Can you feel the love tonight?
And that's clearly all I know from that song, as is proven by my horrendous serenading at the end of this class.
But you gotta laugh you know?
It's ain't that serious.
None of life is.
Yes, things are important. Wearing your mask is important. Living your life with kindness and self-compassion is important. Being considerate of others is important. But why do we have to be so serious?
When was the last time you laughed at yourself?
When was the last time you belly laughed?
Laughter is so good. It's healing. It's honest. It creates more joy in your life.
And what better place to laugh than on the yoga mat, this safe space where judgment is not welcome and self compassion is law?
So join me today for this lower intensity interval infused class and let your inner wild child loose!
I promise you'll get a good laugh. I promise you a song. I promise you some weird yoga mumbo jumbo. And, as always, a good time.
See you there!
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.”
This coronacoaster has been one hell of a ride eh?
Some days are brilliant, and some days are better off forgotten.
Are you working from home? Do you like it?
In what ways has your routine changed since all of this started? The good and the bad.
Hit reply and let me know!
And then make sure you try out this week's free yoga class!
It's a 30 minute flow designed to strengthen and stretch all the muscles needed to support the posture.
Whether you're working from home or working at the office, or even if you're just feelin' low cause of the world at large, ain't nobody got time for slumped shoulders.
Yoga is powerful.
It has the power to change your life.
It has the power to change your body.
It has the power to fix that posture.
Through the breath we activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
We encourage the body to become efficient.
Through the yoga practice we come home.
We learn what it means to be present in the body.
We understand what it means to be alive.
Our time on the mat directly affects the way we move through our lives.
So move through it with grace, with strength, with laughter, and with impeccable posture.
See you there!
“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at." - Pema Chodron
How long have you been on your yoga journey?
For me, it's been about 6 years.
6 years may not seem like a long time, but let me tell you that those 6 years have completely changed the direction of my life.
There is life before Yoga, and there is life after Yoga.
In life before Yoga, I was stumbling along with a box of carne asada fries, a horchata the size of my head, probably drunk, with no sense of self or purpose.
The only thing I looked forward to was homemade Sangria from one of the bars near where I worked, and finishing the next Kdrama. (I haven't lost the Kdrama obsession...)
Then there was Yoga: something to do with my body and with my mind for 30 minutes a day that was not work, was not boredom, and was not planning for the next country/job/weekend.
I didn't know how to be present. Didn't have a clue. Who on Earth cared about the present moment when there were so many things to look forward to?
Then there was yoga.
For 6 years, yoga became my thing. The only thing that mattered to me. But that's a lie. It wasn't "yoga," per se. It was fitness. It was trying to get the body that would make me feel like I was worth something. It was an obsession with losing weight, but in a "healthy" way, sustainable, over the long term. And that worked well. It did. It got me started on a much better path.
I built up my practice every single day (give or take one or two) for 6 years.
Then Covid hit...My routine was destroyed. I finally got my dream of working from home, but then found I had no idea how to juggle my job with my yoga business pursuits when I was sitting at my desk at home.
The long and short of this is that my yoga practice suffered. Greatly. Sometimes I showed up on my mat, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I was excited to be there, sometimes I forced myself. Half the time it was forgotten altogether, because I had other things to do and my practice took the back seat.
Can you relate?
The reason I'm telling you all of this, is so that you know that even the most dedicated yogi loses their balance sometimes. And you know what is likely to throw someone off balance?
We are all learning how to deal with it and adapt in our own ways.
There is a shadow of fear that has fallen over our planet. It's not necessarily obvious, but it's there.
A wariness in the back of the mind anytime you see someone walking on the road.
A lack of trust.
Division along the lines of beliefs.
It's heavy, this shadow. But maybe only in the corners of your eyes.
So you need to remember to live with compassion. Compassion for others, yes, but compassion for yourself.
You are human, you are learning, you make mistakes, you lose your routine, you eat crap food and drink tequila for breakfast, and then you put your big girl/boy pants on and take your life by the horns once again and start over.
It's a cycle that will happen again and again.
So instead of trying to fight it, I encourage you to support the process, support your growth.
Support it through a practice of self love and yoga.
Because one day you will make it back to your mat. Like I will once I'm done with this email.
You'll make it back and you will be so thankful you did.
This class is for that day. To remind you that you are worth it.
You are glorious.
You are beautifully imperfect.
You are You.
And there ain't nothing else you should ever try to be.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
“Whatever you are physically...male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy--all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.” - Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
Who'd a thunk we'd make it this far?
Who could have predicted that this year would bring the things it's brought: that the world would implode around us, that society as we've known it would begin to crack, that everything we thought we held dear is threatening to fall to the wayside.
And we're only halfway through.
I can't tell you what we will face in the next 6 months, but I can tell you this.
Everything that we are doing now is connected to everything that we've ever done.
Black Lives Matter exists because the founders of the USA didn't hold that to be true and our history has continued to perpetrate that belief.
Coronavirus has existed for ages, and mostly doesn't affect us. But the destruction of ecosystems, the close proximity, handling, and butchering of infected animals, and the greed of capitalism threatens to destroy us.
Wars are still being waged, the gap between rich and poor grows wider, our world has become small and accessible due to globalization, but some find the beauty of the melting pot something to fear.
I don't have answers. I do have thoughts.
In yogic philosophy, there are the concepts of Brahman and Atman.
Brahman is the ocean, the sea of universal intelligence, Source, Spirit, Universe. The creative principle which lies realized in the whole world.
Atman is the drop of the ocean, the soul, the self.
Everything that is Brahman is contained also within Atman.
Atman is us, our soul residing in this human body.
We are complete within our little drop, as we contain all that ever was and all that ever will be within us. And when we cease to exist, our drop goes home to Brahman, melding seamlessly into the ocean once more.
We hold all that is possible within us.
That is what we are. Possibility.
And how we run with that, the choices that we make, the steps that we take, and the beliefs that we fight for put us along one path or another.
I'm not here to tell you what path to take. We are each on our own journey.
But I am here to supply the support of the yoga practice.
So this week's free class will move you gracefully from strength to rest, and is one you can practice time and again when you need to replenish your stores and build up the resilience to keep coming back.
Whatever you're fighting for, let it be founded in love.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
We have made it past the halfway point of this extraordinary year.
I say extraordinary because, if nothing else, it's been eventful.
The world is going through growing pains, and we need to ride it out, flowing with and over the ocean waves of this storm to see what kind of sunny skies await us on the other side.
Because there will be sunny skies.
This is the first time something like this has happened in our lifetime, but it is not the first time that something like this has happened in the lifetime of our species, nor of our societies.
The planet, the ecosystems, are changing. We will adapt, or we will not. Those who adapt will go on to thrive on the other side. Those who do not will likely suffer, and perhaps go extinct.
There are macrocosms and microcosms of this, but they all play out in similar ways. Because we are human does not mean we are exempt to the ways of the natural world, though we may not see it that way.
So as we look out ahead to the waves that we see, and those we do not, we come back time and again to our practice. Yogis have done this for thousands of years. Westerners are just learning the path now.
That you are on the path is more important than where you are on the path.
Today's yoga class will meet you wherever you are. It's designed with minimal use of hands and maximum use of core and focus. So that we can learn where it is that we should aim our focus. HINT: it's not super close to you, nor is it super far away. There's a middle ground.
Have I mentioned yet that our practice on the mat is the microcosm of our life off the mat? ?
I hope you enjoy this week's free class, and this slightly philosophical letter. I am someone of both lightness and depth, and today I'm coming off a weekend of no cares in the world and needing to balance that myself with some depth of thought.
I've also been reading "Meditations from the Mat" by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison, during our weekly Coffee Conversations and in my own time. It consists of short essays about bringing yoga more fully into your life, about living your yoga really, and it's got me thinking quite a lot. If you're interested, check it out here!
All my love,
“Peace is not always easy to grasp or keep close. In the process of attaining and protecting it, you may find yourself tired, weary, and uncertain on how to keep your peace safe. While being uncertain is normal, continue to commit yourself to peacefulness. You are worthy of every drop of sweetness and ease that you encounter. Being tested is a part of the journey. Giving up, and letting go, is not.” ― Alex Elle
When was the last time you slowed down?
I can honestly say that, for me, it's been a bit.
If it's not work, it's overcoming technical difficulties. If it's not overcoming technical difficulties, it's not having enough time. If it's not not having enough time, it's navigating roommates or partners or children or parents.
There is always something that has to be done, something we have to rush toward.
So this is my invitation to slow down.
To take a breath.
To notice the colors of the sky.
To catch a glimpse of a flower in bloom.
To sit on the ground and wrestle with your cat/dog/child/gerbil whatever.
If there's one thing I know, through experience and being Arian (a person born under the sign of Aries), it's this: you will never successfully accomplish anything if you spend all of your time and energy juggling all of the things.
One needs to find focus.
Focus and breath.
And yoga. Duh.
This week's free class is a bit longer than we normally have, because we move slow and really work on feeling into the postures.
Rather than jumping from pose to pose (but don't worry, we do jump) we move with grace (and strength) in and out of the postures.
We find breath and stillness, a bit of sweat, and a lot of joy.
Meet you there.
“Yoga is the best way to learn to adapt and adjust to the changing environments.”
― Amit Ray
How are you dealing with the upheaval that has hit the planet? Are you leaping out there to get your voice heard, excited for the chance to make a change? Are you totally overwhelmed and hiding away in your home? Somewhere in between?
Wherever you are, you're doing it right. As long as you're listening to what your body and your heart is telling you, you're doing it right.
If you can't be on the front lines, but you're reading everything you can get your hands on, you're doing it right.
If you don't have time to read, but you're donating to the cause, you're doing it right.
If you're ignoring all of it because you can't handle it on top of everything else that's going on, you're doing it right there too.
It's important that you learn to listen to your body, to your internal wisdom. If it is telling you that you're overwhelmed and you need to remove yourself from that stimulation, listen to it.
If it's telling you to scream from the rooftops, listen to it then, too.
Are you getting my drift?
I want you to do you. Whatever that means.
In life, and on the yoga mat. (We've talked before about how your yoga mat is a microcosm for your macrocosm life off the mat)
Which is why I have made it my mission to create a library of wrist-free classes. (Adapt, don't give up!)
To lean on when typing on your laptop for 3 months, day in and day out, has given you tennis elbow (what is this?! I don't even play tennis!!)
Or when you got so angry at your internet provider you tried to smash the router and consequently destroyed your hand. (No, I haven't done this, but I've thought about it)
What I'm trying to say is that there are a multitude of reasons why you may not be able to use your hands or your wrists, thus you must adapt.
Adapt so that you don't lose your footing, so that you can come back stronger.
But does that mean you shouldn't come to your mat?
Not at all. Get your ass over there, yeah?
Cause this class will really help you burn off whatever residual frustration, fear, or anger you may have. There will be no room for that kind of energy when you're a sweaty mess after this (no hands) workout!
Just like when you adapt to do what you can in life.
You don't let a little hiccup like a hurt wrist or a busy schedule or a stressful job stop you from living your life do you?
I thought not.
See you on the mat!
“The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws." -Martin Luther King Jr.
It's been a bit of a tough couple of weeks hasn't it? There has been a lot of dark, as well as a lot of light.
There are a lot of people waking up. Myself included. I will admit straightaway that I have been part of the problem, with my ignorance. My initial responses are always the responses that are incorrect in this moment "all lives matter" and "I don't see color" and all that jazz. Or, rather, those were my responses in prior situations, and I have spent the time to learn why they don't work right now. And I'm always learning. I'm happy to always be learning. Because it means that I'm taking strides in the right direction.
What have you been learning the last couple of weeks? Hit Reply and let me know!
I want to talk here about core values. Core values are our fundamental beliefs, often uncontested. Those uncontested beliefs are part of why we are where we are today. Everything should be questioned. Our eyes cannot be opened if we don't question the things that are in front of us. So our core values, or the core values of some of us, may be uprooted right now. The things we took for granted as being untouchable - the idea that the police are there to serve and protect being my example. This has been uprooted for me, and I am grateful to live in a place where I have the ability and freedom to think that, and make moves to make it a reality. Maybe it's another value of yours that has been contested. Good. Values that cannot withstand the scrutiny of analysis should not remain values.
That which holds us back from evolution must be destroyed.
And through that destruction our values, our beliefs, our politics, our lives can be rebuilt with something new, something better.
So this class, even though it was filmed ages ago when none of this was front page news, it focuses on tightening up the core. Our core. The core of our bodies. Which holds the core of our beings.
Through strengthening this place, we grow stronger. We are able to stabilize our bodies better, so that when the winds blow hard, we will be able to stay upright. We will have the strength to persevere.
And gentle reminder here, my friend. It's ok to rest. When you rest, you replenish your energy. And we will need that energy moving forward.
So meet me on the mat, and I'll meet you in this fight for equality.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” - Lao Tzu
Namaste my fine feathered friends!
By popular demand, this is the first in a grouping of wrist-free workouts that are to come out this month!
I understand...just because we can't do a plank or a pushup, does not mean that we don't want to get a good workout in! AMIRITE?
Yes, yes I am.
So this vinyasa flow is for balance, focusing on single sided exercises for the legs and some floor abs at the end to stabilize the core.
Please excuse the audio. I was trying a new mic and found that there were some difficulties. I hope they will be remedied in future classes, though I did film two during this particular session and so there will be one more class with a bit of breathy sound. I do apologize. Don't hold it against me please! :)
You'll be breathy too after these classes.
Especially the next one...bahahhahaha
Get In, Get Sweaty, Get Zen, Get Out
Lots of love,
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
-The Dalai Lama
Ok, but isn't the Dalai Lama so knowledgable?
I'm just saying...
Read that again, would ya?
Before we move on. Go on, read it.
Now look at everything going on in the world, in your life, in this moment, [FIRST NAME GOES HERE].
If you take a step back, and look at those things with the lens of the Dalai Lama that we adopted above, do you see where your stress and your worry may be unfounded?
We are all human. We stress. We worry. I was enormously stressed out all last week. It is in our nature. It is how we managed to survive this long in the world. We stress, we deal, we invent, we conquer and destroy...oh wait. Let's forget that last part for now...
What I'm saying is that it is ok and normal to feel stress and concern, especially right now.
But it is also important to take note of the things that cause us stress, to take a step back and look those things dead in the eye, and take away their power.
Because what does stress do?
Stress is our body's ability to switch into fight or flight, to keep us safe when attack is imminent, when our lives are in danger.
How important is that when our lives are actually in danger?
V. important that's how.
But how important is the body's physical responses (I'm talking cortisol increase, perspiration, eyes dilating, shallow breathing) when our lives are not actually in danger?
V. unimportant that's how. And it actually gets in the way, to be honest. It slows us down. Imagine if your body was a car, and you never turned it off but just left it running forever and ever. Think how that would eat at the gasoline and wear down the engine.
Your bodycar needs a break my friend.
By being able to step away from the stress, and look at our stressors logically and with self-awareness, can stop the body's physical responses and boost your overall health.
Bonus: it will allow you to be more alert and your body to react more efficiently in moments when you need that physical response, in other words the sympathetic nervous system (think when you see a truck spin out on the freeway and you need to figure out how to not hit it or get hit by it). ((V. important)).
So that brings me to three things.
Close your eyes.
Take one hand to the belly and one hand to the heart, and take a deep belly breath.
And a third time. Slowing it all down.
Leave me a comment and let me know how you're doing.
Things are beginning to change again and it is the perfect time to check in.
For me to check in with you, but also for you to check in with you. Hence step number one.
Allow this week's free YouTube yoga class to help let it all go.
Your body is now a towel and your stress the water that's weighing it down (we've got a lot of metaphors going on today. Roll with it)
Use this class to wring it all out. It'll do you good. I promise.
And have a little fun while you're at it!