When Yoga Doesn’t Work…

When Yoga Doesn’t Work…

This week has been a little tough.  There are many deadlines to meet for an upcoming yoga conference, the studio and classes and clients to serve, and a first-in-our-history retreat to finish planning and begin promoting.  Also, it’s been a week of injury for me as well, which leaves me feeling tired, in pain, frustrated, and sad that my regular activities are on hold till I heal.  (I’m kind of used to this by now, it’s chronic arthritis that flares up from time to time, especially seasonally.)

My go-to way of coping with weeks like this is to deny, deny, deny that anything is hard.  I’m trying to “use” my yoga tools—-detachment, gratitude, smile, breathe, stretching gently, etc.  None of them are really working at all to make me feel any better.

So, I’m here to say that yoga does not always work to fix life or to transcend challenges or rise above circumstance.  Sometimes it really does do all those things.  Just not all at once and not this week.

I’m sitting here right now writing and struggling (again) to admit that I cannot do everything and sometimes I need help.  I hate that I’m beginning to come around to the thought that maybe I need these weeks to remind me of those facts.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles on Facebook today about people who have problems that are way worse than mine—-even a very good one about Keanu Reeves and all the heaps and tons of loss he has suffered in his 50 years.  More than anyone deserves to experience, for sure.  Even THAT does not make me feel any better about my current place.

I think, then, the only thing to do is allow and admit that I struggle too—that I am struggling now, right this minute, and yet I am okay.  I will struggle for as long as I do and then life will move through a new rhythm and it will be my turn to not struggle for awhile.

I don’t write this article to garner sympathy or have a pity party– rather to serve as an example that it is okay to be in the group of “other people who have problems”  once in a while and sit there for as long as you need to.

It’s nice sometimes, just to let others into your struggle.  I can’t think of anything specifically that I need (other than for my back to stop hurting—but I have a great chiropractor) right now…maybe just company.  So, Wobblers, keep me company while I sit here in the soup.  What is going on with all of you this week?  What is your high?  What is your low?  What are you doing this weekend?

Be well and tell those who keep you company through the struggles AND the triumphs how much you appreciate them.

Oh, and here is a link to a lion and a tiger keeping each other company.  This video actually DOES make me feel a bit better.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9je3P-_NmU


A completely shameless plug!

A completely shameless plug!

Hi, Wobblers.  I’m terribly excited about this Saturday, so I’m going to talk about it in my blog—because it’s mine and I can.

This Saturday, we are going to hang out in the studio for a couple of hours and talk about bodies.  Their shape, their size, their abilities, or lack thereof.  Our feelings—good and bad—about them.

We are going to talk about “perfection” and what that word means to us and how we frame our bodies around that word.

We are going to get educated on exactly what it takes to maintain certain ranges of body fat, and how much work it takes to feel and appear fit.

We are going to be making some personal decisions—-about what healthy looks and feels like–for each of us.  About what kind of nutrition makes us feel nourished, supported, entertained, and satisfied.  About how, when, and where we move our bodies—what our limits are and how to expand them—both in our minds and limbs.  AND WE ARE GOING TO BE COMPLETELY OKAY WITH OUR CHOICES.

Okay, and because it’s a yoga studio, we are also going to do some yoga.  (Of course!)  Finally, we are going to sample some snacks too, so you get to be a voice in deciding the products our studio may offer to it’s students and members in the coming months.  We exist because of you, so why wouldn’t we want to know what you think about our decisions?

So, if you want to join our body party, we still have a few slots left.   Register here on this link:  http://www.embracethewobble.com/education-workshops

This could be the first step to your BEST self.  Or maybe it’s your 99th step.  Either way, we want you on the mat.  Plus, several very cool people have already signed up, and you don’t want to waste a chance to be one of the cool kids, do ya?  I didn’t think so.

Take care, Wobblers.  Say nice things to yourself, and we’ll see you Saturday.


Why You Should Get The Hell Out of Dodge

Why You Should Get The Hell Out of Dodge

I’d really love to book a flight every quarter to Bali, or Tahiti, or even Florida for a week or two of blissful sunshine, luxury accommodations, and gourmet whole food prepared by the best chefs in the industry.  I’ve been to the beach before (when it was within driving distance to my house) and I fully believe that breaks like the one described above are absolutely essential to our health and well-being.

Trips like the one I described help us to de-stress, renew, fill our “cups”, and heal all of our cumulative little hurts—-the physical, spiritual, and emotional pains we endure on a daily basis.

Though someday I fully believe I will have the financial means to travel the world with my family and vacation for weeks or months on end, today I live in the real world.

Thankfully, in this real world, a retreat space exists to provide all of the benefits I just talked about, and it’s RIGHT HERE just outside of Minneapolis.  Can you believe that?!

Ladies and gentleman, I give you……….Dancing Yarrow Farm, and Dennis and Melanie, the Experts-in-Everything owners.

These people are amazing.  And their land is amazing.  And you really should just drop everything and go there.  With or without your kids—either scenario works great.

Melanie and Dennis have created a full-service, farm-to-table retreat experience complete with a running river, sauna, hiking, and Frisbee golf for those who prefer a mainstream family getaway.  For those open to a little deeper dive down the rabbit hole, Dennis provides herbalist healing, dietary consulting, and will readily share his wealth of knowledge on energized mineralization of his soil and the evolution of his journey to complete sustainable living.  It’s fascinating.   Plus, they live in this really cool dome house that is a study in energy efficiency and creative space design.

Our meals (dinner and breakfast) were a rainbow of seasonal color and flavor, despite it being not-quite-spring.  We enjoyed a local chicken, roasted to perfection by Melanie’s capable hands, fresh beets, green beans,  and potatoes.   Dessert was a German-inspired raspberry crumbly cake, finished with a coffee-esque drink called Dandy-blend, made from dandelions and other cool stuff.  I won’t even mention the TWO kinds of pancakes and egg-quinoa-vegetable casserole deliciousness we enjoyed for breakfast the following morning.

Wobblers, THIS is a retreat for real people.  You can chill out or fill your plate with activity.  You can totally unplug.  You can work (they love help on the farm, and reward you with food for different levels of work commitment during the growing season) or play, learn, sweat and swim, or even kayak on the Buffalo river.

Stay tuned, Wobble Tribe, because plans are in the works for a Wobble Yoga retreat at Dancing Yarrow in the Fall.  Meanwhile, take yourself, your spouse, and/or your kids out there for some summer camping to get a taste.  You won’t want to leave.  Find them at http://www.farmstayus.com/farm/Wisconsin/Farm_to_Fork_Retreat_at_Dancing_Yarrow.  Tell them Embrace The Wobble Yoga wishes we were there!

Even though the pics below were taken on a cold, wet, March day, there is still so much beauty and we left feeling warm, full, and renewed!  Melanie and Dennis are featured in the second pic.


dennis and melanie

dancing yarrow farm

Resolution Refresh!

Resolution Refresh!

‘Afternoon, Tribe.   I’ve been hearing lately from many people they are in a slump.  This is pretty common up here in the land of the Vitamin D deficiency.  March is tough month.  It’s spring one minute, and winter the next.  Seems like people are getting one last cold virus just because they can.  We can’t plant anything or break out the barbeque just yet, but also cannot skate, ski, or snowboard.  Best of all, shoveling is still required some days!

Oi.  Slumpity-slump-slump.

So, my best advice is pretty short and simple—kick yourself in the butt to do one healthy thing each day.

  1. Move your body (meet us on the mat—-it is an instant mood-lifter, promise!)
  2. Take a nap.
  3. Eat a salad with lots of greens (they are just coming into season now……)
  4. Talk to a friend—spend 10 minutes bitching about how crappy it is right now, and then encourage each other and say happy things for the next 20 minutes.
  5. Look at your body—-find a piece of you that you love—your legs?  Your shoulder?  Your cute little ears? And let that love radiate through your entire self….
  6. Have a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea.
  7. Go shopping for a pair of shorts.
  8. Get a pedicure to prepare for sandals.
  9. Remember that our current “tweener” season will not last forever, and our toes will be in the lake before too long.

