Before spring has sprung

Blogging is the last thing that I want to do right now. As I try to limit screen time, I could easily name a dozen other things I’d rather do with my time here. I’m so ready to start new things. I can feel the buzz of the earth, the tremble of this floating ball beneath my feet, ready to burst with beautiful blossoms and begin again.

And then there’s the voice.. slow down, rest, be patience. Don’t rush life.

This moment is so precious.

We are preparing to move the studio >> saying hello to a beautiful new spot off the square. A few blocks from my house and I can’t help but grin ear to ear over when I speak of it.

I have a 4mo old (Today! Happy first quarter, Jude my love) and a closer-to 3yo every day (Indra, you are exploding with life) that my heart aches to give everything to.

My husband is delving deep into music and expression in new ways and I so want to support him through this in all the ways I can.

The current 200hr and 300hr Trainee’s are amazing. If y’all are reading this, you’re blowing my mind with hope and love for our future. And then there’s the Prenatal program coming..

So much excitement. So much to come.

And I want to be here. And experience this. I want to rest and and heal from my birth, which is happening more each day and night. As Jude sleeps deeply I feel my body sinking into a next level of rejuvenation. It needs me to relax. It needs me to release.

The spring will come. I couldn’t stop it even if I wanted to. Be here now, my dear sweet Alexandria.

Written from my future self to me, today.

Jai ma,

Alexandria

On welcoming Jude with a blissful birth

2017 will always be the year we welcomed Jude Oso Pulfer. It took me many months (and possibly years..) to process the birth of my first beautiful son Indra. I love thinking about how my understandings of birth and the telling of my experiences will evolve over time.

When Jude was born, I labored physically alone for the majority of it and never felt a shed of loneliness. This was something he and I did together.

Dilation began the evening before and after updating my midwife, we attempted a night of sleep. We were all successful and all rested a fantastically full night. I will always remember the feeling of opening my eyes the next morning.. Motionless and waiting to see if a contraction would come.. It did. I was 3-4cm at this point and active labor began with a sense of wonder. I lit candles, chanted and created a contained nest for myself for many hours. The rushes that built and ceased were steady yet peaceful and I experienced presence throughout. My midwife saw me regularly and left, at my request. I felt very tuned to my body and able to both speed up and slow the process as I desired. I wanted our babe to join us after Indra’s midday nap, so I patiently waited and took my time with the labor through breath and stillness. I asked our dear photographer friend (it was also her birthday too!) to arrive at 2pm. Indra woke up just after her arrival and Jude was born just before 3pm. The photo below was snapped minutes before Jude’s birth. A couple times earlier that day, Michael walked through the room and would say, “Whoa this time is so different! It’s crazy!” It was different. They can’t even be compared. And Jude’s birth was very peaceful and soft.

The transition (when the babe travels out through the birth canal) was the most challenging turn. I am grateful for the gigantic feat that birth is and the way it finds me forcibly humbled. Without it, I know it would be nearly impossible to respect the importance of remaining in a state of rest. Which is likely my most proud piece of the puzzle that formed this birth.. The bonding, the bathing, the herbs and the treats that followed his birthday are such sense inducing memories. I don’t think I’ll ever eat a date again without remembering my first 40 days of life with Jude.

More on that later.

2017 as a family of four means a rich journey of parenting and co-piloting life with my Michael. New Years Eve is our wedding anniversary and while challenges me more every day (I think we had our biggest parenting disagreement yet earlier..) I am more confident and trusting of our roles and love every minute. Grateful to be the mama of your sons, Babe.

As I melt into the magic that was my year of a blissful birth, I find myself with a sense of limitlessness. Anything is possible and I am rich with that same sense of wonder.. what will happen? Where will this life take me? Ready and willing to flow with it and delighted to dive deep and dig in.

Om namo Lakshmi ✨

Alexandria

A Blessingway to Remember

Multiple times last week I said something along the lines of “I am recovering” from my blessingway. At one point a dear friend said, “I hope you never recover from that!”. And from there I was able to shift, into a space of claiming a new level of confidence and acceptance of love. Out of reaction and into creation with the beauty I was gifted.

There are many impactful activities and functions that can be planned for celebrating a mom to be — showers, parties, etc. What makes events like these special to me is the quality of interactions and the level of intention beyond the purpose of gathering. Once people arrive, once all the fancy decor is completed and the delicious food set, then what?

