Monday, May 4, 2015


Its no secret that breaking up is hard. I've written about it more than once on this very blog. I'm now finding that the getting back into dating might be just as hard. Let's get real it might be harder. When you're breaking up everyone expects you to be a mess so if you aren't you're some sort of super hero. Conversely you're supposed to love dating.

And I do love dating, the flirting, getting dressed to go out and meet someone for the first time, those initial sparks of attraction, love all of it.

But, let's be honest here, I've had two important long relationships and they came right after each other. I was so in love so early on in both relationships that I didn't have time to overthink or feel insecure.

Now is a little harder. I've made this conscious effort to not just jump into the next comfortable thing. I spent the time actually wrapping up the last relationship before diving into something new. I've been plugging along going on first dates and swiping right. I'm realizing just how hard it is for me to get real with people.

So the fun has been had. We have common interests, we're attracted, now I have to open up. I don't know if its because I'm older or I've had my heart broken more but its tough. Instinctually when I feel like my feelings might get hurt I try and push back or get out. I am incredibly lucky to have people around me that are gently pushing me forward, assuring me that I'm making good choices. That feeling of raw vulnerability is scary for me right now.

Its the feeling of a backbend. When you press up and straighten your arms and your heart is just out there exposed. Its scary as fuck. And pretty thrilling.  


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

retaining yourself

Its not my first time writing on this subject, I have a hard time saying no. I'm a natural pleaser, a caretaker. Of late I've been working on being more careful with how I go about putting those efforts out into the world. I've realized I don't want to change who I am, I love taking care of the people around me, I just don't want to get taken advantage of by people who don't care for me back. I want to retain who I am by surrounding myself with people who get it.

Yesterday I got a text from someone who hasn't treated my particularly well asking me for a favor. It was so in my nature to just do the favor for them that I had to stop myself from responding right away and think it through. How would I feel after I did the favor? Like garbage was the answer. I would resent that I had taken my time to do something for someone who would never appreciate it or thank me. It was hard for me but I referred them to someone who would be able to help them and stepped out of the situation.
Now obviously that didn't work perfectly because here I am writing about it the next day. There is a part of me that is still worried that I might have been too harsh or that I should have just done the favor because it wasn't that hard for me to do. The stronger part of me knows that had I done the favor I would be upset with myself. Its a growing pain for me.

A few weeks ago I traveled with a friend to the middle of Florida for a race she was competing in. Not to sugar coat it, it was a pain in the ass to deal with. I had to sub my classes, board my dog, and spend my weekend in a podunk town. And I loved every second of it.

So what's the difference? A tiny favor for someone vs. an entire weekend away - on the surface the weekend away seems like the greater effort. The entire weekend I knew how much my friend appreciated me being there. I didn't feel for a second like I was "doing a favor" I was just hanging out with my buddy and I couldn't help but feel all the love she was sending my way.

My work is surrounding myself with people for whom giving my love and effort to, doesn't feel like work, or a favor, or an effort. I'm working on curating relationships where I can just be myself and trust that the people I have surrounded myself with are there with all the right intentions.

I hope you find the same.

Namaste, Rachel

Saturday, February 14, 2015

selfish on valentine's

This year will be my first valentine's day that I'm not dating someone since I was in high school.  The part of me that loves being with someone, caring for someone, making them dinner on February 14 is incredibly sad. Romantically, I am on my own for the first time in my adult life.

#love #quotes

But there is another part of me.

The part of me that's been loving coming home from work to take my dog on a walk then ride my bike to practice yoga for two hours, before I come home and eat eggs and quinoa for dinner (this is my idea of an ideal evening). The selfish part of me that loves doing what I want, when I want, without checking in with anyone else. I love drinking my coffee standing in the middle of my kitchen.
I love blogging on a Saturday afternoon. I love taking two yoga classes in a row on a Sunday morning.

I have spent years dedicating my practice to something greater. Someone else, an idea, a goal, a thought, and cause. I ask my students to do it every week.  For the last few weeks I've been asking for something different from them and I've been dedicating my practice in a different way.  I've been asking myself and my students to dedicate their practice to themselves. Do what makes you feel good on the mat, nothing less, nothing more. Walk out feeling better than you did when you rolled out your mat. That is my purpose. Feeling better can mean mentally, physically, emotionally, whatever you need right now.

