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So, as always, I try to stay clear of these statements and discussions with students.¬† What are the things you shouldn’t talk about at work…politics, religion, and….sex maybe…well, if not, those sound like good topics not to discuss at work ūüôā

But, this post, while still politically based, has a different intention.¬† The intention is to express the way I feel about the state of our country with no political lines drawn around it.¬† I will go ahead and tell you, I am a registered democrat, but I do not vote a straight ticket and I most certainly never vote for the President of the United States by what political party he is aligned with.¬† Now, certainly, there are issues that stay true to each party that make people lean towards voting more consistently with one party than another.¬† My husband is a registered Republican, but we agree on many issues.¬† So why, in a time where we push to break down the lines that divide people in our everyday life, do we continue to accept and basically thrive off of having a division between the people of US right down the middle?¬† Why do we as American’s (the¬†melting pot, the most¬†innovative, the most _____you fill in the blank)¬†continue to play into the “us” and “them” card?¬† Every four years, why do we put two people who otherwise are two of the most respected people in the world for their intelligence, their national pride, and their dedication to country in front of the TV screen and start tearing them down for the accomplishments as well as the failures they have had in their life?

It is absolutely ridiculous to me.¬† It really hit home this year when my 6 year became interested in the election.¬† I noticed that everything that was being publicized on television as well as talked about amongst adults in ear shot of clever little ears were lessons that I actually preached against to my son.¬† We teach our son to applaud accomplishment in others.¬† We teach him to love his neighbors.¬† We teach him good sportsmanship.¬† We teach him to do his best everyday and no matter win or lose he should be proud of what he was able to do.¬† We teach him that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!¬† Well, the election was definitely not modeling those lessons and many others.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he told me “I hate ___(fill in the blank of a presidential candidate___)”.¬† I spun around quickly, shocked.¬† One, because I didn’t think he knew anything about the election, and, two, because we do not “hate” things in our house.¬† We can disagree, we can strongly dislike, but hate is a word that is reserved for the worst of circumstances and in most instances not used at all.¬† So, this lead to a discussion with him about politics, the political parties, and how we make our decisions based on the issues the candidates stand for, not the candidates themselves.¬† This amazing little 6-year-old¬†actually sat with me for about 20 minutes and wanted me to read and explain the major points in each candidates platform.¬† He then made his own decision on who he was going to vote for.¬† And, I will tell you he decided he would vote for Romney because he liked his K-12 education plan, which is something that would be important to a kindergartener.¬† Nothing made me more proud, because he did it because he believed in the issues.¬† And, now that the election is over, do you think I have heard that little man say one negative word about where our nation is going or the state of our education system?¬† NO!¬† Because, we have taught him to do his best, but you win some and you lose some.¬† We have taught him to be a good sport and that if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.¬† And we have taught him to love his neighbors.¬† Most importantly through this election we have taught him to love and respect his country and now that we have a president elected we stand behind him and those that help him make decisions.¬† What we have taught him is that after this election, we drop the two sides and we come together as one.¬† One strong body of people who respect each other and want the best for one another, because that is the road to success.¬† I hope that we adults can actually model this for our young people – or maybe we need to learn from them.

So, anyway,¬† my not so political statement may actually be pretty political.¬† There may be people who say I am naive or that I have my head stuck in the sand.¬† But, that could not be farther from the truth.¬† I have my eyes wide open.¬† I see all the division and all the hatred and all the anger.¬† I choose to believe that we as a group of people are better than that.¬† I choose to have faith in humanity and faith in Americans.¬† I choose to have faith and hope.¬† Hope for our country, hope for our future, and hope for our children’s future.¬† We all have a choice.¬† I hope the choice of the majority is to put aside the division and move forward as one.

What does this have to do with yoga?¬† Not much…but yoga is the ultimate teacher or union.¬† The yoking together of the mind, body and spirit in a way that makes us more connected to the bigger picture – to the universe – to each other.¬† The Bhagavad Gita states, “Free from¬†all thoughts of “I” and “mine”, that man finds utter peace.”

