Monday, December 31, 2012

Clapping For A Great Show

As the sun gently lowered in the sky toward the horizon, the beach goers started clustering near the shore with their phones, cameras and other picture taking devices in hand.  Seemingly sinking every so slowly into the sea, everyone's attention was drawn toward it.  With a blink and a flash it was gone, the surrounding sky displaying beautiful shades of orange, red, yellow and clear blue sky in celebration of the sun's setting.  Applause arose from the crowd of onlookers.  Good job God.

We are all at different stages in different poses in yoga.  A few have mastered some while others struggle for years with a seemingly simple pose.   There is such a feeling of exhilaration when one accomplishes a pose that was not possible before.  When we hear a squeal of delight in the yoga room or see someone perform a pose that we can't imagine trying that day we celebrate along with them - sometimes breaking into applause. 

No matter how big or how small the success - celebrate.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Trans-Siberian Orchestra yoga

I have always been intrigued by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Every holiday I hear their music on the radio and long to hear them in person.  Then for some reason, another Christmas season goes by and I have missed out on this special event once more. 

But - no longer.

A girlfriend organized a group of us to attend the concert this past week.  The line almost circled the entire Houston Toyota Center as we stepped up to take our place.  The afternoon concert must have ended late for us to have to line up to get in.  As we entered the concert venue our vision was clouded by the smoke that hadn't cleared from the previous show. 

Then - finally - the moment I have waited years for unleashed upon the stage.  Rocking thunderous music, enthusiastic dancers, amazing keyboard players, flashing laser lights, an electric violin, powerful vocalists, whipping long hair, heat from the flames on-stage all rolled into creating an event that you never wanted to end.  Near the end, some thought it was over and headed out the door .  But we stayed knowing that there is always an encore and this would be one you didn't want to miss.  And it was.  They played on for 45 minutes or more including their famous Christmas Eve/Saravejo in the set. 

One segment during the concert I enjoyed the hair whipping dancers kneeling on the stage moving through poses up and down off the floor. I smiled as I named the yoga poses in my head.  To them they were dancing; to me they were "yoga-ing".  I promised myself I would be sure to include those poses in my weekend yoga classes, nicknaming the classesTrans-Siberian Orchestra Yoga. It was enjoyed by all.   

Yoga.  It's everywhere.  It's a part of life.  Consider making it a part of your life in the new year. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

You Get What You Give

I am taking yoga classes in a style called Ashtanga.  It is a power yoga with a lot of jumping and flowing.  I am working on the first of many series of poses.  In class the other day, I was on one side of the room and the instructor was assisting a student on the other side of the room as I practiced one of the more challenging poses. Three times is usually a charm but this time it was three attempts and I was down on the floor in a resting pose.  The instructor came over and asked if I was able to do the pose. I explained how I had tried several times and it didn't work quite yet (the answer was no).  He smiled and asked if I was practicing at home every day.  I responded truthfully that I hadn't.  I started to laugh and said "You get what you give"!  He gave a knowing nod to me as I lay on the floor defeated (but only for today and only by this one pose). 

It reminds me of the story of Jose and the lottery tickets.  Every week Jose prayed to God that he would win the lottery and every week he didn't win.  One week Jose was praying to God that he would win the lottery and God called down to him "Jose! Buy a ticket!"

We have to do our part. 

In what area of your life would you like to be more successful? Are you doing your part to move yourself toward that goal?  What one thing could you do that would make that movement happen?

Monday, December 10, 2012

More Is Less - Less Is More

It doesn't seem logical that doing more could actually mean doing less and that doing less could be more.  But, when it comes to yoga - more is less and less is more.  

With the holidays upon us, the stress level for most people rises as the end of the year approaches.  There are more things on their to do list, more parties to go to, and more people wanting their time.  They find, with this hectic pace, that they have less to give.  And the joy of the season can be lost in a pile of things to do.  The thought of adding something else seems impossible.

What is the one thing you can add that actually takes away some of your stress and gives you more time to do all the things you need to do?  A yoga class is the answer. 

When you take time for yourself, you are able to give more to others. When you sit and breathe for a few minutes with nothing else to focus on but bringing air into your body and pushing it out, everything else seems to melt away.  Your mind clears and is able to sort through all of the things that want your attention, picking out those that need to be done and tossing the others away.  You've added more (a class) but end up with less to worry about.  And  your body will feel great too. 

