Memorial Day 2021

I wrote this in the wee hours of the morning yesterday, but was not prepared for the emotions it would bring.

In Memorial

I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Memorial Day. Remember it’s not about the day off, partying, (no judgment), but I hope we can all band together and see the meaning behind this federal holiday and all that it brings. I salute each and every one of you who has served and will be lighting a candle in memory of all who gave their lives for our freedom. I love you all. May we be the light. Thank you more than I could ever express. My hearts go out to those who hurt today. We celebrate in our household in a different manner than most modern day, honoring and cherishing those lives that gave their all, and those who have served and continue to do so. I come from a long line of military, and this isn’t a party and intoxication holiday. This is a THANK YOU SALUTATION! Stay blessed.

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

Mercury Retrograde – The Biggest of 2021!

So for the last 2 weeks I have been on edge. Sleeplessness, irritability, impatience, resentments that I let go of arose, and I just thought I was going through the motions. Not so much. My body, mind, soul, spirit was preparing me for today and the weeks to come.

I generally go to bed around 7, (I know), but I couldn’t sleep or turn my mind off. I’m a mom and play the dad role, so I am exhausted at the end of the day, really by 4 or 5. However, I thought, are we in Mercury Retrograde? I figured we’d be somewhere in retrograde as I’ve felt such a shift lately (but didn’t think once about retrograde until tonight…), so I looked up to see. I was not one bit surprised to see the blasted that this is the “Biggest Mercury Retrograde of 2021” and that it started TODAY. (I don’t need a retrograde calendar, I have a built-in body/mind/soul retrograde alert system if you will!)

Again, I wasn’t alarmed to see that May 29 is the start of the biggest Mercury Retrograde of the year. No wonder my body has been so out of tune – when you are in sync with your mind, body, and soul, you just know. My being was preparing me for this.

This is going to be a short post, but there’s the reason why I’ve been so out of sorts and not posting like I have intended. For that I apologize because I have so much more to share!

Regarding Mercury retrograde, it is May 29-June 22. Trust me y’all, I haven’t looked up the dates in forever. I just knew.

What is Mercury retrograde? I will let you do your homework until I edit this, but it is when Mercury is in apparent retrograde motion. But what does that mean? Mercury retrograde is a time when there may be confusion, frustration, anger, feelings all over. “Coincidences” can be huge, although I’ll link a podcast on how this sentence is a catch 22 because I don’t believe in coincidence. However, the notice of “coincidence” will probably be extreme. Intuition is super high during this period, and if you’re already intuitive well … double whammy. However, I see the intuitive trait as a GIFT.

Lastly, since it’s past my bedtime and retrograde is going to be quite long, I have a few things to add (I will be editing when it’s not past my bedtime (😉)…I am the epitome of “wanderlust,” free-spirited, and a moon child. HOWEVER, I disagree with a LOT of astrology and there are things I won’t allow in my head. Retrograde has proven time and time again, I mean hello, how “coincidental” that I would think, maybe we are in retrograde, and BOOM it started TODAY, AND it’s the largest retrograde of the year!So for closing on this note, I want to say this: during retrograde, it’s great to note that you shouldn’t be quick to make commitments. You should look out for “coincidences” and make note of it! It will peak your interest. Stay flexible. Take extra measures to guard your heart and soul and to stay on the course of soulfulness, rather than to stray, which is what many people will end up doing. Most of all stay positive, don’t blame Mercury retrograde or use it as an excuse for poor behavior, communication, attitudes, etc. Stay authentic, stay true, stay you!

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

P.S. Do NOT fear Mercury Retrograde, or (anything for that matter). Embrace it! Use it to become a stronger, patient, loving, soulful person, even more than you already are! This is the perfect opportunity.

Soulful Sunday

SOULFUL

We all have our days where we don’t feel Soulful.  WE have a hard time connecting our body, mind, and soul.  This is usually due to a shift in our energy (previous post regarded the loss of a friend), a decrease in our frequency (yes, this can be scientifically measured!), and just the day-in day-out stressors of our lives.  However, you’d be amazed at how quickly you can change that by integrating soulful practice in yoga.  There are many classes that specifically focus on just this.

For instance, I have been going through an arduous divorce for the past 3 years, fighting for my daughter.  I know many moms and dads can relate to being the single parent who does their duty, whilst the other parent does nothing and gets by, all the while we pay.  Integrate drug abuse/alcoholism/mental illness in the other party, and it’s even more difficult.  That is my situation, that I don’t want to post on, but I think it will really help people that there is a way to LET GO of that bondage.  The reason why the other party may not feel what we do is, simply they don’t care, OR, as I mentioned if there are other factors such as drinking and drugs, illnesses of the mind, etc., they don’t feel.  They are able to numb while we are not, because we don’t use substances or have mental illness that causes such behavior.  So the burden is horrific on us…and it just isn’t fair.  Unfortunately, life isn’t fair.  We have to do all the work while they lie back and do whatever they please.

I have personally been struggling with this for 3 years now, and it has outspent me completely.  However, there is no dollar amount when it comes to the safety of my child.  To make it more worse, though, yesterday, alone, I had to take my daughter to the emergency room, pouring rain.  I HAD to get her help.  However, I am still so drained that I can’t think straight.  Adding all of these stressors, financial, emotional, etc. has lowered my frequency to something I have never experienced.  I can feel it.  Today I will embark on raising it, and letting go of what I cannot control.

A lot of people modern day choose yoga as a fitness regime.  It’s popular, it’s so fun, but there are so many other benefits and I’m here to explain how to get out of that dark spot and become Soulful.  Afterall, it is SOULFUL SUNDAY!

