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Permission to Rest

“Just doing yoga won’t ever be enough for me”. I remember saying these exact words when I first started to practice yoga regularly my freshman year of college. I liked yoga, I quickly grew to love to yoga, but it was always something that came in tandem with another activity. It was a cool down after a sweaty 30 minutes on the elliptical machine or a warm up before a kick boxing class.  My need to always be moving was powerful. I had tons of energy and spent a lot of time getting rid of it, until I was finally exhausted enough to relax. This ‘don’t stop until you’re asleep’ motto was modeled in my home and stories were often told of my grandmother not sitting down until 11 pm at night when she would finally fall asleep after being on the go all day long.
My relationship with yoga changed when I got sick during my junior year of college. I was tired and weak. I didn’t have the energy that I was used to and couldn’t do all that I wanted to do. At first, I was really annoyed – I wanted to go for a bike ride, hike or get to the gym, but my body wasn’t in agreement with my mind. My body needed to rest. After struggling with this perceived “set back”, I gave myself the space to accept that “just yoga” would have to be enough (for right now anyway). But something shifted within me once I accepted that yoga was enough – I began to crave my yoga practice.  When I was feeling antsy, anxious, busy, sad, angry, overwhelmed, I would get on my mat and the practice would fill me up – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

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Do I still hike, bike, walk and stay active outside of my yoga practice? Of course, but I what I learned about myself during this time was that I used those activities to escape from my body and shut off my mind while yoga brought me in union with my body and helped to quiet my mind without numbing out. Yoga gave me a space to tune in to what I was feeling and sensing so that eventually when I did return to my other activities I could do so with more awareness and steadiness to avoid burnout and fatigue.
“Elisa, I hope you find a way to bottle your energy and sell it one day. You’ll make millions”. This was written by 8th grade English teacher in my yearbook. Short of making millions, yoga has done just that for me – it has allowed me to utilize my energy so that I can be steady, balanced and calm in all of my daily activities. Slowing down is still a challenge for me, but I remind myself every day that I have permission to rest. Stillness and rest – both within my yoga practice and as a part of my day have deepened my connection to BodyWisdom. When I am in tune with BodyWisdom, I move, eat, relate and live more intuitively.
I would love to know how your relationship with yoga as changed over the years. Did you also feel like yoga would never been enough? Maybe you still feel that way? The awesome part about yoga is that the practice itself can adapt to what we are needing (vinyasa for when we have energy to be released versus restorative when we need our energy contained.)
Whether yoga alone is enough for you these days or it’s a complement to other activities, please respond to this email if you’d like access to my next audio yoga class, “Slow and Steady”.
Namaste,
Elisa
PS Interested in trying a BodyWisdom Coaching session? I have slots available for a FREE BodyWisdom Coaching session next next Tuesday and Thursday (Sept 26th and 28th). Please email me by Sunday the 24th to claim your spot. 

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Our Children, Our Future

Our Children, Our Future

“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be”

I have a very vivid memory of me singing along to the lyrics to Whitney Houston’s 1985 hit, “The Greatest Love of All”. In all the times I sang this song, never did I imagine what it would be like to be an adult with a child – a mother holding the future in my hands. But as much as I am her teacher, she is truly mine.  With each new day, she shows me what it is like to see, hear and taste something for the first time, to gaze at black and white outlines as though they are as valuable as Van Gough’s, to smile for seemingly no reason at all, and to sleep despite the chaos in a room.

Most importantly, she has shown me that no child is born with the ability to hate or discriminate another human being based on their religion or the color of their skin. She can only be taught racism, xenophobia, and misogyny. It is our (me and my husband) responsibility to teach her to love and respect herself first, so that she may do the same for others.

They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

We love her more than we could possibly imagine and know that our love for her will only continue to grow each and every day. But my husband and I are only one part of her village – you are such a significant part of her village – whether you’ve met her or not.

We ALL owe it to ALL our children, our future, to teach and model dignity, decency and respect; to teach and share equality, love, and kindness; and to stand up, speak up, and march and resist peacefully and thoughtfully. They are our future and their future is in our hands.


Kassidy Lila Mott Jones born on 12/12/16 on 11:51pm. 6 pounds 20 inches.

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Love, Love, Love

Ah, February, the month of Love.

I must admit, I am quite partial to celebrating love this month.  My husband proposed to me on the beach in Kauai on February 14th, at sunrise three years ago. We were married the following year on February 23. For me, February has become a month of celebrating and honoring our relationship.

For some, February can be a difficult, disappointing and even depressing month.

