January 31, 2012

First Skydiving Experience

Saturday January 28th was my GOLDEN birthday -- for those that don't know what that means, it's when you turn the age of the day you were born -- so for me, I turned 28 on the 28th. Yes, I just revealed my age to everyone. Most women are afraid of this...NOT ME. I love getting older and wiser, just wish the skin would stay in its teens. haha.

I wanted to do something special for this birthday since it was a special birthday Skydiving was on my bucket yes, yes people really do have these..at least I do : ) so I decided this was the easiest and most accessible thing on my list to achieve on my birthday. I gathered up a group of friends that were brave enough to join, or not so brave but decided to conquer this fear and go for it. We ended up with a nice group of 5 lovely people, all first time jumpers! We took off from Los Angeles and ventured up the coast to Lompoc - a town 1 hour north of Santa Barbara in wine country. We jumped out of the car, well I did and danced the whole way to check-in. After we checked in we had to watch a quick video while we signed our disclaimer stating we could die and we won't sue if we do die -- tell me, if i'm dead, how is this even possible? ha.

After the paper work we had to wait around for about a hour because of fog delays from the morning jumpers. While we waited I did my own yoga practice, danced some more, did some more yoga and danced some more. My adrenaline was so high I couldn't even stand it. A friend of mine in New York City called the night before to wish me a happy birthday at midnight - NYC time and we made a bet, that I would pee at least 5 times before I got on the plane because of all my excitement. We both lost the bet, it was only two times ; ) unless you count the 2 or 3 times before I drove up to the jump. Looks like we split dinner!

When it was our turn they called us up to get us suited into our sexy jump suits and to partner us up with our instructor. I told them to give me the cutest one they got so they paired me up with Josh. They picked my type well!!! Shaggy hair, scruffy face, tall...yup..he was CUTE! haha. We went through a quick run down of what was going to happen and the video taping started -- we jumped on the plane, sat in front of our partners, I gave Josh a lap dance..on my birthday..wait..wasn't i suppose to be getting some kind of favor..hmmm. haha. My excitement level continued to rise the higher we got, once we reached 13,000ft it was time. I swung my legs out of the plane, Josh pushed and we were gone!!! AHHHHHHHHH! The experience was so amazing, it was beautiful! The feeling of floating in the air is really hard to describe, something you all have to experience yourselves, lets just say I was very happy Josh had ear plugs in cause I couldn't stop screaming, "Oh my god. Oh my god wow this is amazing. Beautiful." and it continued like that the whole way down. We did experience a little malfunction with our first parachute, apparently, whoever packed it didn't pull the strings tight enough so there was a little tangled mess. When Josh said, "Ok, this is not good." My face goes from extremem excitment to holy shit I'm high up here and I may die on my birthday (and you can see this happening in the video). He talked me through what to do and we were both very calm in the situation..I pulled the cord, we plummeted towards the earth and then our reserve chute opened up and ahhhhhh...we're ALIVE!! hahaha. This really added to the excitment of the whole ride. I'm going back next month to do it again!!!!

Here's the video :) turn up the volume and enjoy the ride!

Thank you Skydive Santa Barbara -- can not wait to see you all again!!!!

January 17, 2012

Ways to Find Inner Peace within Yourself

1. Accept what IS -- too many of us spend our time putting all our energy towards focusing on things that we have no control over. We have to learn to accept what is happening in the present moment, quit expending your energy to try and figure out what may happen or what happened and how it could be fixed (it hasn't even happened yet so don't focus on what isn't..be here in this present moment because that's the only moment that truly exsists whatever you're focusing on in the past it already happened--let it go). Stop worrying about what others "think" of you - be your beautiful self, we don't know what others are thinking, we can make up stories all day and start to believe them in our own mind.

2. Meditate - set aside at least 5 minutes a day to rest your mind and your thoughts. In such a busy city/world it's easy for us to get lost in our thoughts and the buzz of what's happening around us. Step back and breathe and turn your focus inwards to relax your mind and calm your breathe. Just allow yourself to be completely free of any responsibilites that you may have and take this time to refresh yourself.

3. Spend time in nature - people who spend time in nature are naturally happier, we came from nature - we are nature - we are at peace with nature. Every day work on getting outside, even if it's just a walk around the block. It brings so much peace to your mind and body to re-connect yourself with nature, to breathe in the fresh air, to focus on the beauty that surrounds us, the leaves-the trees-the animals. We are one with it all.

4. Learn the power of a smile - try it now..it's hard to be mad or sad if you just smile : ) if you're feeling stuck, smile, laugh out loud it releases certain chemicals in the body that instantly make you happier. If I feel any sort of agitation or anger coming on I instantly close my eyes, take a deep breath and smile and remind myself how beautiful life is. That anger that was once there is now gone. And a smile or a laugh affects others around you, as soon as you do it, it's like a chain reaction..others start to do it too : )

5. Care about others - of course the number one thing is to find love in yourself before you can love others but if you become so self indulged in your own needs you shelter yourself from complete happiness. Learn how to care for each and every one, people that are close to you, complete strangers...any act of kindness brings peace to you internally. Smile and say Hi to a stranger. Bring a friend out for coffee. There's a little thing that I like to do as I'm walking the streets and I feel my internal flame brighten...I smile at every stranger I walk by and I say a little mantra to them..for example, if they don't smile back and look angered  I continue to smile and internally I wish them much love and peace.

