Yoga is Dead, and I’m taking a blog break.

I just found an article and a podcast that I must share with you. The article completely hooked me. It made me feel so encouraged about the potential trajectory of yoga because it opens up the conversation, and hopefully a pathway towards inclusion and wellness as being defined both internally, by our own sense of coming home, rather than by what we currently envision a yoga practice to look or sound like, and externally by approaching yoga as social, political, and both uncomfortable and the most rewarding.

My issue with the yoga industry is that there is so much spiritual bypassing going on. It’s become an ego-centric space, ironically. At the moment, in yoga, we don’t learn union, or do no harm. We learn to barely breathe and fully bypass.

The article is called “Wellness isn’t always welcoming. Meet the women bringing change to the industry,” published on Today.com. My business partner and I have been working carefully over the years to deliver yoga as a way to access yourself, and be accessible to everyone, with only half the success. We are continuing to peel the layers of our own blind spots. The podcast, Yoga is Dead— I can’t wait to listen to all the episodes. This morning, I listened to Episode 1, and it was phenomenal. I invite you to read the article and listen to this podcast with me.

In the meantime, as I work to best serve my community during this historic moment of reckoning, and at the same time move them over to a platform that better assists us in this process, I need to stop, listen, and learn. I need to take some time to make sure that I understand what I am doing, and that I am not causing more harm.

I’ll be back.

Heightening my awareness by my surroundings.

No matter how much I’ve practiced, and how much I’ve learned… even though I’m disciplined… thinking I don’t need others to keep growing is a mistake. If I go too long without others that, by their mere existence, stretch me, my justifications become reality.

By others, I mean those that have taken a similar path that aren’t afraid to challenge me, or take on a challenge. Those that aren’t continuously looking for ways to “take a break.”

Engaging with a mix of people is helpful: those that I see all the time and therefore are more relaxed around, and those that heighten my awareness and slow me down because I don’t dance with them as much. This gives me a balance of letting down my hair and treading much more consciously. The latter helps me come back to the former more heightened with the benefit of being more relaxed. Does that make sense?

This weekend, as 16 of us, along with 2 trainers, began our course in conscious communication, we got to heighten our awareness. I know this sort of thing seems like a lot of work, but these things really do make a difference. It pulls me out of an auto-pilot that I wasn’t fully aware was happening. And I love that.

Moving forward: does motivation create action? or vice versa?

We let our fears get the best of us, and we need to figure out how to get the best of fear. Listen to your thoughts. Are they dwelling on the excuses, reasons, obstacles, and exhaustion? Stop it. Observe your body. Are you holding tension anywhere? Release it. Ask yourself: what one thing can I do right now? No matter how small, stop the judgment and do it with full abandon.

Preparedness can only take you so far. Action will take you the rest of the way. It will get you more prepared and more motivated. Action. Then motivation. To count on it the other way around will turn you into a victim all over again.

Lighten up and forgive

I think there comes a point where you have to grow up and get over yourself, lighten up… and forgive.

-Jennifer Aniston

As tempting is the need to be right, it’s a miserable existence. Not giving it the energy, letting it go, and having a sense of humor and curiosity is a blessed life. You’ll know how you’re doing by paying attention to the amount of tension in your body. To how easily you can smile from the heart. It takes a self-assured (or tired!) person to do this. Or… by doing this, you become self-assured, less tired, and joyful.

Support is all around us. I learned to receive it.

When I pay attention, and check my defensive nature, it’s everywhere all the time.

I recently created a video.

I haven’t done many videos because I’m uncomfortable with them. It feels strange to talk to a camera, and I don’t know what to do with myself when the other person is talking. I know it takes practice, but I’m not practiced in it yet, so it’s scary. But I finally did it, and it’s out there on our membership site, with many more to come.

One woman said that my tone was silly, uncomfortable, and didn’t reflect who I really was, and that she was a little embarrassed for me as she watched the video.
I had to really take that in and stay open with it to understand what she saw. Perhaps I was trying too hard. It was scary, after all. But I remember preparing for the recording, and the prep work with my business partner put me in a funny mood.

I received feedback from another woman about the same video, and she said, “Your welcoming videos are great – just the right blend of fact and fun.  Very clear, professional, and friendly in your unique and authentic style.”

I love and appreciate both feedback equally, because I know there’s truth in both.

And, both those women are powerful women who march to their own drummer, know how to take care of themselves, aren’t afraid to say what’s on their mind, aren’t in the business of managing others, and would only give meaningful feedback with my – our – success in mind.

