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}

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We ALL matter.

Hello friends. It’s been so long that I don’t know where to begin.  Life has been incredible and I’ve had so many opportunities to love, learn, and live. Not a bad way to spend the days, in my opinion.

Lately I’ve been experiencing an overwhelming sense of Gratitude. If you know me, you might think this is nothing new. But the feeling seems to be amplified these days. Nothing huge has happened recently in my life, but the amplification seems to be arising from an acute awareness of life’s little gifts, and on the other hand, some of life’s challenges. Nothing directly related to me, but opportunities to be thankful nonetheless.

Yesterday was filled with emotion. I began my day with a yoga class on the beach for one of my dear friends who was getting married and wanted to start her day off right. What a brilliant way to begin your wedding day! I led a class for her and four other wonderful yoginis on Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. The sun was just peaking out so it wasn’t too hot and definitely not too cold. It was just right. The waves were crashing behind me and we had our little yoga spot in the sand all to ourselves. It was perfect. My message for the class was for her to enjoy every single moment of the day because once the wedding madness happens, it goes by so fast. Take each moment and savor it before it passes. I told her that everyone says your wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life, but in my experience, it just keeps getting better and better from that day forward…

After the class, I came home and K and I walked down to the beach in front of our house where Junior Seau’s house is. There was a paddle out and a memorial on the Strand. Hundreds of surfers and an outrigger canoe were out at the break in front of his house. Hundreds of others were on the beach and on the Strand paying their respects and viewing the memorial. It was a beautiful gathering of supporters, many wearing #55 jerseys in his honor. Let me first say that I didn’t know Junior Seau, but we did meet him backstage at a Pepper show, where he humbly told the band how proud he was of them. He was such a kind man from my brief experience. But what really made me emotional was a news piece that quoted him recently as saying something like, ‘I’m not anybody anymore’. And yesterday on the Strand, I witnessed two women (maybe family members or friends) hugging and crying, and one said:

“He thought he didn’t matter anymore, and I hope he can see now how much he matters to so many people.”

I don’t think I will soon forget that moment. It’s a lesson for all of us. We ALL Matter. Even if sometimes we might feel alone, or insignificant. We all matter to someone, probably to more than we realize. And most importantly, we need to matter to ourselves. We need to treat ourselves with the respect and the love that we reserve for the people we care about the most in life. It has to start within.

Let’s take it a little further. We never know what someone else is going through at any given moment. A kind word, a smile, a helping hand, a hug. All of these small acts of kindness can have such a huge impact on someone. You never know how you can affect someone’s life in a big or small way, and kindness and letting someone know that they matter, might be just what they need at that moment.

Yesterday was just one day out of many that I was humbled by gratitude for everything in my life. I don’t want to take anything, or anyone, for granted. I want to show my loved ones, my friends, and others that they are all beautiful, important beings. I want to take the time to appreciate everything from the time I spend with my love, to the birds that wake us up in the morning, the friendships that make me smile, to the food I have to eat. Everything can be honored as a gift, even challenges we face that give us opportunities to grow and learn. Life is good.

~Peace
Melanie 

Currently…
Listening to: Sara Tavares – Balance
Watching: Dual Survivor (K’s favorite show right now…)
Eating: Homemade hummus (recipe below)
Loving: LIFE
Grateful for: Slow mornings with my love.

Cilantro Hummus
1 can of organic garbanzo beans (or 2 cups of soaked, boiled, dry chickpeas)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil (or to taste)
2 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
a handful of cilantro, chopped
sea salt to taste

Put all in a food processor and blend. I prefer to leave it chunky, so start slow and taste as you blend to desired consistency. I put this on some pita with roasted red peppers and baby spinach leaves then topped with other half of the pita. Cook for about 10 minutes (or until lightly crispy) at 350. It’s like a vegan quesadilla! Kind of. Much better, in my opinion. 😉

Obsessed.

