Category Archives: People & Things I Love

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How I called my Baby In: A special guest feature on the power of yoga and fertility.

A note from Jennifer:

When I met Kira, she was taking my morning yoga classes, and I thought she was bright, sweet and really excited about yoga. She had good questions and was curious about what she could do beyond medical intervention for increasing her chances of pregnancy. I told her about the many successes I had with female clients through my Inner Wisdom Sessions. She accepted and set up a session with me. It was in a session that I told her to call her baby in. Fertility & Yoga for Fertility is so much about creating a space for our babies in our physical bodies, our minds and our emotions. During that time, she enrolled to do the Inner Wisdom training, and became pregnant during her training. It was a remarkable time to see the liberation and stress lifted off her shoulders. Here is Kira’s story, I hope you will pass this along to anyone you might know that can benefit from her story and fertility yoga practice. 

Kira’s Story

kira prego

“When are you going to have a baby?”

I used to dread that question. How I would react was entirely based on where I was emotionally that day. I may have gotten enraged. I may have crumbled into tears or I may have gotten on my soapbox and given that person a dissertation on why that question is so hurtful to ask someone that is struggling with infertility.

This journey with infertility has been an emotional roller coaster.

It has been both physically and emotionally the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my entire 33 years. It also changed my life forever and not for the reasons you are thinking.
My journey started in 2012. I got married in July. I had gone off of the pill a few months prior to our wedding. Being 29, almost 30, Justin and I wanted to start a family fairly quickly. We came home from our honeymoon and I got my period. There was definitely a little twinge of sadness but I told myself that we would full on try next month and it would happen soon. I just knew it.
Well, next month came and went, then the next and the next and the next. Soon it had been half a year and the process was starting to affect me. I kept our struggle to myself mostly. When people would ask “When are you going to have a baby?” I would usually lie and say we weren’t ready yet or we wanted to enjoy each other as husband and wife for a little while.

I had a really good script when people asked me, but inside I would fall to pieces.

At the beginning of 2013 I told myself that I was starting the year fresh with no baggage from the past 6 months. I was going to lighten my stress, take care of my body and mind. I had read so much about yoga and how yoga could help with stress relief, and I so badly needed that. My life was one big ball of stress. My family was challenging, work was challenging and I was struggling to keep it together amidst the stress of disappointment every single month.

I, like so many people, was so intimidated to go to a yoga class. My ego had told me I was too fat, not strong enough, not flexible enough, over all not good enough. So I booked a private yoga lesson. It was ok. Just ok. The teacher gave me some basic stretches to help with the tension in my shoulders and hamstrings but I left feeling the same way I walked in. I got in the car and just fell to tears. I was discouraged. I thought that my stress was too big for yoga to help. I drove home barely being able to see through the tears. Next month came, then the next month, then the next month, then the next and still no baby.

It was now the end of April 2013 and the weather was breaking. For whatever reason I was drawn back to yoga. In my mind though, it wasn’t for stress relief. It was because the weather was getting warmer and I wanted to make my body look a little better for the coming months of warm weather. I went back to Awaken Yoga Studio, the same studio that I had taken the private lesson and took a Hatha yoga class. Throughout class I would get very emotional at random times, in random poses. I just brushed it off as insecurity.

The following week I took a Hatha class taught by Jennifer Langsdale and the same thing happened emotions would come up at various times during class. After class I stayed after to ask her what was happening and if it was normal. Jenn kind of chuckled and told me that it was a good thing that I was so in tune with my body. She gave me a basic education about how certain asanas, a.k.a poses, could stimulate energy centers in the body and cause emotions to arise. As the tears were welling up I quickly said thank you and ran out to my car to cry. From that moment on I was hooked. I was becoming a yogini, but still no baby.

In June, Justin and I decided to go and talk to a fertility specialist just to see what he had to say. It had been a year of trying, and I was so ready for this doctor to fix me. We went to the appointment. He assured us that we were young and really hadn’t been trying that long compared to many of his other patients. I know he was trying to comfort me but I did not find comfort in those words. He ordered and internal ultra sound, blood work and a Hysterosalpingogram also called HSG test and sperm analysis for Justin.

