Balancing Action and Surrender

 

Show Up. Let Go.

Most of my books are in storage. They have been for an embarrassingly long time, considering I’m a writer. I blame endless renovations. But even though my copy of the Bhagavad Gita is in a bin somewhere, its wisdom continues to guide me, particularly on one vital point.

And that’s this: the fruits of our actions are not under our control.

The most powerful teaching of the Gita, for me, is to do your best, then let go of the results. Because when we’re not fighting with something that’s out of our control, we can find inner peace.

I’m all for inner peace, but good Lord, is this a hard one! As someone who overthinks things on a regular basis, I’m not always great at letting go. It’s something I think all of us struggle with learning, let alone perfecting.

But yoga isn’t something you perfect, it’s a practice. And since yoga is the way you live your life, that makes life a practice as well.

It seems like everyone is all-too-busy, and most of us are stressed out for myriad reasons, trying to find the balance between action and surrender.

My soul-sister, Tara Findlay, summed it up well when she said, “As a busy Mother, it is my ongoing quest to find balance in the chaos of everyday life. Sometimes I find it with grace, sometimes I have to hit the floor to remember what it is I’m reaching for, and why.”

We don’t always remember to let go. And we don’t always show up fully, either.

How often do you go through the motions without focusing on what you’re doing? Happens every day for me. But I want to show up fully, especially for my family. So I practice this remembrance, again and again. Show up. Let go. Show up. Let go.

Do the best you can, be present, and at the same time, surrender.

So. Hard.

But it’s a practice. I still fall out of poses I’ve done thousands of times. When it happens, I know what to do:

Reconnect. Focus. Execute each pose (or task) with as much skill as possible. And breathe.

Isn’t it interesting, that every single breath is a release? We’re letting go all the time. Every inhale is an opportunity to show up. Every exhale is a reminder to let go.

This lovely piece was sent to me by a kind friend, Krystal Williams, taken from the book The Tao of Motherhood, by Vimala McClure.

Truth is in paradox:

Surrender and you get everything. Bend and be strong.

When you reach your limit and are exhausted, new energy rises in you.
When you release others, they come to you.
The wise know this: Let go in order to preserve.

Be empty and fulfilled.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna to fulfill his dharma—to do the tasks that must be done, those that are before him right now—and then to let go of the fruits of those actions. Take action, but don’t try to control how it turns out. Surrender the fruits of thy actions to the Universe, allowing things to unfold as they will. In other words, trust.

Show up. Let go. Trust. Repeat.

Life is a practice. Sometimes we live with grace, and sometimes we end up on the floor. Whatever happens, keep showing up and letting go, and know that—like Krishna guided Arjuna—you are held by love. For me, trust is coupled with faith. So whatever you believe, when it gets hard to let go, turn to your own truth. Show up for yourself, and let go of anything that doesn’t serve you. Give it to Grace.

“Show up. Let go.” One of my first teachers, Shane Perkins, said these words often in our training, and the mantra works well for me.

How does it feel for you?

Show up. Let go.

Show up. Let go.

Show up. Let go.

Blessed be. 

P.S. This will be the theme of my next Sunshine Sunday on Nov. 26th (click for details). I’d love to see you there!

 

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Adapting your Yoga Practice

It’s amazing how adaptive yoga is—how you can come to your practice wherever you are in life and always find something of benefit.

In the past four years my personal approach to yoga has changed drastically. The advanced poses that used to be common in my practice have moved over to accommodate the basics.

I’ve simplified. I focus on core stability (still recovering physically from having twins), and stretching the places that need it in the slim time I carve out every day to breathe, move, and connect with myself. It’s humbling, to have my body and practice change so much. A challenge and a gift at once.

If you’ve been practicing yoga for any length of time, I’d guess you understand this concept. You’ve probably modified to accommodate yourself, perhaps to protect an injury or strengthen in specific ways. Maybe you’ve been more gentle when your energy wanes, and more bold when you’re feeling strong.

As I prepare to teach my first yoga class in years, the humility of having this changed body comes with me. It informs how I want to create a space where each person who comes to my class feels they have absolute freedom to practice in the best way for them. I’ve always given modifications. Now I’ll be giving even more, on both sides of the spectrum.

That may mean your practice looks very different than the person next to you, but we’ll still be on a journey together through breath, movement, and intention.

