Category Archives: Ocho Limbos

Experiences with the 8 limbs of yoga

Yoga, Practice, and getting to know your Self.

The “S Word.” We throw it around a lot.

Self esteem, self worth, self confident, self conscious….but do we really know who we are underneath? Aren’t we all just trying to figure that out? The discovery of the Elusive “S” all begins with a choice. It’s up to us. Are we ready to move towards our Self or shall we continue to cloud our feelings with dogma, theory, and adjectives without actually seeing whats underneath the practice of these things?
When the decision is made to be real and see ourselves it shows up in our yoga. In the way we move, the way we breathe, the way we fill up a room. It starts to shine out in to other things- how we interact with family, friends, acquaintances, challenging people. How we treat the earth, the dietary decisions we make, the way in which we honor our needs and the needs of others. It shows up…and the realization that all is well and always has been is clear.

But…

This takes work…

It takes, staring down those selves in the face. Yes multiple selves. All gritty, hazy, overwhelming, erratic, imbalanced, joyful, open, closed, excited, numb….whatever they are…without allowing “judgement” to cloud the truth. Seeing each self for what it is- purposeful or not, true or not- necessary or not. At times this may mean a sweaty, strong and powerful Vinyasa practice by the end of which we feel as if they layers of holding have just slipped off the skin with the drops of sweat on our mat; other times it may take a quite, long, slow, deep yin practice of connective tissue stretches that cause us to confront the deeply threaded feelings stored by the bodies internal memory system; still others it is simply sitting, breathing, noticing…but one thing is for certain. The theory of these things will get you only so far. The practice of them regularly and intently with complete honesty is what causes the shift. It is also important to approach the practice with an element of compassion. As the Yoga Sutras (1.33) state:
“In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and neutrality towards those we perceive as non-virtuous.” The relationship with yourself and your practice is no different. Don’t forget to challenge your perspective.

YOGA ISN’T EASY, it is moving towards ease (sometimes through things that are hard). So ask yourself. Are you ready to make the choice? If not, keep practicing to the capacity you have right now. Even if it’s only doing ONE thing regularly, to hone your awareness of yourself in that circumstance, you are doing the work. When that choice is ready to be made you’ll have some legwork underway. 🙂
You can struggle and learn how to do things the hard way or you can settle and allow yourself to unfold with ease.

Namaste,

Jennifer

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“The only thing i’ll ever learn, is just to Love…”

So it’s the end of Valentines Day 2012. Whether it is a joyous event for you and yours or a seemingly pre-apocalyptic cry fest, it’s still here and not changing…the day where sugary treats, mass farmed roses, and goofy grins are seen everywhere, and even if all you want to do is curl up in a ball on the couch with your new beaus “Ben and Jerry” the love fest is unavoidable.

But that’s the thing isn’t it. Continue reading

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Aligning your chakras for awareness

Just a quick post today…but something that, while not super entertaining, is definitely useful…

Many yogis (yours truly included) are guilty of denying their practices two things: sufficient centering at the beginning of practice and pranayama (yogic breathing exercises). This easy to incorporate exercise takes no longer than 5 minutes and not only will it get you centered, but it will also align your energetic channels.

Here are the steps:

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The Answer shines from the Heart

Recently I read that the marker of a “good” teacher is that they encourage us to move from the heart, and while there are many criteria by which we categorize and label our teachers this statement sums up so much of what quality time on our mats is all about.

Physically, moving from the heart allows us to recharge our pranic battery. Continue reading

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Why I blog…

Digging out the origins of my fears were inconsequential next to creating experiences for myself that countered them.

For so long in my life I held my voice in. I shyed away from controversy from dialogue of any kind actually around what I believed in and what I had to say. I did it for so long that I began to feel disconnected from what I had inside of me to begin with. Conformity was becoming my personality. So what did I do? I acted out, subconsciously, on myself. A raging eating disorder became the last straw that threatened to bury who I was at the core for good. And then…light, then love, then yoga. Continue reading

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Sometimes it takes setting yourself free to truly come HOME

This is an especially emotional post tonight folks.

You know those moments where the universe opens up and says “so umm, I see you’ve been ignoring my subtle hints so…new approach. I will now be showering you with hints, cues, clues, and nudges…all in one moment! I’ll make you understand!” ? Well today was one of those days. They seem to be coming faster and faster this time of year. *sigh*

So back story: Continue reading

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Put some *Glitter* on it!

If that title didn’t make you smile then imagine it in pink sparkly letters dancing across the screen and there ya’ go…

So….shoot me….it’s been a long time. LIKE OVER A MONTH since these fingers have done the walkin’ and this blog has done any talkin’.

¡Aycaramba!

Any-hoo i’m back and ready to sparkle.

The holidays… ‘Nuff said right? Well not really. Continue reading

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Pull your head out of your asana

Today I was demo-ing a fun transition from crow-tripod headstand-crow in my advanced class. This is a transition that makes an appearance fairly regularly in my own practice but not one I’ve demoed in this class before. I was trying to talk, slow down the transition so students could observe the stacking of the bones and low belly lift when *kurplunck* on the way out of sirsasana and back in to bakasana it happened…the dreaded face plant. I have a fairly sore chin to prove it too. Of course I made light and drew attention back to the flow but it definitely made the cheeks turn a rosy shade of “oh no she didn’t.”

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Happy Birthday G.

On October 2, the U.N. observes the International Day of NonViolence which is fitting, as October 2 is the birthday of  Mahatma (literally translated as”Great Soul”) Gandhi the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India throughout the Indian independence movement. A pioneer of satyagraha, or resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world, then and today. The anniversary gives the world a chance to consider the power and promise of non-violent means to resolving conflicts in the world today.

On this day i’m drawn to consider so much of my life. Am I doing enough? Am I making a difference? In the past these questions would send me in to what I lovingly refer to as brick layer mode…a place where it is much easier to stack stone and mortar over the issue, imprisoning it somewhere in the  back of my heart instead of in the forefront of the mind. It always seemed easier to avoid the issue than to actually face it. In those times where life was all I could handle it seemed futile to get myself all in a tizzy over something like making a difference.

Now, however I have my practice. I have my time, on my mat, that allows me to truly contemplate it all. And today on the morning so many decades ago that a great soul entered our history books, I can’t help but think just how much has changed in my thinking. I realize now that making a difference doesn’t appear grandiose for everyone. For some, being the change takes the form of a smile to a friend having  a hard day, choosing a sustainable and ethical meal, carving out time to meditate and send good intentions to ones-self and the world every day, walking a mile instead of driving, spreading seeds in the community that support other change makers. These seemingly small acts and so many more, if practiced by many would make tsunami size waves in the world. Waves of light, peace, grace and compassion. After all “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching” -Ghandi.

This is not to say that bigger things aren’t on the horizon. While I commit to living more authentically every day I also continue to make BIG goals for my path. I plan, in ten years, to have a non-profit mindfulness and wellness center that provides yoga, meditation, mindfulness training, healthy eating education and Eastern Medicine to the community. Right now i’m cultivating my practice both as a teacher and student and making connections around the community (local and national) to have the ability to do so. This goal and vision will continue to evolve but the important thing is that it is a passion, a fire, and like Ghandi I will make it happen along with my fellow friends, family and teachers. “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” I will not let fear of failure stand in my way…regardless of the end result, seeds of light and change will be spread.

So on this day i’d love to hear your waves. What do you do that may seem small to effect change in yourself and the world on a regular basis? Realize that nothing is small. Every decision you make to be authentic in your life will have a snow ball effect around the world if that is your intention. Send ego a note to take a break for the day and let us know what your story holds… what whispers from the past, glimpses into the future and exhales into the PRESENT moment show your intention and vision to the world? Lets support eachother. Let your response be an inspiration for us all to show up in every moment 🙂

Local Change Makers:

National Change Makers:

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Finding grace out of grief

It’s 9:30p and I have to be up at 4:30am tomorrow. The last thing on my mind,however, is sleep.
You see, grief has shrouded my bed with it’s hard, cold, not-so-warm-and-fuzzy surface and there is not a single position my body can find that will break that icy exterior…not without facing it head on.

I’ve been struggling for two days now on how to approach this topic but I’ve only come to one conclusion. There isn’t a good way. Its gonna be messy. I’ll be typing through tears. Muscles will clench and the heart will continue to burst with unimaginable pain.

My friend has died.
My 24 year old friend has died.

And she has died of an eating disorder.

These two words alone make so angry I can’t see straight, because I too almost died years ago of anorexia and bulimia. And no, I don’t feel guilty for living. I fought that battle hard. I am grateful for my family, my community,my friends far and wide who saw me through that struggle. And I am grateful for the grace that keeps me here with all of you.

I just wish there was one more beautiful woman still here with us.

When I met Emily she was barely 18. I was in treatment already and she walked in Frightened and apprehensive. Gorgeous but fragile. So disconnected from herself and her own truth that we all wanted to take her under our wings, despite our own needs, and heal her. In the process we saw someone so beautiful and bright that it was almost unfathomable that she couldn’t see it. Extremely intelligent and talented in everything she touched. BEAUTIFUL with porcelain skin and penetrating yet soft green eyes that could see deep into your goodness while accepting your darkness as beauty too. The tragedy was that she never learned to turn that gift of vision back on herself. She was in and out of treatment for what encompassed the span of her brief adulthood.

In the end we are all left stunned. It isn’t that I didn’t know it was extremely likely that Em would leave us young. It is more that one never truly expects to have to face it deep down. It is like seeing your first sunrise in all it’s glory only to realize the sun must set. Hoping you’ll see it again but not quite sure.

It is pure devastation. No sugar coating. All stone and sharp edges; heart in throat, eyes bulging with the ebb and flow of stinging tears. GRIEF.

It is my hope that those who knew Em, those who knew of her, and those who hear her story will act. Find your inner truth. Connect to it. Know it in every cell of your body, mind , soul…no one can take it from you. Nothing can pull it from your grasp. Express gratitude daily that you have all you need, that you are perfect, that you are the only one who can dim that light. Think of my beautiful friend and the grace she so freely gave but couldn’t receive. Know that doesn’t have to be you.

You are glorious.

I love you Em and while I’m angry, grief stricken and I have so many questions I know have no answers…I am also so grateful for you. I will always see knowing you as a great blessing in my life. Peace to you dear light.

If you or someone you know is struggling with food related issued of ANY level get help. Utilize your community resources. Go to http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ to find clinics, doctors, and other support systems around you. We must work together to help our neighbors. For as I am in you, you are in me. We are all connected. What hurts one of us hurts the unity of us all.

And NO being underweight isn’t the only indicator. Many women and men maintain “healthy” bmi ( body mass index) while struggling daily with poor heart function, dangerously low electrolytes, potential organ failure,mental illness and depression and so much more. Trust your instinct if something feels wrong with a friend. And remember addicts and Ed sufferers are great liars to protect the disease. Do your research and stay grounded in your truth as you go through the process. Most importantly take care of yourself.

Namaste,
Jennifer

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