Tag Archives: Elena Brower

Balancing the Polls

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Your Other Name

If your life doesn’t often make you feel
like a cauldron of swirling light –
 
If you are not often enough a woman standing above a mysterious fire,
lifting her head to the sky –
 
You are doing too much, and listening too little.
 
Read poems. Walk in the woods. Make slow art.
Tie a rope around your heart, be led by it off the plank,
happy prisoner.
 
You are no animal. You are galaxy with skin.
Home to blue and yellow lightshots,
making speed-of-light curves and racecar turns,
bouncing in ricochet –
 
Don’t slow down the light and turn it into matter
with feeble preoccupations.
 
Don’t forget your true name:
Presiding one. Home for the gleaming. Strong cauldron for the feast of light. 
 
Strong cauldron for the feast of light:
I am speaking to you.
I beg you not to forget.

–Tara Sophia Mohr

This morning I had the great pleasure of experiencing another one of Elena Brower’s extraordinary classes on yogaglo.  The class was called: Cultivate a Deep and Generous Connection to Your Self.  During the class, Elena stated: “We create a very strong & clear vessel, with boundaries, with sweetness, with crazy amounts of courtesy.  And then, inside, is softness and listening and receptivity…”

At the end of class, she shared the poem above.

The practice was perfection.  Her words, as always, timely.  You see, today the world is in a state of upheaval.  It feels a bit like standing on the middle of a giant seesaw.  There are a lot of people on both sides and I am stuck in the middle trying to find some balance.  I didn’t want to feel defensive or on edge.  I made sure to take the time this morning to cultivate that necessary equilibrium on the inside.  Firmly rooted and connected, with a deep remembrance of who I am, I can walk through the swirling voices, opinions, and signs.  From a place of spaciousness and softness, I now go out into the world to vote my truth.

I hope you do too : )

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Debunking Your Theory That You Don’t Have Time For Yoga

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I reached out to Laurie Gerber, President of Handel Group to ask her a few questions about her experience with yoga and how she creates the time in her very full schedule for this practice. The Handel Group uses a methodology that they created, called: Personal Integrity®. This methodology teaches you to live in accordance with your highest ideals, to align your heart, mind and body and to keep your promises to yourself as the source of true pride, power and self-confidence. I have experienced this method in action and it is truly amazing to me how effective it is. The authenticity and alignment pieces are very similar to the practice of yoga itself and this is why I chose her for this interview.

AS:  As the President of a thriving company, a wife, and a Momma, you mentioned to me that you create space in your schedule for a little yoga every day. How and why do you do this? Do you find that making yoga a priority for you enables you to be a more effective participant of your life?

LG:  Honestly, why I do it (besides that a break midday helps me clear my mind and feel more at ease) is that my back used to go out a few times a year, but since I began my 20 minutes of daily yoga, it doesn’t anymore. How I do it, is I schedule it. My promise is to do 20 minutes, but I actually block out my whole “lunch hour” knowing I’ll want to try to cram other things around it, avoid taking a break or feel like something else is more urgent. Twenty minutes before my hour is up, I drop to the floor and begin, either following what my body wants or visiting Elena Brower on yogaglo. The break in my focus always lets in more creativity. Not becoming immobilized with back pain is an incredible boon to my work life and life with my husband and kids. Generally, I have a working lunch, but I always stop for at least 20 minutes to stretch and manifest, no matter what, because it contributes so much to my productivity, vitality and well-being (not to mention my ability to sit at a computer 13 hours a day).

AS:  I often hear people tell me that they know yoga would be beneficial to them and would really like to incorporate a practice into their lives, yet they insist that they are too busy and do not have time. What would your advice as a Life Coach be for them?

LG:  Skip something else. If you are too busy at work for 20 minutes, delegate something or skip your lunch break. If you are with kids all day, do it during nap time or find the right video. I know I sound cavalier about possibly compromising other “values” or responsibilities, but we are fooling ourselves if we don’t think our spirituality and self-care are meant to be at the top of the priority list. It’s not idealistic; it’s just practical if you are thinking long-term. You have to last. Schedule it into your calendar with reminders and alarms and implement a consequence if you skip, like no chocolate or coffee or tea or Facebook the next day, if you skip. That way, you will stay focused on being true to your plan. Lastly, try it for four weeks (at least three short practices a week) and then vote if it is worth it. Our problem is that we vote before we even test the new idea. You have NO idea how you’ll feel when you have a regular practice. If you do, because you have tried it, then you know what you’re missing and you were just waiting for this article to kick your butt back to the mat.

