Community is Life Support

When you hear the word community, what is your response? Does it call to mind great friends?  Positive organizations? Unwanted drama? Overcommitment? Refuge? Anxiety? Neutrality? Likely it depends on the group, and more than one of these often applies. 

 

But here's the thing: Community is necessary for our health and well-being.

 

When I was training to be a Yoga TherapistI was surprised to find out that this is one of the components of a new client intake.  Regardless of the reason for requesting a session, part of our conversation is about the client's connection to community.  This is considered an important piece of the puzzle when working towards systemic balance, happiness, and a long life.  

 

In the yogic pancha maya kosha model, we are made of five layers, or sheaths: body, energy, mind, personality, and spirit.  (Different lineages express this differently, but the overall ideas...

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Words of Wisdom from a Stoic

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Seek Bliss for Summer Fun!

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2022

I'm back from a wonderful week with my family at Lake Okoboji, Iowa, our personal definition of heaven.  I had a chance to let stress melt away and lightheartedness seep in.  I read two novels, deepened my tan, and laughed a lot.  It was just what the doctor ordered for this halfway mark in the year.  

 

I realize the outer world didn't disappear while I was in my vacation cocoon, but where I placed my attention changed and I felt the effects all week. This reminded me of what I was talking about at the start of my June 9 class in Hatha, so if you'll indulge me, I'll share the intention-setting from that class with you here: 

 

"It's a tough time to open the newspapers and look around. One could easily get dismayed or feel frustrated at the least, depressed at the most.

But here's the thing: we get to choose where we put our attention.  This is not spiritual bypassing. This is actively using our mind in a positive direction.  Where...

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What to Do With All That Rage

Well, I imagine like many of you I am ANGRY.  Angry to the point of distraction!  (And if you're not angry, stay with me.  You will be at some point in the future, I'm sure.)  In my morning meditation nothing was helping me get out of my thoughts.  I couldn't get to my centering word. It felt flat and useless.  Like a joke.  There was no taming the rage.  My head was pounding and my blood was boiling--on my mat!! 

 

So I grabbed a rational moment when it came, and I went with what we practice in the good times so they're available in the bad times.  I followed my anger to what so many wise ones have called the "thing behind the thing."

Why was I so very angry? What is behind it?

 

LOVE.

 

Because I love the women who are hurting and scared right now.  Because I love a country that (historically) expands rights as it grows, not takes them away.  Because now I know how to better love anyone in the world who has...

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Back to the Do-Less Lifestyle

Is it just me, or did we go from crawling along to warp speed in a matter of months!? My hammock hangs listlessly in my back yard and my pile of ready-to-read books is gathering dust. As I watch the white space on my calendar shrink with each passing week, I realize I'm inching my way back into the old patterns I was happy to release during the pandemic. 

 

Well no more! I was again inspired by the less-is-more lifestyle when I listened to the Hidden Brain podcast titled Do Less. In it, the host talks about how we are hard wired to add, but not subtract, things into our schedules, projects, businesses, and homes. So now I'm the Marie Kondo of my schedule. If it doesn't "spark joy," it's out!  Only when we let go of some old things can new (and even better!) things find their way into our lives.  

*For my online yoga peeps: this means you will no longer receive announcements when a new class is up. Just trust me--it's up ;)

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Cool Your Jets in a Minute or Less

heat pranayama sitali Jun 07, 2022

Whew!  If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is here!  Even if you're in the cooler parts, you know the heat is on its way. So how can we get into the practice of cooling off before the heat builds up to a boiling point?

 

As I was moving rocks and pulling weeds in my backyard this weekend, I remembered my favorite tool for cooling off IN THE MOMENT.  Those of you who have been studying with me for a while already know where I'm headed: sitali pranayama. 

 

Pronounced shee-ta-lee, this cooling breath exercise may look a little silly, but it's well worth the embarrassment.  (And if you're tuning out like, "I got this. Moving on!" then I challenge you to do one minute before you click the back button and see how you feel :)

 

Here's how to bring the cooling magic:  

  • Inhale through a rolled tongue. 
  • Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and exhale through your nose.  

 

That's it! It's an easy and ...

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Lila's Life Lessons About Fear

fear lila May 24, 2022

It has recently come to our attention that our dog is afraid of...we don't know what exactly.  Seemingly from out of nowhere, Lila (pronounced Lee-la) won't go in Nick's office here at home.  She stands at the threshold and waits, even play-challenges, for him to come out so she can see him.  But she won't go all the way in.  This is strange behavior.

 

There's a certain place on the entry floor that distresses her.  So I picked her up and brought her all the way into the office.  Once in, she was fine!  She checked the activity on the balcony and sat down on the rug.  Totally normal behavior.

 

We walked out of the office and called her to the hallway. She acted as if there's an invisible wall or force field that she doesn't want to cross! She hunched down, sniffed all over the area, and carefully, carefully, made her way to the other side of whatever it is.  Then she was fine and ready to...

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Three easy postures for tight neck and shoulders

There's some good stuff happening in Chakra Savvy: Reset Your Life Game Plan  right now, and I wanted to let you in a bit. We are focusing on the fifth chakra, or the area of the neck, throat, and upper shoulders.  This is the energetic bottleneck between our ideas and manifesting them in the world.  It's also the bottleneck between our feeling and emotions, felt in the lower chakras, and our ability to speak, them, understand them, and gain insight from them, which is the work of the upper chakras.  No wonder we get tight!  There can be quite an internal traffic jam. And with all the digital devices we use and driving we do, which tends to pull and tighten our necks and shoulders, we need to do some good stretches on the daily.  (If you want to check out your work space ergonomics and make sure you're set up for success, try my YouTube video Work Space Healthy Habits.)

 

It doesn't even have to be a long or complicated yoga sequence. 

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No More Woo-hoo

Is it just me, or does it seem like there’s no woo-hoo! anymore?  One of my dearest friends was back in town recently, and this was one of our first topics of conversation. She is someone I used to woo-hoo! with. I mean girls night out, dancing on bars on 6th Street, house parties ‘til 3am kind of woo-hoo! (By the way, please read woo-hoo! like a cowboy swinging his hat around his head with a full blown Texas accent.) 

 

Maybe it’s post-pandemic, maybe it’s maturity. Or maybe it’s that those things that used to make me want to shout woo-hoo! just don’t sound as fun as they used to.  It’s not like I’ve become introverted or don’t love a good party.  It’s that now I crave depth over thrills and connection over sensation.  I think this is one of the side effects of yoga, once again.  

 

Joy doesn’t look like it used to.

 

After contemplating this in my morning meditation,...

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A Push for Something New

I once heard, from someone who made a study of trees, that the Live Oak trees here in Austin don’t just drop their leaves.  The old leaves are pushed out by the new ones. 

 

These days when you look around our current landscape here in the capitol city you will see masses of brown leaves on the ground, on rooftops, in truck beds, and in your hammock.  It’s kind of a strange sight, considering we are busting out in springtime colors everywhere else.  It’s like a mixing of death and life, old ways and new plans, last year and this.  But it’s that pushing that has me thinking.  



When you’re in the transformation game, as we are as soon as we step on the yoga mat, these anomalies that Nature displays provide an opportunity for self-study and personal reflection.  So in case you haven’t guessed where I’m going with this, I’ll ask you a few questions as if you are an Austin oak tree:




What are...

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