Yoga Practice for Healing: Soften into your Grief, Let the Light Shine Again

Yoga Practice for Healing: Soften into your Grief, Let the Light Shine Again

Welcome to your safe haven, your yoga mat, where all forms of healing can occur.

 

Whether you’re currently healing or wanting to heal past pains, this is your invitation to step forward, soften into your grief, experience a soothing, gentle yoga practice, and let your light shine from within.

 

You might be shaking your head, thinking to yourself, girllll there is no damn light. There’s only a scary, all consuming darkness. Life has been unfair to me and there’s no hope for finding that light again.

 

But trust me, that light does exist. Yes, it might be buried under layers of pain, but it’s there, waiting to be uncovered and welcomed back into your life again.

 

Let me show you how.

 

I’ve had challenges with intimacy since losing my virginity.

 

The man who first entered my world wasn’t kind, took advantage of my tender soul, and treated me like an asset, not like a breathing, living person. I was his to use for pleasure, while he also used other women for pleasure too. He spoke down to me in an effort to manipulate my thoughts, made me feel less than, spread deep secrets that weren’t his to tell, and then trapped me under his watchful eye.

 

…. anyone else experience this too?

 

It was a toxic beginning to my story with intimacy, leading me to seek unimaginable amounts of attention from other men, thinking that only my body was worthy of love, and not the woman who resides inside.

 

This same experience continued to unfold for years to come, reaffirming each time that this was natural and normal. This is what love, romance, and intimacy felt like.

 

Of course, I now know this isn’t true, having been shown intimacy through years of being with my husband, but…..

 

These men and these experiences have left me scarred. I am not the first to initiate romance, I am not the first to spread my legs, I am not the first to surrender and let love overtake me.

 

I close up. I turn away. I try to put it off.

 

Luckily, I have a husband who loves my dearly and is willing to be patient, plus a backbone of knowledge from practicing yoga and studying the chakra system. But, there’s still work to do.

 

I’m only just beginning to learn the profound effects of how my younger years have impacted me and I’m also only just beginning to heal myself and the scars that have been left behind.

 

And hey, this might be where you are too, healing past pains and old wounds. Or, you might be in the thick of grief as you read this, kicking your way to the surface, barely holding your head afloat. Or, you might be unaware of your past pains and how they’ve implicated you. But whatever your story is, remember….

 

We’re all human beings having a human experience which means, there’s work here to do. Work to release past traumas, work to let go of tension, work to make amends with our past, and work to propel us forward.

 

It’s my goal to help you (and I) do just that through today’s yoga practice. This yoga practice isn’t the antidote to your grief, it won’t solve your problems, and it won’t be the solution to your healing. But it will be the catalyst for you to either begin or continue.

 

So come join me, breath with me, move with me, soften into your grief with me, and most importantly, invite your light to shine again with me.

 

I’ll meet you on your mat, ready to begin, ready to start again.

 

Allie, xoxo

 

 

 
 
 
 
Yoga Practice for New Beginnings, Growth, and Evolution

Yoga Practice for New Beginnings, Growth, and Evolution

New beginnings.

 

This is the theme of today’s yoga practice as we’re embarking on a brand new year, but it’s also the theme of every single day we experience. Our eyes open, our feet hit the ground, and a new beginning lies ahead.

 

But why do we miss this new opportunity so easily? Why do we gloss over the marvel that we’re alive for one more day? Why do we so easily discard that our hearts are still beating?

 

I’m asking this question more for myself, but I’m sure you can relate.

 

Here I am, having fulfilled so many large goals and life dreams, and yet…. I awake and quickly forget how incredible it is to even be here.

 

So while the new year is upon us and many new beginnings are unfolding (each in their own way), I want to use this space to honor the daily beginnings that lead to larger change.

