I have done goat yoga

Hi Friends,

It has been a challenging week, but I know that grief and sadness need to be processed, need to be felt in the body, in order to release them. I hope you are finding safe places to do that as well.

I know I was planning to start a series on clinical trials, and I intend to start that next week. But this week, I think it is more important to hear from people of color on their perspective, to highlight voices that are often unheard. I love the poignancy of this 3-minute Tyler Merritt YouTube video, so I encourage you to watch.

 

I am committed to help end racism and also to help us unwind the “traumas” that black bodies, white bodies and police bodies have suffered. This is why I practice yoga. This is why I dance. This is why I take time each day to breathe and pay attention to my emotions.

Sometimes the situation in our country can feel hopeless, like there are so many forces pushing against justice. And other times, like when one of my yoga students told me today that the book I recommended, My Grandmother’s Hands by Resma Menakem is actually sold out in all the places she tried to find it, I have great hope.

Here’s to learning more about each other, and teaching ourselves to love all, and extend justice to all.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Weekend haiku post retreat

I was off the grid for the weekend, a planned retreat to my primitive place in the woods before we began experiencing as a collective the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the chaos that descended upon the Twin Cities.

Friday the following haiku tumbled forth:

Our hearts grieve deeply

Sorrow of generations

Collective trauma 

***

On Saturday, after reading old journals and during a re-read of Dani Shapiro’s memoir devotion, the following emerged:

Our paradoxes

Ideas contradicting

And nested within

***

Ferns at 1224 Cramer
A lovely stand of ferns captured while on a hike 5/30/2020.

A part of me felt anxiety while I was off the grid, missing the news, away from the internet. I was not even able to receive texts unless the wind was right and my cell intermittently had reception. Another part of me felt grateful for the retreat and the space away from knowing all of the heartbreaking external events of the world.

I used the weekend for reading past journals (I’m up to 2016 after about a year of reviewing my collection which goes back to 1992), reflection, writing and grieving. I went on walks and listened to what my inner voice seemed to request. I fasted for 20 hours on Saturday, allowing my body to be awake to any and all sensations.

Retreating requires enormous privilege, I realize. And it is something that feeds me psychologically and spiritually. Since I was very young I have always valued and treasured solitude and personal space. I wish it is something everyone could have when it is necessary.

After a retreat, there is the return. We live together in an interdependent web. We love each other. We hurt each other. We forgive each other. We acknowledge and apologize for past misdeeds. We resolve to treat each other with more respect. We understand that how we treat others is a reflection of our beliefs. We examine and unpack those beliefs, conditioned patterns we did not necessarily create consciously.

In the end, many of us realize that we are not separate from others. All living beings contain a divine spark, an unlikely miracle of energy and matter, defying the physical law of entropy.

How can we learn to value and love all humans, and all creatures of this earth? How can we remember our divine connection, our shared fate on this small planet? 

These are questions for which I have no answers. Yet I keep asking them and my soul keeps beckoning me to live these questions as I strive to serve.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

Unwinding white body supremacy

Friends,

I write with a sad heart and an all too familiar feeling of distress at the news of another unarmed black man being murdered. His name is George Floyd. I support the Black Lives Matter movement. I believe we all need to become aware of our privilege and how white body supremacy has functioned since the early days of this country’s history. It will help us understand what keeps happening.

Resmaa Menakem

Last summer I read a book called “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies.” It helped me to see and understand the deeper historical forces at play within white bodies, black bodies and police bodies.

As a yoga practitioner I appreciate the exercises that Menakem offers for the body, to be done alone and in trusted communities. He writes sections in the book for black bodies, white bodies and police bodies. A couple days ago I realized he also has a free e-course on Racialized Trauma, offered by the Cultural Somatics Training & Institute. While it is a 5-day course, each of the videos are only 10-15 minutes, and it introduces the major themes covered in the book.

I highly recommend the course or book, as I think Menakem helps us to understand how we swim in a larger system of injustice. While we are not personally responsible for creating the system (and there are historical factors that are larger than us) we are responsible for dismantling and slowly unwinding it.

