Weekly Yoga Teaching Schedule

My Teaching Schedule: No public classes at this time, sorry.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My New Mantra

Before you speak ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

Even if it's two out of three, keep your lips sealed. You will be grateful you did.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beet Juice NOT Beetlejuice

Beets...not one of my favorite vegetables, although I watched TV chef Alton Brown roast baby beets with lots of garlic and olive oil. That looked yummy. The B in beets is for B vitamins, lots of folate in this crimson root, as well as a good source of A, C, calcium and iron. If you can purchase inflammation fighting beets still attached to the leaves, juice the leaves, too. They are even more nutritious than the beet. Look for green, healthy leaves and juice right away. Beets with rounded bottoms are sweeter than flat-bottomed ones and smaller ones are as well. One medium to large detoxifying beet is enough and always include other veggies when juicing this garnet gem.  Carrots or apples counteract the bitterness, and lemon juice is always a great addition. There's a reason beets were used to dye clothes centuries ago, drink it through a straw to avoid staining those pearly whites. Expect "other" red surprises as your body processes this vitamin packed juice.
My recipe for constipating-fighting beets:
1 medium to large beet, peeled and cut in half. 2 lbs scrubbed carrots. 1 head of celery, ends trimmed and scrubbed. 1 lemon, peeled, cut in half. Divide all veggies into 2 piles (cut them to fit in Breville feeder if needed). Add an apple if desired. Juice all of them on high. Should yield about 64 oz. Finish all juice by day 4 or freeze.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Marie's 10 Rules To Live By

1. Choose people who exude empathy, compassion AND kindness. Two out of three is not enough.
2. Live by the Golden Rule. Every day. Even when it sucks. To be good.
3. Question authority. Maybe not straight to a cop's face. Handcuffs are uncomfortable, take my word for it.
4. Jump in a fountain. At least one. Especially in the summer. In Italy.
5. Spend time with a child.
6. Right speech, Right action.
7. Laugh until you cry. Cry until you remember something to laugh about.
8. Meditate 5 minutes a day. In your car, closet, at your desk, in the forest, by the ocean. Just DO IT.
9. Do something for someone else without expectation. I teach yoga and meditation, it's my seva (service).
10. Material possessions tie us down and create suffering. Promise yourself that when they do, you will get rid of them. This applies to people too!

To clarify #3: I'm not advocating revolution or anarchy, just mindfulness over mindlessness. So you can put your muskets down, no need to run for the hills...yet.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Who Is Driving Your Soul Car?

As we careen around the whip lashing turns through the inky black mountain pass, my eyes dart to the ever changing moving pictures afforded by the Xenon lights guiding our moonless drive. My driver is a professional, smoothly changing gears and anticipating each switchback like someone who's driven these seemingly Godless roads before. Which of course, he has. I press my body further into the buttery soft Italian caramel leather seat and loosen my grip on the door handle. The speediest and sexiest way to my destination is in an obscenely expensive Italian sports car. My adrenaline races through my veins and the perspiration trickles down my neck. The purring from the engine growls louder as our speed approaches 150 mph and I catch a swooshing glimpse at the road sign - Happiness 10 miles. I exhale a sigh of relief, almost there I assure myself. Gazing over at the stone silent driver, he stares back with his soulless eyes and jerks the steering wheel, causing the car to crash through the guard rail and catapult us off the path towards certain death.
My driver was one of seven available. Their names are sloth, lust, anger, pride, greed, envy and gluttony. Choose any of them and you will get your thrill, but they always cause suffering in the end. There is no quick, easy road to Happiness and you should never turn your soul keys over to anyone, except maybe the Divine. The route is full of detours, potholes, road construction and inclement weather, but at least you are in the driver's seat of that Fiat!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What Moors You To This Life?

