Aesthetic vs. Functional Yoga: Finding Your Path on the Mat
Hello, Yoga Friends!
In our colorful world of yoga, there are many paths to explore. Today, let's chat about two distinct approaches: aesthetic yoga and functional yoga. As a middle-aged, queer, alignment-focused yoga teacher, I see beauty in both but also recognize their unique differences. So, grab your mat, and let's dive into what sets these two apart.
Aesthetic Yoga: The Art of the Pose
Aesthetic yoga is like the yoga you often see in magazines or on social media. It's visually stunning, with perfect poses and picturesque backgrounds.
Focus on Form:
Aesthetic yoga emphasizes the external appearance of yoga poses. It’s about achieving that picture-perfect pose that looks like a work of art.
Challenges and Considerations:
While it's beautiful to look at, this approach can sometimes lead us to push our bodies beyond their comfortable limits. It might also lead to comparing ourselves with others, which isn’t what yoga is truly about.
Who Might Enjoy It:
If you’re someone who loves the challenge of mastering complex poses and enjoys the visual aspect of yoga, aesthetic yoga might resonate with you.
Functional Yoga: The Body’s Wisdom
Functional yoga, on the other hand, is all about how your body feels in a pose rather than how it looks.
Alignment and Sensation:
This approach focuses on alignment and the internal experience of yoga. It’s about understanding and respecting your body’s unique structure and needs.
Benefits and Safety:
Functional yoga reduces the risk of injury and is incredibly inclusive. Whether you’re young, old, athletic, or new to exercise, functional yoga adapts to you.
Who Might Enjoy It:
If you're more interested in the health benefits of yoga, how it feels in your body, and personal growth, functional yoga might be your path.
The Middle Ground
The beauty of yoga is that it's not a one-size-fits-all practice. You might find yourself drawn to the artistic expression of aesthetic yoga one day and the body-awareness focus of functional yoga the next.
Listening to Your Body:
The key is to listen to your body. It’s okay to admire the beauty of a perfect pose, but it’s also important to honor your body’s limits and needs.
A Personal Journey:
Yoga is a personal journey, and your practice can be as unique as you are. Whether you lean towards aesthetic, functional, or a mix of both, what matters most is that your practice brings you joy, health, and peace.
In the end, whether you choose aesthetic yoga, functional yoga, or a little bit of both, remember that the heart of yoga is self-discovery and self-care. It’s a practice that invites us to explore and embrace our unique selves, on and off the mat.
So, dear yogis, I encourage you to explore, experiment, and find the style (or styles) that resonate with you. And most importantly, have fun with your practice!
Your Yoga Guide on this Journey
Yoga's Not Just for Show: Why Feeling Beats Looking Good
Let's chat about something near and dear to my heart (and my yoga mat): the difference between making yoga look good and making it feel good. You've probably seen those picture-perfect yoga poses on Instagram, right? That's aesthetic yoga for you. But here in our cozy yoga corner, we're all about functional yoga. It's less about impressing others and more about connecting with yourself.
Aesthetic Yoga: Looks Good on Camera, But...
Aesthetic yoga is like those glossy magazine photos – stunning, but not always real. It's about hitting poses that look great, sure, but they might not feel great. And that's a problem.
Ever felt like you're not 'doing yoga right' because you can't twist yourself into a pretzel? Yeah, that's the downside of chasing those picture-perfect poses.
When Your Body Says 'Nope':
Pushing your body into a pose it's screaming 'no' to? Ouch. That's when yoga stops being yoga and starts being a competition – and not the fun kind.
Functional Yoga: Where Feeling Good is the New Looking Good
Alignment Over Appearance:
Here’s the deal with functional yoga – it’s all about how you feel in a pose, not how you look. It's about listening to your body, finding your alignment, and saying, “Hey, body, you’re the boss.”
And guess what? It's for every body. Tall, short, big, small – if you've got a body, you're good to go.
No Injuries, Just Bliss:
By focusing on how poses feel, we're taking care of our bodies, reducing injury risks, and actually enjoying our practice. It's like giving your body a high-five.
Real Talk from Your Yoga Buddy:
Been There, Felt That:
Ever been in a class, trying a pose, and it just feels plain wrong? But everyone else is doing it, so you grit your teeth and bear it? Been there, done that. Not fun.
In our world, if a pose feels off, we change it. We adapt. Because yoga is about feeling good, not just looking good.
Feeling It, Not Forcing It:
In our classes, it’s all about tuning in to what your body’s saying. We make poses work for us, not the other way around. It’s pretty liberating, actually.
Wrapping Up: So, there you have it. Yoga doesn’t have to be a fashion show. It's about feeling grounded, connected, and, honestly, just not giving a hoot about what others think. It's your practice, your rules.
Come Feel Good with Us: If you’re into feeling great and taking care of your body (while having a bit of fun), drop by for a class. Let’s focus on what feels right, together.
Stay Bendy (Or Not), Your Yoga Pal
Rolling Out the Welcome Mat: Yoga for Every Body
Hey There, Yoga Family,
Let's chat about something that's been on my mind a lot lately. You know, yoga is supposed to be about balance, acceptance, and peace. But, let's be real – sometimes, it feels like you've got to be a thin, flexible, young, and typically white gal to fit in. I'm here to shake that up a bit.
Why Yoga Needs a Reality Check
You've seen it, right? Those picture-perfect yoga studios with their Instagram-worthy poses. It's like yoga turned into a competition for who can be the most zen while rocking Lululemon. Here's the thing – I'm a queer, bigger-bodied person, and I've been in those rooms where I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. Not cool.
Talking the Talk, But Not Walking the Walk
Ever been to a class where the instructor's words felt more like a script for a fitness model shoot than a real-life yoga session? Yeah, me too. Sometimes it feels like they're teaching from a place of ego rather than empathy. I've heard instructions and comments that made me think, "Who are you actually talking to?" Because it sure wasn't me or half of the folks in the room.
Flipping the Script on Yoga Spaces
So, here's my approach – let's make yoga chill again. In my classes and retreats, everyone's welcome. I mean it. Queer, straight, big, small, young, old, injured, Olympian – you get the picture. Yoga is about connecting with yourself, and how can you do that if you don't feel welcome in the first place?
Keeping It Real
In my world, yoga is less about hitting that perfect pose and more about feeling good in your skin. I use language that's for everyone, offer modifications for every body type, and keep things light. A little humor goes a long way, especially when you're trying to twist your body like a pretzel (which, by the way, is totally optional).
The Proof Is in the Pudding
I've seen what happens when you open the doors wide. People come in, they relax, they smile, and they connect – not just with yoga but with each other. That's the magic. That's the yoga I fell in love with, and that's what I'm here to share.
Join the Fam
If you're tired of feeling like you don't belong in the yoga world, I've got you. Come to my class, hit up one of my retreats, or just drop me a message. Let's make yoga what it was always meant to be – a place for every one of us.
Stay Bendy (Or Not),
What is this about Past Life Regressions?
Hi folks! I'm Amber. I will be writing some guest blog posts for Colynn in the coming weeks. You'll get to know me a little more with each post, but for now, I want to tell you about my experience with Colynn as a teacher and past life regression facilitator.
I first met Colynn through the online yoga teacher training program facilitated by Sacred Paths Yoga. Of all the teachers available within this course, she was my favorite. In a field saturated with gurus and performative positivity, Colynn's disarming authenticity was (and continues to be) an uncomfortable relief that I did not realize I desperately craved. She is a person who knows how to hold space for both herself and others in a way that allows us both to be human: messy, complicated, and yet divine.
What is Past Life Regression?
Past Life Regression is a phenomenon that can naturally and spontaneously occur within an age regression hypnosis session. Psychologists and therapists such as Brian Weiss, Michael Newton, and numerous others have written books that describe clients who have spontaneously begun to describe memories of another life during a standard hypnotic age regression. Descriptions of the afterlife, past lives, and the experiences between them tend to correlate with one another.
