Elizabeth Gallo: TGBTS Featured Teacher


Don’t you just love them?

I know I do.

There are those that inspire me and those that make me laugh. Some help me solve problems in my classroom and others that help me solve problems in my life.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite teachers here.

Teachers in studios, classrooms and in the world at large. These are the folks you will see featured in my series of teacher interviews here at Teacher Goes Back to School.

I hope you enjoy these teachers as much as I do!


Have you met Elizabeth yet? We are practically twins! We are both Curvy certified yoga teachers, former classroom teachers, mamas to extraordinary daughters and adorable brunettes!

featured teacher

Here’s my interview.

When did you start practicing?

I took some yoga in college (like everyone else) but really fell in love with it in my twenties while living in New York City.

 Why did you start?

Honestly, I don’t remember. Is that bad?  I think that might be bad.

I do remember feeling like New York could be very lonely.  Yoga provided not just a place to go, but a group dynamic that was about just being.  One of my poet friends and I would take classes together – it was a beautiful respite from the city, from our jobs, from the desire to write brilliant stuff.  In retrospect maybe it was a step in determining who I wanted to be as an adult.

Where did you practice?

My first yoga home was Integral Yoga Institute on 13th Street in New York City.  It was such an oasis for me.  It has an old-school feeling – the studios have sweet names like “Heaven” and there is a strong sense of lineage there.  Interestingly, as my own practice has deepened, that sense of lineage has grown more precious to me. I am a yoga mutt, for sure, but knowing where different elements of my practice originate is important to me. I want to honor my teachers through my practice and teaching.

How has your practice evolved over time?

My practice found new space and importance in my life when I got pregnant.  I had to have the yoga.  Yoga sustained me through a difficult first pregnancy and birth trauma and into another pregnancy just a few months later.  This was a more defining beginning in some ways, and I was lucky that my yoga found a home at Shakti Yoga & Living Arts, where I met my dear teacher Anna Winkler.

 My practice has become more strongly alignment-based, more therapeutic. More importantly, it has become more and more about creating a space for myself to be and breathe, outside of my main job of mothering my two girls.  It has become less changing to accept and more accepting to change.

mama wheel

 How long have you been a teacher?

I think I’ve always been a teacher.  I loved to play school when I was a little girl — as my girls do now – maybe all little kids do?  But when my original plans to go to an ivy-league-that-shall-not-be-named to become an academic didn’t come to fruition, I got sidetracked and went off to study music.  All along, I’ve always felt connected to my teachers – really loved them. I recall this so strongly with my voice teachers over many years: Richard Rosewall, Kathleen Kaun, Mary Davenport, Gary Race.

When I was studying music in graduate school, I got to teach again, and it my favorite thing about graduate school.  Working with younger singers to make their voices beautiful and healthy has so similarities with my teaching now — but I got sidetracked again.  After a second stint in graduate school (earning a degree in creative writing) and a few years working in publishing, I felt called to teach again.  I completed the New York City Teaching Fellows program and became a high school English teacher. I taught in the Bronx and in Newark, NJ before retiring to give birth to my own teachers.  My yoga practice was so crucial to me during and after my back-to-back pregnancies that when my teacher suggested I do the teacher training program, I agreed.   

I was just listening to one of Pema Chodron’s talks that was recommended to me by a friend who is also on the path. Speaking about dharma, she reminds us that it is “the total appreciation of impermanence and change.”  In some ways, this has described my teaching career to date – always changing but always so fulfilling regardless of the application.

Why did you start Me and Les Girls?

I started Me and Les Girls after my daughter was born and my life shifted so dramatically.   I wanted to write. I wanted to connect.  I was just starting to meet other yogis online, so it coincided with a whole new world opening to me – one that gave me a little connection while I was home with my two babies.


As of December 2013, my blog will be available through my website as well, so it is be easier to find me.

What are your classes like?

My classes are eclectic, I think.  I don’t teach from a menu of sequences.  Mostly no music – I know, so shocking in this day and age.  My classes are about turning inward, but still about having a sense of humor.  They are about nurturing whatever body and mind you bring to the mat that day, that hour.  The classes are slow enough that you will have time to find some pleasing, beneficial alignment in the pose and then breathe there. I like people to ask questions, give feedback, think, work, and laugh.  And at the end, I want you to rest.   


 Do you have a home practice? What is it like? How often? Where? How’d you start and how do you keep at it?

Practicing at home is very difficult in terms of time and space – for everyone, no matter how big their space is, no matter how much free time they have.  My home practice started out of necessity, when I would sneak in bits of practice during nap times.  But it stuck, which is the point. I do some sort of home practice most days, even if it is ten minutes.  This regularity is so key to really feeling the yoga.

When we moved to Evanston last year, I got lucky when my daughters decided that they wanted to continue sharing a bedroom!  I have the spare bedroom as my yoga room.  I went on a prop-buying spree this summer, and now I have lots of goodies to make my practice (or yours) feel good and work to heal what ails me (or you). But my next purchase will take it to the next level – ropes!

What’s your favorite pose? Why?

It’s hard to choose!  I like the strength and length in Trikonasana.  I like a meditation seat like sukhasana, which by the way, for many people is not an “easy” pose.  I love to backbend and stand on my head, too.

What’s your least favorite pose?

Tree pose.  Blech.

Do you have a meditation practice?   

Yes, and it is even harder to keep up with meditating than it is with asana.  But it is also more important.  As Erich Schiffman reminded me (and a bunch of other people) in a workshop last summer, meditation is the centerpiece of our practice.  And if you’re not meditating, you might not be practicing yoga. Worth considering.  Meditation makes me feel so good so quickly.  It is nice to practice asana first to make the body more supple and accepting of the sitting.  But even on its own, meditation is a magic-maker for me.  My breathing slows and lengthens. Afterwards the furrow in my brow is just a little less there.

What other blogs do your read?  

I read TGBTS (of course), and the blogs of many of my yoga teachers and yoga sisters:  Cora Wen/Yoga Bloom, Flying Yogini, Curvy Yoga, Sarahsana, Yoga Betty.  I also like reading Samantha Irby’s Bitches Gotta Eat and Ta-Nehisi Coates.  I enjoy Smitten Kitchen and 101 Cookbooks, too.  I keep up with my beloved Cubbies on Bleed Cubbie Blue and Chicago restaurants on Eater.  But I also love reading books!  (GASP!  So old-school!)  Especially yoga, buddhism, poetry and cookbooks.


Oh I love reading!  One of my frustrations as a mom is not having as much time to read as I would like.  But blogs are great because they are so portable: I can read them on my phone in the short moments I have waiting to pick up the kids and between classes.

 Who and what inspires you?

People who stick with things inspire me.  I’ve never felt like I was great at seeing things through, and in some ways this is why I like yoga.  Staying right in the moment in a pose or in a meditation or in an everyday chore is so freeing, but also so fulfilling.  Now the people who have stayed with their practice for decades inspire me:  my teachers Cora Wen, Gabriel Halpern, Anna Winkler, to name just a few.

My children inspire me. They are so creative and playful.  Because they are girls, I feel especially motivated to continue to study, learn and grow and demonstrate that I am curious and multifaceted. I want them to see that they have so many choices in life which can all be explored, each in their own time.

And of course teachers.  For where would we be without them.  I have been so lucky to study with so many incredible people in my life.   It reminds me of my favorite quote:

 “Education is not the filling of a pail, rather the igniting of a fire.”  Yeats.  



Have any questions or comments for Elizabeth? Please leave them in the comment section below.

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Tiny Tips Tuesday: Permission To Rest

Dear Friend,

Recently I was given permission by two people I trust – my GP and my therapist – to stop everything and rest until I feel better. No matter how long it takes.

— Don’t they understand I have things to do? Can’t they see my giant to do list? And on and on….

The irony is not lost on me.

Obviously we teach what we need to learn. Over and over again. No matter how long it takes.

So I wanted to offer that same permission to you. To rest until you feel better. No matter how long it takes. Because you might need it – the permission and the rest.

Like I do.

Wishing you a peace-filled and restful week.


PS – if someone you know is having a hard time and would benefit from rest, please forward this message to them.

stop light

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Tiny Tips Tuesday: Tips for Starting & Sustaining A Daily Meditation Practice

So much has happened in recently.  

The phone call you never want to get. The last minute plane tickets. Public crying – at my most happy of places – the airport. The person I have loved the longest in a hospital bed. Plus a massive head cold to add a little more icing on life’s cake.

The worst time of my life.

 Or was it?

I kept wondering why I wasn’t spinning out of control from anxiety or sinking into a massive depression.

And then it hit me!

 My first instinct when I got The Call was “I better meditate before I do anything else today.”


I know.

Turns out I’ve been practicing living in the moment and now I’ve been called upon to do it for real.

Let me assure you I am not in denial about the situation (I was for a few minutes, so I know I have snapped out of it. whew!) or that things have been easy. They haven’t.

But what I realized is that by keeping myself in the present moment, I could actually help the situation. I could make decisions based on the information right in front of me. I could be fully present with my family when I needed to be — for them AND for me. Plus I could keep myself from falling off the What If ledge of insanity.

Who doesn’t want more of that?

So my friend, if you haven’t already started a daily meditation practice, please do.

It’s not just you who benefits from your practice. By you living in the moment and staying present with the people you love, you can help change the world.
Tips for starting and stustaining a daily meditation practice tuesday tips

Join Headspace. It’s free for the first 10 days. And like any good dealer, they just leave you wanting more. I’ve written about it before here. I get absolutely nothing for recommending this program to you except the good feeling that comes from showing someone what has worked for me.

Learn about meditation from Andy Puddicome, founder of Headspace. Here’s his TED Talk.

Not into Headspace? Babble likes these other meditation apps.

