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)!