There are things such as Soulful Yoga Therapy which combines counseling, psychotherapy, etc.  However, you don’t need to be led to thinking this is the only way.  You can absolutely come to your true self and highest frequency and bliss simply by doing the simplest things.

For one, meditate.  Sit there alone and meditate.  Think of what is hurting you and ruminate on what you want to, and if done with a true heart, will achieve.  This means letting go of all the anger, resentment, pain, turmoil, stress, whatever it may be.  Throw it away.  None of that serves you.  “Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  You are poisoning yourself if you are bitter or angry.  Let it go.

Another would be to practice yoga, whatever level you’re at.  Anything that can release those feel-good hormones (that’s why it is so common that all doctors recommend walking every single day.  That is not hard, but getting there may be).

Ground yourselves.  Through grounding, you connect yourself to the Earth.  I love to sit outside and just stand in tree pose with my bare feet in the grass.  You’d be surprised that feelings of joy and gratitude will enter without even trying.  Yu can also sit, just ground yourselves.  Think of what you have, rather than what you lack.  We are so blessed for the smallest things. (Commentary:  This really hit me when I went on a mission trip to Guatemala (Chimaltenango), and to see the conditions they lives in.  We built stoves for them, we ministered to them, we fixed their houses, we prayed over them…but I will never forget what I saw.  Life that I didn’t know existed because I have been abundantly blessed, simply to have a stove and a shower!  Did you know that they had to shower in home-made saunas, as in the sweat being their water to bathe themselves?  Ruminate on that.)

Therapeutic yoga – it is different than the other types.  If you need a mental release, this is for you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t do the “fun yoga,” too; but it is different and we need to understand that difference. As a practitioner, you may always email me for a free consult.  However, I can tell you here what it is and how you can do it on your own too.  What it is: a way to help students accept whatever circumstances they are currently in.  Maybe it is the loss of a loved one, or any of the examples I’ve given above.  Anything that does not serve you.  Therapeutic yoga helps you to accept that this is just a space in time, and that you can handle it in a way that heals you.  Transforms you.  Empowers you.  Sometimes we just need that push.

With a practitioner or not, you need a safe space.  You need to be mindful.  You need to honor your body (mind, soul, heart).  You must nourish yourself in every aspect in the present moment.  Remember, you cannot neglect one aspect of “you,” simply because you are focusing on another.  We have an innate way (usually subconsciously), of neglecting our body’s role in mental health care.  Yoga in particular gives us that chance to explore in our PHYSICAL BODY what is happening with our energy levels, our functionality, our ability to be our true selves, our frequency…the list goes on.  I like to call our bodies our “soul tents.”  It’s really what they are.  Our body doesn’t come with us when our time is up.  It’s all about what is in our being, however, what we FEEL (such as depression, anxiety, PTSD) is also felt in our bodies.

Breathwork – did you know there are so many exercises that can reduce the heart rate (anxiety, PTSD)?  Did you know there are so many breathing exercises that can change your left and right hemispheres of the brain?  (Examples are bumble bee breathing, alternate nostril breathing).  So when I say breathing exercises, I am going far beyond “just take a deep breath.”  There is physical modalities that you integrate to perform these exercises.

With a practitioner, they are usually very intuitive and pick up on things you may not.  So it is great to have an outsider (who knows what they are doing) guide you through soulful yoga. 

Lastly, if you don’t have the money or aren’t ready to take that leap of faith with a practitioner, you can always use one on Zoom (I am available), or there are so many mindfulness apps that you can download for free.  There are so many YouTubes that can guide you, for free.  The bottom line is, if you are reading this still, you need to do something.  Stress, anxiety, depression, etc. makes your body more susceptible to disease, even cancer.  There is so much more than I ever knew before becoming a practitioner.  Soulful is a word that has so much more meaning behind it.  If you want a healthy mind, body, soul, then please honor yourselves and take the time to practice self-love and self-care.

Yoga + Addiction

In Loving Memory, Ashley, 35

Roughly 22 MILLION Americans* battle some type of addiction, whether it be alcoholism, drug addiction, or both. 1 in 8 Americans is an alcoholic.

Freeing oneself from the stronghold of addiction can seem unbearable, rather impossible, but yoga can be the miracle of release from bondage. With global rehabilitation facilities, there are few who DO NOT include some type of yoga as a part of their program.

This has been a hard post for me as I am a volunteer to help aid addicts into recovery through the yogic process.  The harsh reality is that when you enter into the realm of being an addictionology, the odds are against addicts, which means they are against us.  I would be shocked to know if there is one person who cannot state an encounter with an addict, moreover someone close to them (or previously close, if we choose to use the tough love method, or have to distance ourselves for our safety, well-being, etc.)  Why are the odds against addicts?  Addiction is a HABIT, and many say it takes 30 days to form a habit.  Unforming a habit (or forming a new one, such as recovery/sobriety), takes an army and in my personal experience, YEARS, if not decades.  For the addict (interchangeable the word addict will be used for addicts and alcoholics/binge-drinkers alike), one relapse can lead to immediate death even after years/decades of sobriety, and that is the very cruel, painful truth.  Since I can speak from experience on both sides of the field, I will state that to be fact, as I’ve painfully experienced it time and time again.  May is Mental Health Month and I want to make sure that I post this now because addiction is a mental health crisis.  What has made me choose to post this today, is the fact that I just experienced another loss.  This time, I lost a best friend of almost 18 years and now I personally struggle to cope.  That being said, this is for parents/friends/family members of addicts as well (many of whom are in Al-Anon), to support their loved ones and simply keep them alive and give them a new life.  It is just as hard on that person as it is the addict, and the turmoil is just as deep, if not deeper (we who help don’t have the numbing of emotions by usage of substances, like the addict).  This is why there are many interventions, tough love approaches, etc.  In the spiral of addiction, reality doesn’t exist.

