Start Yoga, Change Your Life

The facts are out there. You can google them, look them up, find them anywhere. The benefits of a yoga practice are powerful and life-changing. Not only does it provide your body with all the benefits of physical exercise, but it can also help calm your mind, body and spirit. It can help soothe depression and calm anxiety.

And most importantly, it can help you to enter into a relationship and conversation with your body after years of ignoring it. Or worse, after years of someone else having power over our bodies. It’s time to reclaim our bodies. Reclaim our lives. Reclaim our own power over our own futures and reclaim our health – both physical and mental.

In case you’re not sure where to start, in case you feel overwhelmed by all the launching pads for yoga out there, I’ve created this easy-to-follow guide for starting a yoga practice.

Want to start a yoga practice but have no idea where to begin? Have you taken a yoga class before and felt lost and confused – like you had no idea what was going on? If you answer “yes” to either of these questions, The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Basics is the book for you!

Through humor, stories from my own practice, good ole fashioned practical tips, and over 2.5 hours worth of online video guides and content, I guide readers through the fundamentals of a basic yoga practice. In this book geared towards beginner yoga practitioners, learn how to, step by step, set up and practice a set of basic yoga poses.

I have been practicing and teaching yoga for 11 years and have over 500 hours of yoga teaching certifications. Through simple, direct and kind descriptions, I can help guide you to setting up your own, best yoga practice. Start your yoga journey now with this easy-to-follow guide!

Help me help you to reclaim your life.

Check out my NEW website!

Hey there everyone!

So at long last, after years of procrastination, dreaming, overwork, dreaming and more procrastination, I have FINALLY started my own website. Officially. With a blog this time.

Check it out at: labringle.com . Follow me there!

While I’ve had several blogs throughout the years – the one about my travels in Paris about a million years ago, the one about healing after a lifetime of abuse, and one about searching for what comes next – I’ve decided to combine all my various interests under one header. The only thing that describes how it all comes together…

Me.

Moi.

Myself.

I.

Narcissistic? Really hoping not. Just simplest I believe.

The other blogs provided me with opportunities to hide myself behind my writing. To take shelter behind my words. To not really admit that it was me saying those things. Me writing those things.

They provided me with beautiful opportunities to spread my wings. To test things out. To push myself further. To open up my voice without all the fear of rejection and recrimination that comes sometimes when you really attach your own self to something.

They were my blogs for crawling. But now I’m ready to walk.

Don’t worry, you’ll still get to read my stuff – I haven’t changed and yet I’m completely different all at the same time.

I’ll still try to post the struggles, the inspiration, the yoga and the triumphs of life. I haven’t forgotten you.

It’s just time to start spreading my wings. Time to start trying to turn this whole writing thing into more than a side hobby I sometimes can’t seem to make time for and into something that actually supplies…dare I say it?…an income? 

Ooo that word gives me chills.

The truth is, we writers need to eat too y’all!

So join me on my search for food – through words.

See you there.

Lauren

Coming back home

As some of you may know (those of you who’ve been following my other blog, anyways) I’ve been out of the country for a few months.  I was living in Costa Rica, the tropical land of mosquitoes and mañana.  After the past couple of years, it felt so refreshing to be in a place filled with entirely new energy.  A place where I was never concerned that I would run into my ex.  A place where I never had to be reminded of the heartbreak, run into the people who were once involved in my previous negative encounters.  Each moment, each place, each person was a new and fresh experience.  A chance to start over.  A chance to run away, to be free.

And the freedom was amazing.

But now I’m home.  I’m back to the place that I love, filled with the people I love, but also filled with some people I wish that I could forget.  My last few days in Costa Rica, I was terrified to come home.  I was so scared, so filled with doubt, fear, and uncertainty, clutching so tightly to the last fading moments of my “exotic” life abroad, that it took every ounce of strength I possessed to put myself back on the plane to come home.  But now I’m back.  And it feels right to be here.

It’s taken so many years.  So much counseling. So much yoga, yoga therapy, biking therapy, meditation, conversations with people I love, with people I can’t stand, more flashbacks than I can count, more confrontation within myself than I could possibly imagine, but I finally feel it.  That enormous conviction within myself that everything is okay.  Because, finally, after more tears, more stress, more fear, more hurt, more worry than I thought I could possibly ever endure, I’m better now.

Wow, that feels great to say!  I’m better now.  I feel like I could shout if from my front porch with all the neighbors staring and just laugh out loud from joy.

I’m better now.  And guess what that means?  That means that one day, no matter how dark things look right now, no matter how scary it may be to return home, to point your gaze backwards to that bandaged place…you can be better too.

Now that’s an encouraging thought :).

Forgiveness

I spoke in an earlier blog about the need to forgive yourself.  In terms of healing, forgiving yourself is the most important thing.  As I spoke of already, the biggest challenge and most radical change we can make sometimes is just to love ourselves.  So if you haven’t already read those blog posts, I recommend you start there.  If you have, or if you are exploring the idea of forgiving someone else, read on.

If you’re anything like me, you were raised in a conservative church atmosphere that preached forgiveness as a necessity to being a good Christian.  Growing up, I was taught that I am required to forgive someone, no matter what they did.  No matter how they wronged me, or how sick and messed up they are.  In this version of forgiveness, I was told that it was my job to tell that person that I forgave them, and then it was their decision whether or not to accept my forgiveness.  That view was then supported by my abusers.

