I’m back

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It’s been entirely too long.  I need to get back to writing.  So much has changed, shifted, altered, and is growing in my life right now.

But here’s where I’m at today and why the title is “I’m back.”  It’s not titled that because I’m blogging again; it’s that title because I’m realizing who it is I am meant to be, what I’m meant to do, and am growing greater understanding of the obstacles (many are thrown by myself) in my path.

I’ve had a few weeks where my body was pushing back, giving headaches and stomach issues, and quite frankly shutting down.  I’ve known at some point that the message would come through, just wondered when it would be.

Today it is.  I wished a friend a happy birthday on the book of faces.  She and I mentored together a few years ago.  And I had this flashback to how I felt when I met her – she had a much more established yoga practice, had artistic talent beyond belief, and felt that I would never “be at that level” in anything.  I call bullshit on my shit.

Because she is who she is – amazing, talented, passionate.  And I am who I am.  She and I will walk through this life as friends, with hopeful physical path crossings increasing.  But we each bring something this planet needs.

I’m passionate about teaching.  I can’t wait to show how far Dragon’s Breath Yoga can fly (if you missed it, I bought a studio.  Check it out here).  I bring compassion.  The drive to become better for myself.  A hunger for healing.  I have the heart, the eyes, and the voice of a dragon.  And I have wings.  They are my own.  And they love catching the wind.

Why I (still) teach

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It’s kind of funny.  I haven’t thought much about why I teach yoga lately and then, in the past few days, I’ve been shown so many reminders of the power in sharing this passion.

I teach because it is my passion.  I have frequently thought that I need to expand my knowledge of yogic texts and still want to explore them, my passion for yoga comes through the power in the asana practice. I feel this practice – and that may sound corny and standard, but the more I teach and practice, the more I begin to realize how kinesthetic I am.  In my practice, I play with small movements, little changes, different muscle activations to feel them in my body.  When I teach, I’ve been catching myself “doing the cue” before giving it to students so that my words give them what to chase/experience.

I teach for connection.  It’s a basic human need that is often overlooked.  We crave authentic connections with other people.  We crave growth.  We want to share out paths. Just this past weekend, I had a student come to one of my classes.  When I introduced myself, he said that he had taken my class before.  As we dove into when/where, it was over two years ago at a gym that is no longer on my schedule.  He took one class; he remembered that one class; he remembered me.  Now, he’s decided he needs to supplement his life with yoga; he tracked me down.  It’s a humbling feeling but it’s a really great feeling to have a student seek me out because of one class two years ago.

As a teacher, I want to challenge my students to become their best selves – both on and off the mat.  I’m inspired by students new to the practice that try an arm balance or inversion; by students that acknowledge how the practice has taught them to breathe and to feel themselves; by students that work through their shadows to find their light; and by other teachers that challenge me to “step up my game” on a regular basis to give students more opportunity to grow.

I teach because I practice every day.  And my daily practice, regardless of what it is, belongs completely to me.  I’m selfish with this time.  But I want students to be selfish with their time on the mat too. That’s where and how strength, integrity, breath, spirit, and going deeper turn us on to becoming our best self.

We get on the mat.  We breathe.  We make shapes.  From there, we allow the magick to happen.

I’ve been quiet…

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Wow, I didn’t really think it’d been this long since I posted.  It’s been an insanely amazing year and I’m still in cocoon/processing mode.  Here’s a quick snapshot update:

I’ve been to Bali, Seattle, and Ft Worth.  After the Bali training, I completed my “Guardian in Training” and became a full on Guardian.  I honestly need to sit with this and take it in fully for myself.  I’ve been quiet and isolating myself because energetically, it’s what I felt I needed; I’m watching the world and while I haven’t put my energy directly toward current events, I’ve seen.

I’ve long held the belief that actions speak louder than words; expect more of both from me in the upcoming months.

D

Intentions, 2018

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I sit here a week into the New Year and I haven’t really crafted my intentions for the year ahead.  It’s usually something that I’m really good at doing, being aware of, and taking the time to sit with.

This year feels different.  Who I want to be, how I want to be are bigger questions that one year alone cannot hold.  I’ve said it more times than I could count, but life is a journey and it’s not necessarily the destination that matters, but the lessons we learn along the way that shape us.

Who am I?  I feel like this question is still open.  Some days, I’m a warrior.  Some, I’m a dragon.  Others, I feel the pull of the phoenix or the crow more powerfully.  And some, I’m a quiet observer (which quite frankly is a dragon as well).  Each of these days and moments within the days define me, they shape me.

