I hope you're feeling well today. I just returned from a delightful weekend in Mexico City with Nick and the kids. We had mostly beautiful weather, and we immensely enjoyed the food, the architecture, and the people we met and saw.
Not all vacations are delightful, as I'm sure you know. Beyond the things out of our control, I think a lot depends on our attitude. To each his/her own, but I like trips with lots of space for nothing. For example, we had lots of plans to see different sites and get to all the museums you're "supposed" to see there. But when Sunday morning presented us with a beautiful day where everyone took to the streets and the parks (MANY on roller blades--what a sight!), we decided to slow ourselves down a bit as well and just enjoy the city like those who live there. We watched groups rehearsing for a TikTok (we think), young couples practicing for their first dance, toddlers chasing soccer balls, and percussionists providing a background beat to the whole...
When I was around 10 years old I received First Holy Communion. (This is when Catholics learn the meaning of the Eucharist and how to take it during mass.) We had to learn some prayers and traditions to go with the sacrament. It was at this time that I received a little white book with a plastic cover and a rosary. I don't remember what the book was called, but I know it had the instructions for the rosary prayer beads.
And, like a devout little Christian, I remember kneeling at my bedroom bay window and learning the prayers of the rosary. I was amazed at how simple it was. It was a couple prayers I knew, plus Hail Marys, which I did not. But once you've recited it 50 times, you've got it. There was something about this simple repetition that I loved.
From that time through my mid-twenties, there was a rosary under my pillow and the prayers were the last thoughts going through my head every night as I fell asleep. It was a beautifully peaceful way to fall asleep. The...
Have you ever had one of those days that started out as one thing, then ended up taking you in a very surprising, and exciting, direction? I certainly did this week!
I was digging into my plans for the Blossom & Bliss women's retreat, and I realized that we have a campfire! And what goes with a campfire, but songs? So I started to make a list of songs I know that might be good contenders for our group...and then I realized: I can't sing, and I've never led songs before. Bummer.
BUT I REALLY want to have a sing-along. There are so many great benefits to communal singing, like
~ reduced stress hormones.
~ increased cytokines, proteins that can boost the body’s ability to fight serious illness.
~ lessened anxiety.
~ stimulated memory.
~ increased lung capacity.
and more! Singing stimulates Chakra Five, which houses our ability to communicate our truth and be a good listener. Creating sound through buzzing, humming, singing, and...
Now that we are back in action in Monday Morning Yoga, I'm again reminded of something I love to see in a group practice: the generative energy of asana!
Since asana simply means posture, you are actually in an asana right now as you sit (or stand) and read these words. And how is your seated posture? Do you succumb to gravity and slouch, or is there a lift within you that, at first, takes effort, and over time gets easier?
When we forget that we can be our own engines of energy, we tend to shrink down and collapse a bit. Our breathing gets shallower as our diaphragm has less space to move and pull oxygen into our lungs. We get tired, even sad. Then core muscles grow weaker and aches and pains ensue.
But you are generative! You have "the power or function of generating, originating, producing, or reproducing." ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Just try this with me:
~ Whether you're sitting or standing, interlace your fingers on the crown of your head.
~ Now pull down on...
Did you know I've been writing this blog/email every week since September, 2020? Obviously if you've been a student of mine since before then you heard from me a lot previously, and I have missed a week here and there, but pretty much every Tuesday morning you can count on me showing up in your inbox with something to say, offer, question, or promote. And as we enter this month of gratitude, I am so very grateful for your readership, response, and engagement. Some of you I've known for over a decade, some of you just joined up through my podcast or a friend sharing an email. Regardless, there are now over a thousand of you who receive my missives, come to events, listen to my podcast, or study with me online. We are a strong bunch of yogis, and it is my immense pleasure and joy to connect with you here every week. So thank you for reading!
This week I want to reiterate what Jess on the Mountain podcast episode 30 is all about, and invite you to two...
We talk about this a lot in transformational spaces and conversations. It’s even the third part of Yoga in Action. And until I had a great conversation with Shannon Jamail, founder and creator of the Mind & Body Complete, who literally wrote the book Surrender, I didn’t question this concept very much. I’m all for it, as I know there’s only so much I have power over in my life. But then in Jess On The Mountain Episode 28 , she lay this little gem on me:
“I don’t surrender my power…I surrender control.”
Surrender your power.
Surrender your control.
Both sound pretty powerless at first. But when we surrender control, but not our power, it means using our power to open our clenched fist and let go. (Which, Shannon points out, is then open and able to receive.)
Your power is yours, and it’s for you to maintain and use for good. Control, and the desire to control, often stem...
How are you settling into this new season? Did you do anything to mark the time, set an intention for Autumn, or do a ritual to release some baggage you don’t care to bring with you into the next cycle? I cleaned out my car, inside and out, which led to the garage, and trickled out to the shed. I was beet red with heat by the end of the day, but it was so great the next morning to enjoy the fruits of those labors.
Another thing I did was attend a half-day retreat with Dr. Deb Kern. She teaches Prana Shakti dance, and comes to town from Mexico from time to time so we can dance in person again. This mini-retreat was in celebration of the Equinox, and it took me to a far out place in my heart!
I’m not entirely sure what all went on inside me, but after dancing for a long while we rolled out our mats and did some Wim Hof breathing exercises. I combined this with some rib and diaphragm massage as recommended by my massage therapist,...
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...
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...
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...