Making Space for Emotion

November 8, 2019 | Yoga

Ever feel like you’re moving at high speed through life, running to keep up with the endless demand of information, social commitments, family, work, text messages, emails (like this one – ha)? Everything we look at seems to have an extra ad, a personalized distraction to pull our focus in a different direction. Some stress is useful, helps us get out of bed or achieve personal goals. Daily levels of negative stress creates a constant state of movement. There is no time to be still, to let what we are feeling or thinking come into focus. Yoga has teachings about how to use movement, breath, and mental focus to make space for what is happening within our minds and emotions. The simple practice of slowing the momentum, taking an hour to pay attention to the body and the breath can help us shift gears to get out of the stress loop. But … Continued

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More Self-Compassion, Less Stress

August 3, 2019 | Yoga

I was a corporate burnout. I was working long hours, chained to my desk, fueled by caffeine, fear, and anxiety. For almost fifteen years, I soldiered on until I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I catastrophized at 2 a.m. every morning, certain I would fail. I binged on sweets. Then I finally took a step to save myself. I went to my first yoga class. I knew I’d found something special. I began to find peace in the combination of movement and breath with yoga. I focused on being mindful, paying attention to my breath and body, on purpose, without judgment. This mindfulness brought focus, calm, and clarity in the moment. Yoga was slowly quieting my “fight or flight” nervous system and boosting my “rest and digest” nervous system.Yoga and Stress ReliefI studied the yoga philosophy of self-compassion. The word for this idea in Sanskrit is ahimsa, or … Continued

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How to Notice | Sensory Meditation Exercise

July 8, 2019 | Meditation

During the first Introduction to Meditation class in May, a participant asked the questions: “What is mindfulness?  What is meditation?  Are they the same?  What’s the difference?”  Legit!  Mindfulness is the way we hope to walk around in the world.  Meditation is a tool to help get us there.  Since that day, I’ve been thinking a lot about that.  How can we walk around more mindfully?  How can we begin to notice?  There is a sensory meditation exercise that can serve as a gateway to this:  Find a comfortable seat in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted.  Take a few breaths to settle.  Use all the time you need to settle in.  No need to rush this. Close your eyes.  Now, think of your favorite fruit or vegetable.  What does it look like?  What color is it?  Is it round, oblong, small, large, skinny, fat?  Does it have … Continued

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Introduction to Meditation

April 22, 2019 | Yoga

Do any of those thoughts ever cross your mind? Oh yeah. And still you crave a greater sense of peace, focus, stillness, in your life.

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The Purposeful Pause Experiment

April 22, 2019 | Yoga

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson What if we looked at yoga not as a way to arrange our bodies into specific shapes, but as an experiment in the sensations we feel and how movement, breath and stillness change our energy? With that shift in perspective, yoga becomes much more accessible. Tight hamstrings and inflexibility are no longer “limitations,” only variables in our experiment. Other variables can be added like a strap, a block, a blanket, or adding purposeful pauses to allow us to experiment again. The Purposeful Pause Experiment In our culture, movement is prized over stillness. We are expected to keep moving: faster, forward, onward, upward. Yet living without pauses does not allow us to fully live in the present moment. Yoga is such an important practice for our mental and physical health because it allows us time to pause. … Continued

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The Warrior Poses | Finding Strength To Battle Anxiety

April 2, 2019 | Yoga

My late 20s have felt like a decade of suffering and depression.  Two (beautiful) babies, one soul-crushing marriage and a two-and-half year long divorce took every bit of strength and courage I had to keep moving forward.  When life is that hard, moving is painful.  Thoughts are jagged and exhausting.  I was so overwhelmed by anxiety and trauma that I was basically handicapped and homebound for about six months.   My mind, emotions, spirit and body were sick.   I started doing yoga in 2017 at Dragonfly 360 Yoga & Wellness.  At 27, my right leg was so weak that I couldn’t lift it to put on my pants.  My yoga teacher, Mike Camp, was able to work with that limitation while increasing my range of motion and strength.  A weekly yoga practice over the next year toned me up, physically and emotionally.  But my divorce was still dragging out.  I felt like … Continued

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Mindfulness is the Miracle by Which We Restore Ourselves

March 14, 2019 | Mindfulness

Have you noticed that it seems your life is running you instead of you running your life? Are you waking up tired with feelings of anxiety, frustration or dread about what you have to do today? Are you falling into bed exhausted, with racing thoughts and struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Do you often worry about things to come or are rehashing something that happened in the past?If so, you have fallen prey to the stressors of our modern treadmill lives. Most of us are great at doing, but we have forgotten how to be a human being. We are disconnected from our self, who is craving our attention and presence. Most of us are so distracted that practicing mindfulness has become a low priority. Or worse yet, we don’t even know it’s an option for our well-being.If this sounds like you, don’t wait and let an accident … Continued

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6 Steps to Begin a Meditation Practice (and why do it)

November 2, 2018 | Yoga Philosophy

Have you heard that you should meditate? There are many potential benefits from meditating like reducing your stress, clearing your mind, feeling less tired, getting happier, etc. Interested, but not sure what this meditation stuff is?The practice of meditation is simple. Find a place to sit or lie down, close your eyes, and focus your attention on one thing (like your breath or sensations or visual aid). Actually practicing meditation is not so easy.Some folks get caught in the “I don’t have time for this” barrier. It feels like you’re doing nothing and there are SO MANY things to do! Some folks sit still and just fall asleep – so you get a nice nap, but no enlightenment.Some people try meditating and get frustrated with the constant chatter of their mind. They feel that they are not good at meditating, so why waste the time.Some people can set aside time … Continued

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Expect Obstacles!

October 4, 2018 | Yoga Philosophy

Yoga philosophy is based on the idea of evolution toward mental clarity and reduced suffering. Patanjali described in the Yoga Sutras methods for achieving this goal. Three consecutive sutras (1.30-1.32) describe potential obstacles along the path and how to overcome them.1.30 vyadhi styana samshaya pramada alasya avirati bhranti-darshana alabdha-bhumikatva anavasthitatva chitta vikshepa te antarayahDistractions arise (disease; dullness; doubt; carelessness; laziness; craving; distorted perspective; inability to know the true meaning and purpose of one’s practice; and inability to remain grounded) as obstacles naturally encountered on the path of evolution and self-awareness.1.31 duhkha daurmanasya angam-ejayatva shvasa prashvasah vikshepa sahabhuvaAs a result of encountering the obstacles listed in the previous sutra, four consequences arise: 1) duhkha = mental or physical pain, 2) daumanasya = sadness or dejection, 3) angam-ejayatva = shakiness or restlessness, and 4) shvasa/prashvasah = irregularities in the inhalation/exhalation.1.32 tat pratisedha artham eka tattva abhyasahTo prevent or deal with these nine … Continued

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Autumn, the Season of Falling Energy

October 1, 2018 | Five Element Acupuncture

This is the time of year when energy in nature and the universe move downward or inward, in a sense.  Energy is “falling.”  All things in nature approach their completion in the Fall.  It is time to release what is no longer needed.The Metal Element and the Lung & Large IntestineIn Chinese philosophy, the seasons relate to the Five Elements that are found in Nature.  Autumn is the Element of Metal (Winter is Water, Spring is Wood, Summer is Fire and Late Summer is Earth).  The Metal Element is related to the color white, the sound of weeping and the smell of rotten.This season of “taking in and letting go” reflects the organs of the Lung and the Large Intestine. The Lungs breathe energy in from the heavens (takes in energy), while the Large Intestine releases it (lets go).  “Taking in and letting go” signifies the energy of the Fall … Continued

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