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 ;)
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:
That's it! It's an easy and ...
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...
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.
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,...
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:
“You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American.”
These are the words of Senator Cory Booker as he was addressing now Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on the third day of her confirmation hearings. His impassioned speech brought joy and tears to the hearts of many, including Justice Jackson. What he did was speak a truth into her that I imagine she needed to hear. And judging from her response, her whole being needed to hear it. She needed that truth to come in, settle in, and take the lead.
What he gave her were affirmations, or, in yoga terms, sankalpa. These short phrases speak against our negative or self-sabotaging thought patterns and replace them with thoughts that uplift, encourage, and affirm the truth of our life and who we are. They can feel like wishful thinking, but to the mind they are just as real as reality. (This is why you can cry at movies and have empathy with fictional...
I don't know about you, but for me, time is starting to feel compressed. Like there's a lot to fit into a 24 hour period or a seven-day week. And when I start to feel that compression, what I've realized is that what I need is inner spaciousness.
To get this feeling of inner spaciousness, start by doing all you can do about the outer world, like removing things from the calendar or reducing commitments as much as possible. From there, try these things:
This week you are in for a treat! My friend and Walking with Divine Feminine partner, Nancy Herlin, has written a beautiful personal piece about what the practice of labyrinth walking is and and what it means to her. Please enjoy, and join us April 9.
When people find out that I have a labyrinth and walk it regularly as one of my spiritual practices, I find most don’t know what to say. Many confuse it with a maze, but unlike a maze, a labyrinth has only one path in and out, and isn’t designed to get you lost. Some excitedly recount their own stories of time spent in a labyrinth. Others are curious about how a walking meditation tool can help them access their own inner knowing and enhance their relationship with God.
What is a labyrinth? It is an ancient symbol and usually outdoor space used as a metaphor for our own spiritual journey. There are many uses for a labyrinth. Some use a labyrinth as a walking meditation tool to pause and slow...
One thing I delighted in was reading on the beach every morning. What a luxury! In preparation for Walking With Divine Feminine, Teresa of Ávila, I read The Interior Castle, written by Teresa (1515-1582) and translated by Mirabai Starr in 2003. This book sang to me! It's a long explanatory metaphor comparing our inner landscape to a castle:
"It came to me that the soul is like a castle made exclusively of diamond or some other very clear crystal. In this castle are a multitude of dwellings, just as in heaven there are many mansions." ...