" />

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Whole Heart Yoga Fort Worth | WHY FW

 

Pema Chodron writes, “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” We awaken gradually. And thank Goodness we do not awaken to everything all at once because it would be too overwhelming. If you’d told me twelve years ago of all the changes yoga would accompany me through, I might have thought twice about stepping on a mat.

When I began practicing yoga, I was in an abusive marriage that was not working. Meanwhile, I was working as a cocktail waitress at a bar. I drank sauvignon blanc regularly for breakfast and vodka for dinner. I smoked a cigarette before class and another one immediately after. I was a senior in college, taking 21 hours to complete my degree in education. Panic attacks brought me to my knees most days.

These were the muddled circumstances under which yoga slowly and quickly transformed me and my life. That was 2004. I left that marriage in 2008. I went to yoga teacher training in 2011. I got sober – for what I hope is the final time – in 2013.

I had access to yoga through the campus recreation center and the two yoga studios on my side of town. I had health insurance (it was the psychiatrist who recommended yoga to me). I had enough cash in my pocket for the $20 drop-in.

But, what if I hadn’t had access?

I shudder to think.

What might have happened?

Where would I be?

Yoga threw me a life vest when I was content to sink. I was hooked instantly. I knew the first time I rolled up a borrowed mat that I couldn’t wait to do that again. I felt alive. Each class armed me with more strength and hope. I kept coming back until I wanted to live, even when I wasn’t on my mat.

As a teacher, I strive to pay forward the gifts that yoga’s given me. Through giving, we receive. And, in addition to the physical strength, emotional healing, and spiritual experiences that yoga has given me, yoga has also afforded me a career and life beyond my wildest dreams.

Last year I attended Off the Mat, Into the World Leadership Training, and an ethically charged debate arose about yoga pants. One woman who was there on scholarship began to cry and then vehemently explained, “I don’t care what pants you wear…they’re cute and all, but I’m just trying to put food on the table to feed my kids.”

I’ll never forget her face. Her solitary pain. Our collective shame.

I’ve been in conflict since that defining moment. I believe that a yogi is a person who uses everything that’s happened to him or her. No experience – no matter how challenging – is cast out. Yoga brings unity to it all.

But, over the past year, I’ve not been able to integrate these experiences:

I wave at the folks leaving the men’s shelter down the street and drive 3 miles to a beautiful studio and see people who look mostly like me.

I see a man digging through my dumpster ten minutes before someone at work asks me if I’m doing the latest diet or cleanse.

A battered woman in withdrawals from my same disease asks me for spare change to feed her kid breakfast, and I throw down $100 for a farm to table meal I wasn’t so hungry for to begin with.

My spouse tells me about a kid who came to school dirty again and I keep encouraging our cleaning lady to eliminate the toxic chemicals in our household.

I can’t come to yoga until I get the right clothes, she says. What brand of yoga pants are those? another asks me.

I see a person of color killed by a police officer. I see a police officer killed by a person who served our country in the military.

These polarized dichotomies left me feeling confused and powerless. I’ve felt compelled to do more. I believe in the power of love and light, I do. I believe prayer is healing. But, I also believe in action. I’ve been inspired to see the work that various individuals are doing throughout the community and thought that together we could do more. I reached out to 2-3 yoga teachers from each studio in Fort Worth and a couple surrounding cities. Through these texts, emails, and Facebook messages, I discovered there were others who felt as I did. We are never alone, you know? Through these conversations, Whole Heart Yoga Fort Worth, or WHY FW, was formed. It is best described as a collaboration among local yoga teachers and students, who’ve formed to promote peace to our greater Fort Worth community through education around mindfulness, yoga fundraising events, and widespread outreach.

Our kickoff event is a FREE pop up yoga and meditation practice for peace at Burnett Park on Friday, August 5th at 7:30 pm. And we have a partnership in the works with The Leg Up Program, a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness by providing caring support, education, employment and innovative programs designed to empower individuals to achieve self-sufficiency. We’ll have a special class at their building on September 17th where the proceeds will benefit their clients in living independently.

To stay informed about all upcoming events, follow on social media.

www.facebook.com/whyfw

Instagram : @whyfw

I’ve practiced yoga long enough now that I no longer believe it could singlehandedly save the world. But, I am living proof of the impact yoga can have on a single life. Through organizing this effort, I no longer feel powerless. When I lay my head down at night, I want to know that I’m doing all that I can each day to help others. This, I believe, is why we are here. This is the yoga.

