“Target List” your New Year’s Resolutions.

It’s basically a miracle to leave Target without spending an extra $1,000 on 1,000 things I don’t need. It’s imperative that I have a list before I walk through those doors: a written down in pen-and-paper (not on my phone) list otherwise I’m inevitably sidetracked. All those office supplies. All those cute pillows! All those adorable baby rompers!

A list acts as a guide map. It decides what to say “YES, please” to, and what to say, “No, Thank You” to. Which is why, even if you aren’t a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, it’s imperative that you reflect yearly on the guiding values that give shape to the course of your life. Otherwise you’re going to get to the end of the year with a cart full of stuff you really don’t want. A list of Core Values helps you prioritize. (I talked a little bit about how this relates to self-care in my post what yoga says about priorities.) 

Core Values reflect who you are at your deepest level of self-awareness and self-understanding. When you are in line with your core values, you live a life of integrity: every decision you make and every action you take is informed by these values. When you are not in line with your Core Values, you’re likely to feel frustrated, trapped, frantic, disconnected and exhausted. When you are in line with your Core Values, you feel refreshed, purposeful, optimistic, relieved and authentic.

Core Values help you move forward in your life with clarity and direction. They serve as guide posts on your journey of becoming empowered to live your best life. They help you decide how to spend your time, where to put your energy and how you serve your community with authenticity.

Download this exercise to get your List Started. Reach out to me with any questions or comments, I’d love to hear your List! (And also, yes, of course I will go to Target with you!)

button

Core Values Exercise LifeCoaching LisaAshYoga

P.S. I’ll admit that I’m an over-ambitious New Year goal setter; I’m sure that comes as no surprise to you. I set goals in 4 different categories: personal goals, professional goals, relational goals and spiritual practice goals. See how I organize them in this post: lean forward, get upside down, and set a resolution.

Happy New Year!

-lisa

Spring 2020 Workshop Schedule

Lisa Ash Yoga 2020 Workshops and Special Events

Registration is OPEN. To enroll, head to the “Tuition” Page at:

WestportYogaKansasCity.com

Looking forward to seeing you. Much Love and Light for the New Year!

Winter REcovery Feb 2020

“Winter Recovery and Renewal”

Friday January 10, 2020

6- 8 pm with Lisa Ash Drackert

Winter weather can take its toll on your mobility; but winter can also be the perfect time to invest in your inner landscape. Join Lisa Ash Drackert for her signature class style: Myofascial Release, intelligent breath-based flow and deeply healing Yin Yoga followed by Meditation and essential oils blended to support winter recovery.

Investment: $25

 

Meditation and Myofascial Release PIC, Main St. Address

Meditation and Myofascial Release Class: March 1, 2020

9-10 am @ Westport Yoga KC

Join Lisa Ash Drackert, eRYT-500, one Sunday of the month for a morning of meditation and self-care. First, we will utilize self myofascial release techniques (SMFR) to heal connective tissue, restore tissue integrity and mobilize joints to move freely without pain.

This work will awaken the body to prepare for mindful meditation.  Each class is a different myofascial release focus; you may work on healing tissues in the neck, shoulders, back, jaw, wrists, forearms, hips, or feet. Whatever body area is the focus, you’ll feel refreshed and relieved.

Then, we will share in a guided meditation including pranayama, systematic relaxation techniques and mantra to strengthen our mind-body-spirit connection.

Investment: $18.

 

Fascia Release Friday March 2020

Fascia Release Friday

Friday March 13, 2020

6- 8 pm with Lisa Ash Drackert

Spend your Friday night in self-care. Myo (muscle) + Fascia (connective tissue) + Release (relieving discomfort and restoring full range of motion to feel incredible.)

Learn Self-Myofascial Release Techniques with RAD Roller Products, tennis balls, yoga blocks and breathing techniques to aid tissue recovery and reduce stress. This is especially helpful for relieving pain and discomfort your back, neck and shoulders. Enjoy healing aromatherapy self massage and meditation during savasana; leave feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to heal yourself with these practices in your daily life.

Investment: $25

 

Meditation and Myofascial Release PIC, Main St. Address

Meditation and Myofascial Release Class: April 5, 2020

9-10 am @ Westport Yoga KC

Join Lisa Ash Drackert, eRYT-500, one Sunday of the month for a morning of meditation and self-care. First, we will utilize self myofascial release techniques (SMFR) to heal connective tissue, restore tissue integrity and mobilize joints to move freely without pain.

This work will awaken the body to prepare for mindful meditation.  Each class is a different myofascial release focus; you may work on healing tissues in the neck, shoulders, back, jaw, wrists, forearms, hips, or feet. Whatever body area is the focus, you’ll feel refreshed and relieved.

Then, we will share in a guided meditation including pranayama, systematic relaxation techniques and mantra to strengthen our mind-body-spirit connection.

Investment: $18.

 

Meditate Your Weight April 2020

“Meditate Your Weight”

a 5 Week Series and Book Study

Thursdays in April 4:30 pm with Lisa Ash Drackert

Meditation may be the key to sticking to a healthy eating plan, accurately perceiving your body’s hunger cues and staying at your optimal weight without a diet plan. Research shows that your chance of staying at your optimal weight after weight loss programs of increases when you incorporate relaxing breathing techniques and meditation practices into your daily routine.

This 4 week program with Lisa Ash Drackert, Yoga Medicine Therapeutic Specialist, includes a Book Study of Meditate Your Weight by yoga teacher and health expert Tiffany Cruikshank as well as detailed yoga, breathing, and meditation instruction to help you approach your health with confidence and a sense of empowerment.

Meet for book discussion, yoga and meditation in a supportive and encouraging accountability group on Thursday afternoons in April at Westport Yoga KC: April 2, April 9, April 16, April 23, April 30th.

Your Investment Includes:

  • 5 Specialized Classes with book discussion, yoga and meditation in a supportive environment

  • Your own copy of Tiffany Cruikshank’s Meditate Your Weight

  • Complimentary attendance at 2 regularly scheduled yoga classes at Westport Yoga KC

  • 15% off enrollment in Special Events and Workshops at Westport Yoga KC April- May 2020

  • 15% Private Yoga and Life Coaching Sessions booked with Lisa

  • Weekly email literature and encouragement to help keep you focused on making positive mental and physical health changes in your life!

Investment: $95

 

Spring Revivial April 2020

Spring Revival Yoga

Friday April 10, 2019

6- 8 pm with Lisa Ash Drackert

Spring energy is contagious and invigorating.; but we can also feel out of balance. This class will support your energy for Spring using wisdom from the Traditional Chinese Meridian Theory; your practice will support the gallbladder meridian line and the grounding energy of the wood element.

Join Lisa Ash Drackert for her signature class style: Myofascial Release, intelligent breath-based flow and deeply healing Yin Yoga followed by Meditation and essential oils blended to support a seamless transition into spring.

Investment: $25

 

Yin and Pins April 2020

Yin and Pins: Deep Stretch and Acupuncture for Stress Relief

Sunday April 26, 2020

4-6 pm with Janet Lee and Lisa Ash Drackert

Combined, Yin Yoga and Acupuncture have an immensely positive affect your mental and physical health by relieving stress and “re-setting” your nervous system toward optimal functioning and energetic clarity.

Join Janet Lee, Licensed Acupuncturist and Lisa Ash Drackert, Yoga Medicine Therapeutic Specialist for an afternoon of self- care and stress relief. You’ll be guided into deep relaxation through breathing techniques and Yin Yoga Poses (long held, supported postures) and then receive acupuncture while in final relaxation. The acupuncture “pins” will specifically target points in the ears and on the forehead that reduce tension.

Investment: $45

 

Meditation and Myofascial Release PIC, Main St. Address

Meditation and Myofascial Release Class: May 3, 2020

9-10 am @ Westport Yoga KC

Join Lisa Ash Drackert, eRYT-500, one Sunday of the month for a morning of meditation and self-care. First, we will utilize self myofascial release techniques (SMFR) to heal connective tissue, restore tissue integrity and mobilize joints to move freely without pain.

This work will awaken the body to prepare for mindful meditation.  Each class is a different myofascial release focus; you may work on healing tissues in the neck, shoulders, back, jaw, wrists, forearms, hips, or feet. Whatever body area is the focus, you’ll feel refreshed and relieved.

Then, we will share in a guided meditation including pranayama, systematic relaxation techniques and mantra to strengthen our mind-body-spirit connection.

Investment: $18.

what yoga says about priorities.

DSC_3924

There’s this fallacy floating around about “finding the perfect work/life ratio.” It’s insidious and stinky, and just about as savvy as believing that changing one dirty diaper in the morning means you’re off poop duty the rest of the day.

What I’ve come to believe is that there is no work/life dichotomy at all: there is only life. And it’s my decision how to spend my precious, limited and limitless minutes.

I’ve definitely experienced the ubiquitous “mom guilt” about leaving my Little Lady to go back to work after maternity leave. Do I have my priorities straight? Am I showing Little Lady an example of a strong, empowered woman who owns her business and her passion? Or am I showing her an example of a mom who values commitment to other people and her Google Calendar over time with her own daughter?

