Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Your Shiny Essence

Who are you really?  Are you this body?  This pain?  This anger?  This joy?   This personality?   These thoughts?   These preferences?  Certain yoga teachings tell us that all aspects of who we are is Divine.  It says that who we are at the core is simply presence, a Divine, all-knowing presence.  And yet, even if we've been taught this and believe this, we constantly forget!  So we come to the mat, or to the meditation cushion, to remember who we truly are.  We remember to identify not solely with who know ourselves to be on the surface, but who we are at our essence.  And ultimately, we come to experience this essence as who we are and we recognize it in each other as well. 

This week, I've found myself in a few conversations about the benefits of yoga.  I was on a panel for an HSU class about yoga, I was talking with my business coach about yoga's benefits, and I was teaching the Introduction to Yoga course.  In all of these situations, I was reminded of how wonderfully simple and yet powerful yoga can be.  People often come to their first class in order to stretch, to feel better in their bodies, to relieve some kind of physical pain or stress.  And yet, very quickly, they recognize there is something bigger going on.  Even at the end of the first intro to yoga class, the students felt more relaxed, more aware of their bodies, more comfortable sitting, and more at peace.  That's pretty impressive for only about 45 minutes of yoga!  And this gaining awareness is such a key benefit of yoga.  As we start to feel our body sensations, notice our breathing, tune into the train of thoughts in our minds, we begin to understand that that is all happening on the surface.  We can sense that behind all of that is a witness, the one who is watching.  And when we recognize that this witness is always here, watching the show of our lives without getting affected by any of it, we can begin to identify with it as our true Self.  Returning our attention to this unarguable truth can become our daily and moment-by-moment practice, our refuge especially when times get tough.

So it really does take showing up again and again for practice, because we constantly forget, until we're enlightened.  But this remembering, this consciously choosing again and again to redirect our attention to the truth of awareness, presence, essence, is how yoga will transform our lives on the deepest level.  I'm reminded of a rock in a river, getting polished day in and day out for hundreds or thousands of years, until it's super shiny and all the rough edges have worn away.  This is how I think of our practice.  It wears away the superficial confusion of who we are and brings us back to our shiny, radiant essence. 
So keep practicing, whether it's just a few sun salutations, or a 30-minute meditation, keep practicing and smoothing up your rough surfaces to reveal your beautiful heart. 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Openness to Learning

I've been teaching about the Hendricks' Openness to Discovery scale this week in classes.  The scale shows us how open to learning we are.  The idea behind it is that we can choose for every interaction and circumstance to be something that we learn and grow from, if we're open to it.  And by consciously choosing, we get to grow and be in charge of how we do that.  Or, we can choose to fight with or close down to the learning potential in each moment.  The scale shows 10 examples of how we might be open to learning, from lowest amount of openness to highest, and it also show the 10 ways we may be closed, again least to most. 

For example, the slightly open to learning examples are:  open posture, expressing genuine curiosity and appreciation for the messenger to the highest levels of feeling enthusiasm about new possibilities and implementing them.  The lower levels of being closed to learning examples are:  showing polite interest while inwardly clinging to your perspective our planning a rebuttal, explaining yourself and getting defensive, to the highest level of attacking the messenger or storming out of the situation.  So, for example, if I'm given feedback about something I said or did that surprised me and that didn't feel good to me, if I start getting defensive or placing blame elsewhere, making excuses for what happened or complaining about how the feedback was delivered, then I am not open to learning. 

So the other night, I was using this as my theme, encouraging people to be open to learning from their breath, their postures, the messages of their bodies, my instructions, and everything that was occurring in their minds.  Many people expressed some insights and discoveries would had been there earlier in the week exploring this theme over the last couple of days.   The super ironic part was that I had one new student who did not want to receive any feedback from me about  his alignment.   I found it super challenging to let him do his thing, be misaligned in my class when I'm quite vigilant about my students being safe in their practice.  It was a great exercise for me in letting go!   And perhaps that was the perfect feedback for both of us. 

