Reflecting on 2018

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On more than one occasion I mentioned to someone that 2018 had been a really challenging year for me only to be met with a quizzical look. On the outside, 2018 was a great year both professionally and personally. Internally, there was a lot of turmoil and some major shifting caused by finally realizing my own self-worth, no longer judging myself, and ceasing to be busy all the time.

Early this year as I began lesson planning for the first yoga teacher training I would be co-leading it became clear that I could not continue to shrink and deny my strengths and talents. I couldn’t ask others to stand in their power and shine their lights brightly if I was dimming my light hiding in the corner. Other people believed in me so maybe, just maybe, it was time to start believing in myself. It was time to fully own my strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledging all the ways I had been holding myself back, all the missed opportunities, and all the unhealthy relationships was like a punch in the gut. I’m still unpacking where the denial of my self-worth truly stems from. Somewhere along the road I began to feel less than, not quite good enough, a small weight I began toting around early in life that gained in heft until it effectively overshadowed everything. For so long I lied to myself saying it was just healthy self-criticism and critique. In reality it was perfectionism run amok. Several years ago I began to genuinely hear the voices of those close to me asking that I acknowledge all the ways my lack of self-worth was impacting my everyday life from relationships to income to daily interactions and conversations. I had to truly own up to this and take some very hard, sometimes painful, actions to drop the weight. After months of anxiety induced sleeplessness I finally increased my private client fees and asked for raises at the studios where I taught. A few important relationships had to end, some ended when others walked away from me, some ended when I chose to walk away. Let me tell you, it sucks to be on both sides of that coin – loss is loss no matter where you stand. Old internal dialogues that had become entrenched in the way I spoke to myself had to be massively rewritten. I had to consciously practice speaking to myself in different ways, kinder, more positive ways.

For years, okay, decades, I believed that I could silently judge myself in every imaginable way while remaining nonjudgmental of others. Sure, a few people had openly called me out as being judgmental of others over the years, which totally irritated me (in the way we get shifty and angry and full of blame when called out on things that are true but we are unready to hear and accept) before I shrugged it off as nonsense. It wasn’t until I addressed the self-judging and critiquing, actively choosing to rewrite my internal monologue, that I realized how much I was also silently judging others. It was rarely the big stuff, although, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t judging others about big stuff at times. I was mostly judging others about little stuff, what they posted on Instagram, the clothes they wore, the new haircut, the way they spoke to others, it allowed me to feel right, justified in my choices, dare I even say, superior. This was not something that was easy or comfortable to admit. Quite honestly, it felt super shitty to stare this fact down and take it in. All of the self-judging made me feel lousy so in turn, I was judging others to help boost myself back up. What an ugly, vicious cycle. No one was winning. The more I silenced the judging voice speaking to me the more it stopped speaking about others. The little things just didn’t matter. I did not need to get worked up over or have any opinions or feelings about all the trivial stuff I had been choosing to weigh in on simply because it momentarily turned the harsh judging voice away from myself and bolstered how I was feeling. Releasing the judging voice kind of happened overnight. Well, my realization of it happened overnight. In hindsight, it had been a work in progress built upon millions of barely perceptible baby steps I had begun taking a few years ago.

I, like so many others, wore being busy as a badge of success. Being busy meant I was an accomplished, in-demand yoga teacher. I had made it. Living in New York City can sometimes feel like a competition to see who can be the busiest. It is, after all, the city that never sleeps filled with people who go, go, go, go, go. However, being busy all the time also meant I was tired all the time, always teetering on the edge of burnout, and not fully present or dealing with a lot of stuff in my life. I am fortunate to love my work, but I was not okay with it becoming the sole thing everything else in my life revolved around. Slowing down was hard. I had been on the go-go-go, crash and burn, pause, and repeat cycle since I was a teenager. Choosing not to be busy all the time meant letting go of classes and clients I loved working with and creating a new schedule. First, I luxuriated in having time to fully engage in things I love like cooking and baking, and going to the theatre regularly as opposed to once in awhile. Then, I got bored. I felt huge pangs of guilt over having downtime each week. And then all kinds of stuff started to surface, feelings I hadn’t really had time to deal with, choices I had made and the consequences I had cleverly sidestepped because I was…busy. Things that needed attention and focus, painful, messy things like processing the loss of certain relationships and accepting that years I would never get back had been devoted to work instead of other pieces of my life suddenly had my time and attention. My first instinct was to pick up more classes and clients, in other words, return to being busy. Instead, I set firm boundaries with myself and chose to finally sort through and deal with the uncomfortable feelings that surfaced. I will admit, I kind of miss wearing the busy badge, but devoting more time and energy to things outside of work has been truly wonderful.

