation class. I hope the students got as much out of the classes as I got out of teaching them. I so love giving back to people through my teaching. When I can just let go and teach fluidly from the heart, I feel that I have so much more left over than when I began. Learning through teaching. I was also able to use these classes as my guinea pigs for what I have learned from Yolanda and Lev in Oz. The ideas I shared were warmly received and certainly the nurturing that I brought back from Yolanda in particular added tremendously to my teaching style.

We stayed up to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Beijing last night and I must say that it blew me away. I spent all night dreaming of the giant firework footsteps leading to the stadium at the beginning of the ceremony. It was absolutely magnificent.

Today is a lazy Saturday spent together as a family and I'm simply enjoying the down time.

Happy zone time to you today too,

Jan

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yay!

Simon's CD is available online!!!
Just a quick shout out to Sarah Dinsmore of OneonCoaching.com and Blissbrokers.com who has made the following Yoga Meditation CD of Simon Menasche available through CDBaby.
"One Breath at a Time" has been a project a long time in the making and it is finally coming together. This and hopefully a dvd will be coming soon to a neighborhood near you! Not to mention itunes!

Okay and yes, we did go berry picking but it was too hot to even think about horsing around and taking pictures. We picked at least 6lbs of raspberries though and my good friend Kristen is making the whole batch into the MOST amazing jam you have ever tasted. Even the pickiest eater in the world (my daughter) loves this jam!

Hope you have a berry happy day too,

Jan

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Managing disappointment...

No cooking but will you settle for berries? The cooking lesson didn't happen because Izzy woke up "feeling puny", as my mother would say. So we will have to reschedule it.

Today we are supposed to go berry picking with friends and I will really try to take some pics and get them up here for you because let's face it.... my blog is getting boring. All of the other blogs have started to shun me and laugh behind my back. They are oh so hip and up to the minute, while this blog has started to get that old car smell. (funky and not appealing)

So with Izzy and friends in tow, we will be on a mission today to find fun and hunt it down in the interests of blogdom everywhere. As my little Jedi warrior would say, "May the force be with us."

;-),

Cheeky Petals

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Trying new things

I have a Korean cooking lesson with a mom of one of Izzy's friends today. I'm so excited to not only learn about new sauces and foods but to give myself a new challenge. It's so easy to get stuck in ruts and not try new things.

We had the dinner party last night and the omaha steaks were okay. Probably better than okay but not great. The burgers however were awesome. I wouldn't go out of my way to buy them but I think they were definitely worth the small amount of shipping I had to pay for them.

The weather has already turned autumnish here with grey skies and colder temps. The sun is setting sooner and the kids are restless. Yikes, it's only the 2nd of August and school doesn't go back until Sept. 2nd. Izzy finished all six of the Star Wars movies and is now talking nonstop about which of the characters she wants to be for Halloween. I strongly suspect we'll have a little ewok running amok come Oct. 31st.

Okay then, I'm getting ready for my lesson and preparing myself to be a good student for the day.

Hope you are seeking out new challenges as well or at least enjoying a lazy day,

Jan


oops... I promised something exciting here today. Okay, I'll try to post some pictures of my cooking (whether flops or triumphs). That should satisfy the masses. ;-)

Also if you haven't already, check out this blog for a little light entertainment: http://quotation-marks.blogspot.com/ I think it is hilarious.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Just a quick one...

Had 2.5 hours of yoga and meditation with Simon yesterday and yet still my husband begs me to "do more yoga". Guess I'm wound up a little tight lately. I'm nervous about getting back to teaching after such a long break. I'll be subbing for Simon from the 8th of August to the 15th at Cedar Hills so I guess I'll get back in the swing of things quickly.

Spending today cleaning and cooking as we have friends coming over for dinner tonight. I had a free gift certificate for Omaha Steaks so we will be giving them a try tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.... I'm a little intimidated by them. (the steaks... not the friends. ;-) )

Okay, gotta run but I promise to put something good in here tomorrow! (yikes, I might have to do some creative writing.)

Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are,

Jan

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cleaning house

Oh how I wish that title were metaphorical! I actually have to clean house today... we're currently living like squatters in our own house. Time to take back the house! I'll be cleaning today and trying to focus on lofty yogic principles at the same time. Here's one that I should definitely try to keep in mind:

"However simple a particular yogic approach may be, all approaches require a huge commitment. If we fear change and cling to our old habits, we cannot succeed in Yoga. The practice of Yoga calls for considerable personal effort, which involves self-discipline."

I'm so in trouble!

Hope you are in for some good clean fun today yourself...

Jan

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The opposite of zen

I spent today with Izzy and two of her friends at first Pump It Up and then Chuck E. Cheese. I feel like I've been run over by a rancid clown. I'm too pooped to blog... more later.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Intergalactic nothingness

So, I've perfected the art of doing nothing. Seriously... nothing. I have a million things I SHOULD be doing but I just can't get out of my somnolent mode. Okay, I'll try to shake myself up a bit and do something blogworthy today. I'm thinking of taking Izzy on a treasure hunt with her metal detector so I'll let you know if anything comes of it.

On another note, I've been following the Qantas saga with horror. This is the airline I've flown faithfully for the last 17 years. The thought of getting back on board without them doing a major repair of not only the fleet but of their management practices makes me very nervous. I will say for the record though, that the pilots and crew on board both my last flight and the one that had the explosion last week, all acted with the greatest professionalism. They are extremely well trained and impressive.

We're in total StarWars mode here as Izzy is addicted and watching all SIX movies in a row this week. May the force be with me to survive it. I like my StarWars in smallish doses. This will either make me a fanatic or phobic. Not sure which.

May the force be with you today too,

Jan

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ahhhhh

Yesterday was my first day back to class with Simon. It was so good to see friends I've missed and to get back into my meditative comfort zone. By the end of class, I felt the way you feel pulling on your favorite t-shirt after misplacing it for a while. So happy to be back in it and so thankful to have found it again. I was able to use what I've learned in Australia to deepen my appreciation of all I have here. Mostly, I'm just so appreciative to have great teachers like Simon, Yolanda, and Lev to draw from. That reminds me, I haven't mentioned another great yoga teacher in Portland that I am appreciative of. Jim Gillen of Still Moving Yoga What a tremendously nice guy with so much to offer! I've taken two workshops from Jim in his SW Portland studio, and learned a lot about safe alignment principles from him. Jim and his wife Lynea are also hosting a benefit concert tomorrow, so if you live in Portland and are interested please check it out at:
Good Karma Garden Concert July 27th

Okay, that's me for now. Hope you are taking time to enjoy the ahhhhh moments in your own life right now too.

Ohmmmmm,

Jan

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Settling into sunshine

The sun has arrived in Portland and all things are blooming. My daughter has a swimming playdate today and I think we both want to go berry picking as well. I love long meandering summer days like this that just naturally unfold... much like my yoga practice. I am being kind to my body right now and just flowing into my practice without much thought or artifice. If it feels right for this moment, then I'm not concerned about sequencing or posture right now. It is so freeing to just live in the moment of my practice and enjoy the swim that is within. Hope this post finds you enjoying your own moments and space.

Go with the flow,

Jan

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Petals floating down the river

We're home! After 33 days of living out of suitcases and sponging off of relations, we are finally home in Portland. The weather is grey and cool so I KNOW that I'm home! My husband told me that the Rose City has had lots of sunshine lately, but I think it was just a conspiracy to lure me back. All kidding aside, coming home from the airport this morning reminded me again how amazing this place is. Green and homey with a laid-back attitude. Really, Portland is a perfect fit for us and I can't imagine wanting to be anywhere else right now in my life. (Although the fortune teller told me that I'm thinking of moving soon... hmmm... news to me!)

I'm looking forward to seeing friends here in Portland and getting back into my regular routine. I promise to continue looking for the silly and interesting in my day to day life and posting it right here for the rest of you. Thanks for being my travel companions for the last month!

Ciao from The City of Bridges,

Jan

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tried the Fried

Pictures are worth a thousand words... our trip to the County Fair was great... see below.



Love the T-shirt!



Yes that's right, they were selling a fried chicken sandwich between a Krispy Kreme Donut with rasberry and honey syrup. No... even I didn't try that!




