Archive for the 'Transformation' Category
The Gold I Gleaned from Wanderlust
The Wanderlust Festival this year was nothing short of incredible. Not only was this festival an opportunity to practice yoga and hear great music, but also it was a chance to collect valuable information from top-notch Yoga teachers around the world and get exposed to yoga modalities I had never tried before.
I think the most important thing that I took away from my Wanderlust experience this year was the importance of being Authentic. Yoga becomes an expression of who we are as students, teachers and human beings. The practice is beautiful, ancient and revered. Also, it is a highly creative and expressive art, science and philosophy. It draws people out of their shell, breaks them down into little pieces and builds them back up into the most powerful expression of Divine love they can be.
We are all unique and it is that uniqueness that develops the Yoga that we teach or practice. Students will follow whatever expressions they resonate with on a vibrational level and all forms of Yoga are awesome for this reason.
After 12 classes in just four days, I extracted a ton of great ideas and information from the workshops that will improve my practice and my teaching. Below are some nuggets of information that I wish to pass along from some of my classes.
I was fortunate to be able to take three wonderful classes with Rod Stryker of ParaYoga. I could write a few blogs about what I learned through Rod, but will just highlight a few.
Class One – Hatha Yoga Pradipika
He made a point that resonated strongly with me - a reminder - that Yoga is not just about the muscles, asanas and breath, but also its about the Endocrine System, our organs. It’s our organs that give us longevity and we use the breath and the bandhas to change the health of our organs.
Class Two – Treta Bandhas
Udiyana Bandha is the master key to Yoga. This is where the fire (agni) burns up what Rod Stryker calls our “landfill”, the emotional stuff that resides in our second chakra that we need to burn up to get our spiritual Kundalini energy rising from the base of the spine. He says Mula Bandha gets all the press, but it’s the Udiyana Bandha that we need to stoke.
Class Three – Prana Viyus
He was masterful in explaining the Prana Vayus. We watched our breath as it relates to the five Vayus. As teachers, we could watch our students’ breath through the five subsets and as it got shaky or stuck somewhere, we could relate that directly back to the physical and psychological blocks they were encountering in their lives. This exercise was poignant for those participating and a real learning experience on the connection between breath and subtle energies.
Rod’s funny response to our discussion on the Apana Vayu and the importance of elimination on a physical and psychological level….“Spirituality goes out the door if you haven’t crapped in four days!”
I would highly suggest checking out Rod Stryker. His new book the “Four Bodies” was just released and I would bet that it’s nothing short of amazing!
This is his website: http://parayoga.com/
CorePower Yoga was an expression of Yoga rooted in physical training and fitness. It was a high-energy class filled with lunges and Utkatasanas. We used weights to sculpt and sweat a bunch. I could see this form of Yoga doing really well for the gym devotee and was very happy that I got to experience it. I could see myself hitting one of these classes once a week to really get the heart rate up and challenge myself on a physical level. CorePower Yoga teacher Becky reminded me that, “there are seeds of transformation at every turn.”
Seane is epic all the time! I don’t even know where to start other than to say that I find her to be one of the most empowering individuals on the planet. She always has a huge message and it calls you to do great things. When I leave her classes I want to be her – a badass – ready to save the world, raise money and do something great!
I could write a book of favorite quotes from Seane, but this one was particularly funny and it stuck out in my mind…(it’s paraphrased)… “Wow, I just whiffed the alcohol some of you are sweating out. I’m getting high off your sweat. Luckily, Yoga is a practice of detoxification!”
I walked out of Shiva’s class with Random Rab and Steve Gold and found myself walking around completely stoned off her energy. It’s Shakti - its sensual and mystifying. I don’t even know if we did much asana, but we sure shifted our consciousness quick. What I love about Shiva is her willingness to be spontaneous, her ability to hold space and allow people to dive into their sensuality. I get high off her love of music and dance. It’s a breed of Yoga that’s just plain … Shiva.
Off the Mat and Into the World – “Finding Your Voice” with Suzanne Sterling, Kerri Kelly and Hala Khouri
A revealing and empowering experience! We worked with our fifth chakra, Vishuddha, to enhance our ability to communicate. In our society, many of us are told at a young age that we can’t sing or that we shouldn’t say something when maybe we want to. From these mini traumas we close down in this center. We are dying to express ourselves! We learned the power of singing as a tool to heal, express and release the tension we’ve accumulated at the throat. Together, we practiced opening this chakra through asana, moaning, groaning, shouting and above all singing as a large community. I realized that we are all amazing singers and have tremendous voices when we can sync up as a community and feel safe and supported! Beautiful.
