the yoga love

the yoga world is changing, shifting, expanding. I go to classes away from my studio that are totally packed with 20somethings moving pose to pose. Most of these classes are fitness classes in yoga studios. But as I have been contemplating for the past few years, I’m so lost in the yoga world right now. I have been through every emotion on the topic. I spent some time being a Bikram Yoga hater, some time not understanding the incredibly powerful benefits of meditation, restorative and yin, and then most recently I have been putting down over stressed, over crowded, super “dangerous” classes.

AS I approach my 10 year anniversary as a teacher.. I was recently contemplating on all these changes, on all the articles on Elephant Journal, J. Brown Yoga, Mind Body Green, Mathew Remski, Huff Post

it’s all getting so crazy! I feel like the “yoga” world is everywhere- it’s in my sleep, it’s on my mind 24-7. I run a studio, I teach, I mentor, but mostly I am a student. My teaching has become less involved and more creative, less technical and more experiential. I’m often wondering “is this helpful?”
Yoga is such an incredibly personal experience and I’m learning every day that I NEED meaning to THRIVE in my life. I need meaningful conversations, work, classes, teachers. I need QUESTIONS! I need clarity.
So, in the chaotic day to day ….life in a city with 2 small kiddos and a crazy Staffy, keep the studio thriving, keeping informed and updated on the latest “yoga” news and issues, supporting our 20 or so teachers & staff, and trying to have a healthy marriage- it’s no wonder my yoga has slowed way down. In order to keep up with the variety of roles that I have, my yoga had to shift and I’m realizing that I can be open to it all.

Listen, I am not a yoga master or a guru. I’m a mom and a friend and a human being who craves connection. I want to run my studio to support others on the journey. I want to live a meaningful life and share the tiny bits of joy, words, videos, books, reading and people who help me every day on this path. When we lay down at night, my daughter and I say ” may I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be safe, may I live with ease.” that’s it folks, that’s really all I want in this world. I want to be totally alive in my life. I want to be awake to what is right in front of me.

I have decided to pay attention to and notice when I wonder off into yoga hating land or when I’m becoming a cranky old yoga teacher. I want people to experience the JOY and the HEALING that it can bring- NO MATTER WHERE THEY GET IT. I want people to ASK their teachers questions about the practice. I know this ancient system for living is ALIVE right here- and I want to bring to light the ways it continues to serve and support us. ALL of us. There are so many paths, so many ways to yoga, so many methods, variations and styles, and it’s okay.

It’s a privilege to know these postures and these teachings. To spend time reflecting on our inner world, to put service and love above all else. To pay attention to our lives. This is just the beginning of my starting to open up about the current state of yoga…. I want to hear where you are.. and how this is all unfolding for you. more to come, for sure.

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over time.

I am really, really good at judging my yoga practice.
I can be so mean.
(difficult. rude. unforgiving. relentless)

I tell myself to do more “advanced” poses … to have longer practice sessions… to stop floating around so many styles and teachers and FOCUS.

then I come across a reading about yoga & what it is & why we have it . and I remember that I DO practice yoga, every damn day. in my whole life.

its how I run my business, parent my children, engage with the world.

I stopped standing on my head when it started bothering my neck. I learned how to enjoy restoratives & blocks& bolsters.

I stopped pretending I was not competing ( with myself) to strive towards the next yoga pose goal.

I am learning to be kind. I am learning to appreciate my relationship with this old friend and even with age, I can see we are getting better, into a healthier more sustainable relationship.

Some days I miss my old practice.. I miss our honeymoon period- our love fest. We really fell hard for each other-
daily long sweaty practice…. I dreamt about yoga, planned classes in my free time, researched studios, classes, teachers.. an addiction, really.

As time wears on.. and my WHOLE life has fewer boundaries I have to keep finding ways to bring that creative joy into my heart…in the past year I found myself going back to art & painting, trail running, taking up pilates & spinning b/c when yoga becomes your business, your livelihood, your whole facebook feed, even it can be too much.

I have heard myself say, enough!
agh! yoga, yoga, yoga! please. I need a break- I need a rest from how big it has become.

and then…. I go to my place where I stretch &play & get quiet.. I see this and know that I am here. This is my home, my heart, my path… I felt it all those years ago. I got connected, I plugged in, I woke up. I met the divine, I felt the spirit shining within and all around- the warmth and the connection, like a wave washed over my soul- and I was never the same again.

that feeling has led me here. and here. and here.

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sit. play. learn. heal. be free.

Dear Teachers,

Thank you. Your gifts, your strengths, your knowledge fills me up. You keep me strong. You give me joy and nourishment.  I made a space in my home dedicated to you. When I practice or work- I can feel something bigger. I can hear you with me, encouraging me to practice. To stay with it. to trust. to sit. to know. to not know. to just be me. to learn & heal and to keep believing…. I updated the Thanksgiving post ( below) b/c just creating a blog about my teachers made me want to see them everyday! I started collecting pictures and frames and put them up right next to my computer, right now- I see them. Smiling, loving, teaching, giving, serving, here they are with me.

They say, ” YOU are your OWN teacher!” Isn’t that amazing?

listen more. talk less. & practice.

question things that don’t MAKE sense to you.

do less, live with ease, with love

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In gratitude.

Today is Thanksgiving Day.  I woke up early, in the dark, to be quiet for a bit. To reflect on this outstanding & privileged life I am living. To bring to mind all those who are in pain or suffering this day, this year, this moment. All those without.  But today, my gratitude practice, and my day is going to be specifically directed towards the 6 teachers in my life who inspire, challenge, support & guide me daily.  Recently it occurred to me that I actually have had the most amazing fortune to SEE and STUDY with all of them over the past 5 months.  These teachers are the reason I keep going- they give me hope & grounding… I have learned so much from all of them.  My studying with them has allow expand my work AS a teacher, gifts me the  of being a student ( which is one of my favorite roles in life ). I believe in the teacher -student relationship as  a way to grow- a way to get clarity over our purpose & our passions. I am so lucky to know these beautiful beings.

