Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Staying Focused

Each Tuesday I meet with an intimate group of colleagues to chant the Yoga Sutras. Today our Sutra analysis turned into an animated discussion of the economy, politics, astrology (we are in mercury retrograde right now, which presents communication obstacles), and the challenges our world is facing today. Add the media into the mix and the drama escalates even more. Of course most of us are affected in some way by all of this, the most basic level being our earth and environment.

We can't force the stock market back up, nor can we force people to vote for our own presidential preference (ahem, Obama). Freedom comes when we realize that being a control freak is a waste of time, because the universe is not ours to micromanage. HOWEVER, there are a few things we can control.

  • We can choose to take this one breath in this moment. 
  • We can choose to be peaceful in our interactions with the earth and all beings.
  • We can choose to think of the global impact of our decisions instead of solely our own benefit.
  • We can choose to lead by example instead of judging others' choices.
  • We can choose to have faith in our path, even if it isn't mainstream.
  • We can choose to do the least harm possible in this moment.
  • We can choose to send love, compassion, and peace to all beings, especially to those we find cruel and hurtful. They need it most.
  • We can choose to trust that THE UNIVERSE IS NEVER WRONG! Have faith, all these challenges will pass in time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A yoga student in Miami!

Buenos Dias from the land of South Beach, Florida. I am happy to announce that I am here as nothing more than a yoga student. No teaching, no planning, just learning. Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann have been my teachers since Sunday.....and all I can say is WOW! 

It is so humbling to be in the presence of such wise, knowledgeable, and compassionate teachers. Not to mention relatable. Practicing 2nd series in a room with strong energy and super strong teachers has encouraged me to face my demons head on. Without a doubt, Kino and Tim can sense when my demons are approaching. At the precise moment when I want to retreat from the challenge one of them appears on my mat and supports me when I don't think my mind can carry me through. With their encouragement I somehow come out the other side, proud of myself for digging up the courage to even try. If we were able to do this ourselves all the time we would not need teachers. I am grateful to have found 2 amazing ones this week. 

Of course the hot, sunny weather and swimming in the salt water don't hurt either! I am truly grateful to have the time to process all that I am learning before running off to the next thing on my to-do list.

Above are photos of Kino and Tim adjusting at their studio, Miami Life Center, which they own with Greg Nardi, an amazing Ashtanga teacher in his own right. All levels are welcome, as they view their center as a spiritual home for all people. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Come and Visit!

I am excited to announce that on Friday, September 12th, I will be doing a Yoga demonstration at the Grand Opening of the new Lululemon Store in Manhasset, NY. Lululemon is by far my favorite brand of yoga clothing and I am honored to be a part of the inauguration of the Manhasset location. 

I will be getting my Yoga on from 2-3pm. Come on down, bring the family, meet great people, shop, and have fun!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Karma Yoga

The Bhagavad Gita discusses Karma Yoga, the yoga of action. In order to elevate our own consciousness we must ACT on behalf of others. Without this crucial aspect of yoga our efforts would be self-centered. Karma Yoga is what enables us to take the beauty that yoga and life give us and pass them on. Below is what I feel to be a very touching case of Karma Yoga.

My sister, Natalie, is an advocate for the Jimmy Fund, a Boston based non-profit organization that helps people of all ages in the fight against cancer, not to mention their contributions to cancer research. This year Natalie is preparing for her 3rd annual Jimmy Fund Walk which takes the same route as the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon. Walking that far sounds pretty grueling, so I was not surprised when Nat mentioned that during last year's walk she became "cranky" around the 18 mile mark. Just as she started to unravel she walked past the mile marker's water station. A female cancer survivor, still without hair due to chemotherapy, handed her water, shook her hand, and personally thanked Natalie for walking to help those fighting cancer. It was the most humbling moment of Natalie's life. Suddenly the walk didn't seem so difficult, and she went on to finish while befriending other cancer survivors (including children) who had been directly helped by the Jimmy Fund.

Sometimes the only way we can work through our own "junk" is by helping another bear their own burden. Only then do we realize how small our own burden really is.

