Join me and fellow Forrest Yoga teachers, Lola Rephann (from Jersey City, New Jersey) and Aviva Levine (from Oakland, California) online for 2 weeks this fall to explore the mysteries of the vital psoas muscle.Read More
Ever feel like the world just keeps spinning faster and faster making it almost impossible to stay centered? Having effective tools for staying grounded and calm is a necessary tool not only for avoiding burnout but for physical, mental and emotional health & wellbeing.
One of the most effective & time-efficient methods of relaxation I've found is working mindfully with my breath. It requires no special equipment, costs nothing and takes only a few minutes. . .
How would you like to:
- Improve the distance of your drive on the golf course?
- Increase the power of your swing and the quickness of your reaction on the tennis court?
- Spend more time running, biking or swooshing down the slopes?
All with more mobility, less stiffness and quicker recovery. . . these are just some of the benefits of a regular Pilates practice.Read More
In my previous career, anytime I called the IT team with a computer issue, no matter how varied or complicated the problem, their first question was always, "Have you tried turning it off?" It's comical how often this simple fix would do the trick.
To keep them functioning, computers can be restarted and cell phones charged but what about us?
How often do we truly unplug?
Not checking Facebook during lunch or lounging on the couch, squeezing in a Netflix episode before bed but consciously choosing to do NOTHING in order to unwind and restore? No tv, radio, book, food or cell phone. No thoughts about what needs to be done or the length of your to-do list. Just you, your breath and a quiet space to connect to the deeper layers of yourself.
It's so easy to be busy.
It's practically our default setting. Our society glorifies busy like a badge of honor signifying importance, respectability and popularity.
How often is the first response to “How have you been?” a weary “I’ve just been so BUSY. Work is crazy. The kids. . .” and so on? Has anyone ever answered, “I’m great! I have just enough but not too much work and I’m taking lots of time to be in nature and relax”?
It’s comfortable to be busy.
If we move fast enough and find enough distractions, we don’t have to feel or face the fears and feelings beneath the surface.
It's hard to be truly present.
It's not automatic. It's not easy. I recognize that even when I slow down, I don’t actually rest; I simply replace one activity with another. A chronic multi-tasker, I’m often guilty of watching a movie while working on my computer, texting a friend and eating a snack (this may or may not be happening as I write this). While this might be “relaxing,” I’m certainly not restoring. Doing so much and trying to take in so much at once is ultimately overwhelming and even after an evening of unwinding, I feel depleted. Does this sound familiar?
Is it any wonder that we get worn down and sick? That we feel overwhelmed and anxious? That even when we do try to slow down, it feels almost impossible to turn off and be truly present?
While there’s no quick fix for moving from overscheduled, overstimulated and anxious to inner peace and stillness, there are thankfully many tools to help focus, settle and tame the hyperactive mind.
Yoga and mindful breathing are two of the most powerful ones in my personal bag of tricks. Why? Because they give me the space to feel without the need to fix or figure out. To just be present and connect to my spirit, that quiet yet steady, wise inner voice. When I find myself spinning, stuck in a obsessive circle of stress, I know it's time to stop trying to force a solution but to do more by doing less.
In those moments, Yoga Nidra is one of my favorite ways to hit the recharge button.
Why Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra, whether done for 10 minutes or an hour, is the human equivalent of unplugging a computer. It’s a practice of consciously doing nothing in order to allow the body, mind and spirit to restore.
While lying in a comfortable and supported reclined position (think Savasana), you’re guided into deep relaxation, using breath and awareness to release layers of physical tension.
By directing the mind to a single point of focus, I find that anxious thoughts and worries fall away, allowing me to be still.
Want to give it a try?
Join me for a donation-based class at Zeal Yoga this summer. No yoga or meditation experience is necessary.
Want to know more about Yoga Nidra, it’s benefits and how to practice at home?
