Toni Kuhn

September 8, 2019
by Toni
4 Comments

Remodel

There is something very satisfying about remodeling our homes. Even the smallest of changes can make our homes feel refreshed, shiny and bright. From new linens to paint, home improvements can help us to feel more content in our living space.

We have been busy the last few months remodeling our house. We mostly painted, but this required removing the wall paper and then dry-walling/texturing the walls. This project turned out to be a lot more work than we thought, but well worth it! This house was very dated with the interior colors being brown and 3 different shades of orange. But after a lot of hard work we finally got the dingy colors out. My husband Doug did all of the interior painting, including all of the trim. However, we hired out a guy to paint our kitchen cabinets, but we had to remove all of the shelf paper. Take a look !

This project of remodeling our house got me thinking about how we remodel ourselves. A new outfit, a new hair color, a new hair cut, a new workout routine to improve our physical self and even a new meditation practice to improve our spiritual self. These small improvements of ourselves help us to feel more content in our lives. How many times have you gotten a new hair style you loved and you felt like you could take on the world? How about the awesome outfit that made you feel sophisticated and in control of your life? What about that great yoga class that left you feeling completely blissed out and happy? These things may seem trivial in the scheme of life, but they help us to feel more content with our own being. Just like having our living spaces look nice helps us to feel content in our homes, feeling comfortable in our own being makes us feel happier and satisfied with our lives.

Taking the time for self improvement is a great pathway to contentment. And when we are content in our own being we are able to have better relationships. I know that when I do not feel content with myself I struggle with my relationships with others. I tend to worry about their opinions about me and then my mind begins to make up stories and scenarios. This all comes from being insecure. But when I take the time for self improvement I become more content with myself and my mind stops making up imaginary stories about my relationships. All of my insecurities dissipate. Have you ever stopped working out and just felt nasty and mean tempered? Or gotten a bad hair cut and felt like everyone was staring at you? On the flip side, have you ever stayed with your exercise routine and felt pride in yourself? Or started taking yoga/meditation and felt more peaceful and happier? Working out and meditation are forms of self improvement that help us feel better about ourselves thus improving our relationships.

Self improvement is not about being superficial- it is about taking care of the things you have and giving them a little remodel. Your remodel could be exterior like a new hair color , or internal like being more compassionate. Maybe you just need more down time so you can reconnect to yourself. I bet you can think of a few little things that you can improve on that would help you to feel more content.

So go ahead, remodel! You know you want to do it! With a little hard work and determination you can be the best version of yourself. That confident and happy person that shines bright.

Namaste.

July 14, 2019
by Toni
0 comments

Out Of My Comfort Zone

Sunset in Lake of the Pines on 4th of July

A lot of wonderful things have happened this past month, so I will take a few moments here to give you the highlights.

  • My son graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Electrical Engineering.
  • The kids were here for Father’s Day and we had a really nice time hanging out with them.
  • I celebrated my 50th birthday. Cyndee surprised me by showing up to one of my classes! I had a great birthday and enjoyed spending it with my family and friends.
  • Our financial situation is looking better and we are back on track.
  • Cyndee and Chris both came up for the 4th of July. We watched the fireworks over the lake and enjoyed some much needed relaxation.
  • My daughter got a full-time teaching position and she is on track for a tenured position. She teaches English at a Jr. College in San Diego.
  • Doug is back to playing golf and is finding his rhythm with this bigger course.
  • I got a paddle board and I am enjoying the it on the lake. I also spend a lot of time at our pool.

Well that about catches you up! Here are a few pictures from this past month.

Brian’s Uc Davis Graduation

I have been finding myself in situations where I am being challenged by being out of my comfort zone. I have had to dig deep to find the courage to be in this space. I am very self conscious about my body and I finally got up the courage to switch my one piece swim suit to my bikini. I actually will take a dip in the pool without putting shorts and a tee shirt on over my swim suit. I am even starting to feel a little less self conscious when I hop out of the pool and walk back my lounge chair. I was inspired to try this by my mentor teacher Ashley. She posted a picture of herself in a swim suit and talked about accepting our bodies. She really helped me to step out of my tee shirt and shorts and accept my imperfect body in a bikini! Although I have yet to walk across the pool deck to the restrooms without my cover up , I still feel a sense of accomplishment! I still feel “naked” , shy and a bit vulnerable, but I am accepting these emotions as I learn to be out of comfort zone.

