I Passed the NASM CPT Test

Whoah. I did it. I passed the NASM CPT test. On the first try. Since I used advice from a few blogs, I thought I would share my formula for success.

I purchased the least expensive Self Study option from NASM. It was expensive, but I was prepared for the cost. When my materials arrived, I felt a little lost on how to get started, but decided to just jump right in. I am so glad I started studying right away, because I was in for a huge wake up call. Most of the information was completely foreign to me. Stress and panic ensued. Seriously. I have never been so terrified of failing!

I read the entire text book on my own and also watched all of the videos from NASM. I took the chapter quizzes, and retook them when needed. I filled 2 notebooks with notes and highlighted everything. Wow. It’s a ton of information. At this point, I was still freaking out and knew I needed help. I decided to purchase the Audio Lectures and Practice Tests from Fitness Mentors. www.fitnessmentors.com. Fitness Mentors is run by Eddie Lester. He also teaches the content in a classroom setting. I am not in the same geographic location, so in person classes were not an option for me.

While listening to the Audio Lectures, Eddie takes you through the entire book chapter by chapter. He gives you hints of information that may be on the test. After each Audio Lecture, there is an assignment to complete. I did each assignment. I also took notes and did the practice quizzes for each chapter. Once I completed all of this, I knew I still needed more help. I decided to upgrade my purchase with Fitness Mentors to include Power Point presentations and more lectures of the material.

Purchasing the Power Point lectures enabled me to go through the book again under Eddie’s guidance. He pointed out even more potential test questions. I again took notes and the quizzes accompanying each lesson. I was finally starting to feel at least a little confident.

I took all of the practice tests provided by Fitness Mentors and NASM. I never failed a practice test. Each time I retook them, my score improved. Still, I was not confident that I would pass the real test, but knew in my heart something would have to be really wrong for me to fail.

By the time my test date arrived, I had studied for almost 6 months, filled up 4 notebooks, and really understood the information. Understanding the information and not just memorizing it was key! I do not think I could have passed without purchasing the programs from Fitness Mentors. NASM has more detailed programs, but you can’t add on to your original choice, so I was out of luck there.

The bottom line is that you have to study…a lot! You need to understand the information and not just memorize it. You basically have to live and breathe it. I spent about $1000.00 when it was all said and done. I didn’t plan on spending that much, but it was worth it. Although I found out that I passed right away, I don’t know my score.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions regarding the study options or the test. I honestly don’t remember what questions were on it, but Fitness Mentors had me prepared! Good luck!




Every November I focus on the theme “Gratitude” in my yoga classes.  Gratitude, like yoga, is a practice.  It’s training yourself to view the world in a certain way.  Viewing the world through eyes of gratitude can change your life.  Instead of yearning for the latest style of shoes, you realize just how blessed you are to have shoes at all. Many of you reading this (including myself) may even become a bit embarrassed as you realize how much excess you have.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to have “things”, but looking at your life through eyes of gratitude can put you at ease.  You have enough. Maybe you even have more than enough.  Perhaps you choose to share with those who don’t have as much.

One of my favorite quotes is from Tony Robbins:

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant”.

Boom.  Life changing.  Think about it.  Imagine a situation where you were disappointed.  Your expectations were not met.  If you trade that expectation for appreciation, you suddenly feel so blessed and no longer focus on the feeling of disappointment.  Ahhhh.  Sweet freedom.

As we move closer to Thanksgiving, I encourage you to view the world through eyes of gratitude.  Many people find that keeping a gratitude journal provides a wonderful way to be aware of blessings.  I simply write down 3 things that I’m grateful for any time I pass by my journal.  Others choose to journal as a daily practice perhaps before going to sleep at night.

If you find it difficult to think of things that you are grateful for, remember this quote from Oprah Winfrey:

“Whenever you can’t think of something to be grateful for, remember your breath. With each breath you take, you can say, ‘I’m still here'”.

How do you practice gratitude?

61 Points – Guided Savasana

Several years ago, I experienced 61 Points which is a guided relaxation technique often used to relax the body prior to practicing Yoga Nidra.  My teacher introduced the technique as a guided savasana, and that is how I have been teaching it.  My students love this relaxing practice.

