Back On My Mat….Again

the mat

 

A few months ago, I wrote about renewing my love for yoga. After a while of not practicing, I felt great being back on my mat. I felt amazing. However, I spent most of my summer off the mat. I have my reasons, aka, excuses, of course. I gave tons of Reiki sessions. I started kickboxing. I did make it to a handful of classes. Some days I even managed a home practice.

But my heart wasn’t into it as it once was. I tried to be gentle and kind to myself. I knew this was only a phase. I knew it would pass. But it was still challenging for me. I didn’t feel like I was being who I was, if that makes any sense. I continually reminded myself that yoga is not just asana or yoga poses. I knew I would eventually find my way home again.

And I have. These past few weeks I’ve been taking more classes. I actually crave yoga. I think that is what was bothering me:  I was missing the desire for yoga. Without that desire, I felt off kilter. I did love kickboxing. I also love the other workout classes that I have been trying recently. The difference is that now I can’t wait to get back on my mat. I’m looking forward to practicing with my favorite teachers and practicing with new teachers and studios.

Speaking of mats, I also purchased a new mat. It’s called The Mat by lululemon. While I have heard great things about The Mat, I always shied away from it mainly because of the logo. I typically dress head to toe in lulu and I felt silly practicing with a lulu mat. Yet after reading rave review after rave review  (and seeing it released in the color Plum), I decided to purchase it.

I blogged about finding the perfect yoga mat over a year ago. That blog post is one of my most popular blog posts. Clearly there are many yogis in the same boat. Since writing that post, I have only been using my Jade Fusion mat. I find it cushiony and non-slippery. I either haven’t broken my Manduka Pro in or I have a defective one, but it’s so slippery. I just don’t reach for it since I hate slipping.

I’ve used The Mat at least three times. Pros: It’s very grippy and lighter weight than my Jade Fusion and Manduka Pro. Cons: It shows stains and it smells. When I first opened The Mat, I laid it out in my office with the windows open for a few days. My office still smells. The Mat still smells a tiny bit but it has gotten a lot better. The thing that bother me the most are the stains, aka, sweat. When I’m in child’s pose, my forehead leaves a stain on the mat. It does go away eventually, but it’s taking me some time to get used to seeing stains as I practice. That has never, ever happened to me in any of my years of owning a yoga mat.

I bet the black mat doesn’t show stains as much. If you know me, you know I love all things purple but I may get a black one next time. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my mat as much as possible, stains and all.

Yoga Isn’t Just For Kids

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Now that school is back in session, so are my kids yoga classes. This past week I’ve slowly eased back into my teaching. I taught two classes in East Orange to kids who have suffered trauma and now demonstrate severe emotional and behavioral issues. I will admit to being a bit nervous about resuming teaching there. Before I enter the Center, I take a few minutes in my car to center myself.  I pray and ask for guidance and support to best serve the kids. I send Reiki to myself and the room. I slather myself in calming essential oils and off I go. The classes I taught this week are the “easy” ones. The kids are younger and, for the most part, not as affected. Yet, I was cursed at, called stupid, had my props thrown across the room and a child tried to kick me. This particular child knew me from last year so I was surprised at his reaction. I do my best to stay calm and present to them an adult that will not react to them by yelling or getting overly upset.

I also led my free kids yoga class at Shatki Yoga. I had 20 kids (!!!!) in my class.  While my class is geared for kids ages 3-7, most of the kids were on the younger side. This free class always draws a large crowd. We like to offer a free class a few times a year so the kids can try the class before the series begins and the parents can see how it goes. This free class is a bit different than the classes I teach in the rest of the series simply because there are so many kids. I had an assistant this time which helped tremendously. What usually happens is one child asks to use the bathroom and then every single child has to go. With that amount of young kids, I needed an extra set of hands. All the kids seemed to have a lot of fun. So did I.

On Friday I visited Karma Kids Yoga. I became certified to teach kids yoga through this studio and I have continued to take numerous trainings they offer. One of the great things that the director, Shari, extends to graduates is the opportunity to observe classes. Since I don’t begin to teach on Fridays for another two weeks, I took the opportunity to head into the city and observe a 3-4 year old yoga class.

karma kids room

The studio is filled with butterflies, bright colors and fun. It was great to watch the teacher. It made me feel a lot better about my own teaching since her class was very similar to the ones that I teach. Sometimes I worry that I’m not doing a good enough job but observing this class helped increase my self confidence. The teachers who teach there are so lucky as the studio is filled with amazing props right at their fingertips.

Lastly, I volunteered to teach a free kids yoga class for my community on Saturday afternoon for the Maplewood Loves Wellness event. Even though I had just taught a free class a few days before, I still felt compelled to offer my service at this event. I assumed there could be families who weren’t aware of my class at Shakti. There really isn’t a way to prepare for an event like this. The event was like a street fair. My class was announced over a microphone and kids started to come over. I had kids ranging in age from 2-12. We sang some songs, did sun salutations and breath work as parents and passerby’s walked by.

All in all, it was a nice transition week back to teaching. Plus I was also able to give two in person Reiki sessions and one long distance session. I’m thankful to be able to continue offering healing energy sessions in addition to teaching kids yoga. As the weeks go on, I will be teaching at a preschool and an enrichment program at my daughter’s elementary school. Summer was great while it lasted!

American Beauty

sunsetgrandcanyon My family and I just returned from an adventurous  vacation. We hiked through the Grand Canyon, Zion and Sedona. The beauty blew me away. In addition to strenuous hikes and breathtaking views, I also was able to find a few moments of peace. In Sedona, I made sure to visit areas known as vortexes. According to this article, “the vortexes in Sedona are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. The vortex energy is not exactly electricity or magnetism, although it does leave a slight measurable residual magnetism in the places where it is strongest.” The article also states that “Sedona has long been known as a spiritual power center. This is because the power that emanates from the vortexes produces some of the most remarkable energy on the planet. This energy is the reason Sedona is full of people that are “on the path”, that is, people who have made a commitment to grow and become as much as they can spiritually. It is also the reason that such a large New Age community has sprung up in the Sedona area, bringing with it a variety of spiritual practices and alternative healing modalities, and it is the reason Sedona has sometimes been called a spiritual Disneyland.” As you can imagine, being an energy worker, I was very, very excited to visit a vortex. At the same time, I tried to remain calm since two of my friends recently visited the vortexes and neither felt anything. My family and I visited two vortexes: the Airport Vortex and the Bell Rock Vortex. When you visit these places, there is no X marks the spot, aka, no sign that reads Vortex. However, at each vortex, I searched for a juniper tree since I read that these trees are a sign of the vortex energy. This is a photo of the juniper tree that I bonded with at the Airport Vortex: vortextree This is the juniper tree I sat under at Bell Rock Vortex: bell rock vortexSo, did I feel any energy?? I can’t say for sure. I did fall in love with the tree at the Airport Vortex. I bonded with this tree. I felt attached to this tree. It was hard for me to say goodbye to that tree.  Other than that, I didn’t have any other sensations. However, my 10 year old daughter had a different experience. For some unexplained reason, she lost a tooth under each tree. She hasn’t lost any teeth in months and months and yet two teeth basically jumped out of her mouth as she sat under the juniper tree. I saw the first one happen. She initially sat under one tree and I sat on another a few feet away. She then came to sit with me and said that her tooth felt loose. I turned to look at her; she wiggled her tooth and it jumped out of her mouth. We were both in shock. The next day we went to Bell Rock and searched for a juniper tree. As we walked towards one, I wondered out loud if she would lose another tooth. And she did. At the Bell Rock vortex, I asked my family for some time alone. As I sat under the juniper tree  (the Bell Rock vortex is supposedly the strongest out of 4 vortexes most often mentioned), I set the intention that the vortex energy reach all my Reiki clients. I set intentions for family and friends. Later that day, I chatted with a woman who told me her life dramatically changed two months after visiting a vortex in Sedona. She said she didn’t feel anything at the vortex but when she returned home, everything in her life began to change and she ended up moving to Sedona. Guess we’ll see what happens to me. In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of Bell Rock. bell rock

Reiki & Manifesting

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When I decided to take a break this summer from teaching yoga to kids, I knew that I was going to have more time to devote to giving Reiki sessions. I love giving Reiki. If you have never heard of Reiki, I have a more formal definition of it on my blog but the short definition is that it’s a form of energy healing. When I give Reiki sessions (that’s a photo of my table), my main intention is that the person enters a meditative, calm state. When the body is relaxed, healing in whatever shape, can take place. The interesting thing is that healing often begins as soon as the person makes the appointment with me. Also, before I begin the session, I spend time talking with the person and often times, “things” come out. The person starts making connections with what is going on in their lives. Many times my clients will tell me that by talking with me and then receiving Reiki, they often have an “aha” moment.

The thought about spending my summer serving Reiki made me very excited and happy. I just didn’t know how I was going to make it happen. On the new moon, I wrote that I would like to give 1-2 Reiki sessions each week. I realized that I should tell my clients that my schedule was going to be more open. The thought also occurred to me to let them know that I was offering a summer discount. I love receiving discounts and I assumed they would enjoy that as well. I also reminded them that I offer a Friend Referral discount and that I offer long distance sessions. Even though I couldn’t wait to hit Send, I kept a draft in my gmail for about a week. I waited until I felt inspired to send it out. I don’t know what was creating that feeling but I’ve long learned to trust my gut.

After I sent the email, I wondered if there was anything I could do. The answer was no. I realized that if I was meant to give Reiki sessions, then people would come to me. At that point, I had done everything I felt inspired to do and the rest was up to the Universe.

I guess the Universe did want me to give sessions because I have been giving them! Last week I gave 3 sessions. Yesterday I realized that I didn’t have any appointments scheduled for the coming week. It’s July 4th week so I didn’t give it much thought. Today someone texted me to see if I was free on Wednesday morning for a session. I’m learning not to worry.

Maybe I’m just lucky? Maybe it is the Universe’s doing? Karma? Regardless of the reason, I’m thankful to be doing something that I love. And I’m so thankful and appreciative that my clients are enjoying this work.

It’s All Energy

practicalreikibookI

I’ve been studying a different form of energy healing for the past few weeks. It’s Kundalini Reiki, although my teacher trademarked  Practical Reiki to make it more “user friendly” (my words, not hers). I thought it would be a nice compliment to my Usui Reiki Master education.

I’ve been interested in energy work ever since I was a child. I loved writing down my wishes, writing letters to my future self, crystals and more. It’s funny. Even though I’m not sure if there is a God or karma or what, I do believe in energy. I believe because this is something that I experience myself. When I have received Reiki or other forms of energy work, I have felt things.  When I give sessions, I feel things and many times the person receiving the session has felt things. Also, many times I also see things and hear things during the session. Again, most times, the person receiving the session can validate what I say.

Where do these messages come from??? Who knows. I’m trying to stop trying to figure it out because I suspect there just isn’t a way to figure it out. All I know is that I really, really love giving Reiki sessions. I may love it even more than teaching kids yoga, although I teach way more than the amount of Reiki sessions that I give. It also seems that my clients love receiving sessions based on the feedback that I’ve received.

This weekend, my meditation teacher Jennifer is coming to town. In addition to teaching meditation, she also does a form of energy healing called Sunpoint. My first session with Jennifer was unlike anything I had ever experienced  I’m going to get attuned to Sunpoint too. The more energy, the better, right?

Hooked On A Feeling

Have you ever heard something that you have heard before but it was as if it was the very first time you’ve heard it? That happened to me this last week. I retook a Reiki Level II class with my teacher Andrea. During the class, we discussed how to use Reiki to manifest and empower our wishes. One of the students mentioned her goal to go to the gym more often. Andrea questioned the wish underneath her wish. How would she feel if she went to the gym more often?

She replied that she would feel stronger, healthier and fit. Andrea advised to create that intention: “I am strong, healthy and fit.”

I’ve been mulling this concept over in my mind ever since. Over and over and over. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this. Focus on the feeling underneath your wish. To use my friend’s example, if she focused on feeling strong, healthy and fit, she may decide to go to the gym more often, or make healthier food choices or go to bed earlier or….you get the idea. There are many, many ways for her to achieve her wish. It’s way more than just going to the gym more often.

I thought about how this related to my own wishes.

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One of the wishes that I have been focused on most recently is attending the Yoga Journal Conference, Kripalu and Wanderlust. My wish underneath this wish is to feel part of a yoga community. I love practicing with a ton of other yogis. I love the energy, the vibe, the feeling of joy that fills my heart.

I realized that I get that feeling when I’m practicing in the yoga classes that I take nearly every single day! I much prefer taking classes rather than a home practice because I love being surrounded by other yogis. When I realized that, everything changed.  Continue reading

Just Be….Not

A mere few days ago I felt such peace and ease. As you read in my previous post, I released a long term goal. I was on cloud nine. I felt light. I felt free. It was bliss.

Just as I suspected (and even predicted in my blog post), a few minutes after I posted my last post, I heard back from an editor. She asked me for ideas. All of a sudden, the anxiety and excitement immediately returned. And then she said that my ideas were too new agey for them. I submitted another more mainstream idea. I haven’t heard back yet.

In the meanwhile, I happened to come across a very cool blogger, Hibiscus Moon. She posts youtube videos and writes about crystals. I’ve been drawn to crystals ever since I was little. I still am, although I don’t know as much about them as I’d like.

Hibiscus Moon said that citrine and pyrite are great crystals to use for manifestation. I felt inspired to head back (ok race back) to the crystal shop to purchase pyrite and a couple of other things. When I came home, I felt so disappointed. Let’s just say that I felt like I was back at square one.  Continue reading