Finding Solid Ground~ A Meditation

Every class I teach and every time I come to my mat I begin with grounding.  A simple, brief meditation that takes only a couple minutes but changes everything.  

There are days I feel like I'm sinking and finding solid ground proves more challenging than other days. Such is the way of life. There are times we just feel off, ungrounded, scattered.  Knowing how to regain our center, to reground, to root our energy can feel like a small miracle. 

The meditation:

First come to your mat, take any seated position, cross legged or whatever is comfortable. Start to focus on your breathe. Let the inhale and exhale be as deep and long as possible, creating a wave like motion with your breathe. Allowing the low belly to rise and fall. Let this rhythmical motion of the breathe begin to soothe and comfort you, like the ocean tide coming in and out. Become aware of your sitting bones and tailbone, feel the sensation of your sitting bones weighted into the floor, into your mat, gently press your sit bones and tailbone into the floor and be aware of an energy at the base of your spine, at your tail bone, draw your pelvic floor muscles slightly in and up to activate the root chakra energy. On your next exhale visualize an energy cord ( a line of energy) coming from your tail bone, through the floor and all the layers of the earth, all the way to core of the earth. Once there, visualize this energy cord rooting into the core of the earth. You could visualize tree roots growing into the core of the earth firmly taking hold, or an anchor dropping into the earth and anchoring you, providing an emotional anchor or an actual energy cord you can plug into the core of the earth could work too. Visualizing your tail bone turning into a literal tail and solidifying with the earth is another visualization. There are many, find one that works for you. It may change from day to day. If it is difficult for you to visualize this at first, don't worry about it, just have the intention that you are consciously grounding your energy into the core of the earth, energy follows intention. The visualization will come with time. Once you feel rooted and grounded, take a deep inhale and grow taller through your spine allowing the crown of your head to lift to the sky.  Here visualize another cord or beam of light (energy) coming from your crown all the way up into the heavens. Connecting with something greater than you, that is part of you, that is your essence. It doesn't matter the name you give it (Source, God, Universe, Spirit  Divine, whatever) what is important is the connection. Find that connection, see it in your mind's eye. On your next inhale draw your arms up to the sky, let your palms meet and come to your heart. Recognizing & honoring the light within your own being. As you also take a moment to honor this light within all beings everywhere by offering a namaste...

Balanced:

Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty simple and can be very insightful as to where you are energetically in this moment. There are days I'm anchoring into sand and it takes some time ( and  focused intention) to turn that sand to concrete and reground myself.  

When we are both rooted and connected, we realign our energy centers. We find our balance and feel centered and grounded within our own energy, creating an energetic boundary of protection. We can serve others and ourselves more effectively from this more grounded and enlightened perspective.  Finding our center and returning to balance allows us to reconnect with our own nature and our own nature is infinite. 

What's the difference between Find Your Joy Yoga and other styles of yoga?

Find Your Joy Yoga is  yoga for the maturing body, mind, spirit. I joke that it's yoga after 40, but it's much more than that really.  It is a spiritual practice that aims to find space in the body through asana. Calm the mind, through meditation and connect with the spirit through breathe and deepened awareness. It is a practice for those who are no longer interested in rockstar poses or contorting their bodies in such a way that leaves them hurting or worse, injured. There are a thousand options out there for a yoga practice that is physically based. There are strong, power vinyasa flow classes in every studio and gym. Find Your Joy Yoga is a different kind of practice.

I created Find Your Joy Yoga because I, being over 40 myself,  wanted to practice in a different way. And I couldn't find a class or style of yoga that was more about connecting with spirit than about getting into difficult poses. That was more of a spiritual practice than a physical one. But I still wanted to flow, to move but more gently, deliberately, with intention rather than attention to "master" a certain pose. 

Yoga for me is a practice. I am always learning, changing, evolving. I do not believe I've "mastered" a single pose, it's not why I practice. And I found I was no longer interested in going into a class with mostly 20 something's doing rockstar poses.  Don't misunderstand me there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be able to do a difficult yoga pose, challenging yourself and finally being able to do a pose you've worked up to. When I first came to yoga in my early 20's I wanted to do those poses too, and I did, most of them. And that was fun, for awhile, but ultimately unfulfilling for me and my practice changed. It became less about asana and more about stillness, tuning into my higher self, connecting with higher consciousness. The practice of asana became a way to truly listen to my body, create openness. 

So for the last 10 years I've been primarily teaching to folks over 50, and I created this style of yoga for my students and for me and for anyone for whom this style and concept resonates with. There are so many styles of yoga, a yoga for everyone. We find a style that suits us given where we are and what we need at the moment and that changes and evolves with time. Then we find the next path that suits us better, helps us grow in perhaps another way.

There's an old yoga saying "the paths are many, the Truth is one." There are unlimited ways to arrive at the same truth,  to reach "samadhi" or enlightened consciousness. One way or another we all will get there. Find Your Joy Yoga is one way. If it resonates with you, practice with us. I'd be honored to share the journey with you.

Namaste

 

Traveling the landscape of grief

For the past 8 months I've been grieving the loss of a primary relationship in my life, my mom. The thing is my mom is not dead. I've been grieving the loss of someone I deeply love who is still alive but for unknown reasons she has shut me, and my sister and our families, out of her life. This has been the single most difficult thing I have ever experienced.  And I've been through some stuff, I am not naive. But the relationship I had with my mom was my one true north. It was always a constant. Reliable, unconditional, connected. Until 8 months ago when she found out the cancer that she had valiantly fought off and won 25 years ago had come back, in her colon. From that point on she said she needed time and space, she needed me to back off, and this was something she needed to do on her own. I went from talking to my mom almost every day to no communication at all. She did not choose to shut my brothers out of her life and that just makes everything more confusing. It's extremely difficult not to take it personally, though I know deep down it's not about me.  

And this is where my yoga practice comes in.  My practice has become a safe space to sit with the pain of loss. The landscape of grief is not tidy, there are no roadmaps but my mat is a place where I cannot hide from it, seek distraction or otherwise look away. It is here I allow it to come in, settle in for a nice game of bridge, talk to it, try to understand it. I cry on my mat a lot these days as I move through this grief.  I do not know how long this process will go on, I only know that without my practice I would be an interminable mess. Some days I am anyway, but mostly when the sadness comes I find my mat. I sit, I move gently through the pain and process it as best I can, allowing it space to move through me.

And epiphanies occur from time to time as I get still and quiet enough to hear the voice of spirit. Yesterday it was this: "On the other side of grief is grace. They reside on the same doorstep. The only way out is through. As the heart opens, it heals.  Practice opening your heart to grace."

And so I do. And it is a practice. A daily one.  I am finding my joy again one day at a time on my mat.

After 20 years, I needed more.

I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years and teaching for 17 of those years. My practice has changed over the years. My body has changed, my mind has too. 20's and 30's something yoga doesn't work for me anymore. I am no longer interested in "rockstar" poses or contorting my body in such a way that leaves me hurting or worse, injured. I'm interested in a practice now that makes me feel good, where I can find joy in the practice of asana, meditation and my life off the mat. I'm interested in creating space in my body, quieting my mind, and letting my ego go on a nice long vacation without me.  If you share this feeling Find Your Joy Yoga is for you.