Prop Party: Increasing Flexibility

A few months ago, I noticed a student struggling to interlace his fingers behind his back in a deep stretch class. As most yoga instructors would do, I grabbed a strap and nonchalantly placed it in his hands to make the pose accessible. No brainer, right? Wrong.

The student approached me after class, thanking me for the adjustment. It was the first time he’d been able to move into a standing forward fold with his hands bound behind his back. He could feel more openness in his chest and shoulders already!

Over the years, I’ve always assumed that most yogis not utilizing props in their practice are riding the mini ego wave. The, “Oh, I can get into that pose (even if it’s super difficult and I’m on the hardcore struggle bus), so I don’t need any props.” I get it. I was one of those yogis for a really long time. Confession: Sometimes I’m still one of those yogis. 

But now? I’m beginning to think it’s because people don’t know how to incorporate props into their regular practice in a way that truly benefits them. I’m finding a lot of yogis don’t understand is that not only are props a way to make challenging asanas accessible, but props are a vehicle for growth and change. They can further your flexibility and actually move you more deeply into a pose.

As a result, I’ve designed a series of workshops to explore increasing your flexibility. Our bodies are unique. We’re going to have different trouble areas, strengths, and needs. We’ll move through modifications and variations which can be adapted and incorporated into many practices. Space is limited for these workshops so that we have time to breakdown the mechanics of poses so that you, as an individual, are getting the most out of each asana. Each workshop will have an area of focus: heart-openers and backbends, hips and hamstrings, and shoulders, neck, and upper back.

Check out the workshop dates and times held in Little Rock at Barefoot studio. I’ll be posting Memphis dates soon!



When your dog steals the show.

Let’s face it: No matter how brilliant, attractive, funny, or charming you are… If there’s a baby or a dog around, they steal the show. No questions asked. Cute wins every time.

I should have known better. But I let Mr. Darcy tag along to a Nativ photoshoot a few weeks ago. Not only did he photobomb about 70% of the images, but he stole the show with his excess of sass, style, class, side eye, and superior athletic ability.

No, seriously. I’m almost 5ft2. Dude has jumps.

Images by Mandy Yelvington. 


Yoga for Grief

I never really thought about how yoga can help the grieving process until I started to emotionally prepare myself for the anniversary of my best friend’s death.

It’s been thirteen years since we lost Matt. A tattoo on the inside of my left wrist is a subtle reminder to live the way he would. To the fullest. I think of him often, and while the day-to-day living has gotten significantly easier… somehow on this specific day my heart breaks all over again. On this day, instead of remembering the bold, beautiful, exciting, and vibrant things Matt brought to my life, I remember how it felt to loose him.

When consumed by sadness, my feelings begin to manifest in physical ways: My body feels heavy and lethargic, my throat and chest are tight, I have zero appetite, and trouble sleeping. Today I began experimenting with a few asanas that target the areas I’m holding onto my grief. I treated my practice as if I were nursing a physical injury instead of an emotional one. I began moving slowly, gently, mindfully, with intention and zero expectations… the results exceeded my expectations. With each breath, each movement I felt more physically energized. During savasana, I allowed myself to be. Today being included a lot of tears. Afterwords if I felt emotionally stronger, focused, and more grounded.

Child’s Pose (Balasana) – Child’s pose is a grounding pose. It gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles while calming the mind and relieving stress and fatigue.

Sit your hips towards the heels (place a blanket under your feet if it is uncomfortable to sit on the feet) with your forehead to the mat and arms reaching overhead. Take 5-10 deep breaths here.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) – Stretches the chest, shoulders, abs, and back while strengthening the spine. Opens the lungs (therapeutic for asthma), creates energy and heat in the body, and helps to relieve stress and fatigue.

Lay on your belly with your forehead on the mat, and palms beneath the shoulders. Draw the elbows in towards the ribcage and bring the legs together with the tops of the feet pressing into the floor. Slightly scoop the tailbone under and press your pelvis into the mat while lifting the upper body. Test your height by lifting your hands by the mat. The feet stay connected to the ground. Hold here for 3-5 rounds of breath, or lift on an inhale/lower on an exhale three times.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – Stretches shoulders, hamstrings, calves and ankles, hands and feet. Strengthens the arms and legs. Improves digestion,

Begin in a tabletop position with the wrists below shoulders and knees hip-width distance apart. Spread the fingers wide apart, tuck your toes under, and on an exhale lift your hips into the air. Press the mat away from you with your hands, and rotate the triceps towards one another so that the “eyes” of your elbows face the front of the mat. Shoulders roll down and away from the ears, drop the crown of your head towards the earth, and gaze past your knees. Keep a slight bend in the knees, lift the sitz bones towards the ceiling, and make sure that the outer edges of your feet are parallel. Eventually, the heels may begin to stretch towards the ground. Take 5-10 breaths in this pose.