Here's the main things that I learned from that:  I want to magnetize people to my classes who value what I have to offer, appreciate my expertise, and enjoy participating in the group experience. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Glowing and Shifting with Appreciation

I am feeling a sweet peace inside after my week of Chicago Hendricks' trainings. 
This was an especially small training, so there were less of us apprentices.  And although I've always actively participated in our meetings and trainings, this time I felt a much deeper sense of ease, confidence and belonging. 

So aside from all the formal learning of techniques and practices that we do, which I feel like I've integrated on a much deeper level after 5 of these Essentials trainings,  I can see evidence of my growth simply in how I'm interacting with everyone, including and especially Katie.  Where before I had more fear of speaking up or being wrong; second-guessing my contributions, now I notice much more flow and ease within myself.  I'm not monitoring everything I say, packaging it to be "just right."  I'm following my impulses, trusting them, and letting go.  I know that packaging comes from fear of being judged and ultimately from judging myself, something I learned to do early in life.  So if all I got from this training would be this greater sense of inner ease, peace and self-appreciation, and a relinquishing of my inner judge, I would be stoked.  But I know I'm getting so much more. 

Too much to mention here, but here's a taste of it:
 - Speaking the truth about my feelings and thoughts in unarguable ways
- Taking full responsibility for my experiences
 - Tuning into when I'm feeling fear and tools for melting this fear in the moment
- Practices of self-love and appreciation
- Amping up my appreciation for others and my experiences
 - Communicating from the heart
- Recognizing when I'm in a persona
- and so much more!

What I'm left with after this week of joining with my teacher and many friends on the path is an expanded feeling of love and appreciation.  I feel an inner radiance like a light that shines out from my heart, and a deep feeling of calm and peace that reminds me of sitting on a mountain.  It's like the exuberance I feel after a weekend of yoga.  And I do think it's a very deep kind of yoga.

I'm passionate about sharing these powerful tools of transformation.  I believe we all have a strong inner judge and long for ease in communication and emotional literacy and I know these tools will help.  My course called Conscious Living starts on October 29 and the early bird discount is tomorrow, October 25.  I hope you can join me!  Here's a link to more info: Conscious Living Course.

In appreciation for me and for you and this awesome journey we call life,

Monday, September 30, 2013

Generating Easy, Radiant Abundance

For several weeks now, I have been enjoying chanting to Lakshmi, the Indian goddess of beauty and abundance, generosity, fullness and light.  I've also been chanting to Red Tara, the Tibetan goddess of love, compassion and generosity, imagining myself as these goddesses, feeling full, generous and abundant, feminine bounty, luscious hips and breasts, offerings of love.  I've enjoyed creating my own movements to go w. the chants, taking on the shapes they depict, as well as my own.  And I'm also using a commitment I created in my practice:  I commit to opening to easy, radiant abundance in my body, home and work.
Abundance Manifests!!
1 - Within the last 10 days, I've had 8 calls from new clients wanting to do Somatics or Yoga Therapy with me.  wow!  I don't think I've ever had such a huge influx of new clients!
2 - Last Wednesday was our 9-year wedding anniversary and I posted it w. a sweet picture.  I was blown away to see over 160 likes and over 40 comments.  This may be the most activity I've had from any post.   I feel abundant w. love, appreciation and blessings from my community.
3 - Today, as I sat, in meditation, I remembered the ways I am already like Lakshmi and Red Tara:  generous, beautiful, abundant, loving and compassionate. I thought of examples.  I thought:  I don't have to try to be like them, I already am like them and just need to remember this!  I thought about generosity and made this commitment:  Today, I would like to give back.  I would like to make a donation to some organization or person who is in need.  After sitting, I went down to the kitchen, turned on the local radio station, and they were doing a pledge drive.  I could hardly believe it!  This is who I'm supposed to donate to!  They've been hurting, losing funding and need more support.  I called in right away and made a donation.  KABOOM!
4 - I had a new student sign up for my Teacher Training at the last minute, somebody I really like and was hoping would join us.  Plus I just had a great weekend of teaching them and the whole time, it felt like play.  It was easy and fun and I had a great time.  For me, this is the feeling of easy, radiant abundance.
These all happened without me really trying, just having intention and putting my energy in that direction. 

