Monday, January 28, 2013

When it's going well

Twice in the last two months I've read books that encourage making a list of the structures in place in life when things are going really really well.  Brene Brown notes that she did it as she and her husband looked at how family life goes, and then Sara Avant Stover recommends crafting an "absolute Yes list" for all areas of life.  Essentially the idea is to figure out what makes things flow and work best for you.  Then as times get more stressful, you make sure to move more and more towards the items on your list to help you (or your family system) stay grounded and healthy.

Since I'm moving into the wild-lands of having a baby at home again, I thought I'd do a Best Possible Scenario list for my teaching.

Here's what I find makes my teaching really hum along almost effortlessly:

My home practice is consistent and strong.  I allow myself plenty of exploration and add in restorative days but I'm practicing 5 - 6 days a week for an hour or more.  And I add in some Yogaglo classes with advanced teachers, and at levels that challenge me.

I'm going to class.  I'm learning from other teachers, students, and my physical experience. It helps me break up ruts in my teaching and practice routines.  Plus I feel I"m a part of a community.

I'm reading or listening to something that piques my interest.  It could be poetry or philosophy but my mind and heart are deeply engaged in working something out that I can then bring to my students.

I have plenty of time after practice to sit, contemplate, journal, and digest my experiences.

I have a vision of where I want to take the students physically, emotionally, or spiritually

I give myself plenty of time to plan classes including both sequence and thematics

I write out my speech in the beginning.  This could include several drafts, but when I really nail it, I can feel it and I see the difference in my students. And it keeps me from talking too long and taking up a ton of time at the beginning of class.

I arrive early and set up the room by chanting then playing music and am available to the students

I'm feeding my soul consistently: time in nature, dancing, art-making, crafts, journalling, time with friends.

I'm in conversation with other yoga teachers.  This keeps me out of my own little world, out of my own ego and in a feeling of community which I'm always craving in my life.

My teaching schedule is manageable.  I'm not overdoing it.  That is, I'm only taking on classes that I enjoy and that I feel I have enough time to really pour my heart into.  Which means right now I only teach a few classes while I mother one (and soon two) young children.  As they grow up and more space opens in my life, I'd love to add more classes, workshops, and private lessons.

It's seriously a dream world when all of these things converge and are happening, especially for more than a string of days.  But writing this all out helps me start to see how I can craft my days to give myself more of what I need, to then be able to offer from my heart to the students in class.

I recommend giving this a try for yourself.  What is happening in your world that makes your teaching come alive?  And if you're not a teacher, what helps you keep your heart and inspiration moving in your career?

Friday, January 25, 2013


Moments.  Really random and unexplainable moments sometimes happen when a random cluster of ideas and thoughts and recommendations all come together to a single point.

I had tea this morning with some yoga ladies to start to discuss some reading we've been doing.  I was second to arrive and the first person there is a woman I"m just beginning to get to know.  She stood and said "I just feel like I want to give you a hug, is that ok?"  and it was fine.

Then our connection rolled forward.  Both in a pink top of almost the same shade.  Both wearing our hamsa earrings.  Then she started talking about a woman who wants to come to town to teach the 5 Rhythms by Gabrielle Roth - and wouldn't you know it, not 20 minutes earlier I'd come across the recommendation for a book by Gabrielle Roth called: Sweat your Prayers and was even just contemplating how I could start to incorporate a 5 rhythms practice into my life.  By the time the conversation was winding down we were planning a road trip to sample 5 rhythms together.

I often forget to ask for moments of synchronicity.  And then sometimes I DO ask but then I forget to look for them and see them.  This one seemed particularly blaring this morning, and I'm grateful.  I feel like she gave me such inspiration and pointing into the direction I want to move at least some of my movement practices (free-spirited, uninhibited DANCE yo!)

And then I offered to her a gem of a gift as well.  Just the perfect phrase to use as she enters into the difficult situation of having a business relationship that began as a friendship.

I think the hug was warranted today.

I'm so grateful for these synchronized moments when just the right thought or suggestion materializes without even asking for it.  So, I thought I'd share and see... are you experiencing any synchronicities in your life these days?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ending and Beginning

The end of the year brought with it a new arrangement of the lives in intimate connection to ours.  A baby.  A brand new baby was born (not to me) to my brother.  A sweet and beautiful baby girl to remind us of the wonder and awe of the miracle that is this life.  A reminder of the infinite possibilities spread before us.

My 2-week-old niece being held by her Granddaddy

And on the last night of the year a slipping away of Max's Granny as she 'checked-out' (as she put it in a note to her beloveds).  To remind us that life is indeed beautiful, hopefully long, and filled with moments of choice.

Granny and Max's mom at our wedding

I share this idea of moments of choice as I write of Granny because that is exactly how she lived her life. She chose to LIVE when many of the strongest of us might have crumbled.  My husband's family is a private family and I'll respect that as I write.  But I will share that during our last visit with Granny a few weeks ago we asked her about her time during the war and she described "awful, terrible times" which made me blush for thinking I had it so terrible when I was a young mother.  This after watching her father be murdered when she was 17.  But what was so remarkable was that she did not let any of this kill her spirit.  All of the tragic and trying events of her early adult years did nothing to dampen her sense of purpose in living her life.  

It was a choice she made.  A conscious choice to turn to Life rather than tragedy.  To make the most of it and to make the world better by being in it.  

This year I will  begin again as a mother.  This year will begin again with my practice in many ways.  This year I will begin again in building a family and a career melding in whatever the arrival of this new spirit will bring into our lives.

This year, may I choose, as Granny did, to turn towards Life, towards making each moment meaningful, towards making the world a better place.

I'll leave you with Granny's mantra: 

 "Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou return
Was not spoken of the soul." 
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow