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This weekend was a forced break, for both my husband and myself. We played and talked. We visited the town where we were married, (Fernandina Beach,) and kicked it off with a great workshop from Alyson Foracre and Lululemon. Yoga for Runners Saturday at Lulu in St. John’s Town Center. We started with some breathing and side stretching, then a quick 1 mile run followed by about an hour and a half of postures and flow. We both learned a great deal!

Sunday, our long run, and then stretching using some of the techniques we learned from Alyson! And then, an idea was born. Why not host a daily run/yoga hour from 6:15-7:15? Perhaps this becomes part of Anjali Yoga’s offerings? Definitely worth exploring.

Great weekend, awesome yoga. Giving thanks to the universe for this blessing.


 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.

Working on a gentle flow for my first regular private student tonight! As I break down asanas into teachable steps, I think about the first and most important element of yoga, the breath. I plan to introduce conscious breathing in the beginning of practice, and eventually work up to the Ujjayi breath.

Yoga means union or yoke, as in yoking breath with movement, body with mind, individual with the divine. Through conscious breathing, the process of unification begins.

I’m looking forward to teaching this class. I know I will learn more through this experience than my student. For that, I am grateful.

So, this week was an amazing week! Monday night I had the opportunity to teach a beginning yoga student, a friend of mine looking for instruction in postures and breathing basics before she heads back into a studio.

 It reminded me of that exersise from Summer Camp where the goal is to build a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sounds easy, but there are two of you, one who does the building and one who does the instructing. If the instructor does not mention EVERYTHING, from taking the lid off the jar to holding the knife by the handle, then things can get very messy very quickly.

It was a little like that. More so, it was an excersise in deconstructing my assumptions. For example, thinking that everyone knows how to do downward dog. Not the case. My friend is definitely fit, and she has done yoga before, but her version of DD was a plank/DD hybrid. Helping her into a more restorative pose proved challenging as I realized for the first time a certain amount of mobility in the shoulders and chest is required.

Moing on, I gave my second Yoga talk at work. We focused on breath and learned Ujjayi and Dirgha techniques. Last, I demo’d my fusion flow idea for another teacher. She actually had me teach her scheduled class for her! I lead 3 students through the flow and afterwords received their feedback. This sent me flying for the rest of the night.

Hang on to your hats! This is getting good!

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.

Last Sunday I went for my long run. My husband and I are training for a 10 mile race on October 25th at White Oak Plantation, He has always wanted to tour it, and it is a fundraiser for  GirlsOn the Run Anyway, that level of running is definitely impacting my flexibility on the mat. My hope is that by continuing to deepen my practice, I will be able to be a better runner, and in turn, the level of fitness I am seeking through running will help me increase strength and stamina on the mat.

Back to last Sunday. My music was pumping, I was having a blast but definitely getting tired. At the end of the run, I felt the urge to go through a few rounds of Surya Namaskar. The music was going and I felt so energized.

It hit me, why couldn’t this be shared? Why couldn’t this be a class taught once a week, with an emphasis on alignment and safety, but to a beat and incorporating a dance like fluidity? I flew home to show my husband who loved it and  spent the next hour working on the flow. This week I ran it by two of my favorite teachers and they both enthusiastically supported the idea. One of them said, “you want to teach it?”

This floored me, but the reality is that yes, I do. I gave her several reasons why I just couldn’t yet:

“It isn’t finished, I’m not officially certified. And I need to be fit enough to do it!”

“You don’t need to be certified Shae. You just  I need to be confident.” 

Confidence, yes.  I need to be confident. But the reality is I have some work to do. This morning I worked on the flow for about an hour and a half. I realize that I really have a ways to go to achieve the level of fitness needed to teach at this tempo. What a great motivator! I realize as I get deeper into certain postures that some areas are more difficult to achieve at my body’s current size.

This is not a harsh judgement on myself. Most women these days have gone through periods in their lives, or spend their entire life, in a battle with their bodies. Think for a minute about what it is like to wake up every morning and pick up the fight you left off the night before, with yourself! Now think about what its like to resurrect the fight 3 times a day. I have been there, believe me. Through patience and cultivation of self-love I have left the harshness of that fight behind. I still struggle with the conversation in my head sometimes, but I don’t let that judging voice in anymore.

However teaching a 60 minute fast tempo yoga class is going to require a different level of fitness. That is where I am going with this line of thinking. Yes, I still want to reach out to the population that relies on yoga for vital living, and also to the population that may be entering their late 40’s, early 50’s and needing to increase flexibility and bone strength. Yoga is so wonderful for that. But this will be a way to let my hair down and stay challenged.

I love music, I love to dance and move and I love yoga. Beet Yoga  will fuse these things in a joyful way, while still focusing on alignment and safety, and giving thanks for life and vitality.

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