I’m preparing for my Shine Yoga-Life Mini-Retreat this Saturday April 6th from 2 – 4:30. (click for registration details.) I took the year off from teacher training* so that I could have some time to create opportunities for students who don’t want to invest in a 200 or 300 hour teacher training program to have the opportunity to really get to “the heart of yoga.”
Public yoga classes are amazing opportunities to take care of our bodies, clear our minds, and have a few moments of peace in our day. I’m going to be honest here and say that they also fall short in the arena of the core teachings – and promises – of yoga. Don’t get me wrong! I absolutely believe a little yoga in better than no yoga;-) Yoga has changed my life. It’s helped me shift my perspective and has given me tools to experience greater comfort, joy, confidence, connection, and empowerment in my life. I didn’t learn these things in “regular” yoga classes. I learned them because I had the curiosity to dive a little deeper into immersion studies. Even though yoga philosophy and mindfulness is a VERY important part of my practice, it’s still impossible to fit ALL the tools in to even a 90 minute class. Yes that’s right folks. I still teach a 90 minute class on Saturday mornings at Shine Yoga in Cincinnati. I try to weave in an element of yoga philosophy as well as a breathing technique or two and a couple of minutes of meditation but I know most people are coming to my classes to move and so we do. I’m offering these seasonal mini-retreats to give students some tools to use outside of the studio to really get clear in the energetic field so that the mind can actually settle as yoga encourages us to do so that we may indeed experience a sense of inner freedom no matter what is happening in the world around us.
I will be presenting a short morning and evening yoga asana practice that is suited for most people and that can be customized as needed. We will learn & practice several different breath and meditation techniques. We will take a little time for quiet contemplation, journaling, and group share for those who wish to crystallize life intentions for the spring season. Tea and snacks will be served. I’d love to see you there and support you in taking time to invest in your deep inner well-being. Getting clear, it’s easier to Shine.
*As far as teacher training goes, it is my passion and I am planning to be returning in the fall of 2019 to lead a 200 hour foundational immersion/training followed by the 300 expanded training in early 2020. Details are crystallizing now and will be available soon. Visit www.shineyoga.com for developing news.
Deep in Devotion
A scab got ripped off my heart last evening
Here’s what poured out….
Girls “shouldn’t be”
or too smart
or stand out
Girls and Women SHOULD be free.
free from pain…. oppression…. bondage…. expectation
and if one single aggressive and belligerent man needs to finally be called out for it
SO BE IT!
We need to have this discussion and the entitlement needs to end!
Millions of us bear the weight of a certain type male aggression and domination
An idea that one can take whatever he can physically overpower.
Enough is Enough
It’s time for change… for healing… for a coming together… not a ripping apart.
But for now we bleed… we speak…. we cry.
In this way we bring poison into the light.
Because it’s true – we are here for each other
But until we figure that out…. We break each other
And in breaking each other…. we break ourselves.
Though money and power continues to drive our world
I for one will do my best to work for love.
The bus driver didn’t see me wave today but she made sure I saw her. It was that had to make the first step to allow that interaction. The first day she picked up my son she was late. I could tell she was stressed. Even though she is carting kids around town she was quiet and withdrawn. I was stressed too…. well because she was late… very late…. and it was the first day of school. Normally I drive my kids to school on the first day so I don’t have to deal with the bus driver figuring out their new schedule. But Hoyt wanted to take the bus this year and I agreed.
So here we are…. two stressed out women. While one would hope the bus driver would say hello, acknowledge your child, maybe even acknowledge her tardiness, our bus driver did none of these things. Because of my empathy and because she was about to take my child’s life literally into her hands, I did my very best to overcome my own anxiety and my own shyness, and I provoked her attention. I said, “hello, it’s nice to see you, I hope you have a good first day.”
The next couple of weeks followed suit. She was late… and quiet… and I overcame my own frustrations and introverted-ness and said, “good morning, have a good day.” It’s been what, about four/five weeks of school now? She’s not “too” late anymore but she’s always quiet. I’m not as vocal but I at least wave everyday. She was distracted today and didn’t see me wave…. but you know what….
as she drove by – she made sure I saw her wave back at me.
That single gesture has reaffirmed my commitment to keep trying to be kind because more than anything that’s what our world needs most right now.
