Rikers Yoga – Teen Meditation

Photo via Groundswell.org
One of the many hallways at Rikers Rose M. Singer Center for women Photo via Groundswell.org

 

 

“Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.” 
― Pema Chödrön

 

After teaching in one of the sentenced women’s dorms I made my way to the dorm that held three teens who aren’t living with the rest of the teen population for various reasons. They were still in school so I waited until they got back. Things are always changing. ‘Tasha’ had been moved to another house (I think she’s back with the teen girls) and ‘Shakira’(not her real name) who was with the teen girls the week before was back in the ‘isolated’ (my word, not Rikers) section. Shakira lit up when she saw me. The CO in the bubble had let them know that I stopped by but I don’t think they realized that I’d be coming back. Shakira grabbed the only other girl in the dorm and told her to try yoga that it would be fun. ‘Andrea’ eyed me dubiously. I hoped that she would warm up as we began to practice but she didn’t and left class a few minutes in. Shakira unruffled asked if we could practice handstand. Andrea wandered back to see why we were on our hands and stayed for a few more minutes and then left again. Shakira asked about practicing crow and hurdler AND headstand. Who am I to get in the way such enthusiasm? As we were winding down practice I asked Shakira what was her favorite thing to do in yoga. She replied, ‘Meditation.’

‘A five-minute meditation?’ I suggested?

‘Can we do longer?’ she wanted to know.

I was all cool on the outside. ‘Um, sure we can sit and do a 15 minute guided med-,’

‘I don’t really need guided if that’s okay. I can focus on my breathing.’

‘Yeah okay- let’s do a 15 minute sit. ‘ But inside I’m like:

hermoine

My head had been pounding all morning so a seated meditation without support did not seem like a great idea. I let Shakira know I’d be moving my bolster to the wall for back support. She said, ‘We can do that? That’s cool because sometimes my back hurts sitting up.’

So we sat. I don’t drop into a deep meditation but it was hard not to chill out because the dorm is silent. I did think about Shakira’s desire and willingness to be still for 15 minutes. Not an easy task for an adult in this distracted world, even more challenging as a teenager. If you add the element of detention and stress of Rikers Island, it’s almost an impossible task. And yet, when I glance over at her just to see that she’s okay, her face is smooth and her breathing natural. This is no BS she’s in meditation.

Pema Chödrön talks about folks who really take meditation seriously because they have to. She says (and I’m paraphrasing here) those that haven’t had lots of serious trauma or addiction enjoy meditation and can treat it more like a trend. However, if you are a card carrying member of the shit hitting the fan club you get real serious real quick about meditation. Life can be pretty grisly where there aren’t any options left for a decent life. If meditation shows up an an answer, most take it. Because once you can look at your naked truth and not run, you can do just about anything. (Can I get an amen for Pema?) Sorry, I digress.

I thought my class with the teens would be about jumping around and laughing. And sometimes it is. But other times it’s about being quiet. This is what trauma informed teaching is about – listening and honoring the students. It’s not about my personality, my goals for a class or my wants and desires for students. It’s about my big ole mouth being shut , my hands and heart open, saying what can I give to you. How can I serve where you are in this moment.

I will not ignore people who are locked away. I will continue to speak up and out about the need to END mass incarceration. I will continue to plead for the need for more volunteers to visit people in prison as we work to end the system. I will continue to encourage people to volunteer and give assistance to those who are out of jail and need support, love and encouragement. I will not ignore those I can’t see. I will not be silent. This is my mantra and my meditation.

Namaste y’all.

 

 

Advertisements

Start Now- Beginner Meditation (Audio included)

lake-district-united-kingdom_9050_600x450

 

Meditation may seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before. Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Just try- don’t worry about being perfect, or getting it. The act of being still, even for a few minutes will benefit you.

2. Get comfortable. Sit in a chair or on the floor. You can also lay on your back, but don’t get in bed. Remember the point is to relax, not sleep!

3. Have no expectations.

 

Included is a recording that guides you through a brief session. The audio is nine minutes long from start to finish.

Give yourself a break and woosah!

This meditation is perfect:

  • First thing in the morning
  • When you need a midday break at work
  • When you are feeling stressed
  • After work
  • Before bed (but not in bed)

 

Namaste y’all.

 

*Do not listen to this while you are driving, walking, biking or using any other vehicle. 

