Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank you for blogging about Sarah D.!

A big thank you to Angela from Just waffling...


Sarah at One Real Thing

for blogging about my friend Sarah Dinsmore who is working through her recent diagnosis of gastric cancer. You can read her story here. And my recent posting about her and our friendship here.

Thank you so much for putting her at the front of people's minds and hearts.

Your words are the best medicine that exists.

With love,


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Can cancer be a blessing?

Weird blog title right? Well, you might not think so after you read this excerpted blog from my friend Sarah.

Sarah has been my friend for 15+ years. She was there for me when my daughter Izzy was born and she was with me with hugs and support when I was diagnosed with both forms of my own breast cancer. Sarah has always been there for me.

Sarah has just been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer and I sat with her in the oncologist office two weeks ago while she heard the most devastating news any person can imagine hearing. Her two daughters collapsed into tears as we all hugged and tried to imagine how life could possibly go on. Through it all, my dear friend Sarah kept her chin up and said "no". "This isn't me he's talking about."

The very next day, Sarah came to my Healing Yoga class and spent the entire hour comforting my other students and offering advice and compassion regarding their problems or concerns. Not ONCE did she mention what we had gone through less than 24 hours before. This is why my friend Sarah is so beloved and deserving of tremendous support. She cries over other cancer patients who don't have the love and support that she has.

Would you please consider spreading the word about her? She has ZERO financial resources and barely lives paycheck to paycheck. To be honest, I had no idea it was this bad. I'm embarrassed to say that I thought she was doing "ok". Not great but getting by. Now I realize that in the midst of all of this, she might not be able to pay for rent or food let alone costly medical treatments. Can you imagine feeling "blessed" in the midst of this?

If you feel you could, please, please consider posting about her and spreading your network open for her.

The website I designed for her is:

Prayers, good wishes, and small donations can literally change Sarah's life right now. She can focus on healing and keep on counting all of the blessings in her life.

Thanks so much for ALWAYS being such wonderful and caring friends,


Monday, June 28, 2010


Can you hear it? The laughter of course! This weekend I finished my training to become a certified Laughter Yoga Leader. It was AWESOME! We laughed so hard and for so long that I'm sure you could hear it from wherever you are. I went into the first day of class feeling a little sluggish and by the end of the second day I was literally THRUMMING with health and joy.

This is from the website:
Laughter Yoga has been scientifically proven that laughter is both preventive and therapeutic. People practicing Laughter Yoga regularly report amazing improvement in their health as well as a more positive mental attitude and higher energy levels. The first thing participants say is that they don’t fall sick very often; the frequency of normal cold and flu reduces or even disappears. There are daily reports of partial or total cure of most stress-related illnesses like hypertension, heart disease, depression, asthma, arthritis, allergies, stiff muscles and more. While this sounds fantastic, it all makes perfect sense, as laughter is nature’s best cure for stress.

Most illnesses today are stress related and chronic stress attacks the immune system and makes us vulnerable to infections, virus attack and cancer. In fact, this is a major motive for people taking to Laughter Yoga. You can feel the difference from the very first session. You get energized; your mood changes and you feel great. With regular practice you can experience a big change in mental and physical health. Laughter Yoga practitioners are happier and healthier; they can cope with stress better, and have a positive outlook on life.

Still not convinced? Check this out:

If you haven't tried Laughter yoga yet go to the site here to find a club or class to try. Also, I will be offering a class in the Fall at Cedar Hills Recreational Center if you are interested in trying it with me. I'd love to have you come play with me.

Love and giggles to you all,


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blogging my way out of catastrophe....

This is a "blog-lite" posting today. Just an attempt to get my feet back in the water and get inspired to post again. I've been overwhelmed with stress, unchecked emotions, and illness lately and the thought of writing has seemed insurmountable. "I'm too worn out" or "I won't be able to be creative enough right now". How silly. It's just writing. Do you build things up to ridiculous proportions in your own mind too? I love this quote from Mark Twain, "I've suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened."

We humans are so talented at manufacturing hurdles for ourselves out of nothing. I try to catch myself doing this nowadays but it is insidious. The antidote of course is to just be real and present in this breath and moment. Because the past is done and the future will unfold as it will, but THIS moment is the one that we can give ourselves to wholly... again and again. This moment is very likely not filled with catastrophe at all, just space and mindfulness. Instead, it is pregnant with potential.

