Dec 30, 2013


today i thought about jumping on the "snowga" bandwagon and going outside to take yoga photos.  then i looked outside and i thought 'fuck that.'

Dec 28, 2013


merry christmas babies!  

i spent christmas in colorado for the first time in years!  i usually don't enjoy the u.s. holiday madness but it was pretty damn nice curling up by the fire in my pajamas with my guy and a cup of hot cocoa.  ahem, brandy hot cocoa.  here's the recipe:

cup of heated almond milk (or regular milk)
hot cocoa (mix your own or use ghiradelli like i did)
generous shot of brandy
cinnamon stick
star anise (just one)

i hope everyone got just what they wanted for christmas. xx

Dec 25, 2013


                                                                                   joy and glee

it's been a non-stop baking frenzy since we got home.



Dec 24, 2013


i am so impressed with this class.  they always made their health a priority, focusing on yoga, studying, eating well, and exercise over the party scene that can be all too easy to fall into in samara.  i loved all the time i got to spend with this smart, fun, friendly, beautiful group of women.
congratulations mariposa class!  you're all going places.


                                                                                          student luncheon day

Dec 23, 2013


"a vase, like a building, like a body, has two spaces - the one that it contains and the one that surrounds it.  when we begin asana we worry about the shape of the pose, that is, how we look in the mirror, in other words, the space we exclude.  by now we should be worrying about the space we include, the space within, for it is largely that which gives true life and beauty to the asana.  it is called yoga svarupa - the self assuming its perfect form through yoga.  that is achieved through the inner distribution of space.  essentially that is how yogasana becomes effortless, with the natural beauty of molten gold being poured from a vat."
~ bks iyengar

i love love love this quote from light on life.  for most of us, those not trained formally in dance or gymnastics, etc,  the body can feel like a heavy weight that we're lugging around and attempting to manipulate.  we don't occupy every bit of it, living mostly in our minds.  we forget that the universe, or space, is always expanding, and that our physical bodies are made up mostly of space.  that same energy of expansion is within us.  
one of the best things about deepening my yoga practice has been becoming familiar with the inner space and the amazing and expansive nature of my inner self.  through steady practice, meditation and effort i have begun to occupy each room in my house, spreading from my mind down throughout my body.  when i want to move my foot for a giant step it is no longer being done from a distance.  my mind is no longer yelling down the chain of command, 'hey leg, drag that thing up here' my mind is in my foot, and my leg, and everything moves as one.  
to some people this is going to sound like some crazy hippy nonsense i know.  and it's early, i'm still drinking my coffee; maybe not the best time to convey philosophical musings but what it comes down to is this: as you practice yoga shift your concern from how you look in the pose to how you feel in the pose.  start to move from this inner feeling.  all the things that are always being repeated, remember to breathe, be present, blah blah, they are all helpful tools to get you to

this moment
in life
in space.
which you are.  

namaste bitches, xx.

Dec 20, 2013


                                              rightside up

"we are all just the main characters in the story we tell ourselves.  if we cast ourselves as the victim we will continue to be victimized.  if we say that we are fine and nothing is wrong, we will continue to accept wrongness.  only when we're able to perceive what's happening without any narration or casting, only when we have true perception, will we change our story.  this is the place that objective decisions come from.  where nothing is done because that's what the story necessitates and everything is done because it's right and good." from my journal

obviously i've been thinking alot lately about perception. 

Dec 19, 2013


"the clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness."
-j. muir

Dec 17, 2013


to commemorate our one year anniversary we went adventuring, of course.  first there was the early morning canyoneering trip that found us rapeling down 250 foot cliffs and canon-balling into jungle pools.  we followed that up by river rafting down rio clara, which is one of my favorite things to do, and capped it off with a late lunch at an operating hacienda, complete with wood-fire cooked food (amazing), singing and music, and moonshine (rum de casa).  it was the perfect celebration of one adventure filled year together.

