musings of a yoga teacher trainee

musings of a yoga teacher trainee

Being enlightened means as you wake up more and more, you become sensitive to the world around you and within you…Waking up to the world, feeling yourself as only a part of it, and loving the interpenetrating parts that make up all of life is the goal and gradual fruition of spiritual practice. —Michael Stone, Yoga for a World out of Balance

When I started this blog almost three years ago, I promised I would take you with me on my newest adventure: leaving my corporate job and seeing what happens next. I had no plan, no safety net…just a little bit of savings and a desperate desire to find my way back to a more creative life.

Since then I’ve shared some of my travels, the creative classes I’ve taken to get my mojo back, and talked about what it takes to start your own freelancing business.

Then I got so busy with said business that I forgot to stop and chronicle some of these adventures.

I’ve also talked about my growing love for yoga, and that has led me to a new adventure: I’m training to become a yoga teacher.

Now before you roll your eyes and wonder if it’s possible for a person to check every box on the cliché checklist, let me tell you: I’m not sure yet if I actually want to teach.

And I am still 100% committed to my business as an author and marketing consultant.

But I love this thing called yoga so much that I want to learn more. Every time I learn something new about it, I crave more. For the last couple of years, I have been going beyond my usual weekly classes to seek out more information in workshops and other forums. I’ve studied Reiki and inversions and yoga philosophy–but I’ve really only scratched the surface. There is SO much more out there to learn.

So I committed myself to 14 weeks of training, which will ultimately lead to a 200-hour yoga teacher certification with the Yoga Alliance.

I am learning sanskrit. And anatomy. And all about chakras and ayurvedic principles, how to cue poses and read the room and look for misalignments.

It is a LOT of information. I come home tired and excited and overwhelmed and did I mention tired?

I don’t know where this is leading. But I know I love the journey.

It was not an easy decision to make. It’s a significant investment, both in time and money. At first, the pragmatic side of me could not wrap my head around it. “But why would I do this?” I asked my teacher. “I can’t come up with a practical reason.” She laughed and said, “Because it will change your life.”

Ultimately, I made the commitment because it’s what my gut (and my curiosity) told me to do. The timing was right, I adore my studio and the teachers who are running the program, and it just felt like the right path for me to follow.

We have started our studies with The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and this is one of my favorite quotes so far:

If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude towards them does that. —Sri Swami Stachidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

So I choose to be liberated. To build the life I want to live. As my studies continue over the next few months, I know there will be revelations and breakdowns and breakthroughs. When I have a moment to stop and reflect, I promise to keep you posted.


How to get yourself out of a tailspin

The room went eerily silent, and 24 pairs of eyeballs were pointed at me. Anticipation was hanging thick in the air like a humid summer day.

A few months ago, I did my first official reading of my bilingual book for kids, Enchanted Forest. I was delighted to be asked to do a reading and signing at the Children’s Museum in La Habra.

I was so excited about it, that I fretted in the weeks leading up to the date. How would I read it? Would the audience be expecting me to read my story in Spanish too? What if the kids don’t like it? WOULD ANYONE EVEN BE THERE? If an author reads a story in an empty children’s museum and there’s no one there to hear it, does it still exist?

So I did what any former actor would do: I rehearsed the daylights out of it. I read the story aloud to myself, and to the captive audience I have at home. I watched YouTube videos about author readings and I saw how others did it, which incited a whole OTHER list of questions. Should I have a PowerPoint? (Do kids really need a PowerPoint presentation to hear a story?!) Should I have some music? What should I wear–a dress (this is what an author looks like, kids), jeans (I’m cool and casual, see?), a costume (woohoo! I’m a creative type!!)

That’s just the reading. Then there’s the signing part. Do I have enough books? How many is too many to bring? But I don’t want to run out. Do I have a good Sharpie–one that’s not flattened out and all dry and flaky? How will I carry my stuff into the venue? I need one of those rolly cart thingys to lug all my author stuff around…

We are talking #nextlevel anxiety here. I was working myself into a tailspin about one little reading. That I volunteered to do.