John Friend, “Creating Potent Themes”
All heart, all the time. John Friend is a devotee to Bhakti – devotional being and practice. He embodies Yoga as a prayer. In his workshop, Creating Potent Themes, we discussed the importance of language in creating an experience for students of Yoga. He taught us how we can call upon themes as they relate to the Universal Divine and how themes draw upon heart characteristics. As an example, we analyzed the ‘Five Elements’ and how they relate to actions in our bodies, characteristics of the heart and ultimately express the Divine. I love Anusara and its intention to open to grace and love!
I knew Kathryn was beautiful as I see her in Yoga Journal all the time, but I had no idea how down to earth and absolutely adorable and funny she was until Wanderlust. She’s hilarious and promotes fun and joy! She also has a sick practice and is really great with analogies, simple instruction and making really hard poses achievable. I look forward to taking many more classes with her in the future.
I captured part of a story he was telling and thought I’d share it. It’s a little cut off at the end but you can just see his sweetness! He is astounding. Michael is a family man, a musician, a Yogi, a businessman and a spiritual guy. His energy is profound and intoxicating. He’s got a heart of gold and a real purpose on this planet to help transform it.
Overall, Wanderlust Festival was amazing and I look forward to next year and all the related events they are hosting around the U.S.
Yoga is a conscious practice that is raising the vibration of this planet one breath at a time on a massive scale. I feel so blessed, honored and grateful that I am able to get on my mat every day and experience this gift of breath and transformation.
Great thanks to the Wanderlust Festival founders for having this vision and manifesting it into our reality!4 comments
Results are in! Empowering Yourself to Transform Workshops are Complete.
We just completed my post-South American spiritual journey inspired workshop series called Empower Yourself to Transform™. I must say the jungle did us good! We experienced two weeks of Yoga every morning and 3.5 hour Sunday Workshops that included one hour of motivational speaking and two hours of meditation, chanting, pranayama and Yoga. The Sundays were just outstanding!
Getting up every morning at 6:15a to get over to The Dance Loft in San Francisco was no small feat. I was used to doing this when working with the Amazonian Shamans since they rise with the sun, but in the city, when it’s cold and windy, it’s a different feeling. But every morning like clockwork, I entered that beautiful studio and found myself remarkably at home, on my mat breathing. I was so inspired that by the 7th day I started a food cleanse so I could boost my energy naturally instead of using those morning lattes!
We worked through the Chakra system for the first 7 days visualizing each energy body, beginning to understand where it is and how it affects the whole body temple. We observed each chakra as a container and asked to release emotional tension, resistance or fear. We went within to understand where blocks might reside. We accepted the emotions as they bubbled up and addressed them with compassion and love.
Sunday, May 8th was Mother’s Day and our Releasing Negative Thoughts and Patterns workshop. What a perfect day! For the moms in the room we gave eternal gratitude for their courage to bring energy into form, into matter, the root word for mother.
We discussed the human condition of the mind and its role in our experience here on this plane of existence. We explored how we use tools like Yoga, Meditation, and Inspirational Teachings to guide us out of the subconscious negative thinking to a more conscious awareness of who we really are.
We learned to not think of “negative” as being bad, but as a gift and a signpost along our journey that we can acknowledge to help guide us to decisions that feel good. Negative is not to be judged as bad, but simply the opposite of positive. We addressed the concepts of negative thoughts being fear and resistance. Once we could see our fears and resistance we could acknowledge those fears, identify the resistance and challenge our thoughts. In challenging our thoughts we became creative and could see other perspectives. We also played with tools from Yoga and the Law of Attraction. In Yoga when we are addressed with negative thoughts we replace them with positive ones, called Pratipaksha Bhavana. In the Law of Attraction, we call this Pivoting.
On Sunday, May 15th it was Bay to Breakers in San Francisco. A big day of celebration in the city, so it was vibrating with some seriously fun energy! This was our Tools for Transformation workshop day. This workshop was designed to be the follow up to the prior week. Once we release emotion and identify our resistance what do we do with this new information? I have spent the last several years in deep study of the Laws of the Universe and I wanted to share some fun games that I’ve encountered along the way. We laughed, we shared, we cried. It was a beautiful day. We watched videos about the power of language and words. We shared some of our patterns of thought. We explored partner work using affirmations and journaling. We powerfully affirmed each other’s gifts. We used engaging tools from the Law of Attraction work and other great inspirational teachers. In the end, we started to feel how we really could EMPOWER OURSELVES TO TRANSFORM™!