 

Adventures in Teaching Yoga- Prison Yoga (Liberation Prison Yoga)

chain-1024x682

 

This is a teaching on a Tibetan word: shenpa. The usual translation of the word shenpa is attachment. If you were to look it up in a Tibetan dictionary, you would find that the definition was attachment. But the word “attachment” absolutely doesn’t get at what it is. Dzigar Kongtrul said not to use that translation because it’s incomplete, and it doesn’t touch the magnitude of shenpa and the effect that it has on us.

If I were translating shenpa it would be very hard to find a word, but I’m going to give you a few. One word might be hooked. How we get hooked.

Another synonym for shenpa might be that sticky feeling. In terms of last night’s analogy about having scabies, that itch that goes along with that and scratching it, shenpa is the itch and it’s the urge to scratch. So, urge is another word. The urge to smoke that cigarette, the urge to overeat, the urge to have one more drink, or whatever it is where your addiction is.

 

– Pema Chödrön

 

Hooked.  It’s been a part of my dharma talks in my studio classes. But when it came up as a topic for my Riker’s students, it felt sticky and tricky. A lot of the women in my class are at Riker’s for alleged drug related offenses. Because of my hammer personality I tend to see all problems as nails. However, I thought that approaching addiction from a unique angle may bring a new perspective. To add a little more tension to the mix, the B side of the dorms had their bunks searched in the middle of the night- so needless to say things were running a little…

When I got there- everyone was still cleaning up. The A side of the dorm didn’t have a teacher that day- so instead of sitting around waiting for the B side to get ready- I decided to do yoga with the A side as well.

 

Before our practice we talked about attachment and how the asana practice can get the mind ready to meditate. Taking it a step further we discussed how meditation can help us deal with that ‘hooked’ feeling or itch that Pema brilliantly articulates. I made our practice a bit tougher than usual, discussing throughout how when we work our bodies hard it helps clear the mind and is a distraction from looping thoughts or old stories that we tell ourselves. As a class we went through sun salutations, warriors, lunges, standing backbends, balancing poses and a brief standing meditation. By the time we hit the floor everyone (including me) had worked up a bit of a sweat.

 

I brought my copy of Start Where You Are by Pema Chödrön and read a paragraph before guided meditation. One of the students translates for a friend who doesn’t speak any English and I found her voice soothing as I guided the class to a place of stillness.

 

When I finished a few students helped me take the mats and bolsters to the B side where I found some students ready and waiting. A few of them told me that about the search. They were ready for yoga. With this side feeling a little more tense we worked even harder. It was a good move. Every time we came to a balancing pose I reminded them not be attached- to the pose, to expectations…to anything. Everything changes because nothing is forever. We could have gotten down and dirty with the murky shit that surrounds addictive behavior- but they have group all day. In the moment it felt right to take a yogic approach to letting go.

 

And when we were in tree the Jane’s Addiction’s song Jane Says started playing in my head. In a brief moment I thought about addiction and some of the dumb things that I did in high school and college (and who are we kidding in my twenties)…it’s a roll of the dice. I was never addicted to drugs- but easily could have been. A one bad decision can lead to another. And when addiction gets hold all the great parenting and supportive home structures can’t save you. There are less differences that one might think between people inside jail and outside of jail.

When I’m there I focus on the things that make us the same.

When I am there- we are all yogis.

We are all the same.

 

By the time we were on our mats the room was breathing differently. It still felt a little tense but it was decidedly better than when we started. I used to think energy was woo-woo- but you can sense how a room feels and that’s not bs. The guided meditation helped to dissipate more tension. And by the time we ended, things felt better. I won’t say that things were great because I can’t imagine that a yoga class can take away the fear from a late night/early morning dorm search- but there were some smiles of relief and the question that never gets old. ‘You’ll be back next week?’

Definitely.

Namaste y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

The Whole 30

doing-the-w30-IG

 

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my friend Patrice. Fate has a way of bringing people together and from the moment I met her I knew we’d be friends. She listens to my rants, tells me when I’m being silly (as in stubborn) and makes me feel better if I’m feeling low. So when she asked if I’d do the Whole 30 with her I said yes instantly. A program that helps you feel great and focuses on real food? That’s what I preach, bring it on!!!

And then I saw what I couldn’t have red wine (or any alcohol, boo) for a month and was less enthused, but sticking together and all that I’m still on board. I like the idea of doing something for 30 days. In a week I’m launching a 30 Meditation Journey- it’s for folks that want to try meditation, but have felt a little nervous about doing so. Partnering meditation with whole eating sounds like a fine way finish up healing from abdominal surgery.

 

So back to the Whole 30. Here’s some scoop from the site.

The Whole30 Program Rules

Yes: Eat real food.

Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list.

 

– See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.Q0ru9FdQ.dpuf

No: Avoid for 30 days.

