Thursday, May 14, 2015

"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing" George Bernard Shaw

I've read that we spend 50% of our time in the present moment…which I actually think is a generous estimate.
So when you consider that the present is THE only place from which we can directly influence our lives, figuring out how to remain present for longer periods of time is important.

This summer season I am exploring play as a way to spend more time in the present, positively effect the physical and energetic bodies, inform my yoga practice/teaching, get smarter/more creative, and (oh yeah) have a great time.

Here is what the research shows:

  •  Play eases tension and stress, which aids neuronal connection and releases endorphins….all of which facilitate creativity and even reduce pain.
  • Play minimizes worries, freeing up our brains to help us think in different ways that improve problem solving. 
  • Play stimulates imagination, making learning easier. 
  • Play decreases stress, which decreases cortisol and inflammation.
  • Play has the ability to loosen us up, increasing our capacity for empathy and compassion.  Laughter is also a byproduct of play, and all of these factors facilitate connection with our fellow human beings.

When we look at cultures where rest and play are valued (as in parts of Europe and Australia) we see populations that are healthier and more content than ours.  

So join me for my Cape Cod Women's Summer Camp this August, or for the Summer Essentials Aroma Yoga Workshop on Solstice weekend.  Lets all grow healthier, smarter, and maybe even younger this summer!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Feeling Spring in Our Bones

The birds singing at sunrise and the slant of the sun both tell us that the season of new beginnings is upon us.

We are shifting from hibernation to rebirth.

But the dampness associated with spring has the potential to leave us congested in both our respiratory and skeletal muscular systems. 

In the emotional body, we can feel some crankiness as we try to release deep-seated emotions so the new beginnings can take hold.

The Kapha dosha (scroll back to my September post if you don't know what your dosha is) is made up of water and earth, which can accumulate in the body over winter.

You may be way into juice cleanses, closet cleaning and full scale expulsion of the darkness of winter.  But if your bones are talking back to you amidst the dampness of April consider this one sequence (in or out of the chair) to build a little heat and oil the joints and emotions.

Yoga for Seniors: Chair Sun Salutations

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Finding and Following Your Passion

"Passion is a state of love and hunger"
                                                                        Gregg Levoy
Connecting and re-connecting with our passion is the hardest and most rewarding work of our lifetime.  
In fact I would argue it is the work we came here to do.

It is the calling of passion that propels us to seek out the best in life, and that sustains us during the difficulties we inevitably encounter in finding our way.

Callings may last a lifetime, or may need to be redefined as we mature.   
What is Calling You Forward At This Time in Life
is the seminar topic for our upcoming
Women's Winter Workshop 
February 27th - March 3rd in Boca Grande, Florida.

The retreat will be held at the Boca Grande Beach Club on Gasparilla Island.  This waterfront locale affords us a private sanctuary to practice gentle/restorative Yoga, share delicious/healthy meals and explore the daily seminar topics in our own way.  

Passion connects us with presence, enthusiasm and focus, yet does not require talent, proclivity, strength or expertise.  

Come thaw out with us in Boca Grande!
 Click on the Workshops Page above for more details and register by using the pull down menu in the sidebar. -->
Join us to fine-tune your calling and recharge your spirit.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Deeper Listening

When we acknowledge that desire is a natural by-product of being alive it allows us to view our yearnings in the same light as hunger or the need for sleep.
So maintaining peace of mind will require that we recognize what is/isn't working for us on a mental and emotional level, just as noticing which foods do/don't agree with us will benefit our physical well-being.
This awareness allows us to throw out the idea that engaging in a conversation with your desires is a selfish indulgence, and help to cultivate the habit of listening to our deeper selves. 

If you'd like an exercise to kick start the process, try this….

1. Think about how we are designed to receive unconscious information through  
-  a recent dream
-  a song or thought that keeps playing in your head
-  a feeling that pops up during yoga or meditation
-  a physical ache or pain for no apparent reason

2. Now give yourself a block of uninterrupted time to write an honest letter to a close friend.  In this letter you analyze what that dream or recurring song might be saying about your current state.
For instance, I have recently been having dreams about dogs…not big scary ones, but friendly small dogs that create a feeling of sweetness to my dream.  Now I could assume this means I should get a dog (which may be true) or I might also discern that it's time to allow more "sweetness" into my life in a variety of forms.   

3. While your unconscious messages may not be as pleasant as this example, try to state your interpretation in a positive way.
When we do this "I lost my wallet in the dream" can become "I was separated from my money, which led me to search out other form of support".  Re-framing your interpretation may require reading your letter many times.  No problem, as this often leads to deeper insights. 

4. As you do this pay particular attention to 
-  how your body is feeling
-  what pops into your awareness as you read/revise
-  emotions that surface, no matter how surprising
   and include a note about these reactions to your letter.

5. When you feel you have come to an illuminating interpretation of your dream, recurring song, etc. I recommend you hang or post your final draft somewhere where you will see it daily.  

As you may have guessed, this is a letter to your closest friend: you. Reread it often, let the message percolate and, most importantly, take some positive action based upon this new information.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's Calling You Forward?

I just sent out a November Newsletter with more information about our Women's Winter Workshop content and my guest speaker, Anne Bonney.  You will also find several other articles that may inspire you to become the hero of your own story.  

When the concept for this retreat was forming in September of this year, I decided that the seminar portion of our retreat would focus on listening and responding to our callings, both large and small.  

Since then, as is often the case, every time I click on a new link, have a spontaneous conversation, or turn on the TV I encounter yet another reference to this topic.


One such serendipitous encounter took place a few weeks ago when I heard Elizabeth Gilbert on Super Soul Sunday.   She was speaking to the fact that there are no heroic journey stories (ala Joseph Campbell) that depict women as the hero of their own quest.  Maybe it's time we write some.

To craft a new story for ourselves requires that we quiet down and become more present.  Like many of you, this is a constant dance for me, and to do so we need time, space and support.

So consider joining us for four nights and five days to renew body, mind, spirit AND direction as 2015 unfolds.  At this writing the retreat is filling quickly, so please register via the pulldown menu in the sidebar->  
If you have any questions you can email or call me anytime.  

If you did not receive that mailing just click here, put Newsletter in the subject line, and you will receive it shortly.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Equinox Beach Walk

  Standing in the water…low tide at Nauset Beach  

I haven't paid much attention to the exact date of the Fall Equinox this year, so was pleased to know after a long walk in the waters of Nauset Beach that today, September 23rd, was the day.  

I could feel it.  The warm water underfoot and the bright sun overhead were sandwiched between a dry, 70 degree breeze.  With daylight and darkness being equal today it marks a time of balance, and historically is a time to rest after the active days of summer that culminate in harvest.  

It is interesting then that these bridge seasons are also a time when we can feel a physical and emotional imbalance.  

Vata, one of the three ayurvedic energies (doshas) believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity, governs movement in the body, the nervous system and elimination.  Vata literally means wind, and as the fall season rolls on it can exercise great influence over the other doshas: Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water).  
Too much wind can simply blow you off course.   
Too much wind can feel like…
 over thinking, hypervigilance, clumsiness, stiffness, dryness and digestive disruptions.

You can take a quick quiz on Depak Chopra's site to see what your predominant dosha might be. 

So take a page from our ancestors, and if you notice these imbalances try slowing down, getting back on a regular schedule for sleeping and eating, keep warm and integrate heavier spices into your life such as basil, cinnamon, citrus, cloves and sage.

Lastly this is also a time to look back, not only on the seasons past but on our lives.  What do we want to continue, and what are we ready to let go of? 

As you consider these questions I'll share a quote that has been resonating with me this week:
"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."
Nelson Mandela 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Let's Get Inspired

I called my latest newsletter the GOOD NEWSletter to highlight a few things that have inspired me recently.  
If you did not receive it, just click here and put Newsletter in the subject line.  Then prepare to be inspired!

Here is a bonus video that I did not include in the newsletter...

There Is Still Time 
is about a Brazilian social experiment involving parents and their children.  Among other things it illustrates how we can become cynical about the future when we intellectualize.  
When we personalize, however, our hearts open, and perhaps our vision of what is possible expands along with it. 

Just click here to view the video. 
It is best viewed full screen so subtitles can be easily read.