All posts by yogahs

Nature Connection: Love in Emergence

Nature Connection Album

I spent the other weekend in my closet.

On a Wednesday I had an idea appear during my yoga practice for a new meditation and yoga nidra album. I jotted down the idea and names for the recordings that night before bed. Spent the next day dreaming with it and then set to work over the weekend, fueled with an unusual amount of powerful, strong, focused energy channeling through me. Filled with inspiration and radiating, full of potential and excited with a clear undistracted mind.

Using my closet as a sound booth and pretending that I know how to sound edit on my laptop (I learn so much each time). At 11:46 pm on that Monday the album was complete and uploaded for distribution.

It happened so quickly that afterward, I wasn’t sure exactly what had happened. I felt confused, empty, a bit lost for a few days, and tired. After a such a charged active birthing experience, uncomfortable with the pause.

The pause of waiting for the work to appear out in the world vibrated through me with worry. How will it be received? Is it “good enough”? What if I made a mistake? I can’t fix it now. Will people get something from it? Will they even listen? Am I creating “too much” lately? Maybe I should hold back… What if the stores reject it? Was it too soon after the last one? Will they like it? What if they don’t?

All these thoughts interspersed with a love of creation and what had come through, trust in the process, and hope. Hope that this experience of channeling and being cast in the role of the midwife is to be of service in some way. Hope that these offerings will help someone somewhere somehow. Love in the experience itself.

As the recordings popped up in different places over a week later, I felt a sense of stability and then, with a deep breath I came back to center and remembered… to get out of my own way and ego, try to listen, and let go of the outcome. Always, to love. To love the parts of myself that call out within those surfacing questions because that is really what they’re asking to receive and to offer that love to others as well.

To love in the nature of being and connection inherent within us.

My heart now is truly ready and joyful to offer to you…

Nature Connection: Guided Meditation & Yoga Nidra. This new album includes four unique practices to help you connect with and access the world of plants, trees, and lunar cycles while simultaneously traveling deeper into your own inner world. Discover the support you need right now, what helps make you feel connected, and the beauty around and within you while building a deeper relationship with the natural world, your own true nature, and what you would like to manifest or create.

The entire album includes the following:

Connect with a Tree Meditation
This short seated meditation helps you merge with a tree quickly on a deep level. Finding a connection with a tree at your center helps you build a relationship to the tree world and to embody and feel into the nature of our fellow tree beings.

Tree of Support Yoga Nidra
A yoga nidra practice designed to help you explore what support means, feels like, and looks like for you. Connect with a tree for guidance and receive the support you need at this time.

Dreaming with Dandelion Yoga Nidra
A yoga nidra practice designed so that you can enter the world of the plants and dream with Dandelion. Enjoy an adventure and find out more about what community and connection means for you.

Full Moon Yoga Nidra
A yoga nidra to connect you with the energy of the moon, lunar cycles, and the beauty in nature here on earth, beyond, and within.

You can listen to or purchase the entire album or any one of the tracks that calls to you.

Available now on iTunesApple MusicAmazon MusicGoogle PlaySpotifyYouTube, and all other digital music stores.
(International Release)

Your Creative Power

Your Creative Power Yoga Nidra (1)

All of a sudden I am fueled with tremendous amounts of creative energy. It’s been like a force from outside moving through me. I was reminded that now is the time of Bealtaine or Beltane!

Beltane is an ancient sacred ritual and rite of passage marking the cross-quarter point in the year between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. A time of that bubbling up of potency from the land below and showering down from the stars above, culminating in transformative, sexual and creative energy ready to start fertilizing any seeds in need of growth. I wrote about this co-creative energy last year while in Glastonbury.

Healing the creative part of myself has been a big aspect of my journey. From being terrified to pick up a pastel and draw to listening to fragile parts of myself that want to write a book and unknown creative yearnings of my voice that I never would have considered until they appeared.

