The Place Between Hope and Despair in Warrior III

One of my articles was just recently published on Elephant Journal!  Check it out here.  I would love your feedback.  Thanks for all the support.

Much Love. Sarah



It amazes me every time.  And you think by now I would have learned.   When I feel bad, I do yoga, and I feel better.  Sometimes great, sometimes okay, but better.  This is no miracle or astounding revelation, but every time it comes like one, gushing in with the force of a thousand rivers.  Separating yourself from the world is never overrated.  Whatever it is that is your separation, go back to it over and over again.  You will learn something every time.  Don’t ever let yourself talk yourself out of it.

I don’t deserve it.  I don’t need it.  It won’t help.

You deserve it.  You need it.  It will help.

Do it for yourself.  Do it for you.  “For you, a thousand times over.”

(Quote taken from The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini)


TEACHING IS LEARNING.  Who knew :)  And to think, I have not been teaching long, bits here and there, so what this process brings a month, year, lifetime from now?  I can only imagine it gets better and deeper with time.  Exciting.  It’s like the saying, ‘you never know what you’re going to get’, because it literally is a grab bag every experience.  People are pretty much the most unpredictable of all the predictable ions out there.  And I assure you, this is a good thing.  People surprise us.  And who doesn’t like surprises?  I know I do.  It’s that moment when we stop trying to figure out what the surprise is going to be, that the wonder of the surprise takes over.  It is not magic, it’s actually quite a good amount of work.  Work, practice, teach.  When you make it your job to show people the light they didn’t know they had, you can’t help but see it in yourself.  Grab a friend or stranger – and tell them a story.  You’ll end up teaching them, and yourself, as you give what you thought was yours, away.

“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”
(Maya Angelou)

“Don’t hold onto pain. Here or anyplace. Don’t try and work through it. It may not hurt you the first time, but it builds up.” -Darby Orr

This past weekend in training we focused on Anatomy.  We learned how when a muscle is in pain, blood flow is restricted to that area.  Yet the more we feel the pain, the more we tighten that muscle, restricting more blood.  And as the pain gets deeper, we tighten a bit more.  It’s true in life too, isn’t it?  As I lay on the hardwood floor of the studio during the last five minutes of class tonight, I finally let myself relax.  The throbbing in my shin shifted to more of a heartbeat.  The panic in my breath,  an even pace.  And as I got up to leave,  I walked right on out without my car keys.  Opps, I thought, until I looked down and realized I’d forgotten my shoes too :) Funny things start to happen when you let go. And I mean this in the most sincere of compliments –Thanks Darby.

“Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words.” -W. Faulkner

It’s March 30th, first day, and I am nervous as hell.  This is YOGA.  You’re not supposed to be nervous for yoga!  But I am.  Not shaky nervous, but if someone asked me a question, I wouldn’t be able to answer nervous.  15 perfect spots lining the sage scented room waiting for us to take a seat.  I don’t know anyone & am regretting not studying with the studio longer before signing up for the training.  It fell onto your lap, it was the perfect time, everything felt right, you love yoga, so that is why you are here.  Be confident in that.  Still, tucking my feet, cross-legged, under my knees amongst the 14 other trainees, I feel I am somehow lagging or, worse, not qualified to be here.  Truth?  You are overqualified.  Truth?  Did it ever cross your mind that the 14 others are feeling the exact same way?  How much you wanna bet they are?  Two yoga blocks and a bolster.  Hah!  I’d raise you my Manduka mat if I owned one.  Yes, I’m that confident you are not the only one, so RELAX.  This would be an excellent time to work on your breathing.  In through your nose, out through your nose, like an ocean, right?  Gosh, this girl next to me is going to think I’m a whack job if I’m already making ocean sounds before we’ve even gone through introductions.

“Mind Chatter,” one of our instructors begins, “Citta Vrtti (in sanskrit) is that noise in your head that likes to talk incessantly about anything and everything.  It’s a voice that wants to interpret the world, make sense of it for you, judge it, process it, cloud it.”


“If you can hear the chatter, if the noise is happening, that means you aren’t really here.  You are somewhere else.”

Double Hmm.

“But let me ask you, where is the voice coming from?”  Some of the more outgoing yogis around me chime in with articulate guesses.  Past experience, intuition, genetics, habit, me, why of course the voice is coming from me!  To each one the instructor answers with the same question.  “But, who are you?”  I go searching to my own mind chatter for an answer, but for once it is silent.  Great, thanks for checking out at the exact moment I need you.  Perfect.

“I am not going to pretend to have the answer.” the instructor says, “I believe it was Rumi that said ‘the longing for the answer is the answer'”.

As I get out onto the sidewalk and shut my car door behind me, an instantaneous flush of breath enters my lungs.  Wait a minute, what happened to all that ocean breathing?  Was I holding my breath that entire time? Why do you always forget to breath?  Isn’t that pretty fundamental?  If you were breathing, you would have been able to think more clearly, act more normal, be more you.  You must remember to breath more next time.  ‘The longing for the answer is the answer.’  That reminds me of Rilke.  What is that Rilke quote?  Something like ‘…try to love the questions themselves.  Like locked rooms and books that are written in very foreign tongue.  Do not seek the answers now, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them.  Live everything.  Live the questions.  Perhaps, you will gradually, without noticing, live some distant day into the answer’.  Wow, I can’t believe you remembered that.  Probably not perfectly, but still.  Why couldn’t you remember that in class!  Such a great quote – true, so utterly and heartbreakingly true.  God, that quote would have been a perfect correlation.  Nice thinking of it now.  How dumb.  Why do you always do that?  (a moment)  Shit.  It’s happening again.  Hello, mind chatter.  I knew you would find your way back.