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

Yoga Teacher Training

And so it is.

SOUL-JOURN:
A transformative journey of the soul, through the philosophies and practices of Yoga
[A Spiritually-Oriented 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Intensive]

Now taking applications for study in Minnesota and Reno.

Please contact me personally for more information 

Courage

To be courageous is not to have an absence of fear. Rather, to have courage is to have mastery over the fears that reside deep within us.

It is the willingness to tear the bandage off, dissect our subconscious mind, heal old wounds, and understand our inner most processes as intimately as possible.

It is to venture into the wilderness of uncharted territory and forge ahead anyway. To step into vulnerability, and plunge into the murky depths of our hearts.

To have courage is to move in the direction of love even, and especially, when we have no other guidance besides the divine truth residing within.

Courage is the light that is shined into the darkest corners of our deepest selves, illuminating the strength and beauty within.

It is the soft and steady voice of the soul that whispers “Come now. This is the way.”

 

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This Week with El: YOGA at the PARK

To my Yogic Lovers:

While there is no class at the studio this week, I will be co-hosting practice with Mother Nature tomorrow morning at 10.00am at the Spicer Park.

Here, we will bask in the warmth of the sunshine, ride the breeze, and take rest under the beautiful canopy of trees (‪#‎justlookup‬)

Come ONE! Come ALL!


And if you’d like to set something up with me (private, semi private, or open to all) do feel free to be in touch!

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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.

Junk In The Trunk

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A few weeks ago, I posted about the opening of the lower body and the emotional reservoir that it can be. Today, however, we focus on the strength and stability of the very same region, which also happens to be the foundation of our physical and energetic bodies.
As if referring to yoga, Henry David Thoreau has been quoted as saying, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” And so it is in practice.
In yoga, just as in life, the integral structure of anything physical is built upon its foundation. And when the foundation is strong, it keeps us grounded by providing stability and support and allowing for balance. It is only when we are rooted in a strong internal and external foundation that we are able to ebb, flow, and move with strength and grace, for when we root deeply and surrender, trusting that the earth will support us, we are able to rise and expand upward.
In yoga, we call this “sthira sukham asanam.”

Lent 2016

As many of you probably know, this year’s Lent season begins today.  Traditionally, many of us honor Lent by making a sacrifice of some sort, abstaining from something, fasting, or removing something that we will miss during the 46 days leading up to Easter.  Ideally, the commitments that we make as we honor Lent are made with self-improvement in mind, as we look within ourselves and discover what we may do to better ourselves and our lives as a whole, which, quite often, includes eliminating something from our lives, temporarily or, sometimes, permanently.

And because the intention behind this releasing of obstacles is to better one’s self, I fully support it, no matter one’s spiritual background, denomination, belief system.  Yet, I recognize that we do not all approach this season in the same way, so I enjoy reading up on it.  And as I did so this year, I came across,  yet again, the idea of using the season of Lent as a time to release something old so that one might create or embrace something new in their lives.  And I love this idea.  I love the idea of setting the intention to give up something that no longer serves us, so that we may embrace something that does.  This idea is called a Positive Lent, which refers to making the commitment to add something into one’s life in a positive manner, rather than emphasizing the idea of foregoing something else.

In my reading, I came across an article by Reverend James Martin, who suggested that those who acknowledge the Lenten season approach the season differently this year and instead do something positive for themselves, or the universe as a whole.  Specifically, followers of this thought are encouraged to practice a “positive” Lent  rather than a “negative” one that emphasizes sacrifice and abstinence, by taking the time to do something good, or as he writes, to “bother to love”. Instead of giving up behaviors or habits that you are trying to kick anyway, why not focus on doing something positive for yourself, or more importantly, for others.

Reverend James quotes Jesus in the Gospel, saying “It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice.” So whether you are Christian or not, why not take these words of Jesus literally and bother to share the love that has filled your heart.  Show compassion and mercy to those you encounter.  Pay attention to your loved ones, and bestow loving-kindness upon them. And do the same for yourself by embracing your own goodness, and allow others to do the same for you.

…With this said, perhaps you are not ready to replace your current Lenton season with another approach, or perhaps you do not celebrate this season at all.  And if so, that is okay.  Yet, nonetheless, give this idea some thought during other times of the year, and reflect on how you might benefit from letting things go, so that you may let other things come, which, really, is the heart of this lesson.

So, if you feel moved to do so, take the opportunity that is this Lenten season, and invest your energies in doing something positive.  Be kind.  Do good.  Bother to show your love.  To yourself, and all beings.

The Core

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In yogic terms, the body’s core is defined as the workings of the entire torso.  This includes the major and minor, inner and outer muscle groups, the stabilizer muscles, the connective tissues, organs, and energetic bodies of the entire midsection.  According to a yogic definition, the core is not just a body part, rather it is an entire system that is to be incorporated, at least in some way, during almost any and all yogic practices.

As I teach, I often hear myself repeating such phrases as, “engage and activate the core”, “lift from the core”, “draw from the core”, “deepen the core” and so on…

And as I listen to myself describe these body movements, I cannot help but to draw a parallel to what it is like to live from our core in a subtle and figurative sense of the same verbiage.  For, as I have said many times, in yoga, we can emphasize one part of our being, but we cannot completely isolate it.  Therefore, when we engage, activate and draw from our core in asana, we do the same from within, but this time, from the core of our very being that has nothing to do with our physical bodies.

If you think about that for a moment, I think that you will find it to be true.  For when we live from the core of our truest selves, draw strength and direction from our core values, and live in accordance with the deepest aspects of who we are within, and we are aligned with our core, we are at our very best.  And we know this to be true, because we feel our inner strength, we are in tune with our source, and we are able to draw from within and live according to this reservoir within.

So while we may be able to emphasize our core physically in asana, we really are doing much deeper work than we may realize at the moment… and THIS, this is yoga.  And this is a beautiful thing.

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.