Karen Maezen Miller

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Erin Maile O’Keefe

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The Mohans

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Max Strom

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Erich Schiffmann

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more of this…

Winter leads to Connection. Quiet. Stillness.
My winter teaching schedule can help YOU.
Private yoga and well-being sessions are a unique way to have your practice supported in your own home or office.
For this hour, Pleasance will work with you individually on your health, well-being, and spiritual practices.  This might include yoga, meditation, self care, nutrition, aromatherapy, setting up a sacred space, or deep relaxation.  She will create a unique experience based on your needs as they are today and help you to release stress and tension while addressing any health concerns that you might have.
These private sessions are intended for students of all levels and ideal for postpartum families and students who need a gentle practice or have injuries and are not able to attend regular studio classes.
These sessions are based on her work as a yoga teacher and holistic health coach.
* If you are not comfortable with doing these sessions in your home, we can arrange for a studio time.
 Pricing:
$125 for 1 session
$300 for 3 sessions
$465 for 5 sessionsLIMITED slots available in 2015.
Questions? please email info@lilomm.com

Hatha Yoga 

Tuesday mornings
9:45-10:45am
Join me.
In this 8-week series, we will cultivate practices based in traditional Hatha Yoga teachings that include breathing, mindful yoga and meditation. We will spend each week practicing & learning more about how this ancient system of well-being can be integrated into our daily lives and be useful for us, NOW.
Hatha Yoga is the total integration of yin/yang, sun/moon, male/ female, and through awareness we can
establish our yoga practice to heal us, support us and bring us peace from the inside out.  Developing a yoga practice helps us become stronger and more flexible on and off the yoga mat and can spread to all the relationships in our lives.
This class is for new-to-yoga students, students wishing to return to yoga after an injury or pregnancy, regular practitioners or teachers who want to explore a more quiet and reflective practice or ANYONE interested in cultivating awareness in a supportive setting.This series will be in a small group setting, and space is limited to no more than 6 (no drop-ins).

* need childcare? email info@lilomm.com

Cost: $150

Big Mind Live @ Yogaville!

“trust yourself to do what is right and navigate the way
trust yourself- this is advanced practice. ” Erich Schiffman

I have read, watched, listened to and practiced in my home with Erich Schiffman for a few years. I have seen him at various conferences and even attended a wee bit of his workshops in DC in 2012. This past weekend, I traveled to one of my favorite quiet and nourishing places, YOGAVILLE, to study for a weekend with him entitled, Freedom Yoga… “His unique Freedom Yoga offers an intuitive approach to Yoga as the art of living. Using this approach, you meditate (listen inwardly for guidance) when you sit quietly, when you practice poses and throughout the rest of your day. From this inner connection, you act as you are prompted to—from within. While not an inherently strenuous practice, it is an advanced one, requiring courage to follow your deepest impulses about what feels right and what doesn’t—which isn’t always easy.” From Yogaville website.

“Be the place where love flows through b/c it’s good for others and it’s good for you” – Erich Schiffman.

I adore what he has to say. He has been practicing yoga for 47 years and he is open minded, soft, clear, strong and humble. A true warrior. He talks about his growth & learning process, his understanding of yoga and meditation as it applies directly to his life today. I love his teachings b/c they empower ME to live fully in my own life, not according to some GURU. His postures are helpful for our bodies, they heal and connect us. He encourages us to practice “Freedom Style Yoga” which means that within the alignment and the boundaries of knowing posture.. we can play, we can explore variations, we can make it our own. It is Freedom. He teaches and supports us to sit in meditation, which is repeats IS the yoga. IS the most important part of yoga. His sequencing is as follows…

Chapter 1- Dharma Talk/ Discussion
Chapter 2- Meditation
Chapter 3- Asana, guided
Chapter 4- Asana- FREE
Chapter 5- Meditation

* all of this can be done in a variety of time frames AND by the end of the weekend, we voted for LONG Freedom Yoga and no guided asana.. it was SO POWERFUL to practice with a room of breathing, moving, being, loving Yogis- all doing what served and healed and stretched them. Us, somehow together and yet completely left on our own to be fully expressed as unique and beautiful individual selves! it was AWE -some.

“put THE KNOWN on pause. learn to shut up.
put a coma, in your commentary.” Erich Schiffman

Here are my favorite quotes from the weekend. You can check out more at ErichSchiffman.com. I subscribe to his website which is where I have learned from him over the past 2 years. He puts on classes, content, teachings, that you can explore, at your own pace and schedule.

“quiet the mind. zip it. mentally, in that moment of chaos. Then, you start feeling more authentic.
life will become more fun.”

“RELAX and be brave enough to do what your inner guide is telling you to do. ”

“meditation IS listening. thinking less and listening more.”

“intuitive practice IS advanced.”

“ways to meditate
1. buddha style
2. asana style
3. lifestyle “everything else”- the rest of the time.”

” SURRENDER- our deepest impulses are love. ”

“HOMEWORK TO START NOW!
relax ( whenever it occurs to you)
Practice LOVE More
Trust your deepest impulses of how to think and be. ”

“Be a loving presence. love is the willingness to recognize that which is truth”

“steps of meditation
align- get comfy
relax- settle in- wobble- to stillness
breathe- breath watch
love ride the breathe into the feeling
pay attention- listening ”

“when it occurs to you practice exhale, pause ( like now, and now, and now) ”

“HEALING means REVEALING”

“yoga is the inquiry into truth.”
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