I’m from Texas and we raise strong women who don’t cry. As a result of me not allowing those “weak” emotions into my realm, I stored a lot of sadness and pain in my energetic body.
According to yogic philosophy, energy travels through the system in a network of intersecting paths called nadis. If you don’t experience whatever emotion you’re going through at the time, you repress it – it travels and stores itself with other similar styles of energy in the system. Then one day while you’re minding your own fucking business on your yoga mat, the emotion is like, “Oh, hey, she’s calm, it’s time she dealt with this.” So the little clumps of energy rally together and come forward into your conscious awareness to have a party and you’re suddenly overwhelmed with an emotion. If you allow yourself to feel the emotion, it can come with a flashback of the moment you stored that particular emotion. If you sit with the experience and allow it to be felt, it will dissipate and leave your energetic system to move on. You’ve then created space and pure consciousness replaces that energy in the nadis.
Due to the pandemic, I only practice at home and today, I took at 45-minute slow flow through the Peloton app with my FAVORITE, Denis. I had an emotional release in pigeon today where I was suddenly sobbing after my heart cracked open. It was beautiful.
If you notice an emotion arising in your practice, honor it. It just wants to be experienced so it can leave the confines of the musty, dark basement of your energetic system. Emotions are just e-motions…. energy in motion. Let them flow! Let them go! 🙂
Look back at your life and notice when you grew the most as a person, when you learned the most about yourself, and when your life profoundly changed. These instances of growth for me always revolve around some difficult period. When I was going through these changes, they felt painful and they were fucking hard.
Now look at the last time you got pissed off at someone or something. When we get pissed, most of the time, we are simply saying we don’t like reality. Reality is the one thing you need to pick your battles with. (I’m not talking about our revolution here – the reality is there is a problem and it needs to change.) If it is something you can’t change, why use your energy to fight it?
When the pandemic hit and the reality of our situation started to sink in, I felt scared. My family is in another state and I am alone here in NYC. That never bothered me until then. I work part-time for a choreographer and all his work was put on hold for a year. What would I do if I lost my job? How would I pay rent? My job doesn’t provide health insurance. What would I do if I did catch the virus? My roommate works on Broadway and a member of her company died from Covid. How am I going to live day-to-day with someone who may have it? She wasn’t taking it seriously at first and went to a party and then to a dance club – she was increasing her exposure and I felt a little too vulnerable.
It was hilarious, you guys… there was one moment early on when she moved our trash can to a different spot in the kitchen and I was so pissed about it. Let me repeat that: I was pissed about someone moving a trash can! haha I’m generally calm and try to accept people for who they are and how they are but I let my fear of the situation come out as frustration with something she did.
I needed to put my self in time out! I am not going to fight against what is and I needed to whip my mind back into shape to accept without reaction. I started doing my cycle classes to burn off the excess energy that was accumulating inside my body and I would do yoga to see what I needed to let go of. I was working on puzzles to give myself tiny victories and I stopped watching television and movies. I organized my room and put away everything that I didn’t need access to so I could set up a little mini kitchen in my space. Everything had its place and I created space.
While in contemplation, I realized the one true thing is everything always works out in the end, no matter how hard it is – and the beautiful thing is the harder the time, the bigger the gift (lesson). So with that insight, I felt the static energy of fear just dissipate. It no longer held me in its mind-vice.
Faith is what I was describing above. Faith is the antidote for fear. We absolutely must have faith if we are to get through life with any sense of grace. I put on this bracelet that a student and friend of mine gave me and it became my anchor.
I realized if I got sick, I would be okay – if I recovered or not. I realized if I lost my job, I would be okay. But the thing I gained by practicing faith was freedom. Since my mind was no longer in a fear-fight-flight-freeze stress response, it was relaxed. When my mind relaxed, I could hear more clearly.
What’s up for me right now is trust. I can get a little forceful in my forward movement trying to make things happen and this morning in my contemplation, I remembered the timing of how things unfold is completely out of my control. This is another layer of practicing faith – trusting divine timing. Leaning in with grace.
This morning’s practice will explore how to do that.
Do you believe in signs? I believe the universe (or whatever you want to call it… source energy, God, paper clip, etc.) is constantly communicating with us and if we pay attention, we can be guided.
It’s July and I’ve left my apartment maybe 5 times since March. Since April, I’ve had my groceries delivered to my apartment door. The grocery bags arrive and they are labeled with a 4 digit alpha-numeric code so the delivery person can easily gather the bags for each delivery.
Shortly after I started offering my yoga classes live to my students online, the delivery person didn’t want to bring the bags upstairs so they left them with the door person. I was mildly inconvenienced and had to go retrieve my own groceries – I know, the horror (of what an entitled bitch I can be). The universe was laughing at me because my bags were delivered with the code YOGA on them. I took the sign to mean stop acting like a child and do some yoga. You may think this is random and I shouldn’t read anything into it but I prefer to make the choice that there is an essence of awe and wonder available to us at every moment. I think the universe has a sense of humor.
How are we to know if we have created a delusion or if we are following the signs? There’s really no way of knowing and it’s pretty healthy to have a certain amount of skepticism and a process for checking yourself (before you wriggity wreck yourself). So I was kind of starting the process to let go of this idea I had created and I wondered if I was on the right path. Then my groceries arrived and the word FATE was on the bags. I decided that was a sign.
Look, I still don’t know if I’m on to something here, following my heart this way but isn’t it worth noticing the sublime beauty in how these things are timed?
Today’s practice was a 30 minute Slowdown class with an optional additional 10 minute savasana. We move slowly and simply so you can feel what it’s like to BE you – you are the only person who can feel that way and you only get one chance to experience that one moment. Don’t let it fall away.
The Post-Class Chat Did you know that you can have spontaneous insights (what Oprah calls “The AHA Moment”) if you add on a long savasana or meditation after you practice the asanas? You can even have them while you’re doing the poses!
I find it very helpful to use yoga to process my emotions and understand the contents of my mind and a long savasana is my favorite way to calm the mind enough to hear stillness. It is in the stillness that the wisdom comes.
In this post-class chat, I talk about why I offer long savasanas. So if you like to geek out over yoga and spirituality like I do, check it out. It’s free to watch – you just have to sign in.
A friend of mine reached out and asked me for yoga poses to help stretch his hip flexors. He experiences low back pain. He said he and his trainer narrowed it down to his hip flexors.
I preach about the psoas all the time in my classes because it shortens as part of the stress response. When we are stressed, we are activating the sympathetic nervous system, which can cause of whole freaking slew of issues, one of which is low back pain.
Because of where psoas originates in the lower spine and attaches at the top of the thigh bone, the shortening of the muscle can pull the low back forward, causing a feeling of compression or pain in the low back. I see this a lot in my students.
I also see what happens to the human body when we practice conscious relaxation to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The eyes soften, the muscles of the face relax, and you feel generally more calm and centered.
I made you all this 17-minute SNS (Short n Sweet) practice so you can see what the psoas feels like. The practice will both strengthen and lengthen the psoas and hopefully provide some relief for the low back.
I am from Texas and Dairy Queen is in my blood, y’all! When I was growing up, we spent many Sundays in summer hanging out with all my cousins at my grandparents’ house and on our way home, my parents would roll through the Dairy Queen drive-thru. We started getting soft-serve ice cream cones dipped in chocolate and it was always a race to see if you could eat it all before the ice cream started to melt – summers are FREAKING HOT and humid in Texas in case you didn’t know. Then, DQ rocked our world when they introduced The Blizzard. It’s soft serve ice cream with any kind of crushed chocolate candy folded in. Dad would get Whoppers, Mom would get Butterfinger, my brother would get Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and I would usually just copy my dad and get mine with Whoppers. It was a perfectly delightful summer treat and I have missed them.
The quarantine activated my sweet tooth and I had a craving for a Blizzard. I decided to recreate one at home and I’m pleased to tell you – it worked perfectly! You can do it, too – all you need is Breyer’s Extra Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream (other ice creams may work, too, but when I’ve tried this in the past, it was always less-then-stellar with less substantial ice creams). This one has the consistency of a soft-serve after it’s sat at room temperature for a while. Just set the ice cream on the counter while you prep the candy.
I’ve done this twice now – the first time, I rough-chopped the peanut butter cups. This time, I pulsed it through the food processor until I got the consistency I wanted. Then, all you have to do is pour the ice cream into a bowl, fold in the chocolate goodness, and pour the treat back into the ice cream container. Voila! Magic in a freaking bowl!
Last night, I reached out to one of my most dedicated students to invite her to a private Coronayoga LIVE recording this morning and asked if she could boil her intention for this week down to one word. I was excited about including someone else in my creative process but there is no way I could have prepared myself for her reply.
You guys, this is how she responded: “Wild. (To be a wild version of my self.) I’m heading on my on my first solo backpacking trip tomorrow (well with my best friend, but not expert support), and I would love to join class before I head out. It’s been a goal and plan for a long time!!”
