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A transformational weekend: Training with Jaye Martin, Certified Anusara Teacher, Kirtan with Palms Together Kirtan band and teaching at the Jacksonville Lululemon for the first time.

Grace (my husband’s cat and, today I think aptly named, ) and I sit here this Monday morning trying to digest it all. As I eat breakfast at the kitchen island, I realize this is a new beginning. The spirit of Shiva, tearing down the old so that something wonderful and new can be created, is alive in me today.

From here I go to work. My last month of full time corporate life before the formal transition begins. I am committed to serving my company and my clients with the very best now. It is a time of great energy, because I am also ramping up YOGAshae. 

There is a small butterfly somewhere in my belly that flits around every once in a while. I could definitely give it more power… But then I connect with Grace. Letting my divine light shine brightly, trusting in it to guide me towards the right path.

Jaye used an analogy yesterday: We are all basically swimming in a river, not against the current because that would wear us out. We swim with the current, letting it guide us down stream.

That’s me. I am trusting in the river of Grace. And I am committed to acting with Grace at work and in growing my business. I just discovered Anusara means Grace. How completely appropriate.


I met with Alyson today, my teacher at Yoga Den, where I am getting certified. She and I talked for a bit about the business of yoga. The big news for right now:  She asked me to teach for her! What an honor and what a great sign from the universe. YES!

So, it is official. I am on for a Power Hour Thursdays at 4:30 starting April 8th at Yoga Den! AFter a few days of starting to really feel my heart in my throat about leaing my full time job,  this feels really good! WHOOP!

As a side note, then we went into the 6:00pm Sun Power class. What a great feeling, what a great way to celebrate! 23 of 28! YAH!

Well, it is 15 of 28 today. I have had two wonderful yoga sessions. First, Alyson’s Personal Practice at Yoga Den. I had to cut it short for an early meeting, so I took shavasana after the balancing series and headed out. It was actually a very pleasant meeting!

Then, my friend @Aurora28IF came over for an hour of practice. We had a great time. She has been so kind to let me practice teaching. We have experimented with music, flows, technique, and each time she gives me very valuable feedback. Thank you @Aurora28IF! I am so grateful for it!

And now, muscles spent, mind at rest, it is time for sleep. Peace.

4 of 28: Tonight I went to an outstanding class with Paula Puopolo at Ocean Yoga: Through a  wonderful series of hip openers and inverted postures, we targeted our hamstrings, glutes and other various muscles and tendons in the hip and pelvis. I say wonderful now that I feel so loose and free, but at the time there was some serious intensity.

After class, I came home and opened “Yoga Anatomy”  by Leslie Kaminoff ( to determine what the heck we worked. I am no expert at anatomy. However, after 35 years of living in this body, I believe I have finally met my Adductor Longus muscle. If I were to sketch out the meeting it would go like this:

Inhale “ooooohhhh you are new to me:
Exhale “Not really. I’ve actually been here our whole life. You have just been sitting and running and driving and typing too much lately to remember me.”
Inhale “Ummm, really. Oh my gosh. You feel reeeaaally wierd. You mean you’ve been here all along?”
Exhale “Ohhh yah. You have no idea. Now be quiet and just breathe.”
Inhale “Umm, Okay but”
Exhale “Breeeeaaathe, that’s it.”


Paula is an Anusara inspired instructor. After the pinnacle pose, during which the above convo took place,  we came to the front of our mat. We closed our eyes and found tadasana. I felt my center, in my pelvis. I did not sway, I simply sank into that place. A complete peace.  

4 of 28. Oh YAH!

 I really like creating a flow that targets what  my mindbody brings to the mat. For example, this morning my husband and I went  for a run (Gate River Run training week 8  Four miles in the cold darkness , talking about hopes and dreams and loving it! We arrived home energized, inspired and ready for the day.

Mindful of my 28 in 28 commitment,  I began to prepare for practice. After 3 classes in 2 days, I  have typically taken a break from  asana on Wednesday. This morning felt different. I decided to match my energy level with a bit of asana focusing on hamstrings and hips after a cold run. Also, I knew I had to keep it short.  

