Oops, I did it again . . .

Well, I haven’t actually done it again yet, but I am working on it as I write this. The “it” in this scenario is changing my name. If you’ve only known me for the past 22 years, you may not even know that I changed my name to Logynn B. Northrhip when my son was just a baby. At that time, I was still married and I was just diving into this concept of having a name, first and last, that is aligned with my birth path. It was something that my first Feng Shui instructor described as Feng Shui for your name, but which actually follows a distinct mathematical application that was discovered and is taught through the teachings of Alfred J. Parker. It is called the Kabalarian Philosophy.

A few months after I heard about balanced names, curiosity got the best of me and I had them analyze the name I was given at birth and the ensuing nickname that followed. Since I had just changed my maiden name from Barnes to Northrup, they analyzed both of those as well. The results were a mixed bag and neither was a solid match to my birth path. According to Kabalarian philosophy, our birth path is determined by our time and date of birth, and it reveals the “role we are meant to live and evolve through our lifetimes.”

I was so fascinated by the results described in that report that I had them create a “balanced” name report as well. They gave me a list of 30 new first names and 50 surnames that would support my birth path. I’m in the Air group, which has nothing to do with the fact that I am an Aquarius, which is also an Air sign. At that time, I was reluctant to give up the married name that I had so recently adopted from my husband. On some level, I thought keeping a version of his name would keep the peace between us. Instead of Northrup, I changed my last name to Northrhip. The fact that we got divorced about a year later, is proof enough that I should have just picked a brand new name from the beginning.

Flash forward 20 years, and the reality of having such a strangely spelled last name is becoming a burden, and worse than that, it doesn’t feel like the right name for me anymore. Out of the blue a few weeks ago, I dug my balanced name report out of storage and read something that I hadn’t seen when I first went through this process.

“A complete change to one of the names recommended in the list above would be the best choice for you and create the greatest impact in your life. The main concern in an alternative spelling is that because it is close to your current name you will still link yourself to the influence and qualities of your current name.”

During a conversation with my friend at the Kabalarian headquarters in Canada, she said something that really resonated with me. She said, “after all this time Logynn, if you are still feeling unsettled in the name that you took, it might indeed be a good time to change it.” I thought about that for a long time.

Unsettled is the perfect word to describe the energy of the name Northrhip. It’s not like I didn’t give it a chance. I gave it 20 years worth of chances and it still doesn’t fit me. I’ve been trying to make that name fit me in the same way I tried in vain to make my last serious relationship work. Some things just aren’t meant to be and I know in my heart that the name Northrhip and I are meant to part ways.

When I pulled out my old report, there was only one name out of fifty that I had really liked and I had even practiced writing it all those years ago. The name is Ascher, and it turns out that after all this time, I am still really drawn to it. I shared my idea with a few friends and got their input. I kept coming back to that name so much that eventually, there wasn’t a question about whether I should change my name again. It was just a matter of when would I like to get started.

Just to be sure though, I decided to replace my current last name with Ascher on all my social media platforms. To my surprise, people noticed! I got more than a few confused inquiries from friends asking if I had gotten married, hacked or gone back to a never known maiden name. The answer to all of those of course is a resounding NO, but that is why I wanted to address it in this blog.

Over the next few weeks, I will be doing all the legal things required to make this change official and permanent and believe me, the list is long so trust that it is not something I would do if I didn’t believe that it was the best course of action for me and for my life. Go ahead, look it up. Changing your name when you aren’t getting married or divorced is not exactly an easy task. In fact, it is a study in governmental red tape and relentless details, but I am willing to follow all the necessary rules so that I can be in perfect harmony with the life purpose that is meant for me.

What was that old Army slogan from years ago? The one that was popular the first time I changed my name was, “Be All You Can Be”, and it still speaks to me after all this time. We get one life, and I intend to be all I can be for as long as I have left in this body and on this planet. If I am lucky, I will be able to legally rename myself Logynn Ascher by my 54th birthday. That means I have right at six months to get going. Stay tuned because life is about to get really fun and even more interesting than ever!

The New Number Rabbit Hole

I tried. I was willing to jump through a seemingly endless obstacle course of challenges put forth by my former cell phone provider to keep my old number until it all became too much. I’ve had that number for over 12 years. It was basically my longest (and healthiest) relationship to date; but just as the transition was about to be complete, I was told that there was one more special unlocking code that was required. Unfortunately, in order to get that code, I would have to visit the other provider in person again because their automated system had me in a hell loop.