6. Never lose hope - Realize that this is life, there will always be bumps in the road some bigger than others but never lose hope because this is just a bump and you will get over it and move forward. The universe has immense plans for us and if we lost that hope and dwelled on how shitty our life was at the moment we would continue to move forward with a negative outlook. Stop, breathe and tell yourself you're going to get through this, this is just a life lesson that is teaching you something more beautiful.

7. Keep learning - just realize that you don't know everything and you won't know everything. Be open to accepting others ideas and opinions and to learn from them. Too often I have been guilty of this - I've wanted to know it all so in response to what someone would tell me I'd say "I know" it became a bad habit that I caught onto and realized that it was ok to say.."you know what, I don't know..thank you for telling me and I'm open to learning more about it"

8. Live in the present moment - We stress about what's next, we stress about what did or didn't happen. We are continuously looking into the future and wanting to be there but stop and just BE HERE NOW. The only time we have is right here this very moment, who knows, there may not be a tomorrow, the past has happened and is only a memory - even a second ago is just a memory so why put your focus towards any of that. If we continue to focus on the past and the future we will turn around to realize that we forgot about the present moment and that we are living in a fantasy world in our mind.

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
St. Francis de Sales

December 15, 2011

Last Shadow Class & an emotional one

The Shadow Yoga workshop has come to an end. Last-night was the final class and it was the most amazing out of all. The first 5 were spent on breaking down each section and learning them and re-learning them, so this class we got to actually flow through the sequence, twice. The energy that was created was so magnificant. In complete silence, we danced from pose to pose pushing and pulling vibrant Qi into our body. For those of you that don't know what Qi is, pronounced Chi, is life energy, life force or energy flow. When you still your mind and listen to your breath internally you can feel this Qi radiate from your body and all around you..hold your hands in a circle you can feel the energy within that circle swirling around touching each fingertip and the palms of your hands, it's such a beautiful thing.

Towards the end of class I had so much Qi moving through my body that I broke down, I cried for the last 1/2 hour of class, sobbing tears dripping down my face. Part because it felt so beautiful and part because of what is happening my life. The fear of letting go, the fear of not knowing where someone is or what's next, the fear of what was that was so beautiful is all of a sudden ripped from you like it was never there and you're left with questions that can't be answered and a hole in your heart and in your mind. I was grateful for the experience I had through this whole class and last-night. I was supposed to meet a friend for a drink afterwards to catch up but after the experience called and canceled so I could go home and journal instead. I spent a good hour meditating on right now, the positives, the negatives and what I truly want in life. By the time I was done I felt a bit better but still had that fear in me.

Fear is a hard thing to let go of, we all fear towards something. Whether it be fear of love, fear of commitment, fear of what's next, fear of being happy, fear of being unhappy, fear of moving..it all comes down to fear of the unknown. We all want to know what's next, where is our life going, why can't we have the answer to where we are meant to be and what we want to do? For some, it's hard to figure this out with another in their life. This is where staying present comes in, focus on what you have right here, right now in this moment and how beautiful it is. Just remember that there is ALWAYS something beautiful to look forward to. There is a lot I am grateful for right now and that is going to yoga tonight with my friend Tami, going to a movie tomorrow night with my friend Mary, going to Solvang Saturday to wine taste and get my fortune read with my friend Jenny, seeing my sister and brother-in-law in San Diego for Christmas and for their big move to the Bay Area at the end of this month, and going to see my sister and my cutest most lovable nephew in Denver for New Years. Each and every one of us is blessed in so many ways, count yours! : )

This Holiday Season, spread your cheer of love towards everyone you know, even those you don't know. And smile and laugh and forget about the past. It's known that once you smile and laugh you feel better on the inside and look prettier on the outside.

December 13, 2011

Life Goes On

We have all been there...the lost job, the death of someone close, the heartbreak. It's easy when you're not in the situation to tell others, "Don't worry, life goes on..." But as soon as it happens to you the tables turn and all you can think about is how terrible your life is, how you don't want to go on, how you are lonely, now what, why did this happen to me..the list just rambles on and how do you sit and meditate and stop your ego from getting the best of you when it's so hard to be in your own mind, when being in your own mind makes you go crazy?! It seems like you are all alone in this situation, that you're the only one that this happens to, that no one else is going through this right now. The world is vast -- this is happening to more people than you think, it happens all the time, it's never anything new and it has happened to ourselves probably more than once before. Now is the time to be present and let go.

