The Life Changing Yoga Class

Hey Hey,

So I’m a Yogi… I mean I’ve spent far too many hours in the yoga room teaching, breathing, taking classes, and learning how to bend and touch my toes. haha. Seriously. I’m sure the yoga trend is annoying to the common man, however to me it’s been life changing.

I’ve taken many classes, experienced some teachers, and tend to have the kind of personality that sticks with WHO I like. Yup. If I resonate with you, I’ll see ya regularly. I can sincerely say, there are few teacher that I really really love and resonate with fully and completely…. however, that’s another post and long subject matter.

Today I took a class that changed my life.

Now, I have had many life changing ah-ha moments, and a ton of super feel good juicy classes that I’ve walked out of inspired. I can tell you I’ve experienced exceptional yoga classes that seem to somehow ‘hit me’ right where I needed at the moment, on that day. Today was one of those days… however, today was exceptional. It wasn’t until alter, after I basked for a few hours in the bliss that I experienced, that I realized how truly changed I had become, and am now able to reflect on the profound hour I had today.

So I walk into my friends yoga class, who had apparently forgotten that I was coming, and in the locker room she greets me with a hug, huge smile, and loud hello and shock that I showed up. Right away I felt the love, and was happier to be there. I said to her, “I’m so excited to see what you have planned for class.” hahaha. In my inner mind I intuitively knew whatever she had crafted would be what I needed to hear.

… So carry on into the yoga class, she walks in, enthusiastically and greets us and immediately gets to her point, I mean the theme of the class. She talks about the inner ‘cave’, something often unspoken, unheard of, and very foreign in this western yoga culture. While she preaches with a kind flirty attitude she tells us about this ancient yoga philosophy and how the whole point of yoga is not the outside world, but actually taking it inside. In fact, the inner yoga journey is the hardest and more challenging aspect of yoga…. hence why most people don’t go there, or any where near that ‘path’.

The inner cave that yogis speak about, is actually tuning inside ourselves and learning to reconnect to the heart. The whole purpose of yoga, to me at least, is learning how to create love inside, and how to feel those blissful sensations in every moment and every waking day, so that we can all vibe in our highest potential, which is LOVE.

(Alright, enough about that, I think that’s enough to get you centered)

Ironically, the whole class was structured around backbends. A smile lifted to my face because backhanding is my favorite thing to do in yoga… and with this specific teacher, I love it because she leads my in safely and helps me ‘go deep’. hahaha cliche I know. Seriously, there is something to be said about someone who knows how to teach yoga, properly set us up, and put us in positions that actually align and help our body. (no joke). When you can bend, and be safe, and no break, the experience is unlike anything else.

So I’m hyped up, excited, ready to open my heart and dive into my inner cave. Yes, she does just that. With a symphony of appealing music, and her own heart of gold, she leads us through some warmups, and a fast body set up and flow. In her instructions she constantly reminds us, legs strong. It wasn’t until later she brought it all together and showed us why we need our legs strong…. the legs must be strong to support and open the heart. WOW. Bliss bomb realization right there, in that moment! (Okay, you really had to be there for that one, but I post it anyways).

Are you ready for the kicker? I mean the part that changed my life?

Here it is…

After moving, shaking, bending, backhanding, and doing a totally new version of my all time favorite pose, CAMEL, we eventually reach the floor. On our backs, I thought we were done…. but no not yet. I’m ready to just be, fully tap out, close my eyes, escape, and something inside me reminds me to be present. See i have a good tendency and bad habit to tune out totally and be in my own blissful world in yoga. haha. I had to keep reminding myself to stay here, and be here now.

My teacher says, “well, we are almost done. Two rounds of wheel pose now.”

I gasp inside. Another favorite pose! I love this pose because in the past, I’ve always been able to do it and no matter how depleted I feel, I go for it anyways. Except now, I wasn’t feeling it. My arms hurt, my wrist hurt, and I had to dig to find my strength. I pushed my willpower and told myself I can do this. So I did. I pushed up into wheel, held it, felt it, cracked my heart open, and came down. I already decided I’d sit the second one out. I’m a cautious person, and I have wrist injuries and can’t do chadrungas or anything crazy on my hands. Man, were they killing. Then my teacher spoke…

I don’t know exactly what she said. I can tell you she brought the class full circle. She said one more pose, wheel. Okay, we knew that. Then she added, for a timed minute. Oh shit I thought. She went on to say, that opening the heart is not about what we do on the outside, it’s about the opening on the inside, and how devoted we can be. She used the word FORTITUDE. (Forgive me, because you had to be in the moment to witness her words and experience the real dialogue). Regardless, it obviously hit me, and motivated me. I told myself, with everything about my life, and everything that has gone wrong, and all the failures I’ve endured, I still cannot give up…. Because that is the yoga path.

