There’s something special about firsts.

I remember the first time I saw snow.

I remember my first horse show.

I remember the first book I read.

I remember the first time I rode a bike without training wheels.

I remember my first best friend.

I remember the first time my pony soulmate (may he rest in peace) touched my palm with his muzzle.

I remember my first crush.

I remember my first period.

I remember the first time I went to New York City.

I remember my first kiss.

I certainly remember the first time I drove a stick shift.

I remember the first time I made love.

I remember my first heartbreak.

I remember the first time I tried scotch.

I remember my first day of college.

I remember the first time I jumped off a cliff into water 30 feet below.

I remember the first time I realized that sometimes love isn’t enough.

I remember the first time I truly felt that we are all one.

Firsts usually aren’t easy.
Firsts involve trying something new.
Stepping out of the comfort zone.
But from every first, there’s something to be learned.
In every first, there’s an opportunity for growth.
And firsts are special, because you remember leaping and spreading wings you didn’t even know you had.
And what if you leapt and fell?
Well then you get to remember that you got back up, stronger and wiser than before.
This year will be my first Burning Man.
There will be plenty of firsts next week, I’m sure.
Some will be exhilarating, others will be intimidating, some will be uplifting, and others may beat me down into the dust.
What I know is that I’ll return changed—stronger, yet softer, wiser, yet more open.
So to this first I say, Burning Man, bring it on.
Burning Man

Graze On

Something burst open yesterday, in me and in the universe. After all, we are the universe and the universe is in us. We are made of stars. I laid my mat on the earth, craving the outdoors, the fresh air, the sky above me and the earth beneath. Prana flowed through me, grounding me and lifting me up all at once. My mind was quieter than ever, allowing me to truly be fully present during my practice. My heart was so open that backbending poses I had never before been able to do came easily. I was so grounded I held my handstand for seven long, slow breaths—longer than I had ever held it before. I lifted into pinchamayurasana with ease and stayed with little effort. I floated through my surya namaskars. My core fired up and kept me centered through it all. Because my mind was quiet, my ego couldn’t butt in and interfere. I was moving purely from my soul. My practice wasn’t perfect—I gently tumbled out of a standing split. Then I laughed and found joy there and realized that even in our flaws there is perfection.


In a particularly vulnerable moment, I realized that everything that will be already was, and everything that was will be. After that epiphany made itself known to me, I let go. I let go of worry. I let go of stress. I let go of trying to control anything and everything except my own mind. All decisions have already been made. All outcomes have already happened. There’s no need to fret. Worry does nothing but drain our energy. This does not equal nihilism, nor does it negate free will. We still have choices—we’ve just already made them. We can still fight for what’s right, but the difference is that we can fight without struggling.


Something big shifted in the universe. Can you feel it? No? Be still. Meditate. Breathe. Do yoga. Go for a walk. Pet your dog, cat, bird, horse, ferret or whatever furry/feathery friend you have. Watch your fish. Look up at the sky. Find what you’re grateful for and then sit with that gratitude. Listen to the steady beating of your heart. Feel whatever emotion is there, whether it’s joy, sorrow, hope, despair or longing. Feel itExpress it. Change what needs to be changed. And then move on. Go with the flow. You’ll continue down the river anyway, so why splash about so, unless you’re splashing for fun?


So please, for the sake of your own beautiful soul, let go. Graze on. Just breathe. Just be.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein

Yoga Retreat at Kuntz Nokota Horse Preservation Ranch

“I was born upon the prairie, where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures and where everything drew free breath.” Ten Bears

Wide open spaces, constant wind and rugged terrain were the first characteristics I noticed about North Dakota as I made my way to the Kuntz Nokota Horse Ranch in Linton. Owned by Leo Kuntz, a knowledgable horseman with an eye for good conformation and a sense for good minds (in horses and people), the Nokota Horse Ranch is truly preserving living history.


