Self Care or Urgent Care?

“The cabin pressure is controlled for your comfort. However, should it change radically inflight, oxygen compartments will automatically open in the panel above your seat. Reach up and pull the mask to your face. This action will start the flow of oxygen. Place the mask over both your mouth and nose and secure with the elastic band as your Flight Attendant is demonstrating. Tighten by pulling on the ends of the elastic bands. Even though oxygen is flowing, the plastic bag may not inflate. If you are traveling with children, or are seated next to someone who needs assistance, place the mask on yourself first, then offer assistance. Continue using the mask until advised by a uniformed crew member to remove it.”

These are the words spoken by a fight attendant prior to the departure of a flight regardless of it’s destination. We must help ourselves first  in order to breathe well enough to help others. Nineteen years ago before I had my 1st massage I had no idea what I was missing. I struggled with loving myself! Sure, I had lots of people who loved me, but I’ve since learned that it does not matter who and how many other people love you! You have to love yourself more and more first! The touch I received gave me purpose and made me feel loved to my core. I had a job, not a career that was not working out and the timing was so perfect that I left my job and found a career 2 weeks later. I still don’t know how I survived without one. Today I get massage every weeks, facials once a month manicures, pedicures and use my hot tub daily. Day spa’s are my best friend.

I tell my clients that this is the only body we have so, take care of it! It’s hard for givers to understand this concept because they love to give. I remind them that they matter as well and since they are not gonna stop giving….The more they give themselves, the more they can give other’s. As much as I love being good to my body, these treatments are good for my mind, body and spirit.

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:

Digestive disorders
Insomnia related to stress
Myofascial pain syndrome
Paresthesias and nerve pain
Soft tissue strains or injuries
Sports injuries
Temporomandibular joint pain

Although massage and other spa treatments are forms of self care, there are so many other ways to achieve this. We can’t expect  for someone else to love on us and not take responsibility. When our professional gives us an assignment of ice, heat… etc, you have to treat those nagging little tweaks or they turn into big tweaks if left untreated.

Taking time off from whatever form of exercise is tough for some of us, but it helps to recharge the body and mind battery….sitting out a few poses in yoga is not being lazy, but being the best guru you can be for you! Being gentler and kinder is always a good thing! When I was struggling to love me I used to stand in front of the mirror and look myself in the eye, hug myself and tell the person staring back that I loved him….

Which line will you stand in, the SELF CARE LINE OR THE URGENT CARE?

Remember today is fast Friday

Join me today:

10/23 in Mission Vejo Yoga Works Vinyasa Flow level 2/3 12-1:10


10/24 Mission Vejo Yoga Works Vinyasa Flow level 2 9:30-10:55

Retreat flyers should be ready by next post:)

The wisdom in me recognizes the wisdom in you….The spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you….And the love in me embraces the love in you….

Until we meet again


The Face Of Yoga

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness set’s in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The 1st thing I usually hear from people when I say I teach  yoga is, “I’m not very flexible.” It makes me wonder what pictures are being painted when I see a sexy woman doing some pose that has her twisted like a pretzel and wearing a super tight outfit. I saw a picture on Facebook advertising a get fit quick scheme and the woman in picture had a tight perfect butt, smooth sexy legs and not an ounce of fat. It hurts my heart and makes me question what messages we are putting out to the prospective student that does not or will not look like that because they don’t have the time, drive or desire to achieve this.

When I hear I’m not flexible to ever do yoga and I feel like it’s safe to infuse my personal opinion to someone this is what I say. It has changed my life in so many ways! Yes, stretching is apart of yoga, but flexibility is something that comes to each person in various degrees over time. For me my top 5 benefits would be: breathing, balance, endurance, stamina, flexibility.

1. Breathing – when we learn how to breath we can manage how we react and feel. I feel I was just surviving and taking unconscious breathes before yoga, but when I started taking conscious breathes I stared to really live. It gave me a sense of power when I connected the(dots) inhales and exhales and moved.

2. Balance – Not just balancing on one leg, but juggling our many responsibilities as moms, dads, careers, students etc….the heartbeats that guide us through our day when we find balance seem to eb and flow with more grace and ease.

3. Endurance – for me my practice is always difficult and that’s why I think I like it the way I do. As an athlete the difficulties of being pushed to do things that were dreadful was torture. As a yoga student I see the same person/face in the mirror, but because I’m never the same brings on a different set of challenges that allow me to let go and just be content in where I am.

4. Stamina – Showing up even when I don’t want to practice is a peace within itself! I’ve run 3 marathons and yes, 26 miles takes a longtime indeed and each mile, especially the last half, takes a lot of stamina and seems to get harder and more grueling each step you take. But within minutes after stepping onto my magic carpet(mat) I quickly forget about all the excuses as to why I should not practice and just want to continue work over and over.

5. Flexibility – Chances are that if you continue to practice you will become more flexible, but everyone reaches a level of flexibility in various degrees. What if someone asked me how long it would take them to touch their toes and I said to them 1 month and it didn’t happen? Would they be a failure? I believe it’s not the touching of the toes that matters, but the journey on the way to touching them. It may or may not happen, but what’s the hurry? There’s a lot to be learned on the way to touching your toes and that’s what should be important.