Someone got shot in my back yard this weekend. It wasn’t literally in my backyard but in the backyard and to the right of my backyard. Close enough that I heard the gunshot and then saw another person running through my neighbor’s yard to deal with the situation after my dog started freaking out! Besides someone actually being shot (it was in the leg and I think he’s ok) in my neighbor’s backyard…. is the fact that I’m not surprised. I have one set of suspicious neighbor’s. We think about moving but honestly I don’t know where else to go right now because crime is everywhere.
Even though both my kids are dealing with constant lock drown drills to prepare for a live shooter in school…. even though they both have been on a real lock downs because of a shooter outside of the school in one case and a kid threatening people with a gun inside their school; when it’s close to home, it’s too close.
But this post is not about the crime, it’s a reminder of the bigger picture.
Although the practice of spirituality, of honoring the spirit of life that dwells in others and in our world, is strong in our family life; we are not a religious family. We have discussions — not lessons — about spirituality. We talk about what “god” might be, we talk about our loved ones whom have passed on, we talk about signs from beyond the realm of time and space, and we talk about our guardian angels. But… I’ve never really told them what I believe because I thought I was still working that out in my own mind and heart.
But… Sunday night, though I called it a “come to Jesus” moment to a friend, actually presented itself as a “a come to the truth of it moment.” We had to talk about the fear that was quickly swelling up in our house. I want my kids to be careful in life but not afraid of it. I believe that’s how we’re meant to live life…. with great respect…. and with courage…. so that we can make the most of our time here and hopefully leave behind something good and valuable for those who come after us.
After I told my kids I hoped they lived with caution and courage, I found myself sharing “my faith.” I teach yoga classes and trainings that are rooted in what I call “universal spirituality” because I don’t want to define spirituality for anyone. I believe it’s up to us to discover what spirituality actually is by developing a deep inner awareness and understanding of the spark of life that lives within each of us. Rather than contributing to the conditioning that happens around “god/dess” and spirit, I like to get under the conditioning of life to help people experience what is at the heart of truth for them. This process takes time and leaves some people exploring longer than is comfortable for some people. But as that inner relationship with spirit becomes truer it also becomes clearer and more soulfully empowering for those who stick with the process. I do believe hearing other people’s relationship with spirit is most helpful when it’s simply offered without the hope of the other person adopting it as their own and so I decided to share it with you today too. For context, this conversation is wrapped with the history that quite a few “bad” things happened to a number of good people we know this summer.
I believe we have a soul and a body. For now you’re soul is in you’re body. When we die, our soul goes on… somehow… somewhere… that part I’m not sure of yet. I do know that if I die before you, my soul is going to do it’s best to keep an eye out for you just like I believe my dad does for me — often. 😉 The more important thing though…. is that I believe each one of our soul’s has it’s own destiny. We all come here with something special to be, to do, to share. Sometimes it’s just one thing… maybe it’s small…. maybe it’s big. That thing might happen early in your life or late. Sometimes your thing is just to be there for somebody else in your life. Sometimes, I think being born and dying early is also the thing you were meant to do to shift the energy for other people in your soul family.
I do believe in that soul family… small ones… that merge into one great big one. I think sometimes things that seem bad actually happen to make other things better.
I don’t think our destiny is always guaranteed. I think it’s “our job” on earth to pay attention to our heart’s whispers. Our heart’s are our soul’s compass and they guide us to what is right and true for each one of us. It doesn’t matter how long you live or what you do in your life if you honor your heart and make the most of all that you came onto this beautiful planet with. Cherish every moment, be loving to the people that love you, do the best you can with what you have, enjoy your life, and try to bring a little more goodness into the world too. Listen to your heart, do your best to follow it, it wants what’s best for you and that’s nothing that anyone else can tell you.
For whatever reason there are always going to be scary and “bad” things happening around us. Sometimes fear is telling you…. get out of here this isn’t the right path for you. There’s another kind of fear though too…. a fear that makes you doubt the goodness in the world…. it makes you doubt yourself….. it makes you doubt your choices….. it holds you back. It’s hard to tell the difference between the kind of fear that keeps you safe and the kind of fear that makes you live in a very tiny little box. Your heart knows the difference.
When life feels scary, or sad, or makes you mad; take a deep breath…. close your eyes if it’s safe…. and listen deep. Your heart always knows the way! It’ll be up to you to take the time to listen deeply underneath all the chatter of the world… the chatter of your own mind too…. and then to have the courage to make the most of your life by following your heart.
Even if the road is bumpy, and sometimes scary, our heart’s always know the way.
