Friday, February 28, 2014

Playlist Requests.

February 28th:

Burning Down the House; Talking Heads
Do I Wanna Know; Arctic Monkeys
Clarity (feat Foxes); ZEDD
Music Sounds Better With You; Stardust
Dog Days Are Over; Florence and the Machine
XO; Beyonce
The Beautiful Ones; Prince
About Today; The National
Glory and Gore; Lourde
Hey Now; London Grammar
Blind River Boy; Amy Correia
Start At the Beginning; Among Savages
Down to the River to Pray; Alison Kraus
Sun Greets the Sky; Among Savages
Joyful Girl; Ani DiFranco

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pattern Breaking.

I've been thinking a lot lately about patterns. Not clothing. But patterns of action, of thought. We all have them and they're so engrained in us that many of us don't even give them a second thought. We just think, oh, this is how this is…and that is how that is…we have everything so figured out. God forbid we question ourselves or the situation. A wise man said to me recently, "I don't know, and I'm not really interested in the answer. Questions are so much more interesting, don't you think?"

I just read a quote somewhere by Thich Nhat Hanh that said, 

 When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change. -   
Thích Nhat Hanh
Reactions to people are patterns. We call people into our lives and then we blame them for being aggressive or afraid or complacent or jealous or self conscious or whatever… Love is the only answer. If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got. Don't blame the person, just love. That doesn't mean that you have to keep people in your life that don't work for you. It doesn't mean keep trying and killing yourself so that this relationship will work. no. matter. what. Just put some grace around it. Some love and then let it be. Let those people know you love them and let the Universe do what it does so well. The dance of bringing people together or taking them separate ways. But what does your heart say, dear friend? Do that.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Playlist Requests.

In response to numerous requests about playlists being posted from people in class, including one tonight…I'm gonna start posting them here for you.  I just randomly picked these two lists. The one from May 21st, I picked even though it's short because I play this Any Other Name song A LOT for gentle class, savasana, or just relaxing. And the rest are pretty good getting down songs. I just noticed The National song is on both lists…well, it's that good. My friend Megan Flamer introduced me to it in Bali and it's perfect. 

xo, more lists to come soon, 


May 21st:

Any Other Name                Thomas Newman
Bloodbuzz Ohio                 The National
Mirrors                                Justin Timberlake
Get Lucky                          (feat. Pharrell Williams)
I Didn't Mean It                  The Belle Brigade
We Can't Be Friends           Lorena Scafaria

August 31st:

Abhyasa                                  Tom Colletti
Bloodbuzz Ohio                      The National
Everything                               Kaskade
Give It Away                           Red Hot Chili Peppers
Across the Universe                 David Bowie
Addicted to Love                     Florence and the Machine
After the Storm                        Mumford and Sons
All I Need                                Radiohead
Breath Control                         MC Yogi
Angel's Prayer                         Ty Burhoe, Krishna Das
Feelin Love                             Paula Cole
Driftin Blues                            Eric Clapton
Asana                                      Tom Colletti
Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was    Radiohead
Bloom (Bonus Track)             The Paper Kites
For Emma                                Bon Iver

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Thrill of Creating

Almost every day, I lead a yoga class. Sometimes two. Sometimes three.

And the truth of the matter is, 99% of the time, I have no idea what we're going to do until I begin. Until every body is settled into Child's Pose (Balasana), or Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Badha Konasana) or even ahhhhh, Savasana.

When I first graduated from my 200 hour program, I followed the poses of Baron Baptiste's "skeleton" religiously, clinging to it like a child to their blanket. I went from 1 or 2 people in class to 10 or 12 and sometimes (gasp!) 25. And with each number that clicked up, fear settled in and I had to step over that line in the sand and deliver.

Luckily, I had also been introduced to the idea of not sticking to any outline even before I had graduated and so the courage to push a little this way or that came very quickly and I would use those same poses, maybe, but put them in a different order or take some out completely.  

This idea was introduced to me by the people of Live, Love, Teach to whom I am forever grateful because it helped me morph into the teacher I am today, in this way at least, very early on. Philip Urso in a recording I found online talked about the fact that when we walk into a yoga class, we don't know what is going to be organically created by the teacher and the students together. At least, that's my interpretation of what he said. And it is so true. 

