Do you play small?

I certainly do.

What is that!? Why is that? Doesn’t that seem counter-intuitive? And yet, we all seem to have this same disposition/fear/shared consciousness.

This is a cliché question, but, for real: What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? Put differently: What would you do if you didn’t limit your potential? What would you do if you weren’t afraid of your light?

For me, sometimes what limits me is feeling like I can’t make a difference; feeling like whatever small thing I do, won’t affect others – it won’t ripple.

In this time of global fear/flux/change, we have witnessed what happens when individuals influence those around them to both emanate their light, and their dark. All of our energy has ripples and it will affect those around us. It may not be visible and it may not seem immediate, but it does make an impact.

What would happen if you chose to let go of your fear and live more brightly?

What would happen if you recognized others’ fear of showing their light through their negative reactions? Could you keep shining your light if you knew negative reactions were just that, fear? Not a personal judgement against you, but a personal limitation placed upon themselves.

What does that look like for you?

For me, it means stepping back and taking a breath before reacting. It means taking a moment to look at where they are coming from. It means recognizing their fear. It means sending them compassion. It means holding space for both their light, and for my boundaries. It means releasing their judgement. It means stepping into my own light anyway!

My offering to you is to look at where you are holding back. Look at where you allow fear to lead you. Just to be aware of it.

After you are aware of it, you can start to ask yourself if there is another way forward. Do you want to proceed the way you have – allowing fear to lead you? Or, do you want to start to allow your light to shine and lead you as you move forward?

Do this without judgement towards yourself, or towards others. And don’t judge yourself when you find yourself in judgement! Recognize it. Awareness is where this all starts and you can’t move forward if you keep judging yourself.

Notice where you see shifts, however small they may be. Notice the light grow within yourself and within those around you.

We can do this. We can impact positive change. Each and every one of us has the ability to recognize the light within us and within those around us. Each of us can acknowledge the fear bubble up, and each of us can choose to follow the light instead.

The light in me recognizes and honours the light that is also within you.

Namasté
~Alannah

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The whirling hamster wheel

Your alarm goes off, you hit snooze. Your alarm goes off, you hit snooze. Your alarm REALLY goes off. It’s time to drag yourself out of bed…and, you’re off!

Get out the door, get coffee, get to work, work, workout, eat, tv, bed. Repeat.

Does that, or something like that, remind you of someone? It’s definitely been me. And, if I’m being honest, it will likely be me again at various points in my life.

This past week, now that I’m only teaching two classes outside of my 9-5, I’ve had the opportunity to take some time in the evenings to step off the hamster wheel. I made the conscious decision to do what brings me joy, specifically, to not just watch tv.

It’s not that my evenings weren’t busy, but in that time, I consciously asked myself: will watching tv bring me joy right now? And, every single time, the answer was no, it will not. So, instead, I took my time to cook, I didn’t feel rushed to get to a yoga class, I read, I listened to music.

I consciously enjoyed my time.

Here’s the thing, we get so rushed because, yes, we try to fit everything into 24 hours, but also, because we don’t consciously decide how we want to spend our time and end up in habits that suck time.

My offering to you is to start recognizing your habits, and begin to question them.

Do they serve you? Do they bring you joy? Are they the best use of your time?

Here’s the thing,  if binge watching Game of Thrones brings you joy, then that’s ok! No judgement.

If you find yourself running out of time and rushing through life, or wanting to do something that you “don’t have time” to do, over and over, that’s when it matters to question. That’s when it matters to pause, before falling into your routine/habit, and ask.

In love,
~Alannah

When things change

As humans, we’re really good when we’re in control, but what happens if something changes that’s out of your control, or what happens when you have to make a decision with your best knowledge in that moment without any time to really think about it?

yoga-keep-calm

There’s a yoga sutra that pulled itself into my consciousness this week:

Te prati prasava heyah suksmah.

