Finding Confidence

Finding Confidence

Confidence is a tricky thing… too much and we seem fake or rude or self-involved. Too little and we seem weak, childish, and awkward. We want that sweet spot of just enough but it’s hard to find it and to live there. What does it mean exactly to know who we are, be open to evolving and be able to hold appropriate boundaries? It’s a lot to ask of ourselves and to understand about ourselves and it’s exactly the work we should always have been doing to grow into full capacity adults.

Why don’t they teach this stuff in school?!

They really should, but they don’t and often our parents don’t even have this figured out enough for themselves to teach us. We likely experienced them as too clingy or too distant. We probably were on the other end of their guilt and maybe even manipulation. And that’s for folks with great parents. Like I said, this stuff is tricky, and it does get passed down.

The rewards, however, for working on oneself in this way, for investing one’s confidence and relationship to self, are boundless. Just imagine, not a world where you didn’t second guess a decision, but where it didn’t mean you second guessed your value. A world where you never had to play small for sympathy wins or because you were afraid to unleash your largeness. A world where you could own every bit of who you are and know that you are special and so is everyone else… and they could feel that in being with you.

Now that’s a world! It’s a world you can have. 

This is the exact work that I do with my coaching clients. So much is about the feeling and the ways we take up our bodies. I help you explore this, how to fill it out, the ways you deny it and more. You can repattern all of it and watch as the world adjusts to meet you. It’s truly magnificent. I know because I’ve been there.

Learn to own your confidence or work on any of your sticky parts with me this month while I’m offering $500 OFF my 10 session coaching package. Message me here for more details.

Stress Lives in the Body

Stress Lives in the Body

Anyone who has ever worked as a personal trainer, yoga teacher, or even a waiter or waitress at a restaurant, knows that stress lives in the body. You can see it on the folks you serve, burning off them like steam or in their frozen human-like expressions. I first understood that deep muscle release would result in an emotional outpouring during my time studying theater at Boston University where we would stretch our bodies and our release sounds from deep in our guts to get at old wounds and traumas. We probably should have had some boundaries and guidance in trauma sensitivity, but that’s another story. 

I encountered this pattern of emotional release again when I began to work one on one with yoga clients in their homes or in studios, clubs and gyms like the Reebok Club, now Equinox, that were popular at that time. Some similar patterns would happen where clients would start to tell me their personal stories, sometimes interrupting whole sessions to “let stuff out”. It was the body talking. 

In the safety of our established relationship and with the help of a little breathwork and movement they could let go of some things they were holding onto. I was lucky that I had some active listening training and I was also sure I was often outside my scope. Trauma informed yoga teacher, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, and Therapist, Hala Khouri has a similar story which she shared with me on the first episode of my new podcast, Beyond Trauma.

She blends modalities to best serve all the different nervous systems present in a yoga room. I really appreciated her wisdom in how to show up as a trauma informed yoga teacher and create a space safe as possible for everyone and her clarity around the variety of supports that can work together to promote well-being for an individual. 

All yoga teachers and especially those who seek to be trauma informed will benefit from Hala’s tips around collective care and weaving in more than just yoga asana in the yoga room.

Check out this inaugural episode today on iTunes or Spotify and check out Three and a Half Acres Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher Training here

Unfocused: How zoning out could help you make your next best discovery

Unfocused: How zoning out could help you make your next best discovery

How to focus better and longer is the subject of many conversations in this era of smartphones and other devices stealing our attention every few seconds. We are cautioned, and rightfully so, that we need to turn off devices, silent notifications and learn to concentrate on the task we are engaged in, or problem we are attempting to solve. Many of us, especially folks with trauma, have trouble concentrating for very long. 

It’s parents and teachers’ common concern about their kids, calling on children to “pay attention” when they stare out the window or fidget at their desk. However, as we can see examples of so many times even though we often ignore or override them, our bodies know first and often best what we need to succeed. 

Plugging away at a problem may just be the opposite of what we need to solve it.

Every go to sleep with a problem in mind you need to solve and wake up with it all figured out? Turns out our brains love soft focus and often need us to relax and open up to do what they do best. 

How do we do this?

Taking a thirty minute walk, going to a yoga class or stepping away to read something unrelated from a physical book are all good ways to relax our brains and let the answers flow to us but may sometimes feel too time consuming. 

Here’s another option…Relax your eyes.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but they are probably more likened to the windows to the brain. When we are doing work at a computer or on our phones as so many of us spend most our days doing, they are focused tightly to one spot. This narrow focus has its place but is unnatural in our evolutionary history to hold for so long.