When these woman folk first trickled into the house there was pure giddiness in the air. I laughed so much. Amanda braided my hair, others massages me, brought me drinks and treats and were just generally playful and excited. A few of the girls began making a beautiful mandala from a carload of flowers from Dripping Springs. They worked steadily and efficiently together. 

As I became more grounded and allowed myself to ease into what was happening, I felt the room do the same. Intentional meditations and discussing my plans for the birth contributed to a next level of presence for me within the group. These were all women that I love and adore, who have played such a significant role in my life over the past few years of my transition to motherhood, to have their presence together in my honor was a blessing in itself. Of course, the words and connections took that much deeper.


After nourishing food and beautiful conversation, the energy of the room continued to ground as we moved toward a sacred circle. Quite a few had to leave to be with their families; they offered their kind goodbyes together with the group, and after a container was held with candles and ceremony. Prayers, chants and deep shares commenced. My cup was filled over and over again with the beautiful words that came from the mouths of my friends. Speaking about our relationships, of birthing, of mothering, of challenges and inspirations. I am so grateful for the heartfelt and honest sharing that was offered in that space.

I still found myself at times closing my heart, almost as if it were too much to bare. And after, my story of “recovering” was absolutely a reflection of me shying away from the experience. Why can powerful love be so hard to take? This is not what I consciously chose. I chose to love and be loved beyond my capacity for it in this moment. I chose to accept the boundless love that my children, my family and my friends contribute to my life in each moment. And to return it in more ways than I even know.

I chose to find new ways to open, to give and to recieve. I have been loving this visualization of Hanuman opening his heart. There’s a sweet story about him holding his chest open to show his devotion. His passionate love is known to provide him with super-human powers, the ability to literally move mountains.


As much as I set my mental and spiritual intentions to open to love, I know there’s little I’ll be able to control with this upcoming birth. My heart is about to open further in more ways than I can imagine, of that I am sure.

May you feel the love around you today and trust that the more you open, the more you receive.

om hrim hrim suryaya namah,

Alexandria

The Sunday chant, to warm your heart, on this crisp October morning.

Fall rhythms, routines and renewal

When I catch a moment of the fall breeze brushing against my skin, a tiny ping of fear creeps up the back of my neck. Cool weather means a baby is coming. Soon to expel his or herself from my womb and into this world.. I am confident, secure and above all trusting. And I know this upcoming process requires the deepest kind of surrender; physically, mentally and spiritually.

My biggest preparation for this birth is centered around family. The first time around I was becoming a mother, a birth in itself. This time I am a mother welcoming a new soul into our home. It feels wonderful. I have told many how much easier this pregnancy has been. Watching not to say these things in front of Indra; he is always listening and I am looking to avoid comparison. The two pregnancies are completely different journeys. And experience makes a world of difference. Both my body and my mind understand so much more now.

This fall has already brought a beautiful grounding rhythm into our daily lives. A summer filled with spontaneous river trips and  late night adventures with friends has come to an end. I am so loving this time of shifting to reflect on abundance, harvest what has been created and move toward rest and renewal.

One of our favorite family tools is our daily and weekly rhythms sheets. Pictured below, this snapshot tells Indra what key things we complete every day and in what order. He adores it. He doesn’t always want to brush teeth, but this sheet makes it possible to offer him consistency and awareness. It also gives me more confidence that as I transition to bonding and healing stage with this second child, Indra will have stability in his daily routines.


For now I am spending every moment I can enjoying the end of this chapter — the past three years have been the most amazing of my life yet. Welcoming Indra to Earth with Michael has been such an honor. My reflections turn into sobs at this point. While it feels hard to say goodbye to this current life, I know the next level only has more amazing things in store.

Add in a week of Kitchari, Abyhanga (self-massage) and home/nesting projects and this fall is off to a great start. I had the pleasure of sharing my favorite elements of an Ayurvedic lifestyle with our 300hr Advanced YTT group last week. It has been such a pleasure working with a powerful group of amazing women. Deeply nourishing and I can’t wait to share more as our program unfolds.


Ready when you are, baby. You’re coming into a beautiful community full of love, light and possibility.
Xo,

Alexandria

Started in my lips, finished in my clitorus. 

A Step on the Journey of Uncovering Personal Trauma

It’s tough for me to post this as in many ways it feels so incomplete, so personal and there are many more things I’d like to say about trauma, yoga therapy, etc. And this blog is about the personal process for me, looking to share what’s going on for me as a means to empower others, so here it goes. 