I'm glowing, feeling radiant and full. 
Check out the Red Tara teachings that Lama Choyang will be leading this coming Sunday, October 6!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Shiva's Cycle of Creation and Fear Melters

I've been exploring t the Dance of Shiva, also known as the Cycle of Creation, since my last Hendricks meeting.  While I don't want to go into all of the symbolism of this great iconic figure now, I do want to share the main three aspects of the cycle that I'm interested in right now:  creation, maintenance, and dissolution, sometimes interpreted as manifestation, preservation and destruction, or in the Tantric view:  emission, sustenance, and reabsorption.  In our lives, these can refer to how we create, maintain and release or end a cycle.  We see these cycles in nature with birth, living and death, with our breathing (inhale, pause, exhale), and really with anything that has a beginning, middle and end.  

What I'm noticing for myself, is that I tend to create a lot of projects, meals, garden beauty, relationships, newsletters, blog writing, etc., so that comes pretty easily for me.  I'm also pretty experienced and easeful with maintaining these things:  I'm in a healthy long-term relationship, I maintain close relationships with my family and friends, I've been teaching yoga for over 18 years and running the same business almost for that time, I keep up the garden and the house, live in the same community for over 18 years, etc.  So I think I'm pretty good with sustaining things in my life.  But it's the destroying or dissolving that I'm looking at.  I tend to hold onto things (our garage is evidence)!  I tend to ruminate about past events or conversations,  and keep a few unhealthy habit patterns going.  It's funny because I actually love getting rid of stuff I no longer need when I actually do it, but I often put off getting rid of things because I'm scared I may need them again and then regret not having them.  With patterns, I may tell myself I want to stop, but then I don't.  I keep it going usually out of fear of change.  So fear seems to be a big player in making a change; fear of the unknown, fear of making the "wrong" decision and being unhappy.  Or sometimes, I'm just downright unconscious that I'm in the habit until afterwards. 

My Hendricks training has taught me some great ways to understand and respond to fear and how to shift out of unhealthy patterns.  There's 4 types of fear:  Freeze, Flee, Fight or Faint, and they each have a bodily sensation, usually some kind of tension, zing or fluttering in the belly area.  Freeze feels stuck, stiff or frozen;  think eyes wide open, jaw agape.  Flee is that desire to run and escape from a situation, so there may be a zing of andrenaline in the chest.  Fight is a feeling of anger where we feel hot and want to argue or hurt someone or something.  And Faint is when we go foggy or stupid and can't think straight, sort of like the beginning stages of actually fainting. 

For each of these types of fear, there's an antidote, or as we say in Hendricks, a "fear melter."  They are physical movements that we can do to shift out of fear and get the stuck energy moving again.  The fear melter for Freeze is Wiggle.  So if I'm scared to make a change from a pattern, and I feel frozen inside, I can wiggle my body- either just my fingers and toes or my whole body, in order to shift that frozen energy.  Once I shift it, I can think more creatively, breathe more easily and I then reconsider what I actually want.  From there, I choose an action step to attain it. 

Here's an example:  if I notice I'm freezing from the fear of finding somebody to help in my business, I can start to wiggle and breathe, shaking my shoulders, my neck and arms, hips and legs.   I keep going until I feel a sense of ease and flow.  (I just took a break and did that and immediately I felt more breath).  It gets me out of the stuck state of thinking I can't do it or something bad will happen.  Then I can ask the question:  what do I really want?- until an answer arises.  "I want a new helper!  I want somebody who can do great marketing and beautiful graphics."  Then I consider:  what is an easy action step I can take to move in this direction and by when will I do it?   I put a message out on Facebook last week to see if I could find a referral and 3 came back.  Boom!  From dissolving an old habit of stuckness,  back to manifestation of something new.  I've shifted the pattern of avoiding dissolving something and taken action to create what I want.  So the cycle just continues.

 I'll share about the other Fear Melters another time.  Let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Trinity Retreat Highlights

I'm resting after possibly our last Escot Yoga retreat on the Trinity river this weekend.  Once again, we had a wonderful group of Immersion yogis blended with retreatants, including our favorite yoga family, Jennifer, Devlin, and now their two adorable daughters.  Jennifer has come to my Summer retreats for the last 10 or more years- pre and now post kids, and I always enjoy her and her family.

