Category Archives: Releasing

Fire & Ice: 10 Stress-Free Steps to Introspection

“Fire and Ice” my friend said to me when we were discussing our theme for celebrating Imbolc last week, an old Celtic holiday to honor the “in the belly” phase of the seasons. Right now in the cycle of the seasons, we will observe the first stirrings of spring, birds returning, little shoots perhaps popping out on a warm day, the light of the sun returns, but the big awareness is to acknowledge that there is a lot going on below the surface.

Yoga is all about there being more than meets the eye.

In our asana practice, we learn to understand how to engage, wrap, soften, press, and move our inner body in ways we have not experienced before, acknowledging a level of internal noticing and skill in our weak Western bodies. What happens is a release of hot and cold energy, or in Sanskrit what we call HATHA, Ha being the warming energy, and Tha being the cooling rhythm.

This month, as you recall from my last post, I was in desperate need of a month of self-love, so I set out to make sure that the asana practice that gets me into a nice balanced state with my body and mind, the Ashtanga Primary Series, played a big role into this months sankalpa. This morning I got up, set my dedication to exploring this Fire and Ice complex within me.

Immediately, when I stepped on my mat, it took me through a time warp.

I did this sadhana last year, at the same time for 30 days, and greeted a weak body, a broken heart, and unsettled emotional spirit that I had ever experienced. This year, I stood tall, strong, but a little fearful of what I might uncover left from that time in my life. So, I let it pour over me, but did not let it get in my way. My breath started right up, my mind clear and focused, and ready to harness my body into a familiar folding and movement pattern, while paying attention to what I could do better.

Hard work pays off.

My flow was well paced, strong, and confident, even at 6am in the morning. Last year I remember being so stiff, weak and tired when I would start and on edge that my baby girl would wake up or my son, and I would be called into the throws of early motherhood without getting my edge out of me. This time I was like, hey whatever happens, happens, at least I am getting this far!

Before I know it, I am through the 10 rounds of Surya Namaskara, and past the standing asanas where my old physical weakness plagued me last year and greeted my first keystone asana that I am excited to really work on: ardha baddha padmottanasana or Half Bound Lotus Pose. I have not been able to execute this asana on both sides ever, but since having children even doing my loose side has been a challenge. So I breathed and payed attention and know once I grow my lotus, I am on my way to way deeper asana practice.

You see, if I put too much fire into the pose, I will injure my already healing knee on the right side, if I put too much ice into it, I won’t get anywhere. So, in my life, where am I too hot? I am a fast thinker, always ready for anything, and sometimes I don’t stand still enough to really absorb what is coming at me, hence my word of the year, Patience. When I fall off my rocker, or am pushed in the wrong way, I get too much Ice, I want to be reserved, and cool as a cucumber to show you can’t get to me. I guess we would call that a fear of vulnerability.

So, I approach my newest asana challenge with an open heart for myself, and an excitement to explore. I am not worried about what comes after this pose in the series, I am excited to just be with it for awhile, because the reward of what comes after with bring me much growth. That for me is a big accomplishment in balancing out the fire and ice. But first, before the balance, we must explore what comes up for us.

10 Step Introspection Exercise

  1. Write out where you run too hot in your life- is it anger, quick tempered, overly needy or passionate, self-absorbed?
  2. Write out where you run too cold in your life- emotional numbness, withdrawn, unable to express yourself, hard to change or move on?
  3. Write out examples of situations where this seems to come up a lot. (Relationships, work, family functions, when you are alone…)
  4. Write what balances you out: Yoga, Massage, Writing, Working, Research, Meditation… (note some of these things might be your triggers too) Take a few days to do all of this, as you go through this, you will see you will have new stuff you want to address each day, so jot those ideas down.
  5. Once you feel you are clear on what you want to address, now you can do some exploring. You can do this by simply sitting in meditation, and start with fire and let your “stuff” rise up, or in my case I like to come into a heating asana practice to let it rise, like Surya Namaskara or asanas that make you feel fiery. I remember pigeon used to make me sooooooo heated, and uncomfortable until I started to learn how to release in a pose. After a little fire, then sit for your meditation and just noticed your thoughts.
  6. Do the same for Ice, either in the same practice or different days. All you are doing are practiced of introspection. You can actually invoke these elements, and simply use the element themselves, like take a cold shower, or sit close a hot fire or in a sauna and see what comes up when you try to manage these extremes.
  7. After some exploration, and you can take an hour for this or many days, it is up to you, go back to your writing and see what you noticed. Be with what you notice for a bit of time.
  8. Now that you have some good solid information on yourself, you are ready to assess and release. Write down 10 key words to what really is strongly too hot or cold in your life.
  9. At some point in the above, do the thing that balances you out, and you will notice some clarity will usually arise if you get stuck.
  10. Finish by closing with releasing statements like: I release the ice around my heart. I release the fire of my anger. I am ready to warm my heart. I am soothing my past…. continue to practice these statements every day until they are true in your life.

