Hands down (literally) Dolphin! I love dolphin, I could stay in it all day which in yoga is equivalent to about 20 breaths (or at least that’s where I am currently with my practice). And now, as we move more into the Evolve style, there are so many fun variations of dolphin and I love them all! Forearms wide, traction, dorsal fin, palms up, leg up, feet on blocks etc.! They all work on different areas in my back and hamstrings and it challenges, strengthens, and supports my shoulders and spine in the most nurturing way. Being an inversion it helps bring fresh blood to my brain and often I am able to gain a fresh perspective about situations that need some exploring from up-side down. I’m a walking cliché because in all honesty I love all poses based in Forrest and now the Evolve style! Even the ones that “I hate”, like lunges and hip openers, I love because they help me discover parts of my body that are still deeply asleep; the poses begin to bring fresh blood and energy to wake these parts up. In the beginning this can be an intense experience full of big feelings and internal dialogue. It’s always a fascinating journey when you realize you’ve fallen in love with with a pose you used to hate and then move on to another part of your body and another pose that prompts that internal “scream” – we’ve all been there right?
With that said, I love yoga and even when I hate it in an intense moment I love it, the whole “this it too hard I’m quitting yoga after this class” internal talk never really sticks and I find myself right back on the mat the next day. I believe yoga asana to be such an awesome vessel to begin learning how to feel intensity with acceptance, to begin speaking kindly to yourself and to leave not only feeling your body but feeling great in your body. The extra bonus is that your body changes and looks great too:)!
There are so many positive benefits of a consistent yoga practice! But don’t take my word for it, try it out and have your own personal experience with it. Even if you’re a beginner, not flexible or strong, (which is usually the initial concern), challenge yourself to commit to 3x an week for a month and see what happens. I assure you you’ll be amazed by the unimaginable benefits of how an yoga practice can enhance your life in supportive ways. If you’re new and found yourself in class just let me know I promise to take good care of you and not leave you hanging;) See you in class!
Honestly, this is it. I spent the first half of my adult life trudging through mud just to get through my day! I really really really disliked my work and just about every component of my life at that time. Arriving home every evening exasperated, thinking “This can not be how you’re supposed to spend your life?!” Financially, I was set and everything appeared to be in order but I was miserable! A part of me kept asking, harassing really, “Imagine if you could do work you love and enjoy everyday? What would it look like?” This was before I had yoga to help me channel my thoughts and feelings. I took 6 months off from work, left town and sat at a coffee shop everyday with a blank piece of paper and the question “what do I like to do?” at the top of the page. I had no idea! No one had ever asked me that before. Finally one day I picked up the pen and wrote down – yoga/exercise, nutrition/food, travel, writing. I knew a little about each from my own interest and self-study, so now what? Right-timing aligned and I enrolled in a local workshop called, The Bridge to Living your Dream. For 90 days I began inquiring within, asking myself lots of really hard questions and facing truths I didn’t want to face. When it was over I knew what to do – finding the courage to act was much harder! But I did it.
I quit my job, took my savings and jumped! I sought out teachers whose books inspired me and had a positive effect on my life. I traveled around the world gathering knowledge, experience, and having adventures. From the Red Wood forests of Northern California, to the glorious beaches of Costa Rica, to the lush jungles of Indonesia, the heat of Texas, the sacred sites and red earth of Arizona & Utah, and YUM, the food of Thailand. I studied the things that made my heart sing and that excited me on a very deep, very real level. Traditional Chinese Medicine from Paul Pitchford himself, yoga, bodywork, medicinal aromatherapy, plant & herbal remedies. I met, and spent years working with the most amazing Lakota Shaman woman I’ve ever known; I learned the subtle intuitive language of the physical body, nutrition and energy medicine, and how to offer authentic lasting support and healing. I practiced everything within my own body. I discovered tons of buried anger, pain and grief I never knew existed, feeling bliss I never knew possible just from being with trees or taking in an incredible view. I tasted new foods, met loads of crazy interesting people, practiced the power of qi gong, ta chi, fasting, detoxing, hiking, and community – YES! my soul was immersed and thriving. Now how to bring all this into “real life?”
My “work play” as I call it now is my joy, teaching is my challenge and my passion of this moment. I will continue to go out into the world and have experiences with foreign lands, skilled teachers, and absorb new healing modalities to be brought home to my community – A HA, there are no words… it feeds my soul! I am eager now to bring in the next level – people! Those who are sick, suffering, feeling stuck within their lives with finances, relationships, work, etc! The sicker the better, the more pain the better, the more hopeless the better, that means you’re already that much closer! I want to offer support through yoga classes or in private sessions using whichever modality is most beneficial to you and your unique life challenges. Living your dream abundantly and vibrant heath, these are not privileges afforded to many, but a journey allotted to all of us if you have the courage to take it! It is never the easy path but it is without a doubt the most rewarding way I’ve ever lived! JFK said it best “There are risks and costs to action but they are far less then the long-term risks of comfortable in action.” If I can be of any support please call on me that is why I am here;) Namaste.
Broken bodies, broken hearts, and people who are hurting. In the simplest phrase “yoga has changed my life!” It astounds me how i’m able to maintain a sense of peace and grounding through life and all of it’s different colors: relationships, finances, health, and vocation. I now move through today, and how i’m living everyday so consciously (not always effortlessly or easily) but with awareness. I don’t get rilled up over things the way I used to, and even when I do I can accept it and not go off on some internal verbal beating.
I want to help others who are immersed in their own experience of pain, suffering, hurt, and frustration. Regardless of what aspect of their life is causing them this experience, I aspire to offer them these wildly supportive and transformational tools that have helped me emerge. I’m living the life I had only ever allowed myself to dream of but never thought possible.
A personal example: I am terrified of public speaking! We’re talking hyperventilate, throw-up, cry, and yes, sometimes bleed terrified. I’m not kidding or exaggerating!
Yoga has had such a profound impact on my own life. I’ve wanted to teach for so long but the fear of speaking in front of a room filled with people debilitated me and I allowed it to hold me back until now! After every class i’m still amazed that I just did that!! Teaching yoga scares me because I know how powerful a vessel it is for transformation and healing: physical, mental, and emotional. If you have a skilled teacher, there is truthfully no stopping you – It is not a responsibility I take lightly! With that knowing there is all this internal presser to be clear, concise, and as compelling as possible. Regardless of the rapid heartbeat and sweat and intense nerves, on the days I teach, I have no choice but to bring it to the mat and use it to inspire my teaching. The fear is back before every class checking and challenging me again: “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather just go to a movie, take a nap, go play outside?”. It’s a constant choice to continue teaching and I’m slowly finding acceptance with where I am as a teacher; I allow myself to move slowly and grow naturally, much like I encourage my students to do within their own physical bodies and space. Don’t force a pose. Use a block if it feels better (feels better doesn’t mean not challenging but supportive within challenge). Allow the body to open in its own timing. I’m finding trust in every class and I know with regular practice my teaching will get better and better just like over the years with a regular yoga practice my body has opened and released more and more. I want to help people dig deep and uncover their hearts true calling, feel freedom from pain, and give them an opportunity to access the body in a loving and supportive way. I want to be to my students the light my teachers were to me. I want to encourage them to take this journey of yoga in class and out into the world, to flow and invite change within their bodies and within their lives with grace and ease. It requires courage, its scary, but OMG the rewards are indescribable! For me, I am honored to get to do what I am doing even though it scares the shit out of me and I hope to gift that to my students;)
A mix of curiosity, despair, and right-timing, brought me to the yoga mat. It was tough in the beginning! My bone structure and muscle tissue were so twisted and mangled, tight and painful. At 19 I was diagnosed with scoliosis and had a large hump on the right side of my back, tilted pelvis, bowlegged, and crooked shoulders. I was a structural mess and suffered from sever debilitating lower back pain! Honestly my practice in the beginning wasn’t fun, but rather “fuck, ouch!?” is all I can say to describe it as accurately as possible. For years, as I moved through pose after pose I’d clinch my jaw and imaging dropkicking the teacher. I don’t really know what a drop kick is, I just knew that it is what I wanted to do! I kept coming back. I always felt better after each class, lighter somehow; a day or two without yoga and my body would crave it. Nothing compared to Forrest yoga and I knew I’d hit the jackpot when I stumbled into Kim’s class!
I’d done other styles of yoga before and something I’ve observed upon my journey within my own body and others I’ve worked with is: if you are working with a structural mis-alignment, such as scoliosis, Forrest Yoga is one of the best styles; for me the only style. The fast paced flow of other styles can actually exacerbate the problem, as I personally experienced it had done. With scoliosis one part of your body is usually much stronger then the another and with fast flow yoga styles you will habitually relay on this stronger side, much like you’ve done all your life, to carry you through the practice. It’s this reliance on the stronger side that continues to build up the muscle tissue that is pulling the bones out of alignment and creating that hump or hunch or twist. Forrest yoga is slower paced and allows you longer hold times so you can actually get into the pose then spend a few breaths there to explore your body and how the pose can be supportive and work for you and what you are working with. It gives you the opportunity to lengthen (stretching and opening) the stronger side and then strengthen and build the weaker side; ultimately coaxing the body back into structural alignment.
Fast forward to today and here I am. My spine almost completely straight (which was an effect of yoga I had never anticipated), zero pain in my body, no hunch back, and no more anger and images of drop-kicking while I’m on the mat. Instead I am curious now when I discover another tight spot and have replaced the “fuck, ouch!” with “ooh, this is cool, how can I breathe into here?” What inspires me now is sharing this gift of yoga to those needing support with their healing. It is my belief that people can heal from anything if that is the path they choose! Forrest yoga is a phenomenal step on that path of healing! I hope to see you in class :)