Anatomy of Anxiety & Stess: Interview with Erin Moon

yoga for stress and anxiety

Managing stress and anxiety has become part of the mainstreamevolving conversations concerning mental health and how to observe how we feel with more conscious awareness. The pandemic and upcoming election, not to mention the onslaught of international riots for human rights, has provoked discussions around trauma and its effects on the body’s nervous system. Studies of the anatomy and neuroscience of stress illustrate the intricate communication process between the brain and body, and the profound feedback loop initiated with every breath. 

“One of the greatest interventions that we have as yoga instructors is breath technique. Breathwork (pranayama) can be both excitatory and calming, like Kapalabhati (skull shining)or Nadi Shodhana(alternate nostril). In yoga pranayama, you’re going through a whole stress cycle; you’re asking the vagus nerve to take the brake off to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, and then you’re asking it to put the brake back on to shift into the parasympathetic nervous system. With every breath, we can practice taking the brake on and off. Every time you take a breath in, it’s excitatory. Every time you take a breath out, it’s down-regulating.”  – Erin Moon. 

This week on the podcast, we sat down with Erin Moon to talk about the anatomy of anxiety, we shared the importance of meeting yourself where you’re at, polyvagal theory, and simple tactics to manage stress. We interviewed Erin in a previous podcast on the seventh chakra; Sahasrara Chakra and Collective Consciousness. Erin is a restorative yoga and anatomy teacher living in Vancouver, BC, who co-taught a portion of the 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Lila Vinyasa School of Yoga. 

Highlights from our discussion are below, or, watch or listen to the full discussion. 



Resources noted by Erin in this episode:

The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk – a book about somatic input in recovery from trauma and stress.

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Dr. Sapolsky – a book about the neurobiology of stress.


Regarding the chakras and their alignment with the endocrine system and the subtle body anatomy, which chakra do you intuit and feel most connected to?

ErinI feel the most connected to the heart chakra, Anahata. It’s the most palpable and physical physiological feedback center. It’s easier for me to connect to the heart’s awareness because that physiological center gives a lot of external and internal feedback; you can feel your heart beat faster. 

ClaraMy third chakra, the fire center of Manipura. It’s where the warrior lives, and that’s something that I’d like to work with a lot in archetypes. 

StephanieI would say the third eye because it’s where the imagination resides and how we visualize the landscapes we want to be in and bring stories to life.

What are some of the practices to deregulate?

CThe biggest thing to deregulate is to stop, drop, and roll; stop what you’re doing, come down to the ground, and roll around with your bolster or on your mat. If I were to teach a class using this method, I’d start students standing, and then we’d come down on the ground. In terms of deregulating, I begin with simple movements, just a bit of movement to get people into their bodies before restorative poses. 

Erin’s restorative yoga classes start with movement before coming down to the ground, a moving meditation to connect to the body and breath before you arrive in stillness on your mat. I feel like this is helpful in my own body, to take a moment to move and feel my body and check-in with what I need. 

In terms of restorative poses, I’d hold each pose for several minutes and focus on breathing deep. I’d offer meditation with eyes closed or open and visualization. Picturing something that’s calming like nature is soothing for me, so I’d offer a visualization meditation to complete the practice. 

EI teach with the mindset of people who come for what they want, and they stay for what they need. What someone wants may be to downregulate, but that’s not what they need at that moment, or it’s not possible due to their current state. It’s not where they’re at, so we meet people where they’re at. If I know somebody who’s dealing with quite a bit of anxiety, I’m not going to pop them into a restorative pose right away. They may need to blow through some of the anxiety first and go for a jog or do something a bit more vigorous to then down-regulate to blow off some steam before coming to a more restful state. 

Whenever we’re talking about stress and anxiety, I think the idea is that we have to be calm right away, or we’re going to be peaceful right away. I think you’ve got to meet yourself where you are and do what serves to get into a more restful state of mind and quiet. 

CI feel like it can create more stress and anxiety for a person if they’re asked or trying to become still, and they can’t do it yet, then there’s judgment and all the stuff that arises when we’re not performing the way we ‘should’ be. 

new class:

Arise and Illuminate

This vinyasa yoga class opens with a reading of a poem by John O’Donahue to ease you into the practice with a meditative prayer. A smooth and simple sequence to start your day, you’ll connect to your rhythm of breath as you cycle through several variations of Sun Salutations. A seated spinal twist to wring out the spine, inner thigh, groin, and hamstring stretching from the floor and a passive inversion with legs up the wall in Viparita Karani (dead bug pose) complete the class. 

How does anatomy affect deregulation?

EAnytime we deregulate, we work with polyvagal theory. Stephen Porges is the author of the Polyvagal Theory, whose research revolutionized our understanding of the polyvagal nerve. The polyvagal nerve is the tenth cranial nerve that starts at the brain and speaks to all parts of the body. The polyvagal nerve speaks to your voice box, heart, tummy, guts, and other places. The communication process employed is called the vagal brake; it’s literally as if you’re putting the brake on, asking your brain to speak directly to the things that need to calm down, your heart, your lungs, your belly, or whatever needs just to chillax.

The polyvagal theory essentially puts a brake on the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight mode, where we feel distressed or anxious. It can be a momentary stress event or ongoing stress event that tells your body to go into a fight or flight. Your vagus nerve puts a stop to the communication process that keeps you in fight or flight; the vagus nerve is responsible, and we can strengthen our vagal brake the same way we strengthen a muscle. Working with polyvagal break asks the vagus nerve to do its fundamental job; to put on the brake and stop fight or flight to shift the body into the parasympathetic nervous system, aka rest and digest.

Part of how we strengthen the vagal tone, which is the vagus nerve’s ability to put on the brakes really well and really fast, is through breathing techniques.

One of the greatest interventions that we have as yoga instructors is breath technique. Breathwork can be both excitatory and calming, like Kapalabhati breath or Nadi Shodhana. During pranayama, you’re going through a whole stress cycle; you’re asking the vagus nerve to take the brake off to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, and then you’re asking it to put the brake back on to shift into the parasympathetic nervous system. With every breath, we’re practicing taking the brake on and off. Every time you take a breath in, it’s excitatory. Every time you take a breath out, it’s down-regulating. 

If we train the physiology to know when we request the vagal brake to come on and off, then we’re going to have a better ability to just be in the world and react to stressors. We can respond to the events that occur, but we can come back to neutral. I think a lot of the ideas around mindfulness practices and breath practices is the idea that we’re not going to be reactive. 

