Balance: Taking a Cue (or two) from Nature

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 I was contemplating balance recently,  what it means and how it shows up in life.  Wondering why balance can be so elusive at times. I was flooded with images, metaphors and ways of looking at balance offered by nature.  I thought of a tree: it starts with shoots and roots sprouting from a seed, reaching down first, into the ground. Once secure in the earth, tree grows and lengthens out of the soil. Eventually branches sprout and tree lengthens away from the earth, out and up to the sky. Root and then rise. Yessssss. Same holds true in yoga with Vrksasana – tree pose. We start with the feet and legs and once stable, arms extend overhead. There’s an inward/outward and dark/light aspect to a tree’s evolution as well. First the roots reach into the earth, mostly hidden from the naked eye. From there the tree extends out of darkness...
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Martha Williams
Thank you, dear Eva. Wonderful to hear from you. I so appreciate your support!
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 10:56
Martha Williams
Such beautiful imagery, dear Amanda. May your intention to listen to the whispers bring you rich satisfaction and gently guide yo... Read More
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 10:58
Martha Williams
Thanks, Daphne! The countdown begins!
Sunday, 12 November 2017 15:54
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What to do with all this chaos?


I was talking with a very wise woman recently about how unsettled I felt with all of the chaos in D.C.  She shared with me how important it is that we look at what's going on, at the forces and agendas playing out on the national and world scene and  our thoughts and feelings around it all...as much as we want to turn away and look elsewhere. We can't heal what's not seen and known to us.  She also stressed the importance of  staying grounded; connected to both Earth and the heavens, aligning with the heart as we ground.  It was a wonderful reminder of how I can choose to be in this world. Here's what I've been doing when I'm feeling unsettled and anxious these days:  Sit in a chair with feet firmly planted on the ground, closing your eyes or gazing softly at the floor in front of...
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Holiday Stress and Overwhelm: Is it just me or can you relate??

Holiday Stress and Overwhelm:  Is it just me or can you relate??
Slowly, but surely, I've learned some strategies to prevent holiday burn-out and manage the stress that often comes with the holidays. I'm still learning, trust me, and these may not be revolutionary ideas. In fact, I'm probably writing this blog for myself...! Anyway, here are some highlights:  - slash that list of to-do's and expectations in half (if not more!) and choose to do the things I  want  to do vs. feel I should do, need to do, etc. It's radical and some people may not like it, but who are we serving by over-committing and over-doing? Certainly not ourselves and probably not others. In fact we're likley less "available" to others and enjoy their company when we're stretched and stressed beyond healthy limits.  - pace myself .  I don't need to buy a Christmas tree, haul the bins of decorations up from the basement, decorate the tree, put the...
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Sweet Dreams.....Try Yoga for a Better Night's Sleep

Sweet Dreams.....Try Yoga for a Better Night's Sleep
Time and again students tell me how well they sleep after yoga class. Music to my ears! If you're feeling sleep deprived or not feeling rested when you wake, you're not alone. The good news: an evening yoga class can set you up for a restful night's sleep. Mindful breathing, stretching, working your muscles and the deep relaxation at the end of class calms the nervous system and paves the way for sweet dreams. Remember the stories about the cavemen and how they had to be on alert all the time for the wooly mammoth or sabertooth tiger or who-knows-what that could threaten their lives or the lives of their clan?  The sympathetic nervous system kicks in, big time, when we feel threatened and helps us to stay alert, focused, and ready to fight or flee. Being on high alert when out hunting for food served a purpose for the...
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CPA's Love Yoga, Too

CPA's Love Yoga, Too
A busy CPA firm in the Portland area recently hired me to teach a weekly yoga class on-site. They're  crazy busy with tax-preparation work and  decided to offer a lunch-time class from mid-Feb through March to help them manage stress and increase focus and productivity. Smart people! Here's what it looks like: I teach a class from 12 – 1 PM in a partner's office on Wednesday afternoons. When I get there we move chairs around and make just enough room for everyone to be able to roll out their mats and not bang into each other....most times...Then we do some gentle warm-ups, connect with the breath, sweat a bit, and relax in sivasana (relaxation pose). I don't know what impresses me more about these folks: -the fact that they take an hour out of their insanely busy day for yoga, -their ease and positive attitude about taking a yoga...
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7 Reasons Why I Love Working With People New (or sort of new) to Yoga

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Yoga isn't supposed to be about ME, the teacher, and it isn't.  Not by a long shot.  But I gotta say, I just love it when a student shows up for class who either experiences yoga for the first time or returns to yoga after taking a number of years off. That's what this month's post is about.   Here are seven reasons why I love  working with students new to yoga.  1. I feel great satisfaction and pleasure when a new face shows up in my yoga classes. It brings fresh energy into the room and it's as if I'm experiencing yoga for the first time right along with them. 2. I love hearing their comments, sometimes said with awe and surprise, after their first class or two: "I'm amazed at how this peaceful feeling stays with me after class...days and days." "I didn't want to drag myself to...
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Soulfire Sessions: Opening Up Our Attention & Hearing the Voice of The Divine

Soulfire Sessions: Opening Up Our Attention & Hearing the Voice of The Divine
A friend shared an idea with me and I decided to run with it. This friend has taken a ton of fantastic workshops, learning inspiring and creative practices for sharing your experience and voice in a unique way.  The workshops are focused on growing heart-centered businesses. After all, in the realm of healing work, teaching yoga, and  personal transformation, there's a balance to be struck between marketing your business and maintaining a high level of integrity and openness. This is the first year of running my own business and I'm still learning about striking that balance. Serving others with integrity and openness is extremely important to me. Her brilliant idea: tap into the vast network of amazing teachers and thought leaders that I've come to know and love through my 9+ years working with the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and my many years of walking the path of...
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Yet Another Reason Why I Love Elizabeth Gilbert...

Yet Another Reason Why I Love Elizabeth Gilbert...
Elizabeth Gilbert , author of the charming and insightful memoir Eat, Pray, Love , recently wrote an inspiring blog  about, well, pulling the trigger.  She wrote about taking action and abandoning the impulse, sometimes a crippling one, towards perfection. This impulse can hang us up and keep us from completing anything at times. Uh... yeah .  Been there, done that, more times than I care to admit. She shared how she wrote all of her books by the seat of her pants and the many ways she would have tweaked, revised, improved Eat, Pray, Love and her other works. Really? The book that touched millions and millions of people's lives and hearts?? Amazing, isn't it, the way our mind, old thought patterns, and ingrained beliefs can mess with us? So, yes. This is yet another reason why I love Elizabeth Gilbert...for being a wildly successful author and making herself vulnerable...
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Eric vanBok
Great job, Martha!
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:39
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The Sacred Valley of Peru

The Sacred Valley of Peru
As the plane dipped down above the Andes, my heart beat faster and breath grew shorter as I took in the beauty of the sloping hillsides leading down to the city of Cusco. It was a coming home of sorts, though it was my first time in Peru. I felt a tingling sensation throughout my body, a bubbling-up of great excitement and anticipation. My body, mind and soul were telling me, “Yes. This is a good thing. You are meant to be here. Welcome home. Amazing experiences await you.” This was a somewhat impulsive trip to the Sacred Valley with Alberto Villoldo and the Four Winds Society. A friend and colleague who worked at Kripalu started talking about the journey, and then a few other co-workers and friends started talking about going as well. Once I saw a picture of the land and heard a description of the itinerary, I barely gave it another thought. I was going! We would spend...
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Eric vanBok
Few are fortunate enough to experience the deep, visceral joy in finding just one of a personal sense of purpose, an exceptional s... Read More
Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:33
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