Hello beautiful souls,
I hope you are staying healthy, happy, and positive during these days.
This week I have GOOD NEWS! We are offering a new opportunity to connect over zoom live! Join Embody Team Teacher, Susanne Werblow, along with me, for our weekly virtual gathering tomorrow, Wednesday, July 29 3:30pmPT| 6:30pmET! This week it will be a 1.5 hour live zoom- first time trying a new format. The link is below. Susanne will lead a kundalini yoga set that will improve circulation in the body -feels really great afterwards!!- and we‘ll end with a meditation to balance brain hemispheres.
Embody community members are also welcome to join Susanne's biweekly free online classes, Wed and Fri 7:30-8:45am ET (go to Facebook Kundalini Yoga GR for details). If you are new to Susanne's Kundalini, you will need to email email@example.com to connect personally with Susanne to get access to the private link and share some info before your first class. After that, you are invited to all future classes using the same link.
I do hope to see you there! Grab your mat. Invite your people. Let's join together and max out the zoom room filled with all you amazing humans.
Feel Better Do Good,
Meet our new community partners in Arizona - Hushabye Nursery
"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members."
Greetings beloved ones,
I hope you are well, healthy, and finding a daily dose of happy! It's so important during these strange and distanced times to stay positive, amidst the chaos.
What is something that makes you smile right now? Just one simple thing? For me, it's seeing the mountains off our back deck. They hold a space for me to relax, exhale, and remember that though these times may feel insurmountable & I may feel small, these times too shall pass and I can draw the powerful mountain energy into my being.
COVID will end, we will get new leadership in our nation, we will be able to gather together in community and hug in person again. We may not know when or how, but these tough times will not last forever. Until then, we must choose our own happy and remember to activate the 43 muscles in our faces. How? Simply smile. Smiling reduces stress, boosts the immune system, and lowers blood pressure. Also, it releases endorphins which are natural pain relievers & serotonin which offers feel-good properties into our being.
Fact: 'More than 30% of us smile more than 20 times a day and less than 14% of us smile less than 5 times a day. Those with the greatest superpowers are actually children, who smile as many as 400 times per day!' We adults have lots to learn from our kiddos!
So what are you waiting for? Find something that makes you smile today, right now. I challenge you to smile, all by yourself as you read this, and then be the reason someone else smiles today, too. Finally, I offer the ultimate challenge: belly laughter (jokes, memes, facetime with your funniest friend... find your way to laugh til the tears roll). If you are feeling like none of that is possible, put a pencil between your teeth for a minute to mimic a smile; you will get many of the same benefits.
Be Happy & SMILE on,
Embody in Grand Rapids:
Peri was going to lead this week, but she is facing some health issues. Please, send her all the healing energy and light you can <3
Wednesday evening virtual gathering w/Embody Leader Dana
Wednesday, July 22, 2020- 3:30pm PT | 6:30pm ET
View on Embody Facebook Page Host a watch party to invite your friends to join you.
Embody LIVE ZOOM Weekly Virtual Practice with Team Teacher Susanne Werblow
When: Wednesday, July 29, 2020- Live Watch Party hosted on Embody's Facebook page
3:30PT | 6:30ET
Meeting ID: 852 4579 3203
“I will never understand all the good
I miss you all. I miss our circle of care. I miss hugs, inspired conversations, and doing powerful work in our communities. Times are tough to be sure. I don't know about you, but I can become quite downhearted. That is not my personality, so when it happens I must pay close attention. When it does, I gotta laser focus in on my daily rituals and practices to keep me positive, healthy, and creative during these new, ever quickly evolving times we are facing.
Here's my 'current' top 10 rituals and practices:
1. Gratitude- I start my day with gratitudes before I even get out of bed. I take a few deep, full breaths and hold space in my heart for health, family, our world, each of you, and whatever moves me that day.
2. Meditation- Once I am out of bed I head to the living room to see if the deer are outside. They often lie in the early morning sunshine to meditate with me. I send them love, close my eyes, and get centered for the day.
3. Coffee- My coffee is my LOVE; I can't start the day without it actually. My husband Jason (he's my love too) and I create intentional time each morning to have coffee, share something positive we acknowledge in each other, and discuss life or laugh at Baby Yoda memes.
4. Movement- Each day I carve out time to move my body. It's a non-negotiable. Whether it's yoga, hiking, doing abs on the back deck with our family of deer (true story), or jumping on the spin bike, I breathe, sweat, and change my state. Game changer every day.
5. Phone call to family &/or friends- As you are all aware, my family/community of origin is in Michigan. It seems really far away since I cannot see them in person right now due to the pandemic. I make at least one facetime call a day to see their faces and keep connected best we can.
6. Appreciate nature- Our backyard overlooks the Sonoma Mountains. Each time I look at them it's like the first time. It's magical and always fills me with awe.
7. Hot tub time- Just before COVID hit, we installed a hot tub. I never realized how much stress relief I would need. It's a beautiful way to immerse, relax, and reset.
8. Healthy food & vitamins- I love all things green and straight from the farm; fresh veggies & fruits, all of the organic style. Making healthy foods, smoothie bowls, fresh-squeezed juices, and protein shakes (Isagenix of course) for me and my family makes me so happy while keeping me fueled and healthy. Plus a fist full of vitamins!