Fried Twinkie with chocolate syrup. I took one bite and threw the rest out. Some things just can't be improved upon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Saluting the sun

Loving sunny So Cal. Sun, swimming, and family fun. A great combination for soaking up this last part of our summer vacation. We've been enjoying the pampering of our relatives here and the laid back lifestyle in San Juan Capistrano.

Been easing my bones back into yoga and even experimented with some aqua yoga in the family pool here. Love the play between buoyancy and balance as I bend and twist in the water. The temperature of the water is so warm that it adds even more pliancy to my bends as well. Ahhhhh....bliss. I'm definitely feeling the difference in my body from gorging on the pastries and treats though. I'm absolutely going to start back on the path of moderation the minute we hit Portland. I'd say earlier but tomorrow we're going to the Orange County State Fair and as the theme is cheese (and onofficially anything humanly possible to fry) I suspect I won't stick to my resolution quite yet! I've never tried a fried oreo cookie before and I don't think I'm capable of saying no.... I'll let you know.

Went to a fortune teller today who read my palm and told me that I'm an old soul with the ability to heal and I have an open third eye. (Stop laughing Simon Menasche!) She told me I'm married to my soul mate (so true) and that I will live a long and healthy life. Hmmmm... nice to hear but maybe not quite worth the $20 my sister-in-law plonked down for the reading. Oh well... I've spent more money to have doctors tell me things that I don't want to hear, so I suspect being told things I do want to hear is good value!

Okay, this is a ridiculously long post so I'll say goodnight and hugs to all of you out there in blogland.

Jan

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Touchdown in Tinseltown

Sorry I've been missing for a few days. We just arrived back in the U.S. yesterday after an epic journey. We had a great time for the last few days in Australia and really cherished the moments with family and friends. Many hugs and a few tears later, Izzy and I boarded our already 3 hour delayed flight to Los Angeles. I knew it was going to be a crazy journey when I accidentally freaked out in the terminal when I read that it was the final call for our flight and yet they hadn't called us to the loading area yet. It took a very kind young Aussie to reassure me that Qantas had not in fact begun boarding for our flight, and that the departure monitor was wrong. Sheesh... talk about a false start. That was the bright spot of the journey!

About 2 hours into the trip the captain came over the PA asking for any certified medical practitioner to please step forward to help with a medical emergency on board. Never an auspicious start! About 5 hours into the flight we watched our little plane graphic that shows your progress on the trip slowly begin to curve around... We had actually crossed the international dateline and then went back again! I think that means I lost a day and gained one in a matter of minutes!

The captain then informed us that we needed to make a medical emergency landing in Fiji so the plane turned around to go back. Needless to say, it made for a not so ordinary trip. The poor teen girl on board who was ill (have no idea at all of details) was wheeled off of the back of the plane after an hour on the ground in Fiji at 1:30 in the morning. Not exactly state of the art evacuation planning. It took a further 2 hours to locate her bags and remove them from the plane due to security regulations. We stayed on the plane and were finally on our way in about another hour. Now remember, this is a 14 hour flight under perfect conditions... we finally landed in LAX after 19 hours of travel time total!

Needless to say, we are VERY happy to be on the ground and with more family in Southern California. It's now 2:30am and Izzy and I are both awake and jetlagged out of our minds. I'll post more soon but I did want to share this part of the trip. Things are NEVER boring on this blog! ;-)

Hope this finds you well and more rested than us!

Jan

Friday, July 11, 2008

So much to catch up on


I had a wonderful week with Yolanda Pettinato who generously spent so much of her time with me. We worked on my teaching skills and also she was very devoted to deepening my meditation practice. My head is spinning with all of the new ideas and concepts I have been exposed to. Now comes the exciting part of the journey where I begin to meld my own ideas to the ones I've learned in order to build something authentic and powerful for myself and by extension my students.

Thank you to friends and students who have been emailing me that I am missed. I am so grateful for the relationships and friendships I have all around the world. I never feel lonely because I am surrounded by so much love and warmth.

Okay, I must run because the family has arrived for a last dinner together, but I will post more soon.

Namaste,

Jan

p.s. See attached photo of Neenish Tarts from Church Street in Brighton. A yummy treat from my doting mother-in-law.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

From Oliver and Jamie .... my nephews in Oz

Jamie: "I had a good Aussie Rules Football match. And my team won by 2 points and the match before that I won by 15 points. Usually I play down back and I always stay on my man when I'm on back. Once I got moved up to forward and I was getting tackled from behind and I managed to get the kick away and got it to my teammate who kicked a goal."


Oliver: "Hello"


As you can see we are finishing our sleepover with cousins and having a great time. I'm off to a private yoga class with Yolanda this morning in a few minutes so more later.

Jamie: "Bye"
Oliver: "Bye"
Jan: "Bye"

p.s. Izzy is still sleeping.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Catching up with old friends

Izzy and I had lunch and a nice long visit with one of my oldest friends and her husband. Izzy enjoyed walking their dog Chico and playing on the beach while we enjoyed lunch at a cafe right on the water. It was sunny and fairly mild today so the weather was an ally for a change.

Tried a new yoga posture today that was quite a complicated balancing act. I enjoyed trying it but I'm not really sure it's a real bonafide asana or just something new I've cooked up. It was fun to try though. I've also been "kicking at the moon" which is a movement that I've learned here from Lev that encourages loosening of all muscles and relaxing more fully into the ground. Imagine donkey lying on his back in Shreck and then begin flailing about your legs and arms and you get the general idea. Then add in breathwork to make the whole thing work. Even if you don't achieve great enlightenment you'll definitely have a giggle. (or at least your kids will if they get to witness it!)

Had a great chicken schnitzel dinner last night with David's brother's family at their local pub The Swan. Pubs are the best value for money restaurants in Australia. Check out the menu site for prices and selection and then check out this site for another restaurant down the street where we've eaten frequently to get an idea. Poci's Restaurant

Well, that's it for me today. I start kid duty tomorrow with the neighbor's daughter and then a sleepover with cousins coming on Tuesday. If you don't hear from me for a few days it's probably because they've tied me to the Hills Hoist out back!

Hugs and happy days,

Jan

Friday, July 4, 2008

Missing my other half...

Happy 4th of July from Oz,

David took off on the epic voyage home today and as always, it feels a little melancholy without him here. He becomes effervescent the moment he arrives in Melbourne, so it's a big hole to fill when he leaves. We laugh like crazy when we first arrive here, because the first thing he does is to kiss the ground outside Melbourne Airport because he's so happy to be home. I'm sure he'll swallow someone else's gum one of these days off the sidewalk! He'll be happy to get back to Portland too, but it's trite but true, "there's no place like home".

Anyway, we just took it easy today and I went for a shortish walk and did some easy yoga this morning. Nothing too taxing as I think we all needed the break. Tomorrow the rounds begin again with family and friends. Played around with Google Earth tonight and if you haven't done this I can't recommend it highly enough. Such fun to go whizzing around the world peeking into other people's back gardens. Not seriously, as the graphics thankfully have some limits, but it is still great fun to check out landmarks and places missed. Check it out here at: Google Earth if you haven't already.

Namaste and I hope this finds you well and happy,

Jan

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Headstands and homecooked meals...

So once again while practicing in the upstairs bedroom, I fell out of headstand to the alarm of David's parents. The whole house shakes when I tumble down. I think I'll have to forgo being upside down for a while so everyone can settle their nerves. It is a bit much to be benignly enjoying your morning cereal only to be startled with the crash overhead. Maybe I should work on a softer landing? I'm sure if my tummy muscles would only strengthen magically, then I wouldn't have such loud landings. It is great fun to get upside down though. I love watching the palm trees waving wrong side up while I breathe slowly in and out. Very meditative when I forget about the mechanics and just enjoy the sensation.

The brisket and chicken soup with matzah balls came out very well and we enjoyed another family dinner before David leaves to go back to America without us. We girls stay on for another 11 days while he gets back to work to help pay off this vacation. I feel slightly guilty but it's surprising how slightly! ;-)

Must get to bed now but I hope this finds you in good health and good spirits,

Jan

Monday, June 30, 2008

Oops!