I’ve started to understand more and more how the nature of creativity isn’t just those “creative arts” that many of us put on a shelf as adults but it is the fabric of life. To create a life means to also nourish the energy of creativity within you. To build trust in your intuition. Your voice. Whatever it may bring forth. Whether it’s how you design your day, energy, meals or contemplating the best outcome or solution at any point in time.

The more you build your creative muscles, the more options you have to choose from and the more possibilities you can imagine. As this grows within you, it is shared out into the collective and others also grow their creative potential. The more this happens the more we all start to co-create with one another and with other forces, elements, sensations. If we want to participate in creating a future world, I believe we must each start by healing our own creativity first.

It’s from this place that I am so delighted to offer Your Creative Power: Yoga Nidra Album.

This album includes four unique practices to help you connect with your creative life force (or to just enjoy some delicious time for yourself).

Your Heart Spirit Guided Visualization
This short seated meditation is designed to help you feel into the sensations at your heart, see the elements within you, and connect with your true spirit.

Guided Deep Relaxation
A practice done laying down where you scan and relax your physical and energetic body. This is useful at any time and, in relation to creativity, it can help you find release so that creative energy flows more.

Book of Life Yoga Nidra
A yoga nidra practice designed to help you see the stories in your life you’d like to shift or release as well as the new ones you’d like to create.

Your Creative Power Yoga Nidra
A yoga nidra practice designed to help you discover more of your creative voice, gifts, power and specifically see something you’d like to create in your life or bring into the world.

You can listen to or purchase the entire album or any one of the tracks that calls to you.

Available now on iTunesApple MusicAmazon MusicGoogle PlaySpotifyYouTube, and all other digital music stores.
(International Release)

I hope that these recordings serve you well and nurture your creativity.

(If you’d like more information about how Yoga Nidra helps shift beliefs and heal creativity, Yoga Nidra for Everyday Life shares even more about the benefits of this practice).

Plant Spirit Medicine

Screen Shot 2020-04-09 at 10.42.05 AMAlmost exactly a year ago I completed a 3-year Apprenticeship with Carole Guyett at Derrynagittah in County Clare, Ireland. The final step was a ceremony where many of us claimed the medicine we are meant to be/bring into the world. My heart brightens now thinking of the ceremony and experience and what a momentous step it was. My Medicine is threefold: teaching, healing, and writing. I had been offering all three prior to the ceremony and, afterward, continued transformation from this ceremony led me to step even further in and commit more, especially to writing.

What to write? That was the perennial question. I searched and struggled and doubted and self-criticized and feared judgement of others up until this ceremony and afterward something shifted (and continues to grow). I continued to search for what the story was.

How could you be a writer without knowing what the story was? Like most things, it has been a process of discovery. I started many poetry projects, a novel, and then seemingly “out of the blue” a new vision appeared. A new vision that incorporated all three of my Medicines as well as my previous life working in publishing. Plant Spirit Short Reads!

The idea to create mini workshop-esque eBooks. Longer than what you would read online or in an article and shorter than an entire 300 pages on one topic. Enough to allow someone to have the foundation to explore more deeply their own relationship with a plant. From inception of the idea to execution was a matter of days. Before long I had tested the waters by converting some audio workshop scripts about Reiki and Yoga Nidra into eBooks and then set out to write the first original Plant Spirit book.

Dandelion came first and quickly. A true ally since childhood it was Dandelion who led me to Carole and all of you from the very beginning. So a natural friend to help launch this project. The writing flowed and felt effortless. It all just made sense. Before I was even finished Mugwort was (very strongly!) insisting that she be next and then Violet quietly yet firmly appeared. The plants are finding their way through and each book is a true co-creation with the spirit of that particular plant.

Aside from encouraging and guiding someone through a personal connection with each plant, a unique offering included within each book is a journey with the plant to receive a message, some internal wisdom, or vision. Just as you might if you were journeying with a drum or in meditation.

If you feel called to reading these Plant Spirit Short Reads you can do so on Amazon Kindle. Books are available immediately on your computer, a Kindle App on your phone or other device, or on a Kindle Reader. They’re available internationally in all Kindle stores (links below and on this eBook page).

