Posts In: hot yoga

Walking by Faith

May 28, 2015

Today marks two years since I left my 10-year career and stepped out of that beautiful and safe, yet often suffocating space.

It is true, it took incredible courage for me to make the first step. What is also true is that it has taken more than courage to take the second… and the 1,0000000000th step.

It has taken radical trust to keep walking as my path narrows.
to sit down when I am tired.
to change course after the 1,000000000th step.

In the last two years, there have been a few days where it all has been crystal clear.

Truth is though, most days and moments I am literally “walking by faith, not by sight.”
I am on a faith walk.

To be and stay on this course is to be both battered and kissed by wind, worn and cleansed by rain, burned and warmed by sun light. To trip and fall down over smooth trails.

It is to be picked up and carried over the roughest of terrain.

Chillin’ with my mama!

January 11, 2015

I think my southern yogi folk can relate:

My mama is a super church going lady, reads The Bible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I told y’all she keeps “Jesus on the main line.”

My sister and I lovingly call my mama “our holy high roller” when we think she can’t hear us. When I started practicing yoga in 2003 she had lots of questions about whether or not it was a religious thing, was I chanting, if so, to whom, what did the poses mean, etc?
My feisty 20 something self gave flippant responses or just disengaged.
Over the years that transformed into actual dialogue and communication about my experiences with yoga and her spiritual practices. That gave way to more conversations about faith, grace, healing, and the place of practice, ritual, and community in it all.
That transformed into understanding each others paths and deep reverence and appreciation on both of our sides. Not to mention the relational/ancestral/generational healing {I reckon that’s another post}

20150110_203130

Our blurry “we-fie” or whatever you call more than one person in a selfie. Post CHILLin’!

That is just to say that my mama’s attendance at yesterday’s CHILLshop®yoga session was at least a decade in the making.

She said this about her experience yesterday:
“I felt the kind of peace I only feel in the presence of The Holy.
I also realized it’s really really okay, to sit down and rest for a while on the journey. If you are really on YOUR path, then resting ain’t time lost. It’s time to strengthen yo feet, clear yo eyes, and connect with yo heart for the joys and turns in the road ahead.”

Y’all that’s the best endorsement ever and
Yes, God is real, real in my soul.

Welcome 2015

January 2, 2015

“There is a river near where I live. It meanders slowly, peacefully. It doesn’t ask itself why it isn’t an ocean, or a raging river, or some other thing. It just surrenders to what it is. Maybe we just need to surrender more to who we are. I think I will lie down tomorrow beside the river. And take a rest. And sweet surrender.”- Jeff Brown

These words inspired me to turn my phone & computer off, head to the North Georgia mountains, and CHILL.
I was sleeping when the clock struck 12:00am Jan. 1 2015 and woke up early the next day to go for a hike with my husband.

On long hikes I feel like I’m walking around barefoot through God’s big living room: That vastness takes me through all the seasons of being;
the necessary cold and isolation of winter,
the wildin energy of spring crawlin out the mud and dirt,
the raw- the ripeness- the untamed hot sweetness of summer,
the shakin loose- the rich harvest-then quiet undressed time-the season of my birth- autumn.

I went through some “stuff”-every season and emotion on that journey/hike yesterday.
And came out with this:
Here’s to a year of putting one foot in front of the other, to awakening more fully, to resting when we need to, to building the muscles of deep love, faith, and surrender.

To a year of feeling and being with every season and emotion as we walk {with each other} through God’s big ole living room.

Welcome- 2015.

In my life, many things have kept me up at night.

Lately, I stay awake long after the high moon to dream:
To walk through the hallways of my vision
To touch all of the images, ideas, and wild things there
To feel what I’m creating from the raw cells of my heart/soul
To taste the grit and sweetness of the day
To listen beneath the chatter of my noisy past
To see beyond what is in front of me
To sing gratitude for all this
To meditate on my purpose

And to bow to this simple question that rocked my life a few years ago, shifted the course of my journey then , and continues to drive me now:

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Learning to CHILL.

