Space: Holding It

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One of the main aspects of being a Reiki and Yoga teacher I value, perhaps even treasure, is that people feel comfortable opening up to me. I have heard stories of anger, exhaustion, uncertainty, grief, hope, and joy. I have had folks come in and not say anything, but quietly permit some likely long overdue tears to fall.

There is nothing on my intake forms suggesting clients need to share the personal details of their experiences with me, but more often than not, I do get blessed with the background of these souls. They are trusting me to listen, and I do. I listen, I empathize, I let them share whatever they want or need to.

I hear them.

I hold space for them.

Personally, I have been through ordeals in my life so intense, so weird, and/or so frightening that I absolutely had to release them in some way. I have needed someone to hold space for me.

I learned fairly quickly the person I chose to be my confidant had to have some qualifications: they had to possess the ability to refrain from passing judgment on me (though an occasional eyebrow raise might have been permitted if the story truly warranted it–they’re human), they had to grant me the freedom to express myself with any and all emotions (if they can’t handle me at my snot and tear stained face, they don’t deserve me at my glowing elated face), they had to listen without going rogue and trying to figure out a solution for me, because holding space is about providing support, not trying to “fix” things or find answers (those are my responsibility), and they had to allow me to talk (or not talk) without feeling expected to do anything else. Despite this laundry list of demands, I came to trust a few people with this role.

Why do we need an outlet like this? What is it about exposing our true selves to another that helps us abandon our internal narratives for a while? Maybe we are organically releasing some of the weight of our burdens, and maybe that release creates room for relief, however brief. Maybe sometimes we just want to feel heard.

Our problems or struggles may not vanish, but by sharing with someone willing to listen we are granting ourselves permission to let go a little. Sharing a small part of our genuine selves with confidence is priceless, and having someone willing to accompany you without judgment is a gift. Each time someone in my life graces me with the opportunity to free myself of my challenges for a short while,  I see them as a lighthouse in the middle of a storm. They are a beacon for me when things feel like they’re falling apart.

The act of holding space for someone is one of true kindness and compassion. Allowing a person to become vulnerable in your presence, whether they choose to actually speak their mind or not, is a significant responsibility.

Can you hear their words without injecting your own opinions? Can you sit with them and simply let them feel? Can you bear witness to a small piece of their journey without asking for anything in return?

Try. Someone will be grateful you did.

 

 

 

Quest for the Press

I am someone who enjoys a good challenge, and by “enjoy” I mean practically destroy myself in the process of trying to achieve success. Exhibit A: my brief but unbelievably intense obsession with press handstands.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a “press handstand” just means that rather than kicking up to get yourself vertical, you lift your lower body off the ground like magic using mainly core and arm strength. When I first discovered this practice, I quite literally thought I was witnessing some sort of dark sorcery. I could not fathom that it was possible for a human body to just float on up like that. Thus, my obsession began.

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Space: Creating It

At the end of last year (is it just me or does it always feel weird to call it “last year” when it was only a few days ago?) I felt the theme of “creating space” arrive in my life. Or, more accurately, I belatedly acknowledged its relentless presence. It had presented itself to me over and over in different ways for months, maybe even years, until I eventually managed to connect the dots (at which point the Universe was probably thinking “ugh, FINALLY.”)

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200 Hours Later

Picture a golden glow, with obnoxious yet glorious rays shining in every direction directly out of my face. That is how I felt as I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I spent 10 months immersing myself in all things yoga, and I finally reached the end of that chapter and I felt RADIANT. I still do. I have been struggling to write this post for months, purely because I don’t know where to begin. So much happened in this training and I am still absorbing it all, even now. Continue reading “200 Hours Later”

Recharge (with Style)

Let’s try an experiment.

I want you to look at the word I’m about to write, and take note of what first comes to mind when you see it. Ready? 

This magical word is: self-care

What did you see? Did you envision yourself getting a pedicure, reading a book in the bath with lit candles around it, or maybe getting a luxurious massage? In this day and age, the term “self-care” is often synonymous only with activities such as those…but why?! Those are all fantastic examples of self-care (I would practically kill for some alone time to read a book without constant interruption), but let’s not forget that tending to the needs of your body and mind can also just mean closing the bathroom door on your kid so you can pee in peace for once, or choosing not to answer any of those 57 emails until tomorrow when you’re ready to, or even as simple as taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. At the end of the day, the act of taking care of ourselves comes in many shapes and forms. It’s about creating a sacred space for you to cultivate healing of your mind, body and soul, whatever that may look like.
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5 Things I Use in My Yoga Practice

Once upon a time, I had a bright pink yoga mat that I got for free while working at a rehab hospital. It had some prescription drug’s name emblazoned on it, it was flimsy, and it was pretty horrendous as far as grip goes.

That was my first mat, ever.

The hospital I was working as a rehab aide at offered a free yoga class on Thursdays for the staff and, every week that I could, I put that crappy mat to good use. That was many years ago, and since then I’ve added a few things to my practice (and gotten a more quality mat). I thought I’d share what I use, and how I use them. Just FYI, I’m not getting any sort of perks whatsoever for posting any of this. That would be nice, though. Continue reading “5 Things I Use in My Yoga Practice”

The Countdown

I am a note taker. I am constantly, CONSTANTLY, writing myself notes or creating “to-do” lists (of important tasks for a particular day, or goals I hope to reach but with no set due date). The first weekend of May was the second to last one of my 200 hour yoga teacher training, and a couple of my classmates were unable to attend. One of them reached out to me and asked if I’d share my notes with her afterward, so at the end of the day on both Saturday and Sunday I happily wrote out a lengthy email full of information I had managed to hurriedly jot down in between poses. Seeing all of it typed out like that, with any gaps being filled in by my own perspective or understanding on the topics, made me realize that this is actually happening. I am VERY close to being certified to teach people yoga, and that is both exhilarating and terrifying.

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