Thursday, September 30, 2010

Inspired by...

Today in my yoga class, I taught about an idea I saw tweeted yesterday by a yoga teacher named BJ Galvan. She said,

"rooted in love, you can overcome anything."

What a beautiful statement! Inspired, I decided to make a colorful, autumnal celebration of that idea as an etsy treasury. Looking at all this beautiful work reminded me to root myself in the beauty of the natural world and the things that I love!

Screen shot 2010-10-14 at 4.10.23 PM

When we root down, we plug into the current of grace. So this is what I am working on today. Plugging in to reconnect to those those place I'm feeling a little disconnected (which right in this moment are my art making and the part of me that expresses my creativity freely). In my teacher training, I remember hearing the phrase "a tree is only as full as it's roots are deep." So, I'm breathing into my roots to remember my fullness.

How are you getting rooted today?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shaped by Sparkling Gems

{flowers on the porch}

When I started practicing yoga, I knew immediately that I wanted to teach it. How I knew this, I am not entirely sure, but I think it had to do with my teachers. I saw something in them (a sense of calm, peace, wisdom, confidence, courage) that I too wanted in myself.

So without much hesitation, I signed up for the first training I came across, emptied my savings account, and headed up to Toronto, Canada for a whole summer. What I know now (and didn't know then) is that there are many, many, MANY styles of yoga out there. I blindly signed up for a yoga training and ridiculously, didn't even know what style of yoga I would be learning to teach. Even as I write this now, I feel a little embarrassed about how naive and silly it was of me to not know ahead of time.

But I was eager and I was young, excited and determined.

I arrived for my first day of the training and experienced, much to my surprise, my first Kundalini Yoga class.  I found myself in the class and in the training, learning and then learning to teach, chants and rapidly repeated movements called Kriyas that I had never done before.

Even though it wasn't what I had expected it to be (I'm slowly learning that this is usually the case with most experiences), I had some breakthroughs. I had some profound experiences. I came to better understand forgiveness. I cried, I cringed and I cut through a lot of old bullshit.

But I didn't finish the training.

I had completed 300 hours of the 400 required to graduate from the program, but I didn't finish. My heart had cracked open enough to know that I wasn't ready, that it wasn't the right time, place and fit.

For awhile I was really disappointed in myself. I felt like I was the kind of person who wouldn't or couldn't follow through on things. After a few more start and stop experiences, this feeling of being the kind of person who was unable to commit to anything, hung over me.  Sometimes, it still does.

Now, with time, distance and the perspective of being closer to where I want to be, I realize how valuable the experience really was, regardless of the fact that I didn't finish it. In fact, it was probably exactly what I needed at that point in time, nothing more, nothing less. All the crying, cringing and cutting were part of my shaping. Even the guilt I felt about not finishing had its place in guiding me to where I am now. It helped feed the fire that empowered me to try again with another teacher training when I was really ready, one which I did indeed finish!

I understand now that my experience (and so many life experiences that feel like stumbling blocks) was a stepping stone, just another sparkling gem to make my path more glittery.

How have your experiences shaped you? 
How does your relationship to them change when you see them as stepping stones vs. stumbling blocks?


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Being Human is a Guest House

Toolik lake

{"Toolik Lake, Alaska" photo taken by my brother, Patrick Tobin on Flickr}

"This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes as an
unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house
empty of it's furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight. 
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 
Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent as a guide
from beyond."

Tonight, I am reminded that all my perceived "problems" are really just gateways to solutions, stepping stones not stumbling blocks. I am reminded that everything coming my way is meant to help me more fully recognize who I really am and who I am meant to be.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Music for Your Roots

I love how music can set the mood and groove. If I'm in the right, receptive frame of mind, music can take me to another place.

