Thanksgiving Gratitudes: A (Non-comprehensive) List

by Laura McCorry

As Yoga One Teacher Nam Chanterrywn likes to share after his yoga classes, “The more gratitude we have, the more we have to to be grateful for.”

What things great and small do you have to be grateful for and appreciative of? What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comment section below.

Thanksgiving Gratitudes: (a non-comprehensive list)

• bright sunshine on a cold day and the constancy of the natural world

• a warm coat that keeps out the wind, and the many other forms of shelter that keep me comfortable and safe

• the groceries I lug up two flights of stairs, because we have the resources to buy, transport, and cook good food for our family

• my partner, who is always ALL IN on this wild ride of parenting small children

• the limit-pushing toddler, which means she’s healthy and growing just as she should be

• the baby who brings so much joy with just her smile

• neighbors who drop by to visit

• family that are only a phone call away

• restorative yoga for the days when everything feels like too much

• for sharing the truth of Thanksgiving with my children without losing its spirit

• the belief that Justice and Truth will prevail

• the work of my hands, the words of my mouth, and the power of my wallet which work towards Justice and Truth

• the meditation of my heart: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and that freedom for all.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

 

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Yogi Reads: Your 3 Best Super Powers

by Olivia Hughes

Your 3 Best Super Powers: Meditation, Intuition & Imagination

by Sonia Choquette

Summary: Super powers! They’re not just for super heroes. These abilities exist within each of us, just waiting to be awakened.

Sonia Choquette outlines tools and techniques to develop the super powers of Meditation, Intuition, and Imagination. She believes these three practices, especially when taken together, can have a powerful impact on a person’s life.

Choquette explains that as you spend time developing your “super powers,” you will notice a shift. Where your attention goes, new energy flows. As this alignment deepens, you begin to feel more in tune with yourself, your source of energy, and the world around you.

Why I Love It: This book is so accessible! Sometimes spiritual guidebooks can be challenging to understand or to apply to your everyday life. Your 3 Best Super Powers begins with guided meditations so the reader can dive right into their practice honing these skills. Beginning with meditation and allowing everything to blossom from that fertile soil really resonated with me. Through meditation, both intuition and imagination are strengthened. And the mind is filled with space, calm, and clarity.

By strengthening these practices myself, I was able to stop taking things so personally. I began to see life as happening for me, not to me, which released the victim mentality and allowed me to take my power back! To Choquette’s three super powers, I would add Love and Forgiveness.

Recommended For: Everyone who wants to be their best self! You already have within you everything you need to begin the work of transformation. There is no one-size-fits-all in this world. We are all so unique, special, gifted, and beautiful. The world can easily take us away from this truth. Your 3 Best Superpowers: Meditation, Intuition & Imagination is ideal for anyone who needs to remember that they are unique, and that alone is a super power!!!

Olivia headshotOlivia Hughes
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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To Be a Sponge or a Sieve

by Laura McCorry

I’ve been feeling lately like all of my life is effort and struggle. The daily work of keeping myself and my children clothed, clean, fed, and rested requires physical stamina and takes up most of the day. Once they’re in bed for the night, I’m often too tired to engage in an activity that brings me joy or restores my spirit (like writing or yoga.) Instead I’ll turn to the things that patch my heart (call my Mama, listen to podcasts, add a few more rows to a crochet project) so I can go to sleep and take up my work again the next day.

When I did make it to yoga class, the teacher’s steady voice slipped past my ears into my heart: try to find the balance between effort and ease. 

There are words you know by heart. Words you’ve said aloud many times. And yet, when someone else says these words, they can sound completely new. How do you soften your response to life’s trial?

One afternoon, both of my children were crying hard. I noticed my jaw was clenched and I felt completely overwhelmed. I realized I had been a sponge trying to soak up all of their emotions, in order to give them the space to unburden and let go – but that I hadn’t granted myself the same relief. I desperately needed to reframe my mental approach so I could find the ease, because the sponge was over-saturated.

A sieve under running water was the image that stuck in my head and which I’ve called to mind when I feel the flow of emotion from those two, dear tiny humans, my children. Sieve, noun. A device for separating wanted elements from unwanted material (thanks, Wikipedia.) It hasn’t transformed my daily experience into one of constant ease, but it has lessened the burden of effort.

