Sunday, September 8, 2019

Embodied Integrity

Embodied integrity practices begin with cultivating presence.

Presence starts with body sensations – inhabiting our bodies and sensing in and through our embodied experience.

Presence deepens as we attune with and include subtle energetic movements within our embodied awareness.

Presence deepens as we notice our thoughts, and feel their energetic tone and impact on our experience.

Presence integrates as we progress in our capacity to include physical, emotional, and mental dimensions within our awareness, and easily shift attention among these three areas.

Presence expands with a sense of spaciousness.

Spaciousness opens up our capacity to bridge past and future and to begin to digest past, unresolved experiences which allows new possibilities to emerge.

Spaciousness opens up our capacity to relate with others, and to attune with their experiences whether they are similar or different than ours.

Spaciousness allows us to notice the impact of our behaviors.

Spaciousness allows us to sense cultural dynamics which we are a part of and which are a part of us.


Join me to practice presence:

Friday, September 6, 2019

Channeling

Whenever I read or hear about someone who says they channel their work, or channel another entity, I am intrigued.  What I understand is another -- higher, more evolved, better...? -- source is being cited. 

I wonder, higher than what?

Usually I don't perceive harm or intended harm in these claims, although a claim to channel a more highly evolved source could be used as an attempt manipulate others.  Mostly though it seems to be a way to separate from ego structures, as if to say, "I am not claiming that I am evolved, and look, my creation is!"

This perspective inspires sadness in me.  I'm sad that we live in a world where we believe a better answer can come from somewhere outside us.  I'm sad that many people, including me, still struggle at least some of the time with reliably trusting ourselves, and our own resources and creativity.

When we ground ourselves in who we are and how we actually are in this moment, AND open ourselves to the freshness of discovery, grace, insight, creativity, we bridge our past, present, and futures into a new possibility.  We channel who and how we are becoming.

Thomas Huebl speaks of it as locating our particular cosmic address:
- Grounding in this moment right here, right now, including whatever remains unresolved.
- Attuning with our bodies, emotions, and thoughts, as well as a sense of spaciousness.
- Connecting ever more subtly with spaciousness not as a way to avoid or disconnect from embodiment, but as an expansion of embodiment, into what's new and what's next.

People channel in many ways, including movement practices such as ecstatic dance, yoga, tai chi, martial arts; stillness practices such as meditation, contemplation, and prayerful listening; and engaging in what they love to do, which Gay and Katie Hendricks describe about discovering and living in genius. 

Happy Channeling!


Monday, August 5, 2019

"Scared" is an Invitation to Self-Connect & Align with Your Inner Guidance

"Scared" is a feeling,
as well as a reflection of the current state of our nervous system.
Like all feelings,
fear needs to be included within awareness
and fully responded to
for us to be at home in embodied wholeness.

Fear blocks us from self-connection,
responsibility, and empowered actions
especially when we are numb to it or avoiding it.
What we are actually avoiding is ourselves.

When we are scared or anxious, our fear needs attention,
and connecting with it supports us to recognize
and align with our inner, felt wisdom of “yes” and “no.”

When we choose an  evolutionary path,
continually choosing to open to discovery, connect,
and expand capacity for love, contribution and fulfillment,
we continue to discover pockets of fear within.

 How people discover their inner blocks
- fragments of fear -
may vary from person to person.
For me, interactions with people
tend to show me my inner blocks.

Presencing fear-blocks,
which is another way to say trauma,
especially through connection with someone
who is sensitively attuned to feelings / energy,
allows fear which was fragmenting and blocked
to release into our wholeness
and re-join our greater flow.


Contemplation questions to wonder about:

- How do I notice when I feel stuck, anxious, defensive or afraid?

- When  I notice any of those states, how do I experience that in my body?

- How can I support myself ( or receive support ) to sustain attention with my experience in a friendly way so that I can connect more deeply with myself ?