After each inspirational discussion, we got on our mats and explored the various gifts that we were granted 5000 plus years ago. I’m sure these gifts are a lot older than the recording of them. We practiced meditation and pranayama techniques to clear our mind and extend our prana through the breath. We chanted beautiful mantras and then opened our bodies with Yoga asanas.
Just writing this I get goose bumps (or as my friend calls them, truth bumps!). This work really resonates with my heart. I know that my path, my dharma, is to help inspire people to reach their highest potential. I am here for Joy and Love. That’s it. I want to bring you more Joy and Love!
Below are testimonials from some of the workshop attendees. If you wish to bring these workshops to your city, I would be honored and I love to travel!
“You are pure BRILLIANT Nicole-your words of wisdom, your knowledge, your teachings all truly Inspiring and Uplifting!” ~Val C
“Thank you for such a great workshop. Even though it was just an afternoon it shed light on what has been happening for me this entire year. Such a gift you are! ” ~ Michelle M.
“Add “motivational speaker” to the already impressive array of hats that miss Doherty wears. I just attended her Sunday class on “How to get rid of negative thoughts and patterns” and have instantly noticed a boost in my energy, outlook and general satisfaction with life. I only wish the sessions were longer and had more interaction between classmates. Next up: Tools for Transformation. If I am a better yoga practitioner and person at the end of this year, Nicole will surely be a huge part of it.” ~ Michi V.
“I have been taking private yoga as well as group yoga from Nicole for a couple of years and she is a truly gifted teacher. Her warm approach and extensive knowledge of anatomy make taking class with Nicole not only relaxing but beneficial for our tired, tight bodies. Most recently I attended a workshop called Empower Yourself to Transform with Nicole. The information she gave us was very helpful and pertinent to anyone’s yoga practice. The fun style in which the workshop was held makes it accessible for any level yoga student from the beginner to the seasoned yogi.” ~ Roxanne G
“Thanks sssooooooo much for the workshop. I truly enjoyed it. I’ve already had 3 opportunities to apply what we learned about the power of words! It is amazing how sharing that with 3 different friends was so inspiring. I didn’t really intend that to happen. I was just going to start applying it for myself. But, Sunday evening a friend called and said something like, “Wouldn’t it be nice if all I had to do is (blah blah blah?)” And, I just said, “OMG, I have to share what I just learned in this workshop today!” And, we just had a great laugh. Then, early this morning, a friend started texting me from NYC about how horrible her life was going to be as soon as she moved and how she wasn’t looking forward to it. And, of course, I immediately sent her the video via email and started explaining the power of words and what I’d learned. Then, this afternoon, I was talking to a friend about her career….same thing! So, I just wanted to share with you the impact you made on my life this week and thank you again for an amazing yoga class. I look forward to another one soon.” ~ Lisa H
To bring these workshops to your city email Nicole Doherty at email@example.com
Yelp Reviews: http://www.yelp.com/biz/nicolepresents-yoga-health-and-wellness-san-francisco
Follow Me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nicolepresents
Become a Fan on Facebook: Http://www.facebook.com/wellness.nicolepresents
I have a new game that’s really fun. I call it “The Awesome ABC’s”!
I can’t think of any “ABC’s” first without actually breaking into song… so let’s take a breath to honor MJ, send him gratitude and get that out of our system!
“A-B-C…is easy as 123…or simple as…do re me, ABC, 123, baby you and me girl! “
I started compiling a list of super cool, positive words that I could reference daily. By using these types of words I am projecting a better all around feeling and based on the Law of Attraction I know this will bring more profound positivity and better feeling thoughts. Those, in turn, will inspire others and me with more yummy goodness!
If I find myself using negative language, I quickly identify the emotion behind it, acknowledge it, challenge my negativity and replace those thoughts with my awesome, inspirational ABC’s. This process in Yoga is called Praktipaksha Bhavana as explained in Yoga Sutra 2:33, “When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite (positive) ones should be thought of. “ In the Vortex, by Esther and Jerry Hicks, there are powerful tools like “The List of Positive Aspects” or the “Positive Rampage of Appreciation” that work similarly . These tools allow you to get into a higher energetic vibration (the Vortex) based on writing lists of positive thoughts to break habits and patterns of negativity. There are many great tools for breaking patterns and releasing negative thoughts. You’ll have to attend my workshops to get more in depth and familiar with this work!
