Barrie's Blog

On Becoming a Powerful Person

Dec 05, 2019

 

The challenge of stepping fully into our personal power is one I know a lot about. It’s one that’s been a defining theme of my yoga journey, actually.

You see, power is not something that’s important to me. At all. 
 
As a double Libra, my nature is the airiest of the air. I’m all about harmony, beauty, peace, and justice. I want everyone to be happy. Power just doesn’t interest me very much.

As a young person, I was known to be wishy-washy. It felt natural for me to subdue my will, to not take a stand for the sake of

Being nice,
Keeping the peace,
Wanting to please,
Fitting in,
Not making waves,
Or ruffling any feathers.
 
It’s been yoga, being a teacher, that’s changed all that in surprising ways.

Because being a teacher is an inherently powerful position. As a teacher, you have to be directive in order to do your job. You must take a stand. You have to know where you want your students to go in order to best serve them. You...

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In The Wake of Gratitude, Find Contentment

Nov 27, 2019

 

I spent yesterday reviewing and relishing all the many things, people and circumstances I am grateful for.

A healthy body,

A healthy family,

A thriving livelihood doing work that is deeply meaningful to me,

The many, many wonderful colleagues, teachers, and students I am connected with,

Surroundings that nurture me,

Fresh, wholesome food to eat.

And on and on and on. Gratitude. An essential practice for all of us wishing to experience more love and appreciation for this precious life.

As usual, the question on my mind is, "and so?"

How do I live this? How does gratitude help me become happier? More fulfilled? Better able to serve?

Perhaps the more important inquiry for me, for all of us, is not simply what we have to be grateful for, but how do we take the experience of gratitude, the recognition of all we are blessed with, into our lives? 

You see, I realized yesterday that for me, gratitude can be fleeting. "I'm so grateful to have a healthy, happy daughter" is quickly followed...

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Your Yoga Golden Age

May 18, 2019

Every astrologer whose ever read my chart has told me I have the chart of a teacher, there’s no getting around it. Yet, I’ve also ALWAYS seen myself as just as much a community leader as a yoga teacher. It’s a role I love and take to heart because it’s crucial. It’s been critically important for me, and to those I serve. We all need to feel heard, seen, acknowledged, and supported in order to thrive in ANY area of our lives.

In my online program, participants have been reflecting on their yoga stories, recounting the trajectory of their practice from the time they first started until now.

When I hear the stories of these longtime practitioners, one thing I see again and again is that many of us have had a GOLDEN AGE in yoga. A period when our practice flourished when we fell in love with yoga as OUR path, got lit up about the possibilities it unfolded for us and made breakthroughs. For some, this was during teacher training, for others it...

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The Joy Of Being A Yoga Well-Wisher

Mar 11, 2019

This weekend in St. Jon’s reminded me of just how much I love and appreciate local yoga communities.

When teachers create the space and time to gather around practice, not business,

Counting breaths, not hours,
Communicating with thoughtfulness, respect, and good will,
Sharing with authenticity, and not a drop of pretense,
Listening with openness, not judgment.

We’re grateful for every moment we have together, for we know how rare it is to be a room like this and to be in each others’ good company,

And, how important it is to nourish ourselves so we can feed others.

To serve our own longings, so we can be of service.
I believe this kind of connection is essential for longevity in practice and in teaching. The opportunity to be in authentic connection, to be well-wishers for others on the path, to find comfort in giving and receiving support. To find resilience in practice, inquiry, and sharing. To know that there are others working quietly, constantly,...

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Yoga Teachers: Here’s The Truth About Credibility And Curiosity

Mar 11, 2019

A friend who’s been diagnosed with an “incurable” medical condition shared something interesting with me the other day. She said that the doctors she seeks out for help with her condition are NOT the ones who claim to have all the answers. She looks for the doctors who are open to learning, to finding out more, to new treatment protocols and information.

Similarly, the BEST chiropractor I know, the one I trust completely, is the one chiropractor I’ve met who is continually learning more and more about his field, about how back pain in the body manifests, what’s most effective in treating it and preventing it from reoccurring.

He’s the one who uses his knowledge as a springboard for diving in with his patients to explore and learn from them. He’s the one doesn’t claim to have “the” method that will fix everyone, every time.

Like my friend, when I look for a chiropractor, I’m not seeking out the person who claims to...

