Friday, December 30, 2016

Magical Quality of Belief

Times of transition… weekends, new job, new year, new moon, new day… are great catalysts for reflection and sparks ideas for intentional living. As popular media floods my feed with the demand to review my goals and set resolutions, I find myself looking through the window to my beliefs instead.

My wood carving of the word BELIEVE comes out with each holiday season. There's a sweetness to the word BELIEVE and a sort of innocence to the idea. As kids we believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and other mystical creatures. Does the magical quality of belief get lost as we age?

As adults believing seems to be attributed mostly to religion and spirituality, but there's more to it. Beliefs form our mindset… the foundation of thoughts and our inclination in how we interpret and interact with our world. To believe is to trust in more than meets the eye. It's an unconditional faith that when tested overcomes the challenge of doubt and pebbles of evidence to the contrary.

With a cup of tea and the rising sun, I pondered my beliefs and challenged myself to dive into those that hold me back. I believe in…
     -The Power of our Minds
     -My Voice
     -Love, Healing and Forgiveness
     -Pursuing Ideas, Dreams and Adventures
     -Letting Go
     -Our Ability to Change
     -Our Innate Ability to Heal, Love, and Serve
     -Me and You
     -The Beauty of Life's Ups and Downs
Examining my limiting beliefs, I find the thoughts that cloud my vision…
     -I am not enough. I don't do ___ right. I will never be as good as ____. 
     -I am not valued. No one appreciates what I do. 
Do you recognize these in yourself? Are they true? I looked for proof and of course I found material for both sides… *sigh*

Well you know the adage, "You're your own worst critic." So I stepped farther back from the belief and stories, I saw that I was being hard on myself and not allowing the good to be seen.

Here lies the magic in our beliefs as adults. We can change our thoughts to shift our mindset and emotions. We replace limiting beliefs with intentions
  • I am not enough. Becomes I am gifted. I share my charisms regardless of others' actions and inaction. 
  • I am not valued. Becomes I am abundantly blessed with life giving relationships. I value and appreciate my being and my doing. 
By practicing these new thoughts, we retrain our brains to support and positively influence our perceptions. This work helps my clients and I find stability in chaotic situations and illuminates paths for change and growth. Intentional Thought Transformation is one step to changing behavior, but a pivotal one for sustainable change to your wellness.

What do you BELIEVE? Is there something holding you back? How will your mindset influence the pursuit of your goals?

Over the years, I have personally used and taught several holistic techniques to transform mindsets. It would be an honor to support you in your journey to Whole Being Wellness.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Peace Begins with Us

Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
Our world's challenges are greatly complimented by the heroism and kindness of our neighbors. We know as individuals we cannot fix the world. Have we figured out that we cannot "fix" those around us? 

Peace on Earth begins with me. 

Our desire for peace begins with attention to our actions of mind and body. We can only change how we interact with ourselves and our world. Innate peace is nurtured by a steady breath and a well taken care of body via how we move and what we put on and in our bodies. We maintain peace with attention and redirection of our thoughts.

The song continues... With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow.

Mindful Presence anchors us to the peace within as we're no longer swept back by the past or blown away with the worries of the future. Our yoga and self care activities are a PRACTICE of techniques to help us meet our daily activities feeling comfortable in our skin and empowered to serve. This is how we bring Peace on Earth.

I pray that as we enjoy holiday festivities, family, and friends that we not be saddened, angered or distracted by our external needs, but nurtured by the peace and joy within.  May we share words from our hearts and act with love.

We are in this together.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

For Better Health & Wellness: Mindfully Choose Your Thoughts & Focus

I continue to be amazed by the power of our minds and our ability to tap into our inner dialogue to change our perspective, find motivation, connect with our innate strength and peace.

Mindfully choosing our thoughts & focus enables us to meet the world as our best selves. [tweet this] No longer looking to the people or media around us to fill the void or validate us, we recognize our innate value, worth, gifts & goodness. This takes the pressure & expectations off our loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

Studies continue to show our mindset (thoughts & emotions) strongly influences our health & behavior. Furthermore, we can directly relate thoughts patterns to behavioral habits & health issues. Good news... We're not stuck. We can shift our thoughts & actions to improve our health & well being.

In fact, we compliment our healthcare with self care. [tweet this] There are many tools & techniques to train our minds to better serve us & meet our world with compassion & fullness. I offer this intention idea as a busy week may tempt you to care for everyone else only to leave your needs unmet & your health/emotions challenged.

Join me in saying, I honor my needs
Say it again this time with a deep breath, I honor my needs.
Let it soak into your being & guide your choices to maintain balance & wellness in the midst of outside influences.

