Getting to Know Your Body

Last week we started with our breathFreedom

The simple act of breathing begins the process of getting to know our true selves.

Knowing who we are creates intimacy of self.

This then sets the stage for becoming intimate with others. Not knowing who we are, what we want in life, where our boundaries are, and how we want to be treated, leaves us lost and wandering through life with no direction.

True intimacy is not sex. True intimacy is feeling safe in who we are and how we connect to others. It’s knowing we can be free with thoughts and words and not be judged. It’s being who we are, not only for ourselves but so others can know who we are too. It’s the ability to speak and feel what we want to speak and feel without others telling us what they want to hear. It’s not shutting ourselves down in fear. It’s letting other see into us and getting to know who we truly are.

Getting in your body is the first step to true intimacy. Yoga is the perfect complement to getting inside ourselves. Continue reading

Learning to Be Present

When beginning any healing process, the future is unknown.fear-of-falling

The past got us where we are and in many cases, it isn’t a pleasant place.

Taking those two thoughts into consideration, we want to be present in the moment we are living in now.

Thinking about the past can be depressing. The past is full of things we can’t change. It may be full of pleasant memories we want to recreate. It may be full of horrors we want to run from. The past is done. It’s over. It’s called the past for a reason. We can’t have the past back.

Tomorrow also doesn’t exist in the way we want it to. None of us know what tomorrow will hold. We may have plans and appointments and things we need to do. But how our lives will unfold regardless of those plans is unknown to us.

Knowing what life will bring us in the future is not possible. Thinking and wanting what we want, not knowing we can have it, can cause anxiety.

Being present right now is truly all we have. This moment. Right now. Continue reading

Solving a Problem is Knowing You Have One

Taking the step toward healing is acknowledging that you need to be healed in the first place.

I didn’t want to admit I had suffered. I had friends, family and therapists defining my trauma. But it wasn’t until it was viscerally evident to me that I was creating my own suffering that I chose to take that first step.

The first step is always the hardest step.Optical Illusion

Once you take that first step, what does healing look like?

I remember asking my sister how long it would take until I began to feel more like my old self.

She paused, then told me she really began to feel better around the 5 year mark.

I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted to feel better now. Right now. I didn’t know how much longer I could live in the suffocating anguish and pain of trauma. I wanted my life back. I wanted my happy disposition back. I wanted me back. This person who had taken over my life wasn’t welcome anymore.

Healing doesn’t happen in an instant or in a vacuum. Healing is a choice to do the hard work to begin the process. Continue reading

Does My Child Matter?

Today was my last day at my volunteer job.

I went through training at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in 2003.

I learned a lot during the 13 years I spent as a CASA.

I learned how the court system works in regard to the care of foster children.My Child

I learned that placing children back with their parents is what we think is best, but often it isn’t in the best interest of the child.

I learned how families do and don’t step in when faced with an event that separates children from parents.

I learned that grandparents are often called upon to take the place of parents who can’t function in life, for many varied, complicated and confusing reasons.

I learned that often, there is no other place for children without functioning families then state run homes and foster care. Continue reading

How Effective Breathing Affects Us

Breathing is an activity most of us take for granted.

In some ways, we should take it for granted. Breathing happens whether we want it to or not.Warrior 3 variation

The average human breathes 10-14 breaths per minute. Time yours and check it with the average.

Most of us who breathe at that rate, don’t give a lot of thought to the effects our breath has on our body and mind.

Yoga is known for slowing our breathing rate down; maybe to 4-5 breaths per minute.

When I first started my yoga practice, I wondered why I would want to slow down my breathing rate. It seemed fine to me.

The science of breathing has come a long way since I took my first yoga class. Science is beginning to understand how breathing affects many parts of our body and in turn, affects our state of health.

There are many benefits of breathing that yoga works with. Continue reading

Why Yoga Therapy?

Yoga Therapy is somewhat different from yoga and other therapies.