Low Crescent Lunge (Salamba Anjaneyasana) – Releases tension in the hips and stretches the hamstrings, quadriceps, and groin. The hips are said to be where we hold emotion and feelings like sadness, anger, anxiety, and frustration. Opening the hips helps to release physical and emotional tension.

From downward-facing dog, step the right foot between your hands and lower the left knee to the mat (you can place a blanket under your knee if you experience any discomfort). The right knee should be directly over the heel so that it is creating a 90-degree angle. Lift the torso on an inhale and either reach the arms overhead, or place the hands on the top of the thigh. Lift your pubic bone towards your navel. Stay here for 5 breaths. Repeat with the left leg.

Humble Warrior (Baddha Virabhadrasana) – Stretches the chest, shoulders, neck, and back. Strengthens the core, legs, calves, and ankles. This pose symbolizes bowing forward in reverence, and surrendering to where we are in this moment.

Begin in Warrior I. The right leg is forward with toes pointing towards the top of the mat. The left heel spins down, connecting to the floor with toes pointing towards the front left corner of the mat (approximately 45-degree angle). Bend the right knee so that it is directly over the right heel.

Interlace the fingers at the base of the spine, and widen through the collarbone. Begin to lower the torso. Begin to bow the torso forward. Eventually you may be able to reach the arms overhead, and release the head so that you’re gazing past the left knee. Push into the right foot to ensure your right hip stays in line with the left. Take 5 breaths here and reverse on the other side.

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) – Strengthens and stretches the legs, calves, and ankles. Stretches the inner thighs, hips, chest, and shoulders. Builds stamina and concentration, and inspires finding peace in the moment, especially in difficult places.

Start with the right leg is forward and toes pointing towards the top of the mat. The left heel spins down at a 90-degree angle (the outside of the foot is parallel to the back of the mat). Bend the right knee so that it is directly over the right heel. Stretch the arms so that they are parallel with the floor and in line with your shoulders, creating a “T” shape. Press the shoulders away from the ears and hug the shoulder blades together. Turn the head to the right and gaze past the right fingertips. Remain here for 5 rounds of breath and repeat with the left leg forward.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – Stretches the abdomen, chest, throat, hip-flexors and quadriceps. Stretches and strengthens back muscles. Provides release of stress and anxiety.

Begin kneeling with the knees hip-width distance apart (knees should be directly under the hip points), toes tucked or untucked. Bring the hands to the low back/hips with fingers reaching towards the floor. Lengthen the tailbone towards the floor and draw the elbows towards one another behind you. On an inhale lift the ribcage and on an exhale take a slight backbend. Hands can stay at the hips, or they can move to the heels. Press into the feet and think of sending the hips towards the top of the mat. Gaze can be towards the ceiling, or you can drop the crown of the head towards the floor if it isn’t uncomfortable for the neck. Remain here for 5 breaths.

Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana) – Stretches the belly, intercostal muscles (muscles between the ribs), chest, upper back, neck, and throat. This is a grounding backbend which helps to focus and lighten your mood. This particular variation utilizes a block, so that you can relax and allow gravity to do the work.

Begin seated with knees bent and feet planted hip-width distance apart. Keeping the legs where they are, lower to the elbows which are beneath your shoulders and hands reaching towards your feet (forearms should be parallel and hugged closely in towards your body. Place a yoga block on the mat, and lower down so that it supports the space between the shoulder blades. Extend the legs, drawing the big toes towards one another. Stay here for 5-10 breaths.

Corpse Pose (Savasana) – Relaxes the body, calms the mind, relieves anxiety, and helps relieve stress and mild depression.

Lay on your back in a neutral position. Feet should be slightly wider than the hips. Allow the toes to fall away from the center of the body. Slightly tuck the pelvis to lengthen the low back, wiggle the shoulder blades beneath you to create more space in the front side of the body. Soften the jaw and relax the space between the eyes. Aim to stay here for 5 minutes for every 30 minutes of practice, but honestly, stay here for as little or as long as it feels good.