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Ease, Yes, But Here's How (Some) Online Yoga is Raising The Bar on Practice And Community

Feb 21, 2019

This morning, a fellow yoga teacher posted an article she wrote about how online yoga supports your self-care goals. You know, things like the convenience of being able to do yoga at home (or at the beach, like the student who sent me this photo), the comfort of practicing in your pajamas if you feel like it, the ease of being able to do a class whenever you want, on demand. All valid reasons, of course. Why go to yoga when you can have yoga come to you, right? 

What I realized, as I read her list, is how different our Skillful Yogi online community actually is in the realm of “online yoga.” Actually, we’re much more like an online retreat site than simply an online studio. We’re not merely the easy or more convenient substitute for live yoga. 

In many cases, we’re the option that serves our members BETTER than what’s available to them where they live. Why? Because they’re selective, they know what works for them, and they’re...

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"Love Yourself"

Feb 14, 2019

I almost never do this, but today I wanted to share what I wrote in the daily column I write for my membership. I spent so many Valentine's Days alone and wishing for someone or something to make me feel complete. I know so well how that longing feels. Here's the lesson I learned about that and that has fueled my yoga practice for more than 20 years now.

"LOVE YOURSELF"

These two simple words, for me, express the ultimate reason I practice and teach yoga.

My relationship with myself was not always positive, kind or loving.

 

But when I discovered, more than 20 years ago, that asana practice could not only be a way to move and awaken consciousness in my body but was also a field for cultivating a more loving relationship with myself well, that was the game-changer that turned asana from merely an interesting physical and mental pursiuit and made it into a major practice of my sadhana.

For me, yoga has been and always will be a path toward self love. This is the...

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Why "Been There, Done That" Are The Saddest Four Words I Can Hear When it Comes to Yoga

Feb 14, 2019

We’re diving into studentship this week on The Skillful Yogi. We’re exploring some of the many wonderful and nuanced attributes of being a student of yoga. Skills like cultivating our curiosity, honing our discrimination, building a solid faith that’s based on inquiring into our experiences in yoga, and so forth.

I often tell teachers I work with that being a student is the meta-skill of being a teacher, the one overarching ability that if we get good at it, encompasses all the other things we might do and learn as teachers. 

 

In my own yoga journey, my dedication to being a student, well, it’s been my pillar. It’s what I’ve leaned into during times of uncertainty and self-doubt as a teacher. Though my teaching will come to an end someday, my love for the subject of yoga is something I know will continue throughout my life.

This is why, when a yoga teacher tells me they feel as if yoga no longer has anything to offer...

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Yoga Teachers : Here's The Truth About Credibility And Curiosity

Feb 11, 2019

A friend who’s been diagnosed with an “incurable” medical condition shared something interesting with me the other day. She said that the doctors she seeks out for help with her condition are NOT the ones who claim to have all the answers. She looks for the doctors who are open to learning, to finding out more, to new treatment protocols and information.

Similarly, the BEST chiropractor I know, the one I trust completely, is the one chiropractor I’ve met who is continually learning more and more about his field, about how back pain in the body manifests, what’s most effective in treating it and preventing it from reoccurring.

He’s the one who uses his knowledge as a springboard for diving in with his patients to explore and learn from them. He’s the one doesn’t claim to have “the” method that will fix everyone, every time.

Like my friend, when I look for a chiropractor, I’m not seeking out the person who claims to...

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What is an Advanced Asana ?

Feb 08, 2019

Is it simply, as my colleague Doug Keller puts it, “doing postures other people can’t do? Of course not. Though that’s the way we sometimes think about.”

This weekend at Expo Yoga 2019 I'll be teaching an "advanced" arm balances class. Montreal yogis, I hope you'll join me! But be forewarned: For me, the opportunity for "advanced" practice never lies in the pose we achieve, but rather, what we learn about ourselves in the journey toward getting there.

 

Sure, we'll be playing around with physical challenges, standing on our hands, much like this elephant. But what makes that "yoga," of course, lies in the intention and awareness we bring to it, doesn't it?

Rather than external accomplishment, deepening our asana practice calls on us to refine our awareness and expand our capacity for listening, noticing, feeling, sensing. We harness the power of all our senses as well as our intellect to awaken an ever deeper awareness and mine...

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