by Butch Mitchell, ‘Papa Yogi’ at Leap yoga – Folsom Ca.

When you experience a great meal at a new restaurant…you can’t wait to tell others….here’s my story.

 

After completing my 200 hours of Teacher’s Training  over six years ago I deciding to join in on opening a yoga studio with a group of three others…two of which were seasoned teachers.   They were holding “try outs” and I asked to be considered for one of the positions and when could I try out.  A couple of weeks later I received the news that I had made the team and was offered the 5:45 am class on Tuesday and Thursday.  I was going to teach yoga!

 

As “luck” would have it our first official class was on Thursday…February 16, 2012…at 5:45.   We had 3 people in class…and one was my wife and the other was an employee of the studio…who, by the way…after the class…told the other owners “….I don’t think Butch is going to make it”.

 

I was very intimidated as many of the students that attended the class were other yoga teachers. But I was like a sponge…asking for feedback at every turn, attending any workshop that came my way.  “I have to get better”, I would say to myself…I have to share this with others “how yoga had changed my life. Well I did get better and the classes grew and I felt I was making a difference.

 

Now Kaiut yoga has come into my life. I first heard about KAIUT Yoga from my teacher Stacy.  Months back she was on vacation in Bolder Colorado when she called me and said “I just had the best yoga class…it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced”  Wow I said…sounds interesting…what’s it called? KAIUT she replied …what? I asked.   KAIUT…it’s named after its founder Francisco Kaiut…from Brazil, and he’s been teaching it for about 30 years.   So…to make this long story a little shorter, we asked one of our teachers,  Molly,  if she’d be interested in attending a Teachers Training that was scheduled to start soon in Toronto, Canada. She jumped at the chance.  After she completed the training she returned home anxious to share what she had learned with our students but wanted to practice her teaching at home for a month or so until she felt more comfortable.  Once we introduce KAIUT to the Leap Students it was evident that we were going to need more classes AND  more teachers.   So Michelle, Molly, Cindi and yours truly were off to Toronto for Teacher’s Training with Francisco himself.  While the training was amazing and I plan on going back for another 100 hours…my real story is what it has done for my body.  You see I’ve had a bad back sense I was in my early 20s…born with scoliosis of spine and low back issues caused from working in construction  while in college… I’ve been in some kind back “discomfort” for over 50 years.  On  about the third day of training I was struggling in a pose called “Sukasana”…it’s where you’re sitting on your bolster, legs crossed, leaning forward…slightly forward in my case… with hands on your mat.  Francisco walked over to me, bent down, took my hands,  gently pulled my hands and arms forward saying “the spine will follow”.  It was after that class that I realized that most of my back issues  must be  related to my hips…not my back.  In sharing this  with Francisco…his comment was…”It’s all in our hips”.

 

So now it’s back to square one…teaching a new style of yoga.  And while I’m intimidated all over again…this is something that must  to be shared.  Won’t you please join me as we learn more together  over  our  weekend with Francisco Kaiut…January 18- 21st at Leap Yoga. Post script:   While in Toronto we stayed in a VRBO rental that had the hardest beds and pillows I have ever slept on…and guess what….NO back issues.

 

Namaste

 

Butch…aka Papa Yogi

For more information about Papa Yogi, Leap Yoga and Kaiut, please visit www.leapyoga.net


by Molly Oser, Yoga teacher at Leap yoga – Folsom Ca.

I have been teaching yin yoga for almost six years now; a brief pause in the big world but a defining time in my little world. How did it happen? After a long, pretty steady fifteen years of practice, I was faced with life changes, an end to a long, passionate career. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to head except that I was sure I wanted another field that I could be passionate about. My son was studying in Sweden so I was going to visit him. Stacy Whittingham, my teacher (pre Leap), told me to bring something back with me. I knew she wasn’t talking about a souvenir. At the time, the yin practice had become part of my life, part of my heart. So I looked on line, and it so happened that one of the few yin teachers around was leading a teacher training at an ashram in Sweden. There it was. So off I went… on faith. And it was beyond amazing. I began coming out of my mourning of losing my career (part of my identity) and opened up to a new journey of helping others. I knew that was the only reason I would ever consider teaching. That was my purpose in my first line of work and I knew that if I worked again, it would only be through those eyes.