How incredible is that?! Being a wild version of myself is up for me as well so I was ecstatic to read her email!
What does it mean to be wild? I think of nature… A tree is fully involved in being a tree and isn’t obsessed with trying to be more like a bush. I think of animals. A dog doesn’t care what it looks like when it is scarfing up its food.
Think of a time when you felt the most wild… Did you feel free? Were you fully present? Did you feel uninhibited?
Often the barriers between us and our wild selves are created by what Erich Schiffmann calls the “little mind”. This is the part of us that has done its job keeping us safe but it’s also the part of us that makes shit up ALL the time. It’s that part of me that tells me I shouldn’t do something because of what so-and-so would think of me. It’s that part of me that keeps me “in my place”. It’s that part of me that was so afraid of love.
The big mind is universal consciousness and deep knowing/wisdom. We tap into big mind any time we are present. Some people find this sitting still and some people find this in movement. My student (who is also now my friend, btw) is going to find the big mind while out on the trail. She’s going to differentiate between real danger and imaginary fear. She is going to tune her ears to the voice deep inside her that tells her HOW to be wild. It is a silent whisper that comes as a feeling that is begging to be embodied. It is divine consciousness asking to be expressed through your being. Are you going to allow it?
Here’s the WILD playlist that we definitely danced to:
This morning, I was thinking about what freedom means to me. Freedom, to me, is being able to structure my own time. Being able to flow through time and follow the creative spark or pull is one of my greatest joys. It takes a lot of discipline to get shit done in order to carve out those blocks of time freedom but it is so worth it.
Since the pandemic hit, I have been on a mission, and recently, I’ve been refining what that mission is. There is this idea in Buddhist and Hindu philosophy called Samsara – it’s the idea that we are all traveling around and around in this cycle. The goal is to liberate ourselves from the suffering – in Buddhism, this is Moksha and the sense is to break free. In Hinduism, this is an awakening of our true nature.
We all seek freedom and in this practice, we have time to humbly bow to that inner light that lives inside and through each of us.
The practice can be 45 minutes or an hour long. The on-demand video will end at 45 minutes but the playlist is an hour long. So after I say, “Namaste,” know that you have 15 more minutes to soak up your time in savasana.
Here’s the playlist:
NOTE: the playlist begins after the intro – at 2:22 in the video, just as we begin the practice in child’s pose.
Today’s class was a Hatha n Flow for beginners that focussed on the inner thighs. Sometimes I teach a very specific philosophical idea in my classes and sometimes I let the yoga speak for itself. Hopefully this class will guide you deeper into the experience of being you.
There was a time in my life that I thought I could only garner my self-worth from how much I worked. So in order to fill the void, I worked non-stop. Then I realized it was too much and I needed to start having fun. I’m the kind of person who gives 100% to whatever she is doing so I can tell you I took fun to the extreme. Thus the pendulum. High highs and low lows. When we swing from extreme to extreme in seeking, we miss something bigger: contentment.
There’s a profound difference between happiness and contentment. Happiness is fireworks while contentment is a candle.
This class offered a more expressive sense of play and fun but I challenge you to find the calm contentment as you move through this practice.
Here’s the playlist. If this doesn’t make you want to get down and shake it all over the place, I don’t know what will!
I’d planned a super PHUN class for us today with a bomb ass hip hop playlist – the new Run the Jewels album got me all fired up but alas, I woke up feeling fully compelled for the practice to be more turned-inward than a big rawr. That’s one of the best things about teaching independently – you can follow the inspiration when it calls and create a class based on the current moment and not so much around what the moment was when you planned the class. Don’t worry, hip hop yoga will come.
Lots of ideas are swirling around in my mind about what I want us to talk about in today’s practice – expectations, judgement, forgiveness.
The ego LOVES a conflict – it gives it something to do – to obsess over. It loves to feel persecuted. It loves to be right. It can latch on to the smallest of things and start a stockpile of little irritations that build up to a great story of how you are a victim. The key here is to practice forgiveness. It’s easy to say but harder to actualize.
What if I told you that you could tap into an unlimited reservoir of love that would make forgiveness easier?
It’s a simple process but it does require some patience and some digging. The ego doesn’t want to lose control over your mind so it does a very good job of hiding. But if you keep looking under things, you’ll eventually find what you’re looking for.
Here’s the playlist:
You’ll probably want blocks and a couple throw pillows and couch cushion for this one because we get into frog and reclined supported bound angle. Hope you enjoy/learn something/get something out of the practice!
I love it when things are simple – simple doesn’t mean easy. Sometimes in order for us to move through life with more freedom, we need things to be simplified. Isn’t it interesting that boiling down things brings us freedom?
Meister Eckhart said, “Life is a boiling up and pouring out of itself, scalding and melting and bubbling within itself, light penetrating light.” According to Richard Rohr, he was talking about the essence of spirit.
In today’s 45-minute gentle Hatha n Flow, we will simplify, simplify, simplify.
Happy Juneteenth! We are in the middle of a revolution and I’m proud of you. Have you taken a moment to congratulate yourself for your little victories this week? I’m of the opinion that we need to celebrate the little choices we make each day that lead us to the best versions of ourselves. I have a friend who says, “You’d be so proud of me…” before she shares her little victories and it is so true! I AM so proud!
There are those forks in the road every moment where we can make a choice. Congratulations on making the choice and in this practice, I applaud you. Sometimes we can get so focussed on the end-result or the goal we are trying to achieve that we forget to have fun.
This practice is about just that – taking a moment while we are embodied to acknowledge something we did and smile because we know it was the right choice. It could be something seemingly small (but small decisions usually add up to the big ones, right?!) or some big life change – all that matters is that you take the time to see that you didn’t have to make that choice, but you did. You brought yourself closer to who you really are. You rock and you just have to know that.
Here’s the playlist for our Happy Half Hour:
Here it is on-demand so you can get on your mat for a quickie any time of day – when you just want to get in your body with something fun. This is an intermediate flow class so you’ll want to have an existing practice before you jam out to this one. As always, listen to your body and never do anything that causes pain. As usual, please feel free to donate to the cause if you are taking the class. I very much appreciate your financial support!
Think about what it means to name something. It’s so symbolic. When we name something, it creates an energy that contains the special connection that you have with that person or thing or moment in time.
I remember when I was about 7 years old and we named our first rescue kitten – it felt so important to get it right. We named him George and he was fully a “George”. I remember when I’ve given nicknames and I also remember when I’ve given someone a title – best friend, boyfriend, mentor.
In day one of training to earn the title of yoga teacher, the lead instructor adjusted my body and moved me into an advanced yoga pose that left me unable to walk and permanently injured both of my knees. She did not know what she was doing (but I assumed she did) so instead of listening to my body, I listened to her. I GAVE her that power. Despite that being a very difficult and painful period of time in my life, it became one of my greatest teachers.
One of my students who took Level 1 of my Advanced Yoga Studies courses has always called me her yogi. I always felt unworthy when someone named me their teacher and being called her yogi felt like a title I couldn’t live up to. I’ve come to embrace how people name me and feel it as an honor instead of an expectation.
I recently found my yogi. He’s been my on-demand yoga and cycle instructor throughout the whole pandemic – though he has kept me in shape, introduced me to new music, and made me dance and cry, he’s dropped wisdom bombs all over me as I’m dripping sweat. I love going deep and having philosophical conversations and I never thought I could find someone who gives so many facets of what I’m looking for in a teacher. I don’t know if something he said woke me up or if it was more of an energetic jostling prior to the pandemic but I’ve had a guide and touchstone through the quarantine and it’s been invaluable.
I’m very picky about my yoga teachers – though every one of them teaches me something about myself and the way I think, I wouldn’t call them my teacher. A lot of yoga instructors can take energy from their students or make the class about them. I step on my mat to learn something about myself and I like teachers who keep that container and allow me to go deeper inside instead of distracting me from my work. In order to hold space in that way, the teacher has to have done their work. I believe in doing the work.
Nicknames are one of the ways I feel someone identifies your soul connection. What are some of the nicknames people have given you? I’ve gotten Sweet Cheeks, Bo Beena, Bubbles, Bear, Turtle Dove, Sweet Pea, T-Bomb, T, and Bird. I recently lost one of my best friends and he always called me his Tree Tree… not just Tree Tree, but HIS. I called him Mah Jeffrey. Now that he is gone, I wonder about what happens to the name he called me and the name I called him. Is that gone forever because we won’t exchange those sounds again or does it ring out forever into eternity because of the love those sound represented? I believe it is the latter. I can still hear the ring of his voice saying my name.
I taught a couple classes last week on loss. Here’s one of the playlists that we practiced to:
While processing my loss, I did a breathwork class that helped me experience the infinite nature of consciousness. Energy is neither created nor destroyed – it just changes forms. I am curious to know if we can consistently tap into the infinite within ourselves. And I’m curious to know if I am connected to that part of me and you are connected to that part of you, do we tap into something even greater? “Namaste” means the divine in me sees the divine in you. Do you know how to access that part in you?
