Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Badass Women: Summer

Photos courtesy of Summer Ward. Photo above by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

Certain yoga teachers have a way of effortlessly guiding you inward, allowing you to release any worries or expectations so that you can show up fully on your mat and be present.

Every class I've ever taken with Summer, that's the feeling I have... true awareness. Everything else fades away. I'm able to truly be present in my body, with my breath, in each pose. As a teacher, I'm incredibly grateful for this. Often as a teacher I find myself analyzing a class as it unfolds, thinking about the sequencing or the music or the cues that are being used to get in and out of the poses. It can be challenging to let go, and simply be a student. I'm grateful for Summer's calm, wise presence when she teaches, and the way she stands in her power when she speaks. Plus, she tells the best stories! :)

Summer is truly a gifted teacher, and she has dedicated over 10 years to sharing yoga here in the Sacramento area community. This month, she's leading a Standup Paddle Board Yoga teacher training and she also runs a successful doTerra oils business.

Summer is truly a badass woman of the local northern California yoga world, and I am grateful to call her a friend and to be able to share a bit of her yoga journey here on Alive in the Fire.

What does it mean to be badass?
For me being a badass has everything to do with truth and courage.  When your intention is pure and integrity aligned, you MUST say, act and do what you know to be right.  It’s not that confident women don’t get scared, insecure or intimidated; it’s that they push forward despite those feelings because what lies on the other side of that is a sensation that far exceeds the security and complacency of stifling or censoring yourself.  

Photo above by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

What badass things do you love to do, or have you done? 
I love to challenge myself!  Through my many years of studying and teaching yoga, I’ve come to recognize the physical cues of following the heart or gut and overcoming the critic of the mind.  When I decided to quit my corporate job, become a yoga entrepreneur,  or move forward into the essential oils business, it wasn’t a logical decision at all… I felt it.  I’ve come to trust those feelings as a guide in life and even though there are struggles, I know I’m on the right path.

What advice have you been given by badass women in your life?
Rather than advice, I have been given unconditional support.  Beginning with the love of my badass mother and grandmother, I’ve continued to surround myself with people who truly love me for who I am and would be there for me even if I failed.  That is far more powerful than any words or advice.  

What advice would you share with others about how to live life to the fullest?
You already know what you need.  From ending that unhealthy relationship, to taking that job, or making that big move.  You already know the answers.  If it’s unclear, then you are either fooling yourself or not taking the time out of your life to listen.  Unplug, ignore what people want from you, get still and silent.  Whether it’s prayer, meditation, or a personal retreat, you have everything you need already contained within you - you just need to cultivate your connection to it.

What things do you do to take care of yourself and stay inspired?
The greatest thing I do to take care of myself is get into nature.  Whether it’s working in my garden, hiking a trail, camping under the stars, or a Stand Up Paddle Board adventure, being in the elements and a part of the greater whole fills me up.  There are so many lessons we can learn from the rhythms and cycles of our environment.  One of the biggest being that you plant seeds (intentions or thoughts) continuously and while the universe honors and supports that (so be mindful of what you wish for), nature works in it’s own time.  Be patient and trust the process.

Photo above by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

In the next year or two, what badass plans will you make a reality?
I plan to find more ways in which to serve people and our collective evolution through the teachings of yoga, the supportive benefits of essential oils, and through our connection to nature.  I will grow my Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Yoga offerings through International retreats and teach others to connect to their own nature within.  I will encourage women to speak and honor their truth and bravely support them in what they discover!

Summer, thank you so much for being a part of the Badass Women series here on the blog! Sending you a heartfelt Namaste.

PS Meet more badass women here: Sam, a journalist, and Rose, a wellness blogger.
And thoughts on why we badass women must embrace all of our experiences, and all of the emotions that go along with them.

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