If I hadn’t already been attempting to make this transition for a week, I probably would have done it. I was already on my third trip to one store or another to get this done. I had gone to the other provider to pay off my phone (this debt was basically the unsigned contract that I didn’t realize I had until it was too late). I specifically asked if there were any special codes I would need to change providers. The clerk gave me what he thought I needed. The next day, I went to visit my new provider, but just as freedom was in sight, I was told that I had to request a “network unlocking” from the other company. That process would then take another 24 hours.

After the allotted delay, I came back and again, was almost free when I learned that the port-out pin and my account number were still not enough. I needed a “network” account number, but when we called the other company they suddenly didn’t recognize my phone or account number and did their best impression of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

That’s when I lost it. I was literally almost in tears when I offered up a formerly unheard of solution; what if I just changed my phone number? The men behind the counter looked at me with disbelief. They cautiously suggested that this option could grant me my freedom more quickly. Ok, fine, I said, “let’s do it”. Within minutes, it was done. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is. Instead of pushing my desire upstream, I let go. I shifted and let change flow toward the path of least resistance.

When they told me my new number, it sounded so strange: 720-653-6710. I instantly didn’t like it. I tried to think back to the time that I gave up my Houston number and switched to an Austin number. Had it felt like this then too? I couldn’t remember. I’ve been living in Colorado for over three years now, and since I have no intention of ever returning to Texas (sorry Mom), perhaps it was time to make this change.

As I was driving home, I started to think of all the people I would need to personally call or text to let them know my new number, but what about the people I’d like to forget? Suddenly, a new number didn’t sound like such a bad thing. It’s not like I have a ton of people to forget, or that they ever call. It’s just that a new number brings a breath of fresh air in a sense. It is a clean break. It’s kinda like the ultimate Feng Shui space clearing for our phone. Of course, the real work of changing all my business pages, website, social media links, business cards, etc., remain, but that is not a difficult task, just tedious.

Is it ironic that Mercury Retrograde is on the horizon yet again? The fact that Mercury, the planet of communication, is about to go retrograde and my most direct path for communicating has just changed, is not lost on me. On one hand, this makes me nervous, but it is also a little bit exciting. Getting a new number is giving me a chance for a fresh start and a new beginning that I didn’t know I needed, and I’m here for it.

PS: My new number is 720-653-6710. : )

I am the light of the soul

The landscape of yoga has changed a lot lately, by no fault of its own. By the time these changes began to manifest, I had already been on track to become a “retired” yoga teacher. After a solid 12 years of teaching yoga non-stop, I was so burnt out that I just stopped cold turkey. That was almost three years ago.

A lot of yoga teachers focus their classes around calling their poses by their official Sanskrit names and some weave Patanjali’s teachings into their flows. I know a handful of Sanskrit words and I don’t do yoga because of the eight limbs of yoga. I do yoga because it makes me smile. It makes me feel confident. It challenges me and humbles me and keeps me grounded and centered. For me, there is nothing better than the feeling I get when a sequence of poses emerge to sync perfectly with the music, as if they were made for one another. I know that this is not the “right” reason to like yoga or even to teach it, but it is my why.

When I was in teacher training with Shiva Rea in Venice Beach, CA, I was introduced to this image of a wave-like flow that builds as the heat builds and as the body wakes. Classes don’t start with a backbend. They build to a backbend. Everything about the time on the mat is about peeling away the layers of stuck energy, of emotions held in muscles, of stagnation. It’s about choosing a peak pose and wrapping the class around it.

There’s just one problem with being a yoga teacher “full time” and giving everything to our students. It takes a herculean effort to include yourself in that healing practice. At the end of a full day of classes, there is rarely anything left for ourselves. Our needs get shoved to the back burner until they are totally forgotten. The sheer physical and mental drain of holding space for everyone but yourself is a sacrifice that gets more and more difficult to maintain.

Tonight I came home from work, and before I had a chance to put it off, I rolled out my yoga mat, and turned on one of my old playlists, the ones that I created when I was still buying each song and painstakingly placing them together. That’s my secret actually. I create the playlist first and then I add the poses. That way, the flow is never the same. It is always dancing with the music.

