It was June 9th, 2017 and we had all just arrived in the South of France for the French Yoga Tour after an entire day of travel. (pics below) We were excited and exhausted. Thankfully our first stop that evening would be the spa!
4 hours later we were all ….. naked. Together. Yup. We walked in and they handed us each a 14″ square towel and threw us into the showers.
(Nothin awkward about that, right???)
Now this might be a casual experience for a seasoned European traveler.
But that wasn’t me. So to say I was mortified was an understatement. Everyone else was a little surprised but not mortified. I was definitely the least well traveled in the group.
This also wasn’t my typical spa experience… there was aggressive scrubbing, too much heat, tiny towels, a strange tea. I was a little out of my element and definitely struggling to ‘go with the flow’.
We all survived. Obviously. And the rest of the trip was full of incredible delight and awe. The food, the caves, the music, the food… did I mention the food? Oh and the wine. Plenty of wine.
Hawaii, however, was a much simpler trip. There were sandy beaches, lush forests, our own private pool, a luau, of course… and the food… did I mention the food? Their kombucha was also amazing. We had some interesting challenges there as well with someone getting stitches, someone frantically paddleboarding in the ocean (me?) and practicing yoga in a swarm of flies on the beach.
Travel is… well… fascinating. Isn’t that why we do it?
These are what retreats are made for.
Exploration, adventure, yoga, relaxation… and food.
But we can have all of that right here in our own space too!
If we get our minds to cooperate ; )
That’s why we constantly strive to create the best possible environment in the studio. The most relaxing, dedicated space for connection, exploration, imagination, reflection and transformation… a space we can’t always get in our homes with our people, our projects and our pets.
It’s a ‘stretch’ to call it paradise, I know. (see what I did there?)
But it’s intended to be an example. An example of how we might bring all those aspects into our lives more often on a daily basis. A few moments of calm reflection here. A challenging adventure there. Using our intuition and following our hearts.
A Yoga Teacher’s primary aim is to create the space for the practice and to encourage you with timely suggestions to use that space to explore what works best for you. So that you create a practice you love and enjoy.
A great yoga teacher does all that…. with LOVE.
We always hope that we do this.
We always hope that you enjoy it.
But most of all…
We always hope that it makes your life calmer, stronger, clearer and more enjoyable.
If it does, we’d be honored if you’d let us know. Everytime you share your experience with us, it helps us improve the experience for everyone.
Your experience here matters.
Thank you for being part of Love.
NEXT LOVESTRONG HIKE IS APRIL 17TH 9;30AM
TO LEWISBURG SADDLE.
Or was it? It may not have been what you ate.
And it likely wasn’t whatever you just ‘did’ either.
I mean, 6 tacos, 3 beers and a cupcake after running a marathon?
Yes, then probably it was.
But having random back pain, heartburn, joint pain, headache for no reason?
According to MANY researchers… pain is a distractor from unresolved emotional conflict.
It helps us keep those painful feelings at bay by distracting us with physical pain. Pretty smart, eh?
Unresolved emotional conflict being:
- That conversation we don’t want to have.
- That sadness we don’t want to feel.
- The anxiety or anger we have toward something.
- That frustration we can’t express without hurting someone’s feelings.
- That flash of anger that causes one to jump out of their seat and slap someone in the face.
We all have moments of conflicted feelings because we’re human.
John Sarno writes, ‘How typical of the human mind. It appears to be a storehouse of often conflicting feelings and tendencies, most of which we are totally unaware of’.
So even if we don’t think we ever have those conflicting moments… he says we do, we’re just not aware of it.
He wrote the book ‘Healing Back Pain’ and I cannot put it down. And I had to share it.
Because his research dives into the mind body connection we all know and Love over here.
I won’t spoil the ending for you because he’s discovered that much of the success of his readers… comes from simply reading the book and understanding the process. I was skeptical about that too… which is why i’m reading it. (No, I don’t have back pain. I have in the past, so I understand it).
But I will say that Movement, Breathing and Focus, play key parts in ANY type of healing. (Yet, how typical of the human mind to discount something so simple. If it’s not hard, it must not be worth it??).
Lucky for us we have a great place to practice all of those things and more!
Other books I couldn’t put down:
Breath by James Nestor
The Relaxation Response, Herbert Benson
Buddha Brain, Rick Hansen
Lucky Dog, Brandon McMillen – Dog training : )
Everything I read makes it into our classes in one way or another… yes even the dog training practices… they’re hilariously similar… move, focus, be patient, snacks! LOL.
Thanks for reading, see you on the mats!
That’s Amy ^^
I hijacked her class this morning.
Actually, I subbed for her this morning. (more on that from her later).
