Alignment: what the hell is it?

In the world of life coaching and self help, we often talk about living in alignment. That term “alignment” can seem elusive. It refers not to a place or a specific emotion, but to a grey area of experience. It’s a term for the  constantly shifting state of being where your decisions, thoughts and attitudes are all in sync with a greater vision you have for your life. As the vision changes, the rest falls into place. It’s an undulating and responsive place to live, and it’s often hard to remain in complete alignment. Adjustments are required. 


The older I get, the more I realize my desire for alignment and the peace it brings. I have to force myself into creative expression, where it came easily to me in childhood. I take note of my thoughts and am often surprised by what I hear. My own actions don’t seem to always be conscious decisions, instead happening as a natural result of whatever wave of emotions and energy I’ve taken on throughout the day. 


I have built a support team to keep me on track, as I need it: I have a loving therapist who reminds me of the strength and creative power of the brain. I have a coach who pushes me to recognize fear as a safety net. I have a nutritionist that insists that only beautiful, light things enter my body. I have a pup that reminds me with a single look how far I’ve strayed from kindness or pure love, in the heat of frustration. 


My favorite support, though, has been my yoga mat. I don’t practice every day (although I strive to). I also don’t consider myself the “best” in the class-often opting for child’s pose when the pose feels too far out of reach, or for easier modifications. But I go back. I always show up. Again and again. I find a sense of peace and literal mental and physical alignment on my worn mat, forehead pressed to to the floor.


I envision my yoga practice as the act of getting back into alignment; the shuffling of the body and the mental chatter into a streamlined drip, my crown opening up like a funnel. My practice allows the flowing light of the divine to rush down my spine like a mighty river, filling each reservoir and rib along the way. If I can end my practice feeling more aligned with my truest and best self, I consider it a success. 


So I’ve made the commitment to deepen my practice. To become more aligned. To strive for my best self more often. To laugh at my mistakes or missteps along the way. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be heading to the mountains. I’m removing myself from the distractions of daily life (Netflix, junk food, naps, bills) to be with myself and my mat. To design a practice that leads to strength and away from fear and guilt. A practice that reminds me that with my forehead pressed to the mat, and my breath warming my face, I am in it. I am receiving and acting in spirit, in sync with the greater vision for my life: chasing peace.  


If you’re interested in joining me in a 100 hour yoga retreat in the Great Smoky Mountains this October, send me a note at, or check out the program here. If you tell them you heard about the retreat from me, you’ll get a $200 discount! 



The courage of child’s pose

I was in a yoga class a few weeks ago when the instructor told me how she had been taught by her own instructor that child’s pose, the place of relaxation and rest when the class gets too tough, was the most courageous pose of all. 

I have known since I started my practice years ago that yoga doesn’t reward bravado. Your time on the mat isn’t about being the best in the room, stretching the farthest, staying in an inversion the longest.

Our human tendency toward pettiness or jealousy will still rise to the surface at times, though, making it difficult to eradicate when we need to rest. It’s all too easy to start comparing yourself to others in the room. To feel like you won’t give your body the rest it’s screaming for because you don’t want to appear weak, or to be judged by others in the room. The problem with this line of thinking? Once you allow it to infiltrate your brain, it opens the door to millions of other self conscious thoughts.

By allowing fear and doubt to dictate your decision making in your yoga practice, you’re unleashing it on the rest of your life. 

So have courage. Retreat to child’s pose when your body feels weak and weathered in class. Put your head on the mat and focus on your breath. And take that pose with you outside of the class.

When your heart feels heavy and overflowing, allow it to rest. Give it a break and some space. Same principle applies to your mind. To your friendships and relationships. To your inspiration, your creativity, your journalling practice. Whatever it is that you’re butting up against and wherever you might be encountering resistance, consider rest. With your forehead on the proverbial mat, gulping down air and releasing judgement, you’ll find a new way to return.

You’ll re-enter the flow when it feels right and natural, and those around you will always welcome you back in.