To Soften or Not to Soften…that is the practice

messages from Elena Brower’s class this weekend at YogaGlo…

notice where you look for conflict….

notice where you CAN soften to someone else….yes, you may have to be the FIRST to soften…don’t wait for someone else to soften to you.

as we soften in our bodies and find the place that we grow soft we also look for ways to soften to each other, and the people around us, in our relationships with those intimate and less intimate….

Which aspects of your life do you need to adjust? Where can you make room in your life for softness in your relationships, and in turn your body? Do you tend to look for conflict in your relationships? If you do, it may be time to turn those tendencies OFF.

It’s also important to understand why someone may look for conflict. Is it to protect his/herself and subconsciously push people away?  ….becoming more aware….day by day. Which areas of your body can become soft?  Which relationships could use a little softness?  Try a little tenderness….as the song goes…..x

Love.

I’ve been reflecting on love lately.  Love found, love lost, love that doesn’t go away.  I lost someone in my life to love, recently I suppose you could say, in a final way, and what has amazed me in this process is that while I thought I didn’t still carry so much love for this person in my heart, I realized that I do in fact.  I felt the love deeply, again.  It nearly shook me, because the emotion was so deep, so familiar, so intimate, so much in my face, and my body.  I’ve read that love is eternal.  I have fallen in love three times in my life.  I guess you could say that I never really ever fell out of love, it never really went away.  There is a part of me that just melts still in the face of those three people; the soul remembers, knows and doesn’t forget.  When we share our soul with someone so intimately, it lasts.  It’s incredibly powerful.  You can box it up and put it away, or pretend it isn’t there, but hiding away is that love, and when confronted by it it shows its face again.  For better, for worse, it just does.  In my heart all I can do is appreciate the depth that this love has brought to my life and my soul, even if that person is gone.

The practice of yoga for me is about the raw emotion of self.  It is a place of non-judgement and respect, the place of forgiveness and truth, of exposing all the parts of ourselves that are us, imperfect, real, and eternal.  It is the one place I feel completely ok with allowing emotion to pour through me, it is the place of healing, acceptance, understanding, and connection with something here or there, in this world, the alive world and the after world, wherever that may be.  Since losing my father over the past year and mourning his loss, yoga is the place where I can dedicate my practice to him, every time I start my practice.  It is the place that I can take a few moments to remember and think about him, in a silent space, on my own.  And some days, at the end of my practice, I am overcome with emotion, of thoughts, of tears.  It is the place where I allow myself to do and feel these things because I know it is a supportive space, a space that understands and feels compassion for all things that bring depth to the soul, of all things called love.

Practice, practice, practice

So, I’ve been practicing at YogaGlo lately near Venice, CA.  I was lucky to take a class with Sean Corn recently and her class focused on forgiveness.  She had just returned from India, where she was working for 5 weeks on a program that targets sex trafficking. Wow; what an intense agenda that is to tackle. I’ve also been thinking about forgiveness in my own life.  She talked about how light and dark exist in the world and that we must forgive dark actions.  Clearly this is a packed subject, considering we are talking about sex trafficking in the world, along with ways in which humans feel used and abused.  It’s amazing just how much time it takes to heal from betrayal, mistrust and outright violation of respect and self.  If we don’t forgive, we carry these emotions around with us and it ends up eating away at us, making up bitter.  Instead, we must learn to let these emotions roll through and out of us, and yoga helps us to do that as we open the body, and release holding patterns in the fascia, connective tissue and muscles of the body.  What are the holding patterns in your life and in your body and what can you do to change them?  How can perspective work to make these shifts in your life?  Can you learn to see differently?

for more information view Sean Corn’s video here where she talks about her trip to India:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/04/my-anger-is-my-passion-seane-corn-talks-about-the-relationship-between-yoga-activism/

great video if you are learning full pigeon pose

this is a great pose to open the chest, hips, and lengthen the spine as you work into the backbend – it requires an openness in the shoulders to rotate the arm “down and out” after your have hold of your big toe or foot. most of us store our stress in the shoulders so this is a great pose to work on releasing stress and tension from this area of the body. the hips additionally are often the place keeper of sexual tension or trauma, so be gentle as you work through this pose.