As within, so without … & vice versa. In Ayurveda, the science of longevity & daily well-being, the season of winter ❄️ is of the elements Air & Ether. . We may feel dry, cold, rough … We may feel our digestion is variable, or that our minds feel a little spacey … Nature, too, is showing us Her dry, cold, rough, mobile and light qualities. . How can we find balance during this season? Nourishing, warm, simple foods … REST … warmth (especially around the throat, ears, and feet) … did I mention rest? .
Today I used a weighted blanket for my Yoga Nidra practice … Holy Groundedness, Batman! For me, totally countered the spacey, ungrounded feeling that winter sometimes evokes in my body/mind. . The light, subtle properties of Winter can also allow us to dream more easily, access our creativity … so wrap yourself up & indulge in creative expression ! (Mine today was making EO sprays for clients & friends to welcome the new year ❤️) .
Want to learn more about how the seasons affect YOUR unique constitution? Join me on January 16th for the first session of Yoga & Ayurveda at OmBody Massage and Wellness. Register at 724.320.9386. .
You have the Power to Protect Your Peace. . The next few weeks will provide ample opportunity to amp up … physically, emotionally, mentally. . Take time … And you must TAKE it, for it will rarely be given … to protect your peace. . This may look different for everyone … some of us find peace in community, others in solitude … some in activity, others in rest … regardless, plan & take time to return to you. . For me, Savasana is the ultimate rebellion against the frenetic movement of this season … and the ultimate taking-a-stand FOR peace … by laying down! . Moreover, preparing your space for support, comfort and warmth in Savasana adds even more power to our conviction that taking rest is the way toward peace as we enter 2022. . So BE BOLD. Take what you need for rest. This year has taken so much … Let’s gently yet firmly claim our birthright of PEACE & REST. . Happy Savasana, Friends.
My Grandma loved the crow outside her window at Cedar Bay … As we chatted on Skype or by phone, she would tell me about the crow’s comings and goings in the courtyard. She looked forward to his visits. She once said, “everybody else here isn’t particularly fond of that crow, but I like him.” 🥰
Thank you, Dear Crow, wherever you may be, for offering companionship, joy and a sense of normal to my grandma during a very abnormal time. I look forward to our encounters, honoring & remembering my Grandma. 🙏🏼
I’d love to hear your encounters with the Crow — physically or with Crow Wisdom. Please share your insights in the comments — thank you for helping me remember my Grandmother ❤️.
As a human recovering from over-exercising & disordered eating in my teens & 20’s … Yoga asana practice has been pivotal in coming back to myself, reminding myself I’m worthy no matter the # on the scale or the contours of my belly. (Note: this isn’t an ask for sympathy or affirmation, yet in hopes this post may support someone else in their journey) Rather than allowing me to “check out” of what was going on in my body, my mind, my life … Yoga invited me to return to the breath & the movement, & just enjoy being in a body with all its beauty, all its ability & all & limitations.
AND … AND I got away from strength training for several years as I dove into yoga asana (posture) practice. And yeah, imbalance developed through repetitive use injuries, lack of cardio & strength training. The past 2-3 years have been an experiment in balancing — once again — my physical well-being practices.
We might consider how our yoga practice and physical exercise programs can influence & inform each other, rather than substitute one for the other — for both have different purposes & benefits that are complementary.
Though they’re fewer & far between, I still have days when my mind snaps back to calorie counting & compulsion to get in another workout. Yet thanks to the additional aspects of the Yoga practice – breathwork, meditation, relaxation – I can bring myself back to myself & the ok-ness, the enough-ness of it all.
How has your Yoga and / or your physical fitness practice brought you back to to yourself, to your amazing enough-ness?
This time of year can be a spacey one — the air is lighter, temperature colder, the urging from social media to do more, buy something, keep moving. Our physical practices can bring us back to our bodies, back to our breath, back to our ability to move MINDFULLY — or choose NOT to move at all despite the world’s urging. We can feel the solidity of our muscles, our bones, the deep connection with our breath. We are here. We are right where we need to be. No more. No less.
Ah, the holiday season is upon us. Last year was a bit different for many of us … how are your holiday plans shifting? What are you reviving from years past? letting go? keeping from last year?
As you consider your daily routines … and I invite you to consider them especially as schedules change AGAIN and more often … Allow your yoga practice to complement your other movement practices, rather than replace them. Traditional fitness is fantastic for cardiovascular system and muscle-building. And yoga, as you have experienced, is different.
Your yoga practice can be a space apart, where you develop an ever-deepening awareness of how your body, breath and mind affect each other … where you practice regulating your nervous system, challenging your body in mindful movement, and giving space for your mind to rest.
Yoga can be a practice when you uncover, bit by bit, who you ARE — a Luminous Being meant to enjoy, love and serve in this life.
Two primary principles of Yoga are abhyasa and vairagya. Abhyasa is consistent, sustained practice, i.e. over a loooooonnnnggg period of time. Vairagya is non-attachment, meaning that we practice with intention … yet we let go of the results.
These principles kinda fly in the face of today’s modern results-driven (& give those results to me NOW) mentality. Viva la revolution! Toward a more joyful, peaceful, compassionate world of humans making a difference through Yoga!
Below: Wednesday Sunrise Yoga warm-ups … Join us 7:15am at Ombody, or for any of the many morning or evening classes offered by a fantastic team of teachers.
This afternoon was such a joy — 17 young, local runners from Uniontown Junior Cross Country Team stopped by OMBody for a practice.
We warrior’d, we stretched, we laughed … they are some of the best deep breathers I’ve encountered … … and in the end these kiddos RESTED.
What a gift to witness — young people resting amidst this busy, over-functioning, push-push-push noise of the world.
