How to Stop, Embrace the Moment, and Keep Going

alameddineYesterday as I was driving along Arizona Avenue, something caught my eye. There was a huge, furry spider with red markings that suddenly dropped from behind the window visor, and appeared in the compartment just next to my steering wheel, where you can place your wallet, phone and so on. It was empty but for this sudden tenant. Now, I grew up in New York City, and I freely admit, I’m a little petrified of spiders, have no idea which ones are poisonous, and am especially wary of ones with “fur”, my love for Charlotte’s Web notwithstanding. I know that spiders are amazing, I just don’t particularly want them in my house or car. I remembered that red markings were part of the black widow description, though I felt fairly certain black widows were shiny and not hairy. Nonetheless, I had a mini adrenaline rush, noticed there were cars behind and in front of me, put my blinker on, and moved to the side of the road where I decided it was okay to block a driveway for a moment if it meant saving my life. Yes, you can laugh.

I jumped out of my car and stood staring at this arachnid, wondering how to get it from my car to the street. There were two guys working on the building where I’d pulled up, and I called out to them and asked for help. I told them there was a huge spider in my car. They looked a little bewildered and started walking over, but then I thought, “Really? Do I really need help with this?” I took a look at the passenger seat, grabbed a postcard that was sitting there, and managed to flick the spider onto the card, and then gently fling it onto a bush. Neither of us died, so I consider that a success.

When I got back in my car, I realized this is the second time in a matter of weeks that I’ve dealt with big spiders, as a black furry one with a white back crawled across my desk not long ago. My kids were home, and I instructed them NOT TO MOVE while I caught it in a jar, and took it outside. No one died that time, either. My friend Jessica, who knows all about spiders, had a good laugh at my expense, though, so I also consider that a success. I have this story I tell myself, that if I were married, my husband would be dealing with the big bugs, and he’d also be there to help me unload groceries from the car. I don’t have pity parties for myself very much, but for some reason, those are the two experiences that make me feel sad that there isn’t a man in my life. So yesterday I thought, “those are some really dumb stories you’re carrying around, and maybe it’s time to check them.”

The truth is, many of my married girlfriends have told me that they deal with the big bugs and the groceries, too. Of course, there are other fabulous reasons to have a partner, so don’t get me wrong, I’m just trying to point out that sometimes we tell ourselves things that aren’t true, or that are weakening, or that might have been true at one point, but aren’t anymore.

Here’s another example: a couple of days a go, I taught a benefit class for Breast Cancer Awareness month (ladies, check your boobies!), and you never know who’s going to show up when you teach at these big events. Usually, you’ll see people you’ve known for years, and experienced yogis, along with people who’ve never done yoga before but have come out for a cause. So I’m teaching, and I look up and see this woman front and center, and she’s in Warrior 1, but she’s scrolling on her phone. Lower body in Warrior 1, upper body focused on the device, standing up on her mat. I see a few people around her looking on incredulously, and one woman made eye contact with me. My first reaction was, “Whoa. That is so rude!” I mean, I’ve seen people with their phones next to their mats, surreptitiously checking it in down dog, but this was a new one on me.

Then I looked at the woman, and she just looked sweet, and I thought, “She has no idea that that’s rude, that isn’t where she’s coming from.” Now look, I’m no saint, I’ve just been practicing yoga for twenty-five years, and the good news is, it helps you catch yourself quickly. If you feel triggered, for example, a long, consistent practice teaches you to perk up and pay attention, instead of lashing out and doing or saying something you might regret. It also reminds you that most things are not personal. She wasn’t being rude to me, her behavior had nothing to do with me. So I waited until everyone was in down dog, and went over to her and whispered, “Are you a doctor?” She looked at me in utter confusion and said no. I said, “Okay, I was just wondering if you were ‘on call’ or something, or if you’re dealing with an emergency. Otherwise, why don’t you put your phone away for a little bit so you can have some you time!” And she smiled at me and said, “Oh, okay!”, and put her phone away. After class, she came and thanked me and hugged me. Total win-win.

The thing is, a breathing practice is enormously helpful for this whole “being human” thing, because being human is not always so easy or straightforward. We’re always filtering information from the world around us through our own particular (and sometimes foggy) lenses, and we’re always dealing with our inner worlds as well, which are often full of ideas and thoughts and stories that are specious and worth examining. There’s nothing quite like developing a sense of humor about yourself, and all your occasional absurdities, and celebrating your humanness without embarrassment. Then you can shake your head, and get back to the business of opening to all the beauty around you.

Wishing that for you, and sending you love!