Here’s a small sample of my word collection moving through the alphabet! I will leave it up to you to create your own collection of words.
There are so many more great words! So don’t stop here. Go to Z. Take out a pen and paper and start writing! Then, if you are inspired, take a few of these awesome words and weave them into your personal mission statement (if you have one)! Before you know it, you are feeling great and you have all these new words at your disposal that imbue the community with love!
Hope you have fun with this new game!2 comments
Our Dualistic Nature: A Journey to Finding Balance and Spirit
Written Dec 29 2010 (before my trip to Peru Jan 2011)
I’ve been living a life guided by the extreme nature of dualities on a journey to finding balance. Through it all, I have found my spirit and my center.
I started thinking about dualities when I had a conversation with a friend that mentioned a tattoo that he wanted with the symbols of Fire and Water, to him the concept of the dualistic nature of life, a structure of opposites. I began to recognize that my old worn tattoo from the age of 17 was a symbol of opposites as well, a Ying Yang comprised of two dolphins. This symbol in its whole represents peace and balance, something I guess I have been searching for my entire life.
As a kid I played the role of the intelligent, straight A, “goodie two shoes” student, trying to be perfect to gain the attention and admiration of my parents. In adolescence, I swung in the opposite direction on the pendulum – stealing cigarettes, drinking, partying and hanging out with boys, trying to fit in and not caring at all about what my parents thought.
Throughout college, I tried to balance the two but found myself still wanting to party more than study, but this is when I got my tattoo, probably a sign to myself to start to find this path of balance. After college, I moved to NYC and entered the workforce. I realized that I was a spoiled brat and how ungracious I was to my parents who had supported me all those years. I began to value the efforts my parents made to raise me. I decided to push the pendulum back in the other direction and get extreme to prove my worth. I worked hard. Working well over 60 hours a week or more trying to prove to my parents that I was a good kid and could be totally productive like I used to be. When my mom would say that I was working too hard, I would smile honorably. I would work, volunteer, take classes at night and do anything I could to work even more.
Around ‘99, I was tired! I was in physical pain all the time. My back hurt, my body ached. I felt restless and depressed. I saw a program on Oprah that talked of the mid-life crisis happening at a quarter century (25 – 30 years of age). This resonated with me. I had realized that I was going through this quarter century identity crisis. Was this my life or a life I’m living for my parents? What happened to my dreams of art school? How did I end up at Georgetown business school? Did I go there to please my father?
Knowing what I know now, all that pain and depression was a physical and emotional manifestation of the unhappiness that resided within. I was not honoring my desires and creating my own life. I was devoid of spirituality and direction. I was living a life completely out of balance.
I went extreme once again. This time at least I went to a healthy extreme for a little while! I quit drinking and partying and moved to exercise, supplements and Yoga. I also quit the whole advertising industry that I had been working in for 5 years and switched to the creative arts of acting, art, film and music. I was going to try everything I didn’t get to do while I was trying to please my parents. I used all of my savings to take graphic design classes, acting classes at ACT in SF, music production classes at Expression Center for New Media, join bands and acted in commercials, films and plays. It was definitely an extreme move.
Then two unexpected shifts happened in 2001. First, after being super excited to be accepted as the lead role in a play, I had to cancel my performance after the first show due to the death of my father. Second, that fall, the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11th. That year played a significant role in many people’s lives. A major transformational energy shift happened for me. I realized the value of human life and how precious our time on this Earth is. I set foot on a journey of discovery of personal freedom and spirituality that has not stopped since. I wanted to find a sense of purpose, my dharma, and my path in life. I wanted to help human kind, not just myself.
I had a great energy in this journey. I felt like Jim Carrey in “Yes Man”. I said a big resounding “yes” to everything. I decided to travel and explore this world again. I had done a lot of traveling growing up, but hadn’t taken a trip since my graduation present to Europe in ‘94. It was time to set out on my own and discover so I left for four months to Nepal and Southeast Asia in 2002. I wanted to find that balance that I had been searching for my whole life. I went to Nepal to teach English to kids through a volunteer program for 6 weeks and taught the local villagers Yoga. It was an eye opening experience. There was so much poverty, yet such a happiness and brightness in people’s eyes. It was their strong sense of spirit that drove their lives with this light. I was in awe of the beauty around me in people and in the environment. I was in love with all their holidays and Deities. In Thailand it was the monks, monasteries and temples. I was definitely finding a peace and a balance in this Spirit life that I was being exposed to that I hadn’t discovered before.