Their coach, Angie, reflected after class, “We’ve rarely been on the same page like we were today during yoga practice.” It was really cool to observe!
It was a privilege to hold space for these young athletes today. Deep bows to each of you …
Choosing a “WE Connect” picture card to describe: How do you feel today?
I asked for volunteers to share their cards, & here’s a shot of two of our XC runners:
“I chose this (funny face) card because I’m feeling pretty energetic today.”
“I honestly don’t know why I chose this card, I kind of panicked & just picked one!” (Redwood tree — I offered that it was a GREAT choice for panic, as trees can help us feel grounded & steady & calm. We usually pick the “right” card whether we know it or not!)
Enjoy a supported, floor-based posture to counteract “tech neck,” driving long distance, or any number of ways we hunch throughout our days.
What tools are you using? Pillows, cushions, blankets, whatever you can find works! Which version do you enjoy the most?
Remember, BE BOLD in using yoga props to support your limbs, spine, joints and head so you can fully release muscular tension … which then allows your nervous system and mind to start to unwind.
Allow your breath to be effortless, rest in your fave version for at least a few minutes. To come out, s l o w l y roll to a side or sit up … s l o w l y … Rest laying down or seated before moving back into life.
I’ve started collecting seeds from various plants in our garden. Here you see 21 seeds from 2 very small watermelon … granted I chose a mini variety, yet these little ones weren’t going to make it. Watermelon is new to me, so I’m afraid I did not provide the ideal growing conditions this year ;). However, Jim encouraged me to open these racquetball-size remnants of the withering plants & see what was inside before tossing them in the compost.
I could sow 21 seeds next year & possibly (if I’m a little more attentive) see 21 watermelon plants with who knows how many watermelons on each plant.
I’ve also been separating butterfly weed seeds from their feathery wisps that carry them to new growing places. I literally have hundreds of seeds so far, with more to come. With pollinator populations at risk, I hope to share these seeds next spring with friends, family & community.
So I wonder:
How is it that we cannot figure out how to feed, shelter & clothe our fellow humans? How is it that we cannot figure out how to be in right relationship with the world that supports us sooooooooo abundantly (21 SEEDS!!!) & unconditionally?
These questions return to me again & again as I’m faced with the disconnect between our society’s scarcity mindset … & the absolute ABUNDANCE of Nature’s way of doing & being.
We are out of sync. We have forgotten.
Yet we can remember.
How are YOU re-membering your own abundance? whether it be food, material goods, financial savings … or your wealth of creativity, ideas, talent, etc?
What are your 21 seeds?
And when you realize what you have … is there abundance to share? Without condition or expectation?
I think most of us have 21,000 seeds in us … that we are either afraid or uncertain how to share. Now’s the time to figure that out, though. You’ve got something the world needs … whether it benefits one person or one thousand people. You can make a difference.
How will you, how will I, how will we follow Nature’s lead & abundantly share from our internal & external stores … no matter how small, like these unripe watermelons … our small efforts will yield 21-fold.
I’d love to hear your thoughts … drop a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hear myself constantly say in class, “well, you could do it this way … or this way … or this way … ” And I’ve thought, maybe I should just state ONE way & be done with it — the class would go faster, I’d talk less, it’d be more efficient, etc. etc. etc.
I was thinking about this constant “permission to modify” today in class as I gave about 3 variations on a posture … & I as I observed folks moving into their posture, there were like 6 different variations in the room!
And it was amazing.
When I’m “teaching,” I’m never just teaching … I’m learning every second of the class. I’m a student. And I learned today (& every day) that it’s pretty damn cool to see people practicing THEIR practice … not doing what I say for it’s own sake, but making their Yoga their own.
I also constantly remind myself & others to modify/vary/adjust postures & techniques because in my own life I grew up & still work with my own perfectionist tendencies. I grew up telling myself, “Well, if that’s how the teacher says to do it, I’m going to do it that way x100 (or I’m going to do it my own way … and BETTER).” Or more often I’m competing with myself, trying to get to some “ideal” that probably doesn’t even exist.
I’ve heard it said that yoga practice allows us to see what we’re working with off our mat / cushion. What we learn on our mat, we then take out into the world.
What I’ve learned through my 13-year yoga practice is that my own perfectionist tendencies off the mat have resulted in burnout, injury, or ignoring my own body/mind’s needs in order to get to some arbitrary goal.
I think there’s a natural human tendency to go with the crowd, do what others are doing, even to our own detriment — & that tendency can happen in yoga spaces too.* Sometimes we get the idea that there’s a certain way to do sun salutations, there’s a certain placement for your feet in warrior 2, there’s a certain way you place you fold your hands in meditation, etc. etc. And yes, there are alignment cues for safety reasons, there are body part placements for energetic reasons … & yet when we GET CAUGHT UP in those particulars too much … well … we can lose the whole point of Yoga, which is to come home to ourselves & that inner divinity that KNOWS & knows that it knows.
And often our inner knowing is just whispering, “Give yourself a break. Seriously. You’re doing fine. You’re doing GREAT, actually. You don’t NEED to do more, be more, have more. You’re already enough. Just as you are.”
In group classes or private sessions, I continue to give permission to modify or adjust the practice to fit you today at this time. Not that you need permission! Yet sometimes our minds just need that little nudge to remember why we’re doing Yoga in the first place — hey, remember to listen to your body … hey, remember to breathe … hey, take it easy here, it’s ok.
So if you, like me, need to be reminded every so often that it’s perfectly perfect to modify, intensify, vary or adjust your yoga practice to meet your needs that day … Here’s your permission slip. No expiration date.
*This is why I love home practice. No eyes on me, no looking at other folks, just me practicing with the teacher and doing my thing. Try an online class.