I began teaching upon the encouragement of a studio owner and since then have completed another 50 hours of yin training (total 125 hours) and 300 hours of Embodyoga teacher training. But as time went on, I began to feel that something was missing. The embodyoga principle is to move from the inside out and to find the work and the ease in every pose, in every thing. To move from integration and wholeness. To find contentment from the inside out. Yin yoga also works from the inside out along lines of energy and through the organs and tissues using long passive holds to lengthen fascia. I was looking to bring it all together. Again, Stacy came into the picture. She had returned from a trip to Boulder where she went to a studio and took this odd sounding yoga, Kaiut. She told me to check it out, it brought it all together. So I looked at the little bit of information on line, and bought my tickets to Toronto. All on faith. I had never taken a Kaiut class and you know, Toronto is the place to be in early February!

I showed up like in a deer in the headlights. Completely open and not having any idea what I was going to experience. After two days, (six classes), I was hooked. This was it. It brought all my trainings together, but more than that, I felt so good. And Francisco Kaiut held us so confidently and completely that I let everything go and followed on trust, and yes, that Faith word again!

That was February 2017. I returned and practiced…and practiced. And once again, Stacy showed up. When are you going to share? When do you want to try it out? So I started, community classes and then Leap put it on the schedule. Purely on faith. And people showed up. And started feeling the changes in their bodies as traumas began releasing and they were noticing that they were aching less. Low backs were easing, knees were bending and ankles were folding. Even nasty shoulders were hurting less.

So I was convinced in my own body and seeing relief in the students. Watching as the fear eased and they let the practice and the poses work. It is that faith in the practice that encouraged me to sign up for the second one hundred hour training this past September. ( a much more inviting month in Toronto!). And before I knew it, the Leap owners were signed up too. They had each taken one class but were convinced that they wanted to learn what this was all about. So off we went, me with my passion and Butch, Micheal, and Cindi on faith.

When I got to Toronto, I was exhausted. I had been teaching quite a lot and my mind and body were spent. When I saw Francisco and exchanged pleasantries, I told him I was there to heal. Yes to learn, but to heal. Please help me heal. So I practiced. And with his steady hand and skill, I began to come back to myself. I allowed myself to open to exactly what was happening at every moment and to begin to touch the joy and the passion that is yoga, again. We all get caught up in life, to have this time to step back and to be guided was such an amazing gift. And over the course of the nine days, I felt the healing. It started with exuberance that I was there and able to be led through the practice, followed by exhaustion, followed by healing. Exactly the same as it has been in February minus the four below temperatures! And I watched the glow come to Cindi, Butch and Micheal. I watched the fear, the letting go and the ease…I watched the yoga work. I watched my body ease, strengthen, and my aching right knee stopped talking to me! For the first time in months and months, I could sleep on my right side without the pain in my shoulder. I had developed a steady home practice, but being taught three classes a day was the kick that my body needed.

And here we are. I have been teaching Kaiut for eight months, Butch and Micheal are just beginning their Kaiut foray. And the Leap community is responding. By letting go, and trying something completely different. On faith in the practice, the teaching, the studio. And because of you, Francisco Kaiut is coming to Leap Yoga on Thursday January 18, 2018 for four days! You will be amazed, you will be softened, you will be healed. Don’t miss this opportunity. Leap is a lot closer than Brazil. Let yourself be held, let yourself be taught. Let yourself have faith.

 

For more information about Molly, Leap Yoga and Kaiut, please visit www.leapyoga.net


By Sarah Grace

As we’ve discussed in prior blogs, being energetically sensitive and/or an empath can come with A LOT of stimulus. Physical, mental, emotional, and energetic ramifications happen when we accumulate excess debris in our energy bodies and don’t take proper measure to balance ourselves.

One staple to feeling good as an empath is our relationship to our physical body. Our capacity to not only be in our body but also properly tend to its needs has a direct impact on how much/little energy we perceive and retain in our aura.

Let’s be clear and say that there is NO ONE WAY to do anything that is best for everyone. This includes diet and nutrition! Some people’s bodies work best on vegan or vegetarian eating plans while others run optimally in the Paleo or Ketogenic programs. Understanding that there is no one “right way,” we can shift our objective to becoming curious about what types of food best fuel your unique system.

What I’ve noticed with myself and in working with many empaths over the years is that higher good fat/protein options in combination with tons of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, often stabilize our systems. Refined sugar and starchy foods can complicate the delicate nervous and digestive systems of an empath significantly. I know… right? Arg.

With our nervous system running more energy than the typical person, and with the transverse colon lying directly under the solar plexus (which is where higher levels of energy bodies attach to the physical form), we tend to be prone to imbalance when we introduce sugar and starch because the sensitive body often has a visceral inflammatory reaction. This reaction creates a ripple effect, which then often percolates through our full aura – creating imbalance.

Does this mean I can never eat sugar again?
NO! That would be miserable!
I’ve personally found that eating clean 80% of the time while allowing myself treats 20% of the time is an eating plan that is sustainable for my long-term health. My experience is that being too strict or regimented sets me up for failure as I feel deprived and restricted – which often boomerangs me right into wanting to reach for the cookies or chocolate.

In the future blogs, I’ll break down great choices for each food category, and how to implement nutrition that you can live with for the long haul. Remember, the key to sustained vitality is CONSISTENCY AND MODERATION! Healthy choices the majority of the time will build the lasting foundation for your physical vessel. Also, life is for the living – and food is a tremendous aspect of our everyday lives. So if you want to indulge a bit once a week or so, go for it. Enjoy every last little morsel and really let yourself appreciate what you eat when you eat it.

You are amazing and loved ~ exactly as you are! Cheers to great health and abundant physical energy! I’ll see you next week! xo


By Sarah Grace

While it’s true that I believe we are innately all our own greatest teachers and healers, sometimes we can come up against difficulties in life that have us looking outwardly for guidance and direction. This blog post is a quick little ditty about the best ways to find the right healer to help you in that time of need.

First things first, what is the nature of your problem?

Physical? Mental? Emotional?

Spiritual/Energetic?

Combination?

All energy systems are interconnected, but finding a healer that can work your chief complaint or primary issue will likely be the best place to start. There are many genres of healers, but here are a few subcategories I’ve personally experienced great results with:

Physical: Natropathic Doctors, Acupuncture, Massage Therapy (specifically those focused on lymph flushing or myofacial release) Craniosacral, Bowen, Medical Intuitive, Hands-On Energy Healing, Holistic Nutrition, Movement Therapy

Mental: EMDR, Brainspotting, Trauma Release Therapy, any licensed therapist who combines cognitive therapy with somatic release, Empowerment Coaching

Emotional: EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Massage Therapy, TRE (Trauma Release Exercises), Pranyama, Movement Therapy, EMDR Spiritual/Energetic: Hands-On Energy Healing, Medical Intuitive, Medium, Shaman, Medicine Men/Women

The list could go on and on, and I welcome your comments and additions in the comments below!

Where To Find Them?

Coaches and healers are everywhere nowadays, so the trick is asking around your community to find the healers with solid reputations.

Google and website research can also be good places to start if you don’t know anyone in those circles.

Trust yourself.

Regardless of the online packaging/presentation/ reputation, if something doesn’t feel right about a healer to you, then move on. There are plenty to choose from. The most important thing is that you feel safe and comfortable with your chosen provider.

Got One! Now What?

Do not be shy! Ask questions!

  • What is their training?
  • How many years have they been in practice?
  • Why do they do what they do?
  • Are they happy?

