July 23, 2013


I sat on top of Mount Doug last night next to the woman I love most in the world, my mum. We sat next to each on the hard bedrock breathing in the ocean air that always hovers around Victoria. Mount Baker stood tall and white capped far across the Juan De Fuca Strait. The Gulf Islands lay peaceful covered in Douglas fir and cedar trees. The ocean was so calm it gleamed up at us like an ice covered lake. The mountains to the west were coloured like a Roger Dean painting in purples, mauves and blues that only ever exist in my dreams. A fog hung low to the south east blanketing the Olympic mountains, giving them the appearance of small hills.

We were on top of the highest point in Victoria to watch the sun set behind the mountains and the full moon rise through the blanket of fog simultaneously.

As I took in the beauty surrounding me I couldn't help reflecting on where I was a year ago. 

A year ago, the sun didn't shine for me. I lived under a constant gray cloud that drizzled on me even in my dreams. When the rainy clouds of November arrived, it didn't faze me at all. Mum remembers asking me to go watch this natural phenomenon last year and I didn't want to. It is amazing what emotions and depression can do to you. How powerful these emotions are, how they take control of your mind and rule your life. To be fair to myself, last year was very difficult and I have come out the other side a stronger, calmer, more compassionate person.

With the help of my yoga teachers and my asana, pranayama and meditation practice, the most valuable thing I have learned in the last year is how to practice mindfulness in my life. I am learning how my mind works and how to be more conscious of my thoughts. In Brené Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection, she defines mindfulness:

"Mindfulness requires that we not "over-identify" with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught and swept away by negativity."

For myself, mindfulness has become a very useful tool when it comes to my emotions. Emotions are triggered by things that occur around us or memories that we experience. I have always been an emotional person, I experience my emotions very strongly. Through my life they have often debilitated me to the point that I couldn't get out of bed or they would consume me so much that I could not focus on anything else. I have learned how to allow myself to feel the emotions, to breathe them in completely, wallow in them if I need to, accept them and then to detach from them. They do not define who I am, they are only something I need to feel in order to truly experience what I need to so that I can process what is occurring in my life. This is by no means easy. I work with this every day. I practice it everyday. 

Some people need to learn how to calm different parts of their mind. It could be learning how to still the constant monologue that occurs while you are practicing yoga. It could be becoming aware of when you are constantly planning the future, that you are existing in the future so much that you forget how beautiful the moment of now can be.

Something powerful happens when you learn to control your thoughts. You learn to have compassion for yourself and others. You discover there is space in your life for peace. Listening becomes something you want to do. You begin to take responsibility for your own hang ups. And the biggest thing for me has been that I am learning to let go of having to control everything all of the time.

The sun turned bright red as it dipped behind the mountains and the moon rose serenely out the fog and into the azure blue of the sky. I couldn't help but think that this is what life is like. Sometimes we shine brightly and with great power like the July sun and other times we rise graciously and calmly knowing the power we hold exists deep within us, it need only be given a chance to shine. 

As Mum and I walked down the mountain I felt so grateful for my life. These priceless moments, the hardships and the amazing people are so precious, I must have won the lottery in a past life.

July 2, 2013

Which Way?

“Cheschire-Puss,” Alice began, rather timidly. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”  
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.  
“I don’t much care where—“ said Alice.  
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.  
“—so long as I get somewhere.” 

I’ve spent my life—as many of us do—making plans as to what I will do next. Feeling in a panic if I don’t have the next step lined up. Worrying about failure or worse, looking like a failure to the outside world. 

In this beautiful western world of abundance and choices, sometimes there are just too many choices. We are inundated with ideas, temptations, other people's opinions and success stories; we lose touch with what exists in our own hearts.

I ask you to reflect on what happens when you make a decision that comes from your heart and what happens when you do something because you think you should. 

I have noticed that when I make a firm decision with my mind and my heart in sync everything that needs to happen just falls into place. When I make a decision because I think I should do something, it is an upward battle the entire way and it never really works out.

As I struggle with wanting to know which way I should go right now I have decided to become quiet. I have decided to become in touch with me. I have decided to carefully filter the opinions of others, to sift through all of the many choices I have and to find what sits right with me.

What exists in your heart may seem too big or ridiculous or out of reach at the moment but if it's your path follow it. It will take you where you are supposed to go.