This is a little late in current events.¬† I¬†wrote this¬†last week in¬†the heat of the moment and then put aside to proofread later.¬† Life happened and here it comes a week late.¬† Hopefully still thought-provoking and hope you enjoy ūüôā

“Let the beauty that you love be what you do.” – Rumi

I am ruminating on this one today.¬† I picked up Meditation from the Mat by Rolf Gates again this week.¬† I have read the whole book once and many of the passages several times.¬† It seems that wherever I open up and flip to the message seems to be just what I need to think about.¬† Today I flipped it open and read this quote…. “let the beauty that you love be what you do.”

It is so easy to get caught up in what we think we should do; what our relatives think we ought to be doing; what we think we need to do to match our neighbors. It is all these outside sources weighing down on our decisions that cause the difficulty in just living our life happily.¬† While it is hard to really dig deep and find what it is that is our life’s purpose (our dharma), it is not so hard to just wake up each day and do something we love.¬† Each day wake up and make a step closer to doing what it is you love.¬† Even if it is one minute out of the workday of the job that is stressful.¬† Even if it is after work when you are tired and unmotivated.¬† Think that is “the beauty that I love” and do something to make it happen in your life.¬†¬† Rolf gates says, “Dharma is a gift from God inscribed up on the heart…[it] is what makes you you.”¬† We cannot deny ourselves our God-given gifts and those things that we love.¬† We must¬†make our minds clear enough to see them and then¬†move towards it.

Maybe you love your yoga practice…I know I DO!¬† I thought of this today while I practiced.¬† Our yoga practice is preparation for seeing and living our dharma.¬† Sometimes we are motivated by outside sources to practice – our own self-criticism¬†of our bodies or our minds or our own need to beat what our neighbor is doing in practice today.¬† But, eventually the practice wears away at the self-doubt, the criticism¬†and the competition.¬† It begins to¬†prepare our bodies and our minds for living our dreams without self-doubt and criticism.¬† As I practiced today I remembered the passage I read from Meditations from the Mat this morning that said, “Coming to the mat, we prepare; going forth into our lives, we shine.¬† Our practice is an inhalation, our dharma is an exhalation.”¬† As I inhaled, I prepared; as I exhaled, I went deeper into the posture.¬† I had a really great practice today.¬† In turn, my day has been happier, more productive, and lighter than it has been in many days.¬† I see clearer what I am doing and how I can move forward not only in my practice, but my life.

“Our practice is an inhalation, our dharma is an exhalation.”¬† Thank you Rolf Gates for the inspiration to move forward into the week.¬† Happy Monday everyone!

 

To start…here are some links to articles that have been in the yoga community lately.¬† If you do not have an understanding of the controversy/conversation, then you may want to skim or read these articles before reading my blog this time.

CNN

Huffington Post

New York Times

The conversation I want to have today¬†really centers around what is good yoga and what is quality yoga instruction and how can we replicate it many times over.¬† I say that you cannot.¬† No one can develop a training manual, teach a group of students, and create a set of standards that will make a good yoga instructor.¬† Good yoga instruction does not come from knowing correct alignment.¬† Good yoga instruction is not being able to recite Patanjali’s¬†Yoga Sutras forward and backward.¬† Good yoga instruction is not being able to demo every arm balance of yoga and calling ques from full lotus.¬† All of these things are good things for a yoga instructor know, be able to do, and be part of a practice, but it does not make you “good”.¬† Good yoga instruction comes from a teacher who authentically, mindfully, and truthfully teaches the philosophy of yoga as it relates to his or her students; guides the asana from a safe and effective point of view; and, encourages the student to find awareness and depth in their own practice.¬† This can not be taught, but is developed over time with consistent practice and self exploration.

There are thousands of different ways to approach yoga Рdifferent schools of yoga, different lineages of teachers, different styles.  We all connect to yoga in different ways.  I teach lots of atheletes.  For them, starting a yoga practice is sometimes easier in a power yoga setting because it mimics what their body is use to in their sport.  They feel an adrenaline rush, they get a little sweaty, they challenge themselves.  This makes starting the journey into yoga feel a little safer.  Once fully comfortable with the physical practice the mental and emotional depth the practice of yoga brings is then able to emerge.  I was much this way.  As a young yogi, I started in a hot class because my stiff, atheletic body felt better there.  I then found that the power moves made me feel accomplished like the way athletics had.  As my practice grew, I found my way to balance:  enjoying the gentler side of yoga at times, using restorative yoga for recovery, and learning that meditation helped me train just as much as the physical practices.  This was MY process.  This is how I fully found MY yoga.  I then became a teacher so that I could share that with others.