Many people don’t realize that alcoholism is just as bad as addiction.  It is legal.  “Drugs are bad, alcohol is okay”.  Both are destructive beyond belief, and I believe alcohol to be the gateway in the majority of cases.  However, the stigma that addiction to drugs rather than alcohol is different (and even furthermore, different addictions have different “levels”), all of that thought process has got to go.  Addiction and even dependence (per say, you had a surgery which required medications and you became dependent)  — addiction is addiction, folks.  Bundle it all together.  I cannot sugar coat this.

Many addicts fail because AA/NA (Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous) doesn’t sit well with them.  AA/NA is NOT the only way.  It can be integrated, and if it works for you, keep doing it.  If it doesn’t, I am one of the few to tell you that there IS another way.  The choice is yours, and I fully respect that.  For instance, one addict may be because of familial reasons, whilst another may be because of dependence, mental health, lack of ability to cope, lack of ability to complete everyday tasks (hence why many “Wall Streeters,” executives, people with high demanding jobs or lives, (I say this because we have a huge stigma of what an addict looks like), but addiction has no target.  Anyone can be an addict.  Anyone can be sober, too.

What does this even have to do with yoga?  If you’ve read my posts before, yoga is a mind, body, soul practice.  “Addiction takes a person out of their body and prevents them from connecting to who they are physically and feeling what their body is telling them,” says Jennifer Dewey, fitness manager at Betty Ford (a renowned rehabilitation centre).  Alcohol and drugs numb the mind.  BINGO!  We are about MINDFULNESS.  If that’s not a polar opposite then I don’t know what is.  Ms. Dewey also states, Yoga is a great way to slowly reintroduce someone to physical sensation…’ (the body is also numbed), ‘It’s also very relaxing, so in terms of the anxiety, stress, and depression that arise from detox, it’s invaluable in helped people stay calm and grounded.’”  Now let’s expand.

It’s wonderful to integrate yoga in a rehabilitation center in regards to detox and the program of reforming habits.  However, we need to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a 30-60-90 day program isn’t going to keep people clean.  The odds are against, and the relapse rate is unbelievable.  Almost every addict will relapse.  Almost every addict will relapse more than once.  Almost every addict will relapse for years.  And many will never recover.  That is the problem I have with strictly AA/NA being “the only way.”  It. Is. Not.  I may ruffle some feathers but I have extensive experience in this area (I was also married to an addict, who was probably the most addictive person I can imagine, not to be cruel, but adding the mixture of Narcissim and mental disorders, for 3 years he has not been able to pass a drug test to see our 3 year old daughter (her lifetime). 

I will give a short commentary for myself, because addicts come from all places.  For me, I was born with a genetic condition, Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, and it took 30 years to get a diagnosis.  I gave up hope as Doctors could not find an answer, and it was always labeled as their favorite term for people with invisible illness (or rare medical conditions)…depression.  I had a catecholamine test and I did not have clinical depression at all.  My body was failing me, and I had no help.  To be able to physically move, I had to have something to PHYSICALLY numb the pain.  I am fortunate to be one of the few who did not have trauma (trauma is a huge precursor for addiction), familial history, mental disorders, or an unstable household.  We were a traditional family unit and we remain that way to this day.  I am blessed that my family all got on board and no one drinks.  We live so abundantly.

So let’s cover the mind once more.  Yoga is a spiritual practice.  For addicts, there will be (some say often, I say always), a hole in one’s life, in which they are filling with some sort of substances.  Instead, you can choose to fill it differently and live freely by doing so.  Integrating the spirituality and the philosophy of yoga, connecting to our Higher Power/Creator/Source/GOD, we can leave that realm of addiction and enter a realm of tranquility, spirituality, security…the list is endless.  Did you know, that is a high too?  The highest high you could ever get.  Would you like to be successful and mindful, addicted to yoga, spirituality (be that spiritual gangster! Sobriety IS COOL!); or does being addicted to a substance, being unpresent, numbing your life, eventually going down a spiral to being so low in frequency…does that sound like a better option? (Rhetorical question).  No answer needed.

Back to the body (bare with me, as this is post in it’s entirety would take a lifetime for me to explain addiction alone).  Let’s BREAK THIS BONDAGE!  We’ve covered the spiritual/mindful part, let’s talk about the body.  Yoga is so amazing as it has so many different asanas, which sets it aparts from other fitness practices that you’ll likely get so hyped on yoga and the next goal, to the next, that you forget about substances and fill your mind with all the desires of your practice.  You’ll see amazing poses and it’s an automatic subconscious “alert” in your mind that you’ll be thinking, there’s my next goal!  Chances are you’ll look back in disgust and wish you knew this sooner.  To be fair, if yoga isn’t for you, and you prefer dancing, running, lifting, whatever physical practice that you are passionate about, just substitute my lingo for whatever your choice is. 

So regarding the body, many people “get sober,” but they are still bound by their physical ailments.  That’s why fitness (for this post, yoga) is SO important.  You can read ‘”The Big Book” (AA/NA) all day long, you can attend every meeting, counselors, talk about your problems all day long…but what does that serve for your physical issues?