I'm a deconstructing ex-vangelical from the Bible Belt. So this revelation floored me. I wanted to know everything I could about past life regression: what it was, how it worked, why it worked, and what that meant for me. So here I am a few months later, a certified hypnotist and a guest writer on this blog.
Colynn’s past life regression training was my first step into what will likely be a lifelong curiosity about states of consciousness, hypnosis, meditation, and "the theory of everything". Colynn learned how to facilitate past life regression through the late Dolores Cannon's QHHT program. Cannon's program incorporates a unique approach that quickly brings the client to a state of deep hypnosis rather than the light trance state where most clinical hypnotism sessions tend to linger.
What does it feel like to experience a past life regression?
There are a lot of false impressions about hypnosis. One of the biggest misconceptions is the fear that the hypnotist has complete control over the client. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is the furthest thing from the truth. The hypnotist is only a guide. You get to decide how deep into your subconscious you wish to go. You get to decide how willing you are to allow yourself to rest in that powerful place of deep relaxation.
In my case, it took a little practice to allow my subconscious memories to arise without immediately analyzing them or trying to make something happen with my conscious willpower. I eventually learned how to quiet my mind when I recognized that it was a natural state of consciousness in which I was already very familiar. You are free to "snap out of it" at any moment you wish. It is comforting to know that hypnosis is a regular old state of consciousness similar to a relaxing daydream, isn't it?
Overview of Colynn's Past-Life Training
The training was a mix of pre-recorded material and weekly live sessions with a small, tight-knit class. The small class size is ideal because we dove right into experiencing past life regressions for ourselves. Our live sessions were full of intimate insights and epiphanies about how our past life experiences related to the lessons we are here to learn in this life. This is where Colynn's magic shines. She teaches you some of her coaching techniques that you likely will not see in similar courses.
Colynn humorously recounts the initial expectations she had of her first regression. I found, as she did, that experiences from past lives are more about learning lessons than about being an Interesting Somebody. Some lifetimes may seem uneventful, unfamiliar, or mundane. I have been an electric lineman who lived a simple life with few connections to others. I have been an orphaned boy living a difficult childhood on the streets of an old English city. I have been a little girl in a fishing village who felt betrayed by her beloved ocean when she accidentally drowned. I have been an indigenous woman in the Northern Territories of Canada who did not recognize her worth outside of being a mother.
The post-regression follow-up talks were as discerning and illuminating as the sessions themselves. The past lives that came up for me have had recurring themes and souls that work together throughout multiple lifetimes, in different roles. The experiences in each of these sessions had something to teach me in this life. After sharing, Colynn was there with the piercingly gentle questions that I grew to expect. As she did so, she broke down her coaching methods for us. She focused on respectful boundaries, facilitating and maintaining sacred space, and communicating from a place of kindness and personal permission.
The class put their new skills to the test during the final week. We were required to facilitate a past life regression session with a volunteer outside of the class. We also learned some of the basics of setting clear marketing goals for a business. Again, this was where Colynn's personal experience in business coaching shone. Her targeted, no-nonsense advice helped us to get started with our business and marketing goals. future.
Experience Two of Your Past Lives
Did you know that you can experience a past life regression from the comfort of your own home? You can explore two of your past lives in an upcoming PLR session with Colynn. The next session is on January 9, 2022, at 3 pm PST.
You don't have to go as hard as I did, but this course is a great way to not only experience past life regression for yourself but to facilitate it for others with respectful, insightful coaching. The next facilitator training will be in May 2022.
Amber is a certified hypnotist that combines meditation techniques, neuro-linguistic programming, and storytelling with a gentle, reassuring approach. She facilitates spiritual education and energy work through workshops, courses, and distance sessions. Amber currently lives in a little hobbit hole with two cats and a hedgehog.
In speaking with people, it is so obvious to me where someone's blocks are, where they are going "wrong" in their lives, decisions & businesses, & what they need to do to get the results they are looking for. What makes me a good coach is not telling people these things, but rather supporting my clients in recognizing these things themselves. That being said, seeing one's own shit is not as easy. It is a consistent complaint I hear from others, that life coaches or business coaches don't have perfect lives themselves. Well ya'll, the reality is - that's true. We don't. When choosing a coach, i believe the important reality is that the coach has integrity, is authentic & practices what they preach (insert definitions here what those words mean to you).
For me, practicing what I preach encompasses both integrity & authenticity and this means that I regularly check in with my personal & business lives to ensure that I am doing my work in full support of my own personal growth & also that of my clients. The last couple of weeks for myself & my clients have been focused on clearing up energy leaks. Energy leaks are areas in our lives where we are unconsciously & consistently draining our energy on people, places & things that do not serve us but rather take away from us. And it's time to shine a light on that SHIT.
It's time to seal the energy leaks. Take a look around your life & get clear about what your outer world looks like, because your outer world is very indicative of your inner world. For example unpaid bills, incomplete projects, messy inboxes, old clothes & clutter are just the same inside as these things are detrimental to moving forward, as it is plainly obvious the person is holding on to old memories, not dealing with things, etc. etc.
Today while mulling over a friend's ex-girlfriend/friend choices in their current life, I camp up with the perfect life fixes forthem, the ways they could incorporate this month's theme into their life to clean up what has been going on for them & it hit me how great it would be for me to take my own advice... and of course, share in case you guys could also learn from this. This was really related to who it is that you have in your life and how much energy you are expending on those people.
I have heard that you and the results in your life are an average of the 5 people you spend the majority of your time with (not who you want to spend time with, but actually do). Take a look around. For me, the reality is that I am coming home soon & what I am looking at is where I am going & who I will be spending time with. My mind wanders to who I was spending time with before I left, who I have kept in touch with while away and (judge this statement if you will) how it is benefitting me now.
One concept that I regularly speak to is focused on looking forward to create your future. Many people look at their pasts, repeat their stories, make the same choice and this translate to creating a future based on one's past. Yet, when one makes that choice, what they are doing (usually unconsciously & unaware) is repeating a pattern. "If you keep doing what you've always done, you are going to get what you have always gotten, if you want something different, you need to do something different." So, why do you spend time with the people you spend your time with? Answer that question honestly & whole heartedly.
Personally, I found myself thinking I owe these people something :O. I quickly realized maybe not a reason to call them when I get back. A dear friend introduced me to this concept that you should leave them better than . when you found them, and I love that. AND the piece that I heard differently today was LEAVE them. What exactly is the point of continuing when it is over? If it was toxic and needed to end, what is the benefit of continuing it in anyway friends or more? Why?
So while this question plays in my head and I begin to review where my energy is going interpersonally, today, I offer you some free, unsolicited advice - where your focus goes, your energy grows - take a hard look
The Western World
I have arrived back in the Western world. It hit me when I was flying from Roatan: Wow, it is the end of that part of the journey. The journey that I prepared for for months and months. The pinnacle find myself, love myself, “fix” myself journey away from my family, my old life and all the other things that no longer seemed to fit. I was afraid of so many things, had so many expectations and no idea how it would go. AND... I am so glad I did it. I found all the pieces of me (weirdly enough right where they are now and have always been), experienced all the feels of ups and downs and arounds. I met the most amazing people and also found appreciation for all the amazing people I already know, and I learned so much about so many things. The weather was always warm and the scenery always beautiful, AND now, here I am.