9. Reading- I love a good book (actually, many books usually at one time ;) But no kindle for me; only paper that can be highlighted, dog-eared and revisited again and again. Currently, one of the books I am into is "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng. So powerful! The book touches on all topics that are powerfully relevant today. I highly recommend you check it out. The series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington is currently on Hulu under the same name.
10. Stay in wonder- I regularly look up at the night sky, howl at the moon, go to the mountain top, all to remind me of the vastness of our universe, my connection to something bigger than myself & to tap into the limitless potential we all possess.
What about you? What are your rituals and practices? Make your list and share with family or a close friends. I invite you to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what your rituals and practices are to keep you positive, healthy, and creative during our time of being apart.
Know you are magical!
Love, health, and community,
Embody in Grand Rapids:
Virtual Yoga Practice with Dana
6:30pm PT | 3:30pm ET
Go to Embody's facebook page (@feelbetterdogood)
Challenge: Host a watch party & invite people to join you!
July 17 & 18
Dana Christian Lee is leading two free yoga classes at an on-line event: Isagenix Celebration 2020 with our partners at the IsaFoundation. Please join us!
Registration IS required to attend Dana's yoga practices. Go to www.celebrationlive2020.com to reserve your spot. When it asks for your Membership ID, use 12770277 or 123456
Tribe of compassion,
I am a rip the bandaid off kind of person. Give me the 'bad news' first girl. Delayed gratification over immediate lifestyle. So that is why today's newsletter will open with the 'rain' (the hard stuff) and end with the 'rainbow' (good stuff).
There is much fear, conflicting information, and unknown, as we continue to travel though quickly changing times in our modern history. How we respond or react comes from our willingness to stay open, be radically honest and act with ahimsa (nonviolence).
What does that mean?
Take regular breaks as needed but please let us not bury our heads in the sand (or in our navel). to Try to stay current and clear to what is true for us & in our world. Not just what we 'want' or 'prefer' to be true. Because we don't look at something doesn't mean it's gone or okay; whether it be COVID-19, racism, mental & physical health, job/relationship/family/parenting status... We must keep looking, continue to have difficult conversations, take positive action and ground it all in ahimsa.
1. COVID-19. Yes, it is still a thing. It's not fear based; it's a virus. As much as we want it not to be, it is. AND it is currently growing.
Michigan has done a great job and it is my hope the numbers stay low. With travel opening back up and people going about their lives, exposure is much higher. The risk may not be yours but it could be your loved ones. Healthy people are often asymptomatic carriers. That is why being responsible, masking, & physical distancing, is crucial. It is our responsibility to keep others healthy too and not bring harm upon them. Even practicing yoga or going to church, all things good for the soul, can be risky business. That is why FSC isn't open yet and we still are not meeting on Wednesday nights.
Here are two articles for you to read that are eye openers.
North Texas Family- 18 test positive after family birthday party
Bali yoga retreat angers many after lying about mass gathering of chanting foreigners
2. Racism - It's still alive and well too. Horribly, tragically and unbelievably so. It is our responsibility to clean our own doorstep first. If you haven't yet, please take the time to review anti-racism resources that we shared, and consider how you are showing up to fight racism.
Embody's path to activism is: awareness, education, action. Specifically in that order. It's a spectrum. Not all of us have the privilege of just becoming aware of racism. Many have had to live that reality since birth simply because of the color of their skin.
3. Homophobia - While we celebrate Pride month, we need to remember that not everyone feels safe to live in their authentic truth. Basic rights like healthcare are at risk for our trans brothers and sisters.
The bright side to all of this is that we can make a difference. We can make choices that impact these things around us. We can shine a light through the rain and make a rainbow.
We can protect the health of ourselves and others. Your views are yours. Your choices are yours. Yet all your actions have impact. I implore you to dig deep and know what is right for you to live in a way of nonviolence. The famous phrase, "Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins" applies here. Spend time wrestling with that quote as we still live in an active covid world.
We can continue to wake up. Let us continue to wake up, do the work and take the action. And again, keeping ahimsa as a focus though this one is often more grey in nature. (We could spend lots of time here but that is for another day.) For BIPOC reading this - the whole Embody community supports you and embraces you!
We can support others, even when their struggle is not ours. Stay vigilant. It's difficult when we cannot meet in person to practice yoga and mindfulness together using our bodies, minds, and hearts to heal and transform. The onus is on us to make healthy daily choices when it's easier to choose what is convenient and soothing. Keep on your practices. Use your tools. If you forget, reach out to me, to a friend who also shares your values.
We can continue to gather in spirit. Go to our facebook page and practice along with videos. Keep checking in on your physical/mental/emotional health AND keep reaching out. Many of us feel isolated; I know I do. So we must stay connected in all the ways available to us, staying safe and minimizing harm to self & others.
We can look for the light around us. Compassionate, intelligent leadership is being exhibited by many on the SCOTUS which is heartening.The ruling on DACA defends people's rights to stay in the country safely without threat of deportation. Plus a landmark civil rights law passed that protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. These are long-sought strides for equality.
