I’m Teaching Yoga at Crystal Portal Again!

I am teaching Kundalini Yoga classes at Crystal Portal in the Railroad Square Art Park again.  They moved across the street from where they were to a lovely place with a much bigger yoga room!  Come check it out.

This week, on October 11, 2017, at 7:00pm, I am teaching Meditation 101.  We will do some yoga to set ourselves for meditation, and sample a few different styles of mediation working with such elements as breath, mantra, and mudra.  Great for those new to yoga and mediation, and good for experienced yogis hoping to deepen their practice.  Bring a mat, a pillow, and perhaps a water.  Crystal Portal does have extra mats and pillows if you do not bring your own.

Kayak lake pic 2017

On October 18, 2017, we will do Yoga for Prosperity.  Let’s get our energy aligned and ourselves ready to receive abundance!

Classes are $12.00 and run from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.  You are welcome to pay when you arrive or to reserve a spot via Crystal Portal by phone or internet (Facebook event invite).  On Facebook, follow me, Bridget Noel Jones, LMT, and follow Crystal Portal, to get the latest on our upcoming classes.

 

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The Truth About Our Pet Peeves

Pet peeves are little things in life that we get more bent out of shape about than necessary. One of mine has been the scent of other people’s laundry detergent, because since I cleaned up my diet twenty years ago, I have a powerful sense of smell. Another is when people pluck their eyebrows in a way that doesn’t look even remotely natural and that doesn’t flatter their face. What are yours?

I am a yogi and someone who very much enjoys observing and exploring my own consciousness and feelings, and observing others’, always curious about what it is to be human. I thought I would share with you what I have noticed about pet peeves in my life.

When I am feeling strong, confidant, healthy, inspired, and in balance, my pet peeves don’t bother me.   They don’t peeve me. They aren’t even my pets.

Why is this? When we feel great, we tend to stay on the good feeling trajectory, thinking more positive thoughts, looking at the world like it supports us, seeing synchronicities more easily, and tuning into inspiration naturally.

But what about when we are nursing some internal turmoil, doubt, fear, anxiety, or a victim mindset?   That is when we notice somebody chewing granola loudly with their mouth open, or that they spelled our name wrong again, or that people are tailgating in traffic, or that those are the stupidest eyebrows we have ever seen.

Now, when I see a pet peeve is peeving me, I get the clear message to check in with myself and get the needed time to reset my vibration to one of ease and love, ASAP.

Can your pet peeve be a person? Yes, it can. I love all the people. I do. That’s how I know that people can be our pet peeves, because once in a while, a person will become that thing that just upsets me, no matter what. Luckily, since loving people is easy for me, I can tell something is out of sync if I am letting a person be a source of irritation, and feeling very much the victim of whatever story I repeatedly tell internally about them.   When I feel great, I love this person, or perhaps they fade into the background, no longer a main character in my life.

I am grateful for these chances to be aware, and to take responsibility and shift my perspective.

Sometimes people will latch onto the pet peeves because they feel like they aren’t in control of things in their lives. We get scared sometimes. We reach for control because we think it will soothe us. We want things to be different than how they are, because we think it will make us happy. For best results, though, we need to go inward, reach for our heart, soul, and Source and the knowledge that life’s okay and we are safe, so we can flow with life again. This internal self-care is what we can control, what we are in charge of. Here is where we find empowerment.

That person who is late to your class may always be late. Do you want it to upset you, or do you want to be the source of your own happiness? You get to choose.

My 94-year-old Grandma says, “Things always have a way of working out.” She’s been paying attention for almost 100 years, so I really try to remind myself of this wisdom when I have forgotten.

Take life lightly, and let those peeves go, or at least find the wisdom in them, and tend to your sweet heart and soul.

Food and Illness

When I was in college, I loved pizza. I worked at a delivery restaurant and ate pizza every time I worked, maybe 5 times per week. I drank multiple cans of highly sugary and caffienated soda during every shift. Sometimes I ate a whole pint of ice cream for dinner, maybe once per week. I loved sweets, and because I was rail thin and thought people avoided sugar merely because it would make them fat, I ate whatever I wanted to. I did not know that my ignorance about nutrition and my favorite snacks and foods would soon be my undoing. I also enjoyed eating a bag of microwave popcorn with a huge glass of orange juice or two. I loved the sweet to salty contrast. After the pizza job, I worked in a bakery and I also learned to like coffee around that time. During my early morning bakery shifts, I drank coffee and nibbled on various muffins and cookies. Of course, as a college student, I drank beer and partied too. One of my roommates expressed concern about me. She thought I didn’t eat enough protein. As far as I was concerned, I was fine. Ramen noodles were cheap and I ate them on the days I didn’t eat at work.

In college, I developed bad sinus allergies. I woke every morning with a faucet-like runny nose. I blew my nose through my classes. Or I skipped them because I felt so crappy. I tried taking over the counter allergy medicines, but soon built a tolerance to the medicine and it only made me drowsy.

Eventually I got on a once-daily, allergy medicine prescribed by my doctor.   It was non-drowsy and non-stimulating and worked for a little while. I eventually built a tolerance to it and was back to faucet nose. And then they discontinued it anyway.

It was hell. I was miserable.

I got bronchitis a lot, too. and the doctors pumped me full of antibiotics.

One fall, after college, I caught what seemed like strep throat and, though I treated it, it morphed into Epstein Barr Syndrome (a fatigue illness like Mononucleosis). Though it was caused by a virus, my doctor of course gave me antibiotics for no reason. He also told me to rest.

This lingered seemingly forever. At my weakest, I couldn’t do more than two hours of activity, tops, in one day. I could work a short shift at the bakery and come home fatigued with a bad headache, or I could go to the grocery store and come home fatigued with a headache. Or go to a movie. Same results.

As I got better, I got some of my energy back, but not all of it. I could do more activity, but I was still weak compared to my peers. If my best friend and I went out to a bar, I would drink one beer and by the end of that beer, have an earache. I couldn’t comfortably swim under water because it hurt my ears too much to go more than a foot or two under.

All of this was dismaying. I had been an active, spry, young adult before this illness.

Then I went to my first massage therapist at age 23. When he looked at my intake form, he saw my various health issues as related. He could tell by my symptoms that my intestinal flora was out of balance, and he turned me on to a product that helped restore some of my friendly intestinal bacteria (which can be killed by coffee, by antibiotics, or by an overgrowth of candida yeast which reproduce asexually by eating sugar). My allergy symptoms decreased some.

Time passed, and I was still weak. Inspired by this massage therapist’s practice, I soon realized I wanted to be an LMT too. I signed up for massage school. On my first day of massage school, I was talking to a classmate during lunch about my health woes. She heard my symptoms and said, “It sounds like you have an overgrowth of candida yeast in your system. You should go to my herbalist, Pam.   She helped me get rid of the same thing, and she’s been through it too, so she is a great support.” I set up an appointment right away. Pam diagnosed me as having candida yeast overgrowth, 2 or 3 viruses and some parasites.   Yikes! No wonder I felt like I did. She explained that in order to heal, I must stop eating sugar for a few months, eat lots of protein and vegetables, and take the herbs and vitamins she prescribed. Stopping eating sugar meant not only avoiding cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup, but also avoiding wheat, gluten, dairy (except butter), fermented foods, and even fruit!!! Now, many people think they could never do that. People wondered how I had the will power. The key for me was my level of commitment. I used to be energetic and full of life. At the time of this diagnosis, I still felt half alive, and that was not acceptable to me. I would rather be fully alive or dead than half alive, so I chose fully alive, and I adhered to the candida diet, doing everything she recommended. I was literally sick and tired of being sick and tired.

After some months went by, my health had improved and I was able to incorporate a few gentle sugars, like pears, green apples, and brown rice syrup as a sweetener.

Now, I eat a typical vegetarian diet, I eat sugar in small amounts compared to most of my countrypersons, I drink an occasional coffee or a beer. I have a lot of energy for a 44-year-old.   I have a lot of energy for a 24-year-old, in fact.

Nene Fest 2016 HooperThere’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned healing crisis to teach a willing learner about empowerment around one’s own well-being. We eat Every day. Learning what to feed oneself is a powerful foundation to good health.

