Month: November 2020

Bear Spirit Bear Totem

Think back to a time when you acted fearless. Think back to a moment in your life when you were so confident that nothing would stop you.  Think to a moment in your life when you really stood up for your beliefs. Think to that moment where you stood up for someone else, took care of them, defended them, protected them, spoke for them. 

You were evoking your Bear Spirit!

“I am focused and effective.” 
“I am loving and powerful.”

Bear totem signifies these following elements that we all possess within our self:
-groundedness
-strength
-physical and emotional healing
-confidence
-standing against adversity
-taking action
-courage
-leadership
-protection
-guardianship
-heart

In my classes last week, we started with a brief naming of what the bear totem represents. While I was speaking to it we held the bear grip mudra with our hands.  We then moved through a class that physically embodied the bear pose, as well as bear balance pose, and a flow through which there was a creation for groundedness through standing poses and standing tall within oneself through standing balancing postures.  All of the postures held an element of core work for confidence and strength, as well as heart expansion and opening.  I am always in awe and humbled how our bodies can be positioned in such a way to reflect and embody an inner way of being; and if nothing else, evoke from within our depths the essence of heart and healing that we all possess, that element of Source within our self.

“When we invoke bear spirit, we are invited to reflect on the qualities of inner strength, fearlessness, and confidence in our self and how we can project it in our world.”-spiritanimal.info

As we stood together in tree pose, and in our other standing postures, I invited everyone into the “Care Bear Stare”!  The Care Bears were cartoons that I grew up with. Each Care Bear had a unique quality, their own name, and their own unique picture that symbolized their name and quality on their tummy. Each Care Bear had their own color.  When the Care Bears stood together in unity, and they activated the ‘Care Bear Stare’, the colors of the rays of the rainbow penetrated straight into the heart of their enemy, infusing it with love.  The Care Bears lived in the land of Carealot (get it, Care A Lot!).  We had fun using our imaginations and allowing ourselves to step into our greatest strength, to name it, and to stand in unity with all other practitioners, and people of the world, to radiate love out to all!

This class became one of my favorite focused classes lately. Every time I would be in a new class, something else would arise and be channeled through me to speak to. For example, in one class, which carried into all the other classes that followed, I would start by having people imagine warm breath. The kind of warm breath that you can physically see in front of you on a cold winter’s day. Before I knew it, this warm breath began to infuse our savasanas(corpse pose, final relaxation). I fell in love with the imagining of this warm breath filling our toes and feet. We would continue slowly up the body, feeling every part of our body, one by one, fill with this warm breath. This warm breath, as I would remind everyone, was a deeply loving breath; it was of a warmth that was so deeply healing.  

I invite you to sit, or lay down, dear reader. Allow this warmth to penetrate your heart. Allow this loving, healing warmth to melt any coldness there; any hatred, fear, worry, anxiety, and doubt. Whatever frost and icicles live there, allow them to thaw, dripping down and becoming flowing rivers of watery emotions, freedom, love, and forgiveness. It is no wonder that when we speak to somebody who is kind and caring, that we say “they have a warm heart”.  Perhaps in allowing yourself to release the chill and cold, you will become warm enough in that moment of stillness and silence so you can forgive yourself. So you can forgive someone else. Or, perhaps, you will see more ways to love yourself, see a new way to support healing of yourself, or how to love others more unconditionally.  For, as much as bear spirit holds all of these more fiery elements of strength, fearlessness, and more, so too, does bear represent and EMPHASIZE the practice for rest, quiet time, and solitude.

Take time for rest.  And remember, rest might not mean taking a nap for you.  Maybe it means unrolling the yoga mat, moving your aching body, and turning off the phone.  Maybe rest for you is saying no to an extra piece of work, and yes to a walk in the woods.  What is your rest?  A good book?  An interesting article?  A podcast?  A movie?  A deep conversation? Meditation?  Savasana? Cooking a meal? Do that.

This coming weeks classes are on forgiveness.  See my full weekly schedule HERE!

I have closed my one question survey that had a free Insight Gift for taking it!  Wow! So many of you responded, thank you!!  I will be emailing you all the gift soon!  But, that was phase one, lol!  Please watch for a follow up email that I will be sending out to everyone very soon!  I am going to need YOU!

