Dear Yoga: A love letter…

Dear Yoga,

I remember when I first met you. I was just a little one and less interested in you than I was the lady on the TV show, Lilias, Yoga and You. I think it was her long, pretty hair in a braid, and that badass purple unitard she wore. I wanted to be her when I grew up. And I’ll admit, I liked to show off to my mom the poses that I could do, but that’s as far as our relationship went at that time. I was much too young to realize how awesome you were.

The next time you showed your face was when I was a teenager, trying to make friends in a new school and decide who I was going to be at that impressionable age.  I’ll admit, I loved the physical practice, and the relaxation made me feel great for the moment… But I was far too self-concious to let my guard down and really explore what you had to offer. None of the popular kids were into you, and I really wasn’t sure if I should be either. Was I hanging on to my hippie roots? Would I be judged for it? I figured we should just take a break for the time being, and soon you were forgotten.

A few years later, while I was still trying to figure out who I was and what my place was in this world, you came back (although, I now know you never really left me.). You showed up when I needed you most but never imposed on my life. You were just there, waiting, allowing me to discover you on my own time. I saw you on my travels through Europe, and again when I moved to California. You intrigued me. You never judged, you never told me what to do. Even though I was quite the handful at that age…
I felt a connection with you that I had never felt anywhere else. It felt like coming home when I was with you.

When we began to see each other steadily, I felt like you had always been a part of me. I looked so forward to rolling out my mat everyday! But in true Yoga fashion, you never said anything if I didn’t show up for a few days or even weeks. You always welcomed me back with grace. When I tried different styles and tried to decide where I fit in, you let me explore and whispered in my ear: Trust yourself. Wherever you land, is exactly where you are supposed to be. Besides, I’m much more than the physical practice. So much more…

Our relationship now is so honest and beautiful, Yoga, and I thank you. You’ve helped me to find my truth, to find love, and to be happy. Through you I have come to accept my body- how it looks, its limitations, and its amazing capabilities. I’ve learned to love myself unconditionally, and to honor myself as a Divine being. Though I have my off days, you are always there to remind me to REMEMBER who I am. Through you, I have fallen in love with myself, which led me to find and marry the love of my life and have a truly healthy relationship. You’ve given me the tools to always strive to be a better person. Trying to be more loving, more compassionate, more willing to see the good in others. Of course it’s not always an easy, smooth road, but you make it easier for me to make good decisions on a daily basis. To make choices that serve my well-being and that of others.
I began to realize that once peace, beauty, and joy is found within, it’s so much more visible on the outside!

Thank you, Yoga, for all the wisdom you have shown me, and all that there is still left to learn! There are lifetimes of knowledge yet to discover and I am so grateful to be on this journey. Thank you for teaching me to choose Love over fear… To always try to do no harm to myself or others… And most of all, for showing me how to LOVE & BE LOVED.

With the greatest respect,
Namaste.

{Lilias Folan in the 70’s in her awesome unitard}

Well there’s a light in your eye that keeps shining, Like a star that can’t wait for the night…” ~Led Zeppelin

Happy holidays! And, apparently I don’t blog enough.

K and I were having dinner the other night with some dear friends that we haven’t seen in almost a year, and the topic went from, ‘How have you guys been? What’s new?’ to… ‘You need to blog more! Do you know how long it’s been?? Much too long!’ Haha! Sorry, Hannah, had to throw you under the bus for that one. 🙂
But seriously, sometimes life is just WAY more exciting than the internet, and I just can’t seem to sit down long enough to pour out an entry. However- I am going to make this my New Years Resolution. I resolve to blog more. Because, in all honesty, I really love to do it. But sometimes I don’t even visit my own blog for weeks on end. And then I have beautiful comments from awesome readers and I feel like poop because I haven’t responded fast enough. And then the guilt sets in about abandoning the blog for so long and that makes me really want to stay away, because how many times can I say sorry for not blogging. Or is it Sorry for Party Rocking? But alas, here we are again. And yet again… Sorry for not blogging. Moving on…

We are enjoying this holiday season SO much! No stress, no rushing around, no angry shoppers fighting for parking spaces or the last DVD set of Sons of Anarchy Season 2. Ah… just bliss with my love being home, our sweet little Christmas tree, and lots of yummy vegetarian dinners at home. See, this year we decided to not buy presents for anyone, not even each other. No consumerism = no holiday stress. We did allow each other presents ONLY if they were hand-made by us. So instead of Christmas morning being the pinnacle of the holiday because thats when the presents are opened, we are enjoying every single moment just being together. And the days up to Christmas seem to last longer. They are being savored rather than having the feeling of rushing around to buy things for everyone. It is so nice. We are so relaxed and happy to just watch the chaos fly around us while we just look at each other and smile. I recommend this to everyone.