Let me back up here, and say, maybe you don’t have the physical issues, or you don’t realize that you may.  It still doesn’t matter.  Science is LIT (trying to be cool here to connect to everyone).  But it’s true.  I promise I will never state anything that I don’t believe to try to sway anyone’s opinion.  However, you need to understand science plays a big role in the whole process of recovery.  Let me quote “Dr. Drew” (Dr. Drew Pinksy, Sober House), “If you don’t know how to modulate your own anxiety,  depression, or fatigue through healthy means, then you’ll turn to things like sedatives, pain relievers, amphetamines, and alcohol.”  I pretty much already said that, but it’s always good to have a renowned and reputable source to back it up.  Now physiologically (functionality, different from psychology), science can back it tremendous (if you’re skeptical, case studies are all over the place), yoga is very effective (as is any physical exercise) for regulation of our stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. This includes “fight or flight” responses, which is innate and usually subconscious to protect ourselves.  High levels of hormoones are extremely toxic and dangerous to not just your body, but your central nervous system.  Yoga in particular (but not limited to) creates a reduction and balance of such hormones.  So…if you’re less stressed, wouldn’t it be without question that you’ll be less likely to “have a glass of wine,” or “just one pill”?  Rhetorical again. 

With all of the physical, psychological, physiological combined, your odds of getting clean and STAYING CLEAN are tremendously higher.  I emphasize staying clean because getting clean is so much easier than staying clean.  The slightest instance can trigger you and put you right where you left off…and you may not get another chance to get back on the wagon.  You may not be open again and willing to get back on track.  I can’t tell you how many people have long-term decades of sobriety, and ruin 30 years of sobriety in ONE relapse.  It seems far fetched but it is so true, and I know many people who it has happened to.

I hope that this reaches at least one person, whether they are an addict or a loved one in despair, fear, hopelessness, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Just take that leap of faith, and I can promise you will not regret it.

Lastly, I’d like to offer to anyone struggling, please email me at bombyogamom@gmail.com, for a FREE Zoom call, email, phone call, text, whatever you need to help set you or a loved one free.  I am here to serve.  Of course there are so many resources, but I will post them below for professional organizations to help you:

SAMHSA’s National Helpline (24/7, 365 treatment referral service to help you find resources, including rehabilitation centers in your area): 1-800-662-HELP

Unbiased data: www.verywellmind.com highly recommended

Alcoholics Anonymous Website https://www.aa.org or https://alcoholicsanonymous.org for immediate hotline assistance (24/7) 1-800-839-1686 (Alcoholic Resource Center)

Narcotics Anonymous Website https://www.na.org

Narcotics Anonumous Virtual Meetings: https://virtual-na.org

Narcotics Crisis Hotline (visit the NA Website (www.na.org) to find the best local helpline)

American Addiction Centers: https://americanaddictioncenters.org

For Victims of Abuse- The Domestic Violence Support National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org 1-800-799-SAFE

Lastly, I want to give you all a tip before I go, which is to please know that if you simply google AA or NA, a lot of websites will pop up that are actual centers.  Rehabilitation programs make a LOT of money, and please be aware there are scammers.  American Addiction Centers is great, but I have found them to be somewhat unhelpful in that they do follow up in hopes that a person has relapsed and will re-enter treatment (which can be good or bad.  Ex. A person relapses and dies, yet they still follow up with the grieving family).  That is just MY experience, and I want you to make sure you have someone helping you so that you are not scammed.  Do not let that deter you, because, I will reiterate, the odds are greatly against addiction.  Again: Greater than half of alcoholics/addicts who undergo treatment die (that’s just for people who undergo treatment!  THIS IS A CRISIS!)  I lose someone close to every month.  This is why treatment alone is not sufficient.  This is why this is a crisis far greater than any other.

Stay happy, stay healthy, stay kind

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

Child’s Pose ‘Balasana’

Child’s Pose Fromtal View, Balasana

Good morning, and happy Tuesday my friends! I’d like to start with gratitude, and declaring this a thankful, thoughtful Tuesday.

Today I would like to get into the beginnings of yoga physically, since I have talked a lot on spirituality – reason being I went from “me,” to a straight up 24/7 Spiritual Gangster. However, I know a lot of you are eager to get to the physical aspect, so let’s get started!

Child’s pose – this is where we begin and at any time during practice I urge you to come back here if your body isn’t working with you. I want to make it so clear that regardless of whether you are full-throttle or simply still, you reap all the benefits.

As this is our starting pose (mine at least), I will post a photo below and most likely the first thought in your mind is ok…next. Not so fast. There are so many different aspects to postures that seem mundane or simple, everyday easy resting poses, that have nothing to do with yoga. In child’s pose – you have variations as well. So let’s get into that. {Child’s Pose is ‘Balasana,’ (anytime you see the suffix -asana or -sana, it’s an ASANA, (as well as a counter asana), so don’t let the ease of the photo make you quick to just lay there as it looks}. Furthermore to speak as to it being an asana, and counter asana, let your mind remember that it actually does something (i.e. stretching, calming the mind) rather than just getting you ready for practice (hence why I say you do reap the benefits of anything, no matter how simple it may seem). It is actually a forward bend, and restorative pose. Child’s pose stretches your body (extending the arm you can reach your fingers towards the edge of the mat and feel a wonderful deep back/shoulder stretch). Also, 3 main areas you may be surprised about that are engaged, include (but not limited to) the hips, thigh, ankle.

(Photos combined from http://www.iconfinder.com) Remember your forehead & nose should touch the mat.

To start, let me explain the correct way to do Balasana, Child’s Pose:

1. Kneel on the floor, touching the big toes whilst sitting on your heels. Begin to separate the knees approximately as wide as the hips.