“When you think you have it under control, you had better check again. These tendencies are often subtle, and the untrained mind has a way of avoiding the issues. Develop constant introspection, and pay attention.”

~Bhavani Silvia Maki (The Yogi’s Roadmap)

A few things happened that made this teaching feel relevant.

1. A trip that had previously been cancelled is now happening in three weeks and I committed to going, after deciding to not go.

2. Two yoga studios merged and my students are having to adjust.

3. Wednesday was my last night teaching regular classes at a studio I have taught at since it opened.

Wow.

The Trip. I can’t say I was excited for the initial trip, but I was committed and it was an amazing opportunity to experience a new country and work with a team to build houses, including one that I raised the money to fund. Then, there were a few natural events and the trip was cancelled with the plan of rescheduling. When the trip was rescheduled, I wasn’t all in. I needed to process it and decide if it was something I really wanted to do. I came to the decision to not go, but it still didn’t feel right. So I kept sitting on it. Finally, I rebooked. Done.

The Studios. January 1 marked the merging of two studios and January 9 is the change in schedules so this past week has been amazing with getting to teach new students in busy classes. Wednesday was a gloriously full class with many new-to-me faces. For many of them, they were new to the space and were unsettled by the change to the location and schedule. My work, as their teacher, was to acknowledge their discomfort and to help them live their yoga practice. My class included teachings around Te prati prasava heyah suksmah.

The Classes. I have had the privilege to witness the community grow and develop for the past two years. Through teaching four classes a week, I have watched my students become more focused, mobile, and dedicated to the teachings of yoga. The experience has added depth to my teaching and passion for sharing the lessons that yoga has to offer us. These students have really drawn me in and I will miss them dearly. I had held onto these classes because of my students. Changes to the schedule gave me the push that I needed to release these classes in order to pursue other opportunities.

Loss of control.

I thought I had made the decision to not go on the trip. My students had their yoga schedule figured out. My teaching schedule had remained mostly unchanged for two years and my work schedule was adjusted to fit.

How do you handle events outside of your control?

For me, I take a look inside, I ask myself, what do I need to learn from this? What is this telling me? There are no “right” answers to these questions, these answers are open to interpretation as they come from within you.

Some people sit in meditation, I’m still working on that, but I do “sit with” the decision that feels right. I listen to my gut/my first reaction, then I “test” that decision. I pay attention to my reactions to that decision. If that decision doesn’t “feel right”, the thoughts will continue to whirl around my mind. When it doesn’t feel “done” I know it’s not the right decision/next step yet.

When a decision is “final”, sometimes it can feel sudden, but it also feels complete. When I made the call to rebook my flight, it seemed urgent, rushed, but it also felt final, and “right”.

There was no decision for my students, they will have to continue to practice this magical thing called yoga and make the best choices for themselves as they find new teachers and a new routine. My hope is they can see this change as a positive and are able to further develop their practice through both new teachers/styles, and through their own internal practice of living through this change.

Change isn’t easy, but it is constant. The trick is to look at the change, to look at how it makes you feel, acknowledge that, look at the lessons this change can offer you, and keep moving forward with a positive outlook.

In love,
~Alannah

The Start of a New Year

Happy 2017!

Did you start 2017 how you wanted to? I had a slow morning. It was lovely, but slow, and not 100% what I was planning for the start of a new year.

I shared these thoughts with my yoga class today: It’s ok if you didn’t start your 2017 exactly the way you might have wanted to. Do you know why? This practice of yoga, of learning to be present, brings you into a place where not just each year, but each moment is an opportunity for a new beginning.

You can change your thoughts; acknowledge your emotions instead of reacting to them; create a new habit at any time, not just on January 1.

By being more present and aware of your habitual thoughts and reactions, you can change them. Each and every moment that you bring your attention to them and make the conscious choice to change them, you can.

So what if your day didn’t start/continue/end the way you had envisioned? Instead of throwing it all away, recognize the habitual patterns and make the choice to move forward in a different way.

