Teachers

I have always loved my teachers.  When I was little, I wrote letters to my elementary school teachers over the summer.  I continued to write to my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Stark, until I was in college.

Imagine my surprise when I recently attended a chakra cleanse workshop (www.innerpeaceyogatulsa.com), and the workshop focused on teachers.  Not the sort of teachers I used to write letters to.  These teachers were those people I have struggled to forgive, people who I want nothing to do with.  I was shocked that at each point of the chakra cleanse, Meghan (our instructor) asked us to recall someone who abandoned us, hurt us, shamed us, etc. etc.  And to thank them.  Not just once.  Not twice.  But throughout the entire workshop.  It became a mantra.

Thank you for being my teacher.
Thank you for giving me that experience.
Thank you for making me stronger.
Thank you for teaching me what I DON’T want to be.

At first I was really uncomfortable because the person who came to mind was my father. To make a very long story short, my father left my family when I was 16, and pretty much never came home. He left a huge mess for my mom and all of us (5 kids) to sort out. It was awful. We could have been on Oprah type of awful. I’ll just leave it at that.

 

As I sat with this mantra, it became clear to me that in many ways, my father did teach me valuable lessons that helped me become the strong woman I am today.  It’s possible that my father is one of my greatest teachers.  And that terrified me.

How could someone who caused so much pain and heartache be one of my greatest teachers?  How could he be among those who I adored and looked up to all my life?  Like Mrs. Stark?

For some reason – beyond my awareness and knowledge – my father is in my life.  The universe brought us together, for better or worse.  And while no one deserves to be hurt, shamed, or abandoned … sometimes it happens. My mom used to say, “All God’s children got somethin’…” Meaning, we all have pain.  We all have contrast in our lives.

But we don’t have to continue living in the contrast.

I think the best we can do is to see what the lesson is.  To acknowledge what the person or situation has taught us.  To really learn the lesson.  To grow from the contrast and move closer to what we really do want to experience.  And then be grateful for the lesson.

From my father – from the contrast – I learned to walk this life with integrity.  To be forthright and honest.  And on the occasion that I have done something wrong or hurt someone’s feelings, I apologize and acknowledge where I have fallen short.  Then, I begin again and strive to make things right.  I am grateful for these lessons, especially as I embark on starting my own business.

Our thoughts and our words create our experience.  So, let’s choose thoughts and words that will attract the types of teachers we really do want in our lives.  The kinds of teachers we would have written letters to when we were little.  The kinds of teachers we want to be when we grow up.  (Aren’t we all still growing up?)

It’s true that we can grow from the contrast – by learning what we DON’T want to be. But it’s also true that we can grow from inspiration.  I’d rather grow from inspiration.

 

Who will be your next great teacher? Choose wisely.

Peace,
Chelsea

New schedule!

Hi friends!

There have been a few changes to my teaching schedule.  The new schedule is below:

Mondays:

4:10pm @ Muskogee Swim & Fitness Center, Muskogee

7:30pm @ Inner Peace Yoga, Tulsa

Thursdays:

5:30pm @ First United Methodist Church, Checotah

Fridays:

8:30am @ First United Methodist Church, Checotah

12:05pm @ The Yoga Room, Tulsa

Saturdays:

5:00pm @ Inner Peace Yoga, Tulsa

For more information – including class descriptions, locations, and drop-in rates - go the YOGA tab at the top of the page and click on CLASS SCHEDULE.

Katelyn

Wishing you a magical summer!

If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?

Peace,

Chelsea

Road Trip

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello, readers!  Yes, I am still here.  The last 2 months have been full of ups and downs.  I haven’t felt the need to write about them until this week.

After I wrote my last post, I felt renewed, energized, and really inspired.  Within a week I came across a job opening that seemed absolutely PERFECT for me.  The position involved opening a retail space specifically for the yoga and fitness community in Tulsa.  The position would give me the experience and training that would help me open and operate a successful yoga studio of my own someday.  I was beyond thrilled. It felt like all of the pieces were finally coming together.  My purpose for being here in Oklahoma was starting to feel more clear.

The first interview went well and I felt like the second interview went even better.  A week later, I received a brief email stating that they were going with an internal candidate.  I can’t tell you how incredibly disappointed I was.  This perfect job and perfect world I created for myself fell to pieces.  I felt like I was back to square one again.

Back to square one as in, why did I move to rural Oklahoma?  Why did I leave my perfectly great job (with the best coworkers on the planet, by the way), leave my best friend, leave my sister, leave my church family, to start over in the middle of nowhere?

What’s the lesson here?

It’s like my mom says,  “When you’re taking a road trip from Seattle to San Diego, and you hit a bump in the road … you don’t turn around and go back to Seattle.  Or you don’t suddenly start driving to Denver.  You keep heading to San Diego.  So, you hit a bump in the road …  keep going.”

While it feels more than a bump in the road, I’m still heading to San Diego, or to opening my dream yoga studio.  Not exactly sure how to get there, but I still trust the process.

See you in San Diego,

Chelsea

Hungry Like a Wolf

via whitewolfphotos.blogspot.com

There is a Cherokee legend that goes something like this :

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

The wolf we feed is the one that grows. It’s simple. It makes sense.  But I would also add that the wolf we feed also draws the rest of the pack; what we choose to place our attention on attracts more of the same.  Lately I have been meditating on deliberate creation and the law of attraction. That which you give attention to, you attract into your life.

It’s really quite powerful.

You see, our thoughts are like magnets. What we think about or even worry/stress out about, is attracted to and brought into our experience. We truly create our own experience in this life, and it starts with our thoughts, or the wolf we choose to feed.

Now, it’s not like every single fleeting thought becomes reality or that every single thing we think about immediately becomes part of our experience. But, the more we dwell on something, or meditate on it, the stronger the attraction for such a thing becomes.

I know for myself that it is true. What I spend my time thinking about, and what I give my attention to, does come into my experience, whether it is intentional or not.

True story: A few weeks ago I found out that my community yoga class at our public library lost its funding, so the class would be ending.  I very easily could have chosen to feed the wolf of self-doubt, shame, anger, and so on.  I could have called all of my family and friends and asked them to feel sorry for me.  I could have taken this news to mean that I’m a failure.

Of course I was upset about this news, but I immediately shifted my thoughts to, “Well, the universe must have something else wonderful coming along, and this is just part of that transition.”  I did call my family and friends and I asked that they just think positive thoughts for me that day.  I made sure to practice yoga that evening, just to move that stuck energy of worry and self doubt that I could feel weighing heavily in my body. I left my yoga practice feeling lighter, brighter, and confident that there must be something else coming along that would be wonderful and I was ready for it.

That evening, I received a text message from the owner of a yoga studio in Tulsa, asking me if I would be interested in teaching a class starting in March. I immediately replied yes! I had been working hard over the past few weeks to get to know the teachers at this studio and be on their teaching schedule.

Last Monday night was my first class at this studio, and the energy was awesome. Everyone was so lit up and energized, I could feel the room humming. It was a fabulous affirmation that I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing.

And, I am working out the final details to keep my community yoga class going, despite losing our meeting space at the library.  I’m hopeful that our next meeting space will draw even more students to practice with us.

Some might say that day a few weeks ago was purely coincidence. But, I know how powerful my thoughts are. I know that I create my own experience here. I believe in the law of attraction and I am ready for more deliberate creation.

So, here it goes:

I want to create the best power yoga studio & community ever. I want to bring this light and love to Tulsa, Oklahoma. My studio will be humming with energy. Students will have the best experience ever and will think to themselves, “I can’t wait to come back tomorrow for another class!” Each class will be full, mat-to-mat. We’ll be the talk of the town!  And, all of this will be effortless. Yes, I will need to put together a business plan, find funding, etc. But, it won’t be hard. It won’t be a struggle. It will be an absolute joy.

There, I said it.

Which wolf are you feeding with your thoughts, your words, and your intentions?

With open palms,
Chelsea

A view from my yoga mat

Hello everyone!  Today is day 3 of my 40 Days to Personal Revolution.  Just thought I would occasionally post pictures and thoughts about my experience with the program.  Here’s a view from my yoga mat:

I think it’s really important to carve out a space for meditation and yoga practice at home.   It really helps me get into a regular routine if there is a regular place where I unroll my yoga mat that is free from distraction – like the phone or computer.  We don’t use our formal dining room very often, so I moved the table against the wall and I practice meditation and yoga in this room.  It’s a quiet space in the house that has a large window, so the natural lighting is really nice.

