Long ago before Lululemon was the norm in class, there was a dude named Paulie Zink who taught Taoist Yoga.  He was also a master of martial arts and used his yoga practice as the base/foundation for his training. He would start with supine poses which he held for 5-10 minutes. Two hours later, Paulie would begin the Yang portion of his training. At this point in time, Taoist Yoga is what we know as Yin yoga today.  However, not in its entirety. Only the part dealing with Yin principles.

Taoist Yoga | Father of Yin Yoga

Paul Grilley is the most well-known teacher in the Yin style.  He met Paulie Zink in 1989 and trained with him for one year.

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Your Ego is not Your Amigo!

“Ego is an imposter, imposing on the real you, making you think you are something that you’re not.” – Oprah

On the bathroom walls of Forward-Fold where I teach and film my online classes, reads: “Your ego is not your amigo.”  

I have no idea what student wrote this on the wall as when the studio opened, the owner Matt, allowed peeps to write whatever they wanted.  I often use this phrase in class and life.  The ego is an imposter and a real son-of- a-bitch.  It will haunt us forever so we better teach it its place and build a better relationship with it.  

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Last week in my classes, the ongoing theme was knowing your WHY.

Why we do what we do? Why do we choose the city we live in? A particular career? Our friends? Our life partners?

It all started with me trying to decide if I wanted to lead a Fall 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. I kept searching and asking myself why, as this training is a huge task and I just couldn’t come up with enough answers to excite me.

I tend to always need to know the WHY of my choices. At the same time, I was very disappointed in the actions of a friend and I kept asking myself, is this friendship worth fighting for? Why would I choose to fight for this?

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Memorial Day weekend 2017, I had the privilege of teaching at lightninginabottle.org

 

Think Burning Man with fewer drugs and more conscious awareness. I remember, before going, reading a quote about imagination. It was something along the lines of, 

“Your imagination is yours and yours alone. With it, you can create your masterpiece or you can create your hell.”

We are all born with so much potential and believe we can create anything but, somewhere along the way, life beats that out of us. Being at Lib was truly like seeing someone’s imagination come to life. The immaculate detail that went into creating this magic world helped uplift people, reignite passion and drive, and pretty much put a smile on everyone’s face. It was truly a Disneyland for adults where you just found your tribe. From spiritual talks to yoga, to house music, to Meditation Lookout Point, to shaman talks, Lib had it all.

 

Walking around, I just kept thinking about the amount of detail and hard work that went into creating something like this. I became curious about the people who came up with this idea. I have heard that this festival started out several years back with 500 people and now it’s around 20,000!

 

Think about how many times people must have told the creators that they were crazy for attempting this. That they were wasting their time and money. Yet their drive and dream took priority over their fears and they conquered.

We can all choose to starve our fears and feed our dreams. We can all choose to create a masterpiece with our imagination. But imagination is nothing without drive. It is nothing without action. So get going. Life waits for no one.

 

Will you choose to feed your dreams or your fears? Let me know in the comments!

 

On my flight back from Norway, I watched Doctor Strange for the third time. Every time I watch this film, something new sticks out for me.

Mordo: “I wanted the power to defeat my enemies and you gave me the power to defeat my demons.”
The Ancient One: “We never lose our demons, Mordo. We only learn to live above them.”
(Doctor Strange. Dir. Scott Derrickson. Marvel Studios, 2016. Film.)

For those of you who don’t know my story, watch “Not So Namaste” on my site and you will get a glimpse into my upbringing. I have a lot of demons and I would be foolish to think they will simply go away, but I will be damned if I allow them to run my life. As I’ve started my journey with plant medicine, and combine that with my ongoing yoga practice, I feel like I have enough tools to battle them.

The biggest tool is awareness. Awareness gives me the ability to pause and reflect instead of going straight to reacting. It gives me the gift to live out of intent more and more, and not simply out of habit. I am able to notice when I’m anxious and in my head, and to choose my breath.

This gives me the power to choose, the power to trust my path instead of my fears, the power to choose me.

The longer we live, the more we realize life is not simply black and white. We collect a lot of baggage along the way but the power to choose yourself over your demons is always there.

Identify your demons. Get to know them. Give them a good kick in the ass and send them on their merry way.

Choose YOU instead. Over and over, rise up above your demons and choose you.

Believe you’re worth it.

XO Ella