The Awesome Twos – 222

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August 22, 2012

Forget about the terrible twos. On August 20, the Daily Downward Dog hit its 2-year mark, and I’m here to tell you that the twos are not going to be terrible—they are going to be awesome!

I was feeling a bit nostalgic on this auspicious occasion, so I spent the afternoon with my baby taking a little walk down memory lane to review all my posts over the last year. I wanted to do a little exploration of where I’ve been and also set some goals for the coming year.

The main thing that struck me as I looked back on the previous year – I’ve had a kick-ass year of cool yoga experiences! It’s easy to forget sometimes, so this little exercise was very beneficial. For those of you who are new to The Daily Downward Dog (welcome), and for you loyal readers (thank you), I thought you might enjoy a few highlights of the past year in the life of Daily Downward Dog.

Yoga + Travel = Following My Bliss – This past year I got to combine two of my biggest passions: Travel and Yoga. I got to attend beach yoga classes provided by 3rd Street Beach Yoga in South Beach (Miami), Florida, join a Vedic chant class with Cheryl Hall in Scottsdale, Arizona, take one of the best yoga classes in my life with Dana Flynn of Laughing Lotus Yoga at the New York Yoga Journal Conference, hang from a wall in supta baddha konasana at Blissful Yoga in Phoenix, and practice for three days straight on the beach in Santa Monica with Kia Miller, Shiva Rea, and Seane Corne (to name just a few) at the stellar Tadasana Festival. I still have so many pictures and stories to tell from the NY Yoga Journal Conference and Tadasana Festival, so look for those posts to come in the next few months. One of my dreams is to combine my passions for yoga and travel together into my work, so you will be reading more about my traveling yoga adventures in the year to come!

Virgin Experiences – I had to open the confession booth a few times this past year to kiss and tell about my virgin experience with Bikram yoga and to reveal the explosive story of my first encounter with magic mushroom juice, aka kombucha.

Flying High – Yeah, yoga gets me high, and this year I went to new heights – literally – when I tried aerial yoga at Ra Yoga studio in Phoenix and a little Thai and Fly Acro yoga at Tadasana Festival. I’m still waiting for the call from the folks over at Circque du Soleil to recruit me, but until then I’ll keep practicing.

 

Hanging out with Kathryn Budig

When You’re Ready, the Teacher Will Come to Ohio – I will always be ready for more yoga teachings, and this past year several opportunities to study with some of the best yoga instructors in the world were available to me right here in Ohio! Last September I spent three days studying with Rodney Yee at Yoga High in Columbus, learned how to let go of fear and embrace love with Kathryn Budig at Evolution Yoga in Beachwood, brushed up on my yoga anatomy with Gina Schatz, and practiced yoga with Cora Wen at Nishkama Yoga in Cleveland. This coming September I am thrilled to be attending workshops with Eric Schiffman at Yellow Springs Yoga and Doug Keller through Namaste Yoga Studio in Brecksville, Ohio.

Finding My Voice – Over this summer, I hit the 500-hour yoga teaching mark. I still have so much to learn, but one thing that I have noticed is that I have really started to come into my own voice when I teach. It seems that I can find yogic inspiration everywhere, and I take these experiences and weave them into my yoga class themes. Throughout the year I shared many of these themes, and here are a few of my favorites:

Top Thrill Yoga

Plenty of Fast Out There

Seven Steps to Happiness

Santosha

Yoga…You Don’t Have to Be Good At It

P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E

DJ Drez at Tadasana Festival

Navigating New Musical Horizons – Over the past year I changed the tune of the music I play in my studio yoga classes. I have cut back on using mainstream songs with lyrics and am focusing on upbeat current yoga musicians like MC Yogi, C.C. White, and DJ Drez – all of whom played music live while I practiced yoga at the Tadasana Festival. There is a ton of cool yoga music out there, and I’ll continue to feature and review it on the Cool Yoga Music page.

The Power of Intentions – I really could be a poster girl for setting intentions. This past year I made a vision board and practiced what I preached in my post about the Top 10 Yoga Intentions. One of my intentions was to get to a yoga festival, and I was able to manifest that dream when I won tickets to Tadasana Festival. Put those intentions out there, my friends, and believe, because the universe really does want to deliver your dreams.

Beach Yoga Bliss – What can I say, I spent the entire summer doing what I love: teaching yoga on the beach with the coolest yoga playlist ever – the sound of the waves – and backdrops courtesy of the sunset. You can’t find a better summer job, and you can’t find students cooler than the ones I have in Vermilion. My only wish is that the summers were just a bit longer in Ohio.

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15 Seconds of Fame – The DDD got some media attention this summer when my beach yoga classes were featured on the Fox 8 New Day Cleveland show and were also captured on film to be part of The Goddess Project documentary being produced by goddess visionary filmmakers Holli Thomas and Sara Landas.

Finding My Seva – I had been looking for an organization to support as part of my seva efforts and am thrilled to have hooked up with Girls With Sole, where I teach yoga to at-risk teenage girls. Actually, they are the ones who teach me about courage, strength, and overcoming obstacles. Through the power of Twitter, I was also introduced to the Street Yoga organization and got to attend their Street Yoga teacher training. Why not try a little karmic yoga this year? I can tell you how first hand how good it feels to give back and serve others.

The DDD Makes a Top 10 List – Just as the DDD’s birthday approached, I got one of the nicest presents ever: being named one of the Top 10 Yoga blogs of 2012 by DoYouYoga.com.  It was nice to be recognized along with a group of fellow bloggers that I highly respect.

My Favorite Yoga Moments – Two yoga moments stand out for me. The first is when I stood totally blissed out in tadasana on a beach in Florida in January and was so moved that I cried. The second, which I never wrote about, occurred at a Thai yoga massage couples class that I attended around Valentine’s Day with my husband. I’m always trying to get my husband onto the yoga mat, so this was a special evening for us to practice together. At the end of class I was sitting in front of him in his embrace as we chanted om together, and I felt for the very first time the warm vibration of his om connecting to my heart.

These last 12 months have also seen awesome increases in site traffic and in followers on Twitter and Facebook, so I’m sending out a big birthday HUG and KISS to everyone who stopped by and showed their support. I love hearing from you, and please know that one of the nicest gifts you can give to a blogger is to leave a comment from time to time to share your experience and knowledge, provide feedback, or just to say hello.

Thanks for making this past year so incredible, and here’s to the awesome TWOs!!

 

Birthday Cake illustration: Billy Alexander

 

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Donatella Zerial August 22, 2012 at 2:11 AM

Thank you for sharing. It looks like the past two years were part of a beautiful journey. I don’t always read your blog, but when I do I read it from top to bottom… very captivating.
Namaste
Donatella

Reply

Crystal @EatDrinkCleveland August 22, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Congrats!!! I totally missed my one year – it was back in June. I love your look back and can’t wait to see what the next year holds for you.

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Deb Kistner August 22, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Congrats to you Maria and all your awesome adventures!!!

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Rachel {at} It's a Hero August 22, 2012 at 9:56 PM

I’m so proud of your blog! You really really have had the most amazing yoga journey this past year! :) You’re so inspirational!!

Reply

Maria @dailydownwarddog August 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Donatella, Crystal, Deb and Rachel:
Thank you so much for your kind words and support! You yoginis all ROCK!!

XO Maria

Reply

Sondra Lawrence August 24, 2012 at 4:51 PM

What a beautiful whirlwind you’re so blessed!

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