So, that’s it!  Wobble on, Tribe……Spring’s almost here!

Changing The World One Wobble At A Time

Changing The World One Wobble At A Time

Did you know that we all change the world?  Since we are all unique, the world would not be the same without each of us standing around at our respective bus stops.   The chance smile, a bit of eye contact, the loose change you give to the dude with the sign on the freeway exit, it all makes a difference.

I started to get a little discouraged about my difference-making ability the other day when I heard about this pizza place in Philadelphia—maybe you saw the video making the rounds?  Basically, the owner sells pizza slices for $1.00 a piece—pretty ho-hum run-of-the-mill business plan and I’m sure he pays his bills okay if he’s in a good location.  At that price, the pizza really doesn’t even have to taste great, although I’m sure he cares about the yumminess of the product.

The cool thing about this place is that he offers his customers the chance to pay it forward by paying more for a slice (customer’s choice) and then whatever amount over the initial dollar gets written up on a Post-It(™) and stuck to the windows and walls of the joint as a coupon.  Anyone can use a coupon if they need it.

So, here’s this guy, with his little pizza shop, making a huge difference to a lot of people in a way they can immediately feel—as in, they don’t feel hungry any more when they use a coupon for a slice.

After reading this amazing story, I was lamenting that my little studio should be doing more, being more, helping more people, and trying to be everything to everyone.  (My ultimate goal is to save the world with yoga—-as any good yoga teacher would wish.)

I often wonder how to bring yoga to more people in my very diverse community, and I know that money is one barrier to coming to class.  Transportation might be another. And, even though our community is diverse, our yoga classes are not—-we are mostly white, mostly women.  I’m not sure how to broaden our base and reach out to more people from different walks of life.  So, I’m sitting there stewing in the juice of all this stuff, and then…..

The very next day in my inbox was a message from one of my students.  She was saying that she feels more confident in her skin and able to proudly wear clothes that show her shape a little more, even if she feels her shape is not “perfect.”  She says she can do more with her body because of our classes.  She says she is in for the long haul, and the vibe she enjoys with us is one of acceptance, humor, and encouragement–All the things I set out to make true about the business and the service we provide.

Maybe it’s not so much about the difference we make in the lives of the masses.  Maybe it’s about making a difference one person at a time.  

So that doesn’t mean I’m resting on my laurels over here and patting myself on the back and calling it a day.  (Okay, maybe I gave myself a tiny back-pat……but still……)  I’m still committed to diversifying our student base and breaking down that barriers that might keep someone from experiencing the trans-formative power of yoga.  My method can be one of attraction above promotion, and it’s okay if the process moves slowly.

Thanks to all of you who are making a difference in MY life by reading this blog and coming to class and having fun and making friends in our community and all the rest.   My hope is that you take whatever good vibes you get from Wobbling and make a Wobbly difference in the life of just ONE other person.  If we all did that with intention, imagine the mountains we could move!

Take care, Tribe.  Love to all!

Are We Worth It? The Money Wobble Continued….

Are We Worth It? The Money Wobble Continued….

Right now I’m hearing Pink Floyd in my head. “Money, it’s a gas….grab that cash with both hands and make a stash…” These last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself finally getting past some very old energy around money. Maybe some of you can relate to some of my stuff. Definitely weigh in in the comments with your own Money Wobble!

My whole life, I’ve been on the edge of the money spotlight. Many members of my extended family are what I would consider to be wealthy—large homes, new cars, vacations, sports, dinners out, designer clothing, climbing up the hierarchy of their offices, or creating their own wealth through entrepreneurship. They appear (at least on Facebook) happy, well-adjusted, active, fun-loving, accomplished, and good-looking. They look like they have it all figured out.  This is what I think about people with money. I have also over the years told myself that people with money are also selfish, snobby, entitled, rude, insufferable, and mean. To say the least, my relationship with money has, until very recently, been a jumbled, convoluted mess. I want money and all the fun it brings, as well as the chance to do good with it, but I push it away with my negative thinking about “People Who Have Money”.