(beginnings of a painting of an elephant, an animal associated with the Root Chakra)

 I love listening to music while I work, while I drive, while I paint, while I write, while I clean, while I cook, and when I practice yoga. 
Since I started teaching yoga, I've been experimenting with playing music in my classes. Every once in a while, I find myself speaking to the beat of the music, each breath in tune with the rhythm, each instruction feels like a lyric to the song. It's in these moments my words and the message begin to come from someplace else, from some greater, bigger, pulsating place.
 I love when it happens because I almost immediately feel more confident and connected to my class.
I wonder if the students notice these moments and what it does for their experience in the class. 
I still sometimes struggle with putting playlists together and always am wondering where people find all their great music. 
So far, the resources I use to find music are:
 (I create a station with a musician/song I know and find all kinds of new music that is similar to it)
(sometimes, after perusing through music samples on itunes, I'll go to Groove shark to listen to the whole song, or to put together a playlist of songs to hear how they sound as a whole)
(Yoga Journal has a regular column of yoga playlists put together and used by featured yoga teachers, which you can listen to samples of on itunes)

What are some resources you use for finding great music for 
practicing yoga or making art?
(blue chair and root charka print in part of my studio space)

This past month, I've been teaching a lot of "Root Chakra" themed classes (themes like embracing abundance, stability and steadiness in order to find freedom, rooting down to rise back up). 
The musical note that helps to activate the root chakra is the C-note and the type of music related to activating the root chakra is drumming music (according to The Book of Chakras by Ambika Wauters).

So I've put together a Root Chakra playlist for you to enjoy while creating art or practicing yoga!
Allow the beat and the rhythms to move you and the deep, earthy drumming to ground you.

Do you listen to music while you practice yoga or while you make art? 
If so, what do you listen to and why?
If not, what do you love about the silence?


Friday, September 24, 2010

Clear Boundaries, No Limits

{photo of my organization binder and to-do list. the planner forms come from Productive Flourishing}
Do you find that you expect more of yourself than you are actually able to accomplish in any given day?
I am finding myself feeling like this all the time.
Every morning, I open up the binder I have filled with my monthly, weekly and daily plans and I jot down all the things I would like to get done that day.
I have so many ideas, so many BIG plans that I get really excited about.
I want, for example, to create tank tops with my designs screen printed on them,
So, I think to myself, I will have to learn to screen print.
On top of everything else that I am trying to do?
Yes, I think to myself. I will do that too.
So I put it on the "to-do" list. 
But I am finding that sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all I've set out to do,
that I don't even know where to start.
Yesterday, I had a fantastic brainstorm session with the wonderful Tara Gentile, author of the blog, Scoutie Girl.
As I explained to her about all I was trying to do and about how I had trouble deciding where to focus my energies, 
she said something that really resonated with me:
"If you try to do it all yourself, 1) you're going to get frustrated 2) you're going to stretch yourself too thin"
I realized immediately how right she was.
So often I find myself struggling against my own *extremely high* expectations of myself, struggling against, 
what in yoga we call the
"The Dance of Yes and No."
In my wanting to say "YES!" to everything, to all my ideas and to my idealistic expectations of myself, I am exhausting myself and getting burned out.
By saying "yes" without any clear boundary, I am limiting myself by not being realistic about what I am actually able to accomplish.
In Anusara yoga, I've learned
that saying "yes" to life is saying "yes" to the universe.
And that we do this with the breath.
Every time we inhale,
we are making an agreement to keep on living.
Each breath is a "Yes".
But, in saying "Yes" to life, we must also learn to say "No".
This for me is the tricky part.
Because saying "No" means letting go of that which is not serving me,
including thinking that I have to do it all.
But, "No" helps me to create clear boundaries.
So, if I can learn to say "no" to things like learning a whole new trade in order to make something work,
I have more room and space and energy
to say to "Yes" to the things I am passionate about,
like painting.
Here's another way to think about it:
If, for example, I had only one art tool in my arsenal, say I only had a paintbrush. and nothing else.
That would be incredibly limiting (too much "no") and not much fun.
But say, it was the opposite, say I had UNLIMITED materials, every tool I could possibly imagine.
I wouldn't even know where to start or end. I would flounder in the "what to do with all this" kind of mind.

