I do this thing. When I’m feeling unsatisfied, or insecure, I start collecting. I Pin beautiful images, and try to figure out how to make my life mirror them. I read memoirs and try to imagine my life as theirs. I look outside of myself for the missing piece. As if there is some room I can sit in that will make it all clear, or a tiny slice of wisdom outside of myself that is going to make the difference.
I know that’s not true. And still, I collect. I used to beat myself up about this but recently I took a look at one of my collections – a list of inspiring women – and I learned something.
What all these women seem to have in common is that they aren’t copying someone else. They’ve forged their own paths, ones that might look very different from what they thought – or what anyone else thought for that matter.
This is awesome and frustrating. Because there is part of me that is still looking for an instruction book on life: “The 5 Steps to Being Happy,” “Here’s How to Be Radiantly Yourself.” But the longer I go at this, the more I realize, there isn’t a model to follow. I can look at these women and be inspired by their stories, but in the end, they are not my stories. I can’t do what they did. I have to come up with this life on my own.
That said, here are some women I admire for their vision, commitment and pluck, honesty, and individuality
Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind
Andrea Scher of Superhero Life
Katie O’Connell of Dragon Fly Yoga Barn (Not a website, a real-life place)
Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl
Second time’s a charm! Well, the first time was a charm too. Writing for Teachasana is such a treat for me. It’s so exciting and I love the opportunity to share with other teachers out in the world.
This time I offered some tips for staying on your teaching toes, even if you don’t have a regular gig. I write what I know, people. (Even though my irregularly scheduled programming is about to change: Stay Tuned!) Are any of you in the same boat? I’d love to hear your points of view.
Thanks so much to Pamela for giving me the opportunity to put my voice out there.
My last article, on subbing classes, can be found here. And did I give you enough links to the latest one? If not here’s another. Aah, vanity.
I often find myself looking outside for wisdom I later realize I already have. I forget that I’ve studied. That I know anatomy and physiology, that I know asana. And more than that, I forget to listen to the wisdom of my own instincts and my own body.
My back has been bothering me lately, and I went online today looking up yoga postures to ease the strain. What I found was a series of postures from Sadie Nardini (here) all of which, I realized, I have been doing on my own for the past couple of days.
I’ve been lingering in forward fold and pigeon in my daily practice. I stay in down dog and child’s pose for extra breaths. I found myself in wall plank at my niece’s birthday party yesterday, taking deep breaths as the cake pops were served.
Seeing an ‘expert’ affirm what I’d already been doing felt good, but it also reminded me that I know this. I know my body and what it needs. I’ll always look for advice from others because I’m always a student. But what I’m learning is more than a posture recommendation. I’m learning that sometimes I am my own best teacher, too.
Teacher catch phrases:
Breathe into it and sit
Journey, juicy, dive
I am incredibly pleased, proud, excited and nervous to announce the official relaunch of Condo Yoga, my wee company aiming to bring yoga to the people – wherever they are.
This venture is a work of love, and I’m so hopeful for its future and the possibilities it brings. If you’re so inclined, please take a visit. The new site is up and running here, and I’ll be adding news, updates and offers on the Facebook page as well.
I feel like it’s important to share this no-dairy journey, but I’ll spare you the play-by-play action. It’s only day deux and I’m not facing any particularly interesting challenges or feeling any special magic vegan fairy dust. I am happy to be on this path knowing I will feel better in the long run, and I’m really looking forward to feeling clearer.
In the meantime, life goes on. I’m currently looking for new health insurance (again!). I’m working with my daily practice and am considering taking this show on the road – adding some classes into the mix and considering taking up the teaching mantle once again.
It’s intimidating to think about going back out there. I’m afraid of rejection, of putting myself “out there” and it seems so much safer to practice at home and pontificate online.
I wonder, too, if I’m waiting to be “better” before I go out there. Waiting to have it all figured out – I have a perfect daily practice, I eat like a superhero! – to build myself up before I step out on the ledge. Even though I know damn well there is no perfect and that I just need to get out there.
Oh, man. Sometimes I hate those kinds of realizations. Because once you get there, there’s really no excuse to stay where you are without moving forward. Anyone want to come with me?
I had the honor of assisting another Prana Yoga Teacher Training class this weekend. The students, in month three, are focusing on the manipura chakra, the seat of creative self-empowerment.
Even though my training was just a year ago, I realize how far I’ve gone from my yoga focus. And going to these teacher trainings reminds me of how powerful this practice can be. It seems appropriate as the year comes to a close, to focus on core energy and the creative power of the third chakra.
This last year, I’ve been rebuilding my self and my core, and lately I’ve felt an itch for more creative action. With a more stable base, I feel like it’s time to take myself and my energy and put it out into the world.
We also learned teaching points for setu bandhasana. Bridge pose has never been my favorite, and I’ll often skip it – or use a block for supported bridge – when I do my own practice. (Yogis can be lazy sometimes!) But as an assistant, I had to demo bridge for the class. And so up to the front of the room I go.
Along with the support of the class (and maybe a little ego pushing past my laziness), I had such a complete experience. I’m not sure how else to describe it. My breath was deep and my chest open. I felt that my base was stable enough that the rest of my body was weightless and I could lift up, up, up. I could have stayed there for an hour.
After a day of kind of letting the class settle in to me, I realize those thoughts or experiences are so closely related. The rebuilding year I’ve had, the building of the strong base, and now the readiness to expand outwards, pushing my heart out into the world a little more.
I’d love to hear how a pose, or a meditation, has clicked for you recently. Inspiration is welcome.