June 25, 2013

Practice Brings Strength

I lay on my back. Yoga towel underneath me. Knees bent. Feet on my mat. Hands on my stomach. Eyes closed. Letting my mind run away with all the thoughts and feelings I've been experiencing the last few days. Anger and sadness. Exhaustion.

Out of nowhere I hear Harmony's voice, breaking me out of my cloud of despair.
"Juliana, what's going on? Keep going."
"I'm only doing half primary today." I whispered back.
"Why? What's wrong?"
"Nothing I'm just doing half primary today."
She gazed at me with her intense blue eyes and walked away.

I closed my eyes and started with little bridge. I pressed my feet into the mat, lifted my hips, drew my shoulder blades together.  I took a deep breath. And then something came over me. I rolled up. Came down into chaturanga and continued into my next asana. And the next and the next until I had completed my entire practice.

As I stood up and dropped back into back bends. I thought, if I can do this I can do anything.

Learning how to focus on one thing has given me the power to pull myself away from my brooding mind. Learning how to practice with intention and calmness, with grace and humility, with acceptance for what is has taught me how to forgive myself.

If I can take my crazy thoughts and accept them for being there and then continue on with what I choose to do, if I can find one pointed focus during my practice then the rest of the day will be easy.

In Paschimottanasana, a seated forward fold that is done after back bends, Harmony lay on top of my back and squished me, deepening the contrast from the back bends.
I whispered, "Thank you for questioning me."
She laughed quietly and said, "You're stronger than you think."

We are all stronger than we think are. 

Strength resides in us all.

June 17, 2013

Buddhism and Business

The evening light streamed through the two-story windows. I sat on my meditation blanket on the floor of my mum’s living room with four other people. Eyes closed, I tried to focus on my breath. The light and the tree branches made shadows behind my eyelids. A robin called outside. A fly buzzed in the air above my head. Someone swallowed. A stomach rumbled. I was aware that somewhere in the room there was a timer counting down the seconds—slowly—for 20 minutes.

I felt the pads of my finger and thumb press lightly together. My toe rings dug into my foot uncomfortably. I shifted my seat. My shoulders ached. I brought my awareness to them and tried to accept the sensation. My mind wandered. How much time had passed? My mind focused on my breath. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale… And somewhere a harp chimed. The 20 minutes were up.

I opened my eyes. Just off to the right sat David, a man with a buzz cut of white hair and very clear blue eyes. In the chair beside him sat his wife. On the floor next to me sat my mum and to her left was her friend. We were gathered to share a meditation space and to hear David’s story of Eastern philosophy and Western success.

In 1994, David sold all his worldly possessions and moved to a Buddhist monastery to live a life of poverty. He traded in a life of creature comforts for meditation, a bed of wooden pallets, celibacy and one meal a day. For three years he lived with monks and nuns. He helped them construct a new meditation center. He ate gruel. He meditated. For three years he worked on himself—I can only imagine how well he must have gotten to know his own mind.  

On his return to Canada in 1997, David was broke. He had no credit and nothing but an old Chevy to his name, but had the idea that he would build a window-washing business from the ground up. Through coincidence or luck or fate, David met with my mum the day he went in to apply for a business loan. Seeing a power within him or peace, perhaps, she provided him with a small business loan to fuel his vision.

Driving through upscale Victoria in his truck with rust up to the door handles he met a man who would become his first client but not without some resistance.  As David approached the man on his property, the fellow responded in a way that seemed rude. He informed David that soliciting in that area of town was not allowed and to get off his property. However, as luck would have it, David found out the homeowner was a very successful businessman, allowing David to appeal to a kindred spirit. He asked the fellow how his salesmen found new business. The homeowner responded that he would have them make cold calls. David answered that was exactly what he was doing. The homeowner became his first client, which quickly turned into a recurring contract to clean the windows of all his storefront locations.

As David’s company grew he began to hire employees and was able to replace his rust-mobile with a fleet of new trucks. He had one important condition that his employees had to observe—they had to recognize and follow the Buddhist teaching of Ahimsa—to do no harm. This was to be adhered in their own lives right down to the lives of the insects that lived on the windows that they washed. Each spider that they encountered was removed from the window and placed out of harm’s way.

This astounded me. That a man would base his company on the foundation of the Buddhist eightfold path. In a world where spiritual beliefs can be construed as flaky, cult-like or dogmatic, David followed his path and lived his truth.

It worked. David kept his employees for more than 10 years, which is unheard of in a window-washing company, and just recently sold his business to his manager.

As I sat on the floor across from a man who exuded a calmness and peace that I rarely see, I became
inspired. My faith in my own practice grew. The work I have been doing for the past five years has not been in vain. This last year and a half of an intense practice of yoga and meditation where I have felt like my entire soul has been ripped out and put in front of me to witness. These last six months where I learn daily how I cope, how I communicate, how I express my viewpoints. As I step into my new role as an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, a yogi, these are lessons I carry with me.

I looked across the room at David, as the sun dipped behind the oak trees and felt refreshed to have been privileged to meet someone who lives a life of humility and authenticity while being a successful entrepreneur.

August 5, 2012

Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih.

Oh, how life has dealt me some blows in the last few months.

Through my tears, my sad faces, my anger I've managed to finally lay down a second a job and pick up some yoga classes to sub.

And through those days where all I want to do is pull the covers over my head, I get up, sit on my cushion and practice my pranayama.  Some days I get to the yoga shala.  Some days it's a half practice.  Some days my body aches.  Some days I touch my fingers in Supta Kurmasana with my ankles crossed.  There's progress even in the twilight - or maybe this is the sunrise. 

I find myself impatient with the human race.  Someone pointed out to me that maybe I am simply observing my own impatience with myself.  I opened my blue book this morning - my yoga book, where I write my yoga teachings - to read about the 6 enemies that cover the heart or the arishadvargas, according to Pattabhi Jois (as taught to me by my teachers, Jeff and Harmony Lichty).

1) Kama - desire
2) Krodha - anger
3) Lobha - greed
4) Moha - delusion
5) Mada - pride
6) Matsarya - jealousy

Pattabhi Jois is quoted to have said, "these are not external enemies; but in fact, all our external enemies are born from the arishadvargas, from the internal enemies, so that what we have inside us, what our heart says, is what we are forced to see outside."

So, for me this essentially means, what I see, what frustrates me, what saddens or angers me are mirror images of what exist inside of me - emotions that I need to let go of or become detached from.

Pattabhi Jois also explained that these enemies are destroyed through chanting mantras and through the practice of surya namaskaras (sun salutations).  The mantra he deemed the most important is the mantra from the Krsna Yajur Veda, which I refer to myself as the Bhadram mantra.

Bhadram Karanedhih shrunuyaama devaah
Bhadram pashye-maakshabhir yajatraah
Sthirairangais tushtuvaagumsas tanubhih
Vyashema devahitam yadaayuh
Om Shanthi Shaantih Shaantih

(There is more to the mantra but this is the part I learned while in TT and it is short enough for me to repeat three times in the morning before my pranayama.)

It translates as,
"O gods, may we who are engaged in the pursuit of spiritual knowledge, hear only the auspicious with our ears, see only the auspicious with our eyes, not evil ones, please make my body strong and firm, so that I may have the power to speak only auspicious and divine things, and please make my words unwavering in their value."

I've combined two translations that I have because this is how it sits with me and how I feel it when I repeat this to myself in the mornings.

So this morning I tried to embark on the day with feeling no anger to any one person and above all to try to avoid reacting to anyone's emotions.  I think it was successful, I had to remove myself from a situation once in order to not take someone's bad day personally but I left my job today with no resentment, no annoyance and no anger.

It most definitely wasn't easy.  But nothing's been easy lately.  I might as well embrace it.  I've heard that the faster or more easily someone climbs, the harder they fall.  So maybe it's better that my climb is difficult.  Maybe one day I will land softly.

I hope everyone has a soft landing.

Om. Shantih. Shantih. Shantih.


June 8, 2012

Taking It Off The Mat

Somewhere in the last 5 months yoga has become something I try to do everywhere, especially away from my mat. I don't mean asanas. I mean developing a firm strong mind. I mean being compassionate, happy, strong at the hardest times. I mean actively thinking the opposite when a negative comment pops in my head. I mean when my brain starts to spin out of control, to focus on my breath.

Oh my god this is not easy. Monday night I let myself crack. I sat on my living room floor bawling. And I don't mean no pretty Hollywood cry. I mean absolute grief and sadness. My brother came and literally picked me off the floor. It was symbolic I think. My little brother pulling me up. And the fact the entire time I was breaking down - Johnny Cash sang in the background - I felt like I was observing myself. I knew I just had to sit up, draw my shoulders back and take a deep breath but a part of me wanted this. Wanted to feel the pain physically.

And now as I sit in my car waiting to go see a man about a job - again - I desperately want to curl up into a little ball and cry. But if I let my intellect be present it only makes me realize that I am feeling sorry for myself. I'm letting my mind get the best of me and I'm letting my ego be bruised.

I just have to remember - as my teacher told me - one breath at a time, one step at a time.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

April 14, 2012

First Classes Successful!

Wow, what a surreal experience.  I taught two classes on Thursday to two separate PE 12 classes.  First off, I don't think I've interacted with a teenager since I was in high school.  Second, they are so much younger than I ever felt at that age!  Third, they were there because they had to be so it was a little different then working with students in the mysore room who WANT to learn yoga.

My first class was bumpy.  I had nothing prepared  - I didn't know what to prepare, any time I tried to write up a lesson plan I felt lost so I decided I would just teach what I practiced.  Easier said than done when you've got 20 awkward teens trying to understand what you're telling them to do.  It was so much easier walking my brothers through a class.  I got a little lost and while I definitely kept my cool, I was unsure of myself and I finished the class 10 minutes early because my mind drew a blank.  I discovered the students really liked the balancing poses, they had fun with them, they hated downward dog - so much grumbling and I must admit this intimidated me a little bit.  I felt a little deflated after the first class but I gathered myself and took myself for a coffee armed with my David Swenson practice book and my notebook and made a lesson plan.  I wrote down the asanas in groups of three so that I could easily repeat three asanas again if I needed to extend the time.

For the second class I felt much more confident.  I was prepared and ready.  I took control of the class and joked about the complaining that a few of them did.  I took my time getting them to poses.  I added in Tree (Vrksana) and Warrior 3, which is similar to Balancing Stick in the Bikram class.  I actually didn't have enough time to finish everything I planned to teach.  I think that next time I will choose less postures and do them a couple times.  I want to stay true to the Ashtanga system but I also feel as though kids, who are being essentially forced to try yoga, need a little different approach.  I also need to find my footing as a teacher :)

If I already noticed a huge difference between the first and second class, just imagine what is to come.

April 11, 2012

YS 2:33

I'm nervous.  I feel like I did in university the night before a big exam.  I am the type of student who studies right from the beginning.  I don't cram.  I can't.  My brain will not process information that way and I get way too stressed out to retain any information.  Tomorrow I lead my first class.  I've been trying to study the asanas but I can't.  I am full to the brim with information and right now anything that I read will not stay in.  So I'm trying to chill out.  Relax.  I picked up my copy of Yoga Sutras and randomly opened it to Yoga Sutra 2:33.

Vitarka Baadhane Pratipaksha Bhavanam
When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite (positive) ones should be though of.  This is pratipaksha bhavana.

Fitting, I think.


April 10, 2012

Sirsasana, Tapas and Fear

For the last week or so I am able to get up into headstand completely on my own, without Jeff or Harmony standing close by to catch me as my body wants to slam backwards onto the wood floors.  I have no love for Sirsasana.  It comes at the end of my practice when my body is tired and I just want to lay down in Savasana.   Placing my forearms on my mat at the end of practice; cupping my head in my palms; becoming so focused that all I am doing is breathing and finding a lift in my core; lifting my legs straight up into the air as I press into my forearms and find strength in my shoulders takes every ounce of focus that I have.  For at least a couple breaths I think of nothing except breathing and lifting.  My brain always manages to intervene on this intense moment by freaking out a little and going WTF are you doing here upside down!  But I feel - proud, is not quite the right word - accomplished, is maybe a little better. I have been putting in the effort and it is showing. 

One of the Niyamas that Patanjali lists in his Yoga Sutras is Tapas.  Tapas are a form of austerity or self discipline.  Tapas literally means heat and implies effort.  Tapas help lead us to self mastery (Himalayan Institute).  I feel as though every day since the beginning of January, I have been performing my tapas.  Every morning I wake and practice my pranayama, given to me by my teachers.  I chant before my pranayama - to some people this may sound strange, weird, crazy but it focuses me.  It gives meaning to my daily routine of pranayama.  It is acknowledgement to the greatness that exists all around us - within us.  It is truly a moment in my day where I simply sit with myself.  This focus on one of the Niyamas (observances) within the 8 limbs of Yoga is giving me a strength I didn't know existed within me.