“The earth provides us a brand new beginning every twenty-four hours. It is a repeated invitation to breathe in the cool morning air and start afresh; to mimic the sunrise and brighten up while reaching once more for the sky; to carry a glad song in our heart like the early birds; and, as faithfully as the morning dew, to wash off the dust from yesterday.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes
On my to do list for awhile now has been a note to make more time in my day to return to more creative endeavors. Since I took over at Shine almost 6 years ago now, I’ve struggled with expectations and a to do list that I could never complete. So arose an effort to peel away as much of those to do’s as I could so that I could still take “good” care of a challenging small business while maintaining my main priority at this time in my life — to be as present as I can be for my children while they still need me.
Then there’s Facebook. It’s such a great tool for connecting and sharing. So full of words and images, it too was feeding my creative spirit. I’ve come to terms though; that it’s taken over any time and space I really had for creativity and while I still like it, I’ve realized that my creativity has lost a lot of depth and texture so I can focus on quality over quantity.
And here I am. Reviving a blog I left behind three years ago. Excited to see what comes of starting over again.
How about you? Is there anything you’ve left behind that still calls to you but you struggle to find the time, or the energy, or the money, or the motivation to start over again? I know it’s hard. I also know that usually just one little small step can be just enough to get us rolling again. The hardest part is getting organized to start and of over-coming that initial inertia of change. Once we make that initial shift, we can more clearly decide if that call was coming from a place of intuition or of old wistfulness? The truth is some things are meant to be left behind and rather than starting over we would best be served by starting anew.
This was a call I had to test out. I can’t be sure of what will come of starting over here and so I make not promises of how often I’ll be back or exactly what will show up here. But I had to try again.
While I will always miss summer as it turns to fall, I love this “back to school” time of year because I naturally feel inspired to buckle down a bit and refocus my priorities and the way I spend my time and energy. For anyone else out there starting over or starting something anew I’m sending you a little nod of acknowledgement and encouragement. And for the others, content where you are, the same nod of acknowledgement and respect that you are in a state of peace.
This recipe is perfectly nourishing for a chilly fall night. Both the Barley and Beets take some time to cook but the recipe is not labor intensive. You can certainly multi-talk while making this dish.
Scrub well – chop off any greens – wrap them up well in a couple layers of aluminum foil and bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes or until fork tender. Once Beets are tender and cool enough to handle, run under cool water and slide the peel off the beet. Chop into bite size pieces.
Cook 1 cup of Barley according to package directions. This will take about 25 minutes.
Dressing – Combine ingredients:
1/4 cup Olive (or other mild) Oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice
2 tsp. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Vinegar (I’m using Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
Drizzle of Agave or Honey
Toss your warm salad:
Add 1 – 2 cups of Chick Peas to the Barley to warm them through.
Add dressing and stir to combine.
Add Beets and gently fold in. Folding the Beets in will color the rest of the salad – limit stirring to keep everything from turning pink.
Tonight, I topped the dish off with some chopped Walnuts and would have added a bit of Spinach if I had any at home today.
Many of the Yoga classes I teach, are inspired by the lessons and guidance that are always being offered in the world around us. Last Monday, Memorial Day, I had the opportunity to take a day trip along the Ohio River. I was awe struck by the magnitude and multitude of hawks flying in the sky that day. I enjoyed watching them soar at such great heights, coasting on the currents of air, feeling a longing in myself for a kind of freedom like that. Then there was the realization that they weren’t soaring just for fun. It was lunch time and they too were searching for sustenance. Although their meals were likely to be found on the ground, they needed to get back, gain perspective, and find their target.
For many, meditation and the meditative aspect of Yoga, gives that feeling of gaining perspective. It’s a way to take a step back from the small details of life and gain perspective of the broader vision of our own lives. When we allow the mind to relax and expand, and when we make the intention to connect to our more essential selves, it’s easier to gain perspective and hone in on the priorities that will feed our spirits as well as our physical beings. Last week in class we explored the expanded mind experience through meditation in movement. We worked on being mentally flexible by alternating on experiencing broad perspective as well as paying attention to the small details our physical selves.
This week we’ll take the next step in our birds of prey inspired class…. recognizing our priorities and and staying steady on our path to connect with our targets. Life is full of obstacles and distractions so it is important to create a path that will serve us well. That path will often call for endurance to keep going and to stay true. It will also often call for flexibility and maneuvering when distractions and obstacles arrive. This week we will be working on endurance in our postures, focus in our minds, and freedom in our hearts.
