Robin's Blog

CNP



Thank you, Mom, for your life and for my wake-up call. 10 years ago, you left this physical plane and it rocked me to my core. It propelled me to figure out who I am without the physical presence of a mother nor the “story”. I climbed a mountain searching for myself. In the last 10 years, I cried, hid, ran, had tantrums, numbed, incanted, doubted myself, screamed, had more “messes” than not, wrote and wrote and wrote, dreamed, confessed, admitted, hit the floor with my knees, surrendered, cultivated, sat, meditated, practiced and then…it happened. I got to a place where I could see a clearing like a field of flowers summoning me. Who am I? It’s such a profound question. I don’t really know the answer. All I know is that I now understand myself. I am the light. I am the dark. I am everything in-between. I am an adultand a kid at the same time. It is so freeing.
Mom, I see you in the red cardinal flying with me in the woods and sitting nobly on the branch outside my yoga room or our dining room table. I smile and bow my head in gratitude. Thank you for showing me what it is like to live fully alive.

2016: A Year in Review



“This is my year; claim it” was written on the first page of my 2016 calendar. I recently asked myself with care if I had accomplished this ambitious command. The answer is YES. 2016 was a potent year of growth, claiming, letting go, and, most importantly, generating tools to feel safe – to be myself.
 
Conscious relationships, yoga, nature, and highly attuned spiritual teachers allow me to better understand myself.
I built this past year on three foundational values that I nurture on a daily basis: love, honesty, and faith.
 
Love: I got closer to understanding what love is this year - not just romantic love, but allowing love to consistently show up in all my spaces. I have wanted to experience “it” for a lifetime but had no idea what "it" really meant. I consulted Google, my father, and spiritual counselors. This is what we came up with:
 
Love is more than a feeling; it’s an action of embrace and surrender. Love is choosing to regard all the parts of our experiences as equal expressions of the divine, including those that are painful, embarrassing, shameful, and scary. I’ve identified and labeled the six key parts of myself that I call my “personas”. Each one is hilariously named for the purpose of self-intimacy and, depending on which one is demanding center stage, to give it more love, not less. The comfort and awareness of knowing who is showing up on a given day lets me fold the feeling into my being instead of numbing. This year, I walked with my personas hand in hand and became even more comfortable living in my own skin.
 
Honesty: I used to lie as a child - not massive lies, but little ones that got me out of trouble. Liar Lila (my “liar persona”) vied for center stage with one intent: to make me look better.
She’s still with me. Recently, a fellow swimmer remarked that I had been getting to the pool late for morning practices, at 6:30am instead of 6:00am. “Well, I got up at 4:30am,” I boasted, when in truth I had awoken at 4:45 am. Despite its size, I used this lie as a way to prove myself. Becoming aware of this directed me to speak lovingly to myself during the swim and plan to tell the truth. Immediately after my workout, I sought out the woman in the locker room and confessed to her that I had not been honest.  She probably didn’t care but that wasn’t the point. I needed to dismantle this part of me that no longer served me. Each confession reroutes neural pathways that support the best version of myself, as opposed to an outdated pattern in my history.
 
Faith: Faith is defined as believing in something unseen. I removed the sentence, “I carry the torch” from my relationship to self vision statement. This phrase was in reference to my mom who instilled in me deep faith. I dedicate every yoga class to her by ending with, “may we bless our bodies for moving today and the breath that moves through us during this time and space”, privileges that she lost too soon in life. Last year, I realized that faith means I can walk the sacred path of life in reverence to my mom, but not for her. I am responsible only for my part, and we walk together.
 
Five years ago, I had a dream: to create a sacred community where we could show up as ourselves, put our bodies in awkward shapes, practice stillness, and be okay. Really okay. And then take that knowing to our families and community.
I used to pray that at least two people would show up. One thinly attended class my mind went completely blank and I almost quit. Miraculously, the first sentence of my career vision came: I am the bringer of light. From that statement, I realized that teaching doesn’t really have anything to do with me. Yes, I tend to my values to stay in alignment, but my main task is to get out of my own way to let grace pour through me to you. And that is faith.
 
Transparency is a key part of who I am as a teacher. Let us continue to evolve together in 2017. I thank you for your time.
 