Guess what? There were no neenish tarts on Acland street! I know, I know, I'm a pastry tease. I bought something else very creamy and goopy today from Le Bon Cakes on Acland and I'll let you know after dinner tonight how it shapes up. {Update--- Please see picture left. --- THIS PASTRY WAS AWESOME!!!! Rich cream and jam snuggled on shortbread and cake with a yummy pink icing robe! I feel so much better now! ;-) }
All of the cake shops left on Acland street are European style so I must have been delusional to think they'd have dinkum aussie neenish tarts. Anyway, I was distraught after all the build up on this blog about the treats and felt really guilty about not delivering the goods. On the plus side though, Acland street was still just as funky and hip as ever and I felt so much at home there. 17 years fell away as I cruised up and down the street peering into old favorites and then finding new shopping gems to explore.

As to the overall vibe here in Melbourne, I'd say it feels very prosperous still and forward looking. People seem upbeat and are really proud that the Aussie dollar is at par with the U.S. dollar for the first time. The news in the papers is less chipper, but except at the petrol pumps, I rarely hear people grumbling these days about the economy.

Thanks to Sarah about the comment on my new photo heading. My mother-in-law took that photo in her own back garden last year and it just seemed perfect for the blog. I love it too!

On to yoga:
Yolanda delivered another beautiful class today and I learned so much about sequencing and body placement. She is very careful about head and neck alignment. I will definitely be doing more of this in own classes. If your head is properly aligned in mountain pose (chin slightly tucked downward) for instance, you are absolutely more grounded and protected in everyday life. Something to think about.

I need to run as I'm preparing dinner for the whole family tomorrow and have a brisket to slow cook for many hours in preparation. As always, it's all about the food!

Warm hugs to all,

Jan

Love the Mantra

The Mantra 100 on Exhibition was a winner. Or as the Aussie's would say, "a ripper hotel". Perfectly located, well-appointed, clean, quiet, and next door to Cartier Jewelery. Who could ask for anything more? Of course David wouldn't actually let me walk into Cartier and was sweating each time we passed by the entrance, but still it was comforting just knowing it was there.

We had two wonderful meals in Chinatown at Westlake and The Shark Fin House. I can highly recommend them both. Make sure you go around lunch time to savor the dim sum trolleys being pushed around with delectable dumplings and treats. This is called Yum Cha here and is well worth the trip into the city.

Oliver's football match was also a real eye opener. The coach bellowed and screamed at the kids and even made one of them cry. We're talking 10 and 11 year olds here. Now I'm sure this goes on regularly back home on the soccer grounds, but I was shocked. The one soccer game I went to recently for friends in Portland was quite sedate and friendly. Nothing like this all out scream-fest. I was sure that the kids would all hate this coach and dread going to practice, but nothing could have been further from the truth. They took it in stride and even professed affection for the coach. I should also mention that Ol's team is undefeated and currently way ahead. Between shivering on the sidelines and flinching at the yelling though, I'm quite happy Izzy seems more interested in piano and tennis these days.

Tomorrow is more yoga with Yolanda and then a day of gossip and joking with an old friend from my days of living here in Melbourne. And at last a trip to Acland street. Stay tuned.....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Off and away

Sorry I've been a slacker about writing the last few days. All is well here and we've been enjoying family get-togethers and taking in the sights. Speaking of which..

David and I are off to a night on the town in the city (or CBD in Melbourne speak, which stands for central business district)and then we have a new hotel to try out. This is one of our best rituals. Every year we continue our quest for the perfect hotel. It has to be near Chinatown, great shopping, Flinders station, etc... I've picked a new one which is: The Mantra 100 Exhibition. I booked us through a travelocity affiliate called zuji.com and got a great deal. I'll let you know my opinion of it when we get back. We're off now to watch our nephew Oliver play football (otherwise known as soccer) and then we'll hop a train to the city. The weather is rainy, cold, and blustery so we'll see how this tough Ozzie kid manages to make goals in the mud.

More to come soon and thanks for still reading,

Jan

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Treats and tricks...

