Hello friends and welcome to the Fall 2018 season of Elevate!
I am delighted that you have either joined one of my classes this Fall and / or are visiting my blog!
My classes and postings this season will draw inspiration from several wisdom teachers, including Dr. Gabor Mate (www.drgabormate.com) and Dr. Shefali Tsabary (www.drshefali.com). It is my highest teaching intention to create a community-based, elevated wellness experience of body, mind, and consciousness.
To set the stage for our classes this season, I welcome you to reflect on the following quote & short video clip featuring Dr. Mate and "The Myth of Normal". Remember to click on the Like button below if the postings resonate!
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society"
- Jiddu Krishnamurti (coined in the 1950's)
After years working in palliative care, Bronnie Ware wrote a book about the most common regrets that the people she had cared for had expressed to her (see below for a posting of her Ted Talk).
Regret 1: I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Regret 2: I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
Regret 3: I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Regret 4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Regret 5: I wish I had let myself be happier.
"The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing" by Bronnie Ware.
Welcome to Spring 2018!
The inspiration behind this season of classes has been spearheaded by the work of two very different women with a similar message of empowerment, transformation, and self-compassion.
Regena Thomashauer (aka Mama Gena) is the owner of "The Mama Gena School of Womanly Arts" and author of several books including "Pussy: A Reclamation." She is a woman's activist, a pleasure revolutionist, and a powerhouse of turned-on living. I attended her 2 day Intro Event in New York back in Dec, 2017 and came home with the desire to imbed her teachings into my own classes. Here's Mama Gena delivering a Ted Talk in 2011.
I have also been transformed by the work of Bronnie Ware, a former palliative care worker and the Australian author of "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing." In this book, Bronnie writes about the most common regrets that the people she had cared for had expressed to her. Bronnie discusses the significance of these regrets and explains how, through conscious choices, we can address these issues positively now while we still have the time. After reading this book, you feel more compassionate and inspired to live the life you are truly here to live. Here is Bronnie delivering a Ted Talk on "regret-free living" in 2016.
is not only a sign of health in biospheres
but also an indication of
wellness in human communities"
- Michele Fogal (Author of Quirky & Diverse Love Stories & Creatrix of Guided Meditations for Writers)
Thank-you Michele for gifting the Wed AM students (winter grand finale class)
with a guided meditation for creative recharge!
Michele has a wonderful series of guided meditations available free of charge on her website:
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
what is essential is invisible to the eye."
- by Antoine de Saint-Exupery author of The Little Prince
"Women are the greatest untapped natural resource on the planet" - Mama Gena
"Notice what lights you up. Not because lit-up women are beautiful and magnetic and fun to be around, but because they are fun to be" - Mama Gena
"Our job as therapists [and as parents, teachers, leaders, and human beings] is not about helping people feel better, but rather, to help people get better at feeling." - Dr. Gabor Mate (with Heather's elaboration in brackets)
"Whatever Arises, Love That" - Matt Kahn (also the title of his book)
"When rooted in your heart, every reaction can be viewed as a perfectly orchestrated activation of consciousness, clearing out the old paradigm to make room for something new to unfold. This often occurs at the rate in which each particular feeling is honoured and given permission to be."
- Matt Kahn (Whatever Arises, Love That)
"You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching. Love like you've never been hurt. Sing like there's nobody listening. And live like it's heaven on earth." - credited to William Purkey
"What you seek is seeking you." - Rumi
"Just keep coming home to yourself. You are the one you've been waiting for." - Byron Katie, Author of Loving What Is and The Work
"I don't sweat. I just leak awesome." - a Zumba t-shirt quote
It is my teaching intention to create classes that provide a complete mind-body-spirit experience!
These are the four cornerstones that guide my class creations:
1. Elevated Fitness - When describing the fitness experience that I wish to create in class, I'm not using the word "Elevated" to suggest that my classes are hard or that we're training for higher results on a fitness test. Instead, I am intentionally utilizing the word "Elevated" to express an enhanced level of awareness, mindfulness, and connection to our relationship with fitness. Also, I like to define "Fitness" as the ability to freely adapt to life's challenges, cycles, and opportunities. The greater choice & diversity of movement that we retain and gain in our bodies (and in our minds), the more physical (and mental) freedom we experience. And freedom, my friends, is not only the secret ingredient in the fountain of youth, but is also the litmus test for fitness of body and mind.
2. E-Motion - If you put a little hyphen between the letters E and the M in EMOTION, and then use the E as Einstein did, as in E = Energy, you'll get the essence of emotional health (energy in motion). Our health elevates when we become more compassionately aware of our emotions and when we allow the energy within each emotion to move through our bodies, at its own natural rate & rhythm.
In the Elevate classes, you will hear me cue invitations to return your attention to your felt experience, in the here and now. Whether it's during a sweaty movement sequence, or in a moment of physical pause, when we gently re-direct our awareness back to the present moment in the body, we are cultivating a mindfully healthy practice that is available for us on and off the mat.
3. Retreat - I absolutely love going on retreats! Most of my retreats are self-designed, simple, inexpensive, and by myself. For example, once a season I try to take 2 nights and check myself into a hotel room or my tent. Depending on the location, I'll merge with the presenting environment (if it's a city retreat, I'll check out a local yoga studio; if it's outdoors, I'll move with mother nature). Every retreat provides an opportunity for quietude, reflection, journalling, reading, movement, and spiritual connection. And just in case some of you are thinking that you'd really like to go on a retreat too, but you don't have the time / money / freedom to do so, here's an idea worth considering. I have held a retreat in my own backyard by setting up my tent and announcing to my family that I was not accepting any visitors for one night and one day. My kids know that I come back from retreats a much happier mother!
The connection between my personal retreats and the classes is this. I hope every class feels like you're checking yourself into a retreat! An accountable, once a week, blissful retreat where you too will have the opportunity to experience quietude, reflection, movement and spiritual connection. I welcome you to bring a journal should you desire to record any insights gained during class. And I always love to share readings and quotes in class from great spiritual masters, thought leaders, psychologists, mind-body medical scientists, and health science researchers. See my blog postings for the quotes and reading recommendations.
4. Pleasure - One of the class purposes is to practice pleasure. Yes, it's a practice! As Mama Gena teaches at her School of Womanly Arts, women have been severely disenfranchised from the power of pleasure. In fact, when a woman becomes more aware of her own innate sources of pleasure and makes life choices based on her internal pleasure system, she becomes a member of a sister goddess revolution. She takes a stand for the inherent worth and divinity in herself and for all human beings. Choosing pleasure is a revolutionary act because we've been taught that our worth is based on what we do, what we have, what we look like, and what we've accomplished. When we choose what pleases us, from the inside, we are intentionally turning our attention away from external comparable critiques and towards a re-connection with our internal experience of the here and now, our own truth. The pleasure movement is a pathway to higher consciousness!
My intention is to create classes that provide a safe space to explore what pleasure means for you. I intentionally cue with invitational language so as to encourage play with movement in a way that feels good to you. You'll often hear me suggest an eyes-closed approach to facilitate your right to choose a movement option / approach that is most true for you rather than following a conditioned mental script about what you think you should do (or used to be able to do), or what another person is doing at that moment. By the way, some of you have seen my tank top that says "I'm here just for the savasana". If wearing my tank top would help you to practice the pleasure movement more often in class, just ask - I keep it in my bag (and I wash it in between wearings)!
Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC)