Monday, Monday. So good to me. :) :) :)
It's always a question how many people will show up for class on any given day. Especially on a Monday. I was delighted to see 14 people show up, including a pregnant lady, a preteen in a cast and a couple of senior citizens!
yep, folks, these classes are for EVERYbody.
I am big on teaching people to listen to their own bodies, modify for what they need and ask questions if they have them! Yoga is the science of moving your body, which means anyone will benefit. Not everyone has the same strength and flexibility, but we all have a universal need to build on what we do have.
See you tomorrow!
Weather 65 sunny (GORGEOUS!)
Organization: WISH Program
14 students, 13 mat 1 chair
Money raised $33
Sunday, July 16th. My 42nd birthday. These classes are a continued gift to myself and my community <3
There are several quotes on my website. Some from fellow yogis, some from authors. Each were picked carefully and have been a true lesson to me. I used a couple in class today....
"Yoga is not about touching your toes. It's about what you learn on the way down"-Unknown
This speaks to the beginner in my heart. It supports the yogic attitude of being interested in how you feel, versus how you look. Sometimes, just showing up for class is the hard part. The benefits of moving your body are immeasurable.
"Whatever you do in life, yoga helps you do it better"-Chuck Miller
Yoga helps you cultivate a calm mind and attention to detail. That combination translates off the mat as a calm mind and attention to detail :) The effects of yoga are cumulative....the more you do, the more benefit you will see.
28 days left......
12 students, 1 chair, 11 mat
Money Raised $45
And so it begins.....My Second Annual Pay-it-Forward to the Universe.
Do you love your job so much you're willing to work the early morning shift, 30 days in a row, for free?
I'm lucky enough that I do :)
Here is your official invitation to the 2nd Annual 30 Days of Summer Yoga, where I teach 30 days in a row as a way to bring health and happiness to my community through movement and breath.
Last year, my theme was "building confidence". For a chick with a life-long relationship with anxiety, it was a big step to be that committed to something.
This year, my theme is simply "gratitude". An unexpected side-effect of my yoga practice was this overwhelming need to give back, to pay it forward, and sometimes, to sit silently in awe of my blessings. And then work hard for more :)
During this 30 days, I will be guiding people through a simple, 45 minute practice each morning. Come cultivate your own connection to mind and body, your own "Attitude of Gratitude". It's free...what more do you need?
Day One Organization-
West Allis-West Milwaukee Healthy Lifestyles Coalition
12 students, 2 chair, 10 mat
Money raised, $36
Inspired by the love I have seen pouring out through the yoga community, an open letter to the world….
Dear Everyone in the Universe,
(Yes, I mean you)
In a world, not just a country, that feels so divided right now, let me tell you…
I love you.
I love you no matter what you believe in, who you support, or who you pray to.
I love you no matter who you love, where you live, or what you look like.
I love you no matter how different you are from me, and no matter how alike.
I love you because I know that you are a person, trying to get through the day, just like I am.
Whether I know you or not, whether we ever meet or not, I love you, because we are all connected
Healing hugs all around,
What's a good pose for....?
As a yoga teacher, I am often pulled aside before or after class by someone asking the above question. The most common culprits? Back pain, stress and headaches.
Here are my top three yoga "prescriptions".
Good for: Depression, anxiety, upper and lower back pain, digestion, headache and insomnia.
Depending on position, this pose is a great stretch for either the lumbar spine and sacrum, or the upper back and shoulders. It also offers a gentle stretch to the hips, thighs and ankles.
By pressing your forehead into your mat, arms or hands, you are signalling your nervous system to quiet down. This is a great way to start to conquer anxiety, depression and insomnia. Slow, deep breathing in this pose offers steadiness and grounding.
-Why I Love Child's Pose
This pose is a forward fold, making it a wonderful way to bring your focus inward. It takes time to learn mindfulness, and this is one of the best postures I know to help with that. It is also great because of the countless ways you can modify, making it accessible to almost everyone. (i.e. Sitting at a table with your head resting on your hands is a nice modification for people with knee issues)
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Good For: Fatigue, stress, blood pressure, digestion, and back pain
Good For-Low back pain, sciatic pain, hip flexibility, digestion
Our final day...in pictures....xoxo
Weather-74 & Sunny
Students-4 chair, 11 mat
Organization-WA Special Olympics
"Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees"-BKS Iyengar
Weather-72 & Rainy (class inside)
Students-3 chair, 11 mat
Final day tomorrow....8am :)
It was a dark and stormy morning, but we still managed to find some zen :)
A lot of my co-workers braved the rain and early hour to show up in support of the WAWM Recreation Departments "Champion For A Child" scholarship fund, which sponsors low-income children to participate in youth sports programs.
Week 4 Totals Totals to Date
80 students taught (new & returning) 328 students taught (new & returning)
$286.36 raised $1069.03 raised
7 organizations helped 28 organizations helped
Weather-68, raining & humid
Students-3 chair, 14 mat
Organization-WAWM "Champion for a Child"
Only 2 classes left! What are you waiting for? :)
We're in the home stretch :)
These classes began as a way for me to challenge myself. Teaching 30 classes in 30 days, plus keeping up with my regular schedule was going to be marathon physically and mentally. That's a lot of classes to design and teach. I am pleased to say that I did it with tons of enthusiasm. And there were only two mornings that I felt like sleeping in :)
Today was one of them.
It's a five minute drive from my house to the field. I usually spend that time focusing on the class ahead, centering myself so I can help others find their center. On the very rare occasion that I find myself in need of a little extra oomph, I ask the universe for help, for inspiration. Once I did that, the very next person I saw was one of my students, walking to class from her house. That moment was awesome. Someone was walking, spending time outside, on her way to my class. This was exactly why I offered these classes. To inspire people to move a little and feel a little better. Suddenly, I felt much more awake :)
Only three more classes left xoxo
Weather-72 & Sunrising :)
Students-2 chair, 6 mat
Organization-Wilson Elementary PTA
Scenes from the yoga field :)
Has yoga helped you in your life? Comment below :)
See you tomorrow....
Weather-72 & Sunny
Students-2 chair, 6 mat
Organization:West Milwaukee Intermediate
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!
Weather 68 & Sunny
Students-2 Chair, 6 mat
Organization-WAWM Special Education
West Allis. My hometown. My backyard. The place where I grew up. The place I left when I was 20 and returned when I was 35. The community I've spent the last month or so raising money for.
As these classes start to come to a close, I'm feeling nostalgic. I've been having the time of my life, learning almost as much as I am teaching. I've taught new students and returning students, friends, neighbors, and loved ones. My dad, sister and cousin have all been there. The love of my life has been there all but five days. The community support has been amazing. I've spent an hour outside in the morning every day for a month! What could be better?
I wanted to create some momentum with this series of classes, offer yoga in a way that made it hard to say no. I wanted people in my community to feel better in body, mind & mood. I wanted to give people a way to give back to their community.
So far, so good :)
Weather-66 & Calm
Students-2 chair, 6 mat
Money Raised $18
Our final day is fast approaching. Only seven classes remain.
West Allis Special Olympics is the benefitting organization for Day 30. I would like to close this event with a bang and raise lots of money for this worthwhile cause.
A description from their Facebook page....
About West Allis Special Olympics:
SOWI Agencies consist of a local group of individuals with intellectual disabilities who wish to train and compete in Special Olympics, as well as an Agency Management Team willing to organize safe, quality training for these athletes.
As I am hoping for a large turnout made up of lots of different body types:
-Set up will be on the east end of the field, which is more accessible to wheelchairs**
-There will be pop-up tents to provide shade for those who want it.
-Most yoga poses will be accessible to those in chairs, wheel or otherwise. I will be spending extra time planning this class....expect breathing and visualization exercises, and lots of spinal flexes. And maybe some dancing :)
If you have any questions or comments, please post them here.
**There is a long, cement ramp that leads down to the field. Once the ramp ends, expect there to be a short distance to the class site over mostly level grass
It was hips, hips, hips this morning.
A hip-opening class is a popular choice for most yoga teachers. Why? Because everyone needs to work on hip flexibility. It's universal. The ball and socket joint of the hip has a potential to have almost 360 degree flexibility. Most of us reach nowhere near that. Taking the time to release tension in the hips also benefits the low back, another popular hot spot in the body.
Today's organization was the WAWM Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, which promotes physical activity through the West Allis Moves 30-A-Day Mayors Challenge**
Weather-70, cloudy but hopeful
Students-1 chair, 9 mat
Organization-WAWM Healthy Lifestyles Coalition
** Funny Little Sidebar....
On the official West Allis, WI website, Mayor Devine gives 30 ways to move 30 minutes a day.
#28 is "Do yoga for free at 30 Days of Yoga at the Franklin Field House July 16-August 14 sponsored by the WAWM Recreation Department"
Also sponsored by me <3
Oh, what a beautiful morning....
The theme of today's class was "let it go".
Inspired by a breathing technique called "cannon breath" (or as I like to call it "big sigh of relief"), I incorporated a series of deep breaths throughout class.
Physically, this type of breathing lifts and engages the diaphragm, strengthening it on the inhale. On the exhale, the breath is released in a gush, squeezing the belly and bottom ribs in, helping expel stagnancy that tends to linger there.
Energetically, the "sigh of relief" is meant to be just that, relieving. Especially effective if you envision a particular moment in your life that you are ready to move on from. A mistake or regret, or even a physical injury. Something that may have happened long ago, but remains prominent in your mind.
Inhale the good, exhale the bad. Let it go. <3 Til tomorrow....
Weather-75, Sunny & Warm
Students-4 chair, 17 mat
Organization-Hunger Task Force
(plus lots of non-perishable food items)
Time flies when you're having fun. Only 9 classes left!
The numbers grew a lot this week. Saturdays have had the best turnout. Day 15 was our biggest day so far, with 31 students attending and $227.76 raised for Disabled American Veterans, Local Chapter #19. This is going exactly as I imagined :)
Week 3 Totals
Students Taught-93 (new and returning)
Organizations Helped- 7
Totals To Date
Students Taught-248 (new and returning)
These classes have been a huge learning opportunity for me, and I am so pleased by the feedback I have been getting. I am looking forward to next year already :)
Weather-66 & Cloudy
Students-2 chair, 5 mat
This event continues to be a way for me to help the world around me the only way I know how. I am offering these classes because yoga is the first thing that worked for me.
If I may get personal for a moment...
I turned 41 a couple of weeks ago. I spent the first 38 years of my life knowing I was miserable, but not knowing how to fix it. I went to doctor after doctor, symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain plaguing my every waking moment. I was bitter, defensive and constantly complaining about my life.
At the time I found yoga, I was on five prescription medications:
(in order of how I eliminated them from my life)
-nerve pain pill (Topiramate)
-muscle relaxant (Baclofen)
-pain pill (Hydrocodone)
-sleep aid (Ambien)
-antidepressant (many, I can't remember what the last one was)
Five daily medications, and I was more miserable than ever. They weren't helping because they weren't what I needed.
During my first year of doing yoga, I slowly started eliminating medications from my life**. I am not going to pretend it was easy, but I was determined to start living a chemical free life. Weaning off of some of them was emotionally and physically hard. I've had many moments when I didn't want to keep trying, when I just wanted to slip back into my old ways. It's a process, but one that becomes continually easier as you go along.
Moving my body & learning to pay attention to what it was telling me became my new way of life. Bringing flexibility to my hips and spine brought calm to my heart and mind. Learning to focus on my body helped me direct and quiet my thoughts. Sitting quietly with my thoughts became a joy instead of something I avoided at all costs.
I am in constant gratitude for how I have changed my life.
There are ten classes left. If there is something in your life that you want to move on from, I invite you to come to a class. Learn to listen to your heart, mind & gut. You will be amazed by what happens.
Weather-70 & Sunny
Students-2 chair, 8 mat
Money Raised $22
**Please note that my path is my path. I am not advising you to stop taking your medication. I am only suggesting you begin a regular yoga, exercise and/or meditation practice and see where it leads you. Attend to yourself with love <3
Day 19. Whew. The marathon continues.....
It was a quiet, still morning for class today. 6:15 seems to be a time of transition right now. For the first two weeks of these classes, we always heard the birds chirping quite fiercely, the sun well on the rise. This week, things have become more still. The sun is rising a little later each day, and the time of "dawn" is changing. Instead of just birds, we have also been hearing the chirp of crickets, which is a nighttime sound. The days are getting shorter......
Get out and enjoy the sunshine while you still can! :)
I teach a pose called "Standing Superhero" each morning. It is a great pose to begin to build mindfulness,. Mindfulness is something that takes practice, but is the best tool I know to ease anxiety, worry and stress. It brings you fully into the moment, the only place where life exists.
How to enjoy a quiet moment in the sun (aka Standing Superhero:))
-Find a quiet piece of earth somewhere, the backyard, a park, a garden
-If possible, slip off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the earth
-Lift your face to the sunshine, feet planted hip distance or greater
-Bring fists to hips, slide knuckles back, lift the sternum and start taking expansive breaths
-Inhale, feel your lungs, chest and heart lift and grow
-Exhale, imagine all of your weight coming to the bottoms of your feet, anchoring you in place
This pose lifts energy and confidence :) Repeat as necessary
Weather-70, still and warm
Students-2 chair, 8 mat
I just finished taking a 45 minute hip opening class. It's the first time I've done yoga for myself since the start of this fundraiser.
Before the fundraiser, I was teaching five classes a week and had two days off in a row. I was pretty consistent with my personal yoga and meditation practice. Once the fundraiser started, I was suddenly teaching twelve classes a week without a day off. I am loving every moment of it. :) However, that meant that I was tired. I was moving my body so much more than before and therefore, I found excuses to not put in the time for myself.