Grab that joy buried deep beneath that pile - yoganna love it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I Teach You - You Teach Me

One of my dear friends teaches yoga in a part of Houston called Midtown.  His first yoga class was mine many years ago.  He is a wonderful teacher and has even created his own style of yoga.  He has a class on Sunday evenings at 5:00.  My husband and I attended his class this evening and joined our son for dinner after at a nearby favorite Greek restaurant.  We arrived for class early but the room was already filled to the walls with yoga mats.  We carefully stepped between closely spaced mats and managed to wiggle our way into enough space on the floor.  Others continued to stream into the room after us, and the wiggling and readjusting continued until we were all settled.  Our instructor started the class with his enthusiastic energy and carefully planned moves and we followed along obediently.  It was a wonderful relaxing experience to be on the other side of the mat, letting someone teach me instead of me teaching the class.  I think my husband may have seen the class a little differently - a little less relaxing - but he enjoyed our instructor and the rest of the evening visiting with our son.

I also teach business classes and love to incorporate games and activities in my training sessions to enhance the learning experience for my attendees.  While searching for new activities on the Internet a few months ago I came across an organization that does exactly that - the North American Simulation and Gaming Association - NASAGA.  I discovered they were having a conference last month, sent in a proposal to speak at the conference, was enthusiastically accepted, and proceeded to make plans to attend.  It turned out to be an incredibly friendly and interesting group of individuals who loved to share their ideas and experiences using games and simulations in their work.  I came away with so many new ideas and friends as well as inspiration and a renewed spirit. 

Even if you are a master at something, take the time to let others in that field teach you something or share their experiences with you.  It will make you a better you - whatever kind of you that you are!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Don't Move

My husband happened to be working from home that day.  Our offices are on opposite sides of the house, but I can see him at his desk from my desk.  We were both working away on our special projects.  Two hours went by.  During those two hours he never moved from his chair.  I was amazed because during that same time I am sure I was up and down at least ten times or more.  That is the problem when working from home for me.  I keep thinking about all of the little things that need to be done: the laundry needs to be put in the dryer; the dishwasher needs to be emptied; the floor needs to be mopped; the bills need to be paid; the trash needs to be taken out; the leaves need to be scooped out of the pool.  And the list goes on.  Women multi-task and always think about others and what needs to be done. I don't have the focus problem when I move my office to a Wi-Fi enabled restaurant. There aren't any dishes or laundry there for me to take care of.  Men seem to be able to focus on one thing and forget about everything else. That's why they can walk through the house and not see the shoes left on the floor or the folded laundry on the couch that needs to be put away.  That is my theory - and the theory of quite a few relationship professionals. 

SO - I set my timer and start my first Pomodoro (the Pomodoro Technique is a work process that involves breaking your projects into 25 minute time intervals with 5 minute breaks - chekc for more information), forgetting all about the  little house projects I could take care of. I am going to stay in my chair longer than my husband does this time. I love a challenge. 

When I start my yoga classes we are sitting cross-legged on the floor on our mats.  We spend a few minutes focusing on a breathing exercise with our hands resting on our knees or in our laps. The goal is to stay still and focused on the breath.  I usually keep my eyes open to check for people entering class late that might need a mat or other help.  As I look around the room, I see people in various states of stillness. Some never even bat an eyelash. Others are looking around, checking their cell phone to make sure it is off, changing their position frequently, and other non-focused activities.  I realize I need to encourage and remind them next time we start - to try to stay still. 

Set the timer - GO! - see how long you can stay still. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't Be Afraid To Ask

There was a guy in my indoor cycling class who was interested in doing yoga.  He admitted he wanted to try it but was intimidated by the poses he witnessed my students twisting themselves into when he watched part of the class one evening.  He asked if I might spend some time giving him a personal introduction to yoga.  I was more than happy to oblige and we worked together after our next cycle class.  I taught him the breathing techniques, warm-up pose flows and worked him through a number of poses that targeted some of his trouble areas and tight muscles.  He was grateful for my time and felt confident and comfortable enough to attend my next class.

I have a girlfriend that works for a company that has an office in Paris.  Visiting and possibly living in Paris was always a dream of hers. Instead of telling her boss that was her long term goal, she would make indirect comments or hint at wanting to live in Paris - never realizing her dream because she didn't speak up.

I took a girlfriend to a tropical island paradise for a major birthday milestone. Another friend lamented that I hadn't taken her anywhere.  "You never let me know you wanted to go anywhere!", I replied. 