I love all the beauty and grace that I see in the poses that grace the covers of magazines, but is yoga all about the pose? Should your profile picture be all about this? What does this say about the face of yoga? Does it make you feel like you can conquer the world, or be a better person? And how does it lend itself to the way you treat others. We have the opportunity to truly make a difference one heartbeat at a time.

Remember today is Fast Friday

Join me today:

10/16 in Mission Viejo Yoga Works VInyasa Flow level 2/3 12-1:10


10/17 Mission Viejo Yoga Works Vinyasa Flow level 2 9:30-10:55

Retreat 2016 flyers will be available as soon as the final details are worked out.

The wisdom in me recognizes the wisdom in you….The spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you….And the love in me embraces the love in you….

Until we meet again,


Taking our health into our own hands

“It’s one thing to not know, but another to know and act like you don’t.”

Because mom put so much love into the food that she prepared is the reason I believe it helped us survive foods that were not the best for us (i.e. deep-fried and meats that our digestive tracks take too long to digest fully). For my generation, we were super active in the 70’s! All we had and wanted to have was football, basketball, and baseball and we did all 3 year-round. Rainy days were the worst because they meant you could not be outside playing, but at the first sign of sunshine, we were out the door before mom could say yes! We had the major networks only and TV actually went off after the late show to the continuous sound of beeping with black and white color bars. Life was simple and fast food was something that was a treat. It was limited to at most a few times a month. We sat down at ate as a family daily. At some point, this started to change and the food manufacturers figured out that as they added more additives to the food they could make more money. The health of human beings started to decline. This was and still is the real price. Well, its time to come out of the ether and take our health back. I’m not professing to be an expert in this area by any means, but I know what works for me very well. I’m also aware a person’s food choices are a sensitive subject! So, here’s my personal journey.

It was in Jamaica 2001 that my spiritual journey was born and I began to take my health into my own hands! I had traveled there alone, but in the company of those that were placed in front of me so that I could hear whatever messages I needed to take in to nourish my soul. While hanging out with some Rastas and talking about nutrition one told me what my waste probably smelled like. He then urged me to stay away from beef, chicken and pork for 90 days and that I would feel stronger, lighter and have more energy. I didn’t question as to how, I just took his advice when I returned home and did just that. What I discovered was that not only did I experience all this, but my aches and pains from 13 years of football started to disappear and what I thought were arthritic knees handed down from my parents started to improve. But the best of the health in my knees really started to make itself known in 2005 when my yoga journey began. And I’m happy to report today I’m pain-free in my knees and can do things I’ve never been able to do or experience because of the increased mobility due to the increased circulation in blood and lubrication in the joint itself.

I’ve always been open to trying things that could help me improve my health and my quality of life. I feel you can always go back to what’s comfortable, but unless you give something a try you’ll never know what endless possibilities could be waiting for you. In 2002 my good friend Teresa Jordan and I went to a raw food event at someone’s house that we were invited to and discovered something very powerful: the people looked full of life. Their eyes were huge, the whites were whiter than white and they seemed young, youthful and energetic! She took the journey before I did and I saw the changes in herself (youthful, brighter completion and buzzing with excitement). Eight years ago, I wanted some of what she was experiencing so I decided to take the plunge and went raw vegan for 90 days. I didn’t put a time table on it, but it lasted that length of time because it was hard and I didn’t have the staying power to stick it out. I went back to my strict vegan/vegetarian nutritional intake I missed so much and my comfort foods that had become habit and which I had a history with.

Determined to get back to what made me feel alive and brought so much openness to my yoga practice both on and off the mat, in September of 2012 I had regrouped to the point to stop ignoring what I had learned within the 90 days of bliss, “it’s one thing to not know, but another to know and act like you don’t.” I was focused and learned enough about myself to not past judgement on myself or anyone for that matter. My eb and flow has taken me on an amazing journey and for a year and a half I was living in a place where I didn’t give into emotional eating, “at least cooked food,” that I felt was inflaming my flesh and joints to a point that kept me from feeling alive. I knew I could not eat an occasional cooked meal! You see I’m not wired that way, I’m an obsessive compulsive addict of what I love and food is no different! I’ll eat when I’m full, tired, angry, lonely, bored! Can anyone say AMEN? I realize I can’t keep what I’ve learned unless I give it away and by me sharing this with you allows me to do just that! It’s all a choice, commitment and a daily work. Christmas 2013 I fell off the wagon up in the mountains of Lake Arrowhead and went back into the cooked world. The difference was I did not lose my mind completely and eat all mom’s holiday cakes, pies and overstuff my temple with things that would make me feel horrible, but for almost two years I spun out of control for me. Most would say, Simon what’s your problem, you’re 51 and 175 pounds and look like I wish I could! Today I’m 169 pounds and who knew this man that used to be 208 at my heaviest and full of bulky muscles that limited fluid movement could feel this good. At this point in my life it’s not all about what the scale says, it’s the feeling that comes from what I do or don’t do. Again, it’s all about feeling alive and consuming plant based live foods for me is the only way to experience this. Breathing and eating are synonymous for me! When I consumed dead cooked food it was like taking shallow unconscious breaths, I was just surviving, but when a eat raw foods it’s like taking a conscious inhale and exhale, I truly begin to live.