More are sure to come through and you can always sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Amazon if you’d like to find out when they do. I feel some “Tree Spirit” books on the horizon, starting with Hawthorn.

Accepting Retreat

I usually walk directly into the eye of the storm.

My autonomic nervous system responses of both fight and freeze are strong. I can map this back at least as far as childhood and, quite possibly, past lives. Not only am I prone to walking into whatever danger is emerging, for a long time, I had no sense of needing protection and often came through scathed.

Part of me wore these marks as badges of honour. My pride and ego boosted in some way because I could do it (whatever the “it” was). A big part of who I have thought I was, and how my psychology operated was built on the earliest sensations of responding (mostly to emotions of others) in this way in order to try and control what was happening around me. Hoarding and denying my own emotions along the way and attempting to look brave to the world. To look like I know what to do and can “take on” whatever comes.

The flight part of my autonomic nervous system response has never been my go-to. Internally, perhaps, in ways of denial or trying to get away from the onslaught of those emotional and psychological scars. Not in action, though.

As COVID-19 started to enter New York at first it didn’t feel like much of a risk. Things then changed very quickly and the sheer volume of decision-making had my nervous system re-triggered to allow past trauma to surface physically in my body. The fragments of a decade-old trauma that had not yet been processed reared up and had me in hyper-drive for a few days. I could feel my legs wobble, my sacrum move like jelly, and my energetic cords along my spine spike, flare up, try to get away – out. A solid chunk of energy became lodged with a dull pain in my left thigh. It felt wild and uncontainable.

It was a lot to manage and, luckily, I knew how to reach out for and was able to receive the help I needed to move through it.

Then came the next decision. Whether or not to walk away from the storm and fly home. I didn’t want to risk getting my family sick and yet couldn’t imagine being away from them if something happened. My nervous system again responded – as if on fire, completely triggered and overwhelmed. I felt as though it might blow up. I could again map it back to the urgency of having to make a critical decision in the past (one that resulted in the post-traumatic stress disorder I’ve worked with and healed much of over years).

On top of this was the confusion of flight. Literal in that the flight itself was now deemed a risk. And also my personal nervous system response of flight was never one I relied on. Flight (as in leaving or walking away from) has always felt, to me, like failure. Which, of course, it isn’t. Flight can sometimes be the best possible option especially in cases of danger. I recognize that it is privileged to be able to flee in many cases, including this one.

I didn’t know the outcome of my decision – would I be infecting my whole family? Terror of the unknown outcome gripped me adding more past unprocessed “stuff” loose.

After a few conversations with my mom, I decided to fly home.

I cried a whole bunch, let all the emotions out and then felt oddly awake. Like there was nothing left to move. It felt as though I ducked into flight and surrendered. Letting go of my typical responses, ego, bravado, and also, the ways in which I have judged myself for decades. Letting go of the values associated with those judgments.

Sometimes, the best possible thing to do is retreat.

To retreat – to withdraw and surrender – requires the ability to no longer grasp. To no longer grasp to what is or was or what might come. To let go of expectations of what might be or would be or wasn’t. To also physically remove yourself. To go into the cave willingly for an unknown amount of time.

I’ve written a few times about aparigraha – one of the principles of yoga translated to non-attachment or non-grasping. I’ve looked at it in relation to a scarcity mindset or one of abundance, to the emotional psychology of letting physical objects go, mistaking attachment for connection and even the challenges in finding slowdom. Underneath each layer of letting go has also been a form of allowing my emotions to move.

As I learned more about how to feel and not hoard, contain, or use emotions in harmful ways, my ability to be with what was arising expanded. Now, I can see, that with these shifts my nervous system was also changing. Relearning how to cope and how to choose differently. I have been learning how to keep myself safe and protected. A concept I didn’t value as important in the past and so, grasped as if on a maniacal roller coaster for years, for ways to try and survive.