Tonight I felt the need to return to my mat. What a relief. To take deep breaths and listen to words of wisdom and self care while stretching my body. To bring my focus to myself for a while. It's a lesson I've had to learn over and over.
Stop. Take some time to care for yourself. Slow your breath down, slow your body down. It's always worth it.
Only 12 classes left.....Come take some time to breathe and slow down xoxo
Weather-68 & Sunny
Students-2 chair, 10 mat
We decided today's class would be called "Soggy, Foggy & Groggy".
When we arrived at 6:15, there was fog on the field and fog in our brains as we stepped onto the damp grass. Being Monday, we were all a little tired from the weekend.
The beautiful thing about exercising in the morning is that it lifts the groggy right out of you. After just 45 minutes of slow, gentle movement, everyone left feeling energized and ready to get on with the day. We were still a little soggy though......
Only thirteen classes left....hurry!
Weather-66, Soggy & Foggy
Students-2 chair, 4 mat
It was a beautiful day in my neighborhood :)
Sunshine makes me happy...lots of humor and love lead the way today as fifteen people gathered at Franklin Fieldhouse to stretch and breathe.
Today's class started with a brief guided love meditation that brought everyone's attention to their own heart. Yoga has taught me is that we all need more love in our lives, and it starts with loving ourselves. Take a breath and give yourself a mental high five. YOU ARE AWESOME!
Today's organization was Reflections of Wellness for Women, an Aurora Group that is in its' seventeenth year. Every year, the group hosts a self-care expo, promoting health and wellness.
The adventure continues.....
Weather-74 & SUNNY
Students-2 chair, 13 mat
Organization-Reflections of Wellness
What a day for a daydream.....
Blue is the color of the throat chakra. When I need a boost of confidence, I wear my blue tank top. I woke up this morning thinking I would say a few words to my students about how these classes are going so far. We are exactly halfway through the fundraiser; fifteen classes behind us, fifteen classes to go. Little did I know that I would be speaking to so many people!
Thirty-one people showed up for class today. Some were in a chair, some were on a mat. People of all ages, sizes and abilities. Teenagers, seniors, and everyone in between. Tears came to my eyes when I saw everyone relaxing in child's pose. This was exactly what I envisioned when I started planning these classes.
"If you want something, give it"-Deepak Chopra
I wanted to find a way to help the people right in front of me, the people living in my community. The thing that I am good at, the thing that I love, is yoga. That is why I am teaching these classes, to allow people to come and try it again and again for free if necessary. There are 15 classes left....now's your chance!!
It was awesome to see eight people show up today, in spite of the cloudy weather.
The coming weekend looks beautiful and sunny :)
In the last week, eighty people have joined me on the field. We have raised $182.00 for West Allis organizations, including the Senior Center and five different PTA's. I am grateful people are feeling benefit from these classes and are coming back for more :)
Almost halfway through...see you soon!
Weather- 67 & cloudy
Students-3 chair, 5 mat
Only 17 more chances to join me for free sunrise yoga :)
Benefits of practicing yoga outside in the early morning....
*Cultivates a feeling of connection and peace
*Gentle movement loosens muscles that tend to stiffen overnight
*By taking care of yourself first thing, it's easier to make healthier choices throughout the rest of the day
*Connecting with nature is very grounding, encouraging a sense of calm that continues
*Focusing on breath and body allows greater concentration
Weather-68 & Sunny
Students-2 chair, 5 mat
We raised $18 for Jefferson Elementary today. To me, that's a victory. To me, the eleven people who showed up this morning are heroes. When people find out about these classes, the first question I hear is "why"? Why am I doing this and why is it free?
It's because I am absolutely convinced that yoga saved my life. For most of my life, I was depressed, miserable and angry. I was tired, hurting and bloated. I spread negativity wherever I went. Although It didn't happen overnight, adding yoga to my life took me from the saddest person I know to the happiest. I put a lot of work in. It has all been worth it and I truly want to share it with everyone around me. I'm not unique. It will work for you, too!
New to yoga? Come to a class. If you don't like me as a teacher, please find another teacher. Really. :) We sit and breathe and learn to love ourselves in my classes and I realize that approach doesn't work for everyone. However, yoga WILL work for you, I promise! There are many types of yoga and many wonderful teachers out there. Find a teacher you connect with, someone who inspires you to come back for more, someone who tells you things you already knew, but needed to be reminded of :)
I close every class with the words "thank you for taking the time to take care of yourself". I know it's a choice to show up to an exercise class. I know that there is often something else to do. I also know that once you start to show yourself a little love, magical things happen. :)
Questions & comments are always welcome :) See you tomorrow!
Weather- 72 & Sunny
Students-2 chair, 9 mat