I'm sure most of you are asking the single burning question of the day.... has she had that Neenish tart yet? The simple answer is yes... and no. I had a very good one yesterday from the bakery on Hampton street that I like (humorously named The Loaf In Bakery) and I'm saving one from Keith's Cakes on Church street for my afternoon tea today. But the all time greatest Neenish Tart from Acland Street is still eluding me. Not for long though... I figured out how to drive there from my yoga class today. HOORAY!

On to yoga. I had a wonderfully serene and satisfying yoga class today with Yolanda at her studio. Her style is so warm and inclusive and she is a master at pacing the class through deceptively effective asanas. Every move was filled with light and ease but I still managed to work out quite a few muscle groups this morning! I loved her encouraging words and gentle manner during the class. I feel certain that I will be incorporating many of her teachings into my own.

After the yoga class, we had a 20 minute meditation practice. My meditation session was going well until I suddenly became very nauseous at the end of it. I'm not sure why this happens to me during meditation. Yolanda assured me that it will get better and that she has experienced this as well. I'm glad...I felt like such an idiot having to lay down on the floor during meditation to overcome the queasiness. So typical of me really, when you consider I get car sickness even when I'm driving! I suppose meditation is like that.. me driving my body/mind and not always being careful enough not to start and stop abruptly or simply taking mind curves too quickly.

Well, that's my day in a nutshell so far. Please keep checking in and sending me comments. I love seeing that map add red dots. And by the way, Izzy is fine now - thanks for asking!

Hugs,

Jan

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A long day of learning...

Happy Tuesday from Australia,

I spent 6 hours today in a yoga workshop with Lev Dulitsky and had a truly mind-energizing experience. My stomach was also galvanized by a wonderful lunch of soup, russian dumplings, and pastries whipped up by Lev's multi-talented wife Elizabeth Dulitsky. (You KNOW how much I love pastries!)

Lev introduced me to ideas about energy and affirmations that I haven't experienced before. We also explored Tibetan Meditation and Oki-do yoga meridian work. I took many notes and have great things to bring back and share with my students this fall... especially for the Yoga for Healing class. Lev was extremely generous with his knowledge and laughter. It was a wonderful day.

Izzy finally got out of the house today and enjoyed the fairy store down the street with her grandmother. She is so comfortable here in Australia and is satisfied with just pottering around the house and garden. David also returned from Sydney tonight and was glowing with joy from spending time in his favorite city with his best friend Joffa. We have so much to be grateful for.

I'm readying myself for bed tonight and will be dreaming of rabbit ears, elephant ears, and buddha ears tonight. Be sure to ask me about this when we next meet.

Warm hugs,

Jan

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sick already...

So my daughter woke up with a sore throat at 4:30 this morning and crawled into bed with me. Ahhh, it's so wonderful to have another turn at winter illness. To be fair, she probably inhaled bad germs on the plane and hopefully it will be a quick recovery. The neighbors have shocking viruses/infections next door and their little girl did come over for a few moments on the day we arrived, but surely it would take longer to incubate?

I had another great yoga session with the birds this morning and experienced this amazing heat-building sensation during meditation at the end. I really felt my body getting warmer and warmer from the core. Kept fanning the flames with my breath and doggone it if I didn't feel the difference. I know... I sound like a kook, but give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

I'm having lunch today with Yolanda Pettinato who has very generously offered me her time and expertise.

Okay, so this is not the most exciting blog today, but at least we're still connected right? Good enough for me.

Hugs,

Jan

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Yogi has Landed...

We're here and all is well. It was actually quite an easy trip and we've settled right back into our Australian life. It only took me three hours in the country to fry the cord to our portable DVD player by plugging it into the wrong type of currency converter. The lesson I've learned from this is never try to deal with electronics on the first day of jet-lag. I had the correct transformer here from our last visit, but my brain just wasn't working properly so I used the wrong one. Oh well, we didn't really need the dvd player for our visit anyway. It was more for me to use to watch my US format Yoga dvd's anyway.