It’s not linear, it’s not straight, and it certainly is not a scripted easy version of reality. In fact, the moment you veer off that other path, the one most people live, you want to turn around and run. Because roadblock and hard lessons and obstacles will hit you. You will be challenged more than you knew humanely possible. When you cross that bridge, there is NO going back. I mean, once you wake up to reality, it’s like, “fuck, why did I do this?” Okay, sorry for those who have no idea what I’m saying. Seriously, the inner path of yoga is where you take your own yellow brick road ride of life and get transformed. I mean in more ways than you know. Nothing and no one can save you, and in the darkest moments all you can do is remind yourself that one day everything will be okay…. and yes pray and chant and breathe and sincerely bow down and do whatever it takes to stay alive.

I don’t mean to scare you. I’m just letting you know, that inner cave is not found easily. However, when you get a glimpse of it, its something so surreal that something deep inside calls you and almost forces you to keep going after ‘it’. After all, no treasure is found easily, everything is always developed, designed, and discovered, after many test and trials. Okay I got off subject… back to the class….

So I get my courage and I tell myself I’m going to do it. I erase the fear based thoughts, the worries, and ignore the pain in my wrists. I go for it. I push up into bridge. The timer starts. I feel strong in the legs, open in my heart. Dam it feels liberating. Then my wrist literally feel like they are doing to break and explode. PAIN. I’m in the moment, I know I can’t quit. No way. The mat practice is a total reflection of life, and what happens outside. With what I’m going through in my own life, I knew quitting would be the old me. See, I’ve learned to become a fierce warrior…. So I carry on. Then the teacher changes the song, turns up the music, and as if we are in a movie a SOULFUL ‘take me to the river’ song plays on LOUD while we backbend and open our heart to a bigger force beyond us. (Sappy I know, but in the moment, totally persuading).

Without thinking, my own instinct has me come down to my forearms, while in wheel pose. There is probably a fancy name for this pose, I don’t know it. Imagine me in wheel pose, heart open, head back with my forearms on the ground pressing my head and chest up. I struggle at first, and then I’m actually amazzzzed I am in it. How the hell  did that happen? I shocked myself. See I’m not the flexiest yogi, and my shoulders are rarely that open. (Mad props to the yoga teacher and her instructions).

So I’m in the pose, there is a timer, I’m flooded with everything happening and my only thought is I got this, push through, we are almost done.

Suddenly the teacher shows up, and her legs are pushing against my legs (this is an adjustment) and she’s talking to me (don’t remember exactly what). Then her hands press up against my back and she propels my heart up, to a new level. Holy fuck. That did something. She’s saying something, probably words of encouragement, I can’t remember. She stays there, perfectly supporting me, and actually helping me break my hear wide open, in a way I don’t believe I’ve ever done. All I can do is take it in, breath, and be there.

Before I know it, the minute is over, the teacher is gone and I’m laying on my back soaking it all in.

You want to know what liberation feels like, its THAT.

I bliss out. I mean really, I’m high as a kite, done, in some other love heartfelt universe, my body is open, and I’m on cloud 9. The class ends. I don’t want to get up, but I have to get somewhere, so I do. I can’t even process what happened. So I don’t, I come into reality and move, get dressed, and do back into my day.

Later it hits me. Holy fuck. THATS what happened.

See I have a lot of childhood wounding. Call it my own suffering, sacrifice, karma, I don’t care…. but what I can tell you is I’ve never felt really supported my whole life. I’ve never ever experienced love in a supportive environment. Believe me, my mad healing process, and my own inner yoga journey has not been easy. Then again, freedom, never is.

So this teacher, she touched me this day, and did something utterly profound. Besides her yoga class, the theme, her words, her teachings, and philosophy, she supported me. That backbend I believe will forever leave my heart wide open. See the back of the heart is symbolic of how we receive and get support. She taught me that actually. Many backbends later, I’m still always working on letting love in, and accepting love from others.

In that class she left an imprint on my heart. Sitting here writing this, I still feel it. That support, that hand, that loving touch, pushing me up, helping me, inspiring me, empowering me, and reminding me that I don’t have to do this alone…. or even suffer through it. In fact, what I needed, and what I believe we all need, is the friendly reminder that a little love can go a long way, and when we help others we can leave an everlasting impression.

