Freedom Yoga as a Lifestyle. Tips from Erich Schiffman!

If you have taken a class with me in the past few years, you know that I have been deeply inspired by the teachings of Erich Schiffman and Freedom Style Yoga.  His influence has really allowed me to expand my awareness of what a yoga practice should be, look, and feel.  I was SO fortunate to be with him last weekend at the Freedom Yoga Retreat in Yogaville, and to share the experience with Saylor and lil ommies Ada & Paige.
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The best part of practicing freedom yoga is when Erich turns on some of his favorite music and just lets the whole room do a free form session.  No prescribed flow, no adjustments, just movement. The energy, the art, the creativity that you feel is really amazing and palpable.  Encouraging Saylor to see and feel this practice was very special to me as we were able to intuitively connect over partner poses and the music, which is something we needed after a tough week.
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Being with Erich reminded me of some foundational principles to really integrating yoga into your life.  In October 2013 I shared some of my experience from Big Mind Live with Erich at Yogaville in 2013.  Now, I’m excited to share with you some of the BIG takeaways from our recent time together.  I hope you can think about these, let it marinate, and share with me what you think about freedom, yoga, and life.

Of course, once I was paying attention and thinking about freedom I started seeing it everywhere!
Like this powerful blog post from Liz Gilbert.
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Erich’s teachings for yoga and life:
  • Yoga is the inquiry into truth.
  • Yoga is conscious union with the infinite that is being expressed by you.
  • Remember to do a “Pause Practice” regularly, as often as you can remember. This is where you pause, exhale and relax.  Do this whenever you remember to do it, and as often as you can.  I’ll be offering a Pause Practice @ IMCW November 18th!
  • Go into listen mode more often. Be attentive and aware and universal.  Wisdom will have a place to come in.
  • Love is the willingness to recognize that which is real.
  • Regularly as yourself, “What is the Truth here really?”
  • Allow yourself to “silent mind it” and be willing to not know all the answers all the time.
  • Relax More. Love more. Trust more (and be brave in the trusting). This is not easy.  It’s simple, but not easy.
  • In your yoga practice- look for moments to linger, flow on, pause, slow down, and change it up. Channel your poses through the energy in your body.  Think about what you are energizing, what thoughts you energize, and what you give your attention to.
  • Find some patterns in the body that you like to practice.
  • When you start a free form yoga practice, start with the postures you know and look for options and choices in the poses, and get into it a little more with the breath to help guide you. It’s important to learn from a school of yoga, get the basic form and alignment, to have some discipline around the learning of the system BUT eventually the discipline dissolves and intuitive practice guides.  Do enough movements so that it feels GOOD!  It’s nice to do both formal practice and free form practice.
For more teachings from Erich, sign up to listen to his recordings and teachings here.  
Below are 2 videos- one about yoga, and one about meditation.

Final Thoughts
I encourage my students to try “Bed Med”.  Slide out of bed in the morning or into bed at night and just PAUSE a few breaths, sit and meditate here for as long as feels good- before you doze off or before you start your day.   Think of yoga and meditation as lifestyle. Remembering to relax and listen for Universal Wisdom is part of this lifestyle.  The yoga postures are awareness training, just a physical way for us to be aware of the subtle and to practice listening to our bodies.

Many of you know that behind the scenes I am a crazy voracious reader. I always have at least 3-4 books on my shelf, in my purse, my car, my life! I read something every day and I mostly love non fiction books around wellness, wisdom and wealth.  These are the categories I define as well being, self help, growth, transformation; all great stories of change and love and truth (i.e. freedom).

For the past 6 months or so I have been dreaming of a way to share my love for the teachings and thoughts in these books to a greater audience, and ta-da! The Omm @ Home Virtual Book Club for Inspired Women was born.  Each book has been carefully selected to help cultivate our awareness and understanding of the universal truths and wisdom practices.  Sign up here to learn more and to get the reading list, starting with October’s book  Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  Our first online meeting will be on Wednesday, October 26th @ 7:30pm.  We meet on the last Wednesday of each month!  If you can’t make it live, a recording will be sent to you!

Take a moment to pause, relax, and listen before the holiday rush.  Join me at IMCW on Friday, November 18th from 9:30am-2:30pm for the Pause half-day yoga & meditation retreat.

Mid Summer Update

Hi lil ommies,

Well, it’s been quite a summer.

We left DC the day the kiddos got out of school and made our way up to CT to spend a bit of time with my family before we headed over to Nantucket to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary with some of our wedding party. When we come back in August we will have been gone 7.5 weeks!

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We felt so lucky to have folks come back to the Island and celebrate with us. Nantucket is a very special to me because my grandparents had a house there when I was little and I spent many childhood days alone walking the trails, going to the beach, and riding bikes mostly by myself.  I love sharing the beauty of the island with people I love, and this year was extra awesome because Saylor organized and led our renewal ceremony on the beach.  It was definitely a night we won’t forget!

