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It expands and contracts. 🤰
It supports me and enables me.
Its carried, birthed and nourishes my kids. Also been a doorway to love two and lose them.
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Its been something I loathed and mistreated.
I've tried to force into it impossible standards only to hate it more for not "measuring up."
Its been something I have come to love and cherish.
Its become a way of engaging in radical love-fueled self care.
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My body and I, we've been through a lot.
Everyday, when I really stop to notice I see evidence of how far I have come with my body.
More later. 💜
Did you know that your life experiences occur at every level of your being?
Think of the emotional pain, traumatic moments and high-stress situations that you've experienced to date. If you are on the spiritual path, you know that you have to take the time to process these emotions and unpack them.
Oftentimes, we seek help with processing and unpacking our emotions in the form of contemplation, a journal, a trusted companion or a mental health professional. All of which are so useful yet none of which address the story that lives within our bodies...
"We hold our past in our bodies just as surely as we hold memories of the past in our minds." - Swami Ambikananada Saraswati
Connection to our bodies is essential for us to peel back the layers of deep rooted pain from our pasts and become truly free. What happens to so many of us, is that as we continue to push forward in life we neglect to take the time to process and unpack our experiences as they come. Or we only process the pain on one level. Maybe we work through it mentally but not physically.
Over time, the emotional pain, trauma and stress all continue to pile on until we break down in some way.
We might have emotional dis-ease or we might have a physical dis-ease. I like to think of these moments as profound opportunities for self-realization and growth.
These breakdowns are truly gifts in an ugly package to make us wake up and do things differently. The next time you find yourself feeling broken or in a state of dis-ease. Let it be a mirror shining back to you that shows you where you need to grow.
My work as a Yoga Therapist allows me to hold space and guide people to show up fully in their body, mind and spirit. Oftentimes, my students come to me at the point of breakdown or right after when they're ready for new tools to navigate life.
Yoga teaches us to listen to the story that lives within our body, empowers us to stop avoiding processing our darker experiences and enables us to really let go.
The purpose of self-work and healing work is ultimately to have a better life.
We want to feel joy in every cell of our bodies, we want rewarding relationships, self-confidence, decreased anxiety or to carry less of a heavy weight around with us.
These are wonderful things to invest time and energy into cultivating!
But... for many people their approach is lacking in key areas.
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We tend to be fixated on our minds.
We are so good at thinking, analyzing, formulating beliefs and judgements, etc.
But you can't use your mind alone to heal and grow... your body and spirit need to be an active part of the process.The purpose of self-work and healing work is ultimately to have a better life.
Happy New Year!
Here are three questions to ask yourself to help you make peace with 2022, celebrate your growth and align with your best and highest good moving forward.
One of the most frequently asked questions from students are how to find good quality yoga products. Although you don't need yoga gear to be able to practice, investing in them is worthwhile if you want to practice yoga regularly. Props are a useful way to enhance your practice, make it more comfortable and open doorways to postures that may otherwise be inaccessible. Here are my tried and true favorite essential products and where you can purchase them! I am in no way affiliated with or benefitting from suggesting the yoga products listed below.
My Top Favorite Yoga Mat is the Manduka Pro Lite Mat. This mat is incredibly durable, including a lifetime guarantee, is thick enough to provide the support your body needs and isn't too heavy to tote around town. If you practice a lot of hot yoga I recommend purchasing a Yoga towel for the top like Yogitoes. $100.
My top pick for blankets is the Traditional Mexican Yoga Blankets from Yoga Accessories. $17/blanket
My top picks for blocks are:
Manduka Recycled Foam Yoga Blocks. $20/block.
Gaiam Foam Yoga Blocks. $10/block.
My top pick for Straps are any strap with a metal D-ring! I've not found that certain brands are better than others. If you want a beautiful strap go for this one!
My top picks for bolsters are:
Inner Space Yoga for a local option made regionally in NC. These come in a variety of beautiful patterns and are very durable. $120.
Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster. These are firm, long-lasting bolsters that come in plain colors and patterns. A yoga studio favorite. $89-99.
