When I started my challenge this spring, I was unsure of how it would feel.  I was afraid to start something I wouldn’t be able to finish, and I was worried that my horrible, consuming sadness from my last challenge would come back.  It didn’t.  My goal for the challenge was to release the negativity from my practice, and open myself up to joy.  

It was about finally letting go of something sad and hard and difficult, and letting myself continue on with a practice that could encompass happiness again. 

Having been done with my 30-day challenge for a few days now, I can honestly confirm that it was the easiest challenge I’ve ever done.  Throughout the month I felt more energized and alive than I’ve felt in a long time, and during many classes I felt like I was powered by pure exalted joy.  I was able to be so present in my happiness, and it was wonderful.  Truly wonderful and magical.

The first few weeks were mostly a breeze.  I had the usual foot dragging that I think everyone experiences when it’s time to get up on monday at 5:00 a.m., but once I was there, most of my classes were so marvelous.  I felt my body totally opening up to new depths of flexibility whereas I usually make more noteworthy gains in strength.  

I have always kind of thought that it takes a lot of courage to take your flexibility to new depths.  You have to be willing to push through the pain of your lengthening muscles and ligaments and tendons.  You have to trust yourself enough to know what bad pain is and what good pain is.  You have to literally open yourself up to completely new sensations; and you have to, at some point, just go for it.  There has to be an element of “fuck it” in there somewhere – otherwise you’ll never push yourself hard enough!  This is so appropriate for where I was mentally and emotionally in my challenge.  My gains in flexibility definitely reflect what my goals were, and that I got there.   

I love practicing close to the mirror now, because I can see the anchor on my arm, pushing me to be better, go deeper, stretch further, work harder, and be healthier.  It reminds me that the bad events in our lives never go away, but at some point they become a part of who you are, and they endure through the happiness too.  Just as part of who you are.  Simple truths, right?

Glowingly yours,


P.S.: For those of you who keep track: nope, I’m not doing the 60-day challenge because *someone* is taking me to Coachella.  I know – poor me, right? 



March is Sailing season.  There is literally a race to sail in every weekend in March, so when I started my 30-day challenge I thought I would go in knowing I would be missing a couple classes.  I thought “ok so this won’t be a *true* challenge by the rules, but it’s a good for me.”  A few days into my challenge, however; I started feeling like I really didn’t want to miss a day.   wasn’t ready to skip a day!  I was enjoying my practice, my progress, and the momentum I was feeling.  After talking to some of my teachers, Katie and Gary, I decided I would do yoga on the days I was sailing, and I would do it at my home.  

Originally I was planning to just do the series to the best of my ability by memory and time the postures in my head, but Gary suggested I try using the Bikram audio recording.  I bought it and I would really recommend it to anyone who wants to try doing the series at home. Bikram is funny, and encouraging, and it was actually really cool to be able to listen to him delivering his own series and dolling out his own tips and feedback (yes I even said “mama give me money” when I did standing bow… what?  He told me to.)  Listening to the recording, as with any experience with a new teacher, did change some of my postures.  I especially improved my half-moon pose by bringing my chin up more and my upper body back more.  

I found it especially surprising that I didn’t miss the heat the way I thought I would.  I love the heat.  I know some people think of the heat as something they have to suffer through as a part of their practice, but I really love the humidity and the temperature.  I love the way it makes my skin feel, I love how the sweat can make some postures more challenging, and can help in others.  The way you can kind of just slide the top of your foot right down your sweaty calf into a perfect eagle pose never ceases to please me.  I love it.  So I did miss the heat in that way.  I realized, though, that it doesn’t affect my flexibility the way I imagined it did.  In fact I didn’t notice that the depth of my postures significantly changed at all.  In standing head to knee pose last night,  I almost locked my kicked out knee, and I really believe I could have, but I stopped myself because I didn’t want that monumental achievement to happen when I was by myself in my room.  That brings me to my next point…

I missed the energy of taking class with lots of people.  Until this month I thought crowded classes were satan’s gift to yogis, and that if someone smacked my hand again in full locust, or brushed my leg when we were going into standing separate leg stretching pose one more time, I would flip out and have to lie down and have a tantrum on my mat.  I realized how much I enjoy and how much I depend on other peoples’ energy in class.  There are times when I almost want to go up to people and tell them that it was a joy practicing near them.  I love the unspoken support that the yoga room provides.  I like struggling alongside other people who are facing their own challenges.

The last difference I experienced – and this is a big one – I was completely un self-conscious.  I did things that I haven’t done in the studio, but I don’t think I realized that I was limiting myself that way.  It’s actually really funny because one of the poses this most affected me in was standing separate leg stretching pose.