Yoga Therapy looks at the big picture of a person’s life and uses holistic tools to empower the client to confront the challenges they face.Forward Fold

Yoga Therapy works with the medical system, giving additions and/or alternatives to the patients diagnosis.

While talk therapies are great for help in healing the past, Yoga Therapy can be a great addition as it takes talk therapy and adds body movement. By addressing feelings inside the body, the therapist and client can explore together the meanings of the feelings and open new ideas and dialogue for healing. By combining movement with talk therapy, the client addresses, evaluates, finds viable solutions and is then given permission to move forward, away from the past and in to a more fulfilled life experience. Continue reading

Am I a Good Friend?

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Divorce and any trauma not only affects ourselves, our family, extended family, and children, it also affects our friendships.

I had a pre-arranged lunch date scheduled with a friend that happened to coincide with the day after my ex left the marriage.kenn1

That lunch date, which I kept even though I was terrified to tell my friend what happened, opened up the door to my eventual healing.

I remember walking into the restaurant trying to keep a sane face. I felt the energy in my body vibrating and wanting to run for cover in embarrassment and shame. I sat down at the table and for a mere 45 seconds we small talked.

I don’t remember what the small talk was about. My friend noticed my agitation and asked about it.

The torrent opened. The first release of the pent up frustrations began. My friend held that space for me as I let go of as much anger, frustration, sadness and confusion as she would allow.

She allowed me a place to feel safe while I poured my heart onto the unserved table. Continue reading

Yoga Saved my Life, Literally

I used to be a head walking around with a body attached.

All I cared about in regard to my body was how it looked to the outside world. My head understood my body was a vessel that carried my head around. My head fed me when my body was hungry. I obsessed over calories. I voiced my opinion when I felt like it. I judged others by what I thought I knew.bound-side-angle

I lived in the external world of thinking that what others saw of me was who I was. I became what I thought others thought of me.

What a confusing way to live.

Of course, at the time I was unaware of any of this thought process. I thought my shit didn’t stink. I thought I had all the answers. My opinions mattered. To me. I assumed that what I said to others, those others believed too. It never occurred to me that other people thought other things that didn’t agree with the things I thought.

My head decided how to take care of my body. What to eat, how to exercise it so it would keep my head’s thoughts busy, how to keep it strong to better carry my head around, and keep it looking good so everyone around me would like me.

Phew, what a way to live. Continue reading

How to Breathe in 3 parts

I see new students eyes roll in my yoga classes when we start with breathing. Many of us think of breathing as automatic. It is automatic. But intentional breathing has a profound effect of how we move through this world. Literally.Easy Seat

Yoga means union, or to yoke. To bring the mind and body into synchronicity. The mind doesn’t tell the body what to do and the body can’t run away from the mind. They work together, as a team.

The way we unite the mind with the body is through the breath. When we focus on our breath, we bring our attention into our bodies. It’s hard to concentrate on the laundry or work when we are focused expressly on an inhale, or an exhale. Life pauses and our bodies calm down when we concentrate on our breath. Paying attention to the breath makes us mindful, gives us insight and brings awareness to the exact moment in which we are living. Sounds simple and basic but mindful breathing can have a huge beneficial impact to how you interact in life.

Here’s how: Continue reading

The Simple Act of Breathing

The act of breathing is simple but profound. Something most of us take for granted.

Breathing allows us to focus on the internal sensations of the body, letting external  events subside. Teaching yoga students to learn and listen to what is happening inside begins the process of calming down. Internal awareness helps us better relate to the external life we need to be part of. Breathing puts us in touch, feeling the sensations of our body.Childs Pose 11

When I first began my yoga journey, external and internal made no sense. They were the same. I was the Donald Trump of yoga. What I thought, I said, never knowing, seeing or feeling the consequences of my own never ending thoughts.

I did not have the awareness to understand that the external things in my life were not where my happiness lived. I believed that maintaining my business and the stuff I owned was directly correlated to the happiness I felt in my heart. The subtle shifts in my beliefs were the effects of my yoga practice that brought about my true internal happiness. Continue reading