I find it challenging to break the silence after a long gap, and I'm also not a big fan of reading posts where the blogger makes a bunch of apologies right off the bat, so I'm just going to jump right in.
Did you guys have a good holiday season? Are you gearing up for any exciting changes this year? I've missed writing to you and I'm grateful to be back to Alive in the Fire.
I'll admit that I'm relieved the holidays are over.
I had high hopes that this first week of the new year would be more relaxing and fun... and here I am sitting on the couch fighting off a flu bug that has kicked my ass for the last 24 hours. Something about being in such a vulnerable state -- feeling worse than I have in years from being sick -- gave me the inspiration to write.
I'll be honest: I feel weary.
I keep thinking about how valuable my health is. How important it is to find balance. And how I have an ongoing struggle with feeling like I need to do more to be 'enough.'
I was in horrible pain last night, giving myself a Reiki treatment and texting with my healer about where to focus the energy. She said she could tell I was being energetically drained near my second and third chakras, and it was related to trying to do too much, having a lack of boundaries, and releasing expectations of what others expect from me.
I started sobbing.
I know this about myself -- that I struggle with perfectionism and a habit of taking on more than I can handle. And yet it seems like every year it pops up and bites me in the ass again.
I believe things happen for a reason and at the time that they're needed. Maybe I'm sitting here with my electrolyte water and chicken soup, being reminded of how important it is to take care of myself, because that's where I need my focus to be this year.
What if 2016 could be my year for truly embracing my own healing? For finding a sense of grace and ease and being OK with saying no, and not trying to handle it all?
I've already had a sense in the last few weeks that I need to scale back my yoga teaching schedule.
I need to create more down time for myself, when I'm not holding space or taking care of anyone.
I could use more massages, Reiki treatments, haircut appointments (which I find to be the most relaxing thing), and pedicures.
More time sitting in silence in the sunshine. Less time checking my phone and running around to different places all day. More time writing, meditating, and singing my mantras.
I'm not sure how to make this shift, but I do know I'll need support along the way. I want to practice what I teach, what I often say to students in class: be kind to yourself!
So thank you in advance for giving me that support. Simply by reading this, you're doing so.
And, in other news, I'll have some exciting updates about Sponsored Yogis 2016 coming soon to the blog. Stay tuned.
Do you ever feel like you're moving through life like a zombie?
Time passes, but it feels like things are out of your control. You watch the days fly by without a sense of knowing what you want, or what you can do to feel happier, healthier and more present.
If you've ever wanted to feel more AWAKE and ALIVE, I invite you to attend my upcoming workshop (details below). Or, if you're not local to Sacramento, stay tuned for some free downloadable content on this same topic.
I want to help you wake up -- to see yourself as you truly are, to awaken your highest potential, and to move forward!
Can't attend the workshop, but you read Alive in the Fire regularly and want to learn more about how to AWAKEN through yoga, Reiki and journaling? Send me an email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. First three readers to contact me will receive a free prize. Please use the subject line "AWAKEN" :)
Awaken: A Yoga, Reiki and Journaling Workshop with Rachel Koontz
Happy, healthy beings of light... that's what we are. We all deserve love, goodness, happiness, and abundance. But we don't always feel that way. We get stuck, we have fears, we have setbacks, and we get discouraged. My goal is to help reawaken your zest for life and give you some simple tools for staying attentive and peaceful.
PS, in case you missed it earlier in the post: Can't attend the workshop, but you read Alive in the Fire regularly and want to learn more about how to AWAKEN through yoga, Reiki and journaling? Send me an email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. First three readers to contact me will receive a free prize. Please use the subject line "AWAKEN" :)
On December 12th I'm teaching a workshop to explore this question, and delve into the yogic principle of svadhyaya, or self-inquiry.
I'm so excited to share this unique experience of my favorite healing modalities. Yoga, writing and Reiki energy healing have helped me become a more calm, grounded person, and they are truly amazing tools to have in my day to day life.
During the workshop, we'll sit in meditation, identify which areas of the body and energy centers are blocked or imbalanced, and then go about working to release and reset. I'll incorporate mudras, which are like yoga poses for your hands, as well as sound vibration healing through chanting. I'll also give students time to write in their journals and reflect on what they are discovering.
