I told my students this morning that I am feeling nostalgic. They assured me that they are, too. This second annual journey is about to come to a close.
This year has gone much smoother than last year. I am thrilled by the amount of people returning each morning. Everyone feeling the benefit of yoga in their own lives. I encourage people to work to their own ability, and learn to listen to their own bodies.
Whether you are on a mat or in a chair, come to class. Whether you prefer to rest in child's pose or downward dog, come to yoga. if you are brand new or been on your mat for years, come to class :) There are no rules. Everyone is welcome.
I will be teaching throughout the year, of course, but there are only 2 days left for FREE!!!!! YOGA!!!!!!
Week 4 Totals
Organizations-Horace Mann Community Closet, Rainbow Gardens Neighborhood Association, WAWM PTA Council, WA Celebrations Committee, West Allis Special Olympics, St. Johns Breakfast, Interfaith Older Adult
Learning how to sit quietly was the biggest challenge for me in my yoga practice. My mind didn't understand the concept. At all. My thoughts would race, my mind would wander. I would bring it back into focus, only to have it race off somewhere again. And believe me, I still have my days. Just because I'm a yoga teacher doesn't mean I'm immune to my own unique form of crazy :D
This is VERY common. In a world where we are constantly stimulated, it can feel impossible to sit still and be quiet for even a moment.
However, you can train your brain to listen to you. You can train your brain to gently quiet itself, and guide it back when it wanders off again. It takes practice, sometimes for a lifetime. Your brain WANTS to be quiet. It has enough to do without all the chatter :)
Here is an excerpt from a book that really helped me in the beginning, when I was learning how to sit quietly.
Excerpt from: Buddha In Blue Jeans, An Extremely Short Simple Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly and Being Buddha by Tai Sheridan, Ph.D**
Weather-60 & Drizzling (inside)
Students-11, 1 chair, 10 mat
Organizations-St. Johns Breakfast
**Tai Sheridan is the author of several books that helped me on my path. One of them I never even read. The title alone helped bring my entire life into a new perspective. It's called "Relax, You're Going To Die". Somehow, those words helped me realize that this beautiful life is TEMPORARY. We all have a limited time here. Please make the most of it by doing the things that make you happy. Let go of your worry, anxiety and fear, one breath at a time.
Sending LOVE to the Universe <3 <3 <3
(Repost from Year One, Day 5)
Eight beautiful people joined me this morning at Franklin Fieldhouse.
Yoga has given me the very special skill of rooting for EVERYONE I meet. When I drive past strangers on the street who are jogging or biking, or walking their dog, I silently cheer for them. They are out moving their bodies. You go, Lady! Awesome job, dude! I cheer for them because I have finally learned how to cheer for myself.
That's the community I am hoping to build by offering these classes. People who want to cheer for each other, and for themselves. If you need encouragement, I am here, silently (and often verbally) cheering for you.
It's one of my special skills :)
Slowly but surely word is getting out about these classes. It fills my heart with gratitude to see people returning day after day, or arriving for the first time.
All are welcome.
Day 26 Totals-
Weather-65 & Sunny
Organization-WA Special Olympics
Sending LOVE to the Universe, one class at a time
See you tomorrow!
30 Days is quickly coming to a close.....don't miss your chance!!
(Repost Day 25 last year, one of my favorites :) )
I have a friend that used to have that one word written on a post-it, stuck to her computer at work. She put it there to remind herself to take deep breaths every once in awhile. It's advice we can all use;.
When is the last time you took a long, deep, inhale? Had an exhale so full that you felt tension release from your whole body? Learning this classic technique is an easy way to incorporate a deep breath into your day wherever you are.
Please note that the diaphragm is a muscle. If you find this breath technique hard to maintain, you're not alone! Keep at it and soon it will be easier.
A seated position works for this, but I find lying down on my back is the best way to feel my stomach move in and out.
-Place one hand on your belly, one hand on your chest. The hand on the belly should rise and fall with your breath.
-Inhale deeply through the nose, feel the belly push out
-Exhale and feel the belly relax back down
That's it. I recommend 1 - 5 minutes to begin with, adding more time as you can. Lifting the belly away from the body on the inhale engages the diaphragm, flattening it out. It takes a little effort and attention to detail in the beginning, so keep trying!
Day 25 Totals
Weather-62 & Sunny
Students-12, 2 chair 10 mat
Organization-WA Celebrations Committee
Sending LOVE to the Universe!!
(Here's DAY 1 from last year....oh, the nerves I had!!)
I had my alarm set for 5am, but I was still up at 4. Oh, the anticipation. Would
anyone show up?
I got to the field at 7am. No one else was there yet. I spent time sitting in the sunshine, visualizing the class ahead of me. Months of planning, weeks of advertising and passing out flyers, countless deep breaths and it was finally here.
Would anyone show up?
I wanted this series of 30 classes to be successful. Having one person show up to do yoga with me, and feel better in their body and mind....that is success to me. Of course, I want more than one, .I want 100! That's why it's free!
Fourteen people showed up!! Eleven for mat yoga, three for chair yoga, and one who did both!** A wonderful mix of my regular students and newcomers, including two people who never did yoga before! Perfect!
Yoga has been a huge source of healing in my life, and I know that many people out there suffer everyday, either with physical or emotional pain. Yoga helps with both better than anything I have ever tried.
Things yoga has taught me:
To have patience with myself, which helps me have patience with others.
To love myself, which helps me love others
To give is to receive
Please join me one of these days!!
**My student who did both mat and chair yoga today is one of my favorite regulars. She was coming to 3 mat classes and 1 chair class every week before she injured her arm and found out her cancer was back. She hugged me after class, told me she loved me and said "That felt like coming home".
This is why I view what I do as a calling, not a job. I am grateful for the healing powers of yoga. I am grateful for everyone who shows up to a class and leaves feeling better.
Day 24 totals
Weather-60 & Drizzling (inside)
Students- 12, 2 chair, 10 mat
Organization-WAWM PTA Council
Here's the thing about life.
Sometimes it gets too busy to write a blog post a day and you have to let it go for a little while.
I'll be posting totals only for a few days. See you towards the end!
Weather-62 & cloudy
Students-17, 4 chair, 13 mat
Organization-Rainbow Gardens Neighborhood Association
Big things on the horizon...stay tuned!!
Our second to last Saturday felt bright and beautiful after being inside two days in a row,
After making the commitment to catch up on all of blog posts today, I am pleased to say, this is my last one!
In my excitement for getting them done, I forgot to share the...
Week 3 recap:
Money Raised-$270.50 (not too shabby)
Organizations-Aurora Reflections on Wellness For Women, WA Senior Center, JR's Pups & Stuff, WAWM Adaptive Recreation, Student Support Services, Holy Assumption Food Pantry, HEAR Wisconsin
Weather-62 & Sunny
Students-22, 2 chair, 20 mat
Organization-Horace Mann Community Closet
See you tomorrow xoxo
My regulars and I have started feeling nostalgic as the end of 30 days approaches, causing me to reflect on another reason I started this "fundraiser".
The fundraising part of this adventure has been an interesting lesson. My main goal has always been to offer free classes to my community, but I felt that the fundraising idea would attract more people to the event. I've always had the goal of having people return again and again.
Luckily, that has turned out to be the case. Many people who heard about the event through their organization have been returning over and over again, often bringing friends and family with them *GRATEFUL*
Seeing my "regular" student base grow has been tremendously rewarding. Having people take time out of their mornings to improve their physical and mental health has filled me with such a sense of, well, physical and mental health :)
Sending LOVE to the Universe, one class a time xoxo
Weather-56 & COLD (inside)
Students-14, 12 mat, 2 chair
Yet another rainy morning.
There is such a different feeling when you are able to practice out in nature. That wasn't the case for the people who gathered Thursday morning for yoga. It was by far our quietest morning, and our smallest class.
I was so happy to see Lynn, Jessie, Jean and Dianne. These ladies, along with several other folks, have been to almost every morning practice so far.
They are why I teach these classes. YOU are why I teach these classes. To give people a chance to explore their own practice, their own breath. A chance to do yoga consistently in a way that isn't overwhelming.
All your mat asks of you is that you show up. See you tomorrow!!
Weather-60 & Rainy (wah-wah)
Students-4, 3 mat, 1 chair
Organization- Holy Assumption Food Pantry
Here's reason #994 that I love yoga:
Yoga has taught me perseverance. As you know, 30 Days of Yoga is first and foremost a part of my own practice off the mat. Can I commit to something for an extended period of time? Can I be there wholeheartedly, or will it start to feel like work? I am continually working on expanding my attitude of gratitude, which is considered by some to be the highest form of yoga.
Part of my practice for the 30 Days is committing to writing these blog posts. I am currently four posts behind. No one holds me accountable for these posts but myself. They aren't something I am paid for, or have someone waiting to edit. I have decided to keep a post a day as part of my yoga journey with this 30 Days of Summer commitment I have made. A written reminder of the things I struggle with, the things I can do better next year, the memories I want ingrained in my heart forever. I have fallen behind, and am working on getting caught up.
I could choose to rush through, or feel overwhelmed by being so behind.
Instead, I look forward to the feeling I will get when I am done :) Already got one down, three to go.....Gratitude expanded.
Stay tuned xoxo
Weather-65 & Sunny
Students-9, 8 mat 1 chair
Organization-Student Support Services
See you tomorrow!!
You are the answer
I have thrown myself into on-the-job training since before I graduated from Yoga Teacher Training. I take many different classes from many different teachers (thanks, internet) There are multiple branches of yoga, with innumerable variations of each. As a student of yoga, and in turn as a teacher, here are the disciplines that I am drawn to:
Vinyasa Flow-Sun Salutations. Variations on Sun Salutations. Linking movement with breath. Healing the body through the breath and alignment.
Ashtanga Yoga-More regimented, but wonderful for establishing discipline while trying to hold poses. Healing for it's variety of poses, and length of holding them
Kundalini Yoga-The weirdest, most intense yoga I have experienced, focusing on quieting the mind and accessing the invisible energies that flow through all of us. The most powerful "medicine" I have ever had. To be done slowly, gently, with serious attention to detail. This is the yoga that taught me how strong we can be if we practice, practice, practice.
Restorative/relaxation yoga-The lost art of moving slowly and gently with the breath. Of learning how to quiet the rest of the world. Stretching into the body and allowing the mind to clear. Sometimes it's the only thing I can handle in a crazy day.
These types of yoga combined in my head to create my favorite class, Chair Yoga for Healing.
I can't explain Healing Class fully. The level of support that my students give each other is unlike anything I have ever seen. They know when someone is missing for an appointment, they know about each others favorite recipes and grandkids. The way they sign up over and over again to continue to work on their health is very inspiring to me.
They are all there to heal. They are all there because they believe that the body innately knows how to heal, and the more attention they bring to that process, the better.
They believe in the healing power of yoga. So do I. xoxo
Weather-65 & Sunny
Students-8, 7 mat, 1 chair
Organization-WAWM Adaptive Recreation
See you tomorrow! Sending LOVE to the Universe, one class at a time.
(see the schedule and description pages for more info on this and all my classes)