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Infusing Meaning with Adventure

Happy Autumnal Equinox! 

 

Officially it’s Saturday the 23rd, at 1:50am Central. This is the time when the day and night reach a perfect balance. It is a tipping point from growth and expansion to contraction and hibernation. Often, we think these things as negative attributes of life, but like night and day, inhale and exhale, one does not exist without the other.  We must surrender the fruits of our efforts, celebrate our harvest, and turn towards an inner light of warmth and guidance as we pass through the winter months, finally emerging once again in the spring.

 

As you well know, time exists in so many cycles: hours, days, months, seasons, years… So this equinox doesn’t stand alone as an individual event. It is the beginning of change that spans from this season to next. 

 

Yesterday, as I sat staring at my wall calendar and thinking of what this season has in store, a beautiful thing occurred to me. Whatever intentions I create...

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The Five S’s of Balancing 5th Chakra

If you’ve ever had the experience of a quiet morning in nature, or a silent midnight moonbath, you know the power of stillness. Your ears thank you, your heart thanks you, your skin thanks you. 

 

We spend so much time in sensory overload, we might not even notice we are building toxicity until it presents physically, like with headaches, tinnitus,  racing pulse, poor digestion, anxiety, thyroid issues, and restless sleep. These are all signals that you could be out of whack in Vishuddha, the fifth chakra. 

 

Sound, speaking, and silence are all part of the energetic center around the throat, neck, jaw, ears, and upper shoulders.  This is where we speak the truth and use our voice (hopefully), and where we confront toxicity in our lives, both within and around us. 

 

In this week’s Jess on the Mountain podcast episode 24, I talk about the thyroid, which is the gland associated with the 5th chakra. I remember a story about my...

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Are you where your eyes are?

Have you ever had that experience of driving a car somewhere and not having a recollection of how you got there? Or do you go on walks and not remember what you saw? I think we all have these experiences. I know I’ve stared right at someone while they’re talking, yet my mind is a million miles away and I hear none of it. Not great listening in that case! Also not great seeing. 

 

When this happens, it seems to me that we are in our head and not in the present awareness of our surroundings. When we don’t see the path we’re actually walking or the road we’re driving, we’re simply not where our body is. We’re a bit…disembodied. And since this season is all about embodiment, this week I’m thinking about this in a 6th chakra, Ajna, the third eye, context. 



I have nothing against daydreaming–I’m quite for it. But sometimes we need to just see where we’re looking. Bringing Ajna, or third eye, awareness...

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Making Things Sacred

I hope your Labor Day Weekend was just what you wanted. I had a fabulous time teaching at the Free Day of Yoga down at Waterloo Park. It was fun to reconnect with familiar faces and meet some new students as well. It's one of my favorite Austin traditions, so definitely mark your calendar for next year! 

For my class I taught a Chakra Flow class, drawing energy from the crown down to the root. We experienced ourselves as funnels, bringing light, consciousness, ideas, divine, universal flow from out in the ethers to our very earth-bound, material bodies. This is working with the manifesting current of our energetic selves. So often we think of the liberating current, going from physical to spiritual, as the "better" way to go. But I promise, the conscious anchoring of spirit into our bodies in the here and now, just as they are, is a completely necessary and worthwhile journey as well.

 

That's why everything this fall season is about embodiment. Being here, present,...

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Embodying Sahasrara

Are you feeling your schedule ramp up? My mind is spinning with all the plates--but they're all good plates!

It's times like this I try to step it up a bit. Not do more--rather, see it all from a higher perspective. I have to remind myself that it all will get done, and if it doesn't, it'll be ok. My eyes must stay on the prize of being present, enjoying my loved ones and finding meaning in my work.

This is what I consider embodying Sahasrara, the crown chakra.

Embodying Sahasrara is also about cultivating a connection to Source through prayer, ritual, gratitude, and service. It’s about seeing divine lessons everywhere, and you know they are there for your growth and expansion–but it doesn't make them easy. Or even clear!

 

Not too long ago I learned a divine lesson in a surprising way. It was in service to the unhoused here in Austin. Because I have a heart for the homeless, that’s where I tend to focus my service and charity. Every other month my son, Nate,...