I’ve been sitting with all of this as 2018 winds down and people begin talking about setting goals and intentions for 2019. I’ll be spending the last handful of days remaining in this year reflecting on all of the shifts that took place, allowing them to sink in a little more before I start pondering what I hope to bring into fruition in the New Year. At the heart of all the change was how I spoke to myself, my internal dialogue. I started to fully understand the power of my own thoughts and the importance of consciously choosing how I spoke to myself, which in the end impacted how I treated others and myself.

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Coming Home

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A few days ago, I stepped back on my yoga mat and back into the studio to teach after a four week break from both my own practice and teaching.

I didn’t intentionally set out to take such a long break from yoga. I have been practicing almost daily for about thirteen years now. I have been teaching for the last seven years. This is the longest break I have taken from practicing or teaching. I spend a chunk of time in California each summer. As I headed out of Brooklyn and to the West Coast, I knew I needed a bit of a break and early on gave myself permission not to teach for several weeks. I had begun feeling tired and burnout all the time. My work/life boundaries seemed blurred to the point of nonexistence. My one day off each week was spent holed up in my apartment vegging out because that was what I needed to recharge for the week to come, which consisted of six days of lots and lots of work. I did not, however, intend to step away from my own practice.

My practice is no longer my own – it is always about planning and prepping for classes and private clients, or deepening my own understanding and knowledge base so that I can better guide my students. On the rare occasion when I can release all of that, I use my practice to ground myself so that I can teach multiple classes and private clients each day – it is still in service of my students. There is nothing left that is purely for me. And you know what… I’m okay with that. Coming to this realization was powerful, and confusing because I understood that to truly give myself the time off I needed this summer, I needed to put my own practice on pause.

It felt sacrilegious as a yoga teacher to not practice yoga. I firmly believe that a consistent practice is important. Those days we don’t want to get on our mats are often the times we most need our practices. I kept asking myself, “Shouldn’t I just force myself to get on my mat? Shouldn’t I be exploring this new realization on my mat and within my practice? Won’t it be different away from home, at studios I’ve never been to with teachers I’ve never taken classes from?” Ultimately, the answer deep down in my gut was, no.

The first week of not teaching or practicing felt like a much needed vacation. I felt a sense of relief. The second week, I felt out of balance. My work/life boundary had become so blurred, I wasn’t quite sure who I was without teaching, without yoga. I allowed myself to simply be with all the feelings and questions. And ever so slowly, I began to connect with myself on a deeper level. I was finally able to hear the ever so quiet voice within telling me what shifts I needed to make so that I could continue to do what I love, which is teach yoga, without crashing and burning as hard as I had.

I love teaching. I love taking classes. I love my home practice. All of these things will continue to exist in my life, but they are part of my work. No more coming to my mat or taking classes on my days off. No more using my yoga practice as my way of working out and staying in shape. While in California, I started a new workout routine that was entirely foreign to me, and completely separated from my yoga practice. I reconnected with things that are not work, not yoga. I asked myself what I needed to create and maintain greater balance and boundaries in my life, and I paused to truly listen to the answers.

Stepping onto my mat and back into my practice and teaching paralleled my life. I returned to yoga at the same time I returned home to New York City after six weeks on the central coast of California. I began my first home practice with three minutes in child’s pose. I needed to ground myself, to shut out all the external noises, and tune into myself. I spent the first day and a half back home in Brooklyn in my apartment, grounding myself in my space, feeling the energy of being in a city as opposed to a small town nestled between the ocean and the mountains. Everything felt different, and yet familiar. Sinking into the rhythm of sun salutations and the bustle of New York City felt natural. Oh did it feel good to be back. It felt like a long-awaited homecoming.

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January Book of the Month

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I wanted to start the year out with a book that is not just one of my favorites, but one that you can return to all year long. Meditations from the Mat offers short, one to two pages, reading delving into yogic philosophy and application for every day of the year. Basically, you get 365 nuggets of wisdom to enrich your practice and your life. One of the many things I love about this book is that you can read it cover to cover or randomly select readings, focusing on what is of particular importance to you and your practice at any given time. I strongly believe this is a must have for any yogi’s library.