I recently named a new phase in my work: Infinity Breathwork. It is a powerful 3-part series that I am excited to bring to you. Yoga connects my body, mind, and soul. Breathwork connects me to my energetic body – to my spirit and the greater spirit. Infinity Breathwork is the easiest and most profound practice I do and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Thank you for allowing me to be your teacher. It’s a title I don’t take lightly.
Tonight we will be talking about checking in. I think of checking in as inventory. How often do you take inventory? How often do you get rid of the shit that no longer serves you?
Do you check in with yourself emotionally and spiritually enough? What do you need to work out on the yoga mat? We will be moving SLOW tonight to give you plenty of time to ask the questions and wait for the answers to arise.
When you look back on your life, how do you mark time? Some of my friends are really good at knowing what year a certain event took place or how old they were in, say 2012, because of how old their kids were at that time. I tend to think of events in the past as just a nebulous collection of nothings, as if they all are clumped into not a delineated moment in a continuum, but kind of like a trash can. One event from last year feels just as far away as something from 2004. I do not understand time at all.
I think we will all remember 2020. It feels like a great awakening. We all had no choice but to experience this collective pandemic and cultural revolution. I said on December 31, 2019, “Happy New Year! Looking forward to learning more this year. I am so excited to see what 2020 holds for us all!”
This morning’s Coronayoga practice was about checking in. We have been IN IT! Here’s the playlist:
I find it is so helpful to take a moment to just allow the body to move with music and see what arises. I hope this practice reveals something to you. The video will tell you when to start the playlist if you want to groove to the musics with me.
We are carrying forward the theme from this morning’s class: Enjoy (IN JOY) because I still have a lot to uncover on my mat about what joy feels like.
Here’s the playlist for tonight’s Enjoy (IN JOY). It’s a Slowdown class so as the name implies, we will be taking our glorious time:
I found it interesting in this morning’s class that my joy wasn’t coming out as a little dance or a feeling of celebration – it felt very calm and powerful. My joy seemed to be rising from below my heart.
I am curious if we can cultivate a sense of joy on the yoga mat, can we carry that forward to other moments in our lives when joy is a little harder to access… today, I experienced a lot of presence but I was working on my boss’ website and I kept reaching my level of understanding so I noticed my frustration. So I would step away and put my focus on something else so technology didn’t win. Wouldn’t it be great if instead I could train my mind to find joy when all I want to do is curse? I’ve got some work to do but I do wonder if that is possible.
If you want to join the live moving conversation from my body to yours and back again, register for the webinar here. See you at 9pm EST!
It is summertime in Texas. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced a Texas summer, but if you have, you know what I’m talking about when I say it is hot. I love the heat. I love going to a nature preserve in the middle of a hot day to run. You get the benefits of a sauna, hot yoga class, cardio workout, and meditation all in one – and you usually have the place to yourself. That’s where I would create my yoga classes – in nature and driving to and from the preserve. Man I miss that.
My creative process is still the same but the venue has changed to my the center of my entire world: my little bedroom in New York City. I find inspiration all over the place despite this being a small space.
My best friend sent me the cutest picture the other day of her adorable little niece sitting with her cousin, legs dangling in the pool, eating popsicles. Their faces were filled with joy and you could tell they were fully in the moment and enjoying the little things.
When was the last time you appreciated the little things? When was the last time you ENJOYED something? When was the last time you were IN JOY? Is it possible to cultivate that feeling on the yoga mat? That’s what we are exploring today in Coronayoga – Enjoy (IN JOY).
Here’s the playlist:
Playlist begins at :47 (if you want to practice along to music, start here and start the playlist at the same time – 47 seconds in) Class begins at 3:23 (start here if you aren’t into practicing with the music)
Where do you have the most epiphanies in your life? While cooking? Folding clothes? Working on a puzzle? Gardening? Painting? Taking a bath?
An epiphany can come as a silent whisper, a deep knowing that seemed it was with you all along. It can help you realize something that was holding you back. It can bring a new level of self-awareness. It can shine a light on a blind spot in your awareness. I miss the epiphanies that came to me in quiet moments while hiking alone in nature but my quarantine yoga practice is providing me deep insight that helps me grow.
Last night, I realized my yoga mat is a refuge. Contrary to what the media represents, a yoga practice doesn’t have to be AT ALL about what it looks like. You don’t need a mirror to practice. You don’t need to analyze what you look like. I propose yoga is about what and how you feel.
My yoga mat is where I feel no one is looking at me. We walk through life being judged based on our appearance, but on the mat, I’m the only one looking. I’m not being looked at; I am being seen… I am being witnessed. I am not judging myself – I am seeing what I do and asking why I do it. I go deeper. The more we tap into the deeper parts of ourselves, the more the practice moves beyond the physical, into the emotional and spiritual dimensions.
According to Vedantic yoga philosophy, there are 5 bodies, or sheaths, that we all have. The idea is that these sheaths, or koshas, are layers that cover the true self. I design my yoga classes to systematically uncover these layers of being so you can get in touch with your authentic self. The more that we practice this kind of mindful yoga, the more easily we can tap into that wisdom off the mat. You have everything you need right now to have an epiphany.
Everything I know about “The Godfather” I got from the Tom Hanks character in “You’ve Got Mail” – this pandemic taught me to go to the mattresses. This is war. How am I going to make it through this?
The Resistance I educated myself on how to reduce the chances of contracting the virus. I live with someone who works on Broadway and several members of their company contracted Covid-19 and sadly, one of them lost the battle. I have to fight. If someone has had close contact with a person who died from this Coronavirus, it is smart to assume that person is an asymptomatic carrier. Think of how many common surfaces there are in a household – light switches, doorknobs, drawer handles, refrigerator door handles, kitchen utensils, faucets, toilet seats, etc. I cannot control how much someone else disinfects and practices good hand hygiene but I can make sure I am fighting every moment.
Mental Health & Acceptance I knew I had to dedicate a lot of time to mindfulness practices so that I can accept my circumstances and become okay with not knowing the future. One battle I was not willing to engage with was reality. Pick your battles? Yes. I knew if I tried to fight reality, I would lose. Acceptance became key. Where do I learn and practice acceptance? On my yoga mat. Yoga has physical benefits, yes. But rarely do I practice for physical health – yoga is the key to my mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Physical Health I used to get my physical health through cycling, boxing, and walking. Walking was out of the question – I live in NYC – so it was time to get endorphins in my apartment. I ordered a stationary bike for less than $200 from Amazon (Marcy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike with Adjustable Resistance) and started doing Peloton cycle classes through their app.
Simplicity I needed to simplify my life in order to cultivate mindfulness. I worked on puzzles. The activity became a moving meditation. I listened to audiobooks and lectures (“Walden”, “Learning to Walk in the Dark”, “The Golden Compass”, “The Subtle Knife”, “Learning the Human Game”, “Still the Mind”, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”). I took baths. I lit candles. I rose before the sun and went to bed at dusk. I made my life very small. I managed to find contentment.
Community I was aching to connect but didn’t know how. Then, a former student (who was my balance beam coach when I was a competitive gymnast) reached out from 1,500 miles away and asked me if there was any way I could give her a yoga class. I taught a class and filmed it. Then it came time to edit and I knew this would be an obstacle because of how long it would take me, so I decided to send the uncut video to the her. Then another student reached out. Then another. Then another. We were all longing for connection and yoga was the profound vehicle that brought all of us together.
I decided to start offering live classes and let the word out. I figured out the platform I wanted to use, worked through a long list of production issues, and committed to offer class only when I have something to say and have the energy to give.
Mirror, Mirror I learned early in my teaching career that it was important to remember I am a mirror for my students. Yes, I do a LOT of hard work to bring them a high-quality yoga experience but it’s really the yoga itself that works. Teaching over 4,000 classes gives you a certain perspective and you know it isn’t about you. I don’t have special powers; I just spend a lot of time working on my craft. The students are the ones doing the work on their mats – I hold the space. Whether a student has a good class or a bad class isn’t up to me, so I don’t take credit for either.
After yesterday’s class, I received an email from one of my students that I’d like to share with you.
The beauty she described made me cry and it’s making me tear up now thinking about it. She carved out time during a pandemic to take care of herself. She practiced in the sun and heard her son’s giggles during her practice. She experienced joy. She was able to go deep. That is extraordinary.
This is why I teach – to create something that has the potential to help people in so many different ways. Yoga works. But it only works if we (teacher and student) both do the work. I go deep in my personal practice and learn so much about who I am, what I can let go of, and who I want to become. I am grateful to my teachers who held (and hold) the space for me to grow.
In February, I emerged from a dark night of the soul that lasted years. I felt lost. I started to reclaim my essence and looked to find my voice again. In March, I simplified my life and started deeply listening again. In April, I taught my first live class and now here we are, at war with an invisible enemy. I hope that what I’m doing in this will help you in your battle – whatever it is that you are fighting.
