Monday, November 17, 2014

2015 yoga teacher training

I'm all tingly with excitement (and some nervousness!) because registration is officially open for our 2015 yoga teacher training. 

I'm just thrilled to bring the training back to Lexington. After years of training awesome folks to become yoga teachers in Mexico, North Carolina, and California, we are right back where we started. It feels like a big, beautiful circle. Like one big delicious breath.

To get all the details click here.

As I've been revamping some training details I connected back to some students who completed this training with me by asking them about what has changed most since they went through the training. I was humbled by what they said. 

One student (who is actually leading his very own yoga teacher training) responded back, "Wow, what hasn't changed for me since training?!" 

Because I'm so giddy excited (and because I'm such a yoga nerd), I'm offering a sweet gift to those who register before December 2, which is all the yoga books required for training and my favorites.....notebook, pens, post its, index cards, and more. I'm not only a huge yoga nerd but the office store is a place I like to visit for fun. I know your itching to hang out with me on a Saturday night.

If you've been thinking 2015 might be the year your become a yoga teacher then I Invite you to grab a cuppa tea or coffee, settle in, and savor these words. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

the sweet spot of yoga

I was happily in student mode this weekend, participating in a virtual yoga workshop. For five hours Saturday and Sunday, Sarah Bowker, Meghan Skirha and I virtually joined our teacher in California, a student in Virginia, and another in Europe. Technology is amazing, yes?

I wanted to share something with you that I believe is a great skill for your yoga on and off the mat. In the Yapana methodology we explore holding patterns in relation to breathing, asanas, gravity, and movement. 

These are propping, collapsing, and yielding.

When we are propping in a yoga pose we are being overly rigid in our body. You might think  of a big giant boulder, or a big piece of furniture. It is hard for the breath to move through the body. In fact, students often are holding their breath when they are propping in their pose. Typically, when this happens a student is relying on his/her strength alone to hold them in the pose. 

When we are collapsing we are dropping the weight  of the body into the earth without maintaining a connection to the structure. There is little structure and stability in the body and the breath is more often shallow. Typically, when this happens a student is using too much flexibility and not enough strength.

The Yoga Sutras speak very little about actual asana (postures). What the sutras do tell us is that we are cultivating  effort (which equates to strength) and ease (which equates to the sweet feeling we get from a juicy stretch). It is the balance between those two that creates a healthy posture. A posture that enlivens and awakens. One that can bring more balance back into body, helping us to grow stronger in some areas of our body while opening up in other areas. 

This brings me back to the the third holding pattern, yielding. When we are yielding in a pose, there is a beautiful balance between strength and flexibility. When one is yielding in a pose you can almost see their whole body pulsing with breath. This is the sweet spot.

Does this show up off the mat? Yes, most likely. 

Do I have any Type A personalities reading this note right now (if you even have time to read it ;) ? We are the strong, dedicated, focused ones that can will our way through most anything and everything. Effort is a superpower.

Do I have any totally carefree, "it'll happen when it need to happen" folks reading? You might be a bit scattered and not so focused (and boy, I bet people adore you for it too). Ever feel like you are floating away, mentally or even physically? Ease is a superpower.

It is the combination of the two and the ability to yield, that gives such beauty, shape, and form to ALL the postures of your life.

What do you think? What is your natural superpower and could you benefit from cultivating the opposite energy a bit more? 

Lastly, here is a photo from our virtual classroom this weekend. Pretty cool, right?

Monday, October 20, 2014

yoga lessons from the spinning bike

I took my first spinning class in over a decade yesterday. Since my love affair with yoga began I've been content to stay glued to my mat. Alas, two back to back pregnancies, and everything that goes with love and loss and nursing and literally using my body to care for another left me wanting to challenge and use my body in new and different ways.

Spinning class in my mid 20's felt much different than spinning class in my late 30's. It was a much greater challenge for my body, but my mind knew exactly how to work for my greatest benefit.

I found myself smiling through much of the class (even when my quads were on fire) because I just felt so appreciative of the ways in which yoga was informing my experience on that spinning bike, and that's what I want to share here. 

I think you might get some value because the beauty of the yoga practice is that it translates to so many areas of your life.

1. The power of visualization:: We use visualization often in yoga class. I love that this is encouraged in spinning class. One image came to me spontaneously during class as we were pedaling up an imaginary hill. Just when I was wondering if we would ever get to the top of the never ending hill, an image of my daughter popped into my mind. I saw her joyfully standing at the top of the hill, arms open, waiting for me. I got a burst of energy and climbed that hill, feeling pretty awesome. What image can inspire you to move through your day or a task with more energy, grace, love, or joy?

2. Where's your focus? In yoga class we use a drishti, which is a place where we direct our eyes in order to direct our focus and regulate our energy. In spinning class I used only two spots to focus my attention, one while I was seated and another when we came to standing on the bike. Doing so helped me to stay connected to the moment, my experience, and give me more energy. Where is your focus today? Is it where you need it to be?

