This month's Yogi Surprise box is themed around nature, which fits perfectly with my recent relocation to the north coast of California :) I'm living in the coastal town of Eureka, near beaches and really tall redwood trees. It's certainly a gorgeous area and I can't wait to do more exploring as I get settled in.
I'm so grateful I had my Yogi Surprise box goodies to enjoy during these last few weeks, especially with all the chaos and stress of moving! I was also happy to use several of my old beautiful lavender boxes for packing small items, like my essential oils and some spices from the kitchen ;) Thanks, Yogi Surprise!
This is one simple practice that I find to be immensely helpful, especially during times of transition or struggle. Simply by taking a few moments each day to focus on what I'm grateful for, I can re-center.
Today my gratitude list is inspired by Life is Good, a brand that knows how to focus on happiness ;) I'm a big fan of the new shirt they gifted to me, which says, Dream until your dreams come true.
Life is Good: Today's Gratitude List
1. My yoga community. Feeling loved and supported.
2. Having mentors-- especially strong women who are wise and generous-- and having their ongoing support.
3. Being open to change. In just a few weeks, my family and I will be moved north to the coast in Eureka! More updates coming soon :)
5. Teaching a class and hearing afterward what the impact was for the yogis in the room.
7. Being able to talk to friends and family when I'm stressed.
Look in the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say, 'I love you.' Are you willing to do that? To be loving toward yourself. Compassionate and kind, like you would be to a friend. Don't talk shit about yourself. Treat yourself with the respect and forgiveness and generosity you deserve. You deserve greatness! If ever a moment comes along when you forget that this is true, just go find a mirror.
Look into your own eyes and say it out loud: I love you! Have a sigh and pat yourself on the back and laugh at how easy that was. Have a moment to remember. And then just keep on being you-- loving, imperfect, and beautiful-- and keep forgiving yourself along the way.
I'm sharing this because for the last few weeks I've felt a little out of sorts, and extra hard on myself. My thought patterns can become negative and judgmental and even though I'm aware of it I still struggle to get out of that mindset. This week it shifted. I've been taking more classes, letting myself move freely and breathing into the spaces of each pose. When my mat is surrounded by supporting and loving people, I'm reminded of how awesome I am, and how I'm an important part of my community. It also helps a lot when I'm willing to open up to friends and be vulnerable and release some of the shit that I don't need to hold on to. It's so helpful to teach from this space of feeling empowered and connected. After teaching one of my classes this week, many of the students said thank you with these big happy smiles on their faces. 'They are all so kind to me,' I thought. 'Why wouldn't I want to be just as kind to myself?' Just a little reminder that I hope inspires you and inspires me when I come back to read it tomorrow, or 3 months from now, or a year... :)
When I am able to be vulnerable, and sit with my students-- when I am willing to get up close, to be seen, and to share space with them -- I receive so much wisdom and healing.
During last few moments before Savasana, I knelt down on the floor, right in the middle of the room, and suddenly I could feel this profound sense of support and love and sacred energy in the room. What an incredible thing to witness-- yogis willing to be with themselves, stretching, taking care of their bodies, releasing.
It felt so simple and pure, in a way. Just being together in a room. I was sitting there watching yogis do a spinal twist and close their eyes and just be. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Just resting and receiving a much-deserved rest.
And I felt this urgent longing in me to be close to them -- not to be in the back of the room near the music or up in the front on my own mat. I just wanted to be near them. In it, with them.
So I sat down and placed my palms face up and asked that Reiki would move through me and into the room, and help facilitate healing. I asked that their burdens could be released. I asked that they might feel love and healing. I asked for this process of healing to be immediate and profound.
And I could feel the healing come to me, too. For as much as I give when I teach, I also receive. I realized today that the more receptive I can be to the moment, the more healing the moment brings.
One girl in class had been crying while we were doing hip openers. I brought a box of tissues and set it by her mat-- didn't need to say anything or call it out. I offered a simple gesture to show her that she was supported, and in that moment I remembered all the times on my own mat recently when I'd cried.
Her vulnerability offered me the opportunity to be vulnerable. To be more open today.
Student is teacher is student, I thought. We are each our own best teacher.
Often I've had this perception that I need to 'hold' the room, or I've had the goal to create something incredible and breathtaking in a class... to bring in a theme or offer up a song that fits perfectly... but often it seems that the more I try to plan something, the less authentic it feels.
I've realized how powerful it is simply to show up and to be receptive to what's going on in the moment. To teach from the space I'm in, whether that's a tired and grumpy space, or a joyful one. Even if I'm hesitant, fearful, depleted, overwhelmed... I can still teach.
And from this place of authenticity, my students feel permission to be authentic. To be vulnerable. This is what creates the powerful experience of yoga.
Being willing to sit with what is. Being willing to cry, or to lie there silently in a spinal twist and just feel everything that is sacred in the room, and how transformative this practice is.
Teaching yoga today was a gift.
May this practice continue to help me be receptive, and may it touch you to be more open, too.