I am so grateful to all my students who show up to my live classes. I’m so grateful they asked me to teach again. Teaching, connecting, and sharing has given me a sense of purpose and I almost forgot what it feels like. I humbly bow to all of you.
If you haven’t already, sign up to receive invitations for classes.
I am so excited to share some virtual space with you during these interesting times in which we’ve all found ourselves. I will offer tools to help you cope with and perhaps thrive in the pandemic including yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation through Zoom live classes. If you don’t have a Zoom account, sign up here: https://zoom.us/signin.
Commandments for Coronayoga: – Thou shalt listen to the body. If your body is in pain, don’t do what I’m asking you to do. There is a difference between discomfort and pain. We lean into discomfort and back away from pain. – Thou shalt breathe – never hold your breath – even when it is challenging. – Thou shalt make time for Savasana. – Thou shalt smile in the heart. – Thou shalt witness the mind. – Thou shalt zen all the way out.
If you haven’t already, sign up to receive invitations for classes.
I made a playlist for all of you with some of my favorite female voices – hope you enjoy them as much I do! Happy International Women’s Day and a special shout out to the one who gave me life and the ones who change my life by being in it. <3
This is a piece I made for a show at The Dallas Museum of Art in, I think, 2005. I had a lot of late night sessions in my studio playing with different mediums… this one used oil paint, lipstick and menstrual blood. I wondered about beauty. I wondered about shame. I wondered why I was afraid I would be “found out” when I was on my period. When this piece hung in the show, I was afraid to list the mediums, so I hid behind “Mixed Media” but one day, one of the security guards pulled me aside and asked, “I’ve heard some rumors about what that dark color is on the painting. Are they true?” I told her that it was, in fact, menstrual blood and I wondered why we felt ashamed as women to have a period and why we felt the need to hide it. Though I was asking the questions with this piece, I was still afraid to be bold.
I’m newly obsessed with Mark Ronson because YouTube’s algorithm showed me an interview he gave at the beginning of the summer that literally changed my life. I don’t know how but it woke me up in a profound way.
So now I follow him on social media and and he posted on IG that he came out as sapiosexual. My understanding is that means that one is attracted to someone’s mind.
We made this video back in 2015 and now that being sapiosexual is cool, I wanted to grab this moment and publish this so hopefully more eyeballs will land on it. 🙂
Starring Hannah Kessler Voice Acting Tom Hall & Bad Voice Acting by Trina Hall Original music by: Andrew Griffith – Musical Direction, Drums David Zoller – Piano Jonathan Fisher – Bass Shelley Carroll – Saxophone Recorded at Soundomatic Studio Engineered by Carlos Savetman All the other stuff done by me
Adventure calls but its voice can only be felt. It’s a feather tickling the heart and a longing in the belly. Those who follow the call arrive in their lives with masks of comedy and tragedy tucked in their back pockets, showing those behind of their past.
For those who walk the lonely path toward meaning offer the opposites to the present like a sacrifice to the gods on the altar of fear. Babylon should be so lucky to imbibe the river’s floods.
Sometimes we make important life decisions based on what we think we should do. The “should” can become a barometer for being loved or accepted by others. Much of my life was spent as a purposeful outsider… Never wanting to be adopted into one group, I joined them all. It is like how I can’t choose my favorite color – wouldn’t green get its feelings hurt if I chose pink?
While working in an art gallery and at a museum, I found yoga. Finally, something pure enough for me to want to dig my teeth into. I said my vows, got my membership card and thought of how to best serve yoga itself. I wanted to give people something to look up to… I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to be heard.
So I traded in my vintage hat collection for an ascetic life, trying to free myself from desires and craving. I cleansed. I purified. I tried to honor what the yogic teachings offered me. Glamour and elegance no longer mattered to me. I wanted to embody the perfect yogi. As a girly girl who started wearing high heels before she could ride a bike, it was a stretch to stop wearing make up, but I did.
I became obsessed with my ideal of what I thought I should be. My self-esteem was garnered from an external perception and I somehow always fell short.
All this did is isolate me further from my own truth: anything other than following your heart is a form of self-deception. I was too truthful outwardly to others but little by little, I lied to my heart.
I’ve embraced more of myself – who I am beyond archetypes and titles – and my art is now reflecting my heart instead of my issues. It’s ok to be in love with who I really am and at the end of the day, I’m the only one who is keeping score.
I don’t want to be an ascetic. That isn’t the key to happiness. Happiness lives in the space. Happiness lives in gratitude… Fall down on your knees kind of gratitude. Find the things that make your heart smile and do more of that. I don’t want to be a part of anything less than helping people remember this. We all know it, we just need to be reminded – everything is cool.
Score one for me – I can finally put on my cocktail dress, open a bottle of champagne and do yoga in my favorite pair of heels. Ok so it wasn’t the most comfortable of endeavors, but you get the point, right?
I’d rather stand on my head than talk about the weather.
What is love but the preamble to loss?
A sacred contract extracting attachment that pierces the experience of now.
Dancing with fools was a thing of the past.
Co-creation of the unconventional, they imagined their hieros gamos.
Rules and boundaries are made, not borrowed.
She holds a heart to be opened, not broken.
Life is really simple; you live and you die.
Life’s riches come from attachment and the learning of another is the sweetness of life.
She wants to feel the richness of life’s color and know the sound of the vibration.
So many possibilities as Spring announced her arrival.
The tree is lush and she wants to be seen beyond the leaves.
What causes a sigh?
What brings the ache?
Where is the longing?
How does one wake up?
Where is the line of acceptance
and when does one keep going?
Join Trina Hall for this amazing opportunity to go to Yoga College! The Yoga College Series is like going back to school but much more cost-effective and fun! This is your chance to enrich your mind in the philosophy of yoga as you engage in lecture and discussion with like-minded yogis.
Pick the topics to choose your “degree plan”. Come to one or all of the seminars in the series to expand your knowledge on a wide variety of philosophical topics.
Trina Hall, a former college yoga professor, will be giving each of the lectures and accepts apples from the teacher’s pet.
What to bring: Bring a notebook and a pen to take notes.
“Created in response to Magmart Video Festival Director Enrico Tomaselli’s 2014 Global Video Program “The Five Senses” representing artists from five continents, this video Touchpoint explores touch as a signifier for a moment of physical and emotional connection, a moment of self and communal discovery… a moment of truth.” – Colette Copeland
Directed, filmed and edited by Colette Copeland
Filmed at The Mat Yoga Studio
Starring yogis Lisa Coyle & Trina Hall
Music by Frame “Global Communication” (Free Music Archive)
It was such a treat to work with the team of producers at “Good Morning, America”. You can read the story and see the entire piece here. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/09/25/confessions-of-a-temporarily-fat-yogi/
Do you think I am fat? If I were in front of you in typical yoga spandex, would you judge me?
I’ve gained weight and I’m not pregnant. I’ve followed the brand new, yogi-approved Seat Diet.
See it… eat it.
As a yoga teacher, this could be considered career suicide. Instead of slaying my means of supporting myself, I want to slay the notion that people who do yoga need to look like the beauties on the cover of magazines. Last year, my best friend said crying as she dealt with her lifelong eating disorder, “I don’t want to be known as the fat yoga teacher.” I was taken aback by this statement because I would classify her as beautiful, fit, and trim. I wanted to explore her statement that resonated in my mind like the frequency of fingernails tagging with sound their presence on the chalkboard.
To me, ‘fat’ is an arbitrary word that is used as ammunition to harm another. I’m not at war.
I thought this would be an experiment in empowering people to love their bodies and not try to fit society’s mold. Instead, reality of my latent insecurities came like a football team’s kicker being put in as the center (my identity was pummeled).
The stories I made up about what people thought of me were changing and I was emotionally affected. Suddenly, my self-worth was proving to be connected to how good I looked wearing spandex – something I completely denied giving a shit about before this experiment – and that pissed me off. Guilt from eating foods I typically considered bad for me were constant companions in my thoughts. Shame did cameo appearances in my mind’s movie reel daily.
My most shocking discovery through the process is that I’m afraid of not being loved. I noticed the self-talk was that my beauty is only on the surface. I feared no man would want me this way and that I would die alone, probably from choking on a potato chip. There was a war going on inside of me and neither side was winning. Once I unraveled the fears and self-assaulting language as irrational, they no longer had power over me and I began to relax into my new found “goods”.
Nietzsche says the thing separating men from gods is the belly. May we all expand our bellies to digest our fears and empower our minds to think. May we all understand that we all want to be loved for who we are… however we are in the moment. And may we all find love and not die alone, from potato chip asphyxiation.
There was a time when all I needed for inspiration was a quote, horoscope, fortune cookie, or one of those refrigerator magnet poems. The days of fluffing the pillows of hope to make the world seem less random are over. I am simultaneously distraught and relieved that I no longer rely on my tea bag for a shot of wisdom.