After a moment of centering I warmed up with Child’s Pose, Cat Cow and some spinal rocking. I then entered into Tadasana. What a feeling of gratitude. My spirit thanking myself for this time? Acknowledgement of my commitment to this practice? Perhaps a brief glimpse of the connection to that divine we all seek. From there I practiced a few Sun Salutations, modifying a bit as I am still sore from yoga last night. I then  focused on hamstrings and hips with Down Dog and Pidgeon. Half shoulder stand and Happy Baby brought me to Shavasana.

Thus ends my physical practice of yoga on day three. But I also acknowledge that, just as the Apostle Paul suggests in the New Testament of the Bible that we pray without ceasing, yoga is a practice we take with us into our day, guiding interactions with others and helping temper our inner dialogue.

Miss Kylie
 Candlelight flickers, dances
I watch through my eyelids
 Mind wanders today
Kylie the cat meows through the door
No colors appearing, that’s different
I try to envision a white ball of light
Focus the mind
That works for a little while
Kylie meows again, her morning discourse
Breath flows in and out
But I am not the driver of the breath
It comes and goes without my direction
Filling my ears, my brain
My body is waking up
Kylie, ready to play, again through the door
5 minutes? The timer will go off
Stay focused, discipline
And then, Purple
A Kalidescope
Kylie meows, again
I realize it might be time
Opening my eyes, a deep inhale
Timer stopped- 5 minutes passed 5 minutes ago
Or more
Peace and joy
Ready for the day
Good Morning Kylie

Getting ready to go to teacher training. Just wanted to update and record how excited I am. It really is wonderful to spend time with people just as excited about yoga as I am.

The old settlement

To celebrate our first anniversary, my husband and I went to the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island. This is a beautiful, historic inn that at one time was part of the Carnegie estate. We planned to bike, kayak, hike and relax the entire weekend. The island is largely public land now, is 18 miles long, and ranges from sand dunes to pine stands to fields of saw grass palms.

Saturday morning we packed a lunch, about a gallon and a half of water and lemonade and set off on our bikes. Our goal was the church JFK, Jr. where JFK, Jr. got married. This tiny chapel, the First African Baptist Church, was, we thought, 7 or 8 miles away.

To condense this long story, the church was more like 14 miles away, through deep sand and rutted roads. We had seriously misjudged this trek. This realization hit me 4 hours later after visiting the chapel and then biking out to the ocean to take the beach back. Not only did the beach route seem shorter, the hard pack would be easier to ride on.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time! Biking in the shade, pushing our bikes through sand and seeing wild horses, passing old coquina buildings that were a part of the old settlements peppered across the island. We love that kind of stuff and were in our element.

Chalk it up to being in love 🙂 or a little spun from crazy work weeks, we just didn’t realize until we started the beach ride back that we were in over our heads. Ten miles to go and 14 ounces of water. The tide was going out and the pack was NOT hard. The sun was out and the wind was blowing. Already tired, we walked as much as we rode, keeping good attitudes and laughing about the situation. Trying not to admit we were in a bit of a jam.

I started to get really week about 5 miles down the beach. I became a little confused and had a hard time breathing. When I sat to rest, getting no relief from the sun anywhere, I really began to have trouble breathing. We decided to take a trail back to the tree line and cut through to the main road. It looked like a 1 mile trek on the map, and maybe a longer distance, but at least we would be out of the sun.

Climbing over the dunes, Chris took the bikes and I was trying to find the trail. That is when I started to see spots. Perhaps I panicked. I know I couldn’t find the trail. Chris started to say things like “stay with me” and such. I told him I just needed to sit down and then I did. I walked a few feet to a small dune and sat down and black out. I mean OUT.

I thought it had been an hour when I heard Chris’ voice saying “Shae wake up! Stay with me. Help is just around the corner, we just need to get back to the beach.” I heard his voice through this louder humming, much like the Ohm sound we chant in yoga. I had this feeling that my Aunt Joyce was close by and that I absolutely had to pull it together. I felt horrible for how much I must have been scaring Chris and I couldn’t let that continue to happen.

I think that is what did it in the end. I did not want to worry Chris anymore than he already was. I opened my eyes, asked him if he had gone for help, (No!,) and how long had I been out (a few seconds- later I find out it was about 20 seconds,) and then I said “okay let’s go.”