As I landed back home in Canada, and got to my parent’s place, I felt my nervous system immediately release. It was shocking how much better it felt and how quickly. All the heightened strain dissipated. By the next morning all that had flooded to the surface was gone because I was able to step into flight. Not only was my nervous system back to feeling normal, but it had it’s time to be seen, recognized and to receive a new response from me. It also received the message that it’s okay to go home. It’s okay to accept help. To not try to take it all on.

It was a great moment of healing and releasing past stuck “stuff”. Thanks to the internal work of making shifts over time I somehow (without knowing it) grew my capacity to accept flight as an option. Sitting with awareness, a self-compassionate heart, and a willingness to let go even more, now I know that there are more options.

Now I understand that to retreat is not easy or even a go-to response for many and can be a useful, valuable, healing action to take.

Sound Healing

77327799_2477980795783009_208840967996833792_oAfter a week of self-seclusion to focus on writing my body rejoiced at being able to practice yoga outside today! Under a brilliant sky and warming November sun I set foot on my balcony in Brooklyn, eager to be outside.

Immediately met by a constant screeching steel-cutting-saw-mixed-with-vacuum sound from the construction across the way I hesitated for a moment. Was this a good idea with all that noise? Then committed. The warmth felt glorious on my body as I sat. Taking the sounds in around me. The never-ending construction, sirens, planes combined together becoming neutral.

I started to move on the mat and as I did I let sound emerge through me. I joined the everything around me humming, grunting, grumbling in my throat, guttural, calling out, sending vibrations through my cells. Using my voice when I felt stuck guck in my hips and back that wanted to move. I could be as loud as I wanted! No one would hear me! And so my own voice grew with the backdrop of non-stop volume.

There I was toning. Sighing. Yelling. Louder!

Immersing in the sound of how my body felt as I moved. Sounding it out!

An hour later, as I rolled my mat I felt a different quality of vibration run through me and took time to delight in it. Nodding in thanks to the noise around, my heart smiling with delight.

My soul feeling well served.

Reflections on Relationship

Someone recently asked me how relationships work while living nomadically. I’ve spent the last two and a half years moving from place to place. It was a conscious choice and a privileged choice to be able to make.

At the beginning my intention was to practice opening up to impermanence. To practice the temporary nature of life and to jump into that fully.

In the beginning I wasn’t looking for a romantic relationship. If one happened to find me along the way, I’d be open to it, but it wasn’t my focus. I needed to do a lot more healing of my Self first – my own trauma responses as well as any necessary growth to actually have the skills of being in relationship without betraying myself. Without losing myself.

I also sought to develop the practical day-to-day skills of sharing space with others after living alone for a long time.

This question has been sitting with me since asked. What about relationships?

I have moved 144 times in about two and a half years. I have trusted that the next place will appear and, thanks to so many people, animals and spirit, it always does. Without fail. It has been a huge exercise in asking for what I need at all levels and being heard. To not know where I’m going to step next and trusting that as my foot steps out into thin air, another stone appears. That solid ground manifests out of ether.

Sometimes I return to a place I’ve been before and yet it is always different. If there’s a person I’m staying with, they have changed. I have changed. We have had life experience and grown and each time we become more and more compatible. Sometimes I’m in a place for just one night or may never go there again. Sometimes I’ve never met the people before who are taking me in or leaving me in charge of their pets and household.

Trust.

There is an agreement of trust that continues to unfold and it’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than this experience and it is through this way of living that I have learned to trust in trust. In myself and in others. In spirit. In so much more than I can even try to explain.

What about relationships?

When I sit with this question what I start to also see is a deepening. This process of living nomadically has required that I learn to let go. Instead of holding others too tightly – I used to try to hold them, contain them, control them into being somewhere or doing something because I didn’t know how else to relate or be “friends” and would be so very hurt if they didn’t come/show up etc. assuming they didn’t like me. I tried to hold onto many people in the ways I would never want to be treated or held. I used to do this out of fear of losing them, or that they would no longer want me/love me/need me. They wouldn’t come back. I would never see them again.

I would be lost.

Somewhere in the recent past, I loosened my grip completely. I can see the former clasp of fingers tight simply letting go.

Without fear. Without expectation. Without even really realizing that I had done it.

Trust.

In that letting go there is a huge swell of beauty and spaciousness. It’s an amazing sensation of opening up and trusting in fluidity of relationship. The shape-shifting nature of each of us. Community and love that is never lost and never scarce but flowing in abundance. Abundance without the weight of attempting to hold on. Without any force. Without expectation simply with being as present as I can be in the moment to whomever I’m with.

It feels phenomenal.

So, what about relationships?

In all of this process I shake my head and smile because without knowing it. Without intending it and as soon as I was able to let go… My relationships deepened.

My relationships have grown beyond anything they were before because my capacity to be with them has grown. To no longer try to limit them. To let go of attachment. To trust myself with others. To listen without expectation or need. To hear more. To get the chance to know what is going on for other people by being present. To give support when I can. To allow it when I can. My relationships have grown because others have shared themselves and their space with me and that is a true privilege and honor. To spend real time in the presence of others in any range of being. Especially in their home. To show up honestly as ourselves and to share with one another.

I have been in peoples homes when a loved one has passed. When I’ve been sick. When they have been waiting for test results that weren’t always good to get. Animals I’ve stayed with have since passed or have become ill. Other friends have grown their families and now there are new babes to visit. New jobs. New trainings. New lives have taken place within the span of these short nomadic years. I have been fortunate now to bear witness to so much of so many lives and it never would have happened if I had stayed put. Not in the same way. I never would have been immersed and enmeshed in life and in relationship to all that is in the same way as I feel now.

Thanks to this, to you, my heart has expanded and opened to more without the fear of loss. Loss of myself or others.

Within this letting go and deepening that honestly sneaked up on me comes organically what’s next.

In truth, I’m starting to feel ready for a place again to live. I have roots. They’ve grown inside of me and are a part of me. Now I seek a container. A container that feels completely full and empty at the same time in the best possible way. A container of possibility within which to do more writing, teaching, and offering. A container for that work to flourish. I dream of co-creating that container with a partner who also has his own vision of what he wants to create and cultivate. For us to learn how to facilitate that together. Now that I feel ready and I’ll ask now for that and trust that it will come. Knowing that I can’t be lost.

 

 

Find Your Feet

baby-baby-feet-bed-733881Are you a head with feet?

Many of us, especially in the West, seem to be. It’s as though we’ve prioritized intellectual thought so much that is where much of our energy is. This isn’t good or bad; it just may not be or feel balanced for everyone.

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class with me you know I like to repeatedly offer a couple of things. First, to find your feet; your foundation and “build from the ground up”.

Grounding has been such a big part of my personal journey and I have had to actually find my feet. In fact, I didn’t even really understand that I had a physical body at all until I was in my mid-30s. For some that may sound crazy – because of course I’ve always had a body. True. It’s not like I developed that physicality so many decades after birth. I’m blessed with a functioning, strong, beautiful body.

What I mean is that I didn’t know how to energetically stay in my body. I was so used to finding ways out. To traveling out of situations or emotions. This self-imposed training goes way back to at least childhood, perhaps other lifetimes. My preservation plan was always to abandon ship. To go up and out. I got so good at that I had to learn how to come back. Then, how to stay. For me, yoga is a big part of what helped me learn how to make space and invite those parts of me back – to actually be embodied.

So often I see people in classes skipping this important step. I see them avoiding or not in their legs, and I want to help even a teeny bit, to get others into their bodies too. I see it because it’s familiar to me… I’ve done it too!