It’s true life comes full circle. Often we are too busy to see it, or witness is. Today reminded me that no matter what is happening in our life, there is always a reason and a way to be inspired and reminded of how lucky we are to be alive. I know darkness, I’ve had moments in my inner cave where the depth of emotion and deep suffering hit me so hard I wondered if I would make it through. There were many tears, lonely nights, periods of isolation, and my only hope that one day I’d find people to skip merrily with and journey on this crazy yellow brick road of life.

Well towards the end of my own exploration in my inner cave, I can say that life is pretty meaningless unless we have supportive and loving people in our life.

While family, friends, coworkers, and a ton of others may not accept you, love you, or treat you well, never get discouraged. Somewhere out there there are people who can help you, support you, and even show you a better road that may actually lead you to the love that you desire.

This teacher is my guru and the shining light who touched me years ago, and today we come full circle in watching each other journey into our own cave of the heart. Today she closed my chapter, helped me end my own cycle, by leaving an imprint that will forever hold me up, lift me up, and help me know I’m not alone, and in fact always supported and loved in that place.

No matter how challenging the inner cave journey has been, I can say I’ve developed strength I never knew I had. I know now that the deepest essence of love, is not in what you do, but actually, in who you touch. 

Fuck, if we could all get that, I believe our world could instant transform.

We will slowly. Like wheelpose, we all need the proper alignment, instruction, and guidance to get us there. We all need to reminder our own remarkable abilities, believe in our faith, and surrender what we think, to actually living what we know.

This is the Yoga …. The inner path, the cave, and destroying the ignorance that has robbed us of our own greatness.  If we, individually, then collectively, could be willing to dive into our heart space, then maybe, little by little, we could we could create a loving culture that loves to love, gives to help, and supports, because we know that we are all in our cave, and wanting to feel free again.

Keep your heart open.

Keep bending until you break.

Even when you break, rise up,

and never give up on what you know is inside of you.

It is my learning to be open, we can always feel free.

Our hearts can stay open, when we choose to let love lead…

 

❤ May all beings live happy and free ❤

NAMASTE.

DEVOTION.

Devotion-Graphic-web

 

DEVOTION: love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.

This word has been circulating throughout my day, in my thoughts, & in my head for the past few days. Devotion. What is devotion, & how is it different than desire? To be devoted is to be fully committed to you, yourself, and only what is true for you.

We think devotion is sticking to our routine, working out, eating right, & taking time to ‘work out’. No Devotion is a higher state of being. It goes beyond listening to mainstream society or doing as your do daily. Real devotion is a quality of the heart. It’s by your own inner guidance that you can transcend and choose what and who to be devoted to.

Desire is a dream, its an urge, a pulse, something that sounds, feels, and seems good. Devotion is your ability to stay committed – not to that dream that you think you desire, but to what you desire for yourself. See the difference? Devotion is full commitment to live your life as the person you ‘think’ you desire to be, and to authentically show up, even when the world may deem otherwise. We all have desire, & we think we know what we want, & we choose to create dreams & get set on what will happen. When you embrace Devotion – you know yourself is true. You do not need the desire, you can shed your limitation in thinking that is the way it will be, and you can instead live committed to You. Meaning, if you call yourself a yoga teacher, you live in light & love & treat others well & invoke Yogic principles. You don’t get on your mat, do some poses & breathing, then drive away flicking people off or cursing. You live your life devoted to your practice. Desire is the yoga teacher who thinks they need the ‘numbers’ the ‘physical’ challenge, or the ‘mask’ to perform in a space that is purely guided by your own desire, forgetting about the other in the room & what is best for them & others.

Devotion is the act of living from an authentic place that honors who you are. When you are able to remain completely devoted tSrimad-Bhagavatam-on-Having-Unflinching-Devotion-for-The-Supreme-Personality-of-Godheado yourself, you allow things to happen, and you yield yourself to the Universe and step forward into the unknown. Desire is the catalyst to devotion. We all have wishes, intentions, dreams, etc. Desire often catches the ego – when we stop being devoted. As you evolve you change, and with that, your desires change too.