As you can see in the photo, the goal is to touch your forehead to the floor, and you do this by grabbing your heels and pulling your body down, while simultaneously rolling your weight forward into the balls of your feet.  Now the teachers always say that if you can’t touch your forehead to the floor, open your legs wider and wider until you can.  I will open my legs wider to a point, but I always stop when I guess feels good enough.  I have rather inflexible hamstrings, but alone, in the privacy of my own bedroom, I decided to go for it.  Do you know what happened?  I nearly somersaulted into my mirror.  Really I did!  I actually fell forward and had to catch myself!  

So things I have taken away from this experience?  

1.  I love the crowds.

2. I miss the heat, but I don’t need the heat.  That means I might like other kinds of yoga!

3. I limit myself, and I shouldn’t.  If I’m somersaulting out of postures I think that means I’m trying hard enough.

FInally, although I would rather head to the Sweatbox any day, this experience gave me the confidence to practice in my own home at times when I just can’t make it to class, and that provides a lot of freedom.

Oh and the final thing I learned?  How to use my new version of itunes.  

Domestically yours,




The problem with my yoga clothes is: I keep forgetting them.

On Tuesday I woke up ready to sweat, but due to poor planning and un-forseen dog walking time delays, I arrived at the 6:00 a.m. class only to find the door locked.  Luckily, I was able to get out of babysitting around 8:00 that night, leaving me plenty of time to get to the 8:45 class.  When I got there, however, I realized that all of my clothes for yoga were actually freshly laundered in a pile on my bed.  Not in my yoga bag.  Once again I had some luck because I was already wearing a pair of Lulus that I could french roll and make work, but what about a shirt?? With five minutes to Pranayama and only the long sleeve shirt I had on, I turned to Gary and Frani for some advice.  Borrow an old sweaty one from the lost and found, wear the long sleeve cozy cotton shirt I had, or buy one of the Onzie Bandeau tops.  Yikes.  I went for the purchase, thinking it would probably be ok.  The top is adorable and I’m sure I will wear it again for something, but I found myself self-conciously tugging it up after most of the standing postures.  Truth be told I’m not sure that I was actually about to have a wardrobe malfunction, but I figured that a class full of people was not the place to test the limits of my new garment.  To make matters worse, I hadn’t brought my contacts, forcing me into the front row, right below the podium – a terrible spot for a very tired and very poorly dressed yogini.

Today I was determined to go to my 4:30 class at Shoreline (does anything feel better than lying on my mat in that warm room after a long day of work?) but once again I seemed to have forgotten my clothes.  So I guess I’m headed to the 7:00 p.m. at the Capitol Hill studio – shorts and top are in my bag ready to go.  These outfit snafus are not something I wish to repeat, but after 20 days of yoga, I guess something’s got to give.  

Nakedly yours,


P.S: 2/3 of the way through!  Also – that photo is not me.  


Today in class, Laura asked us “Who is going to be doing the challenge in March?” two of us raised our hands.  “It’s important to start planning for it now, because it’s a time commitment.  It takes dedication to yourself.  You need to start looking at your calendar now so you can say ‘I need a babysitter here’ or ‘I’ll need a sub that day.'”

Wow.  Spring challenge already coming up.  This year, The Sweatbox is doing both a thirty day and a sixty day challenge, and I immediately started thinking about doing the sixty day.  On the one hand, I’m hesitant to go for a whole sixty days, because my last thirty day challenge was such a devastating experience for me in many ways.  I don’t want to set myself up for failure.  On the other hand, maybe Laura’s right.  Maybe I can really start planning for the challenge now.  Maybe I can give myself a substitute on an especially difficult day.  Maybe I can start cooking and freezing meals for March and April.  Maybe I can schedule a massage for the halfway point, and set up a twitter account to make writing about my challenge a more streamlined process.

There are so many things I can start doing now, so that in a month I can focus on myself, and not on all the nitty gritty details of life. I said it before: there is never a good time to start a challenge.  That’s true, but I guess I’m learning that you can plan for success in more ways than I’ve allowed myself to in the past.

Forethoughtfully yours,


Today is day three of my latest 30-day yoga challenge. It’s actually a 60-day challenge (kind of) but more on that later.

I haven’t blogged about it yet, and I haven’t made a big build up to it, because I am experimenting with a new approach. I’m keeping things casual. I’m changing my internal monologue to “time for yoga,” instead of “omg day three of thirty. This is so hard. I must hydrate. How are my electrolytes? I’ll never get through this.”

The fact is, I know what this path looks like. Although my 30 day challenges have each been unique, I’ve been here before, so the confidence is there. This will be my fifth 30-day Bikram challenge, and I have no doubt I will make it. My new challenge is to open up and just accept it for what it is, instead of dramatizing it into something it isn’t.

And anyway… There’s been plenty of drama already without my head making it any worse. That’s a story for another post.

Casually yours,


I did it.  I made the jump.  I no longer take daily injections, I made the switch to an insulin pump.