If I only received feedback like the second one, I’d question if I was pushing myself to the edge. The first one was definitely harder to swallow for sure, but made the second one that much sweeter. I can’t discount either because neither came from fear, scarcity, or trolling energy; otherwise I would have. They both came from an intention to support, hold vision for, and elevate.

My business partner talked to me about different perspectives, where they come from, and who our client avatar is as it relates to how we create our content. I think about how I put myself out there, and whether or not our content feels fully aligned. It takes some thought to put the two together. It takes the right balance of knowing my expertise, and paying attention to how others connect with them. My partner was concerned about my confidence being “crushed” by the more critical comment(s). I can’t tell you how grateful I am for her love and support.

Being able to receive feedback, and being willing to delve deeper into what’s been called out without getting caught in my own victimization, shame, blame, and justification is a skill that’s taken me – yep – nearly 50 years to learn. Do you know what it’s like not to be able to take compliments? Yeah. Well, this – along with doing the scary stuff – makes the sweet compliments much easier to receive. It’s a game changer.

You can’t flourish otherwise.

Fumble, make mistakes, embarrass yourself, get it wrong, turn red, contradict yourself, get called out, make people question or get mad at you. But voice yourself. Not for the sake of hearing yourself, but for the sake of expressing your truth. Not for the sake of being right or making a point, but for the sake of being you. Try different parts of you out; it’s how you’ll find who you are. You’ll know. It’s how you get better at being yourself and finding your tribe. Because they’ll get you and make sure you show up for yourself. It’s how you’ll know you matter and feel truly connected. It’s how you shed the weight of your own suppression and find meaning and purpose in your day .

It is what it is…

Right now, I’m thinking of the Hamilton song “The World Turned Upside Down”…

When our life changes overnight – even when the build up’s been there all along – what used to be almost seems like a dream. I wake up asking myself, was it real?

There are memories in my mind, proof in photos and even in conversations with those that shared the same dream with me.
On some days, it feels like poof! Gone, like it was never there. It feels good, bad, and neutral at the same time. Sometimes the bad feels bad because I feel like I should miss that dream more than I do. The good feels good because I’ve learned to take what I got and make something magical out of it. I’ve learned to trust that this is yet another pivotal moment that I’m supposed to be a part of, and I get to decide how.

It is what it is.

I hear this often with a tone that implies, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Yes, and….

Like improv. We get to navigate and play with a new scenario and new information that’s thrown at us. We get to first dictate our own amendments to the constitution by which we lived.

We were built to create something from nothing

When I’m low on food items, missing many of the obvious ingredients to make “the usual,” I can decide to feel put out, or get creative and make something out of what I can find. They often turn out to be the best meals, and my kids are always surprised that something so good came out of “nothing”. Frankly, so am I.

When we let something go, or something lets go of us, there’s something to mourn and feel put out about. There’s hardship. The key ingredients that make up parts of our day are missing. But we can also honor what was good about what we lost by remembering the gifts that came with it. We can take the ingredients that are still there and not let the lessons, and our values and desires that emerged from it, disappear with the loss. We can create something out of what feels like a skeleton that is our life. This is how we change our world. By finding creativity, and something delicious, in the middle of nothing. We’re all built to do it.

My body, my mind, my awareness

I frequently check my shoulders to see if they’re even slightly raised. I place my left hand on my stomach and listen for a moment. I feel for what my heart is feeling. My body tells me things that would take hours, days, weeks, and sometimes years to realize otherwise. It’s a matter of knowing that my intelligent body is there to listen to. A friend pointed out to me that I do this. That I’d say, “My stomach doesn’t like it, ” instead of “I don’t like it.” Or “It hurts my body to hear that [gossip],” instead of “I don’t want to hear that gossip.” Because if I were to be honest with myself, I want to hear that gossip. Because I always recognize the pain in my body first before my mind catches on. My mind is more desensitized. Which means, when I ignore my body signals, my awareness around that topic or event dulls, and by the time my mind catches up to it, it gets stuck and enmeshed in the fear and scarcity of letting go, or in the shame of my complicity, to do anything about it without a lot of digging that I don’t want to do. So I’d rather defend it.

Better to check my body first.

“I’m so inflexible and stressed out, I should do yoga”

To think yoga is to get body-flexible and to manage stressful moments may be missing the point.
True flexibility and stress management comes from the practice of breaking through your own barriers and blind spots, and using your newly honed tools to serve others. Service and advocacy (for oneself and for others) is the ultimate self-care. The practice of yoga places the mirror in front of you, puts you under pressure, and taps you into your internal resources to better navigate those irritations and to overcome yourself so that you can thrive in life and elevate the rest of the world with you.