Try These Asanas for Full Body Balance:

Vrksasana-Tree Pose Trikonasana-Triangle  Upavishta Konasana- Seated Wide legged Forward Bend Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog Pose

Vrksasana-Tree Pose
Trikonasana-Triangle 
Upavishta Konasana- Seated Wide legged Forward Bend
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

Do What Feels Good: Inspiration for the Winter Solstice

It has been awhile since I have written because to be honest I really didn’t have much good things to say.  Life has been putting me through some strong storms a bit with family dilemmas and small business worries, so I put the writing on hold because I really wanted the next time I went to write something to be about how wonderful and peaceful life is…

Of course, I know this, that peace is always there, you have to seek it by calming your thoughts, embracing the present moment for what it is, accepting what was and what is, and practicing loving kindness, even when you are surrounded by inner or outer turmoil.

Ask and you shall receive.

With my inner turmoil at its peak these last few weeks, even restorative yoga, deep stretch and a good cardio workout, I could not take the edge off of my inner discouragement.  I wanted to speak my truth, I wanted to find forgiveness and kindness, but all I could seem to find was anger, frustration, and unhappiness.

I even heard my creepy snake of an inner voice (my own little private devil, you know like the one in the cartoons) would perch on my shoulder and hiss…I AM NOTHING.

It would get louder and louder and louder till it would consume me.  Every time I saw or heard something that upset me, anytime I felt unsupported or unloved, I heard this little devil, anytime I saw something on social media that was hurtful or people shouting in pain I heard that snake.

But snakes, they are wise, they just get a bad rap.  They live belly to earth, so they must listen with their bodies to survive. I started doing that. My snake was forcing me into survival mode.

“Take better care of my body” I heard.

“Connect to yourself on a physical level first.”  I did a little cleansing with my diet, manageable, and felt a shift.  I increased my personal yoga time. I got out and did some yoga stuff at other studios.

Ok next!

“Connect to your heart body.”

I sent out a ton of Christmas cards and wrote things to people in them so I could connect to all those people who love and support me and I could share that with them.  I still have more to write, it makes me feel so good to do that! I also increased my meditation practice and slipped in some more bath time by candlelight…my personal favorite way to have alone time.

“Connect to your Throat & Sacral Chakras, he hissed.”

I kept quiet, mostly.  I did not really say a lot about what was happening to me, mostly because we move through stuff so quickly sometimes, why dump it all over someone else. I attended to my emotional body, I cried, A LOT, and gave myself permission to and really talked to myself about what I felt. I gave myself permission to feel what I feel.

I finally said, DO WHAT FEELS GOOD!

Stop working so hard to get into the shit of it all, and just feel good for once! So, the yoga, the baths, the cards, the extra hugs to the kids, reading a magazine…all contributed to me feeling good in a very dark time.  I wasn’t skirting around anything, just bringing balance and some peace.  No one should tell themselves: I am nothing.  I would never allow my friends, students, loved ones to ever put funds into their belief jar about that, then why should I?

So, now that we are here, with the Solstice, I give you some ideas to do for YOURSELF. No one can do it but you!  Re-light your inner light. What dreams do you carry inside? What are you visioning or hoping for?

