Teaching Update

Prenatal Yoga

Remember when I was pregnant and teaching?

This week is my last week teaching a weekly class at Smiling Dog for a while! I am taking a self care break and will be subbing when I can.  I will keep my schedule up to date on this blog and on social media.

I am excited to be taking more classes, writing on my blog, working on my own teacher training certs, and plotting my next teaching / business steps. Bittersweet. Come practice with me this week!

Today M 2/27 @ 7pm Vin I

Weds 3/1 @ 4pm Hatha

Fri 3/3 @ 12pm Vin II

(Sign up online if ya want…)

I’m hopeful I’ll be back soon and would love to stay connected to my  yoga friends.  I would love to plan yoga dates with you where we take together, hike, coffee, whatever.  Please stay in touch!


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Yoga Studio Announcement!

This week I sold my yoga studio baby after owning and operating it for 5+ years! I am super excited to announce that effective immediately my good friends and colleagues, Stephanie Jennings and Andres Moran, are taking over as the owners of Smiling Dog Yoga!

I couldn’t be more excited to have Stephanie and Andres on board. Stephanie’s extensive experience with Sales at MINDBODY & as a long time fitness instructor of over 13 years will bring new energy to our studio home to help it continue to evolve and serve each of us. Andres has an extensive background in technology in the yoga and fitness space and the two of them have always dreamed of owning a studio in San Luis Obispo and are extremely excited about SDY! I can’t wait to see how they help evolve our studio oasis.

We celebrate!

We celebrate!

It’s  a very strange feeling.  Coming to the realization that one of your great loves, isn’t really that good for you at the current moment.  Over the course of the last year I decided I was in need of a break from the owner role.  I’m hoping this isn’t a forever breakup, just a small “lets take a break” moment.  I’m wavering between excitement and sadness.  And plotting my next steps, of course.

I wanted to document some of my learning lessons, thoughts, next steps, things to remember.  Some moments I’m not sure what I really have to say other than “sighhhh”.  It’s been a big year of change.

I have always believed in the importance of timing.  It’s either on your side or it isn’t.  It can’t be forced.  I believe this even more today.

Our office

Our office

I thought at the beginning of this year, “Is it time for change?”.  In many ways I was feeling stagnant & not engaged in the right ways with my work – both at the studio and as a consultant – and I was starting to research and explore what my next step might be.  I talked to people, looked at school programs, pondered what I thought the universe was saying, considered so many fun and great options.  (Side note:  Be careful what you think my friends, those thoughts make things happen sometimes.)  Long story short:  I got re-hired at MINDBODY and am working on some great things there and although I REALLY wanted to keep involved with the studio in an owner capacity, I finally came to the conclusion that wasn’t really possible for me at this moment.  I care so much!  Don’t you need me, studio?!  But my baby is growing so fast!  After operating it with a great team* for the last 5 years, I really didn’t believe that I could step back as much as l needed to.  So, here I am.

The most predominant thought I have right now is gratitude.  So many stars aligned to give me this experience.  This life.  So many people have supported me in ways small and big and are continuing to do so.  The universe gave me what I needed in this studio project.  I am a better person for having owned the studio – how many can say that about a job?  I grew in ways that I wouldn’t have.  I was challenged in ways I wouldn’t have asked for.  I’m better at working with a team.  Letting things go.  Prioritizing what really matters.  I’m scrappier and more creative.  I see the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law in every decision.  I learned that I tend to give too much, to my own detriment.  Sometimes fearlessness can go too far and be a bit reckless.  Finances were stressful, whew what a learning curve!  I have context and understanding of the wellness world that I love, didn’t have before, and couldn’t have had without stepping into the owner role.  I feel stronger for the experience.

Our banker making magic happen while on a conference call!

Our banker making magic happen while on a conference call!

It has really been such a special journey and project for me.

If and when 🙂 I own and or take on a studio leadership role again, I will remember that my partners and team are so important.  I will make better financial decisions that will help me stay less stressed.  I will give myself and those around me more clearly defined roles and responsibilities.  I will delegate more than I’m comfortable with.  I will focus more on cultivating and evolving my team and creating new programming.  I will not work too hard!