(our touring company was amazing!  if you ever want to go adventuring in costa rica these are hands down the people to arrange it for you.  desafio)

photo by: jaime guzman jose

Dec 16, 2013


 "..russ is a person who asks big questions casually.  questions that, at the time of our meeting, i'd stopped asking myself.  so when he asked, "what do you really want from life?" i had to search for the answer.
"i want to keep going further."  i responded.
of course i had to explain what i meant by that.  i'd already gone pretty far; across the world a few times, withdrawn from community and society, out of touch with family and friends for long stretches as i delved into the wild.  when i said further i meant it - i wanted to go longer, farther, and discard more.  i wanted to see marvels and keep seeing them; no breaks, no rest, just adventure after adventure, deeper into the thrill of unknown territory.  but, and this i didn't say at the time, i no longer wanted to go alone.
i'd been far and seen much by myself.  i'd filled up on solitude.  i wanted to share the amazement of this journey with someone.  someone ridiculous and brave.  someone fun and smart.  someone most comfortable on the road.
and just like that; he asked, i answered and it was done.  i didn't realize it then but i got everything i wanted in that moment.

and the journey goes on..."


                                                                                            mridang bandha - drum lock

"life is about rhythm.  we vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythmic machine, that's what we are."
-mickey hart

"eat drums! eat cymbals!"


this is just a reminder:
head-standing after lunch isn't a great plan.

Dec 12, 2013


the following is a greatly abbreviated story of hanuman the monkey:

when hanuman was a young, little monkeygod, he thought the sun was a mango and went after it, meaning to swallow it.  the king of the devas, indra, was so enraged that the eclipse had been prevented by hanumans gluttony that he threw a thunderbolt at hanuman, smiting him.  as hanuman lay unconscious his father vayu, who was the god of air/wind, began to grieve, going into seclusion and taking all the air with him.  
in order to appease vayu the devas revived hanuman and each bestowed upon him an epic gift; shape-shifting, invincibility, amazing strength, and much more - essentially making him a super hero.  however he was also a young mischievous little monkey so they decided it best to place a curse on him so that he wouldn't be aware of his own powers and therefore couldn't use them against others.

fast-forward years down the road.  hanuman is devoted to lord rama, whose wife sita has been kidnapped and taken to a far away island.  it's so far away; impossible to get to. all seems lost, when hanuman's friend, the wise bear, jambavantha tells him, 'hanuman you have to go, you're the only one who can save her.  you have to jump to the island.'

hanuman says, 'there's no way.  i can't jump that far!  no one can jump that far.'

jambavantha tells hanuman that he is indeed the only one who can do it, he tells him that he is amazingly strong, incredibly brave, that he's invincible, protected, magical!  as hanuman listens to the words of his friend his belief in himself grows, breaking the curse.

hanuman takes a flying leap of faith, jumping all the way from india to the island of sri lanka, and rescues sita.  

this pose, hanumanasana, represents that great leap. it represents power that we all have if we just believe in ourselves, and the power that comes when others show their faith in us.

"the burden of all difficult tasks of the world become light with your kind grace." ~  hanuman chalisa



don't listen to your mind, too often it says "i can't."  listen instead to the quieter, steadier voice of your heart and believe it when it says "i will."

Dec 11, 2013


"... a year ago i left the states; flying out o f san francisco and traveling to costa rica.  when i think of that period of time, those first couple weeks in pavones, it feels like a period of awakening.  after the isolation, tedium, drama of the hill; the community and cold of impending winter in town, the car shuffle as i drove to arizona and flew back the next day - i finally emerged in the warm, lush tropics.  everything was sunshine and freshness and bigtime adventure.  i had no idea at that time just how much that trip would change my life.  
it was a transitional period with no expectations or solid plans.  i'd unknowingly left one life but hadn't yet met the next.  i hadn't found where i was meant to go.  all i had was a house with a view, my yoga mat, my new friends, a quad that sometimes worked, and a property full of fruit trees.  i had the ocean, the jungle, adventure, fireflies, tucans, sunrise, anticipation and wonder.   i awoke there, from my hills cacoon, into pura vida.  i will always think of that time so fondly, full of flowers and colors and life..."

Dec 10, 2013


"be kind to everyone; forgive everyone for everything."
- sri dharma mittra

.... i needed to remind myself of this today.

Dec 9, 2013


costa rica

Marin McCallen
Dec 7 (2 days ago)

to John
yesterday after teaching yoga and going to spanish school for my friday exam day, russ and chibelo, a local tico rasta dude, picked me up and we went off adventuring.  first we went to barigona, "the mel gibson beach" as russ calls it.  it is a few playas up the coast, REALLY hard to get to.  i was amazed and quite concerned at some of the treacherous points we rallied up.  but it was so pretty and magical.  it was worth it.  chibelo kept having us stop so he could forage various trees.
we now have a pile of limes and limon dulces on our counter : )
after barigona we went to a little roadside soda and hungout (i.e. drinking pilsen and telling snake stories) for a few hours.  i'm starting to really understand spanish!  que bueno! then we went on another less treacherous drive to another beautiful nearly vacant playa full of agates and polished quartz.
on the way home the car overheated and we had to scavenge water from some locales.  we got as far as the river, where we stopped and filled the radiator with jungle river water while in the darkness the lightning bugs put on a spectacular show.
it is very green here right now and the drive was so beautiful,  i was noticing lots of orchids in trees.  it made me think of you and wish you were here.
love you.