Now for the fun stuff, here are some things you can do to invoke Winter Solstice Clarity:

Peaceful Solstice Tips

  • Make some hot chocolate! (follow my recipe)
  • Hot aromatherapy baths, right now I am enjoying a few drops of pine or fir to my baths with orange essential oil… yum!
  • Write a card to someone who needs support
  • Make homemade gifts, something simple, like room sprays, potted herbs or bulbs…simple, affordable, but unqiue
  • Spend time with friends or if you are exhausted in solitude with candles, lights and soft music
  • Walk outside at night, look at the stars, see your breath your life force!
  • Read my last years post about yule!

Yoga Poses for Winter Solstice

  • Do a lot of side bending to open up the lungs, my favorites have been side opening anjayneasana and parvritta upavishta konasana (twisting wide legged seated bend)
  • Do some gentle twisting for tension release and to stimulate sluggish digestion like thread the needle or seated spinal twists
  • Do an inversion for strengthening your breath practices and for the health benefits 
  • Forward bending increases introspection and releases tension from the back body
  • Supported Heart opening like sphinx or laying back on a bolster to increase your heart body energy

Journaling Inspiration

  1. What has been illuminated in your life since the summer solstice?
  2. What are you making or have made peace with?
  3. List 10 of your greatest gifts
  4. How do you feel when you are truly rested? How did you get there?

I love Christmas cards, they are my favorite gifts especially when friends write me a note in them.  Send me a card by leaving me a note here or mailing to 7312 Center Street, Mentor OH 44060.

 

Turning Page

Most of the time when we talk with people, it is about work, family, and relationships… our worry’s, fears, and plans usually have to do with this. This year, I feel like I had to really make a lot of adult decisions…sounds weird just turning 35, but I mean very non-yogic like decisions… money stuff, business stuff, relationship stuff… the yoga is always there in the background on how you manage it, but I felt like I couldn’t quite get a hang of my place in the world.

I would see people once loved posting hurtful things on social media about me, hear about through the grapevine of the he said she said, feel that loss of tribe with a circle that I was once close with. It has been a BIG processing year for me.  How to process my pain, past, hurt, anger, resentment and fear.

As a very sacred time approaches, a time where the veil thins and our shadows come to play, I feel this sort of heaviness ready to release.  I am ready to venture within but also back out again, let the world see me, a smarter, and wiser, more compassionate me.  I am truly ready to turn the page, and NEVER look back.

I am cool with forgiveness, it feels good, and is the source I believe of my whole yoga practice and life practice. It does not mean I have to act like a fool though… acting like a martyr, bitching up a storm, proving I am right or proven I am wrong or anything like that. It doesn’t mean taking people back that caused me grief and pain either.

Forgiveness is a settlement of the heart, a release of loss in the ego, and the right to move on and accept. I am ready for all of that and excited. What a better time than now?

Each day I examine my leftover hurt feelings and say what can I do without?  Believe me I would love to put it out there how awful people can be, it is right now still very natural for me to want to do that, add to the drama of the world, create uncomfortable situations for everyone else over my pain, really try to get people to bend my way…but such is not the way of the peaceful warrior.

I am here to learn, to listen, and to find this place of undoing.  When there is self-love and love without attachment that is the ultimate power of self.  I can let go of all that to move on and really live…I can’t wait for that.  I am excited for it.  It took a long time to create this foundation, and I am ready for it.  I am also ready to stop wasting my damn time worrying about it and what other people think, let them make their own minds up about me, what they decide can no longer harm me unless give it permission to.

So there you have it, for all those who danced a dance of anger, betrayal and deceit to me this year, I say “I FORGIVE YOU”. I am ready to move on, even if you aren’t, I won’t take it personal, I will not make assumptions, and I will not absorb it, it is yours, own it. I hope you don’t take it personal when I choose to go on my own all the way.

For all of you suffering for similar events, I give you and myself full permission to TAKE YOUR POWER BACK! Good luck!

