It's not in your head + you're not broken because of it.

How many of us have felt pushed to achieve? To be productive? To constantly create something of value? And, what does "value" even mean? How many of us have trouble with slowing down?  With allowing ourselves to just be? How often do we get swept up in climbing a ladder? Or keeping our homes picture perfect? Or getting paid more money? Or ensuring that our children are in the best after school programs - sports, music, art, therapy?

I'm raising my hand. If I had to guess, I would bet that at some point, you've been there, too (and maybe are right now). My question is: Why? My next question is: How does this pace of life make you feel? I invite you to really sit with this question, because some times we move so fast we miss it.

THIS is the root of many conditions that are running rampant through society right now: Anxiety. Overwhelm. Dis-ease. Maybe even depression and despair. I mean, how could anyone keep up with this pace? Note: This is not true in EVERY situation, but in many.

***

Two moments in stand out in my own life that really begged me for honesty and demanded I learn how to slow down. One, I've already shared with you as the time my health was suffering due to a breakneck pace of intense exercise, working hard and traveling a ton in former careers. Another, was when my family decided to move from Pennsylvania to Rhode Island, leaving behind a yoga studio I founded, dear friends that became family, a beautiful home, and the most charming little town.

I can remember when Eugene, the Yoga Dear hubby, told me he wanted to take a new job and move our family seven hours away from what had become home. I sobbed. I rolled out my mat. I journaled. I meditated. I got still. I listened. I'll never forget lying in savasana, tears rolling down my cheeks, feeling a warmth and a small voice offering that this move was the right next step. It was time to grow and expand in new directions. I have pinpricks of tears forming as I write this to you now.

Did that inner knowing make it any easier? It did not. In fact, in came uncertainty. This would become crippling at some moments even six months post-move. 
 

***

I mistakenly thought that growth and evolvement meant more creation, more doing, more productivity. I mistakenly thought I could siphon away pockets of time between taking care of my toddler and running a yoga studio from afar to create new programs, write even more, develop new revenue streams. That was all wrong.

What my heart needed more than ever before was SPACE. It took me nearly six months to arrive at that place. While I had intentionally left a fabulous job to follow a calling and open a yoga studio/business four years ago, disrupting the typical get a job, move up, make more money paradigm, I had still fallen into patterns. Patterns of doing, rather than stepping back to recognize what it is that my heart really longed for. Who do I want to serve? And, how? And, where? And, why? Can one of those answers be...me? Can I redirect yet again? How would that make me feel?

***

"Closed for Reclamation."

A yoga teacher shared these words. She said, that all over Colorado, beautiful hiking trails have these signs fixed at the front gates. A kinder way of saying: KEEP OUT. This sign is a reminder that these trails have been trodden on by so many, and that they need to grow wild again. They need space to grow lush and to expand into their wholeness. How beautifully yogic, yes?

Growth and evolvement doesn't have to mean "doing." In fact, it allows for more "being." Growth and change also beg for surrender. A letting go of the former ways to make space for the new. Surrender asks for stillness, for quiet, for inner inquiry.

In this way, not doing and not producing does not = unworthy. [read that again]

In fact, this allows YOU to grow wild again, to remember your inner child, to pull it forward, to surrender to your deepest dreams and desires. It's the ultimate path of healing. It's where I finally arrived after months and months of tears, sadness, overwhelm. What would happen if I let go? What would happen if I let myself grow wild again? What would happen if I closed for a bit of reclamation?

***

Moving slowly helps me to capture and LIVE IN moments like these. As parents, we’re doing our best to foster space, slow growth, stillness, and a little wildness in our toddler…

Moving slowly helps me to capture and LIVE IN moments like these. As parents, we’re doing our best to foster space, slow growth, stillness, and a little wildness in our toddler…

I want this for you. I want you to recognize that even in the goodness of your doing - the lives you get to change, the bellies you fill with delicious meals, the incredible work you are putting out into the world - patterns and habits can begin to set in that are not always helpful. In these patterns, we find ourselves on autopilot, in constant mental loops, moving through our days without our born right of enjoyment and enthusiasm.

And, then our bodies often start to tell us something's up. It could show up as a constant racing heart. Debilitating sadness. Impaired digestion. Insomnia. Panic attacks. Infertility. Rashes. I'm not saying your sadness isn't real, or that your pain isn't real, because it absolutely is. It's not in your head. And, you're not broken because of it.