- How can I appreciate myself for my willingness to engage on my path of discovery?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Yoga and Mastery

The topic of mastery is of interest to me.  I am a practitioner, student, teacher and teacher trainer of yoga who learned through a traditional guru-student tradition, which benefited me immensely.  I have not personally experience abuse of power in yoga.  Since I'm writing about mastery, power paradigms, and abuse of power, it is important to me to say that clearly, and to express my gratitude for the generosity and wisdom of my teachers, who made major impacts on my life.  I literally cannot imagine being here today without these transformative experiences.  *

I am aware of instances where power has been abused in teacher student relationships -- these things have been in the news and are being revealed.  I think moving into greater transparency, responsibility, and accountability, as well as a greater understanding of power dynamics, is good and much needed. 

The traditional way to learn yoga was (to be a man) and study with a guru - a master teacher.  Today, people are still drawn to learn from teachers and spiritual leaders they perceive as masters.

From Merriam-Webster, here are two definitions of mastery:
1. The first definition is: "a. the authority of a master : dominion" and "b: the upper hand in a contest or competition : superiority, ascendancy"
2. Merriam-Webster's second definition is: "a: possession or display of great skill or technique" and "b: skill or knowledge that makes one master of a subject : command"


When we admire someone who is highly skilled at what they do, we can consciously or unconsciously perceive them as more evolved in general.  For instance we might assume that a spinal surgeon knows all about rehabilitating a back injury without surgery.  We might trust that a political activist for social justice would be fair in their personal relationships.  We might believe that a yoga teacher who can do extreme yoga poses -- related to flexibility, strength, or balance -- behaves compassionately and respects personal boundaries.  We might assume that having mastery or a gift in one area will naturally include other areas. 

We might put a person on a pedestal even if the person we are admiring doesn't want to be perceived that way.  And, there are people who exploit others, who see themselves as better than, higher than, or more evolved than others and will intentionally take advantage.  There is a long line of people who have perpetuated this sort of abusive power-over in most every area of life:  entertainment, politics, business, religion, spirituality and yoga. 

There is another way we can perceive mastery, cultivating our ability to relate in an empowered way even as we acknowledge a person's mastery and gifts related to a particular topic or area of life.  In a competence hierarchy, people who have knowledge and wisdom and expertise can share that with others who want and choose to learn and/or receive their expertise, without giving away their own power and authority.  This paradigm of mastery is built on self-empowerment and responsibility, collaboration, and empowerment of others, and a valuing of all humans, all life, and nature. As we integrate this paradigm, we can expand our capacity to align our actions to value life and move toward restoration where there have been abuses of power.

~~

I’m launching two Embodied Leadership & Yoga Teacher Trainings this fall to share what I’ve accumulated in the 20 years I’ve delved into yoga, meditation, leadership, embodiment, and teaching.  I’m happy to share these with you!

* A foundational 200 hour training for people who want to deepen their knowledge and integration of yoga, and learn to teach, whether or not they plan to teach yoga.

* An advanced 300 hour training for people who have already completed their initial 200 hours, whether or not they are teaching or plan to.

All the information is on my website: evolutionaryyogacollective.com



* My c.v. is here, which includes my studies and major teachers!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Life is a Dance

Trauma is life energy that freezes, holds, or stops moving when faced with a situation that our autonomic nervous system (an automatic physiological response) classifies as life threatening.  This action protects -- or attempts to protect -- us.

While life exists, the possibility of healing exists too. 


Like springtime after a long, cold winter, the buds of life bloom again, and for those who are willing, the possibility of healing exists.

Just like the seasons, life is always moving. 

When we feel emotional pain that has a disproportionate intensity to it, we are contacting the energy that once couldn't move through.

Life wants to connect.

Emotional pain is a funny thing.  So often it's not about what we think it's about, although that doesn't make the experience of hurting any less real.  The emotional energies within long to be presenced, held in compassionate awareness.  We humans are wired to connect with ourselves and each other.

We are made of compassionate awareness.

However entrenched or stuck we may be, with compassionate, connected support, gradually the trauma re-emerges to be felt through, allowing the energy to move again.