Above are pictures of Nancy and Natalie (R) with Jesse, their team's inspiration. Jesse has since lost her battle with cancer, but there are countless others who are still in need of healing energy. To join Natalie's Team for the fight against cancer please click here

If you have a cause close to your own heart and would like to inspire others to action, please email sara@sarayoga.com

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Being in the NOW!

It seems as the last post really struck a chord with many readers. The question of balancing so many things at once and still managing to enjoy ourselves is undoubtedly a challenging one to answer. Yet, Yoga and other countless spiritual traditions answer this question in a downright straightforward way: Be Present. Absorb this moment and thus find contentment in its uniqueness and beauty.

Straightforward, yes. Easy to achieve? Yes and no. 

Yes in that all we need to do is allow ourselves to truly BE in the moment. Of course the yoga mat is the perfect place to practice this. So is a quiet spot by an atlar, out in nature, etc. When "conditions are perfect" it actually isn't hard to truly be present with all that is. But how much of the day is actually spent on the mat, by the altar, or alone in the woods? HMMMM......now we can see why being in the moment is harder than it looks.

If we run through a typical day in our mind we will probably find a few of those peaceful moments scattered amongst the day's errands, child care, career duties, and household responsibilities. The key is to remind ourselves that conditions do NOT have to be perfect in order to find peace in the now. In other words, when we are doing the dishes let's try to be doing them with our mind and body, rather than going through the motions while our mind is at Starbucks or on a shopping spree. There is serenity in feeling the warmth of the water, the smell of the soap, the meditation of being completely involved in one single thing instead of thousands. The same can be done with any activity that pops up in our day, and if we embrace it while it is happening instead of wishing we were someplace else the situation will be much less drab. Not to mention, we will probably be much more productive as all our energy and intention will be committed to the NOW. Think about it.....have you ever missed your exit on the highway or burned yourself in the kitchen when you were totally present? I usually do those things when I am daydreaming about India, my future beach house, or surfing, but NEVER when I am fully conscious of the now. Practicing presence has helped me to enjoy my "fun time" more because I am more deeply in it, instead of my mind being at work, updating my website, and the like.

Yes, this is easier in theory than it is in practice. The good news is that the mind is like a muscle. It must be trained to be stronger and more controlled. Practice it, just like you would practice your yoga poses. When you need some motivation juice, here is what I recommend:
-The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
-Living with Joy, by Sanaya Roman
-Meditate, meditate meditate!!!!!!!!!!
-I would LOVE to start a meditation group. Please contact me if you are interested and we will find a mutually agreeable date and time. 
-Just get on your mat and do some YOGA. Even a little bit will go a long way, mentally speaking.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Has it really been almost a month since I have blogged? Shame on me!

Actually, it was quasi-intentional. After returning from India June 1st I was feeling the "post vacation guilt". I proceeded to work myself into a frenzy. This is not difficult to do when you LOVE your job, LOVE your clients, and get excited about going to work every day. However, after the fun and fabulous Summer Retreat in July I realized that the summer was quickly passing me by. What's the point of becoming successful in your career if you start missing out on everything else?

Action had to be taken. I declared August "have fun month" and I am proud to say that I took it very seriously. I worked, but not quite as much. I slowed the pace of my days considerably. I visited family and friends at the beach. Any work or personal chores that were not urgent were filed into my "post labor day to do list". I am happy to say they have remained there until today, and I have begun checking them off without returning to frenzy mode. I found joy in saying no to appointments that I didn't feel like making. If I client cancelled I took it as a blessing and went out to play, rather than spend my time counting the money I didn't make. Have Fun Month transformed into a month of reclaiming control over my schedule and life. I am reminded that there is power in having boundaries, saying no and keeping time for yourself. Money, success, and career are important......I feel they should even be enjoyable. But not at the expense of mental health or quality time. 

The challenge for me now is to find balance as the busy season approaches. Slow down when needed, speed up when wanted, and continue to be present. I'm sure many of you can relate, so don't be afraid to comment!

This picture is of me, Ben, and a beach bonfire in Montauk over labor day weekend. The culmination of Have Fun Month!