Monthly Archives: August 2013

Motherhood and Viniyoga

This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Shelley Curtis. Shelley is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program and a yoga teacher at Whole Life Yoga. She can be contacted at sac68@earthlink.net.

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If you’d told me in my 20s and 30s that I would someday be both a yoga teacher and a mother, I would’ve giggled myself silly. But yoga – and motherhood – found me when I needed them the most.

In our late 30s, my partner (now husband) and I were quite content with being childless; watching in amusement how chaotic and out-of-control the lives of our friends with children appeared to be. But at some point we began to feel that having children would bring more joy than chaos. We were ready for a change in our lives that would bring self growth and a new perspective.

At about the same time, I injured my back and began practicing hatha yoga to rebuild my strength and flexibility.  Once I conceived, my growing belly made practicing the asanas I was used to more challenging. A friend (later one of my viniyoga mentors) invited me to come to her prenatal yoga series at Whole Life Yoga.  I didn’t know anything about viniyoga, but I was eager to find a yoga practice that I could continue through my pregnancy.

Turns out, viniyoga was the exact thing my body needed. At the time, I had no idea it was also exactly what my mind needed. I focused on the physical aspects of my practice, but little by little I began to connect breath, body and mind.

My transition to motherhood wasn’t quite as smooth.

I felt overwhelmed, isolated and I struggled with my new identity. I realize now that I was completely attached to the outcome of my actions. I measured my success as a mother by how well my child nursed, slept, ate, and behaved. I loved my son with all my heart, but my mind was often occupied by thoughts of the future and planning for what was (maybe) to come. Sometimes being in the present moment was too painful and scary.

Even though the first couple of years were a struggle at times, the joy of being parents overcame us and we decided to have a second child. My pregnancy coincided with my teacher training at Whole Life Yoga. What a gift! I loved learning about the physical asanas, sequencing and anatomy (ok, maybe not anatomy). But the real joy was learning how to quiet my mind – how to stay present with my breath and my body. As a result, my transition to motherhood the second time seemed way less overwhelming. Yes, I had done it once before, but I truly believe my attempts to internalize the principles of yoga made the difference.

My viniyoga practice made me a better mother.

The effects of viniyoga on motherhood come in many shapes and sizes. First, I am able to be in the present moment more often and more fully. Second, I am better able to practice non-attachment, which frees me (to some degree) from the outcomes of my mothering. Third, paying attention to my breath and trying as best I can to live in the present moment make me less reactive and more patient. Finally, my yoga and meditation practices teach my kids about the importance of self-care, even if they don’t know it yet.

Motherhood and yoga practice are both life-long journeys that teach me to slow down, breathe, and be more fully present. I can’t think of a better combination.

Shelley

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join Tracy Weber’s author mailing list for updates on MURDER STRIKES A POSE, available early 2014 from Midnight Ink!

My Life as a Poser

This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Claire Ricci. Claire is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She can be contacted at Claire@Clairericci.com.

For years I lived with the tyranny of the yoga pose. I tried hard to make mine look the way my teacher’s did; the way I thought it “should” look.  I had marginal success, was set back by injury, generally felt pretty small, and like I would always be a beginner.

I stumbled into Viniyoga, which holds that the pose should meet the student, rather than the student meeting the pose. This changed everything.

When I tried to meet the pose where it was I felt inadequate. The pose was right, I was wrong. The tightness of my hamstrings or the length of my arms was irrelevant. My energetic condition of no interest. To be “good” at yoga meant serving the pose.

Meeting the pose where I was meant the pose served me.  My physical, mental, and emotional state mattered, so every practice mattered. I no longer had to struggle or be “propped” into position.  This shift in perspective caused a revolution. Like a well-planted tree growing from its roots, I expanded.

There is true beauty in allowing yourself to be exactly where you are, and striking out from there. It makes each practice a bit of an adventure as you discover what it has for you today, this one special day. Truthfully, this is the only real place we can start; no matter what we tell ourselves, or how hard we work we just can’t leap from a place we’re not standing. Missing that is what led me to perpetual beginner-hood.

I’ve had the honor of working with students facing challenges that made them doubt they would be “good” at yoga. Some expected to hate it. I get this. Who wants to return to a practice that feels like it doesn’t quite fit, or worse that you don’t?

It’s exciting and incredibly rewarding to see how fast these students progress as they shift away from the limitations they hold for themselves. Once you release the notion that you need to fit the practice and allow your practice to fit you, it becomes a whole new ball game. Struggle evaporates when you become aligned with yourself and stop pursuing the perfect posture. This is the payoff.

Now here’s the even bigger news: What happens in yoga happens in life. What we learn on the mat walks with us right into our daily lives.

Meeting ourselves in yoga is the path for meeting ourselves in all aspects of our lives. Being aligned with ourselves can become a way of being, allowing us to root and expand, transforming our work, our family lives and how we meet the world.

This is a giant gift to ourselves, and to those we encourage to meet themselves where they are whatever the context.

The next time you find yourself on your mat take a minute to greet yourself and ask, what can I do for you? This may be the most important question of your day.

Claire Ricci

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle!

Yoga Teacher Training Graduation–A Visual Celebration

Today’s blog is a visual celebration of our last yoga teacher training graduation.  Enjoy, and I hope some of you join us in future classes!

We started by setting intentions.

We started by setting intentions.

Then we ended our final practice by spending time together in a circle.

Then we ended our final practice by spending time together in a circle.

We enjoyed food,

We enjoyed food,

Some presents,

Some presents,

And of course, a little bubbly.

And of course, a little bubbly.

This group added Yoga Twister to Whole Life Yoga's graduation celebration!

This group added Yoga Twister to Whole Life Yoga’s graduation celebration!

We finished with lots of celebratory hugs.

We finished with lots of celebratory hugs.

There was even a handstand or two (sequenced appropriately, of course).

There was even a handstand or two (sequenced appropriately, of course).

And what graduation would be complete without “Gangsta" yoga!

And what graduation would be complete without “Gangsta” yoga!

Thanks to all of you who joined me on this journey. A special thanks to your family and friends who allowed me to steal you every Monday.  I look forward to starting again with many of you this October.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join my author mailing list for updates on MURDER STRIKES A POSE, available early 2014 from Midnight Ink!

Yoga, Puppy Dog Birthdays, Murder–and an Enthusiastic Hello

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Hi everyone!  I’m delighted to announce that today I begin blogging weekly on Killer Hobbies, a blog maintained by several talented mystery authors.  I’ll be blogging about yoga, writing and, of course, the Tasha Dog.  Some of the articles I post will be “best of” articles from this site. Others, like this week’s article, will be new material.   I’m excited and intimidated at the same time.  Check out this week’s entry. “Yoga, Puppy Dog Birthdays, Murder–and an Enthusiastic Hello,” to learn about the paths that led me to yoga and writing!

I will continue to publish Whole Life Yoga’s Blog as well.  Happy reading!

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and join my author mailing list for updates on MURDER STRIKES A POSE, available early 2014 from Midnight Ink!