I am very grateful that I experienced all of this, because I got on a path of self-care and natural wellness at a very young age. I have a truly experiential understanding of what it takes to heal through diet, I have plenty of understanding of what it takes to eliminate foods, and compassion for anyone who needs to change their diet, and I can gently encourage people in my healing practice, because I got through it. So can you.

Gratitude and Love

I am grateful, and I am learning through life experience that a practice of gratitude does wonders.  Look for something to be grateful for every day, every moment, and you will find that life gets better and better, easier and easier.

And one day, or moment, you might forget gratitude.  You might forget joy, or trust, or well-being. You might think a path of gratitude is not helping after all.

But then, remember.  Remember to reach for gratitude.  Can you tell yourself this?  Can you tell yourself that thoughts of gratitude will return? That this is just a hiccup in your positive momentum?

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You are doing great.  You are truly, honestly, beautifully doing your best.  You are beautiful simply because of your humanness.  You are absolutely precious, unique, and wonderful.

Kundalini Yoga on Wednesdays at Noon

045I am excited to announce my new class, Relax and Renew with Kundalini Yoga!  Join me Wednesdays from 12:00pm (noon) until 1:15pm at Crystal Portal at the Railroad Square Art Park, 1031 Commercial Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32310.

Please arrive a few minutes early so you can settle in and be prepared to start promptly at noon.  New students are encouraged to meet me at 11:45am so I can teach you the mantra we use to start class, the basics of breathing, and the root lock.

Kundalini Yoga is usually practiced wearing clothing made of breathable, natural fibers in which we can easily move and stretch.

Please bring a yoga mat or blanket.  Ideally, we practice Kundalini Yoga on natural fibers that do not insulate us from our electromagnetic connection to Earth.  You will typically see Kundalini Yogis using sheepskins, cotton blankets, Mexican blankets and the like.  I will still use a rubber yoga mat under my sheepskin when teaching because most yoga studio floors are hard enough that I need it.  I encourage you also to please use what makes you comfortable in class.  Crystal Portal has a few mats in case you forget yours.  Many students find that it is  helpful to have either a small pillow or perhaps a rolled towel or blanket to sit on when meditating, so bring one if that’s true for you.

You may also want to bring a water bottle for during or after class.

Classes cost $12.00 each, or you can purchase four classes for $40.00.

How Did I Get Into Massage?

022.JPGBack in the 1990’s, I was finished with college, had a BA from UCF in Anthropology, and worked at a restaurant. One of my coworkers told me how proud he was of his girlfriend, who was graduating from massage therapy school. I asked if it was like physical therapy, and he explained that it was kind of similar, with more emphasis on relaxation. This was the first time I had heard of this career choice and I found it a bit intriguing.

One day, a massage therapist ate at our restaurant and gave his waiter some business cards to pass out, with a coupon on the back for a free half hour massage, or a whole hour for the price of half. I was working four doubles that week, so I woke up on my day off, interestingly with the words, “The Laying On Of Hands” in my head. This quickly reminded me of the coupon, and I called to make an appointment. The therapist chided me a little for calling and expecting an appointment the same day, but he was able to get me into his schedule.

I went to his office, which was decorated with a combination of new age music, crystals, incense and walls of very clinical looking anatomy posters. I was 23 years old and had never had a massage. My goodness, the massage felt wonderful, and one thing that stood out to me was that the massage woke me up to an awareness of my body I had somehow lost. When he massaged my feet, it was like, “Oh yeah! I have feet!”

I loved massage therapy and saw this practitioner a few more times. I would look around his treatment room at the anatomical posters and the crystals, and think, hey, I could do this! This job is like a meditation in motion and a dance! Oh, but my Dad only paid for my first four years of college and that’s it. If only there was financial aid….

And one day, I picked up an alternative magazine in Orlando, where I lived, and there was an ad for a massage school and the words “Financial aid available.”

The rest is history, folks! I signed up for massage school right away, including my school’s advanced program, a detailed program about four months long that went much deeper in learning than the six month basic program. The advanced program included not just how to relax someone, but also very specific training in treating common pathologies in each area of the body, giving me plenty of competence and confidence. I took ten months of massage school, and graduated at the top of my class. Now, here I am at your service, nearly twenty years later. How may I help you?