Ask and you shall receive!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


It seemed silly to even bother to go to sleep.  I had to get up at 3:30 am and it was already 2:00, but I did. Even 90 minutes of rest is heaven to the body.  I had a flight at 6:00 and my friend was coming at 4:15 to drive me to the airport. I was grateful for her generous offer as I was sure I would not be able to stay awake on the road driving myself.  The thought of invading my eyes with my contacts was too much too bear as I placed my glasses on my sad tired face. 

I was settled in my seat on the plane when a business man entered the plane and selected the seat in front of me.  He seemed oblivious to his surroundings, (aren't we all at 5:30 am? -ok - not everyone - there are those who worship the sunrise - which I can only do right before I go to bed, not after getting up), as he held up the line of people trying to get down the aisle to their first come first served seats. He took over the row, placing some of his belongings on the seat, shoving a suitcase in the overhead bin, finally moving his rear end out of the aisle so others could pass.  It wasn't large - just in the way.  There was a marked difference between him and those individuals that were once waiting behind him, who grateful for their freedom, quickly moved down the aisle while politely pulling their suitcases near so as not to hit the seated passengers. 

When yoga students enter the yoga room, they carefully select a place for their mat so they won't obstruct the mirror view for other class participants.  They provide space between mats so if they roll out of a headstand they won't roll on top of the person in front of or behind them.  They are considerate of those around them.

Too many times I have seen drivers on the road focused on their cell phone or their sandwich or something besides driving, causing stress for the rest of us. 

Be present in the moment and aware - not oblivious - of your surroundings.  Everyone around you will appreciate it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Motivate Me!

There are many motivational conferences and events happening in the area all the time from the Texas Conference for Women to the Get Motivated Seminars.  They usually include a day long star studded speaker list and upbeat messages and key points.  You leave the event ready to tackle the world.  And then life happens, and you get wrapped back up in your day to day "things to do list" awaiting another spark to reignite your passion for what you really want to do for the world. 

Yoga is a practice.  Each day in class we practice many of the same poses that are a key component of any yoga class and them work on unique poses to target specific areas of the body.  I encourage the students to continue their practice outside of the classroom. The class is a renewal of the spirit and a reminder that personal practice is the key to progress. 

Find a way that works for you personally to build on the motivation you receive in a class or at an event.  It might be to:
  • set your yoga mat on the floor in the living room as reminder to practice
  • partner with a friend or coach to take action on the ideas presented at the conference
  • schedule time in your weekly calendar to practice yoga or plan the steps to move forward on a project
Carry on.  Get er' done!

Friday, October 12, 2012

There's Something About You

I went for a run (that turned into a walk) in the park with my son the other day.  I tried to keep up with him but his legs are twice as long.  I take two steps for every one of his and it didn't take long for me to decide to walk at my own pace and enjoy the scenery instead of continuing my futile efforts. I didn't mind when he lapped me, choosing to admire his prowess instead of trying to beat it.  As I walked around the park, I smiled at all of the people enjoying the outdoors - playing games with their kids, swinging on a park swing with their sweetheart, climbing on the playground equipment, hitting balls on the tennis court and in the ball field, and running or walking around the track encircling the park.  A young couple at a picnic table caught my attention. They had a little baby with them and the father was holding the baby up in the air, sitting him on the picnic table, cradling him in his arms. Both parents couldn't keep their eyes off of the little one.  You couldn't help but smile - watching them watching him.  I noticed the same thing while visiting family in Minnesota as I had many opportunities over that weekend to enjoy my new great nephew.  I especially enjoyed watching the parents holding the baby, staring down at him and just smiling. An easy calmness and peacefulness swept over all of us just being in their presence. 

I find that whatever struggles or tenseness I come to my yoga classes with dissolves as I enjoy and observe my students in their practice. I always thank them for sharing their time, effort and positive energy. We all leave feeling better than when we arrived - just by being around each other.

I encourage you to stop and "up your awareness" of the positive energy around you.  Absorb and enjoy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Don't Want To Go! - Yes You Do!

There is a conversation that goes on in our head between the time the alarm goes off and the time we press the snooze button.  It is a very short moment but, a lot is said in that span of time.  There is a fight going on between the part of you that needs to get up and go off to wherever you need to go to and the part of you that luxuriates in sleep and wants to enjoy a few more dreams.  I experienced that internal conflict the other morning.  