Dec 8, 2013


this is just a reminder:
when you feel like you've hit a wall and the possible seems impossible, often all that's needed is a change of perspective.

"it always seems impossible until it's done."
-mr. mandela


i'm doing another instagram challenge called the 12 days of yoga; going along with the 12 days of christmas.

1. i didn't notice how many birds are gifts in the 12 days of christmas.
2. i didn't notice how many bird poses there are in yoga.  

this is a variation on the pose given for day 4 - "four calling birds",  it's called front bird.  i'd never really tried acroyoga before.  it was so fun!  i can't wait to get to the states and take some classes. 

Dec 7, 2013

Dec 5, 2013


open your shoulders open your practice:  start focusing on your shoulders a little bit (or alot) everyday.  here is garudasana, or eagle pose.

"...Thou art like the fire that shall burn all creation at the end of the world. Thou art our great protector, the ocean of holiness. None is purer than thee. Thou art the dispeller of darkness. We are unable to bear thy divine radiance, for it is threatening to burn us. O terrible one, O mighty Garuda, please reduce your brightness, so that we can see you normally...."

- description of the mythic eagle, garuda, in the mahabharata

Dec 4, 2013


hello partridge pose, i love you i hate you.

partridge pose, such a good pose to mirror your attitude towards life.  (and like life it's deceptively challenging), do you say "i can't, i can't,"?  or do you say "i will."?  whichever your go-to attitude is you will know once taking this asana.  "i can't" will only eat dirt, "i will" will only eat dirt as a first course, but the second course - ah that's where it gets delicious.  where "i will" turns into "i am!"  the "i am" is where you feel the layers of your being.  

i am strong
i am flexible
i am balanced
i am beautiful
i am fierce as fuck

and then..... i am falling.  dirt again.

such is life. 

Dec 3, 2013


radical health challenge:
between thanksgiving and christmas go on a mini-cleanse; for two or three days eat only fruits, veggies and fresh squeezed juices.  no alcohol, no refined anything, and (if possible!) no caffeine.  be sure to drink plenty of water, and by plenty i mean a gallon, or close to it, each day.  have a water drinking contest with yourself!  this season is for sure a time of indulgence but anything is possible for a couple days - so go for it.  namaste bitches, xx

p.s. am i the only film nerd who noticed how much the edges of this photo look like film?


aaaand i'm thankful for you too zephyr. xx

Dec 2, 2013


i am thankful for my health and the health of my friends and family. 
i am thankful for yoga, adventure and photography.
i am thankful for easy access to good healthy food.
i am thankful for all the opportunities that come my way.  i feel so lucky.
i am most thankful for my love.  you make my life so much better, more fun, more interesting.

happy thanksgiving babies. xx


i post a lot of pretty yoga pictures; i decided to post a sweaty mess picture too, it's a little more accurate.  living in costa rica, everyday is hot yoga. 

Nov 28, 2013


i'm thankful for life's unexpected turns and surprises; the courage to meet them when they are difficult and the exuberance to delight in them when they are beautiful.  

Nov 27, 2013


i went to a yoga class at intercultera, my spanish school, a few weeks ago.  i wasn't sure what to expect.  when i arrived i had to confirm that i was in the right place.  there didn't seem to be anywhere to practice.  it was an open air patio, fairly large, full of young (teenage) germans (mostly) lounging around in hammocks and on benches reading or on smart phones. when i asked though, 'yes' they told me, 'this is where the yoga class is'. 

i almost left.  i'd had the crappiest day.  that morning i taught my first really bad yoga class.  or at least in my mind it was really bad.  i'd been beating myself up all day about what a failure i was as a teacher and how certainly everyone had noticed that i hadn't really had a plan and winging it had sort of failed.  the last thing i wanted to do was cram into this incredibly public, humid patio with a bunch of aloof germans unabashedly watching and sweat it out for an hour.  but i'd promised my friend shinez that i would meet her there and bring her shorts to borrow, so i had to stay.

the teacher showed up, an american, sweet and sort of spacey and friendly in that yoga teachery way.  i liked her; i stayed.  a surprisingly large amount of the youth rolled out mats in an incredibly small space at the center of the patio.  it started pouring rain.  there we were; flanked on one side by picnic tables full of mostly dudes, on one side by hammocks with frowning teenage girls, and on one side by a sheet of water spraying off the roof into the end of my mat.  just me and shinez and several rows of german chicks wearing civilian clothing.