“You have to forgive me, or otherwise you’re a bad person,” my brother would say after he’d hurt me.  No wonder I viewed forgiveness as a terrible, horrible thing.  Forgiveness was essentially a license awarded to my abusers that allowed them to continue hurting me with a cleansed conscience.  No wonder I, for the longest time, refused to forgive.

Well guess what?  I’ve got a bone to pick with that type of forgiveness.  Maybe I wanted to explore my confused views about forgiveness.  Maybe I wanted to know if that’s really all there was to this big, overused, misunderstood word, “forgiveness.”  I couldn’t shake the feeling that some people really found peace through the action of forgiveness though, so I had to look into it.

The following is what I discovered in my search for forgiveness:

The most important was the radical idea that forgiveness is not for someone else.  It’s not so that my abuser’s conscience can be assuaged.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean that I give someone permission to hurt me again, permission to be in my life again, or permission to do anything at all, honestly.  Forgiveness is for myself.  Forgiveness is a way to let go of the past a little bit, to find some peace, some release.  It’s something I will never let my brother know that I’ve done.  I will probably never tell him that I forgive him.  Because again, my forgiveness is not something for him to accept, it’s something for me to let go.

Forgiveness is not easy.  It’s NOT required.  And honestly, if you’d like, you can go your entire life without ever forgiving someone or some situation.  But that’s not how I want to live.  I feel like if I cling to something my entire life, whatever it is, a bitter thought, a tragic flashback, my childhood abuse, anything negative, that I will allow that negativity to permanently have control over my life.  And I don’t want that.  I choose to take control over my own life.

But forgiveness didn’t come naturally.  Like I said, I had to forgive myself first.  I had to find healing within my own life first, compassion for my situation, kindness to my body, mind, and soul.  I had to go through counseling, support groups, yoga therapy, travel halfway across the country, start dating again, read countless self help books, and talk to what seems like a hundred other survivors before I could even consider the idea of forgiveness.

So what made me finally decide to forgive my abuser?  It was the blinding knowledge that I knew he couldn’t defeat me.  The realization, again after years of healing, that what he did to me would not control the rest of my life, because I wouldn’t allow it.  It will not ruin the rest of my life either, because I refuse to let hurt and bitterness govern the rest of my days on this planet.  I am confident now that my life from here on out will be ruled by love, by compassion, by my ability to set boundaries and stick to them, and by my ability to recognize red flags and avoid allowing negative influences into my life again.

Ultimately, forgiveness is my way to finally, finally, be free from his control over my life.  Forgiveness does not mean that my brother is back in my life.  It does not mean that I will ever allow him to hurt me again, because I most certainly will not.  It doesn’t mean that I trust him, that I’ll talk to him all the time.  In terms of outward manifestation, my decision to forgive him will not change how our relationship of hardly seeing each other or ever communicating works.  But that’s okay.

Because I have forgiven myself.  I have forgiven him.  And the feeling is one of beautiful, sweet release.  My life is now completely my own.

2012 in review – Thanks!

Each year, wordpress sends out a “year in review” for my blog.  Thanks to all my readers and supporters for everything!  I couldn’t have done this without your encouragement and support, so thank you.  I wish you all a very happy and safe New Year’s and here’s to 2013 being even better!

keep healing,

Lauren

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Bandaged Place

I mentioned in a previous post that you should never try to ignore the abusive past that you’ve experienced.  Some people say that hurtful pasts make you “stronger.”  I don’t know if I believe that or not.  I think sometimes people say that so they can build up their tough-armor.  So that they can add another layer of protection to the walls they’re constructing around their hearts.

No, I don’t think that hardships make you stronger.  I believe that hardships, abuse, etc., if taken time to heal from and responded to with a spirit of determination, kindness, and patience, give me the strength only to be more vulnerable.  I am not invincible, but I am determined that I will never lose my capacity to feel.  Never shut down on my heart, my hurt, my pain ever again.  Because I am worth loving myself for.

And, as the poet Rumi says:

“Don’t turn away.  Keep your gaze on the bandaged place.  That’s where the light enters you.”

The light.  I can’t help thinking about how true all the clichés can be.

I like to sleep

That’s right.  Sleep is awesome.  Maybe I’m kind of lazy.  Maybe.

Or maybe I’m making up for all those years I never slept.  All those years I was terrified to sleep.  All those years where after my parents tucked me in, I’d slip out of my bed and sneak back to the middle of the stairs.  To where I could watch them from the landing, comforted by their mere presence.  As long as I could see them, however hidden I remained, I was safe.

I’m making up for all those years when I clung desperately to my dreamcatcher, the one my mom made me.  Because at night, the nightmares would be so bad that I’d wake up crying, screaming, wrapped so tightly in my blankets that my circulation was cut off.  Curled so tightly into the fetal position that it felt like my stomach organs squished out of my sides.

I still couldn’t protect myself.  The dreamcatcher couldn’t keep the waking terrors of vivid reality away from me.  And eventually my parents would always catch me on the stairs and chastise me to go to bed, so that in their minds I could get some rest.  But rest never came.  For the night is dark and full of terrors.  Or at least it was.

So ya, for me, sleep is awesome.  Sleep is the greatest achievement I’ve achieved and greatest goal that I’ve scored in my budding years of adulthood.  Sleep represents the culmination of the years of therapy, of meditation, and of yoga.  So maybe sometimes I sleep too much.  Maybe to the night owls I go to bed too early.

To them I say whatever.  I’m going to take a nap.

And it will be awesome.