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In early July we relocated to Hartford, CT where my grandmother lives.  This is the same house that has been in our family for 96 years!  Talk about memories!  The kids have been in various camps, having so many interesting New England adventures. We went to Maine last weekend and now we are preparing for a quick weekend visit to Vermont to see our dear friend (and former LO teacher, Kate)!   It’s truly been a wonderful, interesting summer.

One thing I LOVE about social media is seeing all my friends and family on their travels, with the growing kids and the big smiles and the ice creamy faces. BUT I also know that some of that can cause us to feel a bit “less than” or F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) or negative sad feelings around social media. Listen, get real with yourself and if you DON’T feel good when you are scrolling – GET OFF THE PHONE or COMPUTER- and do something that DOES  make you feel good!  Put the technology down and take 5 deep breaths. Go for a walk, pet your dog or cat, HUG a real HUMAN! Reach out on the phone to someone you love.  I have been calling people this summer to catch up on the phone, just like old times!  It’s been a wonderful way to connect to the people in my life.

I also have had some really nice work time when my kids are at camp. While I am not working TOO much right now (mostly taking long  walks and reading),  I have enjoyed studying and learning more about doTerra essential oils and using them this summer as much as possible, selling them to students, and introducing the benefits of aromatherapy to people. I’ve even had time to map our my fall schedule and offerings!

I REALLY miss seeing everyone in person, but I’m excited about the Fall!  I’ll be teaching a monthly Family Yoga class at Washington Yoga Center (registration will be available through washingtonyogacenter.com), two Yoga for Women sessions at IMCW, various Retreats, workshops, my 8- week THRIVE online course, private coaching, and NEW holistic healing offerings such as reiki and AromaTouch massage! Our website is regularly updated, so you can learn more there and sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already!

I have also been reading books that people have suggested to me, mostly subjects around healthy finances, parenting, and writing as well as FINALLY getting into some fiction, which to me is EXACTLY what summer is all about. What are YOU reading this summer? Anything awesome?

Listen, as much as I have found love and joy in these gorgeous summer days, the weight of the world is also creating unrest, there is a deep unsettled, low level anxiety that lies right under the surface. As a yogi, as a compassionate human being, as a woman, as a mama, as me, I deeply care about our future as a country and as a people. And where it gets a bit sticky and challenging is that in spiritual practice when things get complicated we try to simplify. We don’t put out the anger and darkness and fear with anger or violence. We have to keep loving, we have to keep peaceful, we have to listen and hold one another. We have to communicate, donate our time or money to the causes that are near and dear to our heart. I know I have been reaching out to others as a way to help support connection, offering my time and resources to an idea one of our students has that will greatly support families, as well as thinking about the way I personally can impact change in our area!  More on that coming soon!

Below are a few things (links to articles, videos, etc) I have read and listened to over the past few weeks to help me– I hope they help you. I know it’s not changing the world or ending racism or bigotry or going to put an end to gun violence.  Ya know what? It’s not going to guarantee anything because in this world NOTHING is promised to us. NOTHING is permanent. Waking up to the truth of the pain of the world, while serving our families and our communities and  living in love as a choice, every day is powerful. Pay attention to your own suffering and anger  and do what you can to heal yourself. It starts with us!  Then we model for our children, our neighbors, and we stand together in our awareness, even when it’s painful.

 

 

Why I’m a Racist article

Thoughts from dear Katrina. 

“My hope, for all of us, is that we will not shy away from the hard conversations. May we continue to have them with our loved ones and our friends, on our Facebook pages and in public spaces and, especially, with people who see the world through different eyes. May we choose in each of these encounters and communications to heal rather than humiliate, to honor rather than to hurt. May we listen well and respect each other. May we resist the urge to dehumanize others. May we practice the art of empathy, which is to say, may we put ourselves in the shoes of another and willingly walk their mile. May we be living examples of kindness. May we act in accordance with our deepest human values: love, compassion, integrity, fairness, and hope for a better future. May we read more deeply and think more expansively. May we continue to educate and stretch ourselves. May we not retreat from complexity, but embrace it. May we be practical rather than partisan, thoughtful rather than reactive, generous of heart toward all rather than protective of a few. May we seek and find common ground here, in our America.”– Katrina Kennison

I often listen to music and just sit. I journal. I breathe when life feels too big, too heavy, too dark.

I went back to this recently and watched this. 

I don’t have any answers. I don’t know the way or the path of healing the world. As my personal mission- I just share with others perspectives, stories, insights that may be helpful to some. Meanwhile, doing everything I can in my tiny tiny world to be strong and brave and show up every day for myself and my family and our community. I take my life very seriously. I take each day with love and gratitude because I know this time is precious. I know living in love is the right choice for me and that means gathering people, creating, sharing and being a student.

I love you and thank you for being part of my life.

Here is sweet Milo, who turned 5 this summer, sleeping on me. Every night I put him back in his bed, and every night he creeps back in with me.  And a picture of the flowers at our local park which I just love. I document all of this daily here.

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I LOVE connecting with people, so email me pleasance@lilomm.com or join our lil omm life facebook group to keep the conversation going and to share with me things that help you during tough times, to connect over ways our community might be able to help, or just introduce yourself.