 

Change like connecting with the core of who you are. Change like being more intimate with your partner and accepting love and pleasure. Change like sitting your ass down to meditate and doing it over and over. Change like eating to fuel and nourish your body, not treat it like a garbage can. Change like learning, evolving, and growing. Change like focusing on your goals and intentions, and actually following through on them. Change like writing it down, connecting the dots, and flushing it out (aka journaling). Change like accepting others for who they are and not trying to change them. Change like loving yourself….

 

Every.Damn.Day.

 

Are you up for that kind of change?

 

I have a feeling you are…. otherwise you wouldn’t be here, part of this community, and practicing alongside me.

 

Here’s what I propose.

 

After you finish this yoga practice for new beginnings, pause, take a moment, and reflect. What change do you need today? Today is the central word here….

 

Don’t think about tomorrow, a week from now, or a month from now.

 

What do you need right now?

 

As I type this, I need meditation, a journal sesh, a moment to really read, and a dip in the sea.

 

Now it’s your turn. Tune in. Listen to that inner voice, the voice that comes from your core. What do you need? What do you need? What do you need?

 

Write it down. Say it loud. Begin. Right now.

 

This year, 2018, is all about just starting for me. No more waiting around. No more excuses. No more procrastination. No more. No more. No more.

 

I realize now, having left the comfort of everything…. like endless hot water, a constantly cold refrigerator, well-stocked grocery stores, fast as hell internet, a vehicle, a working cell phone…… that it’s time to just start.

 

I had all of the resources to create whatever I could dream up and yet, I didn’t. I wasted time. I scrolled on my phone. I scrolled some more. I jumped from one thing to the next.

 

I didn’t go for it when I had the chance, the space, the means, and the time.

 

So like I said before, no more.

 

Let’s awaken together, be grateful that our feet touched the ground today, and start living our journey this year (in 2018).

 

To get started, meet me on your mat, invite your mind into your body, and start this new beginning feeling clear, focused, and connected.

 

I’ll meet you there, xoxo

 

p.s. – Don’t forget, if you want to bend + breathe effortlessly, shop the romper I’m wearing from Buddha Pants.

Restorative Yoga Practice for Weight Loss: Stimulate the Digestive System, Reduce Stress, Practice Mindfulness

Restorative Yoga Practice for Weight Loss: Stimulate the Digestive System, Reduce Stress, Practice Mindfulness

Another week, another restorative yoga practice, another opportunity to completely relax, and of course – restore.

 

This week’s practice centers on weight loss, reducing stress, rebalancing the hormones, promoting mindfulness, and stimulating the digestive system. Which at first glance, restorative yoga might seem like a strange antidote to weight loss, but hear me out JJ community.

 

First, this class is for everyone, underweight, the right weight (WTF does that even mean), and overweight. It’s an all-inclusive practice that everyone can do.

 

Second, restorative yoga is the practice of relaxation, helping to combat stress from our day-to-day lives. And with our modern world spinning faster and faster, it’s no wonder that a healthy lifestyle becomes compromised. I learned this firsthand while working at three different corporations and watching people deteriorate before me due to stress.

 

It’s a serious problem.

 

Snack machines. Fast food. Endless caffeine. Long working hours. Business travel. Office politics. Heated conversations, sometimes arguments. Raised energy levels. Feeling at risk of blame, shame, and possibly termination.

 

….. does any of that sound familiar?

 

When we live in this constant state of fight or flight, it triggers a complex shift in our hormones that quickly draws on vital energy resources. This energy depletion can then lead to an increase in appetite to replenish the body…. aka stress eating, eating out of  boredom, pouring that third glass of wine, etc.

 

Restorative yoga helps to combat ALL OF THIS, rebalancing the hormones and reducing stress! Are you starting to understand why this is the secret ingredient to weight loss (and happiness)?

 

Lastly, restorative yoga encourages mindfulness. When we operate from a calm, cool, and collected state, we’re more likely to make sound decisions regarding our health and wellness. This third point rings incredibly true for me.

 

When I’m operating from a space of body, mind, soul connection – everything falls into a state of flow – and it’s so damn magical. I find myself reaching for the pen to journal, stepping on my mat with an eager heart, making and consuming food that fuels me, and engaging in conversations/practices that better my journey.