Thankfully, the world does not work in absolutes and the Spirit of Grace is one that holds seemingly divergent priorities together in one hand, in one breath.

Because nothing matters more than my daughter does. And at the same time, nothing matters more than my work does.

There are two concepts in Yoga Philosophy that speak to this: aparigraha and brahmacharya.

Aparigraha means non-attachment and sharing generously (it’s directly translated as ‘non-hoarding.’) Brahmacharya means finding a balanced lifestyle and pouring your energy into what is Life Giving, not stinky and soul-sucking. (It’s often translated as ‘aligning with the Divine.’) Read more about Yoga Philosophy Key Concepts here.

Aparigraha means it is imperative for me to teach yoga. Nothing matters more than sharing with absolute conviction what I know to be true: we are made to be healed in body, mind and spirit so that we all may live in peace. We are made of Light, in Light and by Light; anything that suggests otherwise belongs in the diaper pail.

Brahmacharya means that I am responsible for finding a way to teach yoga, own a business and love a family in a way that is Life Giving. It necessitates balancing these priorities in a way that doesn’t make me lose my mind, bring home pointless anxiety or fantasize running away to be a Justin Timberlake roadie.

Holding the two concepts of aparigraha and brahmacharya in congruence requires wisdom, quiet time and giant mugs of coffee in between changing diapers, following up with private clients, leading a team of yoga teachers and lesson planning. It takes some effort, but it is definitely worth it.

Here are some practices that help me do this:

Breathing Mindfully

Breathing In; Breathing Out

What helps you find balance? What helps you remember your priorities? How do you give generously and also have time for self-care?

Happy Prioritizing,

-lisa

Some more self-care inspiration:

with patience and Cheerios: walking meditation.

With patience and Cheerios, I trained my dog RussellClive to do his morning business in our backyard.

My Ironman and I purchased our first house last spring; as part of our new-house-routine, I decided Russ needed to break his addiction to 5:00 am walks and learn to “go outside” (as most dogs do) so that when Baby Drack arrived I could, conceivably, take care of her inside the house while he took care of himself outside the house.

I spent hours walking in circles in the backyard. I mean, hours of walking slowly, going nowhere (as Pico Iyer describes it), patiently telling RussellClive to go potty on the grass. Or on the leaves. Or on the landscaping. Or on the fence. Or, dear God, on ANYTHING in our backyard.

It occurred to me one morning that circling my little yard was a labyrinth walking meditation.

A labyrinth is traceable shape, similar to a maze, with a single branching path that leads to its center and back out again. Labyrinth walking is a contemplative spiritual practice used in faith traditions for spiritual centering. On the circular path of a labyrinth, you walk slowly and deliberately while quieting your mind to get clear about what really matters.

In her book Real Happiness, Sharon Salzberg describes walking meditation as “a model for being mindful in all the movements we make throughout the day.”

Shifting my perspective about the quality of my minutes spent walking in circles in the backyard helped me remember that each morning truly is a gift. It’s not something to be rushed through, it’s a time to spend in spiritual and emotional self-care that sets the tone for my day.

When can you spend time walking in circles? Can you discover the value in the repetitive mundane motion of mindless daily tasks and transform that time into a time of focused self-care? How can you use your morning routine to set the tone for the day?

(If you haven’t tried Walking Meditation before, I suggest getting Salzberg’s book Real Happiness to kickstart your meditation practice.)

Happy Circling,

-lisa

 

can 28 days of meditation change your life?

My little girl is 28 days old. I’ve been a living, breathing, real-life mom for only 28 days, and turns out, my life is completely changed.

The past few weeks as I’ve been updating Westport Yoga KC’s curriculum for the upcoming learning year, I’ve been adding favorite passages and meditation techniques from Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. This book is a 28 day introduction to meditation program. 28 days, Salzberg contents, to uncover “Real Happiness.”

Is that even possible? So many people tell me they don’t see the point in meditation; or they DO see the appeal but aren’t super convinced that it will change their life in any way. But you guys, 28 days can be a lifetime.

In the 28 days since my daughter was born, my mindset, my body and my heart have been transformed.

Obviously, I’m still (mostly) same person as I was a month ago. But not really; I’m even better. I’m centered and clear about my intentions. I a little but calmer, a whole lot stronger, and definitely more “me.”

How is this possible in just 28 days?