Ritual for Turning the PAGE

You will need a glue stick,  journal, pen, fresh candle (white or green) and some quiet space after sunset

  • Gather some fall leaves that you can write on
  • Write on them what you wish to release in just simple one word adjectives or names
  • Sit down comfortably inside or out
  • Start with your breath and simple stretching for a few mins, silence is most powerful for this time so try no music
  • Turn off all the lights and sit in the dark for several moments in silence
  • Notice all the sounds around you and your breath for 5 mins
  • Take several breaths in the nose and out the mouth
  • Set your dedication for self-healing or inquiry, ask what is it I need to heal or what is it I need to learn/know?
  • When you are ready light your candle
  • Stare at the flame until you are ready to write
  • Begin to free write what you need to release and what you need to draw in, what you need to do to turn the page for good.
  • When you are done, extinguish the candle and go for a walk and let your leaves go into the wind come home and take a bath or eat some warm soup or sip cider…
  • Wake up the next day refreshed and stay true to your word to yourself

Love Conquers All

Love Conquers All

I wrote a few weeks ago about my broken heart, and finding my way through one of the hardest times in my life.

Well, I know what I had to go through. I know I needed all of that to get HERE.

Here is now a wonderful place to be. It is full of uncertainty at times, as I begin to slowly crawl out of a large hole I dug for myself in my relationship.

But, as my footing becomes more stable, and I get better at finding the right leverage on a rocky wall that I at one time thought was keeping me safe, I no longer need it… so I let it crumble as I make my way out into the light.

Here is what happened:

My husband wanted to give up.  At one point so did I earlier this year. THEN it hit me. I don’t want to give up on us, I want to give up on the MESS! WHAT AM I DOING??

I am going to lose everything, my home, my spouse, my family. I was broken already, but could I stand to be more broken? So I did some deep work. Meditated daily on it all, let my stuff come up, let the tears flow, the heartache come, the pain of loss. But there was still hope…so much of it. I couldn’t explain it but I knew my time was running out. Something had to break down. It did. I DID!

I reached out, broke down, and it all flowed out of me. My stuff, my words, my loss, my heartache, my past, my cycle that I needed to remove myself from.

I spoke, I wrote, I sent ALL of my heart out, put myself on the most vulnerable edge I could so I could prove to myself that I knew what I wanted. I know my soul could be whole on my own with a lot of healing, but my soul truly loves this man, and this life, so what the hell am I waiting for.

Relationships are such great teachers and they do not work without FORGIVENESS, LOVE and COMPASSION. They do not work with expectations and projections of shoulds and coulds.

WE HAVE TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN EACH OTHER. We have to listen.

I know who my spouse is. I know better than anyone other than him, I know I love him deeper than I have loved anyone, and I know I got lost to anger, resentment, and hurt. I DIDN’T WANT TO FEEL THOSE THINGS ANYMORE!

Knowing I wanted no regrets, I put it all out there. And I could not be happier. We have a lot to figure out, but the thing is the figuring. It is not to be perfect now; perfection is never a goal. Our relationship legs are a little shaky, like getting off a boat after a major storm. But we are both grateful for the sun again, the light, and the calm waters.

I know I choose love. I always have, not sure how I missed that and decided to choose all the hurt instead, but now it is so clear: I choose love, I choose my husband, I choose my children, and I choose this truth of our life. And I am so grateful – to god, to my friends who went through all of this with me, my family who loves us no matter how crazy the storm was. I am grateful for life. Thank you.

And to my beautiful husband, I am so grateful to you.

Inner Work Meditation

Here is the meditation I did to get me to my big breakthrough. I did this for about 7 days, whenever I could get a quiet moment to reflect.

  • Sometimes I sat, sometimes I lied down in fetal position to get inside deep.
  • I took many deep breaths with sighs out the mouth.
  • I turned off my hurt and anger, and tuned into what I was really feeling so hurt and angry about.
  • I would say to myself, “I feel….”
  • I would then say, “I know I need to let go of….”
  • I revisited my past experiences of hurtful conversations with my spouse and turned off all anger in both directions, and just listened to what he was really saying. I told myself I would not feel hurt or take it personally – I just listened.
  • Once I gathered that information up, I found the realization of truth in what he was saying, and I saw I was not listening, I was not responding to him, I was responding to my emotions and I was layering on the hurt and resentment.
  • I sent love and lots of light to us both to heal, and prayed every day for the support to change and to allow him to hear me when I was ready to talk.
  • I had 0 expectations of him wanting to resolve. I left that up to the universe. I knew the course of my life would shift one way or the other and practiced acceptance.

May this find you some healing. Dig deep and be well.