- Click here to read more along with a list of resources for further exploration
- Find a list of free recordings that I’ve listened too and enjoyed on my You Tube page
We feel great after class and promise to get there more often. . . then life happens. We get busy. Schedules change. We get injured. Suddenly we can't do what we did before and we have a choice to make - do we give up or do we go deeper? And what exactly does it mean to go deeper?Read More
It sounds too simple, too new age, but ask yourself, if your goal was to truly love your body the way you love your child, best friend or partner, what behaviors would you need to change?Read More
The first time I met Ana Forrest (creatrix of Forrest Yoga) was at an event for her book, Fierce Medicine, where she spoke and signed copies of the book. I nervously waited in line to meet the woman whose teachings had been so powerful in my life. I walked up to the table she was sitting at and stumbled right into it, knocking it in to her. "Oh, I'm so sorry!" I squeaked. Then I knocked her cup over. "Sorry again." I was dying of embarrassment. She was so poised and calm and I was a hot mess. We chatted while she signed my book then she handed it back and I walked away. . .Read More
When people find out I teach yoga & Pilates, the most common response I receive is “I’ve heard that would be good for me. Can/Should I do that?” That last question is usually prefaced by “I have a herniated disc/the tightest hamstrings in the world/a torn rotator cuff/a hip replacement . .”
My answer (assuming that injury didn’t happen yesterday) is always “Yes.” More specifically, "Yes, but only in a way that honors what your body needs from you to heal.”Read More
This simple change is a radical act. It changes the whole paradigm of working out from a task necessary for our own or others’ approval to a self-care ritual that will make coming back to your mat something that you want to do, rather than something you “should do.”Read More
My body was trying to do what my mind couldn’t – get me to slow down long enough to be present, to absorb everything I had accomplished and to cultivate compassion for myself, even when I couldn’t make it through more than a single item on my to do list.
My limitations challenged me to up-level my practice by feeling, rather than doing, more.Read More
That’s a Sun Salutation and that’s life. . . a continuous cycle where glorious highs are followed by slides back down. Sometimes then, the biggest step forward means just pausing and breathing – recognizing what’s happening and what we’re capable of doing in that moment and that moment only.
Yoga reminds us it’s not about perfection or arriving at the end destination. It’s about the journey there. We come to our mat to feel and to be – to just be – without the need to explain or apologize or be any different. To show up, to breathe and keep moving. To fall over, to modify, to rest when needed and just stay present.Read More
Peeking my head into the Pilates room, I thought to myself, "OMG, what is with the machines?"
Through the lens of my clumsy, often-awkward body, the Reformers looked like little death traps – with straps and odd springs everywhere. Um, no. . .
Then my friend and fellow Forrest Yoga teacher Lisa Day became a Pilates instructor and you know what Forrest Yoga teachers do? We support each other.
So one Wednesday evening, I took the plunge. . . And like most everything else in life that I said I couldn’t do or wouldn’t do and definitely wouldn’t like – I loved it.
As a yoga practitioner, I have always struggled with numbness in my low back, tailbone, and sacrum. In just one session of Pilates, I was more aware of the exact places that were shut down. As we did the simplest of roll downs, my body lit up with sensations that I had never felt before.Read More
What’s your weakness? Tight hamstrings? Tweaky low back? Joint aches from an old injury? Most of us have one – or at least we tell ourselves that we do – a reason why we’re in pain, why we can’t/don’t do more, why we aren’t as good as the person on the mat next to us.
Ultimately our “weak,” “bad,” or injured areas can be our greatest teachers – if we’re willing to listen. They show us how to move and live differently, with more care and connection to our bodies.
By ignoring and pushing through the pain or oppositely, diving into our stories about how broken we are, we stay stuck, robbing ourselves of the opportunity to grow, to learn and to move vibrantly and easefully through life.Read More
Do you ever find yourself dreading what should be the best moments of the day? Those first few minutes upon waking in the morning or the last ones at night when you lay down quietly in bed and every last thought or care you have comes at you like a firehose.
In these moments Yoga Nidra has been the best way I've found to quite and relax my mind. It's essentially a guided Savasana to unwind the nervous system and quiet anxiety. A systematic relaxation practice designed to bring ease to the very deepest layers of our being, Yoga Nidra taps into both the conscious and unconscious mind to unwind deep-seated anxieties and even trauma which is why it's now being taught to veterans for PTSD and modern folk craving calm in an overstressed world.
Ch-ch-changes . . . Sometimes they’re baby steps, sometimes they’re giant leaps and sometimes they only look that way.
Change of any sort is scary and let’s get clear on this - there’s no such thing as fearless. To be brave, you must first be afraid. Courage doesn’t exist without fear and in an ironically cruel twist of the universe, the things that light us up are rarely waiting inside our comfort zone.Read More