How am I is a question that has a different resonance.  I want to be kind.  I am strong.  I hope to be compassionate – to others as well as myself.  I try and live in the present, though that’s a lot harder some days.  I am seen and I’m slowly revealing more of my light and my true power.

We are variable.  We change.  The world changes.  We change again.  I think it’s the “how am I?” question the most shapes the person we become.

2018 – Time to pick up yoga

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It is that time of year again – many of us look toward 2018 and what we want to accomplish or change.  Becoming more healthy is often times at the top of the list.  Fitness resolutions can be a great motivation to change habits, improve fitness, and create a more healthy life.

Yoga is a great addition to any fitness resolution but can be intimidating, especially for anyone that has not spent much time on a yoga mat.  Regardless of if you are joining a gym or a yoga studio here are some tips and suggestions to get your yoga practice off to a healthy start.

  • Arrive to class early. Getting to class early is a great chance to meet the teacher.  Introduce yourself.  Share your goals, your fears, and where you think yoga may help you out.  Let the teacher know your yoga experience and ask for any tips to make the class more successful for you as a student.
  • Keep your mind open. DC has an incredibly strong teacher population and each teacher practices and teaches from a style that resonates with them.  There is a yoga secret here that needs to be shared – you will not respond to every teacher.  And that’s ok.  Take classes from a variety of teachers to find the ones that you really like taking class with.  And then keep taking class with them, while still trying new to you teachers out.
  • Don’t spend a lot of money. There is a vast quantity of yoga props and clothing you can buy.  When you initially start, do not go overboard buying these things.  Instead, find out if you can rent a mat from the gym or studio as a way of test driving mats.  Clothing should be comfortable, easy to move in, and allow for you to focus instead on the practice and think less about “looking the part.”
  • Give yourself time to learn and grow into the practice. Yoga is an incredibly amazing way to help become more fit.  But there is a significant learning curve.  Rather than focusing on achieving an inversion or arm balance, focus on the poses that help you learn to connect more deeply with your breath, your body, and laying the groundwork for those poses.
  • Come back. As mentioned previously, yoga is a journey, and should be approached as such.  Starting the practice once or twice per week is a really great start.  Let yoga work in your fitness and in your life in the magical way that it does.
  • Have fun.   Have fun with your practice.  Bring a friend.  Make friends with those around you during your practice.  Building these connections helps to establish a longer, healthier practice both on and off the mat.
  • Show up. Time on the mat is one of the best, and only, opportunities we still have to shut off the phone, step out of the office, leave friends/family outside, and focus only on ourselves.  It is an amazing chance to learn more about yourself.  But you have to be willing to show up – every time you roll the mat out.

The mat is waiting.

December intent, 2017

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It’s only four days into the month and my intention is finally being put pen to paper.  So to speak.

I just got back from assisting the Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training in Capetown and have a quiet month ahead.  No travel, no workshops, just being present here.  And that’s leading me to sit with the quiet and use it.  Here are a few things I’ll be working with and working on and working through.  Feel free to play along.

  • Revisiting my ethics as a teacher.  This is important to me.  It’s a chance to sit with how I teach and how I want to represent myself as a teacher.  It is an exercise every yoga teacher needs to work with at least once a year.  I have found mine change with experience and I think that’s a good thing.
  • Why do I teach yoga?  I think at it’s core, it should be an easy question to answer, but in the busy, often hectic schedule, we all have, it’s important to feel for what draws me back to teach.
  • Why do I practice yoga?  Much like teaching but this one is what brings me to my mat every day.  “What’s in it for me” comes up with this question and that’s a very good thing.
  • I believe in the magick of Forrest Yoga.  How can I convey this passion succinctly and with passion to anyone that asks?  How can I continue to live with my Spirit daily to being continued healing and growth not only for myself but for my students as well?
  • Where do I want to go next year?  As 2017 closes, how do I step with Beauty into 2018?
  • I have accomplished so much this year.  But I haven’t celebrated everything.  It’s time I uptake what I’ve done and let that re-charge me for the year ahead.

I’m pretty sure more will come up but this is a nice and healthy start.

Shift back

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I’ve felt the shift for awhile now.  You vs. me.  Us vs. them.  It’s been a shift that splits families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  But I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.

I read Brene Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness” and finally someone put it together. Us vs. them keeps the world in black and white.  Us vs. them puts me against you.  Us vs. them isn’t ever that simple.  And it shouldn’t be.

See, the arguments that are being made on a political, religious, life level are more detailed, more intricate, more compassionate than the us vs. them mentality will ever allow.  There is much more #beauty to behold when we see the world not as black and white but as the colors that fill in the gaps.