The results were back a few days later and the nurse practitioner called to schedule a time when we could come in and discuss a plan moving forward. So we went. She told us that I would be very fertile this month because of the HSG test and my ultrasound and blood work looked great. She went over Justin’s sperm analysis and most of it looked good with the exception of the Morphology which is the percentage of sperm that have a “normal” shape. She assured us that this wouldn’t prevent us from getting pregnant it would just make it a little more difficult. They decided to put me on a fertility drug to create the optimum ovulation scenario so that the environment would be perfect for the sperm. We left scared but optimistic. Then next month came, then the next month, then the next and still no baby.

Late 2013, and we were back in the fertility center with the nurse practitioner’s office cultivating another plan. This time the plan is to switch fertility medications, have me come in day 12 of my cycle for an internal ultrasound to check my ovulation, and then if the time is right, give myself an injection to control the egg and get it to ovulate. Then we would go in for Intrauterine insemination or IUI which is when they insert a catheter and then inject the sperm directly through the cervix.

Sounds so romantic right?

They suggested we do this for up to 4 months assuming I will get pregnant sometime in that time frame. Month one….Month two…Month three…Month four….still no baby.

At this point yoga had become my sanity.

I needed it. My body craved it. It was truly the only way I could have handled all of that without losing it and having some sort of mental breakdown. I had begun to be more open about my struggles. Confiding in friends, clients and family I found that I wasn’t alone. So many of the people in my life began to share their experiences. I began to feel like I had a tribe, that I had support. It didn’t make each month easier but at least I had so many people to talk to that would just send me love and compassion.

My relationship with my husband was beginning to be affected by this stress. Sex was no longer intimacy it was just a means to an end. We knew when we had to do it and we did. There was no romance anymore. It was strictly business. We pulled away from each other for a little while and it took its toll. No one ever talks about this component to the infertility struggle. That is why I am including it. It is important to know that this is a normal yet difficult side effect of going through infertility trouble.

In early 2014 I had inquired about some healing arts at Awaken to help with our infertility struggle. I initially asked about Reiki. The teacher I was talking to said that Reiki was very healing but I should really consider Inner Wisdom Yoga Therapy with Jenn. Jennifer took me on a journey through my chakra system. My third visit was my sacral chakra or Svadhishthana chakra. This is our emotional space, our creative space and our space of fertility and new life. This session was powerful. It was completely closed off. All I saw and felt was black knots. It became emotional when my potential child came up and I could see her. Yes her, but I didn’t know how to call her in. It was spiritual and powerful and emotional.

I continued to do the self-work that was suggested in my sessions and continued my yoga practice. I practiced yoga several times a week. I used crystals and essential oils to help aid in healing my womb. I worked through years of emotional baggage that was not serving me and needed to be let go. I spent time meditating and working with mantras to help me accept what I couldn’t change and move on. I drank herbal tea that was specifically formulated to increase fertility. In this process I learned how to call my baby in. To do that I needed to heal from emotional trauma and learn coping skills to allow me to handle life’s stress. I learned so much about myself in that process. It was an invaluable learning time in my life. I am so grateful to have had it.

After my 4th IUI I was still not pregnant. I went back in to see the doctor. In an emotional appointment, he and I discussed a plan of two more months of IUI and then we would have the discussion about Invitro fertilization or IVF.

I left feeling defeated.

In March 2014 I began my training to become a Inner Wisdom practitioner and had my 6th and final IUI, which the doctor told us was going to be null and void basically because they had missed my ovulation completely.

The training was beyond emotionally taxing. I had to bare my soul to learn how to connect to all of my chakras as well as receiving numerous Inner Wisdom Sessions from my classmates. In my second weekend of classes I was particularly emotional. Jenn was guiding us through a healing energy meditation. She guided us to weave this healing energy through our chakras starting at our root and slowly moving up the body. When I reached my sacral chakra I saw this little gold bindu of light shining in that space. I didn’t really think much of it and dismissed it. I finished up the weekend of classes an emotional wreck crying over everything. Still no baby?

