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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My Favorite Yoga Tools to Stay Sane Through the Holidays

           
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10 Great Reasons for Daily Yoga

Can you believe we're already in the last week of October?  And we all know what that means--once the ghosts are returned to their graves and the candy is secretly stashed away, we are racing towards full-on holiday mode!  This might make you grin, or it might make you shiver.  Either way, I know one thing that helps is yoga.

 

When you have a daily practice of yoga, several things begin to happen:

1️⃣  Stuff bothers you less.

2️⃣ You have fewer aches and pains.

3️⃣ Your relationships improve.

4️⃣ You feel stronger.

5️⃣ You become more flexible--literally and figuratively.

6️⃣ You experience an increase in self-confidence for showing up for yourself on the daily.

7️⃣ You become more aware of your internal state of temper and emotions.

8️⃣ You walk through the world more mindfully. You are present! 

9️⃣ Joy starts to sneak into the mundane moments of your day.

🔟 Your mat begins to call to you like a dear friend--practice becomes...

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Missing the Gift

As you might already know, last Thursday was my birthday.  This means I got to start the day teaching--which is my favorite way to start the day.  What a gift!  But as I shared with the class last week, that wasn't always the case.   I used to stress about it, starting the night before.  "What am I going to teach?  What poses will my students like?  What will they find inspiring? Will they even show up?? Will they come back?  What am I going to wear??"

 

The problem with these questions is that they were all about me and how I was doing and how I would be perceived.  I'm telling you now--that's a real joy-sucker.  WHILE I'm teaching I've always loved it, but the lead time had strife.  Unnecessary strife, to be sure. Because I was missing it!  I was missing the gift life had handed me with my silly worrying.  So I changed the language.   Now, instead of thinking, "I have to...

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Comfortable with Uncertainty: Lessons from a Horse Named Charlie

I’m getting excited about our October Yoga Community Gathering happening on October 24! (Information and registration HERE.)  In thinking about being at the Firm Foundations Equine Therapy Ranch again, I remembered I wrote about my experience there back in 2019.  It's been a while, and now you might actually MEET Charlie the horse, so I thought I'd share it again for you here. 

 

It's really interesting to me to read this pre-pandemic post from a post-pandemic (or during pandemic) point of view.  Living with uncertainty is the norm now, and I recognize every day just how much I don't have control over.  Somehow I'm more ok with that as well.  See if you feel the same…

 

I have to tell you about this amazing experience I had last week.  I went out to Firm Foundations Equine Services in Wimberley, Texas.  Lindsey, the therapist there, had reached out to me to see if a collaboration might be something worth...

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