Are you ready to be whole, heard, and held?

Are you ready to feel whole, heard, and held?

 

When I feel whole, I feel like there’s nothing I need to fix about myself. I feel complete, perfectly imperfect, and content. In a world that’s constantly trying to tell me that I’m lacking in some way and I need to buy this beauty product or that name brand to feel like I’m beautiful and deserving, feeling whole can be a struggle.

 

When I feel heard, I feel a sense of empowerment. Like the person isn’t just superficially listening, or trying to insert their opinion. They’re not distracted or looking at their iPhone, they’re present with me. They’re holding space for me and allowing me to lean into my intuition and come to my own realizations rather than trying to push their agenda or give me unsolicited advice. In my experience being heard can be difficult in a world that’s so loud and full of distractions. 

 

When I feel held, I feel supported, protected, and at peace with the myself and the world regardless of the craziness that’s happening around me. I’m not referring to being held physically, although that’s great too. I’m referring to holding space. Holding space is allowing someone to simply be, to break free, to let go, to breakdown and/or to breakthrough, all while being non-reactive. I’ve found it’s difficult to feel held when it seems that everyone has so much to carry already, I don’t want to feel like a nuisance.

 

Am I alone?

 

I don’t think so. I’ve seen some pretty radical transformation in myself, friends, and clients who’ve been provided with the opportunity to feel whole, heard, and held and I want to offer a sacred, safe place for you to feel the same.

 

Sometimes we don’t need coaching, self help books, action plans, or new goals. What we need is to share what we’re going through, to speak our truth, and to get things off our chest. E-motion is literally energy-in-motion. When we bottle up our emotions we feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed; the energy gets stuck because there’s no motion. Our voice is a powerful vehicle that can give motion to the energy that’s holding us back. This creates flow because the energy can move. Once the energy can move it can also be released.

 

I’ve seen the power and shift that happens when I share what I’m going through (what I’ve held onto, my expectations, what I’m struggling with, mistakes I’ve made, my past, pain I’ve endured, unresolved conflict, etc.,) with someone I trust. It requires a courageous vulnerability but its so worth it. It frees up so much space mentally, emotionally, and physically. After the fact I always feel like a giant weight has been lifted from my shoulders. 

 

It’s also really powerful to share my triumphs, breakthroughs, and successes with someone and for them to be genuinely happy for me and to celebrate with me - it truly amplifies my joy.

 

So my question for you is: 

 

Are you ready to feel whole, heard, and held?

 

You are so deserving and I want to support you. I’m offering 60 min sessions in person, via Skype, or on the phone to anyone who is ready to open up, share, and to free up some space. I will not be offering unsolicited advice, or sympathy, or trying to fix you or coach you. (Coaching and/or constructive feedback is only offered if you ask for it.) This is not a “therapy” session, this is simply me holding sacred space for you in the hopes that you will feel more free, clear, and connected. 

 

If you’re ready to feel whole, heard, and held, the time is now. Respond to this email and we will schedule a time to connect <3 

Anger and Social Activism

After to talking to friends, followers, yoga students and digging into my own anguish amidst the outcome of our election, I felt the great need to dust off this interview and share it with you.

It’s powerful. 

Ram Das, a spiritual teacher and author of the highly acclaimed book “Be Here Now” interviews Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and peace activist. In this interview TNH speaks about holding your anger as a mother holds her child. Hold it delicately. Feel it. Be in it. Also know that social action charged by anger and/or fear creates MORE anger and/or fear. We all process the power to transform these lower level emotions into radical, powerful, strategic results that cultivate loving and lasting change.

The interview is quite long (there is a link at the bottom of this email) so I took the time to transcribe the part about anger and social activism. Enjoy and feel free to share.

 

 

Ram Das & Thich Nhat Hanh Interview

 

Ram Das: You spoke the other day about holding anger and emotions like that in a tender way. Could you speak a little bit more about that?

TNH: (I was speaking of) holding anger like a mother holds her baby. Because loving kindness is us, but anger is also us. So it is one part of us taking good care of another part. Anger is a kind of energy that comes from ourselves and loving kindness or mindfulness is another kind of energy. Every time the energy of anger is there, we should invite the energy of mindfulness to be there in order to take care of our anger.

 

Ram Das: And the vehicle to that could be just three breaths?