Meditation Mantra Or How To Stay in the Moment Without Losing Your Marbles.

7 Steps to Jump Start Your Meditation Practice

Tech Tools for Making Your Life Better

So tell me…. Do you have a regular meditation practice? How did you get started? What keeps you coming back?

I would love to hear from you. Please let me know what you think.



If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).

Tiny Tips Tuesday! No More New Year’s Resolutions


It’s getting to be that time of the year when most of us start to think about all the things we’d like to change about ourselves, our bodies and/or our families and our lives at the new year. Most people think of it as setting new year’s resolutions or goals if they just had enough will power, but I think we all know how that goes.

Most of us start the holiday season with high hopes it will feel different this year.

We’ll have the heart-connected family we’ve always dreamed of, our house will be magically transformed by Pinterest-worthy decorations and we’ll glide into the new year celebrating with lots of champagne and none of the heartache or hangovers most of us suffer with.

Let’s face it, most holidays fail to live up to expectations.

We eat our feelings or try to drink the discomfort away, we shop too much, we live in obligation and expectation and basically ruin the last six weeks of every year and then set ourselves up to fail again at the new year.

You know the drill.

Starting in the new year, I’ll….

  • Run a marathon (after never having run a mile before in my life).
  • Lose a ton of weight (right after I eat all my emotions over the holidays).
  • Floss every day even though I never have and we all know that’s what virtuous people do…
  • Fill in the blank on whatever your perceived shortcomings are here….

I’m here to invite us all to stop the resolution madness.

Resolutions don’t work and they leave us feeling worse in the long run, so let’s just quit before we start, shall we?

No more resolutions.


Instead let’s focus on how we want next year to FEEL.

Yes, feel.

And this time we get to pick how we want to feel.

Would it be nice to set up your life around the way you’d like to feel?

When I think in terms of feelings, rather than ‘goals’ or resolutions, I come up with a completely different list.

Some possible feelings I am trying on for the new year: connected, cozy, compassionate – to self and others, nourished, nurtured, loved, abundant, rested, well taken care of, healthy, enough.

You get the picture. Nothing in that list even hints at what could be wrong with me, it is instead simply a wish for a better feeling life experience.

So rather than punish myself with exercise as a way to pay for emotionally eating or god forbid, not wearing a size six, I will focus my energy on creating experiences that cultivate my chosen feeling.

For example, last year I chose CONNECTION as my word of the year. The previous year I became a stay at home mom and found myself feeling super lonely and I wanted that to change. Each activity I chose in 2013 came back to this word: connection.

Would staying home in my yoga pants (again) help me feel more connected than getting out to the park and chit chatting to other stay at home moms? Would staying in town versus maybe running into terrible traffic be better than making a breakfast date with lifelong friends in the Bay Area.

You get the idea. I weighed my status quo against how I wanted to feel and made the effort to connect with friends and family.

I am not the first to suggest this idea of framing an experience as feeling: Rosie did it really well and even gives you a tutorial. Danielle did it too.

The whole point is this: you already have everything you need. 

{Pema Chodren came up with that gem. Someone ought to get the tattoo.}

Consider this post to be your invitation to have a better new year – one without resolution.

If this sounds like an idea you can get behind and you’d like to join in there are two ways.

No New Year’s Resolutions Option #1

Join me on New Year’s Day for Restoration NOT Resolutions: a restorative yoga and guided writing workshop. We will spend the afternoon together deeply relaxing and rejuvenating with a long restorative yoga session before we diving into creating an intentional feeling for next year using a guided writing exercise.

I am bringing hot stones and dairy free cookies and tea for extra warmth and comfort.

No New Year’s Resolutions Option #2

If you live outside Northern California, you can join in from home by resolving to give up resolutions, do an at home yoga retreat and do some writing on your own.

Either way, I wish you a wonderful new year filled with the feelings you wish to cultivate in 2014.

If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).

Sarah Kohl of Mama Kohl: TGBTS Featured Teacher


Don’t you just love them?

I know I do.

There are those that inspire me and those that make me laugh. Some help me solve problems in my classroom and others that help me solve problems in my life.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite teachers here.

Teachers in studios, classrooms and in the world at large. These are the folks you will see featured in my series of teacher interviews here at Teacher Goes Back to School.

I hope you enjoy these teachers as much as I do!


sarah kohl 1

Have you met Sarah yet? She’s pretty much the bee’s knees. Equal parts smarts, sass and ass-kicking with a side of mindful beauty. This one writes directly to the heart.

Here’s my interview.

When did you start practicing?

I think I started practicing at birth.  I think we all do.  If you look at babies, they are natural yogis.  We just forget as we get older.  As far as when I officially started, I was 18 years old.  I got “Yoga For Dummies” at a bookstore and learned very quickly that you can’t learn yoga exclusively from a book.  Can you imagine?  It was a hilarious start, looking back, but it was a start!

Why did you start?

Things in my life went totally haywire when I was about 17.  We all have sob stories and mine certainly isn’t unique, but I knew that I needed something to carry me through the mess, something for me to hold onto , something to believe in when everything else in my life had fallen to ash.  It was either that or drug addiction and yoga seemed a better choice (I’m only slightly kidding about that.) I knew I needed to move my body and move my mind and find a way for it to all come together.  I’ve never looked back.

Where did you practice?

At that time, I practiced in my living room, in my yard, at outdoor concerts, in parks, anywhere I could.  I got videos and more books and practiced with friends.  Believe it or not, I was in my late 20s before I actually took an official class, although by that time I had been “teaching” my friends for years.

 How has your practice evolved over time?

Have you ever put a rock into a rock tumbler?  You pick out a rock because it looks pretty cool as it is.  I mean, no one decides to polish up a gross rock.  So you take the rock and you put it in in the tumbler and for a long, long time, weeks maybe, this rock tumbles around making a racket in the machine and all you can hear is this rock.  It’s in your sleep.  It’s vibrating your teeth as you try to eat your dinner.  You’re certain that rock tumbler is following you down the interstate.  It’s EVERYWHERE and you can’t not see it, you can’t not hear the noise – until the day that you don’t. One day, you don’t hear it anymore.  It ceases to be something outside of your life, it is a part of your life, and it blends in.  At that moment, you can take the rock out and notice that it is polished, it is gleaming, it’s a beautiful gem that barely resembles it’s former self.  That’s what my yoga practice has been like.  I thought yoga was cool.  I started practicing and suddenly it was all I could talk and think about.  I banged around creating a huge racket while I tried to figure out what worked for me, what I liked, what I wanted, what I needed.  I tried all sorts of styles, all sorts of teachers, all sorts of everything, continuing to clang around like a rock.  Each trial polished me a little more and I kept hunting, searching, stumbling to create a yogic life until, little by little, over lots of time and lots of honing, I realized that I wasn’t searching anymore.  I wasn’t looking for something I didn’t have.  I wasn’t buzzing and crashing and clanging.  I was living it.  I had found my place, MY yoga, and I looked and found that it’s pretty polished.  Well, as polished as I need it to be for me most of the time, although I do still throw it in the tumbler for a quick buff now and again.

 How long have you been a teacher?

I started teaching my friends years ago.  We’d practice in our living rooms and then drink wine and watch Must See TV.  I officially took training and started teaching group and private classes in 2009.

 sarah kohl 2

Why did you start Sarahasana?

I’ve been a blogger for close to a decade.  My first blog was just a personal blog, dedicated to my brain droppings and stories about my kids and my life and my effort to find my place in it.  I took a break from blogging there and realized that I actually had something to say about something that people were interested in.  I didn’t need to just write to hear my own voice, I could write to evoke discussion, thoughts, ideas, and maybe spread a little inspiration around here and there.  It also became a public way for me to document my journey from just some chick who does yoga to a teacher.  Finally, I was sick and tired of reading almost nothing but flowery unrealistic yoga blogs that made it sound like life was always roses and rainbows and light and cupcakes.  Screw that – sometimes life sucks.  I wanted to speak the truth.  As the years have passed, Sarahsana has become much more than just a platform for discussing yoga.  It’s really a place for me to discuss my life.  My yoga on and OFF the mat, if you will.  Writing is all I know how to do with my feelings and thoughts.  I don’t play an instrument. I don’t paint.  I don’t do interpretive dance (although those who have seen me after a few cocktails might disagree.)  I write.  That’s all I know to do.  I discovered that my feelings and ideas don’t seem to “get out of me” if I’m just writing in a private journal.  For some reason, I have to hit “publish” before they stop the squirrel cage in my head.

Sarahsana is my own journey, my own practice, my own style of finding my way through this life.  It’s the seat of who I am.  The subtitle of Sarahsana is “n: the art of slip-sliding into Samadhi”  It’s not a clear journey.  I make a ton of mistakes.  Sometimes when I slip, I end up closer to bliss.  Sometimes when I slip, I end up in the other direction.  But I keep slipping and sliding, I don’t give up, I keep suiting up and showing up and practicing.

What are your classes like?

My classes are a little unconventional.  I used to teach 5 or 6 classes a week, but due to a family tragedy a little less than a year ago, I’m currently only teaching one class a week. It’s a rather advanced class full of arm balances and inversions, but EVERYONE is welcome to attend.  I’m not big on the final result – I don’t care if you never ever manage to “nail” Astavakrasana.  What I want is for people to try something new, to have fun, to play on the mat.  I want people to explore themselves and their boundaries.  We never know what we are capable of until we try and we likely won’t try unless someone says, “Try it!”  I’m big on safety and alignment, so I tell my students, “This is your practice, not mine.  It’s my job to open the door to you and keep you safe as you walk through as far as you feel comfortable going.”  I laugh a lot in class.  I make irreverent jokes.  I tell it like it is.  I play decidedly “un-yogic” music, whatever that means.  I do mix sutras, pranayama, philosophy, and meditation into my classes, but I want yoga to be accessible to everyone. Yoga doesn’t have to be so damn serious all the time.  I want people to enjoy it.  If it doesn’t feel good to you, it’s not yoga.  My goal is that everyone leaves my class feeling better than they did when they arrived. Come as you are: happy, angry, sad, sore, confused, hungover.  Just show up and I’ll help you leave it all on the mat.