I spent the first part of class talking about the reality of a true, traditional yoga practice.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It wasn’t a whim.
It’s just that the events of the weekend compelled me to do something different today.
Now I’m all for evolution and change. But this ancient practice of yoga and particularly the 8 limbs was part of a briliant system designed for total health and wellness.
And it’s still incredibly relevant today… because our nervous systems haven’t changed all that much.
(Well except for the onslaught of stress, medications and social pressures).
The 8 limbs include the Yamas, the Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyhara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
We don’t always talk about all of them in class. But you’re practicing them.
All of them.
Mindset, breathing, energy work, meditation and relaxation to name a few.
Plank is great tool for strengthening our arms.
Twists are a great tool creating space in our bodies.
Pranayama is a great tool for calming our nerves.
Dhyana/meditation is a great tool for focusing our minds.
I just really don’t want the last 12 years of my teaching to boil down to only plank.
I hope with all my heart… that your yoga practice gives you the strength you need when you need it, the calm you want when you want it and the clarity/focus to choose.
And if plank does that for you… great.
But if you’d like more. We’re here for you.
Thanks for reading, (and thanks for not leaving class this morning… I needed to get that out! ; )
Like ‘look yourself in the mirror, high five’ kind of proud?
Are you strong enough to Live a life you love?
Physically… and mentally?
I want to be proud of what I do and feel strong enough to get through challenges and keep moving forward with enthusiasm. And I do, most of the time. And part of the reason I do is by connecting with others who share their experiences.
That’s why we’re launching a new Fresh Start challenge, Our annual Soul Compass workshop and Yoga Teacher Training… all next week! Because we want to start off 2022 strong and do things we’re proud of all year long!
Accomplishments, both small and wild, tick off boxes in our brains that make us proud. Then our brains reward us with good vibes. ‘Spirits lifted, energy flowing, heart swelling’ kind of vibes.
Furthermore, science shows that If I share MY story of my proudest moments…YOUR heart will feel that and it will tick off some boxes in your brain too. And if YOU share your stories with ME, you’ll be using science to lift my spirits and raise your own at the same time.
So it makes sense to DO THINGS we’re proud of, ENCOURAGE each other and share our GOOD ENERGY with everyone!
So let’s share stories… I’ll go first.
Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of my top three:
1. Single mom loses job, opens studio 9 days later. You know that’s how Love Yoga began, right? I went to yoga training and the boss didn’t like that so she let me go the day I got back. Rude. She told all my co workers that I abandoned them with no notice which was absolutely not true. But that day… instead of wallowing in the unfairness of life, my Mom told me to ‘go find a space’. And with $5k we started Love Yoga just 9 days later. I had no plan, a huge dream and zero savings. I just had to #keepgoing.
2. Suzanne overcomes fear of flying to hike the Grand Canyon and fall in love. It didn’t work out with him, but it was fun while it lasted! I hiked my ass off, saw more stars than I knew existed and slept in a tent for 5 days! (those who know me know that’s unbelievable… but true!). It made me stronger… and proud.
3. Yoga Studio survives 2020 with LOVE, humor, enthusiasm and the best ever teachers and clients! (Well, y’all lived that story with me).
And I would be remiss not to mention my most precious accomplishment ever of raising the perfect son… but if I start writing about Zack, this will be a novel, not an email. Suffice it to say… I did a damn good job : )
So now, I’m challenging you… to join me in 2022 and set the bar a little higher for making ourselves stronger, healthy and proud. And there has never before in my time been a better year for this!
Jan. 1st. The FRESH START Challenge is a simple personal challenge to Move, Hydrate and Meditate. That’s it. Three things. The postcard is a snapshot of the month of January and all you have to do is participate at your own level and drop the card off by the 30th to be in the drawing! That’s it! FREE! (And if you have a yoga pass, you get the movement and meditation in every class!). Bring a water and you’re all set!
Jan 3rd. The Soul Compass workshop will help us tap in to our intuition to identify the things that expand our soul! Things that makes us feel good, strong, and heart swelling happy…. and how to not let those things fall through the cracks throughout the year. $35/$25 for members. Sign up on the workshop tab above.
Jan 8/9. Our new Yoga Teacher Training Retreat is a chance for you to get a weekend for yourself and a sneak peak into what training is like by attending just the first weekend. Learn the basic foundations and enjoy a weekend of breathing, flow and meditation while improving your own personal practice and connecting with others. If that sparks your interest in the rest of the training, great. If not, no pressure. Just enjoy, either way! $287 for the entire weekend. (It will also count toward a future training if you decide later to dive deeper). Message me to sign up.
Plus a $250 Giveaway!
But First… the Solstice Celebration is already almost sold out!
So all I’m gonna say here is that it’s Tuesday, 12/21 @5:30pm.
You must register, so get signed up now.
There are no drop in spots are available.
Okay, so Why the Giveaway?
Because every couple years, I have to test our email platform.
Which is why I included the words bad news and condom in the subject line. (of the email, not this post).
I had to.
THIS is why I’m giving away $250 in gifts… to make up for the email trickery.
There’s no bad news… unless you’re disappointed that this isn’t going to be about condoms.
Listen, if you know me, you know I try to never waste time. Yours or mine.
Our classes are timely, our emails are rare and I respond to most questions within 24 hours.
But if you’re not getting these emails than it’s pointless.
So every now and then I have to test it.
Three years ago I wrote an email that actually was about condoms. I used a condom and guacamole analogy… our open rate TRIPLED!
🤷♀️(Hey, YOU opened it!) 😂
So, if you happened to miss our latest emails about the Teacher Training Special, Or the new Warm Power class? The Winter Solstice Celebration or the Recharge Retreat… then you might want to check your Promo folder, or your email options in Walla.
And JUST FOR OPENING THIS EMAIL... and for allowing me this brief analysis, you’re all entered into the Solstice Celebration drawing! ($250 worth of massage and local biz gift certificates).
** You can also white list our address (email@example.com) so our emails don’t get pushed to your Promo folder or spam. Let me know if I can help?
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I’m doing a few new things. I left my new pup with my son and went on a little excursion this week with my Mom in Arizona.
And this Saturday I’ll be leading a little excursion through some of the more complex yoga postures.
While these aren’t extreme excursions… both expand and enhance my life in many ways.
And Life is intended to be a creative journey of expansion. New experiences, new excursions and new explorations.
Sadhguru explains it in his book Karma by saying, “The life process should enhance itself”.
I must have re-read this and repeated it a hundred times. It just struck me as the most simple and profound statement of my yoga practice.
The life process should enhance itself.
He goes on to explain, every moment is intended to enhance our lives simply by having that moment.
Not by chasing a specific goal or schedule… but by allowing unexpected joy to emerge from every experience, big or small.
But in order to allow the unexpected to emerge… the dream cannot already be set in stone.
So he often blesses people and tells them he hopes their dreams do NOT come true. Because he truly wishes for them, something better than they can imagine.
He calls it, Inner Engineering. Engineering our lives in such a way that the unexpected can surprise and delight us, fuel us, nourish us and boost our life force. It seems like a bit of an oxymoron… to engineer our lives for spontanaeity.
But there IS a system for this.
A system he says is for handling the human mechanism in such a way that it will function at it’s peak.
(That’s us by the way, that he’s referring to – as the human mechanisms).
It’s called Yoga.
BUT… he is not talking about the postures and sequences in the studio.
He’s talking about Yoga, as a state of consciousness that improves every facet of our existence.
Fortunately for us, we explore both, all the time.
What new little adventures will you embark on?
How will you engineer your life for spontanaeity?
Will your Life process enhance itself?
Start here at Love.
Come Advance your practice and expand your consciousness. We’re going deeper this weekend.
p.s. I took that shot above of the Sedona Range… no filter, just the natural glow of that area.
8 Brand New Poses to Liven up Your Practice and Advance your skills.
(This is for everyone… whether you want to simply up your game casually or seriously improve your practice).
And if you’ve ever considered teaching… this is a fun sneak peak at our training approach!
Okay, so let’s dive in and play around with some fun postures, deepen our practice and creatively challenge our limiting perceptions of mind and body!
I literally watched this exact thing unfold in class last week… someone overcoming their own limiting beliefs about their abilities… (you know who you are 😉 – thank you).
And we all agreed, this is definitely worth doing!
I’m adding a cosmic twist to some traditional postures so we can have a little fun while exploring more expansive options.
So here’s what we’ll practice:
1. Astral Plank – (ESP-Extended Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
2. Shooting Star – UHPG (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)
3. Prancer – Dancer with a Twist (Natarajasana)
4. Happier Moons – Half, Revoved & Poets (the Chandrasanas)
4. A Murder of Crows – Up, Side & Down (The Bakasanas)
5. Sassy Scorpion – Forearm Stand with Flair (Vrschikasana/Pincha)
6. Wildthings – Easing into backbends (Urdhva Dhanurasana/ Camatkarasana)
7. Twisted Angels – (Parivrtta Trikonasana and Parsvakonasana – ‘The Angles – Tri and Side’)
8. Self Reflection – Svadhyaya. The most advanced posture ever.
These postures will challenge your strength, your mindset and your practice.
Please Be open to falling and wobbling… that’s how we build focus and resilience.
See you on the mat!
