Yoga Helps You Feel Free

Free to be or not to be? That is the question. Can you love who you love? Can you choose whether or not to bring a child into this world? Recent events have me asking questions about what freedom is and how quickly it can be taken away.

What is freedom?

The United States of America is supposed to be the land of the free, but are we? When six people can force a nation of women to carry an unwanted child, something is wrong. When what the majority of Americans want is not honored, something is wrong. When the separation between church and state deteriorates, something is wrong. Something is wrong when a former president incites violence in our nation’s capital to maintain power. Something is wrong.

Redirection and distraction.

The unprecedented issue with the Supreme Court of the United States is taking away rights that were previously granted – with more at risk. If you live in one state, you may be free and equal. If you live in another, you may not. How is that united? How can we direct much-needed energy toward our climate, or the economy, when we have to re-direct it to reclaim what is now lost? It’s a distraction of monumental proportion.

Creating energy for what you believe in.

Distractions are deterrents. Yoga helps decipher distraction from action. It stirs everything up so it can come to the surface. It creates freedom in your body, mind, and heart to prevent dis-ease. Yoga helps us feel lighter when the issues of the world are heavy. Being more buoyant creates energy to stand up for what we believe in. For me, that’s equality and freedom. What is it for you?

Pride-real-leaders-lead-with-love-yoga

We’re halfway through Pride month. We’re celebrating the power of connection and its impact on your health, education, and identity. I supported a mother who’s son recently transitioned into his true self. It wasn’t easy. Yoga helped. Here’s how:

Acceptance - This was so hard. It started with listening deeply to her daughter at the time. Her struggles. Her anxiety. Her depression. Her disordered eating. Her social suffering. Her just not feeling right in her body. Nothing was working to overcome these intense feelings until she said it out loud. “Mom, I need to be a boy.”

Leadership - Then, heartbreak. This mom and I walked through grieving the loss of her daughter and her fear of failing as a mother. Could she have done something wrong or different that would have changed this outcome? She was brave. She lead with love. They got professional support that made a positive impact.

Compassion - I witnessed two transformations: one with mom who not only accepted her son, but stood up for him with his grandparents and anyone else who challenged her dedication to her child’s health. The other was the shift from female to male. He is thriving now.

Transformation comes from acceptance, leadership and compassion. We learn those skills in yoga on the mat. Yoga transforms the body, the mind and the heart. The burn that makes us stronger. The acceptance of our limitations. The ability to breathe and overcome challenges. Cultivating compassion for ourselves and others.

This is what PRIDE is. Knowing who you are. Being proud of who you are. Loving yourself first so you can love others. Let’s do this.

Kids and Family Yoga Father's Day Gift

If the dad in your life suffers from stress (and who doesn’t?), a yoga class could be the best Father’s Day gift you give him. Here are the top 3 reasons fathers do yoga with or without their kids.

1. Reduced stress. Heart disease is still the number one killer of men in the U.S. and cancer is the second. Parenthood is stressful! Stress behaviors affect factors that are proven to increase risk of disease. Yoga stimulates every system in the body to work better and activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) to become more dominant than the adrenalin-based sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).

2. Better decision-making. One resent study indicates the key predictor of success among leaders is self-awareness. What, really?! Yep, self-awareness. The ability to observe, monitor and regulate the way you think, feel and act from moment to moment. It’s the strongest influence on your decision making. Making better decisions yields better outcomes. Practicing awareness is what yoga is all about - from the inside out!

3. Higher EQ. Empathy and compassion are required at home, and in the workplace to reduce conflict, miscommunication and inefficiencies. Becoming a student of yourself - knowing yourself deeply - helps you understand your family members and the people you work with. The biggest mistake is to see the world through your own eyes and not the perspective of others. Embracing differences and solving problems is critical to happiness and success. Yoga helps you feel everything through the brain/body connection.

There is no more powerful tool for helping people develop self-awareness than yoga. It’s the journey of becoming your best self physically, mentally and emotionally so you can lead, protect and excel at home, at work, and in life. Discover your true self and create meaningful change to be the most free version of yourself.

Want to try? Attend the IYK® Father’s Day Event on Sunday, June 19. A portion of proceeds benefits Bay Area Big Brothers.

Mental Health Awareness Month

According to reports from UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 1 in 7 children ages 6–18 have a diagnosable mental health condition. And that’s…pretty staggering. Many are now calling the current mental health crisis "the next pandemic.” It's more important than ever to reduce the stigma around talking about mental health, increase efforts to educate people about mental health and mental illness, and connect people with resources to get help if they need it.

How does yoga fit into children’s health? Yoga is preventative care. We see a full range of children from the highest performing student-athletes to the most challenged under-resourced kids. They all have the same things in common: they experience stress.

The pressures are very intense at both ends of the spectrum and in-between. Stress manifests the same way in every body. The Automatic Response System (ARS) most commonly, flight or flight, gets activated repeatedly and the Central Nervous System has to be regulated or health suffers. It’s that simple.

The practice of yoga, and all its elements, including breathing, mindfulness and meditation are proven to reduce stress. Yoga also amplifies confidence, resilience and joy. It’s fun. Kids like it. It reaches all walks of life and models the healthy habits we all need to succeed. Coping skills are rarely taught anywhere else. Some schools are making progress with social-emotional learning (SEL). Yoga nourishes the body, mind and heart of all students regardless of their religious or cultural background. It’s an equalizer and a unifier. What could be healthier than that?

Mother's Day Baby and Family Yoga

It’s the toughest job in the world. No one would take the job in a blind interview.

As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I always think of my mother and my grandmother. When I became a mother, I slowly transitioned to thinking about myself in that role too. I noticed the differences in generational parenting and the similarities between our parenting. This includes every time I acted and sounded just like my mother or my grandmother. How is that possible often when I promised I would never say or do that?!

Patterns are built into our systems through repetition. How do we keep the great ones and transform the not-so-great ones? Here are 5 ways to ace motherhood:

Awareness - Conditioning has us operating on auto-pilot most of the time. The only way out of that mode is to become curious and conscious, otherwise, the subconscious is in control. This is why we do things we never thought we would do. We have to amplify awareness in order to make better decisions.

Acceptance - There is no perfect. Oh, but we try! The faster you accept what is vs. what should be, the easier it is to solve problems. I’ve become convinced the the only real parenting decision is when to push and when to back off…and that decision needs to be made multiple times every day (and night for those who don’t sleep soundly…yet.)

Attitude - Your attitude toward change is essential to feeling healthier and happier. Embracing mistakes vs. striving for perfection is a BIG one for moms. Do your best. There are some big lessons to learn so pay attention to what matters most! Hint: Choose love every time.

Actions - Act from love. That’s it. Fear carries the lowest vibration and Love is the highest. When you become more aware you can overcome your fear (more on this later) and raise your vibe in ANY situation. The simplest way is to start is to place your hand on your heart.

Appreciation - You are doing your best. They are doing their best. Life is happening for you - not to you. Notice and appreciate those around you every day with littles things and big things, because when you do, they want to do more for you, and others too!

Yoga helps with all of this. Building awareness, your approach to mothering changes. You are better able to act from love vs. fear, embrace challenges and balance the demands upon you. At the end of yoga, in total relaxation, appreciation floods in - for your body, your mind, your heart, and your life.

Want to try? We’ve got two events this Mother’s Day. Dailey Baby + IYK® Baby, Wednesday, May 4 at 11am. Space is limited. It’s FREE. IYK® Family Yoga on Sunday, May 8 at 10:30am.

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Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!