So, let's start with asking the right questions. Are you doing so much that you don't allow for being? Do you feel that the answer to your overwhelm is more productivity? Or better delegation? Is that rubbing off on those around you (i.e. your kids, your partner)? What are your patterns? How does it make you feel? Is any of this serving you? What does your body think?

And...is it time to create space? To take one or two or three moments in your day to "Close for Reclamation?" What would that be like?

This is BY FAR one of the most powerful messages that has ever come through me to you.What is coming up for you as you're reading? What's one word to sum up the way you feel? Can you send it to me?
 
With love,
Leanne


The body is a gateway towards your healing

Hey there,

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to "heal" lately.

Does it happen just after a trauma? Is it reserved for specific physical circumstances? Does something "big" have to happen in order to validate the healing process? How do you heal the repetitive negative patterns going on in your mind? In your body? Can healing serve as preventative care?

What I do know about the healing process is that it takes TIME. Effort. And, it usually is helpful to have a support system in place. People like therapists, yoga therapists, a trusted friend, a partner, a parent, a doctor, an acupuncturist, a yoga teacher, a spiritual teacher, etc. can be tremendously helpful in facilitating and guiding your healing process.

Emphasis on guides. At some point, YOU have to learn how to listen as your body speaks. YOU have to do the work of learning to go within, slow down, ask yourself the right questions, get still, and listen for the answers.

And, this is in direct opposition to our culture. We often (though not always) want quick fixes and band-aids so that we can go back to “doing” at what we don’t even perceive to be warp speed, avoiding our pain and traumas, and by doing so we never actually heal. We never actually find wellness. We never actually get to the root causes of what made us unwell in the first place, and so the cycle will continue.

***

If I'm honest, I've really opened myself up to the possibilities of what healing is and what it can look like, especially during my training as a yoga therapist. For me, it often starts with the body. Movement has always been a way to connect with my highest self, source, the Divine, whatever you want to call it, and the most beneficial path for me has been yoga (up until 10 years ago, it was modern dance). Although my yoga lately doesn’t always look like the “yoga” you might see on Instagram and YouTube…

And, your variation of yoga doesn’t have to look like Instagram or YouTube either.

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You can practice Restorative Yoga, only doing five poses in an hour with the support of props like pillows, blocks, blankets, bolsters, and neck rolls to allow yourself to really relax. You can put on music and light a candle, roll out your mat, and simply move to the rhythm of your own heartbeat. You can use yoga therapy balls to roll out the fascia and tissue in the arches of your feet, IT bands, shoulders, the upper chest, hips and low back. You can choose a more vigorous practice followed by a 10 minute savasana.

Whatever you do, focus on your healing, rather than your “fitness” if healing is what you need. Focus on what is happening within your body from the inside out. How does it feel? Where is the tightness? Where do you contract? What are you holding on to or guarding? So much is stored in the body. Memories, pain, trauma. I'm learning to move it out and, through my own self study, how to help others move it out, too. But, this won’t happen in a day or even a week. Your healing will likely take time.

I’m still thinking and studying about the questions on healing from above, but I have a few thoughts to bring this full circle.

  1. Trauma is a word with a wide range of differences. What might be “trauma” to one individual may not be to another. And, because of this variability, some of us push aside our experiences as not a trauma, and healing doesn’t begin as early as it could.

  2. Healing isn’t only reserved for the physical body. Your feelings matter. Honoring them matters. And, often those emotions can affect our physical state of well-being. Healing your emotional layer is a recognition that you are NOT broken, but that you’re hitting some bumps along your journey and may need support to remind yourself of your wholeness.

  3. Experiencing our bodies and reconnecting with them is a gateway towards allowing ourselves to heal. Movement (but not always vigorously), breathing, and meditation combined with other modalities (talk therapy, acupuncture, seeing a doctor, getting into nature, etc.) can be wildly effective in your growth and well-being.

I imagine this is the first post of more to come on what it means to heal, and how we can begin to facilitate our own healing process. Try reconnecting with your body as a start. Gather a support system, but know that it’s only YOU who can really know what you need. Your body is a gateway to the answers that are buried within your being. And, it is already speaking to you. Know that this process is not a quick fix, but it’s more sustainable in the long run. Let’s begin our healing journey there. Yes?

With love,
Leanne

P.S. I’d love to hear how this resonates with you, especially as I continue down this path in yoga therapy. I look forward to sharing how we might work together in a yoga therapy capacity, working towards healing using a combination of movement and yoga postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and talking about whatever needs to come up in the moment. And, I’d love to answer your questions about yoga therapy, too.