You can switch the state of your mind and body quickly by switching your visual focus to a softer, broader focus. Try it now. Look straight ahead. Now without moving your eyes, relax your gaze and take all of your scope of vision to the ends of your periphery with our moving the eyes or straining. Do this for a few minutes and you will reset your nervous system, engaging its calming parasympathetic branch. 

This wide relaxed gaze is the opposite of tunnel vision. It takes in your whole environment and tells your body you are aware and safe, a perfect exercise for reducing stress and the impacts of trauma. 

This is the place from which we can make better informed decisions and find creative answers to problems we most likely would not have discovered from zoning in. We are, quite literally, taking it all in.

This gaze happens naturally when we are relaxed, but the great thing is we can bring the relaxed state on by taking it purposefully, state shifting into a more open state. Anyone can do this. 

If you are a trauma informed yoga teacher, you may want to use this at some points in your class. Where the eyes are looking in each pose is a central part to our teaching. Considering how you can cue for a softer and wider gaze may just be what’s missing in helping your yoga students to step into that chill, open minded state. 

You might just be helping them to see the big picture and make a real transformation in their lives. 

CATSKILLS

CATSKILLS

Catskills

Thimo and Lara have combined over 35 years of experience in yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices. Their certifications include Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga, Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Mindfulness, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Chair Yoga, traditional Buddhist Meditation and Life-Coaching and as well they are certified Fasting Guides. Together Thimo’s German roots, and Lara’s New York City vibes bring a balance of energy which allows them to easily connect with practitioners of all levels and interests. Their reverence for nature has made the Catskills a natural home for them and is the inspiration for their present endeavours.

Thimo and Lara host a variety of in person Catskill offerings including classes, workshops, and retreats ranging from one hour to week long experiences.

Sessions include:

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • mindfulness practice
  • personal coaching
  • nature immersion
  • fasting & cleansing
  • yoga philosophy
  • early buddhist teachings
  • guided mindful outdoor hikes & walks

Classes can be combined to create unique experiences for both groups and individuals at varying levels and experiences including pure beginners.

KRIPALU SCHOOL OF MINDFUL OUTDOOR LEADERSHIP logo
Request Information

Inquire here to set up your 2022 summer/fall experience.

STREAMSIDE YOGA

Yoga classes are ongoing Tuesdays 9:15am-10:30am

Suggested donation is $20 due by 3pm Monday before class

Ashtanga is a powerful style of yoga that involves matching the movement of the breath with the movement in and out of postures. We use a set sequence of poses which we build upon as we grow together and which can be adapted to any level and ability. In this weekly class Lara emphasizes the three-pointed focus of breath, gaze, and posture and suggests ways for using this focus to transform the practice into a moving meditation. Prepare to sweat if you want to or move more slowly and have any pose modified to meet your needs.

Testimonials

Thimo is an extraordinary person. He is real, wise, knowledgeable and teaches with care, openness, courage and humility. He is what he is teaches. I felt known and seen as well as valued and respected.

- Ines M

In Lara Land, I have experienced, when I needed it the most, an individual who is passionate about yoga, passionate about her dedication to teaching and unstoppable in a way that goes beyond yoga. She has a passion for the local community, a passion for sharing her talents and yoga all over the world.

- Sonya C

Healing Trauma with Nature

Healing Trauma with Nature

Many of us have struggled with traumatic stress since the pandemic arrived in 2020 and even before that with our increasingly screen based, sedentary lives, so unnatural to our systems. I, myself, even though I had an over two decade long yoga practice found that I was often at capacity for what my nervous system could handle. 

It was the incorporation of mindful nature immersion that allowed and continues to allow my body to regulate and thrive.

As a start, you can spend more time in nature, by moving your coffee break, a phone call, or any regular activity to the outside. 

Learning how to be with and communicate with nature goes further and is a practice. It’s not just getting outside, but being there, in nature with purpose and practices which open you up to all the benefits it can offer. 

On nature immersion yoga retreats, students are guided through awakening their senses and reconnecting with the earth. Talks and meditations which call us into the elements and heighten the experience of nature so it’s as technicolor as any screen out there and more so. We hold space and allow for the release of stress and calibration we all desire. You will find your sleep is deeper allowing for the healing your body desires. 

The next retreat of this nature is this summer. You can check out the details here

Healing Trauma with Nature - Thimo resting under a tree