Before I get excommunicated from my clan, let me be clear that I definitely love my family and friends, and they’ve all worked really hard for what they have. They’ve also been very generous with their resources, providing a place for me to crash when I visit (in one case with an infant with an ear infection who kept everyone awake all week. I spilled antibiotics on their carpet to boot), or even a place to live for several weeks in their spa-like Minnesota home while we waited for the closing date on our own home to come around. Plus, we got some amazing giveaways from those same relatives when they completed their own move! The people I surround myself with are kind, generous souls regardless of the financial wealth they possess. I’m proud that I have such an amazing circle.

Somehow, my immediate family missed the wealthy gene. Money was a bit of a mystery to me growing up…..we lived in a large house that used to be my grandparents’ home…..my parents worked hard to have us live there, but still came up short a lot. So, sometimes, we appeared to have money but really there were times when I know my parents wondered where the grocery money was going to come from that week. The car was old, and the next one was a hand-me-down from grandparents. My dad drove a beater truck that required a screw driver wedged into the 3-on-the-tree shifter in order to work. Good times.

My friends all judged me based on our home, so I appeared “rich”, even though there was a ton of financial stress. My parents worked hard, but never seemed to get ahead. Mom and Dad worked in “regular” jobs for a number of years, and then they both created their own businesses. Some years were better than others, but for a number of reasons, neither of them ever hit explosive business growth while I was growing up.

Ironically, because of some of our hardships, I got a lot of good money skills from both parents, but also inherited a lot of conflicting messages. One of my skills is taking risks and doing what I feel called to do instead of just putting in hours at a “job”.  By their example, my parents showed me that it IS possible to do what you love and still eat–maybe not lobster and caviar–but one can certainly live and have great contentment on tater tot casserole.

Another great skill I have, thanks to my parents, is being able to do a lot with a little. This has helped me budget effectively in the workplace and at home. I can also throw myself at financial adversity with all I have and manage to come out on my feet.  However, for all the strength I have to overcome a challenge—-to survive financially, I feel so much less comfortable with thriving—with huge success. Like perhaps it will change me and I will become what I fear: selfish, entitled, mean, or rude.

I recently found out that my negative preconceptions about wealthy people are not even MINE. I have another set of grandparents (on my Mom’s side) who played this tape over and over—-they were also entrepreneurs, but were careful not to provide too much of a luxury product because they wanted “regular” people to always be able to come to their rustic fishing resort. If a well-off family DID stay as guests, my grandparents were known to make comments like “Wow! Those folks are so nice you’d never guess how much money they have!”

That message permeated my mother’s upbringing, and coupled with the wealth on my father’s side, it’s little wonder I ended up with such a mixed financial coin purse.

What is amazing to me is how hard it is to overcome your financial legacy. I mean, it goes both ways. The wealthy tend to stay that way for the most part. The struggling tend to hold onto the struggle. I know the latter has been me for a long while now.

Today, I am finally ready to change that. I know that the negative message about wealth has never been mine, so it’s time I let it go. I’m learning how to ask to be paid what I am worth (because we offer a FANTASTIC product that our students love), to pay my staff as much as I possibly can, and to create earning power for others as I explore what that means to me. I am also learning to be discerning in who I choose to work with, and to support other local business owners on a similar path whenever possible.

See, I don’t want to gain wealth all by myself. I need teachers along the way and lots of company, but I truly believe in the Law of Attraction, and I’m willing to do the inner work of creating space for wealth. I also believe there is enough for everyone. Even in the face of a widening financial “gap”, I choose not to take part in the gap. I feel a shift beginning to happen.  And the Universe does too.  The same day I had the revelation that my money messages have never really been mine,  two unexpected and lucrative clients popped up and purchased training packages!

So I think there is hope.  After all, it’s so much more fun to write your own story. And isn’t that story so much better when the main character gets to drive a great (environmentally responsible) car and go to Disney once in a while?

Take care Wobblers,

Leah :)

Stop Exercising For Weight Loss

Stop Exercising For Weight Loss

One of my yoga students thanked me the other day for not looking like a boy. Even though I think boys look just fine (even lovely, especially when they are my own husband or son), I still took this as a big complement. I knew what she meant. She meant “thank you for not working out to such an extreme that you completely change who you are.”  She meant “thank you for working out to gain strength and ability rather than achieve a misguided ‘ideal’ body.” “Thank you for being a mentor for me as I get stronger and also embrace my own body.” She has been a member since we opened last summer, and has seen me gain strength, ability, and definition, while staying a proud, substantial size 10. She has also made plenty of strides and become a very consistent attender of classes.

Let me say right here, that I LOVE all the bodies (and the inevitably linked minds and spirits) that come to my studio to enjoy the yoga and hybrid classes we provide. My hope in this venture is to design quality workouts that target a variety of intentions for each individual we teach.  Some of our Wobble bodies are very curvy, others are not. Some are male, some are female. All are beautiful, all have an opportunity in our studio to enjoy and enhance and make healthier what they already ARE.

Another friend/student and I had coffee today, and she said she had turned a corner on her intention to exercise. It was really beautiful. She said “I know myself to be a strong women on the inside. I want that strength to also be visible on the outside.” Now, this woman is a curvy, short, muscular powerhouse of a person. She will do anything I tell her to do, so I have to be careful not to hurt her, because I know if I ask her to do 10 more reps, she will break something before she will say “no, I can’t.”

After rehabbing a pretty awful injury she sustained earlier in the fall at a softball game, she is ready to step back into the fitness world, with a new attitude. “I’m scared,” she admitted. She no longer wants to work out to lose weight. She’s going instead for the FEELING of connecting to her inner athlete and achieving a consistently healthy approach to fitness, as opposed to the “feast or famine” mentality that got her injured in the first place.

This place is truly the holy grail of exercise—when we stop working out to “get” somewhere—to lose weight, to win a race (though that is certainly a fun accomplishment from time to time), to build or tone a body part (thousands of abdominal crunches do NOT a flat stomach make!), or to “make up” for the decadent and huge slice of cheesecake from last night’s dinner (just eat the damn cheesecake once in a while). We now make time for exercise because our bodies CRAVE it. We miss it when we take a few days off. Not exercising is simply no longer an option because we just feel OFF when we are not active, deliberately, reasonably, healthfully. Our own well-being is now an essential part of each day and we are NOT willing to compromise.

How do you get here? Of course, that is the million dollar question.

Here’s how (and you can all pay me a million dollars if I’m right, okay? *wink):

  1. Try a bunch of different activities until you find a couple you can get into. Like, do a new thing each week—once or twice each, and make a list of the ones that light you up.
  2. Take the number of workouts you think you should do each week, and then actually do one or two LESS than that, and pat yourself on the back for it. Now you are coming from a place of building and success, rather than shortcoming and failure if you happen to be human and miss a day.
  3. Do just a little more than you think you can in each workout. Fight for that one extra rep (with good form), yard, swing, paddle, hill, or leap. You don’t have to kill yourself, but don’t stop while it’s still easy, either.
  4. Get back to it when you get off. Everyone gets sick, has stress, is late, gets hurt, or doesn’t feel like it. Cut yourself a break, and then just like you would with a toddler, ask yourself to try again. Get up and shake it off. Be generous with your encouragement, and encourage yourself to begin again—stop flogging yourself for “slipping up.” Move forward quickly.

Pretty soon, you will be one of those happy, annoying people you used to hate because they seemed to have it all figured out.

One more little note of encouragement: I watched my mom (who is currently 74 years old) hate exercise for the grand majority of her life. She stared to have trouble moving around from a back injury-turned-into-chronic-inflammation around age 65. Determined not to lose her mobility, she asked for some help to get started with exercise at age 70, and–gulp!–started hitting the gym– with a little guidance from her daughter. Four years later, she goes 2-3 times per week, and now is cranky and stiff when she misses her regular days. She looks for ways to do more a little at a time and without getting hurt. She moves better, has more overall function, and her pain is manageable at worst and slight at best. I couldn’t be prouder of anyone. If SHE can do it, y’all, so can you!

Take care, Wobblers, one baby step at a time.