Tag Archives: asana

Lessons to Learn

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kids

I’ve now officially been away from home for two weeks, and I am still alive. It seems like half of my thoughts are about missing home, while the other half are about feeling at home where I am now. This is good, I think. I haven’t cried about missing my Ohio home yet, and if you know me at all, you know that this is a good sign.

It feels like longer, though, that I have been away. I have teaching jobs lined up, have met new people and some new friends, have crossed the border to and from Nicaragua on foot, and have even acquired part time use of a golf cart in exchange for private yoga sessions.

Like the rest of my life, doors are opening, only this time I’m walking through faster and not wasting as much time using my thinking brain, as opposed to my feeling gut. I’ve learned throughout my life that my feelings are much more reliable than my thoughts that were based on what I was taught to believe. Isn’t that what Yoga teaches us? That we learn to trust ourselves and our basic instincts again, undoing all that was taught to us as the way things “should” be.

I initially took this journey with the idea that I would not “work”. I had hoped to come here to rest, to explore the country and other countries, and to read, write and exercise daily. When I was asked to teach, my initial reaction went something like this, “Noooooooooooooo! I just want to sit! I’m tired! I want someone to teach me and to rest. I don’t want to think!” Then my gut kicked in. “Yes!” is how I felt and how I immediately responded without hesitation.

I love teaching yoga. I love the way my students’ breathe different at the end of their class compared to when they walk in. I love hearing the big sighs of relief as they settle into a relaxing pose, or the way they look proud of themselves as they find balance in a standing pose. I live for the stories of how yoga has changed their lives, and I learn from each class I teach on how to be a better teacher, and a better person.

In Nicaragua last week, I had the incredible opportunity to teach the children of the Barrio Planta Project in San Juan del Sur, again.  I had wondered beforehand if it would be as exciting, fun, and rewarding as it was the first time.  It was.  I can’t explain what it felt like to stand in front of so many children of all ages and my peers and friends of the LiveLife Light retreat, and watch them all gleaming from ear to ear as they followed me in a ridiculous mix of yoga asana and animal noises.  The language barrier forced me to use my imagination to convey the name of the poses I lead.  I “moo-ed” for cow, “meow-ed” for cat, and even howled in downward facing dog.  I learned Spanish for inhale, exhale, and a few others, by asking the children, “como se dice…?” (how do you say…?)  That few hours we spent there had me feeling like a kid myself, laughing and playing and being completely present.  I want more of that feeling!

I have no idea what I am doing here in Costa Rica, but that is what keeps me in the moment.  During our retreat I learned that I have more dreams to live out.  I have more goals, more plans, and also that maybe I could focus on the way I want to feel more than what I want to do. I learned a lot this time around, and would do it again in a heartbeat.  I feel open and willing to listen, to learn and to explore without expectation.

It seems like everyone around me has their own opinion of why I am here, what I’m supposed to be doing with my time, and how I should be feeling. As long as I can’t explain it to them, how could I convince them, or myself for that matter, otherwise? Maybe they are right. Maybe they are all right in some way and I just don’t know it yet. Maybe they are all projecting their own needs and fears and beliefs on me without realizing it. Maybe. Maybe It doesn’t matter, and maybe I am finally strong enough in myself to not let their opinions get to me.

I’ve become more of an observer the past two weeks than I’ve ever been in my life. Without the teachings of yoga I’ve learned, I’d most likely be the Lisa who liked to control everything. I would not be able to survive this if I tried to control the outcome of it. There are bugs, giant bugs, people from other cultures I don’t yet understand, foods I’ve never heard of, heat that is unbearable at times, dirt everywhere, lack of transportation and cell phone service, and newness in every direction.

There is also beauty, kindness, sharing, food, sunshine  and water like I’ve never experienced anywhere else on earth. This place is magical in all sense of the word, and I am so grateful to be in a place in my life and my heart to appreciate it.

I am excited to take on more teaching opportunities, and trusting that I won’t overload myself as I did back home. There will always be more lessons to learn, but I am resigning myself to take them one at a time.

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The Power of Pigeon

This post has moved to my official website, LisaFlemingLIVE.com!
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pigeon

Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana in Sanskrit for my yogis, used to be my absolute favorite pose to get into.  I could lay on the floor with my head turned to one side and  completely let go of life’s troubles.

For the last two years or so I’ve struggled with my once favorite asana.  I thought I was injured, so I saw doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, massage therapists, I tried resting it and I tried pushing. I even tried reiki.  Nothing helped.  I surrendered to the idea that Pigeon and I were through. It was sad, but we would find new loves.

Over the past several months I’ve found myself a couple of new yoga teachers in Cleveland.  These two were patient, supportive, and new how to massage my muscles in just the right way, for just the right amount of time to get me to the floor once again.  In my Sunday classes, my mini vacation from life, I’d have a big emotional release of breath and tears on the way down.   One day it hit me, I’m not injured.  If I was injured I’d not be able to get there and stay there.  I was full of stress and anxiety.  My hips stayed tight because I was doing everything I could to hang on.  With a loving touch and patience, and that calming, reassuring male voice behind me, I LET GO.

I thought that since I knew what the problem was I’d be able to get in the pose without the help of an assist.  I was wrong.

A few weeks later I went to an intensive training with the very special, Seane Corn.  Seane brings God into her practice and classroom, and I felt a wave of relief and heavenly support when she’d open class with a prayer and end it with one too.  She’d take us through a 2-3 hour hot, slow flow vinyasa, always working us into a pigeon by the end .  On the last day of that training, broken down, wide open, ready to receive and let go of everything and anything, I collapsed into Pigeon, sobbing.  The reasons for my anxiety exploded from my hips and heart and into head. I realized that I had to change my life.  I did not work this hard, thus far, to be back in the same place I started in.  In that same moment Seane spoke to the me.  She was teaching a class of about 100 people, but she spoke to ME, and later confirmed that message from spirit in a private conversation.   I wish to God I could remember her exact words, but I received what I was meant to and something in me shifted that day.

It was less than one month later that I went to Nicaragua to teach yoga on a life coaching retreat.

When I came home, I told my family and friends that I had decided to stop fighting my desire to be free, to travel, and to meet, teach, and learn from more people around the world.  It felt goooooooood.  

I felt good.  I felt ready, relieved, happy, excited, healthier, stronger and at peace, like never before.  It felt like my whole being said, “Finally! what took you so long, Lisa?!”, as if this is what I was meant to do, here for, and deserved for all my hard work.

It was a month before I took my next yoga class with one of my favorite teachers back home. She put us into pigeon without warming us up first and i thought, “NO WAY. Not gonna happen.”

I not only was able to find pigeon, but i melted right into my mat without a pain, grimmace, or fear.  I sat up immediately with a huge smile on my face! “That was it!”, I thought.  I was so excited I wanted to tell the whole classroom! I heard the message right away.  I had to drop the baggage, the stress and anxiety caused by the unnecessary pressures I had accumulated over the past few years.  I had made a CHOICE, took back my life, and let go of the excess.

Since that day, I’ve only had pain in pigeon when I’m not breathing, or staying in the present.  My fellow yogis understand the emotional affects of yoga asana (poses). For those of you who don’t practice yoga, trust us, try it, and see what you can let go of in order to find your peace and truth.  It’s so worth it.