My Yoga Story
My yoga story began through a chance conversation in an office lunch room in Phoenix, AZ. Over 12 years ago I had a chat with a colleague that would be the catalyst to send me out into the world curious and thirsty to learn more.
As I share on this weeks Wild Diaries podcast, my yoga practice unenthusiastically began in college, but my life of yoga began 12 years ago with this very conversation. Over lunch my friend shared with me this workshop she'd participated in the week prior. Her account of this class shook me to the core. I couldn't fathom the experience she'd had in a yoga class and I wanted to understand how it was possible.
She mentioned this 'Psoas (so.as) Muscle' and it's ability to grip onto our life events, but especially painful emotions and regrets that we weren't ready to let go of. These experiences build up overtime and are often the catalyst for chronic pain we hold in our body and the things that leave us feeling as though we're stuck. This movement class took here through a series of postures that would eventually lead her into this final pose that had the ability to begin to shift and literally SHAKE around what was trapped in the body.
The questions swirled around:
How do emotions get trapped in our body?
How is the body capable of such involuntary reactions?
What would this feel like to let go of some of the "weight" I carried around?
The next decade would lead me down a rabbit hole that began to explain all of this and more.
At first the growth and progress was subtle. I found a weekly Asana (movement practice) at what I’ll always consider my home yoga studio in Chandler, AZ. I began to notice the strength, or maybe health of my yoga practice was a mirror to my everyday life. If I’d been out partying all weekend than my Monday night heated practice would be intensified and have more to “wring out”. If I ate well through the week and wasn’t in conflict in my world, than some how my favorite teachers chattarunga drill didn’t seem to conflict with my inner strength.
Fast forward to 2011, I moved to Ventura, CA for a promotion I’d received. I realized that not all yoga is created equal… not that any one type or yoga or teaching style is “better” but this transition in my life invited me to really get out of my comfort zone of what I’d know about yoga. I tried all the yoga studios between here and Camarillo, which at the time was approximately 3. I settled on a local studio that had been the foundation of yoga in Ventura. I begin to witness how each of the teachers at this studio had come from and trained from all over. They brought a uniqueness to what I was learning. Prana flows, Breathwork, strong vinyasa practices that challenged me and took me into the deepest meditations I’d experienced.
I began to realize that this Asana practice was even more than I could wrap my mind around. Finally a teacher shared with me the 8 Limbs of yoga, based on Patanjali’s pathway to liberation. I realized in this moment that indeed the Asana was only 1/8 the vision of what this practice had to offer. In reality this practice was leading me down a path of great liberation. It was in this moment that I knew I needed to understand this more. The only way I knew to seek out a deeper understanding of this practice was through a teacher training program. I began this journey in the summer of 2014, and taught my very first practice 6 years ago today (quick celebration dance).
The thing is, as I’ve shared many times, I never actually thought I wanted to teach yoga. I was in this, in the beginning at least, very selfishly. I craved understanding thedeeper awarenesses I was discovering about my own practice and this particular training I found offered a Trauma based yoga training that I was certain was going to lead me into a deeper journey with the Psoas.
In the Fall of 2015 I hopped on a flight to Phoenix to dive into a weekend of Trauma Informed Yoga. Ironically I found myself right back where this practice had started. The training was all of 3 miles from that Chandler yoga studio that I called home. That weekend so many pieces fell into place. Nearly 5 years after my lunch room conversation I was experiencing the power that this mighty muscle beholds. After our group of trainees was guided through a Psoas Release everyone broke for lunch. I sat in the training room and just silently cried. I cried for the release I’d just had as I shift out the old and I cried for all the new possibilities I invited into this new found space I found in my body. It was truly as powerful, potent, and magnificent as I’d imaged it would be.
From time to time individuals were sent to me, in what felt like Divine guidance. I’d offer this Psoas practice to them, often times complimentary. The challenge with approaching it this way is, when we explore the modalities that support our internal healing, we often times don’t realize the long term affects it will have on our life. If we haven't placed value on the experience (I don’t mean solely monetary) than we often haven't made the conscious contract with ourselves to accept the terms of what's becoming. I’d find that these students I extend this healing practice to at no charge would show up for a session and have a potent experience, but they would simply head off into life, continuing onwards as they always had, not realizing they'd only just begun to unlock the TRUE possibility.
It wasn’t until the Thomas Fire + The Montecito Mudslide that I realized how I was being called in to support. I offered this practice twice in one week as a paid public offering and at a private retreat. The individuals that showed up, were there because they were ready to do the work that the healing journey requires. After each of these sessions powerful shifts of energy took place. Emotions were pouring out that these individuals had been piling up for the past month and even longer. The container that was created for these groups of individuals supported the processing but even more so the surrender of old worn out regrets being released. For many of these individuals the investment in their mental health became an awakening to the power that lies within the body.
For many of these individuals the investment in their mental health became an awakening to the power that lies within the body.
For me the stories they allowed to pour out from their personal experience, shined an even greater awareness of this practice. I began realizing I was only at the beginning of supporting individuals in the ability to shift stagnant energy around and out of the body. The invitation to chase the Psoas 12 years ago has now become the catalyst to understand the pulsing life force we breath into our body with each inhale and each exhale: ENERGY. How it moves about to create vitality and even more important WHY it becomes stuck.
The past 3 years have invited me within. As I’ve shared over and over, this journey Into the Wild… really being a metaphor of the inner workings of our very own life forces.
What gives us life.
What takes it away… sometimes subtly and over time.
How we can breath new life into our bodies and shift out that which we aren’t even aware of is slowing taking life away from us.
Ultimately this carrot that was dangled in front of me 12 years ago has shifted me into the Great Work of my life. I'm so thrilled to be able to support individuals to not just survive in this life but to THRIVE!
If you’re ready to thrive, I invite you to begin where I did. Journey into the core of our internal make up and play with shaking things up through the Psoas. By placing value on this content you are making a conscious agreement in your own journey that lies ahead. Please know that your purchase of this content is helping to support my greater visions. From here on out I will continue in the efforts to support any of you that feel the call to awaken what lies within, to unbury this True Self that has been waiting to be shaken awake!
Psoas Release Class Intro:
To purchase the full class please click here
Life is a powerful journey. I hope you Venture Well.
Photos by: Wade Carr