Years ago, I kept realizing I needed to ground. After trying to avoid it, I finally listened and spent an entire year focusing on just the first chakra every single day. The root. That foundation upon which everything else stands (until you go upside down, but that’s another story). I never wanted to bend deeply in a warrior posture because that meant using my legs. I didn’t like that one bit. It also meant stirring up uncomfortable sensation and all the unconscious “stuff” that I had locked away in the backs of my hamstrings and calves. All that unprocessed junk that I stuffed into my body (maybe to falsely ground) whenever I fled energetically wouldn’t let me back in. There wasn’t space for me (not that I was trying to come back… I was quite used to floating outside of myself… a giant head with no body).

So, I had to start looking at all that “stuff” stuck in there. Particularly in my legs. Start heating it up. Start sifting. Start being with it – those sensations I never liked. So I could start releasing. So that there was space for me to return.

After that first year of focus, I was more able to be connect to this plane of existence. It’s a constant practice for me and a constant area of growth, but I am now more in my body. Years later (when I was probably complaining about constantly having to ground), a teacher said to me, “the more grounded you are, the more expansive you can be.” I had never thought of it that way and liked that concept.

The more rooted I am within myself the more I can then explore other aspects of myself and my energy. The more I cultivated this, the more supported I started to feel both in and outside of my body, the stronger my sense of belonging became. The stronger this all becomes, I have found my way back into myself. I don’t leave as much and because I’m more present – physically – and I’m able to stay with the sensations or emotions that arise much more. The other benefit of this is that I am also then ready to expand from that sturdy foundation up through the heart, throat, third eye and crown.

I know the path – the way up and out. What I had to learn was the way back into myself. The way to bring that intuition and guidance from “out there” back in. To apply it.

The other aspect of class I almost always offer is time of free movement. Following your heart, your breath, your body. Some kind of movement or stillness that calls to you or that you call for. This doesn’t always go over well with some students, but often it does – and for me to witness an entire room of students moving completely differently – well – it looks like magic. It is magic.

It’s a space to move beyond any should’s or have to’s. To just be. To just move.

Sometimes it can feel scary. It means finding a moment or two of connection when many of us aren’t sure what that’s meant to look like. Some people get emotional. Some are confused and unsure of what to do. Some are angry with me for not leading the class. Some people are totally blissed out. There’s a wide range of responses that this can stir up. It means not having to listen to a teacher or another person but listening to your own authority.

After all these years, I’m now realizing it’s a big ask because these moments of freedom in movement go against the grain of so much we are taught.

These movements on the mat set another foundation in freedom: a place to connect to your intuition.

For many of us this too, is disconnected. Overwritten by conditioning or fear. This intuitive piece is what I’m starting to understand underlies even more of my yoga path. It’s in more of my teaching than I realized.

I’ve worked and shared so much about reconnecting with emotions. That is part of your intuition. So is finding your feet. Being in your body. Being able to move in a way that feels right or good without anyone telling you what to do or how to look. This helps undo so much; helps reclaim so much.

Over time, with repetition, this all helps to rewire the brain, to refocus the body, and allow energy to flow differently. To learn how to be with myself continues to be the greatest gift from these teachings. To practice using the instincts I cultivate on a yoga mat in the world means I have more power and ability to express myself (or at least recognize when I’m unable to do so) and the easier I am with myself no matter what the outcome is from my attempts. At least I heard that intuition.

So I no longer “fail” when I can’t do something based on what I feel. When I can’t take the action I know I “should”. At least I felt the sensations. I noticed. I can learn from it and try again next time. I’m starting to understand that intuition can take a long time to recover, depending on how in tact it is.

When connected with that intuitive self, I’m starting to see that it means not going along for someone else’s ride of what they want from me or of me unless we both or all agree that it is the right action. This comes from learning how to trust in the sensations because I am in my body. I can feel them, stay with them, AND choose the movements that will serve me. I have the space to make choices based on these intuitive pieces of information that I’m no longer running away from but bringing back into my body. Over and over again.

On a large scale this also means I can be free in how I want to move, even within the existing structures. Or to invite them to shift. To see that intuition in myself and in others. That vital piece of the mystery that needs to be worked like any other muscle.

Practiced. Stayed with. Cared for.

Trusted.