Writing Samples

For the past few months I’ve been writing…a lot. I’ve updated my “In Print” section and will continue to do so once a week. If you’re on here looking for professional writing samples, please head over to that section. Happy reading!

For an idea of my previous and current social media work, please check out Seek Retreat’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog, and Pinterest, Lauren Kate’s Facebook and Website, and Active Alliance’s Website.



“The future is called ‘perhaps,’ which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you.” -Tennessee Williams


Transition (n): The process or period of change from one state or condition to another (synonyms include passage, transformation, move, metamorphosis, shift).

Eventually, everything goes away. For me, this week has been all about transitions, and difficult ones at that. The realization that everything is impermanent, no matter how comfortable or secure we feel. The rug can be pulled out from under us at any given moment.  This week, an important relationship in my life was terminated abruptly, without honoring the hard work, commitment, connection to which I felt I had given it.  I have been struggling with deep hurt, anger, and above all, wanting to know why? What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently?

In challenging times,  I turn to  my yoga practice for guidance. In yoga we are taught to honor transitions, just as we would any other pose. So often, we rush through changes, eager to move on to the next thing. We don’t want to feel that pause, that space in between, because it forces us to encounter ourselves as we really are: raw, exposed, and uncomfortable. But when we rush, we get hurt, on the mat and out in life. It’s that simple. Taking time to honor the shifts ensures that we move safely and respectfully from one thing to another.

So maybe there are no answers that will satisfy me. Maybe we all do the best we can at the time and we have to forgive ourselves and the ones who hurt us to move on. Easier said than done.

The night before I had the rug pulled out from under me was the summer’s biggest super moon. So much of the talk around this full moon centered around releasing what no longer serves you & aligning with your true north (www.mysticmamma.com). If we’re going to be honest, I had not been listening. The Universe had sent its’ signs, but I had ignored them. I hadn’t been honest with myself about this relationship. It was holding me back, it was stifling my voice, my creativity, my madness. So, thank you Universe. Thank you for releasing this negativity from my life. While I may not be ready to forgive, I know that the Universe has done its’ job and I’m ready to listen, to pay attention, and to act. It’s scary and glorious at once but I choose happiness over suffering. I choose creativity over monotony. I am making space for the unknown future to come rushing in with its’ yet-unseen wonders.

Right after I had been unceremoniously dismissed from one person’s life, I lost another. Within the hour the news had broken that Robin Williams, my favorite childhood comedic actor, had died. Childhood, finished. Robin Williams taught me so much growing up, but this is my favorite quote of all time. Thank you Robin, for reminding me when I needed it most.  I promise I won’t let you down. I’m honoring my transitions, taking that uncomfortable pause, & relaxing into that discomfort. I’m holding on to my tiny spark….

“You’re only given a tiny spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” -Robin Williams 


“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” -Lewis Carrol


My love affair with L.A. yoga is over.

Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic–let me start over. I have become quite disillusioned with the L.A. yoga scene. It happened, as John Green writes, like falling asleep: very slowly & then all at once. And now it’s my job to rekindle the passion.

Let me preface this by saying that I consider being able to go to yoga a divine privilege. I would not be able to go to as many classes as I do if it weren’t for the love & support (including financial…) of my parents, who have repeatedly paid for class cards when I could not,  for driving lessons so my dirty NYC-self could learn how to conquer the LA sprawl behind the wheel of a brand spankin’ new Prius. I would not have made it to my teacher training without the support of (and car rides from) my loving boyfriend. So, when I drove to this yoga studio in Venice for the first time, parallel-parked, made it through a blissful class from a new teacher, and drove myself home, I was on cloud 9. Not to mention, I’d just returned from my first yoga retreat in Costa Rica and was riding the Nosara wave & good vibrations all the way home.

But those good vibrations lasted about 5 minutes. Everyone at this studio, and in the “Santa Monica yoga scene” more generally has the perfect outfit, perfect hair, perfect skin, & the perfect practice. Or at least that’s how it felt. My outfits were never fitted enough or colorful enough. My hair, like any good New York jew’s, is frizzy and wild. It does not stay in a beautiful, middle-part that perfectly frames my perfect face. It does not stay in the perfect top knot. My skin (again, like any good New York jew’s) gets pimples. It especially gets pimpled at a certain time of the month or when, for example, I am squashed in a room with 50 people dripping sweat for an hour and a half.  Now some of this may be my perception, no doubt, but I came here for the yoga. Not the Lululemon spring lookbook.

The idea of a “perfect practice” really got under my skin. This studio’s 1.5 hour-long classes are a marathon. They just don’t stop. There’s barely any warm-up and many teachers  don’t give enough time for cool-downs and savasana to compliment the amount of time they have us upright.

Now, the beauty of yoga is that it’s not one-size-fits-all. That’s why the idea of a yoga class is somewhat silly, because on any given day, each person in that yoga studio will need something different out of their practice. And I guarantee you that not all of those people should be doing every chatauranga. But they do.

I have, on multiple occasions, been the ONLY person in the room taking child’s pose after a particularly sweaty sequence or skipping a vinyasa. And for awhile it was ok. “I got this,” I’d say. “Either my body is just different from theirs or I have much more body awareness, and either way, I’m good with it.” But I don’t want my practice to feel like I’m running a marathon anymore. I want my practice to make me feel better and better than before. I want to practice alongside practitioners  and teachers who aren’t so preoccupied with “looking the part” that they forget to actually “be the part,” which, for the record, is being yourself in all your flaws.

It is only since I began a regular, grueling practice at this studio that I became anemic & have had serious issues re-balancing my health.  These classes no longer support my health, physically or emotionally. And so I’m saying goodbye.

I’m shaking things up. Getting out of my comfort zone. Coming back to why I love yoga. Not trying to compete with these women. I don’t know if I’ve made it clear, but I had been–or I’d been trying. Spending too much money on yoga clothes, brutally self-conscious of how I looked compared to these yoginis. But it’s that “perfect practice” thing that broke the camel’s back. I will never have a perfect practice. I have chronic pain & scoliosis and my body will never look Yoga Journal perfect. I can fake looking the part, but I will never fake feeling it.

So, onto the next journey. I signed up for a Restorative Teacher Training in September with Judith Lasater, the grandmother of restorative yoga. I feel excited & empowered already. While I’m nervous to leave old teachers, easy parking, and that comfort I once felt behind, I know that the student must one day become the teacher. The light I see in teachers is a reflection of the light I see in myself. And so, off I go. These experiences, these lessons, even those women are my teachers. Especially their judgy looks. They not only teach me how to treat others, but how to treat myself . Yoga is about developing self-awareness, & learning to recognize and let go of patterns of negativity. It’s confronting. But I’m learning to be more honest with myself about myself. I may not always like what I find, but now it’s up to me to change that.


Letting Go of Expectations

f337fba632bc277f2be1d965fb46924fOne of the primary reasons we practice yoga is to apply the same breath and mindfulness we bring to each posture into other aspects of our lives. Our yoga practice does not simply vanish once we roll up our mats and leave the studio; it permeates our every thought, word, and action. Something I personally struggle with is letting go of expectation, both on my mat and out in life.

We all know the feeling. We’re in a particularly sweaty class and we nail that tree pose like nobody’s business on the right side. But when we try to rest that left leg on our right inner thigh, it won’t stay. We raise our hands to prayer and immediately fall out.  The ego takes over. Expectations fall short. Life laughs in the ego’s face and says, “You thought you knew what was coming? Get real. You have no idea what I’ve got in store for you!”

Just like in that tree pose in class, sometimes in life we create a glorious plan in our head and it all comes crashing down, not working out the way we’d hoped. And so it was for me this past weekend. I’ve been wanting to attend Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley for the past four years. This past weekend, I finally had my chance. My boyfriend and I bought day passes, booked flights, and convinced his parents to get in touch with family friends who let us stay at their cabin in Truckee. They even decided to join us for a relaxing weekend in the mountains.

My hormones have been completely out of whack this past month and I had been dealing with some anemia when I left for Tahoe & immediately upon arrival in Truckee, I began noticing a shortness of breath. Within 5 minutes I was on the couch, dizzy, nauseous, and pretty much unable to move. Months of planning and years of dreaming had been reduced to rubble in the span of five minutes. I couldn’t even think about missing Gabrielle Bernstein’s lecture, let alone just soaking up those high mountain yogic vibes. Finally, after trying to sleep and gasping for air for nearly five hours, I decided to leave. It was 12 A.M.

Luckily, my boyfriend’s parents live just an hour away or none of this would have been possible. I spent the rest of the weekend recovering, snuggling with cats, finally getting to meet Michael’s best friend, and celebrating his father’s birthday. Now it’s back to LA and the real healing begins. Super clean eating, acupuncture, massage, restorative yoga, meditation–the works.

It’s so easy to be bummed out about having to miss Wanderlust, embarrassed about my health, distressed that I have so much healing and self-work to do. But really who doesn’t? In yoga, as in life, we walk a fine balance between passion and non-attachment. We want to plan, to create, to build based on the work we love, the goals we set, yet on the other hand, we know that nothing is given. Everything is temporary. So we create, build, love, plan and care all the while knowing it  may never come to fruition and that it’s OK. Practicing non-attachment, letting go of the expectations we create is scary because what is left to hold onto?

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.




In My Pantry: Oil of Oregano


I discovered the healing properties of Oregano Oil while on retreat in Costa Rica last December. I was starting to come down with a cold and the Yoga Spa’s local healer brewed me a concoction of oregano oil tea. I drank five cups that day and awoke the next morning feeling great. I had successfully warded off a cold!

Oil of oregano, which is distilled from the flowers and leaves of the oregano plant, may be nature’s most powerful antibiotic. It contains a compound called carvacrol, which has been proven to break through the outer cell membranes that help protect bacteria from the immune system. In other words, they kill bacteria for you.

Studies have shown that oil of oregano is a potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and …anti-inflammatory! For those looking for a natural, holistic remedies, look no further than oil of oregano. Add 1-2 drops to your daily cup of tea or simply take 1-2 droplets under the tongue. Look for organic brands that have a high concentration of carvacrol.

