What are Krissie's yoga classes like?

I taught my first class two years ago this month. (How is that really possible, friends?)

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I love creating sequences and playlists and choosing quotes to share. I love all of the logistics that go into planning a class and also teaching a class.

But I learned a few months ago how I want a class to FEEL.

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When the Election went down, I knew my class the next day would be a charged class. No matter what the outcome. The studio owner and I decided that the class would be free. An Election Hangover Class. And, friends, it was packed.

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Because it was so charged, and because I knew I would probably have supporters of both sides in the room, it was very important to me that I structured a class that was both healing and joyful. That I created a space that was hopeful but still held space for mourning. I created a class that held more space for self-connection. A class with more introspection, more breath, less movement. But left room for curiosity and amusement.

And it was during that class that I realized that is how all of my classes should be. 

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Since that class, I have held to that structure. And this is what you will receive if (WHEN!) you attend an in-person class with me.

Centering and Opening Quote

I start each class with a chance to get quiet and settle in. We spend a few minutes in a comfortable seat getting comfortable with our natural breath. I will invite you to release your day and be present in this moment only. I will introduce the theme of the week's class, give ideas of how you can apply the theme to both your physical practice and your thoughts, and share a quote that resonates with the theme.

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Breathwork

I am so so glad I have integrated this into our classes. We spend a few minutes allowing the theme to swirl around in our awareness while we learn to manipulate and control our breath. Sometimes we count our breath, sometimes we pay attention to the physical act of breathing itself, and sometimes we play with a mantra and linking it to the breath. This is quickly becoming my favorite part of class.

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Asana

This, my friends, is where we move. We'll warm up, usually including lying, seated, and tabletop poses. And then I'll guide you through standing poses using lots of instruction and the use of blocks to help you find your expression of the pose. I say standing poses, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes we sit and stay in tabletop most of class. Sometimes we spend most of class in some form of a lunge. But I can almost guarantee that each class will have a low lunge, a child's pose, and a standing wide-legged forward fold. Otherwise? It varies. We don't do downward facing dog in each class. We don't do Warrior 2 in each class. We don't even do tree in each class (although we do tree A LOT). I'll settle you down a little (usually with a seated forward fold of some sort and a few stretches on our backs) and then we'll get all the props and settle into our comfortable final relaxation position. 

Guided Meditation and Savasana

Okay, maybe this is my favorite part of class. I'll spend a few minutes helping you relax. You may take an elevator into your belly, you may watch leaves float by on a stream, or you may watch a white light start in your belly and grow and grow and grow. You'll lay in stillness (unless you have to scratch something or sneeze or something) and I'll watch over you. I'll remind you that your breath is all that matters. And you'll rest.

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Closing Quote, Blessing, and Closing Breath

I'll slowly bring you out of your rest. I'll share a quote. And then I'll invite you to come back to a seated position. Together, we will send peace, health, and ease to ourselves, each other, and all others that we know and do not know. I'll lead you in a breath we all take together. And then you get to take your yoga bliss back home. I usually hang around for a bit after class in case you have questions or a story to share. 

If you have been thinking about joining me, I'd love to see you. If you have any questions or lingering fears, please comment here or email me at krissie.bentley@gmail.com. 

You can see my current teaching schedule by clicking the YOGA tab above.  

the Desire Map and my Body.

I'm not being paid for this in any way, just so you know. My links are not affiliate links. I just think Danielle Laporte is just the sh!t. And my spirit animal. And my Patronus. 

I have worked through The Desire Map about a dozen times. And every time, I think the same things.

I already know of all of this. I'm not going to learn anything new about myself.

I already have my Core Desired Feelings. 

I already know how this works. It is too predictable and I'm going to get stuck.

And then BAM. She gets in my head and I get out of my head and magic happens.

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I have so much swimming in my head right now that I wanted the process, but working through the actual book seemed like too much. I got the email for the 2017 Goals with Soul package and I was like "yup, that's for me." I sat down with my phone, my headphones, a few pens, and my bullet journal. And, after a few lunch breaks, I had 2017 all figured out.

But what struck me more than figuring out the direction for 2017 was the radical shift in how I feel about my body.

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One of the exercises in this process is looking at where you are dissatisfied with different areas of your life. I rocked through most of the categories, seeing so much opportunity for big change and little tweaks. I was able to see where things fit together and where positive change here could impact positive change there. And how neglecting my spirituality was impacting my lifestyle. All of the bells were going off. In unison. It was a little amazing.

But then? Body and Wellness. And I was stuck. Honestly. Where am I dissatisfied? What do I want to change? I came to a full stop. I sat back in my chair. 

Zilch. Zip. Zero. Nada.

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If I had decided to make New Year's Resolutions, they probably would have all been in this category. I would have said that I wanted to run a half marathon again. Or maybe master a yoga pose. Or maybe be vegan for a month or hit 10K steps every day or take my lunch every day or be more disciplined with my self-care routine. 

But nope. I am not dissatisfied with my body or my wellness right now. I initially thought that maybe it is because I have more pressing concerns, maybe I am in denial.

But the truth? I am in a good place.

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I practice yoga every day. I eat (mostly) intuitively. I walk a few miles most days. I take my vitamins most days. I drink a lot of water most days. I do a lot of *mosts.* And that is enough. That is PLENTY. And I am satisfied.

I know this probably sounds like I'm bragging. Like I'm saying, "SEE! LOOK WHAT I DID!" But that's not the case at all. What I'm saying is that I assumed I was dissatisfied. I assumed I was frustrated. I assumed I wanted more.

When the reality is that I AM OKAY. I am PLENTY.

