10 Surprising Ways to Use a Wall When Twisting

With the amount of reading I’m throwing at you this week, it may feel like you, too, are in the grad school. Today, I’m bringing you a piece I wrote for yoga journal about twisting. Who doesn’t need a good twist at the end of the year?

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Reflections Pt 2: Home

This is my home. It’s where I go when I don’t know where else to go.
Particularly around the holiday season, I think about what it means to be home, what it means to have a home. I used to have this idea in my heart that I would feel home when I found another person that wanted to make one with me. Then I thought, maybe if I live the place where my heart feels settled, I’ll finally find home. Then I thought, maybe if I found a group of people who believed in the same things I did, I would feel home. That idea got me closer to the truth but it still wasn’t everything I knew home needed to be for me.

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Building and Bolstering Resilience

These last few weeks of the year can be a time of great celebration and reflection. What have I learned from both my triumphs and my failure this year? What energy am I looking to take with me into the new year and what am I finally ready to leave behind? As the stressors and obligations start to ratchet up, we have some choices to make: get knocked down and swallowed up by stress or choose to bounce back. Let the bounce back be even more spectacular than the setback. We call the ability to bounce back Resilience. 

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Reflections Pt 1

There are 30 days left in the year.
30 days left to choose joy over hate.
30 days left to choose forgiveness over spite.
30 days left to choose courage over cowardice.
This year I said would be the year of courage moment. I was courageous. I was brave. I did things I had been too afraid to do for the past few years. My intention to act, think, and feel from a place of courage also means that I must reflect courageously on what has transpired these past 335 days. It’s lead me to one overarching idea: The home I am looking for needs to be me.

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Forgiveness. Can you imagine?

Forgiveness, as I learned it was not about freeing the heart of the wronged person; it is about punishing the offender by making them perform an action so as to make them worthy of forgiveness. Part of living inside of shame and guilt based systems, like antiquated systems of control, means this inability to truly forgive. From the psychological perspective, the mindset and the action of forgiveness has much more to do with the healing of the forgiver. Forgiveness is the thing we do to help us move on. It is the thing necessary to release the hurt and pain, the spite, the need for vengeance or to “balance the scales”. While this season is traditionally about giving thanks, expressing gratitude, offering charity, perhaps the action filled with the most kindness, the one we should focus on now more than ever, is the ability to forgive. 

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(Over) Exposed

In my experience, one of three paths reveals itself during times of heighten stress: action, inaction, or defeat. Inaction, which I think is far more common, is the assessment that all of the elements that contribute to stress are so overwhelming, it is impossible to make a choice in either direction. It’s the freeze. Whether it’s tackling that massive to-do list or it’s one situation in particular that is causing you distress, the freeze happens because dealing with it head-on feels too hard but giving up is not an option. In this case, one technique I’ve been trying recently is the a version of what psychologist call exposure therapy, namely systematic desensitization. What I’ve done for myself is taken these concepts and implemented them in ways that make sense to my life.

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Taking on Stress with Gratitude

Last week we talked about what stress is. This week we start to learn strategies for taking it on and using stress to help us grow instead of allowing it to derail us. Strategy One is probably the kindest way in. It requires the least amount of discomfort. It’s Gratitude. Gratitude is now this big buzz word in the wellness community, which like all things in the wellness boom, has its pros and cons. What does it mean to actually embody a lifestyle of gratitude though? Gratitude also does not mean ignoring that things get challenging or that there are moments, sometimes large spans of time in life, that are truly distressing. This would be simply ignoring the reality of the world we live in. Things get hard. People can be mean. Life circumstances may change and leave you feeling utterly unstable. In our modern lives, gratitude means embracing the stressors and instead of deciding that they are a threat, treating them as challenges from which we can learn and grow.

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Stress 101

Stress takes many forms but it is easiest to take the idea of stress learn it from the physiological perspective and translate it into the emotional and psychological perspective. Essentially, let’s look at the body and then see how those same concepts apply to the mind. This week, we’ll get a baseline definition for stress so that we can explore how to turn stress into our platform for growth. 

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