3. Mind your breath:: Yoga is just as much about the breath as it is the poses. It's so easy to pay attention to your breath in yoga and forget about it most other times. I made sure to make my breath a focus and priority on that spinning bike. I know it made a huge difference in my experience. Your breath is your best friend, especially during challenging moments. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

4. Its all about the sweet spot:: In class I always talk about effort and ease in our poses. This balance of strength and sweetness can balance out most things in life, I do believe. There was a lot of effort on that spinning bike, but I made sure to find ways to access ease. Sometimes it was mindfully relaxing my upper body while letting my lower body go to work. Other times I felt a sense of ease when a song came on during a particularly challenging moment. How can you find some sweetness and ease during a hard task?

What do you think? How does your practice on the yoga mat translate and inform your life off the mat? I'd love to hear.

Monday, September 22, 2014

inspired action on & off the yoga mat

Sitting here now, in this moment, the sky is a gorgeous, crystal clear, shade of blue. The wind is blowing and I see large and small trees dancing back and forth. Leaves are beginning to fall to the earth. The once vibrant green grass is slowly making it's transition to fall.

And so it is....

The fall season is a beautiful time for both letting go and also taking inspired action. We only have to look to nature to see this. The trees are shedding what isn't necessary for the winter season. Animals are making preparations for hibernating during the winter months.

The yoga practice teaches us how to take inspired action both on and off the yoga mat. Before we go into hibernation mode I want to invite you to think of a project that you identified as important this year. Something you wanted to learn, or get back to. Some inspired change you wanted to make or a new habit you wanted to cultivate. Somewhere along the way, you forgot about this, got off track, or didn't carve out the time (or all the above!).

Grab a piece of paper or your journal and write down a list of action steps you need to take for one project. We explored this exercise at my recent retreat at Shaker Village, using a mind map for the project. 

Speaking of Shaker Village, look at what a beautiful weekend we shared::
I just adore my retreat at Shaker Village and if you missed this one, good news......I've got one scheduled for January. Hello New Year! Details will be coming soon.

Other ways you can connect to the energy and rhythm of the fall season::
  • Focus your attention more on your exhalations.
  • Spend some time decluttering around your house or office space.
  • Make a list of "things" you want to let go of. This can include people, habits and experiences.
  • Do a yoga practice that is grounded with a slow and steady flow.
  • Spend five minutes in a seated forward fold.
  • Drink lots of hot liquids.
  • Attend our deep peace restorative yoga workshop on Friday!
Sending a big smile and refreshing breaths to you. May your day unfold with beauty and ease.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

instructing from within

Good Tuesday to you. I hope you are feeling good in your body and breath this morning. I just returned from an epic road trip to Oklahoma City for a wedding. With a nine month old babe and all! Shew. Glad to be home. I am attempting to get back in the groove with both family and work, with ease and joy. So far so good!
This morning I'm gathering my notes, resources, thoughts, and books as I refine my teachings for a retreat I'm co-leading next weekend in Asheville (pssst, there is still one or two spots open, details here. )

I wanted to share with you this poem by Mark Nepo that I'll be sharing::

The Appointment

What if, on the first sunny day,
on your way to work, a colorful bird
sweeps in front of you down a
street you've never heard of.

You might pause and smile,
a sweet beginning to your day.

Or you might step into that street
and realize there are many ways to work.

You might sense the bird knows something
you don't and wander after.

You might hesitate when the bird
turns down an alley. For now
there is tension: Is what the
bird knows worth being late?

You might go another block or two,
thinking you can have it both ways.
But soon you arrive at the edge
of all your plans.

The bird circles back for you 
and you must decide which 
appointment you were
born to keep.

The poem illustrates the beauty of listening, the power in following our intuition, and the possibilities that exist when we allows ourselves to follow those possibilities.

Yoga is a beautiful tool that helps us grow our capacity to listen. We listen to the teacher and ultimately we listen to our instructions coming from within. Free of right and wrong, good and bad, we move forward in each pose, listening within, following our breath, until we choose when and where to stop in each pose.

Isn't that amazing?

Speaking of amazing. I'm so happy those two yoginis are teaming up to lead our very first Yoga + Wine event this Friday from 6:00 - 8:00. Pre-regisration is required. You're coming, right? Register here!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

a conscious pause & recommitting to yourself

It's July. Which means two things:: We are deep into Summer and officially halfway into 2014. Can you believe it?

For those of you who attend my classes, you are familiar with the "conscious pause" we take throughout class. It's a beautiful, brief moment in which we hit the pause button and take notice of the body, breath, and tone of the mind. An opportunity to reconnect to an intention and get curious about any changes we need to make as we move deeper into the class.

I think July is a perfect moment for a "conscious pause" in the flow of our year. In January we set intentions (or hopes or goals) for our year. For many of us, come July, we have forgotten them. The shininess of the new year has long faded and many find themselves just "getting through the day."

