Self Regulation: The Key to a Happy Life?

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Life is messy. But if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been around long enough to know that. 

In the yoga and spiritual community there’s often a notion that if you just think positively and align your chakras just so and make your full moon intentions, while drinking your green juice at the stroke of 6am after three hours of meditation everything will be just fine.

And that’s all good stuff, but the universe can also from time to time look at all that, laugh and say,

“Oh yeah? How about THIS!”

What do you do in that moment?

You probably already know.

  • Scream.

  • Cry.

  • Throw a fit or an object.

  • Give up.

  • Curse a blue streak to the point where you don’t call your Mom for a week because you’re pretty sure she’ll know about your behavior even if you live several states apart.

  • Become a giant ball of stress that moves through the world like hurricane, demolishing everything in its path.

Don’t worry. Me too.

I think a lot of people are attracted to yoga because they think they will learn how to NOT be that person in those moments. I’m here to tell you, after a reasonable amount of time and practice, that notion is false.

I’m still that person. Ask my husband about the last time the printer didn’t work while I was working on a deadline to get something done.

But here’s what IS different:

  • Those moments are farther apart. 

  • The little things that used to set me off all the time have lost their ability to do so. 

  • And in the times when I do turn into that hurricane that I mentioned above, my recovery time is a little better.

All of that is due to my yoga practice and the tools of self-regulation that are inherent to the practice. 

Self regulation is hard to define on its own, so we might define it by the feelings it generates. When we are self-regulated we feel grounded, centered, and present in the moment. On the flip side, when one is dis-regulated there is a general lack of control over one’s emotional state and/or behavior.  We are reactive rather than responsive, impulsive rather than thought out. 

Hence that streak of blue language referenced above. * ahem *

So what are the tools of yoga that help us achieve self regulation? Here are a couple of my favorites:

Notice your surroundings - what do you see around you? What colors, textures or patterns do you see? If you’re in a familiar place, can you find some detail that you may have missed before?

Grounding - feel your connection to the earth. Whatever is touching the ground is your foundation and your connection to stable, calm energy. Feel the quality of that connection.

Breath - learning to slow and control your breathing activates the rest and digest response. A single deep breath can start to turn down the flood gates of all those chemicals and hormones that have you feeling like you’re ready to fight a grizzly bear (Pro tip: you are really no match for an actual grizzly bear. Take a deep breath and know what to do should you be the type of person that might be out in grizzly country. Just saying.).

These are wonderful ways to help you self regulate. But here is the main key:

You must practice them when it/life/things are EASY so you remember them when it/life/things are HARD.

Without practice, you can know the best tools, but you won’t be able to use them when you need them most.

We’ll be working with these tools all this month in my public classes. I hope you’ll join me for practice.

Hiking and Yoga Reflections

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Have you really looked at our logo for our Yoga and Hiking series? If you look closely you’ll see that what appears to be the air pathways in the lungs are actually upside-down trees! I purposely had this created (thanks Laurie!) to reflect a vision I had while driving back from one of my own hikes one day.

We talk about it in yoga all the time - the idea that we’re all one, all connected, all part of a bigger whole. I think we often think about other people in that context, but we don’t often think about all the other living beings that surround us.

As I looked at the trees around me on this drive home, I suddenly noticed how much their underlying structure - the trunk, limbs and branches - looked exactly like the illustrations we often see of human lung tissue and the pathways the air travels through in order for us to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. It then wasn’t a big leap for me to consider how that without these trees and their ability to photosynthesize, that life-giving oxygen I breathe would not be nearly so readily available. And if we take it one step further, the carbon dioxide I exhale feeds the trees and gives them the raw materials for their own life sustaining needs. And so the cycle continues.

It’s this kind of realization of our connectedness to nature and each other that I hoped our Yoga and Hiking Series would allow people to start to experience. Over the course of our 9 week series we had such a wonderful time taking in so many beautiful spaces within a 30 minute drive from the studio in Milford. We made new friends, took the time to really notice our surroundings and our own bodies, were inspired by the beautiful words of many great writers and poets (thank you Iris for your beautiful readings!) and saw pieces of Mother Nature that we may not have noticed without the awareness we cultivated through our yoga practice.

Thank you to everyone that joined us over the course of the summer! If you haven’t heard, we’re cooking up some ideas for continuing these experiences through the fall and into the winter, so stay tuned for more!

Here are a few pictures from some of our outings.

Find a Yoga Buddy in January

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In our modern age where connection is seemingly more difficult despite all our technological advances, making friends can be tough. Common interests can help us find our tribe. And going to yoga is always much more fun with a friend! Need to find that friend that will help keep you motivated? Or maybe you’d just like to make a new friend? Let us help for FREE! You and your new friend could even win a prize!

Step one: Fill out the form below by December 27th, 2018. This will help us find someone that has a schedule similar to yours and some common interests besides yoga.

Step two: We’ll send you your yoga buddy’s email address and other info by the end of the year.

Step three: Make a date to get to know each other! Maybe you’ll plan to be at the same class and head out for coffee afterwards. Maybe you’ll exchange emails and text messages at first to start to get to know each other. It’s totally up to you!

Step four: Make a plan to help each other get on the mat. If you and your buddy make it to 15 classes together in January you'll be entered to win a semi private yoga lesson with Jessica! We’ll keep track on a special chart in the studio.

Step five: Enjoy your practice with your new friend!

We think this is going to be a lot of fun for everyone and it’s so simple! Won’t you join us?


8.28.17⠀ ⠀ I almost forgot to share these photos with you (although they are admittedly not great). About a week ago when the country was erupting with #hate I asked each of my classes to do something very simple but very (according to many of you) profound. I asked you to get up off your mat and go introduce yourself to someone you didn't know in class. How often do you go to a #yoga class, you recognize the person across or next to you, you've seen them many times, but you still don't know their name??! It can be vulnerable to extend yourself. It's risky. But it's So Simple. And it's a great reminder that we're #AllOne and we're all in this together.⠀ ⠀ Many of you found this very powerful. The smiles, the laughs, the hugs?! They nearly brought me to tears more than once as I watched you.⠀ ⠀ So I know it's Monday, but maybe today when you're out and about or you're at your next yoga class, go introduce yourself to someone you don't know. Maybe even just give someone you don't know a #smile. You might meet your next good friend! And you might make a huge difference in someone's day. ⠀ ⠀ Classes today:⠀ ⠀ 9am Yin Yoga with Cassandra⠀ 6pm All Levels Yoga with Jessica⠀ 7:30pm Beginners/Gentle Yoga with Jessica⠀ ⠀ #foreveryoganh #yogalove #spreadlove #allone #subek #community via