Weekly Words of Wisdom – FOUNDATION

F O U N D A T I O N ~ “If the foundation is firm the building can withstand calamities. The practice of yoga is the foundation so that the Self is not shaken under any circumstances.” ~ BKS Iyengar

By divine design, our feet are meant to walk on uneven surfaces. Before tile and hard floors, we walked on sand, rocks and in the forest. That helped to keep the bones and muscles in our feet supple, flexible and stable. Now we walk on flat surfaces, and often wear shoes that aren’t supportive.

Just like a tall building, when the foundation of our body is unstable, our entire structure is compromised. Bringing strength and stability to our feet and ankles also brings strength and stability to the knee joints and helps keep us steady on our feet.

When we release the bottoms of the feet with massage, we also release the line of fascia that runs from the bottom of the feet, up the backs of the legs, the back of the body and connects at the base of the skull. Releasing tension in the feet can release tension all the way up the back of the body!

We also have reflexology points in our feet. There’s so much potential for healing when we release tension from the feet.

Stabilize your foundation with this simple foot release.

How to: Choose a wooden dowel, tennis ball, golf ball or a smooth river rock to release trigger points in the feet. My favorite is a rock! Please note that my movements in the video are quite a bit faster than I would normally move for this release. Take your time here.

Begin with your rock (dowel or ball…) just under the toes and lean in. Pause and breathe, then move the rock to another position. Pause, breathe, repeat until your entire foot has been worked.

Step away from the rock and take a few slow, deliberate steps to notice the difference between your feet. Be sure to massage your other foot to even yourself out!

That takes care of our physical foundation…

When YOGA is the foundation for how we live, we build a resilience to stress, enjoy greater ease and deeper joy.

How might you work to improve your FOUNDATION today?

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Weekly Words of Wisdom – BALANCE

B A L A N C E ~ “Balance is not something you find; it’s something you create.” ~ Jana Kingsford

When I cue tree pose (vrksasana) to a group of children on yoga mats, there’s a playfulness around our practice. There’s curiosity and healthy competition – “Look how long I can stand on one foot!” They fall in and out of the pose, and laugh about it every time.

The scenario is different when I’m leading adults. Falling could cause an injury – to our body and/or our ego. Maybe we don’t feel steady on our feet and there’s an element of fear involved.

As a yoga teacher, I often hear students proclaim, “I have terrible balance.”

I challenge that every time because I believe there is no “good balance” and there is no “bad balance.” There is “practiced balance” and “unpracticed balance.”

Several things contribute to our capacity for balance, and one of those things is strength and stability in the core. When the midsection of our body is strong and stable, we hold ourselves up with greater ease. We are also quicker to steady ourselves if we stumble.

Cultivating a regular yoga practice helps to strengthen the core. It also helps strengthen and stabilize the feet, ankles, knees and hips, providing a solid foundation for the entire body.

Let’s not forget that yoga also fosters focus and deep breathing – two important aspects of practicing tree pose.

Come to your yoga mat with a sense of playfulness and curiosity. Pick yourself up, lift the corners of your mouth, and then stand on one foot. If you fall, laugh about it and try again.

We don’t find balance, we create it.

Practice creating that for yourself.

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Weekly Words of Wisdom – MIRROR

M I R R O R ~ “Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

While she might have had a mean streak, at least the Evil Queen wasn’t afraid to challenge her mirror to affirm what she already thought she knew. Whenever she asked, she fully expected to be validated that SHE was the fairest of them all.

Several of the rooms where I teach yoga have large mirrored walls that cannot be avoided. In rooms that are partially mirrored, I witness some students intentionally placing their mats in spaces to avoid being able to see their reflection.

Many times I’ll invite my students to look at their reflection in the mirror and I offer, “Behold yourself in all your glory!” I encourage them to witness themselves on their yoga mat, doing the best they can and continuing to show up.

The relationship we have with our own reflection is an interesting one. Truth is – I’ve spent most of my life criticizing myself every time I looked in a mirror. When I learned about Louise Hay’s mirror work, that began to change.

It’s awkward at first, though it does get easier with time and practice. You basically look at yourself in the mirror and speak the words “I love you.” Bring it on home by speaking your name: “I love you, [Deb]. I really love you.”

Practice this for yourself when you look into the mirror. Muster up as much love and compassion for yourself as you would for your best friend. In all your glory, doing the best you can and continuing to show up! You are worthy of your own love and affection, so look yourself in the eye and affirm that.

“Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

Why, you are my friend. YOU. ARE.

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Weekly Words of Wisdom – ABUNDANCE

A B U N D A N C E ~ “My cup runneth over.” Psalm 23:5

What’s your relationship with money? Do you lean on the side of scarcity? Or do you know you are abundant beyond measure?

When I was a child, my mother worried constantly about how she would pay the bills and feed four hungry mouths. As a single mom, she struggled to make ends meet. I witnessed her angst and inherited her attitude toward money. Her mantra was: There is BARELY enough money to get by.

As a single mom myself in later years, I had the same fears. The first year after my divorce was particularly challenging, and I resorted to using a credit card to purchase groceries and put gas in my car. Eventually I found my footing and then I began to notice a trend.

Whenever an unexpected expense presented itself, the funds to cover it always showed up. I needed a new tire for my car, and I’d miraculously receive a surprise bonus from work to cover it! This happened over and over – time and time again. My money mantra became: There is ALWAYS enough money to get by.

Yet even that mantra limited me. I was always just getting by.

I eventually found myself transitioning from an attitude of scarcity to one of abundance where money was concerned. I realized that the way I THOUGHT about money was essential when it came to financial security – that, and responsible budgeting, of course.

These days, not only is there ENOUGH money to get by, there’s MORE money than we need!

My current money mantra? My cup runneth over. I am abundant beyond measure in all areas of life.

What’s your money mantra, and has it changed throughout the years?

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Weekly Words of Wisdom – NOTICE

N O T I C E ~ I went for a walk last week with my daughter, and along the way we saw this beautiful rose. “It looks like a sunrise,” she said as we snapped photos.

There are a few things I love about this. First, I love that my daughter noticed and compared the colors of this beautiful flower to that of a sunrise, and I love that we were both drawn to its beauty and paused to photograph it. I love that our Arizona winter allowed for an afternoon walk so we could witness the bloom.

This is the true meaning of “stop and smell the roses” (yes, it smelled lovely too!) – to slow down and notice something beautiful when you might be inclined to pass it by.

Anne Frank said, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

Here’s a tip if you find yourself feeling blue: look around! Look out your window and NOTICE the color of the sky. Close your eyes and take a deep breath – NOTICE how your inhale feels as it enters your body. Look around and see all of the colors that surround you – NOTICE the ones that you’re drawn to.

Being intentional with what you NOTICE can create the sweetest shift. Slow down, my friend. Stop and smell the roses.

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