What’s powerful about the polyvagal brake is that we can choose to react while being highly stimulated; we have the power to decide how we respond to a stimulus and come back to ourselves. 

CYou’re never going to stop reacting to the world and the events that occur. All we can do is observe what’s happening and work on ourselves.  

The idea of vinyasa yoga specifically is that we put the body under stress for the duration of practice. This process is kind of flexing the vagus nerve to be able to handle stress and then come back to equilibrium, over and over again, so that when we’re out in the world and stress comes our way, we can do what we need to do at that moment in terms of stress. And then, once we are safe again, we can downregulate and come back to a place of homeostasis.

What are some quick, tactile practices to alleviate stress?

CThe first one that I think about is lion’s breath. In my body, I hold a lot of tension in my face and my jaw. So I need to make a sound when I’m feeling a strong emotion like frustration. I need to be loud. So lion’s breath empowers me. 

The other thing I like to do is to shake out my hands and my body. As I shake, I imagine all the negativity leaving my body. I can’t relax if I feel that strongly; I need to literally like make some noise and move very sharply before I come to rest. 

EFirst of all, breathing in and out through your nose makes a huge difference. When we breathe in and out through our mouth, it gives very different feedback to our system. A practice I would recommend is a mantra and a mudra meditation called Sa Ta Na Ma; it’s a Kundalini technique that means, I Am At Peace. You do this meditation by taking your thumbs and touching your thumb to your index finger for Sa, middle finger for Ta, ring finger for Na, and pinky finger for Ma. Repeat this over and over again, tapping the fingertips to the thumb. 

This technique uses mantra, mudra, and breath. You can say the words out loud, or in your head, I Am At Peace. This technique features bilateral stimulation using your hands and your mouth, which means I’m using both of my hands simultaneously. Bilateral stimulation is used in EMDR, which is a part of the recovery for PTSD.

About Our Guest, Erin Moon

Erin Moon IAYT 800, ERYT 500, YACEP. She has been teaching since 2005 and teaching teachers anatomy and more since 2009. She has been a teacher in Vancouver since moving here in 2014 from NYC, where she lived for 13 years via Alberta, born and raised. Erin is the Director and co-creator of the World Spine Care Yoga Project, an international NGO bringing the practices of Yoga to people suffering from spinal and musculoskeletal disorders, pain, and limited mobility, in communities around the world. She also has her Level 2 Reiki, Level 1 Thai Massage, is a C-IAYT 800 Therapist, and has her 200hr certification in Applied Positive Psychology from The Flourishing Center. She is currently teaching intro to advanced anatomy for Lila Vinaysa, Prema Yoga Institute (NYC), and Illumina Yoga (upstate NY). Erin loves learning and knows that part of living well is growing. Whenever possible, she continues to study with PT’s, OT’s, Chiropractors, Researchers, Somatic Psychotherapists, and Neurologists and to pursue her hunger for knowledge through in-depth self-study.

Her focus in public classes is embodiment and curiosity, whether she is teaching Restorative, Yin, Hatha, or Vinyasa, practicing listening to the wisdom that our mind-body connection holds. To do this, Erin believes we must start the conversation through quieting, noticing, and contemplating. This way, we may become more somatically (felt sense of the body) aware, developing greater connections within, which then translate to greater connections in our communities and the divine in all things.

anxiety and stress

Rituals to Start the Day: Morning Yoga

morning yoga online

Starting the day with a morning practice—be it yoga, meditation, journaling, (insert activity of preference)—is a wonderful way to create and connect to a positive focus for the day. Morning practice celebrates the birth of the sun and the potential that the day holds; it provides a bit of quiet, reflective space to be with before the day’s busyness begins. As we transition into Autumn and the colder months ahead, establishing a ritual in the morning may bring a little brightness to your day, even as the sun continues to rise later and later.

This week we featured the Morning Practice Series, with classes and content that captures the beauty and benefit of rising early to do your spiritual practice. On the podcast, Clara shared some of the reasons we practice in the morning, what’s included in her morning yoga intensives, and the poses and pranayama to do earlier. 

Highlights are below, listen or watch the full discussion.

The Spiritual History of a Morning Practice

A lot of meditation, yoga, and spiritual practices generally happen between 4-6 AM. It’s said that the veil between what can be seen and what cannot be seen, so that which is divine or spiritual, the veil is very thin in the early morning. So we practice in the morning to connect to the spiritual, or the Divine.

The other reason we practice in the morning is that the events in our day do not bog us down. We’re generally more clear-headed and able to concentrate on the practice and feel the experience in a more embodied way. 

The other thing I love about practicing in the morning is when everyone else is still sleeping; the world is quiet, and we connect to that quiet time. As the sun begins to rise, it’s like we’re connecting to the day’s potential.

In terms of the Hatha Yoga tradition, we do Surya Namaskars first thing in the morning. “Surya” means sun, and “Namaskar” means the day. With Surya Namaskars, we recognize and honor the start of a new day. As the sun rises, we take Surya Namaskars to celebrate the cycle and the beginning of the day. One of my teacher friends says that the sun represents the Divine and the light and possibility in the world, but it also reflects the ball of light inside us. 

The sun is the key or seed that lives inside us that connects us to the divine and provides inspiration. 

morning yoga

new class: 

Sweet Surrender

A yin yoga class featuring six poses opens the heart and upper back, brings ease to the morning or gently unwinds the day. Each pose is supported by props, allowing the body to relax and stretch the deep connective tissues between the muscles to provide better circulation and support to the joints. Chest, shoulder, back, and side waist opening allow spaciousness around the heart to breathe with more ease. As you linger in each pose, elongate your exhales to deepen your state of calm. 

Beneficial Poses for a Morning Practice

Generally, you want to do more back bending in the morning because you’re trying to stimulate yourself to wake up, and backbends stimulate the adrenals. Backbending is very energizing, so if you do backbends in the evening, you want to be mindful of how close it is to bedtime. If you do backbends in the evening practice, add a longer cooldown to allow the body time to settle and ground. 

The other reason I include a lot of back bending in the morning is to open the shoulders and chest. Especially for those who work at desks, drive, or rock children all day, opening the chest in the morning to stretch all the muscles across the front of the chest feels excellent. 

In terms of morning pranayama practices, I would offer Kapalbhati, otherwise known as skull shining breath. Kapalbhati is very stimulating and excitatory; it generates heat, enhances circulation and digestion, and improves the function of the liver and kidneys. 

Introduction to Clara’s Morning Intensives

I’ve been teaching my morning intensives for about fourteen years. The morning intensives have changed over time, but it’s essentially a two-hour practice in the early morning, from 6-8AM, for five days. I include mantra, meditation, and the asana practice to create a well-rounded experience. I also anchor each of the intensives with a book and provide journaling questions for students to chew on post-practice. 

Leaving students with a journaling question provides the opportunity to write and reflect. It takes the practice one step deeper into the philosophical component of yoga practice. Most people come to yoga for the asana, but we (hopefully) begin to ask more significant questions as we do more yoga. The idea with the journaling questions is to get people to go beyond the physical and dig a little deeper into how they feel. Why am I here? What is divinity? How do I connect to other people? 

I love building together, and we don’t get the same progression and feedback in a drop-in studio class. The intensive is a way to drop-in to the physical practice and learn philosophy. The week’s theme builds around the book I’ve chosen, so it’s fun to discuss how each morning went and bits from the book we enjoyed and wish to discuss. 

Launching the morning intensives, I wanted to build more community; it’s an opportunity to be together and learn together and build community. 

The Four Pillars of Indian Philosophy

All Indian philosophy is based on these four aspects of life Kama, Artha, Dharma, and Moksha, to provide the basis for existing in harmony. These are an example of philosophical prompts I bring up in the morning intensives. 

Kama represents pleasure, how you find pleasure in life, and what brings you joy.
Artha is how you make money, wealth, and live in the material world.
Dharma is how you contribute to your community and what you bring to humanity, such as artwork.
Moksha is spiritual liberation, which is what we celebrate in the practice of yoga.

Clara’s Key Learnings Leading an Online YTT

I gave everybody offline homework to do, to go out into the world, and interact with nature or people. I wanted to provide less screen time to counter all the time we spent on Zoom; it’s asking a lot to be online like that all day long. I wanted to be mindful of how much screen time we were having together because we’re not sure of the long term effects of what all the screentime is doing in terms of anxiety and depression. I made the days together a lot shorter and provided more reading and interactive homework that asked students to write poems, call a friend, and dance to their favorite music. 

The biggest piece that I would give in terms of training is to be okay with the silence. Because you ask a question and sometimes it takes up to a few minutes before someone responds. I liked how there was a pause before anyone spoke, like hitting the ‘unmute’ button on Zoom made each of us think; it added an extra step before speaking. I appreciated that piece, and I would invite everyone to get comfortable with those moments of silence, the pause before the next person hits ‘unmute’ to speak. I also highly recommend using Zoom’s breakout because it allows people to talk and interact more than in the larger group. 

When we talk to each other, we’re more invested in what we’re learning; the more we talk, the more we engage within the content and connect with the concepts.  

Learn more about Clara’s 300 hour yoga teacher training OR 200 hour yoga teacher training courses.

 

Fire and Forgiveness in Your Yoga Practice

fire

Fire represents passion and dedication. In tribal communities, there was one person selected to keep the coals burning to ignite the flame. Fire is sacred, it represents our will, power, and the discipline to sustain any practice. In June, we celebrated the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and wrapped up the 30-Opportunities Virtual Yoga Challenge. We celebrated the concept of fire through our commitment to the challenge with the community we created online. 

During the virtual challenge, we connected with the community daily, in the Facebook group. We asked questions, shared highlights from the daily class, and responded to the journaling prompts provided. It was interesting to observe how practitioners adapted the class playlist for the challenge to suit their individual needs. 

Fire and forgiveness are key elements for the yoga practice. We develop the capacity to discern when we need more heat and discipline, and when we need more softening and grounding. The major task of the challenge was to be consistent in showing up for yourself, on your yoga mat, every day of the month. What the practice looked like could be flexible depending on what your body and mind desired on that particular day. Balance is essential, in yoga through developing equal parts of strength and flexibility. But more importantly, in our day-to-day lives as we define what self-care looks like and how we show up for what needs to get done in any given moment.

This week on the #PracticeWithClara podcast, we answered your questions that arose during the 30-days. Clara and I dissected specific yoga poses, discussed stability versus mobility in your body, and where to begin if you’re new to the practice. Highlights from this week’s episode are below. 

Question 1:

I’m really interested in the whole topic of this evolution in your practice. What have you come up with in terms of various postures or practices that you would not recommend that seem to be very popular or vice versa? What did your personal practice reveal about more beneficial elements and something that we could be doing more of?

clara: I don’t actually teach pigeon pose. I think I teach pigeon once every six months in a regular yoga class. I don’t teach it anymore. It’s actually not super healthy for the knees because you’re in deep flexion and external rotation at the same time.

I teach thread the needle or double pigeon or cow face because, in these poses, generally your knee doesn’t go past 90 degrees. So it’s not as deep flexion at the knee. Less is more. Those of us who are flexible are naturally going to want to go deeper because it feels good. It’s our natural range of motion. And because of this, I’ve had almost every injury in the book. If you are working with a lot of mobility, a lot of flexibility in your body, you actually want to be shortening the poses. You want to be hugging in and up, and drawing up specifically in the inner thighs and outer hips. And those of us who have a hyper range of motion in the shoulders want to go smaller in the movements in terms of the arms. This protects the shoulder girdle. Observing the flexibility versus the mobility in bodies, and what is needed, is one of the biggest learnings for me. In my own practice and as a teacher watching students.

stephanie: What advice would you give for teachers when they’re queuing to the two different bodies? 

clara: I have always had this vision that I’d like to have two different yoga classes. One for people who have stability and one for people who have mobility, because the cueing is so different.

The biggest thing is that you look around and then if you see anybody really going forward in a way that doesn’t look stable, you would go and talk to them and give them the why.

I feel like that’s very empowering for the students to know why we are asking them to do something. 

stephanie: Always give the why, so people who are listening know what cues are for them or what isn’t for them. 

clara:  Exactly. Another big learning I’ve had in my own body, as well as teaching, is in the floor series. When I first started teaching my floor series for the lunar part of class, the cool-down would be very extensive.

Classically you go through twists hip openers, forward, an inversion, and then Shavasana, in the practice. What I realized is less is more in everything in life, but specifically in the cool-down series. Now I usually only teach two to five poses in the cool down and hold them for an extended period of time. The reason being that the lunar part of class is to set people up to go into Savasana, to go into deep relaxation. And so you want to take them out of the sympathetic system into the parasympathetic system into what we call rest and digest. And so I think the most effective way of doing that is actually doing less, but holding the poses for a lot longer so that by the time they come into Savasana, they feel very, very relaxed.

stephanie: How do you compliment the body through the solar, active part of class, and the lunar, slower part of the class? Why do you counterpose? 

clara: In the style of yoga I teach, Vinyasa yoga, we generally have a peak pose, meaning a pose that we’re working towards. And everything that happens in the solar part of class, meaning the heating part of class, the warmup is to the peak pose where we open and strengthen the parts of the body that need to be prepared to do this peak pose. What happens in the lunar part of class is that whatever was strengthened, we lengthen in the solar part, in the lunar part of the class. So we counter it. So what we call a counterpose is the things that were lengthened, we then shorten. And the things that were strengthened, we release. 

