Thanksgiving Shout Out

 

This Thanksgiving, I'm shouting out a big THANK YOU to the healers who help me to practice self-love. Give yourself or a loved one the amazing gift of self-love! Please consider these beautiful souls for your healing and regenerative needs <3

JoseLo at City Acupuncture Circle

Susan Wiggins at Long Beach Community Acupuncture

Massage and Energy Healing Kathy English Holt

Sherrel Grabler at Wellsprings Wellness Center Seal Beach, CA

Maryl Baldridge Yoga and Massage at Georgetown Yoga

Allowing the Light Beatrice Pouligny, Shamanism at The Still Point 

Robin Thompson Shamanic Healing Practitioner at Tulsi Holistic Living

Adrienne Shostak | Bespoke Aesthetics at Georgetown Yoga 

Love,

Camille

 

 

Three-Part Pranayama

Breathing exercises are an easy and effective way to find peace and promote relaxation. In yoga, the Sanskrit name for breathing practices is pranayama, which translates to "extension of life force." Since the breath is what keeps us alive, when we engage in practices that cultivate the breath, we are expanding that force into our entire being. No wonder it only takes a few deep breaths to help us feel more calm and centered! 

One of my favorite techniques is called Three-Part Breath. It can be done in a seated position, or laying down. Follow along and see how much better you feel when you're done!

step1.jpg
step2.jpg
step3.jpg
step4.jpg

Step 1: Sit in a comfortable position. Or, you can choose to practice the three-part breath laying on your back. In this example, I'll show you how to do it seated, but always listen to what works best for you. 

Side note: Three-part breathing is so relaxing that even my four-legged friend Lama here wanted to practice! :)

 

 

Step 2: Belly breaths. Place your right hand on your stomach. As you inhale, count to 3 and feel your entire belly expand. As you exhale count backwards from 3 and feel your tummy deflate. Try this a few times, imagining your abdomen like a balloon, filling up with each in-breath and emptying with each out-breath.

 

 Step 3: Feel your ribcage expand. Place your right hand on your right ribs, and your left hand on your left ribs. As you breathe in for 6 counts, feel your belly expand first for three counts, and then bring your breath into your ribcage for the last three. On the exhale count down from 6, release the breath first from your ribcage, and then from your belly. With your hands on your ribs, imagine your ribcage growing outward and expanding with the inhale; each breath out, feel the ribs move back towards the center of your body. Notice how good it feels to create space here! We often hold a lot of tension in our side ribs without even knowing. Let yourself open up and soften. Repeat 3-4 times...

Step 4: Send breath to your heart. Now that you've gotten the hang of breathing into your belly and your ribs, next move the breath up to your chest. Try to increase your breath cycles to a count of 9. As you inhale, breathe into your belly (1, 2, 3...), ribs (4, 5, 6...), and chest (7, 8, 9). Then as you exhale, release the breath first from your chest (9, 8, 7...), then your ribs (6, 5, 4...), and finally your belly (3, 2, 1). Imagine your torso like a tall glass cup; each inhale you fill the glass from bottom to top, and each exhale you empty the cup from the top to the bottom. Continue with the three-part breath for 5-10 rounds, and when you are done, return your breath to normal and notice how much more relaxed and present you feel.

 

namaste.jpg

May your breath expand life throughout your body, mind, and spirit!

The light in me bows to the light in you...

 

How it started...

mom and auntie 1.JPG

“Do you want to come to yoga?” my mom asked me.

“Can I bring a friend?” was my response.

The year was 2003. I was nineteen at the time, living at home with my parents in California and full of angst. I’d never stepped foot in a yoga class, but my mom had already been to a few and said it might be a good way to help me relax. I’ll admit I was intrigued, but the only way she was going to convince me to go to a class was if she said I could drag someone my age along who also had no idea what to expect.  So I did. 

I’ve heard plenty of stories about dedicated yogis who say that their first yoga class changed their life. They immediately felt connected to the practice, eager to come back and learn more. Savasana for them was a glimpse into the life of the awakened and enlightened.

I did not have that experience.

My first class was much more unrefined than I would like to admit. For an hour, my friend and I giggled in the back of the room as we attempted to contort our teenage bodies into shapes that were unfamiliar and made us feel awkward and vulnerable. I couldn’t remember the names of any poses we did that day, but I do remember looking around at the other students, the teacher, and myself in the mirror and thinking how ridiculous I felt.

I went back for more classes anyway, sporadically, and always with an air of judgment and skepticism. I don’t know how much I got out of it, but it was how I started on my yoga journey.

It wasn’t until I was in graduate school three years later that I began to connect with yoga as a tool for stress-management, emotional healing, and a source for tapping into my well of inner strength. I had moved across the country for an opportunity to study in the Ivy League, was the youngest student in my program, and had just learned that my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I fell into a deep depression that lasted for months, fearing everything I cared about and had worked for was slipping away. After reaching my lowest point, I found myself turning more and more to my yoga mat to feel grounded and secure. Ultimately, I think yoga is what saved me, and that’s when I began to dive into the practice with my whole heart.

I completed my teacher training in 2009 at the Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica, and have since found that the lessons that come from a journey of travel and adventure coincide beautifully with the lessons we can learn through yoga. By purposefully showing up to have the experience, we give ourselves the opportunity to explore new ground, to shift our perspective, and to recognize what we have in common with those around us. The journey challenges us, takes us to new heights, and has the power to heal us physically and emotionally. It helped to heal my mother, and I have witnessed the transformative power of yoga in many friends’ and students’ lives.

The way yoga has transformed my own life is undeniable. Even though I can never predict what I will learn each time I practice, I do know that the lessons I have gained along the journey are helping me to live more positively and in a more fulfilling way off of the mat. My yoga practice gives me the courage to take risks, gives me space to feel grounded, and reminds me to practice kindness and compassion towards myself and towards those around me.

table rock forearm stand st vincent.jpeg

If someone had asked me in my first yoga class where I might be ten years later, I never would have thought I could be capable of landing in the places I’ve been since. Of all the lessons I’ve learned through yoga, gratitude for what the practice has given me is what keeps me coming back to my mat and is the reason I am passionate about sharing it with my community.

In love and flow,

Camille