{ed. note: This is why I would take a class with Sarah any day of the week.}

 sarah kohl 3

Do you have a home practice? What is it like? How often? Where? How’d you start and how do you keep at it?

I do have a home practice.  I think all teachers need to have one.  That said, it doesn’t have to be exclusively asana.  I used to roll out my mat and practice in my basement for an hour a day.  As I’ve gotten older and life has thrown me some curve balls, I do roll out my mat regularly at home, but not every day.  These days, my yoga at home is less asana than ever.  I meditate.  I breathe.  I try to find the balance in a shifting world. How do I keep at it?  I check in with myself.  When I find that my life is spinning out of control or that I’m in a funk, I realize that I’ve slipped out of my practice.  Chaos keeps me practicing.

 What’s your favorite pose? Why?

That depends on what day you ask!  Pigeon has always been a personal favorite because it allows me to let it all go and empty my emotional junk drawer.  If I’m confused or having a hard time understanding things in my life, headstands always bring me clarity.  If i’m needing to calm down and let the stress drain away, Supta Bhadokonasana or Savasana are key.

What’s your least favorite pose?

Galavasana, no question.  I teach arm balances and inversions and I love love love them, but for some reason, Galavasana makes me want to cuss like a sailor.  So, of course, I make myself do it often.

Do you have a meditation practice?

Yes!  Oh I would hate to think of how messed up I would be without it.  I’ve been “sitting” for many years now.  I think it’s crucial to our mental and emotional health to learn how to just sit and be with what is.

sarah kohl 4

What is your favorite blog post? Why?

That’s like asking me to pick my favorite strand of hair.  While it changes all the time, I think my favorite for the past few months has been “Sluts, Shaming, Strength, and Survival: In Which I Piss Off Everyone I Know.”

I wrote it 5 months ago and quite a lot has changed since then (I did meet someone I wanted a relationship with, I did fall in love, I have rethought some of my affectionate ways and motivations, etc.,) but the general ideas behind this post are still strong and true to me.  I will be damned if I’m going to let anyone else shame me or manipulate me so that my life looks the way they think it should look.  No one gets to make that decision for me or for anyone else but themselves.

What other blogs do your read? Why?

I don’t read a lot of blogs anymore.  I used to, but somehow I just drifted away from it.  I love Y is for Yogini, Flying Yogini, Curvy Yoga, your blog, of course, and as far as non-yogic blogs, I love The Bloggess, and Pintester.  If I’m going to take the time to read something, it needs to spark my mind and make me laugh.  All of these do this on a regular basis.

 Who and what inspires you?

Honesty.  Bold, ugly honesty.  You MUST be true to others and to yourself (being true to yourself is often the hardest.)  I’ve often said I’d rather have the ugly truth than a pretty lie.   For that reason, I love Louis CK.  Not only is he wet-your-pants hilarious, he just gets it.  He speaks the truth and says things that we’ve all thought but rarely say.  I find great inspiration in musicians and artists who refuse to be a part of the “machine,” who stay true to their vision and their passion even if it means they will never become hugely popular or incredibly famous.  Mostly, however, I’m wildly inspired by my sons.  They are the strongest people I have ever met.  They forgive so easily.  They love so completely.  They see art and beauty and grace in everything.  They can also speak their mind and fight for themselves in a way that is awe-inspiring.  When I grow up, I want to be just like them.

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Have any questions or comments for Sarah? Please leave them in the comment section below.

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Tiny Tips Tuesday: Yoga at Your Desk

Today begins a new series here at Teacher Goes Back to School: Tiny Tips Tuesday!

Every Tuesday I am going to share my hand-to-the-forehead simple tips to make your life and self-care easier.

Tiny Tips Tuesday #1 – Yoga at Your Desk

tiny tip tuesday #1

Do you ever wish you had more time for yoga in your day?

Me too. There just isn’t enough time to run a class every time my body gets tired or stiff or sore.

For instance, last week after returning home from a wedding in Santa Fe where I did precisely no yoga despite my body hurting from all the sitting I’d done over the weekend, I decided I needed to figure out how to get more yoga in my already super full schedule.

During Savasana in my favorite class (Madeleine at It’s All Yoga) my brain took over trying to solve this problem and BOOM! The idea of setting an alarm on my cell phone and practicing one or two poses during the day on my own was born.

Simple and easy, just like I like it.

Set an alarm on your phone reminding you to stop what you are doing and bust a yoga move or two. Nothing fancy, no need to change clothes – just maybe a desk cat/cow or some super slow neck rolls or a quick desk down dog.

Every day at 10:45 my smart phone tells me it is time for yoga.

I check in with what is calling out for the most attention and I start there. I spend a couple of minutes each morning moving and stretching and I have already felt a huge difference in how my body feels.

Want to try it?

First, decide what time works for you on most days.

Second, set your alarm.

Next, determine what part of your body needs the most help at the moment, I go with what hurts most: low back, hips, wrists, neck, shoulders.

Last, bust your move or two and get back to work.

Need some help with the actual poses?

Try these:

Yoga Journal has a free video series – two minutes a day for 15 days.

Vanderbilt University has a handy desk yoga guide.

Popsugar has some ideas.

Do you do yoga during your work day?

If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).

8 Tips: Self-Care for the Holiday Season

8 tips self care holidays

1. Start now.

I know the holidays – Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Christmas – are weeks away. Now is the perfect time to start taking really good care of yourself or at least start planning what you are going to do! It is so much easier to do something that already has momentum.

Remember – self-care doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It can be small steps each day depending on what you need.

Let’s start now: What can you do today that will show yourself you care?

It can be as simple as going to bed 15 minutes earlier or eating a piece of fruit instead of a cookie.

2. Prioritize feeling good/taking care of yourself over whether you might disappoint others.

Yes, disappointing others sucks. But here’s a secret, it only lasts a little while. This isn’t to say you should not take other people into consideration, it means you deserve to be considered as well.

Taking care of yourself has lasting effects, well beyond the holiday season.

The 100th holiday celebration will go on without you, I promise. Those extra hours you spent soaking in the tub reading a novel you have had trouble making time to read will live on and on in a feeling of deeply caring for yourself.

3. Make a list of what is your minimum self-care.

Get real with yourself. What is the bare minimum for sleep, movement, food, quiet and fun? Not the kind of fun where you spend days recovering (I am looking at you boozy night out), but the kind where you make it through cold and flu season without really ever getting sick?

I have super high minimums for self-care. I share this with you because until really recently I used to think something was wrong with me because I need all this self- care to stay healthy. Turns out, everyone does. Even you!

My minimum self-care is at least 8 hours of sleep a night, some sort of yoga most days (some days a 90 minute class, other days 15 minutes of reset button or some simple cat/cow) fruits and vegetables at most meals (green smoothies make this tons easier) meditation at least 5 days a week (I still love Headspace) and a friend connection – usually a tea date or a lunch out once a week. Oh, and let’s not forget avoiding all forms of cow dairy and shellfish!

Not sure where to get started on your minimum self-care? Want to write your own wellness prescription?

4. Make a list of maximum self-care.

Just for fun take your self-care a step further and imagine if time and money were not a consideration, what would you do to take care of yourself?

I would have weekly therapy, weekly massage, access to a steam room and sauna, at least quarterly girl friend getaways, twice a year yoga retreats and quarterly yoga workshops. And that is just off the top of my head!

That’s fun, huh?

Now let’s try to make some of that happen. Maybe you do something for your birthday or add a massage gift card to your holiday list.

It’s all in the name of good, so do it.

5. Set yourself up for success.

Don’t buy the chips at the store. Or the cookies. Or whatever is your go-to crap food when you have had a terrible day or stressful meeting.

Not sure if you are an emotional eater?

Take a week and write down every single bit of food that passes your lips and for each thing that is being eaten for something other than actual hunger- write the feeling you are eating or the event the came right before you downed those chips or cinnamon toast.

PS – Sometimes my feelings taste like French fries, burgers and bourbon. 

What about yours?

6. Start a weekly review.

Every Tuesday I sit down with my wellness prescription (part minimum and maximum self-care list) and I schedule my sleep, food (breakfast, lunch and dinner), exercise (yoga, cardio and strength training), meditation,  plus my birthday list and I plan my week.

The simple act of visiting these lists at least once a week helps me actually do more self-care and getting it on my calendar makes it feel important and real.

7. Plan something special just for you during the holidays.

Maybe a vegan cheese making class or a yoga workshop or even an at-home pedicure. Something that makes your heart sing.

8. Make your plan visual.

I keep all my wellness prescription items on individual post-it notes on a price of construction paper. I hang this elementary school masterpiece on my closet door. As I complete each item I move it to the done place. Each night I review ( without judgement!) how my day went and note where I might need extra support or focus in the next few days.

It is simple and for me, it works.

How are you planning to take care of yourself this holiday season?


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In case you are looking for more holiday self-care ideas,you might like:

How I Overcame the Holiday Humbug in 7 Steps

75 Ways to Show Yourself Some Love Today

The One Thing You MUST Be Ready To Do To Take Care of You This Holiday Season – a must read for anyone wondering how to respond to rude comments we get from those who love us most.

How To: Make Yourself Happier The Easy Way

how to make yourself happier the easy way

Start a gratitude practice.

