One Year of Rise!

One year ago to date, Rise Yoga held it's very first class at our original location inside of S&L Fitness.  I didn't plan anything extravagant for our 1st Birthday partly because I wasn't sure if I should wait until the one year anniversary of our new space and partly because....well I admittedly still downplay it all.  

One of my goals of 2018 is to cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude for things in my life, the path I am on, and the journey thus far.  I am the type of person who is always pursuing the next thing, the next goal, the next milestone (surprised?).  My work is to pause more, reflect more.  Not even just reflect on the past year, but the past five years, the past 10 years.  

Just five years ago I was sitting behind a desk, chained to my chair and phone (well it felt like it), watching the hours pass until 5PM.  I knew that was not the reason I was here.  I think I knew, possibly without ever articulating it properly, that I was here to serve others.  When I enrolled in yoga teacher training it was because I wanted to bring yoga to people who otherwise would have never come across it. I constantly said that, that was my "why."  

Fast forward five years and boy do I have to pinch myself.  One year in to being a yoga studio owner in my hometown (the one that I said at one point "I would never move back to").  Seeing Rise rise has been nothing short of overwhelming.  I have said it before, and will say it again. The presence of this community and the way you keep showing up is astounding. 

Just yesterday we had 26 of you show up to our regularly scheduled Sunday Morning class. Some of you were regulars and with us from the beginning, for some of you it was your second time ever on a yoga mat, and for others your first time in our space.  It is so telling that this practice is not just wanted, it is needed, for EVERYbody.  

I feel so very honored, privileged, and yes, grateful, to hold this space for you.  So that you may get quiet, listen, breathe, move, and get back to YOU.  The you who you have always been before the world told you who you should be.  And little by little, like a ripple in a pond, we will reach more and more of you.  And what the world needs is people who know, speak, and act their truth. And I'll let you in on a little secret - your truth, my truth, is simply love.

Happy 1st Birthday to my second baby (my first being my little fluff ball of a pup)!




An Interview with Dena at An Empowered Life

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dena, the creator of  Dena is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor who has had her own private practice for 15 years here in Connecticut.

She started An Empowered Life to create an online space for people to find guidance and assistance in finding their path in life, discovering their passions, moving beyond challenges and struggles, improving self-confidence and acknowledging that they are worthy of this change.

Dena reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in chatting with her about Rise Yoga and my recent Panama Yoga Retreat and Mission Project.  I listen to so many podcasts in the self-development realm and know how much they have helped me on my journey.  For this reason I was super excited to be on the other end of the speaker this time around! 

Watch our full conversation below.  We talk about everything from how I got in to yoga, how it has helped me on my path, how and why I started Rise, and all about my Panama Retreat this past April. 

Also head over to An Empowered Life to check out all of the inspiring content Dena is constantly creating!

Does my Panama Retreat sound like something you'd be interested in?  We are heading back to Bocas Del Toro next April!  Find out all of the information here!

To be honest...

To be honest I'm actually scared sh*tless half of the time. I live my life dancing between feeling inspired and doubting myself. I dream big dreams and I even go after them. The thing is...when I do go after them, inside I'm freaking out screaming 'how am I going to do this?' Who am I to be a teacher, to lead people, to inspire people, to create something? Who am I to....(fill in the blank with everything I have created  or want to create in my life).

To be honest...
I'm still learning. I start things way before I am I think I am ready for them and most of the time I come out on the other side demolishing my own doubts. I do it and I do it well.

Where does this doubt come from?

To be honest...
I'm not sure but I'm exploring it. I'm peeling away the layers little by little. I sit quietly or I come to my mat hoping the answers will appear. Sometimes they do in little glimmers and sometimes they don't.

To be honest...
Writing this is really just a way for me to give myself a pep talk.

You got this girl. Everything you need to know is already in you. You just have to trust yourself, your knowledge, your commitment, your love.

To put it simply...all you are doing is creating space for people in a world where it is so desperately needed.

Space to breathe, to move, to relax, to nourish, to heal. Space to find ease and peace so that life is a little easier and more peaceful. Space to find joy, make connections, whether with themselves or with others. Space to understand what makes them tick, makes them feel alive. Space to realize where they're holding back or what they're hiding from. Space to get back to who they truly are with out the layers upon layers of mud collected through out life.

Because that's what yoga has opened up for me. And even though it's a never ending journey, I am overwhelmingly grateful I'm on it.

Three Practices to Cultivate Gratitude

Over the past few weeks I have been talking to my yoga students about what we actually need to practice in order to cultivate gratitude.  It's easy to just say, especially around this time of year, 'be grateful' or 'think of three things you are thankful for.'

You can easily spew out a few things around the Thanksgiving dinner table that you are glad to have in your life, right?  In order to truly reach this state of gratitude I think there are a few other steps on the road to getting there. 

Presence.  Are you really present for your life?  In your conversations with loved ones?  On your drive to work? The human mind is clear of thought at the time of birth, and then BAM!  Thoughts, ideas, noise begin to seep in from day one on earth.  It's slow at first.  As children we live much more in the present moment than in our later years. And as we age more and more stories start to cloud the mind.  This is why it is a practice to stay in the present moment.  In conversation with your loved one,  are you actually listening to how their day was?  On your drive to work, can you honestly say you notice the leaves on the trees? When we are living in the moment, rather than in the past or the future, we are able to truly wake up to what's actually happening in our lives.

Acceptance. Boy is this one that I am constantly reminding myself of.  I have a mantra...'I accept things the way they are, and not the way I want them to be.'  I've learned that our suffering as humans simply comes from wanting things to be different than they actually are.  Can you accept your mother for exactly who she is? Can you accept that your Saturday night is looking like it's going to be spent changing a flat tire rather than going out to a nice dinner? Can you accept the amount in your bank account because you know you are working tirelessly and passionately towards your goal?  When we can start to accept the things in our life for exactly how they are we can start to move towards gratitude for those things.

Trust.  At the end of the day we have to believe that there is something bigger than our human selves.  We have to trust that we are being supported, held, and given in life only what we can truly handle.  When we put this trust out in to the world then that energy of faith is sent right back to us. And when we feel supported, we move forward, no matter the circumstance.  When we trust in this, then we can undoubtedly be grateful for waking up every morning with a beating heart.

Gratitude is more than just words or declarations.  It is all encompassing.  It is a certain way in which you live your life.  One where you are dialed in to what's happening at this exact moment, accepting things as they are right now, and trusting that you are being supported.

Maybe if we could move closer to this way of being, we could move closer to gratitude.  And when we have gratitude our lives become enough.