I work with individuals to make mindful shifts in thought & behavior. I would love to learn more about you & your path to wellness and provide you with tools to shift your mind & body to meet your unique lifestyle & needs. Are you interested? This conversation can be virtual or in person. Check out your options & opportunity to be well in mind, body & spirit.

Oh... and an extra treat to enjoy... more intentions & ideas.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Sunday, November 6, 2016

All or Nothing?

Is a healthy lifestyle all or nothing? It's neither.  Consider the spectrum of unhealthy to healthyWith each choice, you can evaluate where your current options fall and make the better choice

Let go of the notion "it would be better if" and resign the need for a perfect solution  as that will likely bring guilt, shame, and prevent you from seeing the potential of your options.  Instead step back, see what's actually available, and pick the better option . Then move on. Another set of choices is on their way. 

Have you or someone you know said, "It's too expensive to eat healthy." Or "I don't have time for yoga or cooking." Those are comments from the all or nothing mindset . By brainstorming on the challenge, you're sure to find there are options to meet your needs and wellness goals.
If you're ready to explore what a healthy lifestyle is for you, I'm ready to be your Holistic Wellness Guide. This blog is filled with tips as are my social media feeds. I am also available for private sessions and workshops. Did you know a 4 person private wellness session with me is $15 per person and can include Yoga, Healthy Eating, Breath Exercises, Lifestyle Coaching and other services?

It's easy to get lost in the details of what it means to be healthy and how to do it. Good news... you don't have to do it alone. Let me know how I can be of service to you and yours.  Wellness comes one better choice at a time. 

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Thursday, October 6, 2016

One Breath at a Time: Anxiety at its Finest

Today I'm sharing a story from my past… going back a few years to the day before my birthday. Nothing noteworthy happened that week, but that day was about to change everything. After teaching yoga, I came home to a note from my husband. It wasn't an Apology note… wasn't an I Love You note… nope it was an I'm Gone and Not Sure If I'm Coming Back note.

The note was clear, "If you love me, you'll leave me alone." I was shocked and had no idea where this was coming from. On top of that, I wasn't to go looking for answers, which goes against every bone in my being. I'm a communicator and a solution finder. I go after what I want. I persevere. But that day I was to stop dead in my tracks.

Every plan and dream now in question. The what ifs exploding in my mind. My heart raced, yet I felt dead inside. For hours I curled into a ball not believing what I read. Alone… afraid… ashamed… terrified… exhausted… ALONE. It took hours for me to call someone. Hours for me to ask for help. Hours for me to understand I wasn't helpless.

I got a text from him on my birthday… 3 words… "Happy Birthday Lynn." That was it. A few days later, we met. He wanted to work on himself as he didn't feel mentally well. He thought staying with his parents was best. We decided to travel the unknown path ahead as a married couple who no longer lived together. Upholding our vows, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, is when I truly learned what meditation is and the depth of its benefits. [Tweet This]

During the day I had friends and family to lean on; however, the night… oh the night was much different. Quiet darkness invited my mind monsters to play. Even when I caught a few moments of sleep, I'd wake to reposition in bed and my mind would pick up within an instant. Before I knew it I was unable to breathe, the tears soaked my pillow, and my heart ached. He was the primary income provider and I was building my business. Let's just say financial uncertainty added to my insurmountable relationship stress.

The night was too long. The pain and fear were so strong I couldn't take one day at a time. One breath. One breath was all I could do. With all my might I focused on my breath… the one I was attempting to take and boy was it difficult. For days and weeks this was my way to get through the day and night before my mind attacked and my body tightened. One breath at a time. [Tweet This]

As a professional breather and meditation teacher (aka yoga teacher), I knew all sorts of breathing techniques. Yet my mind and body resisted, but I persisted. My intentions supported my breath to help focus my mind and change my negative thought patterns. It took time to believe the words I was telling myself. The path was rocky and I stumbled. Eventually I could take one minute at a time; which slowly (very slowly) turned into one day at a time.

I'm now long past that time in my life, but still find situations ask so much of me that I must take life one breath at a time. Focusing on my breath continues to help me let go of the past and tiring emotions while keeping me from getting lost in the what ifs. The always unknown future. My breath and intention meditation brings me to the present moment. The present is the only place to fully find freedom from emotional, mental and physical suffering. [Tweet This]

I am thankful to have learned how to comfort myself with meditation; however, it wasn't easy or instinctive for me. It took solid moment to moment effort. I know that my practice on the mat is what prepared me to endure and eventually thrive through this time of my life. Breath meditation and intentions are tools to free us from the shackles of suffering. [Tweet This] We have them available to us no matter when we need them or where we are. We practice so that we can more easily use these tools and live life skillfully in the face of challenge, fear, and hardship. We practice… one breath at a time.