Often we place our desire with ego attachment. For example, I’m doing this to make this amount of money, or I’m not helping you because I won’t get any money. Our ego overrides our desire. If you desire is more money, you need to be devoted to allowing more money. That may mean helping someone else achieve abundance themselves, or honoring someone else needing help. Our head overrides our heart all the time, or we let other people’s thoughts/egos tell us what to do, how to think, how to behave. People can help you, if they are living fully in truth and from a conscious place of connection. The others living from their own desire, without devotion to the whole, will tell you what you need to do to serve them. Thus, you help them achieve their desire, and disconnect from your own desire.

 

As we end this crazy year of 2014, I ask you to consider how devoted you have been to Yourself. What dreams to do wish to manifest this year? What have you achieved? And what more do you wish to accomplish before this years end?

images       Human nature gets busy, we forget, we get distracted, and we forget about what we committed for ourselves and our own well being. Desire is always there, and every day we are making choices to fill our desires. However, devotion is how desire is granted. Being devoted to your dreams, your wishes, your goals, is being able to truly root down and say ‘Yes’ to all you want to accomplish. In every moment, in every waking day, you set yourself up to achieve. That meaning, you show up from a place of love. You accept people when they tell you what they think you need to do, but you always check back in with you to see if that truly fits You.

 

If our desire is bigger than our devotion we will never achieve what our soul truly is asking us. You have desires, you manifest and create with devotion. To you, yourself, who you are, and who you wish to be. In the process, leaving fear behind, perhaps other people, and stay completely devoted to your desires.

When you are devoted you trust the process & surrender, stay aligned to what you heart desires and let your wishes fuel you forward in love & with joy. Let the journey continue, & stay devoted when you walk your unique path.

devotionquotes

The Root Chakra ~ Muladhara

“The first chakra represents our physical reality. When it is damaged, our relationship to the physical world is damaged. Therefore, in cases of both excess and deficiency, healing occurs through relating a new relationship with the physical- with our bodies, the earth, and our surroundings. This can be an act of reunion or an exploration of a marvelous mystery”

Muladhara: root or support 

Location: Between anus and genitals at perineum, base of spine

Physical Identity Survival needs

Color: Red

Astrological Sign: Capricorn

Element: Earth

Chakra Balanced: Grounded with our self and in our foundation/home and feeling secure

Over balanced/ Too Open: We become materialistic

Under balanced/ Sluggish: fearful, needy, self destructive

The body is the home for the spirit… the base of where everything else is built and created.

“All journeys begin with a single step. You can take this step by making solid contact with Earth…begin going up through the Chakras by going down..”

” To loose our connection with the body is to become spiritually homeless. Without an anchor we float aimlessy, battered by the winds and waves of life.”

The first Chakra begins at the root. For that reason, it is the foundation for all the other to balance and align on top. With out having a strong foundation, things will crumble, fall, and break apart. It begins when we are in the womb and birthed into the world. The root chakra brings us relation to our physical body and our physical idenity. We are born into the body and we begin to learn to crawl, walk, and learn ways and means to survive. This is where are foundation and roots stem from and continue to get ingrained into our consciousness based on how we are raised. The first chakra identifies with our relation to our body and how to connect emotionally and feel what we truly need to allow us to feel secure, stable, balanced, and well. In our current society it is so easy to become disconnected. We are all taught at a young age how to do things and live and we retain that information and nurture it into our growth. Ideas, beliefs, and patterns become in grained in us, whether or not they are truly our conscious beliefs or ways we should behave to feel good. It’s so east to loose connection with your ground, especially with the media, and other automatic behavior our society has resorted to. We read books on how to, listen to gossip about the latest and best diet, and we pick up on ways that society thinks is best for us to behave, when really your root is best balanced when listening to your own intelligence and self. To feel the body, feel what works and feels right for you, and to listen to emotions, pains, and other signs of disharmony.

Our roots make us who we are and help us become who we are in this present day. However, they are never permanent. You always have the opportunity to reroot, shift, and reevaluate what foundation serves you in who you are today. We just finished the Spring reason, the season of change and transformation. The Summer solstice was a few days ago and a huge super full moon today. There are shifts happening. Just like nature aligns, so do we. This new cycle is a good time to reevaluate your roots and perhaps examine what consistent behaviors you now need to break. To let things crumble: jobs, people, beliefs, patters, that no longer make you full happy inside, so you can resoil and dig new roots for the summer. What do you need to feel alive inside? To stay healthy, and feel good? To nourish the body and kindle the soul within? When we are unrooted we feel lost, as if we are aimlessly seeking something we cannot connect with. To change and to ground, your must reclaim your roots and strengthen who you have become with the transition and changes. Get in touch with YOU. Not what your parents taught you, or what you were told to do, or what society tells is right. Instead begin to stabilize in things and ways that make you feel good, so you can grow with this fullness and captivate this essence of self and build a garden with strong roots of happiness, love, and ease.

For a long time I had my roots deeply rooted in philosophies that did not truly serve me and my authentic truth. I believed I had to get a job, make a lot of money, work my way up, and utilize the college degree I had. I was so stuck in the wrong roots I was immobile, stagnant, not growing, not changing, just dwindling away in doubts and grief. However, once the solid ‘structure’ I had build began to crumble, I was able to soften my roots and journey deeper into my roots of nature, to Earth, and to who I really am. I suddenly stopped listening to what others thought I should be doing and started doing only what I wanted and what felt good for me. Incredible shifts happen when you are able to journey back to self and reconnect to those things, hobbies, people, places that truly bring you back to that happy place. From there my journey just got fuller, I felt more stable, more at easy, more secure in myself and my purpose. I had a lot of fears of letting go. I held onto them for so long. But when I surrendered and trusted my own guidance things began to fall into place. I began to humble myself with enjoying life. Having possessions and materialist things, jobs, titles, etc, suddenly did not matter. What mattered most and only for me was my own happiness and fulfillment. I began a path anchoring my roots in soil I wanted to be planted in, staying connected to people who helped me grow, and engaging in things that let me blossom. I let go of my fears and began to come alive. Fully alive in my body, in my heart, and in my soul. From that point, I keep evolving and growing. I know when things start to fall apart, it’s usually because I’m holding onto something or a cord or foundation that I now need to reclaim and plant. I get back in touch with nature, I watch and feel the shifts, I reevaluate, and I recommit to loving myself, my physical accusatory – the body, and trusting that my listening to that, I will build a secure and safe foundation for everything else to be built upon. I am always coming back to my home – the home of self – of who I am, who I want to be, and aligning with my truth and purpose as I trust a higher power that lets me root in deep so I can continue to grow.

“If you’re an alive body, no one can tell you how to experience the world. And no one can tell you what truth is, because you experience it for yourself. The body does not lie.” [Stanley Keleman]

Get your Yogi On

Happy last day of July! Geeeezzz amazing how time flies, I remember it just being February.

“Try to do everything in the world with a mind that lets go. If you let fo a little you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peach and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end.” [Achaan Chah]

Summertime is when a bunch of use get hot and lazy. I encourage you to keep moving! Jump in the ocean, go for a sunset or sunrise run, do some yoga, breathe….I’ve noticed summer often brings many changes within and with connections amongst others. Sometimes the stress of weekend events, parting, alcohol, sweet summer treats, and everything else can get to us and aggravate us internally. Check in with yourself and make sure you are giving yourself the rest and peace you deserve. I like to think of summer as an opportunity to transform and see what has happened the last 6 months that you would like to change, and what can you do in the next 6 months to change until the end of the year. Be open for what’s coming, begin to set your intentions for fall, and enjoy the best weather of the year right now, and don’t forget to find a little peace.

 

 

The Eight Limbs

“I believe that those of us who practice yoga have been sent to yoga by our pain. We embarked on this path because we had a hunch that there must be a better way. We have grown tired or our perfectionism, our unhappy relationships with our bodies, our inability to love completely or be loved completely, our endless resentments and sorrows, our sense that we could become greater than we are but that we are somehow blocked. Many of us have had considerable good fortune. We were blessed with  the nice smile, the right education, the right opportunities. We may have loving partners, good work, healthy families. Yet we’ve found that arranging our externals in just the right way doesn’t bring us the happiness we hoped it would. The resting place always seems to be just over the next hill. And we have grown tired. We come to yoga in the grip of avidya. We come to yoga having forgotten where we come from and who we are. On our mats we find the truth. We are of God and there are no problems. We are the solution.”

 

 

 

 

SUP Yoga

Have you heard of SUP Yoga? The new worksout trending on the beach lines of SoCal this summer. S-U-P = stand up paddle boarding, and yoga! I personally think a great combination…water, some breathing, some relaxation, and some breathtaking ambiance to help calm the mind and soothe the soul. Plus the added challenge of balancing on a board adds more core work. You get a workout on the water, peaceful paddle in the ocean, a nice tan, and if you get hot, just jump in. There are more and more companies popping up to learn SUP Yoga, especially here in San Diego. Put it on your bucket list for Summer 2012! I’m going to be teaching SUP Yoga this summer and I’m so excited.