It should come as no surprise that I love to dance. Growing up, I went out dancing to all the alternative music of the 80’s that is just as timeless today, 40 years later, as it was when it first appeared. Is it possible to do yoga to Depeche Mode, Erasure, New Order and OMD? Roger that. As the opportunities to go clubbing evaporated with my youth, yoga stepped in and showed me a new way to move my body. My memories of sweaty nights spent dancing with strangers on Austin’s 6th street or Houston’s Richmond Avenue, were replaced with sweaty yoga classes to music that awakened something inside of me that I didn’t know was there.

Yoga by itself doesn’t do it for me. Yoga + music is the muse that ignites my personal creativity. Yoga is so much more than warrior one sweeping into humble warrior or triangle pose lifting off into half moon. The breath, the movement and the music all work together to tear down the walls that we build around our hearts and minds. Yoga is the great equalizer. When you walk into a room full of students, everyone is equal. There are no obvious lawyers or doctors or high powered executives. It’s a rubber mat, a physical body and a willingness to be vulnerable among strangers. Tears often flow as the walls come down and it is fucking beautiful.

I feel like all my repressed anger and resentment toward yoga got expressed through a silent fight that we never actually had. I let myself forget how much we loved each other, and we just stopped communicating; but tonight, something happened. As my body started to move, it remembered that love. The music awakened my body’s muscle memory of affection for this practice. The poses are the same no matter what name they are called. They are ancient, they are powerful and they are forgiving.

I may not ever teach again, or I might; who knows. As long as I get to keep teaching myself, me and yoga will be okay. We may argue, we may disagree, but we will always be there for each other. My relationship with yoga is strong, and it is the only one that I know will never leave me. Yoga isn’t going to cheat on me or break my heart. It isn’t going to lie to me or deceive me in any way. Yoga is the most honest and loving partner I could ever desire. It may break my heart wide open, but it won’t ever hurt me.

I am the light of the soul I am bountiful. I am beautiful. I am bliss, I am I am. * I am that I am. (This post inspired by the music of Sarab Deva singing this song.)

Hello Goddess!

Sometimes the things we need most, the little things, are the ones that come from complete strangers.  I was having a semi-hectic day as I left the Denver Art Museum last Monday.  I had tried to start my car and and the battery stalled.  I had just gotten out of my car again to see if I could find the source of the problem when a dark haired woman walked by, smiled at me and with the sweetest British accent said, “Hello Goddess!”  I paused for a moment, confused, and then I felt my face light up with a giant smile as I realized she was referring to my “Back off, I’m a Goddess” bumper sticker.

She kept walking and I got back into my car, frustration forgotten.  I turned the key and the engine fired up; my mood instantly changed.  Life is full of chance encounters, and people who inadvertently pull us back from the proverbial ledge.  We never know how one little thing we do or say can make a difference in another person’s life.  The best moments are like this one, spontaneous, organic and recognizable.  I am quite certain that I will never see that woman again, but it doesn’t matter because I will never forget how her words shifted and lifted me when I needed a boost.

A “little” hike called Mt. Sanitas

Today, I decided to re-visit my old nemesis, a trailhead called Mt. Sanitas.  If you’re from around here, you know all about this little gem.  It’s where locals go for a quick and dirty workout.  In fact, the girl that blew by me with her Labrador puppy, mentioned on her way back down that she was going on a 16 mile run afterwards.  WTF?!  So anyway, depending on your fitness level, and how often you have to stop to catch your breath, this 2.6 mile out and back with an elevation gain of 1,253 ft. is considered a moderate level of difficulty, and could take an hour or three.

I call this trail my nemesis, because I hiked it for the first time a year ago after living here for less than a month.  I moved from Austin, TX which has a elevation of 489′ (as in above sea level).  In case you are wondering, the elevation of Boulder is 5,328′, so just a little bit of elevation gain from my previous stomping grounds.

I personally was very naive about the effects of such a vast change in elevation, and I showed up to meet some friends with nothing more than a bottle of Ozarka water and unbridled excitement to be going on my first real hike since moving to Boulder.  It was a sunny and clear January afternoon, the kind that starts out chilly and results in sunburn, dehydration and the inability to catch one’s breath.  At least that’s how it was for me.  All I remember is that the trip down the mountain was actually more difficult than going up, if that’s even possible.  In fact, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I did not make it all the way up to the top.