That's it. So simple.

Victoria Erickson (FB: Victoria Erickson, writer)

It has brought me incredible joy to practice in this way. In the way that months ago I found myself crying in pigeon, now there are times when I just crack into an uncontrollable smile. I am so damn happy with my life its overwhelming. 

I hope you're having a beautiful heart cracking Valentine's Day. I know I am.


PS. One of the things I love most about teaching is making a playlist, here is my Valentine's playlist. The perfect music to fall in love, get busy, and break up to. valentines yoga 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

you can't always get what you want, but its worth asking

I'm not great at asking for what I need.

Who am I kidding? I'm terrible.

I don't like to ask for help, I don't tell even those closest to me when I could really use them. Its not because I have some idea that I should be strong or I don't want to owe someone its because I like to be the caretaker. I want to be the one to help you when you're sick or tired; I don't want to burden anyone with my needs.

My great joy comes from cooking for someone who is busy, bringing them something they've forgotten. In college my friends called me "mama rach," clearly with reason.

This way of thinking has unfortunately led to the consequence that I seem paralyzed to ask for what I want. Last week I asked for something at work and was met with an offer that I could have what I wanted, sort of. My immediate reaction was to say, "OK close enough, I'll take it." But, that really wasn't what I was looking for.

I was encouraged by a friend to stick up for myself and demand what I really want, nicely of course.

You know what? I got it. I asked for what I wanted and was karmically rewarded. 

On the other hand last week I also failed miserably in asking for help. I was moving and wanted to be able to do it on my own like the fierce chick I am. Moving is really the pits, I knew I was going to have a tough time, yet I just refused to tell my people that I needed them there. I insisted up to the very moment I was loading the truck that I didn't need anyone.

It was miserable. I was so unhappy to be on my own dealing with the stresses of moving. But then my people did show up, they brought lunch, they helped build furniture, they hung pictures. I needed that moment on my own, that moment of being uncomfortable, of being reminded that asking for help is ok, before they swarmed in and saved me.

settling into our new place
Community is invaluable. Even as someone who loves to care take, I'm making an effort to tell people what I need and ask for what I want. I'm learning that when you take care of others, the good ones, the ones worth taking care of, want to take care of you right back. Letting them is the real work.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the here and now

goals, goals, goals, goals (please sing that in your head to the tune of Jay-Z's Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls.)  I love them. You know that by now. I love a to do list, a plan, an achievement. As the year comes to an end its only natural to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going. Buy into the hype that you need a resolution for 2015. What is your year going to be about? What will you achieve? How will you be different? I started to think as 2014 is wrapping up where all this goal setting is getting me.

I know it gets me thinking about the past. A lot. And planning for the future. Even more. Neither of these are really what I want. Be present, stay centered, live in this moment. That's what yoga preaches to us right? Yet, here I am bouncing myself between my past and my future, stopping on my mat in between on occasion. I can do it on my mat, so I know it’s possible for me. I get on the mat and for that hour or so I stop. I’m just present. Whether I’m teaching or practicing I don’t leave that room.
I do have those moments where I look around and think, "Thank you God. This is pretty perfect." It happens often, but I have a hard time staying there. I say thanks and then I start to plan how to make it happen again instead of hanging in that moment of pleasure, extending it, savoring it.

2014 was an incredible year for me and I am so grateful for every single moment of it. I learned more about myself this year than I ever have before; I’ve come to realize just how much more I want to learn about myself.

I can't say I’m not setting goals for 2015. I’m not just going in, seeing where the chips may fall, and then loving my life. I haven’t grown quite that way this year, I made a goal for 2015. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a person who doesn’t set goals, but I know that I can set a goal that gets me going more in the direction I want to be headed.

I sat down over the weekend and talked with one of the smartest, most accomplished people I know about goal setting. They might be even crazier than I am about schedules and goals. I knew having a conversation with them was going to bring me clarity about what 2015 has for me. As we sat talking about what our year would be like, I settled into exactly what my goals for this year are. I’m not splitting it up into work, personal, teaching, like I have in the past.

This year is going to be about enjoying the moment I’m in. Feeling that satisfaction I’ve been trying to hunt down. Figuring out what kind of space I want to take up. Following my heart and my gut even when it terrifies me.