This week I was reminded that it’s okay to acknowledge your pain and sit with it. Grieving (even years later) isn’t a setback, but a reflection that this loved one was important to you. However, it’s also important to get up and move forward. Even if it’s slowly. xx

“Unravel my worries about whether it might always be this way. Keep me present to my healing process. Help me engage my grief with consciousness. Remind me that every tear shed comes from the tribunal source of life, the river of my vulnerable heart.” -Pixie Lighthorse, Honoring Sorrow from Prayers of Honoring Voice.

Social Media Detox

Rebirth • Renewal • Love • Hope • Growth 

Spring has inspired me to step away from social media for the next month to help prioritize + create additional space for things that are really important to me right now:

Teaching my classes.
Developing my retreat.
Playing with puppy.
Reading, writing, painting.
Being fully present with people I love.

Really connecting.

If you think you’ll miss me, I’ll be sending the occasional musings here on my blog. Or if you just want to say, “Hi!” shoot me an email at

In the meantime, be good to each other, be good to you, and eat all of the tacos.


What gives you energy?

“To have energy you need love, rest, authentic self-expression, play, safety, creativity, joy, emotional honesty + release, connection, hope, water, security, healthy relationships, adventure, beauty, movement, a happy home and some real effin food.” Kylie McBeath

I saw this quote today on Kylie McBeath’s Instagram (if you don’t follow her already, I highly recommend doing so) today, and it truly resonated with me because I am seriously dragging right now. Feeling physically and emotionally drained after a beautiful (but long) weekend of growth, expansion, yoga, and travel. Some days it feels like the quest for balance is eternal. And maybe to an extent it is… because if you ever manage to cultivate balance, it requires constant nurturing and maintenance to retain.

But it’s given me the inspiration I’ve been needing to sit down and ask myself: What helps me create and build energy?

Here is my working list:
– sleep
– real food (loads of veggies and fruits, some grains and animal protein)
– less sugar + alcohol
– water (drinking it, swimming in it, sitting beside it)
– puppy time
– movement
– human connection
– nature
– music
– hugs
– art
– travel
– opportunity
– new ideas, creativity, inspiration
– space
– laughter
– rest
– books
– adventures
– friendship
– teaching
– security

Reading over these words I notice that I’m doing really great in some areas, not so great in others. So it looks like I’ve got a little self-care to work on.

What gives you energy?


What I learned leading a yoga retreat.

As soon as I finished my RYT 200 I knew I wanted to lead a yoga retreat. Preferably on the Greek island of Corfu after I had an epic 30th birthday adventure. I mean, a paid vacation seems like a no-brainer, right? Fast forward a few years, and I discovered a few things while leading my first yoga retreat in Paamul, Mexico last month:

  1. Leading a yoga retreat is not exactly a paid vacation. Theoretically, on a vacation you aren’t working. To lead a yoga retreat, you will work. Hard. Before announcing the retreat, you’re dealing with logistics. Who, what, when, where, how long, how much? After announcing the retreat, you’re hustling with word of mouth advertising, paid advertising, flyers, and endless plugs online. Not to mention, you’re planning classes, themes, etc. Once you’re there, you’re leading, you’re mingling, you’re assisting in any issues or problems that may arise. You are always on call. There really isn’t that much downtime.
  2. Be clear about what the retreat entails. Is the yoga practice going to be for yogis of all levels? Is it for more advanced practitioners with emphasis on inversions, etc? A more physically demanding vinyasa practice, or more relaxing with yin and restorative? Will you be staying at an all inclusive luxury resort and spa, or a charming jungle beachfront home? Camping among the redwoods, or sleeping in a cabin? These details are important! I love the outdoors, but tent life is not for me. I want a hot, indoor shower after my 5 mile hike. Make sure your guests know what they’re signing up for.
  3. Arrive earlier than your guests. Get to the venue early enough that you have time to do a run through. Check guest rooms to ensure cleanliness and to make sure they have all the things they need (towels, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, gift bags, etc.).
  4. Hire a private chef. This was by far the most successful part of the retreat. Delicious menus designed to meet each guest’s individual dietary needs. Everyone was happy with every single meal. Chef Shawn was by far the most popular human at the entire retreat.
  5. You can’t please everyone. People attend yoga retreats for a myriad of reasons. Some people go for physical or emotional healing, some go to further their practice, to make new friends, to visit new places, or because their friend talked them into it. Everyone’s yoga journey is different. Everyone’s needs will be different. As a teacher, all you can do is bring your very best to the mat each practice. It’s their job to take what they need from it.
  6. Make a schedule. Stick to it. If you’ve ever experienced group travel, you know it feels very much like herding cats. In theory, having a “go with the flow” island mentality is great, but you won’t get anything accomplished. Including yoga. You’ll have those who want to sleep in, those who want to welcome the rising sun. If a yogi doesn’t want to wake up early, they miss morning practice. If they don’t make it to the van at 4:30pm, they miss the trip to the cenote. You are doing your part by making a schedule. It is their decision to show up.
  7. Sunrise practice is the best part of the day. Well rested yogis with sleepy eyes and open hearts, snuggled up in hoodies with hot coffee looking out at the ocean in complete awe of such perfect, natural beauty. That was by far my most favorite part of each day. Leading practice on the rooftop terrace with the sound of waves crashing against the shore and the ocean breeze dancing through our hair was a surreal and spiritual experience.
  8. Set personal boundaries. This was the hardest part for me knowing that these yogis traveled to another country and paid good money to do yoga with me. I was the first to rise each morning, and felt obligated to stay up until everyone had retired to their room. Unnecessary. Get lots of sleep, drink tons of water, and make sure to schedule time for your own practice and meditation. I generally chose meditation time prior to sunrise yoga, and practiced before sunset yoga while everyone was getting ready. Although the rituals that keep you grounded may have to be altered to fit a new schedule and setting, make sure that you’re still meeting your own needs. To be the best you can be for others, you have to take care of yourself first.
  9. Enjoy every minute. You are in a magical place with miraculous souls. Be present. Enjoy every single minute. Things might get a little chaotic at times, but ultimately you have the opportunity of leading yoga in paradise at your very own retreat! That in itself is a privilege and a huge accomplishment. Don’t forget it.