Ally Hamilton


Using Yoga to Heal Heartache When You’ve Loved and Lost


waheedAh, heartache. No one invites you over and asks you to sit down for tea, and yet, we’ve all had times when you were our constant companion. One of the best things in life is shared connection, and many people seek to find that in their romantic relationships. Of course we have our family, our close friends, those people who truly know us and cherish us for who we are, and that is genuine intimacy. Those are the people who are gifts in our lives, and should never be taken for granted. It’s human to want to find that same connection in a special someone, and yet, it’s not always so easy.

There are a lot of ways we might sabotage our chances for true love. Sometimes our desire for it blinds us to reality, and we fall into a relationship with someone who seems amazing in those first few heady months, but then turns out not to be as available as we’d thought. I’ve worked with countless people who’ve fallen into that trap over the years, and I think it’s very common. Those first few months are supposed to be intoxicating, that’s how our species has survived all this time. The thing is, it takes quite awhile to get to know someone well, and it helps when the lust/dust settles, because it’s really hard to see when that stuff is flying all over the place! So maybe you let yourself go, and then realized too late that this person you thought you knew is not exactly what you’d imagined or hoped s/he would be. A lot of people can do the beginning, “fun” part well, but run when things get real.

There are a million other possibilities of course. Sometimes we’re betrayed, neglected or abused. Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships that are crushing the soul and the hope out of us. Sometimes we’re abandoned or rejected. Sometimes we’re left in the most profound way, through no one’s choosing. Whatever you’re dealing with, first, know you are not alone. We’ve all been through intense heartbreak. Secondly, take comfort in the fact that there are some tools related to the practice of yoga that can help you through this difficult chapter.

1. Trust that how you feel now is not how you will always feel

It’s a funny thing about heartache, depression and listlessness. Rationally, we might know that the feelings won’t last forever, but when we’re in it, it’s sometimes hard to remember that. One of the gifts of practicing yoga is that you hold a lunge for twelve breaths, and you feel that burning, uncomfortable feeling in your quadriceps, but you breathe through it and train your nervous system and your mind to stay calm and trust that you aren’t going to hold the lunge forever. Those same tools show up for you in life, when you’re going through tough times.

2. Remember that this is how you grow, and know yourself more deeply

None of us would ask to have our hearts broken, but I bet if you look back on your life, you can recognize that your most incredible times of growth sprung directly out of your most difficult and challenging periods. Sometimes it’s the hardest lessons that end up granting us the greatest joy, because we rise up. When I teach, I often give the cue to “root down and rise up”, but that’s not just a physical alignment cue, it’s an emotional one, too. You know about the lotus flower? This gorgeous white blossom that arises out of the mud. We all have “mud”. There’s a saying: “No mud, no lotus”. You get to decide how to grow beauty out of your pain. You get to determine what you’re going to do with this new information you have to carry forward with you. This will help you to stay connected to your intuition next time, and trust the “no” when you feel it, or trust the “yes” if it’s there.

3. Yoga teaches us to open to reality as it is, which is not always as we’d like it to be

The best way to prolong your pain is to deny, resist, or repress it. It’s perhaps not the most intuitive thing, but the more you lean into your pain, allow it to arise, acknowledge it, and give yourself permission to feel all the feelings you need to feel, the sooner it will lose its grip on you. When we avoid certain poses in yoga, for example, because they’re confrontational, we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to grow and open. The same is true when we try to avoid painful feelings. Trust in your strength. The sad feelings won’t do you in, but trying to deny them might.

4. Move your body

Really, one of the very best things you can do is get in your body and breathe and sweat and open. Release some endorphins, open the space at the front of your heart, and breathe deeply again. It will clear your mind and create ease in your body.

Yoga has gotten me through more heartbreaks than I’d like to count, but it’s also given me the tools to come home to myself. I don’t need anyone else to complete me, I’m complete. I’m at ease within myself. It took years of work and dedication, but it was so worth it, because this is something no one can ever take from you. That way, when you enter a relationship, you do it out of want, and not need, and you do it with your eyes open. When you move through the exciting beginning, you enjoy yourself, but you don’t lose your center. When warning signals arise, you perk up and pay attention. You don’t sweep things under the rug, you bring them into the light so you can communicate about them. Beyond all of that, though, you learn to love and cherish your own tender heart, and that is the best intimacy there is.


Sending you love, and wishing you peace,


Ally Hamilton


P.S. If you’re in need of extra support, I do life coaching sessions over Skype. Email me at: for more information.

4 Ways to Practice Gratitude After Being Hurt by Someone You Love

eckhartthankyouLet me start by saying that before you get to gratitude, allow yourself whatever time you need to process the pain of having been let down by someone you love, and allow yourself to feel whatever pretty, or not at all pretty feelings you have around the experience. There’s nothing that prolongs pain more than not allowing yourself to feel it. Once you’ve given yourself time to clench your fists at the sky, or dig your hands in the dirt, once you’ve had your cry (or twenty), then you can get back to filling your tank with the good stuff, because it’s all there waiting for you.

