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Colleen is bent over the computer, squatting in a chair in the morning light at the kitchen table. She is sorting out the stories of her life; sometimes it is just a recalling of events and sometimes it is a cathartic moment that is unearthing a traumatic burial in her body. What a year and a half it has been, my baby writing her memoir yoga solution book Yoga for Life. Is writing akin to being possessed, especially a memoir where there is a constant exorcism being performed along with eminent exposure? Just like a liberating yoga regime, there is arduous work with momentary flicks of freedom.
Mantras are powerful—so powerful and potentially destructive, in fact, that it makes sense to notice which ones we’ve embedded in our psyches. A lot of mantras are so ingrained that we don’t even realize they’re there, replaying themselves over and over in our heads, creating a rut and defining who we are. I’m talking about mantras like “I am not enough,” or “Nothing ever works out for me,” or “She is smarter,” or even, “I can’t do yoga because my mind is all over the place and I am not flexible and I don’t have time.”
Prep (Research Phase):
First, decide if this is a physical or mental skill you want to learn. In the case of yoga, it most likely will be both! For the purposes of accelerating your learning, isolate your focus and attention on one at a time. Decide more than “I want to learn yoga.” Instead, decide, “I want a better understanding of the nadi’s and bandhas, and knowledge of their effect on the physical, mental, and spiritual bodies.”
Embodiment is, by definition, a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling. Disembodiment is to feel the soul, spirit, or purpose exit from the body. As a person, we tend not to excel at embodiment. We tend to be walking around not as full, embodied, whole versions of ourselves but rather as a bunch of disembodied parts. What this looks like is the favoring of one certain aspect of our being that tends to be in the command post for living, all the while leaving the rest of ourselves out of the equation.
Yoga is truly for everybody with many styles available to meet your physical, mental, and spiritual goals. The difference between yoga and other fitness practices is that yoga is meant to help you heal. This healing process happens as you develop a deeper connection to your body and awareness of the signals it is giving you in order to prevent injuries.
“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life, but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.” - Donna Farhi
It’s February and love is in the air. It fills the store aisles in preparation for Valentine’s Day and is all over the airwaves in music, movies, and TV. I used to find immense frustration in the commercial aspect of love during the month of February. As I’ve delved deeper into what it means to love and be loved, though, I can now appreciate the holiday as a time to tune into the feeling of love we all have within us in order to fully appreciate it and share it with others throughout the year!
Oh sweet bikini, I love you so much. You are now faded and sand-worn and it’s time to retire you. I don’t want to let you go because you hold so many memories; memories of great beaches, experiences, and even crazy close-up animal encounters. I have grown and changed while wearing you. I have laughed and cried while wearing you. These experiences reside in my heart, but I still associate them with you.