 

Living Our Yoga


 
I begin each day well before dawn. In the quiet, I explore deep questions and concepts that provide not only doorways to my liberation, but themes for our yoga classes. As a guide, I bring to you what I experience in my home – the successes and the failures – so that we can gain nobility as like-hearted mamas.
 
Below are just a few of the contemplations we explored this year and will expand upon in 2016:
 
- fortifying relationship to self as our primary parenting strategy
 
-  self-praise as a tool for our children to model
 
-  energy leakage and its reversal in the home
 
-  teaching our children to feel by naming and claiming their emotions
 
- allowing relaxation to precede grounded and consistent interactions
 
- meditating as the portal to our highest selves
 
- healing; one apology and “I love you” at a time
 
- reframing transgressions to create powerful lessons
 
-  asking what are we co-mingling with - inspiration or fear?
 
-  cultivating our authentic voices for responsible choices
 
-  knowing that simplicity is always best
 
Our yoga practice is much more than moving our bodies into shapes.  It is about relating to ourselves emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in order to become kinder and more accepting.  To me, that’s the highest offering we can give our families.
 
My endeavors for 2016 include continued studies in alignment-based yoga, trauma yoga, Reiki, and soul work.  I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!
 
Please join me as we grow, transform, and enhance our community of love and light.
 
Yoga for Mamas class resumes January 8th, 2016 at the Larchmont Avenue Church.
 
When:  Fridays
Where: Chapel (enter on Wendt Avenue)
Time:    9:30-10:45am
 
May your 2016 be full of honor, listening, and alignment. 
 
With the fullest heart,
 
Robin 
 
 
 
 

Fear Before Fulfillment?



My family and I went on a zip line tour in California’s Redwood forest last week. When I got to the first platform 150 feet above the ground, my stomach dropped and I stood frozen hugging a tree for dear life, even though I was harnessed in with two safety lines.  It’s funny; I used to be the kid who would do double flips off a high dive. As an adult, where did this fear come from?
 
I caught my breath and realized the parallel between zip lining and the art of teaching yoga. I saw where my previous fear-induced obstacles blocked me from realizing my highest career vision. I strive to be a bringer of light, to inspire others to feel good and safe, and to raise our collective vibrations so that we reside in our truth and knowing for the well-being of all.
 
The barrier to my work was my own self-betrayal: the sly but insidious mind chatter telling me that I am not good enough, worthy enough, or knowledgeable enough to achieve such potent aspirations.
 
It is said that what makes someone a great yoga instructor, in addition to her skill, knowledge, and intuitiveness, is that she has committed to living a yogic lifestyle.  This can be a scary proposition, as it means being held accountable to the high teachings that she is bringing forth. Overcoming my obstacle of public speaking and being vulnerable was challenging, but the biggest roadblock to my greatness was my unhealthy relationship with alcohol. For me, it was choking the very life current with which I was striving to commune.  Jumping off the platform and taking a brave look at where I used alcohol to relax and numb darker feelings was outright frightening.  I wanted to keep them neatly tucked away in a box labeled “dangerous: do not open.” But Yoga teaches us that it doesn’t work that way. We can’t be selective about which feelings we choose to feel. When we numb the painful, sad ones, we also numb the joyful, light ones. When not allowed to flow, dark hidden feelings manifest as tension in our muscles, bones, and joints, causing us emotional and physical pain. Our loved ones often absorb the brunt of this unconscious pain during times of challenge and conflict.
 
I took the leap. I committed to myself and chose to move from self-betrayal to self-love.  I started to embrace my teaching. I began taking on bigger classes and challenging projects.  However, the choice that makes me most proud is the one to take a long break from alcohol. I commit to finding healthy outlets to relax.  I’ve taken great care in opening the “danger box”, giving those daunting feelings an opportunity to float to the surface to be witnessed, embraced, and honored.  I understand that they hold the key to my wisdom, and, most importantly, to my freedom.  They bubble up from the deep, hidden crevices of my muscles and bones, and with each healing tear, I can feel them gently sloughing off. It is a celebratory river dance where my entire inner-landscape floods with openness, softness, aliveness, and kindness.
 
Jumping off the platform allows my teaching to come from a pure and authentic place. It is not muddied with the old insecure inner dialogue that seeks external approval over connection: “What do they think of me? Do they like what I am doing? Am I doing this right? Will anyone show up?” Rather, it comes from a higher place: a knowing that those who are called to my teaching will continue to arrive, and that we will connect to our energy sources and wildest longings together.
 