Question: 2

I would be interested in going further into the journaling question from the perspective of connecting, to giving to myself, rather than it just being a routine. I really want to practice self-care in a way that is nourishing and not just surface level. 

clara: Part of the 30-day challenge is to show up regardless of how you feel and just whatever happens is what happens. The question is bringing up beautifully how there is the shadow side of something becoming a routine.

You’re not thinking about it. This makes me think of The Rig Veda, which is the oldest of the sacred texts of India. There’s one line that says something like, if you just do a mantra for the sake of doing it without any intention behind it, you might as well not do it.

And I feel like this is bringing up the question of how to do something, not just for the sake of doing it, but to have connection through it. How do I stay present when I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing?

Self-care is bringing a sacredness to the mundane. Every action could be an act of self-care, meaning caring for yourself at that moment, regardless of the action. It’s bringing awareness to yourself, and part of the awareness is setting boundaries and being mindful of what’s going on inside of you.

It’s also your intention in doing whatever it is that you’re doing. Self-care can look many different ways. It doesn’t have to be a bubble bath with a glass of wine, it doesn’t have to be a nature walk. Self-care could be lying in bed and sleeping for an extra hour or listening to music or dancing or whatever it is that takes care of yourself.

Question: 3

I’m interested in learning the processes of more traditional practices, chakras, elements, the whole vocabulary. I’m curious if there’s a standard curriculum for yoga or is it varies by type or by region or what your individual process?

clara: There is no curriculum to this practice, which I feel like can be mildly overwhelming. What I found really helpful was to ask my teachers about the books that they read. We have an amazing bookstore here in Vancouver called Banyan Books. It’s beautiful, and one of the coolest New Age bookstores I’ve ever been to in my life.

Peruse and see what speaks to you. My father, who I grew up with always said to follow your nose in terms of what interests you. And there’s no right or wrong way to learn. It’s way more beneficial to move toward the things that move you.

Question: 4

I would like to know more about chanting, how it affects the brain, where it originated, and what mantra is your favorite.

clara: Mantra is of India and the mantra specifically of Sanskrit. With Sanskrit specifically, they thought of how vibration affects the body. So that particular sound, they figured out, affects a particular part of your body. 

A lot of the mantras are almost like a prescription for a particular kind of effect in your body. And so the way that they put these particular sounds together is going to create a particular vibration, which is going to make you feel a particular way.

There was a study by Dr. Masaru Emoto on how vibration affects water. He performed a task where he put water in bottles and then he spoke to them. He sang to them, he played particular music to them. And then he took pictures of the water molecules afterward, like after eight hours or 10 hours of being exposed to the sound. There were some bottles of water that he sang to and said loving things too. and the water molecules looked like snowflakes. And then he did other ones where he cursed at them and was really angry when he spoke to them. And the water molecules looked fractured. 

Vibration really affects the way that we feel on a molecular level because there’s so much water in us. We are 70% water. From an experiential point of view, I’ve definitely had some of, most, my most transcended experiences by doing mantra.

Mantra has been around since the Vedas dating back to 2,500 BC and probably way before that. A few of my favorite mantras are the Gayatri Mantra, the Tryambakam Mantra, and the Asatoma Sadgamaya Mantra. 

Learn more about Clara’s 300 hour yoga teacher training OR 200 hour yoga teacher training courses. 

Watch the Full Talk

Tools for Empaths: Understanding How We Give & Receive

empaths

“A philosophy of life is a bundle of wisdom you have gathered from your reading and experience. It is not a rigid ideology that allows no development and complexity. It’s a living thing, a developing idea about life that belongs to you alone.”

 – Thomas Moore, Dark Nights of the Soul


A good yoga teacher is one who’s capable of reading the energy within the room and adapting the lesson to accommodate the current environment and shift its energy. Teachers, nurses, therapists, RMT’s, hair stylists, parents; these roles are alike in creating experiences that make people feel good about themselves. Whenever we come into contact with another person, we enter a tacit agreement of giving and receiving. Empaths are people who feel what others feel on a visceral level. Without the knowledge of how to set boundaries, an empath may take on someone else’s emotions.

Whenever we come into a relationship, it’s important to understand what’s ours and what isn’t, be it with a student, friend, sibling, parent, or significant other. It is important for us to learn how to clear negative energy, set healthy boundaries, and process intense emotions. Without an awareness of how we are affected by others and how we take up space, we may not recognize when we are holding onto a story or emotion that doesn’t serve or if we’re taking on energy or emotion that isn’t ours. 

This week in our discussion, Clara Roberts-Oss shared tools for empaths with methods on how to set boundaries as we learn all the ways we give and receive.

Interview with Clara on Tools for Empaths

Clara: An empath or an empathic person is someone who can feel the feelings that other people are feeling when they come into a shared space. So you walk into a room where you step into someone’s field and all of a sudden you feel like crying, or you feel a strong emotion that you realize is not yours.

Stephanie: You mentioned the different ways to purge energy if you’re an empath and if you’re picking up stuff that isn’t yours in how washing your hands or touching the ground are powerful ways to clear. Can you elaborate on some of the other methods? 

Clara: I feel like a lot of empaths go into the healing modalities because we have this automatic urge to take away or shift people’s pain. And then that’s why I find a lot of healers burn out because they don’t know how to cleanse the energy that they’re picking up. My martial arts teacher, Constantine Darling, shared a technique where you literally feel your feet on the ground and you allow the emotion to wash down into the earth because the earth, at least in the martial arts, can take every energy and transform it.

I’m very tactile so I like moving my toes and feeling the ground underneath me and then envisioning that I’m literally washing the emotion down my legs and into the earth. I also recommend washing your hands. Water is very, very healing. And the other thing you can do is you can shake. Shaking is something that animals will naturally do after a traumatic experience, they start to shake. Shanking releases the energy and moves the experience out. 

Stephanie: How do you work with energy when you’re teaching yoga?