This too, is yoga. Off the mat yoga, away from asana, the physical postures. This is the deep yoga, the words you hear in class working their way slowly into your heart and mind and into new expressions in your life. Try to find the balance between effort and ease. Let that which no longer serves you slip away. You can choose your response to life. Not just in a warrior pose, but everywhere, at all times. Wishing you, dear reader, the blessings of equanimity.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

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Beyond the Mat: Zoe Freedman

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Zoe Freedman.

1. Why do you practice yoga?

I practice for so many reasons! Firstly, because it feels delicious in my body. I love to cultivate more space, shift stagnation, and allow each part of my physical being to stretch and strengthen.

I also love finding a meditative flow with my breath, clearing my mind, and creating mental space for genius ideas to sprout. It’s time away from technology as well, which is an added bonus!

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of our teaching when you first started?

I spent two years convinced I didn’t have anything unique to offer my students, and that took a lot of patience and commitment to break through.

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

First and foremost, connecting with incredible humans. Secondly, assisting my students in feeling more comfortable in their bodies. We only get one… life is too short to stay stiff and uncomfortable!

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc… it would be: Lavender.

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

My yoga inspiration is anyone who shows up for themselves again and again, no matter what life throws their way. Those who commit to seeking enlightenment and inner peace, through all eight limbs of yoga. There are too many incredible yogis doing this to name! Many of my students are such yogis, who inspire me every day.

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One?

I teach Vinyasa Flow levels 1 & 2 on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm!

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

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Yoga One Teacher Training Summer Session

200-Hours of Study, A Three Week Transformation

guest post by Stacey Ebert

A little over three weeks ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. I couldn’t imagine how I would budget my time and had no clue what I’d do in the training I was about to experience.

Now that Yoga One’s 200-hour Teacher Training has come to a close, I’m having yoga withdrawals. I can’t imagine what I’ll do with all this extra time and I am overwhelmed by the emotions stirred up by this magical experience. Since I’ve known them for well over a year now, I’m sure the owners Amy and Michael Caldwell, and OM (Office Manager) Missy DiDonato knew this would be the case – but I didn’t. Needless to say, I’m eternally grateful.

The transformation is palpable. I’ve heard of it happening, but I didn’t know it would happen to me. I jumped in hoping for a deeper understanding of my practice (with only the smidgeon of thought that perhaps, maybe, I might, someday think about teaching). I didn’t expect what would transpire. I entered with eyes wide open; I leave with a soaring spirit, curious mind, open heart (shoulders and hips, too), and a thirst for more.

Together, the 14 of us went through many rounds of practice teaching. We learned to consciously listen, to accept constructive criticism, to provide positive feedback and to give each other useful suggestions along the way. We grew. My wonky scoliosis came in handy for those who needed a visual and ideas for modifications that work for those with an atypical spine. We learned to ask before adjusting, use props to elevate and elongate, check in with prenatal poses, and wind down in the delight of restorative everything.

Together we saw the changes taking place. Greater strength and flexibility occurred, muscles ached and developed, the shy students grew emboldened, those with questions encouraged, and all of us were empowered and enlightened. Whether on a paddleboard, in a pose, or at a potluck – we were united in yoga, inspired by our teacher Amy Caldwell, and determined to learn the paths and postures of this ancient wisdom. 

Through adjustments, asanas, and alignment details, Amy never waned. She was there through it all with patience, suggestions, knowledge, and experience. Her welcoming, trustworthy nature fostered a safe, risk-free environment for all to blossom. Hers is a classroom of open communication, trust, guidance, and facilitation. Buoyed by Amy’s easy-going demeanor, we, her students, thrived. She guided us through the three week course with kindness, patience, profound wisdom, and much pranayama (breathwork).

When I posted on social media that I was taking this class, a former student replied ‘once a teacher, always a teacher’. I’ve been a student of yoga for almost a decade and taught in and out of the classroom for far longer. I’ve practiced yoga on two coasts and in fun spots around the globe. Of course, year one of teaching (or practicing) is different than year 8, year 15 or year 20, but from personal experience (both as a student and teacher), I know what I believe it takes to be a good teacher… and I can say with confidence that Amy has all that and more.