May your breath anchor you to the present moment. May you be free from suffering.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Addendum: After a year of separation, I filed for divorce. In going back in time to share this story, I thought you may find a few of my other thoughts through my divorce interesting:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Practice to be Present

On my mat this morning, I caught myself shortening my breath so that I could move to the next position. My hurry caused me to miss the goodness of what my body was doing and antagonized my stress. In observing this, I shifted my approach to one of presence. I didn't necessarily slow my movement, but rather slowed my mind and breath to be present with my body.

By removing the on to the next attitude and focusing on the current moment, I found my mind calmed and my body opened more easily. On and off the mat, I've found anticipation removes my ability to fully enjoy the present. Go-go-go mode doesn't seem to get me to my final destination in a good state of mind or any quicker.

Yoga provides an opportunity to observe our behaviors and practice choosing what best serves us and our community. [Tweet This] I'm grateful that my practice continues to open my mind to better engaging my life and hope to share this gift and other holistic techniques with you soon.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Friday, September 2, 2016

Rise Up

On my walk to yoga class, I saw a yellow flower reaching for the sky. There was a shift inside me as I thought about rising up. Rising up isn't about being above or being the best. It's about standing tall and being confident in who we are. Rising up is about being our best.

Forgiving ourselves for making mistakes and recognizing the lesson it shares. It's having faith in the goodness of ourselves and the goodness of others. Rising up is taking the time to see the beauty that is around us. Sometimes the goodness and beauty seems hidden, but it's there. With a friend, book or other inspiration, treasures may be discovered with a little attention, objectivity, and reflection… aka presence.
Rise up.
Rise up to eliminate negative self talk.
Rise up and get out of the gossip.
Rise up to see a different perspective.
Rise up to loosen the grip of the past.
Rise up to welcome sweet new beginnings.
Rise up to make choices that support.
Rise up to see the beauty of life in all its ups and downs.
Rise up to lift others.
Rise up.
Add "I" to the front of those statements and you've got an intention to support you in being your best today.

I rise up and hope you will join me.

Always a Yogi,

Lynn Marie

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Relationships... A Practice in Presence

Madison, Jared & Mallory
I sent thank you cards to my nieces last week. My sister aimed to snap a picture of their excitement only to capture the moment after their brother swiped a card. Pure sibling fun that took Madison's happiness with her brother's sneaky move. I don't expect a 4-year-old to be unbothered by such an event; however, we can contrast it with this 2 minute funny video where at 47 seconds she makes the decision to keep her happiness despite her grumpy, unwilling-to-share sister.

Madison attached her joy to the card and when the card was gone so was her happiness. I'm sure you recognize the phrases, "I'll be happy when…" and "I was happy when…." Instead of attaching our happiness to an event, set of circumstances or outcome, we can recognize the elements of now and stay connected to the peace and contentment that lives within. Madison didn't need her older sister's block to be happy; she was content in her efforts to build a higher tower. It was her efforts in present time not the final goal that was fulfilling. She didn't go vent to her mom; she said "okaaaay" and moved on.

Imagine if Madison would have judged Mallory's cranky response as a personal attack. Madison could have perceived Mallory's "no" as an example that "no one wants to help me" or "no one cares about me." Her persistence and confidence gave no room for judgment to bring her down. Our adult world swirls with all types of communication that may lead to assumptions and perceptions which are forms of judgment. When fused with our emotions, judgments can lead us to an undesirable reaction rather than a thoughtful and perhaps more educated response. What if we held strong to the notion that "everyone is trying their best?"

Relationships create a perfect setting for us to explore yoga off the mat as the practice of non-attachment and non-judgment cultivate a more genuine opportunity for conversation and personal contentment. In class, I invite students to observe their experience without judgment or attachment hoping to welcome all to be fully present. This practice on the mat ultimately empowers us to take it off the mat into our interaction with the world.

So I ask... has someone stole your card? Are you expecting things to go a certain way or someone to respond just so? Or have you heard/read words that weren't actually said or written? If so, bring yourself back to present by deepening your breath and becoming aware of sensation in and on your body. "Step back" from the situation and observe the facts without judgement (perception, assumptions, etc.) and let go of any attachment and expectations of actions or to the outcome. With this unbiased awareness, how would you like to respond with external and internal action/inaction? Move forward anchored by your breath to the present moment and your internal peace. 

At the end of the day, what matters is how well we have participated in our lives. Conversation about life skills enrich our experience and creates a community of support. I'm super excited to be bringing together individuals living life authentically for a yoga and book discussion to explore what it means to live skillfully. I hope you'll join.