Reminder:  I will be cleaning up my email list very soon. So, if you didn’t read my last email, please know that if you have been active, and wish to continue receiving my newsletters, you don’t need to do anything!  Thank you to all who emailed me saying “I want to stay”!  It really filled my heart!  And, please know that if you have been inactive(which you probably won’t actually be reading this, lol) for over a year or two, this is a warm hearted departure.

Breathe and Believe.

Announcing my FIRST "Manifest Monthly: Yoga workshops to deepen your physical practice while giving back"! Our FIRST organization we will be supporting: 'M.A.D.E. Transitional Services'!

M.A.D.E. Transitions

I had the great honor of meeting the founders of M.A.D.E.-Transitional Services, “Making A Difference Everyday”, through my dear friend and soul sister, Dr. Deborah Adamy.  At the time, she was hosting a benefit concert for the organization at her home in Nyack, NY; see all those lovely faces above!  I had already listened to the podcasts* and felt such a heart-led connection to the founders, Tarik Greene and Toney Earl, Jr.

M.A.D.E. Transitional Services solve critical social justice problems and provide opportunities for people who were formerly incarcerated and their families to thrive.
 
Their vision is to contribute to the betterment of the community at large by increasing public safety, preventing crime, reducing recidivism and supporting the individual change and success of each participant who seeks to make that change. They look to change the way an individual returning to their community from prison is perceived by equipping them with the necessary tools and skills to enhance the effectiveness of those who work with them.
 
Their evidence-based and well-rounded programs take a human-centered approach to achieving their vision by offering training, curricula and professional development programs, as well as housing, counseling and more. With 3 in 4 formerly incarcerated individuals being unable to find jobs in the first year after release, and the fact that 1 in 3 adults of working age in the U.S. have a criminal record, their programs are of great service to our country.

When I arrived at Deb’s home for the concert, I immediately ran up to Tarik and Toney and gave them big hugs. I was so lovingly received by both. I cannot express my gratitude to these two men for the work that they do and for the lives that they support and change everyday.  Not to mention my needed and grounding parenting support from dear friend, Tarik, who’s son and my son are the same age!  Thank you.

*Please listen to the founders interviews on Dr. Adamy’s podcast, “Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire”: 
Tarik Greene
Toney Earl, Jr.

You can also watch the incredible singers and songwriters in the “Glow Sessions” below! These are the same musicians I was lucky enough to watch live at the concert fundraising event at Dr. Adamy’s house!  Composed and recorded to create a CD to benefit M.A.D.E., if you wish to purchase it, click HERE
The above photo is a moment with the musicians, Dr. Adamy and her husband, Paul, and Tarik and Toney after the concert!  Both the photo above, and the videography you will experience in the music video below, were created by the talented Wil Adamy.

Please listen to these heart opening “Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire” conversations with two men who have benefited from M.A.D.E. transitional services:

Everest Cruz, who is a 29 yr. old resident at the Fletcher Boykin transitional house for formerly incarcerated men in Spring Valley, NY, ran by M.A.D.E. Transitional Services.
 Tyler Mix,  fitness trainer and DJ who also lived at the Fletcher Boykin house.

Find out more about M.A.D.E. Transitions HERE!

M.A.D.E. not only supports formerly incarcerated men and women, they also have a youth mentoring program.  Learn more about it HERE.

**Please remember that even if you cannot make the workshop, you can still donate!  You can donate straight to M.A.D.E. here, or you can still choose to donate thru me.**

From the survey I sent out, we have a day, time, and workshop focus WINNER!…

Please join me Sunday, November 22nd, from 11:00 to 12:15 p.m. for CORE and MORE!


The intention is to build core stability with the peak pose of the arm balance of crow. Do you need to do crow in this workshop? No. Will you gain strength and learn about how to approach it with use of your pelvic floor lock, abdomen lock, and more? Yes! This is a workshop for all levels of practitioners; and there will be something for everyone!

