Empower: A Strong Vinyasa Flow

Dearest Friends,

I have had this practice filmed and ready to go since November and yet have been putting it off. In an act of kindness to myself, I gently observed this hesitancy with a curiosity and patience. Why wouldn't I publish this video? It's a beautiful and powerful practice and one that I am really, truly proud of. I hired my good friend Kitty to do what she does best and the quality and production is absolutely amazing. So why? Why the hesitation?

I've come to realize that this video captured me during a vulnerable period in my life. I intentionally share that I made the decision to end a long-term relationship and therefore, move out and into a new home, with a new roommate. This conscious shift created space for me to see and engage with new friends, work, activities, and the most unexpected... a new partner. I share the grace and ease of the transition in this Spirit Wellness Journal piece that I wrote back in December. The unfolding of the transition was smoother than I could have planned and yet STILL, I am realizing now that there was (and is) simply a lot to awaken to.

I have found myself more social than I have ever been, having more work than I have ever had, and exploring my wildest adventures yet. I've gone camping more in the last few months than I have been since the six years I've lived in the Bay Area and just bought my first surfboard! I feel confident in who I am and how I'm choosing to engage in the world AND I feel tired some days. I live in Berkeley and drive in and out of San Francisco every day and sometimes twice a day. So while I've been experiencing abundance socially, professionally, and romantically, I also feel full at the end of the day- sometimes exhausted.

Hence, the lack of content and activity on social platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook.

I am realizing that vulnerability is one entry point to the present moment. My openness to share my story in real-time and with my close community has given me the opportunity to make deeper and more meaningful connections. My vulnerability has challenged me to have honest conversations with people, places, and myself, which has added a vibrant color and satisfying texture to my life. My vulnerability has fueled a drive to be active in the moment- it has been life-giving and fulfilling and it is my intention to continue being vulnerable and awake in the world.

It's now March and my circumstances have stabilized a bit. I've settled into a routine and so have a bit more energy to create and publish content here and on some other platforms. However, I have really enjoyed being present and letting the days unfold without the attachment to technology and so I'm wanting to find a balance that I feel good about. I love writing for the Spirit Wellness Journal and sharing bits and pieces of the yoga practice that I have found meaningful in my own life. I want to continue to offer in this way and to use technology and social media to connect authentically and to support and inspire the community that we have built.

And so... without further ado, I am happy and proud to share Empower: A Strong Vinyasa Flow. It is steeped in the Earth AND initiates the fire within. There are some core elements and an invitation to play with forearm stand! It is my hope that you find this practice as grounding and empowering as I do.



The Rhythm of Fear and Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the willingness to act in SPITE of my fear.
— Michael Hyatt

When I quit my job teaching first grade, nearly two years ago now, I was scared. I felt like a little girl... like my 5-year-old self on the first day of kindergarten or my 10-year-old self giving my first class presentation. I felt the very same tightness in my chest and the many tears welling in my eyes.

As I sat in the Head of School's office for what seemed like a lifetime, there were moments of physical paralysis that hid the violent movement of my mind.

"Should I quit? What would the families think? And the faculty and staff?  They will lose respect for me, and I won't be able to recover. No one will hire me after this. What will I do? How will I support myself in San Francisco?"

There was a moment when I felt like I would be forever stuck in this swirling vortex of despair. You see, the nature of the mind is to move and to wander, and it likes to attach to thoughts of the past or thoughts and expectations for the future. This is the ego, a state of suffering, and its aim is to limit and hold you back from your inherent GREATNESS.

"Meredith, Sally is ready for you."

The assistant to the Head of School lifted my trance, and I found the rise and fall of the rhythm of my breath. I was able to shift my attention to the truth of the present moment, and in THAT moment I knew I was not happy. Teaching and being in the classroom had previously brought me energy, satisfaction, and joy. But in my last months I felt drained, sad and starved. I knew something was not right- there was pain in my body and in my heart. I wasn't sleeping well, was barely eating and felt like I was in a dense fog that wouldn't clear.

I spent a lot of time in meditation and prayer before I made this decision. I dropped below the surface of my thoughts and listened to the deep inner wisdom of my body. I trusted the intuition telling me my time in that classroom was over, and I had the FAITH that my journey was taking a turn to heal myself and the world in a better way.

So despite the fear I had for the future, I courageously expressed my truth.

I cried in front of the Head of School that day. I REALLY cried as I exposed my feelings of fear, shame and sadness to the leader of the workplace. And believe it or not, she heard me and showed up with a powerful presence. She handed me tissues and spoke with a motherly knowing. She nurtured my emotions and encouraged the healing of my soul. I left that day feeling thankful, enlightened and hopeful for a new day when all leaders will engage with and honor the more fluid modes of thought and feeling, and I am filled with a profound gratitude for her soft understanding and her FIERCE guidance.

I learned that people SHOW UP with conviction when you allow yourself the freedom of vulnerability. I learned that humanity is inherently loving if we allow ourselves to open and be loved.

Life continues and the fear is still present. I feel it now in my new relationships and business ventures. My ego tells me that I am not good enough, I'm not beautiful or lovable, that I don't know enough, and that I just can't do it. But instead of screaming at me, it is just a gentle whisper. I recieve the hum of those thoughts, and practice recognizing and HONORING the emotion of fear. I let myself feel the intensity with gentleness - taking a bubble bath and/or just allowing myself to cry. The practice of yoga has taught me to feel authentically and LET GO with intention and faith. 

So if you feel afraid- BE with that feeling. Scream, shake, cry- do whatever you need to do to honor THAT part of you. And be grateful that the fear is just that... a PART of you and just ONE beat of the rhythm. Take a deep breath, look for the opportunity to be vulnerable and courageous, and express your truth with conviction.