Yoga philosophy espouses high virtue on becoming detached from that which may cause suffering, not an easy accomplishment in our Western culture. Yet I've attempted to be a good student, reminding myself oh so ever gently, that material possessions are chains that drag us down into the pit of despair (without the 6-fingered man). Vairagya (renunciation) is also one of the ethical precepts yogis are meant to follow. We are supposed to be grateful for each day that we are given on this blue planet yet not be terrified of death. To accept when our time is up and become one with God.
It is this last part I may have taken too far. Who knew that not caring if you live or die might actually be dangerous?? When our 15 year old 4-legged child died last January, Brian and I were beyond devastated. We adjusted eventually...to the deafening silence at home (doggies do like to be heard), the missing soul, and most notably, not needing to care for that living creature any longer. As I plainly told Brian "we are no longer a family, just a couple." NOT being a family was sinkingly depressing for me. I am nurturing and loving by nature, unless you piss me off, and not having Shea to care for, worry and fret about turned out to be more detrimental to my emotional and physical health than I ever envisioned.
The sands of time slowly sifted down, and the changes within me became more visible. I was no longer concerned about being alive, didn't care if my life ended that day or not, felt completely untethered to this world in a way I never experienced prior. Mildly amused by this new sense of freedom from breathing, I thought I was progressing towards a state of enlightenment. How cool I mused, I think I understand this whole non-attachment and clinging to life deal! I felt like a Squarebob Spongepants helium balloon that slipped away from a tiny little hand at the state fair, floating aimlessly higher and higher into infinity. Giggling like a little schoolgirl, either from lack of oxygen or that new found sense of weightlessness, I failed to notice my precarious ascent. That is, until the close call with a Boeing 747.
My featherlight brushstroke with death perked my senses, yet did not sound a warning bell. Not until others expressed serious concern about my laissez faire attitude towards living. Delving deeper into the inky blackness of my ignorance, I blindly grasped onto the anchor of faith. I forced myself to root down and ground my feet firmly into the here and now. As a practicing yogi and teacher, I focused on foundation and centering from within, until I believed it.
"Take the hit as a gift" a teacher once said. I did. My soaring experience taught me that my reason for being is supposed to be selfless, providing seva (service) to others whether through my teaching or caring for those I love (including our new puppy, even when she is willful and contrary). Namaste.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Life Is a Sweet Tart

Most medicine is bitter, but it heals. Whatever, it either tastes like past due motor oil, or gets stuck halfway down my throat, and as I'm gasping for air I wonder if I'll just choke to death on this gargantuan pill instead. Either way, problem solved. Which leads into my favorite word of the month - BITTERSWEET. Life is kinda like a box of chocolates, sometimes there's a sweet caramel filling coated in sinful chocolate, and sometimes, well, sometimes it's just a wad of smokeless tobacco dipped in chocolate. Disgusting when you bite into it, projectile-inducing and not even the silkiest, decadent Swiss confectioner's chocolate coating can save your taste buds from scraping a Brillo pad down your tongue.  And yet, it is the bitter tasting portions of my life that allow me to savor the sweet truffle that follows even more.
The acidic grief that rained on me last year seared a deeper well of inner strength. Dark energies don't rattle my cage anymore. My force field locks down and not even Darth Vader can unnerve me. My soul is still sugar-brimmed with the nectar of compassion and kindness, they just don't get to shove a crazy straw down and suck me dry. The biting experiences we go through are there to teach us something. Otherwise, all they do is leave a bad aftertaste.
When the bitter, sour, acrid, pungent moments in life come your way know that it too shall pass and when the dessert tray of good times rolls up, indulge and enjoy.
And as far as the box of chocolates and never knowing what you're gonna get, grab a sharp paring knife and follow my lead - unmercifully dissect that bonbon down the middle and check out it's guts. No white nougat center surprise for me!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rosemary and Thyme Make Great Friends

A long-time friend of mine recently confided a shattering confession. As she sat crumpled in despair on my loveseat, I asked why she hadn't called on me sooner for help. She shook her head and with trembling lips muttered "you were going through your own hell, I couldn't burden you with mine." It was right after I'd lost my dog and grief truly consumed me like a malarian fever. When I pressed on as to why she had not reached out to others, she admitted a lack of trust in some and not wanting to burden the rest with her self-induced troubles. A burden?! Isn't that what friends are for? To grab them by the collar, wildly look into their bewildered eyeballs and scream "Well, are you going to help me or WHAT?"
As my ever loving friends will laughingly confirm, I've got no problem SOS'ing them when I'm teetering at the edge of a dark precipice. I know better. I'm fully aware of my incompetence at talking myself rationally away from the ledge. The competing logical and emotional voices in my head are too busy arguing their opposing viewpoints and I've muted both of them to teach them a lesson. So, as I stand paralyzed with fear and mesmerized by the siren call of the cavernous unknown, I frantically dial my cellphone. And for extra fun, I'm uncooperative or combative with whichever poor soul was unlucky enough to answer, but they love me anyway, right??
Cultivating and maintaining friendships require an open heart, patience and perseverance. My friend matter of factly stated she's too old to make new friends (she's in her 40's). Which is utter nonsense, of course. Some of the richest, deepest friendships I've developed were in the last few years. But you do have to put yourself out there, reach out to new people and make the effort to connect. Just as a vegetable garden needs watering, tending and feeding, so do our human connections. Life would be one tasteless, dull British stew if it weren't for the rich, flavorful, bitter, sweet, sour and salty friends who spice it up.
To the five of you who read my nonsense, I'm posing this question: If you were a spice, what would you be? I'm definitely salt, for all the right and wrong reasons.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jazz Up Your Jicama Juice