 

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Join me here!

PAUSE. -Winter is dead.”

What does it mean to THRIVE? 

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What does it mean to THRIVE?

For me, it means this: the picture above. Thriving means smiling, loving, FEELING the world, hearing my friends and family, being ALIVE, being real, seeking truth, playing and holding hands. Thriving is embracing what is.

I experienced all of this on the night I was closing the studio. A night that I never pictured COULD happen. A place I loved so much CLOSING?!?!  This night brought me to tears and to laughter. My mouth hurt the next day from smiling so much, my eyes hurt from crying. What a glorious, beautiful evening.

What got me through it all?  All of the conflicting emotions and the ups and downs? My well being practices.  These are the ways to keep your life in check, in flow and truly manageable EVEN when your entire world around you is changing, EVEN when things are hard- especially when things are hard.

Here’s what happened:  as I started going through the process of closing the studio, I tightened up on some regular practices that I KNEW I would need to get me through an emotionally and financially difficult time. I became very grounded and rooted in these practices as a way to truly process the BIG emotions I was having. And these practices, while having been in my life for years now became MORE POWERFUL than ever. And this is what I want for YOU.

As soon as I got over the studio closing and embarking on new projects, I broke my foot. I had to check in with all the Thrive Principles again!  This was another experience that COULD have  been miserable, but my THRIVE foundation has taught me how to gracefully handle ALL the things that life brings to me.  Thrive principles teach me how to sit with fear and anger, how to nourish myself when things get hard, AND how to prioritize my own health and well being so that  I feel healthy and clear about where I am in ALL the areas of my life. Honestly, this feels like an invaluable gift to my life and also to those around me!  I want to share this gift with you.

Choose Joy. Find Ease. Keep it Simple.

Thrive is all of this. Thriving is a WAY OF LIFE. A WAY TO BE where you feel empowered and in your body. Where your connection to yourself DEEPENS and even when tough things come your way- you navigate them with strength and grace. People have asked me for years what do you do? How do you do it? And so, Thrive is kind of a pulling back of the curtains, showing you, and giving you all the tools and resources I use (books, articles, podcasts, journaling prompts, recipes, and more). It’s a behind the scenes where I get up close and personal as a way to inspire you, to support you, to give you ideas and to establish a way for you to see THAT YOU CAN HAVE/ BE/ DO this all too! It’s already inside of you- it’s already part of who you are, as a human, as a woman. So let’s uncover it all together… you deserve this!

Thrivers use SIMPLE AND EASY well being practices to engage in their lives. That’s it. Nothing fancy, nothing promised to you or for you. The group support and engagement and process is ALL UP TO YOU.  YOU take the reigns for your life, you learn HOW to engage in these practices and overcome problems and challenges and mindsets that are LIMITING YOU from THRIVING.

You see, because if I want it more than you- it won’t happen. The Thrive course is for people who KNOW IT IS TIME to figure out a way to be healthy EVEN when life is full and busy and distracted and confusing. Or for people who want to establish evidence /science-based practice for health and living well in ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE.  It’s all connected- how we spend our money, eat our food, move our body, treat our children, envision our lives, and the thoughts we think.. . these are the things that make up our days and our lives.

We all have self-limiting thoughts or perceived obstacles and once we start to SMASH them… WOW! We realize, “Hmm this is not so hard! Learning how to care for myself can be FUN and interesting and the benefits to all areas of my life are TRULY limitless.”

Limitless possibility. That is what YOU TRULY are.  All of us are limitless.

Want in? Sign up here.  Registration ends Friday, 6/17.

Here’s what one Thriver wrote:

“We all know we need to eat less and move more, but I was looking for a more comprehensive approach to a healthy lifestyle. Thrive is a course that focuses on all aspects of wellness – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Over the eight weeks, I learned the importance of establishing healthy routines in every area of my life and that these routines become habits over time, which then become automatic. All of Pleasance’s research-based advice is invaluable, and includes strategies for establishing healthy bedtime and morning rituals, which enable better patterns of exercise and mindful eating. I was most surprised by how much I enjoyed and benefited from the week on meditation. Never having explored a meditation practice previously, I couldn’t have imagined the mental clarity and calm that comes from just 5-10 minutes of stillness in my day.”- AB

Another Thriver shares her experience here.  Listen now.

PS. We ran this class in the Spring and you know what- THEY ARE ALL TAKING THE COURSE AGAIN THIS SUMMER! I give my THRIVERS lifetime access and they are all coming back to take it again! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?

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leading with love

I find myself deeply engaged with my role as the leader of LO and try to learn as much as possible about sustainability in leadership as well as best practices. I also know, I lead with love.

sangha has lots of definition but I prefer “like hearted community”

Creating a studio from love and community is the ultimate gift for my life. I get to say YES more than NO and create fun & interesting meetings and events for us all.

We just got back from an overnight in VA.. it was AMAZING.

Look at these gorgeous souls! They give me joy & comfort… I am truly honored to be part of their lives.