1. Acknowledge that you have an open and trusting heart, and that you know how to love deeply.

There are people so fueled by rage, or so blocked by fear, they cannot allow themselves to put down the shield and open to love, and that it a very painful way to move through life. Even if your love was not met with the respect, kindness, tenderness and cherishing it deserved, you can still celebrate the fact that you know how to give your heart to this world, and to other people, and that is beautiful.

2. Remember all the people who’ve never let you down, even if there are only a handful of them.

The truth is, life is hard and strange and confusing and surprising and often wonderful and frequently heartbreaking, and it bends us all differently at different times. You may have crossed paths with someone who was in a dark place, and maybe you got burned, and that’s difficult and painful, but don’t let it overshadow those people who are always there for you. Maybe it’s your mom or your best friend, maybe it’s your dog, but there are those beings who never let us down and now is a good time to remember and appreciate them. Often, we take people for granted, especially if we know we have someone who would come if we called at 3am, or if we simply assume we have all the time in the world to make sure they know how much we value them. The truth is, nothing is promised and we never know, but don’t let that reality scare you, try to let it inspire you to take action. A phone call to let someone know you love them has the power to turn their day around, but also yours.

3. Remember that you get to choose the lesson.

There are certain things we’d rather not know, but we don’t get to choose. Whenever we’re hurt, we have two choices–we can let the pain harden us or soften us; I highly recommend softening. Empathy is a gift you offer to everyone you encounter, and though there may be some things we wish we didn’t understand, it is still powerful, beautiful and meaningful to be able to offer your hand to someone in the dark, because you’ve been there, too. Appreciate your strength and your insight and your power.

4. Develop a daily gratitude practice.

Culturally, we are encouraged to focus on what we don’t have, or how we aren’t measuring up. We’re inundated with those messages all day long. Retrain your mind to focus on everything that is going well, that is flowing, that you do have. You woke up this morning, right? You’re reading this right now. You can breathe deeply. The sun is in the sky, whether you can see it right now or not. You have food to eat and a place to call home. Coming from a place of abundance feels so much better than coming from a place of lack. When you’re in pain and feeling hurt, it’s easy to spiral and start to feel hopeless, but hope is something you need in this world, and sometimes you have to stoke that flame. You might create a gratitude jar and fill it with little scraps of paper with snippets from your day that reminded you it’s good to be alive, even when we’re heartbroken. There’s still time, and how you feel now is not how you will always feel, and just around the bend, life might surprise you, because that’s how it works. You are never alone, even when you feel alone. We’re all in this together.

Sending you love, a hug, and the hope that you find peace in your heart,

Ally Hamilton


How Does Yoga Teach You to Trust Yourself?

emersonAt its core, yoga is a listening practice. You breathe, but not the way you breathe all day, you breathe with awareness and intention. Your intention is to use your breath as a means of becoming present because your inhales and exhales are always happening right now; if you’re aware that you’re breathing, you’re also engaged with the present moment. You’re breathing deeply, which draws your attention away from the cacophony of endless thoughts, and into that realm of feeling and intuition. When you breathe deeply, you calm your nervous system, and create a foundation of steadiness and ease.

When you move on your mat, you do that consciously and with intention, as well. Hopefully the intention is to nurture and strengthen yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally. This means your practice will look and feel different on different days, and even if you practiced twice on the same day. It’s never the same Warrior I, because you are never the same warrior.

When you enter a pose, hopefully you do that with deep breath, and curiosity, and not attachment to the outcome, or the way the pose looks. The pose is just a tool, your process is the thing. You want to find that exact right spot, where it isn’t too much, and certainly isn’t painful, but where you’re feeling some nice sensation, and exploring it. You’re inviting your body to relax because you’re listening to it and working in partnership with it. So many of us do not have that respectful and compassionate relationship with our bodies. I’ve worked with countless people over the years who are at war within themselves, treating the body as a possession, or something to be feared, overcome, or controlled. I used to be one of those people. When you start to listen to your body, it will offer you all kinds of wisdom about who you are, how you feel, what you need in any given moment to feel safe, what lights you up, shuts you down, scares you or inspires you. When you treat your body with kindness, you ignite a conversation between your body and your mind that’s essential to your own well-being.

Whatever your tendencies are, they follow you onto your mat. If you’re hard on yourself in life, you’ll be hard on yourself on your mat, but you don’t have to accept that as the way you are. You could look at that, examine whether that mindset is hurting you or helping you as you move through the world, and feed that tendency or erode it. I used to think if I wasn’t hard on myself, I’d get less done, but I have found the reverse to be true. When I’m forgiving with myself, I relax and open. I rest when I need to, and then when it’s time to work, I have that much more to offer up, because I’ve filled my tank.

