Eye Opener Yoga at Midtown Community Yoga

…This class. I love this class because it is yoga AF.

Eye- Opener Yoga | On & Off The Mat

“This free/donation-based/karma-class is geared towards, but definitely not limited to, those dealing with life challenges and addictions.” 

Tuesdays | 7.00pm-8.30pm
Midtown Community Yoga

8/1 Cindy Farnes
8/8 Ellie Holbrook
8/15 Layne Linebaugh
8/22 Cindy Farnes
8/29 Doug E Fresh

Lets. Get. Real. 

#eyeopener #hotaugustnights #yogawithel#midtowncommunityyoga #sojourn #soul-journ#loveyourwild #getweird #realrecovery #soberaf#karmaclass #yogaaf #ellieaf

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LoveBytes

“…It is said that through prayer we surrender, through meditation, we receive.”

So excited to wrap up my first meditation recording this afternoon!

Interested? Inquire within. Want more? Join me in meditation, followed by Happy Hour Yoga every Thursday @ 5.30pm at Sojourn | 1055 West Moana Lane

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Nowhere. Now Here. Here Now.

 

 

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Presence, or the |Art of Being-Here-Now|{for me} is an ongoing practice.

…For, as I experience it, [presence is a practice] indeed. And it is one that I simultaneously crave and resist.

Because to live in the present moment is to both *feel and experience* ABSOUTELY EVERYTHING that is to be registered on a conscious level.
And to be really and truly present during such here-and-now experiences is to register any and all sensations that may arise, in the very moment that they are occurring, the very space that they are occupying, and for whatever duration that is required for them to unravel and unfold in their ENTIRETY.


So, naturally, to experience this concept of presence, even for just one teensy flesh-and-blood moment, is to feel things intense and uncomfortable. It is to tiptoe beyond the comfort zones of our unconscious living and into the enlightening discomforts of personal growth and awareness. It is to surrender into the present, give into the mystery, and let this unknown stuff wash over, engulf, and have its way with us as we let go and trust the process that we know nothing of.


…So, it is no wonder that these beautiful experiences are also messy, visceral, vulnerable, intense and raw. And, it is also no wonder that these magical moments are also playful, creative, ecstatic, dreamy, intimate, and euphoric, as well.


Yet, even so, this present moment living is worth every moment that it has to offer. It is worth learning to detach, observe, accept, and embrace each and every experience these moments offer us . It is worth learning to unlearn, tear labels off, and become nonsensical, and somehow, strangely, more alive, as we instead surrender into a process of transformational metamorphosis, that deconstructs us, reconstructs us, and then sends us off to emerge and transcend whatever wilderness it was that we had come from.


…This is presence. And presence, no matter how beautiful and tricky, is magical and ever-changing.

Fly Away, Sweet Dragonfly

Maksikanagasana|Dragonfly Pose

The magic of the Dragonfly:

As a creature of the water, the Dragonfly symbolizes the creativity of the deeper, meditative, dreaming, and intention-setting mind. It is this subconscious mind that connects us with our most authentic self and guides us to live from our heart, allowing us to manifest a sattvic life of spirituality, freedom, peace and joy, abundance and prosperity.

By its very nature, the Dragonfly transcends the water realm as it takes flight. Therefore, the Dragonfly is a symbol of light and air. These qualities signify transformation, metamorphosis, adaptability, and the evolution of the soul. Additionally, the iridescent wings of this whimsical creature are sensitive to even the slightest change in sensations, reminding us to remain flexible in our power and strength, be open to learning, progression, and growth, and the mastery of our karmic lessons.

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Breathe Through It

Every now and then, I have to remind myself that it is okay to let go and do nothing, to sit in silence, and just breathe.  The past few days have been a prime example of such a time.  I have encountered something that has left me feeling unsure of how to make sense of my thoughts and feelings, uncertain about what it is I should do next.  And while this lack of clarity is certainly uncomfortable, I take comfort knowing that I don’t have to make a decision just yet.  That I can take the time it requires to listen to myself and sort through my thoughts and feelings.  To pause and reflect on who and where I am, at this time, and just be in that moment, living, and breathing through it.

