Welcome to Pranalife Yoga and Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training. Find yoga classes, workshops, and the best yoga teacher training, with advanced yoga teacher and teacher trainer Asia Nelson.
Read these thoughts first: Sign up for Pranalife Yoga’s email list.
I’m feeling about 70% right now after spending the past few days out – like many of us in this Subzero Arcticgeddon – with a brutal flu. As I get back to normal on this last day of 2017, I’m thinking – like you probably are – about the coming year. Despite being a dragon lunging into the year of the dog (which seems to unanimously mean struggle and financial ruin for me, F, so now I have to fight against the stars; good thing I’m a badass fire dragon), I’m ready to take bigger chances, feel more deeply, learn like it’s my job, and not let fear of the black dog’s return keep me from living my life.
“A light seen suddenly in the storm, snow
Coming from all sides, like flakes
Of sleep, and myself
On the road to the dark barn,
Halfway there, a black dog near me.”
– Robert Bly, from “Melancholia” in The Light Around the Body (1967)
The black dog of depression, for me, has roots in an essential experience; namely, healing.
When I’m depressed, I slow to an almost stop. I find it nearly impossible to get the simplest things like washing my hair done. Connecting is difficult. Life feels like something happening on the other side of a rain-laced window. I become isolated, my brain slows, and I feel forcibly detached from my life.
Which means depression quiets my life. It strips away everything but the essentials and I become present, because it’s difficult to think beyond the moment. I listen. I notice the quietest of mantras whispering in the back of my busy mind. My dynamic movement practice slows down to the gentlest of actions needed to stay functional. I notice the accumulating weight of the ‘rocks’ of my past that I’m still carrying, rocks that I can put down. When I’m depressed, I clear.
For me, the worst part of depression is the transition out of it back into regular life. Resting can easily become hiding. Letting go can easily become giving up. Becoming okay with only being able to navigate the simplest things becomes a fear of re-engaging with the harder, bigger, important things in life. If I let it, going through a depressive experience can become living life as a depressed person.
I am fortunate that, despite having had multiple major depressive episodes, I am what my doctor calls “high-functioning”. That means I’m able to pull myself out of episodes and self-regulate. Not everyone who struggles with this black dog can, and to all of you I give a huge hug of support and two thumbs up to do whatever you need to do that’s right for you. I recognize your struggle is different from mine. So much love to you, because this shit is hard.
2017 was a year full of great wins above the surface and an undercurrent of constant struggle below. My forties have been a transition into feeling more confident and myself than ever, as well as feeling the effects of age eroding some of my most deeply-held ways of being in the world. I am tired more often. I work harder for less return. My “laugh” lines don’t go away when I stop laughing and I can no longer eat anything without my gut complaining. It’s cumulative, these little things that become constant reminders that I’m turning a corner to a new, unfamiliar path in my life. None of these things is surprising, but they’re difficult to metabolize en masse. I am older. A lot older than some of my former goals can span.
“Downhill” used to be the fun part of tobogganing; now it’s like an extra gravitational force, accelerating the shite slipping out from under me. How do I find my feet again? What kind of goals and energy and action makes sense for me now?
Aging feels a lot like depression.
Which means getting older is an opportunity for me to clear, and to heal. I’m moving into a phase of life that will encourage me to go quiet, become present, listen, slow down, let go, pay attention. Instead of sliding into a kind of living sadness about the loss of my younger life or some kind of mad panicked striving to ‘stay young’, I can rest without going into hiding, release what doesn’t support me without giving up on having bigger, scarier goals, embrace the wisdom that comes with years of experience without succumbing to the folly of thinking the best years of my life are behind me. I can mourn the loss of me as a young woman, and now create space to become older, wiser – and maybe even better.
In 2018 I want to shift from a focus on me (a younger person’s goal) to a focus on my legacy. I want to connect to more of my tribe and create things that make those tribe members’ lives better. In so doing, I’ll do a lot of (terrifyingly) new things this year. Running my yoga teacher training program year after year has shown me that the best way to transform fear into confidence and passion is to add regular doses of challenge and vulnerability.