It’s mind-blowing to know that in such a (relatively) short time, Yoga One packed 200 hours of information and engagement into our brains and our bodies. Fourteen strangers stepped onto their mats in a studio new to many of them. Three weeks later, we’ve left as friends who were united in something greater than ourselves and who experienced moments that none of us will soon forget.

Mindfulness flourished in the studio; and although there’s no telling where all this will lead, I know for certain the light cultivated will not be extinguished. I’m proud of all of us and grateful for the practice and the people. I am indebted to Amy, my friend and teacher, and I will never forget this experience that literally cracked my soul wide open. Namaste.

Stacey Ebert
Guest Writer

Stacey Ebert is a freelance writer, educator, event planner, and volunteer coordinator who has traveled to over 50 of the world’s countries. Writing about adventure, journey and perspective changing life shifts, she encourages travelers to take the leap, use the world as their classroom and get outside their comfort zones. She has lived in Long Beach (New York), Melbourne (Australia) and is presently based in San Diego (California). Connect with her on her blog, The Gift of Travel, Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

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Finding Balance On The Mat

guest post by Stacey Ebert

Well over a decade ago, my friend Julie and I took a networking yoga class in NYC. We walked in, borrowed a mat, giggled at the ridiculous of it all, managed to stay for about 10 minutes, then ditched to get dinner.

It was a few years later until I took my second, ‘first’ yoga class on the beach in Long Beach, NY and whether I knew it then or not, I was hooked. Fast forward 8 years (after countless mat, hammock and wall classes around the globe) and here we are – I’ve officially survived the first week of yoga teacher training. If you asked me if I ever thought I’d be here – I’d definitely tell you you’re crazy.

Before I stepped through the door on Day 1 of Yoga One Teacher Training, I was petrified, nervous, excited, hesitant, and consumed with more emotions I can’t describe. Even though I had taught both high school and swimming for over two decades, even though Yoga One is my home studio and I adore the owners, Amy and Michael Caldwell – still, I felt that apprehension and angst. I came home from my first day sweaty, happy, exhausted, and not knowing if I could hack it.

By Day 2, I was achy, still happy, and managed to say two words to the husband before passing out by six o’clock for the night. Day 4, I taught for twenty minutes and all participants (including myself) walked away alive and unbroken – I call that a win! By day 5, I began experiencing change and feeling like the universe was literally cracking me open from the inside and never wanting this to end and by Day 6, I found myself dreaming of how to sequence a yoga class – what on earth is happening?

It was almost four years ago that we moved to San Diego and over a year that I’ve called Yoga One, home. These fabulous humans were there for me when my Dad passed away in December, gave me hugs when I needed it (and when I didn’t know I did), supported me through moves, the husband’s broken leg and dried my tears in many a savasana. Teacher training, for me, has taken that all to the next level – something like yoga, unplugged.

For the past week, Amy, Michael, Missy and Nam have taken fourteen strangers and brought them into the Yoga One community. We’ve learned to listen consciously, share our experiences, learn purpose and priorities we didn’t before know, trust and support each other in asanas and adjustments, breathe and be guided through practice by a kind, curious, experienced teacher. Through the medium of the yoga practice, Amy has helped us believe in ourselves.

For over a year now, Amy and the other instructors at Yoga One have been working with my wonky lungs and back on alignment and modifications that work for me. They’ve answered questions, pointed me in directions, guided me through practice, given me knowledge and shared their favorite books with me. Phrases like neutral/anteverted pelvis, natural spinal curve, breathe into the left back body, anchor the ribs and energetically move the thighs to the back plane of the body have been bantered around, improved slightly, yet often seemed unattainable – until this week.

This week, there’s been change. This week I woke up without back pain, actually felt what it means to get my thighs on the floor in full supta tadasana (reclined mountain pose) and even managed a full (supported) backbend. There have been tears of joy shed and magic felt – I can’t explain it, but it’s happening and that’s what matters.

Sure, I’m still nervous to sequence a class, figure out those transitions from standing to sitting and remember to mirror those tricky left and right directions – but I’m here. Fourteen people keep showing up each day with their eco-friendly bottles of water, snacks, desire to learn, and interest in the practice. Led by a patient, knowledgeable leader, we’ve watched each other grow, learn, share, and do. We’ve learned the difference between Yamas and Niyamas, that rooting to rise is helpful to all beings, that being present matters, that we can all benefit from a balance between steadiness and ease, that the practice of yoga is an artful, meditative dance and that all are always welcome on the mat.