Yes, mindful breathing. We notice mindfulness by continuous breathing.

 

Ram Das: If you are continuously breathing mindfully then you wouldn’t experience that other energy as solid, like anger??

TNH: When you breath mindfully you are not ignoring anger, in fact, you are mindful also of your anger, you are practically taking care of your anger. Breathing in “I know that I am angry” breathing out “I am taking good care of my anger” therefore the practice is called mindfulness of anger, mindfulness of breathing, and breathing in order to be aware of your anger and to embrace your anger with the energy of mindfulness and if you continue like that for some time there will be a transformation in the heart of the anger. It’s like the sunshine with the flower, in the morning the flowers are not open yet, but the sunshine continues to visit and to shine upon the flower and the sunshine is not only circulating around the flower it is penetrating deeply into the flower and if the sunshine continues like that for a few hours then the flower has to open herself to the sunshine. Our anger is a kind of flower that needs the care of the sunshine; namely mindfulness.

 

Ram Das: Many people who are activists, who's heart hurts namely because of the act of injustice, or pain to the environment, often say to me that the attempt to be mindful of ones anger or hold it tenderly will dissipate the energy of the anger that they use for social action. Would you talk about that issue?

TNH: The energy of anger may be a source of energy but when you use your anger energy there may be danger because when you are angry you are not lucid, because when you are angry you may say things or you may do things that can be very destructive, that’s why it is better to use other forms of energy like compassion or the energy of understanding. The energy of anger can be transformed into the energy of understanding and compassion. We don’t have to throw away anything, we need only to know how to transform one form of energy into another.

 

______________________________________________________________

 

My wish for the world is that as we navigate through times where I’m feeling a deep separation of our country, we can transform our anger and our perceived differences into high level vibrations that shift the energy of the planet in a positive way.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Loving You,

Cortney

 

Link to Interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsnUonUZBuY

Can you change the shape of your bones?

Recently someone said to me "You must work really hard to have such flexibility in your backbend practice!”

 

I want to be as transparent as possible so I felt the need to set the record straight...

 

The truth is - I don’t work really hard at it. I was born with a very flexible back and little has changed since I started practicing yoga. I remember doing backbends and back walkovers across my front lawn as a little girl purely because they were so much fun. To this day, backbends feel reeeeeeeeeally good, even when I’m not warmed up.

 

Hips are another story. I was born with femur bones that don’t have full-spectrum range of motion in my hip sockets. I have bone to bone compression in some yoga poses. I used to force and pry myself into “hip openers" that just weren’t conducive to my skeletal structure. It caused me physical injury and mental agony. I thought to myself "I’ve been practicing yoga and stretching for years!! Why aren’t my hips opening?!” I wondered if my years spent running cross country and playing soccer had stolen all of my dreams of ever attaining full splits. 

 

It was incredibly frustrating and it wasn’t until I studied with some amazing anatomy teachers and physical therapists and proceeded to do lots of personal research did I realize that no matter how much yoga or stretching I do, I can’t change the shape of my bones! It doesn’t matter how flexible my hamstrings are; if my bones are compressing, movement is going to be limited. And some yoga poses are just straight up dangerous for my body.

 

Since that discovery, the intention of my yoga practice has been less about attaining a specific yoga pose for the sake of attaining a specific yoga pose. It’s been more of an exploration of functional movement. I ask myself “Is this yoga pose going to provide me greater functionality and mobility (a combination of strength and flexibility) in my every day life?” OR do I want to learn this pose because it's looks fancy or a teacher told me to do it? Through this process I’ve stopped focusing on my limitations and started focusing on all of the amazing things I CAN do. This new way of thinking has revolutionized my practice and my life.

 

I hope that by sharing these insights I can be a voice for those that may be going through something similar. If a teacher I admired shared this with me years ago it might have saved me years of frustration and countless injuries. 

 

Today I don’t put so much pressure on myself. I’m letting go of unobtainable standards that I put on my practice and my body. I’m getting to know my body and learning to accept it exactly as it is. I’m learning how to support myself so that I can support others. I’m learning to appreciate other peoples bodies/yoga practice/instagram posts without comparing them to mine. 

 

And it feels pretty damn good.

 

I’d love to hear from YOU. What discoveries are you making on your yoga mat?