I am a lover, a believer, in the beautiful power of the yoga practice. The practice on and off the yoga mat.

Since my very first time on the mat I've known this was a practice that I wanted to last a lifetime.  In order to sustain my practice and use it as a tool to thrive in my life, I pause at times to reflect on where I am with my practice, asking questions and making changes as needed (and there have been many changes these days considering I am a mama to a busy nine month old).

Questions like these help me to refine my practice as needed. You might want to grab your journal or a piece of paper and ask yourself::

1. Is my current yoga practice, serving me in the ways I most need for this day, this season of my life?
2. What has changed in my life and do I need to make changes in my practice as a result?
3. What is the heart of my practice right now? What has the most meaning?
4. What changes do I need to make in my practice? 
5. What is one small change I can start today?

For some of us, we need structure, some support to create change (which is just one of many reasons why I love coaching). In the spirit of that, I would like to extend an offer to you......

We offer a monthly unlimited "auto renew" yoga package at the treehouse. If you've either::
A. Fallen off the yoga wagon and want to get back on
B. Are ready to more deeply commit to yourself (and your yoga practice) by coming to yoga at least twice a week......

And want to more consciously, more strategically move onward into the rest of the year then I'm offering a free coaching session for those of you who sign up by July 15 for the monthly unlimited auto renew package at the treehouse.

We can do this 45 minute {yoga-minded} coaching session any time over the next six months. This can be beneficial in a number of ways. We can::

** {Re}design a yoga practice that nourishes you from the inside out. 
**Identify what helps you feel most healthy and happy and craft a self care practice that fits your needs (and your schedule).
**Map out what needs to happen to end your year on a delicious high note.
**Create an intention for the remaining year that inspires you AND identify ways to infuse your days with appreciation and joy. 

These are just a few ideas about the ways you could use your free coaching session. Of course, you might have your own ideas!

So if you're ready, willing, and excited (and maybe a bit nervous too) to sign on for the monthly unlimited yoga package ($70 a month) then send me an email and we'll get it arranged for you. Then we can schedule your coaching session. Yesyesyes! 

So exciting....

Friday, June 27, 2014

ever felt like you didn't belong on a yoga mat?

I attended a really amazing yoga retreat, called Curve Camp last weekend in Nashville, TN. It was organized by the lovely Anna of Curvy Yoga and my mind is still reeling from the goodness of it all. There has been an abundance of aha's since the opening session on Friday.
I've written here before how stepping onto my mat for the first time felt like a "coming home" of sorts for me. It was my yoga mat that taught me how to accept and appreciate my body, imperfections and all. 
Did I appreciate my body in every single pose, on every single day? Heck, no. But I was growing my capacity, my ability to accept my body, curves and all.
Fast forward many years and I got pregnant. Experienced loss and got pregnant again less than three months later. My body is not the same body as when I started practicing yoga. My heart is not the same as when I started practicing yoga.
My body, my heart, my practice..... they have all grown.
There have been times in my yoga life that I've felt like a round peg forcing myself into a round hole. Or maybe a triangle pose forcing myself into a side angle pose is more appropriate?
And I'm so over it. I've been over it for a while. This is just me naming and claiming it.
I do not fit the yoga standard. And for this I am thankful. Why?
Because I believe we need more diversity in yoga studios and on the mat. I am a curvalicious yoga teacher who prefers street clothes to spandex (among many other things). Asana does not come easy for me. Some would say I drink too much coffee. And that my language is a bit too colorful. 
I could go on but I'll stop and say.....
What I want you to know is this::
You don't have to re-shape yourself before claiming your right to be on a yoga mat or in front of the boardroom.
You don't have to be a particular age, shape, color, or size to benefit from yoga.
You are worthy of breath and praise and love and feeling good regardless of whether or not you can touch your toes.
You don't have to be able to do a perfect down dog in order to connect with the divine.
This body that you have today, imperfections and all. It is freaking beautiful. Brilliant in magical and mysterious ways. You are a living, breathing, blinking, digesting, processing, pumping, organizing, orchestrating work of art.
You can accept your body for what it is today AND have the desire to create change in the ways you feel inspired to. Not because you'll finally be whole (psssst, you already are), but because it will light you and your life up even more.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

your mind:: your greatest ally or enemy?

There is a popular quote by Buddha that says, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become."

The mind is such a powerful instrument and how you use it during yoga can either elevate your experience or leave you feeling discouraged.

How would it feel today if you could treat your mind as your greatest ally or your very best friend?
{Pause and let yourself really open up to that question}

What if all your thoughts came through from a place of gratitude, compassion, kindness, and love?

Can you imagine how much of a game changer that would be?! Wow.

I'm smiling just thinking of the possibilities.

I invite you to pause and take note of the type and tone of your thoughts so far today. Are your thoughts serving you in your relationships, your work, your parenting? Are your thoughts helping you to become the person you most want to be? 

The crazy cool thing is this.......

You get to choose. Over and over

What will you choose today?