New in Review: Unplug Meditation

Suze Yalof Schwartz at the Unplug Meditation Center

For those who haven’t heard, meditation is in (especially in Los Angeles). Maybe it’s because Gwyneth Paltrow does it, or maybe it’s because we keep hearing about its’ scientific benefits in studies that seem to come out by the minute.

Former Fashion Editor Suze Yalof Schwartz, who has worked at Glamour, Vogue, Elle, and Marie Clare, knows how to capitalize on current trends. Last week, Yalof Schwartz opened Unplug Meditation, LA’s first drop-in meditation studio in Santa Monica. For $20 a session, students are led through guided 30 and 45 minute meditation sessions.

Unplug’s sleek, minimalist-chic design appeals to the meditation-phobic: everyone from the Fortune 500 CEO to the Brentwood stay-at-home mom. “You go in, you do your intention, you leave,” says Yalof Schwartz, who likens her drop-in meditation studio to a SoulCycle or a DryBar, two hugely successful drop-in spin and blow-dry studios.

I dropped by during opening week for a session with Lauren Eckstrom, who also happens to be my most beloved yoga teacher. The meditation room is bathed in purple light. A soft relaxing flute music can be heard in the background. Students are directed to pick up a cushion, which can be adjusted for optimal back support. Lauren led us through a body scan meditation, inviting us to lie down. The session only lasted about 15 minutes but left me in a state of pure bliss. Afterwards, Lauren allowed some time for questions and then we were on our way out! Students can browse an array of meditation books and small trinkets in the lobby, sip on cucumber or orange infused water, or sit by the outdoor zen garden before returning to their cars.

At $20 a session, I won’t be making this a routine, but every once in awhile, when I’m feeling uninspired by my home practice, I can find refuge and tranquility at Unplug Meditation. “It’s not just meditation, it’s an experience,” Yalof Schwartz says of her new studio. And for $20, I can get behind that.



Yoga: On Why I Always Come Back to My Mat

Image via The Ultimate Yogi with Travis Eliot

Image via The Ultimate Yogi with Travis Eliot

I love yoga. As shocking as it was when I first realized it, I really do. For the past five years, no matter how long the hiatus, I always come back to my mat. It’s a safe haven.

I recently made a (probably misled decision) to try out a trendy spinning studio in Venice. As I walked into the graffiti-clad room,  I heard loud techno music  blasting from the in-session spin class next door. The instructor was practically screaming, “Now tap it up, climb the hill, don’t stop, keep climbing, TAP..IT…UP!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with spinning (though I’d much prefer a leisurely bike ride through the great outdoors). There’s nothing wrong with spinning, but I won’t ever be going back. As an adolescent, I would enroll in after school activities like Ballet, acting classes, and tennis, only to realize that I loathed dancing ballet, acting class, and playing tennis. I bought into the fantasy of being the perfect ballerina or the tennis star, without the slightest notion of what I really loved to do. But that was before my first yoga class.

I found yoga and then re-found yoga at times of great distress in my life. The first was after the death of a close friend. The second was after a year of stressful and confounding health issues that left me in pain, out of touch with my body, and anti-social from many college friends.

I finally gathered the courage, one year into my struggle with chronic pain, to attend a Restorative Yoga class. I picked Maha Yoga, a very pretty studio in Brentwood that a lot of UCLA loved. I found one Restorative class, called “Flow and Restore,” led by a teacher named Lauren. Armed with a $5.00 pink yoga mat, I swallowed my pride, silenced my fear, and walked into Maha Yoga.

As I laid my mat down in the sparsely filled studio, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful light. The studio faces West so taking class at 5:45 PM allows a beautiful sunset glow to peak through the windows. Lauren had a  sweet energy and radiant smile from the moment she walked in. Though I was nervous for my first class in over a year, I could tell I was in good hands.

The first half of the class was difficult and I was beginning to doubt myself when the music began to slow, the pace began to lessen, and Lauren eased me into my first restorative pose. I was weightless; I could feel each muscle fiber and layer of fascia relaxing into the props. In an hour and fifteen minutes I had achieved an ease in my body I hadn’t felt in over a year. Though my body was aching and sore from the vinyasa portion of class, I knew I had to feel that sense of rest and ease again.

I attended “Flow and Restore” at Maha Yoga every Saturday night from July through the end of September, when my teacher left the studio. I had grown quite fond of Lauren’s classes, and much to my surprise, I found myself following her to other studios at which she taught. There were no other restorative classes, and I was so out of shape. I came home after every yoga class feeling elated, but woke up horribly sore (and a bit cranky) each morning after. But I kept at it. I couldn’t get enough of the ease, the sense of acceptance for who I was.  And when Lauren announced she would be co-leading a teacher training in the spring, I knew I was meant to do it.

Yoga has taught me how to open myself to new possibilities, connect with that core of inner strength, and it has led me back on my path to dharma. Perhaps most importantly, yoga has taught me how to let go of what no longer serves me.

I haven’t joined a gym and I won’t be going back to spin. You’ll find me on my mat, over and over again. I’ll be back.