Sometimes the best advice that we can give ourselves is to just breathe through the moment that we are, inhaling the good and exhaling the bad.  It is quite similar to taking a much needed pause that I have referenced so many times before. Remembering to “just breathe” helps us center our minds and our hearts while also encouraging the body to relax.  Research has proven time and time again that the power of the breath has calming and healing properties, much as it does in yoga and other mindfulness practices.  And while it might not exactly cure what ails us (though some say that it does), it certainly does help us bring our awareness back to where we are, and what we are experiencing in that present moment.

Mindfully breathing, especially during times of distress, helps turn our awareness into ourselves, slowing our minds, relaxing our bodies, and encouraging them to become one. Taking a moment to breathe, center our minds, and synchronize our bodies is truly mindfulness at its best.  It is mindful because it forces us to let go of the noise inside of our heads and bring our awareness to what is going on right now.  As we do so, we must let go of what has gone on in the past, no matter how recent, and ignore our thoughts about the future, no matter how near.

Simply stated, we have no choice but to take our minds off of everything except our most immediate experiences as they occur.  In essence, as we breathe and turn our awareness inward, we are able to mindfully experience our most immediate internal and external happenings, and open ourselves to clarity, self-awareness, and peace.

So today, if you do nothing else for yourself, at the very least, remember to breathe.  Inhale the good.  Exhale the bad.  And know that simply breathing through the moment can be enough.

Laugh and the World Laughs With You

Most of us are well-acquainted with the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And of course, this is an excellent rule to follow, as it offers us sound advice as we navigate our way through life. But how many of us are familiar with Rule Number Six? If you are not yet familiar with this rule, consider the following story:

“Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing the affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts through the door in a fury, shouting and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister quietly looks up says to the young man, “Peter, kindly remember Rule Number Six.” Instantly, Peter regains his composure, restores to complete calm, apologizes for the interruption, and leaves the room.

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again by a hysterical woman, sobbing uncontrollably and gesturing wildly. Again the host prime minister quietly says, “Marie, please remember Rule Number Six.” Much like the gentleman before her, Marie calms down, apologizes, and exits the room.

When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister says, “My good friend, I have seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Pray tell, what is this Rule Number Six?” “Very simple,” the host prime minister replies. “Rule Number Six is ‘Don’t take yourself so damned seriously.’” After pondering this rule for just a moment, the visiting prime minister asks, “And what are the other rules?”

The host’s reply? “There aren’t any.”

As most of you well know, life can be pretty heavy sometimes. Our families and friends, our work, even our own well-being require constant and attention and care. And not only do these aspects of our lives require us to tend to them, but we also need to take them seriously in order to do so. Most simply said, sometimes life is no laughing matter. And yet while it is important to take our lives seriously, it can also be to our detriment to take things too seriously, all the time. Doing so can lead to burdens or problems that may not otherwise exists, a skewed or negative outlook, and undue stress and anxiety.

Because of this, it can be to our advantage to know when to lighten up bit. Whether that means making time for play, enjoying your loved ones, or finding the humor in life, enjoying the lighter side of life encourages us to make the most of we have. It can even help us put life into a healthier perspective as we focus on what is most important, letting go of what is not, and leaving time and energy for the things that matter most, such as our loved ones and our interests and passions.

Today, I encourage you to embrace the lighter side of life. Keep in perspective your responsibilities, your stressors, and the bumps in the road. Remember all that you have to enjoy in life. And maintain your sense of humor, as it is a strength beyond measure to laugh with others and appreciate what there is to love about your surroundings.

The Lower Bod

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…In my yoga classes this week, we have given extra-special attention to the hips and lower-body regions. And this feels oh-so-amazing! And even more so amazing than that is the extremely important, yet often over-looked, aspect of this hip-opening practice… which is the emotions that are stored within the lower body regions.

As a yoga instructor and therapist, I feel that it is extremely important to bear in mind that our bodies do NOT operate alone. Rather, our physical bodies are just one aspect of a very complex and intricate system that makes up our entire being. And it is our lower bodies that often store emotions in need of further attention, processing, and healing. These processes occur in many shapes and forms and are healthy for us to experience, despite the fact that they may be uncomfortable, especially when they become substantial and important. Yet, even so, these sensations are to be welcomed, as they are good and necessary. So run into the feelings that arise, rather than running from them, feel what you don’t want to feel, and diffuse them with breath.

So, as you move forward in the practice, I would like you to keep your entire self (mind, body, spirit) in mind. And, as you do, listen closely to your own self. Check in. Ask questions. Notice and observe. Know that your practice will take you deeper than the physical realm. Revel in the magic that happens in all dimensions. And radically accept who, and where, you are now.

