• katie

No, it doesn't feel good to breathe.

People either love my yoga class or they hate it. And I'm cool with that-- just like the rest of my life. I live by the notion that I am going to give you my authentic self and whatever that is in that moment, that's it.

Take it or leave it.

I teach Yin yoga. The baseline of the class is holding poses for longer period of times (anywhere from 30sec-6min) and rather than flowing through movements, such as going from updog to downdog through your warriors-- we're focusing on being in your body... breathing... feeling... and letting that belly breath in & belly breath out sink you into where your body wants to be. I walk around give a little bit of massage with essential oils/some guidance for students' breath-work. But mostly everyone is there to enjoy the silence and slow being.

What I really try to emphasize in my classes is showing up just as you are. Yes, like, even if you're in a crazy terrible mood and don't want to do half of the postures. Don't do it. Lay there and cry & breathe if that's what you need to do in my space. I'm not going to question why you aren't doing what I asked. It's not my business. In my class, I'm just glad you showed up. I'm glad that you drove and cut out time in your day to be selfish. Because being selfish and focusing on filling ourselves up with quiet time and self reflection brings us closer to our entire being. It brings us the clarity and shows us where we need to focus in and do our work to be kinder, more patient, move more, move less, to be better for ourselves-- which in turn will make us better for others.

It's rare that I attend a yoga class. I truly like the quiet, alone time that my own practice brings, and I like tuning into whether my body is craving a 5-minute meditation or a 90-minute vinyasa. I also have a huge fear of getting hurt in yoga (zero fear about Crossfit, but huge fear about yoga... because I don't struggle with scaling/modifying workouts-- but I do struggle with wanting to force myself to be more flexible faster than my body wants/can be and I have had a tendency to chase the perfect posture instead of listening to & knowing my body). But, anywho, I took a yoga class.

I was having an emotionally draining week. A client wasn't feeling valued enough, Max and I are figuring out how to connect more/deal with our crazy busy-businesses, and I've been breaking out super badly so I've been having a few more self love issues than I would like.

I wanted to come to class to settle my frantic heart.

Like, I could feel it.

I could feel the unsettledness and the inability to shut my mind off-- especially from the negatives.

I wasn't... feeling.

I was... avoiding.

I was packing everything, every little bit of stress into my heart and my belly and my shoulders. I was carrying the weight of so many things that didn't have to be carried.

I rolled out my mat and class began with us in child's pose. My mind was still all over the place and I definitely didn't feel "there" yet.

"Ahh, feel that? Doesn't it feel so good to just breathe?"

My teacher said this and I just started to cry on my mat. Because no. No, it didn't feel good to breathe. I checked in with my body and took a scan and noticed that I was tough. It was tight. It was shakey. I was holding in. I was filled with tension. I was forcing my hips over my heels and stretching my arms out in front of me with zero grace/surrender. I was facing my unsettledness head on and realized that I was barely breathing. My breath was shallow and needed so much attention and effort in order for me to fill my belly on the inhale, hold it at the top, and to control and slow down my exhale while fully emptying.

"No, it doesn't feel good to breathe." I thought.

When you feel immense stress and pressure to be everything to everyone, you feel like your breath is taken from you.

We all unconsciously hold stress and emotions in our bodies when we don't regularly put our consciousness towards our breath, mental, and physical state. Our shoulders shrug up, our backs tighten, our breath becomes shallow. So the longer we go without the intention of reducing that stress and bringing that self awareness to our being-- things get worse.

I think of yoga like a girl with dark brown hair trying to go platinum blonde.

Girl, it ain't gonna happen in one session.

This takes TIME.

Finding your breath takes TIME.

Closing your eyes and being in your body takes TIME.

Being able to notice changes in your overall being takes TIME.

Sorting through your thoughts and assessing your mind takes TIME.

I'll say it 101 times over again, you can't just read a self help book, or go to a yoga class, or hear a quote and expect things to just change in your life. You have to go at your own mind... the way you speak to people... the energy you bring into a room... the feeling you give to others... the breaths you take... the awareness you bring... over & over again. The constant reflection & assessment & proofreading of ourselves is what creates change.

So I brought it to my mat.

The stress of things to complete for the growth of my business.

The negative gunk energy that I took on from others in the week.

The sadness of feeling lonely and disconnected from humans and Max.

The unfulfilled, ungrateful part of me that wanted a creative space / an artsy-er home to work in.

The lack of self love I had as I questioned if I was doing enough to reach my aesthetic goals.

I brought it all.

"No, it doesn't feel good to breathe." I thought.

But it will.

And being here, on my mat. Noticing my discomfort in myself and my life, the changes of pace and routine, and the thoughts and feelings surrounding it all-- was worth how shitty it felt to breathe. I was able to be in those feelings with no other judgment, but my own. No one's advice or opinion, but my own. Just me. My breath. My mat. Moving through it all.

Moving through it all is what matters. I think we have it confused sometimes that we should come to yoga and feel oh-so-positive-and-grateful, full of bliss and Om-ing our way through life. We don't. We simply need to show up and embrace whatever we are & wherever we are. Because it doesn't matter if we get the pose perfect or we achieve our aesthetic goals, it doesn't matter if we have nailed down a new breath-work practice or have laid out our new journal perfectly in cursive writing, it doesn't matter. Once we achieve those things-- naturally as human beings we search for more. We redirect our focus right into the next thing that we can award ourselves with. Or even worse, we realize that even with those things we're still unhappy and dealing with the same thoughts and feelings as we were before we achieved them.

If we don't move, we stay stuck. But sometimes, being 'stuck' in little to no movement forces us to go in our heads and feel it all.

"No, it doesn't feel good to breathe." I thought.

But it will.


This is life without the filter,