More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not eat white potatoes. This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits (chips and fries) and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best to leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold, and fingerling potatoes off your plate.
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • No Paleo-ifying baked goods, desserts, or junk foods. Trying to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold will ruin your program faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” This means no desserts or junk food made with “approved” ingredients—no banana-egg pancakes, almond-flour muffins, flourless brownies, or coconut milk ice cream. Don’t try to replicate junk food during your 30 days! That misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.

One last and final rule: You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program. This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat or taking comparative measurements during your Whole30. (We do encourage you to weigh yourself before and after, however, so you can see one of the more tangible results of your efforts when your program is over.)

– See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.Q0ru9FdQ.dpuf

 

I’m skeptical about some of this. I’ve read through the site and some of the language is a little too tough love for me. I’m already the chick who used to live her life without moderation- so I’m not really sure if the Whole 30® program is a good fit for someone like me. Life in extremes can play to my addictive nature and if I’m not careful I could be looking down the abyss. So, I’m keeping a watchful eye on me. This isn’t to say that this isn’t a great thing for lots of folks who need a serious kick in the ass to stop some healthy habits and/or thinking.

My eating habits are pretty good- but keep a mindful eye on what I’m eating may be a kind of food meditation. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

 

I’ll keep you guys updated weekly.

 

Let the games begin.

 

Namaste y’all.

 

Have any of you done The Whole 30? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Finishing 108 Days of Meditation is the Beginning

meditation

 

So over 108 days ago I committed to a daily meditation practice.

The ways in which it’s changed me are too numerous to count.

Subtle changes have occurred. For example, I’m smiling more. This was a change that crept up on me. One day walking in my new hood I took note that folks were so friendly. People said hello and waved. What was even stranger is that is that people got friendlier and friendlier! Then it dawned on me- I’m friendlier and more open. You get back what you put out.

It was a head scratching moment. Yikes- how closed off had I been before? Bob Marley was right- you can’t run away from yourself. And it’s a good being because I’d never know how good being open could feel.

Meditation hasn’t just metaphorically opened my heart- it’s literally made me more flexible. Being still has given me an ability to look deep inside my breathing. As strange as it sounds sometimes it feels like I moving energetically into a pose in slow motion. Like liquid pouring into liquid. Rather than moving step-by-step into a form I find myself moving there in a rhythmic motion.

Life presents us with situations that  are challenging and I don’t run from that, but I am much more selective about my optional noise. It’s said that we are like the 5 most people we spend most of our time with. I would think that applies to where we spend our time. Am I spending time in a meaningful manner or is it being wasted? Being still has also allowed me to turn down outside noise that doesn’t serve me.

It’s simple really- I’m trying to be more awake and less distracted.

I’m more successful on some days than others but hey, the fact that I’m paying attention puts me ahead of when I wasn’t meditating at all.

 

Namaste y’all.

 

 

National Stress Awareness Day – Life Yoga (5 Tips to Reduce Your Stress)

nsad_logo2010     Today is National Stress Awareness Day. For real though, we don’t need a day to remind us that we have stress. It’s everywhere. On some days it seems that the stress starts from the second we wake up and doesn’t stop even when our heads hit the pillow at night. Stress dreams can plague sleep leaving you to wake even more tired than when the night began. That’s life though. Right? It’s how we live. No big deal. Everyone is stressed. But listen carefully, if you aren’t careful stress will kill you. When stressed, we kick off the flight or flight response in our bodies. It protects us from mortal danger. Here’s the rub, when our brains tell us to fight or flee our organs respond by creating adrenaline and dialing up the engines of our organs. In today’s society many of us function like this even though our bodies aren’t in mortal danger. This isn’t healthy. In fact it’s dangerous. Sure, it’s not like stepping on the third rail dangerous but it is like playing 10,000 games of Russian Roulette and never getting the bullet. The odds keep increasing that one day…bang.

