Stress calendars and the Seasons of Change βœ¨πŸšŒ

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 ❀️❀️❀️

From the Navel – Defining Beauty

The Navel center tends to be a more sensitive time for me. Maybe it’s because I am in the middle of my childbearing years. There’s so much work going on in this space of my body.

I taught a subtle body class focused on the Navel Center during my regular Flow class last night. I do that some times — my teacher Annie taught me to always teach what you sense your students need, regardless of what they expected or showed up trying to get. The class started with an intention to love your belly more, welcoming softness and as it happened to be an all-female class, the intention was especially as a woman.. our bellies are magical, powerful places. After class a student came up to me and told me how much the practice resonated for her. Apparently earlier that day her three year-old son had asked why her stomach was “so lumpy”. We laughed and I was left with such a sense of responsibility to teach our young boys about true beauty and more internal, rather than external health.

The amount of nerve endings in the navel make it such a special place. It’s where you first received food, nourishment and where you were still physically connected to your Mother for a few minutes outside of the womb. The Solar Plexus Chakra is often referred to as the “Culture Belt”, a visual I love — we can so often allow this space to become constricted and tense due to social pressures and expectations of “fitting in”.
I was raised in a very externally health-focused environment. The month that I became pregnant with Indra, before I knew that I was, I received an email from a family member who said she saw me eating with a feverish-ness and warned me not to get fat “again”. These are conscious moments where I have taken it upon myself to energetically release the expectations that others hold on me. The simple phrase “I am, you are” has been incredibly helpful for me to release things like this.

My mantra during this moon center is now:  I know what is best for me. I am on my journey. You know what is best for you and you are on yours.

My hope is that my son sees me care for myself in a holistic way; physically, mentally, spiritually and is inspired to look for beauty within others that do the same. More than anything, trusting his own intuition for himself first. These are the values of our family and I find the greatest rewards in the moments where we are seated around the dinner table discussing how we can best care for ourselves that day; what do we need? Time to practice, reflect alone, cook a grounding meal, be social with friends? These are the questions I ask most from my Navel Center, often with a hand over my belly button, reflecting and listening inward.

Dreaming a little deeper

This afternoon my moon center moved into my clitoris. Hello deep reflection and intimacy. I’m still hazy from an intense afternoon nap — often on the cycles my center shifts midday I find myself more tired. Needing to rest even more with two growing babes (one inside and one out), I’ve felt a little drugged. As I consciously shift into a time of reflection, I’ll intentionally pick up my journal tonight and dig a little deeper than normal. If I don’t make space for that now I’ll wish I had — in this center I need to get to the root of me or I’ll find myself unsatsfied with the world outside. 


Picture captured during my first pregnancy by @artefactimageco. Looking into my own eyes I can so clearly remember the swell of emotions. ‘What’s this birth going to beeeee like?’ consumed me. I had so many questions. Baby showers, midwife appointments, birth planning — these things brought so much joy and excitement — synonymous with anxiety to me here. I worked so hard to channel the intensity and still brought so much of it with me into the birth.
So far this second pregnancy has provided space for much more softness, ease and trusting in my body and this babe. Emotions still high, if not higher, but deeper, darker in many ways yet they feel feel pure and more seen.

Dreams are the first place I’ll go with my journal tonight to reflect on my current state. There’s so much for me to access there right now. And a sweet friend @owlsbotanicals just shared a homemade tincture with me that may help that go even deeper. My muscles are testing yes for it so I am along for the ride. When I reflect on my dreams, I first write everything I can remember. Every little detail that comes to mind, and the more sense stimulating — colors, sounds, sensations in general — the better. There’s always more that comes back as my pen moves. Then I identify the key emotions. Was I happy to be where I was in the dream? What feelings were coming up? What did I want to happen in that moment? Typically, the answers to those questions will correlate to a current life experience and the reflection process begins to unfold from there.

Sweet dreams and love to you tonight.