For a change of pace in your normal juicing rootine (get it?), try adding jicama. This water-packed root vegetable delivers a colorless, light, mildly sweet taste. Plus, it's chock full of virus-fighting Vitamin C and potassium. How to choose the right jicama? Look for no cracks or dings and smooth skin. Peeling the rough skin is a bit tricky, stay away from vegetable peeler. Try a good paring knife instead. If jicama is gigantic, cut in half first and then peel. You may be able to grab a skin end with your knife and peel off like an orange.
For this recipe, assemble 1 large or 2 smaller peeled jicama for 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. total weight, cut in quarters to fit in feeder. 4 to 6 large, sweet carrots, ends trimmed and scrubbed. 4 cucumbers, ends trimmed and well scrubbed. 1 peeled lemon cut in half. 1 large, delectable apple cut in half. Divide all produce equally into two piles and turn on juicer. Juice each pile as one batch. Lemon and cucumbers juice on low, all the rest on high. Each produce bunch should yield about 32 oz.
Remember, you can always freeze raw juice for later. Freezing changes the texture a bit, but not the nutrition!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

For The Love Of Dogs

In Memory Of Shea, my blue-eyed baby boy, my "Snoopy", my hiking buddy, my loving companion. I will miss you eternally.
I received a second punch on my invisible punch card. There are no reward points or "Free" car washes when I fill it. In fact, I hope I NEVER fill it. Once you are a member of this exclusive club, there is no "opting-out". Like The Eagles song goes "once you check-in, you can never check-out". There are no secret meetings held in dark, waxy cold basements, no fees, no cards issued. Every group member desperately wishes they could bargain their way out, to no avail. No invitation to join, we are all unwillingly initiated, and it is painful. Searingly agonizing. As if a Solingen steel, serrated edge sharp folding knife were plunged into your soul and surgically carved out a slice of it.
The paradoxical question being - why would anyone want to experience such paralyzing, suffocating pain ever again? One punch hole in your heart should be lesson enough. Lesson being to never, ever, ever go through this living hell again. Yet the answer to the question is - for the love of a four-legged creature. In my case, for the love of a dog.
Our personal experience with the death of our pets has not been a storybook ending. Neither one died in his sleep or had to be put down for terminal illness. Disneyesque bluebirds whistling simple tunes didn't hover around and cover them with caramel-hued blankets when they passed. Both times the grotesque decision of euthanasia was vague and wrenchingly painful. Nobody tells you this part of owning a pet. Nobody warns you of the end. Nobody shares their intimate, raw emotions of the experience. Probably because we all want to blot out the stain of guilt, shame, anger, desperation and bottomless grief as quickly as possible. But I AM going to impart our emotional journey to the hell of euthanasia so that others may be better prepared than we. Here goes:
Your vet will not tell you when it's time unless it is an emergency situation. Both our dogs could not walk or get up on their own much, but no vet ever TOLD us it was time, we had to ask.
The day you put your dog down, you will feel like shit. You spend the rest of that day wanting to TAKE IT BACK. Nothing will make you feel better, no matter how numb you want to become. So I stayed sober, the kind of sober only death can bring. The soberest I've been since February 10th, 2011 (when Annie died).
You walk out of the vet's office in a zombie-like haze. I don't even know how we got home. I just know I walked in with a dog and left with an empty leash and collar white-knuckled to my left hand.
You have the choice of staying and holding your dog till he's dead, or leaving him there...alone...with strangers. Both times we stayed and assured our old boys that killing them was the most loving action we could do for them. Yeah, right. You will never believe that one either. For as long as you live. Be prepared for the guilt of killing your pet, nobody tells you this part.

