The sound of the genuine

When I decided to take a break from writing for a bit, I didn't have a plan for when I'd be back. I'm a somewhat reformed Type A personality, so not having a plan is a big deal (amiright?). However, I did know that the time would present itself, that I'd feel a strong urge to share and write again with renewed purpose even if I wasn't sure when.

I feel it now. I felt it standing on a mountain in Colorado a few days ago. I felt it during a meditation so beautiful that I knew I was lit from within.

***

I'll be honest. My perspective has changed, my direction in business and life is changing. Let me reintroduce what Yoga Dear [Yoga Therapy] is really about, and who these letters are really for.

"There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine within yourself." - Howard Thurman


These letters, teachings, and this space known as Yoga Dear is for people who want to get down to real talk, real conversation, and meaningful connection, really quickly.

Eugene, Bodhi, and I hiking on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs

Eugene, Bodhi, and I hiking on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs

I have found that one of the reasons we have a hard time finding true connection, friendship, and deep relationships with others, especially into adulthood, is because we're not having the real and honest and sometimes tough conversations early on. We either say nothing or scroll through our phones. We judge viewpoints different than our own, rather than approach them with curiosity. We play it safe by talking about things like the weather, recent news/entertainment, and/or our children's daily habits, rather than looking into another's eyes, seeing them, and sharing truthfully...whatever that truth looks like in the moment and allowing them the ability to do the same. [Note: Conversations about the weather, news/entertainment, and children are welcome here AND I want to create space for self discovery].

But, this requires vulnerability. It requires vulnerability from the individual who is seeking a deeper relationship, a true connection. And, it requires vulnerability from the individual who is sitting across from her. Right? This is the way to find the genuine, to welcome it in all its messy glory.

***

These letters are words directly from the deepest part of my being to you. I am vulnerable. I am honest. I want to hear from you, to connect with you. I want you to feel connected to me and to those who read these messages, too.

I want to teach you more about who you already are, to help you uncover the most beautiful parts of yourself that may have collected dust or been shielded for far too long. I want these letters to spark inspirational, thoughtful, genuine and sometimes tough conversations with your Self and those around you.

I want to teach you about Yoga Therapy, and how it can provide for a life-changing healing process physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

I want to create community near and far. A community so strong and real that when you interact with me in one-on-one yoga therapy, come to a class, attend a retreat, sign up for a training, it's like we've known each other for years. I want you to feel like you're always learning something that you can directly apply to your life. A life that has the right to feel joyous, free, creative, and loving.

I sincerely hope this sounds like something you want to be a part of. I'll be writing to you regularly and I encourage you to write back (I respond to every message).

Over the next few weeks, I'm releasing a series to share how I found yoga therapy and why [ahem...anxiety which led to other forms of dis-ease]. I'll share what conditions it can support and how, and I'll share some of my favorite messages EVER that I've written recently about letting go, inner wisdom, and healing. I'm so glad you're here. I've missed you.

** If you're looking forward to receiving these letters, can you hit reply and send me a quick emoji? I'd love to hear from you. **

With love,
Leanne


P.S. If you've been a regular Yoga Dear reader, this series will be spread out over a few weeks. If you're a brand new reader, you'll have already started receiving very similar letters. And, if you're a new mother or expecting mother, please know that Yoga Dear Mama letters will resume soon, too. <3

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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Thanking the rocks [a toddler lesson]

Hey there,

Bodhi has gotten into this remarkable habit of thanking everything. He says “Thank you” when you give him a cup of cereal (his favorite treat EVER). He says it when you take off his mittens. He says it when he takes off his coat. He says it when he piles up toys in a corner. We’re not always sure who or what he’s thanking, but it’s always with deep sincerity (and it always makes me smile).

The other day, we were outside in the backyard. There’s about 20 trees out there, and one in particular has a sturdy trunk with one of those divets in the root where water pools and rocks have collected over the years. Bodhi has gotten in the habit of diving his little fingers into the pool of water, retrieving the rocks, piling them up on our patio, and then walking them back over to the tree.

Bodhi in the rain, playing with the rocks at the root of the tree

Bodhi in the rain, playing with the rocks at the root of the tree

I watched him do this the other day. He’s so methodical, sometimes walking over to me to say “See ‘em” to the rocks or have me hold them. On this particular day, he started to place the rocks one by one back into the tree saying “thank you” to each one as he returned them to their home. It was one of the most precious things I have ever seen. Bodhi Bear, barely a toddler, thanking the rocks, caring for them as gingerly as we would a baby. It has gotten me thinking:

When was the last time you thanked the rocks?
When was the last time you thanked the trees?
When was the last time you thanked the sun?
The moon?
The clouds?
The ocean tides?

And, to take it further…
When was the last time you thanked a friend?
A parent?
A spouse?
Your body?
Your heart?
Your spirit?

I’ve had this theory for a long time now that babies and toddlers are so wise. They are born with a higher sense of consciousness and intelligence than maybe many give credit for because they are still learning to talk, move, express. Their wonder is great. Their instincts are pure.

Bodhi showed me that day how connected we naturally are to nature. How what we see on the outside is often a reflection of what’s going on inside. He sees wonder in nature. He sees wonder in his own hands and belly and now his elbows are especially intriguing. He’s continually inspired by the outdoors and he reminds me of our natural connection to it, too.

Try spending more time outdoors and express your gratitude. As you head to a river’s edge, thank the water for the life it brings. Go outside, stand under the trees, and feel gratitude for the fresh air. Stare at the stars in the inky sky, and thank the Universe for its beauty and its mystery. As you start to feel gratitude for the natural state of wonder that’s around you, I’m betting you’ll start to feel it within, too. Thank you, Bodhi, for thanking the rocks. You teach me so much everyday.

With love,
Leanne

Connect to the deepest layer

Hey there,

A few weeks ago, I was in New Haven resting in savasana after a long day of yoga therapy study. We started the day at 6:30 a.m. with a yoga practice, followed by breakfast, followed by the morning lesson, lunch, and the afternoon lesson, wrapping up around 6:00 p.m. See? It’s a very long [but, amazing!] day.

So, naturally, all of us students were delighted to wrap up with a Yoga Nidra practice. Do you know the meditation practice of Yoga Nidra? Also known as “yogic sleep?” It’s deeply relaxing. Typically, you will set an intention — called a “sankalpa”— at the beginning of your practice before being led through a guided meditation for 25 - 60 minutes, all while laying down. It’s said that 45 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equal to 2-4 hours of sleep. Incredible, right? This is how I got through the first year with a new baby!

Photo by  Chang Duong  on  Unsplash

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

Our teacher settled us into the practice, and started to lead us into our sankalpa, asking:

What is the deepest desire of your heart?


At that point of the practice, I recall my own heart whispering the response. While I’ll keep this to myself for now, I found the practice deeply moving and for weeks I’ve explored the simple phrase that gently wrapped me with warmth, an inner knowing.

On the eve of a day filled with LOVE, it’s the love of the Self that I want you to pay attention to right now. We show ourselves love when we listen to our innermost needs and desires. It’s a way to connect with the deepest layer of our being, known as our “bliss body” in yoga.

I shared a similar meditation with the yoga teacher trainees this weekend, layering in some words from Joseph Campbell who writes,

“…if you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people, who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

It is MUCH easier to listen to the logical side of our brain, to the voices that surround us, to the imagery that pervades every line of sight from phones to TV’s to billboards. But, what if you turned inwards? What if you sat for a few moments today or tomorrow with a pen and allowed yourself to ask: What is the deepest desire of my heart? and to write and TRUST the answer. Isn’t that a kind of self-love? Your heart’s needs [I believe] lead you to bliss. Bliss is a part of who we already are.

You may choose to keep your answers to yourself for now, hold them close, examine them. If you want to share with someone, please write to me! I love to hear from you. And, that’s why I am here…to help you intentionally connect the dots that transform the way you live in your body, and ultimately your life.

With love [+ chocolate covered Valentine’s Day wishes!],
Leanne

Practical yoga delivered weekly

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We often come to yoga for more than the movement. We're searching. For relief from anxiety. For purpose. For connection. When you join Yoga Dear, you'll receive weekly down-to-earth and practical guidance on how to incorporate yoga into every day. Learn how yoga can transform the way you live in your body, and ultimately your life.

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