Clara: As somebody who can walk into a room and feel what everyone is feeling, I need to stay grounded in myself. This is the work for all empaths. Feeling my feet and my physical body, or hearing my own breath, are all ways I ground and stay connected to myself. And widening my awareness to kind of feel the people around me and to recognize what is mine and what isn’t mine. And then also to be able to feel what other people are feeling without letting it shake me on a deeper level.

I got this technique from my martial arts teacher who works a lot with energy, which is why I loved him so much.

The practice is to choose a giver and receiver, and the giver essentially thinks of a shape or a color and sends it off to the receiver and the receiver tries to envision it. In this practice, we play with different ways of sending the image through your mind’s eye or sending the image through your heart or imagining it’s moving through your hands.

I did a lot of that kind of work for a couple of years with him. I feel like that really helped me understand what is mine and what isn’t mine. I feel like therapy really does that too.

Therapies have been a big one and self-reflective practices like meditation helped me understand how I give and receive, but it was mostly the martial arts work that I did.

We’re constantly giving and receiving, knowingly and unknowingly. Every time you come into interaction with somebody else or you come into interaction with an environment, we give and receive. And so there’s no way around it One thing that was cool about this exercise with my martial arts teacher is to recognize: am I a stronger giver or a stronger receiver? Meaning, when I come into the room, do I take up space? Do people know how I’m feeling? When I walk into the room, can I feel what everybody else is feeling? It’s an important one to understand because it also helps you get clear around your boundaries.

Stephanie: What can you say about setting boundaries? 

Clara: The biggest work is how to come back. The important part is how quickly we’re able to come back to neutral and how quickly we can forgive and let things go. This for me has been a very big lesson in my own boundary work.

People love to hold the hot coal. The coal is the anger or the conflict. And that’s a choice, to hold the coal. The coal is the story that you tell yourself, that you’re unwilling to put down. We have the choice to put the coal down whenever we want, but we keep holding onto it until all of a sudden we’re burning and we are the ones in pain. So the practice is, how quickly can I put the coal down? I feel like, at least for me, that a lot of my boundary work is to let the story go, to put down the coal, and let it go. And now in this moment, forgive myself, forgive the person across from me and ask: how do we move forward?

Stephanie: So non-attachment, to the story, conflict, or emotion. 

Clara: The other part that’s also important, and I’m also working on for myself, is transparency. Just being fully transparent in sharing with others whatever it is that I’m feeling. Giving and receiving is such a fascinating one, it’s this interaction, this play between you and whatever it is outside of you.

“During the dark night, there is no choice but to surrender control, give in to unknowing, and stop and listen to whatever signals of wisdom might come along. It’s a time of enforced retreat and perhaps unwilling withdrawal. The dark night is more than a learning experience; it’s a profound initiation into a realm that nothing in the culture, so preoccupied with external concerns and material success, prepares you for.” – Thomas Moore. Dark Night of the Soul

Clara: The dark night is when we are in something intense and when we are in shadow. When we’re in a place that is uncomfortable and unknown. 

Stephanie: Thomas Moore is celebrating the idea of being in our sadness to learn more about ourselves instead of calling it sadness. And allowing yourself to be in that experience.

Clara: As long as you have the tools. I feel like the problem that happens for a lot of people and why we shy away from those strong emotions is we haven’t ever given them the space to be fully expressed. So anger is a great indicator that there’s something stronger going on. It’s usually covering a deeper emotion, like sadness or grief. Anger shows up because anger allows us to stay in control.

Anger is one of my favorites because I love being in control. And so it’s a wonderful indicator for me. We’re not in control. Anger is in control, We have to be vulnerable in order for all of the emotions to be felt.

And that’s generally a lot harder for somebody who loves control. 

Stephanie: What are some of the things that you do to you move through your anger or acknowledge your sadness?

Clara: The biggest thing that I need I do for myself is to step away. I need to step out of the situation, whatever that situation is. I need space to soften, to let go and breathe, and ideally be quiet. And then I start to kind of chew on what’s really going on or what is it about the other person that really triggered me?

Generally, I find if something triggers me, there’s something there for me to learn. Reflection is key.

I write it out through journaling or the other way I process and reflect is I speak it out, either with my therapist or with a close friend. Another way would be through meditation or through movement itself. But I find these days, I prefer just sitting and kind of observing and asking, why am I affected by this? 

Watch Our Talk On Empaths

Or listen to the podcast on Spotify. 

Grounding in Something Greater Than Ourselves

It’s something that’s innate in the human race through the process of questioning and asking, and trying to seek something that is larger outside of ourselves, which to me is the coolest thing ever.

– Clara Roberts-Oss


Developing a grounding practice to come back into alignment with yourself may be initiated through a Sadhana. A Sadhana is a daily spiritual practice that brings you back into a sacred connection within. It’s the practice of introspection. It’s the practice of seeking to come into contact with the Divine.

Clara launched a 30-Opportunities Virtual Yoga Challenge on June 1st to create a space for the introspection through a daily yoga practice complete with journaling prompts and guided meditations. The objective for participants was to get grounded and see what shifts when one commits themselves fully to a sole intention. You can read the stories, see photos, and get news on similar events by joining the community Facebook Group

In our weekly discussion, Clara shared how she stayed grounded in labor with her daughter, Karmen, what she hopes to pass on to her next generation, why grounding is important- especially in the summer months- and how to greet the shadow aspects of ourselves when we push through obstacles that block our path. 

Below are the highlights from our talk, you can watch on Youtube, or listen on Spotify.

Class of the Week for Grounding

Grounded

Grounded

A class to ground and embody the Earth element, join Clara and the Students of Lila Vinyasa Yoga for an all-levels class to open the hips. A Hatha class that gently flows through a variety of balancing poses, this sequence encourages you to feel the strength and stability in your legs. The Earth has a dense, grounding quality that you’ll open to receive as you move and breathe.
 
 

Interview on Grounding with Clara

Stephanie: We’re really excited to talk about something we launched a week ago, the 30-Opportunities Yoga Challenge that came out on June 1st. What’s really cool about this practice is the emphasis on community balanced with the emphasis on introspection. It really asks you to honor your own experience. Clara,  what is it that you want people to take away at the end of this process? 

Clara: The biggest takeaway I wanted people to have coming out of the 30-Opportunities Challenge is to reignite the power of dedication, the power of daily practice, and that doesn’t necessarily need to be showing up to the mat. It could be a meditation cushion. It could be quite simply your intention for the day, but the key behind it is having intention in doing something. For the purpose of connecting to yourself or something greater than you, depending upon whether or not you believe in the divine or God. 