Hint: this is true for fitness/nutrition “resolutions” too.

If you slip into patterns you want to change, the practice is to lovingly acknowledge the slip (without judgement or criticizing yourself) and choose to step forward in the direction you want to move.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and balanced 2017!
~Alannah

Chronic pain is an interesting companion 

What happens when you choose to let chronic pain go?


Chronic pain becomes a part of you. You identify with it. So what happens to that part of your identity when you choose to let that pain go?

I’m referring to some small, annoying shoulder pain. For the most part, it’s just there; sometimes it flares up, but it’s never debilitating.

It might not be physical pain, it might be emotional pain that you’ve been carrying around for so long, you don’t know what would be left of your identity if you were to release it.

We hold on to pain (emotional/physical) because it is known, it is familiar, it is safer than the unknown of our life without that pain. The thing is, we aren’t even aware that we’re holding onto it.

I’m not saying that you can just “let it go”, but I am suggesting that by working with educated practitioners, intention, and awareness you can help to release stubborn pain. The key is, if you want to.

What are you holding onto that you are ready to let go of? Who can you talk to/work with to help you release that pain? How can you nurture yourself to acknowledge your pain and free yourself from its grasp?

Wishing you love and health,
~Alannah

“us” vs “them”

White vs Black. Trump vs Hillary. People vs Police. East vs West. WE are all one! There’s a lot going on out there right now. I guess this really isn’t new, but it does seem to be intensifying at the moment.

There’s an interpretation of Namasté that I LOVE:

My soul honours your soul.
I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honour the light, love, truth, beauty & peace within you,
Because it is also within me.
In sharing these things,
We are united,
We are the same,
We are one.

~unknown

Isn’t that beautiful!?

“Us” vs “Them” comes from a place of anger; a place of fear; a place of being closed to understanding.

Knowing that we are all the same at our core; knowing that we are all one as these living breathing beings helps us to come from a place of understanding; a place of compassion; a place of love.

We may not agree, it is unlikely for you to change someone’s beliefs, but just because you may not believe the same thing, that doesn’t mean that one is wrong and one is right. It doesn’t mean that one must push fear and hate on to the other.

It’s not about being perfect tomorrow; it’s about the practice of becoming aware of your tendencies and consistently asking yourself if you are pitting yourself against someone or something. It’s about saying to yourself, over and over and over again, “at the root of this, we are all one; we are more alike than different.” It is about consistently returning to the belief that we are all one.

Namasté,
~Alannah

Let’s talk about Fear

Fear, it’s a funny thing; it keeps us safe, but it can also hold us back.

In an effort to work with my fears, I’ll be completely honest with you; right now, my fears are holding me back from achieving my highest potential. Part of this fear is a fear of the unknown; part of this fear is the fear of failure (whatever that means); and part of this fear is the fear that I will need to continue to live up to this heightened state – the status quo allows me to sit back and take breaks/rest/find balance and I fear that living a life where I strive to achieve my highest potential will mean losing the ability to relax.

Now the funny thing about fear is that it can be completely and utterly deceptive. Because fear keeps us from the unknown, only my imagination can “tell” me that these are fears to be concerned about. When, in reality, I don’t know if that’s what will happen. I’m sure there will be moments when I will feel the need to rest or take a break so I don’t think this fear is a rational fear.

Rational versus irrational fear. Rational fears keep us safe from physical danger. These are good fears to pay attention to – we can still take calculated/educated risks in life, but these are the fears we have to keep us alive.

Irrational fears, although they may present physical symptoms, hold us back from taking safe and calculated movements that take us outside of our comfort zone. Take a look at these fears, examine them – are they real? Are they rational? Are they irrational? What are we afraid of? What’s the underlying message behind the fear? What is the deeper emotion? What can you do, today, that is a baby toe step outside of a fear? What aren’t you going after because of your fear?

The most important step to take, is the first step.

In love,
Alannah