I had such a wonderful time at my first retreat, that I already have a Women’s Full Moon Retreat scheduled for early June. This one is different as I’m building it from the ground up instead of going with an establishment that specializes in retreats. In the upcoming weeks I’ll be documenting the process and my experiences. Stay tuned!

Copal Retreat: Paradise

The Mayan Riviera is one of my favorite places on earth, and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful. Last month I lead my first yoga retreat at Casa Copal in Paamul, Mexico which is located along a curved stretch of shimmering Caribbean waters in a small bay south of Playa del Carmen. Each day we practiced yoga on the rooftop terrace with the ocean + sunrise/sunset as our background, biked to white-sanded beaches with turquoise waters, snorkeled, paddle boarded, jumped off of cliffs into cool, clear cenotes, relaxed in hammocks, ate healthy and organic meals prepared by a certified Cordon Bleu Chef, and explored the off-shore coral reef.

The beautiful Casa Copal.

Yep. Seriously. It really was that magical.

Photo of Welcoming Ceremony by Charlie Roberts

Our first evening began with a welcoming ceremony featuring Mexican cuencos, which are brass bowls in a similar to the ones Tibetan Buddhists use. These bowls use their acute sound-waves to cleanse one spiritually and physically. The leader also used this time to bless us before beginning a week of yoga and good health.

Photo of sunrise practice by Charlie Roberts

Each morning, we saluted the sun with an energizing vinyasa flow yoga practice (Chef Shawn, by far the most popular person at the entire retreat always had coffee ready at 6:45am sharp).

Jardin del Eden Cenote



There were a several group outings including a trip to the cenotes, which are sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock and exposes the groundwater beneath. The water is cool, deep, clean and very clear which made it perfect for snorkeling… also for jumping off the cliffs.

Photo of Monique, Katherine, Connie + Kim at Mayan Ruins by Travis Troyer

Another day was spent wandering around the Mayan Ruins in Tulum. The city flourished between the 13th-15th centuries, and faded only 70 years after the Spanish army started conquering modern-day Mexico.

Next was a fantastic lunch at Le Zebra Hotel in Tulum. Their ceviche (both seafood + vegan options) were fresh, light and exactly what we were looking for before hitting the beach outside the hotel.


Other outings included salsa lessons and dancing, and an evening out in Playa del Carmen. Most days remained free so that people could adventure and explore this beach jungle paradise however they chose. Yogis booked massages overlooking the ocean, fished on the reef (Chef Shawn made delicious tacos with the fish Charlie caught!), biked to the private beach, went paddle boarding, snorkeled, or just lounged on the rooftop terrace or the main floor balcony.

Giant thanks to Janet for her support, sharing her beautiful home with us, and for making this retreat possible. Monster hugs and good vibes to all the yogis who were able to come share this experience with me!

If you’re interested in participating in a yoga retreat in the Mayan Riviera, or another location please get in touch by emailing me at! There are loads of plans in the works!