Upon my return from this epic experience, I wanted to give back with this new found love of people. I offered my marketing experience to Room to Read, a volunteer organization that does amazing educational work in Nepal. I decided to throw a music event at a local bar that a friend owned from work. We fundraised over $12,000 to build a computer lab in Nepal and dedicated it to my father. This was one of the biggest and brightest moments of my life.
This amazing turn of events and a new relationship to a DJ is what led me to event and party planning, which is what I have done for the last 7 years of my life. I am really great at planning events – it’s about people and having fun. Once again, I started to have just about too much fun (if that’s possible) and lost sight of myself in the process. In my excitement and energy of giving back and socializing, the pendulum started swinging again in the other direction. I said “yes” to everything that was in front of me. I lost sight of conscious choice and creation. I began to drink at every function, using drugs to stay awake, sleeping less, and barely doing my yoga practice. I was playing with this dualistic nature of light and dark and sadness and joy. I would go from extreme highs to extreme lows. One minute dancing at 4am with a huge smile on my face to the next morning crying uncontrollably in my pillow.
Luckily, 2007 was around the corner. Another major transformational shift occurred for me. My apartment burned down. I know now that we create everything in our lives and that everything happens for a reason. I think me and my whole groups of friends were asking for a way out of the madness and extremes that we had created. We weren’t accomplishing what we wanted; we were stuck in party mode, albeit we created amazing relationships and friendships, but we were self-destructive and way out of balance. I had been spending so much of my time trying to create value and fun for other people that I had lost myself again. I realized once again that I needed to seek balance.
This same year I was blessed to meet the man of my dreams, my partner, Rick. We had a year run of pure celebration, although during that time I started seeking the balance by starting up my Yoga practice again and shedding the really bad party habits.
Over the last several years, I’ve really teetered back and forth on this delicate line that we define as the center. As my Yoga, meditation and spiritual practices have grown my consciousness has grown. Yoga has been my rock, my neutral, for the past 4 years. Yoga has shown me parts of myself that I didn’t know existed – my ever-changing nature, emotions, subtle energy bodies, ethical codes, habits, mind, body and spirit. It gave me the ability to have self-compassion, more love and more balance. It gave me an outlet for my energy and an ability to help others in a very healthy way. I really owe everything to Yoga.
As the saying goes, history repeats itself, so I have no doubt that there will be more shifts for me. It is amazing when I look back to see the patterns that played out because I didn’t have a strong sense of self- identity, self-love and spirit. However, with each shift, more wisdom has come through and the extremes of the dualities have dampened. As I have found spirit and myself in the process, I have been able to manage dualities with more grace and ease. In fact, in this dimension, I’m beginning to accept dualities as friends and find a peace and oneness and balance within them.
In the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali Sutra II.48 states, “Once the balance between opposites is achieved, thereafter one is undisturbed by the dualities.” Furthermore, “when you allow opposites to co-exist, rather than let one or the other end of the spectrum dominate the ultimate reward is the composure and equanimity that brings so many people to yoga.” This is one of my mantras – to achieve balance and to be undisturbed by dualities.
I’m really looking forward to understanding more about consciousness. I have been preparing myself for the last several years for the global shift in consciousness. I have a fascination with 2012 and what it represents for the planet and humankind. I know there will be a change of epic proportions and I want to be prepared. In looking at the concepts of light and dark I want to be a guardian of light since we have been in the dark for so long.
I turn 40 in 2012. Wow, I had actually never thought of that until now. It’s a shift on so many levels. I feel that I am at a point in my life where its time to take all of my experience, perspective, life lessons and intellect and take action for the greater good, while not losing myself in the process. I finally feel for the first time in my life that I can achieve this balance, as I have my center. I know and understand through trial and error that balance is one of the keys to a happy existence.
I am hearing a major calling to help heal the planet and raise our consciousness.. I am so incredibly thankful to have experienced the light and the dark and the ever-changing and extreme nature of dualities. I feel like I can stand on the line of neutrality in a warrior pose!
It is with this mindset that I take my journey to the Amazon on 1/1/11 for three months working with indigenous cultures and shaman healing in Peru to gain some additional spiritual perspective and to ground my spirituality in my daily life. I want to create a portrait of the Divine Feminine Goddess that I know I am and ensure that these next 40 years of my life are powerful and filled with the Love and service to humanity and the planet! I’ll let you know how it all goes when I return!
I wish you many blessings of balance and happiness on your journey in life.