Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Night

In the quiet aftermath of Christmas, after the family has gone, the wrapping paper gathered in the recycle bin, with the delicious smells of turkey and apple pie still wafting through our nostrils, we find the silence.  It was there under the hub bub all day, but we didn't really have a chance to listen. Listening now... the space between the breath.. the beating of the heart.

We begin to remember what the day was about, what it was for, who it was for, why we rushed around all month preparing for this one day.  So many stories have passed my way in the last few days, tales of remarkable joy and unbearable sadness. A 7 year old girl losing her battle with cancer.. a family surprised by the gift of a son returning home from the military for Christmas... an unexpected heart attack claiming the life of a loved one... the highs and lows surrounding us make me feel humbled and grateful for my many, many blessings.  My daughter home from college, our new yoga studio, a lovely Christmas Eve worship, the promise of things to come.

In our practices: Yoga, Reiki, SoulCollage, we learn to become present, we learn to accept what is, without trying to control it, to feel, to watch, to allow. We feel the joy, we feel the sorrow, but we realize that none of it is lasting, all things shall pass. We can't hold on to the joy any more than we can eliminate sorrow, they are both parts of life that teach us many things that we couldn't learn any other way. This is the paradox. We learn through adversity, many times the same adversity we seek so desperately to avoid.

Yoga teaches us to treasure the moment, to feel the stretch, feel the calmness that comes when you bring those shoulders down and release the hips.  It shows that us that when things are uncomfortable, sometimes a small adjustment can bring relief.  Reiki gives us a chance to connect to something greater than we, lets us open to Spirit, releasing long held blocks and stagnation.  SoulCollage teaches us to put the monkey mind aside and let images speak the words we need to hear to let our subconscious talk, helping point us in the right direction.  All of these tools bring us to the same place... silence. The quiet within.  Christmas night.

It is our fondest hope that you get a chance to find this quiet.  Today and everyday.
Peace be with you.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Everyday Yoga

Do you find yourself in yoga poses in your daily activity? Or do you ever turn your task at hand into yoga?

I recently had a relatively minor basement flooding problem that required some creative rescue plumbing (thanks Mark!), some fans and my wet-vac.  I don't know if you've ever tried to suck water out of a carpet, but my carpet vac works best if more pressure is applied.  So there I was on Saturday afternoon, on my knees in my basement, pressing my vacuum into my spongy carpet, wishing I was wrapping presents or editing my business plan or organizing my upcoming Sunday school class.  Basement flood-sucking was not my plan.

So I decided to connect the movement to my breath in a type of soggy sun salutation.  In a moment, my irritation evaporated and I was doing yoga instead of bailing my basement.

Have you ever had this happen?

Yoga is about connecting the body and the mind, the breath and the spirit. In the hustle leading up to the holidays, it is easy for us to let our practice slip, busy as we are putting everyone else first.  But whenever you take a moment for even one intentional breath, you have taken your yoga practice off the mat in class and into your life. 

I hope you are able to maintain your practice during the holidays.  We are still having class this week, at 4:30 & 7 on Monday and Thursday.  And if your family holiday plans prevent you from attending class, I hope you make some time to go to a quiet place and practice - even if it is only one intentional breath with your eyes closed in a check-out line.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reiki Healing

The last 2 weeks have been very busy with Reiki appointments.  Reiki is great for stress reduction and try as we may, we do get caught up in holiday frenzy; my regular clients know that Reiki will chill them out, help them relax and remind them of what is really important.  Spending an hour resting on a massage table, with soothing music playing, an aromatherapy pillow over your eyes, having someone hold your hand, can make all the difference in how you approach the nuttiness of the season.  Sometimes it can even make the difference between life and death, sadly. It doesn't matter whether you believe in the Reiki or not, whether you meditate or sleep, or whether you talk and laugh or even cry through the whole hour.  It seems to work no matter how much we try and get in the way!

The blessing of Reiki is that it works for both the Healer and the client.  I've been REALLY stressed lately, Ann & I have had some big decisions to make with our new partnership, I really think the Reiki has saved us!  When we pray for our client, we pray to be a conduit or a channel, allowing the energy to flow through us into wherever the client needs it.  Since it's not our energy, we can't help but be healed in the process as well.  Many times I will come into an appointment feeling depleted... and come out rejuvenated and energized, what a gift!  The prayer is for the highest intention of the highest good, that we may both be blessed and blessed we are.

While I LOVE getting a massage, sometimes it feels like work, especially if I am drained or feeling fragile.  Let's face it, when you are already feeling pounded by the world sometimes it's hard to take one more thing.. even a beautiful massage.  Reiki feels more gentle, you are hardly touched, and when you are, it is soothing, loving and kind, which is what most of us hunger for.  Many people are stunned that they are brought to tears, they ask why, they can't figure it out, "what am I crying about?".  It's that deep need to be touched, to be held, to be comforted, unconditionally, without reciprocation, to just receive.  It's my deepest pleasure to see a client finally let go, take a deep breath, and allow themselves to relax and be comforted, it never ceases to bring a smile to my face when I see them release all those years of tension into Reiki bliss.

You really should try it yourself sometime :)

Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not be angry.
I will be kind to all living creatures.
I will do my work honestly and diligently.
And I will show gratitude for everything.

Reiki Creed~Dr. Usui Sensei

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I am looking forward to our Readings for the Seasons tarot party this afternoon.  They always generate such interesting conversations.