Saying "yes" to life, to ideas and dreams is wonderful. It opens us to possibilities and helps plug us in to our own ability to fly and expand. But saying "no" is beneficial too. It helps to protect us. It creates a container for us to know ourselves better.
Ultimately, it becomes a dance of balancing between the two extremes and finding the middle ground.
Saying "yes" enough to allow life, but saying "no" enough that the boundaries of expectations and "to-dos" are clear and realistically do-able.
It is in that place in the middle where we can experience our true creative freedom.
So, I want to know,
How is your dance going?
In what ways are you saying, "yes"?
What do you need to say "no" to, to let go of
in order to say "yes" to life more fully!
Next week, I'll be sending out my newsletter,
full of ideas and insights to help you say "yes" to your life!
Subscribe here for Inspiration for your Inbox

I wish you the most wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paintings and Projects in Progress

Last week I shared a glimpse into my  process of creating paintings.
Today, as part of my art'n'asana series (a.k.a my daily art making and yoga-ing practice),
I thought I'd share with you my progress on the new paintings I've been working on as well as a couple of other projects that I have in the works!


This is a photo from last week's painting session.
When I paint, I use Golden fluid acrylics and LOVE them.
When I was young and in art class at school, I specifically remember hating acrylics.
I hated how they dried so fast and how they felt chalk board like under my fingernails when the dried. And I remember the smell of them.
 I didn't like the smell.
Back then, I was painting a lot at home with my dad, who worked (still does) primarily in oil paint
and I loved how you could swoosh it around and it didn't dry up and crack on you before you were finished,
and the smell of oil paints and linseed oil remind me of good times hanging out in the studio with
my dad,
 talking about painting.

It wasn't until very recently that I tried out acrylics again.
I don't remember what kind of acrylic paint we were using back in grade school,
but clearly, I had never experienced
fluid acrylics.
What I love about them is that they go on easily.
They are bright and bold.
I use them almost like they are watercolors, but prefer them because the colors feel more vibrant.

Anyways, so this splashing around with fluid acrylics is the first step in my painting process.
I like to make a whole bunch of paintings all at once to use up all the paint on my palate
and to get a lot of ideas flowing.
It frees me up from that feeling of having to come up with something miraculous and masterful.
It allows me to let that kind of thinking go,
and just play.


Once all is dry (and nowadays I appreciate the quick drying factor of acrylics!)
my pieces are ready for sharpie-ing!
I've tried other types of pens, but the good 'ole sharpie is still my favorite.
This summer, I was running into pen problems because
apparently sharpies do not like humidity
(who does really?)
and even a new pen would act like it was all out of ink.
That made the drawing process take twice as long,
but other inks (I tried India ink, Faber-castel Pitt pens and sakura pigma micron pens)
bleed when I put together the collage aspect of my paintings.
However now that Fall has arrived,
my sharpies are back to their normal selves,
working hard as ever for me in the second stage of my process:
the meditative act of drawing lines.
Once the lines are drawn on my paintings I work on the next part of the process.
 I worked on this part today,
using an Exacto knife to cut sections of the painting away.
This part of the process is the most time consuming,
but I enjoy it and can't usually stop until I've cut away everything that *needs* to be cut away.
Usually, I just have a very sure feeling of what sections *need*
 to stay or go.
 I've also discovered that this part of the process is best enjoyed in combination with an audiobook.
And only fiction will do!
(Currently, I am listening to Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende)

I will share the next steps of my painting process in my next Art'n'Asana series!

Other Projects in Progress:

Last week, I shared a sneak peak photo of a surprise project that I've been working on.
Here is another one from that project!


I'm putting together a
Art Asana 2011 Desk Calendar
that will feature 12 of my paintings from the past year!
I'm very excited about how they've turned out.
They are going to be cheery spots of color and inspiration to brighten up any day at the desk!

