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 ❤️❤️❤️
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.
Last weekend Indra attended his first [of many!] Yoga workshop — an awesome Restorative program focused on relaxation and led by a long-time local Iyengar teacher. Our amazing little boy slept and cooed either on or next to Mom + Dad while they got some much needed deep rest time in. He is by far the most chill and confident baby I have ever met.
At one point during the workshop we looked at a stress chart. It basically offered a point system to calculate the affects of major life events on the body and mind. I love evaluating stress this way. So often people, myself included, tend to ignore stress when they feel happy and busy. The idea that stress only exists when we’re upset or On the chart, the most extreme level mentioned equaled 300 points. This current life expansiom, in addition to others life shifts the past year (marriage, moving, career shifts) put our family well above that mark. We are in a high risk zone for disease and emotional distress. The good news? We’re also doing all the things that counter those risks: Talking about our experiences, eating good food, sleeping, casual walks, massages, singing, gardening, etc.
I am so proud of how our postnatal experience has gone and the way our family is forming. It has not been without it’s challenges though for sure. One of the biggest things I have learned is that ever persons’s stress during this time looks different. And while there are always going to be more effective ways for some individuals to process than others, the fundamental stress that comes from the experiences like pregnancy and birth will need to be processed in some way. For me, the physical healing, sleep changes, hormone shifts and heart expanding emotions have been balanced with meditation, visualizations, walking and healthy eating. And there are plenty of other challenges coming my way right now — all those things I was warned about are starting to make sense, but not in a scary – what am I going to do kind of way. In a heart opening – bigger than life kind.
Whatever lies ahead, I know rest and restoration will be a steady practice for me over the next few years. I’m talking about that ahhhhh feeling, heavy body, ease melting face kind of relaxation where the world and my mind stop spinning all at once. Cheers to that 🙂
Here’s a cute baby sleeping video for a taste: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3mTalBi4qiOR1ZCbS1mc0h6Nlk/view?usp=docslist_api