My industry is known for injecting the public with heightened inspiration, feel-good yumminess, and the perception that one can be happy all the time. I’m a generally calm and happy person but I’m over the illusion that we can talk ourselves into seeing the half-full glass as overflowing.
Nature is my teacher. People are a part of nature and in my work, I come in contact with a diverse group of humans. A lot of people subscribe to the theory posed by a new-age book that claims to reveal the one secret law of the universe. Basically, it says one just has to specifically ask the universe for what one wants and, like a genie granting wishes, it will appear.
I’m a big believer in setting a goal and a bigger believer in working my ass off to achieve the goal. Whether or not I accomplish the goal seems to only come down to how I choose to spend my time… Not whether I put the right picture on my vision board/talked with my angel guides/chose the right spirit animal before my vision quest.
We have an immense amount of power in our brains to change the way we think about things, but because we change our thoughts does not make something manifest into this world.
I’ve found the people who talk the most about manifesting are the people who are doing the furthest thing from their ideal job. I get that we all want direction and we all want a plan, but the thing that pisses me off about “The Secret” will hopefully become clear by the end of this rant.
Driving down a busy street in Dallas in the middle of Summer, I saw a man carrying his groceries. He was blind and using a walking stick. Do you think it would help him to wish himself out of blindness? Do you think having a clear intention would spontaneously make him able to see? No. And an intention like that would be a complete waste of time and energy whose results would be futile.
He inspired me. He didn’t let his fear take hold of him.
A student of mine was struggling in a yoga class this morning. We were doing Downward Facing Dog. For many healthy people, this pose is a breeze. This man would get into the pose for about one second and need to come down to his knees again. He did this five times in the eight seconds we held the pose. This student has Cerebral Palsy and wants so badly to do the yoga poses everyone else in the class is doing. Do you think if he was very clear that he is asking the universe to heal him that he would get better? Do you think it is a good use of his mental capacities to dream of having use of all motor and mental functions?
He inspired me. He kept trying. He isn’t giving up.
People who do their best with what they have inspire me. Determination and focus inspire me. Vision and creativity inspire me. Don’t tell me the world is going to shimmer with sparkles and happiness when sometimes it is just going to suck. Teach me how to work with what I have – to shape my own clay into something I really love. Teach me how to get re-focussed when I lose sight. Teach me how to love.
Energy, or prana, flows through the body and the chakras provide a sacred roadmap to our consciousness. The subtle energy we experience can be explored through the architectural design of the chakras, their traits, qualities, and physical manifestations. In this workshop, we will investigate the chakras as an energy system as it relates to the healing practice of yoga.
Watching someone grow over 200 hours of yoga teacher training is a beautiful thing to see. What’s even more beautiful is to watch the group dynamic as unspoken bonds are formed in the process of witnessing and being witnessed. My friend calls it “Sacred Witnessing” and I am a firm believer in the power it has to help us grow individually and collectively.
I hold space for my students’ growth and in my myopic focus in aiding in their journey, I can sometimes forget that I am also simultaneously growing on my journey. They are unconsciously holding space for my growth and I feel very lucky now to realize that. There was a part of me that neglected my evolution. I’m reminded through these words one of my students wrote me in a card that I, too, was being witnessed, “From every part of my being, I see you, I hear you, I appreciate you and I love you.” I feel this way about my students.
Because I don’t believe in the guru structure and I bask in my utter humanness, I rejected a lot of the love and appreciation they’ve sent my way over the years. It isn’t a form of self-loathing – I was afraid it would aid my ego and my head would get so big that I would have to change the height of the doors in my house. I’ve come to realize you can’t fully witness without being witnessed. It takes two to be in relationship and my students teach me so much just by being present in my life.
Equations make sense because we’ve all agreed on the meaning of the symbols within the equation. The plus sign means what it means and there isn’t any argument. We don’t put our subjective vacillating thoughts on the number 8, expecting it to adapt to our will.
Labels and titles are different. When we embark on a journey of any kind with any sort of title or label, we carry along the expectations of said title with us. We project our desires and insecurities onto the title, or moreso, onto the person we’ve bestowed the title upon. This projection creates a disparity between truth (undifferentiated reality – looking at ‘what is’) and our projection of what we think the truth should be.
We all do this unconsciously. How can we begin to recognize the pattern? Notice when you complain about something someone else is doing. A complaint is simply saying, “Reality is different from my projection of what I think reality should be.” You can easily get into a battle of wills stemmed from your desire to control someone or a situation. Reality always wins – it is more of a control freak than you are and it will make you happier if you accept other people the way they are without complaining.
Don’t try to make someone better. You can only attempt to make yourself better.
Accepting someone how they are without trying to change them is a form of love. My most fulfilling relationships are the ones where acceptance is mutual. My dearest friends see my character flaws. They don’t spend time dwelling in my apparent short comings and they don’t remind me of my inability to be perfect. They love me in spite of myself.
I’m in love with many people. I’m in love with the wholeness of them. I am in love with their humanness. I love the unspoken connection. I love the knowing. I lean into the ease of loving.
Yoga is a beautiful tool for communicating with people. However, its reach is limited.
The public’s perception of what yoga is and what yoga does is tainted. Far too often, yogis are portrayed as idiots who are so out of touch with reality. You’ve seen them: the aging men wearing robes or something that resembles a diaper… or as the smiley chick in spandex doing some crazy pose on the cover of many magazines on display at your local Whole Foods… or as the long-haired hippie who touches your spouse in inappropriate places during yoga class while on a couples retreat.
That’s what the public sees…
What they don’t see is that behind each yoga studio door, we are collectively studying what is energy. We are practicing presence. We are basically like Luke in Star Wars – learning to use the force.
I recently watched Star Wars again. Having seen it probably close to 100 times as a child, it was fascinating to watch it through the eyes of someone who has studied yoga. My favorite concept from the film is the force, followed by the myth of the hero.
When Luke asks Han if he believes in the force, Han says there is no proof of one force controlling everything. There are some of my students who are just like Han Solo – they hear the word ‘energy’ just like Han hears ‘the force’ and think it is a bunch of nonsense.
We all want proof. Science gives us proof. Yoga is a science.
I only know what my experience on the mat has proven to me. Every time I step on the mat, I form a hypothesis, perform the experiment, and come to a conclusion. I don’t know if the artistic side is creating the experience or the scientific method is proving the hypothesis.
My favorite thing to do is be creative… however that shows up – whether through creating an experience for my students, cooking for my friends, painting, or photography, it is something that brings me an infinite amount of satisfaction and joy to share.
There are a select few who have seen me in my creative state. It is sacred for me. One of my closest advisers has pushed me to another level where I am exploring the idea of sharing parts of my creative process. This video is part of this new idea.
I’m scared to death as I post this. It isn’t about fear of what people think or how people may judge me. It is a vulnerability – a true showing of my heart. I figure I might as well be even more real and more honest. Isn’t it true that is something scares you, it is worth doing? 🙂
The Stewpot Art Program is a community outreach serving the homeless and at-risk populations of Dallas. It is open to people looking for an environment to express and create through the medium of art.
Starting on Wednesday, we will be offering my Creative Process Yoga class to provide a format for the artists to get to know their creative process in a more intimate way through yoga, meditation and conscious breathing.
I feel a deep connection to those I will serve because there is a part of me who identifies with this feeling of not having a home. I feel honored to volunteer the wisdom yoga provides to all people – regardless of their social status, income or belief structure.
Have you ever looked around your house at all the things you keep and see a common theme? My theme is a collection of items that represent the men who have most influenced my life.
I have my grandpa’s cowboy hat, his cameras, the book he read to me as a little girl. He was a boisterous, jolly architect (who never graduated high school), who loved to fish, played the fiddle, was an elder in the Church of Christ, and escaped as a POW during World War II. Never settling for anything average, Grandpa added color and depth to my life as if I lived in the Wizard of Oz after the house landed on the witch. He believed in family. He believed in laughter. He believed in love. I sure do wish I could hug him now and tell him what is going on in my life. I’m having one of those moments where I realize he would be proud of me and who I have become. The tears magnify the letters on my screen as I know what it feels like to be loved.
My dad often gave me pens as a child because of my love of office supplies. Just like a musical instrument can be a muse, a new pen is my muse. I love to test drive a pen to feel how it performs in my hand and glides across the paper. My dad also gave me determination and project-based thinking, a logical mind, as well as the desire to see things differently. After his dad’s funeral, we took a three-hour drive home and discussed the nature of time. It was the first time I saw him as a philosopher as we bantered back and forth about alternate universes. He took what are called “Daddy shortcuts” where we would take the time from point A to B to see something beautiful. I do this now. Thanks to him, I know how to take my time. Poppa took me on dates as a little girl and I fell in love with this protector who worked full time and went to school full time to take better care of us. He is the kind of person who knows what the weather is going to be. He always carries a pocket knife and is active in his church choir. He was a boy scout troop leader who can start a fire with dryer lint. I can’t believe he is my dad. I’m lucky.