I know, I know. It sounds lame, but the science supports it. UC Berkeley studies gratitude. UC Davis studies gratitude. More brain study research here.

And the science shows, if you want to feel more joy, optimism, and happiness, have a stronger immune system, lower your blood pressure, experience more generosity and compassion and feel less lonely and isolated – you have to practice gratitude.

For years, I resisted keeping a gratitude journal because I thought it was eye- rollingly New-Agey and so simple I thought it wouldn’t do anything. I pretty much mocked the very idea of practicing gratitude. But after reading the Happiness Project, I decided to give it a try because I really wanted to prove it wouldn’t work.

When I started, I kept it really informal. I just kept a running list of little things I was thankful for on my mobile device as I noticed them throughout the day: a cup full of sharpened pencils, a stack of graded papers, a really good hair day, a compliment from a student’s parent, a tasty lunch. Mostly pedestrian stuff.

Random at first and then I got more formal in that I asked myself to track five things every day that filled me with a sense of joy or thanks. Little things. Big things. But especially the little things.

And you know what happened?

I started feeling happier.

gratitude changes everything


Another thing I thought was lame and wouldn’t work, totally proved me wrong. AGAIN.

Today my gratitude journal lives as a document on my Google drive. Each morning after I finish my meditation I write five things I am thankful for and then I close the file.

When my day sucks, as it does occasionally, I open the file and remind myself of all the things that make my life not suck.

And you guessed it, I feel happier.

Interested in starting your own gratitude journal?


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My Attitude of Gratitude 2011 Edition including a link to our shout out on the Oprah Life Blog.

My November Yoga Pinterest board is full of all things gratitude including fancy art journaling ideas and inspirational quotes.

Do you have a gratitude practice? Will you try it for the month of November and see if it works for you?

Liz Vartanian of Yoga Betty and Yoga Mama: TGBTS Featured Teacher


Don’t you just love them?

I know I do.

There are those that inspire me and those that make me laugh. Some help me solve problems in my classroom and others that help me solve problems in my life.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite teachers here.

Teachers in studios, classrooms and in the world at large. These are the folks you will see featured in my series of teacher interviews here at Teacher Goes Back to School.

I hope you enjoy these teachers as much as I do!


tgbts featured teacher liz vartanian

Have you met Liz yet? She’s been in my Twitter feed for years and we’ve become friends via social media. We both have babies and teach restorative yoga, so instant connection.

Here’s my interview.

When did you start practicing?

I started practicing in 1996, while I was in massage school, I did yoga from a Video Tape. I wore that tape out, but I learned so much! It wasn’t until I moved to Austin, TX in 2004 that I found a studio I loved and started going religiously.

Why did you start?

At first, it was a great way to get centered before doing a massage. Then it became more about a new way to learn how my body works. It really is amazing what our bodies can do.

Where did you practice?

My living room floor! Which was carpeted, but when you are watching a video there’s not a lot of options. Soon after I got comfortable with some of the poses, I practiced outside on my deck. Unfortunately, the little studio I eventually went to closed a few years ago.

How has your practice evolved over time?

I’ve gone from Hatha to Flow to vinyasa to prenatal. Now, I have found a balance of restorative (which I started while I was pregnant) and flow. I love the practice of moving with the breath, but I also know how much my body really needs to sit still and just be. Even when I flow or do vinyasa, I take a long savasana to make sure I let my body recuperate.

How long have you been a teacher?

I’ve been teaching almost 3 years now. Time really does fly when you are having fun!


Why did you start Yoga Betty/Yoga Momma?

I started Yoga Betty as a way to learn more about yoga. It sounds silly, but there is an amazing amount of knowledge in experiencing life. And really yoga is as much off the mat as it is on.

Yoga Momma was started after the birth of my son. If Yoga Betty is about a laid back yogini, Yoga Momma is about how that laid back yogini handles life with a baby guru!! Of course, now that the sweet little baby guru is almost a year old, I’ve realized that I’m both Betty and Momma so I’ve decided to combine the two blogs. After all, no person is just ONE aspect of themselves. We all evolve and change, it’s just time for me to embrace I am Betty, momma, yogini, partner, woman, and so much more. Now if I can just get kiddo to nap longer again, so I can finish combining the two!!

What are your classes like?

Currently, I teach restorative, prenatal, and post-natal. My pre and post-natal classes are all about breathing, building strength, and finding peace within. After all as a new momma or as a momma to be, knowing how to find some inner peace can be a life saver!

Do you have a home practice? What is it like? How often? Where? How’d you start and how do you keep at it?

Yes!! Home practice is all I have these days. Sometimes it is 15 minutes, sometimes I can get an hour, although right now that isn’t as often since baby guru is almost walking.

I practice every day. Nap time is a my practice time. I usually get in some cat/cow, puppy pose, thread the needle, and 5 minutes of meditation. If I have the time or really need it, I start with this and add as feels good. There is a lot of shoulder openers, bridge pose to get my heart open, and core. I keep it up because frankly getting to take a class is tough. My daily practice keeps me same, so if I don’t do it, I feel all put of whack.

mama baby

What’s your favorite pose? Why?

My current favorite pose is a tie between puppy pose (because it is easier on my wrists while giving me the same feeling down dog does) and forearm plank (because hot-damn if it doesn’t stoke the internal fire and get my core working!).

What’s your least favorite pose?

Hm, there isn’t a pose I don’t like, I can say that the one I’m finding challenging right now is crow. Finding the right muscles to use along with some wrist aches seem to be what makes this pose sooo tough on me right now.

Do you have a meditation practice?

I started meditation right after Aiden was born. I used the time I spent nursing to breathe and clear my mind. Although, I usually only get 5-10 minutes of meditation in, that is better than none!

What is your blog/s about? When did you start? Why did you start? What is your purpose?

Currently, my blogging is more about finding practice OFF the mat, since I’m starting to realize my “free time” is valuable which can make it hard to commit to an hour long asana practice (especially when nap times are sometimes 45 minutes!!). Plus Aiden really has become my little baby guru, he keeps me present and mindful of all I do and soon enough what I say (I know the parroting phase is coming up). Not everyone has kids and some people may not want to have kids, but that doesn’t mean our life lessons are any different. Any practitioner of yoga is working towards peace, presence of mind and body, and ultimately living our yoga. I just happen to think having kids speeds up the process!!

What is your favorite post? Why?

I have TWO!! One titled “Hips don’t lie” which talks about my ability to cry EVERY TIME I’m in pigeon pose and the fact that what comes up when we do hip openers can really show us what we are clinging to, what emotions we are storing, and what stuff we can let go of, by crying or by breathing.

The other is a article I wrote for Mind Body Green about “Rediscovering Yoga After Having a Baby”. There is this thing about having a baby, you’re body isn’t “yours” for 9 months of pregnancy and then it’s not really yours after baby shows up. So the importance of coming back to the practice is SO important.

Both of these pieces I wrote are raw and I think remind people that it is ok when we cry or feel “betrayed” by our bodies. That yoga is there because we are there, our mats will hold us. They will be the mirror we need to see what is happening. And they will help us let go and rebuild.

cup of liz

What other blogs do your read? Why?

The two blogs I am really digging these days are: SahajaMomma & Cup of Jo.

Sahaja Momma is a Austin Yoga Goddess and new momma, she has fabulous recipes and often has some great share on self-care or helpful momma items.

A Cup of Jo is one of my guilty pleasures, I read this blog daily!! I love the fashion (in hopes I one day will be stylish again and not just prepared for feeding 24/7), the food, and this New Yorkers great shares.

Who and what inspires you?

This is probably the best question ever! My loves, my family, specifically the man because he supports me and is a great person to talk to about any thing. Even when it is yoga related (he is NOT a yogi), baby guru is of course right there with his daddy. Mother Nature has her spot too, the ocean inspires me even though I’m so far away. The trees, the sunrise, and the sunset all play a part in my practice, in my teaching, and in my day. Sometimes songs can be inspiring, written words, and those spoken all seem to brighten my day too. I can pretty much find inspiration in anything and everything!

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Noticing the Good Stuff: A Life’s Practice

good stuff

I’ve recently gone through my archives for a project I’ve been working on and noticed that, by and large, my posts are positive snapshots of my life and about people and things that inspire me.

For some of you, the people who have known me for a long time, may be wondering who I have become – if I’ve swallowed some sort of yoga kool aid. For those of you that are new to me or only know me through this blog,  I want to be clear this is, in no way, to be taken as an accurate picture of my day-to-day life.

Lest you get the wrong impression about me and my life – everything isn’t always swell and great and easy. It is not. In fact, August was one of my most emotionally draining months ever.


I’m just not interested in airing my dirty laundry on the internet or putting my still-in-progress troubles out there for the world to see. It’s not how I roll. I’m more of a work things out by myself/with a close friends/counselor kind of person.

In this space, I choose to highlight the awesome things I do every month because if I didn’t, these amazing things would go unnoticed and unappreciated. Mostly by me.

My natural tendency is to see what is wrong in a situation – to find the pieces that don’t fit and to make commentary on those (sometimes in a really funny way, if I do say so myself)- leaving my brain filled with the impression nothing in life is quite right.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this part of myself. Both for the observational humor as well as the I like to fix things part. But here’s the thing, my brain sometimes gets stuck in seeing what is wrong in life and I’m raising a kid now and I don’t want to nit pick life in front of her. Or nit pick her.

So pointing out what is going well – however small it may be – helps me notice the awesome things in my life.

Much to my surprise, I’ve also figured out that I like seeing the beauty in the smallest things. It really does fill me with a sense of wonder and gratitude (I know, I may also have thrown up in my mouth a little bit too).