The Gratitude Challenge

I’m a huge proponent of throwing my thoughts, feelings, and general musings into a journal while I drink my morning coffee. I went through a rough period upon moving to Dallas in late 2011, and one of my New Years resolutions was to make it a priority to list three things I’m grateful for each day. I’m happy to report that it’s probably the only resolution I’ve ever stuck with.

It’s changed my life.

I find that that the practice forces me to be more positive. To be more insightful. Yes, there are days that I report I’m grateful for tacos and puppies (duh), but it also helps me to acknowledge that good can be found in the most challenging situations.

For example: This year I learned from two miserably failing romantic relationships that (1) If people want to be with you, they will find a way. They will overcome extreme obstacles and challenges to be by your side – if only for a weekend; and (2) It doesn’t have to be a battle of who cares less. If you feel the pull of connection and you want to be with someone, it’s okay to say “I want you, and no one else.” Even if it’s two weeks into the relationship. Those are two pretty fucking incredible lessons to draw from something that didn’t work out the way you wanted. And for that, I’ll be eternally grateful.

At the beginning of November, my Little Rock yogi loves hopped on board for Kino MacGregor and Kerri Verna‘s Gratitude Challenge, so I decided to give it a shot. The challenge was designed to be all about gratitude leading up to the Thanksgiving Holiday. To participate you had to share your practice of the challenge pose that day (or any pose ) and write something that you are grateful for. Daily reflection of gratitude can change your life!

Some days I felt inspired. Some days my gratitude was less profound. Here are the things I was grateful over the past month. Check out my Instagram for the yoga pose images.


NOV 1 – My stance could be wider. My hips could be more squared. It. Doesn’t. Matter. I’m grateful for the space yoga creates to explore my practice authentically + unapologetically. My asanas aren’t always perfect, and my life isn’t perfect. We have bad days + better days. And that’s okay. Keep it real.

NOV 2 – I am super grateful for my juicer. It’s nearly impossible to find fresh juice w/o added sugars and preservatives that isn’t obscenely overpriced. Plus, my eyes are far larger than my tummy and I often come home with ALL OF THE PRODUCE. Juicing is a great way to use up veggies, fruits, and herbs that you won’t be able to eat before they go bad. Get creative!

NOV 3 – Connection. Arguably the most wonderful, exciting, juicy part of the human existence. Today I’m feeling grateful for human connection. Those who have touched my life in both large + small ways, helping to shape who I am as a person.

NOV 4 – I’m grateful for time off. It’s been a really long time since I’ve scheduled a day without any plans. There’s something liberating about having no idea where the day will take you. We ended up at the park, walking the largest pedestrian bridge in North America, making delicious juice concoctions, and dinner with friends.

NOV 5 – Yesterday was the first fall-feeling day. Leaves changing colors, hoodies, scarves + boots, warm sunny days + cool snuggly nights, soup, tea, cinnamon, + spices… that was the thing I missed most while living in Texas. Autumn is finally here! Super grateful for the change of seasons.

NOV 6 – I’m grateful to have the privilege of teaching ballet + yoga as my full time job. There are days it’s tougher to get out of bed + roll to the studio than others, but even my worst days at work are good days. I cannot think of a greater gift than to get to do what I love every single day. I still can’t believe to get paid to do this!

NOV 7 – Confession: I’m not looking forward to voting tomorrow. I’ve been a master procrastinator, missed early voting, and the thought of standing in line half of the afternoon makes me cringe. However, I am exceptionally grateful that I have the privilege and opportunity to contribute. Despite the less than optimal choices, I like living in a place where I’m encouraged to participate be heard. Your vote counts. My vote counts. That’s a really special thing.

NOV 8 – Each Tuesday I teach a two-year-old ballet class. The group is mixed race + gender. Yesterday, each child ran into my arms with a giant hug and a smile. That is my job. To teach love. To teach kindness, compassion, and acceptance. My job is to create a safe space that allows others the freedom to learn, move, and to be themselves while feeling strong, smart, confident, and important. Ballet + yoga are about so much more than movement. I am  grateful to begin the teaching day with my baby class. They gave me perspective + reminded me that my job is to put more love out into the world. It’s your job too. We need so much love right now. Love. Love. Love.

NOV 9 – I am grateful that the election is over.

