Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poodle-boarding as torture...

Now, I'd like to preface this post by saying that I am against torture and I am fully aware of the seriousness of this debate. I know it probably comes as no surprise but I feel that it needs to be stated. Torture = bad in my book.

Having said that, I have found myself the victim of a particularly cruel and inhumane form of torture over the last several months... Poodle-boarding. Put yourself in my shoes:

Every night the 17 year-old toy poodle climbs into bed...(she has a collapsing trachea so imagine a barking sea lion as a poodle and you get a better idea of how this plays out.) Now picture that every 2 hours without fail the poodle will wake up, hack repetitively, climb over you, and hack some more until you awaken to lift her out of bed so she can drink copious amounts of water and then need to go out to have a wee-wee. (yes, I said wee-wee in regards to my poodle's bladder... in my defense, I haven't actually slept in months.)

Repeat over and over again until 5 in the morning when the poodle is finally tired enough to actually sleep until 7:30 when you must get up anyway to start the day. Now add to that one extra little delight I had last night. I gave her a dose of her ineffective coughing medicine last night at 3:00am when I just felt I had to try something to get some sleep and she proceeds to do the following:

Poodle climbs into bed:
Poodle begins hacking as if her whole body is shaking apart:
Poodle begins convulsing and hyperventilating uncontrollably:
I realize that I have somehow inadvertently poisoned or harmed my dog and will be feeling guilty for the rest of my life:
Poodle serenely hacks up a giant gob of YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW! and said medicine all over the bed:
Poodle happily settles back down to sleep for two more hours.

Now, I think under the Geneva Convention I'm due some sort of compensation, don't you?

On another non-torture related note, please check out my nephew's photography blog and leave him some comments. He's my sister's son and I think could really use some kind attention. He's very interested in learning more about photography so feel free to give him feedback and encouragement if you can.

Hope your day and weekend is filled with peace and tranquility. I'm going back to the coast this weekend for a girl's weekend and let's face it, to get a break from the poodle-boarding.



Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sleepy joy and rocks

We spent the weekend with dear friends who have known us for 13 years and stayed in the beach cottage of our closest friends for the last 6 years. So (if my math-challenged brain is correct) that is a cumulative 19 years of loving friendship represented in this weekend. There is nothing on this planet that beats spending fun times with friends and family.

The beach was beautiful and even sunny today. We spent most of our time in Pacific City, OR and it is a great place. But I lost my heart to a tiny little village called Tierra Del Mar which is just down the road from Pacific City. If anyone wants a live-in yoga teacher (and family) in that area, just let me know and I'll start packing.

I collected a handful of black stones today from Tierra del Mar beach that are just perfect for rubbing your worries away. Ever since Australia I've been enjoying my "no worries" stones. Bits and pieces of smooth shells and stones that I collected and brought back to give to friends and students. Just combine the stone rubbing with slow easy breaths and you've got a natural blood pressure regulator and stress-buster. Now I can give away a few from this side of the Pacific. I had a shell in my pocket from St. Kilda beach in Oz and I dipped it in the water here so it had a chance to visit with cousins on this side. Okay, I know I'm crazy but it seemed right at the time.

I'm sleepy and out of it right now, so I'll say, G'night.

Hope you have "no worries" this week or ever,


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Six word Saturday...

Six word Saturday via Cate at Show my Face

Going to beach, cold and gray...

WHY are we going if it is so yucky out, you ask? Visiting friends from Missouri. Best reason in the world!

Friday, April 24, 2009

You know you need a break when...

Hooray for the end of week.
Rest and recharge do I seek.
When it's all said and done,
Downward dog is great fun
But my mat is beginning to reek.

Welcome to Petalsyoga's Pitiful Poetry Place!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend anyway! We're off to the coast to see friends and just relax.

Take care,


Saturday, April 18, 2009

My two cents regarding silence vs. silliness ...

So here's what I think.

Children develop at different rates right? For instance, sometimes a 9 month old begins running while a sturdy 18 month year old has yet to take a step. Eventually though, almost all children who do not have other disabilities learn to walk and run.