I have started training in a form of yoga called Ashtanga (commonly known as power yoga).  It is a very disciplined form of yoga with a half dozen lengthy series of postures to aspire to.  I am currently struggling with the very first series.  After staying up late engrossed in a work project, I did not want to get up early to head across town for my yoga practice. Every muscle in my body was tired and sore - and I don't normally get sore - so my body was in some form of shock and denial :).  I pressed the snooze button, I got up and stopped for a short nap on the plush carpeted floor, I crawled back in bed after setting the alarm for seven more minutes - as if that was going to help any - and the madness continued for a half hour.  Finally, when the do or die moment arrived - that if I didn't get dressed and jump in the car within the next three minutes I would be too late - some mysterious force took over my body and I was called to action.  I did make it to the class on time, I did remember the whole series, I did huff and puff and struggle with the poses and lose a tremendous amount of water through my pores and - I did feel a great sense of accomplishment and a knowing that I had made the right decision to go, as hard as it was to convince my tired body. 

I remember when the kids were young, we planned a trip a few hours west to an incredibly fun water park call Schlitterbahn in the town of New Braunfels.  There is also the river to float lazily down in your inner tube with your beer cooler (or other appropriate refreshments) alongside your partying group.  The kids did not want to go.  It was too far away. But we took them anyway (letting them bring a friend to ease the pain of the long drive).  It didn't take them long to figure out that this was one of the coolest places  on earth and they didn't want to go home - ever!  

I don't want to go!
YES you do!!  
Try it - you just might surprise yourself and like it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It Never Hurts to Ask

I was seated at the dining table at a business dinner meeting.  The table was crowded with plates and silverware, a view obstructing centerpiece, coffee mugs and an assortment of drinking glasses.  In front of each place setting was a scrumptious looking dessert.  The desserts alternated with divine chocolate cake at one setting and a traditional cheesecake at the next seat. Unfortunately for the chocolate lover in me, I ended up seated with cheesecake in front of me - all the while eyeing the chocolate cake my tablemate was about to devour. I flagged down a waiter and asked if there was a possibility of getting the chocolate cake instead.  He disappeared from the dining area and appeared a few short minutes later with chocolate cake in his hand.  He proudly delivered it straight to my waiting fork.  Other ladies at the table and surrounding tables with uneaten cheesecake sitting in front of them, carefully watched every move of the waiter as he delivered the slice of chocolate heaven to my table.  "How did you get that?", some inquired.  "I just asked the waiter", I replied and told them they could too.  You can get whatever you want in a hotel.  And they did.  Soon every woman around me and several men were eating chocolate cake with devilish grins on their faces.

I must confess I read a "trashy" novel at the beginning of the summer.  It was actually a trilogy.  My friends anxiously awaited their turn to borrow my books.  The book binding wasn't of the highest quality and it wasn't long before pages and 1/2 inch thick chunks of pages started to fall out of the cover.  I wrote to the publisher regarding the binding.  They called me after receiving my letter and said they would be sending me replacements for all of the books.  

It never hurts to ask.  

I waited outside the group exercise room for the class before us to finish so we could begin our yoga session.  I was subbing the class for another instructor.  One lady, that I have known for years since "Reebok Step" was a popular workout format, saw me and declared that she was leaving.   "You are NOT leaving", I retorted.  "Oh - yes I am.  You are too hard", she replied. I repeated that she was NOT to leave.  I went to the back room to turn out the lights and when I returned she was still there. She stayed.  I modified the class to fit the yoga level of the attendees.  My lady that was going to leave thoroughly enjoyed the class and thanked me vehemently as she left.  "I just listened to what you were really asking for and gave it to you.  Thank you for letting me know".  

It never hurts to ask.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sun Bed Distractions

I set up my "sun bed" on the beach.   I love this new term for lawn or beach chair that an English woman on the beach shared with me the day before.  It brings visions of sunbathing by a turquoise sea instead of sitting on a freshly mowed lawn (though I must admit, I love that too!).  As I settled in, I noticed a woman I met in the hot tub at the hotel the night before setting up her "sun bed" near me and greeted her with a nod and a smile.  I proceeded with my sun protection ritual of sunscreen, sunglasses and sun hat and pulled out my writing tablet.  Soon, I was deep into writing my novel - the continuing saga of the corporate consultant and her frustratingly arrogant nemesis.  Within a few moments my hot tub buddy was joined by her friend and the conversation between the two of them began.  They were close enough and the conversation was loud enough to drown out the delightful rhythmic crashing of the waves on the shore and disturb my thoughts.  Their conversation quickly moved from work problems to good old boys and cheating businessmen.  It was intense and the speed of their words picked up with every response.  I decided it was time for a walk to remove myself from their sordid tales and find peace again on the beach.  