While I don’t claim to know anything more than what I have observed and absorbed over the years, racism can be subtle poison. Current times are revealing how black and brown bodies and women’s bodies are subject to even greater risks for the COVID-19 infection.

I have no answers. I am a white person. Other voices need to be heard and highlighted. All I know is that I’m going to keep doing my personal work in bodyful and somatic ways with self-compassion and love for all those that are hurting. Hopefully I can connect with communities that also want to engage in these efforts.

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands. Wear your mask.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Yoga is not about fitness

As a new yoga teacher, I am surprised sometimes to learn how many people have misconceptions about yoga. Many are scared to try it – “it looks too hard!” they claim. Or “I’m not flexible enough!”

Because of the way yoga is marketed typically, I can understand where these misconceptions arise. Look at most covers of Yoga Journal or even ads in your Instagram feed that feature yoga and you will see taut bodies in shapes that may not look possible for you.

In truth, yoga is about “union” of mind and body (and some say spirit). It is a practice that allows us to realize our true nature. And perhaps most importantly, it is a practice to calm your nervous system. For me, that latter part is especially important. I find that, with all of the available “feeds” coming in, it is far too easy for me to become over-stimulated. A good yoga practice brings me back to my body, my breath and the present moment.

Yoga is preparation for meditation practice, for a process of getting still and looking inward. Generally meditation calls for an upright spine and focused attention. It is awfully hard to sit for very long if you have tight hips or a sore back. So yes, there is an aspect of physicality that is important. And, with an attitude of play and curiosity, yoga becomes an exploration of oneself and our inner being.

The more I teach, the deeper I go into the traditions and into the vast layers of this ancient practice. It is a science and also an art. I’m so grateful to have this tool for calming my nervous system, especially in times of great change and upheaval globally.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. If you want to try an accessible practice, our next online Sunday (re)Treat is SomaRestore for Gardening and features guest teacher Grant Foster. Register at this link by choosing “Sunday (re)Treat” from the drop-down menu. Hope to see you there! 

SomaRestore ticket for Instagram in JPG format

Sunday haiku – off the grid (2 verses)

I am off the grid.

Technology permits us

Scheduling and sleep.

*

Heed our own signals

For downtime and renewal

Nature and healing.

Afton State park off the grid post
Photo taken at Afton State Park, May 9, 2020 Copyright meximinnesotana. Use with attribution.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. Next Sunday I’m co-teaching a Sunday (re)Treat: SomaRestore for Gardening with my friend and teacher Grant Foster! Hope you will join us – click this link to learn more.

Mother’s Day virtual retreat

Hi Friends,

My mother’s day virtual retreat may have an international audience! So far a couple of my yoga students are inviting daughter or family members and right now it looks like we may have one participant from Mexico and one from Portugal. I’m so honored. I also may have a cousin from Alaska and from Oregon there, I’m psyched!

But still, there is room for a few more, and I had such a great response to my last offering of this kind, I’m humbly putting out the invitation again. The special offer is to buy one registration (sliding fee: $12-25) and send the link to a family member or friend who also wants to have a Sunday (Re)treat with you! Physical distance plus social presence! Everyone can benefit.

This 90-minute yoga experience is video optional via Zoom. We will start with soma yoga, a gentle practice of movement to release tension in our spine and joints. We then do some yin yoga, longer-held poses to work with the fascia. We end with restorative yoga, some long-held poses to calm the nervous system. I will cue the entire practice so that you can be eyes closed and relaxed onto a mat, the bed or the floor. Bring blankets, pillows and towels to help “craft” the supports and I will show you those as well.

Sunday Retreat Mother's Day edition

Cheers, and hope to see you there! Happy Mother’s Day! For the link to register, see this page. Thanks in advance for supporting Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studio.

-cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. If you sign up by 6pm on Saturday I’ll have the best likelihood of sending the Zoom link on time. And if you’ve never tried a yoga experience with me, and have some financial hardship, email me to let me know and I’ll send you a free “coupon” if you join my mailing list.