I’ve been diligent about practicing a morning meditation, pranayama breath exercises, reading an inspiring devotion, listening to an empowering podcast and journaling every day (I have plenty of hours for a morning routine now that we are getting up at 4:20 for breakfast and our “morning” lasts until 1 pm nap time). I’ve been diligent about trusting my spiritual practices to keep me calm when Baby Eden throws a screaming fit and I’m exhausted and hurting for her. I’ve been committed to getting fresh air and sunlight on our skin so we both feel connected to Power who Created us. I’ve purposefully taken these 28 days to move even deeper into a sense of worthiness, clarity and wholeness.

So yes, 28 days of ardent mindful practice, can actually, clearly, really change your life. (Some studies have shown that just 5 minutes of mindfulness and slow breathing done daily for four weeks greatly decreases stress, anxiety and diastolic blood pressure while increasing a sense of overall well-being.)

As Salzberg writes, meditation moves us toward wholeness, so “we rediscover a strong center, an inner store of mental and emotional strength that was once lost to us. Once we have a sense of a center, we can more easily withstand the onslaught of overstimulation, uncertainty, and anxiety the world launches at us without getting overwhelmed.”

Yes, motherhood is crazy hours of hard work; I’m not saying it’s easy keeping an infant alive and emotionally strong. I’m just saying that 28 days of mindfulness deepened my clarity, confidence and contentment exponentially. And if that’s possible with a tiny stranger now running the show as my bossbabe, then perhaps it’s possible for you to also uncover a taste of wholeness and happiness if you commit to 28 days… maybe this meditation thing is for real.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Where to start?

  1. Listen on your phone. Use my Guided Meditation Page to listen and follow along to Free Audio Guided Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
  2. Download an App. I absolutely love “Insight Timer” and the “Calm” app, both available for iPhone and Android users.
  3. Get a book. I highly recommend “Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg, which is a 28 day program perfectly accessible for beginners.
  4. Meditate with a Yoga Teacher. If you live in Kansas City, we’d love to see you in class at Westport Yoga KC! All of our classes provides an opportunity for meditation; however, you’ll really get into it on Wednesday nights at our 6 pm “Restore and Meditate” Class. Join us.

Happy Uncovering,

-lisa (and Baby Eden.)

53-IMG_0171.jpg

3 things to tone this summer.

It’s the second-most wonderful time of the year: Sunshine! Sweating! Swamp-hair! Summer! (Christmas-time and Harry Potter seasons clearly tie for first place most wonderful times of year. But summer is a close second.)

I’m spending (way too much) time on the couch with Baby Drackert this summer while on maternity leave, but… here are three things YOU can tone this summer:

1. Your Hip Flexors. Strong hip flexors keep me moving forward in life– running, jogging, walking and having fun– but they get tight from sitting for extended periods of time (cross country road trips are a must in my summer!) and can lead to low back discomfort. “Hip Flexors” is a non- specific term applied to muscles that bring your hip joint into flexion (closing the gap between your thigh and your belly). Taking time to do a few lunges but can be effective in both strengthening and stretching your ilio-Psoas muscle group.

Start in a simple lunge with your back knee down and top of foot flat on the floor. Take your hands to your hips to make sure your hip points are level and even. After 10 inhales, replace your hands to the ground and lift your back knee up without tucking your toes. Hold for 5 counts. Lower the knee back down and repeat the sequence twice more. Switch which leg is in front and repeat.

img_3502-e1527688944833.jpg

2. Your Plantar Fascia.

Two words: sandal season. Not only am I increasing mileage in my running shoes, but I’m also slipping on sandals for quick walks in the summer. Sandals boast notoriously terrible arch support and easily incite foot pain. Grab a RAD Round or tennis ball and prop it under the middle of your arch. Apply gentle pressure and roll your foot lengthwise on the ball. Also try “pumping” your foot (like you are applying the brakes while driving) with the ball right at the junction of the heel and the arch. This action gets the Achilles’ tendon in there, too.

3. Your diaphragm.

Summer is a time when my energetic output increases exponentially– not only are the days longer, but I can’t bear to miss out on any social engagement or chance to travel or opportunity to lounge pool-side. All of this activity leaves me feeling frazzled and in need of a good 2 day nap. Instead, I use Crocodile Pose to re-boot my energy by calming down my neurological system and toning my diaphragm.

Lie down on your belly, placing your forehead on your hands. Mindfully slow down your breathing and feel your diaphragm strengthen and tone as it presses into the floor with each inhale. Stay this way for 6- 8 minutes and you’ll feel completely refreshed and rejuvenated– like you’ve just left a Hawaiian spa.

crocodile pose

Let me know how these go for you. Happy Toning and Happy Summer!