Calm returned as I squished every toe into the sand by the shoreline in a few feet of water so clear you could count the fake diamonds on my polished toes. I walked down to a hotel landmark near the end of the beach and back.  When I returned from my walk, I adjusted my "sun bed" a few feet away from them so I could return to the rhythm of the waves and my novel in progress.  Peace again.

I went to a hot yoga class recently. As I lay on my mat in the dark heated room awaiting the start of class, I heard a student next to me unrolling their mat and settling into their place on the floor.  The smell of smoke permeated my breathing space.  I knew that with all the deep breathing we would do during class, this space was not going to work for me.  I quietly picked up my mat and moved to the other side of the room to settle again into the quiet and warmth of the yoga room.

It is important to remove yourself from distractions and continually bring yourself back to the place where you need to be.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Little Things Are Big

As I walked the short trail back from the beach to the pool, I came across a groundskeeper raking the sandy path. I walked to the left to avoid his equipment cart and he gently cautioned me to watch out for the branches that hung over the fence above my head.  I smiled gratefully and thanked him not only for the safety notice - but also for raking the path.  When I returned to make my way back to my beach paradise, he was crouched down picking up dead leaves and flowers from the ground.  I thought to myself - "Wow, God made this incredibly beautiful place and this man was making it even more perfect with his careful attention  to the tiny details".  

As I teach yoga, I walk around the room passing from student to student - nodding signs of approval on their poses and efforts or just gently touching them with my fingertips so they know I  am there.  I remind them the focus is on the breath, then the pose.  And they are beautiful.  As they stand and try to balance in tree pose (standing on one straight leg with the second leg poised on their opposite thigh) I tell them all the trees in the forest are different - just like their tree poses and that is what makes them so interesting. It would be boring if they were all the same.  

In class, I turn their front feet forward, assist them in moving their shoulders or bending forward - any of a thousand little adjustments help make their pose more perfect or help them feel more in the pose.  

It is the subtle little things that can make such a big difference.  

And I continue on my perfect sandy path to the beach with a smile on my face.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Something For Me - Something For You

I rented a beach house for my birthday.  To me, there isn't anything more relaxing than hanging by the beach listening to waves crash on the shore.  I stayed for several days and had different groups of friends and family visit. One day one girlfriend came to join me. Another day a whole group of girlfriends came to party all night.  Next - the family came to spend the weekend.  You could see the stress melt away as they climbed up the stairs to the beach house door.  The view from the deck and the sounds were amazing - the chatter of the seagulls, waves crashing, hot tub jets bubbling away, the blender in the background grinding up frozen margaritas, laughter and "ahs" as the atmosphere sinked in.  I rented the beach house for me as a getaway but realized it was ending up as the much needed break from reality for all of the visitors.  They seemed to need it more than I did and just watching them gave me a sense of peace and happiness that I was able to give them this gift.  

I used to do yoga in college.  I think then it was more of a personal challenge to try to get into some crazy positions as opposed to working through a series of poses for exercise.  After years of teaching fitness classes I took yoga training. I wanted to share this amazing form of exercise with others.  When we teach, especially when we teach an intense class like indoor cycling or a weight lifting class, we as instructors want to get our own workout too.  Though our focus remains on the members - encouraging, motivating, assisting with techniques and offering minor adjustments.  And it's not just the workout.  I always leave class feeling better, calmer, and happier than when I came - having shared my love of fitness and my love for them.

Like the beach house - we both benefit.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Let It Come To You

As I stood at the top of the trapeze platform, the assistant reminded me to wait for her cue before I jumped. "Once you are out there - let the other person come to you. Reach out and let her grab you." she instructed me. I am not sure I heard much of it because the height of the platform was terrifying me. I held on for dear life and waited for the "hep" cue. And I was off - screaming with fear and delight at the same time all the way. I reached out, let her come to me - and felt her hands wrap around my wrists - contact - success - yes!!

In yoga, when we are doing a lunge pose called a triangle, I remind the students not to bend over to try and touch the floor. "Let the floor come to you", I instruct them. "The deeper you lunge, the closer the floor will get. Let it come to you." Some are patient and others can't wait - they bend over forward to touch the floor thinking that is the goal. I help them adjust their pose to remove the strain and allow them to move closer to the side bend benefits. In time, they will learn to let the pose flow instead of trying to make it happen. In yoga, as in life, our egos get in the way in so many unproductive ways.

Sometimes we need to stop trying so hard to get somewhere and allow things and people to come to us. All in good time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are You a Robot?

As I stood in line at the store check-out I could hear the cashier running through her spiel - "How are you today?", "Did you want to save 5% by opening a ---- account?", "Thank you for shopping with us", "Have a great day!". I flashed my charge card in front of her so that she could see that I already had a card. Surely I wouldn't hear the same "Did you want to save 5% by opening a --- account?". But the same words she had just delivered to the customer in front of me came out of her mouth without missing a beat. I said no thank you and mentioned I already had a card for her store, flashing my shiny red card again for her to see. She bagged up my items and I was on my way. I passed along the line of cash registers toward the exit and noticed my favorite cashier was working. He was ringing up customers with his usual "you are the most important person in the world - how can I make your life easier today? - I am SO glad you came to visit us today" attitude. It never fails. He is one thing you can always count on. I smiled as I left - making a mental note to look for him first before I check out next time.

Then I wondered. Am I a robot? When I teach my yoga classes do I run through the sun salutations with an "oh here we go again - sun salutation number 4,378". Or do I make each one a delightful new movement for myself and everyone. Either way - I am going to make sure I do going forward. No more robots.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Assessing the Stockpile

After Christmas I get in the mood to clean out closets and drawers. There is something about the new things I have received that gets me in the mood to clean clutter. I started going through clothes in my closet. Some of them have been there for so long without moving that the shoulders and the hanger were both collecting dust. I decided which ones I would actually wear again, had them cleaned and hung them back in the closet dust free. Other clothes ended up at the front door in bags waiting for the next donation center trip. I didn't stop with the closet. I moved on to drawers and shelves - amazed at some of the things I didn't even know I had. I've made it a goal this year to use up my lotions and potions and candles and incense that have been stockpiling unbeknownst to me. What was I waiting for? It takes a good clutter cleaning to realize what treasures we already have - even though it can be tough to get started.

Each year I attend a yoga conference in California. My yoga students look forward to the new poses (and the chocolate) I always bring back from the conference. This year I focused on taking workshops that helped me learn more advanced mechanics as opposed to just cool new poses (though I did get quite a few of those in the process). There are many adjustments we can make to the simple poses we have been doing for years that will help our progress and our enjoyment immensely. I encourage the students to perfect their simple poses as the base for the advanced poses.

We need to enjoy what we have and find pleasure in some of the old things from our closet or old poses from our practice instead of continually adding new ones to our stockpile. Here's to dusting something off today!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don't Be Afraid of the Train

Last year I attended the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco. Wanting to try something new, I selected an instructor I had never heard of for one of my sessions. The workshop description sounded intriguing and the title -Urban Flow - resonated with my Detroit roots. It turned out to be one of the best, most fun and challenging of all the sessions I participated in. I was hooked and wanted more. I was hoping the instructor would be at the conference again this year since he owned a studio in the Bay Area. I searched the list and checked it twice but was disappointed to find he wasn't going to be presenting. So - I looked up the location of their studio in San Francisco and signed up on-line for a class during my stay.

The evening I was scheduled for my class I "Googled" the studio and found it was within a reasonable walking distance (note - reasonable can be five miles for me). I headed out the door of the hotel and then did a sudden unexplained about-face to the concierge desk to check on my walking estimate - just to be sure. Maybe God stopped me - I think so. When I told the concierge where I was going he said I could get there easily in 30 minutes but he didn't recommend it. I would be walking through the "tenderloin" area of town and it wasn't safe. He recommended the underground train. Coming from a small town and not really being a frequent train and bus rider, I hesitated at first. He assured me it was easy and gave me simple and complete directions. "You can't miss it" he said. "Haven't we all heard that before?", I thought. He recommended I take a taxi cab home unless I met someone in the class to walk back to the train station with. I found everything to be exactly as he described and ended up in the right place - though I did have a bit of a walk after I exited the train - and some of it was in the "wrong" direction in more ways than one (oops - wrong way on the street - oops - I think I hit the edge of the tenderloin area!). The energy in the yoga studio and the class was incredible and uplifting. I did meet someone to walk back to the train station with. We are still communicating and I know I will connect with her next year when I return to San Francisco.

Don't be afraid of the train - i.e. something new or unfamiliar. You might just find an incredible yoga class and make a new friend.