I’m not sure what’s coming next, but I know I want to be a part of it all. None of us truly knows where it will all lead, but there’s magic happening in this training and on the mat and I’m already looking forward to experiencing more of it.

Stacey Ebert
Guest Writer

Stacey Ebert is a freelance writer, educator, event planner, and volunteer coordinator who has traveled to over 50 of the world’s countries. Writing about adventure, journey and perspective changing life shifts, she encourages travelers to take the leap, use the world as their classroom and get outside their comfort zones. She has lived in Long Beach (New York), Melbourne (Australia) and is presently based in San Diego (California). Connect with her on her blog, The Gift of Travel, Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

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Beyond the Mat: Lauren Christie

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Lauren Christie.

1. Why do you practice yoga?

I practice yoga to cultivate presence, to sense myself more clearly, and to shift my perspective. I practice so I can take what I learn out into the world. And I practice asana (the physical movements of yoga) so I can delight in having a moving, breathing body!

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of teaching when you first started?

Getting out of my head, and accepting that I won’t always get it right.

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

Seeing when things “click” for people. I like seeing people get excited about moving in a new way, and sensing that people are building self-confidence within the practice.

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc… it would be: This is so hard! Yoga is so many things. For me right now, yoga would be like the flavor “umami.” It’s difficult to grasp and define, yet deeply satisfying when you experience it, and necessary for a well-rounded palate.

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

My yoga inspiration is the world around me. I learn a lot from witnessing the qualities of trees, grass, sky, birds, ocean, etc. The people in my life inspire me too: my students, my fellow teachers, my partner, my family, my friends, the person in front of me in line at the grocery store…

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One?

I teach Flow 1&2 on Thursdays at 7:30pm. 🙂

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

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Yogi Reads: The Sun Does Shine

by Olivia Hughes

The Sun Does Shine

by Anthony Ray Hinton

Summary: This equally powerful and gut-wrenching true story is about Anthony Hinton who was falsely convicted (through mistaken identity) of a murder he did not commit. He lived on death row for almost 30 years before being released in 2015.

Hinton is an amazing storyteller and his book is hard to put down; it made me laugh and cry all at once. Similar to Nelson Mandela, Hinton even with his adverse circumstances found true peace and forgiveness. Hinton could have focused only on himself, but he was able to help 54 men find their own peace before being executed. Hinton’s inner transformation that then rippled through out the jail is an incredible testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Hinton emerged from this experience more inspired and purposeful then ever. He now travels the United States promoting prison reform and visiting inmates to discuss the power of forgiveness.

Why I Love It: In addition to being emotionally impactful, The Sun Does Shine also exposes the failings of our justice system and advocates for prison reform –  something, as a society, I believe we should talk more and do more about. We need to be held accountable for how we treat one another. I’m inspired every time I hear a story where justice and truth prevail. Stories like Hinton’s, someone who had every reason to be bitter about life but chose the opposite, remind me how I want to live my own life.

The theme of forgiveness also struck a chord with me because practicing forgiveness, specifically self-forgiveness, has been the single greatest tool I have used in my personal healing and development. I now offer forgiveness workshops where we employ these powerful words, “I forgive myself for…” Try it! I hope it serves you.

Recommended For: Anyone who wants to be inspired to live fully right now, no matter their life circumstances. There is so much we can learn from those who have suffered yet still participate whole-heartedly in life. We are all one – and the more we can believe it, act like it, and share it, the better. In this book, the underdog rises to the top, love leads the way, and justice wins. This book will give you all the feels! It doesn’t get any better than that.

“An urgent, emotional memoir from one of the longest-serving condemned death row inmates to be found innocent in America… A heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about truth, justice, and the need for criminal justice reform.” – Kirkus, starred review

Olivia headshotOlivia Hughes
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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Root to Rise, On and Off the Mat

guest post by Yoga One Student Stacey Ebert

thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com Genius, she is. Once again, after class ended and I asked Amy Caldwell why she thought I couldn’t quite grasp one particular pose– she knew exactly what to say. 