I feel the same way about yoga class. It is the rare beginner who can take in all that we are attempting in a yoga class (new breathing techniques, developing still and meditative mind, complex asana/pose directions) and also cope with noise and distraction. For this reason I attempt to keep my beginner classes as soothing and mindful as I can. I want people to have the best possible experience that they can and a soothing environment is key. Some people can handle extraneous sounds (like cell phones) but most are distracted by it in the beginning.

(Having said that though, I never make people feel badly about their phones ringing accidentally in class because that is contrary to the precepts of loving-kindness and acceptance that I personally aspire to in my life and practice.)

For the more experienced practitioners however, I like to add a little more zing to class. Do you remember the first time you drove a car with the radio on? Did it take a little getting used to? Probably. Did it eventually make the drive a little easier or interesting? Maybe. Changing the environment doesn't necessarily "negate" from the overall goal which is to be a good/focused driver no matter what you hear on the radio. Do I think that driving with a cell phone clamped to your ear is a good idea? NOPE. Moderation in all things, even distractions.

So in my intermediate classes and even towards the end of term in my beginners classes I encourage a little silliness or playfulness. Going off focus and then regrouping is a fairly important skill to cultivate both on and OFF of the yoga mat. Do I think it should be a free for all? No. Do I think there is a place for laughter and even a little zaniness in a yoga class? You betcha. Meowing and mooing through Cat/Cow sequences is liberating and adds a whole new layer of focus to the pose through new sensations and feelings. I actually get requests regularly for this one because it is such fun and feels so good. By the time we get to relaxation (corpse) pose at the end of each class we are all regrouped into that sacred space of peace and release. It is from here, irregardless of what else has transpired in class, that we move forward into our day with equanimity and balance.

Just my two cents worth of course. Perhaps too much mooing and meowing has addled my brain...

Woof Woof,


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Interesting debate

So while many people are focused on the economy, tax time, and world unrest I have a somewhat less weighty debate going on in my mind today. Yoga class... temple of silence and devotion or place of some levity and even the occasional cell phone ring?

Let me put both points of view to you and then you weigh in with your thoughts.

1. Temple of sacred silence:

Some places are meant to be quiet and non-disruptive. Movie theaters, plays, and yoga classes. People come to these places to be transported to another world and interruptions such as cell phones really hinder this process. Cell phones and extraneous laughter and shenanigans should be put on hold for the duration of the class.

2. Yoga Comedy Central with sound effects:

Learning to focus irregardless of distractions is part of the yogic practice. A little ringing music or wise-cracking is good for the spirit. Life is filled with ruts and bumps to overcome and eventually cherish. You might as well incorporate this healthy point of view into your class and go with the flow. Giggle, giggle, snort, snort.

What do you think? I'll tell you my impression (if you haven't guessed already!) after you weigh in with your thoughts.



And for the truly absurd, check out the Buddha Phone.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Birds and ice pelting windows

It's that time of year here in my neck of the woods. For some inexplicable reason, the birds swoop into my windows over and over again making horrendous thuds. Whether they think they are fighting another bird in the reflection, trying to mate with other bird (which is fairly odd if you think about it), or simply have gone Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs I don't really know. It lasts every year for about one week and I think it's tapering off now. If you have any bright ideas about why it happens or even how to dissuade the little birdbrains from bashing themselves into my windows, I'd be very grateful. I've tried putting up reflective tinfoil and stickers in the windows to no avail.

Maybe the birds come every year to try to jolt me out of my rut. "Try something new" they implore, "stop beating your head against the same wall day after day". I'll think about it and get back to you.

Would you believe it just began copiously sleeting here as I wrote that last paragraph? Guess I'm on to something. More later then.



Friday, April 10, 2009

April 11 radio interview with author and yogi Myra Lewin

Please join me on

Saturday, April 11th at 4:00pm Pacific Time

for my special interview with Myra Lewis about her book Freedom in Your Relationship with Food: An Everyday Guide.

