To Get In The Water, You Have to Trust It

Tonight is the YOGA Garden Spring Equinox class! All proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood of Minnesota. Here’s the schedule:


Meditation – 6:00 – 6:20, $5 (lead by yours truly)

All-Levels Vinyasa Yoga – 6:30 – 8:00, $15 (taught by all the YOGA Garden teachers)


 

With the Equinox, as the sun is half way between our darkest day of the year, and our lightest day of the year, our seasons are starting to follow that light, and come into the time of WATER. This class is first for the YOGA Garden studio and community, tagging on the popularity of our Winter Solstice class, and following our studio theme of using the five elements and the concept of cycles as descriptors for the physical body and our lives.

WATER COMING OUT OF EARTH, THE NEXT CYCLE OF THE YEAR:

WATER is motion, and fluidity, and flow. It is the first stage in any progress. It is change. It can also be chaos, and upheaval, and destruction. It is said to be the most powerful of the elements because it can move earth, cause wind, extinguish fire, and interact with ether in the form of clouds. Here in Minnesota, we get seasons that allow us to see a cycle mapped onto the calendar year very clearly: While we’ve been in the part of the year that signifies earth, our world has been (largely) frozen. Things are still, and dark, and quiet. This concept is where support lives. In yoga poses, it is our foundation – our feet, hands, knee, whatever body part meets the mat. In our lives it is our home to protect us from the elements (or predators, if we look at the history of human-dom). It is our supply of nourishment and financial means. When the concept and quality of earth is in excess, it is also where things get stuck and stifling.

BUT NOW, WE ARE MOVING INTO THE TIME OF WATER

AND SO A STORY!

(Duh, this is me writing.)
Cynthia Occelli seed quote

Just like the new seeds that will soon be making their way out of the Earth as plants, they
need water before they can bust open and start growing. Just like a pose that you want to be able to do… Just like a goal that you want to achieve in your life… Just like the notion that cellular turnover within the body promotes healing and growth… we need water before we can grow.

Yoga is not a path to achieve perfection.

Of course, Instagram might imply otherwise, but go with me for a moment: If you got into ANY new venture expecting perfection you would surely receive a fat dose of disappointment – ahem, the ol’ “you can’t learn to swim ’till you get into the water.” (See how I worked that in there??) Now for some of us, we love a new adventure – we’ll throw caution to the wind and try anything for the sake of “let’s see what happens.” Bravo to us. May we have excellent health insurance for the times when we go too far in that direction.

But the idea of getting into the water is terrifying for some of us.

We don’t know how deep it is, we’re not sure if we’re going to like what it feels like, and what’s more, we have no idea what’s under the surface or where we might end up once we GET into the water… These are real feelings, and they are real limitations. Sometimes our limitations protect us. And sometimes they hold us back. So, let’s look at the process:

Theres No Such Thing As PerfectJust because we can’t be perfect (there’s no such thing as perfect – click heels – there’s no such thing as perfect – click heels…) doesn’t mean we don’t want to be better. We all want to improve, and we want our improvement to have a ripple effect to allow us to better our family, financial status, community, etc. But getting into the water requires a lot of trust.

And so if you’re not a person who can easily embrace the adventure, the challenge, the flowing rush that water can bring us; If instead, you’re stuck in dread or disapproval of the inevitable change, I’ll steal one of the teaching concepts of classical yoga:

Aparigraha or “non-possessiveness.”

It is one of the five Yamas or “restraints,” which is one of the eight limbs used to explain and describe the path to enlightenment, as per classical Astanga (or eight-limbed) yoga. Now, in Tantric yoga, we take these concepts and tools for “enlightenment,” and observe how they weave through the process of creation down here in our current life on Earth.

So…. non-possessiveness. Letting go. Allowing your fear, your resisting, your anxiety to be separate from you in this moment. Allowing yourself to try something new, even when you don’t know what its going to be like. Even when it seems a little awkward. A little weird. And even if you can’t shake these feelings, if you can’t figure out how to allow trust to replace these feelings… Maybe you just take your anxiety, and your fear with you. Let it sit there, but ask that it also allow room on the mat for trust. Trust, that you are in the presence of friends, and competent teachers, who will allow you to try and fail. Who will allow you to test the waters. To find your own flow, your own fuel.

It takes a lot of TRUST to get in the water.

Namaste, Calley

Snuggle Up To Shakti

ny-day-yoga-2017I’m teaching a class on New Year’s Day at my favorite Minneapolis yoga haven YOGA Garden. As I thought about what I would use for a theme, I wasn’t too excited about the regular old 108 salutations, or the popular Sankalpa (“inspired intention”). While those are great ways to inspire and start your new year – or anything new for that matter – I wanted to continue on the themes I’ve been building in class lately, and it seemed like a perfect time to pause and dive into Shakti – the energy behind inspiration, behind action, behind consciousness. As you start a new year, bring the last year with you to assess where your energy is right now.

So! We’re gonna get snuggly with Shakti on New Years Day.

Shiva is sure a popular guy – ahem, deity. How many variations of “Om Nama Shiva,” have you heard sung, chanted, called, themed, etc. in yoga classes? In the dual-energy concept (which could be related to our western-scientific notion that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction) of Shiva and Shakti, he certainly gets a lot of attention.

But as we enter into a new year in the middle of winter, where days are shorter in the northern hemisphere, and – unless you’re in a marine bubble like San Fransisco or Ireland – its noticeably colder. Things are naturally slower, less energized. Plane fares drop, the economy generally slows at this time of year… this slow, still, darkness is all around us. This is a great time to let Shakti get to work. It makes sense – especially in our modern times with a resurgence of civil rights movements – that Shiva has gotten more attention in general. He is the process of liberation. The one that helps us get out of stuck behaviors, old patterns and habits, and helps – ahem – liberate us from our current state. When you’ve got that frustrated, oppressed, angry, stuck, how-do-I-get-outta-here feeling… liberation sounds like a fantastic thing to focus on.

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Kenneth G Libbrecht, Professor of Physics at Caltech, snowflake designer

As a creative mind, I like to see Shakti as that beautiful soft phase which allows us to be in the flow of creation. Before the heat and motion of liberation you get to slow down, and not just “do what you’re supposed to,”but listen to that little inner voice. Listen to the state of your body as it is today. Allow these concepts and this energy to guide your thoughts, your action, in a way that is sustainable and realistic. It’s creation at work: A little more red in the painting… nope, that’s too much. This recipe needs salt… and maybe some fresh herbs or citrus zest… lowering yourself in cobra enough to soften your stuck shoulders, and use your ribs and breath more… The process is often slower than we thought it would be to creating something new, and its often filled with side-steps (which can feel like missteps) and countless rounds of edits… but instead of seeing it all as a frustrating block to where you want to be, I like to see it as a gentle see-saw, going back and forth, slowly getting closer and closer to where it is that you want, what feels right.

Shakti is the power of consciousness. Your car is what will get you to the party, but with out fuel it has no power. Your body will carry you around all day, but if you weren’t alive, with the energy of life, you would move, well, nowhere.

Shakti is manifesting energy.

At the end of the day you’re tired, and you couldn’t do something concrete -something productive- to save your life. Your physical body – which is the physical piece of matter that you have to deal with, no matter the state its in as you exist today – is only as strong, and as capable as the energy you have to put into that matter. Your matter – your shiva – your “consciousness-in-real-time” we’ll call it, is kaput without the POWER of consciousness.

So hopefully this has given you some ideas about how you can better listen to your own inner energy, so that your inspirations and actions can take form in way that actually helps brings about the change you seek.

dear-2017-1-2And while we’re at it, I’ll put in a short plug that this where my own energy built into a project I’m running this winter called The Practice Project: Nine weeks of focused practice with a small group to create support around change. If you’re curious to join in, I still have slots open for the Saturday morning slot, being held at Modus Locus in S. Minneapolis on Bloomington Ave.

 

Happy 2017, all!      – Calley

Darkness – Honor The Still of the Winter Solstice

I teach yoga from the perspective that your “center” is what we’re after. It gets rid of those nasty lines that say one side is better than the other. You’re gonna bump around on your own “life wheel,” going too far in one direction, only to come back and maybe over-compensate and go too far in another direction… All this bouncing makes us feel like its all on a line: Healthy or lazy. Fit or fat. Smart or dumb. But I invite you to think of it this way: as you bump and bounce, each trip brings you through – or at least passing by – your center. And on each trip, hopefully you become a little more familiar with where your center is, and what are the things that help bring you back there when you need it.life-wheel

 

Darkness is half of what we deal with in life. I’m sitting in it right now in my living room.