I had a great 6am yoga session today with the birds chirping right outside the window and the light beginning to filter in. Palm trees in sillouette as I began to stretch and circle around and around. I was really enjoying getting my body warm and moving when a largish black spider crawled up my hand. I briefly thought about not harming it in a noble moment of dharmic awareness, but then I let fear take over and squashed the crap out of the poor thing. I felt really evil afterwards and had to laugh at the incongruity of me trying to find my inner peace while at the same time murdering this poor little creature. I kept hearing Bill Bryson's words ringing in my ears that Australia has more poisonous and downright deadly spiders, snakes, and creepy crawlies than any other country on earth. He made it sound as if everything in Australia was out to get you. I went with my gut and attacked the pitiful thing in a pre-emptive strike. It also happened to be in Izzy's bedroom so I guess the mama bear syndrome kicked in too. Anyway, when I come back as a scary bug in my next life you'll all know why.

Hope you are having a great day! More to come later....

Petals

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ready for takeoff and zen pastries...

Girding oneself for 15 hours of nonstop flight is a real challenge. I find that passing the time is not as difficult as the discomfort and fatigue accompanying the flight. It takes days to get my body rhythms back in sync and healthy. But oh, is it worth it! Australia and Melbourne in particular makes my whole body smile. I love the people, the animals, the trams, the pastries, the wrong side of the road... I love it all. Did I just mention the pastries? Let me elaborate. There is something called a Neenish Tart that should be in the Guiness Book of Records for most amazing little yum-yum ever made. My favorite version of this tart comes from a bakery on Acland Street in St. Kilda which just happens to be nearby one of my yoga classes. Hmmmmm... full lotus to full belly! Once again my sensory palate takes over and all things come back to food. The hedonistic flow I feel during yoga and meditation is similar to my devotion to this pastry (and let's be honest all food!). It's no mistake that this tart is half black and half white though. The perfect tao treat! Click here to check out a picture and recipe

I better keep packing, but the next time you are looking for a little balance in your life think Neenish and petalsyoga. ;-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Writing for me

This whole world of blogging is so strange. I'm sure I'm only writing for myself here. Who else has the time or interest in my ideas and words? Surely this is just internet sponsored mental diarrhea? Literally an abnormal frequency and fluidity of verbal evacuations. If you are out there reading this please give me a comment or shout out... I promise I'll do something funny to make it worth your while.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Getting ready...

So, we leave for our big trip to Australia this week. So much to do but I'm just in end-of-school languish mode. Just enjoying lazy moments with my family and avoiding responsibility. I really do need to pick up some chewable dramamine though, or I will be very unhappy on the plane ride over!!!! Yuck!

I'm so looking forward to yoga sessions with Simply Yoga's Yolanda Pettinato and Oki-Do Yoga teacher, Lev Dulitsky. Both are teachers focusing on body healing and yoga as a holistic experience.

I also can't wait to see family and friends in Melbourne. David's grandmother is 98 this year and totally amazing! She still lives at home alone and plucks her own garden weeds when no one is watching. Manna is definitely my hero. If I can get enough secrets out of her about life, then I know I'll have something special to pass on to my own little girl.

Okay, I'm pulling out of the dreamtime and back into trip-planning mode... off to the drugstore! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thoughts from the yenta yogi...

I attended a wonderful meditation as movement class today with Simon Menasche. So perfect and dreamlike. I was weaving in and out of clarity throughout the class and realized how far I've come on my journey into meditation. I have small chunks of time now that I am wholly removed from the space I inhabit. I am also exploring walking meditation techniques and find that simply focusing on the physical dynamics of motion is a wonderful way to soothe my mind. How amazing for the original meditation-phobic. Or as my husband calls me... the most zenless yogi on the planet.

I realize that I'm so annoying about all of this too. As if I am the first person in the world to discover these things, I am constantly shoving my new awareness and techniques at any and all innocent bystanders. The checkout lady, teachers at my daughter's school, my father, and very kind friends have all become hapless victims of my new obsession. Of course I realize that I'm just taking baby steps at this point and don't really have a clue what I'm talking about. I haven't even acquired the level of prowess that my dog has at meditation! Seriously, I mean that poodle can focus!

Anyway, these are my meanderings for today. Come back soon if you can stomach more ruminations of the zenless yogi.