Talking to Myself

September 23, 2013

Last night, while driving to the studio to teach a class, I was stopped at a red light waiting to turn right on to Peachtree St.  As I waited, I watched a very old woman with a walker and grocery bags cross over Peachtree against the light.  With traffic whizzing by her, my heart almost stopped as I watched petrified she would get hit by a car.  It was clear to anyone who was watching that this woman was confused; no one would walk out in traffic the way she did.  Happily, cars in most lanes came to a stop to block traffic and let her cross. Except for one car who furiously cut out from behind these stopped cars, blew by this woman and honked his horn at her.

Now, my gut reaction and I’m sure most of our reactions was to think, “what a horrible jerk.”  But, recently I’ve been diving into the work of compassion, and compassion, like everything else, is only available to us if we practice it on ourselves.  We can only be as compassionate, kind, loving to others as we are to ourselves.  If someone has so little concern for the well-being of a clearly confused elderly woman, imagine how hurtful s/he must be to her/himself.  It makes you pause before throwing out words like, “what a horrible jerk.”

So this week, I’m inviting you to join me in self-love.  The most self-love you can possibly muster.  Notice what you say to yourself all day long.  Write it down in a journal; give your internal voice an external one just for a moment, and then practice turing those thoughts & words around.  Support yourself, be your own cheerleader and treat yourself with the kindness that you deserve.  Being a compassionate, loving person starts within.

Great Enough

September 9, 2013

“There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.” ~Leonard Cohen

This weekend, I had the privilege of being witness to 24 incredible yogis stepping out of their comfort zones and teaching their first yoga classes.   They all did phenomenal.  Like, seriously wonderful.  But, what I really want to talk about is the pre-class moments, the nervous flipping through notes, last minute changes to the plan, the feelings of doubt and fear…  As a seriously committed perfectionist, I saw perfectionist tendencies practically dripping off the walls.  It takes one to know one.  And here is the truth, we are ALL perfectionist.  Maybe not to the same degree, but along a spectrum, we all find ourselves with some degree of the Please-Perform-Perfect syndrome.

There is this mis-guided belief that if we are perfect enough, we won’t feel shamed, judged or blamed.  Why do we do this to ourselves? How unfair to put such a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to avoid feelings that are realities of the human experience.

 

Pinterest gives us the greatest quotes sometimes….

To be clear, perfectionism is NOT the same thing as striving to do your best.  It is not healthy achievement and growth.  According to Brené Brown, “perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”  What do we miss in life by being afraid to put down our shields?  You know that slightly sweaty, tight-stomached feeling you get before you do something that feels risky?  What if we were able to be comfortable with that feeling?

What if we developed the tools to acknowledge our vulnerabilities to shame, judgement and blame and practiced self-compassion instead? What if we could be loving and compassionate enough that we swallowed the lump in our throats, wiped the sweat from our upper lips, and did the thing that scares us most?  What if when we were finished, we smiled and said that was Great Enough?  I saw 24 yogis do Great Enough this weekend, and this week, I’m attempting to set aside my perfectionist habits and instead trusting that it is all Great Enough.  What would that look like/feel like for you?

 

Red Hot & Holy

August 28, 2013

September’s Yoga Book Club is hot, hot, hot.  We are reading Red Hot & Holy by Sera Beak.  Pick up a copy and join us on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. at the Sacred Thread Ashram for what I’m sure will be a smoking hot discussion.

Editorial Review:

When one person dares to speak her truth, it challenges us all to live our own. With Red Hot and Holy, Sera Beak offers a provocative and intimate view of what it means to get up close and personal with the divine in modern times.

With a rare combination of audacious wit, scholarly acumen, and tender vulnerability-vibrantly mixed with red wine, rock songs, tattoos, and erotic encounters-Sera candidly chronicles the highs and lows of her mystical journey. From the innocence of her childhood crush on God; through a whirlwind of torrid liaisons and bitter break-ups with Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism, and the New Age; and finally into committed monogamy with her own red hot and holy Goddess, Sera shares transformative insights, encouraging us all to trust our unique path and ignite our own spiritual love affair.

Sera Beak’s luscious writing and renegade spiritual wisdom that slices through religious and new age dogma made her debut book The Red Book a breakout success. With Red Hot & Holy she offers a far more personal book- an illuminating, hilarious, and above all utterly honest portrait of the heart-opening process of mystical realization. This hot and holy book invites you to embrace your soul, unleash your true Self, and burn, baby, burn with divine love.

It’s All A Practice

August 26, 2013

I keep reading books that require me to work.  I want so badly to pick up a fluffy little novel and read without thinking or feeling the need to highlight every other sentence… But, for some reason, the books that stack up on my nightstand are the books of practice.

I shouldn’t be surprised; I’ve always picked practice.  I love to work, to learn in whatever ways life allows.  Most often, this practice shows up on my yoga mat.  If you are reading this blog post, I’m guessing you unroll your mat on occasion too.  Regardless of whether our goals on the mat involve finally balancing in Flying Pigeon or more deeply understanding ourselves, the work is a PRACTICE.  We have to try, to study, to experiment and, sometimes, to fail.

When it is on the mat and our practice involves a physical pursuit, it seems likely to use the word – PRACTICE.  But, when we start to talk about some of the larger things we’d like to cultivate in our lives: courage, compassion, connection – the word PRACTICE isn’t used as frequently.  Why?  Why do we expect ourselves to “just be” courageous or compassionate?  As if those mighty words were easy feats to accomplish.

The book that has been the most recent victim of my highlighter is Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, and I love it.  I love it not because the writing is brilliant or I’m reading ideas that I’ve never read before; I love it because she takes huge concepts and defines them clearly and concisely, and perhaps best of all, she reminds us that we have to PRACTICE these concepts if we want to live authentically.

This week, I am practicing:

1. COURAGE: To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart

2. COMPASSION: To Suffer With

3. CONNECTION: The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.

I’m also practicing Flying Pigeon.

30 Day Challenge Rx

August 19, 2013

30 DAY CHALLENGE Rx Workshop
September 2, 2013
2:00 – 4:00 PM
Cost: $30

During this workshop / lecture combo, I will discuss how to best prepare for your 30 DAY Yoga challenge so that you can stay strong, safe and motivated throughout.

This workshop/lecture will cover:
Benefits of proper hydration and nutrition
(review) sound postural alignment for common postures
prevention and care of muscle fatigue
how to find your edge, yet be kind to yourself over the course of your dedicated 30 days of practice
and MORE!

Register Here

30 Day Challenge at Atlanta Hot Yoga begins September 9!

Gratitude To You

August 19, 2013

Often times, as a teacher, when I walk into a room at the beginning of class I am looking forward to sharing a message and an energetic experience.  I love taking what I feel in the room and using words, music and postures to help shift the energy so students leave feeling strong, open and centered.  But just as often, the practitioners in the room share something with me as well.

I might only get to do a handful of postures while teaching but I almost always receive a lift, an energetic boost from the class I lead. This boost comes from the student.  Whether you offer it intentionally or not, your presence on the mat affects my day and my mood just as much as when I’m on the mat practicing myself.  Sometimes more.

So this week, I want to take the time to say in each class, “Thank You.”  Thank you for pushing the pause button in your day to come to class; thank you for rolling out your mat and practicing with me.  You uplift me, you support me and you share with me.

I am so grateful.

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