Honouring the Mother

Mother’s Day is an excellent time to appreciate and connect with the Divine Feminine.

You’ll find this archetype throughout popular culture and in different religions.
The Goddess, the Queen, Wise Woman.
Mother Mary, Durga, Laksmi, Saraswati. Asherah, Astarte, Isis, Athena.

Each of these anthropomorphized archetypes offers an opportunity to connect with one aspect of the Divine Feminine:  The Powerful, The Wise, The Strong, The Nurturing, The Compassionate, The Creative, and The Mother.

This Mother’s Day weekend, I encourage you to connect with the wisdom of the nurturer.  Here are some ideas:

Self-Care

This has become so much of a buzz-word lately it’s almost lost it’s meaning.  However, it bears repeating: with all of your responsibilities and all the ways that you serve others, it is necessary and important to make time to meet your own needs.

This means scheduling time just for you, and honouring that time as much as everything else on your calendar!

Reiki

Massage

Private Yoga Class

Facial

Acupuncture

Epsom Salt & Essential Oil Bath

 

Quiet Time

In this always-on world, it’s easy to stop hearing the sound of your quiet inner voice.  Carve some space out to turn off your phone and unplug.

Meditate

Walk Barefoot

Go to the Beach

Hike in the Forest

Swim

Connect with Community

If you have been feeling isolated, you might need some unstructured time with somebody you love, your family, friends, or even strangers united over a common interest!

Call a Friend

Group Yoga Class

A Night of Dancing/Music

Learn Something New!

Keep YOU at the Top of Your List

The amazing thing about self-care is the ripple-effect it has!  When you implement these practices and begin to feel better, you find that you are more patient and kind with the people around you.

As you shed the hard layers of stress and soften the brittle fascia of your body, you’re better able to connect with your sacred self.  When you shine from that space, you give others permission to live from their truth.

What more powerful gift can you offer the world than your conscious presence?

5 Reasons a Beginner’s Series is Preferable to a Public Class

You’ve probably seen your local studio advertising a Beginner’s Series.  They’re a popular way to for people to learn about a new practice, but you might be wondering what is so different between a Beginner Series and a public class?

1.  Cumulative Classes

We’ll zero in on a small piece of the larger yoga puzzle, and each class will progressively build on previous classes, which leaves you with a strong foundation to walk into any yoga class you want.

2.  Space for questions

Unlike a public class where everyone is silently moving from posture to posture following the teacher’s cues, inquisitive minds are encouraged to explore in this small-class format.  Your wrists always hurt when you’re in Downward Facing Dog?  Chances are, you’re not the only one, so we can pause as a class together to explore options that might benefit you and several other people in the room. Continue reading “5 Reasons a Beginner’s Series is Preferable to a Public Class”

7 Benefits of a Consistent Practice

When I completed my 200 hour yoga training, my lead teachers kept talking about having a home practice.  I would go home and roll my yoga mat out and try to recreate a sequence I learned in class.  Often, I would get a few poses in and and just get stuck.  I’d be hanging out in a high lunge trying to think of what comes next.

Or I would “forget” to roll my mat out at all.  Living in Austin in my 20’s meant that there was always a farmer’s market, new band, or food truck to explore.  It wasn’t rare that I would be too tired to come to my mat between social time, work, and all the yoga I was doing in my training and regular classes.

Once I received my certification and began teaching, I still struggled with creating time for a regular personal practice, despite one of my favorite teachers telling me that real teaching starts at home.  It wasn’t until I signed up for an Anusara Immersion that required a regular home practice as a pre-requisite that I finally began to settle into a steady practice. Continue reading “7 Benefits of a Consistent Practice”

All the Yoga

I first came to yoga in 1998, and I remain just as entranced with the practice today as I did twenty years ago.  What keeps me coming back to my mat over and over again is the fact that the word yoga encompasses so much!

The sanskrit word yoga, or yuj, literally translates to the word yoke.  Many interpret this to mean yoga is the yoking, or controlling, of the mind.  It is also the yoking, or uniting, of breath and movement.  You could say that yoga is the yoking, or union of yin and yang, of masculine and feminine, of strength and suppleness, of this and that…I could go on, but we’re all busy.

Suffice it to say that this balance of opposites is enough to intrigue, and the exploration that followed intrigue is still afoot.

Another aspect of yoga that keeps me hooked is the myriad forms and styles, kriyas and asanas, breath, mantra, mudra, and meditation that combine in endless forms to make up the physical and metaphysical practice of body and mind.

Whether it’s a new kriya from kundalini yoga, a favorite mantra I’m chanting, or the familiar Sivananda sequence of poses, there’s always a practice at my fingertips to challenge my mind and my body.

2009, taking a break from a hike to make a pigeon

Continue reading “All the Yoga”

A Vivir en el Momento

I am still shaking off the sleep from a 2 am flight out of Managua Nicaragua as I sit snuggling my daughter and reflecting on the past week in this surprisingly cool Florida afternoon.

When I was invited to participate in Yoga Fest Nicaragua, I was excited to contribute to an event dedicated to showcasing yoga from a variety of international teachers.  I had few expectations, which gave me the freedom to experience and enjoy each moment fully.  The impromptu dinners with new and old friends, the Reiki treatments and card readings Paty la Mariposa and I shared, and the many moments of free form dancing that overtook us all were moments of joy sin expectativas.

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Some of the plans I set in motion for the week came to fruition and others didn’t, which allowed me the opportunity to open to grace and allow the universe to surprise me with a week that turned out far better than what I could have imagined!

I’m grateful to have lived long enough to have this perspective – rather than get frustrated if something I desire doesn’t come to pass, I trust that it is only to make space for something bigger.

For example, our Reiki Course at the Laguna de Apoyo was an incredible mix of women, both local to Nicaragua and long-term turistas, all visionaries offering something unique and brave to the world.

The trip was a healthy mix of work and play, which allowed us to serve people from all over the world with mini private yoga sessions, meditations and mantra offerings, chakra balancing, Reiki practice, and card readings.

And so the week turned out exactly as it was supposed to all along!  I’m overtaken by gratitude for this practice that allows me to learn again and again, each time deeper, how to fully step into the present moment and enjoy the beauty that surrounds me.

Thank you for being a part of the journey.

Peel Away the Layers – Modern Life and the 5 Koshas

As the holiday season rapidly approaches, it’s easy to see how hectic our lives are.

Even without the chaos of preparing for the perfect day, modern life tends to have a frenetic layer of haste.  We find ourselves multi-tasking throughout the day.  Add to that the layer of noise – from our children, friends, families, the news, your podcast, your playlist, the classic rock station playing while you shop.

With all of this hustle and bustle, it’s difficult to find the time to tune in to yourself.  Each layer of distraction pulls you away from the present moment, from that constant serenity and peace, the infinite space and possibility imbued with Isha, the divine presence, that dwells within each of us.

It is with that in mind that my friend Paty and I set about creating a Retreat to Reconnect.  We want to help you peel away the layers that are stopping you from connecting to your sacred self, so that when you step back into the beautiful whirr of your life, you step from a space of power and truth.

When we lose our connection to self, we might find ourselves reacting to small things with annoyance or frustration.  Perhaps you’ve gone all day today without taking a full breath, or had a full conversation with somebody without really hearing a word.

If we spend weeks, months, or years in this state, it’s easy to lose track of your Dharma, the goal that is your life’s destiny.

Modern life is a constant distraction, and we all get sucked into the mundaneContinue reading “Peel Away the Layers – Modern Life and the 5 Koshas”

Staying Healthy During Transitions

As our Summer in Florida finally transitions into Fall, I find myself and my daughter coughing and feverish as our bodies catch up to the changing seasons.  

Sick happens to everyone, and even more so to people who interact often with others!  Below, I’ll share some of my favorite preventatives and remedies, and how my yoga practice shifts when I’m feeling under the weather. Continue reading “Staying Healthy During Transitions”

Barriers to Practice

Creating any healthy new habit is not easy.  It’s heartening to me that Patanjali acknowledges this in the Yoga Sutras.  As he’s espousing the many benefits you’ll gain from your new yoga practice, he stops to mention the barriers you will encounter.

As with other truths discussed in the Yoga Sutras, these obstacles are as relevant for people today as they were for yogis committing to the practice thousands of years ago.

All nine obstacles are disruptions to the heart-mind field of consciousness (citta) and can be debilitating to a practice, because distracting thoughts and emotions (vrtti-s) arise when antarāya-s are present.  These nine obstacles are:

Disease

Apathy

Self-doubt

Carelessness

Fatigue

Regression

Sexual preoccupation

Erroneous views

Ungroundedness

~Nicolai Bachman, The Path of the Yoga Sutras

It’s great to know that these obstacles are out there, because, with planning, you can anticipate them and stop them from disrupting your practice.

Continue reading “Barriers to Practice”

Breath as a Bridge to Joy

“The yoga tradition tells us the mind and breath are twin laws of life, they travel together.  When the mind is calm and clear, the breath flows smoothly.  Conversely, when the breath flows smoothly, the mind calms and clears.

The condition of one determines the condition of the other….We experience the boundless joy deposited within the mind itself, which manifests when the mind is able to plumb its own depths.”

~Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, The Secret of the Yoga Sutras

When I started my yoga practice, I was regularly not breathing.

Crazy, right?  But my body’s reaction to stress was to tense EVERYTHING up, including my abdomen, and just hold my breath.

In that state, my feelings of stress would increase to feelings of panic, and everything would feel like a life or death situation.  Psychologists call this “fight or flight” syndrome, and it’s a classic reaction to stress.

Continue reading “Breath as a Bridge to Joy”

Heartbreak

Please accept this as the first of several posts designed to illustrate seasons of life where your yoga and meditation practice will be helpful.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had your heart broken….

Crickets?  Probably not.  Unfortunately, this is one big, painful part of the human experience that we all must traverse.

What is even more heartbreaking than heartbreak is giving up on love

 

Here are some ways Yoga and Reiki can help you find your way through the wilderness a broken heart and back to living and loving from your fullest

Continue reading “Heartbreak”