What were my biggest learning lessons?  You don’t really know something until you’ve done it yourself.  For a while.   Being organized is critical for me to thrive.  It’s so hard to focus on the important and not urgent each day!  The market you are in and your competition both matter, but how much, I’m not exactly sure. We have to force ourselves to do the work that isn’t easy.  We have to make big decisions sometimes, operate in a state of discomfort and cognitive dissonance, and relax into the faith that sometimes we must take leaps into the unknown.

What could I have done better?  I struggled with keeping work-life balance while ensuring the studio was doing new, exciting things. It was hard for me to find the balance between encouraging my team to be independent, yet also creating consistency on our schedule.   I’m not that great at delegating to people. It was hard for me to continually carve out enough time to create new programming and keep the studio evolving; to stay on top with fresh and new marketing.

What about some wins?  Smiling Dog is such a great space, it always has been, and will continue to be! We have great classes, teachers, so many unique and juicy offerings, and a team of collaborators and friends that make magic happen each day. I’m grateful for each of you and proud of the space we’ve created together. Our government won’t save us.  Nor will our healthcare system.  It’s what we do each day of the week that matters.

As I sign off as your yoga mamma, I want to thank you for being part of my yogic journey. I hope those of you who love Smiling Dog can be excited about the future of it with our evolving tribe (Welcome Steph & Andres!). Each day that passes since the papers were signed I get more excited about what the future holds. I’m grateful for the space to enjoy more time with my family.

I am going to stay involved as an instructor and creative consultant, so don’t worry, I’m not going away. Laura & Chandra will continue to evolve into their roles as leaders of the studio.

I’m not exactly sure what to do with all this time though!  Seriously, I really feel like an empty nester!

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Oh, Life. You’re Funny.

Just checking in regarding my Eat The Greens summer mission 2016.  After a very successful first week where I ate not one, but TWO bunches of steamed swiss chard (my baby even ate it!), I found myself feeling great.  I think I ate vegan / no wheat for like 5 days!  Then…the inevitable…I ate all the cheese and drank all the wines for a bit!  I failed at meal planning and shopping and sleeping enough.  I was a walking zombie for a few days shoveling pizza in my mouth.  It was pretty fun.

They actually smiled?

They actually smiled?

Do you need the details?  Probably not.  I just thought I’d try to keep it real.  No, I don’t want to get cancer again, but dang, busy life makes it hard sometimes to be balanced, doesn’t it?  What is true balance, for me, in all reality?  I was reminded not to get too crazy in either direction – too healthy or too much fun.  I ate the greens when I could.  I let my to-do list simmer away a little neglected and didn’t let it keep me up at night.  Guess what, that to-do list is not going to kill anyone!  The undone work doesn’t go anywhere or cause a catastrophe (most of the time)!   I like the wine and cheeses.  I have recovered pretty darn well from having a baby a year ago.  I feel strong and fit lately.  My soul is smiling.  I will take a wellness blood test soon after breastfeeding ends and see where some other health markers are, out of curiosity.  Have you heard of wellness fx before?  It’s pretty cool.

My formula for the moment:  Eat some greens, beans, berries when you can. Try not to only eat cheese, wine, and chocolate, oh and bread for every single meal.  Love in all ways.  Work hard.  Find work you can love.  Chill sometimes too.  Find the spirit of Esalen at least once per week in normal life.  Surround yourself with good peeps.

Have you guys tried any new activities you’ve loved lately?  I have re-found my love of hiking and I LOVE our new YoBarre classes at Smiling Dog!  It’s really just circuit training with a barre and some yoga, but I love it!

Keep it real my friends, keep it real.  Have you seen my baby walk yet?  This ain’t the best video, but it’s real!

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Because, Cancer

I have recently started being a little more focused on healthy eating lately because, well, cancer.  No, don’t panic, I’m fine.  It’s just that this year I feel like the universe gave me a little gift of a wake up call.  It said, “Roxy, I can see you’re pretty healthful in many ways, but girl, you gotta kick it up a notch.”  I have to admit that finding that little renegade mole on my rib cage, finding out it was melanoma, getting it removed, was the most mild cancer scare as a person can have.  Really.  I am so lucky because I know sooooooo many people who have in the past and are currently dealing with so much worse.  By the way, I’m also doing this for you, so I can love you better.  And total disclaimer, I truly believe we only have so much control over the health of this body we’ve been given.  I recognize I might eat greens every day and still get cancer.  That’s life, so it seems.  Kinda harsh, kinda true.

So anyway, back to my current mission.  I decided the universe was really being nice to me in giving me that little cancer scare and now it’s my turn and opportunity to learn from that challenge.  To try, perhaps.  It’s all cliche, but I really do want to drive my baby girl to college some day.  I want to be an old lady with my hubs on a rocker on a porch.  I want to be the random old lady singing at karaoke.  I want to teach yoga when I’m 80.  All these things will not happen miraculously or by default.  I like to see what I can do.  I like a challenge.  I feel like I got kind of lazy with my self care in some ways with all my life changes the last couple years.

This quote inspired me.

“Psychologists have long observed that we all subconsciously dim awareness to things that raise our anxiety or make us uncomfortable.  Our self deceptions often lead us into absurd situations that are completely obvious to outside observers.  Many people blame the media and big business for the current state of the American diet.  The truth, however, is that Americans are self deceived.  There is nothing that prohibits us from choosing healthful foods, but contradictions often arise between the subconscious and rational parts of our minds.  We are prone to believe what we want to, regardless of evidence.  Our brains are masters at suppressing facts.  Changing ingrained habits requires us to operate for a period of time with cognitive dissonance.”

It’s kinda harsh, but kinda true.  It reminds me of that speech from V for Vendetta.  Love that movie.  (Listen to it!)

scrambled tofu is good

scrambled tofu is good

So, this week, I ate A LOT of green things.  I’m trying to focus on eating more of what’s good for me rather than focusing on what I am trying to minimize.  I mostly (cough, cough) didn’t eat all the cheese.  I ate like 10 avocados. Don’t you love avocado season!  And every time I wanted to eat all the cheese, I said to myself “because, cancer”.  Again, it’s kinda harsh, but kinda true.  And it helped.  We have 4 farmers markets within a few miles of my house every week!  I also decided this time I’m going for 6 weeks initially.  I have tons of travel and fun planned during this time but when is the right time?  I’m not alienating any specific food or food group forever.  That just never works.  I really wanted a burrito this morning and damn it was good.  So I’ll eat my greens for lunch and dinner.

I am doing this because my little scare with cancer was a lucky one.  What if I can heal my knee and foot pain without surgery or without them getting worse as I age?  What if we can postpone or prevent degenerative disease?  My baby girl ate tons of swiss chard and fresh fruit this week and what if she continues to pick up just like 5% of what I’m doing?

So, I share this because accountability.  I share this because I want to enjoy this thing called life until the end with a good quality of life right up until the moment it’s over and I only have so much in my power to make that happen.  What I ingest is possibly? likely? one of those things. I’ll keep ya posted on my success. 6 weeks is a hella long time! Xo.

Posted in ayurveda, health and wellness, lemons | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A Letter to the Mammas

Swoosh, swoosh, swipe, cough, cough…That’s me dusting off this bloggy blog to send a letter to my mamma friends.  Lets hope I can get this thing posted before my napping baby wakes up.

This is a list of my favorite, go-to yoga moves that can be done while pregnant and beyond to help mammas deal with the enormous physical challenges of growing babies (and to help you recover too).  These poses have literally saved me.  While pregnant, I turned to these when I couldn’t really do much yoga because I kept straining muscles, I was exhausted, and dealing with carpal tunnel and adema and too much work in preparation for my little one.  In my recovery phase they have helped me alleviate the various aches and pains that creep up due to the hard physical and mental work of feeding, carrrying, and caring for my little one.  I am here to remind you that all it takes is one breath, one pose, and one moment to get your center and help you rejuvenate.  Stop trying to do it all.  Stop pretending you don’t need more rest than you usually do.  Stop holding yourself to some unrealistic standard of fitness that now is not the time for.  Do one of these poses. Take a breath.  Perhaps go to bed if you can.  You got this.

Reclined Butterfly

Neck Stretches

Door Shoulder Stretches


High and/or Low Yogi Squats

Wide Forward Fold & Twisted Variation

5 Minute Meditation

I have taken a prenatal yoga teacher training, have worked with a post natal physical therapist, and am now attempting to get back to being a yoga teacher bad ass.  If you think I can help you in any way, just let me know.  I’m sorry I can’t add images at the time of posting this, baby is waking up, but these all have links so you can get more details.  xoxoxox.


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Welcome Lucy!

The following are links to some “stories” I’ve created with the images and videos of little Lucy’s life so far.  Enjoy!

Here are some pics from Lucy’s Birth

Here are some pics of Lucy’s First Month

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imgres-2My dear blog friends and connoisseurs, the blog portion of this website is enjoying a little siesta while I focus my energy on owning & operating Smiling Dog Yoga, consulting and helping wellness businesses grow, and well, trying to keep it all together while I work my ass off doing what I love. I do hope to continue my ramblings one day – on all things yoga, business, and life but for now, I will see you along the yogi trails…and thank you for visiting!

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Yoga for Your Type by David Frawley

“For a really effective Yoga practice, it is not enough to mechanically follow a series of set prescriptions” says David Frawley in my favorite section from his book, Yoga for Your Type. This is a useful guide for helping your yoga practice be balanced to your ayurvedic dosha (type), current imbalances, seasons and also to your life stage, sex, cycle, pregnancy, and weather. A great yoga resource for anyone interested in yoga and Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is one of the few diet and health systems that I have found to be beneficial in a deep way. I weigh less, have less anger, better manage stress, and have found a way to eat closer to the earth. To find out your dosha, use this quiz from Banyan Botanicals. Some of my favorite books on Ayurveda are by John Douillard and Vasant Lad.

Excess Vata is common right now in fall with drier, cooler weather, and shorter days. To reduce it practice in a quiet, grounded, and systematic way. Think of building core strength in the body while maintaining flexibility. These qualities are found in standing poses, especially hip closed poses like Warrior I and III, and standing forward bends like Padangustasana. Also floor poses and all sitting forward bends are Vata pacifying. On the other hand backbends increase Vata if done excessively or unconsciously. The balance between strength and flexibility is critical for a positive experience of the Vata dosha. Remember that it is best to work the poses with the breath and hold the standing, sitting, all forward bends, and twists longer than you are inclined to do. Remaining still will be the Vata challenge as well as the reward. Vata types also want to flex to their maximum and flex often. In time, this can create too much flexibility.

Excess Pitta is often found in the summer months when it’s warm and we keep ourselves too busy with the long days. Remember the Pitta energy presses forward in an impulsive manner. Excess Pitta is reduced by practicing in an effortless, non-goal oriented way, working at about 75% of our capacity. Rest assured that when a Pitta person practiced effortlessly they will still be working harder than everyone else. Use the breath to monitor the level of work intensity. Forward bends and twists are very effective in both reducing excess Pitta and in bringing up low Pitta. Hold postures for longer periods. Pitta types need to remain flexible and soft throughout their lives because if excess Pitta is not softened, it can become stiff, hot, and too tight. It may help Pittas to realize that they can use their powerful will to maintain a soft and gentle approach. This will be their greatest challenge and also yield their greatest reward. Easy closing postures, gentle backbends with breath awareness, and all forward bends and twists are most effective for reducing excess Pitta. Hip opening (Warrior II) are less pitta provoking than hip closed (Warrior I). Standing forward folds are good but sitting are even better. Pitta types should limit the time in headstand and armstand positions. Shoulderstands are good especially with support. Calming, centering, relaxing, sitting floor poses stimulate a parasympathetic response in the body and mind. Practicing Savasana for 20-30 minutes can help pacify Pitta if practiced in a relaxed way.

The Kapha time of year is winter and is marked by cold, wet, slow qualities. Kapha type individuals are most challenged by getting started, but with perseverance they can establish a disciplined practice that will transform their life experience. During this time of year we should practice in an energetic way. Start small and stay committed. When a Kapha practices energetically they are usually not exceeding their capacity. This is the time of year to benefit from building strength slowly but steadily with standing poses, headstands, all inverted poses, and backbends. Vigorous activity reduces excess Kapha or lethargy. Headstands and handstands are especially good for reducing Kapha and should be practiced carefully when excess weight is involved. When there is excess body weight, first strengthen the shoulders, arms and legs, then master the armstands and shoulderstands. Avoid putting excess weight on the head in the headstands until the upper body has been strengthened. Since forward bends increase Kapha, hold these postures for a shorter time.

I find it useful to think about what practices and poses are most beneficial during a particular season or energetic effect that is happening in the body. Each dosha tends to seek its own energy rather than moving toward balance. So if you’re Kapha by nature, you don’t like to exercise. If your Pitta, you are likely addicted to the ass-kicking workout. If you’re vata, you can’t hold still, in your practice or life.

Good Yoga Book.

Posted in ayurveda, yoga reading | Leave a comment

budgets are so clean

I didn’t it know when I began, but it turns out that being on a clean diet while you work on your budget and business plan can be very therapeutic.  Even if sometimes the numbers are swimming around in my head.  I am spending this week hunkered down at my desk making a plan for 2013 and beyond while on a dietary and mental cleanse.  It’s a necessary evil and one I haven’t really spent enough time on to date.  I have found owning a business to be like being on a roller coaster in winter-time.  Sometimes it’s exhilarating like going over that first big hill.  Sometimes you get hit in the face with sleet and are freezing your ass off wondering when the ride will end or just slow down at least.

I’m sure that the things I’m learning all business owners before me have learned.  I have even learned some of these lessons on a much smaller scale as a manager of my own life.  Yet, these lessons are an all consuming part of my life right now.  I must share them.

I have probably spent 20 hours working on my business plan so far. When I got approved for my small business loan my loan officer said it was one of the biggest reasons for my approval.

It’s over 40 pages long and it’s such a therapeutic and necessary process.  I’m grateful that I’ve been able to find the space for this project.  I’ve found ideas popping into my head all over the place.  Sure, part of me might prefer to do and teach yoga all day and not worry about the big picture.  But that is a small part of me.  Everyone wants that.  Running a business well and making it successful has become the ultimate problem to solve in my life.  I guess I enjoy a challenge.

My budget has been a big part of this and I honestly hadn’t found the time to improve it since it’s original creation.  I’ve updated month to month with what’s happened, I just didn’t have very good projections moving forward and it was hard to have them.  How could I really know? My projections were based on “I’ve got to get a loan and make this look good” mind not “holy crap this is reality” mind.  I’ve been hit over and over again by expenses that I thought I’d budgeted for but hadn’t.  I had to learn how to budget for large recurring expenses on a monthly, quarterly, yearly basis like rent, insurance, and taxes and for non-recurring expenses like getting a locksmith and equipment costs.

Anyhow. It’s inspired me to start looking at my life 3-5 years out. And to write down some goals somewhere. And I’ve already learned how easy it is to bury your head in the sand. We do it with our businesses, personal finances, and personal lives. Don’t do it! Have you done your planning for 2013? If not now, when? Learn anything? Not a goal setter?

PS. As you can see, my blog is evolving to be more aligned with my current passions and reality of yoga, health, running a business, inspiration and fun. Stay tuned for the changes and evolution if so inclined 🙂 -Rox

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This week in yoga land…

More like, the last two months in yoga land have been busy, exhausting, and growth inducing, per usual. Anyone else feel ready for some down time? I’m preparing for my semi-annual cleansing phase where I reset, eat well, give up beer and cheese, and get lots of rest. One of my favorite green things to do is shop at the SLO Co-op and bring my own containers to fill with dried goods. Did someone say zero waste? That’s right, you’re welcome mother earth.

I’ve been on the road more than home lately.

I took a trip to Detroit where I practiced Bikram inspired yoga and was grateful that someone is bringing the yoga to Downriver, Detroit!  Yoga for Peace was a sweet space with great ladies running the show.



I attended Yoga Journal Estes Park and got to be inspired by the Rockies, Elk, Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker, David Swenson, and Sarah Powers in my little 2 x 6 space. Ah, aren’t we lucky to practice in so much space in SLO?




I visited Yosemite for the first time and fell in love with some trees and fresh air. It changed my life.  I can’t believe it took me 8 years to go there and I can’t believe people who live in California aren’t there every weekend.



And lastly, not to fret, my home practice and teaching have been feeling great.  Even my cat soda has taken up the yin yoga practice.  I hope you find some time to practice laying like soda cat as we transition to fall.

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