Rob Brown was my mentor and friend. A wicked sense of humor and impeccable timing joined us together along with our love of art, music, and generally messing with people. He said, “I want to change all I’s in the alphabet to U’s,” So we dud. Every sungle one of them was changed un oir dauly conversatuons and emauls. Before he died, he gave me a book of Richard Avedon photography that holds a special place on my bookshelf. He was listening to Desperados Waiting on a Train by Jerry Jeff Walker the entire week before he prematurely passed – so now that song is one that will make me cry no matter what. It summed up what our relationship was – I was his sidekick. That man left the planet way too soon.
I suppose the purpose of this very personal blog post is to convey that I’ve known extraordinary men who have taught me love. I have reminders of that love all around me that hold space for something special.
I love my life and I feel so grateful to be able to do what I do. The basis of what I do is teach people how to find their center in the midst of life’s inevitable chaos. I hold space for people to heal what needs to be healed so they can live a more authentic, purpose-driven life. Everything I do revolves around the creative process – something so personal, yet completely universal. It transcends language barriers. It communicates with us and through us. It is magical to me.
Part of my daily practice involves walking through the woods. I bring my keys, my journal, my music, my dog and I run. I meditate. I allow life to unfold around me and I get excited when I notice things… and there is always something new to notice so I am in a constant state of awe.
Yesterday, I was listening to this particular piece of music that put me more into a daydream – I started to run faster than I ever have before – like I was being chased. Suddenly, I tripped over a small tree stump, flew through the air and literally tumbled down to the ground. It was surreal to have my world flipped so suddenly.
When coming back to my car, I noticed I didn’t have my keys with me. I thought perhaps I had left them in the car so I went to check. Someone found my keys on the trail and left me a note.
Today, I cried for the kindness of strangers. You guys are all around me. The world is filled with kind hearted people – there are more of us than those who make the news. Everyone I’ve told this story to is shocked. They say, “Wow,” and, “You’re lucky,” and things like that but I don’t believe that. I believe they would do the same thing when put in that situation. We are inherently good. My mom said I see the world through rose-colored glasses but I’m not naive – I know desperate people do desperate things – but I do believe in the good within each of us. I believe in you. So thanks for being a stranger and thanks for helping those who aren’t yet believers see the fact that you are kind.
He has two gods: nature and music. The notes were his companion, the former rests somewhere beyond the view, begging to be graced with his footsteps. “Don’t look at me. Be with me,” Mother Nature commanded, knowing he was afraid of the dark. Did he need more strength to be strong?
Burying the barbed wire beneath the brush, a toll was paid to the cheribum, Fear and Desire, to enter the garden at Giverny. The forest was disenchanted, the wolf his companion as the path was marked with art.
For seven days, he ran. He collapsed and shouted his hands skyward, seeking the mother he never had in a tree. This was his other.
She was concerned about the depth of his faith so decided to practice hers. She already survived Hades resting place where creativity’s marrow was sucked from her soul and she sought counsel in the clouds.
Sounds of a ritualized morning beckoned her from the sky. He opened the aperture of her life and grew himself in her womb. The body of his home now received her touch, the echoes of laughter and love making swam through stone and wood. She held her lion’s hand as his compass for navigating the shadow. He always had courage and seeing Waxing Gibbous reminded him of her light. He knew his light was lovable and finally had proof the entirety of his makeup being dressed down was loved, too.
She was his shelter. She was his light. They were love.
Investing their dividends, they wrote a business plan for their perspectives: luxurious utilitarianism and altruistic indulgence.
She heard a voice while searching for a sign in the woods that closed her throat in on itself like a black hole swallowing matter. It sucked her breath, her umbilical cord to source. The alchemy of longing changed to feeling. All grown up, she waved the white flag to no one among the silence in the trees, her heart open, revealing to the space her fear that he was only in the vivid hues of imagination.
All this time selecting, grading, discarding, she turned herself into a miner. Infatuation was all a matter of perspective as she snapped up, documented and filed the moments through her left eye. The view from the high rise was the same as the view from the lake. She became a key collector.
Daily, her ritual bath was self-awareness. Doing what was filtered into her imagination, she knew.
Can she change her last name to Hope? It resided in her thoughts where truth murders time and expectation dances with faith. She’s known this is the place only she can go – never looking back like Orpheus did and never wearing a watch. At least this way she could blame it on their individual mission statements and the IPO.
Is this the last time she cries for the love only held through conversations with Mr. Rogers? Relief comes in the stillness, the knowing, that he will find her.
As sculptors, they created each other. They were detectives searching for the seed planted by children force fed a diet of judgement. At the end of the day, she drew him from the mountain, home to rest his head upon her breast. Who is with you at the end of the day is what matters. Thought bubbles held songs that shaped her upbringing and he read them like a comic strip. She listened to his ideas, connections, contemplation, confessions and worries. He was only waiting to hear her voice. She talked of her gratitude, her forgiveness, her knowing, and confessed her fears.
Everyday they walked in the woods, showing each other the signs, drinking the nectar of the gods.
Today, it was announced that researchers at CERN discovered a particle that is in line with the “God particle” Higgs believed to be at the core of the Theory of Everything… It explains why matter has a mass. Pretty cool stuff.
Before this discovery, it was just a theory… An idea… Somethig floating in the ether with no proof to ground it to reality.
Isn’t that what all dreams are?
I’ve always been a dreamer. I have always lived in my own mind, and as Lyle Lovett says, ain’t nothin but a good time. My mom has been my sounding board for most of these ideas and she always, without a doubt, thought I was crazy and that it couldn’t happen. I think it always surprises her when my dreams come true.
The bottom line is we are here for a limited time. With our dreams, it is like some people see there is an expiration date on the milk, but ignore it… Nah, there’s time.
I see two reasons why my dreams come true:
1. I visualize whatever it is happening… And I get a little bit obsessed with it. I work tirelessly toward fulfilling that dream.
2. I believe it can happen. I have faith.
A dream of mine is coming true tomorrow as I teach my new Creative Process Yoga class at The Crow Collection of Asian Art. I get to fulfill more of my purpose to teach about the creative process and yoga.
I see the expiration date but I’m not fighting against it… today. Today, the “God particle” was brought down to reality and I watched several mindless clips on YouTube… really. I think everything is right in the world.
Getting behind the wheel is something that gives me a feeling of freedom… the car door is like the door to a secret passage way that you KNOW will lead you to adventure. I packed up my car with my dog in the backseat, Joseph Campbell and Kahlil Gibran audiobooks, two new music albums and headed from Texas to Colorado with hope. I’m not sure what I was hopeful for or hoping would happen but I was inspired to the very core of my soul. My sense of sound was bathed in truth by these sonic muses as a new awareness permeated my being.
Back when I started training to be a yoga teacher, I sold my TV because I didn’t want it as a distraction from the work I felt ready to do. I decided to follow my bliss and figure out what I could do to help make the world a better place. I felt a strong calling and I needed to use my time wisely. This trip taught me that I was consumed with my work and it became an easy way to hide from love by making myself busy.
The time in the car helped me see my television addiction just shifted to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram. What was my motivation for all this checking in? I wanted to connect with more people but instead I avoided connecting to the silence and depth of my love. Afraid of my own sensitivity, I used my library card.
I can’t wait to get back into teaching this week so I can keep having the conversations that really matter to me. I start my new Creative Process Yoga class when I do a month-long residency at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas. My hope is to provide space for deeper listening and honesty with this class… Both for myself and my students.
The Mat Yoga Studio is where I teach one of my babies – the training program, Advanced Yoga Studies. I was at their event, Karma Yoga Happy Hour, when the video crew asked to do an interview with me. I didn’t know what I had to say except that The Mat is a beautiful place to work because of the people there – but they pulled so much more out of me about AYS. I guess we can call this a promo for AYS – Katie and I talk about it at 2:40 or so. You may want to check out the end because I show some dance moves as poetic as Elaine from Seinfeld and her thumb dance.
We are all on a hero’s journey. Some of us know what we seek and others are completely unaware they are living a life of purpose. Joseph Campbell wrote a book called A Hero with a Thousand faces that outlines the myth of the hero. You can think of it as if your life is a book and you are the hero of the book. The hero changes the world. The hero helps others. The hero lives an extraordinary life.
In order to live this type of larger-than-life myth, the hero is put through a series of tests that give him the wisdom he needs to continue on his path. He learns the truths of the universe.
There is usually a refusal to go once he has been called on the adventure of life. Typically, he is in a place of comfort and security and he knows by moving outside of his comfort zone, there will be the void of the unknown. At least there is a nice little graphic that can help navigate the process.
The more we deny our purpose and ignore the call… the more we convince ourselves we want to live our lives according to our own plans, the more we suffer. Suffering can come in the form of bad relationships, illness, a desire to numb out, or distractions of any kind.
