The Dark Place: The Journey There and Back

It got dark, really dark. The view of my gorgeous garden through my window had no positive influence on me. I couldn’t get off the couch, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t say yes to any invitation from a friend. I couldn’t stop the occasional waves tumbling through my harkening tears. I didn’t know why I was crying. I didn’t know why I was angry. I remember sitting in front of my yoga class, teaching a meditation, and a little voice went through my head “You don’t even believe what you are saying, you are a fraud!”

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The WRONG Way to Practice Yoga Nidra

When I first started practicing Yoga Nidra in 2010, I thought it was a great way to deeply relax when I was feeling anxious and I’d often slip it into my afternoon schedule in lieu of a nap. By 2013 I was in a pattern of using Yoga Nidra as a sleep recovery technique in the middle of the afternoon. I would get halfway through the recorded practice, fall asleep, and be jolted awake by the end. I’d jump up grab a cup of coffee and race out the door for my evening sessions. For over a year I found myself in this daily cycle of falling asleep every single time I practiced it.

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How Do You Know If Your Yoga Practice Is Serving You

If there's one thing that I have learned since starting my yoga journey it's this:PRACTICE.  But even our best laid plans, our intentions, and especially our discipline can elude us! How do you find the time? How do you know that your practice is serving you in the best ways?While you may feel stellar after a great yoga class, it's the more subtle ways in which you interact with yourself, your relationships and your experiences that reveal whether your practice is working for you. In other words, you can tell your practice is working by the measure of your life. Are you happy for the most part? Are you able to weather the storms of the inevitable change and challenge that life serves up? Are your relationships fulfilling?  Do you like who you are?

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Authenticity Heals

Every year my Burning Man experience produces deep lessons that I commit to integrate into my life, and surely, this year was no different. Surrounded by those I call my chosen family, I reached a whole new level of self-acceptance, owning my personality, and bringing forth aspects of me that have been hidden behind my misplaced self-judgment . What if I won't be liked or turn people off? What if people think I'm acting "age-inappropriate"? At Burning man I decided to go for ME. With trepidation, I slid on the cat suit, zipped up the boots, and rolled out to meet my campmates. To my surprise I was received with jaw dropping gazes and loving embraces. People called out to me "There she is!" as if I'd been in hiding this whole time.

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Your Mind Is a Fishbowl

Often times the seminal text of yoga, The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is oft quoted in public classes and teacher trainings.  I found it to be one of the most confounding texts, wrought with esoterica and seemingly irrelevant sayings for today's modern human.  But once unpacked by an experienced and knowledgable teacher, the simple depths of it's teachings are revealed and in my summation amount to this:  You are not your mind, you are self-essence (or soul) witnessing your manifest experience of life.  I equate this to the image of a fish swimming in a fishbowl.  The fish is your soul, swimming around in the murky waters of your mind.  T

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Of Truth, Response and Consequence...

Right now I’m defiantly staring at the dark, windy city below my writing desk window. I impatiently ache for summer.  But winter lingers on as if to ask if we have had enough yet.  “Ugh”, I scoff.  In that moment of hopeless disgust at something as simple and uncontrollable as the weather, I remember why I decided to write a book. It’s subject is gut wrenching at times and asks us to look unabashedly, unashamed, and with the clearest of seeing at the deep truth of things, using none other than stories of my personal life and the concept of the uncontrollable nature of life itself.

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The Still Wisdom of Trees

I am not a PhD or psychologist, an academic, or even a physical therapist.  I rather like to think myself an experience -ist. There is so much research, information, and editorial now about how yoga helps with stress, chronic illness, sleep disorders, weight loss, etc. And while it's amazing how this ancient wisdom is increasingly recognized for it's contribution to the physical and mental health of it's practitioners, this simple affirmation falls short of the reality that it takes practice. Yoga isn't a trend, but rather a life long endeavor. Deep within the complex array and often times hidden meanings of ancient yogic texts lies the simple key to unlocking the power of yoga, practice.  The sanskrit word for this is Abhyasa.  To be in the endeavor, the practice, of yoga, is the only way to experience it's bounty.

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Rest, Restore, Refuel or Cocaine?

“Cocaine?” “Yes.” I replied. “I did just say cocaine”. There were 20 students staring blankly at me with that “is-this-a-yoga-class?” look on their faces.

I had just settled in, read the class energy, and assessed what best to teach to this group right in front of me. They looked tired, they looked eager to get moving, to burn energy, to raise their heat, to sweat, to work out. To get something done. They didn’t need to actually say anything. It was all there. Bodies running on empty, minds running on overdrive, enthusiasm and inspiration dulled like a smouldering piece of wet wood in a fire.

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On Self-Care, Ego and Attachment

Two months ago I was diagnosed with severe exhaustion, forcing me to make some tough choices to prioritize sleep over work and my health over the fun of going out, staying up late, and waking early to teach. Letting classes go after a decade of teaching was one of the toughest decisions I've HAD to make in all of this. When I looked in the mirror at my tired face, hypocrisy was staring back. On the mat I was teaching self-care and balance while off the mat I was living anything but.

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Achievement At What Cost?

I had just completed an Ayurvedic overhaul at the Somatheeram Clinic in Kerala, India. I remember our first day there well. After a thorough Ayurvedic Doctor's assessment of my physical, mental and energetic state I was given a diagnosis of my condition and my 7 day treatment plan. So maybe this is not surprising to you, but it was to me, I was diagnosed with severe exhaustion. "What? Severe exhaustion? Really?, Cuz I feel fine" I retorted.

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You Must Walk a Risky Path If You Seek Joy and Fulfillment

In last month's newsletter I said the promise of Yoga practice is revealed in the measure of your life. What I didn’t mention was that in order to realize that promise of joy and fulfillment, you must walk a risky path that will unravel you. The deeper you go into your practice, the less satisfied you are with the mundane and insane aspects of your life. One definition of insanity is the repetition of something without change, without evolution; an insidious pattern you've figured out how to be OK with.

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