Is Kundalini Yoga Safe?

We do hear stories occasionally of a person who was not a practitioner of Kundalini Yoga having a spontaneous awakening of their Kundalini, and that the experience was difficult. Kundalini is the energy of our awareness. It is our life force energy that stays mostly dormant at the base of the spine as we go about life dealing with the day to day and the basics of survival. It is our life force energy, so it is flowing always, but imagine it is at a much lower “wattage” when dormant. When the Kundalini energy is activated through Kundalini Yoga, it is safe, and you can handle it. The key is that Kundalini Yoga is designed to strengthen your body, and especially the nervous system and glandular system, so that you can handle the “extra wattage” of the current of this energy. Kundalini Yoga is a systematic technology aimed at awakening individuals to their fullest potential. Many years ago, in India it was hidden and only taught to the elite, but now it is available to anyone who is interested and willing to do the work. I have been doing Kundalini Yoga for nearly 20 years and will gladly share my knowledge with you. Plans are in the works for me to start teaching classes in Tallahassee again in September! Get ready! Stay posted here on my blog, or at my page on Facebook, Bridget Noel Jones, LMT.

Creating YOU Time in a Busy Life

I have often said, “If you are too busy for yoga (or massage), you are TOO busy.” I mean that not as an excuse for skipping self-care, but more as a statement to empower you to slow down and make time for yourself.

 

I know firsthand that when we are busy and stressed, the last thing we think we have is more time. Many of us will put our needs on the back burner to take care of our children, spouses, elderly parents, or pressing work assignments. This way of living is not sustainable. An over-giving, overworked, frazzled version of you is not the most effective, nor the most fun to be around.

 

Yogi Bhajan, the master of yoga who brought Kundalini Yoga to North America in the late 60’s would always say, “Happiness is your birthright.” It truly is. When you have taken steps to ensure your own happiness, all your loving and giving comes flowing from you quite effortlessly. It’s like when you get on an airplane and they go over the safety procedures. If the oxygen masks drop down, you are instructed to put on your own first, before helping others. They don’t instruct you to hold your breath while putting someone else’s on, and hope you still have strength to put yours on afterwards, because that just does not make sense.

 

What should we do about the perceived lack of time? Schedule in your self-care anyway! I went through a hiatus from my yoga practice for a while following my divorce, and gradually I became more stressed and negative. When I came to realize that I needed my daily yoga to feel good and to be able to show up for my family and clients prepared to do my best, I made time. I resolved to set my alarm an hour earlier in the morning, even though sometimes I would have insomnia, even though giving up an hour of sleep seemed crazy and risky and counterintuitive. I woke up early, I sipped my green tea, I listened to meditation music or guided meditations, and I gently reintroduced my yoga and meditation practice. The good news is that when we take time in the morning to do our yoga, meditation, a morning walk, breath work, or spend time on our creative expression, we set ourselves up to have a better day. We fill our own cup, so to speak. We have taken time to love ourselves, to align ourselves, to soothe ourselves. Now we have something to give.

 

I have noticed that I feel better now that yoga is part of my morning routine again. I prioritize myself, and I end up making myself feel loved and seen and appreciated. Does that sound funny? It’s true. I am less likely to feel unappreciated by people around me, because I am filling that need for myself. I dare say that when I feel unappreciated by others, it is a symptom that I am slacking on self-care, and am not treating myself how I want to be treated, how I deserve to be treated. It appears this is a common symptom for other humans as well. Let’s be quicker to heed it’s warning.

 

Another thing Yogi Bhajan used to say was, “Keep up and you’ll be kept up”. He was saying to do the daily yoga practice (keep up), and things will flow naturally for you (be kept up). When we do yoga, we align our spirit with our body. When we do yoga, we are bringing the part of ourselves that knows our highest desires for ourselves into alignment, so we can follow our own inner guidance more effectively, and just generally feel great. For you, it might be yoga, massage, tai chi, painting, dance or kayaking that aligns you. Learn what works for you, and then make sure you do it for yourself every day. Tell yourself, “This is the most important things I do all day,” and then do it. Watch how your life transforms!