I also like to set the mood for my home practice with incense, candles, and a little heat from the help of my small space heater.  While I am on my mat in this room I listen to music and podcasts.  My favorite podcasts are from Philip Urso; you can find his podcasts for free on iTunes.

I am also in the process of downloading some music from Antje Duvekot.  She’s a singer/songwriter I had the pleasure of seeing in concert a few years ago in Harvard Square at Club Passim.   She has a beautiful voice and the lyrics are sweet and meaningful, so her songs are great for deep stretches and savasana towards the end of a yoga class.

Those are just a few things I do at home to help me with my meditation and yoga practice – what do you do at home?  Please share!

Peace,

Chelsea

Shift Happens

The streets in Boston make about as much sense as this sign above.  This is a picture from Boston’s Storrow Drive, also known as where the locals pretend that they are in the Indy 500.

photo credit: boston.com

I used to drive this stretch of road everyday to work – sometimes the traffic moved at a snail’s pace and other times it was a snap to get to work on time.  During my first few years of living in Boston, getting on to Storrow Drive was an absolute mystery because street signs are pretty much nonexistent.  Once I learned how to navigate the city – pre GPS – I felt like I had been inducted to a secret club.

My first and only accident in Boston was on Storrow Drive, when the slick icy roads prevented me from stopping in time as a car in front of me suddenly came to a halt.  Thankfully both drivers and cars were safe, and there was a police officer close by, so he was able to assist us to the shoulder.

After this accident, I started taking the Mass Pike to work.  I decided that I had cried enough tears on Storrow Drive – from being utterly lost, to frustrated with the traffic, and startled after an accident.  Even if it cost a few extra dollars in tolls, the peace of mind from taking the turnpike far outweighed the cost for my daily commute.

Earlier this month, I returned to Boston.  As soon as we landed, my partner and I rented a car and set out in the Boston after-work traffic.  And yes, we paid a visit to Storrow Drive and drove through the city.

photo credit: greaterbostonphotography.com

I immediately started to cry.  At first I wasn’t sure why I was getting teary eyed.  Was it seeing the bright autumn colors?  Was it seeing very familiar sites such as the Citgo sign, the Charles River, or the Boston city skyline?  Nope.  I realized just how much I missed this concrete maze of roads.  These ugly, confusing, twisting, roads moved me to tears yet again.

Nothing had really changed on Storrow - the traffic was still pretty terrible, the signs were still misleading, and the drivers were still erratic at best.  The thing that had changed was my mind.

Instead of being afraid of or frustrated with Storrow Drive, I was ecstatic to be exactly where I was – right smack dab in the middle of thick Boston traffic.  And I was so happy.

What led to my experience being different?

photo credit: greaterbostonphotography.com

A shift happened.

One of the most important lessons I learned a year ago during Level I teacher training is that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.  If happiness is a choice (which I believe it is), then suffering is an option.

For me, this means that we all experience a range of things in our lives, and yes sometimes even pain whether it be physical or emotional.  What we do with that pain is our choice.  Pain, in essence, is information.  We can choose to attach meaning to this information that can be liberating or debilitating.  An injury can be our best teacher or it can our worst enemy.  The choice is ours to make.

In that moment of congested city traffic, the information was the same as countless times before.  I was in a car in Boston traffic and I was crying.  But my experience of it was completely different this time.  These were tears of joy, not of frustration, anger, or fear. On some level, I chose to be happy.  I chose to be completely content with the what was happening in that moment.

I shifted my vision.

On the yoga mat, we experience deep sensations in our bodies.  It’s a myth that all yoga instructors are super flexible.  I am not.  I have really tight hips and hamstrings, which is exactly why I practice yoga.  When I allow myself to breathe through these deep sensations without judgment of my body or my yoga practice, I have a much better time on the mat.  This is true in every other situation in my life.  Yoga helps me to be less reactive and more creative, more powerful.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

I love this quote.  Even Boston city traffic can be transformed.  And for anyone who has been caught in Red Sox traffic, you know this is no small miracle.

photo credit: boston.com

What shift is possible for you?

Peace,

Chelsea

Welcome to omtowngirl.com!

Welcome to my website – OmTown Girl!  While I am working on a few final touches, feel free to browse the different tabs about yoga and catering, and to contact me for more information!

Peace,

Chelsea