WHY I STOPPED TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF THE SENSELESS

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of my oldest sister’s passing. She would have been 60 years old and a grandmother of two, soon to be three. 

It’s on days like this when I realize, yet again, that I will never be able to understand WHY certain things happen.

As anyone who has lost a close loved one knows, we’ll never be able to answer the question why? Why what should have been, could have been, is never to be?

Yet, while senseless tragedies will remain just that, I choose to believe that there is something else, something greater, something more all-encompassing than the pain and suffering (as well as the happiness and joy) in our lives. 

Something fundamental, unshakeable, and essentially good. 

IMG_2867.jpg

I don’t want to say much more about that right now. But what I do want to say is that believing in goodness, believing in something beyond our suffering is a something I choose. It’s a decision I make over and over. 

It doesn’t mean I don’t question, or doubt, or struggle with the enormity of the suffering and injustices in our world. It’s just that I have come to peace with the futility of trying to figure it all out. 

Instead, I humbly accept that there will be some things that will never make sense to me. I also accept that I have the freedom to choose what I wish to believe. 

This perspective allows tragedy and hope to coexist. 
It allows me to embrace the immensity of the ever-unfolding mystery of life rather than shutting down. 
Often, it’s what allows me to keep going.

Letting go where I need to,
Doing my work,
Cultivating meaningful, authentic connection
Being a support for those I love and serve.

And perhaps most importantly, it allows me to remember the preciousness of it all. To savour each moment and each day of this fleeting life, including the challenges, the difficult days, the tragic stories – it allows me to be with it ALL.

This is what our practices bring us. Truly speaking, is there ANYTHING more urgent, more important than being grounded in the absolute preciousness of our lives?

I’ll be welcoming a handful of women to the beautiful countryside of Quebec in a few weeks to become established in this understanding. 

To dig deeper, to regain true perspective, to recharge, to once again turn toward the light. 

If you know it’s time, I’d love to welcome you into our sacred circle.

http://www.barrierisman.com/teachers-retreat-summer-2018/

HOW CAN I HELP?

I woke up this morning with a question on my mind. It's one I've been asking for many, many years, decades in fact. It's this:

How can I be of service?

BR_MG_6039 copy 2.jpg

Like many of us, my yoga teaching (and practice) has ALWAYS fundamentally been about serving. Offering some of what I've been so fortunate to receive on this path. Generously, wholeheartedly. 

It comes down to this: SERVING is what motivates me, what fulfills me, what lights me up. 

I KNOW this is true for many teachers out there. We do what we do out of gratitude for what yoga has brought to our lives, in many cases, even SAVED our lives.

Truly speaking, I think we are ALL here to be of service.

So, the question is - what gets in the way? How can we, as teachers, ensure that we're able to CONTINUE doing what we're here to do? What brings joy and meaning to our lives? 

The answer is no secret. We all know that the ONLY way to be of service to others is to serve ourselves first. Regularly, effectively. There just isn't any way around it. 

I serve my body with nourishing movement.
I serve my mind with meditation and timeless wisdom.
I serve my spirit by surrounding myself with natural beauty and uplifiting company as often as I can.

What are you doing today (and everyday) to fuel your ability to be of service? How are you serving YOURSELF?

In a few weeks, a handful of women teachers will join together to dive deep into joyous, transformative, and sacred practices. 

This intensive retreat is INTENTIONALLY placed to arrive at the end of the summer and before the busyness of the fall sets in. It's the PERFECT time to do the ESSENTIAL work of rejuvenating, restoring, and reconnecting. There is no better moment to serve yourself, to fill your cup to overflowing. 

Here's the info, if it call out to you, I'd love to welcome you into our circle:

http://www.barrierisman.com/teachers-retreat-summer-2018/

 

🛶TAKING THE LONG ROAD HOME🛶

Earlier this week my family and I spent the day on a canoe. As we made our way down the idyllic, meandering Missisquoi river I got to thinking about how THIS was once the ONLY feasible way of getting from point A to point B. 

camping-nature-plein-air-riviere-missisquoi.jpg

There were no shortcuts, no highways, just a river with its twists and turns, sometime placid and peaceful, sometimes unpredictable, feisty and turbulent. There was no option but to go with it. We couldn’t take another faster or more efficient route.

In yoga, I’ve never been all that interested in shortcuts or promises of quick and easy transformation. For one thing, when we’re talking about delving into our inner landscape, I don’t think there ARE any actual shortcuts. I think there’s much greater wisdom, and delight really, in taking our time to nagivate all the twists and turns in the terrain of our own consciousness, whether it be physically, emotionally or mystically.

I know we LIVE in a culture obsessed with quicker and easier, faster and more efficient (and I too will NEVER, EVER turn down a way to make a 20-minute meal taste like it took hours to cook), but when it comes to yoga I’ve ALWAYS been much more interested in meandering, in decidedly NOT rushing, in savoring every moment and morsel of the journey, in taking the long road home.

It’s not for all travellers, for sure, but if you, like me, delight in the journey I have the perfect event for you. There are just a few spots left. Contact me for details.

m.me/barrierisman

CONTINUING

If there's one thing I've learned in 25 years of yoga practice, it's this: THE most essential skill in yoga is simply THE WILLINGNESS TO CONTINUE. 

Being willing to begin again, and again.

To get back on the path when you've veered away. Without judgement. Without shame. 

To greet yourself exactly where you are with tenderness and love. 

To once again recognize and make space for your heart's deepest longings to surface.

To gently welcome yourself back into the light.

Willingness to begin again is a skill, for sure. Something we hone over time. And, it is BEST done in supportive, focused, and joyous community.

Yoga teachers: Our sacred, intensive, and transformational 5-day retreat is coming up in a few weeks. We have THE PERFECT group of seasoned yoginis coming together and there are a couple of spaces left. Message me if you know it's your time to dive deep in celebrating your practice, your path, and continuing on. It would be an honour to welcome you into our intimate circle.

m.me/barrierisman

WHERE THERE IS DHARMA THERE IS VICTORY (LET’S HOPE SO)

I was talking with a few other teachers recently about showing up for class on days when we are totally not feeling it.

I could relate. Hasn’t it happened to all of us?

Maybe someone in our family isn’t well, maybe we’ve got a ton of other things that need attending to, maybe we are just plain uninspired. For whatever reason, or for myriad reasons, we just Do. Not. Feel. Like. Teaching. Today.

R10171_image1.jpeg

Here’s the thing:
One in our group said that when she takes her seat something begins to shift. Effortlessly. The class comes into existence and honoring her role as teacher completely changes her state. As she steps into the stream of her dharma the teaching not only happens, it’s often even better than usual. She’s in flow, effortlessly serving in the energy of the moment. Have you ever experienced this? 

In almost 20 years of teaching, the class I taught on the morning of November 9, 2016 was one of the hardest. I was in shock, fearful, I felt I had nothing to offer, no inspiration. None. But taking my seat, tuning in, I was not only able to serve my people, but to create a space of comfort and support that was a lifesaver for me that day, perhaps even more so than for my students. I don’t pretend it was only me, but my willingness to honor my role even when it felt really challenging definitely played a part.

I believe that when we’re fulfilling the responsibilities set forth by the roles we’ve taken on, dharma, righteousness, steps in to support us. When we are doing what we’re meant to be doing, I believe it IS the right thing, even when it doesn’t feel easy, or comfortable, or we don’t feel up to it. We’re learning the lessons we are meant to be learning, letting go of what we need to let go of in order to serve our soul’s evolution. When we’re performing the right actions, it IS victorious, regardless of how it looks to the world,

I believe that where there is dharma, there is victory.
I believe that light will triumph over darkness, that love will win the day. Eventually.
I believe that goodness will prevail.
I believe all this not because it’s easy or convenient, but because I CHOOSE to believe it.

But this choice takes work. It needs to restored and refreshed daily. This is where yoga comes in. This is why we need our practices now more than ever.

Hope and faith in the future is easier to sustain in community. This is why we need connection.

We’re building an online community of yoga teachers and students dedicated to upholding faith in humanity, in restoring trust in goodness, in shining their light to support their communities.

If you’re one of us, we’d love to have you.

https://barrie-risman-yoga.teachable.com/p/monthly-membership

THE VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP

"You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other."
---Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching

In my summer online program, we’re exploring how yoga invites us to learn from nature, to recognize and benefit from the timeless truths she holds.

fullsizeoutput_19bc.jpeg

Honestly, I’ll never tire of contemplating nature as an expression of a universal intelligence, and as a conduit for tapping into that wisdom. Take, for example, this mountain near my house.

For some time, I’ve been fascinated by the fundamental paradox of our existence as embodied spirits, as physical beings with a subtle essence. And, how yoga helps us to dance between these two polarities of material and spiritual, relative and absolute, earth and sky, with grace and skill. Yoga gives us tools to enhance the enjoyment of our physicality as well as for our spiritual benefit.

Exploring how to fully stand on the earth while embodying the sky is, I think, central to our task as yogis. It’s something I’ve been playing with in my own practice for some time.

One recent insight: Just as earth is heavy dense and weighty, it also builds, it rises to meet the sky. The mountain has a base and it has a peak. The mountain is at once immovable AND a spacious vantage point from which to see. So we can climb the mountaintop and see out, feet firmly planted on the earth. There is wisdom to be tapped here.

This lesson is helping me a lot in the figurative mountains I’m scaling in my professional life. From the perspective of my climb there is, of course consistent, daily effort. There are challenges, moments of disappointment, overwhelm and fear.

Yet, I also see the perfect circumstances and the ideal network of support and encouragement that is making the climb so much more fun and exciting than I would have imagined it could be.

Looking down from the mountaintop, I see myself taking leaps, growing bigger, elevating, becoming clear, steady and grounded in exactly who I am and what I offer (and who I’m not and what I don’t), and empowering others to do the same.

If you’re being called to expand your perspective, to rise to new heights in your yoga and your teaching, we’re here to welcome you.

Our monthly membership is off to a fantastic start. You can jump in anytime for all-inclusive access at $30/month. There is no obligation whatsoever you can cancel at anytime.

m.me/barrierisman

https://barrie-risman-yoga.teachable.com/p/monthly-membership

 

 

WHAT’S YOUR SUMMER SPIRITUALITY?

Like many of us, I was instilled with a deep love of summer from a young age.

I remember my two older sisters faithfully sitting out by the pool, baby-oiled up, reflectors in hand, baking in the sun for literally hours on end.  I think this was their “self-care” before that had a name. Linda Ronstadt’s version of “Stoney End” will forever bring me back to those days (still a great song IMO.)

sunbather-1500828253Afs.jpg

Sunbathing by the pool, riding on the back of Harleys, hanging out at the beach. This was what living in the moment looked like on a summer day in suburban Long Island in the1970s. For my sisters, summer was dedicated to enjoying every precious moment of summer to the fullest.  

This was their yoga, so to speak. 

Of course, these things have little or nothing to do with ACTUAL yoga practice. But for them, summer was about ultimate freedom, celebrating life, savoring the moment. All very yogic pursuits, no?

And it rubbed off on me. I love the rhythm of summer. And now that I live where we have 6-months of winter, summer is even more precious. Each blossom I smell, every cricket I hear, every freshly-picked berry I taste is something I intend to enjoy fully.

Perhaps this is why I’ve always approached my yoga practice a bit differently in the summer months. Occasional outdoor meditation and asana practice OF COURSE, but so much more than that. Yoga helps me enjoy everything I love about summer MORE FULLY. Practice allows me to be MORE AVAILABLE to make the absolute most of more family time, more PLAY, more LIGHT, more BEAUTY, more LIFE. 

The light and breezy rhythm of summer is exactly what’s inspiring my upcoming 21-day Love Your Yoga Summer edition. 

Because your yoga should help you play more, and enjoy everything you love about summer EVEN MORE. And that becomes easier, even natural and effortless, when you feel good in your body, clear in your mind, nourished in your being. 

Our Love Your Yoga! Summer Edition is 21 days of practices to fully savor the summer begins July 1. It’s free with your $30 monthly membership to The Skillful Yogi (no obligation whatsoever, you can cancel at any time.)

Join us for a 3-week dive into the yoga of summer to celebrate the season, to be filled up with the best of life.

https://barrie-risman-yoga.teachable.com/p/loveyouryoga21daypracticeprogram

 

Being and Becoming

1.png

Some teachers will tell you that yoga is not a path, that it’s a journey and not a destination. That it’s simply about being present to what is.

I partially agree with this. Yoga IS a way of BEING with ourselves, a practice of inner attention, a way of seeing and responding to what ‘is’, with a stance of compassion and unconditional self-acceptance. Yoga IS in the things we do that we call yoga. Yoga IS the practices.

But it’s more than that, because JUST that can feel aimless and undirected. And, for me, the gifts of yoga are cumulative and progressive.

Yoga is also a process of BECOMING. It’s a path we travel. Yoga sets us on a clear trajectory toward inner expansion, freedom, and greater consciousness in every part of our lives.

Yoga has a goal. And that goal is awakening to the fullness of our inner being and, from that experience, becoming more benevolent human beings.

Isn’t it the case that over time (even after a single class) we are shifted as people as a result of these practices?

Yes, Yoga is in the BEING, 
but it’s also in the BECOMING.

It’s the journey AND the destination.

And, of course, the two go hand in hand, it’s the BEING, the daily things we do, that lead to what we BECOME. The choices we make in the present moment feed the arc of expansive shift that happens over time.

As you look back on your yoga life, what shifts have you experienced? How are you different? Are you becoming a KINDER person? More compassionate? More accepting of yourself and others? How has your life been made richer by your practice?

Where is YOUR practice taking you – moment-to-moment AND over time?

The choices we make today determine the way we evolve yoga over time. It’s not haphazard or random, it’s an intentional journey. And, we all need to be accompanied with a supportive framework along the way.

We need guideposts, checkpoints, a sounding board, and encouragement to ensure that what we are doing is, indeed helping us to become who we wish to be.

We need DAILY, FRESH, INSPIRED support for both the day-to-day ways we practice AND for the long haul – for continuing down the path toward becoming, integrating our yoga, living it more and more fully.

This is what we’re creating in my Skillful Yogi Online Practice & Study community. It’s a welcoming, respectful home for teachers and continuing students who honor both the journey and destination, the practices and understanding, the being and becoming.

If this integrated approach to yoga resonates with you, I hope you’ll reach out to me to learn more.

m.me/barrierisman
https://barrie-risman-yoga.teachable.com

LISTEN...

There’s always a moment on retreat where a palpable shift happens. I go from being like a butterfly flitting about from flower to flower to being more like an eagle perched on a branch, quiet and focused. When my mind finally relinquishes its attachment to its usual preoccupations an expansive inner horizon opens up. I’m free, untethered from the pull of my thoughts. I tap into a tremendous sense of peace, expanded perspective, and vast possibility, as if I hold the fullness of the sky inside myself. 

Read More

7 REASONS *NOT* TO CHOOSE OUR SMALL GROUP RETREAT THIS SUMMER (yes, you read that right):

Was it just a coincidence that I (unknowingly) scheduled my teachers’ retreat at the same time that Wanderlust comes to Quebec? Maybe. 

Or it might be the universe’s clever way of inviting me to share what I believe to be the differences between a yoga music festival and our small group intensive. 

Unfortunately, you can’t attend both. That’s why I have included 7 reasons you may want to choose Wanderlust and forego our intimate intensive planned at the same time… and 7 reasons you may be better served by attending our intimate, sacred and nature-based retreat. The choice is always — of course — yours. 

7 REASONS TO CHOOSE WANDERLUST
1. To be in a high-energy, action-oriented scene

2. It can be really fun way to spend the weekend with your yoga buddies

3. To practice with cool lighting, awesome playlists and see some impressive asana demos

4. For making connections

5. You get to try out different teachers and styles of yoga

6. You get to experience some really masterful, experienced teachers

7. It’s a shakti hit of uplifting, good vibes that can be energizing and inspiring.
I think of it as a yoga party where you get to hang out in really comfortable clothes.

7 REASONS TO CHOOSE OUR SMALL, FOCUSED, & SACRED RETREAT
1. Because you want a retreat that puts the focus on YOUR practice.

2. To be part of an intimate group, a sacred circle that allows for truly meaningful connection and ongoing support

3. To press the pause button on the regular usual speed of life because you recognize the importance of slowing down once a year for time dedicated only to practice. You know the impact it has on your teaching and the way you show up in all areas of your life.

4. Because it allows for a greater level of focus on the practices and wisdom teachings, without the external noise. 

5. To prioritize space and time to be with yourself in a sweet and nurturing way. 

6. To participate in a deliberate, well-rounded, and optimally balanced schedule of practices intentionally designed to support your process of expansion. 

7. Because you know you’re ready, even craving, to steep yourself in yoga. You know the power of minimizing the outer distractions that can be a barrier to unfolding a profound, transformational experience. You’re going for lasting, deep-seated, expansive and joyful shift this time, not simply a quick, inspiring high. You want a sattva hit more than a shakti hit. 

In the 25 years that I’ve been doing yoga, I’ve learned that there are times when BOTH are useful. So, yes, our retreat is at the same time as Wanderlust. But it’s not a problem or even a conflict, because they offer very different experiences. Isn’t it great that you get to choose?

If your inner wisdom is beckoning you to give yourself the time and space to allow the sweetness and power of your practice to unfold, 

If you’re called to rediscover and reclaim your passion and inspiration for yoga without the distraction of crowds, happy hours, and dance parties,

If you know its time to infuse your teaching with your OWN true and authentic power, 

Then you’ll feel right at home with the group coming together for this small, sacred, intensive, and transformational retreat. 

http://www.barrierisman.com/teachers-retreat-summer-2018/

m.me/barrierisman

🦃ON NOT LETTING THE TURKEYS GET YOU DOWN🦃

coffeemug-elephantturkeys.jpg

I’ve loved this mug ever since the stationery-store wandering days of my youth.

Where I live now we have real turkeys. Wild ones. While they have their own charm, there’s no denying their clumsiness. They’re big, heavy, and slow, really awkward fliers.

We all know what its like to be held down by the turkeys that show up in our own lives everyday. They’re the little annoyances that nag us, snags that need untangling, and misunderstandings that need to be clarified. They’re the myriad frustrations that tighten our jaws, hunch our shoulders, restrict our breathing, and contract our energy.

And of course, there are also the inner turkeys that sabotage our freedom and hold us down. The habits, foods, even relationships that no longer serve the forward movement of our lives.

This poor elephant seems to have surrendered and accepted the reality of his situation.

But we know that isn’t the only option. Yes, letting go and releasing the weight of those nagging frustrations is essential. More importantly, though, are taking steps to restore our lightness of spirit.

Moving, literally, helps a lot. So does conscious breathing. So does being in meaningful community with others on the same path. It’s springtime. Nature is supporting us to take flight, to blossom, to renew.

We’re building an online yoga community of sincere students and teachers dedicated to self-study, forward movement and expansive growth through yoga.

If you’re called to be part of a small, intimate group that supports your growth, empowerment and independence as a practitioner, I’d love to have you join us.

DM me for details.

💛VALUE CREATES VALUE💛

A recent New York Times article pointed out how convenience has become a major driving force in our consumer economy. Our choices in the marketplace consistently demonstrate this. We’d rather use something easy and simple (Netflix) over something cheap (network television). 

Furthermore, because of economies of scale and the power of our buying habits, convenience begets greater convenience. The more we buy from Amazon, the more powerful it becomes, and therefore it can make itself even more efficient and easier to use, which leads us to value it even more.

I believe a similar dynamic is at work in yoga, though its about benefit and importance, rather than convenience. 

The more we value our yoga, the more valuable our yoga it becomes.

For the casual, once-in-a-while practitioner, the benefits of yoga are likewise casual, easily replaced by a different kind of workout or another self-help method.

But for the committed practitioner, one who places a premium on practice time, on learning from seasoned teachers, on dipping into the wisdom of the tradition regularly, a whole new level of benefit ensues. Practice becomes rich, deeply nourishing and rewarding. This, of course, strengthens our commitment to practice.

We start to schedule and prioritize practice times as sacred appointment with ourselves. We sit for meditation even when it means taking time out of a busy day. We stay the course when practice feels boring or lackluster. This leads to greater, more palpable and lasting benefits. A lovely feedback loop results that strengthen, deepen and expand the ways in which yoga serves us in our lives over time.

I've created a new online program to explore some of the approaches to practice that have helped me to treasure, and, in turn, extract the enormous value from yoga for the past 25 years. Truly, these are some of the KEY understandings that have worked for me and continue to support me in every area of my life. I can’t wait to share this with you!

https://barrie-risman-yoga.teachable.com/p/evolving-your-asana

The Most Important Skill in Yoga is THIS

One of the most important skills we develop as we continue down the path of yoga is this: The ability to WELCOME ourselves back, and begin again, AND to do it with compassion, self-acceptance, and sensitivity.

Read More

💥Rekindling the Spark💥

The smell of the earth this morning brought me right back to the Catskills, to the ashram where I lived in the early 2000’s. 

It brought me back to the many, many mornings I walked from my dorm room to the early-morning chant at 4:30 am in the dark, wrapped in a shawl. 

It brought me back to the feelings of devotion, one-pointedness, and community. But most palpably, it brought me back to the LONGING I experienced during those years.

It was there, in the darkness of the early mornings, first in India and then Upstate New York over the course of 7 years, that my longing took root. What began as a desire to be happy with myself and content with my life blossomed into a yearning to dive deep into my inner being, I longed to uncover the truth, the wisdom and the magnificence of that place within me that lies independently from the ups and downs of outer life.

This longing is and has been at the root of everything I do, everything I create, everything I offer as a teacher. It’s the common denominator of my life, my most fundamental motivation. 

It’s no longer about escaping myself or the world, but a way of bringing my best to bear on situations I am (that we all are) confronted with, both outside and those of my own habitual making. It’s a force that guides me to strive to live a responsible, purposeful life.

Funny that I should have this experience today, standing on the cusp of an exciting opening in my business, of putting my work out into the world in bigger, bolder new ways. That I should be brought back to the devotion and the longing that inspires my work is a sweet reminder of WHY I do what I do. It lies beyond any success and failure. When all is said and done, my longing and the path it offers toward its own fulfillment will remain.

Several teachers that have signed up for my new online program shared with me that the content is calling out to them in a similar way. It’s reminding them of what that led them to yoga, the moment they made it their own and knew it was THEIR path. It’s bringing up the longing to rekindle that original spark.

There is nothing sweeter then remembering our own initial stirrings. Over time they tend to get lost, buried in the business of life, forgotten as we get pulled out of our own experience, lost perhaps by our very participation in the modern yoga world. 

If you are feeling the call to go back to your yoga roots, to RECLAIM what made you love to practice in the first place through the lens of your knowledge and experience, I hope you’ll consider joining us. We begin March 20 on a springtime journey of exploration to uncover the gems of insight and inspiration that are still there, still precious, waiting to be dusted off, polished so they can shine their light on your life and practice once again.

https://barrie-risman-yoga.teachable.com/p/evolving-your-asana

Evolving Your Yoga

TO EVOLVE: to gradually become clearer or more detailed, to develop, elaborate, unfold, advance, progress, blossom, grow, mature, ripen, emerge

🐚🌀🐚🌀🐚

I first fell in love with this word as an Anthropology major in college. Tracing the emergence and adaptation of the human race over time was fascinating to me. But, honestly, the concept of evolving, adapting, and UNFOLDING has become even more thrilling and juicy as I’ve begun to see my yoga practice in this light, as not just as something I “do” but as something I grow and ripen, something that continually EMERGES.

It’s an ever-unfolding process that’s POWERED and INSPIRED by the very nature of life ITSELF to elaborate, clarify, grow, shift and progress. 

Do you sense the amazing possibilities that could be revealed in approaching your practice this way?

4 Seconds of Flow

I got stuck this morning. My 10-year old, bless her heart, missed her bus and I had to drive her to school. Granted, this was the first time this year that this has happened. And, driving her to school is not really a big deal because my schedule today is pretty flexible and the school is only about a 10-minute drive. Yet, I found myself critical, annoyed, frustrated. I could see that holding onto this episode was neither necessary nor useful. Stuckness.

After I dropped her off, I took the opportunity of being out earlier than usual to take a walk. After all, we are at balmy 15 Celsius and its a beautiful sunny day here. The snow is melting and the rivers are rushing. My lesson was right there in the flowing water: soften, release, and move on.

I’m always very clear with my yoga students that I am decidedly NOT a flow teacher. Sure, I can teach a good Vinyasa class, I’ve done it many times, but it's not my true love.

Yet, the IDEA of FLOW is very important to me, and, like any dedicated Vinyasa student knows, it’s about much more than gracefully transitioning between poses. It’s about learning to identify where I’m stuck, to have the presence of mind to see it, and then take steps to get back into the flow.

In my case, this was taking a walk outside, consciously focusing on my breath, and recognizing the lessons in water.

Like this stream flowing beneath the melted snow outside my house, I think about where, and how I can soften and let go of my ideas about how I want things to be long enough to once again tap into the flow that’s there just beneath the surface of my resistance.

After all, if the flexibility, attention to breath and graceful movement I cultivate in my yoga practice doesn’t allow me to flow more easily in MY LIFE then what’s the point?

Consider:

  • What does flow look like for you today?
  • Where might you be stuck in work or life?
  • What are the tools you already have and know well (asana, breath, nature, etc.) to soften, let go, and move on?

We’ll be delving deeper into the point of yoga practice and how to actually USE the tools and practices we know and love even MORE fully beginning next week.  If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider joining me!

Bursting the Bubble

A studio owner once told me that she wanted her space to be like a bubble, a place where students could temporarily escape their worries and be surrounded by an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and good vibes.

popping-bubble.jpg

Wow, sounds great, I thought.

I really like and respect this person, and actually, I love what she’s created. Yet, something didn’t fully resonate with the bubble idea. It got me thinking about how I approach practice and teaching.

I completely agree that we all need healthy ways to escape, regularly. Time alone, self-care appointments, things that give us relief from the stresses of daily life are rejuvenating and VERY necessary. I love those “Calgon – Take me away!” moments of my day (for those of you who remember those old commercials). Yoga practice can certainly fill this important need to just get away from it all for a while. ESPECIALLY on a day like today, when the weight of the world weighs so heavily on us. You can bet I'll be soaking in a hot bath tonight!🛁

For me, though, yoga is at its MOST powerful (and exciting) when we use it not ONLY to escape our lives but also to learn how to approach our lives with greater presence, compassion, and purpose.

Have you ever gone back to work after a vacation and quickly (like by lunchtime on your first day back) felt like the vacation never even happened?

Wouldn’t it be great if your vacation could also give you the tools to carry the ease you felt and the remembrance of what’s most important to your regular life? That’s what yoga is for me.

The thing I LOVE AND TREASURE MOST about practice is how it helps me become the person I want to be the other 22.5 hours of my day.

So, I use my practice to cultivate the qualities I want to experience more of, to show up for the rest of my life with. I practice to interact with myself - my body, my breath, and my mind - in a way that fosters more awareness, a greater understanding of and compassion for my struggles. And, honestly, sometimes this is simply about trying to keep my wits about me as I navigate these crazy times we are living in.

This is why yoga - at its best and most powerful - is NOT an escape for me, but more like a training, with less and less distinction between practice time and life. And this is what I endeavor to bring to my teaching, to help students uncover the POWER and POTENTIAL of yoga to infuse itself into every area of their lives.

If you’re ready to burst the bubble and live your yoga even more fully, it would be my honour to accompany you on this next step in your yoga journey. It begins with my upcoming, free webinar on MARCH 1. The link to the recording will be sent to you if you can’t participate live.

🎊Beyond the Bells and Whistles🎊

When I teach at conferences and festivals, I always find that the exact right people show up for my session. This weekend at Expo Yoga in Montreal was no different. As usual, I was delighted to be with a group of curious, engaged students interested in taking their yoga a little bit deeper, getting some input on refining their practice and exploring how to integrate the lessons of the postural practice into their lives. 

And, as usual, I’m the teacher without the awesome playlist, without the elaborate ritual, without the bells and whistles. 🛎

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against a great playlist. I LOVE to groove out in my practice from time to time. And, I LOVE ritual, sacred circles, ALL OF THAT. It’s just that for me, the bells and whistles often sound loudest when I get to go deeper INSIDE my experience. Awakening a new awareness, discovering a new connection, inhabiting my own strength or softening into a deeper release – these are the things that light me up. And those experiences, for me, are often best accompanied only by the music of my breath and the sweet presence of other yogis. 💡

Call me traditional, call me old school, but for me, music, cool lighting, and other trappings of commercial yoga culture can be a distraction to accessing the thrilling experience of expanding consciousness in my body.

Silence is how I get to OWN my experience in practice, keep it with me, integrate it into my being, independent of accouterments.

If you, like me, are ready to go beyond the bells and whistles and unlock a deeper level of empowerment, awareness and refinement in your practice I hope you’ll join me for my upcoming free webinar on THURSDAY, MARCH 1. 

I'll reveal some of the key approaches to practice that have made yoga an incredibly valuable support in all areas of my life and fully integrate the physical practice into my journey of self-discovery. 

REGISTER HERE:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/evolving-your-yoga-3-principles…

The link to the recording will be sent out if you can't participate live.

I can't wait to share this with you!