I stood on the hot sidewalk and watched the events unfolding at my home from a distance. I didn’t want to go closer. Paramedics and police officers went in and out while blue lights flashed across the house. I remember thinking “This is it. You aren’t going to survive this.” In whatever language my toddler mind could process at that point; I didn’t think I was going to live much longer. The cycles of abuse around me continued to grow stronger by day. The trash can was an indication of what lie ahead. Empty glass bottles on top meant physical pain would trickle down to me later. Later that night, from the walls of a women’s shelter, I felt frozen in pure terror of what would lie ahead. All my little mind could process was you are not safe, you have no where else to go.
Memories like these are visceral ones I find myself working to uncover as a means to heal. In yoga, to experience Vidya, right perception, rather than the afflictions of an unsteady mind. The details aren’t pretty, and as Indra approaches the ages I was where my most formative memories of physical abuse began, I find myself reliving many things from my past. Not as a victim, rather as an active participant in the process. To me it’s work of acknowledging my feelings exactly as they were and where they are today, free from judgment. My dream world is my main indication of progress. The Yoga Sutras offer that meditating on dreams can produce a new level of stability of the mind. The idea is that our experiences in dreams are most reflective of our inner states, as they are free from outer world senses and influences. 
Last night I dreamt that Richard, my former step-dad, was standing outside our porch. It was raining. He hid in the dark. He was drunk, aggressively shouting things to Michael when confronted by him. While I stood in the house, my initial caution was supported by an overall experience of confidence that we were safe. That is the part that tells me I’m making progress.
Those who work with me know how much I emphasize the process of uncovering memories from the past. As a Yoga Therapist, I am frequently referring people to work with Mental Health Therapists through the uncovering of (big T) Trauma. At the same time, the process of Yoga Therapy can be invaluable throughout these stages of healing. In Ayurveda, the manas “mind” channels live in both the mind and the body. While Western treatments work to repair and optimize the functioning of the brain process, Eastern offerings tap into the innate intellect of the body. The patterns we hold all through the physical (anamayakosha), energetic (pranamayakosha) and mental (manamayakosha) all contribute to our experience of reality today. 
While many parts of my brain wish I could say the shelter was a turning point, there would be many more memories formed of flashing blue lights against many different homes, even after Richard was gone. He ended up killing himself later in life. I can only imagine the depths of his internal conflictions. By the age of 17, I had moved more than 20 times. So I went out on my own as soon as I could and a few years later I purchased my own home (still owned and one of my most beloved places in the world). The sounds of breaking glass, screaming, and eventually the tone of the dial as my fingers pressed against 9-1-1 are all pieces of memories that have helped make me who I am today. These cycles of experiences have contributed to my individual strength and perseverance in more ways that I can likely see. While sometimes challenging to embrace, new energy resources, ease of daily life, depth of connection, these are the things that keep me on the path of unveiling and revisiting the things that have happened and what I made them mean about me and my life.

All of my relationships today depend on my continuous evolution. If they don’t, then they aren’t moving me forward. I spent many years trying to forget the things of the past. So much so that I disillusioned myself to reality. Many of my filters caused me to act more like a child and experience more pain. While I still find myself throwing the occasional adult tantrum, I’m getting better. My daily mind and life are more peaceful than they have ever been. Do you feel like a better person than you did a year ago? 5 years ago? I say keep on, keepin on then. You’re doing a great job.
Sat Nam,

Alexandria

Written from my eyebrows on a steamy August afternoon with a growing belly!

Breaking Down the Root of Hatred

From a Yogic perspective, hatred is considered a disfunction of the mind. A non-function, non-fun and not our natural state of experience. The idea that “hate is taught” seems to be a popular notion right now. While hate can indeed be modeled and actively demonstrated, when we look at it from the philosophy of Vidya (right perception, truth, understanding) we can also see that rather than needing to be taught, hatred can arise naturally on it’s own simply through a lack of information and a lack of understanding.

This is one of my first registries of dissonance with the ancient compilations of the Bible. A book that has some of the most beautiful passages I have ever heard, as well as some of the strangest. Early in the text, right after we are taught Man creates Woman (totally the other way around..), is a fundamental establishment that knowledge is the root of evil. The story that Adam and Eve create suffering through their greediness of experiences and understanding, bringing on the woes of mankind by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, is a very different approach to fundamental existence than the Yoga Sutras give us. And it is one that I believe contributes to the breeding of hatred. In the Sutras, we are told that the path to liberation from pain and suffering is through more learning, more understanding and more questioning of everything.

