Summertime YIN YOGA!!!

I’m feeling great and healing quickly after shoulder surgery on May 31st. Excited to share the practice of Yin Yoga again! I am also planning to add another class or two soon. Stay tuned! But here are some I am covering this summer at The People’s Yoga (both NE and SE studios) http://www.thepeoplesyoga.org

  • July 26 (Tuesday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • July 28 (Thursday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in NE Killingsworth at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 4 (Thursday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in NE Killingsworthat THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 21 (Sunday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 23 (Tuesday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 25 (Thursday) Yin Yoga 7:15 in NE Killingsworth  at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 28 (Sunday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 30 (Tuesday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • September 18 (Sunday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA

 

This. A million times, THIS.

 

Karin Burke tells it like it is. She is the only yoga/writer I read and the only one that makes any sort of sense to me at all.

Magical Thinking, Yoga, and Internal Inquiry

Yoga in the Slow Lane

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This is a *perfect pose*. Perfect because I’m smiling and feeling at-ease without trying. Years ago I would have tried REALLY hard to do something much more asana-like or impressive when posing for a picture on a cliff above the ocean. Nowadays, I could care less about showing off what I can do or being extreme about anything. These days I am softer, closer to the ground and much, much kinder to myself.

 

My approach to yoga practice as well as teaching has changed significantly over recent years and continues to ease into a much quieter way of being in this body and on this earth. As a longtime practitioner and teacher, I can say that yoga continues to unravel a wild mystery for me. It’s so much more than asana. Yoga has helped me to take an honest look at myself and the world around me. Of course what is shown isn’t always the feel-good, blissed-out woowoo stuff some want us to believe. Over time and if we stick with it, yoga shows us the truth. Truth isn’t always what we expect, wish for or plan on.

When I was new to yoga, I had zero interest in any of the more gentle styles. I was so yang! I once said, “why would I want to go lay around on the floor with other people?” I avoided slow. I wanted to feel the asana in a very physical way. I loved long, strong holds, advanced postures and going into my edges and often times through or past them. I felt this helped me to feel like I was actually *in* my body. Perhaps this was what it needed to be then. But as I grew older, I began to wander and my interest in yoga began to waver and change.

Very often, the deep is in the wandering.

I always practiced yoga in a very yang way. Hugging in, engaging my muscles and rarely ever relaxing. I have hypermobile joints and was always instructed by my teachers to practice this way. Over time, this Yang approach was carrying through into every aspect of not only my practice, but my whole life. I was always engaged and I wasn’t relaxed. Not at all.

“In a society that holds productivity as unequivocally good, to do less feels like a moral failing.”

~ Esme Weijun Wang

This way of being and practicing began to cause all sorts of pain in my body and my life. My joints ached, I felt spun out and unfocused. I was losing interest in asana as I knew it. I wondered if the twenty plus year love affair I had with yoga was coming to an end. I was in pain. A lot of pain. My knees felt like hot lava, on fire, crumbling and as if they were full of broken glass. I started to blame myself for being too hard on my body. After a couple of years of this mystery knee torture, I was finally diagnosed with RA, a chronic, systemic autoimmune condition that targets the joints, tissues and organs. It all began to make sense. I had to sit with this for a while. I was forced to pause. This changed everything.

Yoga asana as I practiced, no longer felt okay for my body. The joint damage I had already sustained was bad enough, and I wanted to continue to be able to move my body and avoid ending up in a wheelchair. I began to limit my practice to the floor, for the most part. I also didn’t practice yoga poses as I knew them. I simply stayed still in my body, relaxed my muscles, and softened into my natural alignment without trying to align, correct or fix a damn thing. Without really realizing at the time, I had found a Yin practice and it felt like what was missing all along. Accepting old and new physical or skeletal limitation as part of having a body. Appreciating and understanding my unique anatomy. I felt like I achieved so much by not trying to achieve anything. This was Yin. And for the first time, yoga didn’t feel busy. I was relaxed. Everything as it was, good or bad, was okay.

I dove into Yin yoga and it’s deep, dark, calm waters. I felt held there. I was re-inspired. I also began studying energy medicine so as to learn more about the body’s energy systems like the meridians which are an important part of Yin yoga practice. I studied all I could because practice made sense again, and felt like I had found what was always missing; A quiet practice.

I continue to study, practice and teach this way of going in. I also have a love for Restorative Yoga where I include energy medicine techniques and exercises to enhance the calming benefits of the practice.