A couple more things to learn from my sweet little niece in this video:
  • Sometimes it all falls down and we just need to "build it again."
  • Caring for others has no age requirement. ("Scoot back, guys. I don't want you to get hit Bruce.")
  • The power of a good glare. (See video at 1 min.)
  • You can be independent and ask for help.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ho'oponopono: A Hawaiian Message for Us All

In January I walked down a lava rock path to join my best friend under a coconut tree. With waves crashing on the rocky bluff, we united in marriage. Our celebrant, a local Hawaiian minister, warmed our hearts by his presence and genuine happiness for being a part of this day. Ohana, Ho'oponopono and Aloha, were the three Hawaiian words he shared as treasures to bring into our relationship. Each rich with meaning, I am excited to share them all with you, but for today we'll uncover the beauty of Ho'oponopono.

Ultimately, ho'oponopono means to make right. Much more than a word, it is steeped in tradition within the Hawaiian culture. It encompasses a forgiveness ritual that welcomes a healing exchange to those who practice. Of course it's not limited to romantic relationships. Ho'oponopono offers an opportunity to express connection "I love you", repent "I'm sorry", request forgiveness "Please forgive me" and extend gratitude "Thank you" in any relationship including for one's self.

I have found the words behind Ho'oponopono to be healing when I've repeated them to myself and when I've extended them to another. Using it as a mantra, the repetition provides a focal point for me to begin to release attention from my anger and blame. It transforms the energy within me to be more compassionate for myself as well as others. It is from this place I am more present and able to respond rather than react out of fear, hurt, or shame.

I love you.
I'm sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.

Whether it's in a text or scribbled on a piece of paper, my husband and I know that ho'oponopono means we're human and trying our best. There's no blame in ho'oponopono, only acknowledgement of personal intention. It seems to soften the sting of words and actions ultimately bringing us to a place of kindness.

Our relationships and yoga mats serve as a place for us to practice compassion and ho'oponopono. May you find the strength to own your actions and forgive others.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Monday, August 1, 2016

Slow Flow Gentle Yoga to Benefit Pinky Swear - August 5

With shared passions of providing opportunities to nurture others and ourselves, Amour and Illuminate Yoga + Natural Solutions welcome you to participate in a donation-based Karma Yoga class to support The Pinky Swear Foundation on Friday, August 5th. The Pinky Swear Foundation aims to ease the financial and emotional challenges experienced by children with cancer and their families by providing support during this challenging time.

5:30pm Browse, Shop & Chat
6:30pm Slow Flow Yoga

Amour, located in the beautiful East Village of downtown Des Moines, is a boutique of beautiful underpinnings and loungewear (and is owned by a yoga teacher). Come from 5:30- 6:30 PM for browsing, shopping and conversation. At 6:30 Amour will close the doors for our Karma Gentle Yoga Class to begin. Heather LaPorte, owner of Amour, and Lynn Marie Nelson, owner of Illuminate Yoga + Natural Solutions, will facilitate this slower-paced, relaxing yoga class and invite you to move with your breath honoring your body's unique needs.

This Karma Gentle Yoga Class will open your heart, calm your mind and support the well being of our community. All donations from this class will be presented to The Pinky Swear Foundation, and you will go home with a unique practice guide from the class, so you can take a little bit of good karma back into your every day life. (Click here to see Facebook event.)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Shade at Shattering Silence - July 29

View from the Illuminate Yoga Mat
Wahoooooo! The heat will lighten up by week's end. Let's celebrate Friday night with yoga. If you're game I'm happy to share a Gluten Free Ginger Brew from Firetrucker Brewery at Iowa Taproom with you after class.

Let's begin 5:30pm Friday, July 29 in the shade near the Shattering Silence Art Sculpture (pictured to the right). Yoga is great for relieving stress, anxiety & muscular tension. Enjoy these benefits and many more at this yoga class open to all but limited to 8 so that you get the attention you deserve. I'll invite you to move with your breath honoring your body's unique needs through our practice.

Details about this hour long Mixed Level Yoga class are below. In addition to public classes, I provide Private Yoga (for 1 or more), Corporate/Organization YogaWorkshops, and Reiki. Let me know if I can be of service to you or our community. As always, I am happy to hear from you by email, call or text if you have any questions or need assistance.

Views from Our Shaded Mat

Friday, July 15, 2016

You are an Influencer... What are you promoting?

Before my morning walk with my favorite chocolate lab, Poudre, I set my intention to welcome inspiration for my blog. While reflecting on world events and conversations about politics (government, corporations, and yoga communities), I heard the church bell chime. I was reminded of my journal entries about Sacred Space and the rise of busy-ness in our communities.