Other yoga props that I love and use are: Eye Pillows, Sandbags and Three Minute Eggs. Happy Practicing y'all!
Sometimes the simplest truths are the hardest ones to grasp and put into practice.
For example, we all know that we have a body, mind and spirit. But actually being able to feel into each of these, harmonize them and harness their unique power is a different thing.
So much stands in our way.
From lack of education, to disconnection from self, culture and so much more.
The work I do as a Yoga Therapist is rooted in an eastern medicine approach that focuses on the whole person - body, mind and spirit.
So much of the suffering we experience like anxiety, depression, dysfunctional habits, relationship struggles, digestive issues and stress are all linked back to trauma as a root cause.
Trauma that's impacted our body, nervous system, the way our mind words and our ability to express ourselves (among other things.)
You see, much of the suffering we experience like anxiety, depression, dysfunctional habits, relationship struggles, digestive issues and stress are all linked back to trauma at the root. Trauma that’s impacted our body, nervous system, the way our mind works and ability to express ourselves (among other things).
The answer right in front of us is that feeling better lies within our ability to strengthen our relationship with our body, mind and spirit.
For everyone I’ve ever met and worked with, this simple sounding thing of strengthening our relationship with our body, mind and spirit takes real conscious effort, vulnerability, support and growth.
Sending love to each of you as you do your own version of this work for yourself and I’m here to support you!
If you want some guidance and community to lift the weight of depression this fall, join me for an in person Yoga for Depression series. Classes begin this November at Pettigru Counseling Associates. See details here.
Three things your body needs to improve your mental health and integrate the trauma that keeps you suffering...
1. Love and Attention
- Your body needs you to be aware of it, feel what it feels like, listened to and honored.
2. Therapeutic Movement
- This can take on so many forms but my favorite is Yoga. Yoga offers an impressive spectrum of benefits to body, mind and spirit in one package. Other movements that I love in this season of my life are: walking in nature, ecstatic dance, strength training, somatic healing practices and play.
3. Nervous System Regulation
- For most people nervous system dysregulation is just a part of our lives. Our nervous systems can become chronically in fight/flight/freeze mode, go there easily and have trouble regulating back to a more easeful state. Learning about our nervous systems and engaging in practices that help train our nervous system are super helpful.
If you're interested in learning more about this, I have open spaces for new Yoga Therapy and Spiritual Life Coaching virtual & in person, as well as, upcoming programs that are launching locally in Greenville, SC.
Trauma is that thing that keeps us stuck, repeating the same old patterns and feeling limited.
The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way.
In my experience 3 things are really important when healing from past trauma and learning how to become more resilient in the future.
3. Integrative Approach (body, mind and spirit)
I currently have two ways to do direct trauma integration work with me:
PS The examples given are just a snapshot, there are too many to mention.
In my journey as a yoga teacher one of the things I've always identified as a huge part of my role is teaching people how to relax.
That may sound funny because I know a lot of people think that they've got that figured out. You know how to put your feet up and take it easy.
But let me tell you, if you have never experienced the serenity of a Restorative Yoga practice you have no idea the goodness that is possible.
The Restorative Yoga folks have optimized relaxation to a whole other therapeutic and yummy level.
It's the last few days to sign up for Restful Night, my 6 week VIRTUAL Restorative Yoga series.
As a Mom of two young children and person who wants to feel my best each day, I prioritize sleep in a very conscious way. Dr. Suzannah Bozzone who focuses on lifestyle medicine, once said every decision we make is either adding to our health or taking away from it. I feel the same. As important as sleep is, putting in some intentional effort goes a long way towards getting our needs met.
Here are three bedtime rituals that I do each evening that help me get a great night of sleep:
1. A set bedtime.
2. A magnesium lotion foot massage.
3. A pre-sleep meditation or breathing practice.
What are your favorite bedtime rituals?
Starting in August, my virtual Restorative Yoga programs launches. Click here if you're interested in learning more.
About this blog
A collection of all things yoga and wellness from yours truly.