There are countless ways to adapt your practice. Here are some tips:

  • First and foremost, always listen to your body. You are your best guide. Trust yourself, trust your intuition, and follow what feels right for you in each changing moment. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing, or choose your own pose—even in a classroom environment.
  • You can modify anything in yoga, especially when it comes to asana (the physical poses). Choose variations that honour where your body is right now, whether that means you’re doing a more challenging version of a pose or a more gentle one.
  • Sun salutations are common in flow classes, and some people thrive on them, but this varies widely from person to person. If up-dog or cobra doesn’t feel good on your lower back, perhaps sphinx is better. Perhaps standing mindfully in mountain pose or resting in child’s pose is more beneficial.
  • Get creative! Each yoga poses has so many versions, so find the ones that naturally come to you.
  • Don’t know how to modify? Ask your teacher and/or feel what your body wants.
  • Feel good in a pose and want to take it to the next level? Go for it!

Even if you’re not able to make it to class, I hope this message encourages you to be even more true to yourself in your approach to yoga.

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Slow Down Already! Applying Yoga’s Wisdom to the Infuriating Illusion of Time

We, as humans, live within the overarching structures of time and space. Though both have their issues, time seems to be the real problem for most of us.

There’s never enough of it.

It’s been a year since I last wrote on this blog. It’s been over three years since I stopped teaching yoga classes (though my book Yoga for Dragon Riders keeps finding its way into the world, so I guess my legacy lives on).

My twin boys are two and a half. This picture, with the Mini Cooper I used to race around in at speeds I wouldn’t dare now that I’m a mother, is at least 6 years old! (Probably older, but let’s not nitpick.)

In some ways, time has flown.

In other ways, time has flown and things set in the dimension of space have stopped. Like the addition we’ve been putting on our house for three years. (OMG! Three f’ing years of renovations. AHHHHH!)

Time drags when something is unpleasant, and skydives when you’re having fun.

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Befriending Time (Especially When it’s Racing By!)

meditation02For most of us, it seems time has sped up and is flying by. I know it’s not just me, but when I think that my baby boys are nearly 8 months old, it’s astounding!

So how do we enjoy life, rather than feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks and too little time? Is it possible to befriend time, or at least not be bothered by the fact that it seems to be in such a hurry?

Here are some ideas:

  • Breathe. Yes, it is the most basic thing in life, and taking a few deep breathes (or even just one!) when you’re feeling overwhelmed can make all the difference. Also, when you find those moments of calm, being mindful of your breath at those times makes it even more reassuring and peaceful.
  • Slow down when you can. Meditation and yoga are great ways to do so, but even just allowing yourself to sit down in the midst of a busy day, eat a meal without doing anything else, or just close your eyes or take a 10 minute nap can give you the boost you need to keep going.
  • Don’t fight it. It never works to resist what is. Instead, see if you can find ways to celebrate the passing of time on a regular basis. Sunday family dinners, or special Saturday hikes perhaps?
  • Be present. People keep telling me to enjoy my babies while they’re little, that they grow so fast! I know this is true, and am doing my best to be present. This goes for all of us, though, because the more you’re present in the moment, the more enjoyment you receive and the clearer the memories will be once the moment has passed.
  • Encourage yourself. Be proud of yourself when you’ve accomplished something or had a productive day. Be just as proud of yourself if you take 10 minutes to do Legs Up the Wall pose, or give yourself permission to take a day off!
  • Let go of tasks that don’t serve you, asking yourself “Is this really important right now?”
  • Did I mention taking a deep breath? Oh yes, I did.

I hope that gives you some ideas, or simply a few reminders, of ways to flow with the current of time. In the big picture, often it is not the little things that we need to do that matter, but the quality of life overall. Let that be your focus, and maybe you will find yourself laughing next time you flip the calendar to a new month and wonder how it’s May already!

Because time seems to be racing for me personally, I’ve chosen not to offer any more classes in the foreseeable future. There is simply too much to do and two little babies to enjoy. 🙂

If you’re able to join me for the 2 hour mini-retreat I’m teaching this coming Sunday, it would be wonderful to see you there!

Quotes on Time:

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ Marthe Troly-Curtin

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrowhas not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
~ Mother Teresa

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Facebooktwitteryoutube

The Goodness and Benefits of Bare Feet on the Earth

bare-feet-earth
My son, Ryan, and I enjoying the warmth of the Earth and the energy it provides.