How do we bring more peace and love to our communities? 

New policies, cultural awareness, or systematic changes… who knows the answer. One thing is for sure, change doesn't happen by itself. It starts with each one of us and if our personal fuel tank is low we may not have what it takes to take advantage of opportunities right in front of us. Choices made from personal depletion have a higher risk of being reactionary and based on fear, anger or revenge. In times like these our Sacred Space helps us regain our mindful perspective in a world that seems to be in turmoil.

We influence change by action and inaction that comes out through words, attitudes, tone of voice, opinions, assumptions, gossip, body language, etc. Every choice we make is an opportunity to choose peace over violence. I'm not saying to dismiss your voice; rather, I am saying how you go about sharing your truth can be done with a peaceful intention.

Sacred Space isn't about churches or yoga as spirituality, but rather, Sacred Space is a physical or internal place we may go for nourishment. I find Sacred Space lures me in when I am most in need. With time in a park, yoga class, garden, meditation, kitchen, roof, or my favorite reading chair, I am internally fed and no longer in need of validation from others or influenced by my drive to be right. Sacred Space comforts me with quiet acknowledgement of who I am.

I don't go to my Sacred Space in the pursuit of happiness, but rather contentment. I aim to find peace with the present befriending my emotions and mental villain. It is in this space I strive to accept what is without blame or shame. From here I am more equipped to meet the challenges AND opportunities of my day.

We may not have the answers to the world's problems, but we do have an opportunity to bring good into this world one choice and one person at a time. This day (and upcoming weekend) is a good time for us to pause and go to our Sacred Space even if we only have 5 minutes. Let's enjoy that space and saturate our bodies in deep, full breaths. Nourish yourself so that what you do and don't do influence positive change in our community.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Friday, July 8, 2016

Brave & Courageous

This past year my day job presented many challenges to my values of putting people first and being authentic. My friend sent a simple email, "I saw the attached and thought of you. You are BRAVE!" and included the image to the right.

It wasn't until I received this note that I began to think about how wholehearted living is meant for the brave and courageous and how little we acknowledge those attributes in each other. It takes courage to share our most authentic selves. Furthermore, we must be brave to speak our truth and live fully without being stifled by stereotypes, opinions, doubts, and unspoken rules.

At times I found my path to be lonely. Not for lack of friends, family or supportive people but for the decisions and times of effort I had to pull from my inner strength. I could lean on others, but I found the choice to move forward, to make a difference, to honor my values and be 100% myself was always mine and mine alone. Each choice took courage.

Some of life's challenges we bulldoze through and others we view as if it is a mountain too steep to climb. Yet, we don't talk about bravery and courage as often as we exhibit it and see it in others. Being recognized as brave was an element of support I found truly helpful as I met the challenge to honor my needs and travel uncharted territory.

I imagine you or someone you know are being faced with something, be it big or small, and have the choice to defer, deflect, or avoid all together. You also have the choice to be your best self and honor your needs. I am confident that you are brave and courageous. Let's affirm this in ourselves and encourage each other to be brave and do good in the world.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Hot Summer = Move to Modern Downtown Indoor Location for Tuesday & Friday Night Classes

This summer is a hot one! With the temperatures consistently above 90, I'm happy to share we'll be taking our regular Tuesday & Friday night 5:30pm class to a new downtown modern hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Des Moines, that is easy to get to and conveniently located by several great restaurants. Register for this class and enjoy dinner and/or a drink after. (Buzz me for insider tips & spots to enjoy after class.)

My love for taking the practice outside is still strong. I'll use this blog and email distribution list to announce planned and spontaneously scheduled outdoor yoga classes. As always, my Full Class Schedule is up to date with all events and classes and I am available for privately scheduled classes and workshops for you and your organization

Mark your calendars, I am the volunteer teacher for the following free park & recreation classes:
I hope to practice with you tonight or at another class soon. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Gentle Yoga Practice for You

Our daily pace may have us multi-tasking and testing our stress limits. However productive this may seem it does not support our immune system, nerves, and general well-being. We may not be able to slow down every activity, but we can create balance in our day with yoga. Gentle Yoga invites us to slow down and journey within to connect with our inner well of peace and tranquility.

I created a Gentle Yoga video so that we may explore yoga's rich benefits at home as public or private class may not always be within reach. This slower-paced, relaxing yoga class combines light movement, breath, and mindfulness. Although Gentle Yoga welcomes those with stress, physical limitations, injuries, and seniors, it is not limited to those individuals. People of all ages and physical abilities have found value in incorporating Gentle Yoga into their wellness activities.