Watching the students bodies, their faces and listening to their breath is what leads me in the way that I lead the class now. Creating a work of art together, like a wave crashing on a beach, or a leaf falling to the ground…it will only happen this once and isn't that completely beautiful. 

Love. teaching. yoga. love. learning. yoga. love. 

Theme Songs.

This morning I awoke and jumped out of bed, looking at the alarm clock that stared back at me. One minute longer until it was to go off. I laid back down, thinking how funny it is that we sometimes wake up with that sense of urgency. Then, my alarm clock went off and Al Green was singing to me from inside of it…Let's Get It On. What a great song to wake up to.

Immediately I thought about how when I was in my twenties, I was obsessed with the show Ally McBeal. She was a quirky, pretty and, um, original girl just trying to figure it out. At one point in the show, they introduced the concept of a theme song, like a personal song that goes with the character. Ally's therapist had told her to find her own theme song that she could draw upon whenever she needed strength. Ally chose Tell Him, I believe…

I always thought it was pretty cool to have a theme song but it was really hard for me to choose just one. 

So, when the song came on this morning, I laughed. It was as if the Universe itself was talking to me, saying, "really, Erin, let's get it on…let's get it started. You have a lot more to give and I've got your back. Get going." I thought, this is it. My theme song…

So, I got up and went to Starbucks, my semi normal morning routine and played the song again. Here is what I took from it.

I've been really tryin', baby
Tryin' to hold back these feelings for so long

(because you weren't ready to know how awesome you are).

And if you feel, like I feel baby
Then come on, oh come on!
Let's get it on
Lets get it on, let's love baby
Let's get it on, sugar
Let's get it on

(I feel amazing because I know there's a million possibilities out there…what are you going to do with this "wild and precious life"?)

We're all sensitive people
With so much to give, understand me sugar
Since we got to be
Let's live, I love you

(we all have an unlimited capacity for love and joy and what we can offer to the world by being, just being us. Live it to give it.)

Love to all you beautiful people. Get out there and get it on for yourselves!! 


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Beginner's Mind and Heart.

I am currently consistently working on the teacher training manual for the upcoming training. Studying the excel spreadsheet for the new Yoga Alliance qualifications with what is required and what I am focusing on. Reading, scheduling, etc... It's so much work. And yet, it's so very exciting. 

I can't wait to break down poses with my students. Get in there and talk about pranayama, fleshing it out from theory into reality.
They say to teach what you want to learn. I want to learn it all more and more. :)

I want to be the kind of teacher who inspires my students to be better than me. I want to never be afraid that I don't know something or pretend that I know everything. I want to always be curious. I want to love the question more than the answer. 

I believe that this teacher training is such an important step, so destined for all of us that are a part of it. So excited to grow together.

Love this quote…from the mouth of Einstein…such a genius and yet so humble. What a role model for us as teachers. Teaching for the love of learning. Simple. 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Krakus Polish Deli and Bakery review for the Vindicator.

As I am writing this article, I am chewing on a huge bite of Kielbasa Sub with sauerkraut. I absolutely could not wait to get home today and dig into all of my delectables from Krakus Polish Deli and Bakery. Today was truly a day I was happy to be a restaurant reviewer because it brought me to this little gem of a place at 7050 Market Street in Boardman.

Currently, I have seven to go boxes in front of me. One is Stuffed Cabbage (6.50) and it is stuffed with beef, rice and tomato sauce. Another two are Pierogies (3.50 for 1/2 dozen), one with sauerkraut and mushroom and the other your classic potato and cheese. There is the Kielbasa Sub (4.50) that I was so rudely chewing on when I first spoke to you here. There is a box with a variety of smoked kielbasas (5.99-7.49) which they ship in from Chicago. And there are two selections from the bakery, Chrust (12 for 4.25, similar to Italian wands) and Paczi (1.00 a donut, pronounced Punch key) a Polish donut filled with raspberry jelly and topped with powdered sugar. 

Let me begin with the Kielbasa Sub. This is a sandwich I would definitely order again. I adore sauerkraut and this combination that they create with what they call Bigos (hunters stew of meats, kielbasa, mushrooms and sauerkraut) is so delicious, it’s making me forget that I just finished a juice fast and I will now be putting on the few pounds that I lost with all of this food. Oh well. Such is life. 

Moving on to the Pierogis. Who doesn’t love Pierogis? I have the cheese and potato and the mushroom and kraut. Both amazing. I will be making a trip back to this place for more than just the pierogis but the pierogis alone are worth the trip.