There are many ways to ground yourself. One is to simply breathe deeply and feel yourself in the here and now, on this beautiful planet as the person you are.

Yoga, of course, is a great way to feel grounded, especially doing hip openers and restorative yoga (which you can do if you join me for my Sunshine Sunday class May 3rd.)

There are also energetic ways to ground yourself, such as envisioning a grounding cord of light connecting you to the core (what I like to think of as the star heart) of the earth.

But perhaps the most simple and enjoyable way is to take off your shoes and stand or walk on the nourishing surface of the Earth!

It feels so good to walk on the Earth with bare feet. On grass or sand, in moss or mud, in the shallows of the ocean or the rocky bed of a creek, having a direct connection with the natural world is a very good thing to do!

This morning I took a walk with my dog, and halfway through it decided to take off my shoes.

I finished the walk in my bare feet, and it gave me tremendous energy!

When I returned to where my friend and babies were hanging out, we took the socks off the boys and helped them stand with their skin touching the ground. When they were ready for a change, they laid on their bellies and played with fistfuls of grass, trying out the taste of grass and dirt. Yep, those are my country boys!

You know that being on the Earth in bare feet is good for you because it feels so good, but beyond that, there’s actually science to prove that grounding yourself by connecting to the Earth has health benefits galore. They call it Earthing, or grounding. I call it delicious!

The Earth offers us the energetic balance to the human body. Its effect is stronger than any antioxidant you can ingest. Perhaps that’s why gardeners feel so good when they have their hands in the earth, and why people who walk bare foot a lot tend to be of robust health.

In the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, researchers came to the following conclusion:

“Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth—whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems—may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS [autonomic nervous system] dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV [heart rate variability], hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.

The research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity.”

Physically, walking bare foot helps to engage, strengthen and even massage the muscles and fascia of the feet. If your feet hurt from plantar fasciitis, or just from fatigue, it can give them some welcome therapy.

Being bare foot on the Earth also means you’re outside receiving the other benefits of fresh air and sunshine, plus hopefully some exercise, peace and relaxation. It is good for the soul as well as the physical body, so do take every opportunity you can to get grounded and enjoy!

Here’s a fun video from Sesame Street, for children young and not quite so young, encouraging just what I’ve been talking about here.

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Spring Equinox and Sunshine Sunday Registration

Oh, what a wonderful feeling: to see green things grow, to feel sun on your skin, to take deep breaths of rain fresh air.

How I love spring. It holds such promise; an invitation to each of us to open to new possibilities and expansion.

This year the Spring Equinox (March 20th) is also the time of a Supermoon Solar Eclipse.

What does that mean? Well, some parts of the world will be able to see the eclipse, but more importantly, the energy of this day is very potent. The moon is closer to the earth, and though it is a new moon so we won’t see it, the waters of the oceans are more effected by its pull. Since humans are made of such a high percentage of water, we also feel the closeness of the moon on some level.

Some ideas to help you observe this sacred day:

  • ~ Enjoy nature! Feel the presence of spring surrounding you.
  • ~ Let go of the last season, and release anything that no longer serves. A great way to do this is to breathe it out, then breathe in pure, fresh light and the intention of wholeness. Fire ceremony is also excellent!
  • ~ Do a yoga practice dedicated to some aspect of nature that appeals to you. For instance, you could place a flower before your mat and rejoice in the promise of a whole new season of flowers!
  • ~ Meditate, allowing yourself to sit in the present moment and simply feel the energy of it, even if it is very subtle. You will get it on some level, be it conscious or otherwise.
  • ~ Plan your garden or get out and work in it, feeling the soil and encouraging the plants with your presence. (Indoor plants would love the attention too!)

This is also an excellent time to check in with your intentions for yourself. Write them down, do a dreamboard, or simply bring them to mind in a clear way. Whatever feels right will be perfect.

I send you my blessings on this beautiful day!


I’m teaching another two hour delicious yoga practice:

Check out the details at the link below. It includes an active asana session, restorative yoga, meditation and more!

Click Here to register for the Sunshine Sunday yoga class on May 3rd. *

* The last session sold out so be sure to REGISTER EARLY to get your spot and receive the savings.

Here we are at The Yoga Loft after class. Ryan and Zachary enjoyed the space as much as their Momma!
Here we are at The Yoga Loft after class. Ryan and Zachary enjoyed the space as much as their Momma!