2015 is going to kick ass.


Monday, December 22, 2014


Transitions. That moment in handstand when you engage your fingertips and start to bend your elbows. You're either about to look like the coolest, most graceful yogi, or come tumbling onto your face.

Last Friday night I was in a class playing around with a transition when I started to lose my balance. I should mention something at this point in the story,  I was in the front row about 6 inches from a mirror. I started to do the right things, use my finger tips, engage my core, press through my heels, but there was no saving me. I went full throttle into the mirror. Then came sliding down onto the ground like a cartoon, landing with an "oomph." "Are you OK?" my teacher had seen the entire thing. "Yep, I'm good." I was hysterically laughing. What else can you do in that situation? (As a side note I have a pretty badass eyebrow bruise to show for this feat of submission to gravity.)

It was such a perfect mirror of my life right now. Just when I though I was going to stick that landing, here I am sliding down the mirror.  I'm working on moving, adjusting my priorities, figuring out what exacting sticking the landing is going to look like for me. The hardest part about this transition is I have no idea. No idea where I'm landing, no idea how to land, no idea what the landing is supposed to look like. This just might be the first time in my life that's true for me... so that's scary.

What's comin' will come and we'll meet it when it does. -Hagrid Harry Potter Quote Printable by JessicaWolff on Etsy, $3.50

I am a planner. I don't just want to know what I'm doing for the rest of the day, what am I doing April 18? Not knowing what the future holds is terrifying to me. I don't want to say I'm calculated because there is a connotation to calculated that is negative, but I'll tell you everything I do is written in a planner at least a week ahead of time. If you want to make plans with me, act accordingly.

I realize how crazy this is. I realize spontaneity is beautiful; waking up and doing whatever you feel like doing that day is the perfect way (for some people) to spend their Sunday. I am not that person. I feel unstable and anxious not having a plan.

So, the past month or so has been a real challenge. I'm trying to feel comfortable in those moments where I'm not sure what's going to happen or how I'm supposed to get there.

Am I feeling any more satisfaction? Shockingly- yes. Even when I'm not sure how I'm going to land I am positive that even if I go catapulting into the mirror, I'll look bad ass with that bruise.


Friday, December 5, 2014


 I've been in a bit of a rut of late, so I've been searching.

Searching for how to make my self happier, more fulfilled, the best version of myself.

A few weeks ago I was in a yoga class and the teacher started talking about santosha. It was as if an explosion happened in my head. "That's it," I thought, "That's what I'm missing." Santosha is the sanskrit word for contentment, satisfaction, fulfillment. Its a word that has always resonated with me - if nothing else what I want most for myself is satisfaction. For a while I thought about it all the time when I practiced, it was my intention, what I meditated on for months. At the end of each class, and even throughout the day, I would think to myself, "Yes, I am satisfied."

And then I started to let it go. I didn't think of it as frequently, it drifted and dwindled. At some point I forgot about it all together. I became absorbed with other things, life got busy, it got complicated, and I stopped concerning myself with myself.

So weeks ago when a teacher mentioned santosha again it hit me deep. I haven't been feeling that settled feeling that to me is santosha in a while. I did all the wrong things, I blamed every element around me for my unrest. I sunk deeper into the feeling that I couldn't be satisfied. I had begun to worry that the unhappiness I've been feeling might not be something I can shake. I had let that go on for months, never working on the root of the unrest: myself.

I'm someone who's almost always in a good mood. I love to laugh and smile. Of late everything has felt forced. I feel like a shadow of my regular happy self. I see pictures of myself smiling with sadness in my eyes. I cried during the entire last half of a yoga class last week (those hip openers man).

The biggest problem with feeling like you're dwindling is how hard it is to find yourself again. If you catch it before its too deep it seems like you can bounce back. I shot down that rabbit hole and found myself so deep in I forgot who I am. And I know now that's my own fault, no one forced me, no outside force is responsible for how I feel.

Now comes the real discomfort, even deeper than the unrest I've been feeling, now I have to go deal with it. I'm being gentle with myself, but I'm also engaging in what is most uncomfortable for me. I am letting myself feel lonely, feel exposed. It sucks. But I know it won't for long.