Then we have the Stuffed Cabbage which is so delicate and yet it holds up to the fork, not crumbling away when you dig into it. Perfectly blended within is the beef, rice and tomato sauce. I am not a huge fan of smoked sausages, but if you are, you should get here and fast. They ship them in from Chicago and Marta, the owner is pretty sure that you can’t find any better anywhere close to here. 

Last but not least...the treats from the Bakery. I must admit that I popped one of those Chrust’s into my mouth on the drive home. They were staring at me, I had no choice. Delicious and delicate, probably very lovely with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. I will find out tomorrow. The Paczi, sadly, has been devoured and there is no evidence of it’s existence besides the powdered sugar that is left on the bottom of the to go container. These donuts are so good! If I lived close by and was a donut eater, this would be my new coffee and donut routine. I live twenty five minutes away and I know that I will still make a trip out here and load up on multiple items and hope that most of it survives the drive. 

Kudos to Marta, who named the small shop after the Polish Cultural Center that used to be in Boardman, where she met her husband and married him and they both moved here from the East Coast in 2009. Krakus actually means freedom fighter from the town of Krakus, an area in S.W. Poland. Marta moved to the States from Poland in 1981.  

And I’m sure that the regulars at Krakus are happy about that. At this shop, you can find these delicious pre-made items but also much more! Cheese, such as farmers cheese, the traditional cheese that you find in Polish Pierogis. As they didn’t have cheddar in Poland, this farmers cheese that Marta used to make herself because she couldn’t initially find it anywhere, is what they use in the cheese and potato pierogis as well as sometimes a “sweet cheese” made of a mix of farmers and ricotta. 

I can’t keep writing without mentioning my new friend, Stephanie Brys. She was a beautiful little lady that I met at the counter who had eyes like my grandmother. She spoke very broken English and yet we managed to strike up a conversation. I fell in love with her immediately. There’s something about ethnic grandmothers. They always succeed in feeding you. And Stephanie, who lives in Boardman and has been in America since 1951, gave me a piece of cherry vodka filled chocolate. Because, why wouldn’t she? So lovely. Marta let me know that Stephanie is a regular and a very sweet lady. She was there buying food for herself and her granddaughter, and as she was able to get through to me that she is so appreciative to have this store with food from her homeland especially because she doesn’t cook anymore. In her words, “I like it. I’m glad they have this store here.” Me too, Stephanie, me too. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Home is…a feeling.

I'm a girl who likes to go for a drive every now and then. I used to drive for a living, only for a short period of my life, across the United States. No, I didn't drive a semi, although I always think those ladies (as well as ladies who drive their own motorcycles) are badass. I drove cars, as part of a promotion for Nissan. That's another story. Anyway, it afforded me a decent pay to drive cross country and that has always been a joy and a skill of mine. Or at least it's something that I'm good at, where other people might get annoyed with sitting in a car for that long.

Last night, I was feeling especially cooped up after being on my computer for hours and so I jumped in my Jeep and just went for a drive. Inadvertently, I went for a trip down memory lane as well. When you have lived in and out of this town for as long as I have, I guess it can't be helped. It went something like this, 'Here's where I used to live, where I caught frogs and crayfish and built forts. Here's where my grandmother used to live and where I used to sleep on her couch while she watched Jeapordy after one of her fabulous meals. Here's where I got hit by the semi and was inches from losing my life.' And so on, and so on…

What it made me think of, for other reasons, is that I've never truly felt at home in any given space I was living in. Of course, there were moments where I did. My grandmother always felt like home to me. She always made me very much at ease, but no certain place holds that for me. Maybe that's why I'm so good at traveling. Blame it on my gypsy blood. My grandmother was a gypsy spirit and my biological father….yes, definitely a gypsy. I'm pretty grounded all the gypsy blood considered….but it's still in there.

Where I do feel most at home…is in my yoga studio. Every time I step foot inside of it, I relax a little bit. The history of my feet walking the room, the people that I've spent time with inside of it, the time that I've spent by myself either in asana or in meditation. What a gift, the feeling of home. The feeling that a room can give you that has history and love inside of it. That is what my studio feels like to me. I hope that it feels that way for others, as well. And one day soon, I know it, I will have a home that feels like home. I can't wait. But I am eternally grateful for my studio and the feeling of home it has given.