Easter Sunday, I was at the point in my cycle that an early pregnancy test should show results. I had taken so many of them I just expected it would be a no. When I looked down I saw a faint line where the pregnant line should be. I stood there stunned. I couldn’t believe it. Medically it was the least likely time for it to have happened. When the doctor told us we missed the window I just thought this month was a wash.

But it happened! It happened when it wasn’t medically likely. It happened when I was completely immersed in yoga and yoga therapy. I did the work. I opened my womb and I called my baby in. I had no idea I was doing it but I was. I called in my girl. I just knew it was a girl.

Justin and I were ecstatic! We were having a baby!!

I had a beautiful pregnancy and delivery. I have the sweetest baby girl that I could ever imagine. I am on this path to help other women that are having fertility problems and western medicine alone just isn’t enough. This is my calling.

I am on this planet to help women before, during and after pregnancy. I had to go through all of that pain and emotion to prepare me for my purpose and passion. I 100% believe that without yoga I would still be struggling to get pregnant and suffering through more painful medical procedures. Yoga saved me. Yoga enlightened me. Yoga showed me my purpose. Yoga showed me my passion. I am eternally grateful.

Kira is now a Certified Inner Wisdom Practitioner and Hatha Yoga Teacher at Awaken Yoga in Mentor, Ohio. She lives near the studio with her wonderful husband and adorable daughter, Lila.

Click here for Jennifer and Kira’s Fertility Yoga Practice

A Passion for Poetry

A Special Guest Blog: A Passion for Poetry

I am so inspired by the people I meet. If I had not met the people I have in my life, I would not be who or where I am today. One such person is my dear friend Melanie Livengood. I know, who gets a last name like that??? Melanie wrote a poem for my wedding, and has been published in some various things, like the We’Moon calendars, which for a rockin goddess gal like myself was a huge accomplishment! Here is a sampling of her thoughts to inspire you and more guest blogs to come each month!

Writer’s Muse

The soft lines of a blooming orchid
Sunlight filtered through fall leaves
The sharp wail of a newborn baby
The tears of a widow who grieves
The way my heart swells, full of love
And the pain when it’s been broken
The excitement pulsing through my body
When something inside has woken
All these things inspire me
To capture my thoughts while they linger
For I was born with ink in my blood
And a pen tip on my finger

Magic

Dance enchanting
Swaying, twirling
Flame and smoke tails
Rising, curling
Drumbeat, heartbeat
Rhythmic pounding
Feel the circle
Growing, rounding
Energies are
Bursting, growing
Inspiration
Freely flowing

melanieMelanie Livengood is a poetess, mama, wife, and Northeast Ohio native who finds inspiration in both the extraordinary and the mundane. She’s been writing poetry almost as long as she’s been able to hold a pencil, and it brings an incredible amount of peace and joy to her life. She has been blessed with opportunities to share her poetry through vehicles such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the We’Moon 2010 daily planner, and now this incredible and lovely blog.

 

Facing Your Fears

Facing your Fears: A Special Guest Blog by Alison Magyari

My yoga journey started unexpectedly when I popped in to my first yoga class in 2008. At the time, no one in my life practiced yoga and I had really no idea what it was. I had always associated yoga with a physical workout, similar to Pilates and was hoping for a good core workout to begin to strengthen my back.

I never expected that one class to ignite a fire in me that would lead to a path of learning more about what yoga truly was and how it goes much deeper than physical postures. Never would I have imagined that I would dive in so deeply that I would want to share my passion of yoga with others and become a yoga teacher. Never would I have imagined that it would lead me down a path of beginning the journey of self-realization and understanding myself and difficult circumstances as lessons and blessings more and more each day.

One of the most difficult struggles on my path has been my physical body. In 1999, I had a Spinal Fusion, covering my entire lumbar and thoracic spine to correct an advanced case of scoliosis. At first, I was grateful to have had the opportunity to have the surgery and correct my spine. However, that gratefulness switched in my late teens and early 20s to a bitterness about my physical body. I was embarrassed of my 20” scar. I hated that I couldn’t round my back. I was scared of how stiff my body felt & how out of touch I was with it. I resented that I had a hard time twisting to look over my shoulder when reversing in my car. My back became my enemy.