AS:  I have heard you say that people believe their personality is stuck, that they “just are the way they are” and that is why they are incapable of x,y,z. I am frequently told: “I can’t do yoga, because I am not flexible.” I would love to hear your response to this.

LG:  That actually truly makes me laugh. That’s like telling a baby they can’t have xyz profession because they are a baby. How funny are we? “I just am X way” is the perfect way to get off the hook from doing the right thing. We have found by implementing a three step process, called Personal Integrity®, we can teach people how to “change who they are.” Thank goodness. Most people don’t start flexible; they use yoga to become flexible. Learning and developing yourself are some of the most exhilarating opportunities we have. I know it’s scary; that’s why a promise and consequence are very helpful when starting a new habit. They are the tools that clear your mind so you can stay focused on what you really want to have and who you really want to be.

AS:  What are some tools that individuals can use to help a regular yoga practice become a reality for them?

LG:  Simple. A promise and a consequence. I will spend X minutes, X days per week or I lose Y. You fill in the blank based on where you are right now and how quickly you want change. Then you tell the people in your life. Next, you make sure you have the right teachers and resources. As I’ve said, I fancy yogaglo for on-the-go yoga anywhere there’s wifi.

AS:  What are some of the qualities that you look for when choosing a yoga instructor?

LG:  Honestly, I don’t feel the need to follow an instructor, even when I have a video on that I “could” follow. So really I go by vibe. If I think they are honest and funny, I want to listen to their voice. Or if they have been so kind as to have recorded 20 minute practices for my back, well, they rock!

AS:  What are your thoughts about the complementary benefits of life coaching and yoga when applied to achieving more of a balanced existence?

LG:  Now on this topic I could go on and on. The principles of yoga-alignment and oneness are brought off the mat and into life with Handel’s coaching principle/practice of Personal Integrity®. When you bring the concept of yoga to your life, you align your relationships, money, body, health and career with your highest ideal, and you learn to communicate honestly, gracefully and effectively. Both yoga and coaching impact body, mind and soul, and are therefore perfectly complementary. In addition, yoga can be used to aid people with coaching breakthroughs. Our founder Lauren Zander and Elena Brower have teamed up to lay out HGYoga: a practice that will combine yoga and coaching completely.

To learn more about Laurie Gerber and the Handel Group, please visit:

http://www.handelgroup.com/coaching/life-coaching/our-life-coaches/laurie-gerber

http://www.handelgroup.com/

Shake It Off

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“And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me…”

My Yoga Practice has changed my life in some very profound ways.  My Yoga Practice has transformed into a Life Practice.  It has rolled right off of my mat along with me and followed me into some rough and dark terrain.  It has remained faithful to me and held a candle up to light the path back when I have lost my way.  It has helped teach me how important it is to be fully present in every moment.  Yoga has shown me the how and the why and the way.  When you practice Yoga it is like cleaning house.  Eventually you get finished with the surface stuff and start to dig a little deeper.  Unearthing an experience, excavating a memory, confronting a habit, taking it out and dusting it off.  If it’s broken, taking a long hard look, deciding if it’s worth fixing, worth hanging on to.  Perhaps looking a little deeper and making the decision that it is time to let go and get rid of it altogether.  When you clear out the clutter of your body, you can’t help but clear out the clutter of your subconscious at the same time.

Life can be chaotic.  We can get so caught up in getting through that we are perpetually in the surface realm of things.  Stuff piles up, we bury things, and tuck them away for a more convenient time.  Physical and emotional things.  Yoga gives you the strength and stamina to take on and tackle those things in life that scare you the most.  It provides you with the tools you need and the patience to try again when you don’t get it right the first time.  Your practice helps illuminate those corners that are the darkest and most frightening.  Rather than turning away from and avoiding discomfort, you will face it head on.  You will chase those things down that make you the most uncomfortable because you want to be free!

A short time ago Elena Brower shared a poem on her blog called “Shake the Dust”.  It was written by Anis Mojgani.  Elena’s teachings always seem particularly timely and poignant…

When I find myself becoming burdened or weighted down, I reread these words:

“Do not let one moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart beats 100,000 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make every one of you oceans. Do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect in your veins.

Walk into it, breathe it in, let it crash through the halls of your arms at the millions of years of millions of poets coursing like blood pumping and pushing making you live, shaking the dust so when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands in front of you, fingertips trembling though they may be.”

Thank you Anis for writing these powerful words!  Thank you, Elena, for sharing them!  These words have become my mantra.  I am filled with gratitude for my teachers and for the practice of Yoga.

Be free!  Shake the dust!