Here’s a quick practice when you only have 10 minutes to take a break, but need to have a moment to regain centeredness.
After each class, we have the opportunity to send an email to people who attended. It’s a great way to keep track and nurture relationships. Every once in awhile someone responds. (I think I’ve gotten 3 responses out of probably 100 sent.)
A few days ago, I got a particularly heartwarming response:
Thank you so much for hosting that class on new years eve! I absolutely loved it. That was my first time practicing again since moving to Utah and the way you taught really helped me get back into my body. I'm going to be taking the 200 hour teacher training in February and I'd love to take more of your classes and learn more about your style since I enjoyed it so much. You have a very calming demeanor.
*not her real name
It’s always so nice to receive feedback, and especially wonderful to hear how I affected someone’s practice. I was expecting 9 people for the class on New Year’s Eve. When I left the house at 10am, it was snowing furiously leaving me to wonder how many people would show. 5 people came several minutes early, and they were the only 5 there when class started at 10:30. I let them know we were expecting 4 more, and that they may trickle in. Ultimately 15 people trickled in by twos and threes. I couldn’t believe it. The room was full. The energy was amazing, and it stayed with me all day. To then receive her reply to my email warmed my heart and made me feel full.
Happy Monday! That means tomorrow you have three opportunities to catch me for a yoga class! Beginning at 11am with a Restore class. It’s 50 min long, totally relaxing and soothing.
Next up is a 45 min Express Class. Here we do a little Core work and break a sweat before you head out to the rest of your day.
Then at 7:15pm we do Guided Meditation, Core and Restorative asana, and pranayama (breathwork).
It’s been fun designing promo bits for my classes. Combines my passion for photography and design with my passion for yoga and teaching. Again, not going to win any design awards, but it’s great for nourishing my need to be creative. Join me for a class on Tuesdays! 11am/12pm/7:15pm All three classes are totally different. Restore is very slow and mellow, Express is a 45-minute mix of Core strengthening and some Restorative, and Move Breathe Meditate combines guided meditation and breath work with asana. It’s mellow, but there is still core work. You can still break a sweat if you want!
Excited to get these 4 x 4” postcards printed! I know they aren’t going to win any design awards, but I had fun creating them.
I chose 4 different images for the backside:
Warrior 2 is one of my favorite asanas. Strength and determination.
Side plank is another favorite. It opens the heart, but also provides the feeling of strength and determination with the support of the earth beneath you.
The other day an older gentleman was in one of my classes. He arrived early, so we had some time to chat. I asked him how his morning was going. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he wasn’t very convincing that he was having a pleasant morning even though his words said it had been. He then asked me about mine. I mentioned I’d gotten my car back from the body shop, having smashed it a week before. I commented that I had enjoyed slowing down and doing some walking around through my neighborhood while my car was in the shop.. His blue eyes beamed, and he told me how great it was that I could find the silver lining. He said maybe he should work on that himself. I told him I have plenty of stories of tough times that turned out to be really wonderful. I mention bed bugs, he thought I’d said I’d been mugged. Hah.
It got me thinking about how we get to that place. The place where we can take a step back see the chaos or discomfort or tragedy around us, and accept it for what it is. We can find joy there, or at least a semblance of happiness. When we can acknowledge that we will make it through whatever the challenge that’s been presented, and enjoy the challenge. Laugh at it, even.
Watching your house burn down, looking the other direction, and finding some sort of silver lining is not what I’m talking about. Non-acknowledgement does not promote growth. Really digging in to the challenges life throws you, and being able to take some pause, taking time that has been offered to peel back some layers is the gift. You may never have an answer to why, but it could point you in a direction that makes your life more rich. You experience growth, that’s the silver lining, however it manifests.
It’s okay to grieve, to be angry, to be frustrated, to feel. It’s okay to be a hot fucking mess, to be devastated, to be lost. Sometimes walking helps, sometimes sitting in silence. Drinking excessively does not. Chewing does. Slower movement and stillness. Slowing down and focusing on nothing else but the breath can help. Bringing ourselves into awareness is the only thing I know to do during challenging times. You can get there a number of ways. Some make it easier and more enjoyable. Letting go is key. Embrace the fact your world is fucked.
Acknowledge it. Breathe into the discomfort. Discomfort and agitation are places where changes are made. Let it go. Trust the process. Take care of yourself.
Check out my story from Centered City’s Teacher Highlight! It was fun to write and inspired me to write more. I swore at the beginning of the year I would start writing another book this year. Time to start writing!
Stop in next Tuesday for my class: Move, Breathe, Meditate, 7:15pm. Every Tuesday! It’s a great mix of meditation, pranayama (breath work), and asana.
And! Stay tuned for details about the workshop I’m offering early December. After a light asana and meditation session, we’ll let our creative energy flow and create a small mixed media art piece that you can take with you!
I've been teaching a yoga class at Centered City for just over a couple months now. I only teach one regular class, Move Breathe Meditate on Tuesdays at 7:15pm. (Come check it out--It's a mix of asana, pranayama, and meditation.) Teaching at Centered City has given me the opportunity to sub other classes, though, which has been a tremendous help to grow as a teacher. Ultimately I would like to teach 4 classes each week, work with private clients, teach group events, teach at retreats, and host workshops incorporating my feng shui practice.