It was such a wonderful group of people gathering to explore practice and have some serious fun.  I'm always impressed with the way people we don't even know can join into the group and feel totally welcomed and integrated. Last time it was a man from Atlanta, Georgia.  This time, it was a man from Sebastapol.  I wondered who and how he would be before he arrived, and thankfully, he was super open and totally willing to jump into the fun with us.  In fact, he was the repeat winner of our Slack Jaw dance competition during talent night!
Another treat was having many returning students from past Immersion groups, including Jennifer from 2005, Laurie from 2007, Susan from 2008, and Jaime from 2010!

Some of the highlights:
-Teaching outside under the big oak tree with the sky, birds and fresh air
-Sharing a full weekend with people where we can relax, slow down, and get into the rhythm of nature
-Rafting with Laurie from Broken Bridge to Escot
-Playing with 5-yr old Kailani in the river
-Getting to know everyone better over fabulous meals, fun river time, and sweet evening gatherings
-Having long morning and evening classes where we can take the practice to the next level
-The outrageous catered and pot-luck dinners!
-The amazing talent and ridiculous silliness of the talent night and the Slack Jaw game
-The group cooperation around cleaning up and preparing meals
- Karen Harris' poignant teachings and getting to riff off her themes in the asana classes
- Everyone's shining faces full of gratitude for the experience
- The fun new closing activities we did for the retreat
- The sweet closing appreciation circle for the Immersion group

Escot may not be open to future retreats, but we are so grateful for all the years we were able to use their gorgeous property - 8! -and we look forward to discovering a new space for next years retreat.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Listen to the River

Last week, we were at the Smith River for 4 days and it was divine.  We have friends who live out on the South Fork and are homesteaders.  I always get super inspired when we spend time there.  They live totally off the grid, grow an abundance of food, and now have use of a solar oven and a super cold room for food storage.  There is no internet, no phone, not even a car as we have to walk 30 mins from the parking area to the house.   I love the days spent outside doing yoga and meditation under the tree, walking through the water, resting in the sand, exploring the garden, sleeping under the stars.   I find myself getting extremely relaxed, sleeping a ton, and generally slowing down.  I often leave wondering how I can integrate this slower pace into my own life.  How can I spend more time in nature, how can I expand my garden, how can I simplify my life?  It was quite apropos that I started to read a recent biography of Ramana Maharshi, a 20th century Indian sage, while we were there.  He awakened at the age of 17 and became a highly recognized wisdom being. 

So this last week in classes, I shared this teaching of his, with inspiration from my time at the river.  “Your duty is to be and not to be this or that. 'I am that I am' sums up the whole truth. The method is summed up in the words 'Be still'. What does stillness mean? It means destroy yourself. Because any form or shape is the cause for trouble. Give up the notion that 'I am so and so'. All that is required to realize the Self is to be still. What can be easier than that?”

And it was so perfect that my last class of the week was our last day of the Awakening the Voice of the Heart course - a retreat on the Mad River where everyone spent solo time at the river and then we shared our experiences and finished with yoga under the trees.  The course was all about listening to and awakening the inner voice of wisdom, so being by the river supported this quiet, deep listening.

The river and any wild nature inspires me to look within and be with myself.  There's nothing to do but listen, drop in to nature, enjoy the water and sun on my skin.  I realize how much I get caught up in all the things I want to do, all the ways I get attached to who I am and how I want to be.  So this teaching has been sweet for me to contemplate this week.  Just be still, just be with myself, be simple - in my meditation, in my teaching, in my cooking and packing for a trip.  And what I've been adding to his words here, is to recognize that the stillness within me is the same stillness in nature- in the plants, the river, the rocks and birds.  It is the underlying essence of all things which is perfectly whole and complete, and when I can come into this, feel this within me, I feel myself letting go and resting with ease. 

And now we're gearing up for our next yoga and river experience on the Trinity River.  I'll be teaching with Patrick and Karen Harris.  It's such a sweet weekend of communing with yogis in nature, practicing yoga and meditation outside, eating great food, having fun in the water, and making new friendships. This is one of my favorite events of the year and we have a great group forming.  This will likely be our last year at this location, after about 10 years.  I hope you can join us!