NOV 10 – I’m grateful to live alone. In the yoga/dance education profession you’ve always got to be “on” at work. It doesn’t matter how your day is going, how you’re feeling, or whether or not you slept last night. This week has been especially challenging because student emotions have run rampant. There isn’t any room for how I feel. Walking into an empty house (aside from Mr. Darcy) has allowed space for decompression, time to process, and allowed distance so that I can rest + recharge. Also, I can roam around naked if I want.

NOV 11 – Grateful to get sweaty. Sometimes the best medicine is to get moving, heart pumping, endorphins flowing.

NOV 12 – I’m grateful for literature. Books are one of my favorite ways to get lost.

NOV 13 – Super grateful for all my soul twins out there. The people who just get it. Instant connection, mutual gravitational pull, insight, laughter, love, support. You make this life bright even at the darkest times. Thanking for sharing your light with me.

NOV 14 – Today I am grateful for rituals. Daily routines become meaningful moments when you pay attention to the details. Each morning upon waking I boil water for the French press, walk puppy while downtown is still asleep, and then stand in the kitchen with my journal while drinking dark roast w/ honey + coconut milk as Mr. Darcy snoozes in the other room on my bed. I’m not sure why I stand, but I do. I’m not sure why this ritual is comforting, but it is.

NOV 15 – This morning I woke up with super sore obliques after some inventive core exercises I lead in class yesterday. It reminded me how grateful for I am for movement. The miracle of muscles, bones, and neural impulses working together to literally carry you through this world at will. Growing up with a quadriplegic sister, I’ve been acutely aware that controlled movement is a gift. Sore abs after a hard workout, exhausted legs after a long bike ride or hike… it’s not something to complain about. It’s magic, you guys.

NOV 16 – I’m grateful for friends. The super close sibling kinds, the ones you talk to every six months, the ones who live down the hall, and the ones who reside across an ocean, and even the ones I’ve met through IG, but have yet to see in person. You push me to be better, pull me out of my slumps, make me laugh, cry, sing, dance, and look at the world in ways I’d never imagined. Thank you for sharing your gifts, insight, light, love, and radiance. You inspire me.

NOV 17 – Today I am grateful for my struggles. Without them, I might not be aware of my strength.

NOV 18 – I’m pretty big on self practice, but tonight I was reminded how grateful I am to have workout buddies. Hanging, bonding, sweating, moving + encouraging each other to commit to our health. It’s pretty sweet stuff. Thanks to @breezyosborne for leading Friday night practice + @toddbrinkley + @nicole_french for sandwiching me with your good vibes! 

NOV 19 – Grateful for a solo date night. Fuzzy pjs, hair in a jumbled bun fluff, hot water w/ mint leaves + silly, feel good movie binge.

NOV 20 – Today I’m grateful (honored, humbled, thrilled, etc.) that I was invited to lead the warm-up for Little Rock’s Girls on the Run 5k. Few things feel as good as giving back, putting more positivity energy into the world, and empowering little women in creative, active, and healthy ways.

NOV 21 – Today, and everyday, I am grateful for my sassy, stumpy-tailed life partner @mrdarcypup. I love him to the moon + back (even though I threaten to send his terrorist puppy self to the pound sometimes). 

NOV 22 – Today I’m grateful for people who cook for me. Because surf + turf.

NOV 23 – I am grateful for physical touch. Reassuring squeezes of the hand, celebratory high fives, supportive hugs, passionate embraces, therapeutic massages, thoughtful adjustments. Human touch can can be healing, and can often convey what words can’t.

NOV 24 – Over the past month I’ve picked a specific thing each day that I’m grateful for. And today? I’m grateful for life. To breathe air into my lungs, to open my eyes and see the world around me, to hear each note of songs + laughs. To be alive is such an extraordinary gift. Happy Thanksgiving, my loves.

Yoga for Anxiety

Everyone experiences anxiety. Whether we’re working on a big project at work or in school, find ourselves running late, or have more chronic anxiety due to other elements in our lives – stress is a part of everyday life. Thankfully, anxiety doesn’t have to control you – and studies have found yoga can help!

Yoga requires focus and it teaches us to slow down, shut out the external world, and to be completely present in that moment. It occupies your mind, exerts your body, and soothes your soul. It allows space from your troubles, the never-ending to do list, eventually you may start to notice that your anxiety and worry begins to fade into the background until it completely evaporates. For me, personally, once I return to the world around me, everything seems a little bit brighter. And lighter. More manageable. And some days I really, really need that. (Read more about my relationship with anxiety here.)

