Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 1: Gratitude Journal, the gift of grace

Today, the first day of 30 days of gratitude, I am reflecting yet again on the fullness of my life. Without regrets, I know that I am where I am today because I have made many turns in the road, some unexpected yet made without question, like following my ex-husband back to Asia to raise our children together. And other choices so gut-wrentching that I felt my heart would burst into a million pieces. Mending, I feel stronger and as self-assured as I did as a bright-eye 20-something. At nearly 43, there is something so reassuring about the passage of time and not questioning everything all the time but allowing an almost invisible hand in the shape of my heart to guide me along.

Today I am grateful to my ex-husband for offering me ladles of grace and a tremendous amount of support. Without him, I would not be able to teach, travel and enjoy so many of the freedoms that I do living in Asia. 

Along with that, I appreciate his family. I haven't always. They are quirky and the road to healing and understanding has been tremendously rocky for all of us. But, I have begun to see them in a new light, one of understanding. For the sweetness that they offer my son's, I am full of gratitude. 

And, today, I am simply grateful for the generosity of others. The understanding that there is no need to repay the grace but to simply say, "Thank you." Like Elizabeth Gilbert says, "...maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”

Join me for 30 days of gratitude. It could change your life. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ulpotha, Sri Lanka: A Unique Retreat to Nature

Spending 2 weeks in an unspoiled lush canopy of green, hidden caves tucked within mountains and birds the color of Starbursts has me giddy with anticipation. Sri Lanka's beauty and Ulpotha's charm has me returning mid-November to offer yoga to students from all over the globe.

Similar to "glamping" (glamorous camping), Ulpotha is without Internet, electricity and except for the main house. Our haciendas are beautifully designed mud and grass huts all long narrow winding pathways all around the jungle property. All centered around an Ayurvedic center where the proceeds from treatments help support a clinic for local villagers.

Returning to nature and returning to self is the magnetic draw. The quiet stillness of the morning air as we enjoy local breakfast treats and fresh coconuts, followed by a luxurious in length therapeutic yoga class. Then, the day is designed by each person-- to rest, read a book in a hammock, enjoy a massage, experience authentic Ayurvedic treatments, swim, hike, bike, be alone or share time with new friends exploring? Anything seems possible. 2 beautiful meals each day are prepared with locally grown organic vegetables and rice which makes my mouth water recalling the delicious traditional spices used. Ending the day with another yoga session of either Thai yoga massage, fun partner yoga or a relaxing restorative session feels perfect.

Ulopotha, you beauty is vast. I cannot wait to see you again.

Join me?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yoga Therapy and Restorative Yoga

 "Real, lasting change usually begins with discomfort and 
ends with joy and respect for oneself." 
Nicolai Bachman
Just completed leading 7 days of yoga therapy and restorative yoga 7 at Yogshakti Teacher Training in Kuala Lumpur with 18 beautiful teachers from around the world yesterday. The biggest joy was watching each one of them expand their heart-mind, begin to grasp challenging anatomy and to integrate what they've learned as they practiced teaching with each other. 
Yoga therapy is a holistic approach to yoga that makes the practice accessible, self healing, and facilitates injury prevention. It's a process of discovering what works for you as the student and teacher. Combined with intention and clear direction, we learn how to skillfully recognize a student's needs by drawing on our intuition, experiences and awareness of what's happening now in a student's body. Poses can be Active (therapeutic) for learning more functional movement or they can be restful and restorative to promote relaxation and recuperation. 
Restorative yoga uses props as adaptations of traditional yoga postures in a passively supported way by filling any space between the student's body and the floor. The focus is not on stretching but rather releasing tension, increasing circulation, bringing comfort and cultivating stillness while noticing the breath. 

"I liked the way Melissa explained Anatomy as a functional yoga applied method. I loved all the teaching tools she offered for each pose with props, alternatives and other ways to see things."

"Melissa, thank you so much for a wonderful Yoga Therapy training. I have really enjoyed the group and the learning and feel so much more knowledgable in anatomy and postural assessment and of my own body's strengths and compensations. The restorative yoga sessions have been great and after struggling a bit to see how to integrate the yoga therapy approach into my practice and teaching, it now all seems to have fallen into place. With a big happy hug!" 

"I really enjoyed going through the set up and exploration of restorative poses and also working with my peers on the postural and yoga therapy assessments. The group energy and sharing, mantras and meditations were also highlights in this training for me."

"For me it was very useful to learn how to use props correctly for specific situations and to be able to make yoga accessible to all. Yoga Therapy will be a great addition to my personal experience and teaching." 

Email here for more info on the next Yoga Therapy training in Texas, Thailand or Malaysia.