Hellooooo there! Spring is in the air… Right now in southern Cali it is 74 degrees and gorgeous. The sun is shining, weather is sweet. We have a new little bird-friend who has been coming to visit, sitting on a wire near our deck. A tiny little humming bird. She is so delicate and sweet, coming to say hi, looking directly at us before flitting away with her tiny little bird wings. She makes this beautiful sound that sounds like Bella’s kisses. Those of you who had the opportunity to meet Bella know what I am talking about. For a moment, K and I think it’s Bella coming to say hi… Perhaps it is. And that makes me smile.

Two years ago, I made a post of some things I was loving at the moment. It surprises me that it was that long ago! Time seems to be just flying by so fast. Wasn’t it just New Years? Man. And now here we are, on the heels of another Spring season! And I am super excited. Cold weather is fun to play dress up in clothes that normally don’t see the front of my closet. But I’ve played enough dress up for a while, I’m ready to bare some skin and play in the sun! So in honor of Spring, I will share a few of my newest favorite things. I can’t believe I missed last year! In my defense, I was in Costa Rica. Yep, baring skin and playing in the sun. 🙂

JUICING

{fresh, organic veggies from the farmer's market}

I think I’ve blogged about my love affair with our Breville Juicer before. Like the title says, Obsessed. My new favorite recipe is a detoxifying, cleansing, good-for-the-skin juice:

  • one large hot-house cucumber (or 4 Persian cucumbers)
  • a handful of mint
  • a handful of parsley
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • a handful of kale
  • 1 apple
  • 1 seedless clementine orange
Delicious! Of course, my staple is what you see above. Beets, Carrots, Mint, Cucumbers, an Apple, and Ginger (not pictured).
 
AUSTIN

{Austin, Texas}

K and I have so much fun when we go to Austin. I think it’s the whole music vibe they have there. The Ritz Carlton is walking distance from 6th Street, where you definitely want to be at night. I’m not sure if the locals will agree, it might be the tourist thing to do?  But it’s always a blast, nonetheless. It’s my favorite part of Texas, with the laid back hippie feel, and the numerous yoga studios! Whenever K has to go to Austin for tour or to record, I’m always tagging along and we make a mini vacay out of it.

ARCHER

{only the best spy show EVER!}

Ah… Archer. K and I are equally obsessed with this one. Well, maybe he might be juuuusst a tad more obsessed. I was going to put a clip on here, but you what? I just can’t do it. Just in case there are any readers out there who are easily offended or maybe underage…? Oh who am I kidding, I couldn’t choose because they are all too hilarious. Trust me, just watch it. FX on Thursdays. Your welcome.

LILLET

{Lillet Blanc)

When the weather begins to warm up and you are heading over to a friend’s house for a sunset get-together, Lillet is the perfect aperitif to bring along for the hostess. It’s made mostly of citrus liqueurs from the peels of sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco, and the peels of bitter green oranges from Haiti. In France, we enjoyed it over ice with a slice of orange (or lemon or lime). Back home in Cali, I also squeeze a little juice from a clementine to spruce it up. It’s fairly low in alcohol, so it’s perfect for an afternoon party. And you can find it at Bevmo!

HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY

Ah, those damn teen novels. I know I’m way late on this bandwagon, same thing happened with Twilight. I resisted for oh so long, and then K went on tour and I gave in so I could get lost in a story. And so here we are once again. He’s in the recording studio and I gave in to the Hunger Games, since the movie is coming out soon. And I am so glad I did! I’m finishing the second book tonight, and I have the third on deck ready to go. It’s actually a really great story. I’m totally impressed and yes, hooked. Oh, and Lenny Kravitz playing Cinna in the movie?? Yes.

SHORTS

{front view}

{back view}

K and I had a walkthrough at Volcom recently and their new line is sweet! I found my new favorite Springtime shorts. They fit snug, yet not too tight so they are really comfortable and sexy for a casual short. I wore them recently with a longer, silky tank in a cinnamon color with a light wrap and Frye boots that match the tank. It was a little on the cold side that afternoon (okay, it was high 60’s, maybe 70, but I AM from Hawaii, so…), and the boots were my compromise. If you want to find these shorts, I think they are called the Lace Frochiki.