The lovely, yet tough ranch hand, Holly, took me on a sunset ride on the evening of my arrival. As the setting sun warmed us with its golden rays and the sunflowers danced gently in the breeze, I thought to myself, “This just might be heaven.”

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The next day’s weather proved to be just as pleasant, making the first day of our yoga retreat a real dream come true. As I led savasana, “the boys,” as Leo and Holly refer to the herd of geldings, ventured down to us, approaching us with curious faces. The horses at the ranch are pretty much wild, although some do get gentled. Being surrounded by the herd during such a profound moment in our practice was a magical experience I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.


After our yoga class, Holly drove us around to see some of the stud/mare bands. She also showed us tipi circles, or stones arranged in large circles by the Native American tribes that used to call that land home. There was an energetic vibration to the land that I’ve experienced nowhere else. It’s like the history is almost so palpable you could touch it.

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Holly also took us to the Offering Stone, where the tribe’s medicine man would perform rituals and where, today, you can leave a token, such as a coin, as an offering and ask for blessings from the spirits in return. That space somehow commanded silence, and we all stood there taking in the view and the energy for a few long moments. Time seemed to cease to exist.


That evening around sunset we strolled to a special place on the ranch where the mares and foals happened to be grazing.


Seeing them live so free and natural filled my spirit with joy and sorrow all at once, for while I gazed upon that wild herd, I also thought of all the horses whose lives are spent boxed up in stalls.

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Later that night, I went out to look at the stars and my jaw literally dropped when I looked up. The Milky Way had never looked so magnificent and the sky had never seemed so big.

The weather turned colder and more blustery on Saturday. The strong wind held off until after our yoga class, but the rest of the day was mostly spent indoors. Sunday arrived carrying even colder temperatures and stronger winds, so instead of asanas, I led us in pranayama and meditation indoors. The wind began to subside later that afternoon, so I hung out with “the boys” for a bit, trying to coax Mr. Grey, my favorite, into taking a peppermint from my hand. He did place his muzzle in my hand, but he wasn’t so interested in the peppermint.


Leo cooked buffalo burgers and summer veggies for dinner, regaling us with tales from his life as we enjoyed the hardy, home-cooked meal. The next day I had to say goodbye. Mr. Grey seemed not to mind my presence and allowed me to hang out near him while he grazed. One of my favorite things about Leo is his willingness to allow visitors to hang out with the herd. Simply being in the horses’ presence can be a transcendental, yet grounding experience from which there is much to learn. I look forward to returning to the ranch next summer to lead another retreat and to spend more time with these majestic, wise creatures.

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You may view a video I put together of the weekend here.


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Breathe in Gratitude

Today was a good day. Your patience as I practiced asanas upon your back awed me. You seemed entertained by my strange movements. Later I visited you in your stall. We eased into yoga nidra together. First we stood together, breathing as one. I gently ran my fingers over your soft ears, thanking you silently for your calm presence and support. Then I sat down upon the sawdust and you laid down shortly after. There we stayed, meditating, breathing, being.  


Paris for a Day

I was only in Paris for a day, and it only took that long for me to fall in love with it.

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Me being geographically savvy. Photo by Josh Winslow.

While I wish I had had more time in this beautiful city, I did manage to do quite a lot in my brief time there. I arrived around six in the morning, which meant the streets were pretty much deserted. I dropped my luggage off at Hotel Verneuil and, while I couldn’t yet enter my room since it was so early, I was able to enjoy a delicious breakfast in their underground dining area. The server actually said, “Bon appetit!” as she finished pouring my coffee, and that’s how I knew I was really in Paris.

Cozy underground dining area at Hotel Verneuil

Cozy underground dining area at Hotel Verneuil

With a yummy French breakfast in my belly, I was ready to explore. The hotel was only a few minutes’ walk from the Louvre, and when I arrived, I was struck by how eerily deserted it was. One of the perks of being a morning person—avoiding ridiculous crowds of tourists!