And perhaps the biggest telltale sign of a balanced healer: VITALITY. Are they healthy? Do they walk their talk?

Any healer worth their salt won’t mind you asking questions about their background, training, and intentions. If you are met with attitude or
avoidance, you might want to consider finding services elsewhere.

In this day and age where there is metaphorically a coach and healer behind every tree, knowledge is power. Choosing a provider doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. Research, ask questions, and above anything else TRUST YOUR INTUITION.

Your own health and vitality will thank you for it!

Cheers!


What is Personal Power by Sarah Grace

 

When you think of a powerful being, do you think of yourself?

Why or why not is that, do you suppose?

Often times, when we ruminate on personal power, we may think of an archetypical superhero dressed up in their costume ready to save the day.

Or perhaps we envision a famous celebrity, who seemingly has the world at their fingertips. It seems that our society has bred us to look externally at other people and things to feel a sense of power.

That typically backfires, though, as instead of feeling powerful ourselves, we often feel inadequate in comparison.

What if I told you that on an energetic level we are ALL powerful energetic beings who have the capability of manifesting amazing lives?

Would you believe me?

The tendency of our culture is to externalize what we want ~ to think that somewhere out there is the person/place/thing that will finally let us feel good, accomplished, loved.

But, the Universe has a sense of humor. You see, we are taught to look ‘out there’, while in actuality the essence of what we seek is within each of us. It’s kind of funny – in an annoyingly overlook-the- obvious sort of way.

While it’s true that manifesting what we desire in this reality has to do with our thoughts and desires, the Universe responds tangibly to how we feel. We get what we feel we deserve, even if that means coming from a subconscious level.

Without delving into The Secret and Laws of Attraction too much (another post) – I want to talk about personal power. Because when we realize that our energetic grid is actually a hologram that responds constantly to the trillions of vibrations that comprise our life – we start to understand that we actually have power in what we want to create.

SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS PERSONAL POWER?

Personal power is our own individual awareness and willingness to harness our own physical, mental, emotional, and creative energy to live a life of our broadest capabilities.

Is it easy to find and hold onto? No. Not necessarily.

Why?

1) Because we are taught that ‘it’ (power) is somewhere ‘out there’ and that we have to do something to achieve/earn it.

2) Because there are billion dollar industries devoted to keeping us searching in order to sell goods and services.

3) Because humans often don’t want to assume personal responsibility, and it is easy to blame someone outside of ourselves if we don’t get what we want.

How do we give our power away?
Lots of ways!

1) Comparing ourselves to others

2) Self-limiting beliefs (I don’t deserve…)

3) Self-limiting talk (I’ll never be as good as…)

4) Using old trauma as an excuse (I’d be fine if it weren’t for…)

5) Blaming others (He made me..)

And the list goes on!

What can we do?

First things first, we have to be willing to take ownership of our circumstances and be willing to take action to create change.

Brutal, honest, self-inventory of what we think, believe, do, and say can uncover many ways that we keep ourselves stuck.

How do we maintain our personal power?

1) Get real. I mean really real about your current thoughts/beliefs, and choices.

2) Be willing to change.

3) Go from being reactive (it’s being done to me) to
proactive (it’s being done for me).

4) Become strong/healthy in your body.

5) Energetically call back all of the power that you have given away over time. Allow it to integrate into your grid, and practice calling back your power every night before you go to bed. What you have expended can thus return, filling you with more of your own vital life force.

There is MUCH MORE to be said on this topic ~ but that’s enough to sink your teeth into for today. Remember your divinely powerful nature. Your Higher Self, and tangible life, will thank you for it!


It’s Yoga – You Can’t Do It Wrong by Krista Hagman

 

When people learn I am a yoga teacher, I often hear “I’m not good at yoga” or “I wouldn’t be good at yoga.” Yoga is not an “It” which one can be good or bad at. Yoga does not discriminate based on age, gender, flexibility, injury or strength. Yoga meets you where you are. Yoga teaches you to be present and breathe. You cannot be “bad at being present”, you’re either present, or you’re not present. No good or bad. You’re either breathing, or you’re not. No good or bad. If you were bad at breathing, you’d be dead. Often one could be more present or more mindful of breath; but you can’t be “bad” at either, which means you can’t be “good”. This binary, dualistic way of viewing reality is exactly the idea yoga dispels.