October 26, 2014

Chillshop™ was conceived while I lay in a hospital bed recovering from a vicious altercation with exhaustion because no other prescription could manage my urges to “do more” be more”, “get more”, and “prove more”.

 

Of course that wasn’t the “official” diagnosis. The real one had a bunch more letters.

 

But I knew.

 

I knew that I’d been running myself to ragged pieces cause somewhere along the line I’d internalized that my greatest value was what I could “do”, how hard I could and would work, how far I’d live up to the legacy of super women I come from even if it left me faded and perpetually empty.

 

I knew that’d I’d been giving ‘good ole sit down and rest’ the stiff middle finger!

 

I knew I’d been overspending, which created the real need to work harder, hustle more, yada yada.

 

I knew that busy-ness had just become a way for me not to see me, not to be with me, thus— you got it— I ain’t got to deal with me.

 

I knew that I DID actually have  time to meditate, to maintain the yin and restorative yoga practices that truly nourished me, but crossfit, power, and hot yoga burned more calories and summer was coming and…

 In that dreary gray room I realized this “sometimes it takes more courage to stop than to keep going.”

 

I’ve been studying, learning, and practicing how to pause via restorative and yin yoga, meditation, yoga nidra, soul listening, and writing since then.

 

CHILLshop encompasses all of that and more.

 

CHILL means a lot of different things to a lot of different folk.

For me it means rest, “hold up”, pause, be easy, get quiet, listen ma, simmer down-now, let’s be together, it’s okay.

 

Be still for a spell.

Now.

 

I used to think Bikram yoga was the only yoga worth doing so much so I called it “the yoga.” Thing is, I hadn’t ever done any other yoga.hell bent

Then I went to a non-heated vinyasa based class and the teacher started by reading about a Niyama. I thought to myself “what is this, yoga church?”  She guided us through a series of Sun Salutations. None of the famous/infamous 26 postures of Bikram could be teased into or out of that reverent, but confused first sun salutation of mine. (Okay, maybe one, that forward fold). Though I had been practicing Bikram six times a week for four years at that point, I signed up for a beginner’s series at this unbranded studio. A few sessions in, I started to question my devotion to 105 plus degrees, scripted dialogue, booty shorts, and those 26 postures.

Don’t get me wrong. I have an inexplicable respect for this first yoga that I ever practiced and those early teachers in Boston and Phoenix who guided me toward building an actual reality based relationship with my body. Those teachers and that practice taught me to anchor myself to the present through gaze, breath, and asana.

I am grateful. It’s just that once I experienced something else, well, I knew there was something more.

As I packed my sweaty bag and got off the Bikram train, I wondered if perhaps I would explore and come back. Maybe I would explore and leave behind that middle of the mat, lock your knee, don’t move practice all together.

Turns out, I didn’t leave, not completely, but I no longer preach the gospel of 26. I practice strict Bikram probably once a season. Mostly out of a sense of nostalgia and because I miss one of the best yoga teachers, who happened to be Bikram (and other yoga) trained that I have ever met, Brooke Sterling.

Recently I came across a book that brought back so many of my early Bikram/Yoga memories. Hell Bent by Benjamin Lorr is raw, honest, profoundly human, hilarious, edgy, and insightful like “the yoga.”

In one reading, I experienced 1,000 Bikram classes. Somehow Lorr tapped into the sheer insanity and outright genius of “the yoga” in his book.

Though my path has led me to 1,008 other asanas, a series of salutations to the moon, sun, and back, to chanted and tranced- out classes, to tongue curling, and candle gazing meditations- Lorr’s book brought me home to that very first time I stood, toes and heels together, eyes fixed on my own vulnerable image in the mirror, knuckles locked underneath my chin, inhaling stale, burning, freedom laced air.

 

 

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