In the past few years, as I have continued to practice yoga & began teaching, I realized I had it all wrong. Through yoga, I have slowly seen how having this surgery was part of my path. It was my weak core from my back surgery that brought me in to my first yoga class to begin with. It is my back that has helped me to realize the need for & start my path of self-acceptance. It is my back that has helped me learn more about the ego and how I can practically teach others about the ego in my classes. It is my back that made me look deeper in to what Pantanjali said the purpose of a yoga posture is. It made me examine what “non-attachment” really means & how I can practice it. Lastly, my back has made me a more effective teacher my allowing me to have more compassion and understanding for people with physical issues that may limit their physical practice but can gain the understanding of other branches of yoga more deeply.

The negativity I had associated with my back surgery has slowly melted away and made me realize it was a part of my path. It has helped me, and continues to help me, learn the lessons that I need to learn & gives me an avenue to share those lessons with others.

To begin with, my back has helped to teach me that I needed to start down the path to find self-acceptance. Since my surgery, I had always realized that I physically cannot move or bend in any way that I would like. I knew this, but had a hard time accepting it. I’ve been able to get almost everything that I have wanted in my life by setting a goal and working towards it. With my back, I cannot always do this. Even if I set a goal of going in to a full wheel pose, with a perfect bend in my spine, I know this is something that I cannot ever physically accomplish. I have to accept where I am in my body. I can go into a wheel pose- but my own expression of it. It may never be showcased in Yoga Journal, but it is where I am.

This self-acceptance has made me cultivate more compassion for myself. If a student came in to my class with a spinal fusion and couldn’t get in to a backbend, would I judge them? Would I think that they’re not “good” at yoga? Would I be embarrassed that their pose didn’t look like others in the class? Absolutely not. That would be ridiculous. So why do that to myself?

Instead, wouldn’t I have shown that student compassion & have been impressed that they were trying, even with a physical limitation? Of course.

To me, that is self-acceptance. It is seeing yourself through someone else’s perspective. I am able to teach students this concept, too, by having them think of something that they don’t like about themselves, or something they’re critical of themselves for, and realizing that self-acceptance is key.

My back has also taught me about the ego and how to control the ego. For me, the ego is that little voice in the back of my mind judging myself, comparing myself to others, and criticizing. The ego is the judging voice saying “You look ridiculous! People are probably wondering what’s wrong with you!” “Look how easily she can get in to that pose – why can’t you?!”

For a long time, I struggled even coming to classes because I was embarrassed. My negative ego was unrelentless. One day after class, after feeling embarrassed for the whole class, I was reading one of my favorite books called “Daily Guidance from your Angels,” by Doreen Virtue. It’s a daily meditation books that sets a theme for the day. The passage for that day was called “Have Patience with Yourself,” and one line of it said, “You’re much too hard on yourself at times! You’ve come such a long way, and yet you chastise yourself for not going fast or far enough.” These words rang so true with me. It made me realize that the negative ego needed to stop. It was holding me hostage to advancing in my practice. It was creating stories & lies in my head.

I realized that my back wasn’t something I should be embarrassed of or hide from. When I started telling people that I had a spinal fusion, I was met with praise for my practice rather than criticism. I have read the “Have Patience with Yourself,” passage many times in class and have embedded the lesson of the negative ego in the classes that I have taught, and have been told countless times by students that it is exactly what they needed to hear. I can relate and help students move past the negative ego because it’s something I’ve gone through, too.

During my 200-hour training, I had a “ah-ha” moment when I read Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras and it said in 2:46, “Yoga should be steady and comfortable.” I never had thought of it like that. I had always equated being “good” at yoga as to having the perfect asana practice. What I realized with my back is that I can go as far as I can go, and as long as I’m stable and comfortable, I am where I need to be in my yoga practice. I can keep progressing and going deeper in to my body and gain steadiness and comfort in a pose, than I’m progressing. When I see students who try to force themselves to go deeper and deeper in to a pose, which I know is causing them more harm than good, I remind them of this sutra.

My back has also taught me, and continues to teach me, more & more about no-attachment. When I first started yoga, I felt like I had something to prove, so I would only go to Vinyasa classes. I was attached to the thought that if you went to Vinyasa classes, you were the picture of health and it was what you “should do,” if you wanted to advance your practice. I often thought that gentle or restorative classes were for people who weren’t physically fit or had physical issues. I didn’t want to be associated with that. I didn’t want people to think that because of my back I was injured or incapable.

