The quality of our lives depend on the quality of our relationships, including the relationship we have with our bodies. Let’s be honest, we are middle-aged, at least I am, and so are most of my friends and students (some are millennials).
The question is: How do you want to age?
It is not the one handed arm balances that allow you to age gracefully but consistent practice time spent on the mat, moving your body in ways that strengthen, stretch, contract and release the muscles and joints.
We all want to be able to get out of bed easily in the morning (using our core), bend over and pick something up effortlessly (flexible hamstrings), and reach back in the car while driving safely (supple spine). It's a well- balanced practice that let’s you tap into and nudge open all body parts in a mindful and respectful way. We need more tenderness and curiosity in our practice, and let ourselves be informed by what is going on in our bodies and mind every time we step onto our mats, or sit on our cushions.
Yoga is not prescriptive practice, not a ‘one size fits all’ practice.
I have been noticing the tendency to resort to restorative yoga practices as people age (50+). Although there is a time and need for restorative yoga to balance the stress and anxiety in life and go deep into our connective tissue (as in Yin yoga), we need to continue to practice at a level that keeps our bones and tissues healthy by challenging ourselves to meet our edge, even as we get older.
Think about it like this: If you want to be strong as you get older, keep building strength, mindfully. If you want to stay flexible continue to stretch your body while tuning into your body's messages and signals.
Now, a flexible mind/personality is a different thing, and in my opinion is the result of an ongoing meditation practice. Presence is the awareness that is intrinsic to our nature. It arises when we are fully immersed in our experience. It is this process that eventually allows us to respond wisely to life's challenges, rather than react emotionally. It has now been proven that the brain and mind can continue to develop and change throughout life, enabling us to create new pathways!
So the practice of self-care is training our minds to re-embody rather than dis-embody, and making a space safe and comfortable enough to let that process happen. And from this lens, self-care begins to look a lot like meditation practice.
In meditation, we’re training two parts of our mind: concentration, defined as the ability to stay with our present experience (usually of the breath), and awareness, knowing where our minds are in any given moment.
As you get deeper into the practice of self-care, things might change. You might find that what you enjoy starts to shift.
I’ve recently had an insight: my habit of listening to podcasts every time I sit down in my car to drive either to teach or to pick up my kids has been adding to my stress level.
As much as I love to learn and educate myself, my Pitta mind goes into overwhelm with all the accumulated knowledge that I’m piling on during my drive time!
Not listening to podcasts made me feel like wasting my time, with all the driving I do these days…until I rediscovered the power of music, and the feelings a beautifully written and performed song can evoke! I am re-learning to tap into feeling and not dwell in my intellect so much.
Find out why Ayurveda is still going strong after 5000 years, and how it can help you thrive.
Savor organic food and cherish conversations, and allow your self to pause and breathe, at The Mountain Mermaid, right here in beautiful Topanga!
Please go out and watch the documentary HEAL, about the power of healing through positive thoughts, actions, faith and food.
Finally, which of my Ayurvedic Balancing Blends is your favorite and why? Have you smelled all of them yet?
I am expanding into retail and would love to hear of a yoga studio or gift store near you that might be interested in carrying my oils.
I will offer you 2 free oil blends of your choice for any leads that result in a whole sale account!
Enjoy this never-ending Summer, and remember to see the goodness in all beings!
With so much Love,
Dear Students & Friends --
This Month I will be assisting a Yogaworks intensive Teacher Training in Santa Monica, led by Malachi Grieves. A lot of you have asked me why I choose to do this now with a flourishing Ayurveda practice and a full teaching schedule.
I Believe We Need To Constantly Challenge Ourselves and evolve through continuous curiosity, right action and focused intention to move forward, rather then standing still or being stuck in a rut. I've been contemplating the role of a Teacher Trainer a few times in the last several years, but have always backed away from the time involvement due to having 3 little kids.
The time has come for me to step up my game and into the role of a leader to teach others about the transformative power of Yoga.
This month I am excited to assist Malachi Melville in her intensive TT format at Yogaworks and support her students as they find their voice and build their teaching skills. I Am Looking Forward to brushing up on Yoga philosophy, anatomy, the yoga sutras and the subtle body. I love being a student, and I look forward to supporting aspiring teachers on their path.
I thrive on challenges and opportunities and welcome change.
I invite you all to continue practicing while I'm gone with my fantastic subs, fellow teacher and friend Annmarie Soul, and the wonderful Amy Harrington.
Annmarie will cover all Tuesday and Thursday classes at Yoga Desa, starting January 10th until February 2nd!
Amy will cover all Yogaworks classes in Westlake on Mondays & Fridays, as well as Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Wednesday mornings in Woodland Hills.
I am very grateful to them both.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you on my Sunday morning class at 10.30am at Yoga Desa in Topanga!
I will be back teaching my regular schedule on February 6th.
Sold Out Ojai Retreat!
On another note, our Spring retreat in Ojai March 17-19th is Sold Out! I cannot wait to take such a beautiful group of souls into a deeply enriching and nourishing weekend with co-teacher Annmarie Soul.
We are already planning our next retreat this Fall, for those of you that weren't able to get into the Spring retreat, mark your calendars!
Thanks to all of you who came out to our New Year's Day class at Yoga Desa! What a great way to start the year.
Are you oleating enough?
The practice of Abyangha (or Ayurvedic self-massage) is a key part of our self-care routine.
Especially now that we’’re in Fall (Vata) season, oil up your body before or after your morning shower with warm sesame oil (maybe with specific herbs cooked into the oil, see Banyan Botanicals). Long strokes on the long bones and circular movements around the joints. This is one way to love-your-self-up and nourish your skin at the same time. Then grab your Vata Balancing Blend and roll it on from inner wrists to inner elbow and breath in deeply. Any time of day.
Happy Fall Everyone!
Fall is a major transition from Summer to Winter, and October is the month in which we can help our bodies make that transition as smooth as possible. We are experiencing shorter days and longer nights and are moving from the intense heat to lower temperatures and more wind. Our digestive system gets stronger in the winter and our parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) kicks in.
THE SACRED BLEND
Today in my Yoga class I offered students Viveka, the sacred blend as they got settled into savasana. This essential oil blend is very special to me because of the combination of 3 sacred oils: Frankincense, Palo Santo and Sandalwood. Long used to purify, deepen meditation and open the subconscious mind, these 3 tree resins are also considered sattvic (promoting compassion, loving kindness, peace, balance and connection to spirit). Take a look: http://bit.ly/2bWn11S
Sattva is one of the three gunas (qualities, attributes), a philosophical and psychological concept developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. The other two qualities are rajas (passion and activity) and tamas (inertia, destruction, chaos).
I combine these 3 oils with Ylang Ylang to raise the spirit, open the heart and a few drops of Jatamansi to calm the nervous system. Every time I sit down to meditate I anoint myself with this oil, and thus begins the journey inward into the deepest layers of my own being.