I also hear students ask: “am I doing it right?”; “what should I be doing?”; or “what is it supposed to look like?”. The answer: It depends, there is no one right way. Your way, for today, depends on your intention, how your body is feeling, and if you need to stoke the fire, or cool down and rest – or both. This means the teacher can’t tell you you’re doing it right or wrong, only you can know what is right for you. Teachers are excellent guides, not commanders or drill sergeants. I’m not “telling people what to do”, I give options on what might feel useful in their body from the 10+ years of experience I have practicing yoga in my body. Ultimately, not everything that works for me will work for someone else. We are unique, each day is new for everyone, and what we need varies.

I love to share with students how each pose is an archetype, a shape, which shows up in the body differently on different days, and will certainly look different for different people. Each pose is a moment in time, a snapshot on the spectrum from one place to the next. This play between movement and stillness is the beauty of flow yoga, like a practice my partner and I have developed called Yin Chi Flow. The body is the shape, then you can inquire: Where do I place my legs, arms, hands, feet, spine, head, torso etc. to embody the shape my body will feel best in right now? What asana, meaning “seat” (intentionally placing your body parts), is going to get the desired effect I want or need?

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Take Downward-Facing-Dog, for example. I love to think about what “breed” of dog I am today. If I take a “longer” stance in my downward dog, I move closer to plank position, this accentuates the work of the arms and back. If I take a “shorter” down-dog, I am closer to standing forward fold, which moves the intention of the shape into the backs of the legs. Depending on the range of motion in your body, bending the knees allows the spine to be long, a crucial element of down-dog. No matter your level of practice or years of experience, there is value in playing with the ends of the spectrum, to discover the happy medium; what Buddhism refers to as the Middle Path. It’s difficult to know where your happy-medium is if you haven’t explored the opposite ends of the spectrum, and the spectrum changes and evolves over time. This is why yoga is an ever-evolving, life-long practice!

Additionally, it is useful to be aware of our addictions and habits. If you tend to be more gung-ho, perhaps today you soften in your down dog or take a modification like puppy-pose. If your tendency is to be a little lax, step up and add some vigor to your shape to bring you out of your habit. Yoga is a great way to balance your natural constitution and life-style patterns.

For me, the joy of yoga is applying the combination of a sharp mind and an intuitive heart to discover what shows up on my mat in the moment to create and find balance today. The ego-mind loves to say “ah yes this is it, now I have the answer forever and never have to think about it”. Combining mind and intuition creates a moment by moment check-in of what is in alignment NOW, taking habits into account and thoughtfully creating harmony. If you only ever do downward dog the same way, you will get the same results, and what we need to feel alive and nourished changes every day. Please don’t let your mind rule you on what is right or wrong, on or off your mat. Embody your innate yogic wisdom, be curious and discover your happy-place in this moment!

Teaching yoga is one of the most rewarding and joyful experiences of my life. The trust I am given to create a container for others to explore their edges is an incredible gift. The unraveling of ego attachments and the exploration of the inner world is a sacred endeavor, and I am grateful to assist the journey.

 


‘I Reject That!’ by Lauren Larsen

 

I know how lucky I am to have survived a near-fatal pregnancy 17 years ago. I know that most women who go as far over the edge as I did with eclampsia-turned-HELLP-Syndrome don’t make it out of the ICU alive.

Six weeks and 203 pints of blood after my ordeal began back in 2000, I was discharged from the hospital – a “miracle” by some standards.

But there was a long-term price to pay for beating the medical odds and that bill came due about seven years ago. During all the internal hemorrhaging a decade earlier, a necrotic process had taken root in my major joints – ankles, knees, hips and shoulders – resulting in difficulty walking, chronic pain and several labrum and meniscus surgeries.