IMG_3201

Leslie Prince | Fort Worth Yoga + Smart Barre Camp Bowie

I was thinking last night about how I don’t always know when I’m being humble. When someone says to me, “You’re so humble,” I think, “Wow, ok, I must be doing something right.” I’m kinda leery of people who describe themselves as humble. How is it humble to say you’re humble? Always, I look to people’s actions. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in this life is that people show you who they are. And, I know that people who exude humility – people who *act* humbly – are always people whose company I enjoy. And in the hour I spent with Leslie Prince, a Fort Worth area yoga teacher and Smart Barre teacher, I was touched by her humble spirit. You can tell that her light is as bright as a Texas sunset. And she doesn’t have to say a word for it to shine through.

She wanted to know if she could bring Cuddles, her “semi-well-behaved” pup for a couple of shots. I’ve got one of those “semi-well-behaved” dogs, too. Um, how cute is he?! What he lacks in discipline, he makes up for in cuteness.

“Where did you get him?” I asked.

“Craigslist…how could someone give him away?”

Find her sharing her love of yoga at the Fairmount  Library Tuesday evenings this summer for the human friendly price of $5 donation. More info here.

2016-07-22_0001 2016-07-22_0002 2016-07-22_0003 2016-07-22_0004 2016-07-22_0005 2016-07-22_0006 2016-07-22_0007 2016-07-22_0008 2016-07-22_0009 2016-07-22_0010 2016-07-22_0011 2016-07-22_0012 2016-07-22_0013 2016-07-22_0014 2016-07-22_0015

Isabella Breedlove | Fort Worth Musician

Isn’t she a beautiful human? At 15, she’s paving her own path – and an artsy one at that. She sings and plays guitar. The music kept her moving throughout the shoot. To help others co-create their dreams – this is what I love.

You can hear her voice here: https://soundcloud.com/bellabreedlove/heart-like-yours-willamette-stone

I get the feeling that one day I’ll say, “I remember when we did that shoot with the vintage cars.”

2016-06-06_0001

    2016-06-06_0011 2016-06-06_0010 2016-06-06_0009 2016-06-06_0008   2016-06-06_0005 2016-06-06_0004

2016-06-06_00022016-06-06_00142016-06-06_00122016-06-06_00072016-06-06_00062016-06-06_00132016-06-06_0015

Note: the two men who brought the cars over on an overcast day were so sweet. They chauffeur people. They take the cars to hospice for people with cancer to take a ride. My heart melted when he told me that. So, of course, during wardrobe change, I said, “I’m sure you have a bunch of photos of the cars, but do you want one?” And they both said that they’d never been photographed with their cars. Would I text them the images so they could send to their kids and grandkids? Certainly.

2016-06-06_0003

light + laughter | Prana del Mar sunset shoot

All my favorite people laugh well. If I was to travel the world teaching yoga, I’d take this gorgeous woman with me so she’d laugh at my jokes. Her presence in class is always a gift. So 7 days with her on a fabulous yoga retreat – wow. I think God gives us people who help us along our collective and individual paths. I know she’s done that for me. She wanted to do a shoot for a big upcoming birthday.

“When was the last time you had your portrait taken?” I asked her as we traipsed out to the beach.

“Olan Mills,” she laughed. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable with anyone else,” she said.

You are worth celebrating. Who you are…what you do – it matters. You matter. Never will there be another soul exactly like you. You, make a difference in this world.

2016-04-15_0012 2016-04-15_0013 2016-04-15_0014 2016-04-15_0015 2016-04-15_0016 2016-04-15_0017 2016-04-15_0018 2016-04-15_0019 2016-04-15_0020 2016-04-15_0021 2016-04-15_0022

one day young

There’s a purity about photographing a baby who’s mere hours old. These new parents are smitten. What a gift to photograph their first born, Luke Everett Taylor.

2016-04-15_0001 2016-04-15_0002 2016-04-15_0003 2016-04-15_0004 2016-04-15_0005 2016-04-15_0006 2016-04-15_0007 2016-04-15_0008 2016-04-15_0009 2016-04-15_0010 2016-04-15_0011

wind + water | sunset at Prana del Mar

This beauty turned 25 while we were on retreat in Cabo at Prana del Mar. We celebrated with a windy and whimsical photo shoot. Ahhh, that light. Maybe someone will hire me to tag along on retreats and take sunset photographs each evening. A girl can dream…