Have you ever had a tarot card reading?  I was raised in a conservative Christian church and had been taught to fear tarot cards, without even really knowing what they were.  But I had heard from other sources that they did reveal deep truths to those who tried them, that the cards act as a mirror to your thoughts and feelings.  When I was in a failing marriage, I did not want to look into that mirror. I wanted to pretend what was happening wasn’t happening.  So I never tried them.

But once the worst was behind me, I decided to give them a try and was fascinated.  I began to look into them more.  

No one knows for sure where tarot cards originated.  They more likely evolved out of several card games in ancient Egypt, India, Persia, and Greece. These mystical decks were shared around the world through the crusades and by gypsies.  By the 14th century, 4-suited playing cards were common in Italy. 

The language of a tarot deck is symbols, which convey much meaning in a glance. The classic Rider-Waite deck, or universal deck, made popular in the late 1800’s has much Christian symbolism with priests, angels, and devils. Now you can find a deck with any kind of symbolism, ranging from the Zen deck that I know best, to fairies, or I’ve even heard of an Elvis deck!

A tarot deck is divided into two major sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana, which translates to “Big Secrets” and “Little Secrets.”  The Major Arcana is comprised of symbols that reveal major human archetypes like the Fool, the Rebel, Lovers, or the Wheel of Fortune. The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits that represent our emotional journeys, our passions & vision, our minds, and our physical journeys.   

Tarot is beyond good or evil.  A tarot reading is a synchronicity of the participants and their reaction to the images at that moment.  The same cards would hold different meaning for each person, or for the same person at a different point in their lives.  

The gift a tarot reading offers is a chance to pause in our busy schedules and reflect for a few moments on your journey. 

Linda or I would be happy to schedule a private reading for you, or you are welcome to come to one of our quarterly tarot events.  Sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date on the latest plans.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Welcome To Imagine!

What a whirlwind!  Ann & I started with an occasional "hmm, wouldn't it be fun if we combined talents?" and suddenly here we are... combining talents!  And combining friends.. and combining a blog-- yikes!  It's sort of scary combining a blog with a very talented writer. Feels like I might have to watch my p's & q's... and exclamation points and dot dot dots...

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Linda Miller.  I have been teaching yoga for 9 years, have been practicing yoga for many more.  I've studied Tai Chi extensively and am a learning geek.  I love to read and will voraciously consume any book that will help me better understand the inner world, our inner spirit and our connection to Divine Spirit, God, The Universe, call it what you will. Because of this, I have a long line of certifications and initials that I could use to follow my name but paradoxically, because of this, I don't really care much about those things. 

I LOVE yoga.  When I first started teaching to adults, it was mainly because MY yoga teachers/mentors were leaving and moving on to other places.  They encouraged me to take their spots, teach their classes and take care of their long time students.  I was petrified.  I am very shy by nature, although most folks would beg to differ... but that's another blog.  With their encouragement and guidance, and the support of those students, I found the courage to teach.  Before I knew it, I was teaching many classes a week and when I turned around and looked I had built a small business, Yolinna Spirit, with a website, newsletter and many other offerings besides yoga.

John Lennon said life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.  Wise Sage, John Lennon. I can't say I'm very good at making plans.  I tend to spring in and live. Sometimes with great results, sometimes... not so much.  That's the reason why I'm excited about Imagine.  Life is all about balance.  One of the primary focuses of Yoga-Tai Chi-Reiki, is to learn to create balance.  Ann & I are a great example of this principle.  We are quite yin and yang.  Ann is a great planner, an English teacher and writer, she will keep us on the straight and narrow, making our message clear.  I am the opposite, I leap first and ask questions later.  I get things done.  When we get bogged down with the endless details of starting a new business,  I plow through like the Ox that I am, according to Chinese Astrology. Together we will make this dream come alive.

Today is the anniversary of John Lennon's death. I remember the day 30 years ago vividly, like it was yesterday.  I am so proud to be here, honoring his legacy of dreamers and having the opportunity to share that dream with you, our Imagine followers.
"Imagine all the people, living life in peace.  You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.  I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one." ~John Lennon 1940-1980

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome to our new blog!

Linda & I have been hard at work transitioning Yolinna Spirit into Imagine Yoga & Wellness Center. So many details to attend to!  We thank you for your loyalty and patience as we work on streamlining our registration processes and expand our offerings. Linda & I will both be posting on this blog and we invite you to join the conversation.

Although many of you know me from Linda's yoga classes, many of you I am meeting for the first time. Let me tell you a little more about myself.

I am a hometown girl, having grown up in the Kenilworth section and graduating from Bowie High School in 1982.  My first career was as an English and special education teacher in Prince George's county.  After having three beautiful kids, my career evolved into journalism, writing and editing and even selling ads for several local publications.

The stress from those jobs, three kids, and a divorce are what led me to try yoga in Linda's classes at my church, CCPC.  Before long, I became addicted to the relaxation and deep stretching that comes from a regular yoga practice. As my strength and flexibility increased, so did my friendship with Linda. Through her encouragement, I began to pursue yoga teacher certification and continue to hone my skills as a Certified Yoga Teacher.

With Linda's guidance, I began exploring other avenues of self-awareness like tarot cards, studying with Linda, reading books, and attending workshops. I have met many of you at the tarot events I have hosted in my home.

Before long, I tried reiki healing with Linda and felt the balance that reiki provides.  When she began offering her attunement series, I signed up and am growing in my practice as a reiki healer.

So now I am on to exploring SoulCollage as Linda and I have joined in this business partnership.  I look forward to sharing my thoughts as I continue on my journey, and I look forward to hearing from you too.