I received an email message this morning that changed my morning, uplifted and inspired me. So instead of the email I planned to send about our holiday schedule and class reminders, I’m sharing this one instead. It’s from a friend who recently traveled abroad and here’s his account of meeting someone spectacular in a bar.
He writes:I was recently captivated by a woman. I sat in a quiet corner of a bar. She caught my eye the moment she entered because her deportment was of confident flow, head slightly raised, eye contact with everyone. She was dressed immaculately and moved through the bar with poise.
She chose the bar chair next to me, and as I moved to make more room for her, she placed her hand on my shoulder and wished me ‘Happy Sunday.’ She told me that she was making a point to say happy Sunday to everyone she met that day.
She then greeted the bar staff by name, and with each greeting, the servers beamed back smiles. I watched this uplift their energy. A regular at the bar, the servers fought to be the first to prepare and present her favorite drink, strong Bloody Mary.
We started talking. I think she expected a short conversation of customary politeness, but I was quickly captivated by this woman and determined not to let her off so easily. I learned she was born in Ireland but had traveled much since. We shared some of the same travel experiences, which were not the usual, forming a bond of sorts. It deepened the conversation, and she then laced it with quotes from famous writers and philosophers she had met or studied along the way.
A diner sat to her right latched onto the conversation, his mirror neurons drawn to it like a moth to a flame. He discarded his meal and started leaning toward us.
This dynamic woman then recited the whole of Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘IF,’ with practiced cadence. The servers were so mesmerized by her that they ignored other patrons and huddled in front of her space as if desperate to absorb some of her good-feeling energy. Then she switched to Gaelic, and I switched to what Welsh phrases I could remember. She showed me her text message sign-offs and her Twitter handle, both in Gaelic. She was far more active on social media than most people I met.
I learned that she spends four months a year traveling through Europe by herself. She drives a convertible always with the top down and regardless of the weather—what a character. What an inspirational lesson in how playing with energy can be so effortless.
It may or may not surprise you to learn that my new heartthrob who captivated the entire bar area was 88 years old with ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
After lunch, she finished our conversation with a piece of advice for me. She said, “I think there is only one point in talking, and that is to find a way to make a positive difference with each other. Otherwise, just keep quiet, I say.”
She hopped off the stool with the sprightliness of someone thirty years younger, and it took her a good 15 minutes to leave the bar area as so many people greeted and hugged her on her way out. Through the window, I saw her get into her convertible car and drive away with confidence, a big smile permanently fixed for all.
BUT NOW I HAVE ACHIEVED PERFECT BALANCE IN MY LIFE.
It’s a bold statement, I know, but it’s true.
See, I almost quit the LoveStrong45 challenge because I didn’t think anyone was that interested.
A few of you were participating and then I lost track of the dates… and also forgot to award the gifts each week.
But then something cool happened.
Now before you feel down about signing up and then letting it go… Let me tell you what actually happened:
I got off to a strong start… as did many of you. And then we lost track of the dots. (Card design malfunction). 🙄
That alone is telling about the way our brains work (see below) and why challenges actually do work.
Challenges kickstart something in us. But the real challenge… is getting the end result.
Even if you pivot part way through. As all the sages say… Just keep your eye on the prize. Or… Begin with the End in mind.
I actually did keep up with all of my challenges. Still today. I’m still drinking all the water, meditating, getting my steps outside, getting to sleep earlier and limiting my scrolling significantly (I’m only connected to tech during the hours 9am-9pm at most). The only part I didn’t keep up… was the dots.
So how did this create perfect balance in my life? Well the challenge combined with a new puppy inspired me (forced me) to get super organized. And Charlie joined right in! He sleeps 10 hours a night, lounges while I meditate and LOVES getting his steps outside with me, rain or shine. He naps while I work and again when I teach.
I think this challenge gives us both the structure and attention we thrive in.
So now with a new morning routine plus a puppy to keep me on task and sleeping well…. I feel more balanced and creative today than ever. (for now anyways 😉)
Our brains appreciate lists, targets, focus and rewards. But our minds thrive in creativity, joy and freedom. We need both. And I’ll refer back to my not-so-secret crush, Dr. Andrew Huberman, for all things dopamine to back me up on this: A little structure for the brain, gives our minds the freedom to pivot in order to reach our goals.
Even if you didn’t dot your cards, BUT you walk more, drink more, sleep better, stress less, worry less, enjoy pockets of peace or feel more balanced…. you win! Congrats!
Thank you to those who let me know that it made a difference for you. If you kept up with the challenge, or it helped in some, please let me know!
And if you don’t feel great… start your own challenge right now. Tell me about it, maybe I’ll join you.
The whole point was to feel better throughout the holidays. I’m well on my way, I hope you are too.
p.s. Sunday will be 45 days! ; )