 

Okay, case closed.

 

We’re all on the restorative yoga bandwagon, now let’s go.

 

Below is your restorative yoga for weight loss sequence that includes the how-tos, what props you need, and extra tidbits to guide your journey.

 

Heart Opener x 3

 

prop needed: long roll blanket fold, see this post for a tutorial

 

I’ve just recently discovered this restorative yoga posture sequence and I’ve got to admit, it’s a keeper. So simple. So soothing. So effective.

 

We’ll practice this posture three times, starting with the blanket positioned at the upper back (your bra-line), moving it to the middle back, and ending with it positioned on your lower back (think where you place a block for restorative bridge pose).

 

Once you get settled atop the blanket, extend the legs towards the front of your mat, bring the arms into a T shape and allow the heart center to expand and soften here, and lastly, rest your head down to the mat, keeping length in the back of your neck.

 

We will hold each blanket position for 2 -3 minutes, your only job is to relaxxxxx, softly breathe, and enjoy the experience!

 

Half-Triangle at the Wall

 

prop needed: back of a chair or wall

 

Okay, I need to be frank.

 

This posture feels more like a modified pyramid to me, but if we’re being politically correct and keeping all terminology aligned, this is called wall half-triangle in the restorative yoga world.

 

So why are we using the wall?

 

The goal here is to do a forward bend without dropping the head below the heart, making it safe and accessible for everyone participating (esp. if you have high blood pressure and shouldn’t be inverting). And if you’re someone who wants more here, go for it, but I do advise using blocks as the body isn’t warm enough for a full pyramid posture.

 

Now go find yourself a wall!

 

Once there, place your hands on the wall, step your right foot back about one foot and the left foot about three feet behind it. The back foot is positioned at about a 45 degree angle here.

 

Start to straighten your arms and lower your torso parallel towards the floor, keeping your ears, arms, and torso aligned. If you need to readjust your legs to accommodate the straightening of your arms, go for it!

 

Hold for one minute, keep your breath steady, and switch sides!

 

Forward Fold on Chair

 

props needed: chair and optional blanket

 

Forward folds are well loved in the yoga community and I hear you, they fells so damn good. But they can also easily be overdone, overstretched, and create pain in the lower back and knees. And yes, I’m one of those people who overdid it. 

 

This posture is about experiencing and feeling the same benefits of forward fold, but without the strain and potential for injury.

 

So grab yourself a chair and come relax with me!

 

With a blanket placed atop the chair (optional prop for more comfort), bring yourself into a seated position in front of the chair and place your legs in a position that serves you. In the video, I choose a shortened straddle, but you can take a cross-legged position or extend your legs long underneath the chair (if your chair is shaped for this).

 

Once you’ve found that oh so comfy place, stack hands atop one another, and rest your forehead down onto them.

 

We’ve got 5 minutes on the clock, enjoy each moment of them!

 

Legs on Chair

 

props needed: chair and optional blanket

 

And you made it to your final posture, savasana, but with legs on a chair. Trust me, it’s just as yummy as traditional savasana.

 

From your forward fold over the chair, transition to a lying down position with your feet and calves resting atop the chair. Make any final adjustments you need here to experience total relaxation, then close your eyes and welcome integration, aka that body, mind, soul connection.

 

Stay here for a minimum of 5 minutes or however long your heart desires!

 

Once you’ve completed today’s practice, make a mental note of how you feel throughout the day, at work, at home, with your loved ones, and in your daily decisions. Notice if this short practice created a stepping stone for a healthier, more mindful, and connected you.

 

And if it did, keep at it friend! This practice is all yours.

Crown Chakra Flow: Yoga Practice to Welcome Integration

Crown Chakra Flow: Yoga Practice to Welcome Integration


Today’s chakra is the pinnacle of the Chakra Challenge, it’s the culmination of the energetic centers beneath, it’s the integration of all seven wheels combined into one.

Welcome to the sahasrara chakra, the crown chakra space. The seventh chakra is our source of enlightenment, our spiritual connection to something greater, our relationship with our higher selves, and a deeper/acutely aware consciousness.

Let’s dive in.

The crown chakra has always felt the farthest from reach out of all the energetic centers within, it’s been the easiest to dismiss for me. Like yeah right, I am not going to reach enlightenment, and transcendence and spiritual consciousness, say what, I can barely meditate for five minutes, and integrate into oneness, that seems eons away for me.

And this same tape player of limiting beliefs has continued to surface each time I work, read, or flow with the crown chakra, I imagine you might feel the same way too. But my attitude has recently changed after finishing the last chapter from the noteworthy novel, Anatomy of the Spirit.

The author, Caroline Myss, has an uncanny ability to share the crown chakra in such a simplistic spirit that it becomes all too obvious how we can reach it. Here’s a few snippets to help you relate:

  • It is the chakra of prayer and meditation.
  • It is the entry point for human life-force, which pours endlessly into the human energy system, from the greater Universe. This force then nourishes the body, mind and spirit.
  • The energy of the seventh chakra influences that of major body systems: the central nervous system, the muscular system, and the skin.
  • It contains the energy that generates devotion, inspirational and prophetic thoughts, transcendent ideas, and mystical connections.
  • The seventh chakra energy motivates us to seek spirituality, an individual experience directed towards releasing fears of the physical world and pursuing a relationship with the Divine.The sacred truth of this chakra is: Live in the Present Moment.

And maybe you just read all of that and feel more confused, and that’s okay too. The biggest takeaway for me is that it’s a journey of spirit, prayer, meditation, and devotion to a higher consciousness and beyond. Translate this to however you need to, but do try to take a thread of this knowledge and integrate it into your life.

For me, my constant complaining around not having a meditation practice is key. It’s shown up time and time again as I continue down this path, and yet, I refrain from doing anything about it.

This is where my work lives, in addition to prayer.

Yes, I prayed a lot growing up in a Jewish conservative home, think twice weekly visits to the temple and sometimes more, but as I grew older and more detached from my organized religious roots, a source of meaning and connection also disintegrated too.

Then came, the discovery of the yoga practice and the lifestyle. This is where I rekindled my connection to my spirit. I felt myself come alive from every crevice and I’ve continued to ride this wave of connection ever since.

So again, whatever works to bring your spirit alive, go do that and keep doing it until the day you die (sorry to be morbid tribe).

Now that’s a lot of talking and diving deep, so let’s cover the must-knows and then step on our mats to finish this final class from the Chakra Challenge!

Sahasrara Must-Knows

  • It is located at the crown of the head
  • The element is cosmic energy, thought or space
  • It centralizes around integration, cosmic consciousness, enlightenment, transcendence, and spirituality
  • The color is violent, envision glowing rays of violet surrounding the crown of your head, dispersing every which way
  • The bija mantra is OHM

Today’s yoga flow will be a full body, move into every crevice, awaken each space within sequence. We will begin with a seated meditation chanting the bjia mantra – OHM, move through seated postures, strong standing postures, arm balances and inversions, backbends, and end with a sweet savasana to seal the entire sequence of chakra classes.

Throughout this final practice, I will bring our attention to all seven chakra centers, connecting the dots, integrating our energy, and preparing us to embrace the next journey ahead.

Let’s get started.

The Chakra Challenge: a seven day experience to awaken, energize, and reconnect - Pin now, join the Chakra Challenge Now!
Back to Yoga Basics: How to Continue + Deepen Your Yoga Practice

Back to Yoga Basics: How to Continue + Deepen Your Yoga Practice

Okay yoga community, welcome to the last post of of the Back to Yoga Basics series, where we’re welcoming new yoga students to their mat, creating a safe space for learning, and covering the foundations of what to expect for the yoga journey ahead.

 

Today’s focus is how to continue + deepen our yoga practice….. because I know if you’re just starting this yoga journey, you’re quickly falling head over heels and want to know how to continue this love affair.

 

But before we dive in, lets recap everything we’ve covered + experienced thus far.

 

 

Holy what. That’s a lot of information! Feel good about learning + experiencing all of that? And if you’re just landing here on this page, I encourage you start at the first experience and work your way back to this page.

 

And now we’re here in this moment, discussing how to continue this incredible journey.

 

Below are my suggestions, but remember, these are my personal thoughts. Each teacher + yoga student will have a different opinion, so do what feels good, add in what your body needs, remove what you’re not enjoying, and then continue to fine tune this experience as your journey unfolds.

 

1. Consistent Yoga Practice

 

Like anything we pursue in life, consistency helps breed success, and this is true of the yoga practice too.

 

Without a consistent practice, it will continue to be challenging, uncomfortable and intimidating. So to not be stuck in this space, I invite you to commit to a consistent yoga practice and recommend a minimum of three days a week.

 

These “three days” can be a mix of whatever your body is needing, but plan ahead, choose the yoga classes you’re crushing on and then commit! And to help get ya started, below are two ideas:

 

 

2. Challenge Yourself

 

Once you’re in the yoga groove, bending + breathing, it’s time to challenge yourself and start a new journey. Not only will your body be ready to mix it up + learn new postures, it’s also great for your mind to cultivate positive habits that will spill over into your life (hello yoga off the mat).

 

Below are two journey’s I recommend (+ created) that are intended for the yogi who’s not a beginner, but ready to take it up a notch.

 

 

3. Start Meditating

 

The next step on our yoga path is learning about meditation + cultivating a meditation practice.

 

Now I have to give a disclaimer here, I’m not the best at meditating and it’s a practice that is consistently written down with my monthly/weekly goals, yet somehow I’ve yet to form it into a habit.

 

However, the benefits are undeniable and it’s a deeply rooted part of the yoga tradition, so I will continue to work at this practice, sitting my butt down, closing my eyes, clearing my mind, and getting more and more comfortable with my hot loneliness (my new favorite term for uncomfortable moments of nothingness).

 

If you’ve never practiced meditation, here’s a great video tutorial explaining the different styles. And if you’re ready to mediate, below are free meditations from yours truly.

 

4. Find Your Yoga Fam

 

I know, this tip is a bit cliché, but stick with me.

 

The yoga path can be a lonely path, and the deeper you dive into the practice, the lonelier it will become. Your familiar circle of friends, co-workers, and family members will most likely support your yoga journey, but they just won’t get it. Trust me. Been there. Done that. Still doing it.

 

And while sometimes loneliness is the key to discovering our true potential, it can also be downright boring and not enjoyable. So this is why I tell you to find your yoga fam.

 

Find the people who are doing yoga, leaning into their fears, creating new habits, taking chances, and doing the work.

 

You can find your community through a local yoga studio, any type of movement studio, a local book club, a nonprofit organization, or right here online with us. If you’re seeking a yoga community to connect with and share in this journey, click the link below to learn all about the Body Mind Soul Studio!

 

Join the BMS Studio waitlist to connect with your supportive yoga fam!

 

5. Become a Yoga Teacher

 

And last on the list of how to continue + deepen your yoga practice is…. become a yoga teacher!

 

Oh hey, that’s what I did, and you can definitely do it too. Regardless of whether you want to teach or not, becoming a yoga teacher is life changing experience that will deepen your knowledge of the yoga studies, connect you with humans on an unimaginable level, help break down your fears in a safe space, and armor you with the confidence to get out there and pursue your dreams.

 

If this idea is creating butterflies in your tummy, read this article to learn about the different programs + styles of teacher training.

 

Okay tribe, that’s the jam!

 

If you participated in this entire series, thank you for showing up, doing the work, and learning more about your yoga practice + yourself in the process! Now it’s your job to take the next step and continue your journey…. you got this, I promise.

 

Until next time, xoxo.