Fast forward to July when some other friends were in town visiting and we all decided to go for a hike.  Now, these friends, just like the others, are hard-core hikers, and very fit.  They were kind enough to pause while I stopped frequently to catch my breath, and this time, I made it all the way to the top.  We took a photo so I have proof!  We ended up going through to Lion’s Lair Trail which was a nice reprieve from the rocky climb up Mt. Sanitas. It is not however, a dog-friendly trail, not even if you have the special sight and sound tags required in Boulder City limits. If you didn’t know this and you brought your pooch, you have two options: go back down the way you came, or turn your out and back  hike into a loop by following the Mt. Sanitas Valley Loop.

It took almost six more months before I got the urge to hike this trail again, and this time I brought my dog.  I swear my dog is a better hiker than I am.  He’s also pretty old for a dog, but you wouldn’t know it based on his energy and enthusiasm for dragging me up the mountain when I was hiking too slow.  This time, I noticed that I had way more endurance than before and the stops I took had more to do with photo ops than for catching my breath.

I was also much more prepared, a bit too much actually.  After many hikes all over Colorado this summer, I learned a few things, with one of the most important being that a picnic at the top is a necessary treat, and alcohol tastes better the higher up you go.   Nowadays, my backpack is always in tow and filled with at least one, if not two 32 oz. Nalgene water bottles, snacks, micro-spikes, lip balm, sunscreen, a sweat rag, Kleenex, and a blister first-aid kit.

On this cloudless Saturday, the thing that challenged me the most was to need to avoid the rush.  Instead of rushing up and right back down the mountain, I allowed myself to sit at the top, eat, take some more pictures, rest completely, and savor the warm scent of pine trees.  I let myself get grounded and I let nature heal the stress and tension of the previous week.

Living in this beautiful place is a gift that I do not take for granted.  I moved mountains to get here and took a massive leap of faith that it was where I was supposed to be.  I left family, friends and a lifetime of traditions because I felt the pull of this place where I was born, but never really lived.  Mt. Sanitas is no longer my nemesis.  She is my teammate. and the first of many stepping stones along my path to reconnect to my most authentic self through nature.

A House Beloved – You’ve Come A Long Way!

“You’ve come a long way, baby.”  That was a popular slogan for women’s cigarettes when I was growing up in the 70’s, but today, it has a different meaning for me.  It is the phrase that comes to mind as I stand at your center, and marvel at the changes since we first met.  Now, you look and feel the way that I always knew you could, the way I imagined you in my mind.  All the injustices and mistakes of the past have been repaired, replaced and renovated.

I’ve always believed that our homes are an external reflection of our internal lives, and that is what makes this moment even more special. As I see all the healing that you’ve received, I know that the same healing has occurred in my own inner life as well.  When we first met, you were a hot mess, but I overlooked it all because you were my escape.  I was ready to put down roots and escape the tyranny of apartment rentals.  When I walked into your bright yellow living room, I knew I’d found a piece of myself, and I also knew I’d be painting you again, and again and again.

These past four years, we’ve shifted and changed together. I’ve turned your ugly sidewalks into garden-flanked pathways, and I’ve turned your barren backyard into wonderland of growth.  Fruit and veggies have been harvested, wildflowers have exploded and re-seeded, and Mother Nature has been allowed to do her magic.  In return, you’ve helped me let go of outdated and expired thoughts, habits, beliefs and loves.

I want to thank you for all of your gifts, and for the freedom to start anew.  I am ready for our time together to end.  I will always love you, but I have new adventures to create and new challenges to conquer.   I’ve known all along that a part of me isn’t done yet.  That part is being reawakened by an ancient, gypsy-like curiosity. That part is calling me home, to the mountains of my birth.

I’ve healed you, and you’ve healed me.  After all the shifts and changes, this home is one that invites love, nurturing, stability and safety, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.   Thank you for your gifts of growth, healing and renewal.  Thank you for being exactly what I needed, when I needed it, so that I could heal the little, lost pieces of my soul.  I lovingly release you, and I ask that you do the same for me.  The Divine in me bows to the Divine in you; Namaste my friend.

2100 Laura Ct., Round Rock, TX 78681



For the Love of Yoga

Today was one of those bittersweet kind of days.  It was the final class with some of my most dedicated and adventurous yoga students, at a location that was one of my very first yoga employers.  I’ve been with this company longer than I was even married!  It was bittersweet because I recently decided to give up the financially unstable environment of teaching yoga as my main job, to working full time for someone else, and teaching yoga a lot less. I start tomorrow.

The thing that no one tells you about yoga is how much you will grow to love it, and how often the people that you see in your classes will become some of your best friends.  I’m not sure why yoga has this effect on us.  I think it has something to do with the fact that it takes you to a previously un-investigated place within yourself, and pulls that to the surface. The fears that used to rule your every thought, word and deed are replaced with confidence and acceptance within yourself.

In yoga, all of our credentials are removed.  If you are a doctor or a literary PhD, it does not matter one bit.  If you’ve never been married, or if you have been divorced four times, no-one will know that.  In a yoga class, you are just a person in workout clothes, probably no makeup, and you are at your most vulnerable.  I think that is it.  That is where the playing field gets leveled.  When you walk into a yoga class, you have the potential to become emotionally exposed.  It can be raw, and it can be life-changing.

A few students took me out to lunch after this class today, and although I promised myself I would not cry, and I even went out on a limb and wore non-waterproof mascara, it was inevitable.  One student brought her five year old little girl with her.  She came up to me with a little rose that she picked and thanked me for teaching her Mom yoga.  (Sniff) Another student told me how many times she had cried in class, and how much she had grown and learned about herself and her practice. She said, “even if you don’t realize it, you have changed a lot of people’s lives.”  That was it, I just sobbed.

I remember when I was a little girl, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up.  Well that’s not true.  When I was really little, I wanted to collect all the animals that had been run over, and were dying on the side of the road, and try to save them.   When I grew up a little and realized how impossible that dream was, I expanded it to include people.  I just wanted to “help” people.   It was like that little mantra was planted into my head at birth.  So that is what I do.  It doesn’t matter if it is with words, poems, feng shui, yoga, gardening or some other action.  All of the things that light me up are the way that I try to help people light themselves up.  I just want to remind them in some way how truly Divine they are, and to help them go out and share that with the world.

So to all of my students, past, present and future, thank you for helping me to live my passion, and to share it with you. The Divine in Me Bows, to the Divine in You ~ Namaste!

“The fact is that there is nothing more beautiful, more worthy or more conscious than you.” ~ Yogi Bhajan

Can We Break Up with Facebook?

I just went through a big breakup. I ended a relationship that lasted just shy of four years, and actually, thanks to Facebook, seemed much happier and whole than it truly was. It was a relationship that was slowly bleeding out, dying from a thousand tiny cuts that couldn’t be patched. Ending that relationship was easier than I think it would be to breakup with the ever-charismatic Facebook, and it wasn’t truly easy.

My relationship with Facebook has been rocking steady since 2008. My “friends” total has climbed to 500+, although I’d guess that the real number of my true friends is barely a fraction of that. I’ve tried breaking up with Facebook in the past, but as with all addictions, the seduction of losing myself in its posts drags me back. There is something strangely hypnotic about scrolling and searching for some part of myself among the postings. When I see some meme or a quote that really resonates with me, I feel seen, known and understood all at once.

Getting back to relationships though,  I remember when my recently-ended relationship first began, and how important it was to me to be able to share it with my Facebook family of friends. It was after all, my first legit, and mutually monogamous relationship since my 2002 divorce, and my only one since joining the social networking giant in 2008. I wanted very much to be seen as whole and complete, and this included being publicly acknowledged on Facebook, by my new guy as his new girl.

The danger of Facebook is the temptation to gloss over all that is wrong or incomplete in our real-life relationships and focus only on the photo opportunities that are full of happy, smiling faces. There were no pictures of the moments where love and affection was withheld, and requests for time together were dismissed, ignored or suppressed with anger, hostility and passive aggression. I knew the end was near when a colleague recently hugged me and gushed about how happy I always look in the photos that I posted of me and my guy. It stopped me in my tracks because I realized that I wasn’t happy at all. I was wagging the dog by creating an illusion that was not accurate.

Yes, there had been moments of love, moments of tenderness and affection unlike any I’d ever experienced before, and that is why it took so long for me to realize that even though I loved him, I was not happy. My needs were not being met, and no amount of communication seemed to make a lasting difference. I finally admitted to myself and to him that I wanted more than he was willing to give. I wanted a life of togetherness, a life of blending our families and growing old together. I wanted someone to wake up to and grow old with. I wanted to heal the dysfunctional habits of my family of origin, and I wanted him to do the same.

