Saturday, July 22, 2017

Stay Wild, Child

The eyes of a child notice even the tiniest of critters. This inch worm was inching across a footbridge on a forest adventure. Inch by inch we all get to where we are going....

Few words are needed to share the magic of our week of camping and forest adventures with our ten year-old nephew. Pennsylvania is a magical place and the wilderness here is so full of wonder. Enjoy....

Newts love cool, wet mossy forests. Little boys love newts. 

Mushroom magic is abound during the wet summer storm season. Children are amazing mushroom spotters.

This heart mushroom!!!

Wild blueberries are everywhere now. Best blueberries ever.  I have missed their  sweet tart flavor for the last 13 summers!

Exploring the river banks with uncle Tanner. Snakes, frogs and crayfish are all around.

A happy boy rests on the shores of Conservation Island in Promised Land State Park, located in the Pocono Mountains of NE Pennsylvania. 

No wonder I love Vancouver Island! The resemblance is amazing. I have so much gratitude for all of the magical places I get to call home. 

A summer well spent. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Are You Breathing? REALLY breathing?

I painted this sign outside of a hostel in Mexico two and a half years ago. It was the first time someone asked me to instruct yoga classes.

If I was a cell phone, my energetic battery would be at the thin red line just before it shuts itself down. 

My inspiration battery would be at least 100% though. Possibly ready to recharge other batteries!

I have never ever been so inspired and so exhausted simultaneously. I am feeling like I can barely walk around without feeling totally tired. Which is why I'm curled up in a plush chair in the tea lounge. It's our final evening of the yoga teacher training. The emotions are big and there is an air of sadness because we are all parting ways tomorrow. My mind is also so expanded that I feel like I am dreaming.

2017 Himalayan Institute 200-hour YTT class. Photo by HI staff- thank you!!!

Today we each took a turn instructing the entire class. It was deeply moving to witness the massive transformations that have taken place for all of us. I had to get a pile of Kleenex to make it through the morning. A good cry can be so nurturing and helps to release deeply held emotions. (Except it often messes with my nasal breathing when my sinuses get all puffy.) 

My ability to breathe has never been so amazing. I had the realization during this course that I have not been breathing correctly for nearly 35 years! Shocking, right?! Tell me about it. We have been practicing breath training daily. One tool that is a miracle worker (if you're open to practicing) is called a breath pillow. It's a cloth sand-filled bag shaped like a crescent moon, between 7-10 lbs. It's weight, when placed on the abdomen just below the rib cage, for only a few minutes each day, allows one to feel the diaphragm pressing into the abdomen to expand the chest cavity, therefore supplying the body with the maximum amount of nourishing breath and strengthening the diaphragm. I was definitely not doing this my WHOLE life. It was a very tricky process to convince my unconscious memory and my cellular memory to allow my diaphragm to release its decades-long grip. When it finally happened, it was like coming up for air after being held just beneath the surface of the water for far too long. I was lying in bed ready to sleep when I felt it (after just a week!) On my back, I took the deepest breath I have ever taken. I got so excited. I said to Tanner "I feel like I have whale lungs!!!" I have been sleeping so much better, too.

Now, the trick is to continue maintaining this openness and continuing to strengthen that mysterious muscle called the diaphragm that helps to keep us alive and thriving. 

There she is. The beautiful diaphragm. 

I had a day two weeks ago where I traced my whole life backwards. I had asked myself how it is that I am here right now. As I traced back all of people and events that lead me here to finally become a certified yoga teacher, my heart swelled with heaps of gratitude. I have been blessed with so many supportive friends and acquaintances. I have been walking (fairly) steadily down a path of deepening spiritual realms. It continues to deepen with each leap of faith and each excavation and examination of my own inner world. 

May we all consider exploring deep within ourselves to shift our collective experience as humanity. As the peace of our inner worlds expands, our outer worlds become filled with more love and joy. Who doesn't long for that? 

The next steps for us are a) completing our required teaching hours and b) completing our 30-day meditation journals. Then our certifications will be official. We hope to be sharing the magic of yoga with the world before very long. Where? That part remains unclear, but time reveals all. 

A nourishing nature break from yoga school by a babbling Pennsylvania brook. Ahhhhhh....