Alexandria

Experiencing support beyond measure — Indra’s birth story

Indra turned two this week! We had the most beautiful birthday celebration. I feel so loved by our community and pretty sure he does, too.

This week has provided me so much reflection and processing. It was our first birthday home as last year we were traveling in New Mexico, visiting the Kundalini women in white at the Guru Ram Das Ashram ❀ But this year… being back home in the space where Indra was born, it felt like I really relived the experience. I also have been processing a lot preparing for this next babe, so this post may be one of my longer ones.. So happy to finally get a more detailed recap of Indra’s birth down…

Here’s our story;

Contractions came on so slow and gentle for me. As the fireworks went off on July 4th, 2015, I felt tiny little vibrations that told me our babe was coming soon. I was just shy of four weeks past my original due date of June 12th, waiting as patiently as I could. Michael had picked up a massive load of seconds from Dripping Springs and we chopped literally hundreds of onions that night on our counter. I swayed my hips while I danced with the knife, swimming in a sea of excitement. I would pause and go outside and watch the fireworks from our back deck. Pure bliss.

Inspired by Ina May’s advice to drink a glass of wine, take a bubble bath and go to sleep, I did just that. The wine didn’t do much for me though and the excitement continued to build as contractions built ever so slightly. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I stayed glued to a contractions app, wanting to track my progress and so anxious for what was to come. When was it going to be time to call our midwife, Maria?? Am I really in labor? When will the baby come?

This next time around, there will be no contraction apps..

Flash forward to early morning where I had given up on sleep. Krishna Das played in the background and I wandered around our house lighting candles with the intention of resting. “Save your energy” was a theme that played loudly in my head. Michael texted Maria a few updates as the contractions really began to build with the sunrise.

By 9am Maria, Misty and my Mother arrived. Maria checked me and I was at 3cm, confirming we were in motion. I remember being fairly aware of logistics, where people were in the house, feeling intensity and so unsure about where things were going from here. I spent a lot of time in a deep OM as the waves of contractions would come on. A low groaning hum that I worked to match the intensity of my sensation. Later Maria would tell me I had a very peaceful birth and at the time it felt like I was screaming.

I progressed very steadily. We had our house filled with sunflowers. Maria would check me, and then find a flower that matched how wide my cervix had become. It was such a sweet visual representation of my progress. I had no low back pain, however, the heads of my femurs were starting to burn with each contraction. More than anything the waves of energy were completely exhausting with each surge. My body was doing so much and I was still working to stay in control of it in many ways.

Then, early afternoon, something seemed to stall. By 4pm I hadn’t made any progress in some time. As my pelvis began to widen and babe inched down further, my thighs started to scream with pain. I had one moment on my hands and knees of “I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this”. I didn’t even want to say it. I was almost testing myself whether I would voice it or not. I changed course with, “I want to do this” and felt myself continue back on the path of my work. But I was surely at a point of exhaustion. We identified that I was at 9.5cm, so close to there, yet a lip of my cervix had begun to swell and it wasn’t clear whether babe would be able to push through.

Maria encouraged me to walk more. I didn’t want to move. The pain in my thighs was so intense. Misty and my Mom were putting hot rags on my legs and Michael pressed against my knees as I begged for more pressure — the only momentary relief I could find. Between contractions I just wanted to freeze and avoid any sensation.