Nov 26, 2013


radical gratitude challenge: at the beginning of your practice take a moment and focus on something you are truly grateful for.  keep this in your heart during your practice and every time that you fold forward, be it a standing or seated fold, don't merely fold - bow in gratitude.  the physical act paired with the visualization will leave you with a happy heart indeed.  namaste bitches, xx

Nov 25, 2013


i've had this concept of time in my mind for a while, hard to explain, even to myself.  but i'll give it a go....

instead of viewing life as a road, where cause and effect change your direction and lead to different branches of the path, i view it more like a giant tapestry; each life being one single thread and the whole thing being much too large to view at once.  
in the path analogy outside forces and your decisions dictate your journey through life.  you're laying it down as you go.  in the tapestry analogy it's already woven.  there might be a bit of stretch and give, some threads may fray or break, but the whole thing is already created, existing simultaneously.  i guess it could go along with the belief in predetermined destiny to some extent.  but in my mind i always thought of it more as preexisting destiny.  i haven't pondered this idea in a really long time - been too busy living and worrying more than i should.  then i came across this quote this morning.  and i was like, 'yeah einstein.  nailed it.'  i'll be looking into this theory more.

"time is not at all what it seems.  it does not flow only in only one direction, and the future exists simultaneously with the past."

-mr. einstein

Nov 24, 2013


adventure calls.  time to go.


i hesitate to even call this a recipe because it's so simple.  in a skillet, over medium high heat:

-saute kale with a dash of salt, pepper and garlic powder
-add a glass of water 
-stir till it's been cooked off and absorbed, leaving the kale nice and moist and soft
- stir in a hand-full of pre-cooked quinoa and push the mixture to the side. drop the heat to low.
- crack an egg in the pan.
- when the whites have just cooked and yoke is still runny mix everything together.
- eat!

this is really fun to cook.  enjoy.


Nov 22, 2013


this is life.  sometimes the mistakes are the prettiest.


"when you plant seeds in the garden, you don't dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet.  you simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time.  similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart.  abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness;  the results will come when they're ready."

~bhikshuni thubten chodron

Nov 20, 2013


i've discovered an annoying/awesome side effect of being a yoga teacher;  i've started to think in affirmations.  seriously.  my journal is littered with one or two sentence phrases.  yesterday's i shared here and today's i'll share now:

i am strong.  i am getting stronger.

this is a simple little one that can be really effective.  i personally hate ab-work.  i think most people do.  it is one of those necessary tortures that we all grit our teeth through.  since i've decided that what i dislike the most is what i probably need to be doing more of i've started doing at least three core classes a week.  this is like torture to me.  it is so so so hard.  i find myself though, in my  most exhausted, painful moment, repeating this phrase unconsciously.

i am strong.  i am getting stronger.

and just like that - i feel renewed energy.  more crunches?  fine!  10 more minutes of plank to chaturanga to plank?  great!  i am getting stronger!  this might sound dubious but try it.  i've often encouraged my students to tell themselves 'i am so strong' during an especially challenging hold or pose or string of poses, but the 'i am getting stronger' part is key; encouraging and also true.  

you are getting stronger.  just by showing up and practicing you're getting stronger.  it may not feel like it, but if you keep it up one day a pose that you felt was impossible, a previously unattainable pose will sneak up on you and boom!  all of a sudden you'll be hanging out in it, you and the impossible pose, whatever it may be.

then you'll have that moment - that epiphany moment- when everything just clicks and you aren't even struggling to maintain the pose, you're just there.  everything lines up and all of a sudden you are aware, because you can feel with your whole body, what the asana is meant to feel like.  it is understood.  you can take that moment to repeat this nugget of mantra wisdom and it will feel great, it will feel triumphant.

i am strong.  i am getting stronger.

hell yeah you are!  namaste bitches, xx

(i strongly feel any lesson learned in yoga can be translated into life.  so if you don't practice yoga i guarantee this mantra will still be valuable to you in different circumstances. just identify an area where you need a little strength and say the magic words.)