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Sculpture of King Louis XIV by Bernini

Sculpture of King Louis XIV by Bernini

After wandering around the Louvre, I began to make my way toward the Eiffel Tower because you can’t go to Paris and not see the Tower. I took my time, meandering through the Tuileries Garden, admiring the fragrant flowers and stoic statues.

Arc du Triomphe du Carrousel

Arc du Triomphe du Carrousel



Once I reached the end of the Garden, I walked along the Seine, keeping the Tower in view all along the way. The walk took only about 40 minutes, and I was taking my time, stopping occasionally to snap a photo or to people-watch.

Just one of the 37 bridges in Paris

Just one of the 37 bridges in Paris

This plant-covered building looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

This plant-covered building looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Although the Louvre and Garden had been relatively deserted, the Eiffel Tower was already pretty lively by the time I got there. I enjoyed walking around and taking in the view from various angles and, of course, did some more people-watching.


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By this point, I was feeling in need of a bit of nourishment, so I Yelped cafes nearby and found Kozy Salon Urbain. Many of the reviews mentioned that this place had the best croissants in Paris, and they weren’t kidding. The barista was pleasant and welcoming despite my VERY limited French speaking skills. My croissant and caramel latte were completely satisfying. I could’ve eaten 10 more croissants, but I’m an adult, and adults don’t do things like that. I only slightly regret not having at least one more croissant, though—it was really the best I’ve ever had.

Later that day my partner in crime/boyfriend arrived and we went to the Ponts des Arts (the bridge with all the love locks), of course, because how could we not? But no, we did not add our own lock. They cut the locks down now, so instead we admired the sentiment and the view from the bridge.

Photo by Josh Winslow

Photo by Josh Winslow

Next we made our way to Notre Dame, which is immeasurably more impressive in person than it even is in photos.

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We enjoyed Paris to the fullest one can in just over 24 hours. I can’t wait to go back and get to know this lovely city even better.

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Ask and You Shall Receive

This life is truly amazing. There are rough patches, but how would we ever appreciate the good times without the bad?


My corporate job and I recently parted ways, and the accompanying emotions included fear, shock, exhilaration, relief and joy. Due to the unexpected nature of this change, I didn’t have a Backup Plan ready to go—hence the fear. What I do have is a lot more freedom than ever before, which is what I’ve been yearning for since I first stuck myself in an office two years ago. The previous stage of my life taught me some valuable skills and helped me get to know myself and my desires better. The next stage of my life will be one of uncertainty, adventure, thrills (and some spills, most likely), and I couldn’t be more excited.

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Doors are already opening for me. Put out there into the universe your heart’s desires, and you may just get what you wish for. I’m passionate about yoga on horseback and am receiving inquiries about clinics. I was yearning for more travel, and because of some magical serendipities, the next two months I’ll be away more than I’ll be home. I’m heading to Kuntz Nokota Horse Ranch this month to teach a yoga retreat, and a few days after I return from that, I’ll be on a plane to Reno to make my way to my first ever Burning Man. Right after my week in the Playa, I’ll be on a plane to Bolivia, where my dad is from, where I’ve wanted to go my entire life.


After that I have no idea where I’ll go or what I’ll be doing, but what excites me most is that I’ll have the freedom to make my own way. I must make a living, but that doesn’t mean I have to be tied to a desk every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If that life makes you happy, great, go be the best at it. But it’s not for me. There will be challenges as I try to find ways to make my life financially sustainable doing what I love, but because I’m committed to following my heart and doing work that speaks to my soul, I know the universe will provide all I need.

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Some may believe faith is for the foolish, but I believe it takes a brave and wise soul to have faith. Having faith means trusting in the good, believing that good exists at all, believing that the heart’s wishes should be heeded and the soul’s yearnings fulfilled. How else should we ever live our lives than doing what we love? What else could possibly be more important than lifting each other up and making this world a better place by utilizing our own unique gifts? So I say cheers to uncertainty, for it gives us an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the flow of the universe and be guided by our hearts and souls.

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“Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ~Hans Christian Andersen