This workshop is just $20, but remember you have option to pay more if you feel called and it’s available for you to do so.  Every month I will be donating 50% of whatever contributions I collect to the organization of the month! If you can’t attend the workshop, but feel called to support, feel free to go directly to the organizations website and donate in Yoga’s name! 🙂
You can donate straight to M.A.D.E. here.

To register for the workshop: simply email me at shawnalight@gmail.com with the subject “core”!

Once you email me and have paid, I will send you the zoom link for the workshop!

Payments can be made through Venmo, Zelle, or sending a personal check. 
Venmo: @shawna-emerick
Zelle: use my email, shawnalight@gmail.com

FUTURE MANIFEST MONTHLY DATES TO PLUG IN YOUR CALENDAR NOW:
-Sunday, December 20th, 11-12:15pm
-Sunday, January 17th, 11-12:15pm
-Sunday, February 21st, 11-12:15pm
-Sunday, March 21st, 11-12:15pm

The organizations being supported in future Manifest Monthly’s is yet to be determined. I will reference the survey I had sent out asking you what organizations you want to support!  If you want to fill that survey out, click HERE.

*Some of you might remember Dr. Adamy’s podcast series from when she interviewed me. If you missed that interview, you can listen HERE. And, we might just have a follow-up interview in the works, so stay tuned and subscribe to her podcast wherever you get your podcasts from!

May you be well, may you be safe, my you know peace.  Love to all, Shawna

Breathe and Believe.

Stone and Moss

Spirit had told me to go take a walk in the woods.  So, on a cold and overcast afternoon in late October I did just that. I happen to be in Garrison, New York, leading retreat and found a few moments to myself before leading the next class. 

I took off my hiking boots and socks and began to walk. At first slowly, and then at a bit more quickened pace.  I made my way along the path that was filled with stones, crunchy leaves, sticks, brush, vines, and moss.  Stones and moss.

Some of the stones were jagged and painful, but, I continued on.  With each footstep, it soon dawned on me why spirit had told me to walk barefoot in the woods:

With each step, I noticed how, because of the pain and discomfort of sharp and jagged rocks, my feet were always naturally seeking a soft place to land.

Tears came to my eyes as I realized how beautifully this was a metaphor for life. We are all seeking that soft place to land, those warm arms to fall into that hold us, that deep heart that holds us in sacred space when we cry, and that soft landing that catches us when we fall.  And even more beautifully, that the universe is always offering that soft place to land. 

Whether it is the moss upon the earth, our beds, a piece of chocolate*, a moment in silence alone, a moment in reverence with the divine, a moment of remembering the divine within our self, or any of the other soft landings in life, there is a soft place to land and a place in which you are unconditionally loved and celebrated for all that you are, as you are. And remember, there is a place exactly like this in your own heart. There is a place in your heart that offers forgiveness, that speaks of love and acceptance, and that always offers you a place to softly land no matter how sharp and jacket the journey feels.

What I have come to feel is that most often in life, these places, people, ideas, these entities that embody a soft landing, are most often the strongest foundations from which we move forward in our lives.

That good friend that always has your back in moments of trouble; that song that always lifts you up when your spirit is down; that mantra that resonates and sings within your mind again and again when your thoughts are pulling you down; that place at the shore, or deep in the woods, or along the river that always welcome you back again and again; that dish that’s been passed down within your family from generation to generation that always nourishes your belly and heart; that book that touches your soul; that dance party with your kids(ok, that’s my soft landing, lol); that moment of repose as you hold the steeping tea or coffee between your palms; the welcoming of the fire as it warms your feet… These are the soft landings that remind us of who we are innately and truly.  These are the soft landings that give us strength that runs deep and rich within our veins; that moves us to shine our Light brightly into the world!  Deep and rich.

This is why I am using this story as intention in my classes this week.  And this is what healing circles offer.  A soft place to land where you are in a co-created and safe place that is truly welcoming. Where the jaggedness and uncertainty of life can be brought to the table.  Where you are wholeheartedly embraced as you are. Where you can dance if you want to, or just lay down your bones to rest.  It’s all welcomed to process, to nurture, to honor in order to transform.  Healing circles are a firm foundation from which you can grow.

I invite you to join me and Liz Moyer in the next offering of circles:

Hibernation for Healing: a journey of storytelling and embodied experiences for processing change.