 

All my love,

Cortney

 

This is a great article that shows real life pictures of our bones and how differently they are shaped. It's pretty fascinating and reminds us that we all have different shaped bones, so we are going to have different yoga practices.

 

Humble Pie

Today I ate a HUGE slice of humble pie.

 

I went to a spin class for the first time (well, the first time in like 10 years) and I was pretty confident that I would pick it up quickly. 

 

I was wrong! 

 

I was confused by the numbers on the bikes, how to program my silly little locker, how to get those weird shoes they made us wear to click into the pedals, "1-2 1-2 1-2" kept getting called out - WTF does that mean?! Everyone else seemed to totally have their shit together and I was clueless. I couldn’t figure out the resistance - I was either flying or felt like I was sinking in quicksand, and it was straight up HARD. I consider myself to be pretty fit but I was out of breath and had to take lots of breaks. The whole experience gave me anxiety, I wasn’t enjoying myself and I really wanted to run out of there screaming. 

 

But I stayed. 

 

And I learned a valuable lesson…I learned how it feels to be a beginner. I forgot what it’s like to try something totally new - something way out of my comfort zone. It can be straight up scary and intimidating! 

 

I teach brand new yoga students every week and I encourage them to get out of their comfort zone, to step into their power and to tap into their fearlessness. Today I had the harsh realization that it’s not something I’ve been practicing. 

 

I’m glad I didn't run out of class today because I got an opportunity to step (WAY) out of my comfort zone. 

 

I got an amazing opportunity to rise above the part of me that says “I can’t”. 

 

And now I can truly relate to those brand new students that fearlessly roll out their yoga mat for the first time.

 

I think the golden nugget I got out of the experience was the vulnerability and courage it takes to be a beginner. I have a renewed sense of compassion for every new student of yoga. It can be scary traveling through uncharted waters but I can promise you it’s so worth it. In those moments where you want to give up or you’re feeling super intimidated, know that the girl next to you with a flawless practice, or the teacher demoing a really challenging pose, used to be a beginner just like you. 

 

In the eyes of the beginner there is so much possibility and so much opportunity for growth - it’s a really exciting place to be. It’s a place I’m honored to be and I’m excited for the ride (pun intended).

 

There is a concept in Zen Buddhism called “Shoshin" (初心) meaning "beginner's mind". It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.

 

I love this concept. We can all tap into the mind of a beginner, the mind of vast opportunity and enthusiasm. A mind that is strong and also humble. 

 

This experience has opened my eyes, shifted my perception and made me incredibly grateful for my experience as a 10 year student of yoga and a newbie spinner. (And just FYI - I bought a 10 class pass. I’m excited to delve in and learn something new!)

 

One of the best parts about class today was Alexis, the instructor. She was dancing her ass off (home girl has moves!), she had the biggest, most friendly, smile on her face and was having so much fun. She was cheering us on and it was exactly what I needed to keep my head in the game. My hope is to show up for my students in the same way. I’m ready to cheer you on and support you in any way possible.

 

And I want you to know that if you are new to yoga, or trying anything new for that matter - it's worth celebrating! It takes courage and strength and I acknowledge you.


 

I’d love to hear from you! What have you done lately to get out of your comfort zone?

I'm back!

I’m back!

Recently I’ve put myself under a tremendous amount of pressure.  In all sorts of ways from teaching the “perfect” yoga classes to having the “perfect” body.  We all can get stuck in this way of thinking from time to time…its monkey mind to the max!  

And last night I had a serious reality check.  

I was watching this documentary about the poverty in Guatemala, and well, it was heart wrenching to say the least.  Entire families that survive on one dollar a day, children who work full time at age 11 to help feed their younger siblings, and a culture that is rooted in community and tight family bonds.  Suddenly my problems seemed so small, I wasn’t even thinking about my problems, but rather how I could be of service.  It wasn’t an effort to belittle my own struggle or feelings, or push them away.   My feelings are %100 valid.  However it put things into perspective for me.  I started to count my blessings, rather than complain about what isn’t happening in my life.   I shifted the magnifying glass of my thoughts off of my weaknesses and shined the light on my strengths.  All the pressure of perfection was lifted off of my shoulders in my effort to fill up with compassion for someone else.

So…I’m back!  And I’m writing this as a friendly reminder to myself that sometimes I fall off the bandwagon, but every waking moment is a new opportunity to brush those shouldas off and to hop right back on!