I stood up, he grabbed the bikes and we headed out to the beach. I walked slowly for a bit, the wind helped cool me off. I eventually began to push the bike and Chris watched me like a hawk. I then began to ride the bike very slowly. My muscles started to cramp and I actually watched them contract in my legs and arms. This hurts. It is painful.

Coming to the point: in one of my yoga classes they talk about being calm in an uncomfortable place. Usually we are talking about frog :).

I started thinking about how important it was to stay calm. It might be slow, but we could make it home. Breathing trough the cramping helped as well. By focusing on my breath and picking a spot in the distance, my dhristi I guess, I kept going. 

We ran into the owner of the inn about 2 miles down. Thank goodness. She was on the beach with her family. They had driven a truck out. They had water and a banana. It was wild to watch my muscles release as I ate the banana. We pulled through, made it back and recuperated in the AC with water, lemonade and some food. We didn’t do much the rest of the weekend and were perfectly happy that way.

Yes Mom, I went to the doctor when I got home.

I had a classic heat stroke. My husband is my hero. I am so grateful for him and for my life. We learned an important lesson about preparation and expectation. And I learned how to truly stay calm in a very uncomfortable place.

Continuing from my last blog entry, another form of metaphorical High Fructose Corn Syrup comes in the form of communication. Think about how many seemingly random emails you receive from websites you may have visited once. Now, how many email addresses you have for receiving different types of information: work, home, the one you give to friends and family. Are you on Twitter? Do you have a Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace page? Do you have all three? How much snail mail comes your way, and how much radio, music, tv you allow into your life? 

It gets overwhelming just listing these various portals into our lives. I was going through my routine the other morning, deleting my standard 5 or so emails that come through to work when I realized, why not just unsubscribe? Why not just stop the noise?

 When was the last time you drove in silence? 

By the way, stay tuned for my weekly opt-in eNewsletter coming soon 🙂

High Fructose Corn Syrup, it’s everywhere. It’s in everything from ketchup to Special K, non fat ice cream sandwiches to sald dressing,  . High in calories and low in nutritional value, it is created by changing the sugar in corn starch to fructose, another type of sugar. The result is cheaper than sugar itself, and extends the shelf life of the product.

I am not a chemist or a nutritionist. There are studies that suggest that HFCS does not register in the brain the same way that sugar does, and thus we do not receive the same triggers to stop eating that we might with real sugar. There are also studies that say this may not be the case and HFCS doesn’t deserve the bad rap.

I’m going to try to sit this one out. HFCS in moderation may be non harmful, but who wants non harmful? I want enriching and strengthening, nourishment. Also, I don’t need all this extra sweetener in my food. Food is good as is. Plain yogurt is not less than artificially sweetened blueberry pie non fat yogurt, it is plain, and that is enough.

So, avoiding HFCS is hard. As I said, seems to be added to everything today. The answer is whole foods, fruits and veggies, whole grains, etc. But HFCS is insidious and you have to watch for it, actively cut it out.

Here’s the part that hit me the other day. Life is full of metaphorical High Fructose Corn Syrup. It might take the form of committee meetings or clubs or new work projects or reciprocated dinners. If you have a family this might be soccer practice and dance practice and birthday party after birthday party and more.

Now, the above are important. Soccer and dance for children, supporting your local zoo or taking on a new project at work to get a promotion. But if we aren’t careful, these things overwhelm us and we don’t realize we are full. We don’t realize we are stretched to the max,  bellies distended and chowing down more non fat rocky road.

They key is conscious living. What do we get out of what we are putting in. Is it nourishing, strengthening and does it build us up? Or is it more noise, something to keep us from feeling less than?  

Re-educating ourselves may be called for here. Quiet dinners at home, time to read a book, a night with the family looking at the stars at the beach or camped out in a field, or just sitting still and listening to the bugs while the sun sets, these are enriching and meaningful experiences. We can benefit by placing as much value on them as the latest work project that will help climb the ladder.

We are not less than if we choose to slow down, eliminate some of the metaphorical HFCS in our lives. We feel fuller earlier, we look for nourishment over distraction and we live with greater peace.

Om Shanti.

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