Pause

Consider this passage from the book, “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach.

“In the 1950s a few highly trained pilots in the U.S Air Force were given the task of flying at altitudes higher than ever attempted. Going beyond the earth’s denser atmosphere, they found, much to their horror, that the ordinary laws of aerodynamics no longer existed…a plane could skid into a flat spin…and tumble end over end towards the earth.

“The first pilots to face this challenge responded by frantically trying to stabilize their planes… The more furiously they manipulated the controls, the wilder the ride became. Screaming helplessly to the ground control, “What do I do next?” they would plunge to their deaths.

“This tragic drama occurred several times until one of the pilots inadvertently struck upon a solution. When his plane began tumbling, he was thrown violently around the cockpit and knocked out. Unconscious, he plummeted toward earth. Seven miles later, the plane reentered the planet’s denser atmosphere, where standard navigation strategies could be implemented. He came to, steadied the craft and landed safely. He had discovered the only lifesaving response that was possible in this desperate situation: Don’t do anything… Take your hands off the controls…It counters all training and even basic survival instincts,…but it works.”

We have all been there, in one way or another. We have all faced a situation in life that has literally thrown us for a loop, brought us to our knees, or knocked the very wind from our sails. We have all experienced some situation in life that we simply have not known what to do.

When we are faced with such circumstances, it is quite natural to do everything we can to control the situation. But imagine for a second what it would be like to deliberately take our hands off the controls. To interrupt our normal patterns of thinking, feeling, and doing, and instead take a moment to pause and observe what is going in our surroundings and inside of ourselves.

And while taking our hands off the controls certainly does not solve all of our problems, it does suspend time just long enough to gaze inward instead of outward, and re-evaluate where we are, who we are, and what is happening in the deepest, most intimate parts of our hearts and souls.

When we take a moment to pause, we may not know what will happen next, but we open ourselves to subtle messages, new possibilities, and potential clarity. We develop the capacity to stop running, hiding, controlling, and camouflaging, and instead accept our immediate inner experiences.

Ultimately, we open ourselves to who, what, and where we really are…at that moment.

Now and then, considering giving yourself permission to take your hands off the controls. Find the power of the pause, and observe what is going on inside of yourself. Accept the experience that you discover, and learn, most of all, something from it.

Woo-Saah

 

Every now and then, I have to remind myself that it is okay to let go and do nothing. That it is okay to sit in silence and just breathe. To be okay with the fact that I cannot always make sense of my thoughts and feelings, and accept the experience of being uncertain about what it is I should do next. And while these moments may certainly be uncomfortable for me, I do take comfort in knowing that I do not have to have it all figured out just yet. That decisions need not be made at all times, and that I can take the time I require to listen to myself and sort through my thoughts and feelings. To pause and reflect on who and where I am, at this time, and just be in that moment, living, and breathing through it.

Sometimes the best advice that we can give ourselves is to just breathe through the moment that we are, inhaling the good and exhaling the bad. It is quite similar to taking a much needed pause that I have referenced so many times before. Remembering to “just breathe” helps us center our minds and our hearts while also encouraging the body to relax. Research has proven time and time again that the power of the breath has calming and healing properties, much as it does in yoga and other mindfulness practices. And while it might not exactly cure what ails us (though some say that it does), it certainly does help us bring our awareness back to where we are, and what we are experiencing in that present moment.

Mindfully breathing, especially during times of stress, helps turn our awareness into ourselves, slowing our minds, relaxing our bodies, and encouraging them to become one. Taking a moment to breathe, center our minds, and synchronize our bodies is truly mindfulness at its best. It is mindful because it forces us to let go of the noise inside of our heads and bring our awareness to what is going on right now. As we do so, we must let go of what has gone on in the past, no matter how recent, and ignore our thoughts about the future, no matter how near.

Simply stated, we have no choice but to take our minds off of everything except our most immediate experiences as they occur. In essence, as we breathe and turn our awareness inward, we are able to mindfully experience our most immediate internal and external happenings, and open ourselves to clarity, self-awareness, and peace.

So today, if you do nothing else for yourself, at the very least, remember to breathe. Inhale the good. Exhale the bad. Resist the urge to do, and instead, allow yourself to just be.