ECSTATIC EXPRESSIONS OF A LIFE UNFOLDING.
Thoughts, prayers and sequences on the path to embodiment.
Move, she said.
Give me space.
See who I am now.
Look at me with fresh eyes and still yet with the eyes of long knowing, recognition.
This is it.
All of me.
Take it all. Or nothing, She said.
I can bear the constraints no longer. The double-binds and the outrageous cacophony of what it should look like and how it should be.
Give me space.
Let me find my true size of love.
So she danced.
She danced until her feet ached.
Until her heart was in her throat.
And her hair, matted and wild flew as sweat dripped into every crevice and curve.
In her wild consumption, in her madness of reclamation, the earth opened itself unto her. Consumed her and transformed her. The heavens poured its light and rain down her back and into her ears.
Until she touched a seed. Long buried deep inside.
Move, it whispered.
Give me space.
And then once more, like the crocus of spring, she rose. Innocent in her fresh green eyes seeing as if for the first time, this ridiculous, miraculous, life.
A niche is something you listen to and for
For me, a niche market is not an elite crew of people. It is not a VIP client or special high paying customer. It is not a limited special population with any kind of special needs. It is not a box to be screwed into. It is not a place to save or people to heal. It is not a place or space where I get to build whatever I want and then charge in a way that is unjust to the original people or place.
A niche market--your niche market--is simply and metaphorically that very special island of service that calls to you, that invites you, and for which you have skills to offer.
You are not there to colonize or fix.
Its the land that for a long time has been calling you home. And so you built a ship, honed some sailing skills and made your way to that special shore, that special land, those special people that is special because it and they know your name--your true name.
They will not hail you preacher, leader or crown you guru. Together you will be able to build a community where perhaps in the past you were simply a floater and distant traveler. An outsider.
Your niche market is that spot of earth in the vast sea of your industry that calls to you. Its land is your body and your breath. Its where you can unpack your burden and your skills and make a home.
FEED YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM
Guest feature ByErikaElizabeth
Experience the power of adaptogenic herbs with holistic nutritionist + elixir maker, Elizabeth.
Our degree of wellness and vitality is simply a reflection of the state of our nervous system. As we stabilize the parasympathetic nervous system, we begin to notice sustainable differences in our mood, our energy levels, our productivity levels, our ability to digest food, our physical appearance, etc. Through this, we actually improve our relationship to stress by increasing our bodies efficiency to process our environments.
This is where adaptogens come in. Adaptogens are a class of herbs that work in collaboration with your body to adapt to perceived stress. Through time, these are the herbs that have developed a high level of resiliency within their nervous system (yes, plants have nervous systems too). When we consume adaptogens, we actually infuse this same resiliency, aka adaptation energy, into our own system. When this occurs, the body shifts from sympathetic dominance into parasympathetic nervous system activity - in other words, a state of rest and rejuvenation. Through this, we actually improve our relationship to stress by increasing our bodies efficiency to process our environments.
There were really very few things I enjoyed about being pregnant with my daughter. I was sick every day, all day for six months. I literally couldn't walk or go anywhere without a chorus of voices. I had fleeting moments of excitement and happiness during my pregnancy with Olive, but not the kind that so many women in my life told me I was surely having or should be having. For the first time in my life, I had no choice but to stop fighting and just listen. The idea that perfect mothering comes from perfect pregnancies is a horribly unhelpful myth.
The psychologically sound yoga class: safety and choice.
The Psychologically Sound Yoga Classroom is infused with a sense of Safety and provides access to Choice. We all need those in our lives for health and balance.
You really can't do much else, learn or engage in a challenge, let alone relax if you do not feel safe. Our brains are wired to assess safety in any given situation and experience. If we deem a lack of safety either consciously or unconsciously, the need for safety remains paramount and forces us to enact defenses to create a sense of safety even if temporary. Even after an event has passed, it can leave the nervous system stuck in patterns of hyper or hypo arousal.
Both a sense of safety and actual safety are foundational to facilitating our basic needs and therefore any other task.
Unconditional positive regard
It may sound rather obvious, but one of the most Psychologically Sound ways you can build and teach your classes is to provide your students with reverence and respect. One of the most healing things you can do is hold a space of what we call Unconditional Positive Regard. Without this lens, a lot falls flat and you can become embroiled in unconscious games and patterns of will.