I invite you to look into your own life for things you worry about that have little or no basis in reality. I'd be so interested to hear your opinions on this or any other topic.

Wishing you a beautiful moment,


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bodaat...blogging one day at a time: Mangalore Tragedy

Feeling pain for my friend Kavita and of course for the poor people grieving their losses of family and friends.

Bodaat...blogging one day at a time: Mangalore Tragedy

Wishing that words and prayers were enough to heal the world.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

So Faux at Letting Go...

I have a confession to make:

I'm a fraud.

I encourage my students every single day to practice letting go of the past and the future and to focus only on the moment at hand. Breath by breath.

I stink at this sometimes. And this day was one of those times.

I got caught up in drama and lost it. I vented, I fretted, I even whined. I tried to control the future outcome and lamented the failings of the past. Today was not a good day for this practitioner of mindfulness... except.... I recognize it. I totally get IT. I allowed myself to get caught up in old patterns for the sake of momentary comfort rather than facing the truth of my feelings and emotions in the moment. I got some momentary juice and power from going rogue but now I'm left with regret and sadness. I have more work to do on calming my reactive muscle and building up the deliberate response one instead.

So I guess technically I'm not so much a fraud but more just an imperfect being on my own path. Practicing, making mistakes, and trying to catch myself sooner in the moment rather than reacting first and regretting later. And maybe making mistakes and learning to love myself whether I am zen or zany is actually a pretty good quality for a teacher. Maybe it's a pretty good quality for anybody.

So I guess, I'm really okay. And I suspect you are really okay too, in this moment, no matter what....

You can now return to your regularly scheduled life. Sorry for the false alarm.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

A recipe for living fearlessly... embrace this moment.

Hi friends,

I'm in super-relaxed mode today. No worries, no striving, no trying. AHHHHHH... it is a great mode to be in, let me tell you. I had a crazy week last week with lots of teaching and mother-work and it feels so good to unwind after that. This is what came to me today on my walk with our darling dog Lolly.

We spend too much energy avoiding death when instead we should be fearlessly living life.

For example, yesterday I read about this fungus that is spreading in the Pacific Northwest.

Now, I've already lost one lung to a "rare" fungus so this sent me into somewhat of a tailspin. An old familiar fear began to creep up my spine. I thought about the multiple field trips that I've been taking to the Tillamook Forest with my daughter's school this year (last Tuesday for example) not to mention the daily walks with Lolly to the local fields and woods. For one brief moment, I thought about adjusting my plans to avoid going on more field trips or to avoid the woods with the dog.

Thank goodness for my mindfulness practice. I took a deep breath and tuned into the reality of this moment. It's all we've got... really. In this moment, I'm fine. I'm healthy in this moment. I'm happy in this moment. I'm thankful for my life in this moment. Ahhhhhhh. No worries. No matter what might be coming (and let's face it life isn't always filled with easy moments) I will be okay. I will live life fully and fearlessly to make it a life worth living and no mold spore is going to take that away from me. (Or pig virus, or cancer cell, or earthquake... you get my drift) I might still have moments of fear but I am committed to having many more moments of just being.

So that's what I've been ruminating on today and I thought I'd share it with you. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Hoping that you are having a super-relaxed day too,


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beauty mate....

Sun, waves, delicacies, family, friends... Need I say more? We're having a wonderful time. I spent yesterday with my dear friend and teacher Yolanda Pettinato learning some new takes on familiar poses. It was pure and soothing to my still jet-lagged soul. I don't think I've managed to stay awake past 8pm yet! Yolanda also made a delicious lunch of fresh fish and veggie stirfry. It's amazing how the simplest meals here just taste that much better because of the high quality of produce and meats. Every single meal we've had so far has left us mmmmmmming and making other sundry yummy noises. Champagne honey chicken paired with delicate tempura snowpeas.... you get the picture.

I've been celebrating my own yoga practice each morning on the back veranda (porch) with gaggles of birds enjoying my endeavors. One of them makes a particularly funny knocking sound accompanied by a caw. It certainly helps to keep me rooted in the moment!