Noticing the good stuff, my friends, is a practice for me. Much like yoga and meditation are things I have to practice – do a little each day in the best possible world – in hopes that some day it becomes an actual habit or something that comes more naturally.

Do you take time to notice the good stuff in life? Do you share your life online? How do you deal with this issue?

Tips and Tricks for Celebrating National Relaxation Day

relaxation day

Seriously, National Relaxation Day is a REAL THING. Even Forbes is advocating we participate in it.

National Relaxation Day started in Britain as Slacker Day and the US has adopted it and of course renamed it. Who cares! Let’s get to the good parts.

Did you know I have a Yoga Manifesto? I do. In three parts no less. I’m a dork like that. Here’s Part One: Rest.

Interested in a 15 minute mini vacation?

8 Tips for Bringing More Relaxation Into Your Life

What about a reset button for life? Or at least a way to get through it without more coffee or candy?

Curious about the health benefits of resting yoga?

Want to read about rest? Try Sabbath.

Restorative yoga helped heal her body image.

At home mini yoga retreat.

Schedule yourself a break.

10 self-care ideas which take 10 minutes or less.

Easy, breezy yoga sequence you can do at home.

Another easy, breezy yoga sequence you can do at home.

A poem!


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TGBTS Newsletter Is Coming Your Way

Sign up today!

tgbts newsletter

I’m so excited to be able to share all the new and fun programs and offerings coming later this summer and fall.

Be sure to get yourself on the newsletter list so you don’t miss a thing.

The Curvy Seven


Today’s post is The Curvy Seven on Curvy Yoga. I’m honored to be included in this amazing group of Curvy Yogis.

Click over to find out more about my yoga history, my favorite and least favorite poses and who is my Curvy Icon.

I also revealed my favorite quotes.

What is your favorite quotes or words to live by?

The Secret to Being A Happy Classroom Teacher


I found my life’s calling when I became a teacher. Finally, I thought, a job I could see doing for the rest of my life. 

And pretty much as soon as I found my calling, I lost my f*king marbles.

I’ve always been a super productive, perfectionist, ambitious, go-getter and stepping into a new career wasn’t going to change that fact.

My plan was to be the best teacher ever in the history of the universe.

Even if I had to do ridiculous things to get there.

My first year I worked the first 72 days of school straight. No weekends, no evenings, no friends, no exercise, no fun. I was in it to win it, friends.

Work, work, work. You name it, I did it:  lesson and unit planning, curriculum and classroom management trainings after school and on the weekends, seating charts, weekly progress reports, calls home and community building activities. 

I limped to the finish line that year with the promise I’d do better the next year. Teaching would get easier with time I told myself.

Turns out my second year, was harder than the first. I had an exceptionally challenging class, and I again told myself teaching would get easier when I had more experience under my belt.

By the end of my third year, I was exhausted from teaching and some personal grief, and if I’m being totally honest, completely unhinged. Mentally and physically exhausted, I knew something had to really change if I was going to stay in this profession.

A couple more years passed pretty much the same way. I was doing the same thing and expecting a different result: working too much, too hard and promising to do better “next year” and each year I just got more and more exhausted.

The worst part? It was affecting my ability to be a good teacher. Resentment was building and I was becoming less flexible and fun, both inside and out of the classroom.

But let’s be honest, not much changed because I didn’t know where to start. Knowing something needs to change and actually making real changes are two very different things.

Time and experience were not going to be the only thing to help me stay healthy, happy and sane in the classroom. That much I figured out.

Midyear, my principal called me into his office to basically stage an intervention. He asked me if i was happy being a teacher.

Keep in mind, this guy thought I kicked ass in the classroom. He knew I excelled at all the teacher work, but he wanted to know if I’d be happier doing something else because he didn’t see a single ounce of joy in my face.


<cue tears>

I cried. Totally ugly cried. Because, the answer was no. I wasn’t happy being a teacher. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else for a living because I still felt I was called to be a teacher. But I wasn’t happy doing things the way they were being done.

Something had to change.

It wasn’t pretty. 

I was embarrassed because apparently I wasn’t the best teacher in the universe after all.

Then I got mad.

And then I got real.

Real immature.

If “they” weren’t going to appreciate all the time and effort I was putting into my classroom, then I just wasn’t going to any more. I’d show them…

So instead of spending every free moment of my life working, I started going to yoga class in the afternoon. I started cooking dinner and making sure I had good leftovers for lunch. I started making plans with friends for fun.

That’s when it all clicked.

When I was happier in my life outside the classroom, life in the classroom was happier. My patience grew, my appreciation for my students grew, my resentment disappeared and we ALL did better.

Let me repeat that last part: My students did better at school when I took better care of myself.

Maya Angelou is famous for saying “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Teaching is a marathon and requires some serious training. And not that kind they cover in your credential program.

Enter: The Healthy, Happy Sane Teacher.


What’s your secret to being a happy classroom teacher?

Image Source: Drawing Digital Print Mixed Media Illustration Print … by CocktailZoo on Etsy

Self Care Tip: Schedule Yourself A Break

schedule a break

This time of year is busy, busy, busy. Report cards, field trips, high stakes state testing wrap up, finals, marathon grading sessions, end-of-the-year celebration planning and all those hormonal students with spring fever… it is enough to make anyone want to schedule a mental health holiday.

The end of the school year always reminds me of a championship baseball game that has just gone into extra innings. Everything feels completely necessary and like every second counts.

My friend and author, Rosie Molinary used to think, “Maybe something mildly bad will happen, like a really bad flu or a minor car accident, so that I can take a little bit of time off.”

Sound like something you might say to yourself? Me too.

Let’s face it, even if you don’t work in a school, spring is an extra busy time. Even nature is going a million miles a minute: the birds, the bees, the pollen and the trees.

Stress city!

So rather than trying to keep going and going and going until you completely burn out, why not schedule yourself a break?

Start with an hour for yourself in the next couple of weeks: a restorative yoga class, a nap,  a massage, a manicure or pedicure, a run outside without any distraction.

Then why not schedule a half day? A hike at a nearby river or lake, a picnic by a stream, a good book under a tree, a yoga workshop with your favorite teacher, an afternoon taking pictures of signs of spring, writing in your journal in a café.

Then try a whole day and schedule absolutely nothing and see how the day unfolds. Maybe try a pajama day and see how you feel.

The idea behind these breaks is to give yourself a bit of space and breathing room. You may find you are happier and even more productive than you would have been without the break.

Does the idea of scheduling a break freak you out or are you already grabbing your planner?  Please share in the comments.

Post inspired by Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary. Specifically Day 306: Take a Personal Health Day and Day 57 Schedule Breaks.

Image Source: Serenity Retreat – Early Fall by FreeWine on Flickr (cc)

Mother’s Day Gift Guide for the Yoga Mama in Your Life

mother's day

So I’m a yoga mama and these are things and experiences that I would love for my family to share with me this Mother’s Day. Maybe something here strikes your fancy too and you can share this list with your family.

A home-cooked brunch with her best friends. We’ve started a Mother’s Day tradition which involves my husband making waffles with all the fixins for me and one of my best girls and our families at home instead of fighting Mom’s Day crowds. We round out the meal with fresh berries, juice and coffee/tea and have the luxury of no waiting and actually delicious food when we want it. {Don’t forget to clean the kitchen after!}

The gift of time…. at the studio. Why not treat your favorite yoga mama to a private session, a restorative yoga party with her friends, a new class card or a workshop with her favorite teacher?

{Be sure to include taking the kids to the park certificates with the studio time.}

The gift of books…and time to read them. Amazon or Powell’s gift card and if you need a list of good reads check out the link.

The gift of time….in nature. Why not plan a picnic and a half day get away to a quiet slice of nature for some family bonding time? Just remember this is about treating mama to a day, so please pack the sunscreen, cold drinks and a way to corral the little ones.

We love spending time out in the UC Davis Arboretum, out by the South Yuba River and by the water in the East Bay.

The gift of quiet….at home. My restorative home practice helps me keep up with my ridiculously active two-year old. I highly recommend these props to aid the relaxation.

The bible. I carry this book with me all the time. Helps with sequencing, props, pose ideas.

The bolster. A key prop for super relaxation. I love mine so much I sleep with it. I get no props for my love note about these props, so feel free to take my word they rock the relaxation.

The eye pillow. Love the weight, the sweet lavender smell and the peach skin feeling. I’ve recently starting using 3 during my practice {one for the eyes and one for each hand} – delicious.

The sandbag. What can I say?  I love the feeling of grounding that comes from the weighted props.

What would you like to receive this Mother’s Day?

Image source: heart en route by rosmary on Flickr (cc)

How To Make It Through The Afternoon Without More Coffee or Trip to the Vending Machine

Alternate post title: Turn Your Work Day Upside Down (In the Best Possible Way)

make it through the day

Do you often wonder how you are going to get through the rest of your workday? Or do you just get over yourself and order another coffee or pick up a sugar snack from the vending machine?

I have another way!  It’s free and easy and will leave you feeling pretty dang refreshed.

I used to do it at recess or lunch break when I was teaching and it totally helped me not grab for the extra caffeine and sugar which would ultimately leave me with an energy slump soon after.

If you ever get a chance to take a live class with me, at some point I will give you a daily yoga challenge/prescription that will change your life should you choose to accept it.

15 minutes of Viparita Karani or Legs Up the Wall.

After taking a full 90 minute restorative class with me recently, Jeanne took that challenge back to her office.

I asked Jeanne about her office yoga experiment and here’s what she have to say about it.

How many people participate?

JH:  3-8 people, depending on the day/time. We meet at 10 am and 3 pm each day.

How long do you practice?

JH:  We started with 5 minutes, now we are doing 10 minutes.

What’s the instruction?