One of the things I love about my regular class on Tuesday nights is the time I spend culling wisdom and meditation practices to share. In the beginning it was a huge challenge--most of my focus in class was spent thinking about what comes next in the sequence or the directions to give to get in and out of a pose. It takes practice to get there! When you're looking at your notes or nervous about performing in front of a group of strangers, it's difficult to think of wisdom to share. Now that I have the sequence down (timing was a huge challenge in the beginning), I can focus more on students and even improvise. It's very exciting to experience growth in any endeavor.
Come check out my class!
Weekend before last I went out to Duschesne County for the weekend after a Trauma Sensitive Yoga workshop in Lehi. The workshop was great. Yael Calhoun is wonderful. I learned about some of the subtleties that create a trauma sensitive environment in a yoga class. Yael works with veterans and military sexual assault victims. She taught us some powerful techniques using basic communication. I'm glad I attended.
Afterwards I drove two hours, partially through Provo Canyon for the first time, it was stunning. Saw kayakers and fly fishers. It was fun to come up to Heber from the other side of the mountains than I normally see on this trip out to the country going the long way out past Strawberry Reservoir.
As always, being out in there is delightful, therapeutic, a treat. We made foraged dandelion pancakes for breakfast! Who knew? My cousin Brock heard about it from a person in his foraging class. So we tried it.
Definitely learned some things here, too, but they were delicious and fun. Will definitely try it again.
We also cut down a box elder tree. It was my first tree chopping experience. We all got to hack at it. (Yes, it would have been easier with a chainsaw. This was more fun, less noisy, and didn't require gasoline fumes.) I got to throw the rock attached to the rope up into the tree. Sometimes you aren't fully aware that you have unexpressed anger or frustration to release. Swinging an axe to a tree takes care of that.
We saw a crane! I thought she was talking about a crane that falls on to the sidewalk in NYC and kills people, so I didn't bother to look at first. I'm glad she was persistent. I love how we look, watch, then go right back to what we were doing.
So the tree finally came down. Success.
Feeding and petting the horses also was a much needed therapeutic activity. We started with carrots, but they were still hungry. Who can walk away from a horse.
Heidi and I went for a hike up the hill to look for frogs in the pond. Along the way we found wild asparagus, picked it and ate it. We brought some back and ate that, too. It's so fresh you can eat it raw.
Then it was time to go back home. I always feel so energized and happy after a weekend like this one.
Last week I started a volunteer gig teaching yoga and art to a group of elementary school kids for their after school program. They're calling it YogART. The kids range kindergarten through 4th grade, all super sweet. They have been playing a yoga spinner game that they all enjoy, so I've continued with that. For the art portion, I just had them do a free draw so I could assess where they are for our first session. This week I'm going to see how far we can get with Surya Namaskara A (sun salutations) and self portraits. It's definitely important to meet them where they are instead of being attached to the outcome. My number one goal is for them to have fun. If they get more out of it and learn anything, that's great, too. It's great practice for me.
I also had the amazing opportunity last week to scribe for Arun Deva while he was giving consultations in Salt Lake. It's amazing how much you can learn by sitting and typing all the words two people say. I love how aligned Ayurveda is with my feng shui practice. While I know I have no ambition to become an Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, I think it is a wonderful tool for the tool box. I also attended his Emotional Intelligence workshop and a 2.5 hour yoga therapy asana practice. He is truly a wonderful teacher and has inspired me tremendously. Feeling very fortunate and grateful for the whole experience. He reminds me of my mentor, William Spear, but an Ayurvedic version.
I'm looking forward to attending two of Benjamin Sears' Sacred Geometry Vinyasa classes at Second Side City in Dallas when I'm there in a couple of weeks. I seriously can't wait. So glad my trip coincided with it. Unfortunately it ends the day after I arrive, so I only can attend 2 classes. Oh well. I'm loving the idea of attending super awesome yoga classes when I travel. Sacred Geometry is one of my most favorite subjects.
Next month I will be finished with the Level 1 Yoga Therapy Teacher Training. Level 2 does not start until mid-June, so I have time to focus on teaching. That's exciting. I can't believe it will be next December before I will have C-IAYT after my name. It is the highest level of credentialing in yoga, so I am grateful for the long process. Otherwise it wouldn't be as meaningful. Salt Lake has been such a wonderful place to be for this part of my journey.
Today at YTT we worked on planning sequences. Our homework from last week was to come up with a 9-pose sequence, 20 minutes long. I put mine together focusing on the chakras. I brought along my tibetan tingsha. We worked in groups with one person teaching, one person practicing, and one person observing. It worked out really well. It was so great to give and receive feedback. Then an awesome person, Meg, came in and talked to us about planning sequences based on season, themes, and peak poses. I feel like I'm learning so much, and that I'm going to be well prepared to give people an awesome experience with yoga and meditation.
On top of all that wonderfulness, I feel so grateful for all the family and friends I have in Salt Lake. I spend so many hours each week surrounded by amazing wonderful people. My coworkers, friends, and family are such a big part of my life.