Another way I have been stepping out of my comfort zone is that I have been making decisions based on what I want to do. In the past if someone suggested I do something a certain way, or go somewhere I really did not want to go to, I would just say yes anyway. But lately, I have been really asking myself if I want to do these things. Does this make me happy? And if I feel obligated or forced to do something, I now know that it is not right for me. This is a big step for me. I am beginning to trust myself and my thought process. Sometimes I feel like I am standing out of my comfort zone and I wonder why am I standing here, it is so much safer over there. But as I keep practicing my truth I am beginning to feel empowered.

What things bring you out of your comfort zone? Did you know that by taking the step out of your zone you may actually find happiness? In my yoga classes this week I challenged my students to try different poses or to add an element to their poses. Most of the time we ended up laughing and just enjoying the newness of not being comfortable in the poses. But we all learned that we have a choice in everything that we do and that sometimes there is pure magic in trying something new.

We must remember to live life moment by moment and to get out of our heads so we can actually enjoy our lives! How many times has your joy been interrupted by self doubt, self consciousness, or fear of trying something new? Yoga teaches how to navigate our poses and breath on the mat and it also teaches us to navigate our life. It allows us the room to grow, explore, challenge, accept, embrace, fail, succeed, be humble and be kind.

Well, that’s it for now. I leave you with this thought. Our lives can be cut short unexpectedly. Why not take a chance and come out of your comfort zone to experience all the magic your life has to offer?

Our yoga community is deeply saddened by the passing of Maty Ezraty who’s teachings have been passed down in one way another to all yoga teachers. She was the heart and soul of yoga and her teachings will continue to inspire us all.

Namaste.

June 10, 2019
by Toni
0 comments

Trust The Process

Well summer has begun and with that comes our busy schedules! This is the time of year for travel, spending time with family and enjoying the outdoors. I have been able to enjoy our community pool and I am loving it! This past month has been very active for us. We took a trip to So Cal, we have been working on the house and now we are preparing for our son’s college graduation celebration.

Our extended family
Our nephew Nick’s high school graduation

Our trip to So Cal was amazing! Both of us thoroughly enjoyed seeing our old tribe, friends and family! Our nephew’s high school graduation was very moving and the bonus, we got to see our daughter too! Doug visited our old house and golfed with a couple of his buddies. Additionally, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and conversation with our extended family. We stayed with Cyndee and Chris and could not of asked for better hosts. We felt pampered and very relaxed staying with them. I already miss waking up to my coffee being made!

This week our son graduates form UC Davis. We are so proud of him! Our daughter and her fiance are flying up to celebrate along with Doug’s sister and her family. We will have a house full of family and love! The bonus for this celebration is that both of our kids will be home for Father’s day! If you have adult children you know hard this can be! I can’t remember the last time both kids were home for Fathers Day!

Doug has taken a break from golf and has been painting the interior of our house for a month. We ended up getting crazy deals on paint so we took the plunge. It looks absolutely stunning. I never knew how much changing the color of the walls could change the whole feel of the house. The orange/brown is gone and the new light grey /white makes our home feel so much calmer and settled. Doug gets the rockstar award for all of his hard work!

Many of you have expressed concern and compassion after my last post about our financial situation. So I thought i would give you an update on our financial bump in the road. Doug is still looking for a job and is keeping a positive attitude. The good news is that we had a solution that presented itself to us. Someone needed a place to live for a few months and we had an extra bedroom. So we decided to rent out our downstairs bedroom for about 4 months to one of my yoga students up here. Long story short we are helping each other out. She will be moving in at the end of this month and I am excited to hang out with her.

It is really strange the way things have been aligning for us. The timing of our painting the house, the timing of getting a roommate and the timing of me picking up special event classes and workshops have really helped to put our minds at ease. It comes down to trusting the process and letting go of trying to fix everything. The moment I surrendered to our situation and let go of trying to navigate it, things started moving in the right direction. We are not over the bump yet, but we can see over it now.

Unshakeable Trust Seal

This mudra represents unshakeable self-confidence, inner strength, and faith in something greater.

Sometimes we try too hard, push too hard for answers and solutions. Life is always going throw us bumps in the road. The lesson here is to trust the process. The next time you are faced with one of life’s challenges, try using the Unbreakable Trust Seal mudra. Just sit with your hands in place and breathe. Say the words ” i trust in the process. I trust myself. ” You may find yourself being presented with the direction you need to take.

Thank you all for sending so much love and support our way. I feel so honored to have so much love in So Cal and so much new love up here in Auburn.

To my So Cal friends, I look forward to seeing soon. I am hoping to plan another workshop in September of this year at Total Woman Gym. More on that next month….

Namaste.

P.S. I posted the playlist from the Gratitude Workshop. Click here to view it.

May 5, 2019
by Toni
3 Comments

Being Real

This past month has been filled with moments of pure realness in my life and I wanted to take this moment to be real with you. My life is far from perfect or ease. I have real struggles just like you. I have had many life altering changes in the last 6 months that have had profound effects on me. Moments where life taps you on the shoulder and says “Pay attention, I have something to teach you!”

I have been getting settled into my new home in Auburn. I am teaching a lot of classes and starting to acclimate to my new area. One of the things that has come up in my meditation is that I don’t feel like I am being completely real with all of you. I have had friends comment that I am “living the good life”. In some ways I am and in other ways it is down right stressful. You see, we have hit a bump in the road with our finances and so I am teaching as much as I can and Doug is looking for a full-time job. In dealing with this financial bump in the road I have had to dig deep to find gratitude in this situation. A big part of finding gratitude in my situation is honesty and Being Real. All of us have hardships and suffering. There is no need to pretend that everything is perfect. Whether it is health, or finances or family issues- all of us are going through something. It is during these difficult times that gratitude becomes even more important. When we feel gratitude for the simple things in our lives we are connected to the world outside of our problems. Thus, making our problems easier to cope with and we develop a sense of true realness in our lives.

The more Grateful I am, the more my life is supported“- Deepak Chopra

So I remind myself everyday of the things I am grateful for and to cherish them all.

  • This past month my dear friend Cyndee came up for a short visit. She did the Arthritis Walk with me and we spent some quality time together. For this I am grateful.
  • This past month I had some wonderful new gym friends and my family come out to support me in the Arthritis Walk. For this I am grateful.
  • This past month my dear sweet ‘sister” Kirsti found out that she is cancer free! For this I am grateful.
  • This past month has blossomed with teaching jobs opening up for me. For this I am grateful.
  • This past month my husband has worked insanely hard removing the ugly orange paint and wall paper under it in our kitchen. For this I am grateful.
  • This past month the rain has finally stopped and I have sun filled days. For this I am grateful.

What are grateful in your life? The simple things. It is easy to be grateful when everything is going right in your life. But can you find gratitude even during the most difficult of times?

Now, on to up and coming news!

Next month I will be coming down to So Cal for a workshop and I will be staying at Cyndee’s house. I will be there on Thursday May 30 and heading home on Sunday June 2. Cyndee will be hosting an open house style “Meet & Greet” at her house on Friday May 31 from 4pm-6pm. Come on over for some conversation, coffee/ tea and cookies! I would love to see you and catch up! I hope to see you on this trip. If I don’t, you can always email me or call me.

I still have a few spaces left for my Gratitude Workshop on Saturday June 1 at Total Woman Gym. Click here for more details.

Have a beautiful day filled with gratitude. And remember to keep it real!

Namaste.

April 7, 2019
by Toni
0 comments

Kindness

Last week I experienced a random act of kindness
from a stranger. It moved me and reminded me that there a people in the world
that truly care about one another.

So here’s what happened….

I was leaving the grocery store and when I got to my car I realized I could
not find my cell phone. I quickly went back into the store to the checkout
counter thinking I left it there. The cashier was very helpful and called the
security to alert them and to check the video cameras to see if anyone walked
off with it. ( I did not even know they do that!) Meanwhile, I retraced my
steps and went all the way back to the deli. A woman there helped me look to
see if i dropped it and offered to call it for me. I politely said no. You see,
I realized I left my ringer off as I just came back from teaching a class. (A
bad habit of mine!) I kept searching and people stopped to help me look. I had
stepped back outside to look around and a woman stopped me.

She asked me “what are you looking for?”

I replied “my cell phone”

She replied ‘could that be it’? And pointed to underneath a car next to her.

I crouched down and looked. There was an object sitting next to the inside
of the tire. Sure enough it was my phone just sitting there face up not a
scratch or mark on it. I turned to the stranger and said ” Thank you so
much’! And hugged her!

I left the grocery store with my heart warm and a deep gratitude for all of
the people that helped me look for my phone. They were generally concerned and
did not expect anything from me for their help.

 

With everything going on in the world today it is important to remember our connectedness to one another. We are all people living on the same planet, sharing the same air, finding our way on this journey of life. When we can pause our hurriedness, take time to help a stranger, we are reminded of this. The simplicity that everyone has struggles and kindness can go a long way. A simple smile can change a person’s day.

As you move through your day, take a moment to contemplate what kindness means to you. Where do you see it showing up in your life? How can you express kindness to others?

The gift of kindness is priceless. 

Namaste.

 

March 19, 2019
by Toni
2 Comments

Clarity and the Breath

This past week has been filled with sunshine and warmer weather. The sun feels absolutely wonderful and the everything looks so vibrant! There is green all around me and clear blue skys. I feel like a veil has been lifted off of me and I can finally “see” things more clearly.

I did not realize how much the winter darkness and constant rain was affecting me. In addition to adjusting to the move I discovered that I was experiencing the Winter Blues. I was anxious, I had difficulty sleeping, I was depressed and irritable. I thought these symptoms were just a part of the adjustment phase of the move. But then the sun came out and my symptoms went away! I can think clearly again, I am more focused, I have more energy and most importantly, I feel like myself.

It is so interesting to me how nature affects us. Think about how a beautiful sunrise or sunset fills you with peace or how the sight and sounds of the ocean are simply soothing.

We process many sensations through our eyes. Visual awareness of our environment can have a profound affect on us. Taking advantage of small moments to simply gaze and absorb the beauty around us can soothe our souls. We begin to let go of the past and stop worrying about the future. This visual stimulation plants us into the present moment where we can stop the business of life and just breathe.

My friend from high school visited us last month and he brought us this beautiful bird bath. It looks great in our front yard. We are beginning to see things bloom in our yard. We have no idea what kinds of trees, plants and flowers we have. Every few days we see a new flower or a bud making it’s way out. It’s like a surprise and we are so excited to see what we have!

I had a request to show more of the outside of my house. I have serenity walking path just outside my patio door. Take a moment, breathe and enjoy the visual stimulation. I hope these videos let you pause for a moment and have some clarity in your life.
Have a beautiful day!

Namaste.

 
Here are two video links with a tour of my the back of of my house .

February 9, 2019
by Toni
8 Comments

Wonderful Changes

I wanted to share with you all of the wonderful changes that I have experienced this month. But before I get to it, I wanted to share how I got here.

When I first moved I was trapped in my sadness and longing for my old life. I missed my friends, family, students, gym and yoga studio. I was anxious, scared and suffering deeply. I wanted my old life back.

Then something switched in my head. I was severely attached to my old life and I needed to let go of the past to step into the future. So I began making changes on my website. I deleted information about classes I no longer taught and deleted pages that were no longer relevant to my current life. Within minutes of making changes to my website I got a call about a teaching job. And so my new life began to unfold. Now I am teaching 8 classes a week at a couple of gyms!

After struggling to find a place to teach, I finally found a wonderful gym that welcomed me with open arms. I had actually joined this gym to have a place to workout and take classes and then an instructor left and I was hired. It all happened pretty fast! I love working here! The people are so nice and the classes are smaller because the studio is small. Its nice being able to get to know people. I am finally starting to feel like myself. I realized that teaching is a huge part of me and when I was not doing it I felt like a part of me was gone. Like I lost a limb. But now I am getting my groove back and my life is starting to feel normal. One of the new classes I am teaching is Silver Sneakers. I just got certified in this format and I am enjoying teaching it. I also teach a chair yoga class at our clubhouse and this class is packed with about 35 people every week! In this class the age range is 50 years old to 94! There are some students who come with their walkers or oxygen tanks, and other that have no physical issues. It’s amazing to witness them all together.