-lisa

reclaiming a healing morning routine.

After months of mornings not gone my way, I finally made a conscious effort this summer to reinvent a morning ritual that kept me grounded and made essential space for spiritual and physical health. And it made all the difference.

I had a really great system going for years when I taught yoga classes at 6 am: I always built in time to meditate, read a little inspiration, practice pranayama, drink coffee and take RussellClive outside before class.  On days when I didn’t teach, I meditated at home, ate protein, went for a run and then read a devotional book over biggie-breakfast.

And then, pregnancy dramatically changed how I felt in the early mornings (and mid-mornings and afternoons and evenings, actually) and I transitioned my 6 am classes to another teacher, knowing full well that infants, too, require full mama morning duty.

For months, the motivation to get my exhausted and migraine-afflicted body out of bed in the morning was knowing that if I didn’t eat something RIGHT THEN, I was going to be out of commission with nausea and fatigue the rest of the day. My Optimal Health Morning Routine was no longer an option; it was a necessity: one ice cold glass of lemon water with Calm magnesium supplement, one probiotic and one hard-boiled egg.

And then… what? Where did my the rest of my morning go? Often times, I camped on the couch and watched behind the scenes footage from the Harry Potter films, waited for extra-strength Tylenol to kick in, dragged myself out the door a few minutes before work and scrambled through the rest of my busy day. This left me feeling frazzled and disconnected, untethered and still exhausted.

I learned that being busy, or being tired, or being morning sick or being freezing was no excuse for forgoing a daily morning ritual aimed at uncovering compassion and wholeness. Everyone has ‘busy and tired’ or ‘sick and tired’ or ‘freezing and tired’ mornings.

So, when we finally got settled into our new house this summer, I took it as an invitation to recommit to my favorite Slow Morning practice: a little bit of yoga, a little bit of meditation, a whole lot of reading and journaling and coffee and a morning prayer of intention.

The key was deciding what I was going to be busy doing and making space for a morning ritual that consistently lead me toward presence and healing. And then… well… sticking to it, with both unwavering faith and graceful surrender, just like sticking to anything else that is worthwhile but sometimes hard (friendship, faith, family, exercise, you name it.)

In her book Love Heals Becca Stevens writes about the power and healing in keeping to morning rituals and intentions. She suggests that we simply do basic things every day “with unwavering discipline– and that these things will help us slowly but surely grow into who we were made to be.”

What is your favorite morning ritual? What wisdom have you uncovered in your search for daily practice? What practices are you committing to?

DSC_4111

“The good news of healing is that the oldest wisdom in the world really works. We don’t have to reinvent the processes of love or healing, and it is not out of our reach.”

-Becca Stevens

wrangling time.

DSC_3901-Edit

“When you are in difficulty, remember the world beckons to you with a bigger story. It invites you to vastness and freedom.”

-Jack Kornfield

Right now, TIME is my biggest stressor. And, as I am nine months pregnant, I’m exhausting a heck of a lot of energy I don’t have trying to slow down and speed up time to accommodate my own frantic ranting:

“Our new house isn’t ready and neither am I! I need more time before this baby gets here! On the other hand, if I have to be pregnant for one more day I’m literally going to die. I can’t make it a few more weeks. But actually, kid, you have to stay in there until next Thursday; then you have permission to come out. But actually, I’m exhausted and miserable and in pain and tired of these contractions, so maybe we should just get the show on the road. But actually,– oh that’s right– it’s still too early. The longer you stay in there, the healthier you’ll be. So let’s speed up time and get through one more week… oh god… one more week…” 

and it continues.

When I’m stressed, it feels like the only reasonable response is to control time. To somehow wrangle time and space to become smaller and smaller and smaller until it conforms to only my dilemma, my life, my internal drama.

It’s in these times of dramatic imploding when I find it immensely challenging (and also irritatingly helpful) to step back and take in the vastness of… drum roll please… the “bigger picture.”

There is a meditation from Jack Kornfield’s book No Time Like the Present called “Open to Timelessness” that helps me do this. The essence of this meditation is to sense vastness by allowing sensations, thoughts, memories and fears to pour like water from a fountain, while I simply watch, all the while remembering, “it is always now, the eternal present.”

Through this meditation, I remember the fallibility of my personal measurement of time and the malleability of actual time. And how, as Kornfield suggests, in times of difficulty, “the world beckons to me with a bigger story.”

Enjoy my adapted version of “Open to Timelessness” Guided Meditation, today (or whenever you have time) and accept the invitation to return to the eternal present.

“Open to Timelessness”

Happy Timing,

-lisa