Why do I bring this up, because me, myself are in this situation right now. I do a lot of spiritual reading and I listen and follow the words, not only from the readings but from my heart..but right now I am contradicting myself. My ego has taken control and has allowed me to be miserable, allowed me to cry uncontrollably, allowed me to contemplate suicide and wish for death. It has become so destructive, I feared myself, I feared being alone for what may happen. Last night was the first night I went home and didn't cry, the first night that I was able to say..you know what, this is for the best, cleanse the soul, figure out who you are. Take this time to explore yourself deeply and find out what you truly want in yourself. I was able to knock out my ego and allow my spirit to over come and shine. It happens to all of us. Don't be so hard on yourself if it does happen to you because it happens, we can't always be perfect, we can't always be spiritual..it's a hard process. Some day I will look back and laugh at how foolish I was. I know the road ahead is beautiful yet it will still be bumpy for awhile, it's all still fresh. Whatever happens during this time happens for a reason, whether that means letting someone that means the world to me go so they can explore their path on their own or allowing them back into my life so we can grow and explore together and push each other on our paths. Either way, I will be happy = ) I will bounce back fresh and revived and ready to take on my next step.

If you, yourself need someone now in your time of need please fell free to get ahold of my in any way. I love to listen, I have a shoulder to cry on, I'm everyones friend!

"Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live"

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start to do and make a new ending" - Maria Robinson

"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes" - Oscar Wilde

"Perhaps your eyes need to be washed by our tears every once in awhile, so that we can see life with a clearer view again" -Alex Tan

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grew in strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure" - Peter Marshall

December 9, 2011

Yoga for Headache Relief

My beautiful cousin came to me asking me for any poses that could help relieve her headaches. As a chronic headache sufferer myself I was instantly grateful to help her out. Below is a short list of some yoga exercises that should bring you some relief, from breathing to stretching to meditating. This is only to give you relief and is not a cure. If you have terrible migraines you may want to consult your physician and maybe even work with an acupunturist, mine has helped reduce the amount of migraines that I get significantly.


Sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor, whichever is most comfortable for you. Check your posture, make sure that your spine is nice and long, shoulders on your back (away from your ears) and that you're not rounding your back or lurching your neck forward - this causes your muscles to strain to hold the head forward and the end result --- headaches! very common in people. i catch myself doing this at my desk..

close your eyes and take deep inhales and exhales holding the breath for a few counts after each inhale and exhale. while doing this, observe your breath. take your mind away from the pain and focus on the flow as you inhale and exhale. do this for 5-10 rounds and then move on to slow neck rolls, really stretching the muscle in each direction you move your head, do this 10 times, each direction.

get off the chair, if you were on one and place it in front of you - seat facing you. put your legs straight under the chair, place a pillow on the chair or a folded up blanket - make sure there is space between you and the chair. lay your forward on the chair without rounding the back, always keeping your shoulders away from your ears. --stay for 5min.

stack a couple pillows on top of each other come to your knees - toes touch and spread your knees wide, place the fillows between your legs and rest your body and head on the pillows - arms can be placed however comfortable - stay for 5min.

turn around and rest your back and back of head on the pillows, legs out in front of you feet relax out to the sides. arms along your sides - palms face up. - stay for 5min.

**while in these poses focus on your inhales and exhales the whole time or some other form of meditation you choose to calm you -- focusing on a peaceful place -- ocean, mountains, tree house, whatever it may be that brings you peace.

"All you have to do today is INHALE, EXHALE, INHALE....AHHHH" - Buddha

December 7, 2011

Branding Logo

For the past couple weeks I have been working with Omid, creator of MadMind Studios, to help me put together a branding logo, something that makes me stick out from other yoga studios and yoga instructors. As none of you probably know, it is my goal to eventually travel the world teaching retreats and master classes with the possibility of having my own studio.
So today we are down to the final revision of my logo. I'm excited to see what we come up with and excited to show you all what has been created. As soon as it is done I will attach it to my next post!

Love & Light

Lady J

Shadow Yoga Workshop DAY 4

Tonight will be Day 4 of my shadow yoga workshop, only two more left after this! We have been learning a few poses each day and tonight we add in the final 2 poses and put it all together.

I have made a discovery in this class that I have had very stiff hands in my 10 years of practice; I hold my hands as if I'm afraid to let the energy in my body, or maybe it's my way have maintaining balance in these poses cause I've noticed I can be a bit clumsy or uncoordinated. Through this class I have learned to let go and relax more into my mind and body and flow from pose to pose as if I'm dancing in water. I'll continue to take this with me in my regular hatha classes and incorporate some of the movements into my teaching.
Another interesting find in this class is that Ujjayi pranayama with loud inhales and exhales is for beginners, in shadow yoga you want your breathing to be silent, only listen to your breath from the inside. This really brings a different kind of concentration to your practice as opposed to listening to your breath from the outside.

Below is a link of the second half of class we have learned - Kartikkeya Mandala. When put together with the first half of class in total it lasts only 24 minutes. It's a very quick practice, unlike your 90 minute yoga class. No excuses that you don't have any time.

Enjoy the peacefulness that this moving meditation brings you.