Divine Tree – view from my living room

We discovered that we have a Cedrus deodara tree in our front yard! This is a Divine Tree and we can also see this it from our living room. It is amazing to me that I have such a sacred tree that I can see from both inside and outside of my house. Our house is surrounded by a ton of beautiful trees. It is like living in the forest! Its very peaceful and quiet. It is so quiet that we have been sleeping in until 8 or 9am! It has actually been hard for me to get to an 8 am class. LOL!

Sacred Tree-view from the front of our house

Here is some information about our divine tree. It is a species of cedar native to the western Himalayas in Eastern Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan and India. “The botanical name, which is also the English common name, derives from the Sanskrit term devadāru, which means “wood of the gods”, a compound of deva “god” and dāru“wood and tree. Among Hindus, it is worshiped as a divine tree. Forests full of Deodar or Devadāru trees were the favorite living place of ancient Indian sages and their families who were devoted to the Hindu god Shiva. To please Lord Shiva, the sages used to perform very difficult meditation practices in deodar forests. Also the ancient Hindu epics and Shaivite texts regularly mention Darukavana, meaning a forest of deodars, as a sacred place.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedrus_deodara

This is the view from my kitchen window out the back of my house.

My internet is very slow right now, Unfortunately I cannot do videos that are longer than a minute or so. We hope to get a new internet service soon. For now, I have learned how to do live chat through Facebook and Duo. Duo is the app I use on my Samsung phone that is similar to Face-time on the Iphone. If you have an Iphone you can download the Duo app. I actually did a private lesson over Duo with a client from So Cal. It was great! So if you want to chat face to face let me know! I would love to see you!

Toni & Doug at the lake in our gated community

We celebrated my husband’s 50th birthday last month. My daughter and her fiance surprised Doug by taking a trip up here to visit him. He was totally shocked when she just showed up at the house! It was the best! Here are a bunch of pictures from our celebration.

Well that’s about everything that has happened this month! It has been a busy month. I leave you with the reminder to accept life’s challenges, to celebrate life as often as possible, and to live life at the fullest. I am learning to accept all these changes in my life and to go day by day. And as much as I miss my old life, I am opening myself to my new life.

“In the end these things matter the most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?”- Buddha

Namaste,

Toni

January 4, 2019
by Toni
0 comments

Facing The Unknown

As I write this blog, I am encouraging my thoughts and feelings to flow freely. So just a heads up, this post is going to be honest and from my heart.

I am in a difficult and scary space right now as I try to understand myself. I moved and left everything that I know behind. All the comforts of home, my yoga family, my gym family, my friends and my studio. I have moments of sheer panic when I dwell on all that I left behind. The familiar and safe surroundings and the comfort of my teaching jobs.  I have moments of deep sadness when I think of all of my friends and family back home.

But then a light shines and I am reminded of what I have gained by moving.

  • I no longer have to worry about snow, ice and getting to work.
  • I no longer have to be on a set schedule. I can make my own schedule. ( surprisingly this is really hard for me!)
  • I literally live next to a lake!
  • I have gyms, grocery stores, Starbucks, gas stations, pharmacies and my bank all within 15 minutes of my home.
  • I have my “sister” close by and we have been spending time together. ( which has been amazing)
  • I have more time with my husband to explore and go on adventures.
  • I live closer to my son.

Fear of the Unknown:

I realized I am facing the fear of not working. Of not teaching. Now that I have all this free time I am struggling to figure out what to do with myself. Who am I if I do not teach? I feel like a limb has been cut off of me and I am having phantom pains. Flashes of what it was like when I was teaching. It’s not for a lack of trying. I have put myself out there thinking someone would want me to teach for them. But so far I have had a couple of heartbreaking let downs and no luck finding a job.  So I  passed out  my resume and business cards with an air of desperation. Only to be told, “we have no openings”. I have not even been asked to audition ( which is normal for my field). I feel like I am not being ‘seen” and it has been soul crushing.

But then something shifted inside me….

I realized how much of a workaholic I am. I use work to fill me up and I have become completely dependent on it.

A couple of days ago I told myself to stop all this nonsense. To just stop pushing. Why is it so bad to not be working? I realized I have been working so much and so hard for so long that I feel “less than” when I am not working. Like there is some magical formula that makes me a better person for working. I am afraid to see myself without my coat of teaching.