Every moment has energy. Every breath. Every movement.
The question is, what do you surround yourself with?
What toxic and draining energies do you come into contact with? And what are your practices for healing, release and renewal?
I'm so grateful for my Reiki practice in that it allows me to channel healing. To find that 'reset' button, energetically. To give myself that gift, and to share it with others.
Drained batteries. Exhaustion. Depletion.
Reiki remedies these, and it creates opportunities for us to reach our highest potential.
I'm currently working on manifesting more Reiki -- sharing it more with those that I know, whether through one-on-one treatments, distance healing, or retreats that incorporate yoga and Reiki. If you're curious to hear more, please reach out (aliveinthefire at gmail dot com).
Ever since I started my own writing and editing business, editZing, I've loved being a freelancer. I've always had projects going on outside of my 'regular' job, whether it was helping edit a book, write one, blogging, or otherwise creating projects and supporting friends with their projects.
For a long time, I let these 'side projects' be in the background-- I would think about them a lot between 9am and 5pm, and often I would long to be away from my computer, out doing something meaningful. I wanted enough time to be able to focus my attention, to quiet down. It's hard to be creative when you've got deadlines looming and emails filling up the inbox. And when you get home exhausted, feeling like you have to hurry up and get to bed so you can wake up and do it all again the next day, the cycle is hard to break.
This year, I made another big step toward living fearlessly: I quit my 9-to-5 job doing project management, and I'm now focusing my attention on teaching yoga, offering Reiki healing, and working on Web and social media projects for small businesses.
Can I just say... wow! This is huge. A huge move. Certainly the boldest change I've made in a while. Ever since I graduated college, I've worked 40 hours a week, generally in a fast-paced, high-stress environment.
A part of me thrived on the chaos, and especially on the dynamic interactions with coworkers and friends. Being on a highly productive team has a sort of buzz to it. But what I discovered, just this year, is that I was ready to move on.
To create my own work, meaningful, powerful, healing work. To guide others through practices like Yoga and Reiki.
To devote myself wholeheartedly to this path.
Spending more time in meditation, in presence. Tuning in. When you allow yourself to be in that space, to be quiet and peaceful instead of frazzled, it's a whole different experience.
I wake up in the morning and I don't rush out the door. Sometimes I don't even set an alarm; I just let my body wake when it's ready. I like to sit in the backyard with my coffee and my breakfast and the dog, and just take my time starting the day. Setting an intention.
During these quiet moments, I can really feel a sense of peace. And I'm able to carry that with me and use it in everything I do... all the 'work,' all of my relationships, all of my teaching. It makes such a powerful difference.
And yet even with this big change of pace, I still draw on all the experiences I've had, all the work settings where I've been building my 'professional' skills. Project management is important with any endeavor, including this blog. Communication and clear writing are key with any business. Graphic design, social media, meeting deadlines, bringing a positive attitude to the workplace... yes! Every business can benefit from these things I've learned, whether it's in the health and wellness arena or not. I'm so grateful that I now have the chance to choose which businesses I want to collaborate with, and help them grow.
And while I love not being at the computer screen quite as much, I'm glad I have creative projects coming my way. I'm currently building websites for an Ayurvedic wellness center, and an organic skincare line. I'm talking to small business owners and helping them understand what tools they need, and how to conquer the overwhelming feeling that comes up when they think about Facebook or Twitter. Diving in to these projects is fun!
I love that I can do a variety of things to earn my income, on and off the yoga mat, at and away from the computer screen.
All the time I spent doing other work has prepared me for this, and has helped me develop my work ethic, my rhythm, my flow. I have been learning my purpose all this time, and will continue learning it as I go.
Maybe something is happening right now that is painful or uncomfortable or disheartening. But you know what? It is preparing you for something. Every experience you have leads you to another. You're building your determination.
If things aren't quite the way you want them to be, consider this: you have the power to change your life.
I'm living, walking proof of that.
One quote that I wrote down and kept at my desk for the last six months was this:
How brave -- to imagine a different life!