They are almost ready to go and I will hopefully have them up in the
Art Asana Shop
by the end of this week!
(If you would like to know exactly when they will be available, follow me on twitter or facebook for up to date information!)

and here's one last photo of another surprise project that I've got in the works:


It's another one that I can't wait to share with you!

I hope you are having a fabulous start to your week!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Five ways to balance the Root Chakra


Today, I have for you a list of
Five ways to balance the Root Charka! 

How do you know if your root chakra is out of balance? 
Well, if you are feeling ungrounded, fearful, unsettled in your life, disassociated from your body, or restless your Rook Chakra may be out of balance. In the following list, I present to you five ways to feel more grounded, stable, prosperous, and healthy and to help you embody a sense of 
rightness in your life and work!

1. Bring awareness to the feet
Get in touch with your foundation through toe yoga (or toga! Not to be confused with a college frat party!) One way to do this is by interlacing your fingers between your toes and roll those toes around! 
Another way is to stand with one foot on a tennis ball and roll the ball under the sole of your foot. Make sure to get all the nooks and crannies of the oft forgot foot with the tennis ball. After you've worked on one foot. Stand for a minute to observe the differences you feel in the foot and then do the other foot!

2.Warrior Poses
Of course I would throw some yoga asana into the mix! Standing poses are particularily good at getting us more grounded and rooted. Try Warrior one, two and three! keep the feet actively engaged by rooting evenly down through the big toe ball mound, little toe ball mound and the two corners of the heels, lift and spreading the toes to feel how that activates the muscles of the legs and creates a sense of strength and stability in the legs. keep that engagement and then from the pelvis root down through the legs and into the feet, and at the same time, rise up out of the pelvis and extend the spine, the crown of the head, the finger tips in a full expression of who you are.

3. Get out into Nature
Spend some time outdoors, taking in the beauty of the natural world. Take in the smells of falling leaves and crisp air. Listen to the sounds of wind dancing through the trees, birds singing and the buzzing of insects. Observe the thick, secure roots of the biggest tree you can find. Walk barefoot in the grass and feel the earth beneath your toes. When we connect with the natural world, we get a better sense of our place with in it and it grounds us.

4. Running, brisk walking or dancing
Any type of movement that gets us into our legs and feet helps us to feel more rooted and grounded. It gets the heart pumping blood to the extremities of the body as well as charges up the metabolism. It gets the body to release endorphins. All of these things help to make us feel good, to feel secure and strong in our physical bodies, which is a sign of a healthy root chakra!

5. Meditation on the Root Chakra
This is a short, 2 minute meditation I created for you! Enjoy!

Have wonderful day!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Glimpses from the Studio!

I've got a few new Root Chakra inspired paintings in the works. 
This is step one of the process. 
Usually, I make a whole batch of quick, loose images on watercolor paper that I will later work and turn into paintings on wooden panels!


Yoga pose of the day:
  utthita hasta padangusthasana (extended hand to big toe pose)
"I am enough."


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Root Chakra Collection


"Behind the spine is infinity.
Below the perineum,
invisible pulsating roots
open downward into space.
The heart is wide as a spiral galaxy.
Steadily consider:
Back, root, heart,
and know the living body of vastness that you are"

~Sutra 22, The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche, Ph.D.




Introducing the first three pieces of the Art Asana "Root Chakra Collection"!
As I've mentioned in the last few posts, during the month of September, I've been studying the Root Chakra, writing about my relationship to it's qualities, creating paintings inspired by it, practicing rooting into my legs and feet in yoga poses, running and spending more time outdoors (activities that engage the Root Chakra). Since I started this project, I have noticed that I do feel more grounded, more courageous and more willing to affirm my right to belong here in this universe!