JH:  I show people how to get set up and they follow. I tell them to let it all go – notice if they are trying to hold themselves off of the floor. Remind them to breathe. There is often a lot of chatter, so I suggest that we do not talk. Sometimes this works, most times it does not.

What’s the tone of the time in legs up the wall?

JH:  The tone in our office is pretty relaxed – we are perpetually busy, but we try to have fun doing it. So at 10 am, everyone is jacked on coffee and getting their morning underway, so the 10 am time is very nice to break up the morning crack-heads. The afternoon is more of a refresher, to get through the remaining time in the day.

How are people feeling before, during and after the legs up the wall party?

JH:  As I mentioned, before our session, people are either cracked out (10 am) or in a Food coma/end of day lull (3 pm). But regardless, during the mood is SO relaxed and goofy.

Everyone begins by cracking jokes, laughing, sighing, and ultimately silence does come at the last few minutes.

After the session, everyone rolls onto their side in a fetal position for at least 10 seconds before they come up. I have told them to TAKE THEIR TIME coming up. Afterward everyone moves a bit slower and has a smile.

How has this changed the atmosphere in the office?

JH:  The atmosphere has always been fun, but I think it’s created a different bond between certain people. We recently consolidated operations and had 6 people move from an office in Salinas to our office in Loomis. Combining forces has been great so far, and we have invited some of the new additions, and one did join (a male)! I think people feel more easy going and less apprehensive with each other, when they have a work-related issue- we can “out” ourselves on a mistake or an area of lacking knowledge, without feeling inferior. It’s more playful and “chill”.

What do you think, friends? Would you try yoga at work?

You Become What You Pay Attention To

In class each week I try to share some nugget of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way. Recently most of what I’m sharing comes from my friend, Rosie’s book, Beautiful You.

Day 23: Realize That You Are What You Pay Attention To

She writes –

Consider this very simple truth. What we pay attention to, what we put our energy into, is a statement about what is important to us. It is a reflection of who we are.

She goes on to challenge the reader to examine and reflect where their attention and energy is spent and to make adjustments if they don’t like what they find.


I’ve been limiting my intake of things that I don’t find helpful or kind (no more Law and Order SVU marathons for me) and I’ve found I’ve felt more at ease as a result.

Here are a few things I have found quite helpful lately.

  • Megan Francis’ The Kitchen Hour podcast. Specifically the episode with Math For Grownups author Laura Laing. In this podcast they talk about how to help your kids with math homework, online resources and how to deal with that pesky “new math”. I was completely riveted and wish I had known about this website and book earlier.
  • Joy the Baker podcast. Good lord, where do I start?  My child sings the theme song. Let’s just say these ladies have made their presence known (and loved) in our household. Can not say enough how much I crack up in every episode. I’ll bet you’ll want to be their best friends too.
  • Body Positive Yoga’s videos have brightened this curvy girl’s day. Amber is super funny and she knows her modifications for the three B’s: booty, belly and boobs. Such a great resource!
  •  How to Be Fascinating – Marie Forleo’s interview with Sally Hogshead. I was lucky enough to get a free deal because I subscribe to Marie’s weekly emails (and I will say I actually look forward to getting them each week because they are so good.) Turns out I’m a trendsetter – I see the future and would like you all to come with me. Sounds exactly right! In a world full of power yoga, I’m asking people to lay down and be quiet.
  • Brene Brown (one of my all time favorites) is sharing her favorite books. This is ridiculously exciting for a book nerd like me.
  • My friend Rosie is a genius (this post is inspired by something in one of her books!) and she has figured out the secret to life: unscheduled days. I know. Brilliant!

What are you putting your energy and attention these days?

10 Self-Care Ideas That Take 10 Minutes or Less

small improvements

Do you feel like you don’t have the time to do self-care because you don’t have an hour plus a day to devote to it?

I definitely have a long history of not doing things because I couldn’t do them perfectly or the way I thought they “should” be done. I figured the small things didn’t really matter, but boy I was wrong.

The first time I really noticed how small things added up was when I was taking a self-guided classroom management course. As a life long procrastinating perfectionist with an already over booked schedule, I was anxious about finding the time to actually get all the work done.

My plan was to work for 20 minutes every day on it. Just 20 minutes. My promise to myself was that I would stop working as soon as the timer went off even if I had’t finished anything. I just needed to start something.

Well, two weeks later of daily 20 minute bursts of actual work (it’s really hard to procrastinate when you only have 20 minutes) and I was finished with the class and feeling quite accomplished.

With that success under my belt, I started looking for other areas in my life where I could put 20 minutes of attention.

Kitchen duty that used to completely overwhelm me? – Done.

Mounds of laundry? – Done.

Yoga home practice? – Done.

If you are looking for ways to help take care of yourself, why not start with small ways that don’t take much time?

10 self care ideas that take 10 minutes or less

1.  Sip a cup of tea in silence.

2.  Go to bed 10 minutes earlier and get a bit more shut eye.

3.  Read a book for pleasure.

4.  A single restorative yoga pose.

5.  Schedule a massage, a much needed doctor appointment or a visit with your insurance agent to review your life insurance policy (ok, maybe that one is for me).

6.  Slather lotion on your hands and feet and let it soak in before you move.

7.  Snuggle with your sweetheart.

8.  Cook a warm breakfast or make a green smoothie to go.

9.  Take yourself on a walk.

10. Make an appointment to talk to a therapist if you are really struggling.

How do you manage your self-care?

Image source via pinterest.

Less Talking, More Listening

less talking more listening

Just for a day, what would it be like to really listen?

Instead of thinking of the next witty response or check mate argument ender, why not just quietly listen to what others are saying.

What could we learn – from others? From ourselves? From the silence?

This post was inspired by Day 339 in Beautiful You: A Daily Resource for Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary.

Do you struggle with listening and silence (or is that just me)? What have you learned from being quiet?

Image source:Quiet Please by bixentro on Flickr (cc)

Classroom Teachers Who Inspire

i heart teachersOne of the best parts of being a classroom teacher is being inspired and awed by your co-workers – the big ones and the little ones.

Classroom teachers are freaking amazing, multi-talented people. And these teachers are truly inspirational. They not only spend their days in the classroom, they also spend time on a yoga mat.

Find out who and what inspires them:


Jenna Francisco of This is My Happiness:

People who are kind, simple, and interested in the betterment of all humans.  People, especially quirky or creative ones, who are 100% comfortable being themselves.  Societies that value slowness, simplicity, and equality.

I’m inspired to be in the moment every day, whether it’s just relaxing, spending time with my sons, or even going to work.  I’m inspired by history and art, and I won’t lie—I love to travel and want to live overseas, (both very outside-of-the-moment!), so I’m inspired to see as much of this world as I can in my short life.


Amy Estes (formerly of Just a Titch) and now Coffee and Sunshine

I think working in a profession where I’m forced to be creative is good for inspiration—teenagers see the world so differently than I do, and also, kids are brutally honest about how they’re feeling, which definitely inspires thoughts. Otherwise, I find inspiration in a good book, a song that makes me want to dance or cry, conversations with my closest friends, a long drive on a sunny day, in cooking or baking, during a long bath or shower and the things that I write off-line, in my paper journal.


Jed Brewer of Lather Records

I’m drawn to people that are smart, creative, and weird.  Occasionally, I need some boring down time to recover from everything, but I like watching, hearing, and talking to people that let it all hang out.  People that risk embarrassment or being misunderstood to do something that’s a little different.  Not the Jackass people, but creative or even political people.

I also get off on stuff from the natural world.  I’m fascinated by topography – land shapes, gorges, mountains, rivers, etc.  And animals, of course.  The Amazing Yans inspires me just about every day.


Ryan Fong of Deep Homework

I have many people who inspire me. 

  • My partner, Eric, inspires me to see myself in the way that he sees me—with unconditional love and compassion. 
  • My uncle is an inspiration for a life lived well and very mindfully.  He’s a friend, mentor, and model in addition to being my blood relative. 
  • I’m inspired, as I think many of us at IAY are, by the way the community there supports us in experiencing the challenges and joys of really embracing it *all* as yoga. 
  • But mostly, I’m inspired by the universe’s generosity in giving us this present moment to do and be right.  Not right as in correct, but as in right here, right now and just right.


Who or what inspires you?


Want to learn more about the Teacher Goes Back to School Featured Teachers? Here’s the full archive.

Do you know a kick ass yoga practicing classroom teacher? Is that you? Please let me know!

Image source: Abstract light photography pink heart bokeh photography … by mylittlepixels on Etsy

Yoga Teachers Who Inspire

yoga teacher interviews

Over the years I’ve interviewed some of my favorite yoga teachers.

Here are the highlights:

You’ve said yoga will “ruin” your life as you know it… What did you mean by that? And how has it ruined yours?

It’s completely ruined mine! I think you’re never off the hook. Once you know about the philosophy and “the path,” you know when you’re off it.  

Recently I went to a party and some friends were talking about another person who was not there. The talk was not kind (*not* ahimsa) and probably not entirely true (*not* satya).  

I didn’t get up and leave the conversation and it’s really heavy on me this morning. My body told me to get up—I felt a little nauseas (another way you’re *ruined*—you’re more aware of your physical and emotional feelings). I even had dreams about it last night.  

But I didn’t say anything or excuse myself, and I can’t change it, and there’s no sense in berating myself (back to ahimsa). So I take this experience and set the intention to do it differently next time.

For more with Michelle Marlahan proprietress of It’s All Yoga (Sacramento) – my primary teacher – excerpt from Part 2.


Madeleine Lohman describing her first yoga class.

It was a beginner’s class, but an accelerated one intended for folks who were already “in shape.” I don’t know what led me to believe that described me. I’ll never forget the teacher kneeling beside me trying to encourage me to roll back into plough pose. All my efforts produced almost no movement, only grunting.

I do remember that I did my first handstand in that class. I actually cried out: “Jeezus!!!”

The teacher didn’t find it funny.


Speaking of laughing and yoga….here’s how Anna Guest-Jelley describes her yoga classes.

I like to describe my classes as a choose-your-own-adventure book.  Remember those? I give lots of different options during class.  I always talk with my students before class to check in and see what’s going on with them so I have an idea of what modifications to offer.  The classes themselves are usually quiet with some bursts of laughter.


Who or what inspires you? Who are your favorite yoga teachers?

Interested in learning more about our Featured Teachers? Here’s the full archive.

Are you interested in being a Teacher Goes Back to School Featured Teacher? Contact me at TGBTS blog AT g mail dot com – subject line: Featured Teacher

Image: sudheer and son mayan riviera by lululemon athletica on Flickr (cc)

How-to Feel Refreshed After Spring Break

how to feel refreshed

Tip #1 Don’t over schedule yourself.

Allow for down time to just hang out and do nothing. I know it is tempting to try to catch up on some grading or planning or housework, but don’t forget to take time for yourself.

Need some do nothing inspiration?  Check out one of my favorite sites: Love Wasting Time: A Pause In A World of Bigger, Better, Faster, More.

Tip #2 Sleep a little more at night.

My own sleep is much more restful in the hours before midnight so I try to get as many of those as possible. That may be because I get up ridiculously early with my daughter, but whatever. I try to be in bed by nine and asleep by 10. I know, I’m an early bird! However you stock up on your own sleep, please do. The more the merrier when it comes to sleep!

For some interesting facts about sleep click here.

Tip #3 Nap during the day or practice some restorative yoga.

It has been said restorative yoga can feel more refreshing than taking a nap. I have to agree (except of course when I’m too tired and I just fall asleep).

Practice with me.

A little home retreat for 90 minutes.

At home mini vacation for 15 minutes.

Tip #4 Take time away from working/computer/screens and step into nature.

The NY Times explains the science behind what we already instinctively know: a break from technology is a good thing.

You don’t have to go far – the back yard, a local park or lake –  just take your shoes off, lay a blanket on the grass and look up at the sky.

Tip #5 Exercise.

Sometime this is the first thing to go when things at work get busy, so while on break take advantage of this extra time to take care of yourself. Exercise is nature’s anti-depressant.

Maybe you check out a class usually out of reach because you are at work. Now’s the time to try that morning Zumba, weight lifting or ballet class. Why not try some Pilates or kickboxing? Or just grab your shoes and a friend and head out for a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood. Instead of driving to your coffee date, dust off your bike and cruise on over.

Tip #6 Connect with friends or family.

It’s during school breaks that I get to go out to lunch. Oh how I miss this during the year. So if you are like me and love a leisurely midday meal with a friend or close family member, get it on the schedule now.

Do you have any tried and true ways to make sure you return to school after break feeling refreshed and ready to face the end of the school year? 

Please share in the comments and if you found these tips helpful, please share with your friends and family.

If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).


Image source: dandelion photography Fine art photography – botanical 8×8 … by mylittlepixels on Etsy

What If I Fall Asleep In Class? FAQ About Restorative Yoga – PART 1

what if i fall asleep FAQ

As many of you have noticed, I’m posting much more about restorative yoga here on the blog, mostly in an effort to explain what has helped improve my mental and physical health over the last few years. If it inspires you to take a restorative class or pick up a book or just take a break – hooray!

Some feedback I’ve gotten as a result has come in the form of questions, so today I offer you some answers to those you might be too embarrassed to ask.

Let’s start at the beginning.

What IS restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga classes are much different from regular classes. The biggest difference is that in restorative yoga we lie down with blankets, bolsters, blocks, straps, sandbags, over chairs and then we lie down some more.

In other words, probably the most difficult part of the class is making it there on time.

Once you’re there, we just lie down.

If you can easily get down on the floor and up again an hour or so later, we’re golden. We get comfy and let the props do the work.

Other people may have a more technical explanation, but I feel like lying down with the purpose of relaxing the body and brain is a good way to put it.

What if I fall asleep during class?

When was the last time you completely relaxed your body and didn’t fall asleep?

For most people,  it’s been a while. Plus most of us are pretty tired.

So, what happens if you fall asleep during class?


Well, you may get a little nap in.

I’m not going to call attention to you or make you feel like a horrible person or even think badly of you. I’m honestly going to think that you are tired.

I bring this up during every class, especially with new people, because I know I’ve felt embarrassed when I’ve fallen asleep in class.  I am pretty sure if you are falling asleep, it means you are tired and it’s a good thing you are there taking a break.

What if I snore?

It happens. Waking yourself up with a snore is usually how you know you were really asleep and not just spacing out thinking about other stuff.  Again, this is a pretty good sign you are tired.

How do you know so much about this sleeping in yoga business?

It used to happen to me ALL.THE.TIME. Dude, sometimes I’d fall asleep in the 5 minute savasana at the end of a regular class. Apparently, I have a long history of being tired.

In fact, it still happens to me. Just the other day I was practicing some restorative poses (ok, one pose) at home and I *totally* fell asleep.

How do I know I really fell asleep and wasn’t just thinking about other stuff?

Because the church bells alarm woke me up. {#protip – set an alarm when you practice at home}

What if I toot ?

Same as snoring. It happens. And then we don’t worry about it because it doesn’t matter.

So we’re all lying around over bolsters and propped up with blankets and blocks and then what? What are we D-O-I-N-G?

The short answer is we are doing nothing other than taking a little break from the constant go go go.

The longer answer is making your body comfortable enough for muscles to be able to really let go and relax and rest. During class I try to keep my talking to a minimum so you have a chance to experience physical relaxation and quiet at the same time.

We don’t get to do that every much in our modern constantly connected world. It can sometimes feel like a mini vacation.

So, do you have anything you’d like to know about restorative yoga?

Free Restorative Yoga for Sacramento Area School Teachers to Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week

thank you

National Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up – May 6-10th and to show my gratitude to my fellow educators, I’m offering a FREE restorative yoga class at It’s All Yoga.


Because I know how hard teachers work and I feel like they deserve a little mini vacation during the school year. I’d like to share a little rest and relaxation with my colleagues and friends. Plus I’d like them to indulge in a little self-care.

If you are a school teacher in the Sacramento area – you are invited!

This class is limited to 16 lucky teachers and will fill up. If you would like to reserve a place, please register online and click the workshops tab.

Want to learn more about restorative yoga? Try here.

Still have questions? Contact me – Tami – tgbtsblog AT gmail Dot com.

How will you celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week?

15 Minute Mini Vacation


Friends, how about that Daylight Saving Time? I don’t know about you, but our house is full of what would seem to be hungover people. It is not pretty.

Yesterday was National Napping Day and I celebrated with a 15 minute mini vacation because I was simply too tired/wired to really nap and sometimes there just isn’t enough time or energy to do a whole yoga practice.

Are you in?

15 Minute Mini Vacation

You will need:

15 minutes alone

three pillows or rolled towels or bolster plus two blocks

this Tara Brach podcast and something to listen to it on

Do this:

Set yourself up in reclined cobbler’s pose – a pillow under spine/head, soles of feet together, knees splayed out resting on pillows or towels.

Here’s a picture:

Listen to the podcast.


Ta da! A 15 minute mini vacation.

I feel much better now. Don’t you?

If you’d like an entire restorative practice and are in Sacramento, come on by It’s All Yoga at 7:15 tonight.

Image 1: pinterest

Image 2: VanderbiltHealth.com

Health Benefits of Practicing Restorative Yoga

health benefits

Do you practice restorative yoga?

Do you need a little proof that this practice is more than just lying around?

Restorative yoga alleviates depression in women suffering from breast cancer while increasing their well-being and outlook on life.

Restorative yoga resolves metabolic syndrome which increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (more information here). Those in the study had reduced blood pressure, a significant increase in energy levels, lower stress levels and an overall improvement in well-being.

Restorative yoga improves the quality of sleep.

Restorative yoga may even help people lose some belly fat.

Scientific evidence that restorative yoga decreases depression, blood pressure, stress, and belly fat while increases well-being, outlook of life, energy level and sleep.

Now let’s all lay down and relax a bit.

Do you have any questions about restorative yoga? Leave them in the comment section and I’ll be glad to find out the answer for you.

Image Credit: Manduka Equa Towel for Bikram yoga class by lululemon athletica on Flickr (cc)

8 Tips To Bring More Relaxation Into Your Life

relax post it

When was the last time you relaxed?

I mean, really relaxed?

Like turn the phone off, shut the laptop and watched the leaves swaying in the breeze relaxed?

It’s probably been a while because most of us simply feel like we don’t have the time to relax.

Or the idea of relaxing brings up voices in your head that sound a lot like “relaxing is for vacation only!” or “that’s for lazy people!” or my favorite – “I’m too damn busy to relax!“.

Between back-to-back meetings, driving carpool, commuting to work, liking your brother-in-law barber’s vacation photos on Facebook, making dinner and watching the latest episode of the most talked about TV show, there isn’t much time for just lounging around. Most of us spend so much time going, going, going that we forget to stop and just be for a while.

And if we’re really honest, we really like being busy. Or at least feel trapped by being busy and we’re just not sure how to jump off the treadmill of modern life.

So rather than wring our hands lamenting about our collective state of busyness, my challenge is to schedule in some relaxation time this month.


Schedule some down time/relaxation for 20 minutes a day.

If you are suddenly very irritated with me and how I don’t understand how busy you are, then you may need to double your relaxation time this month.

There is an old Zen saying:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day—unless you are too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

Where will you find these 20 minutes for relaxation?

