For the Love of Yin!

Growing up and barely passing biology, I had no idea I would have eventually turned into a bit of an anatomy geek. Actually, to be more specific I should actually define it more as a kinesthetic functional yoga anatomy geek – now that’s mouthful! My yoga teaching has always been from an individual anatomy standpoint, more than trying to get into that perfect pretty pose seen on the cover of Yoga Journal. “Back off when you need to, move into it if it feels good,” can be heard on a regular basis in my classes. Yoga, to me, isn’t about touching your toes, getting your foot behind your head, or handstands! All that is just bonus. The real meaty stuff is in the postures some consider “basic.”

It has always been about meeting yourself where you are, and anatomy plays a big part. I was reminded of this when a wonderful friend gifted the amazing experience of  the Yin Yoga Foundations workshop with Joe Barnett in late February. I was humbled that someone I adore would want to support me by gifting me experience; and hands down it is one of the top ten best gifts I have been given.

In the last two years, Yin Yoga has been such a delicious treat for my body. It is a slower practice, where the poses are held for five minutes or more. Practicing Kripalu yoga gave me permission to really be in the body and notice what is going on. My appreciation for Kripalu’s three stages, (1. Body and Breath Awareness, 2. Focusing Inward and 3. Meditation in Motion), is deep. Yin Yoga just takes that even further. It just resonates so much with me and where I am at in my practice at this moment. I got into Yin Yoga due to Paul Grilley’s Anatomy for Yoga dvd – really if you love yoga this will change the way you practice or teach.

I knew I was in for a good workshop when my geek flag flew high at the sight of a partial skeleton prop, (Joe named him Norm), laying in the middle of the floor. Using Norm really helped make the connection with the concepts of the lecture of how bones and joints move. It really hit home more when we got on the mat and was able to look around the room at each other. Some people were more flexible, some less so and it wasn’t always due to the muscles (connective tissue) but the bones and joints.

Everyone is different. Some people won’t be able to comfortably touch their toes due to their bone structure they were born with. Some people won’t be able to do a full split comfortably, again due to the bone structure. One of my favorite moments was the picture of several femur bones and you could see the difference of size in each and every one of them. When you start to think about the relationship with of the femur bone to the size and placement of the hip socket, it really sinks in just how much yoga IS an individual physical practice and not a “one size fits all” exercise.

Since the workshop, I’ve been hungry for more and wondering how can I get myself to a Yin Yoga Teacher Training to go way deeper, and another teacher training that is very anatomy based. In the mean time, I fill my need with making time to take local classes, rereading anatomy yoga books, and restructuring my teaching so that I can take on more private yoga peeps. Working one on one with people is a great way to get that image out of their heads, of what we have been bombarded with, on how we should look in a pose instead of how we feel in it.

A fire has been lit within me. I see a path of where I want to go a bit more clearer, and it was due to a friend supporting me with an amazing experience. I am humbled and blessed.

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Getting Down to Business

Yoga Journal Conference – Business of Yoga Workshop

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Attending the Yoga Journal Conference has always been on my “to do list of yoga adventures.” The universe, all the cosmos, and ultimately my bank account worked together in getting me to this amazing event. Although there are scholarships available for some, and volunteer opportunities, I really wanted to be able just immerse myself in the experience. I could only afford one day, so I needed to really make it count for what I really needed.

All the classes in the brochure looked so juicy and were calling me. My focus lately has been on business, with the steps I need to take to grow, which made it a louder calling. The second day of the Business of Yoga track seemed more like what I needed -on paper. Building community, digital marketing, chat about money, streams of revenue, and creation of yoga retreats were on the agenda.

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Being at the Yoga Journal Conference was, in itself, an experience. The highlight was Dana Trixie Flynn of Laughing Lotus. Bright, filled with joy, and completely accessible she was – I fell instantly in whimsical adoration. Plus how could one not adore someone who starts her chat on “Building Community” by sprinkling us with glitter? It really was more like a chat than a lecture, which made it more interesting over being talked at. Out of all the talks, I took so much inspiration from her in how to move forward in my business and in my yoga practice. I think my favorite take away from Dana was her story of “owning the road” and a reminder to “do you!”

Dan Wilf, of Yoga Anonymous, walked a fine line between the “sell” and the information given. He was a strong at marketing and it was his passion. His “sell” wasn’t hard, (he only mentioned his drink product and website a few dozen times), but more natural in nature. Plus he gave out freebies, and who doesn’t love freebies? He showed exactly what he was telling us to do, “hustle, hustle, hustle and then give it space.” He stayed on topic of the digital marketing and branding. The wheels were turning in my head already, then, figuring out how to apply his information for when I got home for this blog and my facebook.

Sadly, most of the lectures in the track fell flat or were presenting a hard sell. Unfortunately, some of my fellow business track peeps and I felt like this. We paid over $200 to be sold on the products people were pushing – not cool. I paid to learn how to do these things for myself, not to pay someone else to do them for me. At one point, during the second part of the day, I stopped taking notes, because there was no applicable information anymore outside of the sell.

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Overall, the Yoga Journal Conference was an interesting experience. During lunch break the Marketplace opened with a ton of things to purchase I do hope that the universe, the cosmos, and my bank account conspire with me again, because I would love to attend the January 2014 San Francisco event. I’ll just opt to stay away from the business track, and just focus being taught yoga goodness by some lovely teachers the conference would have offer – the bonus would be that I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco.

P.S. A BIG thanks to my lovely friend Annie who used her photoshop super powers for this post. I am filled with gratitude for your help.

GoodBye 2012

Surrender to What Is

Surrender to What Is

2012 could be labeled as my own “annus horribilis,” if i didn’t see the bigger picture. My yoga teaching, dwindled from a pretty decent 13 classes in 2012 to only 3 at the start of 2013. Four of the six places i was on the roster at closed over the course of a year and one just didn’t have enough people to support a yoga class.

All i wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and mourn. I was going to miss the people and community i had helped create over the last five years at these fitness centers. How was i going to pay my bills? What was i going to do? The main question in my head was, “am i supposed to be a yoga teacher anymore?”

When the last place closed a few weeks ago, it broke my heart. It was a place that felt like home to so many. It was a point when i really questioned if i was suppose to give up and find something more stable. When i heard the news,i promised myself that i would mourn for a day, then i would make a list the next day, and that friday would go into action. The universe had other plans for me and i surrendered to them.

I didn’t have time to mourn. My phone rung, my email and facebook messages blew up with friends/tribe members offering leads to continue both my yoga teaching and my massage business. I started to think more out of the box with creating opportunity with some of the offers i was receiving.

My yoga peeps believed in me. My inbox was flooded with questions asking me where they can take my classes because they missed them. I was offered a chance to sub at a yoga studio, and an audition at another yoga studio, both due to people talking about my classes to the owners without me knowing.

Ultimately, i started to believe in myself and my teaching. i started to believe in just surrendering to the path the universe has sent me on. My schedule right now is scattered with a few subbing jobs in addition to my regular schedule at one of the gyms that remained open. All i can do is have faith and see where i am lead.

I could label 2012 as my “annus horribilis,” but i won’t. It was a year that pushed me out of my comfort zone, a year that helped me fall back in love with teaching yoga, and a year that reminded me life is about experiences.

I have a strong feeling that this upcoming year will really be filled with amazing adventures.

…bring it.