When we practice surrendering, we can observe how much we are clinging to our own ideals. We want to get closer to universal truth and further away from ego and mind-constructs. A practice that helps with this is Yin and Restorative yoga. The best pose I’ve found to notice how to surrender is Balasana, or Child’s Pose: Come to all fours, lower hips to heels, forehead comes to floor, hands move beside body, palms face up. As you breathe, notice the gripping within the muscles of the legs… the face… the shoulders. Practice letting go.
I feel blessed. This week, I take my Advanced Yoga Studies students on their graduation retreat to Playa del Carmen.
I’ve been meditating on what to teach and I’m thrilled to say we will be exploring several ideas:
Don’t Hold Back – Show Us Who You Are
Are You Fiercely Loving?
Inspire & Be Inspired – The Light Within
The Soundtrack to Your Mind
I can’t wait to share the space with you guys… This is going to be fun!!
After I re-apply my melted face from the show, I lay awake in my hammock listening to music through my headphones. I remember the moment my boyfriend introduced me to an intimate stereo sonic experience – I was hooked. The way a stereo sound evokes the imagination is like the difference between being friends and lovers. Then, my next boyfriend sat me down in his “listening chair” and through his super-duper-amazing Naim speakers, I saw an entire symphony in the space of sound. The waves came from the speakers and somehow each wave placed itself strategically as if the band was performing in his listening room. It was crazy.
I was never really into live music (except blues and jazz) until recently. The idea of listening to songs with a bunch of strangers wasn’t my idea of fun. It wasn’t so much a statement of the crowd or the performers but more of an acknowledgement of my anxiety in big crowds.
What I’ve come to realize is I’m less interested in a performance and more interested in witnessing creative process as it unfolds. The former is fun while the latter is spiritual. The performance art outside the Kessler was both performance and creative process. The performances inside the Kessler were both performance and creative process. Ahh, the bliss!
My life is fun and spiritual. I aim to live both aspects to their fullest extent and Saturday night was an idealized version of that goal. I witnessed creative process through performance art in two venues – inside and outside The Kessler in Dallas. I won’t even go into the details but suffice it to say my heart was broken open and my face was melted off.
As I listen to my music tonight in bed, I am reminded of the power of connection. I’m grateful.
Ever since I saw my first TED talk by Jill Bolte Taylor describing her experience during her stroke, I was enchanted with TED talks.
I, too, had a series of small strokes that left me with double vision and debilitating headaches. My left eye could no longer move and I had resigned myself to always rely on other people to take care of me – a huge feat for a person who craves solitude and independence. I was sad. I was depressed. I needed help taking myself to the bathroom. My life looked so much different than what I had dreamed of as a little girl.
To cheer me up, I was given art supplies because I had said in passing, “I always wanted to be an artist.” I never took lessons but I discovered how to play and tap into the rhythm of oil painting. It was the biggest gift I had been given – relief from the pain, joy from expression, and a love of color that still charms me today.
The creative process is what healed me back to my version of normal (notice I didn’t say “normal” but “my version of normal” because I am definitely a little off-center)… but this time, I had a mission – to live a creative life and teach others how to heal themselves through creative process.
My mind seeks connection in its isolation so I seek to find ways of joining things together. Yoga was the best medium I found for joining people to a deeper connection within and outside of themselves. My teachers always talked about energy in class. Though I understood its meaning in an abstract way, I couldn’t stop thinking about the E in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. I’ve re-imagined his theory to show how our lives and connection to source/spirit/universe can be enhanced through simple conscious breathing and movement as a meditation. I found conscious breathing is the single most beneficial thing we can do to enhance brain function, spiritual connection and overall wellness. So I need a platform to share this with more people.
I decided I wanted to give my own TED talk so I applied and was accepted to audition a 5 minute talk at TEDxSMU. I learned so much about myself, my expectations, my hopes, my dreams and my desire to communicate effectively. The stillness was palpable when the crowd was observing their senses.
This was an experience I will always treasure despite it being a horrible record of my public speaking skills. I couldn’t remember any of my jokes or any of the points I wanted to make. All in all, I sucked but at least I can say I did it.
These people raised over $62,000 on Saturday at One Love in Dallas at AT&T Performing Arts Center. Just as in this picture, today I have my hands up to the sky, giving thanks to each of you who inspired me. Thank you!
He awakened me in Spring. His vision standing brought feeling that needed to be penetrated to be understood. Only by going deep into the now does one understand why. Choppy and rough was my demeanor with Bacchus leading the way to ceremonies. Preparation was in my hands and the only mystery was that of timing as each guard placed around the home left.
Creativity is my life and he wore a comforting glow of familiarity. His hair and lips I want to touch with full consciousness and presence, though I know nothing of love. Desire’s trumpeting gaze took hold of me and I crave more.
The pit of longing, belonging and rapture sit in my stomach while serpents swallow each other’s tails into my thoughts, digesting.
Disservice mounted this hero’s steed and rode into the sunrise with a hint of lingering appreciation.
I’m giving away free hugs to hundreds of yogis as I teach during One Love Dallas (I promise to shower and wear deodorant) but Lululemon is giving away some groovy schwag to the 108th person to register for One Love.
We will be doing 108 sun salutations for charity at the AT&T Performing Arts Center on April 28. Find out more!
It was a glorious Spring day when I found myself laying down, looking at the clouds drift through expansive sky-space. I noticed grey dots and wavy lines in between my eyes and my vision of the sky. The more I tried to look into the lines, the further they moved away. These are called “floaters”.
Interesting facts about these floaters:
– they cast shadows on the retina
– they are easier to see on a clear blue sky
– when we try to look directly at one, they move
Though we all develop floaters at some point, they become more prominent as we age, and none of our floaters look exactly alike.
I was thinking about how this related to my life and my vision of my life…
What are the floaters in my life? What seems just beyond my grasp? What is casting a shadow on my ability to see clearly?
This week, I will approach my life with more clarity as I set an intention to develop one-pointed vision and soften through the periphery.
There is a man who pushes a cart around the neighborhood, collecting cans from recycle bins. I’m assuming he is homeless. He’s become as familiar as my next door neighbor with his routine stop in front of my house and we always wave, give the obligatory smile, and the neighborly exchange of conversational pleasantries.
At first, I felt pity for this man… how it must feel to not have a home… how he must be living in fear. My ability to project my own fears of survival on this man led me to see there is no indication from him that he is afraid. He actually seems quite happy as he delivers a nugget of wisdom in conversation, “You deserve the truth.”
Then I felt envious of his reality – time is simply measured by sunlight. He need not wear a watch as he is free to do anything with his time. The watch is my albatross. Freedom exists in the mind and reality is what we make of it.
I aim to live more like this man – wandering with the sun as my guide, wondering with my shadow behind.
Perfume of coffee and taste of unshaven legs… the anticipation of art as a container for infinite expression. How does a shadow dance? Where do glances fall? As she approached the tarmac, she wasn’t yet cleared for landing. Baited in breath, the path became clear. There is something rich in mistaken identity as the winter’s trees pretend to have no protection. Just as in every theory, it has yet to be proven.
Her shade was taken away so the sun was in connection – more directly this time. Who was it? Where is that voice?
Belief – faith, even – is what resonates. Recalling bleeding retinas, her grandfather hadn’t warned her about looking into the sun. She assumed it was necessary to go into the light – to bathe in the rays of glorified nothingness.
To become who you truly are and imbibe power beyond form is what creates discernment. Just as the clouds scraped the rays from her skin, she exhaled. Guilt became an extension in the call directory of her thoughts; the number rarely dialed. This unwavering disregard for punishment along the gallows resulted in a sensation between her shoulder blades. What would she do with this new sense of freedom?
She put in place a policy of truth-seeking and truth-speaking that became the touchstone in her future conversations that always pierced into the essence of now. Ultimately, she was her own beneficiary and time an imagined jaded lover. She became provocative… pro-active. Gentle in her approach, the blending of creative energies was her offering.
It’s been quite some time since I posted a playlist. Tuesday’s Open Flow class was special for me because I was thinking about how I’ve been inspired by beautiful art and performances recently.
I wanted to bring forward an exciting energy to help us get closer to our human desires and ultimate longing. I posed the question, “What is your purpose?” I’m interested in those dreams you fear are too big to be uttered… those things you pictured doing when you were a kid… the ideal life you know you are meant to lead.
I think it was 1999 and I was watching a rehearsal on the SNL set. Lorne Michaels’ office is at the top of the seats and there were two kids hanging out there. I introduced myself and learned that one was Lorne’s son and the other was Paul Simon’s. They were on a baseball team together and Paul Simon’s kid said when he grows up, he wants to colonize the moon. Really. That was his dream.
Some of us know exactly what we are supposed to be doing with our lives and some of us aren’t even sure where to begin in writing life’s mission statement.
I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist. I’ve always known my main goal is happiness. I was not, however, always true to that vision. I adhered to a standard of what was expected of me. I lived my life through the lens of another’s expectation. Then everything changed and I kept my focus on what I truly want, re-defining the means to get there along the way. The path isn’t always clear but I do keep stepping, even when it seems like the next step my lead me off a cliff. It’s ok, if I fall, I know how to use my wings to land safely again.