Create for the Joy of Creating

Do you remember the song that starts with, “Sing, sing a song”? One of the lyrics is “Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song…”  This song comes to mind today after a good friend and I were talking, and catching up on our lives. I shared about recently adding creativity as an important part of my self-care routine, and prioritizing it, doing something creative in the early part of my day to feed my soul and to keep my emotions flowing. This is important because I have historically sometimes pushed aside my need for creative expression in favor of working hard or taking care of everyone else. I have noticed that ignoring my creative self can be bad for my mood and my health.

My new addition of creative expression to my self-care means I must either watercolor paint, dance, make music, or do another art form if it calls to me that day more than the above favorites. This makes me happy. And my happiness spreads outward in all I do, including my work, my marriage, and my parenting.Ladybug

One of my creative outlets is teaching myself trombone. I had a feeling, with my small amount of experience playing fiddle and then stand-up bass, both fretless instruments, that trombone might be a good instrument for me because the slide seemed like it would be easier for me to feel my way into than an instrument with a bunch of buttons or keys. I have discovered that I tend to play trombone poorly when I am “in my head” or thinking about what I am doing. But when I bend my knees a little, and drop my awareness deeper into my body, around my hips and thighs, I am playing from a place of deep feeling, I have no idea what I am going to play, and it comes out amazing! My ability to do this seems to have to do with how relaxed I am in the moment, but alas, I have not yet made a connection between the logical side of my brain and the feeling side when it comes to trombone. Someday, perhaps, I will.

My girlfriend mentioned she would like to get into painting and she feels a lack of confidence in her skill, which seems to stop her. We talked for a while about why I paint. The act of brushing paint onto something feels goods to me. Really good. Whether painting a room a new color, creating a doodle in my watercolor book, or painting something big in acrylic on canvas. My friend agreed. Painting feels that way to her too, but she hasn’t done it in forever, partly because she has a baby and her family has just moved to a new city.

I told her there are many art forms I do because they simply feel good to me to do. I do it for me. I concern myself very little with how it will turn out or look. I do it because the act of doing it feels good. I dance with wild abandon to really good music, sometimes in public, sometimes when nobody else at the show is dancing. I probably make a spectacle of myself. But I don’t do it for others. I do it for me. When I paint, I also do it for me.

My friend pointed out that it sounds like trombone is like that for me. Yes, it is true. I play it because I need to and because it feels good. Someday I do hope to become consistently good enough to play for and with others with confidence, and maybe at that time I will find something I need to share or give to the world that can only be expressed via trombone.

In yoga, we can look at creativity as being expressed the most through two chakras (energy centers). The one I express from the most is the second chakra, the seat of our deepest emotions, our sexuality, and our primal creativity. The other chakra is the fifth chakra, the throat chakra, where the voice comes from. This kind of creativity usually has to do with speaking one’s truth and with what we uniquely have to give the world. I usually write from the fifth chakra, and it’s where I find words from which to lead a yoga class, and from where I educate my massage clients.

By the end of the conversation, my friend was inspired to either find her paints in the moving boxes or go buy even a kid’s set to get started with. And she will paint for the fun of it. And the more she does, she will probably become more confident. But either way, she will paint.

So sing, paint, dance, crochet, sew, bake, write, draw, play music, and “don’t worry that it’s not good enough.” Just do it.

Do it for you. Create for the joy of creating.

Reiki Healing Special in July

Reiki is an ancient Japanese, hand’s-on healing technique where, essentially, the practitioner acts as an efficient conduit to the Universal flow of healing energy, sending it into your energy field and body for your healing.  We all know how soothing the human touch can be.  We all have healing abilities.  A Reiki practitioner is a person who has received an attunement from a Reiki Master in a process by which the Master brings the new practitioner’s chakras (energy centers) into ideal alignment, facilitating open flow of the healing energy.
When you receive an energy work session from me or any other Reiki practitioner, the energy knows right where to go, and can bring healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Reiki can be done in person or long distance.
Usually I charge about $1/minute ($65/hour), but for the rest of July, I am offering a special:
Reiki By Donation
There must be some energy exchange to receive a treatment, whether financial (donation size determined by you) or another useful offering (like organic produce).

Call me at 850-284-7136 with questions, or to set up an appointment.

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