And I was really, truly excited to do the reading! I just wanted it to be perfect.

But at one point, I had a moment of clarity and realized what I was doing to myself. I was trying to control the outcome of something I had absolutely no control over.

I started thinking about ALL the things I do this with. Ever since last year’s election, there has been a cloud of uncertainty and anxiety following me around like a curse. I don’t think about it every minute of every day, but I do listen to podcasts and read news stories every day that have me seriously fretting about the future of our country and the world.

Add to that the other stuff that’s swirling around in my head all.the.time., like my biz goals, work for my clients, traffic on the 405, new story ideas, the grocery list for next week, healthy meal prep, yoga inversion poses that challenge me, finding decent gluten free pasta, and on and on. And all the things I forget to remember, like shutting the freezer door all the way, replenishing the dogs’ biscuit supply and setting up lunch with that friend I said I would call three weeks ago.

I know you all have the same list of a thousand things running through your brain all the time. Don’t you?

Well, I’m calling it. IT’S TOO MUCH.

Some of that stuff I can control, but some of it (most of it), I absolutely cannot. And even if I could, it probably wouldn’t matter anyway.

Case in point: here’s what happened at my reading.

I did not leave 45 minutes early, as planned. Traffic stunk. I got there just barely on time to an empty room.

I took some deep breaths.

The room started to fill up. Slowly at first, and then in little rushes. It wasn’t a full house but there were at least 20 people there. Kids and parents and grandparents…it was kind of awesome.

I took a few more deep breaths, and then I just jumped in. I read my story and to my delight and surprise, no one threw any rotten tomatoes or insults at me. In fact, I think they kinda liked it. A few of them even wanted to buy my book and take a picture with me. Pretty cool.

So as I drove home, I started thinking about what I could do in the future when I get myself into one of these anxious tailspins, and I came up with these three keys. I sure could have used them before this reading, but I think they actually can be used for anything.


  1. Lower the stakes and narrow the scope.

    Dial back the drama already. Ask yourself, “If this thing doesn’t turn out the way I want, what is actually going to happen?” No doubt the world will NOT end, your life will not be over, and your life’s purpose will emerge unscathed. So lighten up a bit, will ya?

  2. Define your intention.

    If you don’t know already, ask yourself why you’re doing this thing. What do you want to get out of it? When you’re done, how do you want to feel?

  3. Crack a smile.

    Try to have a little fun. Whether you’re reading a book in front of a bunch of toddlers, or speaking to a crowd of a thousand, nothing is THAT serious. Think of something that makes you laugh, or find a little humor in the situation. Seriously, it’s not that serious.

Got it? Good. Now take a breath and go conquer the world. And PS, I’m happy to report I have since done many public reading and signings for both Enchanted Forest and my next book, Enchanted Castle, and somehow the kids always show up and seem to enjoy it. Imagine that!


Mixing A Little Mindfulness Into Your Morning

Mixing A Little Mindfulness Into Your Morning

Back when I was working my corporate job, mornings were a hectic, spastic kind of a mess. To get up and out and take care of everything that needed to be handled before rushing out the door to sit in traffic was…madness.

I always wanted to get more organized, and maybe even bring a little calm to my mornings. But I could never figure out how to do it without making it even more time-consuming and complicated.

As I retooled my life towards a more creative path, reclaiming my mornings was one of the first priorities on my list.

Setting an intention for your day sets the tone for everything to follow; it’s no wonder you’re feeling stressed, panicked and exhausted if that’s how you’re starting off every morning.

Flip that dynamic around—I dare you to just try it for a week and see if it makes a difference in your sanity.

Here are a few simple things I do every morning to bring a little more awareness, calm, and mindfulness to my day. And by the way you guys, this actually doesn’t take any more time than my hectic morning routine did. Read more