Activating the Root Charka creates a sense of grounding, support, abundance, physical health and stability while dissipating fear, restlessness, and disassociation from the physical body.
I've created this collection of Root Chakra inspired paintings to evoke the sense of belonging, rootedness, stability, prosperity, deeper connection to the earth in those who come to engage with the images. These paintings and prints are perfect for a yoga studio, alter space or as an inspiring piece of wall art in your home. Use them as meditation tools to get grounded or as a reminder of your sense of belonging as you glance their way!

I have lots more planned for this collection and am so very excited to share it with you in the coming weeks!


Monday, September 13, 2010

My Mission (and I choose to accept it!)

Well, I kind of disappeared last week in all the things I was doing, so today's post is a long catch up post in which I will share all that I've been up to in the last week and to talk of change-a-coming!
This Fall, (and perhaps all Falls?) feels all about transition, the moving in to or out of things. The change of summer's end into the cooler weather, shorter days and the busy-ness of school (yup, I'm back in school for another semester), the continual building and growing of Art Asana, and teaching yoga. It feels like a challenge to hold it all, balance it all and flow smoothly with the changes,
and at the same time stay grounded and rooted.
But I'm working on it,
relying heavily on my organization calendar/ daily to-do lists
and my daily yoga practice.

So first, I'll share the physical stuff I've been up too
and then we'll get philosophical! You ready?



Now you can send a little bit of Art Asana love to someone you care about!
 I'm very excited to finally share a collection of notecards that I've designed using some of my artwork. I love the way these came out because they are like little mini-prints! Each blank notecard measures 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 and comes with an envelope and packaged in a clear sleeve. You can get a set of two or a set of 6 (6 pack includes two of each print). These first ones that I put out based on the fact they are Fall colors and themes. I am hoping to gradually put more notecards of different prints up in the shop in the next few weeks, so if there is a print you'd love to see as a notecard, let me know or stay to tuned to see when it shows up in the shop!


I continued to progress on these three "Root Chakra" paintings I started last week and I'm almost done
and I have some other ideas for paintings in my Art'n'Asana series, that integrate the Root chakra theme that I've been thinking about, teaching about, writing about and making art about, that I can't wait to get started it's another stay tuned situation!

Over the weekend, I worked on another project using Hand Font to create
How cool is that!
You can turn your own hand writing into computer font!
Sometimes I could just hug technology!
I see myself making more hand drawn fonts.....
 and it was pretty easy to create
( although I did have a little trouble figuring out how to get the font into word and photoshop which I finally did, but have no idea how).


The last physical project, I've been working on in the past week is a surprise, but the above picture will give you a pretty good hint! I am beyond excited about this project and can't wait to share it with you (mostly likely this will happen sometime next week!)

Alright, now for philosophical side of things that has been keeping preoccupied in the past week.

Egged on by a new online community I've joined in on called the Creative Empire (founded by Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl and Megan Auman of Crafting an MBA),
I have been tearing through some new material about blogging (52 Weeks of Blogging) and crafting a business that is in alignment with my greater purpose in this lifetime (enter philosophical discussion).

As I mentioned in past posts the last couple of weeks, that the Root chakra is all about affirming your right to the life you want, affirming your right to exist and be in the world. It is about becoming more of who you are. So, it feels appropriate to have come up with the following mission statement (based on an assignment from the 52 weeks of Blogging) for what it is I am to do with this one, wild and precious Art Asana life:

"Art Asana is the place I take my creative seat as artist and yogini.
 It is a place where I share my journey along the parallel paths of yoga and creativity and offer bright, happy creations inspired by the life-affirming practice and study of yoga. It is my intention to empower those visiting my tiny droplet of the world, with ideas and inspiration to say "yes" to life. It is my hope that visitors leave Art Asana with a splash of joy in their hearts and a glimpse of their own incredible, creative potential."

There it is.
What do you think?

