Saturday Yoga

jk rowling quote

I’ve been thinking about my class yesterday at Rikers. After class a woman who had been watching asked me what yoga was all about. I told her that yoga is a way for me to unite my body and breathing so I can be in the moment. I told her that in many ways it saved my life, which is why I wanted to serve by teaching yoga to isolated communities.

‘Really? It saved your life?’ Her tone wasn’t suspicious but curious.

In that moment it really hit me. Yoga had saved and changed my life. Four years ago I was spiritually at rock bottom.

I had been shoving down feelings of loss over someone who had died.

I was avoiding feelings of confusion over my career. 

I was scared to admit that as a full fledged adult I did’t have a fracking clue who I was outside of said career. I was disconnected from myself. 

But yoga helped me connect. Now I get to teacher yoga teachers about teaching yoga inside prisons. I’m teaching yoga teachers about teaching therapeutics, mindfulness and trauma. Yoga led me to opening a massage therapy business. Yoga has given me the ability to speak to groups of people about getting and staying healthy through mindfulness and meditation.

Last week my friend Kathleen and I were catching up about yoga and life (which is thankfully these days the same thing). She said something like once you decide what you want to you just have to reach out and grab it.

I’m not saying that all I did was roll out my yoga mat and magically things rearranged. However, by being mindful and in the moment I had a better sense of who I was therefore making better decisions about following a path that honored me.

I’m grateful that I felt so miserable four years ago. Had I felt even a little bit better I would have taken another job and worked hard everyday without purpose. I know now that everything we do is on our own path to enlightenment if we are seeking a better way.

Happy Saturday.

 

Namaste y’all.

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New Year Yoga – Don’t Change

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The end of last year was well, quite glorious. I had two weeks to do nothing but massage clients, teach yoga and take classes. Going to school full-time was the smartest thing I’ve done but still a commitment and shit ton of work. And while I am grateful for all of the good stuff happening, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and tired.

I wanted to spend my time off doing all the yoga. My friend Kathleen and I strolled to Jivamukti to take a class with Julie Kirkpatrick on Christmas Day. Class was like wrestling a cuddly grizzly bear. When you move pose after pose after pose after pose you have choices- try to hang on for dear life or surrender to the moment. In savasana I felt myself let go.

Listen, I know that as yoga teachers we talk about letting go (and sometimes we even mean it), but in that moment if the lights went out, and I mean forever- I would have been okay. That may seem like a heavy statement but it’s true. Savasana prepares us for the biggest unhooking of all.

In a Sunday class with Cassandra Rigney at Jivamukti she talked about watching Time of Death, a miniseries that follows terminally ill patients during their last weeks. Seems grim, I know. But Cassandra said it was a powerful testament to how in the end we forget all the bad shit that people have done and only see the good. Why not live like that now? Why not indeed I wondered as I walked home. Fresh off a Serial and Marking of Murderer binge Cassandra’s mention of ToD seemed like a good move. I was wrong.

I wasn’t just a good move. It was yoga. I was riveted watching these stories of life and death. Some of the families graciously let us watch their loved ones transition on camera. Some didn’t and that’s a beautiful and noble choice as well. It got me thinking.

This is yoga. This is life.

Yoga doesn’t only prepare me for living life in the now, it’s also practice for the ultimate letting go. What stuck me most was my reaction. You can’t help but reflect when you watch people die. But instead of thinking about what I would change I found myself thinking about what I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t change a lot.

I wouldn’t change the way I love the time I spend with my family.  Or seeing my brother’s face at Thanksgiving. Or cracking up with my parents and sister at Christmas dinner. I wouldn’t change the way I laugh at Dakota’s spring in her step when she smells the air during her morning walk. I wouldn’t change what I’m doing with my life. I want to do more of what I’m already doing now.

Forget about what you would change. What are you doing right? What’s working?

Do that.

So when I think about 2016 I’m not challenging myself to rock the shit out of the new year. I’m going to fucking be more present than ever in the now.

That’s working. Namaste y’all.

 

Monday Yoga- I’m Happening


During my Therapeutic Yoga Workshop I spoke about the concept of being with whatever is happening in the moment. I think that our society gets caught up in the idea of having to be happy all. of. the. time.

I think that’s ridiculous. Sure, I try to live life peacefully and that can be joyful. However on some days I feel meh. Or tired. Or even depressed. Trying to be one thing consistently isn’t how we work. The one that is constant is our fluid life.

And that’s okay because it’s living authentically. If I relentlessly pursued the notion I should be happy all of the time I’d be setting myself up for a crushing blow. It ain’t happenin’. Life has seasons. Our bodies have rythyms that work to keep us in a state of harmony. I like this. Congruity. Things fit together in a way that is balanced. Can you imagine if your body lived in the pleasure center. All ‘dopamined’ up with no place to go.

So let be. No need to chase a happy dragon. Thich Nhat Hahn says that by following our breathing we invite ours to be in the present where we have an appointment with life. That moment may be full of joy, completely fucked up or blissfully dull. But life is in that moment. Not in the future or behind us in the past.

Happy? Sure, sometimes. But I think I’ll opt for what’s happening all of the time. That’s where my life is.

Namaste y’all.

Sunday Yoga – Rain, Rain Don’t Go Away

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“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

– Oscar Wilde

 

The forecast today calls for rain. I love rainy days. I don’t even mind riding my bike in the rain. I appreciate the cleansing aspect and that it gets the whole world a little quiet.

It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve acknowledged and embraced that I’m an introvert. I used to think that because I was comfortable being social, I had to be social. My sister said she’s heard it said that extroverts gain energy when they spend time around groups of people and introverts gain energy being by themselves.

Rainy days appeal to this introvert.

I can ride with my hood pulled over my face

and give a smile and wave as I ride down the street.

