Not a Goodbye, but a See You Soon to Studio Yoga

I have been thinking about this for so long.. While I was thinking and not taking action, I was continuously bothered by the evolution of this great practice we call Yoga. 

I'm tired of seeing videos and photos captioned with a "*spiritually awake*' quote, tired of seeing ALL LOVE ALWAYS posted everywhere when those who preach it, do not practice that statement. And I hate to say it but these people are EVERYWHERE. 

The only poses most seem to enjoy learning lately are inverted poses: handstands, headstands, pinchas, etc. But they get mad when they fall, they veer away from the bad days and only focus on the photo worthy moments.  That is not yoga! 

Yoga is falling again and again until you are strong enough to stand up- and this rarely relates to physical asana. Yoga is emotional, it is deep and spiritual. I found yoga after a long road to recovery post eating-disorder. I found yoga as a healthy and and mindful way to move my body. I gained the knowledge of appreciation in all that my body could do rather than what my body looked like. As cliche as it may sound, this practice healed my body and my mind.

But Yoga has changed. No one seems to be interested in the mind, only the movement. Practitioners (and far too many teachers) seem to care more about how fast you can nail a handstand instead of how effective acceptance can be learned.

For this reason- I am taking a studio break (as of 6/1/18). I teach Yoga every day at work, but to kids who need the practice. These kids have not yet been exposed to INSTAGRAM YOGA and the bullshit it feeds us. These kids learn how to make peace in their own mind and to accept fear as it comes.. and that is Yoga.

During this break from mAiNStrEaM yoga, I will be taking time to practice myself! I've seen so many practices that spark my interests such as aerial yoga and hip hop yoga (if you know me, you know my love for hip hop dance!). I want to find a space where I can practice, heal and learn to be my best self. I can't wait to reconnect to myself, my essence, my Yoga.

The Festival that didn't ~cHaNge mE~

This past Saturday I attended the Metaphysically Fit Festival in Yorkville. It didn’t change my life, but I did have some pretty philosophical thoughts-

1.)    Why are people drinking celery juice?

2.)    Do they even like celery juice?

3.)    Do these same people also say they LUV kale when they actually hate it?

4.)    Does anyone like kale?

5.)    I would like kale if it was fried in buffalo sauce.

6.)    Wow it’s really wet outside.

7.)    First class is only a few people, this is cool. I love small classes.

8.)    I’M READY TO BE WOKE

9.)    No, please, no partner poses.

10.)  Please don’t make me look into this stranger’s eyes holding their hands.

11.)  Of course you made me do it.

12.)  YAY I can’t wait to learn about Ayruveda!!!!!!!!!!!!

13.)  This talk is cool, I’m ready to look into this herbal med- WHY ARE THERE SO MANY BUGS CRAWLING ALL OVER ME.

14.)  I wish I was one of those yogis that liked bugs.

15.)  Let me try..

16.)  *Bug flies in nose* “Excuse me kind stranger, can I have some bug spray?”

17.)  Why host a yoga festival in Illinois when it’s 90 and humid.

18.)  Ashley stop being a pessimist.

19.)  YAY next class with a teacher I follow on facebook!

20.)  And she makes us step in mud.

21.)  I also wish I was one of those people that liked mud.

22.)  OMG SOMEONE BROUGHT THEIR DOG

23.)  And she’s making us dance. I love dancing in mud.

24.)  Finally a class with a teacher I know!

25.)  Chakras, YES, I can totally dig this class.

26.)  Sun, “Haha you thought wrong. Let me burn your porcelain skin.”

 

Okay, so this is not to say I didn’t like the festival, I loved it! It challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and do something totally by myself. A challenge to find peace in solitude was exactly what I needed. It was uncomfortable. I woke up, and had to push myself out the door to go- but I did it. Round of applause for anyone who got out of the house or out of bed today, you are stronger than you think.

The vendors were amazing! Tons of fun jewelry, rocks, gemstones and rad clothing.

As far as festivals being ^stellar^ and [life c h a n g I n g], they don’t do it for me. They’re fun to explore, try new things and meet new people. However, it is so distracting practicing while so much is happening around you. Maybe that’s the point? I’m not sure. I do enjoy bigger festivals because the classes are secluded from the social scene. I need zero distractions in my practice in order to reach that state of extra ordinary consciousness. And that’s why I practice- to reach that state and to realize I am so much more than any struggles I’m facing or negative thoughts lingering inside my mind.

Think of this as a very long Trip Advisor review, possibly a rotten tomato? I give this festival an 8/10.. Only because the yoga was not separated by the scene. However, I did what I could to enjoy every moment. And for this experience, I am grateful.

Asana & Mantra for Recovery

“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That's its balance.”  Osho

Recovery. One small word with a world of meanings. Recovery to me means living in the light. It means putting my shadows behind me and living completely in the present moment. 

When I work with my clients, there are certain postures that help them not only to see light, but to be light. Whether you're recovering from addiction, depresion, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, trauma or an eating disorder; I hope these postures and mantras help to lift you up to your highest self. While holding each posture, repeat the corresponding mantra out loud or silently to yourself.

 

 Ustrasana, Camel Pose--   Begin kneeling with your knees hip-width distance from one another. Anchor the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Keep your hands at your hearts center, rolling the shoulders back and hugging the elbows towards your torso. Begin to curl the chest open as you lean back (try to keep the hips over the knees). When your chest can't open up any more, release your hands to your ankles, feet or two blocks. Relax the head as the throat and heart open.  Mantra--  I am open and receptive to healing energy. I am worthy of a chance to begin again.   

Ustrasana, Camel Pose-- 

Begin kneeling with your knees hip-width distance from one another. Anchor the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Keep your hands at your hearts center, rolling the shoulders back and hugging the elbows towards your torso. Begin to curl the chest open as you lean back (try to keep the hips over the knees). When your chest can't open up any more, release your hands to your ankles, feet or two blocks. Relax the head as the throat and heart open.

Mantra--

I am open and receptive to healing energy. I am worthy of a chance to begin again.

 

 Vrksasana, Tree Pose--  Begin in mountain pose, anchoring your left foot into the earth. Draw the sole of the right foot to the left ankle, calf or upper inner thigh. Avoid placing the foot on the side of the knee to protect your knee joint. Draw your hands to heart center and breathe. If you'd like, lift the arms and open the branches of your tree.  Mantra--  I return to my roots so I can rise, grow and evolve. Today I decide to live, not just survive.

Vrksasana, Tree Pose--

Begin in mountain pose, anchoring your left foot into the earth. Draw the sole of the right foot to the left ankle, calf or upper inner thigh. Avoid placing the foot on the side of the knee to protect your knee joint. Draw your hands to heart center and breathe. If you'd like, lift the arms and open the branches of your tree.

Mantra--

I return to my roots so I can rise, grow and evolve. Today I decide to live, not just survive.

 Kneeling with Lotus Mudra--  Begin in a kneeling or seated position. Let your thoughts and your breath slow down as your physical body starts to relax. Draw your hands to prayer position at your heart. Keeping the thumbs and the pinky fingers touching, spread your other three fingers away from one another. Gaze at your hands and notice the lotus flower that you've created. The lotus flower is symbolic of growth and change, rising above all that tore you down for so long.  Mantra--  Everything that lead me to this moment made me strong. I will keep moving forward. I will send my light out into the universe.   

Kneeling with Lotus Mudra--

Begin in a kneeling or seated position. Let your thoughts and your breath slow down as your physical body starts to relax. Draw your hands to prayer position at your heart. Keeping the thumbs and the pinky fingers touching, spread your other three fingers away from one another. Gaze at your hands and notice the lotus flower that you've created. The lotus flower is symbolic of growth and change, rising above all that tore you down for so long.

Mantra--

Everything that lead me to this moment made me strong. I will keep moving forward. I will send my light out into the universe.

 

 Sukasana, Comfortable Seat--  Begin seated, crossing one leg in front of another, but not stacking the feet or ankles. Root into your hips to lift your chest, keeping your spine long. Feel all of the energy centers in your spine in alignment. Let the palms of the hands rest on the knees. Breathe. Inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, hold the breathe at the bottom of the exhale for a count of four. This is four square breathing, or equal part breath.  Mantra--  (Inhale) I am worthy of peace, light and love. (Exhale) I release the negativity that keeps me stuck.     You can practice these poses in order with one another, or simply practice one posture a day. Let these words lift you up and remind you of your worth. You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are exactly where you need to be.  Namaste.

Sukasana, Comfortable Seat--

Begin seated, crossing one leg in front of another, but not stacking the feet or ankles. Root into your hips to lift your chest, keeping your spine long. Feel all of the energy centers in your spine in alignment. Let the palms of the hands rest on the knees. Breathe. Inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, hold the breathe at the bottom of the exhale for a count of four. This is four square breathing, or equal part breath.

Mantra--

(Inhale) I am worthy of peace, light and love. (Exhale) I release the negativity that keeps me stuck.

 

You can practice these poses in order with one another, or simply practice one posture a day. Let these words lift you up and remind you of your worth. You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are exactly where you need to be.

Namaste.