This strength is being tested.  On Thursday I teach my first yoga class to a Grade 12 PE class.  Part of me is freaking the fuck out - when I let myself.  But I'm noticing a different part of myself that is becoming detached from this emotion - a part of myself that is acknowledging this emotion and trying really hard to just move on.  (Much easier said then done but this self is trying.)  I am also being given a brand new opportunity for work and this is making me extremely uncomfortable.  It is a risk - financially but mainly for my ego.  I feel as though I am trying to stand on my head in Sirsasana and Jeff or Harmony may or may not be there.  There may be someone to catch me if I lean too far in one direction and there may not.  The key thing is that I need to trust my own self - my own strength - my own inner light.  Sirsasana "literally turns your world upside down" (Yoga Journal) and probably helps you deal with the comfortable life you're used to living being shaken up and jostled about.

So between Sirsasana, Tapas and Fear, my yoga practice is lending a most welcome helping hand to this so called life of mine.  I am eternally grateful for my practice, my teachers and the life that I have.

*Disclaimer*  In absolutely no way has this new found trust in my yoga been easy.  It's taken me months to even venture forth and share any of what I've been exploring in the last few months on this page again.  This practice brings up a lot of crap - internal crap, external crap and just plain old crap.  It tests you, it teases you, it picks you up and hugs you and then promptly spits you back out again.  But it's teaching me to trust my self, to love my self and to be my self with no expectations.

March 23, 2012

Infinity and Constant Change

Life has been a consistent stir of change lately.  Feelings grabbing me and shaking me around.  Jobs being insecure.  Pranayama practice bringing me deeper - to what?  Seasons changing.  Sun coming out and making me hot.  Vivid dreams.  Random meetings of people I haven't seen in ages.  Being surrounded by people who get what I'm learning and experiencing.  Being surrounded by people who don't - understanding that it's all personal.  Having a shift in what I enjoy doing in my downtime - reading the Yoga Sutras before going to bed.  Going vegetarian.  Feeling older yet younger and more vulnerable at the same time.  Wondering what has brought me to this point - is it all Karma?  Trying to grasp for something tangible yet feeling as though what I am searching for is elusive and I should go with the flux and ebb of life.  Beginning to believe I've lived before.  Feeling as though I'm finally discovering what I've wanted to understand for years.  Having no clue how to discuss any of it.  It is simply happening to me and I feel this deep inner change occurring within me.  Deeper than my brain.  It's happening in my core.

Becoming aware that life is not about something holding you up - being reliant on one thing.  It's about holding yourself up and being fluid within the change that is happening within your life.  Accepting change and surrendering to  the power that exists within yourself and all around you.  Having faith.  "It's all happening."  It's constantly happening.  Constantly shifting.  Constantly evolving.  Focusing on being brave and shinning bright while my whole world is shaking up around me.

March 1, 2012

Yoga Sutra 1:33

Hello lovelies, it's been a while since I've even thought about venturing into this part of the web.  Since beginning my yoga training in January, I have learned so much or I guess more precisely I have been given so much knowledge and I am slowly letting it sink in.  I have been practicing 6 - 7 days a week and am in training Friday evenings, all day Saturday and all day Sunday.

I have also been struggling with letting go of this so called control we have over lives.  Yes, I can make choices as to what I do but if I learn to quiet my mind and listen to my heart these decisions seem to be a lot easier to make.  The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali have opened my eyes, my mind to many different thoughts.

Yoga sutra 1:33 is one that I think we should all follow, that would make our own lives a lot easier.

Maitrii karunaa muditopeksaanaam sukha 
duhka punyaapunyaa visayaanam 
bhaavanaatash citta prasadanam.

By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy,
compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous,
and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff
retains its undisturbed calmness.

