Posts In: tough love yoga

Beginning again

June 6, 2016

Yesterday I taught my first CHILLshop yoga session since Oye’s birth.

A month ago I believed no one would come to yesterday’s session because no one would be interested, because who wants to rest and be still, because I needed to work on my visibility and messaging, because I’d been gone on maternity leave—-because because (I was on a maddening hamster wheel)

Two weeks ago I was anxious and convinced that I should forget the whole CHILL thing. It can’t be photographed, ain’t fancy, and will not get my or your abs together.

One week ago I didn’t know if I could show up and hold space for others because generally my heart, head, and hands are over flowing with baby rolls, spit, and mini human stuff these days.

The Saturday before I reviewed the plans and sequences I’d created and felt surprisingly unprepared.

The morning of I felt sick.

The hour before, I was sweating in an air-conditioned room as me, Jemar, and Oye set up the practice space at evolation yoga atlanta.

15 minutes before I lost my voice and started silently praying.

10 minutes before I sat outside staring at my notes and plans.

5 minutes before I carefully tucked my notes away and continued to pray.

1 minute before I scrapped my well-made plans and pushed my notes aside. They were a distraction.

And so I began. I opened my mouth and really, nothing came out.

I paused. Inhaled. the room exhaled.
Grace.

Grace tiptoed in and sat herself right up on my mat . She held me+my doubt. She brought with her a humble knowing- all of that became my voice.

so I began again with the next breath.

13 years into practicing yoga, 9 years into teaching and— 3 months away from all of that.

I am not who I was. She cannot return. So I begin, again. building- from the mud up again.

Thank you. to every single person who showed up yesterday.
As I held space for you, you held space for me to be muddy and sit with doubt, knowing, reverence and humility for this- a new beginning.

Yesterday, your presence whispered Amazing Grace to me.

Gentle is strong.

April 23, 2015

The gentle overcomes the strong.

I am looking at a river flow; a steady, slow, stream. There are heavy rocks anchored beneath the pulsing  river. I lean forward to sense the depth and touch the movement of this moment. Up close, I see the rocks worn, clearly effected, transformed even– by the ambling unhurried dance of water passing eternity after eternity over them.
In this instance I am reminded of the Tao Ching:
“Тhe gentle overcomes the rigid. The slow overcomes the fast. Everyone knows that the yielding overcomes the stiff,
and the soft overcomes the hard. Yet few apply this knowledge.”

I look to the river for the wisdom and courage to apply this knowledge.
River speaks to me in whispers and slow rhymes. River says, “Watch me. I am unhurried, and I have been for millions of years. I know my rhythm and the very drum beat of life.  I am soft and fluid, yet I change every thing I touch. I am changed by every thing that touches me. I resist nothing. Most years, I am gentle.”

childs bow

Photo by: Thu Tran

Here I am. By my river. Being changed. Effecting change. When I left my previous career to teach yoga full time and “see” what else I’m here to see I was literally known as the “power sweat hard core yoga teacher lady” in my town. Acknowledging a series of personal and relentless truths and real deep healing experiences via yin, restorative, and alignment based yoga with one of my teachers in Atlanta- Gina Minyard–my flow changed. The course of my river is following a new bend. As I’ve become a different yoga student, I’ve become a different yoga teacher.

The shift has resonated with some. Others have scratched their heads.  Some days I want to pretend that nothing is changing or has changed about my practice, teaching, learning: me.

I have gained and lost both teachers and students.

I offer my past to the river.

I stand here in the present being washed over, yet fully participating in the shift.  As I am cleansed. I am worn.

For tomorrow, I carry both the wisdom of the river and the soul of the rock in my heart.
Honestly, I am afraid.
Truthfully, I am still brave.
There ain’t no turnin’ round.

Lazy Yoga?

January 25, 2015

I once had a student refer to yin as “lazy” yoga. Then when I explained the difference between yin and restorative yoga he said, “Oh, so it’s even lazier than yin.” I have to admit, I laughed!
My response was two words- intentional- commitment.
I appreciate my student’s perspective. It invited me to think even more about what is often a misperception of the restorative yogic arts- that it’s a whole lot of nothing and just kind of idling around.

Ultimately cultivating awareness and presence takes great discipline and commitment. And most of us work so dang on hard that we don’t know how to rest. In order to learn or remember how, then, would mean we need to practice, show up, and decide to actually stay present.
That’s the opposite of lazy.

What we do at a CHILLshop®yoga session, a practice grounded in both yin and restorative yoga is best summed up by Danna Faulds:

“Go in and in. Be the space between two cells, the vast, resounding
Silence in which spirit dwells. Dive in and in, as deep as you can dive.
Be infinite, ecstatic truth.
Be exactly what you seek.”

‪#‎bestillandknow‬

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?”

Vision power

October 21, 2014

We are continually becoming/being who we actually are.

 

This is what I mean. I found an old ‘thumb’drive (remember those) and came across this passage I’d written from my yoga teacher training application back in 2007:

 

“I want to cultivate the kind of centeredness and stillness that will allow me to move through the world with grace and consciousness in a sometimes loud and unconscious world. I want to create space for others to recognize and appreciate the softer edges of yoga. I get it. For many folk, we enter this practice through the body-but that’s that- the entry point. There’s more to the practice than moving, though that’s a powerful place to start. I’m learning to trust stillness as powerful medicine. I want to know how to share that with others.”

 

 I didn’t remember writing that.

 

Yet, I’m here.

 

Kneading my hard places- soft, leaning into stillness, trusting that rest is a part of every balanced equation and as essential as movement.

 

And I’m teaching just that at CHILLshop™.

 

 Here I was thinking it was a new idea, I vision-ed up last year!  And Ha!

 

It was written and dreamed long before that!

 

 

 

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