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Thank You, You May Go

Do you ever consider your fear, guilt, or shame as something to be thankful for? It's a weird question, I know, but sometimes I like to flip normal thinking and behavior on its head and consider those things in ourselves that we'd rather resist as, well, gifts.

 

Whenever I work with people one-on-one with their frustrating blocks, patterns, and shadows (like fear, guilt, and shame), I always encourage a gratitude practice.  After all, this impediment, or way of being, somehow helped and protected them to get to this point. Their system believed it was necessary for survival or success. In some way, I’m sure it was. But has outlasted its expiration date–it’s time for them to let it go because it has become more of a hindrance than a help. 

 

I like to think of unhelpful patterns and habits as dutiful soldiers. They are showing up to fight the good fight and protect you in a way that has worked in the past. But once you see the pattern, the war...

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3 Ways to Get Rest Quick

Uncategorized Apr 04, 2023

How is April treating you so far? For me, this year has been one of those off-to-the-races kind of start. Thankfully, I've learned from the past to double down on things that slow me down in order to stay afloat and be happy. 

 

However, there was a time in my life when there was simply too much going on to feel energetically abundant.  My husband and I had just opened a restaurant, we had two small kids, and I had a full teaching load as I was working towards my advanced teaching certification.  I felt like I had a handle on it, but my body disagreed.  I had lower back pain, but it was strange–I didn’t pull a muscle or hurt it by doing something. It didn’t feel muscular or skeletal. It felt like my kidneys were sore! I was losing my zest for life. I was tired.  

 

Lucky for me, one of the teachers at the school of Oriental Medicine across the street was in my class. He’s the BEST.  After class I asked if he would...

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Me and Aerosmith, Rockin' the 'Burbs

Do you have a favorite song to play in the car when the weather is beautiful?  Just the other evening it was so lovely out that it my trip home from HEB a delight.  I was rockin' the 'burbs with windows down, sunroof open, and blaring Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion. I was transported back to my teen years, also rockin' Aerosmith in the 'burbs, but in my mom's big 1974 Chevy Caprice Classic convertible. It was AWESOME.

 

But now I'm a yoga teacher instead of a teen, so I hear things differently.  I realized this time that "sweet emotion" is a perfect phrase for chakra 2!  Svadyaya is the Sanskrit word for the second chakra, and it's where we can connect to our emotional selves as well as the pleasure principle.  Being able to delight in life and get information from your emotions is what svadhisthana is all about!

 

I don't know if this is what Aerosmith had in mind, but I think they captured it perfectly. 

 

Emotions are such an integral part...

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Your Body is on My Mind

I hope you don't find the title of this blog post offensive--but it's true! Everything I've been working on these days is highly body-oriented.

You might be thinking, "Well of course, Jess! You're a yoga teacher!" And that's true! But believe it or not, to me the yoga asana (postures) are more of a means to an end than an end themselves. And that's not just my opinion. That's in the texts as well. There is no Yoga Sutra that says,

 

"True happiness will be found in the perfection of a triangle pose."

 

You WILL find text that says happiness is found in friendliness, compassion, delight, and equanimity though. (Learn more about the "Locks and Keys" to happiness HERE.) These days, however, I'm thinking about these same words and themes as directed towards the body. Better said, towards my body, or you towards your body.

Considering our body as an entity worthy of loving attention, rather than submission or disregard, is a chakra one, muladhara, issue.

My three...

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You Can't Outsource Embodiment

Have you ever thought about how much is required to keep these bodies going? There are so many doctors, trainers, therapists, and instructors out there ready to help us keep this "earth suit" in tip-top shape!  And I'm so glad for all of them.  (Are you a wellness professional? Please take this SURVEY--I'd love to know!)

 

Personally, I love to strike a balance between knowing what I need in order to fix it myself, and putting myself in the hands of a pro that's ready to guide me to feeling better and knowing more. I don't intend to learn acupuncture, but I sure love the way it makes me feel! So I outsource that for sure. I have big thoughts and questions about my relationship with God, so I have a spiritual director for that. I also don't do blood work and I can't reach the tightness between my shoulderblades, so I have a doctor and massage therapist I see when the need is there.

 

My expertise is in yoga, specifically the chakras. So if I have an issue that I...