This week I’m loving the Native American / Jazz / Guitar Music of R. Carlos Nakai & William Eaton on the album Ancestral Voices
I’m home with two sick kids today. This recipe is comforting, quick, easy, and full of nutrients to help the healing process!
• 1 Tb. Coconut Oil
• 1/2 tsp. Salt
• 1 cup Brown Rice – rinsed
• 2 cups of Veggie Broth or Water
• dash of Turmeric to boost the nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties of this dish
Warm coconut oil, add rice and salt – toast for a minute or two, add water or broth and bring to a boil. Once the pot reaches a boil, cover and turn down the heat – simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes until the water is absorbed.
Sunshine Curry with Carrots, Cauliflower, and Chick Peas • 1 Tb. Coconut Oil
• 1 small Onion or large Shallot
• 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
• 1 1/2” piece of ginger grated
• 1” piece of turmeric grated – or – 1 tsp. Turmeric powder
• 2 + tsp. Yellow Curry Powder (I keep it more mild for my kids – add more if you like it spicy)
• 8 organic Carrots (Organic carrots tend to be a little smaller than your average carrot – you can cut back to 6 carrots if you have large ones. Cut into bite size rounds or half rounds.)
• 1 small/medium head of Cauliflower – broken into small florets
• 1 can Coconut Milk
• 1 cup Vegetable Broth or Water
• 12 oz. cooked Chick Peas
• opt. Basil & Lemon to top
Heat Coconut Oil in a large saute pan
add Onion – saute to soften
Add Ginger, Tumeric, Garlic, and Curry Powder – stir to combine
Add Carrots, Cauliflower – cook and stir to coat veggies with spice mixture
Add Coconut Milk & Broth/Water
When vegetables are cooked through add Chick Peas and warm through
If you like top with chopped Basil and a squeeze of Lemon
It’s in the air…. shifting seasons… shifting schedules. The modern fall / holiday season can be challenging for many reasons. Nature is beckoning us to slow down and take some time to renew and restore. We resist. We persist. It’s ok. Whether you go with the cycling of the seasons or stay busy, everyone can benefit from practices that center, ground, and encourage a smooth energy flow. Twists are great for “fall” Yoga as they are neutralizers in the yogin’s tool box. Keeping the pelvis & hips stable, the spine long, and twisting from the belly will maximize the benefits of the twist and will promote spinal health. Deep twisting is not recommended if you have severe spine issues. I’ve included a range of twists that run from a therapeutic chair twist on up through a fun arm balance twist in this sequence. Check the slides for some notes on each.
This twist sequence is inspired by my kids. When we get the “grumble bugs” we grab each other and shake them out! As much as the holidays are meant to bring us together in celebration of life, it’s easy for those grumble bugs to make an appearance as well. It’s nice to have some techniques to counter your frazzled nerves. At the very least, pause, breathe deep, let go, move on. Life is too short ~ Best to find a way to enjoy the ride. Namaste.
Use block between knees to remind you to keep hips even. Stretch tall. Then gentle twist.
Open feet and hands, stretch spine, twist easy.
Healthy twist with hips “square” – stable base, long spine, open heart
Stable core – even hips – square shoulders – elbows rest against thigh.
From prayer twist prep – lean & wriggle in – stretch your heart forward – hug your core – float your feet.
A strong and flexible core make this pose possible. Practicing it helps you focus on your whole body working together in a fun and harmonious way.
Yoga Blocks can help you feel both more support and provide an opportunity for you to open more deeply depending on how you use them. I love that my “style” of yoga focuses on both the therapeutic and challenging aspects of Hatha/Vinyasa Yoga. The slides here demonstrate how to use the blocks to:
Rest your lower back & help to lengthen your spine in a fairly neutral position. Use this for low back injury or strain as long as it doesn’t cause more pain. It is also an excellent way to lengthen your Psoas muscle without strain. This is a great pose for people who spend a lot of time in a sitting position throughout the day. It is a nice Restorative Yoga Pose.
Use the block behind your shoulder blades to help open your upper back & chest. Use this if you slouch much or are just wanting to open up deeper in backbends.
Use the block for stability to help open your shoulders for backbends & inversions.
*See the slide captions for a little commentary;-)
*Better is a loaded word – in this case – longer spine aids backbending / heart opening with less strain for your back & shoulders. Play nice – be kind to your body – it’s the only one you’ve got. xo Kate