Celebrations: Summer Solstice, Father's Day, International Yoga Day, and International Surf Day this past weekend.
Finally, so much to celebrate. As I reflect over all of these rainbows, I notice they all have one thing in common for me: Love & Patience. Love the rainbow, patience with the rain.
To LOVE long summer days of warmth and sunshine, we must withstand winter.
To LOVE fathers/fathering figures, we must exhibit patience in relationships.
To LOVE yoga, patience is inherent with the totality of our being; body, mind, heart.
To LOVE surfing is to regularly wrestle with waiting; for the right wave, to get up or get thrashed. Surfing demands we patiently practice for the day where we experience the joy of riding the wave! Get the rain repeatedly before you hang 10.
Be a Light Bearer
Be honest with yourself. Take care of YOU. Only then can you do good in your family, community and world. But let us not get too lost in our own 'self-care' for that can become indulgent and a route of escape from reality.
People are our greatest blessing and also our greatest opportunity for growth. Especially the ones closest to us; especially when many of us do not get a break from our day to day environments. Stress can run high and patience low. During these days, it was one of my first teachings in yoga teacher training to not make huge life decisions during highly emotive times. If you need to, give yourself ample time to get grounded, clear and decisive. In the words of Sherif A. El-Mawardy, “Making a decision takes a moment, living a decision takes a life-time.”
Invite grace into your heart as your guide. Grace reminds us to be gentle with ourselves and others. Grace helps us hold the door open for forgiveness and compassion in all our relationships. Grace flows and we can ride her steady, patient current. Grace is the rain and the rainbow.
Love requires patience. No way around it. To experience the rainbows, we gotta withstand life bringing the rain down on us from time to time. Not if the rain will come, but how long the storm will last.
In the end, let us remember to stay open, truthful, and live a life of ahimsa rooted in love and patience, led by grace.
Yours in health, happiness, and community,
Embody Weekly Virtual Practice:
Wednesday, July 1, 3:30PT | 6:30ET on Facebook for a practice with Dana!
What: Grand Rapids Public School Basketball Drive with EmbodyGR and SuperDre Spinning the Tunes!!!
When: July 4, 2020
8:00am- Yoga with EmbodyGR Team Teacher Melissa Vanette
9:00am- Salsa Fitness
10:00am- Interval Training
Where: Monroe North Lot, downtown GR
Why: Our goal is to collect new basketballs for students.
Cost: $25 donation (minimum) or bring a new basketball
Embody LIVE ZOOM Weekly Virtual Practice
with Team Teacher Susanne Werblow
Wednesday, July 29, 2020- Live Watch Party hosted on Embody's Facebook page
3:30PT | 6:30ET
Meeting ID: 852 4579 3203
“For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo
Tribe of goodness,
It's really quite a time in human history. We are all now 'woke;' the time has come and we cannot go back to sleep. The siren for racial justice has sounded and our attention is demanded; we must answer the call. Many took to the streets for peaceful protest and were able to stand up in solidarity without threat. Others were subject to violence, either directly hit with tear gas or rubber bullets, or witness to others who were. Riots and looting took place across major cities in America, with Grand Rapids directly impacted with car fires, vandalism, looting and destruction of property. This is huge. People are angry, people are traumatized, yet no longer tolerant of injustice.
This is not a time where if we wait long enough it will blow over. This movement to end police brutality and racial injustice is just getting started. The death of George Floyd was the catalyst for a global rising up of which we are all part; we get to choose what side of history we want to be on. A yoga teacher I know recently challenged the yoga community saying "Stop doing warrior poses if you are not going to fight." Read that statement again. Take time to process its meaning and implication in your individual life. Where have you been silent and where can you be a stand for racial justice?
During these days of social, economic & political unrest, chaos, and uprising, we must remember to take time to get into our bodies and resource ourselves with calm our minds and steady emotions. If you, like me are part of the 'white privilege' we are called to humbly listen, learn and then, only then, take appropriate actions to help be part of a collective creation of a new world that works for all us! If you are a person of color, know we see you, we are listening and readying ourselves to come alongside. We are not expecting you to teach us, guide us through the process or help us understand our place in it; that is our job.
Join me for our Wednesday evening gathering on Embody's Facebook page 6:30pm ET | 3:30 PT . We will focus on grounding into the present moment. Together we will slow down, breathe, and pay close attention to the here & now. We will ground into humility; ground into listening, learning, and embracing responsibility. Our practice will support our 'ability to respond' mindfully.
Please join me and our tribe on your mat virtually. Invite your family and friends. Now, more than ever, we need to take care body, mind, and heart. Now more than ever we are called to live into the meaning of yoga which is union; to come together for the betterment of all. Now, more than ever, we need the promise of yoga which is moeksha/liberation and not just for you or me but for ALL of us.
The time is now. We are the ones. We cannot go back to sleep. Let us take time to listen deeply, educate ourselves, and answer the call to act.
Yours in solidarity,
“The EmbodyGR community embraces and supports, says ‘yes you can’ when the noisy inner voice says, ‘no you can’t’ – Kari Wilson, Community Member