As you explore this and any other yoga practice, keep in mind these guidelines:
  • Work gently and slowly, respecting your body’s abilities and limits.
  • Breathe smoothly and continuously as you move and hold postures.
  • Practice with an open mind and a sense of humor. Give yourself space to learn.
  • Breathe smoothly and continuously as you move and hold postures (unless otherwise noted).
  • Work gently and slowly, respecting your body’s abilities and limits.
  • Do not move beyond muscle tension to pain.
  • Do not perform postures or movements that are painful.
  • Ask if you are unsure how to perform a certain movement or need a modification.
  • A full stomach may limit your experience; please allow 60 minutes after a meal to begin a physical practice.

May you tap into your well of peace and tranquility this day and every day.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Monday, June 27, 2016

Shade at Shattering Silence - June 28

View from the Illuminate Yoga Mat
Immerse in the beauty around and within during our yoga practice at 5:30pm Tuesday, June 28. With the canopy overhead, our shaded practice will include a symphony of sounds from the birds and wind on the leaves. The hill by the Shattering Silence art sculpture is one of my favorites for summer yoga and meditation. I find tranquility here when I look up and see the blue sky behind the tree branches and with a turn I see the setting sun and golden capitol dome.

I'm happy to invite you to this hour long Mixed Level Yoga class. All the details are below.In addition to public classes, I provide Private Yoga (for 1 or more), Corporate/Organization YogaWorkshops, and Reiki. Let me know if I can be of service to you or our community. As always, I am happy to hear from you by email, call or text if you have any questions or need assistance.

Views from Our Shaded Mat

Friday, June 24, 2016

Let's Play Yoga: 3 Ideas for Kids Yoga

My sister informed me that my niece graduated kindergarten with a list of activities to enjoy this summer one of which is "A Day at Lynny's." Whether you have children yourself or entertain your friends and family's kiddies or need a gift for a kid, these three ideas have been kid tested and made my home a coveted summer destination for the 9, 6 and 4 year olds in my life.
  1. Yoga Pretzels Yoga Cards $13.49 - This deck of 50 cards includes a variety of poses, games, breathing, and my nieces' favorites partner pose ideas. The colorful cards include simple instructions that will help any adult play along whether they know yoga or not. With kid friendly names, this card deck inspires the imagination as well as physical activity. 
  2. My Daddy is a Pretzel $8.99 - This book is nice to read with colorful illustrations and fun to mimic the pose on every page. 
  3. Dance for the Sun: Yoga Songs for Kids by Kira Willey - This CD inspires dance and yoga play. 
The children in your life benefit from your yoga practice and not just because you're more patient. ;) As they hear and see you taking care of yourself, they learn about healthy living. In fact, this week a student asked me about sharing yoga with her child, because her 4-year-old knew she was going to yoga class and wanted to do yoga too.

Having taught kids ages 3 to 93, I have yet to see yoga's limits and have come to believe age is only a number. Play is much the same... May we be inspired to play no matter our age.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Friday, June 17, 2016

Japanese Bell of Peace & Friendship - June 21

Views from Our Shaded Mat
Perched on a hilltop near our Capitol, the Japanese Bell of Peace and Friendship* is surrounded by trees and beautiful city views. Just a stone's throw from downtown excitement, this location is peacefully quiet and welcomes our yoga practice. I'm happy to invite you to this hour long Mixed Level Yoga class on Tuesday, June 21 beginning at 5:30pm. A soft breeze will sweetly cool our shaded yoga practice that may be on sidewalk or grass (yogi's choice).

To create a space for exploration and customization classes are no bigger than 8. All participants will receive a unique to class home practice guide too. Register for class to claim your spot; you may also purchase 3 or 6 class package to receive class discount.

Free parking is available in the visitor lot of the Iowa Judicial Building (1111 East Court Avenue Des Moines 50319).  In this map, the parking lot is labeled number 26.  Once parked, you'll walk West past the Judicial building and the bell will be on your left.

We'll take the practice inside if temperatures or a summer shower inspire a move. I'll reach out to registered participants a couple hours before class if we move.

Feel free to email, call or text if you have any questions.

*In previous classes we've passed the bell to go to the Shattering Silence art sculpture.

What He & She Wishes You Knew

I believe in the good in people. I think family, friends, co-workers, significant others, and strangers think and feel much more than they express. Time, fear, or other reasons may keep things unsaid. Yet our human need to connect and understand remains. I wrote this letter a few months back at a time I felt misunderstood. I needed to find a way to express my thoughts when I felt I had no voice.