Myra teaches from her experience in Sadhana (spiritual
practice) which has led her to develop a harmonized
approach to Yoga and Ayurveda as a way of life. She
discovered that Yoga and Ayurveda provided a
solution to the challenges of her fast paced living
which included a corporate career, running marathons
and competitive golfing. For over 25 years, she has
explored, studied and worked in Yoga studies,
wellness, nutrition, Ayurveda, healing, intuition and
energy management.

Click HERE to listen to the interview.

or simply listen here:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Walking on sunshine

Starvation Creek Falls, Columbia Gorge, OR photo by Bryan Swan

I just got back from a walk in the glorious sunshine today and I literally felt myself sipping in sunshine along the path. I had a smile on my face and a tune in my heart. The runners and joggers so intently focused, passed me by and I was so happy for them to be pursuing their path as I gently plodded along on my own. I stopped on a wooden bridge to watch water trickling down a small stream and enjoyed a short meditation on the following writing that I read aloud to my yoga classes last night:

Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you.

(b. 1931)

I remember starting the walk with such intent and purpose. I wanted to exercise my heart and regain fitness. But at some point my focus changed and I just wanted to be a part of the stream. Meandering here and trickling there. I allowed myself to mindfully float back down the path and the walk became so much more to me than exercise. It became an affirmation of joy and good health. Surely that is good for my heart too, don't you think?

I hope you take a few minutes today to allow yourself to explore the grooves, cracks, and crevices of your own life and like the stream, just follow it. It will take you where you need to go.

Sunny love,


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Abundant support works!

Thanks so much for the support and prayers for my sister. It worked. I talked to her today and she felt the sunshine on her face and the calm enter her heart. Seriously, she felt the support of so many people thinking of her with loving thoughts and she didn't even know about this blog posting until I told her about it. I am always overwhelmed by the power of intention and loving-kindness. Please know that you are all in my heart and thoughts as well.

I am so grateful for you!



Friday, April 3, 2009

The eye of the hurricane

This posting is for my sister who is going through a very tough time right now and who has been trying her best to remain calm and focused while the winds of discord and loss whip around her.

Would you please join me in sending her loving thoughts of healing and support and maybe leaving a loving comment below for her?

Stay strong and centered my beautiful sister. Even the most devastating hurricanes eventually blow themselves out into gentle rain and then sunshine. And being the strong survivor that you are, you too will rebuild and recover from this storm.

With love to you and your WHOLE family!



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More memories from the trip...

Izzy and me in front of a boxing kangaroo...

Click here for more info about The famous Beach Bathing Boxes of Brighton:

The roundabout on Church Street Brighton- think 4 way stop with no stopping...

Roundabouts: Roundabouts are intersections which have a central traffic island around which you must travel in a clockwise direction.

* Approaching and Turning: When approaching a roundabout you should consider which direction you wish to travel away from the intersection and so choose the appropriate lane to approach the roundabout. Sometimes arrow marking are on the roadway to assist drivers to choose. Approach the roundabout in the right lane if you plan to turn right and approach in the left lane if you plan to turn left. You may continue travelling straight ahead from either lane.
* Entering A Roundabout: Give way to traffic entering or already on the roundabout if there is any risk of collision but keep moving if the way is clear.
* When Intending To Turn Right: Enter the roundabout via the right lane and exit the roundabout via the right lane, keeping to the right side within the roundabout. When entering the roundabout indicate right, when exiting the roundabout indicate left.
* When Intending To Turn Left: Enter the roundabout via the left lane and exit the roundabout via the left lane, keeping to the left within the roundabout. When entering and exiting the roundabout indicate left.
* When Continuing Straight Ahead: Enter the roundabout according to the directions given by the approach arrows, and keep to the same side as you enter the roundabout. When exiting the roundabout indicate left.

Please note that care needs to be taken on the roundabout when being used by cyclists, pedestrians, or long vehicles which may occupy more than one lane when driving around the roundabout.

If you cannot leave the roundabout because it is unsafe then go around again.

That's a good metaphor for life don't you think?

Anyway, we're still lagging and jagging...and now I'm fighting off a cold. Hope you aren't stuck in too many roundabouts in your life right now.

Happy Wednesday,