July 25th, 2019
I am SO excited to share some really good news with y'all!
I will be in Grand Rapids to lead our next "Yoga Down on the Farm" Kids' Food Basket event August 7. I cannot wait to see YOU. This event is near and dear to my heart as is each of one of you. Let us come together to help make the lives of families with children who struggle with hunger better. Together we can do so much good. Remember we are limited to 20 participants for this event so sign up early to reserve your spot, More details to come :)
AND we are proud to announce another member of our EmbodyGR Yoga Teacher Team... the incredible Jill Fox. Jill is a native of West Michigan who recently returned to GR full time after years in California. We are thrilled to have her. You will adore her. She is teaching at our weekly gathering tomorrow, July 24. Be sure to show up and give her a huge welcome.
Enjoy the sunshine my friends. Stay cool. And I count the days until I am back in Michigan.
Dana & your
What: EmbodyGR goes down on the KFB farm for volunteering and yoga with EmbodyGR team!
Where: Kids Food Basket Farm
1300 Plymouth Ave NE
*NOTE the time difference from regular Wednesday evenings*
Cost: Free (Must register online – only 20 spots!)
Click to pre-register: register here or login to your volunteer hub & choose "Embody Yoga" for which group you are affiliated
Raise Your Hands In The Air!
When you rise & shine in the am, what's the first thing you do? Me... before I'm even vertical I stretch my arms overhead, take a deep breath in & exhale out (often loudly like a lion) It's instinctive for me to do so as it is I am sure for many of you. Why is this movement important as well as instinctive?
Putting your arms in the overhead plane holds many health benefits.
- Invigorates the nervous system.
- Increases confidence.
- Decreases cortisol.
- Builds arm & shoulder strength.
- Opens the chest.
- Improves posture (getting rid of 'text neck')
- Releases tension.
- Decreases low back pain.
- Improves balance.
- Lengthens & strengthens spine.
- Challenging yet so much FUN!
Did you know that research of Olympic athletes has proven that raising our arms overhead (aka "Victory Salute") is hard-wired in our dna. Raising the arms embodies a gold medal performance, while slumping the shoulders in defeat is also a natural response to loss. In a study of athletes who were blind from birth, researches found they too exhibited these responses to wins & losses. What does this point to? Sighted & congenitally blind athletes both use the same gestures to exhibit pride or shame. How amazing is that!
Body posture can offer an indication into the emotional and mental state of a person. Arms overhead symbolize joy, power, pride and enthusiasm. Arms down with a slumped posture & narrowed chest indicates loss, low energy, & a lack of power and confidence.
The practice of yoga helps enhance the overall wellness of a person and my goodness do we put our arms overhead on the regular! Each day it's recommended to have our arms overhead for at least three minutes. Poses such as Urdhava Hastasana, Raised Hands Salute (aka Upward Salute) are perfect to get the body into action. Try it now... simply stand tall, firm your legs, lift your chest & reach your arms skyward, breathing in and out your nose. See how long you can stay in this pose. Notice how you feel before & after. Better?
Then you can go on to poses such as Warrior 1, crescent lunge, crescent moon, tree pose.... endless opportunities await.
If you don't the genius of Amy Cuddy & her work with Power Pose, you must check her out. She has proven that, "When our body language is confident and open, other people respond in kind, unconsciously reinforcing not only their perception of us but also our perception of ourselves. Her TED talk "Your body language may shape who you are" has over 16 million views. Give it a view: Amy Cuddy
How does this land for you? Does it seem a little woo-woo or is it resonating? I offer you a challenge... Find a picture of yourself with your arms in the air. Ask yourself how are you were feeling when it was taken- joyful, powerful, confident? Likely it's all of the above. Look closely at YOU. Feel the energy in your body. Know you are that person at your core. Powerful, confident, full of limitless possibility. If you'd be willing, share that photo and a few sentences that would be amazing! Either send an email or post on social media tagging @embodygr and @feelbetterdogood.
My personal fave photo is arms in the air with my daughter Gracie at Embody The Stars 2019. Raising a strong, confident, powerful young woman in the world today is a challenge and one I meet head on everyday. I will not allow the world to take away her self-confidence on my watch. How many moms are with me here?
When each of us knows we are worthy to take up space on this planet, we encourage each other by our example and physical posture to embrace & accept ourselves; to know we are powerful beyond measure; to live to our fullest potential. Not with arrogance, but with a grounded knowing that joy, confidence, & worthiness are our birthright.
Stand tall. Rise up with arms, energy & heart. Shine your light. Share your life. The world needs you.
Yours in power,
Dana Christian Lee &
Embody in Grand Rapids:
1. Register for the upcoming Yoga Down On The Farm with the Kids Food Basket on August 7. Only 20 slots.
2. Check out our website events page to keep up to date on all the happenings! Events
3. Mark your calendar for our upcoming fundraiser with lululemon: "Shine Bright! Fashion Show & Luncheon" on Thursday, September 26!
4. Share our events on social media so we can magnify the positive impact of our "Feel Better Do Good" movement!
July 31, 2019
What: Weekly gathering w/ EmbodyGR Team Teacher Stacy Calcatera
Where: Fountain Street Social Hall
When: 6:30-8:00 pm
What: Free yoga, mindfulness & community service opportunities
Why: Feel Better, Do Good
August 7, 2019
What: EmbodyGR Yoga w/ Dana & Volunteer Down on the Farm with Kids' Food Basket
* Be sure to register online- Only 20 spots available
Where: Kids Food Basket Farm
When: 5:45pm arrive at Oak Industrial. We will car pool over together. Volunteer 6-7 and Yoga 7-7:30.
What: Living our mantra to Do Good for hungry children
Why: Because the world needs YOU!
I found EmbodyGR at its inception over five years ago. It was lovely and heartfelt; the energy among new yet awkward beginnings for many of the original EmbodyGR participants was so perfectly raw and lovely. Over time more and more people began to show up. Kindness and gentleness were palpable as we lifted and held each other up, sharing our practice on the mat and our lives off the mat in fellowship and service.
EmbodyGR offered my family a place to be when my adult kids chose to join me during a particularly crucial time of healing for us. Together we were able to practice quietly next to each other and just know we were being held up by an organization that cared for us “as is” without question or judgement of the challenging experiences we were facing. Those shared moments at EmbodyGR are remembered by us as a family frequently.
It helped to know we could attend EmbodyGR together for free, as well! Obviously, paying for physical and mental wellness practices for an entire family isn’t going to happen for most people! The free offering is so important for building a community of openness and diversity. My life has been deeply enriched by the connections made with beautiful people I might have never met, because this opportunity was free for everyone.
EmbodyGR’s mantra “feel better do good” led me back to a focus on receiving that I’d lost through personal trauma and anxiety. Most of my life revolved around giving and not so much about accepting. I gave everything to my family, friends, profession, and community. Receiving was for other people and I basically rejected it. Over time, giving became rote; my life was on auto-pilot and I didn’t even know I desired anything for me. EmbodyGR returned me to a space of presence, allowing me to receive the energy from others that we all richly deserve. In turn, my giving became bigger than ever!
Today, I use the inspiration of EmbodyGR to help support the work of Grand Rapids Red Project as a board member. For me, this organization is a natural off-shoot of the work EmbodyGR does every week! The Red Project is a harm reduction agency focused on meeting people where they are, without judgement! We provide a safe place for community members to access healthy choices related to sexual activity and substance use (safer sex supplies, overdose training and naloxone kits, free HIV testing, support groups and HiV case management), and as with the space at EmbodyGR, there is no stigma! Everyone is welcome! We invite our most marginalized neighbors to come in, RECEIVE without judgment and go back into the world the opportunity to be a healthier human. I can’t think of a better way for me to give back to our city, and I receive so much in return! And please notice the synchronicity of the efforts behind both of these lovely nonprofits! That is the universe working Dana’s magic!
I feel honored to have been a part of Dana’s journey with EmbodyGR, and fortunate beyond measure to have received exactly what I must have needed without even knowing it, at the perfect time for me.
“The EmbodyGR community embraces and supports, says ‘yes you can’ when the noisy inner voice says, ‘no you can’t’ – Kari Wilson, Community Member