Gratitude through the lens of the chakras

Happy Thanksgiving week!  My favorite holiday of the year is finally here.  In Online Yoga Membership (OYM) we have been practicing gratitude all month in a way I wanted to share with you today.

 

What does gratitude look like through the lens of the chakras?  Maybe you can take a moment and consider these for yourself, or share them with someone you celebrate with.

 

Looking over the last year, what are you thankful for in regards to:

 

Abundance.  How have you been blessed in your material world?

Release.  What is something you let go of this year that has been a relief to you?

Power. Is there a power or strength within you that you woke up to this year?

Relationships. Who has come into your life that you are so happy to have? 

Voice.  What meaningful conversations did you have this year that you hope to remember for years to come?

Connection: What is a connection you made this year, with someone else or within...

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Strong Butts = Happy Hip Flexors

glutes hip pain yoga poses Nov 15, 2022

Every now and then it seems like there is a trend of sorts. Not the fun kind that create an excuse to buy some new shoes, but one where several unrelated people have similar physical issues.  It's like when I used to bartend and everyone was ordering the same unusual drink on a Saturday night. There was no discernible reason, no commonality between the groups, no obvious connection across the bar, but every now and then it was Long Island Iced Teas for everyone! (And things often got messy on those nights!)

 

But I digress...

 

Lately I've been hearing a lot about hip flexors, psoas, and inner thigh pain.  Whether it comes and goes, is sharp or dull, often the culprit isn't the front body, but the back. Weak bums can make for tense hip flexors.  This naturally occurs with our sitting lifestyle, stress, and aging.  

 

So what can you do about it? 

 

Here are my 3 favorite antidotes to tired glutes:

1) On all fours, rear leg lifts.

2)...

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On Eclipses and Elections

Today is so full, is it not? Not only are we starting off with a big, beautiful Full Moon Lunar Eclipse, but it’s Election Day as well! This is finishing up our current “eclipse season,” which included last month’s partial solar eclipse on October 25. You can think back over these last few weeks and take note of things that have left your life, or cycled off, and what new ideas or projects have started to take shape. Once we’re on the other side of today, things that left will stay gone and things that arrived or continue will remain.  It’ll be new.  For better or worse.

 

But to have a national election on such a day! Well, shiver me timbers, ya’ll! Can’t you just feel the importance? We are the fortunate ones, living here and now, who are shaping the future with our little checked boxes and I VOTED stickers.  I feel so many things about these times we’re living in, and mostly it’s awe. 

 

To...

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Deep Dive or Quick Hit?

We have arrived in November! And we’re ready to enter the month of gratitude.  In Online Yoga Membership we will start a journey through the chakras, giving gratitude for each aspect of ourselves as laid out by the energetic centers within us.  Enjoy this yourself by thanking your body, emotions, will, heart, voice, intuition, and spirit! You can go in order, or consider where you don’t feel very in touch or a little out of balance and start there. (If you’re not sure, simply start with this Chakra Check-In Self Assessment.)

 

What I like about spending a whole month on one topic is that it has a chance to really sink in and change us.  Gratitude is one of the best examples of this.  Daily gratitude is a free and easy antidote to habitual negative thinking, insecurity, sadness, and anxiety.  And it’s a practice. Pushing back against a culture that entices you to want more and fuels your desire for a life beyond your reach can be...

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Conversations With a Spider

For the past couple of years I have spent two hours, one Friday per month, in a Spiritual Direction Group. There are four of us in this little band of contemplatives, led by Nancy, our Spiritual Director. Each month we have a short experience, followed by silence, reflection, response, prayer, and more silence. It is one of the most enriching aspects of my life, and it has brought me great joy and insights.  

 

On one of our first gatherings, Nancy gave us the instructions to head out into nature on her beautiful property, find a place that seems to be calling you to come sit, and do just that. Sit, look around, and see what is there for you.  Listen, without expectations. It’s called Wilderness Contemplation. 

 

I love an assignment like this because you can’t possibly do it wrong, and it leaves a lot open to interpretation.  I get to be as woo-woo and magical as I want, no judgment.  So on this day, naturally I had a conversation...

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Out of Your Head and Into Your Heart

heart meditation peace retreat Oct 18, 2022

I’ve been home from a wonderful trip to Tuscany for a few days now, and my memories are already nourishing me and giving me reasons to reflect.  If you were to ask me if the trip were for business or pleasure, I’d have to say, “Yes! Both!”  The first week I was there I had the extraordinary privilege of attending a NOVA Women’s Leadership retreat, followed by four days with Nick sightseeing and driving through some of the most breathtaking vistas on Earth.  

 

This retreat came at the perfect time.  I, like so many others, have been in a state of wondering, “What’s next?” As the world has opened up again, so have our options.  And now, rather than quick pivots and reactions to studios closing or pandemics forcing us online, we get to think about and plan whatever is to come.  

 

But when there’s all the options, it can be harder to narrow things down! 

 

Lately, this has...

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When Props Expire

I was recently giving my indoor plants some TLC, which had me looking at Georgia's amazing growth, and there was a little surprise waiting for me.  (Georgia is the fiddle fig tree that appears in all my online videos.) Since I received her back in 2020, she has had two sticks and a post to support her and help her stay standing.  I went to check these support sticks, and realized they were completely loose and unnecessary! I don't know when she made the transition from wobbly to strong, but there she is, able to hold herself high. 

 

I know tons of slow and tedious growth happens while we think there's nothing going on, but this seemed like a lot. It got me thinking, where else have I experienced growth that was so slow and quiet it went unnoticed?  Where can I let go of some unneeded support that was once a helpful crutch but is no longer necessary?

 

I see this happen all the time in yoga classes.  Students who, when they started yoga, needed a...

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Leave a Hollow Space

Don't you love it when an opportunity to rethink, reimagine, or reconsider something mundane presents itself to you? Just last week in Online Yoga Membership (OYM) we did just that with something we yogis do so very often that it can start to lose the fullness of its meaning: Anjali mudra, or palms together at the heart. (See! It's so common and accepted it's an emoji!)

 

Bringing palms together at the heart is an ancient gesture of greeting and respect in Eastern cultures, and it has Western connotations of prayer. In yoga classes it often used at the beginning and end of class, as well as in some yoga poses throughout the practice. It is frequently paired with namaste, which is an acknowledgement of the Divinity in all, or as I was taught and will often say, "The light in me, bows to the light in you."   Anjali means "offering." 

 

But how much have you thought about the subtleties that can be found in this simple mudra?

 

Try it this way, and see...

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Laugh and Release!

funny grief laugh release Sep 06, 2022

You've heard the old saying, "Laughter is the best medicine," right?  Well this is SO TRUE to my experience. 

 

August 30 was a very sad day in the Goulding house. My mom's beloved boyfriend of 5 years was laid to rest.  I traveled to Houston for the ceremony and burial.  Our family, friends, and in-laws all gathered together to say goodbye and support my mom in this, her third, partner loss.  Our hearts were tight and jaws were tense, to say the least.

 

Between the funeral and the burial there was some time to pass, which we did at a local restaurant.  This is when I learned something about my brother that sent me into a laughing fit like I have never had before!  

 

While his wife was scrolling the photos in his phone looking for the one she wanted to share with us, she casually said, "You have a lot of pictures of your alarm in here."  

 

I'm sorry--what??

 

 

This little window into Whit's...

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Hatha vs Hatha Flow: What's the difference?

When someone asks you what you do for a living, do you have a good answer? Believe it or not, I get a little stymied. It usually goes something like this:

"What do you do?"

"I teach yoga."

"Really! What kind?"

At this point I kinda just stare and blink and try to come up with a decent answer that doesn't require a whole explanation! The best description I've been able to come up with is "alignment-based, contemplative, and therapeutic yoga."

Then it's their time to stare and blink a little bit.

 

Usually people know the word Hatha, which is my more succinct default answer. But after teaching for nearly 20 years, it's a lot more than that!

So as I was sitting down to describe the classes that are in the FREE Virtual Open House, I thought it was a good time to lay out the differences a little bit, especially between Hatha and Hatha Flow (both of which are in the Online Yoga Membership, or OYM).

I'd say the difference isn't always clear. Perhaps the answer lies in the...

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