I have been a bit quiet the past two weeks. I have thought of you and my promise to post yoga poses every week to help you in your home practice.
But I also promised you that I would be real, real in my yoga, real sharing with you. I need some time to just be with yoga, and you. I hope that this honesty will be ok.
Yoga has been a part of my recovery from addiction, drugs and alcohol, my healing and my learning to accept grief in my life. Yoga has taught me how to stay in my body through the grief process, knowing that it is a process, not an event. As I have learned that all transitions are sacred, so is my movement through pain. Just like the beauty moving from Warrior 3 to 3 legged dog. Finding balance, coming from the real place of the core, quieting the mind, opening the heart.
Yoga has helped me through several touches of loss.
I remember losing a friend to suicide. Those days were so bad and the weekend after I got the news, I couldn't fill my time with busyness. I just knew that by the coldness that filled my body and the fight or flight that captured my heart, I had to get into action or a relapse was imminent. I went to 3 sober support meetings that day, talked with friends who are sober in between. I went to two yoga classes that day, one that I taught and one that I allowed myself to be loved by a Yoga Nidra teacher. ( thank you again Doug!) It was through this work that the absolute pain moved in my body to a level where I could feel my breath again, knew I was in control of my emotions and could continue to help others to process out mutual loss.
One time ,a few years later, I was sitting on my mat, waiting for class to begin and I received a call that another friend died while fishing. Just had his fishing reel in his hand, had a headache and was gone. I had a choice, to cancel the class or to breathe. So I choose to sit in the quiet on my mat, allowed the deepening breath to gently open my tight chest of shock , ache and the tears flowed. Not forced, no heaving in my crying, just within the flow of the pain. By the time the students came into the class, I could regain my sense of flow. Not pushing the pain away but integrating it into my experience and practice on that day.
This week, the matriarch of our family, the last of a loving generation is lying in a hospital bed, slowly passing from this world to the next. The pain in me is more palpable than I thought it would be. I am finding that talking with people is too much, but being and moving with people is filling my soul. Hugs, gentle touching. This morning I did not cancel the yoga class, but taught it with deep grief and intention in my breath and movement. The students were gentle and kind, accepting that my grief was real, my honesty, gave them a way to move within their own process and self acceptance.
In my home I have a sacred space on my dining room table set up, holding my heart while I move through and allow this pain to integrate in to my forever. In that I feel a connection with my ancestors of past and am teaching my boys how to move through the pain with tradition and grace.
And again I am grateful for yoga, for teaching me both how to flow, but also how to allow sacred transitions. There is no hurry to get better ( whatever that is), no forcing a smile that isn't genuine nor forcing tears that are dishonest. Yoga has taught me that every change is sacred, to be moved through with honor, eventually with grace and joy.
So this week's yoga class will be all flow, flow of life, flow of community and flow of love. And together we will celebrate the sacredness of us, creating space to be real and honest.
All my love,
We are having quite a wonderful year! This year is about strength building! We have been doing two weeks of new poses then one week of poses we know so well.
Kinda like breathing...huh? In and out, move then rest.
Strength building in yoga is not just about getting buff, it's about building from the inside out . Strength builds the soul, then the body follows. When the soul feels strong, the body will give what it wants to represent that strength. My strength shows up differently than it did when I first started yoga, before 15 years passed, before the car accident. Yet, I am strong and continually getting stronger every day. My strength is exactly what my age, body and heart want it to be.
This past weekend, I showed the class how truly close they are to doing splits. Every one did the split that their body said yes to. It was totally beautiful! All of the splits looked different and each one was a celebration of the body and heart. They were so perfect!
So , this week, Here comes the Sun!
Pretty often on this page I share yoga with you and this week has been no exception. But I wanted to remind you ( any maybe myself) why yoga has become so important to me.
I have a history of significant depression, anxiety and PTSD. ( no worries, I won't go into the why!) For many years I tried, well, pretty much everything under the sun to change how I felt. Books, lectures,counseling, prayer, certifications, classes, support groups, etc. All of those worked to some extent. Yet, alone in my house, I would find myself staying in bed, crying on the bathroom floor, or mindlessly watching television instead of interacting with those I love,
Then I met yoga. While all of those things I learned in the past helped, the issues were not all just in my head, it was in my body too. The trauma, the lack of trust and understanding of self was always in the forefront, I would never "get a break". Then I took a yoga class in college.
It was so out of my realm of understanding. I just took it to get the credit out of the way. What happened is that all of the teachings that others were trying to share with me began to make sense when I also added body awareness to the mix. Suddenly I gained a new understanding of the words like honesty, integrity, faith. As my awareness grew, my coping skills and learning to work with my depression and anxiety grew too.
Now I love my anxiety. ( I know, right?? Who knew I would say that??) It means that I have too much on my plate and something needs to slow down. Sometimes it means that I am ignoring the cues that are right in front of me.
Depression? Not enough self care and not letting people who love me know what is really going on. Blocking myself off again.
I roll out my yoga mat, move my body until my mind wants to talk. Then I may journal, meditate, pray or really just go take a nap. The answers will come, slowly and gently. They always come.
Then the anxiety or depression can be thanked for doing it's job, taking care of me in the best of ways.
This is why I wrote my book, teach yoga and practice. It isn't because it's the next cool thing. I will be a yoga teacher long after " it is the thing" because it saves my life, daily.
Consider your yoga and it's place in your life. Are you in need of a tool that will help, will work and support your growth?
Step One......roll out your mat.............
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This is just a quick note. Tonight during our Tuesday Night Class, I had the most amazing trip down memory lane. Let me explain.
Part of the reason that I talk about the My Real Bodyoga classes being a community is exactly that, we really are. More than a slogan, it is the way we are with each other. Though my classes are small, each member of the class brings and leaves something memorable in the session. In the beginning, we start very differently than other yoga classes. We know each others names. We know whose knees are sore, who is stressed from work, how many of use have pets and dread home owners association meetings.
Tonight, as I was sharing with the class, the memory of all of the people that have been helped in the classes came to me. People with anger and anxiety, cancer, death and divorce. Marriages, births and job promotions. Bodies that have gained strength and bodies who strength and beauty are growing more " real " , like the Velveteen Rabbit.
Also tonight a former student stopped in to tell me that she would be back. Just to check in and share a little more life together.
The best part, is that my students know that I truly love them. Each person I have ever shared the yoga mat with has given me a sense of love and self. I look in their hearts and they show the beauty that is their life.
The best part of my yoga practice is my students, every time. Moving together and finding joy together is the best that life can get.
Just wanted to say thank you again, for allowing me to be your teacher. Thank you for being mine!