I wish you the greatest of ease today,

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Updates

Happy Summer everyone!  I know it's been quite a while since I've blogged, so here's a snapshot of what I'm exploring or have been doing:

Post-Cleanse Tips:  It was a great moderate cleanse for me and I'm still pleased with my diet overall.  It helps to have so much access to fresh garden and market veggies!  I tend to be a fairly healthy eater anyway but  I have found that traveling and eating well is much more challenging.   Here's what I do:  Bring food for the plane so I'm not stuck w. airplane and airport food.  I have great containers that hold grain and veggies easily, so I usually bring something like that for the plane.  I also bring nuts for snacks.  This is my usual mode in town as well, whether I'm eating at home or in town.  We just make a pot of grain every 3 - 4 days and use it for 1 -2 meals a day.  We also make a big veggie dish every 2 - 3 days and use that for 1  - 2 meals per day.  I like to bring my own veggies and grain w. me, sometimes salad or meat or hummus or dal or whatever else I've made, so I know I'm getting healthy food when I"m home or in town.  I'm also enjoying soaked almonds as a snack (left over from the cleanse) and peeling the skin off is so easy when they're soaked, which makes hem more digestible.

Upper Limits Problem - a term from the Hendricks:  Last week, I taught about this in classes after I realized it happening to me.  I got a cold and felt pretty down after coming back from my last fabulous Hendricks training in early June.  The ULP is when people have a downfall after some sort of great experience.  So after a wonderful time away with your partner,  getting a raise at work, feeling especially high on life in some way, you may find yourself starting a fight or worrying, tripping, breaking things, injuring yourself, feeling negative, stressed, or getting sick.    We unconsciously do this to bring ourselves down to our usual comfort zone, our set thermostat for positive energy.  How to make the shift?  First, notice your specific pattern.  Then, breathe and ask yourself what you need.  Do you need to have a conversation and talk about your feelings?  Do you need to sit and breathe, do some yoga, or take a walk in nature and get some space?  All of these can be very helpful.  I also like using a statement to affirm my intention to be able to contain more positive energy.  Here's the one I like from the Hendricks:  I am willing to grow a new nervous system capable of sustaining large amounts of positive energy for long periods of time.  Give it a try! 

And before I part, I want to let you know we have a Summer Special for July-August:  20 classes for $160 which expire August 31.  For one person.

I hope to see you soon!


For monthly updates about our events and specials, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and Like our Facebook page.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Inspiration for Cleansing

I'm having a great time on the cleanse this year.  I love how light and energetic I feel and how little hunger I have.   I find it quite amazing that I can feel this good with such a reduced caloric intake!  Of course, I couldn't do it forever, but it's a great reminder to me that eating less and eating cleaner just feels better!

One of the things I'm especially getting a kick out of with this cleanse group, that I'm leading for the first time, is sending out the inspirational emails with recipes and cleansing tips.  It's been fun for me to remember old recipes and cool practices from all the years of cleansing I've done.  Another great boon is watching the participants discover more energy, vitality and lightness in their bodies.  And it's super cool to share the group emails where people share their own tips, recipes and especially their physical experiences.  In fact, I got so inspired by the process, that I decided to offer a second round of cleanse support to anyone who wants to start in late May.  Here's the info for anyone interested.

Since I just watched the movie, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, my inspiration to support people in making healthy lifestyle changes has skyrocketed- and that's partly why I wanted to offer the cleanse again.  I've been talking for weeks in my classes about discipline and commitment in regards to self-care.  And this movie was so powerful in that arena.  It follows two very obese men as they completely transform their lives by doing 60-days of juice fasting.  I definitely think that's very extreme, especially coming from a hamburgers and coke kind of diet and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.  (Luckily the guys in the movie were being watched closely by their doctors).  That's why I like this cleanse so much.  It's super gradual and very user-friendly, plus, it's actually a deep colon cleanse with all the awesome herbs included.  That said, the guys in the movie had tremendous will power to pull that off!  And their "nearly dead" health conditions completely turned around!  They inspired many others to follow their lead and change their lives.  "If they can do it, I can do it," was the common thread, as I'm sure it is for many who see the movie.

