Find a Spot

A lot of my Instagram pictures are taken in the same room with a TV and green exercise balls in the background: that’s my gym at work.  While getting my website underway, I had visions of having an amazing yoga blog with pictures of me on the beach and in the streets of New York City doing handstands in the midafternoon.

Then I started to think about the reality of that: I commute over an hour each way to a corporate office where I work all day and feel super lucky if I make it to one yoga class a week; I haven’t been to the beach since…well, what seems like a very long time.

The place where I end up doing my yoga is at the work gym during my lunch break.  It’s not a romantic studio setting with dim lights and an inspiring teacher, but I do some sun salutations and play around with whatever moves me – inversions, quad stretches, pranayama.  Afterward, I feel better.  My work gym has become my go-to re-energize spot.

Finding this spot has been such a boon for my life.  I sometimes feel as though I'm drowning in life’s daily demands, despite the fact that I work a full-time job, teach yoga on the side, pay my rent, have amazing friends, and even get my laundry done on a regular basis.  What I have realized is that many of the awesome, strong, beautiful women that I know in the workforce struggle with similar issues.  How do you have family time/date night/hair salon time and maintain some form of physical exercise, or practice? 

There are lots of resources for how we can stay healthy and sane in the workplace, but, if you don’t ever have the space to actually put a Shape Magazine routine or a guided meditation exercise into action, it is tough to feel like you are caring for yourself. 

So, first thing’s first: find a spot.  Maybe you have a large space to exercise at work, or maybe it’s a small spot for meditation and mindfulness practice – an empty desk, a conference room, a bench.  Then put the most time you can spare at work on your calendar 5 minutes, 15 minutes, an hour.  Commit to getting up from your desk the moment your time has started and go do your practice.  I put something on my calendar twice a week, and I remind myself that getting to do anything during the middle of the day is a huge win.  Then take a picture of your spot and share it with me!  #workpracticespot

Looking Through the Yoga Lens

When I first started teaching yoga, I was so overwhelmed by every single class that I didn't even notice individual students.  I mean I realized that they were separate from one another, but I would not have recognized anyone outside of class.  I was so clouded by my desperate need to get through the class without anyone running out screaming or falling down hysterically laughing. 

So, for the first few weeks, I never noticed the number of people in class - I secretly hoped it was small, so as not to embarrass myself too badly.  One day, a few months in, I walked into class and realized that it was incredibly small: maybe four people.  I felt like my other classes had been larger than this.  My throat got tight, and I felt a slight blush sweep over my face: maybe I can't do this?  I had never considered that nobody would come to class – yoga classes always seemed to have people in them.  My thoughts leapt to how I could fix the situation, “I'll play Brittany Spears;” I'll make a super fun sequence;” “I'll say really profound things.”  Shoot – I realized there's no guarantee that any of those things would work. 

I like to think at that moment that I paused and took a breath, like a good yoga teacher, but, honestly, I'm not sure what happened.  I do remember that I looked out over those four people, and I instantly knew that there was not a thing I could do to control the situation.  People would come and they would not come: classes would be big and small.  The only thing I knew that I could do, every time I taught was to show up with my authentic teaching on that day, in that class.  I figured, as long as I keep living my life, and having my experiences, and shining them through the yoga lens, I would have something to teach: and it would be real for me.  It was a clear moment, and, for the most, part, it has worked for me.  I show up to class, honestly, always a little surprised that anyone comes, and teach from my recent life experiences.  The result is that I have big and small classes, and I get to keep teaching this practice that I deeply adore.