Stephanie: What is a yoga Sadhana and why would one explore such a concept? 

Clara: People who do Sadhanas are actually known as Sadhus and are people who take up any kind of spiritual practice. Another word that people would use is Sannyasa, which is like a renunciate, and they’re the ones who would only practice and have let go of their worldly life. A Sadhana for those of us who are householders is a daily practice that we incorporate into our regular life. 

Stephanie: What’s the point of doing something like that, a Sadhana or daily practice? 

Clara: The idea of the practice is different in the fact that it asks you to get grounded by connecting to our own divinity or our own selves. Then when we go through the rest of our day doing regular tasks, we do it hopefully with more intention and more presence.

And so we moved from that space within which a generally more grounded, more centered, less reactive, more responsive space. 

Stephanie: Talk a little bit about the class this week centered on the theme of getting grounded. 

Clara: It’s an Earth-themed class, so we stayed super low to the ground, not moving very quickly. We chose to release this class at this time of year because we’re moving in towards summer and at least in the northern hemisphere, we have a lot more heat. There’s a lot more going on. People are outside more. So there’s a lot more fire. A grounding class is a great way to balance the fire with earth or water. And so this style of practice brings us back down to ourselves. Move slowly, not too complicated, more introspective.

Stephanie: What is the relevance in grounding and understanding the roots of yoga practice? 

Clara: One of my favorite quotes is, ‘In order to move forward, you need to know what came before’. To understand not only your blood lineage but also the lineage of whatever practices you’re doing, knowing where it came from and how it came to really allow you to move forward with more honor. You’re respecting the path that you’re walking and all those who paved it before you.

Stephanie: Would you also say that in understanding our history, we create more space to heal? 

Clara: Kind of building on that and then riffing off of it in a different context, is that I think that there have always been seekers. In all traditions all over the world, which I think is one of the coolest parts about all this, in that we’ve been asking the bigger questions for centuries upon centuries upon centuries. So even outside of the lineage of yoga, there’s been seeking in looking and feeling for the divine. It’s something that’s innate in the human race through the process of questioning and asking, and trying to seek something that is larger outside of ourselves, which to me is the coolest thing ever.

Stephanie: Have you thought about any of the things that your parents, teachers, or traditions have imparted on you that you want to give to your family- to Karmen? 

Clara: The biggest thing I want to give Karmen is freedom. I remember meeting a friend for the first time, who was like, ‘Wow, you were really loved when you were young for who you are’. And I was in the fact that I was really encouraged to be the person that I was without any apologies around it.

Stephanie: Why did she say that to you? 

Clara: Just the confidence that I have. She was like, ‘I can tell you were really supported when you were young’. And that’s the biggest thing that I want [for Karmen]. I was given that from my parents. One of the things that my dad told me recently is that before the age of five he actually didn’t teach me manners. He felt that we spend our whole life having to do things like say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’, and all that. And that there’s only a very short window to be a child and to be free. He wanted to put as little constriction as needed. He allowed me to roam free. And I think that that was one of the greatest gifts I was given as a child. 

Stephanie: What can you say about grounding in terms of persevering and enduring moments where you can’t escape? Perhaps speak to when you gave birth to Karmen.

Clara: It was really cool being in labor because I’ve been in three birthing rooms as support. I’ve seen women give birth, and that’s an amazing thing to witness. I was really excited to kind of see what the other side looked like, what it was to give, to give birth. What happens is you go into an altered state, literally through the hormones and everything, so you’re in and out of yourself. Grounding is not the right word, but you’re forced to be very present. And the other thing that forces you to be very present as this very intense sensation known as contractions. I imagined that every time the contraction came, I would literally dive into it, like you dive into a pool of water, and kind of breathe into it. And there were times when I felt like I was deep in the earth and there are other times where I felt like I was in the water.

The biggest thing to do is to actually not do anything to allow it to happen to you. And so you’re just on the ride without trying to change it or fix it or do anything about it. It’s almost like someone’s pulling you and taking you on this ride.

Stephanie: So you’re receiving the experience. You’re not resisting?

Clara: No you’re receiving. You have to surrender. I felt like my midwife actually even said it right when she said, ‘At a very intense point in the labor is preparing you for Parenthood because Parenthood is the confidence to surrender’.

I feel like all practices are constant surrender. So surrendering to the sensation, surrendering to what’s happening, trying not to fight it. When you fight it, your body literally contracts. So you need to relax into it, to soften into it. 

Stephanie: So would you say then that a big part of grounding is surrender?

Clara: I think it depends on your relationship to the Earth. My relationship to the Earth as somebody who has a lot of air and fire, means I have a lot of movement. A lot of the time I need to surrender to come down and to come back to Earth. 

Stephanie: Earth is associated with being dense, heavy, stable, grounding, and dark. Tell me more about honoring the darkness in the practice- why someone would want to explore the darkness or the shadow. 

Clara: I think the biggest part of the shadow is that we push away from it because we’re uncomfortable with it or we’re ashamed of it. Or we have guilt around it, we want to hide from it or hide it from other people when it is us. There cannot be darkness without light or lightness without dark.

They both live inside of each other. And there’s so much to learn. This makes me think of one of my favorite authors, Rob Brezsny, who uses astrology really is a medium for his writing. He wrote a great book called Pronoia and in it, he has something called the Shadow School. The Shadow School is all about witnessing intense or negative emotions that arise, and using it as an opportunity to learn. To learn more about ourselves, to kind of dig into the fertile ground, the dark earth and the parts of ourselves that we’re not necessarily proud of. 

Stephanie: And that’s something that will come up perhaps in the 30-Opportunities Challenge, in the sense that when you stay with something for a prolonged period and keep meeting yourself, maybe you get into the shadow element that you mentioned.

Clara: Yeah. Especially when your body gets tired or you’re not feeling good that day. When there’s resistance, there’s always an interesting opportunity to grow.

Community is My Dharma: Joining the Circle

The urgency for global recognition in coming together to create a future for inclusivity, respect, and justice peaked this month with the civil rights suit against Minnesota police after the death of George Floyd. History has demonstrated the capacity for global change when we form a collective and amass our voices to reveal, retaliate, or resolve issues of the past. Sharing stories and receiving contrasting opinions and ideals not only educates and provides a rich foundation to evolve the present, the sharing of stories unites us globally as a humanity. Joining a community is a powerful way to learn more about other cultures and communities, and how to integrate with more awareness and compassion. Community provides a space for support through the simple act of being received by others for who and what we believe. When we come together, we widen the circle and welcome the multifaceted experience of what it means to be human. 