Your birthright. and mandate. (thoughts on emotional literacy)
I was a teenager once and trust me I was no peach.
I understood two emotional states. The first being the absence of emotion, as in some monotone neutral state. The second being anger. I was angry when someone tried to extend love and angry when someone didn’t. I was angry when someone made a mistake effecting me and I was angry when they apologized. Otherwise I was dull, keeping all my thoughts and feelings trapped inside. I never smiled. God forbid a smile crossed my face indicating a hint of happiness.
I did not just grow up and out of this. I learned other emotional options (like happiness, sadness, etc) as I matured, but frankly it wasn’t until my late twenties that I actually truly developed the capacity of emotional literacy. I am still learning this. Emotional understanding seems to be forever evolving. Though I do believe we can learn the foundation well. At least I have that, even though I am still becoming. We do not one day understand how our emotions work and how to best express ourselves. The expression of our emotional repertoire is a practice. If yoga helps us to stretch and expand our bodies then there must be ways to stretch and expand our capacity for emotional expression.
By emotional literacy I mean the capacity to identify, experience, and express emotions productively in oneself as well as seeing that and withstanding that in others.
For most of my life I have had a consistent experiences of consciousness. That experience being of a consciousness that flows like a River. This River Flow Consciousness (or we could also call her Saraswati- the goddess of the river, of thought, of order, of culture, of music and arts.) I experience as direct and clear. Sometimes swift and rushing I am able to express my ideas in prolific manner. Sometimes being so driven by her that I find myself powerless in anything other than surrounding to the rushing and pouring power of this liquid streaming through my mind and into my whole being. I take what is gushing inside and make it into order outside. I write. I speak. I make shapes. I change directions. I make decisions.
More and more I come into deeper understanding and even savoring of this new mode of consciousness pulsing through me. Actually, pause, let me reframe. Consciousness no longer pulses though me. It pulses AS me.
Psychologically sound yoga classroom: congruency
These are an elegant and robust pair that asks us to live with an open bridge between the internal and external worlds. Congruency asks us to track and understand what is going on inside and wear it honestly instead of attempting to cover it up in hopes of being something "better". Congruency asks us to look at the ways we dampen, lessen, dismiss or negate our true internal state. It asks us to be present and show up.
And in so doing we model for our children, partners, students and all those around us a depth of honesty. When we are congruent we are modeling for our kids that they can be too. When we are congruent we model for our students the possibility that they can be too. It's deep, actually, this layer of modeling.
Do not underestimate how powerful it can be for a student to see you embody the meaning of your words.
Congruency, as you can already tell, yields Trust. It helps us relax enough to settle into the relationship at hand. The more trust we desire, the more the need to be congruent. Think of it this way;
Congruency is a skill that builds Trust.
The pace of nature
Increasingly so I experience the world as loud. As a mama, I am reawakened in my senses through the eyes of my child. I can see just how big and loud and overstimulating the world is.
Yesterday at the toy store I watched Olive find her way over to the wall of plastic music making toys. On the one hand these toys are wonderful. They engage sensory and motor coordination. They focus attention and keep said child entertained. Which is good for mama. But I also watched her increasingly become literally crazed by this toy. It not only captivated her. It consumed her. The louder the toy got, the louder she became. Together they made a cacophony that surpassed the delicate and precious features of delight and entered into some kind of manufactured stimulus-induced mania.
This is our world. increasingly built less on the natural elements of wood, metal, clay, attention, contact, drum beats, wind rustles, thunder and gesture, and more on silicon, virtuality and synthesized noise.
Innies/Outies: becoming who we really are.
I came across a clever LifeHack article on the spectrum of introversion and extroversion. Sure, some of us are innies. Some of us are outies. But we also can be introverts with extroverted personas. (I’ll raise my hand for that one.) I remember when I read the book Quiet by Susan Cain. It was like reading a gospel authored for me. It gave me the courage to actually begin allowing my introversion with this external persona to be an asset instead of the pain-in-the-ass set of social needs that made me awkward, boring and confusing- or so I had been told.
I have spoken and written about a deeper need to understand ourselves at length over the years. Well, I have made a career out of it actually—this educating on the intersection of psyche, soma, heart and culture. And why does any of that even matter anyway? I have long felt that much of the current yoga industry can be like trying to shove square pegs into round holes. And that leaves us two choices— change the peg or change the hole. Or perhaps a third option exists.
Finding a place where you can actually fit in.