As I later turned to this letter, I found it helpful to assume it from individuals I was struggling to understand. Reading it in their voice, invited me to find compassion for the person hurting, offending or disappointing me. By shifting my internal story, I alleviated my desire to react and hold anger or resentment. I found myself in a more open place.

The letter...
I am doing my best. I want to be a good (insert the person's role in your life). I realize sometimes my words, and behaviors don't match your expectations or my intention, but I assure you I'm trying. Even with all my effort and attention the wrong words come out and my actions lack luster. 
Being your (insert role) is important to me; even though it may not seem like it. I hope you join me in recognizing tomorrow is a new day with many opportunities to try again. 
Please know in your heart that those moments I do not live up to my intention or your expectations that there is no need to worry; it's not your fault nor is it about you. It's that I am human. I will make mistakes and I will fail. But also know this… I will try again. Thank you for holding space for me to learn and be better. Your patience and forgiveness are greatly appreciated.
My intention for us…
May we be willing to forgive. May we be open to new opportunities.
May we find strength to communicate from our heart's center.
Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Yoga Class Bloopers

Inspired by a student twerking her dog pose in class today, I thought I'd share some yoga funnies with you.

Teaching a class of 10 or so individuals 40+ in age, I quickly realized that I better turn the music up as our forward bends and twists were assisting the digestive system in releasing excess gas. As the symphony of sounds, not coming from the speakers, accompanied our entire class I had to catch myself from saying take a deep breath in and let it all go. Holding back my giggles, because apparently I have sense of humor of a 4-year-old, the final blow came when Bob let it all go and his wife whacked him and said, "Bob, knock it off."

This needs no introduction as the cue for distribution of our weight in our feet says it all, "Roll on your balls." A couple students caught my eye but somehow we managed to hold our laughter back. Yep I've got the humor of a teenager too.

Teaching a community outdoor class of 300+ participants, I led the class into Intense Side Stretch Pose. Seeing a gal in her 20s struggling with what to do with her body, I offered a suggestion of lifting her chest to elongate her spine. Simple enough however her response, "I'm too tall." Side note: you aren't too tall, too short, too tight or whatever the excuse may be for yoga. There are options appropriate for your body and abilities.

And some of my favorite yoga funnies are Child's Pose jokes. You know the teacher's set up, if you find yourself needing a break or unable to participate in a particular pose take Child's pose. Here's that idea taken off the mat and into real life…

Check out my Giggle Pinterest board for more funnies.

Lynn Marie

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Principal Park Baseball Sculpture - June 14 & 17

I'll be sharing a refreshing practice by the Baseball Sculpture on the South side of Principal Park parking lot 5:30pm Tuesday, June 14 & Friday, June 17. We'll unroll our mats and take in views of the Raccoon River and majestic bridges.

Free parking is available in the main lot of Principal Park (1 Line Drive Des Moines 50309) nearest the river and 2nd Street marked in the map in yellow. Meet at the baseball sculpture pictured to the right and noted in red on the map below.

In addition to the relaxation from class, all participants will receive a unique to class guide similar to this evening unwind home practice guide to empower your personal exploration of yoga.

Remember classes are no bigger than 8 so that you get the attention and space you deserve. Register for class to claim your spot. 3 or 6 class packages are available. I'll notify all registered participants of the alternate location (within blocks of this area) should the weather require us to move inside. As always feel free to call or text my cell (515-979-6474) if you have any questions.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Loving Kindness... A Practice in Cultivating Compassion

Sometimes my emotions get the best of me. It is through my breath
and meditation I bring myself to a place of balance where I am responsive as opposed to reactive. By stepping back from our internal narrative, we step into the role of an observer who is aware of thoughts and sensations as they are. This is our meditation practice which welcomes us to free ourselves from attachment and honor where and who we are in present time. With anger, disappointment or frustration leading the emotional upset, I find the meditation technique of Loving Kindness to be deeply rewarding.

Loving Kindness begins by cultivating feelings of compassion, love, and goodwill towards self. The meditation progresses by extending thoughts of compassion to others. This progression is intentional in that it enables a growth of Loving Kindness feelings where it's easier (self, loved one, etc.) and builds to holding them towards people that it may not be as easy (acquaintance, enemy, etc.).

I've recorded two guided Loving Kindness meditations. One a bit shorter than the other includes two iterations of the Loving Kindness intentions; one for self and one for others. The Loving Kindness extended version includes 5 iterations: for self, a loved one, an acquaintance, an individual that frustrates or angers you, and all living beings. The image contains the intentions that form our Loving Kindness meditation.

