• embodiment,  featured

    10 Ways to Practice Yoga without Stepping Onto Your Mat

    You love yoga. You love the way it makes you feel, the way you see yourself through the practice, everything it stands for. Yoga means union; it helps us connect mind, body and spirit. Sometimes un-namable, it makes us FEEL things we never felt before. If you're like me, you want to practice every day, but life says otherwise. I'm a yoga teacher and I don't practice in the typical sense every day. Luckily yoga is so vast, there are thousands of things you can do to practice. These days, my intention is to get on my mat two to three times per week, but I practice every day in other ways. It may be five minutes of breathing, a twenty minute meditation or studying yogic philosophy. Sometimes it's an intentional walk in nature. Over the years, I've discovered many ways to incorporate the practice into every single day, without ever stepping onto my mat. Here are ten ways for you to get started, with audio included on a few:

  • embodiment,  featured

    8 Step Office Yoga Sequence

    Try this 8 step office yoga sequence whenever you need a break in your day. It's a great moving meditation to bring you back to center. If you'd rather listen to the practice (which I recommend), go here. SETTING THE TONE & INTENTION. Sit at your desk with feet flat on the floor. (If you're able to take your shoes off, spread your toes and evenly distribute your weight throughout your feet, that's great. If not, do your best with shoes on.) Ground your sit bones into your seat. Let your spine grow tall. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. Close your eyes if possible. Notice how you feel. SETTLING INTO THE BREATH. Begin to take long, slow conscious breaths, counting each inhale and each exhale, attempting to match their length. Continue breathing, slow, rhythmic breaths throughout your practice.

  • being human,  embodiment,  featured

    Learning to Remember

    We get so busy living that we forget. We never stop. We uphold our importance. We don't see the big picture. We live as though this is the only day, as though this (fill in the blank) is all that matters. We take ourselves so seriously. If we can learn to stop, or at least slow down; widen our experience, recognize that we are a drop in the ocean, a piece of the puzzle instead of the whole puzzle, life will make a lot more sense.

  • being human,  embodiment,  featured

    Writing to Discover the Truth

    I have a lump on the side of my breast. I discovered it three days ago, just after a boudoir shoot I did for my husband. I felt sexy, empowered, beautiful and strong, followed by every opposite emotion after discovering the lump. I have no idea what it is. Perhaps I have nothing to worry about; perhaps it will change my life. One rule of writing is to choose what you will say, how you will say it and how much to reveal. Writing for the self and writing for an audience are two entirely different things. Another rule of writing is to tell the truth.

  • being human,  embodiment,  featured

    Born Creators

    We are all creators. We were born to create, and yet we forget. We go through the motions. We act as though our lives are not important, as though the choices we make don’t matter. But they do, very much so. I had a conversation with a new friend a few days ago. She’s a photographer and a gifted one at that. She spoke of her brother and her daughter — the artists that each one of them are, and in that conversation she almost diminished her own art, her giftedness in her art, as though drawing was superior to photography. It isn’t. In fact, no one thing is better than another from the soul’s perspective. Another gift she possesses is her ability to make others feel comfortable, confident and beautiful. She almost exclusively works with women, and in my opinion, doing so is a responsibility. I believe she feels that way too. Part of her purpose is empowerment and she does that job well. She certainly made me feel strong, beautiful and unique. That, too, is an art. My day with her could have gone any number of ways. Think about that. All of our days can go any number of ways. We make…

  • embodiment,  featured

    Nature as an Entryway into Embodiment

    Nature Is. Pure being. Sheer essence. And the great human paradox is that we are too. It’s our minds that get in the way of things. The Buddha spent a lot of time in nature and recognized this great spiritual truth. I walk or hike almost every day. It clears me out. It creates in me a spaciousness unexplainable — most of the time. Intentionality is key. We create mindfulness by not letting ourselves get caught up — in ourselves. Embodiment is an elusive concept, kinda like love and yoga. You know it’s real but words don’t accurately describe it. A walk in nature takes the same tone. When I’m outside moving my body, a lifeforce grander than I acts on my being. I feel energized and alive in ways unexplainable. If only I could write and hike at the same time — the things that would come out! The concept of embodiment is a main staple of my life these days. I think about it a lot, and look for new ways to practice it. I am taking all I’m learning through EmbodiYoga teacher training and making it my own. So much deep knowledge. It’s amazing. One could go down a rabbit hole with the information and subtlety. I keep…

  • embodiment,  featured

    Intelligence Begins in the Body

    The Mind Follows I’m having so much fun writing about these concepts because it’s helping me understand them cognitively at a deeper level. I recognize that just reading about them here only gives you, the reader, information for your brain too. Embodiment takes place in the body which is the goal of this information. If you read the entire series (a few times) and practice the concepts, you’ll be on your way. Each day I’ve committed to twenty minutes of embodiment practice which I’m calling Everyday Embodiment. I’ll be sharing those short practices with you here in the coming weeks. A Review In this post and this one we discussed ways we meet the earth. It’s kind of important — no, really important. Read them if you’d like to understand. Here I will introduce a few more concepts useful for this discussion. In yoga, there are three patterns that affect our experience known as the three gunas. They are primary qualities or activities of all matter — tamas, rajas and sattva. These three gunas correlate directly to our states of meeting the earth. Tamas (collapsing or sinking downward) — when we drop into the earth without using gravity to our advantage, we sink and are mindless of our relationship with Mother…

  • embodiment,  featured

    How We Embody the Yoga Sutras

    Today I attempt to merge aspects of embodiment, the mind, and the concepts of EmbodiYoga with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. If you are unfamiliar with the Yoga Sutras, specifically the 8 Limgs of Yoga, go here. I’m writing weekly about the 8 limbs too. It’s totally fine if you call me a yoga geek. I already know. Yoga nerd? So, we know that embodiment is direct perception of the body, and that EmbodiYoga takes it further by incorporating somatics, embryology and yoga into one discipline. I’m beginning to see it as an evolution of my yoga, as well as foundational as I incorporate basic yet profound aspects of the practice into my daily existence. I’m envious of yogis who can twist into beautiful shapes, stand on one hand and look pretty doing it, but yoga (to me) is much deeper than Instagram challenges. EmbodiYoga gives me the tools to teach in a different way, and to help students understand their bodies in greater measure — and from a deeper perspective. EmbodiYoga & The Yoga Sutras The practice of EmbodiYoga requires attention, intention and decisionwhich lead to absorption (embodiment). Interestingly (though not surprisingly), all of these concepts are also found in the Yoga Sutras 3.1 — 3.5. This portion of…

  • embodiment,  featured

    Yoga as Inquiry: How to Bond with the Earth

    Defining yoga in the West is a hard undertaking. It is many things and people go to classes for different reasons. Work your body to the point of exhaustion (and possibly bliss) in Power/Hot, connect with your breath and spirit in Vinyasa, and learn to actively rest in Restorative. Attend these and other styles to find different teachers — and perspectives on the practice. Yoga philosophy adds another interesting layer which is often missed or skimmed in many studio classes — though I believe it should be integrated, as yoga is thousands of years old and rich in history. You can use the 8 Limbs of Yoga as a jumping-off point if you’d like to go down that rabbit hole. I did many years ago and still can’t find my way out. Again, just one small layer of the complex web that is yoga. As a practitioner for twenty years and a teacher for ten, my own practice has changed with study, my values, beliefs and age. Currently enrolled in advanced teacher training, on track to be accredited as an RYT 500, I’m learning about yoga from an embodied perspective which combines body-mind centering, somatics and embryology. A whole ‘nother world is now open to my experience. In addition…

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