In my mind these are two very different approaches to life. Christianity, just like any other religion, can be a tool for oppression depending on how it is delivered and received. And specifically because of this initial suppression of a natural instinct to learn, I see some damage control needed within our society from this thinking. When a child is taught not to seek beyond, to submit and to “trust that God is in control”, right then and there it is quite possible that racism and oppression can become fostered. No other practices of hatred needed. Our capacity for insecurity and fear and deep reactionary systems — once necessary to keep us alive as we functioned like animals — is incredibly high. Throughout our evolution as humans, which today is changing at a more rapid rate than ever, many of our historical spiritual perspectives are in need of an upgrade. Regardless if racism is “taught”, it can be a natural occurrence from the lack of understanding, questioning and following one’s own intuition.

People are different. They do have different skin color. They are born with different intrinsic needs, different resources and different levels of access to information. Some of these differences enable others, when in disfunction, to take advantage of and abuse others. To rely solely on an idea that there is a greater power out there handling it all can disempower me from the real change I can enact through my own actions and choices.

I am not saying that Christianity is the cause of this. I see many people who are beyond empowered through this religion to take right action and make a positive difference in the world. I am saying that I have seen and felt a disempowerment to enact change for myself through the mental framework of Christianity. It is quite possible that had I been raised with these Eastern traditions I speak so fondly of, that the same limiting patterns would have been established. Either way, I recognize it within myself today as a possible avenue for ignorance. I chose to strive for understanding, both of our world myself, through Svadhyayathe practice of self-observation. The first step has to be a further unwinding of our own misperceptions and limited thinking patterns. Along that path, what actions are you taking to dispel the disfunction within our society? Hint ::: No one’s role here looks the same. Everyone can and should be making their own unique contributions. Watch out for frustration or judgement against others for their actions or inactions and turn inward to always gain completion with your own first.

These words are written to be access to knowledge and a perspective that may inspire relief during such a figuratively and even literally dark time. If you find yourself exhausted by the news and your dealings with others, seek to learn something new about your environment. Everything is a framework for existence, from gardening to astrology. The Vedic perspective from this upcoming eclipse is that it is a very inauspicious time, counter-productive and challenging. So hold faith in humanity and your neighbors hand. This isn’t the end of our journey through this life together.

May all beings everywhere be happy and free.

lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

Written from the beginning cycle of my inner thighs, one of my favorites! Blog post, check.

Stress calendars and the Seasons of Change ✨🚌

Michael and I have a seasonal stress calendar and it’s one of our favorite shared documents. We made it earlier this year by listing out the major events, projects and life evolutions that we have gone through by season both together and separately over the past few years. When we look at it we both laugh with amazement and disbelief at all the things we have done and gone through together. Moving in together, pregnant, married, baby, running and starting businesses, family stresses, travel, building projects, leading and participating in programs.. The list of things we have done makes our minds spin alone. What has it done to them while we are doing them?

Note:  The body reads and processes excitement the same way it does with stress.

Cindi Cartwright, one of the fascilitators of our teaching programs at the Yoga Deza Institute (she has been teaching longer than anyone in the state of Arkansas and has a beautiful Iyengar history — she’s amazing.) shares so much incredible information about the mind-body relationship and stress. Through her teachings she offers a point system of major life events to calculate the amount of stress you have been under in life and correlating practices necessary to help counter. Such valuable information. The practicality of it so necessary.

If you want to operate at your highest frequency, with the most clarity and pre-frontal lobe brainpower, this path of inquiry is the best I have found.

With that being said, I am thrilled to share our newest adventure. It will most definitely be added to the stress calendar (the more exciting and fun it is, the more weight it must have) and I look forward to it being our most conscious and easeful project yet. Last week we finalized on the OMskoolbus — formerly purchased by our dear friends the Phillips Family, it surprisingly ended up being for us! We will turn it into a yoga/kids play/family connection space in our backyard. Construction begins next week! Follow along with a new Instagram @OMskoolbus.

May this life be full of everything you desire.

Cheers to health, happiness, peace and ease.

Written from the Vagina (Yoni in Sanskrit) center on a rainy August day — and the kickoff of our 2017-18 Advanced Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Deza ❤️❤️❤️