2016-04-11_0001.jpg
2016-04-11_0002.jpg
2016-04-11_0004.jpg
2016-04-11_0003.jpg
2016-04-11_0006.jpg
2016-04-11_0007.jpg
2016-04-11_0009.jpg
2016-04-11_0008.jpg
2016-04-11_0011.jpg
2016-04-11_0005.jpg
2016-04-11_0010.jpg

light up your life retreat 1.0

you plan and you pray and you pray and you plan and sometimes an experience defies your wildest dreams. these women. this place. beautiful. sacred. all of it makes me weep. they showed up in the most magnificent ways  for one another. my heart is full. my life is changed. how this is my path, I’m unsure. grace. gratitude. joy beyond belief.
2016-04-03_0008.jpg
2016-04-03_0001.jpg
2016-04-03_0003.jpg
2016-04-03_0004.jpg
2016-04-03_0007.jpg
2016-04-03_0009.jpg
2016-04-03_0016.jpg
2016-04-03_0002.jpg
2016-04-03_0005.jpg
2016-04-03_0011.jpg
2016-04-03_0013.jpg
2016-04-03_0012.jpg
2016-04-03_0015.jpg
2016-04-03_0010.jpg
2016-04-03_0006.jpg

Prana Del Mar

http://pranadelmar.com/

Thank You Again Music Release Party | Michael McGlone + Kristi & Darren Taylor

Michael McGlone is an actor, comedian, singer and songwriter. He met Kristi Taylor when he took her yoga class at a Yoga Journal Conference in NYC a while back. Somehow by a strange string of events that can only be described as divinely inspired, Michael, Kristi, and her husband, Darren, co-wrote a song together in the Taylor living room in January.

“Have you ever written a song before?” I asked her. I know Kristi as an acro queen /  stand up paddleboarding / glitter wearing / laughter inducing yoga teacher.

“No!” She said and then explained how the song just streamed through them. And, I nodded my head like a bobble head because I can so relate.

I know what it’s like to have something Larger and more Powerful than me stream from my heart and soul onto the page.

And I know what it’s like to have many passions – so many that you can’t just choose one.

And Michael described it best when he said about his many careers in the arts, “All of these things bring me joy.”

Their song – “Thank You Again” – is to be released today online. More than once, Michael moved the room to tears and laughter and every emotion in between.

What an honor to memorialize the magic of it all!

2016-03-22_0001.jpg 2016-03-22_0007.jpg 2016-03-22_0002.jpg 2016-03-22_0003.jpg 2016-03-22_0005.jpg 2016-03-22_0010.jpg 2016-03-22_0006.jpg 2016-03-22_0009.jpg 2016-03-22_0012.jpg 2016-03-22_0014.jpg 2016-03-22_0015.jpg 2016-03-22_0004.jpg

straight outta meditation

My morning meditation is the time when I get real with my Self. I once thought meditation was all about returning to the breath. “When a thought arises, return to the breath.” This is a great strategy for mindfulness. However, after working with Gabrielle Douglas in meditation over the past month I’ve realized that I am ready to go deeper. “Allow yourself to think the nagging thought,” she’s encouraged. and in doing so, I’ve realized how many of my thoughts are (still) rooted in fear. fear blocks us from our True nature, which I believe to be Love. and the only way to overcome fear, I feel, is to go in and touch it – with breath, with compassion, and with confidence that it’s likely not real. this morning, I realized it was February 22nd, that we’re in the 8th week of the new year, that I’m not gaining much traction in my writing and that I’ve lost the balance in a few realms. And, I’ve got legitimate and noble reasons, of course.

meditation web dream hotel

According to the Handel Group, there are 3 voices of self-sabotage: the weather reporter, the inner brat, and the chicken. The weather reporter objectively reports a sad state of affairs as a meteorologist does the weather. “You are spending 42 hours each week teaching yoga or holding a camera, just slightly below average this time of year. A change is not forecasted. If you’re looking to find time for writing in this season of your life, don’t expect to find it in the morning. You are not a morning person. Never have been, never will be.” The inner brat says, “I’m too tired to write…I can’t get up any earlier than 6 am…I’m working so hard…and I deserve my sleep.” The chicken says, “I’m afraid. I’m afraid to write. I’m afraid to publish anything longer than a Facebook status.”

And while the weather reporter and the inner brat have some merit, it’s the chicken who keeps clucking me over. Every. Single. Time.

But the thing is, there’s another voice within each of us. It’s the voice of love. And s/he might not be as loud as the chicken, as ostentatious as the bratty kid, or as matter-of-fact as the weather man. But s/he’s Real. Velveteen Rabbit real. And the only way I get to Real is through meditation. Because routine meditation is the only practice I’ve found that quiets the other three down. If you’re looking to begin a meditation practice or to take your established sitting practice to the next level, join us for SoulSit, a series in meditation Tuesday’s at noon in March at SoulSpace Yoga Community. 

straight-outta-meditation-tn

Stay Connected

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Pinterest  Email