Girl talk/stillness/ramblings

 

In our society we value the ability to get over things quickly. When something bad happens we immediately say, no it’s ok, don’t worry about me. Especially women (men, I believe aren’t even asked about what is wrong or allowed to go into it. Some don’t want to. I do not understand exactly why, though I can conjecture. While I think that some of this truly is personal preference regarding the way we all deal with trauma and grief differently, there is certainly also a societal standard put on men that is well documented and noted by many.) I have had countless conversations with friends who have expressed frustration with parents and loved ones who want to find the solution so quickly that they forget to take a moment to honour the grief and pain that resides within traumatic experiences. I also like to just get through it, and get to the other side

For me, when I am PMSing, the frustration and grief can become overwhelming. It can make even the slightest imposition or snarky remark feel deeply personal and unpleasant. So, frustrating. Magnesium supplements, I have found, have helped me to chill out a bit with those feelings. I have also tried anti-depressants at times, the right does of the right medication I found did wonders for me when I needed to no longer feel like the world was coming to an end. No matter how much a cajoled myself, be still, Ego, my love, be still. I love you. It is ok, it isn’t just about you. Take a breath, we are going to be ok. Usually this time is evident because of these feelings, double check the calendar and here we are, about four days to go. These are the moments when our practice is tested and utilised, right? The moments when we call upon our strongest highest selves to surmount all the negativity and frustration. But, this week has been one where glazing over the pain and just moving on never seemed to work. Everything went wrong or felt wrong. But, maybe that is actually just right.

After an insane morning that I don’t need to describe because I am sure that you have had one of those mornings where nothing goes right: the dog eats your homework for real. I couldn’t even settle into my own practice. But,I pushed through a practice anyway, mostly floating on the edges of each asana, managed to sit still through a minute of savasana before the devoirs (must dos) pulled me away and back to “adulting.” After putting out a few domestic fires in the afternoon and deciding not to push myself to my physical or emotional limits, I made my way home and decided today I needed to have no where to be.

Finding some quiet space, I gave over to the sounds of youtube in hopes of having someone else lead me into a more fulfilling somatic experience. The barre class began well for me. I got warm, moved, found my psoas, and then about a third of the way through I paused. I had to sit. Be still. My scar tissue was aflame in my pelvis (not with pain but with feeling). Tears were welling up in my eyes. Be still. And so I was. Being in my pelvis, this juncture I have been trying to “fix” for the past two years now after an attempted robbery turned into an assault on the streets of Casablanca. Be still. And so I was. I found the rivers of connective tissue running around and across my sacrum, rolled the bowl of my pelvis across the earth, shifting its contents first north to south then east to west. Tears still pressing to my eyes. And in this moment there was a sigh, not a complete release, but a sigh. There, now. 

Perhaps this is the reason many women become so sensitive and aware of their frustrations at this time before we bleed. Perhaps this is the moment when we get to let go of all those things that are so pent up inside for so many days. The things we just let slide off our backs, the little trespasses and cruel gestures that we “didn’t let get to us”. This time when everything seems so personal and jarring is a gift. A time to turn in and release. In the same way that in autumn the trees allow their leaves to drop to the earth and are bare, vulnerable and focusing internally we prepare and shed and feel all the raw feelings that didn’t leave with a hopeful exhalation. This is our autumn as women. You are a deciduous beast, and now it is time for you to to prepare to shed what is not needed. So, this dreadful PMS or PMDD, should you be one who experiences such things, can serve you. Can be a time for you to be with you. To take care of you. To cry or rage and scream because things are not ok sometimes. This time is a tool to let go of those poisonous things that threaten you. Use it to your health instead of being fooled into thinking it is a sign of your own weakness.

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Lunar Flow with Shiva Rea

Shiva Rea is such an inspirational yoga teacher. This flow is not too rigorous. It flows with beauty and feels lovely in the hips and heart. My recommendations: make sure you take the time to enjoy the spinal articulation as you roll down to the earth. Be aware of the length of the spine and head/tail connection. Also, when you come up in cobra, it is probably best to keep your elbows slightly bent. She straightens hers at the peak of cobra, be safe. Listen to your body. 🙂 Breathe and enjoy!

 

To my body

which regularly travels three continents, and traverses the diverse cultural constructs found there.

To my body which has been groundlessly shamed, in spite of the protection all loved ones have placed around me.

To my body, which has endured sexual abuse, both above and under the influence, in youth and maturity.

To my body that dances through the madness and heals even as it terembles.

To my body, which has been attacked and battered without provocation, and in spite of my attempts of self defense.

To my body, which I have have abused, and occasionally still do, and hope never to do again. And again. And again.
To my body that practices, sustains, and grows with every breath and cycle.

To my body, that is so much blood and bone, fat and muscle. That is skin and other organs in and out that deal with the world and taking it in.

To my body, and your body, you deserve so much more than destruction.  I hope you know your beauty. I hope you live your strength.


As a yoga teacher and a body worker, I strive at all times to provide my students and clients with a safe space. By the time I came to yoga, at the age of 14, I had already endured sexual abuse. It was my discovery of my body through yoga and dance, and the help of a loving community, that allowed me to move forward. Capoeira was my next step along the path, and was my island of safety during an eating disorder, PTSD, and the process of recovery.

The wound is the place where the light enters you. – Rumi

This evening, I was body shamed, for being “half-naked” in some of my recent yoga pictures. I then deleted almost all of those pictures from Instagram. With the unfaltering support of my partner and husband, and after an emotional conversation with a dear friend in Australia, who pointed out to me I have nothing to be ashamed of, I wrote this and decided to show myself again… Not for pity or approbation, but because I know I’m not alone. I know there are other people who have faced greater obstacles in finding center and over come them. All I can do is bear witness in my life to my struggle and maybe, in doing so, I will affirm the struggle of others.

If my words sound familiar, no matter what your body type, history or status, please know you are not alone. Please know that agency is yours for the taking. Claim your power. Know your beauty. Release pride for a deeper awareness; you are not better because you aren’t someone else, you are amazing because of who you are.

And, now that I have shown you much of my inner self, with words that still terrify me as I submit them to public view, I am finally going to bed. And I am posting some of those pictures I took down. Thanks for reading.

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from all suffering. May you share your gifts with the world, and may you know your true self in this lifetime.

Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma

Good Morning Vinyasa Flow (English/Français)

I head back to the states for about a month next week. This weekend, I won’t have much if any wifi, so I am posting this mini practice for folks while I am still riding the wave of inspiration.

So if miss our classes in Casa while I am away or you are away or the studio is closed because it’s Eid, or you just like yoga here you go!  I think anyone can enjoy this flow.

Please be aware of your breath, this can be done with ujai pranayama or simply with deep full breaths. If you have ever taken a class with me you know this is one my favorite ways to begin. This sequence is warming and not too rigorous. The sequence is designed to stimulate the central nervous system, bring coordination and harmony to the core and a full awareness of the body in space. Make sure you do both sides 😉 enjoy!

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Commencez dans le posture de l’enfant. Laissez le front au sol , les anches aux talons. Créez votre intention ici et respirez profondement. Lachez tous ce dont vous n’avez pas besoin. Quand vous vous resentez complete, ramenez les hanches en haut des genoux, les epaules en haut des poigners.

Begin in child’s pose, seated on the knees hips resting on your heels or a rolled up blanket if you find it uncomfortable to sit all the way down. Allow your head to drop to your knees. The spine lengthens across the thighs. Feel the gentle traction of gravity as your hips and forehead sink down to the floor in opposite directions. Become aware of your breath. Slowly allowing the inhales to deepen and the exhales to be more complete. Relax the muscles of the face and the throat, be at ease here.

Set your intention before you begin, weather you wish to cultivate a healing quality in your life, or there is someone on your heart. Dedicate your practice to this intention.