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Women’s Yoga Workshop

It that time again, one year is coming to a close and a new year looms bright and full of possibility on the horizon. In other words, resolution making time. Who has made resolutions in the past, or even for the upcoming year? Who has failed at following through with their resolutions for twelve whole months? I know I sure have. Last year, my friend and I made a resolution to find what we deemed to be the best chocolate molten lava cake in New York City by going to one restaurant a month to eat cake. And guess what? Yup…we failed. We failed at eating chocolate cake! Point proven, resolutions do not work. You know what does work, consistency paired with support.

I am choosing to run my online workshop for women at the start of the year.

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8-Week Online Yoga Workshop for Women

January 8th – March 4th

Move, Reflect, Connect

I know, you’re probably thinking, “Eight weeks?!? That’s a huge commitment!” Well, yes, it is. Some research says it takes two or more months to fully build a new habit. And, life get busy at times. The beauty of eight whole weeks is that if you have a busy day, two days, or whole week, you can still come back to the workshop and pick right back up. You can also choose how much time you dedicate to your practice each day. Our practice is not all or nothing. One thing I, and the previous participants, are working on is recognizing that five or ten minutes on a busy day is far better than no minutes. So what if you could find a half hour or full hour to spend on your practice? Eight weeks allows for time to truly build the habit of coming to your practice consistently, not just when it is convenient or you have an easy day.

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At the end of this 8 weeks you will have:

  • 8 audio yoga classes to use anytime, anyplace
  • Quotes to return to again and again
  • Articles and videos exploring different aspects of your spiritual journey and practice
  • A group of powerful women to reach out to for support and inspiration
  • A greater understanding of how your practice affects your everyday life
  • Insight into your personal narrative and how that helps or hinders you on your path
  • 8 exercises that help you connect more deeply with yourself and your authentic voice

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I would love for you to join me on this transformative journey. I know money can be tight after the holidays, so I am offering a special discount of 40% off the full price, which comes out to just $60 a week. Click here to sign up for the discounted rate of $480. Start 2018 feeling physically strong and grounded, mentally focused and clear, and spiritually connected to yourself and others.

For more info visit: DjunaPassman.com

 

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December Book of the Month

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Confession, I wasn’t going to do a December book of the month. I have the line up of books for next year, but I was just going to skip over the last month of 2017. Then, today, I found myself home sick. There was an explosion in a subway tunnel here in New York City this morning, the wildfires are raging across California, it’s the holiday season, and I am feeling unfocused, ungrounded, and exhausted. As I was drawing a hot bath for myself, I started perusing my bookshelves looking for something to read while taking my bath. I pulled Kahlil Gibran’s, The Prophet off the shelf. As I began rereading it, I realized what a perfect book for the end of the year, or the end of any journey, while we stand on the precipice of what is to come.

My parents gave me this book when I graduated high school.

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I did not get it, or fully appreciate it then. Now I realize what truly cool parents I have and what an amazing graduation gift this book was. I have reread it many times throughout the years, but it has been at least eight years since I read it cover to cover. So, as 2017 begins to wrap up and the world seems to be falling apart in every possible way, I turn to the words of wisdom found in, The Prophet. I’d love for you to join me in reading this timeless book that has the power to speak to all of us, regardless of where we stand on our paths in life.

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Cyber Monday Sale

 

Cyber Monday Sale

Give the gift of yoga to yourself and others this holiday season!

(Let’s face it, we all have enough stuff already. Give a gift that will last a lifetime.)

8-Week Online Yoga Workshop for Women

January 5th – March 2nd, 2018

Start 2018 feeling physically strong and grounded, mentally focused and clear, and spiritually connected to yourself and others. 

Move, Reflect, Connect

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Gain clarity and intention within your yoga and meditation practices. 

Uncover and truly listen to your authentic voice. 

Develop a deeper understanding of how your thought patterns and habits affect your everyday life.

 

$400
50% off the full price!
Only $50/week!

$700 for 2 people
 $350 per person!
Share the journey with a friend or family member and save even more!

 

For more information visit: DjunaPassman.com

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November Book of the Month

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I’m returning to Pema Chödrön this month. Recently, I’ve been coming face to face with old thought patterns and habits that just don’t serve me any longer. Plus, with a new year right around the corner, it seems like perfect timing to pick up this book once again. I hope you will join me in reading this small book filled with so much wisdom.