Finally, around 6pm I managed to leave the bedroom where I had spent most of the day, apart from a few rests in the shower. The feeling of water rushing down my body offered peace. At one point earlier in the day, I was sitting in the bathtub talking to my Mom and suddenly had an overwhelming urge to get clear on something from my past with her. At 14 she sent me to live with my Dad against my choice. My experience was being put on a plane with a letter saying that she was done raising me. At the time I had an Uncle who had asked me years earlier to be sure that I stayed living with my Mom. He said if I did, he would generously cover my college expenses to anywhere I wanted to go. He had the means to do that and I was committed to following that path to ensure a certain life for myself. Over a decade later and multiple years of not speaking, my relationship with my Mom had moved on. A combination of student loans, working full-time and with her helping me as much as she could, I had a college degree and the exact life I had wanted. So between contractions and from the bathtub, I told her I wanted to apologize for holding onto resentment and anger. That everything had worked out as it should and I love my life exactly as is. She asked if I wanted her to say anything and I said I didn’t need her to. Later, my midwife would tell me that she spent time on the porch crying after that. She was beyond strong for me during the birth — I had no idea the impact that entire experience would have on her. Once a midwife’s assistant herself, I have early childhood memories of being at home births with her. It seemed like a natural thing to have her there and I wanted my Mom’s help. Upon seeing and knowing what I know now, for my next birth, I fantasize about having no one there. It’s such a personal and intimate process and no one can do the work but you.

Now back to the 9 hours of active labor in full force. By 7pm I tried to head toward to the bedroom again; however, this time I wouldn’t make it there. A contraction came on as Michael met me in the kitchen. He held me, looked into my eyes, and told me I was going to have to do this. “You’re going to have to push this baby out”. I was so scared. I felt like I was going to break if that happened. As I told him that he stayed present with me, held me, and offered me love. I dug deeper into some of my fears and let them pour out. I told him I was afraid we weren’t going to make it, that he was going to leave, that we weren’t going to have enough money, that the baby wasn’t going to be okay. All of these things began to rush out of me as we lowered down to the ground. At that moment I rotated my pelvis in a new way and big shifts followed. The baby was coming.

Michael started to sing our song, “Danny’s Song” and full transition was on. We sang it together as he held me and I cried. We never confirmed a gender for the babe and the song specifically says, “think I’m gonna have a son.”

Then, I rolled onto my back. My Mother sat behind me with Michael and Maria ready to catch the babe. This part felt natural and powerful. While intense, I found major confidence through my transition. By the time we met Indra I felt like full on mama — give me that baby was my first reaction. I held him close to my chest, so happy to meet him. As we waited on the placenta Michael held his son and I got to watch them bond from across the kitchen floor. That picture will be burned into my mind for life. Indra (unnamed at the time) was born at 7:51pm on 7.5.15 and our lives were never the same.

So here I am today, with a cup of Chicory sun tea (The Mother flower, wildly harvested from my front yard). And doing more work than ever on feeling supported by the universe. My highest thinking never questions my daily experiences or the big picture. But the lower instincts, of fight or flight and scarcity or rejection, those are most definitely present in my functioning brain and beyond triggered during a primal process of labor. Looking to release, to be, and to experience what is in front of me.. a wonderful family that makes my heart explode, a huge community of loving friends, a home that I fall more in love with every day, businesses that inspire me and a beautiful garden of wildflowers, cultivated for my spirit and body by my Mother Earth.

Written from my lips center on a warm summer day.

 

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Eleven Moon Centers: Cheeks

“Pinks of the checks” comes up a lot when this center is discussed. During the time I am in now, in my cheeks, I work to hold back quick responses and more often than not let go of my reactions.

I always love hearing Yogi Bhajan reference a woman’s passion — I feel acknowledge by the fire within me and my capacity to create joy and play as well as discomfort and stress in an instant. This is the time when we are told that we may be most disillusioned about what is really happening — easily offended or hurt, I am not looking to come from that space. The mind can turn and twist anything, so during this time I look to let go of right and wrong in others and just be. I find that if I am able to hold back, sit, watch and find appreciation in a moment early on in this center than I am on track for a beautiful few days. 
A dear friend was over for lunch asking me, “when do you want to do your blessingway?”. I find myself feeling a little shy, maybe even bashful. I want to hide in a corner and NOT do a blessing way. I even suggested having the party after the babe is born. Which does actually sounds quite fun.. Maybe a 40 Day celebration where I tell the birth story is what I want? I also know it’s not the right time to make that decision either way. So I shared what was going on for me and asked for a little more time to decide. Felt wonderful.