Change starts with the mind. The thoughts. Every thought you have shapes your reality. If you want to make a change, start thinking about it as if it is already true.
I'm so grateful for you, dear reader, for following along. You inspire me daily.
And I'm here for you, if you have any questions or want a little support with whatever shifts you're making. I fully support and love you :)
Can't wait to see how this unfolds for all of us! Gratefully, humbly, namaste.
Have you ever tried Reiki? It is a powerful healing practice that cleanses the body, purifies the mind, nourishes the spirit, and allows us to tune in to our higher self.
I could not be more excited and grateful to offer a combination of Reiki and yoga when I teach.
I've been giving treatments and I'm stunned by how powerful the work can be -- it has such a big impact! Whether you're new to energy work or familiar with it, whether you're generally happy and healthy or you're suffering from a physical ailment or an emotional struggle, Reiki is amazing!
It always lifts my spirits and helps me get through rough times. Even lately, with the little ups and downs of shifting to a new schedule and the feelings of doubt and fear that sometimes show up, Reiki makes a huge difference in helping me get through long days.
I've also been sending Reiki to all of my yoga students at the end of class. Generally I'll sit at the front of the room during Shavasana, just meditating. Sometimes I will direct the flow of Reiki to a student if he or she seems sad or down or depleted, and I'll notice relaxation come over their body.
I also meditate on Reiki being present in my hands before class, so that any hands-on adjustments I do will be even more helpful to the yogis in the room.
Sending distance Reiki is so powerful, too! I have a lot of friends around the country, and I'll often send energy healing to them throughout my day-- if I'm waiting in line somewhere, or shooting a text message to them, or even waiting at a red light in my car.
Reiki has unlimited potential to help others heal! I love it so much. :)
If you're looking for more information about what Reiki is and what it does, please check out my new website, www.aliveinthefirereiki.com. I'm offering treatments locally in Sacramento and Roseville, and I'm so happy to share it with others. You can always email me at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com for more details, too.
This weekend has been filled with so many beautiful moments.
Saturday I loved being at the yoga studio for most of the day... teaching... really soaking in the gratitude I feel when I connect with students, and how powerful it is to see them do the work and be open to the evolution that follows...
... and then I stayed and took class with my friend who teaches an incredible heart-centered Bhakti flow. She sings, too, and there's just something wonderful about hearing Redemption Song at the end of a practice! I was lying there in shavasana with this utterly peaceful, joyful feeling radiating throughout my body.
The weather has been cooling down, which I love. Fall is just around the corner :)
Time to get going on planning a little winter garden...
It feels great to be actively creating balance in my life right now.
Balance between work and play... between time alone and time with loved ones...
Inviting abundance... and accepting it when it arrives.
I have been making powerfully healthy choices for my body, mind, and spirit.
Today, I did a beautiful meditation in nature with my reiki master. She is the most loving and wise Sensei, and I am so grateful for her powerful healing gifts! Afterward she did a full healing session on me... I so needed it! I fell in and out of sleep, letting the powerful divine energy do its work. I emerged feeling a big shift in my physical and emotional bodies. The experience was a reminder of the importance of daily Spiritual practice. Healing really is a journey and we must make time for it often!
Later, my mom and I got pedicures... such a treat! And now I'm relaxing on the porch, enjoying a green juice, finishing up a writing project... what a lovely evening.
Thank you, Universe, for all you provide.
How was your weekend? What have you been up to? XO
Knowing myself is a
delicate art, an ongoing practice.
I reach moments of clarity. “I’ve got this,” I think. “I
know what I want, and I’m on the path I’m meant to be on.” Or, “I have what I want,
and I’m grateful for it.” In my relationships, my work, my willingness to try
new things, my habits that keep me healthy, my ability to be a good friend, or
to teach a good yoga class.
I’ve got my shit
together, I’ll tell myself. I’m
tending to my needs, acknowledging my feelings. Speaking my truth.
And then I am woken up.
I start to hear the question beneath the chatter, the one
that’s always asking, Am I good enough?