This week on the #PracticeWithClara Podcast, Clara and I discussed the power of community, our teachers and all those who’ve guided through challenge and inspiration, how inclusivity inspires individual growth and building relationships online spaces. Below are some of the paraphrased highlights from our talk. 

Community is My Dharma: Interview with Clara

Clara: I find that with adversaries or people who challenge us in our lives, what is reflected back to us is where we are lacking or a part of ourselves that we don’t like. Some of the greatest teachers are the people who challenge us because they’re the ones who literally reflect back to us where we lack. I find it really inspiring and important to work with people that you wouldn’t necessarily work with. 

Stephanie: There’s a huge capacity to learn and evolve when you come up against people who don’t share the same political or environmental views. 

Clara: And along with that, I feel like this was especially relevant at the beginning of COVID, is this idea of, “can I also surround myself with people that I don’t necessarily have the same opinion as? Can I respect their opinion as well as hold my own?” And I find that the further you go down your own spiritual path, you discover how you become a bit more dogmatic. I’ve had this in myself where I was like, “Wow. Well, if you’re not doing X, Y, and Z, then you’re not a good person”. Or you’re not walking down the ‘right’ spiritual path. So I find that at least for myself, I like and want to have people in my life who’ve challenged me in some way. So that I might have a conversation with a Trump supporter and recognize them as a full human and not as somebody who is less than myself.

I feel like being part of a larger community is to love and respect people who don’t necessarily hold the same values as you.

Stephanie: Last week you said that community is your Dharma, what is your definition of community and how did you know that this is what you wanted to do? 

Clara: Dharma has a couple of different meanings but in the context of what we’re talking about here, Dharma is your life purpose. Dharma asks how you contribute to your community. So it’s not necessarily the way that you make money, but it’s the way that you’re contributing to the greater good. You know that you’re doing your Dharma when it lights you up. And I find that for me, bringing people together has always been what lights me up. And I generally love bringing people together that necessarily wouldn’t come together. Because again, as I said earlier, we can learn so much from each other, especially, with people who aren’t necessarily as similar to us as our inner circle of people. 

From a young age, I used to throw parties or get-togethers and I would invite everybody I knew. To come to these parties you would be talking to people who were in film or dance or yoga. And I found that mixing those people together always made for an interesting party. And then that kind of builds on leading retreats and training in the yoga community. The people who come to [my retreats] are usually a hodgepodge of people. It’s a very, very mixed bag, which again, I love it because we have so much to learn from each other.

My Dharma is to bring people together, to hopefully create conversation, and or to have a strong intention.Our intentions might be very similar, but the way that we go about it may be very different. And that’s how we can learn from each other.

Stephanie: There’s a shift when the teacher accepts everyone, for where they are, and who they are, and there’s no judgment or the trying to mold any person into what the teacher may perceive to be ‘right’. 

Clara: Yes. And there’s space for the individual within the collective. Sometimes, what I find can happen within the collective is we get a crowd mentality where we think that if one person does it ‘this way’, the leader or whoever, then we all need to do it this way. I want to ask: Can we be an individual within the collective

When we sit in a circle we all step in as individuals to create a collective, but we’re still individuals within that. In this process you might ask: How are we contributing to the group? How are we feeding the group? And that’s why I feel like so many of my teachers were not necessarily teachers in that they didn’t have the role of teacher, but they taught me so much in their own individual way. 

Stephanie: Yoga has shifted more-so to the virtual realm- how has this made an impact on how you bring people together?

Clara: Collaboration is way more interesting to me than a monologue. So a dialogue is way more interesting than a monologue as a teacher. As a student, we all have something very interesting to offer to the group versus just the one person. And yes, the one person who’s standing at the front of the classroom has more knowledge than the other people. Let’s assume that’s why they’re teaching whatever it is they’re teaching. But I find that we are a lot more engaged as students, myself included, if we are asked questions, And if through the questions, we figure out the answer.
My father was really big on that as a kid, I feel like I never really got a straight answer from him. It was a lot of, well, what do you think? And if you’ve ever been in training with me, that’s one of, usually one of the answers. If you are one of the questions I always give right back to the student, when they ask me a question, I say, well, what do you think?

The more that you figure it out by yourself, the more embodied and powerful the answer is versus it just being given to you

Stephanie: How is the lack of physical space affecting the definition of community for you outside of the yoga practice? 

Clara: I think the biggest takeaway I found from COVID or this time, this challenging time that we’re having is, or the gift of it, is that we need to shift. We need to shift the way that we’ve been together because a lot of people are saying it’s never going to be the same. And that’s a really interesting idea.

It’s something I’ve been sitting with for the last couple of days. I’ve never thought about whether or not it’s safe to hug somebody. I would just hug them if I wanted to. I haven’t necessarily thought about it, and now I’m thinking about it all the time.

And I think we will think about it for a long time. 

I’ve been chatting with a couple of my yoga teacher friends, like when the studios open up again, and we’re wondering if we will be physically adjusting people? And what that will look like. And also as teachers, how do we feel in terms of the safety of ourselves and the safety of our students? And I wonder whether or not people will not come back and online is where people are going to go. And so if that’s the case, are we going to shift the way that we are online or is it working right now? I feel like there’s a lot. There’s a lot of open end questions I’m sitting with right now. And I definitely don’t know the answer to them because we’re still figuring it out.

Stephanie: What are the ways you’re creating an online community, Clara, to bring people together and make them feel seen and heard? 

Clara: Well, one of the biggest ways that we did it was through this podcast and the Instagram Live sessions. And the reason why is to stay connected to the community, even in our own homes. And then the other way was through the #PracticeWithClara Facebook Group as a way for us to share with each other because who knows how long this is going to be for…. So might as well hang out with the like-minded community people online. 


Watch the full talk below or listen on Spotify.

The Creative Spark: Exploring the Second Chakra

Personal and professional development requires an investigation of the ways we think, feel, act, and respond to the environment. As we move through our lives and come into contact with others, we’re constantly tasked with co-creating the world around us, optimistically fostering spaces for inclusivity that are supportive of everyone’s experience and approach. The second chakra, known as svadhisthana in Sanskrit, is where we discover our capacity to create, develop our response to change, and soften to receive others. I sat down with Clara to discuss the tools to develop and foster creativity and how collaboration with others is essential to innovation and creative expression. Below are the paraphrased highlights from the interview.

The Creative Spark: An Interview with Clara

Stephanie: Clara, what types of activities did your parents expose you to as a kid? What kind of environment did you grow up in that fostered your idea of creativity? 