But what if this month, you decided to LOVE yourself – no matter what??  

I don’t mean waiting to love yourself when you lose weight or choosing to love yourself when you feel worthy of it.

YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE RIGHT NOW!

love

This month, take time to slow down and honor and celebrate your relationship with yourself and your body.

Here are some helpful tips for loving yourself and your body on and off your yoga mat.

On the Mat:

  • Experience what your body is doing and how your body is feeling in each pose.
  • Explore the purpose and action of each region of your body.
  • Notice where you feel strength, flexibility, challenge and ease.
  • Honor when your body needs to become more active and when can your body can become more relaxed.
  • Notice the flow of energy(prana) in your body.
  • Offer yourself empowering or soothing mantras through your practice.
    Ex. “My legs are strong and powerful and keep me grounded.”
    “My heart is open, my breath easy.”
    “My arms open wide to let in love.”

Off the Mat:

  • Feel the love you have in your heart for others, and offer a gesture of love to yourself.
  • Practice loving yourself  – give yourself a hug, an embrace, a self-massage(foot massages are great for this!)
  • Give yourself permission to receive love – remember you are worthy of love right now!
  • Accept any difficulties or challenges that come with offering self-love – it may feel uncomfortable or new.
  • Try repeating a loving mantra through out the day.
    Ex. “I am worthy of giving and receiving love.”
    “I am lovable just the way I am.”
    “I am enough!”

We could all take a lesson from the Beatles…

…All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need…

There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Songwriters
LENNON, JOHN / MCCARTNEY, PAUL

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Community of Compassion

This past weekend, I had the immense privilege to attend and present at the 25th Annual Renfrew Center Conference in Philadelphia. I could go on and on about the unbelievable presenters and how much I learned about eating disorders, trauma, feminism, and quantum physics  (pretty awesome conference, huh?), but instead I will say simply that I left on Sunday with a renewed sense of community – a community of compassion, love and belonging.

compassion

I was invited to commune, collaborate and celebrate all weekend long! By Sunday, I felt that I truly belonged. The feeling of belonging is not a feeling I take for granted, nor is it a feeling I know everyone experiences. When we feel we belong, even just for a moment, we feel safe, cared for, protected and like ‘everything’s going to be okay’. This type of belonging isn’t one of ‘fitting in’ and peer pressure, but one of deep contentment and acceptance. When we feel like we belong, our fears, insecurities, faults and flaws seem a little smaller, not so overwhelming. When others love and accept us, it’s easier to practice compassion with ourselves.  When we have a community, our authenticity, vulnerability and imperfections are welcomed with open arms. When we have a community, we have a home.

When do you do you feel safe, loved, and accepted? Who helps you feel safe, loved and accepted? How do you create a community of compassion?

 

 

 

 

 

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Heart and Hands

I recently taught a yoga class in which I asked the class to be particularly aware of their hands – more specifically the action and purpose of their hands.

I prompted students to consider:

“What are your hands doing in this pose?”
“What is the purpose and the action of your hands in this pose?”
“When do your hands need to become more active and when can your hands become more relaxed?”
“How do you experience the flow of energy in your hands?”
“Can you sense the connection of your hands to your heart and your heart to your hands?”

Lately, I find myself increasingly aware of this direct connection between my hands and my heart. In my restorative practice, as I rest deeply and in stillness,  I can sense the flow of energy, prana, that moves outward from my heart to my hands and returns again from my hands to my heart.  In my more active yoga practice, I am aware of the energetic action that stems outward from my heart to my hands and the increased heat from my hands back to my heart.

My increased awareness of hands and heart has not only had an influence on my practice on the mat, but off of the yoga mat as well. As I am in relationship with others,  it is simply not enough to feel the love I have for another in my heart, I must offer my love with a gesture of my hands. I may embrace with a hug, hold their hand, touch their face and or rest my hand on their shoulder.  My hands provide a direct link to my heart and it’s with my hands that I express and offer all the love in my heart.

On the Mat:

Experience what your hands are doing in each pose.
Explore the purpose and action of your hands in each pose.
Honor when your hands need to become more active and when can your hands may become more relaxed.
Notice the flow of energy in your hands.
Sense the connection of your hands to your heart and your heart to your hands.

Off the Mat:

Feel the love you have in your heart and offer a loved one a gesture that exhibits such love.
Start small – a touch on the shoulder, a rub on the back.
Accept any difficulties surrounding offering love with your hands whether it feels uncomfortable or new.
Practice loving yourself  – give yourself a hug, an embrace, a self-massage(foot massages are great for this!)