 

Thoughts on Spring:

“No matter what happened yesterday it is insignificant when compared to what lies within the core of your being today.”
~ Sandy Brewer

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
~ Margaret Atwood

Practice. Breathe. Listen. Remember who you are. Live life fully!


Check out my new e-book! It’s a wonderful way to enhance your study of yoga beyond the physical postures.

ecover-mydesign-sm

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Love Your Body – Meditation and Inspiration

Here we are at The Yoga Loft after class. Ryan and Zachary enjoyed the space as much as their Momma!
Here we are at The Yoga Loft after class. Ryan and Zachary enjoyed the space as much as their Momma!

Well! Last Sunday I taught my first yoga class in a year and a half. It felt great to teach, and it was super special to see so many familiar and new faces in class.

My theme for the Sunshine Sunday mini-workshop, was “Love Your Body.”

This is a big one, for me and for so many people. It means taking the time to take care of YOU, and also loving and accepting yourself as you go about your day-to-day life . . . no matter how busy it happens to be.

There are so many ways to give your body love! Here are some ideas:

  • Yoga, of course, is such a beautiful, healing offering to body, mind and soul.
  • Taking a walk – this is the most fundamental movement and can feel so good. Even better if it’s outside in the fresh air.
  • Getting out into nature – surrounding yourself with a natural environment helps to bring calm and harmony on so many levels.
  • Eating wholesome, nourishing food (I’ve been having lots of homemade bone broths and slow cooker soups lately).
  • Heart to heart hugs – it’s true! The heart has its own measurable frequency, and hugging someone (or a loveable animal) helps to increase beneficial hormones as well as just feeling good!
  • Gratitude is a very close frequency to love, and practicing gratitude is a great way to improve the way you feel. It is also an excellent bridge to love and acceptance, so if those are elusive to you at any point, turn to gratitude first!
  • Meditation . . .

During the restorative portion of the Sunshine Sunday class (after we’d done a strengthening and satisfying active asana session, PLUS some breath work and meditation), I went through a meditation that I think is both effective and really a lovely offering to yourself. This exercise brings love to each part of your body: every system, every cell.

What a gift to enter the vibration of LOVE so intentionally, and to do so in a restorative yoga pose is an added bonus, since your body is simultaneously getting the benefits of the relaxation and healing restorative yoga brings.

Here’s the meditation, so you can enjoy it at home:

“I Love You” Full Body Meditation

In a relaxed position take a deep breath and bring to mind an overall sense of love and acceptance of yourself.

Beginning at your toes, go through every aspect of your body and say to that part of yourself, “I love you.”

So, it goes something like this:

“I love you, toes.”

“I love you, feet. Thank you for supporting me and taking me everywhere I ask.”

“I love you, ankles.”

“I love you, shins.”

“I love you, knees. Thank you so much for everything you do.”

. . .  and so on . . .

Things to think about: Include all the muscles, connective tissue, joints, internal organs, bones, etc.

Remember to include your eyes, brain, hair, reproductive organs, immune system, blood vessels and blood cells, and send extra love to any part of your body that needs assistance coming into harmony.

This brings lots of love to your body, and that alone is incredibly healing.

Enjoy!!!

P.S. I’m planning another Sunshine Sunday at the Yoga Loft on may 3rd. Stay tuned for registration info. Sign up early to ensure you get a spot, as the last class was sold out!

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Taking Leave from Teaching Yoga

Sometimes the best thing to do is to let go, step back, turn inward, and refocus.

This is where I am at in my life. I’ve (happily) spent the last 7 years teaching yoga, nurturing others, and focusing on my business.

I am now at a place where I need to focus on nurturing myself, my family, and my home.

To do this I need to totally withdraw from teaching.

For how long? I don’t really know. I do know that there needs to be no time limit or expectations around this: I just need to let it all go so that I can take care of myself.

Many of my students have become my friends over the years. You know who you are. I do love you, care about you, and wish you all the joy in the world.

All of the classes I was teaching are continuing. I have done my best to ensure you are in very capable hands by asking Deandra to take over my teaching. Enjoy her fresh energy, and please encourage her as you have done for me. Click here and “Like” Deandra’s Yoga Facebook Page so you can benefit from some of the goodness she is sharing!