I so hope you are having your own moments of joy and wonder wherever you are.

With love from down-under,


Friday, March 12, 2010

Back and forth...

Hi friends,

So, you've likely noticed I've been away for a while. Let's just say I've spent a lot of time walking the pup and clearing my mind. It's been good. I'm sorry for those of you who may have worried about me... I should have posted sooner.

Chris Bernal passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, January 31, 2010. This took the wind out of my sails for quite a while but I know he is in a much better place now. You can read more about his passing here:

We leave for Australia tomorrow and with a million and one things to do to get ready I've picked a strange time to post, but I did feel the need to reach out and say "hello" to friends old and new. I hope all is well with you and in your world. I'll see if the posting bug bites me while I am in Oz.

Many hugs to you all,


Monday, January 11, 2010

Avatar Anonymous

Disclaimer: YOGAGALNW is on vacation this week. Posting may be irrelevant and just plain silly with very little at all to do with yoga.

Okay, here goes. I took my daughter and her friend to see Avatar in 3-D yesterday. We left in plenty of time to see a NORMAL movie but apparently the entire world is still bursting out of their houses to see Avatar, so by the time we got there only a few seats were left. In the first row. Literally, the only 3 seats left in the theater.

Now, a normal person would have realized that sitting in the front row of a highly graphic 3-D movie with two 10 year-olds is NOT a good idea. I've never actually been normal. I guess I remember being a kid myself and sitting in the front row of a movie and thinking it was kinda cool. Please keep reminding me I'm 40 and not 14 anymore...

We made it through the preview with my daughter only having her hands over her ears the entire time because of the sound. We managed through the first (totally amazing by the way)15 minutes of the movie only to discover that all 3 of us were nauseous. I mean WAY nauseous. We had to high-tail it out of that movie quicker than you can say barf-bag.

So, I stood up outside long enough to gulp down air and to ask for and receive a refund for the movie. The manager didn't balk at all about the situation. I got the definite feeling that this was happening on a regular basis at this movie or maybe they were simply afraid that I was going to toss my cookies through the little plastic payment slot. Anyway, they couldn't have been nicer about it and I'm very thankful for that.

I managed to drive the kids back to the house where they had fun playing and I fell into bed with dizziness and queasy stomach. Instead of feeling better, I just kept getting worse. It took me 5 hours and a few trips to the smallest room in the house to feel human again. Thank you darling hubby for taking the MUCH more resilient kids out to lunch and then our guest home again.

I think it's hysterical that the movie made me so sick. I can now add this to the LONG list of things that make me sick and not the average person. Along with, driving myself in my car on a windy road, standing on a pier, and watching birds flying by. So, so pitiful! I guess I should just be thankful that standing in tree pose watching the traffic going by DOESN'T make me ill. (I'll likely regret that last statement.)

Anyway, that's my posting for your amusement. I hope it made you laugh a little. Believe me, it really was very funny. I'm thinking of starting a support group for people who can't make it through Avatar without hurling.

Hugs but no hurls to you,


Friday, January 8, 2010

Marathon yoga teaching...

Hooray! Celebrate with me. I've just finished teaching 18 classes in two weeks and I feel great. It was a joyful, exhausting, and illuminating experience for me and I hope for the students I taught.

A true gift was given to me by a student that I've taught for a few terms now. She is a classic "push yourself harder" type of student. One that I'm steadily easing into a gentler space. A place of grace and acceptance. This week she told me that she had finally found a place opening within her by NOT striving for it. YES! I felt that I had truly made a difference in her life and hopefully in the lives of others.

I simply love my job and I am so grateful for the growth, kindness, and blessing of living this life. I read in a magazine today that being a celebrity means simply living a life filled with celebration. That's exactly how I feel. Come be a celebrity with me and exult in your wondrous life as well.

Namaste peeps,


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year... Happy New You!

Instead of celebrating a calendar date let's celebrate us! Our hopes, dreams and aspirations. Let's make this new year be all about achieving our fullest potential while simultaneously being grateful for what we've already got right in front of us. Happy New Me and Happy New You!

Hugs from my heart center,


Lessons from Mount St. Helens: Life is constant transformation...