I chose the Omnipod, which is a disposable pump without tubing.  It’s controlled by a blood sugar meter/ remote control device.  I thought that it would be a better fit for my lifestyle than a pump with tubes… I’m not sure if I’m right yet.

I was so excited when I left my doctors office after she helped me get set up.  I felt just like I did when I got my ears pierced in elementary school – wearing something that made me feel proud, and grown up, and profoundly different for indescribable reasons.  I drove home, got out of my car, and immediately felt a painful tug on my hip.  I had just ripped the pump off my body for the first of many times.  My heart sunk… was this what it would be like?  Constantly having to watch out for this little life saving device?  Having to ease myself in and out of cars and chairs and beds like an invalid?  How would I do yoga?  Sail? Keep working around little grabby-handed toddlers??

One of my main concerns with the insulin pump, was how it would affect my activities, especially yoga.  I have been skipping yoga a lot lately, so I have really only been to one class with the insulin pump so far.  I am happy to report that I really didn’t notice it a lot during class.  I am able to wear it many different places; my abdomen, lower back/ upper hip area, arms, and legs.  I’ve tried my hips, stomach, and right now I have it on my arm.  The one thing I have struggled with in yoga class, is when I have to lie directly on top of the pump.  When I took my class I was wearing it on my stomach, so, I had to figure out how to distribute my weight more comfortably during the first part of the floor series.  The one pose I just gave up on was locust pose.  Because of the way you have to position your arms under your body, I ended up having to put direct pressure on my infusion site from the side, which I thought would probably have torn the pump off (something that happened getting in and out of the car several times!).  

I really think I will be able to figure out things that work for me.  When I sail, I have been wearing an ace bandage around the pump, and that has prevented me from hitting it on a lifeline, shroud, or  stanchion (I was having trouble with that at first too.

I knew going into this that it would be an adjustment for me, and I know I have to continue to just work through these fairly minor hiccups.  The slight soreness from wearing the pump, the awkward questions about what is on me, and working around it in yoga class, I will get accustomed to those things in time.  

insulinfully yours,


Pictures: One just the pump, and one with the ace bandage covering it. Not too bad huh?

My goal during my last 30-day-challenge was to “stop being afraid.”  I have recognized for a while now how much fear can hold me back from doing the things I want to and need to do in my life.  Fear of unknown, fear of consequences, fear of vulnerability, fear of getting hurt.  By recognizing that fear was holding me back, I have been able to make strides by forcing myself to push through my fear.  “Don’t be afraid” is what I told myself this while buying my first car recently, while signing the lease to a new apartment, and while I severed a long term partnership last month.  What I have come to learn, is that fear, while totally normal and acceptable, is not a reason to stop moving forward.  It is not a reason to say no when the answer should be yes.

Fear of pain is a fear that comes up for me often both in and out of the yoga studio.  I am terrified of hurting myself.  I don’t want to push too hard in some stretching postures because I’m afraid of what might happen to my body, and I am afraid of looking at emotional situations head on because I am afraid of what it will do to my heart.

In yoga recently, it has been very hard for me to dive into the practice mentally, because I am afraid of the pain that is inside my heart.  I feel very sad during so much of class, and today I found myself repeating over and over “don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid,” because I needed to push through that fear, and feel that pain, in order to release it. 

At some point during the floor series, I did allow my emotions to come to the surface, and I had a very interesting experience.  I felt that my grief was tangible.  I thought I was able to truly take it out of my body and look at it head on, and in doing that I decided (however ugly it was) my grief was manageable.  I am not a believer in God in the religious sense, but I do like the saying that “God will never give you more than you can handle.”  When we are given these challenges in life, it does truly force us to become better, stronger, more compassionate individuals.

I stopped being afraid of my grief.  I confronted my feelings face to face, and I feel I will be able to begin moving through them now.

Bravely yours,



“You’re never too old, you’re never too sick, it’s never too late to start from scratch once again.”

This is something Bikram tells his students, and this is something Shavon reminded us as we lay in savasana yesterday morning.  “If you’re struggling right now, if your mind is racing, it’s ok.  Just take a deep breath and start again.”  Take a deep breath.  This is something that many of us at times struggle to do, or take for granted, and it’s something we all need to do all the time.  When we practice yoga, we are reminded how important breathing is.  It can make the difference between a great class and one you’re barely able to complete.

 Yoga has a way of reducing us to our most raw and basic functions: drink water, breathe, move, sweat.  We are muscle and tissue, a working system, a well-tuned machine. The practice can be so beautiful when these things work together, but take one away and it wouldn’t work at all.  So much of what is true in yoga, is true in life.