2. Now lay your torso forward and down between thighs as you EXHALE (breathwork is crucial in all poses, whether you should be inhaling or exhaling). – Narrow your hip points toward your navel (bellybutton), as you broaden your sacrum (low back) across the back of your pelvis. You should feel that nice opening stretch. If you have low back problems, it’s great to do this anytime throughout the day and just relax.

3. You should be nestled in between your inner thighs, and lengthen the tailbone as far as feels good. (Never push your body past it’s limits, as always).

4. Lift the bottom/base of the skull away from the bottom of the neck. Picture this as your vertebrae stretching, creating that space in between. (Also great for cervical and thoracic pain, disc issues, etc.)

5. Lay your hands out it front of you, palms facing up, or back behind you, palms facing down. (Your choice). (Reiteration: Child’s pose is a kneeling pose, and you may either take your arms out in front of you or back behind you. I say, do both and choose which feels best. There’s no wrong or right choice in which direction you choose to extend the arms. Just make sure you do.)

6. Release the front of your shoulders toward the floor, either way. If your arms are extended in front of you, you will most likely feel an “ahhhh” sensation, in your back, which is the widening of your shoulder blades across the back.

7. I recommend staying for 3 minutes. You won’t find this is all classes, but this is where I begin deep breathwork, inhaling as deep as you can go, maybe taking one more sip of air, and then exhaling with an audible H-A “HAAAA” sound. (For years I was too embarrassed to do that in studio). When you become a teacher or you learn that this practice is YOURS, you DO things that might normally feel embarrassing or weird. It’s a great benefit as you are clearing out the lungs, releasing that stale air from your body. Repeat these breaths at least 3-5 times. Take your time and inhale deep, exhale deep.

Child’s pose isn’t just laying there now is it?! Do these things so you can reap the benefits to the full extent.

Lastly, I will say to please READ these tips:

• This is NOT for prenatal yoga

• If you have knee issues you can modify the knees (such as Osgood-Schlatter 🙋‍♀️)

• If you have trouble resting on the heels, you may place a blanket or roll your mat up under them

• We never in daily life breathe back into our torso. This allows us to do that (hence the breathing exercises). Also, remember to stretch the vertebrae during inhale, and on each exhale (deep), go a little further into the forward fold (into that nestled spot between the thighs). This will help you with standing forward folds

•Set your intention! Use this as a time to shut off the mental chatter before your practice.

•Additional benefits: reduces stress and fatigue. Again, reduces back and neck pain.

•Can be sequenced between more challenging asanas/poses/flows.

•Lastly – I will emphasize this forever, never push the limits. You know your body best, trust it. No one is looking or comparing, I can assure you.

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

Yoga and Spirituality

Good morning my fellow yogis/yoginis, and HAPPY FRI-YAY! I wanted to start a blog post to extend on the post I made 1 week ago. Stay tuned, be open-minded (I know some things may deter some people – but if you just stick with me for a moment, I think you’ll be surprised. I believe every single person who reads this with an open heart will get something out of it).

If you have read any of my previous posts, you’ll see that I posted about setting an intention. That is the first and foremost thing you must do in yoga prior to anything. Otherwise, you’re just “working out” and it doesn’t really set it apart from a simple workout, whatever it may be. Yoga was designed as a spiritual practice, it is the origin of yoga. Now, while yoga has developed over time and there are so many different types, STILL not one of them removes the art of setting an intention, or making it fully known that this is a mind-body-soul practice. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: SET AN INTENTION. You lose so much and it is meaningless not to.

My goal for this blog is to teach yoga – (as mentioned: mind, body, soul) – help you begin or enhance your practice safely and effectively, and take it to the next level. However, there are many questions that arise on the topic of meditation and prayer, and if they are “oil and water,” so to speak. Many questions arise so often, “Can Christians practice yoga,” or “does prayer even have a place in this practice?” My jaw drops, because the answer is absolutely YES. Even non-Christian yogis have the same reaction. We get too technical when we hear the word prayer.

NOW – I hope you’re still with me. Are you feeling defeated after 2020? Are you at such a low in life through the events over the last year? There has been just so much chaos, destruction, division, that I am certain there is not one individual on this planet that has not been affected. We all have different stories, perhaps it wasn’t just the virus, but political (which I am not going there), or racial, (I’m Native American – so don’t let my blonde hair fool you), the loss of jobs, financial stress, (stress in general), the list is endless. I feel like I am describing this as just a temporary trouble. IT HAS BEEN CATASTROPHIC, and I don’t believe we will be going back to over norm… ever. We have all been affected TREMENDOUSLY – financially, emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually… There is no word to describe the pain and agony we have faced.

We have been though excruciating torture, and under attack – spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally. Have you ever thought that maybe it was because we needed to be awakened and out of our day-to-day blessed life (that previously may not have seemed blessed at all)? I know I certainly did.

This has been heavy on my heart since we have assumedly been slowly emerging out of said torturous season (you know the one that was only supposed to last for 2 weeks, but still destroys). We still don’t know what lies ahead (fear of the unknown). We aren’t out of the danger zone; lovingly, please don’t kid yourselves. The turmoil in fact made us as a human population turn against one another in hate. Did you know that hate and anger are secondary emotions to fear? Perhaps we are so terrified of the unknown that we started to harbor anger in our hearts and project unto others without even realizing it. See the diagram (focus on the top two – primary to secondary); were we not first VULNERABLE?

I want to say if you are reading this, you have been blessed beyond measure. You woke up this morning! Our Divine source has so graciously rescued us from what could have been. For me, that Divine source is undoubtedly God. However, I’ve been in studios who do not at all have the same belief system I do, but they still integrate prayer/meditation/and connection to Creator. It’s one of the first things we yogis learn in yoga school. I do not, however, want to be one who is too scared to say that I firmly believe in Jesus of Nazareth, and I am a dedicated Christian yogi (if you’re new, that doesn’t mean I only teach Christians. There is not a single soul I will refuse to teach). I will boldly proclaim my belief system, regardless if that means I lose followers. I have been cleansed by the blood of Christ and I am so GRATEFUL. If this paragraph deterred you, please, don’t leave just yet. There is a LOT of content and you will get something out of this with an open heart.

Was it not easy to see clearly in the diagram (focus on the blue and orange, top two boxes) that we were first vulnerable, which led to anger, hate, resentment, and so on. I cannot tell you how many times people have lashed out at me, for no reason at all. In fact just the other day a white male about 20 years older than me came in and started calling me a stupid (insert profanity here) for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. I was getting my daughter a Paw Patrol drink. I guess he didn’t like Paw Patrol as much as we do. (One light and airy note to lighten the tone, but this is serious. I apologize if it seemed insensitive because these are topics I DO NOT take lightly).

Back to setting an intention. In yoga, I have everyone first and foremost lie on their mats and clear their minds. Then I ask all to set an intention, in which they will focus on during the practice. GRATITUDE would be a great intention. Thank you, Lord, for running water. Thank you, Lord, that we are seeing some light. Thank you, Lord, that I have a body to facilitate this practice.

Light dims the darkness. When you go to bed you don’t turn on the dark. You turn off the light. <Metaphor for spiritual darkness>

As for prayer – it is a divine means of connecting your heart with the Divine. Doing so allows grace to flow throughout your Earthly being. It allows it also to touch you spiritually. A prayer from the heart transcends all boundaries and has the POWER to DESTROY all bondage. Again, personal side note, I proclaim Psalm 91 over my life and every life…EVERY. SINGLE DAY. I should be more aware an proclaim it every single second.

{To Expand – Helpful commentary} The power of prayer is so intense that it softens the heart, has an unwavering effect on your mind, and can even change your intellectual dialogue into spiritual contemplation. That last part sounds complex, but to better explain, it transforms our EMOTIONS into DEVOTIONS. (Take a second to ruminate on that). If you’ve been longing to devote yourself to something, there is your answer!

VERY IMPORTANT: Prayer and meditation quiets out mental chatter. In a world that we are always on the go with a million things on our mind at all times, to have even just one hour of uninterrupted mental chatter is unremarkable. If you do not like the word prayer, there is also “chanting” which was very much a part of yoga teacher training. (I’ve mentioned meditation, which is really the same thing as prayer, we just get stuck on verbiage that we do and don’t like), Regardless, we need prayer/meditation; we need help to quiet those voices that bring us down. At this time in life circumstances GLOBALLY, we are at the peak of demonic attacks towards our spirit, soul, and even our physical bodies. I like to say, we are spirits with a body, not the other way around. Our body is our soul and spirit’s “tent,” if you will, for this Earthly realm.

We need prayer, we need salt and light. We ARE to be salt and light of this world. If we can quiet our minds, find an intention simply of gratitude (which we should all have no problem finding something to be grateful for. Without, we can connect ourselves to our Creator for a beautiful but dramatic shift in our thoughts, emotions, circumstances, and so forth. If we cannot find that, I see no purpose. Let us be the light.

UNTIL NEXT TIME MY FRIENDS, NAMASTE

For the Christian Yogis/Yoginis: I implore you to EXTEND the National Day of Prayer. Our nation needs far more than a day.

FLEXIBILITY

Hello my loves and happy Thankful Thursday!

I know this seems a bit out of place but I wanted to give you a glimpse of what yoga can achieve for you, and that the “unrealistic” is actually very achievable.

Some days you may want to be silent and meditate, while the next you may want to go full throttle and push the limits. That’s the art of yoga.

So I know this is brief but I just wanted to show you how far you can go and how I will teach you from the ground up on how to get there. (by the way, this may look hard, but it comes so easy to me with proper learning and technique. It comes so natural and I can hold it for however long I want, and even talk while like this. It feels THAT good!

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is a beautiful day – but we need to remember those that are not celebrating, rather hurting.

My grandmother passed away in November, and she lived right down the street from my mom. They spent every day together. She helped raise me and all of her grandchildren while my mom and her sister were working. She was my daughters best friend when I was in the hospital on my deathbed. This was our first Mother’s Day without her.

When I had my daughter, I had a very rare condition and was living in a small town. I’m a city girl but my ex husband moved us to a college town and I was shook. There were few doctors, and once negligence was conducted no doctor would touch me. I was given 3 days to live after going septic and having my uterus sewn to my colon. In a final attempt to save my life I was flown back to Dallas and the only way for me to survive was an emergency hysterectomy, 3 months after the birth of my first child. I will never have a chance to conceive again because I have no womb.

So while I celebrate and thank the Lord, I still weep knowing I am barren.

Many women don’t get the chance to have a child, suffer from infertility, or like myself have had to tragically undergo a hysterectomy for reasons such as PCOS, ovarian cancer, and other female health concerns.