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Online Workshop for Women

A reminder, there is still time to sign up for my latest offering – an online workshop for women, incorporating a physical (asana) yoga practice and the tools to either build or strengthen a daily meditation, journaling, and/or writing practice. A truly fantastic group of women has signed up already, and there are still scholarships available!
One of the most important things we can do, especially in tumultuous times, is to ground ourselves and connect with our authentic voices so we have the courage and clarity to connect with others and engage in our lives with honesty, integrity, and heart. This workshop will utilize a physical (asana) yoga practice to create grounding and opening as well as daily quotes/questions/prompts to allow us to view ourselves, our relationships, our thought patterns, and habitual ways of being from new vantage points creating the awareness to allow for shifts and growth. There will be an online group to turn to throughout the 8 weeks, and a weekly check-in allowing us to come together virtually.
You choose how much or how little you engage each week. This isn’t about putting your life on pause or adding one more thing to the daily to-do-list. All of the tools provided are intended to create greater focus, clarity, and presence, allowing us to more easily manage our hectic lives and more fully engage in meaningful relationships with others and projects and pursuits we are passionate about.
I do hope you can join me and the amazing group of women who have already signed up! Don’t let finances hold you back, there are still scholarships available.

 

To register click here:

http://djunapassman.com/online-workshop.php

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Move, Reflect, Connect

8-Week Online Yoga Workshop for Women

October 13th – December 7th

Women of all ages, with some basic yoga experience are welcomed and encouraged to join.

Receive an hour-long audio vinyasa yoga class every week. Practice any time and any place that is convenient for you. Participate in an online group check-in each week where you can ask specific questions about your practice getting feedback and guidance usually only available through private yoga sessions. Receive daily writing prompts and quotes to journal about or meditate on. Gain clarity and insight into your thought patterns empowering yourself to grow from a grounded place of authenticity. Utilize the support of a strong network of women all journeying along the same path. Receive and provide encouragement, inspiration, motivation, and a sense of accountability throughout the 8 weeks.
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Each week you receive:

  • An hour long audio yoga class
  • Daily writing prompts to journal about or meditate on
  • Hour-long group check-in – your opportunity to ask any and all questions
  • Access to a private Facebookgroup providing a network of support

 

At the end of this 8 weeks you will have:

  • 8 audio yoga classes to use anytime, anyplace
  • A better understanding of basic poses and alignment
  • A network of women to reach out to for support and motivation
  • A journal filled with your personal explorations, along with writing prompts and quotes  to revisit and think about

 

To register click here:

http://djunapassman.com/online-workshop.php

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October Book of the Month

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So, here we are…it is officially fall and a new month is upon us. I am really excited to continue delving into the book for this month, and for you to join me. Brene Brown is a researcher exploring vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy. She openly shares her own stories alongside her research, empowering all of us to look at ourselves and our relationships, own our stories and step into our power.

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Online Yoga Workshop for Women

Move, Reflect, Connect

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8-Week Online Yoga Workshop for Women

October 13th – December 7th

Women of all ages, with some basic yoga experience are welcomed and encouraged to join.

In these uncertain times it feels more important than ever to connect more deeply with ourselves and with others. This workshop will create space for everyone to deepen their yoga practices while allowing us to explore ourselves how we can connect and move from a place of love with an open heart and open mind off of our yoga mats.

Receive an hour-long audio vinyasa yoga class every week. Practice any time and any place that is convenient for you. Participate in an online group check-in each week where you can ask specific questions about your practice getting feedback and guidance usually only available through private yoga sessions. Receive daily writing prompts and quotes to journal about or meditate on. Gain clarity and insight into your thought patterns empowering yourself to grow from a grounded place of authenticity. Utilize the support of a strong network of women all journeying along the same path. Receive and provide encouragement, inspiration, motivation, and a sense of accountability throughout the 8 weeks.

Each week you receive:

  • An hour long audio yoga class
  • Daily writing prompts to journal about or meditate on
  • Hour-long group check-in – your opportunity to ask any and all questions
  • Access to a private Facebook group providing a network of support

 

At the end of this 8 weeks you will have:

  • 8 audio yoga classes to use anytime, anyplace (perfect for the holiday season)
  • A network of women to reach out to for support and motivation
  • A better understanding of basic poses and alignment
  • A journal filled with your personal explorations, along with writing prompts and quotes to revisit and think about

Early Bird Discount (full payment before September 22nd) – $650

Standard (full payment by October 11th) – $800

* 2 partial scholarships are available – please contact Djuna directly (djunapassman@gmail.com) for more information

To register click here:

http://djunapassman.com/online-workshop.php

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