 I have a friend who got her chance to take a deep breath and start again last night.  She has cystic fibrosis, and she received her new set of lungs.  Thanks to the sacrifice of an organ donor, this beautiful, smart, inspiring woman will be able to continue to laugh, smile, make an enormous impact on everyone she touches, and all because she is most importantly able to breathe.

 If you are not already an organ donor, please register here (in the U.S.).  You could potentially give someone the chance to start from scratch once again.

 Don’t take your breath for granted. 





First of all, thank you so much to The Bliss Project for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I think her blog is just lovely as well so you should run check it out.  

The way this award works is, since I have been nominated, I get to share seven things about myself, and then I’m going to nominate seven other bloggers for the One Lovely Blog Award too!

Since this is a yoga and health blog, I am actually going to tweak the theme of the award a bit, and I’m going to post seven things I have learned about myself and others through my yoga practice.

1. I am really tough. I’ve always known I am a mind over matter person, but yoga had reconfirmed that for me. I know that I can decide to do something and it will happen. It can be skydiving, or it doing the next posture in a Bikram class instead of lying down.

2. I have learned when to say enough is enough. As I said, I know I can force myself to do a lot of things. I used to feel like I had to constantly force myself to do more more more. Harder, faster, better. I’ve begun to be much better at focusing on myself, trying to tune out my ego, and analyzing what is best for me.

3. I love to sweat. I used to be mortified by sweat. I used to be absolutely grossed out by the smell of it, the feeling of it on my skin. I hated what it did to my hair, how my face would get all red. Now I love it. I love how it makes me feel clean and refreshed; it’s like a shower from the inside out.

4. I like my body. I’ve hated my body for more years than I have loved it, and for that I am deeply deeply sorry. One of the first things I learned after I started doing Bikram yoga, was that I had a great appreciation for the things my body could do for me. I still feel so grateful for my body. It carries me inside of it somewhere, and when I practice yoga it is like giving back to myself, and at the same time reminding me to be grateful.

5. Take things one day at a time. When I used to get really overwhelmed with homework or chores or just stuff, my dad used to say “one fish at a time, Claire.” It never really clicked for me what that meant because I’ve never been fishing. I don’t really understand the feeling of being intimidated by all the fish you have to clean. I really feel like I have a better understanding of how to work on something a little at a time, and I have faith that I will reach my goal eventually. That’s the knowledge that led me to run my 8K last year, and to be honest, it’s partly what helps me get through every day and feel successful. “One day at a time, one millimeter at a time, and eventually you’ll get there,” is what Danny at BYV used to say to our Bikram class. I’m still waiting on getting there in standing head to knee…

6. Pedicures and shaved under arms can wait until later. This harkens back to #3 bit, but I think it’s worth reiterating. I am so much less judgmental of myself than I used to be. I have much more reasonable expectations for my looks, and more importantly, I have different priorities. I used to always always ALWAYS have my toes and fingernails perfectly done. I used to sometimes skip yoga because I didn’t have time to go home and shave my legs. I can’t even imagine that now. It might partly come from my work in preschool (where looks mean next to nothing), and it might come from my super busy schedule this year, but my time is important to me. Getting to yoga class, and getting a good nights sleep, and doing the things I love to do with the people I love to be around; those things are my priority. Painted nails can wait.

7. Patience and compassion. Yoga has strengthened these qualities in me. I have become more patient and compassionate both with myself and with other people. It is a gift to me, my students, my friends, and everyone I see. I feel so much less judgmental of others, and so much less judgmental of myself. I think this is one of the greatest things Bikram Yoga has given me.

Now for my seven nominations:

Vegan Sparkles

Bikram Butterflies

Hannah, Just Breathe

Living in Possibility (it’s a super new blog, but I love the theme and the writing in superb)

Woman Eats City

A Bikram Adventure

Safa Shares

Enjoy checking out these seven very lovely blogs!

Appreciatively Yours,


My last couple classes have been bad. I was having trouble motivating myself, I was getting so frustrated because my balance felt off, and I was just basically being grumpy and mean to myself. I knew I needed to get out of my own head, and I even tried talking to myself like I talk to my preschoolers. “Are you going to sit here and throw a fit?” I sternly said to myself, as I sat out a pose, “or are you going to get up and do your best and have fun with the rest of the class?” It didn’t work. I remained sullen. I just could not seem to lift myself out of my slump.

Today in class, Gary was teaching. His classes are always fun, but during eagle things got hilarious. He said something like ” there should be no gap between your caffles” or some weird mixture of calf and ankle. I had a total giggle fit. I almost had tears in my eyes because I was trying so hard not to burst out laughing. It was just a silly slip of the tongue, but it was exactly what I needed. I had a great class.

One of the things Katie, at Bikram Yoga Vancouver used to say was “it’s yoga practice not yoga perfect.” it was her way of getting us to let go of those fears or pressures or expectations we all create, and just go for it. Just have fun.

Exuberantly yours,