Where ever you are, whatever your circumstances, prayer is on my mind and heavy on my heart. There is always hope and miracles DO happen. To the Angel baby mamas, Happy Mother’s Day to you. You’re still a mother and you will meet again. I love you all. Happy Mother’s Day

(A photo from after I had my emergency hysterectomy – malpractice that cost my uterus)

Set Up

Now let’s get started! I think I did my part on the “baby blog” introducing myself, that I’m finally ready to hit the ground running with you all! So, first things first, I would like to give some of my personal learned advice:

• Before anything – you need a place to practice. Whether you choose a home room/gym or even a small area to convert into your yoga space, OR you choose a studio to practice in (or both), you need to figure out where you’ll be setting up. Gyms are great because if you have questions about different things you’ll need – you have all the answers. However, I’ve bought the same mats and yoga towels for a mere fraction of the price on Amazon and even places like Ross, $5 Below, etc. if you have them in your area. And for almost all of the items I haven’t noticed a difference even if they aren’t the same exact brand. However, some studios let you rent a mat, but if you’re attending often that adds up too. If you’re just trying it out for the first time – DON’T invest, just rent at least if it’s your first class.

If you’re choosing your home, there’s an investment which we don’t all have the luxury to do. I didn’t. So I started with a mat, a towel, (both from Amazon), and practiced on my back porch. I didn’t have a room to convert. I’ve also heard of people in my many groups talk about practicing in their garages (which I do that as well). (Tip: people who practice hot yoga can use a heater in their garage and I’ve heard it works really well minus the humidity part – hence why yoga is so costly to customers…not just a space and tools, but heat out the wazoo (you think your electricity bill is high!), plus such high humidity, showers, amenities…it’s expensive. So customers pay the price but it’s worth it if you want in studio practice which is what I (most people) start with. You can always transition or do both! Also, for a meditation or small yoga space, it doesn’t have to be a big room, I just want to emphasize that. You can really choose anywhere including the park as well! Just get started it’s not like you’re in a contract! Upgrade as you go.

Now that you have your space, here are some amazing tips along the way to further your practice, but as a starter you don’t need much. I say, don’t get ahead of yourself. You can always add more later. Maybe that’s the frugal mom in me, but hey, your checkbook (that shows my age doesn’t it?) will thank you!

• Whether it is Hot Yoga, Restorative Yoga, or just simply beautifully meditating — water is a must. Fact: 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. A big reason for this is because when the feeling of “thirst” begins, you’ve already become dehydrated. Your cells need it, your body needs it. It flushes toxins out of your body. If you are working out, it is going to help repair worn muscles so that they heal quicker = less soreness.

• You will definitely need some gear. Now, you can just start with a simple yoga mat as I said (I’m repeating some of the above here and adding on), and if you’re planning to do Hot Yoga, a non-slip towel is a must (I’ll post a how to on what is a real non slip towel because some claim not slip, but you want it to have a specific grip on top of your mat). Not only is hot yoga…hot…it is around 60-65% humidity. So slipping and sliding on a mat while trying to stay focused and give it your all is just not happening. Those are the first two. Absolutely must haves. As you progress OR as a beginner to aid you getting into poses, holding them without injury, and transitioning from assisted to full expression, there are so many great tools.

• One for starters that is the first go-to would be a yoga block. This can do just about anything. You can place it underneath areas to prop you up, you can use it to lean on in postures that you cannot hold, you can even do workouts alone with them, such as side to side upward crunches. You can also hold the block with your feet while laying, feet a few inches above the floor, and move the legs vertical – grab the block by reaching, now lower the legs and arms but don’t touch the floor (I’ll post a how-to). Killer abs right there! Blocks are #1 PROP to start.

• Bolsters – you can use bolsters which are similar to pillows to aid you in positions, sit on, and they’re great for prenatal yoga. You can do a lot of postures and get a lot of relief from postures by adding a bolster (same pose, different benefits). This is used a lot in Hatha and restorative. I’m a hot yoga girl so bolsters aren’t top of my list but a lot of people prefer traditional yoga which would mean bolsters could be a LOVE for you.

• Yoga straps – (I LOVE THESE) – wonderful for flexibility. You can hang them over the door knob, you can wrap them around the feet and pull one leg, you can do a ton of things for strength and flexibility with yoga straps and there are different forms and variations for different achievements.

• For Yin, restorative, slower type meditation blankets are great.

• Chairs are so cool! They aid you into poses but they also allow you to do poses you can’t do on a regular flat surface (floor) on your mat.

• Oils – at the end of each class (since I primarily do hot yoga I use a cold towel) but any temperature will do, with some essential oils, place it over the face and just lie there in savasana. Soak in your hard work, be proud of yourself, rest, and be grateful for the day ahead. (My personal favorites are Lavender, Lemongrass, Frankincense. You can get them through MLM but I get mine at a health food store. But really you can even get them at Target or on Amazon.

• Extra towel for the face/body sweat. MUST.

• Yoga Wheel – I have Yoga Buddy’s yoga wheel and with back pain I am in heaven. I don’t just use it for yoga, I get it out throughout the day and open up my vertebrae. So simple but so rewarding. You can also do poses on it or balance on it – a lot harder than it looks! I’ll be doing a WHOLE post simply on the wheel because I’m OBSESSED.

• Other great tools (but not as essential) include salt lamps, diffusers, playlists, sandbags, sound healing (such as gongs), and bars. Lastly for class you have to have a mirror (unless you’re outside). That IS essential for in-studio yoga practice.

This was just some baby tips, and I’ll do posts on them, where to find them, great brands, what to look for, etc. but I wanted to start easy. So — stay tuned!

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

National Day of Prayer – Yoga Style

As I’m still in my beginning baby blog stages, I’m hoping you learn more about me before I get into the good stuff (even though this post is the BEST stuff). I am a Christian Yogi, and there’s a very common misconception that Christianity and Yoga do not mix. In fact it’s a common misconception that they are polar opposites and I’m here to tell you that is false.