I kept exclusively goingto only Vinyasa class until one day in my 200-hour training, when we were doing a pranayama practice followed by a restorative practice, that there was power in stillness, too. I felt so amazing after the practice. I felt calm and clear-headed. My body felt pain free and I felt like I had taken a nap and been given a massage at the same time. I realized that I had been pushing myself so hard in Vinyasa classes, that often I left with my mind busier than ever and my body sore & beat up feeling. I had been so attached to trying to prove that I was healthy, that I had only let myself experience one tiny part of yoga. This experience has helped me to encourage students in my classes to branch out and try a different style than they’re used to. Also, at the end of my slow flow classes, I often try to work in one restorative pose or a form of pranayama to give the students a little taste of the other forms of yoga that are out there.

Lastly, my back has helped me become a better teacher because it has truly made me more compassionate and more understanding of other people. Just as I was struggling when started my yoga practice, I know other students may be, too. If I didn’t have my back surgery, I’m not sure I could relate as easily to students who may have physical limitations.

We all have a story.

When students confide in me that they’ve had an injury or are going through something, I meet them with understanding and compassion. It’s brave to tell others something about yourself that you may be struggling with or insecure about. If someone isn’t able to do something in class, no matter how “easy” the pose may seem, I always remember, our bodies are all different.

We all have limitations.

My cat/cow looks different from others since I can’t move my spine. That might seem “easy,” to one person, but for me, it’s something that I simply cannot do, and that’s okay. Why would I judge anyone else? It has also made me realize how lucky I am. I was able to be cured. I am able to do 99% of everything I’ve never wanted to do. Some students aren’t as lucky and have illnesses, injuries or diseases that can’t be cured or are incredibly difficult to live with.

When I was searching for my 200-hour training program, I talked to many studios. One studio that I talked to, when I told them about my back, asked me, “Well, you can’t curve your spine? How do you expect to teach? What CAN you do?” I knew immediately that wasn’t the training program for me and that is not the way that I wanted to teach when I finished my certification.

Sometimes it scares me that if I didn’t have my back surgery, would I have ended up getting my certification there with a teacher who had no compassion and was judgmental? When I told another teacher at a different studio about this, she said, “We all have poses we can’t do and just because you can’t physically get in to a pose doesn’t mean you can’t teach it and teach it well and inspire others.” I knew that she was my teacher and that was a lesson that I needed to learn and a lesson that I wanted to make sure that I taught to others in the future. My back helped me to learn to have compassion and understanding with everyone.

While my spinal fusion has been a struggle in my life, I also count it as one of my greatest lessons and a big part of my journey. It’s been a huge part of the lessons that I have needed to learn & to share. Sometimes when I think that if I hadn’t had my spinal fusion, I may never have gone to a yoga class and how I can’t imagine my life without it. It has taught me to work towards more and more self-acceptance, to actively work towards letting go of the negative ego, to have non-attachment in my practice and to always, always, always have compassion for myself and for students.

Alison teaches at Awaken Yoga in Mentor, Oh, and recently completed their 500hr program for advanced yoga teaching. She also holds a Body Wisdom Certification through Awaken Yoga. She currently teaches workshops and weekly classes at Awaken Yoga and other places in the Northeast, Oh area. Her students would describe her as compassionate, calming and very kind.

 

Invocation to Flow Playlist

Invocation to Flow Playlist

Want to juice up your practice with some rasa or sacred nectar of the soul? Let this playlist inspire your inner state of flow – deep inside where you normally wouldn’t go.


(Click the titles below to download these songs from Amazon.com!)

Saraswati by Juan Carlos Garcia
Jewel in the Lotus by Maneesh De Moor
Dark Age by Midival Punditz
In This Divide by Azam Ali
Let your Heart Be Known by Steve Gold
Rama by EarthRise SoundSystem
Dirty Little Secret (Bloom Remix) by Sarah McLachlan
Serenity by Adam Plack & Deepak Chopra
Shanti by MC Yogi