Chicago has been a gentle landing, and for that I am happy. Tomorrow I fly to Nevada City, California to check out the ecstatic dance community, see Rebecca Bone Movement Practices and eeeeeeeee Shaneward. Steven Giron, Ph.D., Michael & Laura Cotton are amazing people doing some intense work here for human kind. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to check out Source Code Meditation - a scientifically proven technology that awakens your higher brain to help advance each human into the next consciousness. As always this has fallen into my lap at the perfect time and I have experienced hands on as well as enrolled in the 8 week program... which has helped to ease my fears about returning to the west. Kicking my higher brain just won’t let me fall back into this old, not good enough thinking. As always, life is. Continuing. For me on this course of growth, bliss and impact. So happy to be integrating all of the rich lessons so well.
Tomorrow I will travel to a place where I will set up roots. I will settle in one place for the longest amount of time since January of 2018!!! Whoa. Or, at least that is the plan ???? This fact in itself is both scary and beautiful and I look forward to this next part of the adventure. I declare this time about building and gaining momentum where I claim the life I have dreamed about, the life I have been walking towards all these years... It is time ❤️
Here I sit on an airplane to Honduras.
Last night it hit me.... I am leaving Costa Rica. Holy shit. How pivotal. I can compare this to savasana. At the end of every yoga class is the final resting pose, it signifies the end of class, the death of all the shit that has come up while doing your work, the release of that which no longer serves you. And here I am, in savasana.
I often hear from people how lucky I am. Like it is a common thing that bothstrangers and friends alike say to me. And I just can't agree (though I am magic ????)... I am not lucky, I have worked very hard to be exactly where I am right now. I have done the thing, addressed the elephant in the room, acted on faith, scared myself shitless, kept going, failed (in relative terms), taken the chance, haven't lived in my comfort zone in over 2 years, quit my job, left school, invested in myself, sold everything I own and traveled half way around the world. I'm not lucky. I took the chance.
On this journey, I have fallen in love repeatedly, most importantly with myself. I can't even estimate the amount of beautiful souls I have come into contact with, nor can I ever explain what it feels like to travel this way. Every single person special, individual, touched me in a different way, and holds their own unique memory spot in my brain. From jungle boys to adopted parents to travel partners, all I can say is thank you ❤️
Sovereignty. This word had come up for me a few times over the course of this journey. At forest dance it was the theme of day 2.
Sovereignty is not a word I am completely aware of. For me I remember it in relation to the monarch. The dictionary defines sovereignty as supreme power or authority
Sovereignty is something I have never claimed for myself. I have just given it away to those around me without even knowing it. I have unconsciously asked every one around me, is this ok? Am I ok? I have remained free of boundaries so as to not offend. I have camouflaged into groups to try to fit in and I have stayed silent to not be rude. From these actions, I don't know how to claim what I want. I feel unaware of what I like. I feel unclear about everything ????
It feels easy to sit here and proclaim the reclaiming of my sovereignty, my personal power and authority, but to be honest I don't know what that looks like, what that would feel like and quite frankly it feels like uncharted territory. Scary, uncomfortable and new. AGAIN.
I will breathe and start with intention. The intention that all of the things I need to come to me that offer the opportunity to rise and choose sovereignty do come to me with ease and grace. I will have faith that where I am now is exactly where I am supposed to be ❤️ AND I will keep moving forward.
Grasping. I recognize it is what I do when it feels like I am just wandering, ungrounded. It’s like slowly melting down a hole while trying to hold on or grab whatever you can off of the slippery sides. And now, I’m back in Costa Rica. The unravelling seems to happen quicker, the more I am able to let go, even just a bit, and fall into the flow. Today I landed. I made it to the beach, I put my feet in the sand, I sat down, I heard the ocean, I felt the vibe and I closed my eyes. Now, writing it out, it sounds simple, but I actually just did those things and nothing else. I was totally present, and recognized my need and attempt to control things, the best I can, being the nicest that I can and most spiritually appropriate. Lol. For real. And… it’s hard work.
The words let go appeared and it felt like my body did. With my eyes closed, all I saw was red, heard the ocean, forgot about my aching body, and slipped into sublime. Let go changed to release, release shifted to surrender and that is the intention. I surrender in every way. Surrender coffee, surrender control, and surrender to the teacher training, the process, the immersion.