When I became a yoga teacher 13 years ago, I was keenly interested in introducing yoga into hospitals and mental health centers. I began my own practice right after my father died, and experienced such grounding within my grief that I longed to share the benefits of yoga with people who’d experienced illness or trauma. I taught in hospitals, but it was five years later, in county drug court, that I found my true niche working with teens.
I gather clutter every year: paperclips, shoes that don’t fit, magazines, and leftovers in the fridge. I know a balanced life requires that I’m conscious of what I bring into my life—and that I let go of things in equal proportion. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Research shows that we overvalue things once we buy them, which is why we often live over-cluttered and complicated lives.
A guest post from Two Fit Moms.
Four years ago, we began sharing our love of yoga on Instagram by posting snapshots and picture tutorials of some of our favorite poses. With young kids at home, we rarely made it out to attend classes at yoga studios, but we loved to practice at home. We had a passion for connecting with others and sharing whatever we learned on our mats, so we posted photos often and helped build a virtual yoga community. We hoped to be able to reach a larger audience one day, and seeing that dream come true through our relationship with Gaiam has been a surreal experience.
It’s spring, the most hopeful time of the year. The other day, when I was taking a walk around the neighborhood, thrilled that I didn’t need a coat and boots, I started thinking about all the things I need to do to get my garden ready. Although I enjoy gardening, and it would be impossible for me to endure summer without fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes and cucumbers, the whole process seemed a little daunting to me at first.
Next time you’re in a meeting at the office, listen closely to another woman in the room. What you’ll often hear is a struggle in her choice of words or her tone of voice—an urge to convey an idea while avoiding being misinterpreted as arrogant, pushy, or too assertive.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “tribe” over the past week. I just got back from my annual trip to Wanderlust in Squaw Valley, and that word simply encompasses how I feel the minute I step foot into that festival.
Tribe: “Any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions.”
Disclaimer: I’m a hardwired introvert. As a child, my solitary tendencies were so severe that they led me to avoid school events, birthday parties, and especially (gulp) team sports. Fast forward 30 years, and my reserve has eroded into a softer, more socially acceptable version. I’ve still been called “distant,” “hard-to-know,” and—one of my personal favorites—“pleasantly reserved,” but I now traverse the meandering path between poised conversationalist and social escape artist.
“The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.” – Shunryu Suzuki
Seven years ago I found a copy of yoga teacher Matthew Sanford’s book Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, in the local used bookstore. The book lit me on fire: Not only did Sanford’s story of loss and healing profoundly move me, his deep and unique experience with yoga’s ability to transform touched into my own and inspired me to teach to people with disabilities.
How long have you been coming to your yoga mat? When you think about your yoga practice, can you remember what brought you to yoga and how you felt during your first class? It’s been over 15 years since I first stepped on my yoga mat and I remember exactly how I felt. Excited and terrified.