These intentions may be used any time. Feel free to print them and put it in your wallet or save a picture on your phone. In time they'll be committed to your memory and as challenging situations arise you are able to avoid the full emotional upheaval by cultivating compassion within and sharing it with others.

Here are some links to help you understand the benefits of cultivating compassion with this meditation:
May you be enriched by your practice in cultivating compassion.

Lynn Marie

May we be free from all harm. May we be safe and protected.
May we be free from all suffering. May we be happy.
May we be free from all disease and physical pain. May we be healthy and strong.
May we be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully and with ease.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Celebrate Success - 3 Ways to Boost Yourself & Others

Our culture tends to celebrate busy-ness and stress. Can we shift the reward to the good we do in a day? I've noticed as the end of day draws near I'm frustrated about the never ending to do list and overwhelmed by the demands on my time and energy. It's a rare evening for me to sit back and think… I nailed it today. I got EVERYTHING done. Here are a few ideas I've been playing with in aiming to shift my end of day perspective and do good with my time.
  • 3 Must Dos - At the beginning of the day, I identify 3 must do tasks. These non-negotiable tasks have to be small enough to be accomplished in a day. I set the expectation with myself that these are my top priorities and I must manage my time appropriately to accomplish them. It's easy to overlook the good for you tasks and label them as not necessary. If we continue to do that… yoga, walk with family, lunch with a friend, or meditation will continue to be pushed to tomorrow ultimately not getting done. 
  • Quick Win - When working a big project I find that when I take a break from the project and tackle a couple small tasks my motivation and sense of self-accomplishment gets a boost. My to dos will have a star or label (QW) so that when I need a productive pick me up, I can knock out one or a few of those quick wins items. I may include an email or message to a friend, acquaintance or business. Those notes of gratitude make me feel good in sharing and I hope bring smiles to those that receive. 
  • The Done List - There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from marking it off the list. Whether I'm using a digital tool like Trello or a good ole yellow post it note, I've started to keep a Done List. In aiming to keep a work life balance, action items cannot be addressed into the evening and wee hours. To avoid the "if I get this one more thing done" personal guilt trip, I review my Done List. By the end of the day, I can see exactly what I've accomplished and feel better about setting the rest down for tomorrow. 
Now that we're knocking it out of the park, let's celebrate the good we do. There's no sense in dragging a conversation down talking about what's left to do. Let's celebrate each other and our own accomplishments; here's a couple ideas to get our celebrations going.
  1. In a Meeting - Start your team meeting, church committee, book club or other meeting with participants sharing a recent success they've had. This helps the group to learn more about each other and find new ways to support creating a more cohesive team. 
  2. With Your Family or Friends - Instead of picking up conversation with the chores left to do or stress of upcoming activities, take a moment to enjoy what each of you have done. Share what your proud of in each other and yourself. This can be done in the car, at mealtime, or over the phone. It takes no time but helps enrich the conversation and create a deeper connection. 
  3. With Yourself - Review your Done List. Reward yourself with a life giving activity or moment. Celebrate your wins (even if they are small) with a good cup of tea and 5 minutes with your book, pet, or favorite blog. Your reward may be a bath, yoga or deep breathing. Whatever celebration you find, be sure it enriches your life rather than numbing you of sensation as that reward tends to expire more quickly leaving more negative effects than good. 
Together, we can celebrate the good we do and ultimately the good in others.

May you be mindful in action and generous in review.

Lynn Marie

Sunday, June 5, 2016

River Side of Des Moines City Hall June 7 & Gray's Lake June 10

Two great water view locations for yoga this week. Join me Tuesday and or Friday for an hour mixed level yoga class beginning at 5:30pm. To inspire your home practice, all participants will receive a unique to class guide similar to this evening unwind home practice guide.

Remember classes are no bigger than 8 so that you get the attention and space you deserve. Register for class to claim your spot. As always feel free to call or text my cell (515-979-6474) if you have any questions.

Tuesday, June 7
West side of Des Moines City Hall (400 Robert D. Ray Dr Des Moines, IA 50309)

The Des Moines River is high and the current strong creating a view and soundtrack not found in the yoga studio.  A twist won't steal the view but rather turn your attention to the beautiful architecture of City Hall. On street metered parking (which needs payment only until 6pm) found on the Grand Avenue and East Locust Street bridges highlighted in yellow below.  Look for the metal art sculpture pictured below on the right.

Friday, June 10
Southeast Lawn of Gray's Lake (2101 Fleur Drive Des Moines, Iowa)

Enter into Gray's Lake park using the North entrance (John R Grubb Lane) and follow the road until it ends at a parking lot. You'll see my volcanic orange Mini. We'll practice in the grass with views of the large trees and Gray's Lake.