If you’ve ever tried to “break-up” with Facebook, I can assure you, it isn’t easy. You will be asked more than once, “Are you sure you want to leave Facebook?” What they don’t tell you is that they are so sure that you will doubt yourself and have second thoughts, that they will make it very easy for you to re-activate your account whenever you are ready. It’s not uncommon at this point to start doubting yourself. Do I really want to leave? Do I want to end this? Do I have the strength to let go completely? It’s like Facebook is “gaslighting” us!

And so it went in my life, as I asked myself the same questions of my own fraudulent relationship. Do I have the strength to let him go? Do I trust my own mind, my own heart? As Facebook continues to ask if am I sure, I ask it myself, and just like with Facebook, I doubt myself. Somewhere along the way, I stopped trusting myself, and I also stopped valuing myself and my needs. I got lost in perpetuating the illusion of my perfect relationship. I convinced myself that things were okay with us because my audience believed it, so why didn’t I?

I know people who jump off of Facebook when they end a long-term relationship. It’s as if the shame of admitting to everyone that their relationship wasn’t as bullet-proof as they thought it was is just too much for them to bear. Some people are very subtle and just disappear for awhile. Other people are very public about it and announce it to everyone, as if we didn’t already notice. I fall somewhere in between these two extremes. I didn’t disappear, but I waited a few weeks before I told my close friends and family. I changed my relationship status privately, and then I let my friends see it. Then I started writing. That is where the healing truly began for me. I realized that I would have to expose myself and my failure in order to heal.

Ultimately, I was able to say goodbye to the illusion of my seemingly perfect relationship. It has been difficult, and sad mostly because I wanted so very much for it to succeed. I miss the way his hand felt in mine and the way it felt to lean into him when he was near. I wanted to believe the story of us, as much as everyone else did. I wanted the feelings that we started with to still be present, and the story that we were telling to be authentic. Once I knew that it wasn’t, I couldn’t keep pretending. I thought that if I refused to give up, things would magically change. I was half correct. Things in my life are magically changing, but its not because I refused to give up; it’s because I finally did.

I finally let go of something that wasn’t serving me any longer. I stopped expecting someone else to make me a priority and I started doing it myself. Some days, that means that I log off of Facebook and forget about keeping up with the world. And some days, I am a posting freak and loving every minute of it. I’m learning to put Facebook in its place, and I am rediscovering myself without spending hour after hour obsessing about it.

To answer my own question, I cannot break up with Facebook because I enjoy it too much. I can, however; set healthy boundaries with it. I can hide and unfollow the people and posts that irk me. My relationship with Facebook appears to be salvageable. I don’t have to cut it out of my life completely. I can limit the amount of time that I spend scrolling and staring, and I can enjoy it for the gifts that it gives. For me, that includes the hysterical videos and posts that make me cry from laughing, memes that inspire me and the ones that make me feel normal.

I have learned that I don’t have to have an “all or nothing” attitude with Facebook. Like it or not, if I made that choice, I would never see or hear from too many of my real-life and far-away friends. My relationship with my guy didn’t make it, but it taught me so much, and it gave me hope that I will recognize the right relationship when I am open to allowing another one. My relationship with Facebook is safe. I don’t have to break up with it. I am willing to do the work needed to keep its place in my life healthy, happy and fun, and the next relationship I am in will remain private.  I won’t require it to be validated by Facebook or my friends. I will let my heart do that instead.

Learning to Unsee the Imperfections

There is something that my Dad taught me, that just returned to my mind today. It was this ability to unsee. He knew that when I looked in the mirror, I would always see this slightly overweight person filled with other flaws that I judged ruthlessly. I don’t remember his exact words, but I do remember that he implied to me that what I was seeing in the mirror was not what he saw. It was a pretty earth-shattering concept to me that even though I saw something unworthy in the mirror, it was not the real me. That was the little bitty planting of a new seed thought.

The next time I looked in the mirror, I had a glimpse that maybe, just maybe, there was a flaw in the projection equipment, not in the image itself. I have had to learn to unsee the limitations that my mind continually tries to project into the images reflected back to me in the mirror. I have had to unlearn the habits of judgemBody Image Distortionent, criticizing and hatred that somehow became my addiction. I truly feel that my body hatred addiction was the precursor for my eventual alcohol addiction. It doesn’t matter if I was addicted to a substance or to a belief system, I was addicted and that is that.

Today, I am a yoga instructor, and one of the things that I noticed on my way to this path was how much my own yoga practice began to shift me out of this negative way of seeing myself. Because of my low self-esteem and body image as a child, I tried to control it away with exercise. I worked out every day, usually running at least 2 miles. I also controlled my eating, but no matter how much I tried, I was never happy with the results. While I teetered on the edge of an eating disorder, I gratefully did not jump all the way into the severity of anorexia or bulimia.

Learning to unsee the image that stares at me in the mirror, starts with the realization that the space between my eyes and the projection of me that reflects back is distorted by a defect in my mind. It is much like the distortion of being nearsighted or farsighted. It has a trigger in my mind, and therefore it has to be corrected in my mind as well. I can’t go to the doctor and get a pair of glasses that helps me to see myself the way I really am, but dammit that would be so much easier! I can unsee that old image, that old way of seeing myself, but like anything, I have to do it from the inside out. I have to mentally create a new “muscle” memory, a new channel to tune in to that allows my brain to adjust the focus so that I can see clearly and unsee the old way of seeing myself.


Why Do Yoga?

Last night at dinner, a friend asked me to tell him in three minutes why he should do yoga.  Of course, 12 hours later, I have come up many other great reasons that I didn’t give when put on the spot, so I decided to share them here.  There are the obvious reasons that everyone tells you, but I want this list to be different.  I want this list to kick you in the guts with curiosity.

  • Yoga forces you to be still and get quiet.  It is one thing to stop talking, but it is quite another to learn to turn off the voice in your head. If we are going to fulfill our destinies on this planet, we have to learn to disconnect from the chaos that is all around and within us.  Yoga helps in a way that meditation alone does not.
  • You will learn to manipulate your breath and increase your lung’s capacity to hold that breath.    When I first came to yoga, it was as if my breath was afraid to fill me up, or better yet, I was afraid to let it.  This process of stretching your lungs so that they really sustain you is so beautiful.  It is symbolic to me of our capacity to really experience the fullness of life.
  • Everything that you do in yoga, in that safe space on your mat, can be accessed off your mat as well.  Think about tree pose.  On one hand, it is obviously about learning to balance on one leg.  Now let’s take it off the mat.  The thing that we know for sure is that living life fully, without over-doing one part, and under-doing another takes skills that most of us simply don’t come by naturally.  Learning to achieve balance in the body can translate into achieving balance in your relationships, your work, your passions and all other aspects of your life.
  • It will improve your self-confidence and self-image, but if that is already nicely inflated, then I promise it will humble you in a heartbeat.  There are things that you can learn to accomplish with your body that you never thought possible, but first, it will feel like you are completely disconnected from it.  With every personal yoga pose “failure”, you will learn to make it a success, and that will keep your Ego in balance, as well as your life.
  • Yoga teaches you about trust.  Let’s face it, we’ve all been hurt and broken by life.  Hearts get closed, hips get tight and shoulders get stiff with a too-busy life.  Yoga cracks you wide open.  It peels back the layers of pain and allows you to learn to live life on life’s terms.  It changes you in ways that you don’t even know are possible.  And truly, it is better that you don’t know too much before you embark on this journey.  If you did, you might be afraid to start because of all the things that you will be forced to let go of in order to move forward.
  • Yoga introduces you to a part of yourself that you have never known existed.  You will not be the same person once you truly start, and you’ll wish you had started sooner.  I was already in my upper 30’s when I started my teacher training.  I don’t even look the same as I did before I started all this.
  • And on that note, it really does make you look and feel younger.  The other day, I sat down criss- cross-applesauce to play with my boyfriend’s daughter, and she commented that she had never seen a grownup do that.  Yoga did that!
  • We are these amazing beings of Light and we are trapped in this heavy, dense physical existence.  Yoga reminds and teaches us how to fly in spite of that.

If you happen to be one of those particularly stubborn people who don’t believe a word you have read and are still not convinced, that’s ok.  Don’t do it for any of these reasons.  Do it to prove me wrong. : )