“I am living today as someone I had not yet become yesterday. And tonight I’ll only borrow pieces of who I am today, to carry with me to tomorrow.”
Closing the ritual is as essential as the beginning. Welcoming in the circularity of the practice or an integrational interlude giving space for all that needs to land, to land. Integrating all that has surfaced and moved you to ‘shape your soul’.1 Think of integrating Cacao as savasana – a closing ritual that keeps on giving.
Cacao helps us restore and remember our connection to nature, to earth, to the ancestors that have lived before us. And to the ancestors that we are yet to become.
I could write about the history of cacao, of traditions and legends told through lineages of Peruvian tribes. And yet I question whether it is my voice that should be speaking to it.
A cacao infused poem
aliveness infused through me.
Relief passed along synapses.
Present to being wholly here.
The first sip of the elixir beckoned
Tendrils (of gratitude)
from my pelvis (spine)
to root down into all that is below.
A wave of levity migrating up my spine,
reaching towards the vastness of space above.
Steph Le Gros is a health coach, personal trainer, Reiki practitioner, and qualified Yoga teacher based in Nelson. In this three-part article, Steph talks about her passion for cacao as an important part of her yoga practice.
She introduces us to yoga and cacao as practices of homecoming; shares a delectable recipe and ritual; discusses the tradition of cacao; and finally shares some of her poetry and practices inspired by yoga and cacao.
A great passion of mine is the evocative use of language to inform Yoga movement and rest practices. A teacher’s use of words has the power to evoke embodied experiences that can be transformational for students.
The use of evocative language in yoga taps into the sensorial body: tasting, touching, feeling, sensing and seeing. Creative language used to innervate movement principles, concepts and anatomy means that a student’s yoga practice emerges from a deep and growing understanding of their bodily world.
Over the early years of teaching yoga I am often asked by students “Am I doing this right?”
I began to question what defined “right Yoga” and then in contrast what defined “wrong Yoga”. I feel it speaks to an ingrained cultural trajectory that values getting better or improving oneself – as if there is something at the beginning that even needs improving.
This self-improvement idea translates into Yoga practice as ‘better’ or ‘good’ by being defined by how complex or bendy one can be and is often accompanied by what one looks like while preforming Yoga postures.
Resilience is the capacity to bounce back that is dependent on having invested in one’s fitness over an extended period. Here, world-renown Yoga teacher of teachers shares what resilience means to her, and how we may develop a resilience as we face difficult times.
Have you ever been told you can’t sing?
For those of us who have, there are a few paths we consciously, or unconsciously, choose: we either stop singing, or we contain our singing to the shower or car, or to when we’ve consumed the right amount of alcoholic beverages to let ourselves belt out the anthems of our youth.
Yet in my work, my voice is one of my most important tools I use in teaching Yoga. It’s not just what I say, but how I say it. Here I share my journey with reclaiming the power of my unique voice.
I LOVE music. I am constantly astonished by music. By the endless creativity of musicians to produce beautiful, moving, wild rhythms, melody and harmony. I could never imagine life without it. What a blessing music is in our lives!
Yoga is my other love. I regularly join the two together in my own practice and in my classes you will often hear me playing music to support the Yoga. Sometimes I may even bring my guitar and play live for people.
Erich Schiffmann teaches what he calls Freedom Yoga – the freedom to teach and practice any style of Yoga he likes! His approach is about tuning in, listening to guidance from within, the inner teacher, and then doing as is prompted.
This encourages and empowers the student to listen and respond to their own body and movement, to practice in a way which respects their body, and how they find themselves at the beginning of each practice.