YOGA SOCKLETS

{hand woven socks for yoga}

{wearing the socks}

A dear friend of mine, Michelle, who is an amazing artist in all mediums, hand knits these yoga socks that have the heel and the toes open so they can be worn in a yoga class during those chilly days. Brilliant! She knitted her heart out over the holidays because they were flying out of my boutique. They are cozy, super cute, and very functional. They are also like mini-legwarmers, which we all know are back. 😉 Let me know if anyone wants to place an order! She is really fast.

BIRCHBOX 

{Birchbox sampler}

New obsession: The Birchbox sampler! This company is amazing. It’s a once-monthly delivery of designer product samples tailored to fit your interests and needs all for the ridiculously low price of $10 per month, with free shipping. Everything is wrapped so pleasantly and I have to admit, I’ve loved almost all of the samples. If you love something, you can order the full size through their website for a discount. Score! And if there are a few of samples that don’t excite you, just keep them with your gift wrapping supplies, and something might make a nice addition when wrapping a gift for someone.

OROFLUIDO

{Orofluido Hair and Skin Oil}

This stuff is delicious. Just a small amount to the ends of your hair after showering will make it feel so smooth and silky. And my favorite part is rubbing the excess on my skin. The smell is so delightful. Every time I use it after a shower, K says: oh my god you smell amazing… Nuff said. 😉

MUSIC

Lovelovelove this song. Kaleo showed this to me a while back and I can’t stop replaying it. I just adore the subdued 60’s-esque music. Ahhhh swoon. The song is kinda sad, but I’m just in lurve with the music and the video. How Kimbra sings at him and it implies she is yelling to get her point across. Simply brilliant!

SO. There we have some of my faves at the moment. I hope you all are enjoying this gorgeous weather if you’re in California! Wow, right? I will write again soon, I’m just really excited about Kaleo coming home this weekend, so it might not be for a few days. 😉

For now, Peace in… Peace out.

~Melanie

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” –Christopher Robin to Pooh

Hi friends,

It’s about to get all kinds of real up in here.
So as you know, I am a yoga teacher. The teachings of yoga are so accepting and beautiful, and offer up the idea that we all are already perfect, whole, complete, and inherently good. This is what I teach my students, and what I truly and whole-heartedly believe. It teaches us to be accepting of ourselves and to see our so-called  “flaws” with loving eyes and humor. Sounds amazing, right? It is… But when does acceptance become complacency?
What I am trying to say is, When on Earth did I gain these 7 pounds??  I mean, I feel happier than I have ever been, I do yoga everyday, I eat extremely healthy and always organic food… But I have come to realize that even though I accept myself exactly as I am (which hasn’t always been the case), it doesn’t mean that I don’t think I could be, well, better.
So of course my yogic mind is telling me: Hey, whatever! So you gained a few pounds. You need to love yourself no matter what, even though you don’t want to wear that little dress right now. Just put your yoga pants back on.
But my realistic, girly, vain mind is saying: Oh, hold up! We need to talk. Are you really ok that your favorite jeans are snug? Reeaally??!

And so it is. (I told you I was getting real.)

Good news is, I am having SO much fun with my new daily routine of at least one yoga class, a five-mile walk (on the beach while listening to the best playlists ever!), and my ballet warm-ups infused with more core and butt a la Tracy Anderson’s mojo. It’s just a lifestyle change and something I look forward to everyday. I get so caught up with my work and studies, that the change is delightfully welcome. And of course a lifestyle change wouldn’t be complete without some favorite food!

Besides juicing lots and lots of yummy organic fruits and veggies daily, I have two favorite meal/snacks that I am absolutely loving right now. The first one was ‘invented’ by my hubby. It’s a Wasa cracker (I prefer the MultiGrain or Hearty) with a light spread of organic almond butter and blueberries on top. To die for.
 