Clara: There’s a lot of play. When I was growing up with my father, we played in all kinds of ways. We played outside, we played inside; my father was a photographer, so there was a lot of art on the walls and a lot of looking at art. And then my dad would ask questions like, “what do you see? What’s happening here? What do you think the relationship is between the colors and the shapes?” So there was a lot of breaking down visual art as well as enjoying it. And then the other part that both my parents were really big on, was music. So there was always a ton of music being played in the house. I feel like both my parents are artists in their own right. My mother was a writer and my father’s a photographer, but also had a deep appreciation from literature as well as music. 

Stephanie: One of the themes for the second chakra is the partnering, the coming together with another entity that creates and stimulates change. How has that process been revealed to you in how you create? 

Clara: The trip that we go on as a community through the yoga practice is a collaboration. This practice, for me at least, is one that is healing because regular life kind of brings a heaviness or a dampness or stagnation or hardness, at least in my experience. And so what I seek in my own practice is this idea of expansion, this idea of letting go, and this idea of realigning.

My intention whenever I’m teaching is for people to reconnect to themselves, to remember their own truth and to embody their truth.

As a teacher, I’m trying to do the same thing. So I want to give a little bit of distraction and things like this in terms of different kinds of movement, to get people to move out of their distraction and to come into alignment, meaning they have to listen to me because they have no idea where I’m going and I want them to do.

I find that you learn new things when you are doing different things than you’re used to. And I want people to feel good about who they are because we are divine beings and we’ve just forgotten. And so the practice is about coming back and remembering that we’re awesome. All of us are awesome, in our own way, shape, and form. 

Stephanie: What parts of the body, poses, and elements would you bring into a class centred on the second chakra? 

ClaraSecond chakra I usually go one of two ways. The first way I go is with the water element, which I talked about in our meditation practice and my teacher, Shiva Rea is really big on the water element. I feel like I feel mostly like water. And so when I move like water, I feel like I’m arriving back at home. So with the second chakra, one way that I do it would be called go with the flow. Constant movement and the strength in movement and the healing quality of fluidity and how important that is. When I’m working with the idea of water, I don’t generally have a peak pose. It’s more about transitions. I would ask: “how can I transition into the next part, the next chapter, the next aspect, the next minute with more ease, with more fluidity, with more grace?”. 

The other well realm that I’d go into, which we’re talking about today, is creativity and, and this idea of creation of making something.Our creative juices literally live in our sacral area. Semen lives there. Our ovaries lived there. That’s literally how we bring physical beings into the world. And so connecting to that creative fire, we call that Kundalini energy or Shakti, the creative force. And so we’re connecting to the possibility or potential.

Stephanie: What is unique about Practice With Clara? What did you feel was lacking in the yoga community that encouraged you to launch your own platform and apps? 

Clara: I have such a deep passion for mantra and for bringing more of a creative element where it’s not just the Asana, which I love, but I also wanted to bring in other parts of the yoga practice. And there just wasn’t space for that on that platform [Gaia], which I totally understand. They were looking for something very specific, but I wanted to do more. I want to be able to share stories and have different things on the platform.

So we have the mantra, the meditation, but I’m going to bring in some philosophy. We’re going to bring in little short courses on the chakras and the philosophical values.

That’s what makes me most excited. And that’s why I wanted to create the Practice With Clara Apps and Site. 

Stephanie: So it sounds like a big piece of your creative process is teaching, passing it on, so to speak. Can you share a little bit about why the element of teaching inspires and is so deeply ingrained in you. 

Clara: My father and I talked a lot. My parents are talkers. We talked everything out. And so that’s my, that is actually a large part of my creative process and, or my self inquiry process is I usually talk it out with somebody, and for a long time it was with my father. My greatest practice in terms of understanding philosophy is actually teaching it. And you know, they always say that if you want to understand something, teach it. And I find that through teaching it, I’ve learned so much. By asking the questions to other people.

And that’s again where the collaboration comes in; in the teaching and asking questions.

The first kind of piece of philosophy that I ever dove into is the Bhagavad Gita. One of my favorite books is this wonderful story. I definitely went through a period when I first started teaching and where I’m like, who am I to teach this?

I’m not a philosophy major. I studied philosophy in school, but not to the extent where I have a master’s or anything. But by going into it and asking people questions about it and for us to dive into the themes around it together, I learned so much, and this is why I love teaching. Because I learned so much. And so in that way, we are all artists because I feel like some people think, Oh, I’m not an artist

I think we’re all artists, like we create in our own way. And even just thinking is a form of creation and artistry. Through yoga and through being in Sangha and grouping together, we create, we co-create something together, which is so, so cool.

Stephanie: What is a practice that you can recommend that someone can sit down and set up like a morning ritual and tap into their own creative process?

Clara: I’m going to offer three different variations because I find that we’re all so different, so hopefully one of these three options will speak to you.

  • The first one is the morning pages: as soon as you wake up in the morning, you pull out pen and paper and you write three pages without thinking about it and it’s stream of consciousness. And you literally just write until the three pages are up and you try not to judge it or think about it. It’s kind of a way of connecting to the realm of the mind that is not analytical, but the part of you that is creative.
  • The second one I would recommend is to turn on your stereo, hit play without really thinking about it and whatever song comes on, you dance to it. And to the best of your ability, don’t overthink it. Be in your pajamas. Hopefully you didn’t even brush your teeth. That’s another way to literally get into the creative flow and to connect to the body. So especially if you live in your mind, that would be one that I would recommend. 
  • The third one that I would recommend is to pull out your meditation cushion and to sit down on it. Put your hands like we did at the beginning of this podcast to the lower abdomen and quite simply breathe into that area. It takes three hums and then quite simply sit with yourself for 10 minutes without doing anything. And so that’s another way to create and connect to your creativity. 
Listen to on the full talk on the #PracticeWithClara Podcast or the Practice with Clara Site.

Yoga Classes for Creativity

Creative Flow

Creative Flow

Dynamic, fluid, and fun, this creative flow vinyasa class focuses on the energy of Svadhisthana, the second chakra. Svadhisthana is associated with water and creativity. Focusing on this area we develop our self-expression and capacity to relate to others and the world around us. This creative flow sequence develops hip opening and challenges one’s flexibility. 

With Ease

This intermediate slow flow practice focuses on the second chakra and pelvis. There’s a bit of fire peppered through the practice with an arm balance in bakasana (crow pose) and backbending with ustrasana (camel pose). 

This class is great for those who have been sitting for long periods of time

With Ease