I love the smell, taste of coffee a few days per week, but I started to experience nausea at times after consuming it. The same experience started to happen from certain cooked foods. My hip started giving me issues that I didn’t remember happening while raw foods flowed through mind, body and spirit. My intuition started reminding me what I already knew. On Sunday August 30th I threw up so violently after a cooked breakfast with coffee that I knew I could not act like I didn’t know anymore. The small little voice has spoken and I’m listening, PERIOD!!!

I’m just a critter STRAIGHT OUTAH COMPTON and if I can take my health into my on hands, so can you. Like Mcfadden and Whitehead used to sing, “AIN’T NO STOPPIN’ ME NOW”

Remember today is Fast Friday 

Join me today:

10/9 in Mission Viejo Yoga Works Vinyasa Flow level 2/3 12-1:10


10/10 Mission Viejo Yoga Works Vinyasa Flow level 2 9:30-10:55

Retreat 2016 in Mexico details are in the works

The wisdom in me recognizes the wisdom in you….The spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you….And the love in me embraces the love in you….

Until we meet again


Conversation Piece

Sometime I Sit and Think, and Sometime I Just Sit!

A.A. Milne

Happy fast Friday. This is a special month for me because it is the 2 year anniversary of changing my world by being introduced to meditation. It was the official start of our 500-hour teacher training, we where having a mentor meeting and it was born. My mentor gave us all journals and suggested we might want to look into a meditation practice to quiet the mind and to journal by recording our thoughts. Looking up to Erika the way I do, I started right away. There was only one problem, for me closing my eyes meant to fall asleep. So I decided to leave my eyes open while focusing on the dancing flame of a candle as a focal point. I started with 1 minute, then two, then three and have now worked my way into 20 or 30 MINUTES. And yes, I can close my eyes without falling to sleep. At a certain point, one of my classmates (Rebecca Fink) and I used the buddy system to be accountable to one another (hint, hint)!

For those that say it is hard to keep your mind free of thought, I’ll say, for me, it’s not clearing everything from my mind, but slowing the thoughts down until they eventually become fewer and fewer. Allow the thoughts to be exactly what they are. Don’t give them legs or act out all the characters in the play. The next thought will come, but don’t engage it!

I”m not looking for some special magic power, but rather Santosha (contentment)! If I don’t meditate, which is maybe once or twice a week I don’t panic by thinking my day won’t be delightful. I think the biggest feeling I take away from my meditation practice is the reward that comes from the discipline to quite myself within the vibration of movement and the stillness that allows me to be okay to JUST SIT!

Join me today:

YW Mission Viejo today (Friday) 12-1:10 Vinyasa 2/3

or tomorrow:

YW Mission Viejo (Saturday) 9:30-10:55 Vinyasa

Stay tuned as I work out the details for June Yoga Retreat to Mexico!

The wisdom in me recognizes the wisdom in you…. The spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you…. And the love in me embraces the love in you…

Until we meet again


Greet this day with anticipated excitement.

“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”

John F. Kennedy

Regardless of how this day has started off for you, you have the power within your thoughts to make it the kind of day you want! It’s like the glass that sits on the table that is either half full or half empty, you decide!

Happy Fast Friday! Today we allow our bodies to purge and make room for the goodness that awaits us on the other side of these 24 hours. Amazing things are able to happen when we pool our energies together as one! The theory is that because we are always taking in breakfast, lunch, and dinner with snacks in-between, our bodies are always working so hard to deal with this never-ending break. Imagine if you fasted one day per week. You would give your body a well-needed breather 52 days per year. But unless you are super disciplined, fasting alone can be super challenging! That’s where WE, as a community that supports one another comes in. As you know, there is power in numbers!

Please consult with your doctor if you have a medical condition that may not support a fast. If you’ve never fasted before, a good first fast would be to eat breakfast on Friday morning and maybe a super light lunch. You can fast from noon on Friday to noon on Saturday, breaking your fast with something light (salad, soup or maybe even fruit). For me, fasting helps to deepen my connection to our universe while slowing my vibration down to a level that helps me to listen to the silent voice of intuition.

Thank you for being apart of the newness that we all get to celebrate together. So, grab a family member or friend and share the gift of yoga with me:

YW Mission Viejo today (Friday) 12-1:10 Vinyasa 2/3

YW Mission Viejo tomorrow (Saturday) 9:30-10:55 Vinyasa 2

Remember, you truly matter! Find the time to practice some self-care! A nice shampoo and blow dry/style, mani/pedi, facial or massage. Or some time spent at your favorite spa for some R and R. Whatever excites you, just do it! Don’t forget to put your oxygen mask on first to better serve others.

The wisdom in me recognizes the wisdom in you….The spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you….And the love in me embraces the love in you…

Stay tuned for upcoming workshops and Mexico retreat 2016

Until we meet again