Until today. I did something completely out of my comfort zone, and far from my usual routine. I went to the mall today. Yes, December 26th, the Day After Christmas…! One of the cra-zaaziest shopping days of the year. WHY? I need a new coat for Alaska. And I figured I could sneak in under the radar and hit up the one store that was sure to have my perfect coat in stock for Uber-cheap, my color and size of course. And then I would whisk myself up to the register, pay and be out and on my way home in 30 minutes or less. Because I AM that confident and a total positive-thinker, and I only want one little thing, right?

{How I imagined my shopping experience was going to be...}

{What I actually saw when I got there}

Of course I asked K if he wanted to join me and get some new gloves. HA! He looked at me like I was looney and said no thank you love, but good luck. In fact, he actually suggested I bring my badass knife he got me for Christmas (Yup, of COURSE he broke the rules and gave me gifts). Anyway, I drive to the mall, happy as can be, calling upon the Parking Fairies to grant me rockstar parking right in front of the one store I knew would have my coat. Well, that didn’t quite happen. But I did get to see two older ladies scream at each other from their cars, fighting over a parking spot, obvs. That’s okay, I’m still cheerful and optimistic.
I can now see my store, but crap, with all the parking traffic, I am barely inching my way through the lot. I decide to park further away and walk. It’s a beautiful day out and I could use the walk after all the coconut milk egg nog I drank. SO I pull down an aisle and voila! A parking space appeared right in front of me! Thank you parking fairies! I get out of my car and start the pretty far walk to the store. I cut between cars and move to another aisle, then another. A car pulls up in front of me and a guy leans out of his car to yell at me for taking him on a goose chase. What the..? Apparently, he had been following me from aisle to aisle thinking that I was looking for my car to leave. Oops, I had no idea. Whatevs, dude. Two altercations in under 5 minutes but I am STILL having a good time. I just wave and carry on.
I finally get to my store and a whoosh of reality washed over me as I walked in. There were SO many people with angry, maniacal, and pissed off looks on their faces that I had to pause and find my courage to go on. Crying kids, yelling moms, people flinging through the racks with reckless abandon, throwing coats that didn’t fit them on the floor, others grabbing 5 at a time, not even looking at sizes, just so they could go take them to a corner to try on without having to shank someone for it. It was complete madness.
I took a deep breath…
And I walked over to the nearest rack that (miraculously) had only one person digging through. I found a couple nice ones, but my eyes were glazing over, my palms were getting sweaty, and my bottom lip was getting ready to pucker. Yes, my friends, I was thisclose to losing it. I wanted to either A. run for the door while screaming: “You’re all a bunch of f#*@ing lunatics!” or B. give up and sit down somewhere, where they would eventually find me rocking in a corner.

However, I pulled up my big girl panties and did C. Made one last scan of the coats with authority, wearing a confident smile while still being ready to fend off the crazies if I found My Coat. And then… there it was. The only one of its kind in the store, Michael Kors, down, mid-thigh, puffy but fitted with a faux fur trimmed hood,  in MY size, marked down from $400 to $109. True story. It was only a coat, but the victory I felt in that moment could only have been better if there was a soundtrack playing in the back ground, like in a Katherine Heigl movie. I took my starry eyes and my new favorite coat EVER up to the register. Where I waited.

Yep, still waiting.

