The thing isn't always the thing.

Hey there,

There was a time when I woke up every day with a racing heart and sweaty palms. EVERY DAY. For years. And, as so many of us do, I pushed through it. I got up, ran with my dog, took the metro into work, changed jobs, changed jobs again, started practicing yoga, moved (out of state)…a few times, and then really started getting into yoga.

And, then one day…it clicked. I didn’t feel free.

The racing heart and the sweaty palms weren’t something to stop or cover up. They were a signal. A symptom asking me to dig a little deeper and to get honest with myself. The thing wasn’t necessarily the thing. As I say in class, “Does this make sense?”

I was living a life of “should’s:”

  • I should have this wardrobe and wear my hair a certain way.

  • I should run and work out intensely and only do power yoga because that’s what counts.

  • I should only eat “clean” foods.

  • I should outperform at work, move up, and make way more money.

  • I should talk and speak a certain way.

  • I should never slow down or take breaks or show weakness.

That’s not freedom. That was [and sometimes still is] a bondage of my own making nestled into the inner workings of my mind. And, this sense of freedom, even if students don’t say it in class, is the number one reason I see so many seek out yoga. We long to feel free.

Because, innately and deep down we know that:

  • Waking up tired is not freedom.

  • Rolling out of bed with an already racing heart and short fuse is not freedom.

  • Feeling sluggish and constantly sore in our physical bodies is not freedom.

  • Rushing from task to task is not freedom.

  • Believing that we are a diagnosis is not freedom.

  • Feeling like we have to lift/run/whatever to get in a daily workout is not freedom.

  • Feeling insecure of our abilities is not freedom.

  • Living in constant fear or negativity is not freedom.

  • Doubting our deepest desires and dreams is not freedom.

  • Denying the divinity, beauty, and self-love within our hearts is not freedom.


***

When I started to recognize my patterns that kept me locked in a cycle of feeling like a hamster on a wheel (which I’ve heard a handful of times already this week), I started to ask better questions. The first being:

What makes you feel free?

And, I couldn’t answer it. I cried. I didn’t even know. You may not know.

***

What steadiness and ease can look like. If even for just a few moments…

What steadiness and ease can look like. If even for just a few moments…

There’s a Yoga Sutra that reads:

Sthira Sukham Asanam. —>> aka the Sanskrit

—>> Translation: The posture (yoga pose) should have steadiness and ease. And, through that steadiness and ease within the physical body, the natural comfort and joy of our being is discovered. How beautiful, yes?

Practicing yoga as a fully integrated path can help us get off the hamster wheel and open up our hearts and arms to all the freedom we seek. And, it can start with the poses. As you move through a yoga practice, does it feel easeful and steady? Can you breathe through the poses? Here is where we cultivate steadiness into our lives. We know we’ve gone too far in a yoga class when our breathing becomes short, tight, nonexistent, or when our faces are beet red. So, we back off. We come back to steadiness and ease. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a challenge to the practice, but rather we pay more attention and move with intention.

Sounds simple, right? That an entry point to freedom could be through the body? Indeed.

As we practice we start to unlock doors that have been sealed off for so long. Perhaps we start to recognize what it feels like to feel free. Perhaps we remember those pieces of our lives that bring us immense joy and love and that wonderful kind of laughter that makes us cry. But, we need to practice. I need to practice. You need to practice. Every. Day. And, I don’t necessarily mean for 60 minutes every time.

***

So, coming full circle…remember this: The thing isn’t always the thing. Your sweaty palms, your racing heart, your feelings of heaviness, your chronic low back pain, your overwhelming fatigue…the symptoms aren’t the end point. They aren’t something to be ignored. How can you pay more attention to what is happening within your body and your mind? What is it that you need? What is your body trying to tell you?

As always, I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing from you. Is there a chronic condition you’re experiencing? Do you have a question about it? I can’t say I have all the answers, but I’ll certainly be a sounding board and maybe even a guide.

With so much love,
Leanne


P.S. If you’ve been following along with this series that has been introducing Yoga Therapy, please know how immensely grateful I am for you to be here. For years, I have sought to share yoga teachings that help to spark a curiosity of your own body and mind’s ability to heal. And, I truly want to support you on that journey. Please write to me if you’re curious about yoga therapy and have questions about how it may support you. I enjoy a good Whats App or Zoom date and would love to connect with you! I’m also dropping a testimonial here:

I came to private yoga therapy after a severe shoulder injury and surgery. What I gained in the sessions was much more.

I felt safe and secure in our time together, and gained important knowledge about my limitations and abilities
moving forward. Leanne has an inner balance and confidence that is part of her being. She understands the connection between the body, mind, and spirit of one’s self.

She helped me explore my post-injury balance on the yoga mat and also helped me discover some more personal things affecting me off of the mat. Leanne helped me to express parts of my grief, insecurity and struggles when the time was right for me. In the physical practice she gently encouraged me to be confident in stepping out of the familiar.

After our private sessions, I returned to community based practice with Leanne and her team at her former studio. Leanne leads with grace, and clarity of purpose across the board. I enjoyed what I was learning so much, that I decided to enroll in teacher training led by Leanne. It felt as if the process came full-circle.

In whatever capacity one works with Leanne, know the work will not be easy. Leanne will challenge you to explore things for yourself, to listen to yourself, and to trust yourself and sometimes that isn’t easy. I can truly say the work Leanne and I did together, changed me as a person and allowed me to see myself in a stronger, more compassionate light.
— N.

You are enough.

Know this: You are worthy. You are loved. You are enough. You are whole, not broken. How often do you say this to yourself? I am enough. How often do you give yourself the permission to feel this way? I'm betting not very often. In a society that teaches us to measure success and happiness by our accomplishments, appearance, and material gains, it's a tough concept to grasp. But, here's what I love...

Photo by  Steve Halama  on  Unsplash

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Yoga teaches us that we are not what we do or what we accomplish. Yoga teaches us that you, me, we are enough right here, right now. You are enough regardless of what you get done by the end of the day. You are enough despite mistakes you’ve made or tasks you’ve left undone. You are enough regardless of what your body can or can't do. You are enough even if you [and maybe your kids] can't find matching socks. You are enough because at your very core you choose to live from the heart. You are capable of love and being loved. You have unique gifts and talents to share. You are enough.

Yoga helps us reconnect to our bodies and our minds on a physical and emotional level, and to remember that we are enough because we exist. Powerful, right? And, the more we practice, the more we embrace ourselves wholeheartedly, we remember our worthiness. And, that’s why I'm so drawn to share yoga therapy. To help you learn, grow and connect into your physical and mental space, perhaps even a spiritual one, too.

What makes you feel like you're not enough? Say it so you can claim it. Write it down. Then, ask: Is it true? I'd love to hear what comes up. Share in the comments below or message me on Instagram.

With love,
Leanne

Why yoga therapy?

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We often come to yoga for more than the movement. We're searching. We want relief from anxiety, depression, loss, overwhelm, pain. We crave purpose. Connection.

When you join, you'll receive regular down to earth and practical guidance to incorporate yoga therapy into your every day. Learn how yoga therapy can transform the way you live in your body, and ultimately your life.

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