These asanas, or poses, to help decrease anxiety by encouraging you to regulate your breath and relax your body by releasing muscular tension, providing your body and brain with fresh blood, oxygen, and other nutrients, and boosting those happy little sunshine endorphins. Plus, some of these poses can be challenging. They get you out of your own head. Who has time to worry about tomorrow’s presentation when you’re balancing on one leg trying not to crash in half moon?


Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) – Begin in a tabletop position with the wrists below shoulders and knees hip-width distance apart. Walk the fingertips forward, and allow your chest to melt towards the ground while leaving the hips in the air, directly over the knees. Your forehead can come down to the floor, or you can gaze forward, past your fingertips. Stay here for 5 rounds of breath.


Locust Pose (Salabhasana) – Lay on your belly with your forehead to the mat, palms beneath the shoulders with elbows hugged into the ribs, and legs together with big toes touching. On an inhale peel your upper body off the floor a few inches (you should be able to float the hands from the ground) with your gaze a few inches in front of you. Squeeze the lefts together and lift the legs, big toes still together and reaching the legs behind you. Hands can stay where they are, reach behind you (bound, as shown, or unbound), or overhead. Gaze should be on the floor a few inches in front of you to avoid compressing the back of the neck. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.


Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) – Begin in locust pose (shown above) with arms reaching behind you. Bend the knees and if your fingertips can easily brush the ankles, hold onto the outside your feet or the ankles and kick into the hands. Remain here for 5 breaths.


Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – Begin in a tabletop position with the wrists below shoulders and knees hip-width distance apart. Spread the fingers wide apart, tuck your toes under and on an exhale lift your hips into the air. Press the mat away from you with your hands, and rotate the triceps towards one another so that the “eyes” of your elbows are reaching towards the top of your mat. Shoulders press away from the ears, and drop the crown of your head towards the earth as you gaze past your knees. Keep a slight bend in the knees, lift the sitz bones towards the ceiling, and make sure that the outer edges of your feet are parallel. Eventually, the heels may begin to stretch towards the ground. Take 5-10 breaths in this pose.

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) – Stand with arms reaching out like a “t,” and feet about wrist distance apart (or a little closer together). The outer edges of the feet should be parallel. Bring the left hand to the hip and turn the right toes towards the front of the mat. Reach the rib cage over the right leg, and when you cannot extend any further, bring the right hand to rest on a block, the leg, or the floor. The torso should stay flat instead of twisting down towards the floor, so that if you did this pose against a wall (which you totally can!) the torso, both arms, legs, shoulders, and hips would be flat against it. Eventually read the left fingertips towards the sky and gaze can be directed towards the floor, straight ahead, or past the left fingertips. Remain here for 5 breaths and repeat on the left side.


Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) – Stand with arms reaching out like a “t,” and feet about wrist distance apart (or a little closer together). The outer edges of the feet should be parallel. Bring the left hand to the hip and turn the right toes towards the front of the mat. Bend your right knee (Warrior II) and reach the rib cage over the right leg. When you cannot extend any further, bring the right hand to rest on a block, the leg, or the floor 6-12 inches in front of the right foot. Begin to straighten the right leg and lift your left leg from the mat so that it’s parallel to the floor. The left shoulder should be stacked over the right, and the right hand should be directly under the shoulders. The left leg is reaching through the heel towards the wall behind you with the left toes flexed towards the wall that you’re facing. The left hip is stacked over the right. Eventually the left fingertips can reach towards the ceiling. Gaze can be towards the floor, straight ahead, or past the left fingertips. Remain here for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the left side.

Eagle Pose
(Garudasana) – Begin standing, and slightly bend the knees. Transfer your weight onto the left foot and cross the right thigh over the right. Point your right toes towards the floor and wrap the right foot behind the left calf muscle, hooking the right toes around the left ankle.

Reach your arms out like a “t” and bend the elbows so that your fingertips are reaching towards the ceiling. Cross the arms in front of your chest (left over right) with the left elbow tucked into the crook of the right elbow. Leaving the elbows as they are,  wrap the wrists and press the palms into one another (the right wrist should be closest to your chest).

Hold for 5 breaths and repeat, balancing on the right foot.


Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – Begin kneeling with the knees hip-width distance apart (knees should be directly under the hip points), toes tucked or untucked. Bring the hands to the low back/hips with fingers reaching towards the floor. Lengthen the tailbone towards the floor and draw the elbows towards one another behind you. On an inhale lift the ribcage and on an exhale take a slight backbend. Hands can stay at the hips, or they can move to the heels. Press into the feet and think of sending the hips towards the top of the mat. Gaze can be towards the ceiling, or you can drop the crown of the head towards the floor if it isn’t uncomfortable for the neck. Remain here for 5 breaths.

