• being human,  breath,  embodiment

    Conscious Breath is a Superpower

    I work with breath every day, but today is an extra special one, a day of celebration. A human who once shared my very breath has been on the planet for twenty-one years today. Yes, I brought life into the world that day — a beautiful, blue eyed, red headed, breathing, loving, feeling human who has blessed me in unimaginable ways. And so, in honor of Madison, of life, of breath itself, I’d like to tell you a little story of how the day unfolded and why I think conscious breath is a superpower. I came into the pregnancy a novice yogi but could not find a prenatal yoga teacher to work with me, so I did what I knew I could to stay healthy and active: early in the pregnancy, I committed to regular breath practice and walked 5+ miles every day. I…

  • being human,  breath,  learning

    Connected by Breath

    I think most of you know that I am a yoga teacher, but what you may not know is that I stopped teaching–almost entirely–as my mom took her final breath just over three and a half years ago. In some ways I stopped breathing too; I couldn’t inhabit my body in my grief. Teaching yoga is a giving profession and I literally had nothing to give; continuing to teach would have been unfair to my students and to myself, even though saying goodbye presented another loss. For a full two years I grieved my mom, a daughter who came of age and a life I knew and loved. It was a dark night of the soul I’d never wish on anyone, but it was necessary. I devoted time to healing. I relearned how to fully inhabit my body and how to breathe again. Lots…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment,  writing

    Sacredness in the Mundane

    there is asacrednessin the mundane,in every daylife. we only have tos l o w d o w n . . . to see itfeel ittaste itbreathe itBE it. . . . I really believe this is my life’s calling. It’s a simple life calling, and a difficult out-of-reach one at the same time. My life’s calling is to slow down, to overcome the rush and anxiety that has pervaded me for the entirety of my years on earth, and to put words to the frustration and subsequent peace this calling elicits. Life is paradoxical … and simple and hard and beautiful and heart-wrenching and confusing and joyful. Ahh, this being human truly is a guest house, as Rumi wrote hundreds of years ago. We simply cannot know who or what to expect from one day to the next. I am most at peace and can…

  • being human,  breath,  writing

    Knowing and Not Knowing

    I write. It’s the one thing I do consistently, the one thing I’ve continually done to make sense of life. Ideas mill about in my head, and until I sit down, put fingers to a keyboard or pen to paper, thoughts don’t solidify. They stay scattered. It’s unsettling. Writing grounds me. Lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts. In my deepest essence I feel a need for change and I know the general areas that need change but can’t find a clear path forward. Or maybe I’m struggling with commitment. Perhaps old patterns are sabotaging me, or worse yet I’m afraid of succeeding, shining, becoming too big. I am in the last half of my life. That fact really just became clear in the last few months. I don’t know why I didn’t consider it before, but I didn’t, at least not at length.…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment

    The 8 Limbs of Yoga: An Overview

    In preparation for leading a module of a brand new yoga teacher training this summer, I’m currently re-studying the Yoga Sutras. A short but very dense book, the Yoga Sutras is a text written over 2000 years ago that provides a philosophical framework for the practice of yoga. Thought to be authored by Patanjali, the sutras are 196 aphorisms (or ‘threads’) that weave together to form a broad, excellently structured guide to the physical practice of yoga. The text speaks to uniting the body and mind, helps us better understand the nature of our minds and outlines philosophical living on the path of yoga. In short, the Yoga Sutras details an 8 Limbed Path of Yoga which includes: Yamas: restraints, guides Ahimsa: nonharming Satya: truthfulness Asteya: nonstealing Brahmacharya: moderation Aparigraha: nongrasping Niyamas: practices, observances Saucha: purity Santosha: contentment Tapas: discipline Svadhyaya: self study Isvara…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment

    Movement Is an Act of Love for the Body

    In our disembodied world, we’ve lost authentic connection with ourselves. Sitting for long periods of time at a computer, staring mindlessly into our phones and commuting long distances for work all contribute to this disembodiment. Even working remotely, not traveling, lends itself to this disembodied state because of our always on mentality (a lot of work, often in front of a computer without allowing ourselves the movement we need). The trouble, I find, is feeling like there’s not enough time to get everything done, and when something has to go, movement seems the obvious choice. But I know better, so I force myself out and never regret it. Personally, I learned many years ago that movement contributes to overall wellbeing in concrete ways. When I began my walking practice nearly twenty years ago, I vividly recognized that it helped not only my physical health but…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment

    My Life Is A Ritual

    I happened upon this statement a few months ago. I’m not sure where, but it attached itself deep in my psyche … “my life is a ritual.” I placed those words on my message board so I could ponder them for a while and I’ve concluded for myself that the statement is true, but my thoughts around ritual are different now. The dictionary defines ritual in this way: a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order Essentially, what I believed ritual to be in the past: a long, elaborate set of rules and actions, has changed. The statement also made me ponder ritual vs. getting stuck in my ways, in life … going through the motions. This is something I wish least for myself. As I ruminated on the statement, I thought about my daily morning ritual. I…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment,  writing

    Learning to Live in Direct Experience

    I’ve gone quiet lately. Last week was busy with work and graduation prep and the weekend was full with my girl’s graduation ceremony and party. Yesterday was the first day I journaled in a few weeks. And it struck me … I wasn’t writing because I didn’t want to fully feel, didn’t want to acknowledge the sadness that was here, under the surface. Anxiety was here. Angst was here. I felt it all. I’m much more in tune than I ever have been before, but I filled life up instead of slowing down to fully experience it. I think most of us do that, sometimes out of habit, others necessity, and sometimes we’re completely unaware. I am not saying we should drown in our fears, sadness or anxiety, but I do think we often mask it or avoid the negative feelings in lieu of…

  • being human,  breath,  embodiment

    Changing my Physiology

    Wanna know a secret? I have no idea what I’m doing.  And damn, have I been trying hard—too hard. For the longest time, I thought I had to get it ‘right.’ For the longest time I tried to be perfect. It just perpetuated more pain. So at the end of the struggle, I decided to just be me, but there was a problem. I didn’t know how to do that, exactly. I can’t explain why: my brain wasn’t working optimally, and that realization led to a billion other ‘a-has.’ I learned that I couldn’t use sheer will to change; I had to change my physiology. I had to change my brain.