Other people do not have the connection to their physical body the way athletes do.¬† The arm balances¬†and chaturangas¬†are intimidating.¬† They approach yoga from the subtler side of the practice.¬† Exploring pranayama and meditation first with gentle yogic moves to awaken the body.¬† But, over time these people start to connect to their bodies in new ways.¬† I have a student now that I teach privately.¬† She started a yoga practice after not “working out” in over 10 years.¬† We started with lots of mediation, breathing, and restorative/gentle poses.¬† Over time this work has allowed to her find her “power”.¬† She is feeling stronger, balanced, and confident.¬† In this¬†approach, yoga still found balance, but the path was a little different.¬† Neither one better or worse; neither one needing to be judged.

In the end, yoga is about union.  It is the joining of the physical body to mental clarity and ultimately spiritual awakening.  We cannot judge the path by which a person gets there.  As a yoga teacher, we can only be a facilitator of the process.  As a teacher it is our ethical responsibility to know what we are teaching and to teach what we know effectively.  We need to give our students the tools they need to succeed.  We need to live our yoga and be shining examples to the students in our life.  We need to speak truthfully with intention to never do harm.  Through moderation and balance in our practice and the ever-present act of self-study, we can know how to offer quality yoga to our students.  Practicing contentment will let us know as teachers that the students we have on any given day are just enough and exactly who we are supposed to be teaching.  And, with a pure heart, zeal for all of life, and a surrendering to the vast power the universe holds, we can approach our practice and our teaching humbly.  This is what makes good teachers.  This is why yoga can change your life and those around you.

If you are teacher, stay on your path and be confident in who you are and what you have to offer.  Seek out teachers that foster the innate abilities you already have and who will help to enhance your teaching.  Keep learning and growing everyday.  It will  happen for you Рone day you wake up to teach and realize you have settled into what is authentically you and all is right with the world.

If you are a student looking¬†for a teacher, it is an option to look to see if they have their 200 or 500 hour credentials.¬† But, that will not make a good teacher.¬† If fact, some amazing teachers do not have Yoga Alliance credentials.¬† But, that is a start.¬† Then it is trial and error process.¬† Go take from a variety of teachers in different styles.¬† Be mindful of your level of experience and ability and never do anything that doesn’t feel right in your body.¬† This will keep you safe from injury.¬† Find a teacher that speaks to you on multiple¬†levels:¬† the physical practice seems to be the right speed for you, mentally and emotionally you “click”, and the spiritual tones to the class are in line with your beliefs.¬† But, be open to new ideas and ways of looking at the world and yourself.¬† If you go to class with an open mind, you will find the right teacher.¬† It is said, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Don’t get me wrong teacher trainings and workshops are still great.¬† They are essential part of the process.¬† They just are not all of the process.¬† And, as I will discuss later this week, I think that the qualities mentioned above can be fostered in teachers before we need more regulations on the profession of yoga.

So, for what it is worth…this is my two cents on the conversations floating around in the yoga world right now.¬† There are a couple more facets to this argument I will explore later this week.¬† Then I’ll get back on board with my ramblings of yoga philosophy and my life ūüôā

Namaste’

Hello!

It has been quite awhile.¬† I could recount all the reasons why I have not blogged in a month, but we are all busy, so you all know why I haven’t been spinning words on WordPress lately.¬† Not to mention I have decided that I am not a “daily blogger”.¬† I had intentions at one point last year to post at least 4 or 5 times a week.¬† I realized that my writing just isn’t like that.¬† It is spontaneous and from an authentic place that is an outlet for me to express an opinion.¬† It felt too forced and fake when I gave my self parameters to post daily.¬† So, here we are without a post in about a month, but I promise good things to come!