My next fave was created out of wanting a meal and a sweet ending, but not wanting a lot of both so that I was too full. And it had to be healthy and light and full of protein. Start with an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla, heated. Cut it in half and on one side, spread hummus (I’m loving red pepper humus), cucumber, spinach, tomato, avocado, shredded carrot and a quirt of Braggs aminos. The other side gets that yummy almond butter and either blueberries, banana slices, or both. Roll them each up like wraps and just try to tell me you aren’t totally satisfied and impressed with yourself. 🙂

So anyway, I have successfully lost a few pounds, but it isn’t about that. It’s about how I am feeling, and I feel great.
On to other things…

My Santa Barbara Yoga Retreat is coming up here very quickly, and I am really excited. I have 18 yogis signed up so far; most of them are my students, a couple others I have yet to meet.  We will be taking the train up to the White Lotus for the weekend, and by the time we come home it’s almost time for Kaleo’s return. How perfect is that timing?? Yoga retreats are such an incredible gift to yourself. There is much time for reflection and re-connecting with you. It’s also a very valuable experience being with others in an atmosphere that is supportive of personal growth and exploration. One such tool is by practicing silence in the mornings. Wow. If you haven’t ever tried it, I highly recommend it. It’s one thing to be silent with just one other person (still really hard!), but to be on retreat and sharing a meal with 17 other people who are all practicing silence is a very powerful thing. I think as humans we need to be able to be comfortable being by ourselves. Even being alone while in the presence of others. It’s a pretty cool experience to be able to go within and really enjoy your own company. It isn’t a narcissistic practice, it’s just simple self-awareness. Once you are able to be with yourself, it is much easier to be in a healthy relationship with another person. On the retreat we only practice silence in the mornings until after breakfast, so it’s not all rigid. We will be hiking, doing lots of yoga and creative writing, lounging by the pools and hot tub, eating gourmet vegetarian foods with wine and chocolate… Oh yes. It is going to be awesome. And I am planning on holding this one every summer, so think about next year… 😉

Well my friends, thanks for going there with me. I know this post wasn’t a funny, entertaining one. But if just one person can relate, then it’s all good.

I will leave you with song I seem to keep coming back to. Love love love Swedish House Mafia, and if you ever get the chance to experience one of my favorite DJ’s, Tiesto , mixing this… do yourself a favor and go.

Have a great weekend!

Peace,
M

“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

“Do everything with so much love in your heart that you would never want to do it any other way.” ~Yogi Desa

B e l i e v e     i n      Y o u r s e l f

How many times have we all heard this? So many that when you hear it, you just kind of nod your head and say, Yeah totally! Go Me! With a little fist pump, but then forget about it and go about your day? Yep, I’m as guilty as the next person. However- let’s take a moment to drink it in…

Believe in yourself.

As humans, we tend to be our own biggest obstacles. Why is it that we always seem to get in our own way? Maybe we are afraid of success, afraid of change, afraid of getting out of our comfort zone. I lived that way for years with my previous career. And the crazy thing was, I’m married to someone who has followed his dreams since he was a child, determined to make it or starve. One would think that with his influence, and his complete support for me to do any little thing my heart desired, I would have left my toxic work environment long before I did. Wait, hold up. I didn’t even leave my job, I was laid off because of “cutbacks”! So in a way, I was forced to believe in myself and I can honestly tell you, I will not live my life any other way. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. The Universe had much more confidence in my dreams than I did at that point, but now I’m a believer.
In myself, ha.  🙂

Since my emancipation from The Job, I have found my Dharma and started teaching yoga full time, then opened a yoga studio so that I could teach and do yoga in my ideal space, and hire teachers that I want to take classes from. My goal is to help others find peace, inspiration, happiness and love, and empower them to see what is so beautiful about themselves… And then of course still have the free time to travel with Kaleo. I’m living MY dream, and it happened because I got out of my own way and started to believe in myself.
Why, you might be asking, am I talking about this today? For a couple of reasons, actually.

First, one of my dearest friends is going through a transition with her job. Without mentioning names or companies (ooh I could really talk some shit right now! But I’m taking the high road…), she has given her time, her heart, and her soul for this low-paying position. For people who expect too much and respect too little. And I want her to believe in herself and feel empowered to be strong and find something new. You deserve so much more, Love. They are not worth it and your health IS. I love you.