Less serious, more sweet. Nah, on the decisions.

Tomorrow I will wake up in my inner thighs. Which means oh so soon the stack of bills by my door will get paid! And my inbox will be empty! So fun. It’s even more fun though because I give myself the freedom to get less things done today and have more patience with the growing checklist knowing that the time for the checking them off is coming.

Om Namah Sivaya Gurave

Grace and love and patience to you, friends!

Eleven Moon Centers: Β Finding Your Map

>>Wondering what a map is and why you would even need it? Go here.

There are two things to keep in mind if you wish to establish your map;

1. Be patience with yourself. Trust in your process and it will lead you to the quickest, most in-tune results.

2. You have the answers within. When in doubt, ask yourself and listen to the response.

Some women I know have been able to simply journal over a 28.5 day cycle and feel very clear by the end of it that they can map their own centers. If you are someone who has an honest dialogue between a pen and your mind this may be a beautiful way to create.

For those who may be looking for a faster process and have practiced inner hearing, working with a pendulum and muscle testing are both great options. Because these are not things that can be taught in a blog, trust that where you are at today is exactly perfect. If you have questions or are looking for a dialouge opportunity to work on your own map, don’t hesitate to reach out. Here are notes for those who are ready to begin the process on their own;

– Using a pendulum

I recommend writing down all Eleven Moon Centers down on a piece of paper, seated in a easeful position close to the earth and making sure all your basic needs are met (food, water, intimacy, sleep and temp). Take your pendulum and find a clear yes and a clear no. Then begin by asking “am I in my ___ today?” Lips, for example, and go through each of the centers in the order that calls out to you until you get a clear YES.

Note, there may be times in which you get a yes more than once, meaning you are in a transitionary period. Look then for morning or night, dusk or dawn, finding the times in which you are transitioning from one center to another.

Then you will find yourself going through the list, taking notes on your own map. You can ask things like “Yesterday I was in..” or “Tomorrow I will be in..” or “After my Thighs in am in my..”. Keep going until you can confirm an order. If you get confused or frustrated, pause, breath and read points one and two again.

– Muscle Testing

Training in energy work enables a greater understanding of this process as does a traditional Yoga practice. Your body is always a well of information, including a clear yes and no to your subtle body field. It is quite possible to muscle test yourself to find your Eleven Moon Center map, as well as have someone else do it for you. This process can be taught from experienced readers from many modalities, including Chiropractic, chakra work and GEMs (my training). I highly recommend the process as it is an invaluable life tool itself. If you want to talk more, reach out.

Eleven Moon Centers: Eyebrows

Just finished giving a presentation on my current business plans and discussing opportunities with my ScaleUp group, local entrepreneurs supporting each other and discussing all things growth. Perfect activity for today. I appreciated the input and support coming from once-strangers who are all up to their own big things in life.

In my eyebrow center all my senses can tune to the possibilities my heart desires. I have plans to turn my home into an ashram — a space for group spiritual study and inquiry — and right now I can literally feel being there, even as I walk down a hot sidewalk with cars rushing by. I can smell delicious food cooking in the kitchen. I can hear the sounds of laughter and chanting and even crying and old patterns are released. It feels real enough to taste.

I can also see myself walking into this cute new storefront I am passing as I walk  – what is this place? For another time. I know today is not for shopping.

The eyebrow center is a wonderful time of brainstorming, sharing ideas and visioning where I see my highest self calling me. Not so much a space to take action on purchases and final decisions. I’m just now remembering my purchase yesterday — a front porch swing I have wanted for months — and realizing I probably still would have saved that purchase for another day had I not been in my eyebrows.

That’s what this process is all about. Self-reflection, realization. Space for understanding with love and intention. The swing is so cute. Will post a pic soon.