I hope that the New Year has treated you all well.¬† I have been enjoying many new things in the new year.¬† One of which is a fuller work load.¬† I am teaching lots of yoga these days and dipping back into the massage-world also.¬† It is nice to be active in the community of healers around here.¬† I feel blessed to be part of it.¬† One thing I have realized while teaching more is that I learn more when I teach more.¬† Doesn’t sound right does it?¬† But, it is the truth.¬† I go to trainings, classes and workshops to learn new things.¬† I read and research to find more information.¬† I speak to people I respect as teachers and leaders in my chosen field.¬† BUT, the true learning, the complete comprehension of the material, does not happen until I actually teach it.¬† In this way, I am not only the teacher in class, but also student!¬† And vice versa.¬† If you are my student, you can also consider yourself my teacher.¬† This is a beautiful way to look at all of life.¬† As we move through life, we are always the student and always the teacher: exchanging information, transferring energies, and connecting each other through those exchanges.¬†

One of my favorite quotes from recent reading is,

“If you want to learn something, read about it.¬†If you want to understand something, write about it.¬† If you want to master something, teach it.”

Yogi Bhajan

We are all teachers, and we are all students – our entire life.¬† As a student, I read all the new information and commentary coming out about yoga and healing therapies.¬† I have typically stayed away from writing about any of the “hot topics” in yoga news.¬† I do not want my ideas to ever come across as political, one-sided, or controversial.¬† But, in an effort to completely understand some of the info and stories out there right now, I am going to begin to write about them.¬† As someone once said, “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”¬†(I believe this is a country music song, but I am sure it is someone else’s quote¬†also ūüôā .)¬† I know I have something to say about the politics of the yoga community right now…hmmm….just going to take a while to get the thoughts organized so they are said in the right way.¬† More to come…

Look forward to sharing my thoughts with you and I hope to hear back from you with your opinions.  Do you have any topic that you feel passionately about now?  Anything you want me to get on my soapbox about?  The safety of yoga, the business of yoga, yoga ethics, etc.  Let me know.  Would love to hear what you are learning, understanding and teaching these days!

Among other reasons, one of the things that has kept me busy lately and¬†away from¬†” bloggin’ ”¬†is preparing for a half marathon that I ran last weekend.¬† It was my second half marathon – both being on Kiawah Island, SC.¬† It is a great race and a great weekend away.¬† If you are thinking about trying one, check it out.¬† Beautiful scenery, good food, and it’s all FLAT!!¬† I had a PR of 2 hours and 9 seconds.¬† YAY!

One of the reason’s it was such a great time for me is due to “a little inspiration” along the way.¬† I guess I had a slow start back to running after the birth of second son, John.¬† I didn’t run during my pregnancy with him,¬†and the way back to running was a little hard.¬† Friends were a major motivator:¬† calling to go on runs, talking through the miles, and just being there beside me when I would rather have stopped.¬† Once I had momentum, we (the friends I was talking about earlier) decided to do the Kiawah¬†Island Half Marathon.¬† We started official training in September, and it was a fantastic journey – complete with long runs, minor injuries, ice baths and lots of laughs ūüôā¬† The motivation of friends definitely contributed to the PR!

In addition, implementing a more balanced approach to training allowed my body to get stronger and more adapted to racing.¬† Along with putting in more weekly miles than I have in the past, I cross¬†trained with weights and yoga.¬† Yoga is obviously a daily part of my life, but with this training cycle I really looked at where the balance needed to be placed.¬† When my running was low mileage, I took some power yoga and sweaty vinyasa.¬† When my runs got longer and training more intense, I put a nix on the power and found more deep stretch and restorative options.¬† More importantly, I was okay mentally with this balance.¬† The whole training period I did not feel fatigued; I did not feel desire to¬†flake out and ditch a run;¬†and, I didn’t feel guilty if I didn’t “feel the burn” while I did yoga.¬† I felt balanced and happy with my performance and overall health.¬† I was (am) happy with me.¬† Emotional and mental balance are just as important as the physical stuff when going into endurance races.