  Here are some facts from the Global Organization for Stress

  • The Stress in America survey results show that adults continue to report high levels of stress and many report that their stress has increased over the past year – American Psychological Association.
  • 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year – American Psychological Association.
  • Approximately 1 out of 75 people may experience panic disorder – National Institutes of Mental Health.
  • Stress is a top health concern for U.S. teens between 9th and 12th grade, psychologists say that if they don’t learn healthy ways to manage that stress now, it could have serious long-term health implications – American Psychological Association.
  • 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.  And 42% say their co-workers need such help – American Institute of Stress.
  • Stress levels in the workplace are rising with 6  in 10 workers in major global economies experiencing increased workplace stress.  With China (86%) having the highest rise in workplace stress – The Regus Group
  • Alarmingly 91% of adult Australians feel stress in at least one important area of their lives.  Almost 50% feel very stressed about one part of their life – Lifeline Australia.
  • Australian employees are absent for an average of 3.2 working days each year through stress.  This workplace stress costs the Australian economy approximately $14.2 billion – Medibank
  • An estimated 442,000 individuals in Britain, who worked in 2007/08 believed that they were experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill – Labour Force Survey.
  • Approximately 13.7 million working days are lost each year in the UK as a result of work-related illness at a cost of £28.3 billion per year – National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
  • Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide – World Health Organization
  • Fewer than 25% of those with depression world-wide have access to effective treatments – World Health Organization.

– See more at: http://www.gostress.com/stress-facts/#sthash.DCEnJa4d.dpuf

 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Just as easy as it is to live a life under stress we can take small steps to reduce it.   Here are some tips that you can take to slow it down and live longer:

  1. Breathe. Take a deep breath in for a count of four and an exhale for a count of four.
  2. Yoga. Any physical activity for 30 minutes a day will help reduce stress. I’m of supporter of yoga for stress reduction because yoga itself is the idea of yoking our body, mind and breathing. In yoga we talk about moving through the asana practice with steadiness and ease. By controlling how we breathe as we increase intensity we are training our bodies how to deal with stress off of our mats.
  3. Laugh. Check out the benefits courtesy of the Mayo Clinic: A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
    • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
    • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
    • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
  4. Eat well. When we fuel our bodies with good food we are better equipped to thrive. I love what Michael Pollan says about a healthy diet, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Keep it simple.
  5. Sleep. Set a bedtime and stick to it. Keep your electronic devices out of bed. Keep the TV off (ideally- don’t use one). Keep the bedroom a sanctuary of peace.

Today take a minute, take a second and remember that it’s okay even when it’s not. But by managing the stress we can make better decisions and live a better life.

 

Namaste y’all.

Earth Yoga – Daily Tips to be More Green

We hear the expression ‘being green’ tossed about pretty frequently. Everyone wants a better world.  But ending global warming and saving the environment seem like daunting tasks. Sometimes it can feel like one person’s actions can’t make a difference.

They do.

Like the ripple in a pond- little actions can create big waves. Below are five easy things you, your friends and family can do to help the world, right now.

  1. Eat meatless more often. Believe it or not this is one of the biggest things an individual can do to help the planet. The carbon footprint for raising, killing, packing and shipping meat is the largest out of all the food we eat. Really want to help save the planet? Cut back on meat. Even better- buy local fish, fruits and veggies. You’ll be helping the small farmer and eating fresher food.

meatlessmonday-11

  1. Turn off lights– not only are your helping the planet but you are saving money. Do a walkthrough before you leave. The more walkthroughs you do and the longer you stay out, the more cost-effective this small task becomes!

light-switch

  1. Leave your shoes at the door– Keeping dust to a minimum helps with air pollution in your home. A study conducted by Rockport (okay, I know Rockport’s aren’t the sexiest shoes- but they know footwear and feet) discovered that after 2 weeks a whole host of things end up on your shoes (e. coli and lots of bacteria). When you take your shoes off you cut the chances of those bacteria coming into your abode by 70%. Wow.

laundry-mud-room

  1. Is that your refrigerator running? Keeping the temp at 37 degrees instead of freezing maximizes efficiency while keeping food fresh and frozen food freezing!

Fridge-veggies

  1. Each one, teach one. Spread the love about being green.

Namaste y’all.

Kayak Yoga – Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

free kayak

Maybe it’s the yoga, maybe it’s because I’m getting older, maybe it’s because I have a newfound sense of freedom since I got my bike- but I’ve been up for trying new things.

This was not always so.

I wasn’t a fan of change and in fact- I didn’t like it. Not one bit. Round peg, round hole is how things should fit.

At least that’s the way the Dr. Seuss version of me thought of things.

But I caught up with a friend last Sunday and took a dive into the unknown.

Don’t get too excited. I didn’t climb a mountain.

I went out on a kayak.

Hey- baby steps, people. Baby steps.

We rode our bikes to Hoboken from Jersey City and parked at the Hoboken Cove Boathouse. We signed a sheet of paper and got to kayak for free. Right? Free. No strings. Just free. How did I not know about this? They had free kayaking all summer long? This is what happens when you don’t explore, you miss out on good shit.

So- I hopped in my kayak and had a blast. It’s also quite an arm workout.