No time to chat gotta get inside,

I’m all wet!

Thanking the rain as I dry off.

 

Namaste y’all.

Saturday Yoga – Be Mindful

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I’ve been talking non-stop about 2015 as the year of living mindfully. And I meant it.

But on Tuesday I left Rikers and got on the bus to start my trek back and realized that I had left my wallet inside the prison.

This required me to get off the bus, hop on another and go back.

Had I been truly present, I would have done a quick scan to ensure I was leaving with everything I brought in.

I was initially frustrated but let this feeling turn into understanding.

This has led me to shake up my traditional Saturday routine. I’m going switch up my normal class and do home practice at a different time.

Everything can be a lesson. I can’t just talk about being mindful, I must be mindful.

 

Namaste y’all.

Thursday Yoga

peace dyer

 

This year I will move purposely and mindfully. And I will stumble understanding that falling is part of the process. There is no perfect way. Things are as they are.

 

Namaste y’all.

Money Yoga

money and life

 

 

Money and Life is a documentary that talks about where money comes from (thin air) and how it’s been turned into the way we live our lives and what we can do about it.

 

 

 

Money & Life Extended Trailer from Katie Teague on Vimeo.

It got me thinking about my recent change in my relationship with money.  In the past two years I’ve let go of a lot of things that most think are big measures of success- my luxury condo, my car and lots of stuff that wasn’t serving me.

 

This isn’t to say that I don’t think that I should move on a commune away from society. But I have shifted my paradigm of thinking when it comes to how I measure my success and what I want to offer to the world. I’m more interested in the inter connectedness of the world rather that trying to squelch someone’s chances of success for my own gain. That kind of thinking works off a thought process that there isn’t enough. When in fact, there is enough. There is enough food, money, success, happiness for everyone.

I’m not talking about Law of Attraction woo woo stuff here. But one thing I have realized is that I used to put a lot of focus on accumulating stuff and not living life. And though my lifestyle has changed drastically from the one that I was living a few years ago- I’m more centered and more content than I have ever been.

I don’t think I’m fooling myself either, because the more I connected with the work I want to do, I created opportunities for myself.

In the beginning of the new year most of us look to cleanse our bodies. But what about cleansing for we spend and live? Life gets busy and our routines could use a shake up. When was the last time you checked in with your kids about how they understand money? Have you taken a look at how you are saving for retirement? Are you spending excess money each week without knowing it? Regardless of how tight you may think you manage, it’s a good idea to check-in.

Beth Kobliner, probably best known for her book Get a Financial Life encourages people to do a ‘money fast’ at the beginning of each year. After paying necessary expenses, can you spend the month with spending any money? It’s a great way to see what’s important and what’s not. It may also challenge your idea of what is important.

If you are serious about jump starting your financial health. Levo League has five great tips to get you started on a 30-day financial cleanse.

1. Introduce yourself to the bare necessities.

Cut out all frivolous spending, so you can get to the bottom of your relationship with money. You can spend on groceries, bills, transportation, and health expenses—nothing more.

2. Convert to cash

When we use cash, we become more aware of our spending. It might sound counterintuitive, but managing your spending habits becomes simpler without a credit or debit card. Either your wallet is full, or your wallet is empty. You see the flow of your money in real time.

3. Monitor your spending

Over the course of a week, you can begin to monitor what you really miss and what you are surprised you can easily live without. You’ll be motivated by the amount of money you’re saving in the meantime, and you’ll likely think to yourself, “This is a lot easier than I thought!”

4. Learn to forgive, in order to learn

Even with all the progress you’ve made so far, you’ll most likely slip up and purchase something you didn’t mean to. It’s very important to forgive yourself.

Like I said, our habits become very automatic and as soon as we let our guards down, we may catch ourselves swiping a credit card on something we are in the habit of buying. Take this moment to truly consider your motivations behind your spending.

5. Reassess your values

Understanding your values and what’s really important to you is the key to financial wellness. Your spending and use of your time should point to your values—meaning, you should be spending the majority of your time and money on things of utmost importance.

If you’re not, you’re unaligned with your spending and have the opportunity to use your money in much more meaningful ways. For example, if family is really important to you, but you spend no time with them and no money on spending time with them, you’re missing out on very fulfilling spending.

You may want to plan more trips with them, or even plan to visit them if they aren’t nearby. I call this putting your money where your heart is.

 

 

 

Check out the entire documentary Money & Life below.  It’s great to watch with the family.

 

 

Time is Not on My Side

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Time is not on my side.

 

On New Year’s Day I took a 3-hour class with co-founder and master teacher David Life at Jivamukti NYC. Being with 80-100 yogis at the start of the new year was special but hearing David Life talk about time resonated with me.  It stirred up a lot of ‘stuff’ that had been hanging around for the past six months or so.

 

The notion of time can be overwhelming and disconcerting. I realized that I’ve been racing against a clock. Freaking as time ticked on, chastising myself for not getting certain things done. But rather than sweating the passing minutes, hours and days, I should be breathing and acting. It’s the small steps that make progress.

 

I felt this as I practiced. We started class extending our inhalations and exhalations to 30 seconds each. This made time seem deep rather than long. Working with breath and movement I become more aware how I felt in certain poses and more importantly how I can look for depth. Because let’s face it, that’s where magic happens. Changes happen when you reach into the unknown. And it can happen in a moment, but the trick is, you have to do something. David said the origin of time is in stillness. But my growth occurs when I reach deep down pulling out the weeds, my exhales letting go of fear, embracing anxiety and opening my heart up to the possibility of whatever is to happen next.

Inhale.

Exhale.

 

Time is not on my side. No, it isn’t. But knowing that- I have every ability to make the best of it.

 

Namaste y’all.