So, I will take my cue from those brave souls who transform their lives in Pranalife Yoga & Yoga Teacher Training every year and transition to 2018 with my own regular doses of challenge and vulnerability. I can’t stop getting older (nor would I want to; as my dad says, “It’s better than the alternative!”), but I can keep getting better in ways that make sense for me. This year, that means translating my hard-earned wisdom into new content for you to move and live better. Look for videos (yes, finally!) on moving better and taking yoga into your daily life, more writing, and the best Yoga Teacher Training program yet, with new and updated material for living your best life.
May 2018 be exactly what YOU need it to be. May you be brave in your best way. May this be a year of transformation that makes you stronger and safer. May you love well, move well, live well, be well.
LEARN MORE – https://pranalifeyoga.com/training/
GET THE QUICK DETAILS – https://pranalifeyoga.com/training/pranalife-yoga-teacher-training-start-here/
What we get when we turn pro is we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and live out.
~ Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro
I have a challenge for you:
Run with me on this. I’m not suggesting you start wearing a suit to dinner or demanding payment for walking your dog (though these might be cool experiments to run to screw productively with your life’s status quo – who knows). I mean take on the mindset of a pro in all areas of your life. Think about it –
Going pro means committing. It means risk, hustle, caring about what you do. It means you make it matter, so what you do is rewarding, fair, enriching. When you go pro, you value your time and actions, and you’re clear about what outcomes you expect. You take pride in your efforts and set consistent goals. Going pro means you don’t pass the blame, sit and bitch, quit, or not show up. You learn to say no, so you can say HELL YES to the life YOU want.
Staying in shape right now might look like the occasional gym visit and a lapsed yoga studio membership. If you approached it like a pro, you’d get clear on your goals, set budgets for your time, finances, and attention (what you’ll do, how much it’ll cost, and how much of your life you’re willing to dedicate to it), and you’d quit treating it like something you can skip whenever you want. You’d create a strategy for how to get where you want to be. If you’re not getting there, you change strategies until you do.
If you thought of how you feed yourself like a pro, you’d learn great cooking habits, plan ahead, buy quality produce, and stay creative so your food stays delicious, satisfying, and healthy. You’d require anyone involved in your kitchen to respect your standards. You’d make the hard choices to create good food even when you’re tired or lazy or when no one else might see you eating a bag of cookies for dinner. And when you occasionally eat a bag of cookies for dinner, you’d own it, brush the crumbs off your shirt, and get back to doing better.
What would you as a relationship pro look like? Your focus would shift to the success, health and viability of your connection with others. You’d shed any dynamic you wouldn’t advise someone else to keep. You’d choose what roles you’re willing to fill and get better at them. You’d be a problem-solving master. You’d invest in the value of each committed relationship. You’d expect a rich return on your investments (and divest your assets if you’re not getting what you need). You’d stop being ignored or dismissed because you’re the boss and you don’t have time for that shit.
It’s easy to become complacent in our own lives. We drift off course and sometimes it takes a major life event before we wake up and realize how far we are from where we want to be. What keeps us from saying WTF and immediately taking the helm of our own lives? For many, we just don’t know our value. Who cares, right? This is fine. I’m ok. It could be worse.
It could also be a FUCK of a lot better.
I’ve worked with many people over the years in my yoga teacher training who’ve broken me open with how powerful they are. When they start they’re doing ‘fine’, maybe a bit lost or struggling, usually they’ve lost sight of what they want for themselves. Often they’re wives, moms, daughters, fathers – people who’ve spent so much of their time taking care of others they’ve learned to put themselves last over and over until it feels “normal” or “right”. They’ve placed their own goals and desires to the back of the line and hardly feel anyone would care if they pursued them.
But when they get in this training and finally devote time to their passions, when they’re heard, asked, encouraged, and given tools, they SHOW UP LIKE A PRO. The transformation is inspiring. They stop being amateurs in their own lives and start committing to themselves. They take risks, they get focused, they hustle – and they start to care again about their own dreams. They prioritize themselves again. They invest in themselves, and they see big returns.
My challenge to you is really this: No more blaming others, no more bitching about what was lost, no more letting another day go by while you’re too busy, distracted, or making everyone else’s dreams and goals matter more than your own. Go pro in your own life and find your power, your will, your voice, your self-respect. Find yourself again.