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana) – Begin seated. Bend your knees and bring the soles of the feet together. Eventually begin to draw the feet towards your groin and press into the outter edges of the feet, opening your feet like a book so that you can see the soles. On an inhale sit as tall as possible, and on an exhale start to fold forward, leading with your sternum. Keep the back as flat as possible. Stay here for 5-10 breaths.


Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) – Start laying on your back with hands by your side, palms down. Bend your knees and plant your feet hip-width distance apart with the heels drawn in close towards your glutes. On an inhale press into the hands and feet and lift the hips from the mat while drawing the inner thighs towards one another to ensure the knees remain over your heels. Scoop your tailbone under and shift your weight into your feet to take pressure off of the low back. For more opening in the chest, begin to draw the shoulders beneath you, maybe even interlacing your fingers behind your back and pressing your fist into the mat. Remain here for 5 breaths.

Fish Pose (Matsyasana) – Begin seated with knees bent and feet planted hip-width distance apart. Keeping the legs where they are, lower to the elbows which are beneath your shoulders and hands reaching towards your feet (forearms should be parallel and hugged closely in towards your body. On an inhale, press into the palms and lift your ribcage towards the sky. Gaze can be focused towards the ceiling, and if it isn’t uncomfortable for your neck, begin to drop the crown of the head towards the floor. Eventually the crown of your head might actually rest on the ground. Variations include squeezing the legs together and floating the feet and arms, or with legs in padmasana (lotus pose). Stay here for 5 breaths.

Undue Pressure

A few months ago I upgraded my iPhone. While listing an old phone on Craigslist today, I found that there was an imperfection in the screen. I asked a friend what this specific issue is called and he said it looked like “undue pressure,” and that I should get the screen replaced.

Undue pressure.

Unwarranted, extreme, excessive pressure.

Suffocating, debilitating pressure.

This is my headspace today.

The past week, month(s) have been turbulent. Overwhelming. I have a billion thoughts, ideas, challenges, and projects racing through my mind, but it’s difficult to sit down and map it all out – to control the chaos. Sitting down to organize my thoughts usually helps to calm the internal hurricane, but this week I don’t know where to start.

My life feels like a mess.

I’m bouncing all over the place, but can’t seem to find solid ground.

How did I get here? How do I get back on track?

This is how my anxiety manifests itself.

I’ve been so underwater with this undue pressure, that I can’t find space to breathe. And this crushing weight? It’s all on me, and it’s all from me.

My anxiety often stems from worries, but more often than not, it’s the expectations I place upon myself. I give the people in my life so much wiggle room for mistakes, and manage to forgive, accept, and love them through their challenging moments, but for me it’s unacceptable.

I sometimes spend hours, even days, agonizing over things I could have done better. The things I shouldn’t (or should) have said. Chastising myself for allowing my emotions to hijack rational thinking. Criticizing myself for not having the strength to avoid being irritable and confrontational. And on the off chance my actions actually were justifiable, I torment myself for not handling them in a more healthy and productive manner.

I obsess over employing tools that can help me to change my negative behavior patterns, rectify past grievances, and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. I become completely engrossed and enmeshed in finding ways to be better. To be more. To be a better person. A better teacher, dancer, yogini, daughter, sister, friend, lover. To be better at taking care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Practice more, meditate more, research more, be more organized and prepared. I set more goals and expectations for myself.

More. More. More.

The weight of all the intention is incapacitating.

Usually, I go through the motions until the anxiety and panic evaporates. Sleep, walk puppy, coffee, shower, eat, yoga, dog park, dance, yoga, walk puppy, eat, sleep. I surround myself with people I love. Eventually, I feel like myself again.

But today? It’s one of those rare days that nothing seems to work. Maybe it’s exhaustion from two weeks with no breaks, added classes, a few days on some gnarly antibiotics, and hormones… but today is paralyzing.

For a long time this afternoon I sat on my living room floor and cried. I cried twice while walking Mr. Darcy through neighborhoods and the streets of downtown. When I got home, I pulled out my first set of mala beads and chanted “I am enough,” one hundred and eight times. Today instead of fighting to keep the anxiety at bay, I’m surrendering. I’ve cleared my dance card, and I’m going to sit with it. Stare it straight in the eye.

We get lost sometimes. Derailed. But simply acknowledging the anxiety gives it a tiny bit less power. Little by little the fog eventually begins to lift, giving way to reality in a more clear and present way.