The path to freedom and abundance begins with knowing ourselves well. My prayer is that every willing person, if the time is right or appropriate, peer into that forbidden box of darker emotions and feelings to acknowledge what may be holding them back from their fullest expression. That way, when they get to the next platform, they can confidently let go and fall back into their highest potential, fully knowing that they are always enough.
 
 
 
 

Anger, My Dear Friend


 
 
For a good part of my adult life, I was on high alert: a state of being that I characterize as succumbing to adverse reactive and habitual patterns. The most prominent manifestation of such a state was anger.
 
High-alertness followed me like an obedient pet into parenthood; I yelled at messy rooms, unfinished plates at mealtime, and dilly-dallying during bedtime routines. Each time this state arrived, a residue of regret, shame, and helplessness lingered.
 
Fortunately, yoga and I found each other when our girls were young.  Unbeknownst to me, it would become my first gateway for dismantling the years of accumulated tension that suffocated my musculature and locked me into a cycle of poor choices. Through the additional vehicles of meditation and life coaching, I began to understand that this state of high alert was a necessary form of protection. It kept certain situations, people, and even my own consciousness at bay, affording me time to catch up to the fullness of my being. My slow, devotional route to dissolve my anger eventually led to a wealth of sadness.  I began to realize that the twitches and tears discharged during what seemed like simple stretches early in my yoga practice was alchemy in motion. The door to my sadness continued to open, and I communed with the rawness of it.  At its core, I found a well of primitive energy, the pulse of my inner world. It was an illuminate, flowing river of life.  Now, when anger sweeps in and tries to steal the show, I welcome it as an old friend.
 
Before I was able to meet anger with kindness, I uncovered the root of my reactive patterns. Then, I informed my family so that they would not take my indignation personally.  To transmute the patterns, I promised our girls that I would do three sun salutations before commenting on their messy rooms.  Eventually, this practice became comical: "Mommy is doing her sun salutes now" was followed by giggles and the pitter-patter of feet heading to perform the forgotten chore.
 
Now, when uncomfortable feelings arrive, my work is to refrain from labeling them “good” or “bad” and to regard them as messengers from my highest wisdom. When they come, I don't project or avoid. I ask, "What are you here to teach me?" "How are you helping me?" "How can I transmute this energy to one that serves my highest choices?" 
 
Thank you, high alert,for liberating my family and me by showing us how to choose wisely.
 
 

Enough Already



She said, “Enough already,” as she aggressively brushed by me in the grocery store.  I was talking to my sister on the phone, enthusiastically sharing the details of my weekend.  I immediately sensed that the comment was directed at me. I let my sister know I had to go and hung up.  My face flushed, and I felt a surge of reactive energy in my body, signaling the familiar readiness for a fight.
 
I had a choice; this realization alone spoke volumes to my personal transformation.  I took three full breaths and found my feet- a practiced gateway to consciousness for me.  It thwarted the roaring, circular movement in my belly and led to a place of remembrance.  As my system slowed, I recalled my intention for living: to travel the high road. I want to feel good.  I want to be free of conditioned patterns of reactivity. I want to embody joy.
 
I searched the store for the woman, already knowing that I did not want to defend myself or convince her that I was “right”. I found her standing by the bread counter and asked, “Were you talking to me?” She curtly replied, “Yes, I was talking to you.  You were so loud on the phone.” As a keen observer of body language, I could see her readiness for battle. Her eyes were beady and her face red and hardened.  I took a conscious breath and said, “I am so sorry I upset you. You are right- in my excitement on the phone I got too loud.  I can see how it could upset you and others.  I will note my excessive volume in the future and refrain from it.” Her body softened, eyes widened, and normal facial color began to return. She then apologized to me, admitting that she was often guilty of the same “crime”. We parted ways, and I took another full breath. It was over. There would be no recycling of the drama. I would not carry this story home with me and prolong it for another day or two- my old pattern for such encounters.
 
To me, we take the high road when we choose to live our grace, as opposed to intellectualizing it. We put down our swords and shields. We understand that there is a high price to be paid for letting circumstances hijack our composure, contract our cells, and diminish our precious energy. We give way to others.  We go first. We know that that is our privilege. And, at the end of the day, instead of rehashing our story about how we felt wronged and the retaliation we sought to “feel better”, we meet our families with presence and love, eager to see and hear them.