Although the poses (asanas) in yoga are meant to aid you physically, they are very much also meant to connect you to God. Now, that’s where it gets tricky. There are gods, goddesses, it is rooted in Buddha teachings which I’m not here to disagree with, but the question is – WHAT GOD are we talking about?

The choice is yours. For me – I strongly believe in one God, Jesus of Nazareth. I am a Bible based yoga if you will. For others, their God may be their money. It may be of a different religion and I’m not here to bash that. But as I introduce you to myself, there is no better day to post on Christian Based Yoga, or at least my belief system and my God whom I connect with while practicing.

In Yoga Teacher Training, we learn many things that go against my belief system, because we have to have a foundation as to why yoga is different than other physical practices. It integrates physical practice with mindfulness, connection to the one you serve, and so forth. But it was founded many years ago, one thing that stuck with me about the poses and the practice and art of yoga is that people were unaware of God. They didn’t understand nature. They didn’t understand things like storms, droughts, natural disasters and they wanted to make peace with “who” was doing this. You have to take your mind back in time, far from the knowledge we have now, forget religion. I’ll save the rest of that origin for another day. And … for the record – I am FAITH based, BIBLE based, and I don’t succumb to a religion or pastor or anything other than what is written.

One more thing – I have 3 Bachelor’s degrees and it made no sense to my family (also hardcore believers) why I would spend thousands on yoga school to take an immense pay-cut. It also was uneasy to them because they believed yoga to be of another religion, postures, asanas representing forms of worshipping other Gods. His word says there shall be no other God, and it frightened them that I was swaying from my belief system.

Is it true that is questionable whether it is okay for Christians to practice yoga? Yes! I’ve walked into many studios that were about spiritual downloads (again another topic), and tarot and leading spirits in. Let me say I’ve swayed from my belief system before and I very much believe (declare) we live in a spiritual realm. I have let unwelcome spirits in, and it’s a scary place to be. I’ve walked right out of those places.

Did you know, however, that the postures are actually found throughout scripture! God created us to be spiritual beings, with a body to help facilitate connection with Him. These postures actually BRING us closer to prayer and closer to thoughts and feelings directly to our prayer life. In yoga, we can use this gracefully to move, facilitate, breathe, speak with God, our Creator.

Let’s get a little deep… but to be honest these below are only the tip of the iceberg with very little commentary and one of many verses attached.

• Standing – Mark 11:25 “…and when you stand praying…” Can we not worship standing, praising? Can we not show God honor by standing to worship and pray? (Mountain Pose, Warrior)

• Kneeling – all throughout scripture. Do many of us not kneel as we pray? Kneeling is humility in form. (Hero, childs pose)

• Sitting – 2 Samuel 7:18 “Then King David went and sat before the Lord” or how about the last supper? Fact: the actual first yoga pose was sitting. When we sit we are still with God, to meditate, pray, speak to Him, and this goes with many of the other bullets I have listed, which are VERY minute. (Lotus, simple seated, bound ankle)

• Extending Arms -Exodus 9:29 “…I will spread out my arms in prayer to the Lord…” (Moses). what a way to demonstrate our gratitude for the glory bestowed upon us! I know in church (and I will add this here, again, I’m Bible based even though I did grow up Baptist AND Catholic, I believe the Bible and I am not of denomination. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being of one, that’s just my preference. Back to the point, when we extend our arms, we may be opening them to acceptance of His gifts, giving praise, receiving. (Tree)

• Bow – Genesis 24:26-27 “Then the man bowed down and worshipped the Lord…” I don’t think there’s really much to say about bowing and praying. It’s another act of humility, and it is all throughout scripture. We bow because we honor, and physically acknowledge that we aren’t on the same playing field. In fact we are servants, not even worthy to look up to God. (Bow (duh), humble warrior, forward fold)).

• Laying – Job 1:20-21 “…the he fell to the ground in worship.” (Job) – we lie down in many emotions and pour out our struggles, because He cares. Another act of humility. Also – Be still and know. Be. Still. (Childs pose, puppy pose, prostrate, savasana)

• Glancing Up – Psalm 121 “I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker, of heaven and Earth.” So many passages throughout the Bible – he also wants us to look up to Him in PRAISE. Again, we aren’t on a level playing field but we ARE showing a physical act of worship and invitation from the Lord to show such gratitude of His mercy. (Pretty much all poses!)

•Free Movement – Psalm 149:3 “Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with trimbrel and harp.” He wants us to be happy! He wants us to dance! We were not created to be idle. It is joyful and freeing. (In yoga, flows are “dancing”)

•Wrestling – Genesis 32:24 “So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him til daybreak…” (some believe this man to be God, because the the verse continues to say “…I will not let you go until you bless me.” I can’t personally think of whom else that could be that would be worthy of being blessed. How many times have we wrestled with God? How many times were our ways better than His in our minds? His ways are not ours but we will wrestle for much longer than Jacob did until we finally BLESS HIM!

•Meditation – Genesis 24:63 “He went out to the field one evening to meditate.” It boggles my mind how people believe meditation is not the same as prayer, or being alone with God. It is EXACTLY the same thing. The issue is the verbiage. The issue is that we have a breakdown that meditation is … something else. Meditation is throughout the Bible so much that I’d have to do a 5-day lesson without break to even go there! Mind. Body. Spirit.

So my friends, remember on this day and every day – Connect to breath, sync body and mind, be with Him in stillness/mindfulness, and meditate on HIM and His blessings.

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE