Independence Yoga to Feel Happy and Free

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Independence Day is July 4. In the US, we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, establishing the United States of America — our freedom from dependent rule. Yet, we struggle to uphold the agreement’s tenets for equality and the pursuit of happiness. Women warriors fight for autonomy over their bodies. Thankfully, Juneteen (June 19th) commemorating the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans is a now a US holiday and Pride month in June supports the LBGTQIA+ community and their freedom to be.

Beyond governments, we each have an opportunity to free ourselves. Yoga is a way to feel free in your body, mind and heart. It breaks patterns of movement and behavior that bind us. It builds strength and stamina, stretches the body and mind, and grows compassion for self and others.

More than a pose on a mat, yoga reveals a range of emotions from anger and sadness to relief and joy! I leave it all on the mat. My frustration, and my worries. Breathing through discomfort and being fully present with myself is required. Otherwise, I fall! And when I do, I get back up.

Sometimes it’s hard to get to class, but I never regret going. Yoga provides me the opportunity to meet myself — where I am — to unite and untie the knots that constrain me. With that openness, I can eliminate blame and elevate my game. I accept what is. I build the courage, resilience and confidence to pursue my happiness off the mat.

You can too. Learn with me in classes or training so you can feel healthier, happier and more FREE!

Pride yoga helps youth with identity

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Pride! Be Who You Are Happy Pride! Every June, in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, people across the country come together to celebrate the lives and experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community. This year, a record number of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures. This threatens equal rights.

I’ve worked with thousands of young people for 18 years. I’ve seen them find their voices and express who they are. Yoga helps us accept ourselves, and others, for who they are vs. who we, or society, wants them to be. How?

Physical practice - yoga gets us into our bodies. It’s an opportunity to get to know yourself, your limitations and your aspirations. Knowing your body helps with acceptance and transformation through strengthening postures. Knowing yourself = loving yourself.

Mindfulness practice - attention to what matters to you also comes with yoga. Tuning into your senses brings awareness to all that you do. The yoga sutras are practices to live by beyond the mat like truthfulness and ahimsa which is: do no harm.

Meditation practice - sitting in stillness creates a space to listen to your inner self vs. being ruled by the outer world. Tuning into your breath and allowing your intuition to guide you creates a sense of "Knowing” where your instincts can help you lead a fulfilling life.

These practices are a way of life. They can lead us to our personal purpose and power to achieve and lead our lives individually and collectively - a life of acceptance that honors diversity and unites us. Love is love, and that starts with you.

Yoga for family vacation and travel

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Is it a family vacation or family trip? Do you love traveling with children? There can be so much joy and wonder — and so much hassle. Is it worth it?!

When our first born was 2 years old, my husband planned a family vacation to Mexico. It was not a vacation. It was double, triple or quadruple the work without the rest and relaxation. For me, traveling with a toddler was not that fun. It wasn’t for every other family we saw either. People were unenthusiastic at this fancy family-friendly resort.

I also traveled with my toddlers to visit family a lot - often on my own. That was not easy either, but it was worth it! With extended family far away, time together is precious with your growing child/ren. I also enjoyed the support of family members so I could have a much needed break. (I’m so lucky my mom wanted to do her mom-ming every time I visited!)

Yoga helps me with my mindset for travel. The packing. The transportation. The food. The breakdowns. The off-schedule FUN! Breath-work is the fastest way to calm your nervous system so you can handle whatever comes up — without losing it! It cultivates patience and compassion so you can be present with "what is" and adapt. It helps me overcome challenges.

I’ve discovered, for me, vacation does not include a kitchen or a laundry room and it does include room service and a nice pool. Floating helps me feel weightless and free if only for a moment.

Happy travels this summer! How do you define vacation? What makes you feel relaxed and free?

How yoga helps with loss and saying goodbye

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Saying goodbye. It’s the end of the school year and time to say goodbye. One of my students was truly impacted by our 6 weeks of yoga after school. On the last day of class, she cried.

She sobbed, Ms. Michelle, I’m never going to see you again!” She wanted a hug. I comforted her and said, “We don’t know what the future will bring, but today we say goodbye…for now.”

It can be hard to say goodbye. It’s okay to be sad.

I had to acknowledge the truth that I may never see her again, and I was sad too. That got me thinking about endings. There are all sorts of goodbyes, little ones and big ones. They all have a felt sense of loss. Sometimes it losing things, sometimes is losing people. Little endings are easier like “see you later” at school after summer break. Other endings are harder like people moving away. Some endings are much bigger like dying.

Yoga helps us navigate grief. The principle of aparigraha is non-attachment. We allow things, and people, to come and go. We allow energy to flow. It takes practice to be neutral, the art of when to hold on — and when to let go.

There are so many layers to saying goodbye. Being present with feelings of loss builds resilience. Yoga helps us feel “the feels” and navigate all the sensations so we grow — and glow. With every ending, there is a new beginning.

Sometimes, we never know how we'll touch the lives of those around us. Did you know you can do what I do? Get Warrior training and become a game-changer in your community.

Father's Day Family Yoga Event

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“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.” -Ernest Hemingway

Warm, caring dads produce what sociologists call the “good father effect” according to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Intimacy between a parent and a child acts as a protective buffer against the day-to-day challenges of life.

Research shows that a strong paternal connection helps young people to manage their emotions and deal with mental-health crises. The Harvard Education School’s Making Caring Common project found that nearly twice as many 14-to-18-year-old boys and girls feel comfortable opening up to their mothers (72%) as opposed to their fathers (39%) about anxiety, depression or other mental-health challenges.

The gap suggests that fathers can become much more involved at home, offering the kind of emotional support that many children today so urgently need. So how does that happen?

Time in and stronger skills - both of which can be learned in yoga. Family Yoga is the most popular way for dads to get involved with the kids with healthy physical fitness and mental mindset development. That’s because seeing your child requires a pause — slowing down and tuning into what's happening below the surface — and that takes practice.

There’s no better place for that than on the mat for the coordination, balance, and body awareness that serve as key building blocks for maintaining lifelong physical health and safety. 

Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!