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Are You OK?

"I'm ok."

How often do you use this phrase, and what do you mean when you do?

 

I was recently in an enlightening conversation about how many ways these two sweet little letters come together and create meaning. I know I've said, or signed, OK a million times, but taking a pause about it showed me something new.

The conversation started at our weekly team meeting when we did a little check-in.  The simple question, "How are you?" was met with a pause and a hand on the heart.

 

"I'm ok," was the response.

 

This little 'ok' meant "Yes, I'm ok. Also, there's some stuff that's so not ok." It's the pause that said, "Hold on, checking in...this is not the time to totally share, but I'm in my body, I'm present, I'm safe."

 

That pause is a pause of self awareness. (Listen to my podcast episode, What is Self Awareness?) In a different time or place she might have told the whole story, beginning to end, because that's what that moment and audience called for. It...

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A Valuable Lesson From My Dental Hygienist

I was inspired last week by my dental hygienist, and so naturally I want to share it here. Consider it my Valentine to you

 

I've been going to the same dentist for about 15 years, but this hygienist has been in the office for the last 3. She's a machine. She has a full schedule every day the office is open, so she's doing cleanings, x-rays, treatment plans, and trouble shooting with dozens of patients each week. She's fast, friendly, a little rough sometimes but not too bad. She's always in a good mood!

 

I am no one to judge someone else's career path, but cleaning teeth has never seemed that tantalizing to me. So I asked her point blank, "Do you enjoy it?" She says, "Of course! I've been doing this for 18 years! I better enjoy it!"

 

Naturally that led me to ask, "What do you enjoy about it?" as I pictured her staring into mouth after mouth in varying degrees of sanitation.

 

"Are you kidding me?? Patient care!! To help someone come up with a plan to make...

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Yoga for the Season of Cupid

January is in the can, February is off and running! This month makes me think of chilly weather, my lifelong friend Kelly (happy birthday!), and other people’s Valentine’s Day.  You see, when you own a restaurant, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest and busiest days of the year.  It also means never celebrating Valentine’s Day ON the day!  So to me, February feels more like Valentine’s season.  A season of celebrating love and relationships of all kinds.  It might even be celebrating your relationship with your favorite football team (go Chiefs!). 

 

 

What better way to have fun and celebrate the season of cupid than with partner yoga? We sold out last year, had a great time, and can’t wait to do it again. It’s this Sunday, February 12, from 2-4, so plenty of time before Super Bowl kickoff.  This is an annual event for friends, partners, and spouses to have some time for connection, release,...

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A Sun Salutation for the Mind and Spirit

Hello! I'm just coming down from a very high weekend of teaching the chakras to the teacher trainees and yoga therapists-in-training at My Vinyasa Practice. They were a bright and engaging group, and I believe we all came away with a new understanding of ourselves in relation to our energy, life story, inhibitions, and gifts.  But since I had never taught for 10 hours over a weekend before, I had to think a lot about preparing myself and conserving my energy for the long haul.  My personal routine was paramount to my preparation. That routine starts first thing in the morning. 

 

I believe that how we enter the day can set the tone for how the rest of the day will flow. So we best be mindful about it!

 

I was recently looking through some poetry in my personal library and came across a Mary Oliver poem that I think inspires a beautiful start to the day.  We often practice Sun Salutations in yoga class, so a salute to the sun is a long standing practice...

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How to Get Energized When You're Feeling Low

I don’t know how much you think about your energy, but when you’re in my line of work it comes up a lot.  Every Yoga Therapy session intake asks about it, every class considers it at the beginning, and engaging with the chakra system brings it into full focus.  This past weekend was no exception–and it was SO FUN!

 

At the monthly Chakra Savvy Yoga Practice at Castle Hill Fitness we went through every chakra, charging, releasing, and energizing our way up to finally a very quiet, balanced mind.  Quiet enough to listen to our inner wisdom.  One woman even remarked it was the first time she had ever experienced true stillness in her mind.  To me, that’s a HUGE win.  I mean, that’s what it's all about, really! So fun.

 

During the Chakra 3 (power center) portion of the class we stopped and did some partner work that so beautifully demonstrated charging and releasing energy that I wanted to share it with you here, and...

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