Finally, the day of the race there was lots of motivation – friends to start with, 3,000 other racers to move with, and tons of bystanders cheering for everyone.¬† If you have participated in races, you know how this energy really propels you through the race.¬† About mile 10, I was feeling the distance and thought, “Why don’t I just take it easy?¬† I don’t really need to push this hard.”.¬† I knew I was¬†close to¬†a PR pace, but I was starting to feel some tightness and my mind started talking to me.¬† “What do you have to prove?¬† Just take it easy!”¬† “This is a hobby for you.¬† You’re not racing anybody.”¬† “What’s a PR time anyway?¬† You just need to finish the race.”¬† “Where’s your yogi mind?¬† It’s the path without a goal you are after, right?.”¬† It was about this time that I saw a boy about 8 years old.¬† He had made his own sign with markers and it said, “Keep running.¬† It’s not suppose to be easy.”¬† I thought, “well, d**n-it…He’s right.¬† I have to push it now!”

Because he was right!¬† Why do we try new things?¬† Why do we venture into endurance sports?¬† Why do we keep going to yoga?¬† It’s not because we just want to do the same thing we did the day before.¬† Whether we think about it or not, it’s because we want to grow in some way.¬† Lose weight, get stronger, get more flexible, find peace…And, those things aren’t easy!¬†

In order to grow, we must not take the easy road.¬† There is nothing easy about finding your true self ūüôā¬† While¬†yoga is¬†a path without a goal, it is also the path of moving into the place of possibilities.¬† It is practicing to acknowledge and find the¬†person we were intended to be without the self-defeating thoughts.¬† All the thoughts in our heads are the obstacles to finding the greatness that is waiting for us!!¬† That is BIG!

When I think about the times that I have learned and grown the most, it has been the hardest times of my life.¬† As a child, I lost all of my grandparents in a span of many years.¬† This was hard in the immediate, but coming out on the other side was a respect and appreciation for life.¬† That lesson was taught to ¬†me early and helped me in all other relationships in my life.¬† Being pregnant, birthing babies, and becoming a parent¬†comes to mind!¬† Nothing opens up your heart and teaches you how to love more than children.¬† And, while the entire process is exhausting and the most challenging task ever, it has taught me more about myself than I would have ever known.¬† I know that I can endure a natural labor for over 18 hours, have my whole world rocked by having an emergency¬†c-section, and come out smiling because the little person at the end is so beautiful inside and out that the world would have been a sad place without him.¬† I know that I can go for months (years even) without a full night of¬†sleep because holding snotty babies and hugging away nightmares is way more important than a few hours of sleep.¬† And, don’t even get me started on marriage!¬† Understanding the full range of human emotion, learning to compromise, loving even while angry, and sharing the challenges of ¬†life is a connection that has taught me compassion and patience (still in a work in progress!!).¬†

On the other side of all life’s challenges, is growth.¬†

So, as I ran through mile 10, that little boy reminded me of why¬†I do what¬†I do.¬†¬†I do [it] to endure.¬†¬†I do [it] grow.¬†¬†I do [it] because¬†I¬†CAN.¬† Whatever¬†“it” may be; I do it¬†because it makes¬†me a better, happier version of me.¬† And, if I¬†was capable¬†of running a half marathon in almost¬†2 hours flat, then what was I waiting for…just do it!¬† That little guy got me through to the end it and was an awesome feeling.¬†

December seems to be a month of retrospection on the past year for many people.  In looking back, this year has been a year of challenges.  Some of them I need to write out and think about to realize where it led to growth in my life.  Others are easy to see Рlike the half marathon training and the absolutely gorgeous babes in my life.  My heart fills with excitement thinking about what challenges may lie ahead in 2012! 

More to come in the new year!! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to You and Yours!¬† And, remember keep moving, keep running, keep ____ [fill in the blank].¬† It’s not suppose to be easy!

Many people may think that since we yoga teachers sit in the front of the room spouting phrases like, “be present”, “listen to your body”, and “know your limits and go there”, that we must have the most healthy mind – body connection known to man.¬† The TRUTH is that we are living the same practice we are encouraging you to live.¬† So while it is easy for me to repeat these phrases and write about yogic philosophy, the everyday application is just as hard for me.