I was also diagnosed with an autoimmune illness similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis and began giving myself weekly injections of low-dose chemotherapy to keep my inflammation levels under control. I ate my vegetables, drank my kale juice, and limited my pizza intake. (I’ve had a lifelong love affair with dough, tomato sauce and mozzarella.)

But I was in denial – deep, deep denial – about the inevitable deterioration of my major joints when it was determined that pretty much all of the cartilage was gone from my shoulders…and then ankles…and then knees (the hips are still working hard to hold their own). I made it bone-on-bone for several more years. I swam. I did a gentle-but-restorative form of yoga known as Kaiut. (Most of the positions are done sitting or lying on the floor, so Kaiut is perfect for me.)

I assured myself that my Kaiut yoga practice would save me from having to undergo the 5-8 joint replacements that my orthopedic surgeon warned me I’d eventually need. He said I’d know when it was time. I bet him ten bucks that I’d avoid all replacements through yoga. He said he hoped I was right.

Turns out I was wrong.

In January of this year, I was finally able to admit that I did, indeed, need to begin the process of replacing my major joints one by one or else face the rest of my life in pain and, most likely, in a wheelchair. I began with the knees, six weeks apart, this past spring. It was as (temporarily) hellish as I had been warned. But I am convinced that all that Kaiut yoga – while it didn’t allow me to avoid joint replacements – did, in hindsight, help me prepare for them. And that was good enough for me.

Five weeks after my second total knee replacement, I received a text from Jeff, the owner of my favorite yoga studio, who is also my favorite Kaiut instructor. He offered to give me a free private lesson if my husband could get me there. (I was still unable to bend my newest knee enough to drive myself.)

We arrived three days later for that session. To say it was amazing would be an understatement. Jeff walked me through a series of poses, all of them lying on the floor with my feet on the wall. I was shocked at how much I could do even with the limitations of surgery. Two days later, I was back in class on a regular basis.
The sequence of Kaiut poses changes every two days, so I am never quite sure what each class will entail, let alone how much of it I’ll be able to do. But I love being there anyway if only to soak up all the good yoga vibes.

To get on the floor at the beginning of each class, I stack four bolsters against the back wall, sit on them and then slide the rest of the way down. At the end of class, Jeff and someone else hoist me up to standing by my elbows (my shoulders being too deteriorated to be pulled forward by my hands). If there’s a standing pose or a pose done on all fours, I do Legs Up the Wall instead.

Today, sandwiched between my husband and a pal, I heard Jeff give the cue to get on all fours. As I prepared to put my legs up the wall, I began to wonder if I was deluding myself in thinking that I could actually regain full mobility, imagined that I might be headed for a wheelchair regardless of how many joint replacements I get. Almost immediately I heard a very loud, very insistent voice in my head yell, “I REJECT THAT!”
And then I got mad. Mad at my medical circumstances, but madder at my lapse in optimism. And that was the moment I decided to try getting on all fours.

I rolled sideways from the bolster I was sitting on to another bolster as padding for my knees. I wound up diagonally across my mat, my hands on my husband’s mat and my feet on my friend’s mat. The thought of shifting my body and bolster so I was facing forward seemed too difficult, so I stayed put. They didn’t care. They could tell this was something big for me – my first attempt at putting weight on my new knees, now 10 and 16 weeks old. Trembling, I pulled another bolster under my arms and leaned forward, breathing heavily, straining to hold the position, catawampus though it was. My heart raced as if I were sprinting, but I was determined to hold my amended position as long as the others in class were sitting back on their heels.

As soon as Jeff said, “Now come out of the position and stand,” I flopped onto my back as if I’d just finished a marathon, ready to give myself a nice long Legs Up the Wall break. But no sooner did my ass hit the floor than Jeff was over at my side saying, “Nope, I want you standing too, Lauren. You can do this.”

