Hello Dear One!

The journey continues: I am still seeking better ways to handle my Tri-geminal Neuralgia and I am still traveling to trainings that focus on moving and healing our bodies.

Still at Kripalu, the Roll Model Training With Dineen Viggiano ended and I moved down the hall ready to begin a four-day, Core Immersion offered by Elizabeth Wipff.  Elizabeth began the workshop, by asking each of us to give ourselves permission to feel. “Not.So.Easy,” I said to myself. I feel like a lifetime aimed at control and accomplishment has done the opposite and taken away permission to feel.

Here I was, in this new workshop, stymied at the start by instructions that seemed like a distant possibility. In fact, I feel like my habitual patterns of learning are hard-wired. I enter a class and I sit, usually in the front row, with notebook in hand, ready to record the information being dispensed. Even after years of yoga teacher trainings and then the more recent Yoga Tune Up® immersions, this attitude is still my “go to” orientation.

I Am Guided and Supported on My Journey

I have to remind myself — several times a day —  that I am here to learn deeply about myself, to engage in self-inquiry, and not primarily for the techniques I will learn, the classes I will give, or, the workshops I will design. Elizabeth then asked us to contemplate what brought us here. Encouraged by Elizabeth, I thought of my Sankalpa, my Yoga Tune Up® mission statement, developed earlier through a process taught to us in our Level 1 teacher training by Jill Miller.  “I am guided and supported on my journey.”

In an earlier training, we had spent, perhaps, an hour or more, learning why developing this “mission statement” was so important. Because, Jill Miller, explained, we are so tempted to dive into our typical patterns, we forget the real reasons why we are doing what we are doing. If we were stuck, she suggested the following Sankalpa, or mission statement, “I am a student of my body.” As I journaled in my notebook, I realized that I’m in my best zone when I realize that I am not in control, but, rather, am being guided by my creator. Thus, my mission statement became, “I am guided and supported on my journey.”

Now, when I feel lost or confused, I step back, take a deep breath, and recite my Sankalpa or mission statement. This gives me a moment to redirect myself in a way that supports me on my journey. 

When I thought about Elizabeth’s request, the we give ourselves permission to feel, I felt the pain and fear that accompanied the tri-geminal neuralgia. I knew by now, that my job was not to move forward driven by my ego, to eradicate the symptoms and the condition. Rather, this was one more moment on my healing journey and I wanted to be alert to ways to, as Elizabeth put it, “to stand up for myself, to take responsibility for myself, and to be my own best friend, so that I can thrive.” Tears filled my eyes as I knew that this was, indeed, my new, but somewhat terrifying, agenda.

There Is NO Core Muscle

One of our first lessons was to acknowledge that there was no particular muscle named the core (certainly not the rectus abdominus, the infamous six pack muscle) — we redefined the core as anything that mobilizes and stabilizes your spine. Well, okay then! We now not only had permission to feel, but we had permission to re-“see” the entire body as it functioned in relationship to the spine.

 How Does Every Part of Me Support My Spine?

During my days immersed in this journey, I re-imagined my body from this interconnected perspective: Feet, legs, hips, pelvic floor, belly, low back, upper back, shoulders, neck, and brain. Pain, fatigue, energy. Weight, belly fat, body image. Creativity, courage, and vision. Bones, muscles, connective tissue. Strength, mobility, and movement.  Each day we practiced in the morning – fascinating choreographies of movement and self-inquiry.

And after a laughter-filled lunch with my comrades at the infamous Kripalu buffet, afternoons focused on a the broader choreography of mind-body-spirit. Self-inquiry was the through-line. Each of us discovered new and different ways to re-imagine ourselves through our core.

Still Massaging My Masseter

Each evening, I went back to my room with a yoga block and my Roll Model® Method balls and massaged my masseter, my temporalis, the sternocleidomastoid, and the back of the neck. I thought, at first, that I was training these muscles to let go of pain. And, I’m sure I was. But something more important was going on. I engaged my breath as I did this work and this breath work was weaving together my entire core by connecting the healing potential hidden in my pelvic floor to the brain in my belly, which, I now knew, communicated – but not with language – to the brain in my head.

When I was finally able to relinquish my tenacious “fix it” mentality, and let myself drop into self-inquiry, I knew that I was doing some profoundly healing work. First, I had to understand that a poorly functioning diaphragm disrupts core stability. Really? If I am not breathing effectively, then I can’t move dynamically, or build strength. It’s the bottom line. If Momma ain’t breathin’, ain’t no-body happy. I was just beginning to give myself permission to feel.

Until next time!

Love and Gratitude,


P.S. If this blog made you think, please share  your thoughts below! Thank you!


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