So much has happened in the past year. And, yet, nothing happened! I returned home from my annual women’s yoga retreat in Bali in March of 2020, and it turned out that Bali was the last time I taught yoga in person.
The year was crazy, but in the isolation, I learned to just sit and be still. And out of that, I am finally learning and enjoying the benefits I experienced during a year with the world shut down.
I took this time to learn and grow my practice. I took a class on teaching Yoga for 12-Step Recovery with the intention of coupling that with my Trauma Informed Yoga training. I am looking forward to actually putting that training to use in person! Incorporating movement and appreciation for your body in the process of recovery is genius.
I also dug deeper into meditation and the full ‘8 Limbs’ that yoga is based on (8limbsyoga.com/about-yoga). I really came to a deeper understanding of yoga as a lifestyle, not just a class a few times a week. If you aren’t actively teaching and exhibiting the 8 Limbs of yoga, you are really just stretching/exercising/getting your cardio. Yoga is all about all 8 Limbs:
- Yama (attitudes toward our environment)
- Niyama (attitudes toward ourselves)
- Asana (physical postures)
- Pranayama (restraint or expansion of the breath)
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (complete integration)
The poses themselves are only one of those limbs.
The 8 Limbs include all the spiritual goo: meditation, breathing, and guidance for how to live your life to achieve your bliss. Yoga can’t just be downdogs and warrior poses; it’s honoring your spirit and yourself as a spiritual being.
I did start Facebook Live morning Stretch and Flex; however, I abandoned that after the death of a close friend, and realized that I just needed to be a hermit for a while. I hosted several Zoom yoga classes, but I felt it was just too awkward for me to teach that way.
Then I started taking online yoga classes myself, mainly through the Insight Timer App. They have classes all day long that are donation based, and you can pick your instructor, style, and theme. I picked up some fantastic new tips and tricks, and new sequences and themes. The world completely opened up for me. I went from feeling isolated because the local classes shut down, to finding some amazing new teachers across the globe. I learned a lot about breath work, raising vibration through breath, and transformational breath to release trauma trapped in the body.
I had to cancel my 2020 Costa Rica retreat and my 2021 Bali retreat, but have been able to reschedule them as the world opens up more and vaccines become more widely available. I am itching to travel again, and to lead retreat groups again. These yoga retreats are really life-changing for those who are in need of a reset on their mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. It’s great to be able to return to planning those weeks. The world is turning around, and space is clearing — look at all we have to look forward to!
Looking back on this last year, I miss beer yoga* the most. I miss our Sundays together! But, good news… we are having our first 2021 beer yoga class April 25 at D's Wicked Cider! It sold out after only 36 hours, but granted, we are at reduced capacity — still trying to allow for much more distancing than we used to have. Fingers crossed that it's a beautiful day so we can open up the garage door to the back patio, so it's more of an outdoor-indoor event (or is that an indoor-outdoor event?). We are also in the midst of planning our return to Sage Brewing, so look for those tickets to go on sale soon.
For the coming year, we have some new venues in mind, as well as our old favorites. And really, beer yoga is a fantastic way to introduce new people to yoga, make new friends, and have a lot of fun. And for all my old beer yoga regulars, I created a new beer yoga playlist with some new sequences. It’s fantastic and will freshen up class! We will be back to our regular schedule before we know it, and I am ready!
*Editor’s note: I, too, have missed beer yoga. My friend Erin and I went to one at Sage Brewing Company and another at Moonshot Brewing and had a blast!
The perceived image of a yoga class is that it is full of skinny, perfect, bendy, flexible people. Those of us who dwell in a yoga community know that this is far from the truth, and that we are all battling our own demons – yes, even those skinny, perfect, bendy, flexible people battle their inner critics.
I wanted to do yoga. I didn’t care if I didn’t blend in — I don’t often blend in — but I was going to show up, learn, and figure all this out.
So, that’s how I got here. I fell in love. Head-over-heels in love with that feeling of accomplishment — the stretching, the movements, the grounding, and the centering that yoga gave me. Plus, the warm, loving support of the yoga instructor holding space in that class.
My practice wasn’t perfect; it still isn’t, but it belongs to me, and me alone. I also created a community that was welcoming and warm. A community that teaches you to work on you, and not worry about others. An entire philosophy that guides you in growing, in becoming, in letting go, in just simply being the best you that you can be, and that is enough.
Welcome to my journey, and hopefully, it will intersect with your journey and we can travel this path together!