WTF?!

My first three weeks back at yoga class, Jeff had let me do pretty much whatever I wanted, taking breaks as needed and ignoring the poses I couldn’t yet do. Standing poses – I assumed Jeff understood – were off limits given my crappy ankles, but this morning, he decided otherwise.

I’ve been working with Jeff for just over two years now, so he knows my mobility issues well. He asked my husband to help hoist me to standing and had me – and everyone else in class – move right into a pose facing the wall. That got me breathing even harder, my body having atrophied over the previous three months of recovery and heavy pain medications. At times, I couldn’t even keep my hands on the wall, letting them fall at my side while I leaned against the wall with my head (definitely not part of the pose). When we were finally instructed to release the pose, I was exhausted, but in the best of ways.

I hadn’t strained like that in my 2+ years of having a consistent Kaiut yoga practice, and I have to say IT FELT AWESOME! Not because I had strained, but because I had overcome my own mental block. That one yoga class this morning was more powerful than any of the physical therapy sessions I’ve had to date.

While yoga’s goal is typically inner peace, sometimes the goal should be discovering what you’re capable of by being challenged to go beyond your self-created limitations.

Namaste, Jeff. Namaste!

 


The Slap by K Richardson

Sitting in yoga class yesterday I heard something profound.  It was simple, straightforward and it stuck.

Butch, our 70-something year old very hip yoga instructor and cancer survivor, was talking about life and how we tend to drudge through, dragging ourselves around without much thought and just putting one foot in front of the other day after day.  It’s a miserable way to go through life and yet we all seem to do it at times. Some blame their circumstances (Life dealt me a bad hand) while others blame those around them (It’s not my fault I’m so unhappy) and some people just accept the misery (It is what it is).  We carry on like soldiers walking into battle, worn and tired, holding tightly to our emotions stuffed into the invisible backpacks we hoist onto our shoulders every morning when we rise from our beds. We remind ourselves how many more days until the weekend or our next vacation or some random time in the future where we think we will find contentment, peace or happiness.  We go through life, through the days, and through the moments.  And then sadly, one day,  we die.

I am guilty of handing the wheel over to Auto-Kelly.  She gets up every morning, does her hair and puts her make-up on, takes her daughter to school, goes to work, stops at the grocery store, comes home to cook dinner, reads her emails, pays bills, blah blah blah.  On a good day I hit the gym or take a yoga class or walk my dog. It’s too easy and it allows me to just get through the day, coasting with my head down and eyes half closed.  I am guilty of being a passenger in my own life.

What Butch said struck home: what if we didn’t just go THROUGH life but we actually went TO something?  What if we looked at our purpose, our passion and our potential and we changed our thought process, followed our heart or set a goal for ourselves?  What would happen if we turned off auto-pilot and started driving our own bus in the direction we wanted to go? What if we decided what we wanted and we set out to achieve it, regardless of how old or weathered we think we are?

Butch woke me up. In the class he even said “Hellllo McFly”. No joke.

All day I asked myself: What do I want to go TO? Where am I headed? The question bothered me because I didn’t know the answer.  Wait, aren’t I supposed to have an answer for everything– I am a therapist.  We help people find their answers, their truths and their direction.  And yet, I blanked on what it is I want to go towards in my life that would wake me up and set me straight.

I woke up in the middle of the night and it hit me. Another “Hellllo McFly” moment.  The Slap.

I didn’t have a big epiphany of a career change or taking my family on a year long trek across different continents exploring the world or selling all my belongings and moving into one of those tiny houses you see on TV that people say will allow them the freedom to explore or live life the way they want. (Side note: Tiny houses scare me and personally, I like my space and need a big spacious bathroom in order to have peace and happiness.)  It wasn’t a profound goal or unanswered prayer that changed the direction of my life or made me do some drastic u-turn from where I was headed – instead it was simple. It put me back in the drivers seat, straightened the wheel and reminded me to shed the backpack. I realized I wanted to go TO a place of gratitude, appreciation for where I AM and enjoyment in the day to day things I get to do.