Whoa, wait! Wasn’t I just complaining that no one up here will “see” me for who I am?

I have always recognized the light in people around me. So much so that I let my own light become dim. Fear has hidden my own light from myself. It’s time for me to turn the light on and not be afraid. To look at myself beyond being a teacher. To let go of my fear of the unknown and embrace it.

Here are some things I have done to embrace the unknown.

  • I took the plunge and joined a gym. ( I have not paid for gym membership in 25 years! LOL!) I start with a trainer next week. They were doing a promotion and I got 4 training sessions for free!
  • I tried new nail person and liked her work. She does silk wrapping and is across the street from the gym I joined.
  • I tried a new hair stylist and had my hair cut and colored. It turned out great. This was very scary LOL!
  • I have been exploring yoga studios and trying new classes. The yoga up here is very different than what I am used to. But I am opening up to it and allowing myself to pick and choose the kind of yoga I prefer.
  • I am becoming familiar with the streets and how to get around town. I am actually using my GPS less!

I will continue to find my light and face my fears of the unknown. I will shed my teaching coat of amour and allow myself to be truly seen. I will continue to practice being me.

The light in me shines bright as I recognize the light that shines bright in you.

Namaste.

Click here for a Happy New Year video clip.

 

 

 

December 1, 2018
by Toni
6 Comments

Settling In

The past month has been a flurry of packing, getting rid stuff, cleaning, unpacking and adapting to a new environment. I have learned a lot about myself and have grown in many ways.

I have had to let go of so much this past month and it’s finally starting to hit me. My home is now 6 hours away from everything I know. My family, my friends, my work and my community.  With the intensity and busyness of the move I have not really processed all that I have left behind. But in my heart I know I am in the right place. My husband and I are a great team and wherever we call home, we know we have each other. Our home is in our hearts not the house we live in. Everything we left behind is with us in our minds and hearts.

As I settle into my new home I am finally starting to feel some sense of normal in my life. I am a neat freak and when my house is in disarray I get very anxious. I have had to learn to cope with this anxiety and let go of it. Breathe IN, Breathe Out has become my mantra. This move has taught me that the world does not end because my house is a mess and that I can work through these emotions.

When our foundation ( our home) has been shifted there is a moment of complete imbalance. Like the moment the trapeze artist lets go of the bar to reach for the other. There is a level of trust that the next bar will be there. Sometimes I cannot see the next bar, or I am afraid to grab it. But then I remind myself to Breath In and Breathe Out. My head clears, my heart rate slows down and I can see the next step. I have learned to take things one day at a time, one box at at a time.

Here are some are things that I have learned about life during my transition.

  • I have learned what real rain looks like and feels like! We have gotten about 5 inches of rain in the last two weeks! It is the most rain I have seen in years! The tress and grass are so vibrant with color that it moves me.
  • I have learned that my new washer and dryer can take a lot of work! I absolutely love using them!
  • I have learned to not take anything for granted. We are 2 hours away from the Camp Fire and so our news is filled with the devastation and hardship that this community continues to go through.  I have learned to let go that my house is not perfect and I remind myself that at least I have a roof over my head.
  • I have learned that I need to start taking care of myself. My friend gently reminded me of this by asking me “Did you get a workout in today’? I am going to make a stronger effort to get out there and take some classes. I took one class  at the clubhouse last week and I enjoyed it! I also met some really nice people.
  • I have learned that the people in Auburn are very nice and welcoming. Everywhere we go, restaurants, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot ect.. everyone was really nice, very helpful and patient. BTW- I used all the gift cards that my So Cal friends gave me. We got a lot of great things for the house!
  • I have learned how important it is for me to be here with my “sister” Kirsti. She is facing another treatment for her cancer and I am blessed that I can be here. She continues to amaze me with her strength and calmness. She tells me the prayer is what gets her through and I am so happy she has something to rely on.
  • I have learned that my husband will go to the ends of the earth to make happy. Including getting his hands dirty with plumbing and putting up Christmas lights.

As I get ready to start another day of unpacking and organizing, I want to thank all of you for your support and love. My send off parties were amazing and gave me the strength I needed for this transition. I have not forgotten you. I have packed all of you up in my heart and put you safe place.

In case you don’t follow me on Facebook, below are some pictures I posted.

Namaste.