Ok, no, but for real – DARKNESS is a big topic. Why? Because of all the things you do in life – eat, sleep, poop, make love, go to movies… even work – which, in our world is generally thought of as 40 hours a week – which is only 24% of our total week… even work is not as abundant in time as darkness.

could take this through all kinds of metaphorical stories about struggle, and shame, and guilt, and release, and frustration… but the point is that you already know what your darkness is in your life. You don’t need me to tell you what it is with some artistic story. Instead, I’d like to point out to you that darkness – in a literal sense – is half of our lives. No matter where you are on the planet, the Earth and Sun will balance each other throughout the seasons to give you half a year of lightness, and half a year of darkness.

So… maybe that grouchy co-worker, or car repair, or divorce doesn’t seem so… final.

When you realize that by design of nature, darkness is supposed to be half, it makes you not only feel less alone in your worries & struggles, but more grateful and alive when the sun does shine.

Next Wednesday, December 21st, I’ll be joining my fellow YOGA Garden instructors for a very special Winter Solstice class on the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. We will take some extra time to honor and participate in the stillness all around us with an optional 20-minute gently guided meditation, followed by a 90-minute slow-paced vinyasa class focusing on grounding postures: hip openers, laying stretches, and a nice long sivasana at the end. And for those who care to stick around, we’ll share in a toast to the new year.  All proceeds proudly donated to Planned Parenthood of Minneapolis. 

I hope you are able to allow for small moments of rest in this time of year when mother nature has given us peacefulness all around. May allowing your body to sync up with your surroundings bring the calm or healing you need.

Namaste.yg-winter-solstice2016

How

HOW -Its all just information. What you do with it is what we call practice or process. How you practice shapes the patterns of your life.

Ok, you’re stuck.

But when we don’t know HOW to get better, move past it, get over it, shrug it off, push through, etc., it can feel like a lost cause. We all – myself included – have fallen subject to that old voice that tells us that we’re different… a loner… an odd ball out. Someone offers a remedy – a correction – and the immediate pattern of the mind goes to, “They don’t understand.”

Which may be true! They don’t understand. But that is not the point, right? The point is you feel lost and frustrated as to why you can’t seem to do the thing you want to do. You’re stuck. And this always happens. And you don’t know why it always seems to happen to you.

Ok, what does this have to do with Warrior II? Yoga is about bringing a union – a connection – between what we think, what we feel, and what we do. Meaning that every idea we have, has a physical pattern in time. When our thoughts about our physical abilities are challenged… and changed (wink, wink)… and the physical result of that is being able to perform a new physical pose… well, then, what does that say about our other thought patterns? Which brings me to my new favorite phrase of late:

THOUGHTS become THINGS

 

 

 

 

 

It’s easy to forget – or maybe you didn’t know – that the brain is able to change beyond stuck. (Thanks Dr. Ruth Buczynski PhD.)

When you can look at your problem, and the factors which contributed to why you are stuck, with different eyes… maybe hear it as a different problem… maybe just be willing to try something different even if you’re 99% sure its not going to work… now we’re getting to the inside of HOW.

SO THIS IS THE TRICKY LITTLE SWITCH TO FLIP.

When you don’t know how, or you’ve lost your hope that you can figure it out…well, you have to be willing to try something different. And you may not know immediately if this idea / remedy / tool / practice tactic is going to work, but in order to even try the idea / pick up the tool / attempt the practice tactic, you have to make that switch from impossible to possible. And it can be helpful to know that the very pattern of the mind that got you here, can help you get out. WHAA??  Ok, this is cool, stick with me.

Observe where you are for a moment. Observe what was either lacking or in excess that put you in this place. Now imagine that the very process which brought you here to this crappy, stuck place, is the backwards process to getting out of it. Here’s 3 ways to look at this idea:

#1) SIMPLE WORDS

MIND –> perceives what it sees (influence).
 
FOCUS –> shift from moving out a.k.a. “external experience,” to moving inward a.k.a. “internal experience.”
 
FEEL –> use perception and labeling of external to perceive and label internal
 
–> From here, we learn to feel MORE, and in DIFFERENT ways
 

#2) UNDERSTANDING NEUROPLASTICITY

 Print

#3) TRY IT BACKWARDS

Try It Backwards
Hopefully this gives you a new way to look at HOW… which is how it happens in the first place. ✨✨✨✨

Allergy Hacks From a FORMER Sufferer

Hi folks!

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Click Here –> These Health Hacks helped me kick allergy meds

Well, the sun is shiiiiiiiining in Minneapolis after a week of rain. If you have any kind of seasonal allergies, this is prime time for feeling like poo. Having allergies sucks. It is literally your body attacking itself in order to try to get rid of the thing you’re allergic to, and that’s preeeeeetty much what it feels like. Awful.

I feel you. Actually, correction –  I can’t tell you how happy I am to say that I no longer ACTUALLY feel you, but for years and years I struggled with allergies that put me down for the count for a month at a time. I had to miss work, was a walking emotional basket-case, and spent thousands of $$ over the years on medicine and medical treatments.

Hopefully  my decade of reading, research, trial, error, and hashing out every trial with my sister-the-doc can benefit you all. I wrote a blog post last year with ALL my tips and tricks to help ease your allergies. I’ve incorporated all of these things into my life, little by little, and I have been amazed every step of the way how much relief these tools have given me. I went into the trenches in 2008, determined to figure out how to bring back my quality of life from the allergy-robber, and by 2010 I made the leap to stop taking my medications and haven’t looked back since.

Now, please take note – these remedies are not like the quick fix that we’ve come to expect from pills. You usually have to do a combination of them, and give them a week or even several weeks to see noticeable difference. (Except the cider vinegar one! That stuff is IMMEDIATE – try it!) But for ME, I’ve found that difference to be greater than that of using medicine alone.

Happy Flower-Sniffing!

International Day of Happiness

Life is not ONLY about being happy – there’s actually research that shows that if you expect too much happiness ALL the time that you could be setting yourself up for disappointment and more UN-happiness… but the other interesting thing about happiness, which mindfulness practices like yoga remind us, is that we choose where to turn our attention, and we get to work on making proactive choices, instead of just repeating habits as choices.

This process is not easy, and for more and more of us, choosing happiness has chemical barriers in addition to the regular everyday life ones.

Thankfully, we can also point to research, practice, and experience to show us that even these chemical barriers are more easily overcome with the help of rest, exercise, and mindfulness.

I’m grateful that over the years I’ve had my yoga practice as a place to reset, reflect and boost the happy hormones….

After all, you cannot TOUCH happiness 😉 ——> Watch and laugh. Which is good for your hormones, and immune system, which helps make us happier:

Hope to see you Sunday at 10:30am or Monday at 5:15pm.
~ Calley

It’s the last day of LOVE Month

February always gets me thinking about my direction in life. This is the time when I start to get spring fever, and want to move on to the next step. Which can be dangerous, because the seasons would have us stay in a nice slow mode until winter is actually over. The result? Well, for me this time it meant a big fat dose of the flu. Stay slow, Calley. Stay measured, enjoy your precious little down time. These are the things I have to remind myself.

This thing I teach called YOGA, I’ve come to  realize after all these years of practice, is really  just continually cultivating your relationship  with your SELF by way of physical movement, stretches, breath, and stillness – and attempting new iterations of those four things, SO THAT you can better interact with the world around you. If you’re a physically delicate flower like myself (with a good dose of fiery energy), you need a little more time to restore, reflect, and take care of yourself so you can just be functional. I accepted these parts of myself years ago as I was suffering through allergies that seemed to rule my life. Interestingly, I think the modern world and all its fast – paced – ness is causing more and more of us to feel the suffering of not taking enough breaks!

And I not-so-suddenly find myself in a position of teaching the very tools that I’ve collected for myself over the years to help others move through their lives more healthfully. It is always my goal as a teacher to make yoga very approachable. There are plenty of pictures of slim fit yogis doing crazy backbends and advanced poses, but this has never been my motivation as a practitioner, and it is definitely not my motivation as a teacher. My motivation is this: take time for yourself, so you can be your best self, so you can enjoy your life and the advantages that lie all around you.

That’s it. That’s why I get on my mat, its why I have to continue to get on my mat if I want those benefits, and its what I hope to teach (along with healthy form so as not to cause injury) to my students.

In the last few years, I’ve used February as a time to reach out to my “framily” and remind them how much a part of my life they are. And this year, as I augment my skills around my business, entertainmentjill.com, I decided to create an audio picture poem to go with the whole thing. The video is posted at the top of this post, and I hope it reminds or inspires you to complete your own cycle of love back to yourself in whatever ways that you need.

Happy Leap Year!!

Our Physiological Reactions

How YOGA teaches the discipline needed to overcome them…

This is a re-post from an emailer I sent out last week:
A few weeks ago a student of mine told me about something called the Prison Yoga Project, and how she had become obsessed with it. Yesterday I took some time to look at the website, look up the founder, and read a little about what the project is, and why its working for inmates. The physiological effects of stress on the body are intrinsically connected the mind, which is true for us all… and I got a little obsessed with the ideology behind the project, and how it applies to everyone in varying degrees.

“Most prisoners suffer from Complex Trauma, chronic interpersonal trauma experienced early in life such as abandonment, hunger, homelessness, domestic violence, sexual abuse, bullying, discrimination, drug and alcohol abuse, and witnessing crime – including murder. We call this “original pain.” These experiences, imprinted by the terrifying emotions that accompany them, are held deeply in the mind, and perhaps more importantly, in the body, with the dissociative effects of impulsive/reactive behavior, and tendencies toward drug and alcohol addiction as well as violence. Carrying unresolved trauma into their lives impacts everything they do, often landing them in prison, where they experience even more trauma…

…Traditionally, cognitive behavioral therapists have helped people process unresolved trauma, but more recently psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers — many working with US military veterans — acknowledge that embodiment practices such as yoga enriched with mindfulness practices can have more impact in alleviating the symptoms that lead to both reactive behaviors and stress related disease.”

So, I watched the video. And they showed these big, burly, rough looking men, silently struggling to stay in down dog, twists, and seated meditation. You could see their struggle with various poses, but you also heard them commenting in interviews on how they had learned to use their yoga practice to withstand the effects of other struggles in their lives. It was teaching them discipline to manage their own reactions…

We all have our own versions of stressors and problems, and while some of us have ones that are “worse” or “easier” than others, we all feel the effects of stress and past pain. These things take a physiological toll on the body, and affect our psychological expectations and reactions. You can’t avoid all of these factors in life, but I found this to be a beautiful reminder that we can help our bodies and our minds to process and release our experiences in healthy, effective ways.

Hope to see you very soon,
~ Calley ✨

Yoga for that mental thing you’re trying to get under control

I’m writing this post for any and all who are trying to overcome their own selves.

(Yes, I’m aware that was not a grammatically correct sentence. This is a private yoga blog, not the New York Times.)

First things first: you are the only one who can tell what you are feeling. Whether or not you are struggling. Whether or not the habits and routines and people in your life are actually helping you or not. So as you read this, please use your intelligent if somewhat stressed and over-taxed brain to determine whether or not these sentences are true for YOU.

I’m seeing ailment all around me. Anxiety. Depression. Panic attacks. Lethargy. Feeling strangely disconnected from… maybe you don’t even know what. Perhaps I’m seeing this more because now I’m teaching yoga. Maybe its because this time last year I was in my own pit of depression, and I’m grateful that one year later I’m effectively on the other side of the wheel.

In my opinion, the biggest misconception about mental health is that you can’t help yourself. You need doctors and expensive medications to fix you. And when those don’t really work or you don’t like the way they feel, then you’re a lost, broken cause. You feel like no one gets it. No one sympathizes. No one wants to help, and even if they did want to, they can’t. 

Well that sucks. And it doesn’t seem to be working. Shall we try something different? I know, different is scary. It’s not familiar. It’s probably not comfortable. But is it comfortable where you are?

(By the by, you’ve heard of the placebo effect? Why does it work? Because we believe we’re taking something that is helping us. We believe.)

THIS MIND SHIT AIN’T NO HIPPIE JOKE, PEOPLE.  I digress.

We know that moving our bodies is good for us. We know that breathing is good for us. Often the problem that gets added to that health salad is the demon spice: trying to do too much. Causing more injury (mental or physical) than good.

The hardest thing – especially when you’re going through something hard – is that it’s going to be hard for a little while. You have to be willing to stick with your own progress, and you might have to change your expectations as to how much progress will be made. And you HAVE to be willing to start with something easy and build from there.

And this is why my guiding word for the year is SMALL.

And, preaching what I teach, I’m not actually doing it for you guys. If you want to hop on board and help yourself, by all means. But I’m doing this for me. To remind myself that if I want to grow, I have to first be willing to be small. And I might need to be small for a while, until I gain the strength to grow bigger. And no, I’m not patting myself on the back for figuring this out and suddenly all my problems are gone. Some days I kick myself when I realize that for days or weeks on end my expectations have been unrealistic. And then I remind myself to NOT kick myself, and to go smaller… start with being grateful that I figured OUT that I need to go smaller. And then do a small thing. A breath. A bath. One minute of breathing with my eyes closed. Laying on my tired back and just… laying there. Damn, that feels good, maybe I’ll stay a while. Maybe I WILL get my ass out of bed and go to my colleague’s yoga class. And maybe I won’t because what I really need is to chill out alone for a morning.

This is my process. I don’t know yours, and I can’t. I’m not you. But we DO know that the person who will make the biggest difference in your life – in the way you feel – is you. You have to want to help yourself. You have to believe that you can try. It’s that simple. And its amazing how challenging simple is because the people in our lives have all kinds of opinions that have clouded it. Pretty much, we’re just a bunch of humans running around in life, trying.

Try: it starts by doing something small and celebrating your tiny ass step.

I’m done with all the bullshit.

http://yogagardenmpls.com/This is an exciting time to be a yoga teacher. Yoga is expanding beyond something that only flexible white girls do. And in keeping with fostering my knowledge of how to help people help themselves, I know that I will have to continue my studies. I’ll have to get trained, and certified, and get stamps on pieces of paper in the ways that the modern world wants me to, so that they know I’m qualified to be this thing called a yoga teacher.

As a relatively new yoga teacher of 1.5 yrs, but a practitioner of a dozen years exploring Anusara, Ashtanga, and several other offshoots of classical and tantric styles of yoga…. Well, I feel like I’m starting to know enough about this stuff to call bullshit.

You know when someone starts giving you advice on something, and you realize that they are more interested in telling a fact than understanding it? Or worse, they’re actually miserable in their life and decisions, while they impart all their “wisdom” onto you? Stick with this, it relates:

As a person- as a part of my community and the director of my life- I am interested in having experiences. And I’m interested in having them from a place of balance, where I am aware that I’m having experiences. There is stress, there is hurt, there is laughter, there is love, and loneliness, and excitement, and responsibility, and patience, and losing patience… and these are all part of the game. It’s not about only having one side of the experience wheel. Its actually not just about making money, and being impressive, and knowing things, and having things, and being viewed as a success.

It’s about all of it. And experiencing it fully, so that you can then leave it, and experience the next thing fully.

This is one of the many reasons why I practice yoga. This is what I have always looked for in yoga teachers. This is what I hope to impart as I have begun to teach yoga. As an ongoing practitioner, I’ve refined my ideas about what is really yoga for me. I now look for teachers who can guide my thinking around the way I experience.

Like most who come to yoga, I was looking to “fix” something. Since I was a child I struggled with mental focus (call it ADD, anxiety, depression… or just call it living in the modern world – who isn’t struggling with one of these in 2015?). After horrible allergies to plants and dust that started at age twenty-three, and lasted for years on end, leaving me something like a carrying vessel for mucous, and a direct supplier to my allergy specialist’s annual salary… After trying cleanse after cleanse, an all-organic diet, a gluten-free diet, soy-free, corn-free, dairy-free, all kinds of herbs… After being a sick person looking for something to fix me… After years of observing that indeed when my mind was in the tank, my body followed… After finding a diet that seemed to stabilize me (gluten free, easy on the uncultured dairy) and after believing that I had to blindly follow the teachings of some untouchable yoga guru in order to get closer to this nebulous idea of enlightenment or even something as simple as happiness…

After all that, frankly, I’m done with that bullshit. Yes, those are experiences. And the bad is part of what we have to deal with in this life, as much as the good. But did you notice something about that paragraph? It’s all focusing on getting somewhere. Its all focusing on getting rid of something. If you’re always going toward, or getting away from, you’re never just… THERE.

There’s a lot of yoga today that focuses on these things. We are a culture that ignores our bodies until we can’t, and then we pay all kinds of attention to sickness. And I feel like after twelve years of practice, and searching, and piecing together clues about diet, and emotions, and reactions, and treatments… I have done my fair share of looking ahead and behind for myself, my body, and my life.

Now I focus on what I have. I focus on what I enjoy, and what feels good. Its a relatively new way of thinking for me – only about a year if I’m to be honest. (And why NOT be honest?) But the change in my body is visible. The change in my persona is like a breath of fresh air. The change in my outlook of my options, my life, my advantages and disadvantages, the love I’ve had and lost, and my capacity to try… its all changed, and it feels fucking fantastic. And it feels much more simple because I allow it to be.

What do I have? (Not what do I want, or what don’t I have.)

Of course, knowing a thing and using it are different. Now that I know this way of approaching my breath, and stiffness, and soreness, and challenging poses, and challenging life moments… one moment at a time, I can redirect my thinking to what I have. What is here, and working. How do I augment that so that I can make the next thing work? My yoga mat is my 2-foot by 6-foot space to practice these skills. And that’s the way I want to continue to practice. And that’s why I practice at YOGA Garden Minneapolis.

LAUREL VAN MATRE, YOU A BADDASS YOGI.

http://yogagardenmpls.com/