In the coming weeks, I am hoping to make this blog space reflect this mission more and more.
I saw somewhere this week, the quote,
"the only thing we can rely on is change".
So with that,
 I intend to fall and flow through the transitional season of change
and do my very best to stay rooted in the becoming.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Root Chakra, Reds and Getting Grounded


{colors of red in the studio}

I've been in the studio today working on some new pieces inspired by the root chakra, Muladhara.
After starting to read a book about the Chakra system (energy centers in the body) called
 Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith,
I was inspired to work with the different chakras in both my yoga and art practices.
For me, it's a way to explore and better understand each chakra in an experiential way.

The root chakra has to do with our sense of security, stability and safety. When this chakra is operating properly, we feel grounded and have a strong sense of who we are in the world.
It is associated with the element of earth (see this post for a root chakra activity I worked with a week and a half ago) and the color red.
So, in the last few painting sessions I've done, I've steeped my brushes in deep reds, light reds, crimsons, coppers and plums.
The colors of fall.
The colors of digging deep into the earth,
making me feel more rooted, more present,
more free and clear.

{root chakra art inspirations on my studio table}

I've learned that Hatha yoga helps to open the root chakra.
Movement of all kinds activate our sense of stability and connection to our source,
and especially movement that brings awareness to the feet and legs.

So, in my yoga practice over the last two weeks, I've been incorporating more toe yoga (toga?). I've been periodically standing on a tennis ball and rolling it around under the sole of my foot to loosen all the muscles on the botttom of my feet (definitely try this, it feels amazing!). Another thing I've been doing is
 placing my fingers between each toe and making circles with them to open up my toes.

After doing these excersises, I stand up tall and observe my sense of groundedness.
Also, practicing standing poses like warrior poses and ardha chandrasana can help energize the root chakra.

{me, getting grounded in ardha chandrasana}

I have to say that these activities have been helping me to feel more grounded and given me an increased sense of belonging.

Do you feel grounded in who you are right now?

If so, what do you do to get grounded?
If not, what in your life is making you feel ungrounded, insecure, or unstable? What do you need to do to get more grounded?


Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Five: Hurricane Earl

Monday (9/13/2010) Update:
Thank you to everyone who went over and entered the giveaway at Wishstudio and
thank you so much for all the kind words...they melted my heart...I am so grateful to you all!
Congratulations to Liberty of Divinity Withinity for winning the print "Bloom"!

Saturday (9/4/2010) Update: 
Luckily, Hurricane Earl was a miss and all we got was a bunch of rain!
 Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts!

Oh and go check out Wishstudio to enter the giveaway of "Bloom"!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

In this edition of Friday Five, I present my Hurricane Earl preparation list!
Hurricane Earl
who appears to be headed towards Cape Cod, 
and has been making me feel a little anxious all week.
I should have known when I married an ocean boy,
that some time or another
I would encounter a hurricane. 
I've never been in one before
and I am a mix of excited and scared: 
Excited to witness the power of Mother Nature
and scared because I don't know what to expect from her.
We've been preparing since Tuesday
and are now just in the "sit and wait" phase. 

But we are ready:

1. We might lose power, so we've dug out all of our flashlights and candles, stocked up on batteries and purchased a battery operated weather radio. 
The cell phones are charged and we've located our cell phone car charger too.

{full water jugs}

2. We might not have water, so I've outfitted us with 8 gallons of water, 
plus we now have a freezer full of full water bottles (my mom's idea)
and in a few minutes, I'm going to clean the tub and fill that with water too.

3. We might not be able to cook and refrigerate as usual, so our cupboards are stocked with canned soups, fruits and veggies and other non-perishable food items, like M&M's 
(seemed like a good excuse to eat M&M's!)
To cook, we've got the grill and camp stove ready to go with extra cans of propane.

{plant shelter in my studio}

4. We might (and it looks like we most likely will) get strong winds, so my studio and part of our living room have become the shelter for all of our and our neighbor's outdoor plants and patio furniture.