During 61 Points, you are made aware of 61 distinct points in the body.  All the practitioner needs to do is draw their attention to the part of the body that is mentioned. There are other ways to practice such a visualizing a particular color at each point when it is mentioned.  I have seen a few different lists of 61 points in the body.  They all cover the same points but not always in the same order.  The list below is the one I use.

To begin, lie comfortably on your back.  Take time to get comfortable and release any tension you may be holding on to.  Start to watch your breath flow in through your nose and out through your nose.  Slowly begin to bring your awareness to each point in the body as it is listed below.  You can choose how much time you spend on each point.  When I teach this as a guided savasana, I have the students spend 5 seconds on each point.  I then let them have a few minutes to rest in silence.

Once you complete all 61 Points, allow yourself to rest.  When you are ready, start to make any small movements that feel good to you like wiggling your fingers and toes, gently turning your head side to side, or even take a full body stretch.  Where your practice goes from there is up to you.  Enjoy this relaxing practice.

1 – center of forehead
2 – base of the front of the neck
3 – right shoulder
4 – right elbow (inside or outside, as you prefer – the same for all other joints)
5 – right wrist
6 – right thumb
7 – right index finger
8 – right middle finger
9 – right ring finger
10 – right little finger
11 – right wrist
12 – right elbow
13 – right shoulder
14 – base of the front of the neck
15 – left shoulder
16 – left elbow
17 – left wrist
18 – left thumb
19 – left index finger
20 – left middle finger
21 – left ring finger
22 – left little finger
23 – left wrist
24 – left elbow
25 – left shoulder
26 – base of the front of the neck
27 – center of chest
28 – right of chest
29 – center of chest
30 – left of chest
31 – center of chest
32 – navel
33 – pubis
34 – right hip
35 – right knee
36 – right ankle
37 – right big toe
38 – right second toe
39 – right third toe
40 – right fourth toe
41 – right little toe
42 – right ankle
43 – right knee
44 – right hip
45 – pubis
46 – left hip
47 – left knee
48 – left ankle
49 – left big toe
50 – left second toe
51 – left third toe
52 – left fourth toe
53 – left little toe
54 – left ankle
55 – left knee
56 – left hip
57 – pubis
58 – navel
59 – center of chest
60 – base of the front of the neck
61 – center of forehead

Use the following link to access an audio recording of 61 Points that you can use to guide your practice.

Yoga Class Playlists

These are a few of the yoga class playlists my students have requested more information on.  They were originally a separate page on my website but I thought it made more sense to make a blog post with this information.


From time to time, students ask about the music I play in class.  I will provide popular playlist information here!  Enjoy!

Playlist from Saturday, December 22, 2012 & Sunday, December 23, 2012

This playlist got us in the Christmas spirit!

Christmas Time is Here (Instrumental), A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi Trio

Greensleeves, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi Trio

O Tannenbaum, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi Trio

Happy Holiday (Beef Wellington Remix), Holiday Lounge – The Christmas Remixes, Bing Crosby

Christmas Bells (Northern Elektrix Remix), Holiday Lounge – The Christmas Remixes, Patti Page

The Christmas Waltz (Awayteam Remix), Merry Mixmas: Christmas Classics Remixed (Digital Version), Nancy Wilson

Ong Namo, Grace, Snatam Kaur

Silent Night, December, Chris Botti

Snowfall, Snowfall – Single, Ingrid Michaelson


Silent Night, Acoustic Christmas, Jacques Stotzem

Om, Mantra, Jane Winther

Ra Ma Da Sa, Grace, Snatam Kaur

Music Information from November 2012

I used the same playlist from May 19, 2012 (see below).  I did add a few songs.  The songs that students most wanted information on were:

Just Breathe, Just Breathe [Digital 45], Pearl Jam

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Songbird, Eva Cassidy

Playlist from Saturday May 19, 2012 & Sunday May 20, 2012

Gayatri Mantra, The Essence, Deva Premal

Chan Chan, Buena Vista Social Club, Buena Vista Social Club

Waiting on the World to Change, Continuum, John Mayer

Ain’t No Reason, So Much More, Brett Dennen

Beautiful People, When I Woke, Rusted Root

Standing on the Moon, Built to Last, Grateful Dead

Just Breathe, Heroes, Willie Nelson & Lukas Nelson

Om Asatoma, The Essence, Deva Premal

Om Namo, The Essence, Deva Premal


Over the Rainbow, Songbird, Eva Cassidy

Long Time Sun, Grace, Snatam Kaur

Ong Mano, Grace, Snatam Kaur

Playlist from Saturday April 14, 2012 & Sunday April 15, 2012

Australia, Songs from the Pipe, The Surfers

Imagine, Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, Jack Johnson

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Alone in IZ World, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Just Breathe, Just Breathe [Digital 45], Pearl Jam