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Where are you making assumptions? Where are you assuming that you are unhappy or unsatisfied? Where could you really just be OKAY or even PLENTY and just. It know it yet? 

When you start to tear yourself down, ask

What do I think I am I missing here?

How would this really change my life?

How important is this REALLY?

Is this true or just a leftover thought?

Can you allow yourself to see your okayness? Can you allow yourself to back out of empty struggle? Can you stop being dissatisfied just out of habit?

Are you willing to try?

handmade holidays from my home to yours (or your loved one's)

Prayer flags are hand-sewn in my cat-friendly home. Sending intention and beauty from my sacred space to yours. Two sizes in each color. Free US shipping. Shop will close for Christmas on 12/19.

 

 

Instead of strawberry pop tarts...

As an update, I was laid off twice in a year. The field I built 9 years of expertise in doesn't really exist anymore. I am currently working a job I enjoy, but the hours are far from ideal. Money is tight. Working evenings and weekends has me isolated and lonely. I processed this a few nights ago with an Instragram caption that hit too close to home. So I brought it here instead. Photographs are from the practice I discuss.

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I had a quite a string of good days. But my work schedule has felt especially restrictive this weekend. I missed two annual parties that I love. Our tree decorating process has been broken up into days because we just aren't home at the same time. And I just don't know when or if it will change.

I wanted strawberry pop tarts out of the vending machine. But instead, I went to the wall in my office. 

As I moved, I allowed my mind to just go.

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I let the fear and the worry and the anger just go. I didn't fight it. I didn't argue with it. I just allowed it. All I want to do is cry and hide. And I didn't do either of those.

I think it comes down to this. I have had really hard holiday seasons in the past decade. Two in particular. But I still had joy. I still had love and light and joy and family and friends. But this year, I feel like it is happening without me.

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I know things could be worse. I know I could not have a job. And I am thankful that I have a job. But that doesn't mean that I can't be sad and lonely too.

One of the biggest things that I have learned from my yoga practice is that I can hold two opposing things at once. A physical practice can leave me feeling both challenged and rested. I can feel pushed and still relaxed. I can be thankful and sad. I can feel blessed and overlooked.

At the same time.

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Can I be a truth-teller and a helper?

Some of you know me from years and years back.

Back when I was so vulnerable. When nothing was off-limits. When the hard stuff flowed just as freely as what-I-ate-today posts.

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But somewhere along the line, I got scared. I want to be a voice of support and encouragement for you. I want you to trust me with your own stuff. I want to be a helper. And, because of that, I have been reluctant to share my own shit. Because will you really trust me to help you if you see what a mess my inner workings are?

I hope so.

I am making a conscious decision. I am making a statement. A few, actually.

I will write more. I will not be afraid of the truth. I will not be afraid of letting you see me messy.

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I wish I could say that I am making this statement as a victorious battle cry. That it is a middle finger to those that may think I'm weak or incapable of helping anyone else. But that's not the case. 

I am writing again because I need to write. I need to speak. All of this yoga is knocking all of the cobwebs off. And I am ready. 

I am rusty, my friends. Please stick with me.

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my Lenten promise : my best effort

I was really struggling to put my Lenten promise into words. I knew the feeling I wanted to pursue. I wanted to feel accomplished without measurements of success. I wanted to present my best effort in all things. And I wanted to release the pressure that comes from measurable goals. But I felt like there should be some all-encompassing word for that. And I have finally figured out that there isn't. And that is okay.

Last week, on Ash Wednesday, I received the weekly email from Mara Glatzel. (This mailing list is one you want to be on. Trust me.) And something she said spoke to the attitude I want to seek.

You are deserving of your own best effort.
— Mara Glatzel

Yup. That's it. I am deserving of my best effort. The world is deserving of my best effort. My God is deserving of my best effort. And, in there somewhere, I see what I don't deserve. I don't deserve stress. I don't deserve to let myself down. I don't deserve the guilt of making unnecessary promises that I just can't keep right now.

My natural tendency is to write about my shortcomings, about what I want to fix. I want to be specific. I want to make specific goals. I want to separate best effort into all sorts of categories. I want to spend time finding some creative, woo-woo hashtag. But that isn't what Lent is about.

Lent is about sacrifice that leads to liberation. Discomfort and struggle with redemption on the other side.

Lent is about anticipating peace. And expecting a miracle.

It feels really strange to say this, but part of promising to give my best effort is actually a way to say that I am giving up struggle. Making plans - that are often not practical to implement - is where I am comfortable. The pressure of checklists is familiar to me. I want to say that I will purge a certain amount of stuff. That I will eat in a certain way. That I will spend a certain amount of time working on coaching and studying. That I will spend x amount of time in yoga every day.

I think that is what is so important for me to give up. The expectation. The pressure. The struggle.

So I am promising to give my best effort. Some days that may be the gym and my mat and bringing my lunch. Other days it may be driving through Jimmy John's (beach club - no mayo) and lots of studying and only managing to sit on my mat to say a quick prayer. Yoga has taught me that expecting the same thing from myself day in and day out just isn't reasonable.

I'm giving up perfection and the paralysis that often follows right behind.

My best effort is enough. And that is what I will give.

Happy Lent, sweet friends.

Eunoia starts a week from today! 4 modules with 5 lessons each to help you navigate through your own best efforts in welcoming power, freedom, fun, and love into your life. You can work through the program either in a 4-week plan or on your own time with an ebook. The $75 investment includes 4 text conversations with me and 2 mini-sessions scheduled as you work through the program. Click here for more information (including a video of me talking about the program in my cute Kentucky accent) and to register.