But that’s okay because I WON. I wrapped my arms around my coat to snuggle in its warmth while I waited. I walk up to the register and she sweetly tells me that My Coat is now only going to be $85 because it has been marked down yet again for today only. Ahhhh sweet victory. I abandoned the rest of my plans and just went home to have lunch with K. My day was complete and oh so sweet. BUT- I vow to NEVER do that again. I have no idea what I was thinking…

So me and My Coat are heading up to Anchorage with K on Thursday for their New Years Eve concert. I am so excited! See, I was born and raised in Hawaii. However, for a couple of wild years when I was a little one, my parents, my dog and I were nomads and went from Hawaii to California, then up to Maine and all the way through Canada (in a van with shag carpet walls!!) to Nome Alaska where we lived on the tundra for a year or so. I don’t remember any of it, but I have some great photos, and I love hearing the stories…

{Yes, that is me. Could I look any more uncomfortable?}

Then I came back to Hawaii, all before I was 3 I think? Mom, dad, you can probably fact check me here. But I have never been back to Alaska, and now we have the chance. I’m very excited to see the Aurora Borealis again, and to visit a glacier south of Anchorage. It wasn’t on my Life List, but I am eager to experience it just the same. Are any of you readers out there in Anchorage? Anyone coming to the show? We will be there for about six days and would love to have some recommendations of restaurants, fun things to see, etc. And wouldn’t you know it… there is a yoga studio next to the venue. Boom. 🙂

It has been such a wonderful year, and one word sums it all up for me. Gratitude. I am so grateful for everything in my world: My love, my family, my friends, my studio, our travels, our life together. It’s been a fabulous ride so far, and I am so excited to see what the New Year brings! I would love to hear from all of you… What are your plans for New Years Eve? Are you making a resolution this year? Of course, mine is to blog more, blah, blah. But other than that, I really don’t have another one in mind. Just to Live. Live happily, live healthily, and honestly and lovingly. Enjoy every. single. moment of this beautiful life and to appreciate and love my closest like it’s the last day of the world.

Happy New Year. Peace to all.

Currently…
Reading: Jimmy Page. Magus. Magician. Man.
Listening to: Chris Cornell- Live acoustic tour. Swoon…
Eating: Homemade Vegan Harvest soup (basically any veggies I have on hand)
Grateful for: Kaleo making me delicious breakfasts every morning. I’m spoiled.

 

“To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.” ~Author Unknown

Happy Fall Everyone! Long time no blog. I apologize to everyone who commented this past month, I just responded last night. Sometimes being away from the computer is a very good thing. Kaleo is home, life off the internet is delightful, and I am so grateful, as usual. We have both been busy with exciting projects, and also each other. Ahhh, life is good.
We head home in a week, and we couldn’t be more excited. We will actually be at home in Hawaii twice this month. Oh yeah, and in South America. He will be so tired by the time we make it back to Cali on Thanksgiving Day. But tired from doing what you love is a very good tired indeed.

Lately my yoga practice has been to leave every person I come in contact with a little better than I found them. That isn’t to say that I am changing them, no. What I mean is that I want their experience with me to be a positive one leaving them feeling good about themselves or at least feeling incredible in that moment. With each person that crosses your path throughout your day you have a choice. A choice to make a lasting impression in a positive way, or in a negative, dull, or minimal way.

Think about it, every single person you see leaves with something. A memory of the conversation, an energetic feeling, or a bad taste. YOU have the opportunity to create the impression you want. You never know how you can affect a persons life, big or small, at any given time. So why not make a lasting positive effect? A simple kind sentence such as, You look beautiful today! Or, It is really good to see you. While looking them in the eye (and meaning what you say), can do wonders. Even just a silent smile can have a lingering, great feeling. Try holding the door for a stranger, or complimenting someone on how well behaved their kids are. The ways to make someone else’s day are limitless, just get creative!

There is a doctor in Japan, Dr. Emoto, who did a study on water. To summarize a wonderful, in depth study- he would have his assistants tell one jug of water that it was worthless, ugly, etc, and to another jug of water they would say I love you, you are beautiful, etc. Then he froze the water and placed samples of each under the micro scope. What he found was that the positive-water showed beautiful crystals and the negative-water was dull, lifeless and sad looking.

{water with negative words}

{water with positive words}

This got me thinking, the human body is made up of an average of 75% water. Our cells are  filled with liquid. Imagine how much we are affected ON A CELLULAR level when someone says negative things to us, or treats us in a hurtful way. No wonder we feel shitty! It’s not just our feelings that are hurt, but our physical body as well! So on the other side of the coin, imagine how much we can help  one another just by our kindness. It’s an empowering thought to say the least. We all have the ability to change someones entire day, maybe more. We can make them feel good down to the quantum level. Wow, that is powerful right there. So what are you going to do with that power? Imagine this is a super-hero power. I know, it’s totally dorky, but just try it. You have the super-hero power to make others happy and feel good about themselves. (ok, Kaleo and I watched X-Men last night, hence the super-hero excitement…)

In a society where we are so disconnected from each other, it’s really nice to be of service to one another and strive for the positive in life. We are all connected. There is no Them, only Us. I found this sweet video of a tortoise helping out a friend. Love.

Have a great rest of your week!

Currently…
Watching: The Walking Dead (we are SO hooked. Kaleo: ‘Zombies, who would have thought they were the new vampire?’)
Cooking: Everything from my recent purchase, The New Vegetarian Epicure. Yum!
Grateful for: My love being home, and falling to sleep while he plays my lullaby on guitar. Bliss.
Counting down the days to: Going home to Hawaii!
Listening to: Going to California- Led Zeppelin Ah, love.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James

Just a quick post today with an amazing video that’s so heartwarming, I got all teary-eyed. The kindness of humans never ceases to amaze me. Everyone has it in them to make a difference, either big or small. Mother Teresa said, ‘If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ‘
So if you can’t save a hundred whales, save just one…


I ask you this: Without spending any money, how can you be of service to the world today?

Peace in, Peace out… 

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” ~Anthony Robbins

On June 21st, the afternoon of the Summer Solstice, we officially welcomed the arrival of summer! We had our 108 Sun Salutation Mala of Intention event at the studio and raised $381 for the Oceanside chapter of Stand Up For Kids, yay! This is the second time I’ve held a 108 event and I can tell you, it doesn’t get any easier. I was so sore the next day and two days after… Well Hello, hamstrings! Three of our wonderful teachers helped me by each leading one round, with me closing the event with the final round of 27 Sun Salutations. It’s such an empowering experience, I highly recommend it to everyone! I will be holding a similar one 2-3 times a year, with all proceeds benefitting charity, so if you are ever in the area when it is happening, come and check it out. 😉

Speaking of summer, I feel like a flower who has just been put out in the sun and given fresh water. The weather has been so lovely with the sun shining and the warm temperatures, and especially the long days. I’m thrilled to be able to come home from yoga and go for a walk on the beach, and still be finished with dinner before the sun goes down. There is something undeniably heart warming about summer in southern California. I love living here. I love driving down the wide, palm tree lined streets as the sun is inching its way closer to the ocean. Sun roof open, sunglasses on, favorite happy song of the moment playing loudly… Everything is so warm and golden, and sparkly, and it invites the feeling of limitless possibilities. It’s no wonder people come from all over the world to reinvent themselves and try their hand at becoming famous. It’s definitely not my dream, but in that moment, I get it.

On this holiday weekend, I have been out enjoying the sun, people watching (which is so fun down here), doing lots of yoga, and getting ready for Kaleo to come home tonight. Yay! Home for the holiday, and I couldn’t be any happier. It’s amazing to be in a beach community on a holiday weekend. Things get cra-zaazy. I kind of like to have some personal space when I am out in public. You know, maybe even like a bubble of, oh I don’t know, 4 feet radius?? 4th of July at the beach? Not going to happen. It’s the wildest thing, people are all up in each other’s business! And by business, I mean almost laying out on top of each other. Umbrellas and tents are almost touching, if not battling for space, and the beach goers are pretty much raging. I’m not just talking about partying and drinking, I’m talking about the kids who have been consuming sugar and hot dogs all day who are screaming like banshees and running around throwing sand at people. Whoa.
It is a sight. But who am I to put my idea of a good time on anyone? Just because it isn’t for me and you will not see my butt in a bikini sandwiched in between the Joneses (all 12 of them) and the 50 year old uber-tan creepy guy who is checking out the 12 year old Jones girls, doesn’t mean that I don’t have a blast people watching while on my walk.

{yesterday}

In honor of summer and being able to wear sunglasses at anytime, I got contacts. I’ve tried them before and struggled with them horribly. So I am giving them another shot, and I am actually loving it this time around! It is so freeing to be able to wear sunglasses and… SEE at the same time! Who would have thought… And now I can see my feet in a yoga class, wow! It’s been pretty fun. I’m not wearing them all the time because I do love my glasses, but it’s a nice change to be able to get dressed up and not ruin the outfit by putting on glasses that don’t match. Or have someone make a comment like, “Oh I see you’re trying to go for the sexy librarian look.”  No, actually. I’m terribly blind and if I want to make my way around with everyone’s safety in mind I have to wear these things. Smartass.

One major bonus of getting contacts is riding a bike. Yes, I know, it’s the simplest things that I haven’t been able to do! In the sun, I can’t wear sunglasses because I needed to see. But also, if I just wear my glasses, I have awful, if any, peripheral vision. Which is no bueno when you’re riding a bike on a busy street. So- I am really looking forward to riding my bike everywhere now that I can see and am not a vision-impaired menace to society.
And of course, with my newfound freedom of sight, I kind of want a new bike. Because it’s only the cutest bike ever. It’s made by Linus, which is also the cutest name ever. I want her to be cream-colored with a brown basket (for the farmers market) and a bell. Yep, I am that girl. I want a bell on my bike. These bikes are the most adorable Euro-looking bikes I have ever seen, and I am manifesting one to come into my life. I did that with my car, exact color, interior, everything. So now I am doing the same with my bike, who I will name Lucie. Too much information? Well here is a photo…

{photo courtesy of beaux-monde.com}

{Linus Dutchi 3}


Love, love, love. And she even has the bell. Swoon. The Linus website has all the little bells and baskets to outfit your bike properly, and from my research, you can find the bikes used and refurbished, which is what I am going to do. Because they don’t come cheap.
Who else is excited for summer?? What is on the schedule for this holiday weekend? Lots of sun, friends, good food and music? Sounds like a good time to me. And the fact that I am spending it with my love? Even better.
I will leave you with a fun song that keeps popping up on my random iPod shuffle…. Have a safe and fun-filled weekend!

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” ~Ingrid Bergman

Well Hello, old friend…
No excuses. No apologies. I’ve been enjoying my life immensely …that is all. I’ve even been pondering the idea of taking a hiatus from blogging altogether. But alas, I’m back once again to pour my words out onto your pages. To discuss joyous occasions and laugh at oddities, to own up to my awkward moments and dissect my silly quirks. All out in the open for scrutiny in the public eye. Why on Earth would I be so transparent, you ask? Why don’t I password protect my life? That is a damn good question, actually. The only answer I have is… That’s not me. I don’t hide. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and sure, it might bring some hurt feelings into my day occasionally. But it feels much more authentic to be true and broadcast good stuff that might inspire people, or awkward moments that people can relate to, than to stay private and closed off. And believe me, friends, the truly juicy stuff in my life doesn’t go on a WordPress Blog, it stays in my heart and the heart of my loved one, all tucked away neatly and safely for our eyes only.

But there is so much more to talk about. Life brings us daily gifts in a myriad of ways. Getting that extra half hour of sleep & snuggle time in the morning; a hand written letter from a dear friend in your mailbox; when a new recipe comes out delicious the first time; discovering new music; cozying up with a great book on one side of the couch while your loved one is reading on the other side of the couch, under the same blanket… I could go on forever! And these are things that are worth talking about, and sharing. It’s the little things in life that bring us so much joy, IF we are able to recognize them. So sure, I might rant and rave about something awful and annoying from time to time, but those are the times that we can laugh at, ultimately. And in fact, by writing about those times I am making myself laugh at them, and it becomes a non-issue.

So there. I am back, and I am grateful for my blog, and my readers. I’m grateful for my family and friends who allow me to process my life openly and passionately with no judgement. And I am grateful to the very few of those out there who insist on judging and being party-poopers. You only make me stronger.

So with all of that being said… Let’s start again.

Well, Hello old friend! What a wonderful month it has been. I don’t even know where I left off, but I think since the last time I was here I went to Mexico, had a crazy 80’s-themed surprise birthday, saw Prince in concert from about ten feet away, went to see the beautiful Chris Cornell solo acoustic concert at Humphry’s, wrote another chapter of my book, led an Ayurveda workshop, and had a blast with Kaleo in between it all. I know I’m missing a ton of stuff, but I just don’t feel like recapping right now. What I do want to say is that I finally saw the Oprah show. Yes, for the first time ever. I think I must have seen it in passing here and there, I mean it has been 25 years since she’s been on-air! But I never really sat down to watch an episode. Not until last week, when I was feeling a little under the weather and decided to stay home in my jammies and drink tea on the couch. And watch Oprah. ???
Anyway, I will spare you the sappy details, but I was in tears! She was so awesome, and inspirational! I don’t know if all her shows are like that, but I was moved. Then I realized it was her very. last. show. Like, ever. I had no idea it was even ending. It’s never even been on my radar, whatsoever, so I never paid her any attention.  But damn, that girl can make a grown woman cry. Where am I going with this? Well apparently she has something on her show called My Favorite Things. Awesome idea! So I would like to share with you some of mine. However, the last thing I want is to be sued by a woman who can make me cry, so I am going to call it:

Things I am Loving Right Now

{Tuberose Essential Oil}

Sorry for the bad shot. But this stuff is deeelicious. My mom gave me 4 bottles for my birthday! I wear a smidge on each wrist everyday and it brings me right back home to Hawaii. I just placed an order to sell them in my boutique.

{Daniel}

Kaleo and I are huge supporters of Farm Sanctuary. When our beloved pig, Bella, passed away a year and a half ago, we decided against getting another pet. Instead, we became supporters of this organization and a personal sponsor of  a beautiful piglet named Blossom. They have two shelters, one in Northern California and the other in New York. Please visit their website and see what they are all about. For my surprise party, Kaleo created a large donation jar with literature and a whole display for my party guests to donate in lieu of a traditional birthday gift. How incredibly sweet is he???

{Breville Juice Extractor}

The Breville Juice Extractor is our new best friend. We juice everyday, and the cleanup isn’t even too terrible with this one. My favorite mixtures lately are Carrot-Ginger and Apple-Beet. Juicing is so deliciously good for your heart, your skin, your liver, your blood… The benefits are limitless! If you want to read about juicing, I found this great resource: The Juicing Book online. As for the juicer we purchased, we found Breville to be the best for what we were looking for. Easy cleanup, durable, industrial parts, and the extractor feature is a must.

{Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me}

Okay, I admit it, this book is hilarious. I read so many serious, not-so-easy to read texts that every once in a while it’s a lot of fun to read something like this, or the True Blood series. And I happen to Love Chelsea. This book is written by her friends, family, and co-workers, spilling the beans on all of the mean pranks and lies that Chelsea pulls on them. It’s pretty funny, and yes, her other books are funny too. Good summer beach read.

{Topless & Barefoot}

I love nail polish by Essie. It is reasonably priced and the colors are so soft and romantic. This pale natural pinkish gem is my new fave, I have it on my toes right now. Another polish I love when I want to go for a bit more pizazz is Butter London which uses No Formaldehyde, and come in whimsical colors with names like Tea With the Queen, Tramp Stamp, and The Full Monty. Love!

Well, it’s nice to be back. It was also nice to take a break. Stepping back and re-evaluating things is a necessary step in growth sometimes. We can use it as a tool to see if what we want out of life and what we are doing in life are in alignment. Now on to the important stuff… What is everyone doing for the Summer??

~Hugs
Melanie

PS: Thanks to Anonymous for the compliment, but to give credit where credit is due… My inspiration for titling all my posts with quotes comes from one of the blogs I love, Smart, Pretty and Awkward.


“I never lose sight of the fact that just Being is fun.” ~Katherine Hepburn

We are back! What a fun trip it was… I have uploaded (downloaded?) all my photos and videos and will be posting them soon. I promise! This time I really will do it, I’m super exited to do it. I just have three classes to teach today and a bunch of other catch-up stuff to do and then I am immersing myself in blogland.

A couple of lovebites to keep you busy:

{our bungalow suite for the week}

{under the Rancho looking at the beach}

{yoga space for future Yoga Oceanside Costa Rica retreat!}

And last but not least, my new love. This is Lolita. She is beautiful, and sweet, and… I swoon. Kaleo and I were almost choked up because she reminds us of Bella. A huge version, but all love.

{Lolita}

We are happy to be home, but really? We could have stayed for another month. It’s that beautiful. More to come…

Peace,
Melanie