Just Breathe, Piano Tribute to Eddie Vedder & Pearl Jam, Piano Tribute Players

River Flows in You, First Love (Yiruma Piano Collection), Yiruma

Let it Be, Across the Universe (Music from the Motion Picture) [Delux Edition], Carol Woods & Timothy T. Mitchum

Rama Bolo, Bhakti Bazaar, Ben Leinbach & Jai Uttal


Cluster One, The Division Bell, Pink Floyd

Marooned, The Division Bell, Pink Floyd

Letting Go

I am organizing my website.  I had a page called “Readings” but thought it made more sense as a blog post.  I am re-posting here.


February 26, 2011

Letting Go

Author Unknown

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring,
It means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off,
It’s the realization that I can’t control another.
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.

Filling Up My Cup

I signed up to participate in Hanuman Academy’s Yoga & Self Mastery Summit. It is a free, week long, online summit featuring master yoga teachers and consciousness leaders. I scanned the featured presenters and was sold immediately! Rod Stryker. Say no more. My Yoga Teacher Training program featured 5 days with Rod Stryker. He is an amazing yogi, orater, and a genius for sure. I enjoyed those 5 days of training so much that I went back for 5 days the year following. His trainings are incredibly rich. I know I only absorb a small percent of the lectures and am patient knowing I will continue to learn.

The subject of the talk that Rod Stryker gave was Challenges and Opportunities for the Modern Yogi. I decided to watch and listen. It was amazing. I highly recommend checking it out. Tantra was discussed for much of the talk. I love Tantra. The idea of a methodology that leads you to be a better version of yourself if you PRACTICE is just the answer to everything to me. Another topic in the talk was tapas. I’ve focused my practice and teaching on tapas in the past, but I now feel I understand the topic a bit more clearly. I look forward to digging deeper.

About a month ago, I went to LoveLight Yoga & Arts Festival. The message I took home was: PRACTICE. This was a huge message of the talk today. Practice. Also, have a teacher. Someone who has explored this methodology for themselves. One other message was to be selective with regards to your teacher. I am ready for a teacher. I definitely have “modern yogi” challenges as I work teaching yoga and care for my 2 young sons. My lifestyle makes traveling to study with a teacher quite difficult and then there is also the financial aspect involved with travel. I am currently looking for local teachers that I may be able to practice with. I am being selective as I am ready to have a deeper practice. Here’s the thing though. Have I gone to a class this week? No. I won’t find my teacher that way. I must commit to doing it. I must practice tapas and go to class even if I need to clean the house, feed the dogs, etc. It will only make me a better version of myself.

How did you find your teacher? I’d love to hear from you.



Blissing out at LoveLight Yoga & Arts Festival after an amazing

Dharma Yoga class. 2017.

We Will Never Forget

Scrolling through Facebook this morning brings back so many painful memories. I was working in Baltimore for Legg Mason when we heard about the World Trade Center being hit. It was so overwhelming. We went to the trading floor to watch the TV’s. I was terrified. I was already completely out of my comfort zone working in the city. Now this. Were we next? I was so confused and scared. I was terrified for many months following the attacks. Always looking over my shoulder. Watching video footage day in and day out.

Scrolling through Facebook this morning makes me realize how far I’ve come. Humans really are resilient. Who would have thought any of us would ever feel ok again. I now have such a grasp on my anxiety. I am in my comfort zone, practicing my Dharma as a yoga teacher. I no longer watch the news, but stay up to date by reading it.

I definitely feel a rush of anxiety any time I see a reference to the attacks on 9/11, but I do feel that it’s my duty to remember. I want to remember for all those who died or lost loved ones. I honor them and all those who helped that day and the months following. God Bless us all.