And because once I dip my toe,  I tend to go whole hog I decided to try a stand-up paddle board.

‘Just keep paddling,’ I was told after a brief lesson.

Off I went.

Look Ma! I’m doing it! Yoga was great prep for this- using the core and feeling the movement of the water to stay steady was a lot less difficult than I thought.

And then, a wave.

Things slow down before the body takes a tumble. I could feel the entire thing. The space-time continuum halted like in an episode of Fringe. I half expected to see bizarro Oneika rise from the water (She better not have a better ass than me, and I do not want her hair longer). But she never showed up and I was snapped my to my merely average  ass swaying to and fro on a paddle board.

The wave came and I could feel the balance shift. I didn’t even fight it, because there was nothing to fight. I was going in the water and that was that. I should say that I love the water and love to swim etc..etc… so this wasn’t a huge thing, but it wasn’t exactly warm and I was hoping to keep my clothes dry.

Ah well. In I went. All the way under. Completely soaked. My head popped the surface and I  exclaimed, ‘THIS IS AWESOME!’ Maybe I was bizarro Oneika? An interesting twist. I glanced at my butt- still the same. No matter. I felt freaking awesome.

I got on the board and fell off again. And again I giggled. I kept thinking I wish I had known about this during the  heat wave because I would have ‘slipped’ over and over.

Eventually I got back in the groove and headed back in. Once back on shore the guy asked if I was okay and I said I was great, it’s about getting back up.

I had to give a mental fistbump to  Dandayamana Dhanurasana- aka Standing Bow Pulling Pose in the Bikram series.

The pose is about falling, in the sense that once you fall can you pick yourself back up and try again- without judgement, maybe even with joy.

There’s one last weekend of free kayaking next Saturday. You can bet I’m going to be back on that stand up paddle board.

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Paddle board yoga. Namaste y’all.

You Don’t Have Lungs in Your Stomach and Other (Obvious) Mind-Blowing Facts

yoga breathing

 

ob·tuse (b-ts, -tys, b-)

adj. ob·tus·er, ob·tus·est

1.

a. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
b. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity: an obtuse remark.
c. Not distinctly felt: an obtuse pain.

 

I can be obtuse. Sometimes it’s on purpose. This is obnoxious I know, but sometimes I just don’t feel like taking someone’s conversation bait. Usually this is because I’m feeling more honest than usual and like my mom said, if you can’t say something nice

She actually never said that. However, she did say never to use the word hate or call someone ugly– both useful pieces of advice.

I digress.

I’m obtuse. Sometimes, not on purpose. Maybe it’s a processing thing, because when I have an ‘aha’ moment it’s usually over something benign and embarrassingly obvious.

Flashback.

It was already a perfect Saturday. I rose and shone (as it were) early and refreshed. Took the pupster on a long walk (she, too was wagging her tail) and took a 10am hot class.

Sometimes you have one of those days when you metaphorically hit every green light. Nothin’ special is happening- but things… just click.

The rundown:

Had a great class- bam. Was hungry and realized I couldn’t buy anything because of my 2 week challenge but remembered I packed a few apples- bam.

You get the idea.

It’s as if you are moving with the flow of energy and not resisting.

My bad- I digress, again. When you are hitting every green light it’s easy to get off track. Things get real shiny, real quick.

At 2pm I took a Yoga Anatomy workshop at Yoga to the People.

I had Anatomy with yoga teacher training but things don’t always sink in for me the first go ’round. And I need lots of structure, so $20 for 2 hours of yoga body talk seemed like a freakin’ steal. Walking away with one nugget of wisdom would make it worth my time.

Um- I got so much more than I bargained. Just in case there’s someone like me reading this, I’m gonna repeat that- I got so much more than I bargained.

  • If some part of the body is not moving enough, another part is moving too much
  • It’s important to looks for a little movement in lots of places rather than just lots of movement in one place
  • Symmetry doesn’t mean balance, the body naturally looks to create balance.
  • Changing patterns in the body is a process. If it took 20 years to create a movement pattern it may take as long to create a new one

But the biggest moment was when I heard, “I know you all know this, but we don’t have lungs in the belly. Lots of times students push down to get air out when we need to lift up to get air out.”

This led to a deeper discussion about the actions of a belly breath. More importantly, it became really clear that as a teacher my words need to be clear so I’m not cueing a student to do some that doesn’t make sense.

A belly breath is important, but I need to get specific about what it is and how to do it properly. Because we don’t have lungs in the belly.

I get it. I get it. I get it.

It takes awhile. And then, every I hit every green light.

Namaste y’all.