The past few¬†weeks I have¬†struggled with a pain in my lower leg.¬† I secretly kept worrying about the fact that it could possibly could be a stress fracture, which would completely ruin my plans of a half marathon in December.¬† And, even though I secretly suspected a possibility of this injury, I still continued to run.¬† I knew that if I did have a stress fracture that continuing to train was the worst thing for my body. I knew that should slow down, but I didn’t.¬† I continued to run and took solace in the fact that I was also doing other recovery methods, such as ice baths, yoga, and manual therapy on the pain site.¬†

But, it continued to nag me, and I knew I should take a break.  Finally, I gave in and postponed off longer runs during the week.  I took a really honest look at my body and what it was feeling like.  I realized that I was over-pronating my ankles which I knew could lead to some stretching of the inner tissue of my lower leg.  I also took inventory of when and how much it hurt at different times.  With this new self-awareness, I set out on a long run on Sunday.  I was continuously present in my running; noticing how my stride felt, where my foot falls landed, and even how my breathing related to my posture and stride.  The run turned out to be fantastic, and I am happy to say that I am pretty sure I do NOT have a stress fracture.  YAY!

What I do have is a body that needs a little rest and recovery.  I have a body that needs a strength building week.  I had been so linearly minded in my goal for December, I had ignored all the things I knew about how a strong and recovered body makes a better runner.  I have decided to take this week off from running and dig deep into some strengthening practices of yoga that will not only stabilize my legs and hips, but also aid in flexibility for what I hope will be stronger body by the weekend.

This is how is my yoga and running and really life in general collide all the time.  If I take the time to get honest with myself (sayta) and evaluate what is going in my body and life (svadyaya), I can usually find the middle ground (brahmacharya) that brings balance and contentment (santosa) to my body and mind.

This week¬†try to see¬†if you can’t pick something in your life that seems slightly off-balance.¬† Maybe it is a physical pain in the body or maybe it is imbalance in a relationship or emotion.¬† Apply the principles of yoga to it.¬† Stay present.¬† Ask yourself what is out of balance.¬† Be truthful.¬† Find contentment with what is real.¬† See if some of these things do not help you to find¬†the balance to¬†heal.¬† Then let us know how it helped you!!¬†

Namaste’

This past week was a BUSY one!  I subbed 3 yoga classes and taught 2 of my own.  I prepared for Halloween for my kids.  I had a playdate for my oldest son, and I did a mommy and me class with my youngest son.  We attended soccer games together, had family dinners, dropped off and picked up from school, cleaned house, did laundry, got some mileage in on the road running, and got in my own yoga practice each day with an additional 2 hour yoga class in studio.

I loved every minute of it.¬† Why does it seem when you are the busiest, you get the most done?¬† It is crazy to me that some weeks our schedule is very light and open, and it is those weeks that my house is the messiest and no one has anything to wear.¬† So, maybe it is focus; maybe it is drive; it doesn’t really matter.¬†¬†It is life.¬† Sometimes we are busy.¬†¬†Sometimes we are efficient.¬† Sometimes we just need to rest.¬† I don’t really feel the need to analyze it anymore.¬† Yoga can brought this attitude of noticing¬†the¬†circumstances (i.e. the sensations or the fluctuations of the mind) and realizing that they are what they are.¬† They are the sensations. They are the thoughts of the mind. They are the circumstances we find ourselves in right now.¬† But, they are NOT who I am.¬† I am that which feels the sensation.¬† I am the thinker of the thoughts.¬† I am doer of the tasks in my life.¬† I am.¬† This way all “the stuff” no longer defines you.¬† It is just the stuff.¬† It is what you have to do now, but the success, failure, or degree of completion becomes irrelevant to how positive you feel about yourself.

In yoga class this past week,¬†I continued to teach rooting in practice to plant seeds for growth in the future.¬† I emphasized the thoughts of “hugging the line that holds”.¬† When we “root¬†down” in principle and are grounded in reality, we are able to find that authentic core being inside and live a outwardedly shining life from that light.¬†

“I hug the line that holds me that otherwise breaks me into two.

I embrace the lighted core like the rind of orange holds together parting segments.

The juice of life’s inner love drips down and melts me into subtle awareness.”

Eliza Lynn Tobin

This week’s challenge pose:¬† After seated meditation and/or pranayama, do Standing Hand to Big Toe for 1 min on each side.¬† Feel the rooting from your legs and the hugging into your center line or core that allows the expansion in your body.¬† Have a lovely week!!¬† Namaste’

In thinking of my season of change this week, I have made certain steps to let go of things that are no longer working in my life.¬† I have tried to nurture and develop some of the things that seem to bring positive change to¬†my life and that of my family¬†right now.¬† It has been insightful and beneficial¬†to our lives so far.¬† I began thinking about all of this while I planned my 4 Week Fall Yoga Series.¬† I wanted to create a class series that allowed time to think about growth.¬† To think about what things we need to shed in fall and plant seeds for growth in the new year.¬† I had the class structure, sequencing, asanas, meditations, etc picked and thought out pretty much.¬† But, as luck would have it, a couple of days¬†before the series started, I found a painting at a store.¬† The painting was a beautiful deep, burnt red (very ‘fallish”) with a sketched person doing Vrksasana¬†(Tree Pose).¬† When looking closer it had a BEAUTIFUL poem written artfully through the painting.¬† It was exactly what I wanted to teach to my students!¬† It is amazing how life provides exactly what you need¬†when you are present, aware and ready to receive.¬† Here are the words that I will be meditating on, teaching, and living this fall:

I hug the line that holds me that otherwise breaks me into two.

I embrace the lighted core like the rind of an orange holds together parting segments.

The juice of life’s inner love drips down and melts me into subtle awareness.

My feet flex and fold into the ground below me to find the pulpy, soft and sweet.

I’m a planted seed of solidity.¬† In this boundary of a body.¬† Ever pulsing.

I pull inward to move outward.

Gathering from the ground.

Growing to the sun.

I strengthen shoot-legs downward.

I lengthen branch arms up.

I am rooting, rooting, rooting and rising back out.

-Eliza Lynn Tobin

Challenge:¬† This week read these words and then do tree pose two min on each side each day.¬† See what happens to your “balance”.¬† Let me know how it goes!!

Fall is most definitely here now!  I love the mild temperatures, the crisp, fresh air, and the changing colors of leaves.  It just feels like a fresh, new beginning.  Sometimes beginnings are exciting.  The ability to try new things, start a new project, and venture into new territory.  But, beginnings can be scary.  They represent change and means letting go of some things that may have ordinarily made a person feel safe and secure.

I was reminded of this dynamic this weekend.  I was an attendant in a beautiful wedding ceremony of a dear friend.  Weddings are all about new beginnings.  Beautiful young bride marrying a handsome young man with fresh dreams of a life together, a family and many happy memories.  It also it the closing though of a chapter.  A father lets go of his little girl.  A mother sheds a tear for the years spent in worry and in caring.  A sister or brother remembers that special bond that will always be there but will forever be changed by that one moment.  It can all be hard and overwhelming.  The beauty in the union is that by the letting go of old ways and connections, new connections and an intercate web of friendships, love, and acceptance for a new life is born. 

Resistance to change is normal.¬† The beautiful connection that awaits you may not be as visible as the example of newlyweds.¬† Many times in life we resist change when due to fears.¬† Maybe we are scared of disappointment so we don’t ask for that job promotion.¬† Maybe fears of¬†rejection so don’t allow us to¬†ask the new person in the office out on Friday night.¬† Maybe you worry about stability so much you shrink back from opportunities to explore the world or go on trips because you feel you must always save your money just in case the bottom were to fall out.¬† And, maybe you simply are afraid of not being accepted by everyone out in this highly critical world¬† so you shrink from being exactly who you were intended to be.¬† All of these are real fears that everyone has all the time.¬† Many times it is these instincts that keep us from being impulsive and acting in irrational manners and making mistakes.¬† I think it is important to evaluate where we are in this spectrum all the time.¬† I think it is important to¬†evaluate whether we are¬†shrinking away from adventure¬†or being scared to step out of the box.¬† Like everything in our lives, we must find the balance.¬†

Fall is the perfect time to find this balance.¬†¬†This is a¬†season that will be more structured and regimented – school is back in session, vacations are over so workloads increase, and holidays quickly approach making your time management skills imperative.¬† In order to shake off some old habits that aren’t serving you and accept some new habits that will bring positive change, here are a few great “spring-cleaning” ideas for fall:

1.  Ask yourself what do you have too much of in your life?  Too much work, too much food, too much drama, too much judgment, too much fear???

2.  Ask yourself, what do you have too little of in your life?  Not enough acceptance, not enough patience, not enough money, not enough free time???

3.  Plot out a clear plan to draw balance between the first two questions.  Ex) Bring lunch to work so you can leave 1 hour early to get home in time to make it to yoga and fix dinner for yourself/family.  OR Plan on thinking 1 kind thought about each person you come in contact with each day.

4.  Eat whole foods and think about where they come from.  Make a point to draw in more nutritious, whole foods where you can actually think about the source of who grew, tended, and harvested those foods to nourish your body.  By bringing gratitude to more meals each day, you will find you are more intentional and deliberate with your choices.  A balanced body and mind starts with nutrition!

5.  Spend 10 min a day in meditation.  Taking 10 minutes to reset/recharge your day, will make you a more productive and clear thinking individual.

6.¬† Spend 30 min, 1 hour, 90 min…whatever you can build into your day, doing a healthful practice for you body to wear away at the gunk that is weighing you down and preventing change and positive growth in your life.¬† Do yoga, run, cycle.¬† Whatever action feels most authentic to you and you can feel the body letting go of fears, resentments, and obstacles.

Making a few intentional decisions each day will begin to clean away the clutter of your life and welcome the new beginnings that the fall season brings.  There is only one thing that is constant in this world РCHANGE.  Learning to embrace it and move with the seasons of life make this crazy train we are riding on seem more enjoyable and meaningful.

I will continue to write about my own fall “spring cleaning” and what this season of change brings for me.¬† Stay tuned¬†ūüôā

‚ÄúChange is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is is change.‚ÄĚ
-Edwin Way Teale  

I was struggling today with what to write about and then I thought of my running and yoga group last night, and I thought I about committment and¬† then I thought, “That’s it!¬† That’s what is screaming at me this week!!”.

Use this restorative pose to relieve aching legs and calm the mind

My running and yoga group exemplified committment last night in practice.¬† They meet at 7:45 and last night we did Running from the Core.¬† So, not only did they rock out a hill run in the heat, but then their yoga practice consisted of warming core work and twists in a yoga room that seemed to be heated a little more than usual last night.¬† Everyone was “wrung out” to say the least.¬† But, everyone stuck it out.¬† They stayed present and moved through the postures until the yummy end of legs up the wall.¬† In one word, they committed.

So, whether it is exercise or diets or just writing this blog 5 times a week (my new commitment to you and to myself), you just have to do it.¬† I guess it was back int he early 90s that Nike said “Just Do It”.¬† That slogan may be old, its words hold true.¬† Life isn’t going to slow down for us to try new things or start back to routines.¬† Life doesn’t stop so that we have time to get healthier.¬† And, life certainly isn’t going to hold our hand and motivate us through the world.¬† It is our decisions, actions, and commitment that help us navigate to success.

So, while I am still not starting the detox tonight, I did get this blog written.¬† Check.¬† I did practice yoga today for a full hour.¬† Check.¬† Maybe I can whip up the kitchari tonight be before bed and you guys can hear how it tastes in the morning ūüôā

What are some of the things you have committed to and stuck with this year?  Are there things you have been putting off?  Let us hear about them!  Sometimes putting it out in the universe helps to get things started!

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Current Class Schedule
Wilmington, NC

Tuesday
10:30 AM Vinyasa at Gold's Gym-Porter's Neck

Wednesday
8:15 AM Run to Yoga at Wilmington Athletic Club

6 PM Yoga for Athletes at Wilmington Performance Lab

Thursday
6:45 PM Vinyasa at Gold's Gym-Racine

Get details under Workshop and Class Descriptions

WEEKEND WORKSHOP -
INVERSIONS: TURN YOUR WORLD UPSIDE DOWN
MARCH 9TH
WILMINGTON PERFORMANCE LAB

MARCH 16TH - MINT HILL YOGA
VINYASA FLOW 9 AM - 11 AM
YOGA FOR ATHLETES 1 PM - 3 PM

MARCH 17TH - MINT HILL YOGA
THE ART OF ASSISTS AND ADJUSTMENTS
A TEACHER TRAINING
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A 5K THE OM WAY:
YOGA AND RUNNING WORKSHOPS
SUNDAYS FROM 3:45 - 5 PM
GOLD'S GYM RACINE
WILMINGTON, NC

Jessica Hagler King

"Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own." -- Nikos Kazantzakis
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt