The Mind-Body-Life Connection

I'm sitting at my little desk in my home yoga studio, and I'm thinking about the mind-body connection.  Nick and I just talked for a couple hours about what chakras are and why I work with them, etc.  And it's not because I was explaining things to him.  He was doing most of the talking, and it's everything I needed to hear.  

You see, I have been learning and thinking about the chakras for so long, I see the complicated interplay, I know the history, I know they're not something to "fix," and you can't poke them with a stick.  And yet there they are.  A beautiful map of...of what? I was having trouble getting to the basic idea of what's going on here and why it works.

Nick said it: mind-body connection.  

BAM.

If you've reached adulthood and have any amount of personal reflection and self awareness, you know you have patterns.  You know you keep doing something that isn't helpful, and is possibly...

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January 6

 

Today we acknowledge January 6 as an important day in the history of our country.  I'm sharing with you the class I taught that proved helpful to those present.  When we ask what we can do, I think we can do 3 things: Seek to see the Truth, Pray, and Bring our gifts.

In this class, we focus on 6th chakra to see clearly through any illusion in our lives, collectively and individually, and fire up our 3rd chakra will to have the courage to do what we're here to do.  

Bring two blocks, a blanket, and a strap.

Invocation:

Lokah Samista Sukhino Bhavantu

May all beings in the world know happiness and peace, and may I contribute to that happiness and peace.

 

 Poem The Hill We Climb, by Amanda Gorman

 

Spotify Playlist:  Lokah Samista Sukhino Bhavantu

 

If you enjoyed this practice, consider enrolling in ongoing Donation-Based Hatha Yoga or try a free trial Zoom class:

 

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A Clean Slate

Are you feeling that forward motion energy out there?  The New Year brings such new hope and bright ideas to the surface. There's something about flipping that virtual calendar to a new year that feels like a clean slate.  

 

And yet, we never really are clean slates, no matter what the calendar says.

 

Our patterns, memories, identities, and ego structures follow us from calendar year to calendar year. This is only a problem, however, if it's a problem. Some of our patterns are really good!  You might have a pattern of stopping and thinking before you respond to someone.  Your pattern might be early bedtimes and rising at dawn to meditate and journal.  You might see yourself for what you truly are (which is perfect, whole, and complete).  You might show up right away when a friend is in distress or there's a pet that needs adopting.  Heck, hopefully you at least have the pattern of brushing your teeth every day.  

...

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Letting Go and Moving Forward

Last week's Christmas holidays meant there was a lot of family, fun, games, gifts and gluttony over at the Goulding house, I must admit. I hope your holiday time is also charged with the beauty of the season.  And if this time of year is hard for you, I'm sending you love and courage.  You are not alone, regardless of what it seems like out there.  And if you're missing someone special, extra hugs to you as well.  

 

Frankly, we could probably all use some extra hugs. As we all know, these last couple of years have been a DOOZY, and there’s stuff we could all release from that time in order to move forward better. 

 

To me, moving forward doesn’t mean running away.  It simply means continuing on with courage, wisdom, and hope.

 

I think we also realize there’s no “going back” to the way things were, and yet a “new normal” still doesn’t seem quite possible.  This is when yoga is...

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The Long Exhale

Happy Winter Solstice!  

I like to think of this day as the end of Earth's very long (6 months!) exhale. You know that point where there's a brief pause before the inhale begins?  That's what today is.  The longest night of the year.  The least amount of sun, or the least amount of breath in the lungs.  

It's a beautiful time to get quiet and be present with what is.  It's a beautiful time to experience rest and get in the groove of what Mother Nature is doing in winter. 

 

Try this pranayama involving khumbaka, or breath retention:

  • Take a slow, deep inhale.
  • Let it slowly dissolve into an exhale. 
  • Follow your breath with your mind.
  • At the end of the exhale, pause.
  • Rest in the empty stillness.
  • After a few beats let the inhale return. 
  • Repeat several times and notice how you feel.

 

Here's the thing: the inhale will always return.  So does the sun. So will the light. This too...

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Yoga of Action (or Inaction)

 

Today I'm picking up where we left off on last week's blog post about how to make decisions you can believe in.  

I was reminded this weekend just how important movement can be to help quiet the mind. I enjoyed an Advent Labyrinth Walk at a friend's property.  Labyrinths are a beautiful setting for walking meditation.  The path is laid out for you.  You simply remain present with your steps and allow your mind to settle.  You can even ask a question at the start of the path, and will perhaps receive an answer by the end.  But as always--non-attachment! True wisdom comes when we step out of life's busyness and into the stillness of nature. 

     

So once you ask the question on your heart, move your body, whether on the mat, in a labyrinth, on your favorite trail, or wherever, and settle in to listen for the answer to the question on your heart, you might have to DO...

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How To Make Decisions You Can Believe In

Do you sometimes struggle with making decisions?  I know I do, and there seem to be more and more decisions to make every day.  Sure, we still have the simple ones like what to wear and where to go out to eat. But then there's the bigger ones, like will it be safe?  Do I need to wear a mask?  Should I travel right now?  Is this still the job I want?  What should I tell my loved ones about x, y, z, and will they understand? 

I went to a Hanukkah party recently that made it clear to me we're all still deciding things.  The party was indoor and outdoor.  Some people wore masks, some did not.  Some chose not to come.  Some said "hi" but kept their distance.  And you know what?  All of those decisions were fine and acceptable.  The host family made it clear that all personal decisions were valid and welcome.  They even provided a basket of masks for those who wanted one but didn't have one.  So...

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Connect to your Light during these Holy-days of December

2021 has been so rich with...experience...that it's hard to believe it's coming to an end. And in this Season of Light, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or simply love being surrounded by twinkle lights or connecting to Source, we can think about the image of light during these Holy-days as radiant illumination, guiding us on our path of enlightenment.

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that this season of light is also a season of busyness. Your to-do list might be longer and your social calendar more full than usual. Yet I encourage you to build in some pauses every day to take a breath and tune in to your Light.

What does this mean? It can mean something different to everyone. For me, it's my soul. I check in with my truest essence, which lives in the darkness of my heart center and shines light throughout. It's a steady glow of Life within me that connects me to you, to Divine, to nature, to my family, to humanity. It's always there, but I don't always...

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My FavoRite R's of Yoga Retreats

There are countless benefits to taking a yoga vacation with an experienced teacher you know and love to a place that is heaven on earth.  Here are my five favorites:

 

Remember

We each carry around several identities.  We wear them in layers around our True Self. They are the labels of our life, like mother, director, husband, employee, caretaker, and leader.  Each label carries with it its own responsibilities and obligations.  When you go on a retreat...they all go away.  You get to be the person you were before you got married, before you had kids, before your time became swallowed up with adulthood.  You get to remember who YOU are, with no strings attached. 

 

Replenish

There are “vacations”  there are “trips,”and there are “oblications.” They are all different degrees of fun, and they get you out of normal day-to-day activity.  But afterward, you often need to recover! Rest after a...

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When You're in the Rocking Chair

If you've been a student of mine for any length of time, I'm sure you've heard me quote my dad.  And though he passed away 18 years ago, his voice still advises me in my head. 

One of my favorites came to mind today, and that is how he sometimes made decisions about what he should do at any given time based on what he would think about in the "rest home."  I don't know how p.c. it is to say "rest home," but that's what he called it.  (Also "old folks home," if you prefer.) 

For example, when advising me on who to marry, he suggested I marry someone I'd want to still talk to in my "rest home rocking chair."  Or should I spend money on a certain extravagance? Well, what do you want to count in the rest home, money or memories?

Experiences were always important and worth it, in my dad's opinion.  Worth the time, the money, the risk, and the effort.  This guiding principle has pushed me out of my comfort zone to go for it so many times, and...

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