My interpretation of this is to celebrate with those who are happy - be happy for them.  Show compassion to those who are having a hard time or are unhappy.  Appreciate the virtuous that you may encounter - try to learn from them.  And the last one and most important for me to remember in my own life - ignore those who do no good, who are cruel or wicked.  There is no sense in getting angry or trying to share some of your own thoughts with them, most likely they will not listen.  It is a waste of your own precious energy, it disturbs your mind and only causes you stress and unhappiness. 


February 5, 2012

It's In My Blood

Mum told me this morning that she practiced prenatal yoga with me while she was pregnant as well as post natal yoga with me as a baby.

I wonder if this is why I feel so at home on the mat?

January 31, 2012

Self Doubt

We all doubt ourselves on a daily basis.  Did I speak to my boss in an annoyed tone?  Did I make the right decision in going to law school?  Did I leave the oven on when I left the house?  They can be huge situations in which we doubt ourselves or tiny little nagging thoughts that represent a part of us that may be forgetful, scared or lazy.  This doubt is one obstacle that is placed in front of us when we have a practice.  Whether this practice be a yoga practice, a musical practice, a pranayama practice, a writing practice or a painting practice.  When we doubt ourselves we are less inclined to practice. 

In Sri Swami Satchidananda's translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra 1:30, it is stated that doubt is one the 9 obstacles that may restrict us from practicing.  I see this doubt as doubt of the self.  Doubt that what you are choosing to practice is not good enough or that you are not good enough, not smart enough, not flexible enough, not fast enough.  

I had this thought the other day in training during a discussion about Sankhya and Vedantic philosophy.  There we were all seated on cushions making notes in our books about Indian philosophy and I swear I felt like a deer caught in the headlights.  Words like monoism, dualism, Prakrti and Pushura bouncing off the walls and around my mind.  Trying to catch just a little bit of the conversation while it seemed that everyone else was having an easier time grasping the concept.  I gave up trying to follow the discussion at one point and my mind started berating me - informing me that I wasn't good enough to go through this training program that I would never understand Yoga philosophy and why in the hell did I even have a Yoga practice, what was the point?  I came home absolutely exhausted - mentally wasted.

The following day we discussed Sutra 1:30 and I felt clearer.  It was like this heaviness had been lifted from me.  I realized that this training that I am doing is an extension of my practice - an expansion of Yoga that takes me off of my mat and I was allowing my mind to distract me from my practice.

So, practice.  Practice your writing.  Practice your musical scales.  Practice your yoga.  Practice your singing.  Practice your gardening.  Don't stop.  Don't doubt.  Question but please don't listen to that nagging voice of doubt.  Listen to your heart.

P.S.  Bind in Mari D successful 2 days in a row! Heeheee!

January 30, 2012

Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah

This morning I found a mantra that works for me.  Whenever my mind started wandering during my practice, I repeated to myself, Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah - To restrain the whirl pools of the mind is yoga (Yoga Sutra 1:2).  It simply popped into my head while I was practicing and it is the one Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali that I have been able to remember in Sanskrit.

As soon as my mind wandered to what I had to do during the day - what we were going to have for dinner, work, yoga training, my lack of a career, my inability to bind in Marichyasana D - I repeated this in my mind with real conviction and belief.  Now to say that this worked is just me telling you it did but I have actual proof.  As I reached Marichyasana D I kept repeating my mantra while slightly smiling so that I was focused and in a decent frame of mind.  I went into the asana with no expectation on the second side and what do you know I actually was able to clasp each hand, bind and hold the asana for 7 breaths without an inkling of pain in my right ankle!  I can tell you that at that moment I broke into a real, genuine smile - it was a moment of pure bliss.  The moment I chose to let go and just be was when what I have been striving for actually surfaced.

Now we'll see if I can do it tomorrow :-)


January 26, 2012


Today I smiled through my practice.  I tried to invite love into my practice and tried to send love into my self.  When the going got tough, I smiled.  I lifted the corners of my lips ever so slightly and breathed.  The lift that I physically created in my face helped lift my core, my chest and my spirit.

When I reached Mari D - which nearly brought me to tears yesterday - I had a little pep talk with my self and the yoga.  I decided that I was going to choose to love Mari D, no matter what it looked like or felt like on any given day.  There will be no more forcing, no more roughness.  There will be no more dislike of the asana - I don't think that negative energy is helping my right hip, knee or ankle release any faster - there will be no more impatience.  I will be gentle, I will accept it for what it is and I will smile and breathe.