It wasn’t the fact that every body type has different possibilities. It wasn’t about my scoliosis and it wasn’t about anyone’s talent in yoga. And sure, it’s definitely got something to do with the internal and external rotation of the hips, but that’s not the point either. She said, ‘most of the time, in yoga, if you can’t get to a pose – the key is, sit up higher’.

On the walk home, I thought about what Amy said. Sure, in that moment, she was talking about the idea of putting a block under my hip and reaching on a downward angle towards the floor which would allow my back a different stretch than it ever had before. To me, the words held far more weight than those. It reminded me of another significant pearl of wisdom about going higher and 

reaching for better. It reminded me of decades of derision and lowly taunts of limited and hate-filled rhetoric and the charge to say ‘go high’, be the bigger person, aim for the better road, choose right. It sure isn’t easy. It’s a lot easier just to ditch the thought of ever hitting that pose, flinging up my hands and saying ‘I didn’t need that anyway’. But that’s not true, that’s not me and that sure isn’t the way to choose right, happy or joy – I know better, but we all have those moments.

Take a moment, take a deep breath – and roar

To me, her words meant more about trying to lift yourself and others up along the road of life. Through every journey, there have been highs and lows and 

hopefully along the long scope, we learn from both types of episodes. Both tell a story, chart a course and often set our souls on fire; but this time, it was something about the idea of elevating while standing your ground that made an impression. My twisted back and hips are rarely level, but with some assistance, they gain the stability to stand their ground. Perhaps, that’s what it all means. Perhaps whenever Amy starts her class with the idea of root through your feet to rise through the top of your head it means more. Perhaps, in this chaotic time where the world seems to turn on its head every minute of every day, that’s what we need to remember.

… 

My hips are happy when I show up on that mat and my heart is happy when I show up to support justice and helping others – so don’t give up.

Show up – you make a difference

Thanks for the reminder, Amy – those nuggets of goodness gleaned from a yoga class hold weight on and without question, off that yoga mat. Sometimes you need to take those moments of time to hide under the covers and take care of yourself. Sometimes you need to spend time away from it all, hug your loved ones, regroup, do something to lift your own spirits and then return to the fight. Sometimes you need to realize your limits, get that support and do what you can. And sometimes you shove that block or blanket under your hip, boost yourself up and set your soul on fire. It was true on Wednesday, it’s true today and it’ll be true tomorrow. It’s not easy, but I’m going to keep showing up. What about you?

Please enjoy the full version of this article at The Gift of Travel.

Stacey Ebert
Guest Writer

Stacey Ebert is a freelance writer, educator, event planner, and volunteer coordinator who has traveled to over 50 of the world’s countries. Writing about adventure, journey and perspective changing life shifts, she encourages travelers to take the leap, use the world as their classroom and get outside their comfort zones. She has lived in Long Beach (New York), Melbourne (Australia) and is presently based in San Diego (California). Check out her blog at thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com.

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Yoga One, We Are All In This Together

When you sign up for Yoga One’s Teacher Training Program, you’re not only choosing to deepen your knowledge and relationship with yoga, you’re joining a supportive community of people on the same journey in life. Go here to learn more and to register for our next training.

Recent graduate Sher Cowie writes:

When I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training last year in July, I did it as a way to understand yoga fully and to deepen my own practice. Through this, I felt that it would transition into my teaching and help me become a better instructor. Little did I know that it would be so much more for me and that it would help get me through one of the most difficult periods in my life.

Yoga One Teacher Training started January 19, 2018. Our first meeting was held at our instructor’s home where we all shared a meal and got to know one another. Fast forward to February 4, 2018 when my world changed.

[I came] to class that night and told one of my instructors, Diana Beardsley, what happened. She hugged me and offered support through comforting words. [Soon] my other instructors found out, as well as fellow students. I received much needed love and support from my new yoga family.

The last three weeks of class have been difficult but if not for the teacher training, the instructors like Amy, Missy, Diana, and Michael, as well as my personal practice instructors – Missy, Jen, Nam and Arati, I don’t think I would’ve made it through this time with such inner peace and strength. They all, along with my fellow peers lifted me up during this darkest time and I will be forever grateful for this experience and the changes it has brought me.

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