Thank you so much for being a part of my teaching, and my life.

Here are some things I’ve learned along the way…

1) Many gifts come from tragedy.

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Navigating Pain and Loss with Grace

A rather talented intuitive once told me, “Your life is a demonstration.”

I took this to mean that by living my truth, I am often able to bring inspiration or insight to others. I also think that it means I am demonstrating to myself the depth of courage, love, and wisdom that lives within me, and all others.

This particular sharing is a very personal one, and I ask you, as always, to simply take what speaks to your heart, and respectfully leave the rest.

On Sunday I miscarried at 10 weeks of pregnancy.

I started having signs on Friday, and it was scary, not knowing what would happen. However the fear subsided when I knew that I was miscarrying. It was no longer unknown once the process started, and I realized all there was to do was let go and ride it out. My body did a very good job of naturally going through the process, though I will be recovering for some time.

I know that this is very common; that many women miscarry their first pregnancy, and that they often go on to have as many children as they wish. I have friends who have been through this and now have little ones, and this gives me great comfort.

The love and support I have been receiving from friends and family is so appreciated. If you choose to email me with your own words of care, please know that, though I may not reply, they will be gratefully received.

It happened on Thanksgiving weekend, and I find that interesting, especially since we had a house fire 5 years ago at the same time. I think it is a reminder to stay focused on what there is to be grateful for, even within the intensity and emotions of loss.

I also find it interesting that I miscarried a week after I had announced my pregnancy. It would have been much more convenient if it had happened before. Then I could have kept it all to myself and gone on with life without so many people being aware of what I’ve been through.

Yet, that isn’t really my way – to quietly pretend the world didn’t just shift for me. It is much more appropriate that it happened as it did. Because now I can tell you, with my characteristic open honesty, how I feel and what is helping me through.

All is Full of Love

First and foremost, this has been another deepening of Trust.

You can call it “Faith” if you prefer, as there definitely is an element of believing in something unseen. However, it is much more than that, since I have been shown time and again that I am truly taken care of. No matter what.

I keep leaning on that, and looking back on my life at the proof that I see: even in the most scary, uncomfortable, emotional times everything truly has turned out in the best possible way.

And so I stay with that trust. I remember in my heart and think often about how beautifully the mystery and magic of life unfolds when I allow it to do so, especially when it doesn’t look as I think it should.

Facebooktwitteryoutube

Inviting Bliss and Beauty through Yoga

Every heart's natural state is full of bliss.

It’s curious, to me, that so many of our sacred texts tell us that bliss is our true nature. I find it curious because this is a common experience when practicing yoga, and yet something that is seemingly harder to find in every day life.

So the question is: How do we invite that blissful nature to linger, to come forth fully in each moment?

Part of the key lies in being able to take in the beauty around you. In order to recognize beauty, you must be present in the moment. If you are present, you are less likely to be worrying or preoccupied with thoughts that pull you out of your natural state of bliss.

For some, bliss is a concept that is only “allowed” in small doses. I think that our culture has created a perception that no one is supposed to be happy all the time, that hardship is normal, and that struggle is part of life.

But these are not rules, only ideas that you can choose to adopt or release. You might know someone (or BE someone) who is truly happy most of the time. Why is that? It’s an inner attitude, and a perspective on life that allows happiness to be your natural state.

Yoga is so excellent at helping us check in, let go of anything in the way, and return to that state of blissful experience.

The deeper I go in my practice, the more I am able to find bliss even when my computer dies, or when my dog jumps on my freshly printed posters and ruins them in his excitement.

Okay, maybe I fall out of bliss for a while when this stuff happens all at once, but I am able to come back to center SO much faster than ever before in my life! I recognize that it doesn’t feel good to dwell on what can not be changed, and I choose new thoughts that DO feel good, trusting life to turn out perfectly no matter what.

That, to me, is the biggest contributor: choosing thoughts that feel good, and living in a state of trust in the mystery of life.

And all of the tools yoga offers, including movement, breath, meditation, and contemplation, strengthen your ability to make these choices, with awareness, in each moment.

Quotes about Bliss:

“Now may every living thing, young or old, weak or strong, living near or far, known or unknown, living or departed or yet unborn, may every living thing be full of bliss.”
~ Anonymous, The Dhammapada

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
~ Joseph Campbell

“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.”
~ Deepak Chopra

Facebooktwitteryoutube