So let’s shift back.  It sounds easy enough, right?  But it starts by a really hard task – seeing “them” and loving “them.”  Getting them to see “us” and loving “us.”  Healing starts when we see each other, accept our differences, and find a middle ground.

I had one of those (not) amazing Facebook conversations recently that I’m not proud of.  It was about politics.  I tried to call someone out.  But in the midst of my preparing for the next argument, I remembered that we are both human.  And we each have a story.  And that story needs to be respected.  So I stopped.  She tried (I’d like to think half-heartedly to get me to reengage) and I didn’t.  I think that’s what it takes.  We can agree to disagree up until a point; when our “agreeing to disagree” causes one or both of us to lose respect, love, or compassion for the other, we’ve crossed the line.  And it’s necessary to cross back.  It’s not just necessary, but it’s a requirement.  We all need to heal.  If we are to move forward, it’s because we’re moving forward together and not leaving another in the ditch.

Shift back.  It’s going to be hard.  But the reward – actually connecting with and honoring people – is worth it.  I’m willing to shift back.  Who’s in?

November, 2017 – Intention

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Every month, on the first of the month, I sit in mediation and ask myself the question “Who do I want to be when the month ends?”   This month, the question changed slightly and I think it’s indicative of my path forward.  Today, the question that came up was “How do I want to be?”

It’s a subtle shift.  But one that energetically already is landing through my cell tissue.  Who I want to be is a great place to be, but if we look around at the levels of distrust, lack of connection, the way we speak to each other (in person and online), and other things, it’s a shape shifter.

I want to be better.  Not in the arrogance approach to being better.  But as a human.  I want to see people where they are and accept them there.  I want to be joyful.  I want to be honest, with others and most importantly with myself.  I want to be grateful and to express gratitude more frequently.  I want to act in a manner that draws people in, rather than turning them away.  I want to be loving.  Compassionate.  Kind.  I want to be hopeful.  I want to shine brighter through the darkness.  I want to be.

While it’ll be a journey and a I’ll definitely have setbacks (let’s face it, I’m still snarky), I think it’ll be overall healing.  For myself.  For my students.  For friends and for family.  Who’s in?

October, 2017 – Intention

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Look at me, being all productive putting this out there only three days into the month.  I just finished assisting the Forrest Yoga Foundation training.  And I have so many takeaways and learnings that I still need to process/put into action.  So this month, I’ll focus on the uptake.  I haven’t necessarily excelled at the uptake; in fact, I may have a slight reputation for going hard/fast to get things accomplished.  Ana pointed this out to me in January of this year to uptake the Beauty, the nourishment, the joy, the healing in yoga poses.  But I’m also taking that off the mat and into life.

So here are some things I’m bringing from last month to this month.  And there will more than likely be pieces of the puzzle added.

I push myself hard, process things quickly as a need to prove myself.  Which is absolutely stupid.  I am the only me on this planet, therefore no one else can or should be on the exact same identical path.  That need to prove comes from a place of seeking validation that I matter.  So I’m going to uptake my own worth, my value, that I am enough.

If you read back through my blog, you know Baxter transitioned last year.  I feel his spirit around me quite frequently.  But apparently, he’s with me even when I don’t feel him.  And his lesson to me – love.  It’s that absolute, authentic love that we all strive to discover.  When Mike died, I very specifically remember saying the phrase “I can never hurt like this again.”  Not knowing at that point the power and magick in those words.  It’s been five years, a lot of therapy, a lot of processing, so much learning, feeling, and so many breaths into my heart, but it’s happening.  The shields have almost all dropped.  My heart that was in a box wants to come out to play and dance.  So I’m uptaking that sensation – wanting to live and to love again.

I have a few more things I’m taking away, but for here/now, this is what I’m feeling this month.  Feel free to uptake along!

Berlin update

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If you think I’ve been quiet this month, you’re partly right.  I’m currently in Berlin assisting the Forrest Yoga Foundation Training with Ana, Jose, and some of my best friends/mentors/family/yogi’s on the planet as fellow assistants.  It’s been an incredible month so far, with over 70 trainees learning to become Forrest Yoga teachers.  It’s humbling to be part of their journeys.

While the focus is on helping the trainees step into their own power, we assistants have regular feedback from Ana (and each other) to become stronger versions of ourselves.  The focus for my month has been around my heart and all of the stupid shields I put up as protection, the patterns and habits I developed around those shields, and pretty much shaking them all up.

IT’S BEEN AMAZING!  Working with such a strong team is inspiring and I’ll be heading home with a few ideas to work on and develop.  So much more to say about this but there’s a time and place for everything.  So stay tuned.

If you want to really see what I’m up to, follow me on social media — @badyogidc.