And what I found very fascinating was that there were still people close to them, some also quite obese, who said "I couldn't do it. I just don't have the will power."  I'm fascinated by this.  What does it take to make a major life change?  For many of us, it takes something cataclysmic, like having a serious disease or accident, loss of a loved one, or something that shakes you to the core.  And for others, they really do not have the will power (or don't believe that they do), and they just decide to eat or smoke themselves to death because they'd rather have an easeful life and die early than a longer one that requires strong discipline and in their minds, less joy.   That's pretty much what somebody in the movie said.  And perhaps they didn't feel their life was worth extending or they just didn't believe they could be happier by being healthier, or that it was worth it.  So I'm just curious about when we decide to exercise our will, and when we don't, or when we lapse in our discipline, and when we get back on track, and why.  I wonder if those in the movie who said they didn't have the will power could do it with a group to support them, who were also doing it? 

This is a big discussion, so I'll leave it here, but I'll come back and explore this more with you soon!

To your full health!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Taking a Stand for My Health

I've been thinking a lot about my relationship to self-care, especially since starting to lead our group cleanse.  Although I'm not doing the full cleanse at this time for various reasons, I am choosing to eat mostly vegetables, alkaline foods, and lots of huge salads.  I love the feeling of taking greater care of myself through diet, supplements, exercise, and other practices like oiling my skin after bathing. 

All week in classes, I taught about creating the balance between taking a stand for ourselves and self-appreciation (inspired by one of the Hendricks' grads, Matt Chappman).  It's been a great inquiry for me in regards to my health.  What do I stand for with my health?  Where do I put my foot down and say "no" to certain foods or activities, yes to others, and where am I more lenient or easygoing?  

For me, there's something empowering and freeing about making a commitment.  Then I know where I stand and I don't have to be in limbo.  Like when I'm cleansing, I just commit to only alkaline foods, no meat, no dairy, no sugars, no salt, no processed food.  I'm not tempted by other foods- at least for that time period, because of my commitment.  And instead of feeling restricted by that, I actually feel a sense of ease.

Appreciation becomes a great balance to the discipline of commitment.  I appreciate my commitment, I appreciate myself for taking care of myself, and this appreciation softens the intensity of my discipline.  Otherwise, discipline can feel too rigid and tight.  It's also super helpful if my commitment waivers.  If I fall out of discipline in some way, then instead of beating myself up, I just get back on the horse and recommit.  In Hendricks' speak.  We call it a drift when we fall off track with our commitments, and a shift when we get back on.  So if you drift, then you shift again. Simple.

I've been thinking about all of this in light of how challenging it can be to create new healthy habits for ourselves.  When I researched it, I found that it can take anywhere from 18 to over 100 days to create a new habit, depending on the person, with an average of 66 days.  So that means discipline with a new activity is really important.  We have to practice something over a period of time in order for it to "take."  (In yoga, abhyasa is crucial for results, and it means consistent practice over a long period of time.  But it must be balanced with letting go of attachments - vairagya).

I think this is really true for many new yoga students.  So many people get excited after the Beginners' course and sign up for a series.  Then they come once or twice and we often don't see them again.  I feel sad about that.  I really want people to integrate yoga into their lives, but it's up to them.  They have to make that commitment to themselves to keep showing up, even when they feel resistant.  It's this continuous practice, over several weeks, that will create that new habit for them.  Then it's not a question of going or not, it's just built into their lives, like eating 3 meals a day or taking a shower.  It becomes a commitment and they start structuring it into their schedules.

What are you committed to?  How do you take a stand for your health?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Bio as My Story

It is April 11 and I'm so happy to be back at my blog!  I'm probably having the busiest Spring ever, so I've let my blogging slide- and I miss it!

 Where I've been focusing my writing energy the most these days is in rewriting my bio.  It's been such an interesting process for me.  Months or rewrites!  First it was for my own website, and then it was for the TeleSummit site.  I can't believe how many drafts I've been through at this point - from over a page to just a paragraph.  My TeleSummit bio has been up for a couple months, and I recently decided to rewrite it.  Realized there's more I could say.

I've been scared about putting myself out there in a more vulnerable way, but also wanting to do that, to come out as who I truly am and what I've been through.  Ready to stop hiding.  And this TeleSummit, where I'm getting interviewed about how yoga has transformed my life on April 23, created the perfect opportunity to look deeper at my journey.

I've been unsure of what exactly I wanted to share, how to keep it simple and concise.  Lots of questions like:  What's important?  What's boasting?  Who am I really?  What do I have to offer?  How can I best describe what I do?  What have I actually learned along the way?  How has yoga changed my life?  What do I want people to know about me?  How can this be of service? 

So it's been quite poignant, like diving into my life story. The funniest thing is that in the course I'm currently co-teaching with Karen Harris and Therese Fitz-Maurice, we are asking people to write up their stories, either whole life story or a story that needs some healing, with the idea that working on the story and sharing it, does bring healing.  So this is, in effect, what I've been doing anyway.  And along with my Hendricks training, and my commitment to being authentic and transparent, I'm really taking this bio into new and vulnerable territory. 

I've realized that my story of insecurity and low self-esteem is big.  It's been a huge player and driving force in my life, creating my big Perfectionist persona, who tries to protect me from pain and loss, as well as the Driver, who's always pushing to accomplish things in the world. I can see how much healing I've done in this area, and there's more, and it's still my story.  I have recognized that I'm not alone in this, of course, and it's still my story.  I think my owning this aspect of myself and being willing to share it with others actually helps me to embrace all of myself, actually helps me detach from the story of "I'm not worthy, I'm not enough" and claim that this story and my journey with it are my gifts instead of my faults.  And I get empowered by sharing them.  WOW!  It's totally the opposite of the pattern of hiding them because I feel ashamed.  How about stepping up and sharing them and then I feel powerful and strong and hardly feel their pull on me anymore! 

And I know by lots of recent experiences now, that me sharing this and letting others see into me, into-me-see = intimacy (thanks to Marc Takaha for that one), that I become more connected to people, which is what I really want anyway.  AND,  this is completely the opposite of what happens if I hide or pretend to be something I'm not!  And I also see that coming forward with my story can also be of service to others who are hiding behind their own wall of shame.   In fact, I feel so pumped up by this process, that I just want to get on my soapbox and tell everyone to stand up and share something they've never shared before, tell their loved ones their darkest secrets, tell a friend something they've been withholding, and let yourself be seen and held in all of who you are! 

So this is where I see my teaching going, and it already has, in workshops, in retreats, long term courses like the one I'm dong with Karen:  helping people to own, to share their stories, to embrace themselves, their true essence, to be seen and let go of the armoring that keeps those stories hidden.  (Of course the deeper unfolding may take longer, but this is where my personal coaching practice can help, or some other modality).  I believe it's our hiding, our trying to disown part of ourselves, our trying to be somebody that we're not, that holds us back from living the life we truly want to live.  Hiding is pent-up energy.  Revealing is releasing energy!

Okay, I'm super excited now.  Thanks for reading this far.  I'll come back to this thread later.  But for now, here's my latest TeleSummit bio:  super brief for the website, but hopefully, it encapsulates some of what I've shared.  I love your feedback!

Robyn Smith, owner of Inner Freedom Yoga in Arcata, CA,  is a certified Anusara yoga instructor, Hanna Somatic Educator, and Hendricks Conscious Living and Loving coach.  She's been teaching yoga for over 18 years, helping people with chronic pain and tension since 1998, and engaging in conscious communication and healthy lifestyle practices since she was 20.  She's in awe of yoga's power to transform all aspects of life and her teachings offer empowering messages of love and healing. 

Having struggled with early loss and a teenage eating disorder, she's no stranger to self hatred and deep insecurity.  With growing self esteem and confidence over the last 25 years, she has come to know that her essence is wholeness, and she's committed to loving herself and experiencing radiant self esteem all the time.

Robyn is a champion for living the life you love.  Through her teaching and coaching, she helps people reclaim their bodies, live from their hearts, and celebrate their true essence.  She delights in gardening, nature hikes, and growing community through parties, long courses and retreats.