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Join me for this Season of Embodiment

One of my favorite things to think, talk, and teach about is embodiment. As a dancer and yogini, I truly believe that our physical bodies play a crucial role in shaping our experiences, perceptions, and understanding of the world around us. There is a tangible interplay between the physical and the mental, and the mind cannot be entirely separated from the body. 

 

So often in life and in yoga we think of moving in an upward and outward direction; that progress goes in the direction of liberation and expansion. But there is an equally beautiful flow in the inward and downward direction, towards the body, towards our root. It’s the way to avoid being “so heavenly focused that we’re no earthly good!” 

 

This season, for the next few months, we will be focusing on embodiment in everything we do. We will be walking, talking, and practicing being embodied, present, and grounded in the here and now. So get out your calendars, because...

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Celegrieving Back to School

Well, it's back to school time here in Austin, and none too soon. Since it's too hot to enjoy any outdoor activities, it's best to send them back to school, I say! But this year is a little different, as it's filled with bitter-sweet feelings, or, as I've come to call it, celegrieving.  It's a thing. Feel free to use it.

 

Nate is now 18 and entering his senior year. It simultaneously feels like the right time and where-did-the-time-go. (This is the thing everyone warned me about when he was a toddler, and there's just no escaping it.)  Match that with Havia turning 16 tomorrow, getting her license, and attacking independence like it’s her job, and we have a lot to celegrieve in the Goulding house. Everything with Nate feels like a “last time,” and everything with Havia feels like “So long, suckers!” It’s also exactly what should happen. Nate should finish up living under our roof, and Havia should want to hit the road with the wind...

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Homecoming on the Mat

I'm home!! After three and a half weeks on the road visiting friends and relatives, I'm happily back in my home studio with Georgia (our Fiddle Leaf Fig), my yoga mat, and other creature comforts I missed during my travels. I'm slowly and surely getting back into the swing of things, which is why this blog is a day late. There is simply a lot to do after a trip like that! I'm giving myself the grace this week to move at the tempo I need as we gear up for fall and all the events we have in store. I hope you can do the same if you need that as well. 

 

I'll admit to you right now, I'm not great about practicing yoga when I travel. Between the irregular schedule, small spaces, and days filled with sightseeing or sitting and talking, my down dog gets neglected. So when last week I taught from our family cottage on Lake Okoboji, Iowa, it felt like an early homecoming when I took child's pose on my mat. I felt my shoulders melt, my breath slow down, and my eyes water as I...

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Geese are gonna geese + lessons from Season One

Can you believe I'm still on the road? Happily landed now at Lake Okoboji, Iowa. And I'm excited to be back on the mat and in blogland. I taught two Zoom classes from here, which was a fun change of scenery. The fog this morning lent itself to some beautiful imagery--more on that another time. 

 

Yesterday I had a beautiful kayak ride through the quiet canal near our house. Do you know the sound geese make when they're slurping up water and weeds? I didn't either. The best I can describe it is like lots of bubbles quietly popping. I just loved it! And they didn't seem to mind me staring at them from my kayak. I can imagine their geese minds thinking, "What's with this lady? We're trying to eat here!" But they at least didn't let on to their discomfort. They just kept on being geese.

 

Is that what it's like to live without ego? You just notice things, wonder, and then keep going? Do you think they got into the comparison game of who floats better, kayaks or...

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Was Charles Darwin a Yogi?

I've got Darwin on my mind, and for good reason! Angela, our beloved Community and Events Coordinator, and I recently put our heads together to decide on the theme and of our Galapagos retreat. Yes--the islands and the adventure will certainly speak for itself, but you can do that on your own anytime.

 

What's the difference between doing a Galapagos vacation and a Galapagos Yoga Retreat?

 

Intention.

This trip will have deep intention behind it, which means it will be more meaningful, transformational, and memorable. Intentional doesn't mean stodgy! It means breathing extra yogic life into the whole experience. We get more out of anything we do when we do it with intention.

Although Charles Darwin, the renowned naturalist and author of "On the Origin of Species," is not typically described as a yogi in the traditional sense, it is possible to draw some parallels between Darwin's work and certain aspects of yogic philosophy. After all, when you think about it, it's all...

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