True Story: When I was 5 I tried to fly. I really wanted to be like a bird and it seemed like an amazing idea! The thought came to me while walking across the drive into a crowded mall. I saw a low wall and jumped up on top – I ran the length of the wall until I had to pull up my feet. I flapped my wings (arms) furiously and with a huge smile skidded about 100 feet on my knees… ok, only 3 feet, but it seemed like 100. I was in shock, I could not believe that I was not able to fly!! I spent the next month hobbling around as my wounded knees were cleaned and dressed twice a day. You can still see those scars on my knees today.
I wish I could tell you that I learned a huge lesson from that experience, but in reality I didn’t. As I look back on my life, I am where I am today (in my happy place) because I didn’t overthink things. I get an idea in my head and ACT – before the fear sets in and I ask myself “why not?” I can tell you that the best things in my life came from saying YES/OK/SURE – before I could talk myself out of it:
Hey, you want to move up to northern California with me and teach Taebo. OK (what’s Taebo?)
I love your classes, would you personal train me? YES
I noticed that you are training my neighbor, do you want to train me everyday too? SURE
I know all of the trails, do you want me to take you on your first mountain bike ride? OK (and crash 1000 times in the first week).
The Sea Otter Classic (MTB race) is next month, you should do it! OK
Hey, my friend just started this company called Athleta and needs some fitness models for their catalogs, you want to do it? SURE
I think you should send your modeling photos to SHAPE magazine. OK
My boyfriend just backed out, do you want to take his spot on the LA AIDS ride (in 2 days)? SURE
You may not know how to swim but you sure can ride – I will sponsor you for your first triathlon. OK
Surprise- I rented us a place in Punta de Mita, the lease starts next month – Do you want to try living in Mexico? SURE
Want to write a blog post about fear? OK (I re-wrote this 6 times)
Each of these experiences had one thing in common. They all scared the crap out of me. Many of them had me physically shaking!
If you are not living the life you have always dreamed of, I encourage you to say YES! ESPECIALLY if it scares you. Friends invite you to train to hike Mt. Shasta; A co-worker asks you to go salsa dancing; For 8 months you been driving by an art studio on the way home from work and have been saying you are going to take a class – START hiking, GO salsa dancing, TAKE that painting class! If you want to BE something different, you have to DO something different. Not everything will be the perfect fit. Did everything I said “yes” to turn into a magical experience? Definitely not. But, trusting the universe and running off walls – flapping my wings with everything I have, has landed me right here… splitting my time between Mexico and Park City, UT, married to an incredible man, living a life WAY beyond my wildest dreams. Saying yes to things, YES TO LIFE, got me to this place and it can get you to your happy place too!
20 years ago I met Lisa. She was the manager of Skylonda, one of the original wellness retreat centers in Northern California. Every day, rain or shine, she would take guests hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains. After lunch, she would lead them through an exercise class and sometimes an additional yoga class. Can you say dream job? Maybe you can’t, but I did – I thought she had won the career lottery! Soon after, I began my training to be a Taebo instructor and within a year I was also personal training clients at a local gym. I never forgot about Lisa and knew that someday I wanted to lead my own wellness retreats. You have to remember this was 1995 and there was no such thing as a fitness or yoga “retreat.”
Fast forward to 2004 – The summer I met my now husband on an organized road cycling trip in France. (That is a whole other story). In the 11 years since our first trip, Mack and I have cycled, hiked, surfed, and scuba dived all over the world. Many of our adventures have been with organized groups or outfitters. 16 to be exact: 6 MTB trips, 1 MTB/surf/Yoga trip, 3 road cycling trips, 2 diving trips, 1 yoga retreat, 1 surf camp, 1 week of buddhist meditation study, and even 1 couple’s retreat (yikes). I will also throw in the 3 MTB multi-day stage races that we did – just because it takes some major organization to provide travel, gear, lodging and food for 50-400 racers. In addition to these organized vacations, we have also planned many of our own multi-sport trips. I didn’t know it at the time, but all of this travel was “research” for my fitness retreat company, SweatPlayLive. I know many people shy away from traveling with a group, so why do we seek out organized trips for our vacations?
- It is a no brainer… literally. You do not have to think. All of your meals, activities, and transportation are set up for you. It is SO AWESOME to just show up and have everything planned out for you.
- You know you will be staying active – YAY! You know exactly when and how much exercise you will be getting, I mean enjoying. 🙂
- You meet like-minded (cool) people. I have become very good friends with many people we have met on our trips. *You may even meet your future spouse!
- Traveling to new places and enjoying the local culture with people “in the know.” When you visit a new place, especially foreign countries, local knowledge can save you tons of time and money, and why would you want to follow the herd to all the tourist traps anyways?
About 6 years ago, I started looking for a fitness retreat to go on by myself. I went to 4 of the most famous fitness retreats out there, and the schedules were all the same: Class, breakfast, class, class, lunch, sit by the pool, class, class, dinner. Now, I am not knocking it, and if that sounds great to you then I am happy to give you the names of these places. But for me, even as a fitness professional and someone who teaches and takes tons of classes, that is not what I want to do on a vacation. So I decided to create my own, and SweatPlayLive fitness retreats was born. I design each SPL retreat after my perfect day: I love to get up early and do a kick-ass workout. Dive into a healthy breakfast before our ride, hike, surf, etc. Enjoy local flavors for lunch. Explore the area, shop, or just hang out. Do some yoga or stretch before dinner. Add in a margarita or two, and that to me is a PERFECT DAY!
I know I am a little biased, but I want to tell you why I LOVE my SPL retreats.
- We workout every morning 1- 2 classes before breakfast. No fear… there is coffee/tea and fruit served before if you would like.
- The meals and restaurants that we go to offer many healthy choices. When we eat out at restaurants you can order whatever you wish off the menus.
- All the activities are included. Depending on the location, we offer hikes, surf, sup, snorkel, fun activities like zip-lining, or ropes courses. You will never see “these activities are offered at an additional cost.” (I personally hate that.)
- Our groups are small 6-16 people. You will have individual attention and will never be lost in the crowd… or doing yoga with 100 of your closest friends.
- SweatPlayLive started in Mexico, and I love showing people secret spots and “off the beaten path” adventures in all of our locations.
- We offer evening yoga and/or meditation. All of our workouts and activities are optional, and if you choose to skip the day, you still can join us for an incredible mind/body stretch class.
- There are no hidden costs. Service Fees? Nope. Airport transfers? Those are included too… and not just within a 30 minute or 1 hour window. I realize guests are traveling from all over the country and they should not be penalized if the only flight available to them arrives later that night. You land on the first day of the retreat, we pick you up.
All vacations are great time to unplug and re-connect with your true self. If you also enjoy great workouts, outdoor adventures, and meeting other fun, like-minded women to share tons of laughs with, then I invite you to join Heather and me on our upcoming Move Your Asana® fitness retreats:
Park City Summer Escape – August 5-9th
Mexico Fall Fitness Fiesta – October 22-27th
Full details at: www.sweatplaylive.com
Now that it is officially summer, I feel a buzz in the air. The excitement that comes with the anticipation of long summer days and warm nights. Many of us seek out adventure and set our sights high! Mack and I spend the summers at 7,000ft – in beautiful Park City, Utah. Now what, may you ask, could possibly get us to move away from our laid-back winter beach life? TRAILS. 400 miles (to be exact) of maintained legal single track for mountain biking, trail running, and hiking. After you have climbed out of valleys and through aspen groves; to look around – surrounded by all of nature’s beauty – you cannot help but feel peace in your mind and a special connection to the earth. That is why I designed Sweat Play Live’s Park City retreats. You will experience new heights both physically and mentally.
A big part of my life is about getting off the beaten path. From the time I can remember, I have saught out new and different experiences. By following this call for adventure and getting out of my comfort zone, I have learned my biggest lessons and have become a stronger and more confident version of myself. Getting off the beaten path does not have to be a dramatic leap. Sometimes you take the path that veers just slightly off the main drag. Baby steps become bigger steps, then maybe a full blown jog down a path that once seemed scary or foreign. Sweat Play Live is about FUN-sized adventures. From a fitness foundation, we then add in activities to show you what your body can do. While some guests are taking their first confident baby steps, other are sprinting down the path towards adventure – All are welcome, Sweat Play Live has adventure sized for everyone!
Heather and I will be heading up our 2nd Annual Move Your Asana® SUMMER ESCAPE, August 5-9th. We had so much fun last year, we added an extra day! If you enjoy awesome fitness classes and breathing in clean mountain air while hiking through beautiful aspen groves, I encourage you to join us in August. This trip is full of new adventures and, as always, fun surprises!!
Check out www.sweatplaylive.com for registration details!
New Year’s 1996, I moved up to Marin to be a Taebo instructor. I was thrilled that I was to be one of only 3 Taebo instructors outside of Billy Blank’s studio in Hollywood. I was mentored by Will Yun Lee.. yeah that guy from Wolverine. I had only been doing Taebo for 3 months and I immediately knew I didn’t want to be just another aerobics instructor. I wanted to really know the punches and kicks that I would be teaching. I wanted to be like WilI. He was incredibly confident, super skilled, and just looked bad ass… who wouldn’t want to be like him? I trained in a garage-turned-gym for 3 months straight. Hours and hours everyday – kicking, kicking, kicking, and punching. I had a goal and knew I was going to be introducing Taebo to the BayArea. Oh, did I mention, I had never done martial arts, taught anything in my life, and was PAINFULLY shy. Like, barely-look-you-in-the-eye, shy?
I rehearsed that first class probably 30-40 times and was still a nervous wreck. I had to throw up twice before even entering the group exercise room. I stumble up to the front of the class and looked out at the 60+ people and could barely introduce myself. I was shaking so much that when I got in to my fighting stance to begin demonstrating the punches, my back ankle was shaking uncontrollably. I was terrified, and to make matters worse when I began to explain the stance and punching techniques, my voice would crack. Did I want to run and hide and never be seen in that gym again? – For sure I did. But instead, I raised my voice, because I noticed that when I raised my voice it would not crack. I also started demonstrating the movements with much more emphasis – crazy big and powerful, to hide the fact that I was shaking. After that, it was like an out of body experience. I shouted like a drill sergeant, ran around the room getting in people’s faces. Kicked higher than I ever thought possible and punched so hard I probably could have knocked someone out. I am sure I made mistakes, but nobody noticed and after class people just raved about my teaching and how it was the best class they had ever taken! I was on a high – I wish I could say for days, but I had to teach my second class the next morning, 14 hours later. And the throwing up/voice cracking/body shaking-to-drill sergeant routine started all over again. And that routine lasted 12 classes a week for 6 months until I finally wasn’t panic-stricken. So what kept me coming back day after day, class after class? Passion. Passion for exercise and sharing with others.
19 years later, I have taught over 10,000 classes – from cardio kickbox to pilates. I have trained clients in their homes, offices and abroad, and lead fitness retreats through my company SweatPlayLive. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had decided, way back then, that teaching that first class was just too scary. It is one of those “sliding door” moments. I chose to face my fear and it has brought me here, to you, with Move Your Asana®. It is also taking me to present on Wednesday for the Telluride WOW festival.
You have heard it before – “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” YOUR desire HAS to be stronger than your fear. My desire to be a Taebo instructor outweighed my fear of failure, even if just barely. It was enough for me to train and endure that first class. Nobody is born with confidence. Everyone you see exuding mass confidence in every situation practiced it until it became a habit. Until that habit became part of who they are. So fake it until you become it! Even Beyonce says she has to turn into Sasha Fierce to get herself onstage. When you feel fear – TAKE ACTION! It is the first step towards building confidence – “Action kills Fear.” Maybe at first you too will need to “pretend” to be confident, strong, and sure of yourself. By practicing confidence you make it a habit and as we all know, practice makes permanent!