Our way of coping with the rest of that good-for-nothing day was to come home and clean his bowls, crate and toys. We separated what we could donate to a rescue group, including all his meds, and placed the rest in the attic with the dim outlook that someday we may have another doggie in our lives. We even cleaned the house, not to wipe out Shea's memory but to give us closure. I recommend you take the day off as your brain won't be thinking coherently.
The memory of your pet dying in your arms after a lethal injection of the most vibrant lavender pink poison, will be hot-branded in your conscious memory forever. You will not be equipped to handle this, it will haunt you. Know that choosing to stay and do the right thing, will also cause you extreme remorse and sorrow. Euthanasia is final, there is no going back. This seems like an obvious point, but my husband seemed stunned when it happened. Taking your pet's life strips away the protective layers of your emotional soul. It is now a raw, large open wound that will take months to heal and form a scab. And that slice that was cut out, will never return. You also discover what you are capable of and what your limits are.

Someday, you will have to forgive yourself for what you've done. When, I don't know. Forgiving and forgetting are two distinct paths. I still haven't forgotten the last one back in 1996, but I eventually realized his death was inevitable. The only way to fully receive forgiveness, is to fully forget that day. Which would require amnesia or a partial lobotomy. Making peace with ourselves and accepting our actions is a step towards forgiveness. Keep focusing on the joyful times you enjoyed together whenever that dark euthanasia moment skulks into your mind. Find a way to aid other pets, whether it's volunteering or donating money to your local rescue group . They are amazing organizations. And that vast ability you possess to love and care for another, needs to be shared again. Consider adopting another pet in the future, for the love of dogs.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's A Fine Line Between Mercy Killing And Murder

Deciding the fate of another being's life is not a deed to be undertaken recklessly or in haste. Which is why my partner in crime, my hubby Brian, and I are taking a day by day approach on choosing a date to kill our 15 year old blue-eyed beautiful child. Mind you, it's perfectly legal here to engage in a murder for hire. Brian and I will issue the order and charge it on our Visa card, but someone else will inject the poison, declare him dead and hand us his ashes in a black plastic box. All included in the price. Clinically clean and tidy. Except for one problem: we love the little bugger with our entire souls.
Shea is the unsuspecting future victim of this horrific crime. His Sea of Cortez brilliant blue eyes sparkle with love and devotion. He devours his meals with such gusto, a gourmet cook couldn't be prouder. His absolute loyalty and devotion to us make us feel like pond scum. Gratefully Shea is mostly deaf so he can't hear when we openly discuss where to spread his ashes in the definite future. Although paradoxically, he livens up and begins to limp around us, as if saying " I'm fine, I'm feeling better now". Brian and I darkly joke that as long as we keep mentioning his funeral, maybe Shea will stubbornly stick around. After all, he is bossy, this alpha male Australian Shepherd of ours. Yes, of course he's a dog, who do you think he was???
I regretfully came to the brutal realization that I can't "fix" old age. Shea's arthritis, a condition worsened by his grand old Frisbee days, is destroying his quality of life. I didn't surmise that by keeping him healthy all his life, his body would give out before his heart. As much as we his parents desperately pray that he will die in his sleep, his robustly beating heart won't fail him, just us. It seems life is not without irony.
So every day, we wait. Wait for a sign. An undeniable signal that will justify euthanizing him. The cruelty of arthritis destroying his knees and hips is frustrating. How is this not a controllable disease?? Is this the fate that awaits the rest of us who've exercised and eaten right all our lives? The answer is yes, it is. Our bodies will betray us in the end, ungrateful bastards. Except we will wither away in an antiseptic hospital bed, drugged up to the point of being comatose, and dying of starvation, a painful death to be sure. Nobody to put us out of our misery, no mercy killing for us. Some argue euthanasia is murder, Dr. Kevorkian went to prison for such an act. Yet, if you've ever seen someone terminally ill, the swiftness of the angel of death is welcomed.
I know Shea's death will be an act of mercy when the time finally arrives. My bouncing Tigger not able to walk on his own four legs will be the sign we need. Until then, my hope remains unabated as I continue to stuff my huggingly soft, furry one with anti-inflammatories, glucosamine, Cetyl M, omega 3's, ginger, massage and showers of kisses.