Posts In: 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.

What’s Your Message?

September 29, 2014

We all have a message to bring forth- that no one-

(not our partners, mamas, sisters, brothers, teachers, preachers, homegirls, “enemies”, alternate ego selves) no one can bring the world our personal and purposed message—

but we can
hide
ignore
pretend
conform
fear
hate
reject
worry
“I’m not enough”
IT away-

I could go on (cause I’ve been stuck in all these soul-message sucking tactics +some)

I’m still decoding my message, but know that “live, free, create, divine feminine, love, wild, ahhhh, mmmm”  are all part of my message.

Ha!

And er’day I wake up and remember this: “If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.”

What’s your message? and how are you bringin’ it?

‪#‎erdayimholyhustlin

 

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.

 

 

warrior at school

After 10 years of working in the field of education as a public school teacher or nonprofit director I am walking away from my desk and board.

But this is not a diatribe about the shortcomings or benefits of standardized testing, nor a monologue about the value or devaluation of teachers in our society, or about how I have seen some of the brightest lights in the classroom burn out or blaze so intensely that we all were struck by lightning when they exploded and burst into falling flames.

This is not a story about leaving.

It’s a about showing up. It’s about heeding a call even when there’s static around the edges. It’s about praying for freedom and being brought to my knees when it arrives raw, unwashed, and unkempt.  I thought it would be sexier. It’s about stepping out of the blinding trenches of “can’t” with muddy feet and clear eyes. It’s about coming home to find an old dream crumpled in the corner, ink fading, unfolding it, and pressing it to my heart.

This is about my heart.

Two years ago my mama survived a heart attack. A miracle. But I think her heart got so heavy from stories untold, tangled up love, and longings too wide to hold on to. So her heart attacked her. Thank God for second chances to live from the heart.

Last fall a friend of mine- young, beautiful, so much promise- made her heart stop.

The days before it happened she took to carrying big bulky yellow bags full of things that she didn’t know where else to put or didn’t trust anyone else to hold on to. Maybe she was hoping for a way to press pause, to put the bags down and sort them out. She ended up hitting “delete all.” Her heart stopped.

This is about starting. Starting a letter of resignation and it turning into a poem:

I will write. I will teach yoga. I will live. I will press my forehead to the ground so that I can see my way. I will lie out all of my journals and read them for clues. I will make a map and follow it sometimes. I will sweat. I will cry. I will laugh. I will remember who I was before fear convinced me that I had to “pick” a name and definition. But this is not about fear.

This is about knowing that “fear and faith cannot exist in the same place.”

It’s about planning for what you can…and praying for the strength, integrity, wisdom, and courage to navigate through what you can’t plan for. It’s about knowing my inner strength.

With this strength I have climbed mountains in literal and figurative deserts. Moved away from home as a teenager. Traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to West Africa and back. Fought my way out of the heavy clutches of strangers and “loved ones”. I have always found a way or made one.  This is about my inner strength, but it is also about my willingness to surrender to this process of starting, remembering, becoming, and birthing dreams to vision. Every birth requires the support of community.

This is about community. This is about Jemar staying up late nights to listen to me swear, cry, and laugh my way in to the courage it took to leave the classroom once I realized it was time to go. It’s about watching my mama wake up from surgery singing  “you’re the God of a second chance.” It’s about my sister saying she’s proud of me, even though I haven’t technically done anything-super fly yet. It’s about Meryl blazing a trail and stepping off the worn path a year and a half before. My yoga students telling me they can’t wait to see more of me.

It’s about Neda, Jocelyn, Rachel, and Julie asking with profound sincerity how they can support my process. About Chelsea counting on me. Bex telling me about the time she moved to the other side of the world so her soul could breath…and she only had $40 left in her account afterward. It’s about Isabelle’s  “Hell yeah!” Tabby’s, “Girl just wait…see what opens for you.” And Todd’s “sooo much fun to be had!” It’s about Debra reminding me of the virtues of patience in word and action. It’s about Jason’s “baby girl that took guts…it’s on now!” About Jesse and Stephanie talking goals and visions with me in the lulu store, on the sidewalk, or after a sweat.

It’s about telling Leah that I am “leaping and the net will appear”…and her saying “screw a net, you got wings baby.”

It’s about shaking myself awake one particularly rough evening and finding this message from Kira: “Yes, it gets very real when changing your life so dramatically. What’s helping me, when it- the shaking, the panic, the worry happens -is really slowing down and breathing through it. Also closing my eyes, and remembering all the reasons I walked away from security into the unknown. 
I have a quote by Alan Cohen that is posted to my home office wall. I read it several times a day.  It says ‘It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.’ ”

Subscribe to our mailing list

Studio Updates & News

Subscribe to our mailing list

Sign-up to be the first to know about new retreats, trainings and classes.

* indicates required