{outdoor plants inside}

5. Although Earl is expected to stop by during the overnight hours, I have gathered all the things I would need for a good hunkering down session. After all 
we might not be able to sleep through all that wind and rain.
I have put together a bag of good books to read, a sketchbook and sharpies, paints and watercolor paper, my thesis proposal to look over and work on (although I'm sure that won't make it out of the bag) 
and of course, my yoga mat. 
All the things a book lover/artist/yogi would need to ride out a storm, right?!

 I think we are as prepared as we can be
and hopefully it will be nothing,
Mr. Earl
if your planning on coming,
we are ready for you.

On a totally, unrelated note, 
over at the
there is a 
Giveaway of my 10x8 Print 

If you'd like to win this print, head on over here and post a comment!
The drawing will be held next Wednesday, September 8th!
Good luck!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

National Yoga Month

 Free Yoga Classes and Event during National Yoga Month 09.2010. Be inspired by TITANS OF YOGA DVD

September is National Yoga month!
 National Yoga Month has been created to help educate people about the benefits of yoga. 
And how cool is this,
studios all over the country are participating in a free week of yoga for new students!
 So if you've never done yoga before, you can go over to, find out which studios in your area are participating and and then print off a free yoga week pass!
The website also includes several articles/information about the benefits of yoga. Some of the ones they list are:
~Lower Blood Pressure
~ Decreased Stress
~Greater flexibility
~Enhanced brain function
~Lower cholesterol
~Better skeletal alignment
~Strengthened bones/joints
~Improved respiration
~Weight Loss
~Enhanced circulation
~Easier transition through menopause
~Deeper peace of mind

Reading about all the physical and emotional benefits of yoga, got me thinking about the ways that I have benefited from the practice of yoga.
 I don't think I know the larger impact yoga has made on my life,
but I do know that the little changes it has created in me
have increased my health and wellbeing.

In my experience,
yoga has:

1. Increased my confidence
I am by nature, a quiet, inward and reserved person. In my life that tendency has caused me to slip into being insecure, shy and makes it uncomfortable for me to speak up and be myself with people I don't know very well. 
Yoga has helped to teach me that not only do I have a voice, but it is a worthwhile one. It has taught me that, as Marianne Williamson puts it, the world does not benefit from my being small. 
In situations where I feel uncomfortable and insecure, I have learned to deepen my breath, draw my shoulders back, stand steadily on my two feet and move into the situation with more conviction of who I am, with and courage and an open heart.

2. Helped me to feel more comfortable in my body
When I am practicing yoga on a regular basis, I feel stronger, healthier, and I move around with more ease. Physically when I've been practicing yoga regularly, my shoulders and neck don't get as tight (which they do when I'm not practicing and spending a lot of time at the computer or in the car), my knees don't hurt (which they used to from my many years as a soccer player and skier), my back and spine feel strong, yet supple and I don't get as sick as often.  

3. Connected me to wonderful people/Given me a sense of community
I have been inspired by so many incredible teachers, as well as other students, and now (as a teacher),
by my own students to open my heart more fully. 
I am getting better at embracing others for who they and looking for the good in people.
  I am becoming more aware of my connection to something greater than myself and that awareness makes me feel more connected to those I come into contact with. I find it a little easier to extend compassion and receive the gift of compassion from others. 

4. Taught me how to cultivate a deeper sense of trust
I have learned (and continue to learn) to trust in myself and trust others. I've learned to trust that everything presented to me in this life is here to teach me something and shape me. 

5. Increased my capacity for creativity
When I feel good in my body and my mind is at ease, I find I have so much more energy to play with ideas and engage with the creative process. I have the zeal and excitement to paint, to sing out loud, to write and dance. I can express myself more freely and I have more fun. 

And for all these reasons, 
I will continue to practice yoga 
and remind myself of them
on those days where I don't feel like it.

So with that, Happy National Yoga Month!

P.S.... I'm going to post cool yoga links/info I find over on my facebook/twitter page this month, so feel free to come join in over there!



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