Secondly, Whitney just finished her Yoga Teacher Training! Congratulations sweetie, I am so excited about your upcoming class at Yoga Oceanside. If anyone out there wants to come take Whit’s first studio class it is on Friday, October 8th at 10:30am. I encourage you to go for it! Teach all the yoga you can and enjoy every minute of it… The world will be a better place with you as a teacher. 🙂

Anyone have stories about following dreams? Eden, I know you do. You made Girls Gone Global happen. You are an amazing inspiration! Let’s all make the choice today to believe in ourselves, step out of our own way, and be an inspiration to others.
A world of opportunity awaits you, my friend.
Enjoy this beautiful day!

~Melanie

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I often invite my students to smile during a class. Physiologically speaking, by clenching your teeth and tightening your jaw, your body is sending your sympathetic nervous system a message: “All is not well, we are in fight or flight mode.” Subsequently, your breath will shorten or perhaps you will hold your breath without realizing it, your blood pressure will rise, and your heart rate will quicken. All of this sends distress signals throughout your system. Not a good way to plug through a yoga class. Or any daily activity, for that matter. But with the simple act of a smile you can release the tension in your jaw. Thus relaxing your teeth and allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to take over and balance your body. You will remember to exhale, and amazingly a sense of calm will return like a wave. It’s an amazing way to release tension. But a smile does so much more. I’m sure most of you have heard the tip: “Smile whenever you answer the phone.” It sends a message of receptivity and joy, even if you are not feeling very receptive or joyful at the time. The smile also has the power to turn someones day around. Just one smile! I always try to remember to be nice to people because you never know what is going on in their life or even just at that moment. We always hear people say, ‘Well there’s always someone worse off than I am.’. Ugh, really?? Even though it is probably true, that saying really bugs me. It’s like saying ‘My life sucks, but at least I’m comforted that someone else is suffering more than I am.’… Why not agree that we are all connected, and even if you have nothing to physically give to another human, at least you can offer a kind smile. 🙂

A few things that make me smile:

🙂 Going to the local farmers market with Kaleo and filling our basket with organic fruits and veggies.

🙂 Coming home from the yoga studio and finding out that Kaleo has just gone to the farmers market and brought me some beautiful flowers and homemade fudge!

🙂 My friends. I have AMAZING friends who are not only ridiculously gorgeous, but also have the most incredible hearts and minds. They are so supportive, loving, hilarious, kind, unique and successful, each in their own way. I love you all.

🙂 My family who has always been there for me, no matter what crazy phase I was going through. They have always been a source of encouragement, support and constant love.

🙂 Laughing with my husband so hard until I have no idea if I am laughing at myself or not. Even typing that made me crack up. You might not get it completely, but he certainly will.

🙂 Clean, soft, matching socks.

🙂 Tank tops with scarves. So I am still warm, but with no constricting arm-things.

🙂 Silly picture texting with Kaleo. I mean, like trying to write an entire paragraph using just the Emoji app on iPhone. It’s hil-a-rious. Oh, and with Eden too for that matter! Wait, did you mean to say Rainbow Happy Poop?! What is a Rainbow Happy Poop??

🙂 Knowing that Kaleo is coming home soon, whether it be from tour or the studio. I get giddy like a schoolgirl. Everything in the house has to be just right and dinner has to be planned. It’s so fun.

🙂 Swiffer-ing. I am obsessed with it. Now that we have hardwood floors I am constantly doing it. They now have all these other Swiffer-thingys that do much more like spray and mop, but I am a purist. Just the O.G. Swiffer for me thank you very much.

🙂 A hot bath with dead sea salts. My new fave. I’m surprised I am not a constant prune with all of the baths I’ve been taking since we moved into the new house. I will come home from the studio at noon and take a bath if I want to. So there.

🙂 Writing about things that make me happy make me even more happy. It’s all about gratitude. I’m so grateful for my life, which just opens the Universe to the Law of Abundance. More happiness, more smiles, and yes, even more clean, soft, matching socks.

What makes YOU happy?

~ Melanie