Mostly I find mine when I close my laptop and/or switch off whatever screen is captivating my attention. Turn off the Facebook, friends!

It also helps to write it in your schedule as an appointment to yourself. If is feels silly writing “relax” on your calendar, feel free to give it a code name.

Tips To Bring  More Relaxation Into Your Life:

  • While on transit to and from work, put your phone in your bag and close your eyes for a few minutes to just breathe.
  • If you drive to work, turn off the sounds. No music, no podcast, no nothing. Enjoy the silence for the entire drive.
  • If you have an office you could close the door, silence the phone and massage your face for a few minutes.
  • Sit by the river/lake/stream/pond/urban body of water and listen to the birds.
  • Lay on the grass and watch the leaves flutter in the breeze.
  • Make snow angels if you like that sort of thing.
  • Meditate using a mantra. Here’s mine.

Of course, you could take a restorative yoga class. Or you could practice one restorative yoga pose at home before you go to sleep. Here’s one of my favorites.

What are other ways to relax? Do you schedule your relaxation? What are your feelings on relaxation?


If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).


Image Source: Just Relax 97/365 by SashaW on Flickr (cc)

Savasana: A Love Story

savasana a love story

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk to some Yoga Basics students about coming to my classes. Here’s what I told them.

Savasana: A Love Story

During the first year or so of going to yoga classes around town, I fell in love. That overwhelming feeling of I-just-can’t-get-enough kind of love. An obsession, really.

At the beginning, I didn’t know its name. I called it “that lying down part at the end”. My secret wish was that each class I took  would end with “that lying down part”.

I fell in love with Savasana.

What’s to love?

I loved that feeling of my body letting go of tension, releasing the urge to work,  and falling into relaxation and rest at the end of class. Even if we only were there for a few minutes, that was the part I liked the most. I felt its power of rest like nothing I’d ever experienced, except maybe for an actual nap.

After each class, my mind felt calmer, my body relaxed and for a brief time, I felt peaceful.

For a super Type-A, pitta-deranged, smart Alec with amazing perfectionist tendencies, peaceful was something I’d never felt before.

And I liked it.

So I kept going back, week after week, hoping that we would end with “that lying down part”.

It surprises me now – a decade plus past my first class – that not one time, in any class I took that first year, did any teacher mention that every class ends with “that lying down part”.

Imagine my delight when I finally asked someone and they explained that EVERY yoga class ends that way!

To this day I love Savasana.

In fact, I’ve dedicated my yoga teaching to the lying down part! We pretty much do that the whole time in my classes. And while, yes, it can be hard to do – it is worth it.


Interested in starting a love affair with “that lying down part”?  Check out my class schedule and come rest with me.


What yoga pose would you write a love story about?

Photo credit: Robert Bejil Photography on Flickr (cc)

That Time I Knew I Was Going To The Nervous Hospital: AKA My First Restorative Yoga Class

A person who recently took a restorative yoga class with me told the owner of the studio where I work that my class was hard.

Like, really hard.

Surprisingly hard.

When she asked why, the response she got may surprise you.

It was the quiet.

The quiet was the hard part.

The doing nothing while laying down with nothing to do was the hard part.

I was taken aback for a minute when she told me and then I remembered my first restorative yoga class.

Picture this: My body was supported in legs up the wall (just like the picture above), I was carefully covered with a soft, clean smelling blanket, my eye pillow rested over my eyes and then BAM!

No joke, within five minutes I truly believed I was going to have to live in the nervous hospital. I was clearly insane. The voices in my head got louder and louder the longer I stayed still.  I kept wondering when the men in the padded van were going to come wrap my clearly crazy self up in a straight jacket and take me out of there.

My mind wouldn’t quit.

The deep dark hidden secrets I successfully avoided by staying busy had finally caught up to me when my body got quiet.

Basically, my mind kicked my ass for an hour and a half while I laid there in the quiet waiting for the padded room dudes to come get me.

Needless to say,  It was quite a workout.

So I get it.

The quiet IS the hard part.

Sometimes I forget that laying down quietly with your body fully supported can be difficult.

I get it.

It clearly happens to us all.

I also get that sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to do hard things that are good for us.

Recently the New York Times published an article about how if you Relax! You’ll Be More Productive that has been widely across social media. I share it here with you because it perfectly illustrates my point about how lying down often, taking naps, taking vacations and breaks from your online world are hard, but totally worthwhile.

This gist of the article is exactly what I’ve said in my classes for years:

The less you do sometimes directly relates to how much more you can do other times.

So this, friends, is my invitation to you. Tuesday nights (and the first Sunday of each month) I teach how to live in the quiet. A nice supportive place to make friends with your inner critics.

Join me? It’s All Yoga in Sacramento, CA. Public and classes are available.


Have you ever tried restorative yoga? Do you have a regular practice? What’s your experience?

Blogs I Love: Curvy Yoga

Blog I Love: Curvy Yoga


Who they are:

Anna Guest-Jelley is the mastermind behind Curvy Yoga – a training and inspiration portal for curvy yogis and their allies and teachers.

I was fortunate enough to meet Anna pretty quickly after my yoga teacher training and had the opportunity to interview her for our Featured Teacher Series. You can check out those interviews here and here.

Basically, she is a rock star.

Recently she guest posted here at TGBTS about How Restorative Yoga Healed My Body Image – which includes a free restorative section from her book Permission to Curve.

Anna organized the Curvy Yoga community to send photos to the Yoga Journal Model Contest and published all the photos on her site. If you look you may even find some familiar faces.

Some local Sacramento Curvy Yogis from It’s All Yoga and I talked with Anna about our Curvy Yogi photo shoot, radical insight and the subversiveness of acceptance and the interviews are here and here.

In other words, Anna has been a TGBTS ally since the start and she is not only a warm, generous person, but also an inspiration. I am so happy to have Anna in my corner.


Why I love Curvy Yoga and what I learn from it:

Anna writes thoughtful, thought-provoking posts and provides information I haven’t found anywhere else.  She inspires me to bring yoga to people who may believe they can not do it for whatever reason.

Posts I find inspiring:

Why Touching Your Toes Doesn’t Matter

Restorative Yoga (a simple practice for home)

25 Ways to Add Yoga to Your Life

13 Ways of Looking At A Yoga Pose

Weighty Words

Dear Yoga Journal

Curvy Yogis, Represent!

Yogi Imperfect

Are You Advanced In Your Practice?

Finding Your Teacher

Yoga From the Wounded Place

If you haven’t already, go check out Curvy Yoga and then tell me what you think.

What blogs do you love?

Who Is Your Go-To Girl?

Do you have someone you trust to help you in times of transition? Someone you can call to help you sort through personal and/or professional issues?

According to Rosie Molinary in Beautiful You: A Daily Guide To Radical Self-Acceptance:

Every woman should have a person she goes to when she needs understanding, perspective, comfort or commiseration….sharing problems helps you put worries into perspective, offers you fresh solutions and can help halt the cycle of negative thoughts.”

So hand-to-the-forehead simple! I couldn’t agree more. My friends are smart, funny, ass-kicking and most importantly, think I am too.

So why haven’t I calling them more often?

My word for 2013 is connection.

One of the reasons I chose this word is because I’ve gotten out of the habit of reaching out to friends and co-workers when I need them because everyone is so busy, the false sense of connection through social media and if I’m being really honest,  I didn’t want to be any trouble. {Whaaat? I know. Probably deserves its own therapy session.}

Anyway, I am currently confronting a situation which has lead to much hand wringing and early morning wake-ups. I haven’t been getting very far on my own so I decided to rally my troops.

In a recent call with one of my Go-To Girls, I was able to not only run through various scenarios from worst-to-best case, I was able to write a timeline of action and quickly come up with a list of people I need to connect with in order to solve said issue. My Go-To Girl, not only helped me problem solve, but also reminded me what a fighter I’ve been in the past and how she had great confidence in me and my abilities.  I got off the phone feeling pretty damn great about the situation and myself.

Left to my own devices I’m pretty sure I’d still be wringing my hands and plotting revenge fantasies.

One of my best self-care practices is reaching out when I’m in need. I may have to get a tattoo of this one to remind me when I’m down.

Do you have a Go-To Girl? Are you someone’s Go-To Girl?

Image Source: We Heart It

Taking It Easy

I am taking it easy today. Between massive seasonal allergies, a sick kiddo and the promise of rain, I’m calling in the self-care.

How are you taking care of you today?

Image Source: Pinterest

Be Your Own Valentine!


February is all about the love, obvs. But rather than focusing on other people’s love and such, I’m inviting you (and me) to be our own Valentines this month.

We can create some self-love by practicing extreme self-care this month. I’ll be posting some ideas during the month and I’ll keep you posted how I’m doing as well.

My first self-love/self-care challenge comes from Rosie Molinary‘s book, Beautiful You:

Day 223: Listen to Your Body and Respond

We spend a whole lot of time berating our bodies and not nearly enough time caring for them. It’s time to start focusing on being responsive to our body’s needs.

Challenge: Every hour stop and ask yourself “What am I feeling right now? What do I need?”

If you discover you need water, get some and drink. If you need to stretch your legs, take a short walk. If you need some connection, reach out to a friend. Whatever the need, take a few minutes to take care of it. Your body will thank you.

How are you planning to love yourself this month?

If you’d like to spend some time taking it easy and deeply relaxing in the company of others, come join me at It’s All Yoga on Sunday afternoons for restorative yoga.

Image Source: Pinterest

Chosen It

Image source: Pinterest

Talk about shifting gears, this quote is helping me move from the poor-me-nothing-is-working-quite-right aka everyone is an idiot mindset I’ve been stuck in the last few days, to a much better place.

How do you cope when things aren’t going your way?