When you are ready inhale and come to a table top position. The shoulders are over the writs and knees are under the hips joints. Feel the length of the spine between the crown of the head to the tail. Allow the energy of the central channel to continue in both directions beyond the physical body.

Cat/Cow

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Expirez, arrondissez le dos, nombril ver les lombaires. Inspirez regardez vers l’avant la queue derriere le dos en extension.

Exhale, round the spine, gaze towards the navel curling the tail into the center as well. With your inhale, gaze forward, opening the spine with the sits bones opening upwards (happy butts 😉 ). Continue with this cycle 5 more times.

Cat/Cow Variation

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Avec votre inspiration, ramenez le pied droit derrière, et la main gauche devant. Cherchez loin avec ces deux points opposés. Trouvez le connexion entre haut, bas, droit et gauche du corps, lié vers le nombril. Expirez puis ramenez le coude et le genou en bas. Activez les ab-dos et poussez le nombril vers le bas du dos. Continuez avec ce cycle 5 fois.

Inhale the right heel back and the left hand forward, creating oppositional energy between the top and bottom halves of the body and the right and the left side. Connect these two energies through the belly button. As you exhale, draw the left elbow and the right knee to center. Exhale and Inhale deeply as you continue with 5 more cycles of this cat/cow variation.

In this pict, my hand is a little forward of my shoulder, please make sure your hand is under the shoulder.

Three Legged Downward Facing Dog

Expirez et remplacez la main gauche au sol, maintenez le talon droit loin. En inspirant, poussez avec les mains contre le sol et poussez la jambe droite dans l’air, la tête en bas. Avec votre expiration, activez les abdos et ramenez le genou droit vers le poitrine, les épaules en haut des poigners et placez le pied entre les mains pour la fente.

Exhale the left hand to the floor, right leg still extended. Inhale , press both hands to the floor and send the right foot up to the sky for one legged down dog. On your next exhale, engage your center, bring your right knee to your chest and place the foot between the hands for a lunge.

Lunge

Inhale and lengthen through the spine, finding energy from the crown to the tail and the length of the left leg. Anchor the right foot into the earth.

À la fente, activez la longue de la jambe gauche, ancre le pied droite au sol. Mettez plus d'espace entre les arrachis, activez l'enérgie entre la crâne et la cueue.

À la fente, activez la longue de la jambe gauche, ancre le pied droite au sol. Mettez plus d’espace entre les arrachis, activez l’enérgie entre la crâne et la cueue.

Anjaneyasana 

Inhale and bring the arms overhead, lengthen the spine out of the pelvis. Bring the belly to the lower back to support the spine. If you wish, you can reach back and open the heart for a spinal extension.

Inspirez, ramenez le bras en haut de la tête, montez la colonne vertebrale du basin. Mettez le nombril ver les lombaires pour soutenir le dos. Si vous voulez vous pouvez aussi ouvrir le coeur et mettez le dos en extension. Respirez ici deux fois.

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Expirez, ramenez la main gauche à côté du pied droit. Levez la main droite vers le ciel et regardez vers les doigts. Grandissez toujours le longue du colonne vertebral. Gardez aussi l’énergie dans le talon gauche. Ouvrez le frontière de la poitrine et ramenez les omoplates vers le centre du dos. Restez ici trois bons respirations. Déposez la main droite au sol, et vinyasa.

Twisted lunge

Exhale, bring the left hand down to the the inside of the right foot, lift the right arm to the sky and gaze towards the right finger tips. Create space across the chest. Breath from the crown of the head to the tail. Knit the shoulder blades together. After 3 breath cycles here, bring the right hand down to the outside of the right foot, replace the right foot next to the left and Vinyasa.

inspirez chien tête en haut, expirez chien tête en bas. Restez ici pendant cinq respirations. Déposez les genoux au sol et recommencez dès le début. To end, return to child’s pose, take some deep breaths here. Have a great day!!!!! Namaste.\

Plank or knees, chest and chin to the floor, inhale, rise to up dog, exhale downward facing dog. Repeat the whole cycle to the other side ending in down dog. From here you can continue your practice, or go about your day. Savasana is always a good idea after practice. It is the most crucial yoga pose. Take a moment, lie on your back, close your eyes and rest.

Have a great rest of you day!!!!!!

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from all suffering. May you share your gifts with the world, and may you know your true self in this lifetime.

Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma

*Vinyasa Yoga * Aerial Yoga * Acro Yoga JAMbassador * Dance * Therapeutic Massage* World Music * Capoeira*

Into the desert

I never really thought I would like the desert. I always just assumed it would be a dry, empty, hot place. I love lush green places. I love trees, which is quite evident if you check out my earlier post about AIR Yogalates teacher training. After moving to Morocco, I decided I had to see the Sahara before I left the journeybeginscountry. Just so I could have done it, you know, bucket list style. The opportunity to visit the desert came this year with my friends, Ashley and Kris. They came to visit me in Morocco on a grand tour of Europe. We spent a few days in Casablanca, then we took off to Marrakech. Where we relaxed, ate, shopped, haggled, drank oj, got henna done in that order 😉 . Now, for those of you know doIMG_4502n’t know, Marrakech this time of year is HOT. The Sahara is also HOT. I was told several times that this plan was a little crazy. Especially since it is Ramadan, but who knows when my peeps will get back to Morocco. We spent the night in a Riad. Mine was Riad Khol which was an absolutely beautiful. The modern Moroccan twist on décor, the friendly staff, and the icy pool water were so refreshing coming in from the streets of the Souk. I love seeing my friends faces light up the first time that they see the Jmal el fna for the first time.IMG_4508 The lights, the sounds, the call to prayer hanging on the wind. This is the magic of the Medina in Marrakech. The next morning, we woke up super early to meet with Khaled, our guide from Sahara Services. The tour was expensive for Morocco, but I will say I think I got my money’s worth, and happily reccomend the investment.  Check out http://saharaservices.info/product/sahara-highlights/ if you are interested. In order to get to the Sahara, you have to cross the high Atlas Mountains, the anti-Atlas Mountains, and then quite a bit of terrain before you arrive the dunes. In the High Atlas Mountains there can be snow, pine tress, and thunder storms. The road is one of the most dangerous in the world, but is it ever amazing. 1

Once we arrived in the desert, I was struck by the peace and wonder I experienced. I had not anticipated falling in love with a dry, hot, sandy expanse of land, but there is so there to be experienced. We all felt totally peaceful, calm, and amazed. Camels moved acorss the land as their owners, nomads to this day, search for good grazing land. Donkeys, which I never found particularly attractive before, have a certain charm on the dunes. Mice with long tails scurry around at night. We saw sand storms, then lightning and rain, then sand storms again. We played music with our guides and I learned some words in Berber. We learned how to dance Desert berber style and were up until two in the morning with our guides, who mostly grew up as nomads in the region. IMG_4748

Nomad family in the desert

Nomad family in the desert

For the first time in my life I saw what must have been the milkey way with the naked eye. I slept beneath the stars until a gust of wind blew my pillow from under me as I changed positions. Yes, I chased after my pillow in the middle of the night in the Sahara. Our guides laughed at that one for a while the next morning. I learned how to tie a turban. We met a nomad family and I played hide and go seek and did down dog with the kiddos.

Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma

*Vinyasa Yoga * Aerial Yoga * Acro Yoga JAMbassador * Dance * Therapeutic Massage* World Music * Capoeira*

For your listening pleasure….

listeningA bunch of students have asked me to share my yoga and pilates playlists with them so here are two of the ones I use the most frequently. Hope you enjoy 🙂 Vinyasa

Pilates

Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma

*Vinyasa Yoga * Aerial Yoga * Acro Yoga JAMbassador * Dance * Therapeutic Massage* World Music * Capoeira*