Movements of Healing -- Choose Your Verb(s):
meeting how you are,
listening,
connecting,
participating with,
breathing,
feel-thinking,
loving,
creating,
collaborating,
expressing in a non-linear way through art, vocal expression
and dancing.  I saved the best for last.


The next class is October 10, 2019.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Infinite Connection


Connection to ourselves, and all that we are as human beings is an infinite journey.  Whenever we look into an aspect of ourselves and begin to refine our awareness, more and more details become available to us:  there is infinite depth.  As we continue to grow and adapt to the world which is also changing and growing, we discover infinite breadth.  And since our body-mind systems have an innate potential to restore and heal, we are continually re-weaving as we deepen our practice!  Factor in relating with the beings around us, who are also on their own evolving journeys, and we begin to get a sense of the scope of discovery that is possible.  In this exploration, as we explore and learn and understand more, and we also expand a sense of how much more remains unknown to us. 

Meeting the unknown, we practice grounding ourselves in curiosity and openness to discovery.  At first, this seems risky.  Yet as we continue on this path, we begin to be touched by beauty, which supports a sense of softening, acceptance, compassion which leads us to an embodied experience of love.  Not love as a concept, but love as an energy, a way of being, which unfolds itself in mysterious ways. 


Art - Source Unknown

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Will or Surrender?

(Originally shared in a newsletter - January 19, 2019)

Hello Friends,

Many years ago, I remember sitting with my teacher.  It was time for a new mantra for me, and he explained to me that there were two main doorways into the tradition I was studying, called Sri Vidya, which means resplendent wisdom.  One of the doorways is characterized by practices that cultivate and hone the qualities of will, knowledge and action.  The other doorway is characterized by practices related to surrender and devotion.  Both doorways and both sets of practices lead to the same place, the same divine center of wholeness, containing fire and light.  Years later another teacher drew a diagram of two paths, one moving actively up the spine as the personal evolves to gradually include the collective, and the other receiving light from above down the spine, from divine receptivity to embodiment.  In both cases, separate practices are prescribed on a particular path that is distinct from the other, AND the paths are ultimately “not-two,” in that they each culminate in embodiment, humanity, wholeness, and are lit by a spark of divine blessing, evolution, and creativity.

In the first meeting I described, I chose the path of will, knowledge and action.  It sounded exciting to me – spiritual warriorship!  And it was; it is.  In this last year, I have sometimes felt amused (in my good moments) as I have faced into life-changes that I did not see coming.  Wondering how I could cope with challenging and unexpected events, it dawned on me that I could actively choose to surrender and do practices to cultivate my connection and receptivity to light. Now I understand these two paths, and how they are different and similar, in a more visceral way than I ever expected.  I am grateful for this gift.

Let me know if you’d like to know more about these pathways and related practices.  I include this information in my yoga teacher trainings, and I have a very special teacher training offering in the works which I will announce soon.  I will also include some of this information in my upcoming online class – Evolutionary Embodiment.

I have landed in St. Louis, and I am happy to say it feels like home.  My process of arriving here reminds me of the story, “Are you my Mother?”   Here as I ask, “are you my home?” I feel a “yes.”  And I smile, grateful!

I have added a few subs at my long-term yoga home, Big Bend Yoga Center.  See the dates here. 
I am starting a weekly yoga class (Wednesday mornings 7:15am) and a weekly Transformation Playground Dance Class (Tuesday evenings 7:15pm) at Yoga Source this week. 

I am available and in the market for more work, such as the following:
I am looking for other places to teach regular yoga classes, and regular Transformation Playground Dance classes.  (Preferably not on weekends, so I can keep those available for workshops and trainings.) 
I am also available for Yoga private sessions, group sessions, corporate yoga, or specialty classes. 
I intend to add workshops, special events and online classes very soon. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of service to you or your community.

And, I am wondering specifically where and how I want to create a more permanent living arrangement here in the St. Louis area.  (Is anything in this world permanent? …. Well, maybe not, but still that’s the kind of thing I want to create.)  My exploration is still unfolding – commence daily action plus surrender! 

Abundant Blessings,
Rhonda