I haven’t been posting finished writing pieces or newsletters much for the few months. Not for lack of inspiration, but due to a professional hibernation of sorts, and the bear is slowly sensing her way into spring. For the last seven years, I have been studying psychology, and to be frank, it has been quite a daunting task. For some years after graduate school, I have chipped away at the block of three thousand hours that must be acquired to become a licensed psychotherapist. Although I have managed to run a healing arts business simultaneously, having multiple irons in various proverbial fires has been a challenge for me. The common motivational denominator of my productive madness has been healing, however scattering myself around like a squirrel has yielded a half-chewed nut collection. Life is constantly offering us new opportunities to practice yoga in its truest form, and I feel grateful for the constant reminders.
Yoga Citta Vrtti Nirodhah
When you are in a state of yoga, all misconceptions (vrittis) that can exist in the mutable aspect of human beings (chitta) disappear.
Transformative Healing Arts is largely in effect, but given the shifting nature of my personal and academic efforts, it is, well, transforming. Some professional offerings have taken the back burner including: group Hatha yoga classes and classical massage methods. Currently, my only public yoga offering takes place Monday nights at 5:15pm at the Santa Barbara Yoga Center. All levels are welcome. And as wonderful as classical massage is (I still love offering it), please note that my model is becoming quickly sublimated by the profound workings of Myofascial Release, Cranial Sacral Therapy, and Somatic Awareness.
Click here to learn more or email me to book an appointment. If you are in Southern California, mention this blog post to receive 20% off your next session.
A few more words about my process, your potential process, and being a facilitator of psychotherapy and somatic education…
The process of holding space for wounded, traumatized, and divinely inspired human beings has been one of the more profound experiences of my life. If someone asked me years ago how I felt about becoming a psychotherapist, I would never have pictured myself in that role. I thought I was too sensitive or too psychic. I thought I couldn’t handle the pain of the world, nor hear people talk about it. The truth is, I can handle it; and we all have the capacity to support others, especially when we give ourselves a chance to be the light we were born to be and step away from separatism.
You do not need a license to be empathetic and care for your fellow wo(man). It is possible for you to open up just a little bit more and reach out to people, even when it makes you a little or a lot uncomfortable. Inversely, are you able to reach out when you are in need? What are your self-care practices and who is it that you can depend on? These are important questions because the answers relate to you being taken care of and becoming the most loving, supportive being possible. You also have the power within you to transform another person’s life with your presence. So that being said, whatever your chosen path is at the moment, I hope it’s feeding your soul. I hope you wake up and feel good about the work you are about to do. And if your ‘pay the bills’ job does not evoke growth in yourself or others, your creative interests and volunteer efforts can.
In sitting with our own pain, or the pain of others, we are offered a beautiful gift: our humanity. And given the impermanent nature of the universe, everything has the capacity to shift and grow, expand and renew. Mindfulness practices, specifically somatic and relational awareness practices, remind us of the tangible, visceral human experience. And it is through that innate knowing and felt sense, that we may rewire years of pain and misunderstanding, and remind ourselves of the powerful, divine essence we are comprised of.
Best Wishes in 2016,
Speaking of resolutions and new years and all that….I felt inspired to bust out a little fitness inspiration this evening because WE ALL NEED IT. It is fascinating how this thing (exercise) that makes us feel so amazing (dopamine, yay!) is also something some individuals are fervently resistant to. When students or friends ask me questions about having a strong core, or having the “toned abs” thing, here is what I say… Be consistent. You don’t have to do a lot of exercise to be healthy and in shape. You DO need a CONSISTENT PRACTICE that involves strong blasts of exercise, almost every day.
Yoga doesn’t have to be a 90 minute class. Your gym stint, hike or run doesn’t have to be a hour to be effective, but do KEEP YOUR PACE UP to see better results and improved cardio vascular health. Although there are a lot of gimmicks out there, the “7 minute” Ab thing can work, if you do it 4-7 times a week (ideally mixed with cross-training). Ride your bike to the store, a meeting, or your friend’s party. You should do that anyway to reduce your carbon footprint, and you might meet an attractive eco-hipster along the way. Just remember to not act so cool you forget your helmet like this guy…
Just do SOMETHING, almost every day. I promise you’ll be feeling so good and so into it, you will start extending those 7-20 minute time windows to 60-90 minutes.
And first and foremost, do your best to love your body and tell your inner critic to take a hike, he or she doesn’t help your progress or confidence. The incisive, less-than-elegant prose of the inner critic is deeply saturated with environmental conditioning or self-deprecating hoo-haw most likely projected onto us when we were young, vulnerable, and impressionable. Which is why it is even MORE IMPORTANT to..
“Yoga chitta vritti nirodha” – Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations (whirlpool) of the mind (thought)
-Patangali’s Yoga Sutra
Calming the mind via meditation and yoga supports us to feel more spacious inside and out. A mindfulness practice is like a Zen slayer, who unhooks the insolent talons of chitta (mental chatter) and reminds our inner waters to flow quietly, sans whirlpool (vritti). It may take some time, but a true Yogi tirelessly attempts to peacefully slay that darn chitta like some kind of Hunger Games apparition. If you are a beginner or busy, try meditating for ten minutes 3-7x per week and slowly progress to 20-30 minutes. Practicing in the morning will support you to feel clear, empowered and sparkly for your day.
Take it from me, I am a masterful procrastinator, and will find every reason to stay on my computer or organize things until I have to run out the door, only to feel disappointed with myself or self-critical that I didn’t do something active. One thing that helps me, is looking at the clock about a hour before I have to leave and committing to take at least 10-30 of those minutes for myself; to sweat, move, sit, or find a hill somewhere. When I can carve out 2 hours and hit the mountains, gym or a class even better. The point is, it’s OK to take only 10-20 minutes to be active. It’s better than sitting on your bum, or getting drained by Facecrack, a project, or the news.
Speaking of Abs, here are a few core-strengthening options you can do which also strengthen the arms and legs (especially if you do them all). Lately I have been into this 15 minute workout my busy Ph.D candidate friend recommended. If he can do it and write a 1000 page dissertation, so can we! It’s even more effective when mixed with other activities, or practiced on off-cardio days.
Have a beautiful 2014 and remember to MOVE YOUR BODY and CALM YOUR MIND. You will be handsomely rewarded.