Gratitude is a very cliche thing these days.  I blame Oprah. Everyone talks about it like it’s some holy sacred temple you get to visit.  People speak it, live it for a brief time and then go back on auto-pilot. In all honesty,  it’s an overused and underappreciated word.  It is so much more than just an attitude, it is a complete change in thought process . It requires you to stop, slow down and find the good. Some days, this is hard, especially when you question your meaning and value to this world. But it is possible to go to a place of gratitude,  even on dark days when nothing seems to be going right. Finding gratitude means showing up and being accountable to see what you have instead of what you want. It means finding value in those around you instead of seeking new people to fill old wounds.  It means hitting the reset button and taking the blinders off. It means to stop comparing ourselves, our lives and our flaws to others.  It means less under the microscope and more wide lens.

I am grateful I’m lucky to do a job I love and going to work is not a chore, but a privilege.  I have an imperfect family but they are mine to love and they love me unconditionally, mask off.  My kids drive me crazy, stress me out and cause me question my parenting skills but I am grateful they also have good moral compasses, love their grandparents and hug me nightly before they go to bed.  I am reminded that my husband, who puts his dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher or doesn’t pick up his clothes off the bedroom floor, is also the man who tells me I am beautiful when I feel fat and ugly, writes me poems every Christmas and encourages me to have wine night with the girls because he knows how much I need and treasure women friendships.  I am genuinely grateful for him because I know he is genuinely grateful for me. We aren’t perfect but we make it work and for that, I am grateful.  I don’t have a vacation house but I have a cozy home that my kids like to be at and while I don’t travel as much as I would like, I have saved for my kids college and my credit score is pretty darn good.  I realized that while I could be skinnier, have less wrinkles or a flatter tummy, I am grateful I am healthy and my body does a pretty amazing job every day carrying me around. I realized that gratitude isn’t a place I am going to but rather a place I am already at.

I don’t want to just go through the days and forget the moments because I had my head down and my backpack on.  I want to open my eyes, trust my skills, throw the backpack out the window and take the wheel. There is always something to be grateful for.  There is always something to appreciate about my life.  It is not happy people who are grateful. It is grateful people who are happy.

 


 Leap Proud to Partner with Yoga Support.

 

You will sometimes see that some of our events are specifically tailored to Yoga Support.  We have one coming up on October 29th with Hanna at 12.30 to 2.00pm.  We also have teachers donate class proceeds to this fine cause.

In this regard we thought it appropriate to post a little from their website explaining the very fine work they do to help brain injury patients recover through the use of Yoga.

They help brain surgery patients get their lives back through tailored yoga curriculums designed specifically for them, providing the connection of specially educated teachers and teachings at an affordable cost.

The goal is to have a community of brain surgery patients which are back to work full time, anxiety, depression, and PTSD free, not dependent on disability or pharmaceutical drugs.

They have a specialized team that help patients across the United States who have had brain surgery to rehab and get their lives back through the use of restorative yoga, meditation, breath work and vinyasa yoga.

Hospitals and physical therapists across the US refer patients to their program after surgery and they connect each patient with a partner teacher at a local studio or online through Skype.  This is where Leap Yoga comes in. Each patient receives three partially subsidized sessions weekly for three months, working through a specialized yoga curriculum designed to reduce stress, anxiety and PTSD, relearn balance, gain stamina and take a new path to their new lives.

This is such a fine cause, led by wonderful, caring people.  We are happy and eager to help and encourage you to attend Hanna’s class on the 29th of October at 12.30pm.

Should you wish to find out more about Yoga support, visit their website: www.yogasupport.org


We are delighted to continue our quest to become the true bastion of Yoga, Love and Family within our community. It is always a pleasure, if somewhat humbling, to receive recognition for our endeavors, and from the California Senate no less. Thank you to all our students, members, teachers, staff and friends. We could never have done it without you. Namaste.

Papa Yoga