What makes you happy? Joseph Campbell calls it “Follow Your Bliss” and how beautiful is that notion? You possess the bliss already… you just have to follow the path.
The thing that unites us is love. It is our highest calling. Love is the best we can possibly be. It is a presence, an openness, a vulnerability, a doing… it is a way of being. We can think about this pretty easily as we’ve all loved and been loved before. But are we fully living up to love’s standard of equality and infinite capacity? If I were to gather an accurate picture of how much I am fully, 100% loving, I am sad to say that far too often, fear and judgement make guest appearances in the sitcom of my mind. We can make it a practice – practice love. Practice acceptance.
We’ve all built up ways of protecting our hearts and hiding from our co-created destiny. But it is time. It is time for us to live! It is time to live our lives inspired. It is time to watch our dreams come true.
I’ve been asked by hundreds of people about yoga privates for creatives. OK, that is a lie… no one has asked me about that but I have found that as an artist, my yoga practice is the single most valuable thing that helps me remain creative.
I am now offering custom privates for any creative professional who would like to light their creative fire again, find peace of mind, or just relax while on the road or traveling.
Creative Process Privates – Designed for the musician, artist, or creative professional who is looking to find their muse again. The privates are custom-designed for the artist’s needs and goals to include yoga poses, mindfulness techniques, meditations, and guided relaxation. The sessions are recorded so they can be taken while traveling.
Email trina at treenuh dot com for more information.
My journey into answering this question started with the observation that for most of my life, I was living in fear. Fear of not being loved, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being pretty, fear of speaking my mind, fear of heights… the list goes on. So if I am living in fear, I need to understand how to turn the other way. What is the opposite of fear?
I sought counsel from one of my teachers who said, “There is a net beneath you. Let go. You will be caught.” I don’t know how much I believed her but I wanted to go straight into feeling my fear to see what is on the other side. I needed a goal to bring me face to face with fear, so I decided to conquer my fear of heights by flying on a circus trapeze.
I stood there at the bottom of the rig, analyzing every detail of how this whole thing could go wrong. The ladder could break. The net could be poorly attached to the bars and I could fall to my death. The person catching me could drop me, sending me head-first into a tree (I have flown from a trampoline head-first into a tree so this one wasn’t so irrational). Just thinking about the experience is making my palms sweat. I climbed 32 feet up this wobbly ladder onto a platform, and as I held the bar, ready to jump off the ledge, I realized I have to have faith in order to jump. Faith that everyone who put the rig together did it properly…. faith that my trapeze partner will catch me. Then I looked down and saw the net. Funny how life works.
I flew through the air and when I landed safely in the net, I exhaled and thought of all the agony I put myself through by listening to my fear.
What fears am I listening to in my life? I wanted to share my passion for yoga but I was afraid I wasn’t good enough to be a teacher. When I got home from the trapeze experience, I signed up for a yoga teacher training program. If I had not acknowledged my fear, I never would have had the faith in myself to sign up for the training.
Faith is mysterious and sometimes ellusive. Faith is knowing there is a net. Faith is knowing we are exactly where we need to be.
Transparency isn’t enough. Self-disclosure is opaque honesty. I want to be translucent. I want you to see through me. My strength is sometimes a reality but my fear penetrates much of my being. Do you long to lift illusion’s veil and kiss Truth?
How often do you think about what you are grateful for? Me? Not as much as I would like. I’m too busy moving forward, trying to accomplish something, be something, or learn something that sometimes I forget to get down into the mushy gushy love that is my life.
Today’s yoga class was about abundance. What if we aren’t glass-half-full nor glass-half-empty kind of people? What if our cup runneth over? When we spend time counting our blessings and being in the moment it sure is easier to love with a full, over-flowing heart.
You guys brought it today, rocked it out and made me feel even more love for life… thank you!
Last night, one of my students offered a toast as we celebrated the end of our 100 hour educational journey, “Even when you think you aren’t making a difference in someone’s life, you are.” Of course, I start crying because it hit me first like a pin into a pin cushion, then like a freight train with the realization this is what I am trying to do.
I want to make a difference. Yoga is the best tool I have found for bringing people together… and I want more people to feel connected. I want to connect to as many people as possible.
Making something ancient and esoteric into something approachable and applicable to modern life has been a beautiful process. Looking over all my lesson plans, my notes, recorded classes, manuals, research, etc., it is evident that I have loved the process of unearthing my ideas.
It was so much fun celebrating the two-year anniversary with The Mat Yoga Studio and all our students. At noon, I taught a fun class and this was the playlist. For those of you making a playlist at home, the class begins with Firecracker.
For the 6:30 Open Flow and Meditation classes, we brought in The Sound and the Meaning for a live music yoga class. If you haven’t done yoga to live music, you are missing something Uh-freaking-may-zeeeeeng!! Do you remember the first time you kissed someone? It is similar… filled with unfamiliar sensations and once finished, you REALLY want more.
Taylor says, “I still have a smile on face due to last night’s class. Practicing yoga between Trina’s style and live music was a memory made. Taking in the music while moving my body was extremely pleasurable and I feel blessed I was able to experience such….. Coolness.”
There you have it – she says it was cool…. besides our moms, not many people say that. We will take it! Gravy.
… and we decided live music + yoga is ALMOST as good as sex… almost.
Yes, I am the kind of person who stops to smell roses… I enjoy the drinking of nectar from life’s fruits. There are times, though, when I seem to be the nail and life seems to be the hammer continuously teaching me a painful lesson. Perhaps the bleeding from my skull should be and indication that it is time to make a change… Time to stop wanting more and time to inhale the fragrance of this moment. If we can all accept that everything is temporary, why do we want to extend the good times and get away from the darkness in life?
My job affords me the opportunity to meet amazing men and women who share such a sacred space with little ol me. I had a moment in class this morning when I realized I am over flowing with gratitude to be able to teach yoga the way I do to the people I do. Each of my students touches me in such a profound and special way and I am forever grateful. It is moments like this I want to sustain… I want to contain… I want to name… As if documenting it makes it more real… As if sharing it in this forum and with friends and family helps me inhale its perfume just a weeeeeee bit longer…
Live recording of the class I taught on 10-14-11 at The Mat Yoga Studio. This is a Vinyasa class – all levels. We talked about the heart as a light, your life as a map, following your dreams, and questioned if we REALLY believe things are as they should be.
The story you are about to read is completely true. All names have been changed to protect those with a guilt-ridden grin turning up their rosy cheeks.
Bob: When was the last time you kissed someone?
Me: Someone tried to kiss me Thursday.
Bob: What do you mean someone tried? Do you not like kissing? Kissing is good.
Me: I love kissing – it just has to feel right.
Bob: Do you think you could ever be in love with me?
Me: There is no way I can know that after 10 minutes of knowing you.
Bob: Sure there is. Maybe yes or maybe no.
Me: I haven’t a clue.
Bob: Can I impregnate you?
A week ago, I was out walking and came across this pond. It seemed magical as I looked at it from the shore. It is as if the pond wanted to insulate itself with this covering… a security blanket adding an aura of solidarity, protecting the fragile and sensitive nature of the water.
Algae is the most basic natural food source in a pond and helps balance the entire ecosystem. If there was no algae, the food system would fall apart.
I think sometimes we feel that if we don’t have our blanket of security to distance us from true heart and spirit connection, we would fall apart. The truth is, we want to appear strong as a survival instinct. Beneath all the layers, we all just want to be loved.
I spend a lot of time in silence, in the space of my Self. I incubate, I write, I create.
Last night, something shifted as I lay awake at 2am, listening to music. I questioned my beliefs. I thought about my attachments. There was a time when I wanted to learn what was important to me. I moved into my run down art studio – it didn’t have a kitchen or a shower and was probably 100 square feet or something. I became keenly aware of what I needed and was able to see and feel my attachments to things. Turns out I don’t need that love letter from my ex but I do want the book my grandpa read to me as a little girl. We get to choose what we keep from our past. There is something symbolic about letting the physical go – we shift the energy. We make space.
This afternoon, I cut about one foot off my hair. Thoughts of identity, labels, femininity, love crossed my mind as the scissors sheared through my attachments and released freedom. Liberation and I embraced.
The funny part – that I only realized afterward – is my mom called me two days ago. She and my brother were watching the Cowboys vs. Redskins football game. When I was 3 or so, I cut my hair EXTREMELY short when these two teams played each other. Every year, they call me to tell me to hide my scissors.
Earth waits for her lover to whisper a new season on her breast. The breeze is hinting at change; a softening of the air that graces Earth’s skin. Sky makes love to the horizon – the unattainable vision of unity out of division. Her body aches as she lay in silent breath.
Come to me, my lover. Breathe light inside me. All at once, devour me – enlighten me – frighten me – become me. My womb is your grave.