In my classes you are always welcome to come exactly as you are. You have permission to be you. Life is a full spectrum experience and it’s always changing, morphing and surprising us. I invite you to join me in stopping the glorification of busy. The waters are calm and inviting here.

Love and Ease,

Melina

 

 

 

 

Special Seasonal Yin Yoga Class for Spring!!!

 

Hello Spring!!!
A Special Seasonal (((rhythmic))) Yin Yoga Practice with Melina Donalson
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Yin Yoga draws upon the Five Elements and the principal of yin and yang used in Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. These elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Each element is associated with its own particular season, emotion, organ system and more.
Spring is the season of Wood and is the energy of rebirth – a surge of rising energy, like in the way the dandelion can burst through concrete if it must. It is the energy of growth, beginnings and an expression of life at its strongest.

This special seasonal class is offered as an initiation or opening to the season. Class will include Yin Yoga postures associated with meridians of Spring/Wood, easy energy medicine tips and exercises, as well as a special guest to take us on a rhythmic savasana to bring us out of winter’s slumber and to awaken to the rising energy of Spring!

Class cards & Memberships Accepted. $14 drop-in!

Sign up online to reserve your spot:

https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=253531

The Quest

Today I am needing to remember why it is I do what I do, because the conditioning is becoming so different than my own quest, as I am sure this feels true for many others.
I do not wish to be *busy* with yoga.
I do not wish to become famous, well-known or sought-after.
I am tired.
The *yoga world* makes me feel very, very tired. I could not keep up if I wanted to.
But, my practice enlivens me. This practice that has become quiet, subtle and personal.
I guess I keep teaching because practice can help connect us back to the whole. I keep teaching because of an innate longing to bring people together in a way that helps us to remember we are worthy, and whole and beautiful.
My quest is simple: to love more, rest more, listen more than I talk, and to be as authentic with others as humanly possible.
Quietly,
Melina

Wolf Time and Pain

Today, I was grocery shopping and at one of those self checkout stations. I was in the middle of bagging my groceries when I suddenly dropped a bag of red potatoes. My breath was forced out of my lungs by what felt like a sharp karate chop across my upper back, that sent lava-like heat all the way around my rib cage to my chest. I froze at the end of that exhale. Suspended. I couldn’t reach down to grab the potatoes I had dropped. I just stared down at them. I think maybe I was making a crazy pain face. When I’m in pain, I get very, very wolf-like. I hide it and I look for a way out. A way I can slink away without notice and lick my wounds, alone. Only this time, a checker spotted me, and asked if I was ok. Of course I said, “yes” and that it was *only* or *just* a spasm. I’m still reluctant to ever say, “no” or ask for help. Aries Moon anyone?

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Humbled by pain and unable to lift my own groceries, I accepted some help and was assisted out to my car. Once alone, I sat there remembering: Oh yeah, I walk with this thing called chronic pain and illness. Though sometimes it creeps down and hides so deeply below the surface that I cannot see it and it almost feels lost. Then, it only takes one moment, one second, one movement to remind me sharply of it’s presence. Like it wants to remind me not to get too high, too free or too loose. Like a leash or a seat belt, violently strapping me back to it’s reality. Again.

For the past several months, I have been experiencing less pain, less fatigue and less symptoms overall. I honestly feel that a combination of treatments, including energy medicine and a daily yin practice have really helped manage it all. My classes have been going really well. I have not needed to find subs and have been more consistent with life stuff in general. This may sound simple to you, but it feels like soaring to me.

Presently, this is the type of pain shakes the big and the small stuff right out of you. All plans, the little worries, anxieties, doings and the like – gone. Here I am forced into not doing, but simply being. Occasionally wondering if this new pain will be one that stays or goes. Like I have said before, this causes me to be undeniably present. It’s not a gift. But it is something that demands I pay very close attention to it. I’m listening. Learning to listen is a deep study.

This is something like *pain wisdom*. Not knowledge of, or compassion for, but a true to life, first hand experience of what it means to live with and through physical pain. No amount of magical thinking is going to make it disappear. I cannot green juice or namaste my way out of this. Nor will chanting, or the power of positive thinking change my joints and organs back to the way they were. This is a knocking down and a lying still. It’s also the clawing at, grasping onto and dragging my way back. Not allowing pain to take away the love or the sparkle or the hope in each inhale. This is time for the real work. I call this Wolf Time.

Sending out so much love and support to everyone else experiencing pain and illness in all it’s many forms. It is by this experience, I continue to be more and more motivated to work with others. May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

Love,

Melina