When I stop checking my phone for notifications, or rushing
through a meal, or helping someone else instead of taking time for me…over-booking
my calendar and racing from thing to thing—when I slow down, and take notice,
there’s sometimes still this emptiness that I haven’t tended to. It’s been
sitting there and growing darker and deeper, wanting to be acknowledged.
This week my awareness shifted while I was lying on the
massage table, receiving Reiki. It was perhaps the first time I had been fully relaxed in several weeks. Suddenly
I became overwhelmed by a feeling of fear, and a sense of deep vulnerability.
My healer had noticed a lot of heat and inflammation in my low back and hip,
where my sciatica has been flaring up.“You’re
shivering,” she said, “almost like your body has been through a shock.”
And I could feel it – the vibration of pain, the way it’s
been present in my body, left unnoticed.
Well, not entirely unnoticed. Lately I’ve been pretty
conscious of the physical pain –
whether I’m having an easy day with no sciatica, or a day with pain. Sitting is
uncomfortable, driving is worse, and swimming didn’t help, but frog pose did.
Stretching out felt good, and so did relaxing after I got home from work, but
as soon as I pushed too hard, the discomfort returned.
Hit or miss is
what it feels like. The realization is this: the hip openers are a start, but
they are not enough.
The miss is that I haven’t
been addressing the emotional and spiritual aspect of the healing I need.
The darkness and the shadows I’m still carrying around. The pain of loss that I
haven’t fully grieved and the worry about a future I’m uncertain about. There’s
a lot I need to – and am ready to – let go of. There’s a lot I want to say. I’m
allowed to raise my voice, and say those things.
I am standing now in awareness, seeing how I can start with pigeon pose, but at some
point the practice is really about learning to love myself.
And on this healing path, I’ll slowly begin to shed the
deep, false fear that I’m not worth it. I acknowledge the way I crave closeness
but am afraid of closeness. The way I feel separated and don’t want others to
notice me, when really I yearn for intimacy and desire to love—and be loved—unconditionally. I see that in
reality, I deserve the spotlight and I’m not a selfish person for stepping into
it from time to time.
remind myself that these feelings are not so different from those around me, that
my struggles are not experienced alone.
None of us are alone, and our bodies hold wisdom. My body is
telling me things all the time, whether I’m listening or not. Thankfully, this
week I was woken up to my body shivering, saying, all at once: I’ve been missing you and you are OK, you always have been.
My healer said something to me that resonated to my core, to
my very root chakra, the one that needs healing. She said:
You are the most
important person you know.
There’s something very empowering about putting yourself
first, about being willing to do the important work of healing.
I was made to be
real, not perfect. I will walk this path of healing now. Let me be strong
on the days when I’m stumbling. Let the dust be dusted off, so that the light can
I feel joyful today. I spent last night dancing, and it was just what I needed... releasing what does not serve me, laughing, watching people let loose, smiling at the way we all feel the same happiness.
Today I had a reiki/massage session with my healer. I hula hooped in the park. I took a restful nap. And now I'm sitting at the patio of my favorite cafe, enjoying a coffee and sandwich and the way the sunlight feels.
Days like today, I feel radiant with gratitude.
As I walked in to order my coffee, I had this vision of myself sitting on a patio somewhere in Europe, listening to the sea as it moves, the sound of Spanish being spoken. I could picture what it would feel like to open my laptop among strangers, sitting down to do the same thing I'm doing now in a place that is unfamiliar and beautiful.
Walking cobblestone streets, in and out of cathedrals. Being barefoot on the hardwood floor of a new yoga studio, bowing namaste to a teacher whose accent makes me smile. Eating food I've never tried, giving hugs to people I've never met, gathering experiences I will never forget.
Life is beautiful, and precious. On days like today, I love all of it. May I continue to be a blessing to those I meet, and may I continue to travel freely, riding the breeze that is this human experience.
Alive in the Fire
Alive in the Fire is a blog inspired by practicing yoga mindfully, teaching from the heart, giving hugs, and living a badass life.
Alive in the Fire is a blog inspired by practicing yoga mindfully, teaching from the heart, giving hugs, and living a badass life.