When you learn to work with your body, you grow in self-trust. If your body says, “That’s enough, that’s the right spot!” and your personality says, “Too bad, we’re going all the way!”, your body is going to tense up and hold on. You are failing to respect your own boundaries, and that creates a state of fear. If you have problems setting boundaries in life, or respecting your own or other people’s, this is something you can develop on your mat, as you practice. You can respect the signal to back off when your hamstring needs you to back off, and eventually, you’ll respect other signals your body sends you. If you have a pattern of letting people take advantage of you, that’s on you, not everyone else.

There’s no trusting yourself without self-respect; the two go hand-in-hand. For me, thinking about these things was not enough. In order to rewire my system, I had to be in my body, moving and breathing, while dealing with my mind. Shifting a way of being isn’t easy, especially if it’s ingrained, but it isn’t impossible, either. You just have to start. Ready?


Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

How to Live in the Now and Trust Yourself

montaigneThe mind just loves to time travel, have you noticed? Left to its own devices, it will pull you into the past, or send you into the future, often with feelings of regret, longing, sadness, fear or anxiety. Sometimes the accompanying feeling is a good one, like recalling something wonderful that’s happened, or feeling excited about an event that’s about to happen, but more of the time we’re sad about something behind us, or scared about something that might or might not be in front of us.

Have you ever revved yourself up for a conversation or situation that never came to pass? Yeah. Me, too, and that’s time we can’t have back. Ever gotten yourself heated over an interaction that already took place, even though you can’t go back and redo it? Yup, I’ve done that, too. Do you know that you can raise your blood pressure just by thinking about things that are upsetting? Your nervous system doesn’t differentiate very much in its response to things that are actually happening, versus things that are only happening in your mind.

Also, when you’re dwelling on some event from your past, or worried about some situation that could occur in your future, you are missing the main attraction, which is what is happening right here, right now. If you aren’t present, you also are not tuned into your intuition, which is a living, energetic response system that causes things like the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up when you’re in danger. If you’re too focused on your destination, you might miss the signs that something is off in the environment around you as you’re traveling. If you’re obsessing over a conversation you’ve already had, you might be missing the chance to connect with someone who’s standing right in front of you.

Last night as I was driving to the studio to teach, I turned up the alley to get to our garage and there was a little girl probably about seven, like my daughter, and she was doing a happy dance, full out, for no apparent reason except that it felt good to be her in that moment. Face upturned, eyes twinkling, cheeks flushed. Her dad was looking at his phone. Now, maybe that’s unusual, and I just happened to drive by in a moment when he was texting mom so they could all meet up, or maybe he’s missing lots of moments like that, I don’t know. What I do know is that I made eye contact with that little girl, and laughed with her and waved, because I wanted her to feel seen in her joy.

If you want to trust yourself, you have to be engaged with the conversation your body is always having with you. The body speaks in the language of sensation, and it is very clear in its messages. If you’re happy, you’re going to feel that energy coursing through your system, those relaxed shoulders and that openness across your chest, your arms relaxed, or wrapped around someone in a delicious hug, or holding an ice cream cone, or a mic, or a pen, or your fingers flying across the keyboard of your laptop–whatever it is that brings you pleasure. Maybe your leg will bounce underneath your desk like mine is right now, because you can’t type as fast as the thoughts are coming. Maybe you’ll notice your spine is long as you’re sitting in your chair, or that you’re sweating a little because there’s a sudden heatwave. There are a lot of things happening in every single moment, and your body is talking to you about all of them. A little breeze through the window going noticed or unnoticed, the way the neighbor is talking to her dog, the smell of exhaust as a truck goes by, the sound of a plane overhead, the taste of the cacao and cashew hemp-spread lingering in your mouth because you had a spoonful awhile ago. Those are small things, but bigger things include the feeling that something is not right, or that you’re feeling alone, or stuck or inspired or grateful. There’s so much we can miss when we aren’t paying attention. When you want to know what to do, believe me, your body is giving you information about what feels right for you. When you need to make a change, your body knows, well before your mind picks up the thread.

The quickest pathway to right now is your breath. Your inhales and exhales are always happening in the now, so when you simply allow yourself to become conscious of this unconscious process that is always happening, and therefore always available to you, you become present. You can become aware of the feeling of your lungs filling and emptying, your chest, rib cage and belly rising and falling, anytime, and anywhere. Right now, if you wanted to, you could close your eyes, and let yourself feel that, and if you took a few conscious breaths, I have no doubt you’d feel an immediate sense of peace, of relief.

The mind is full of ideas, and redundant, often obsessive thoughts, and it will spin you in circles if you let it. Culturally, we’re like a bunch of talking heads with all of our shoulds and fears and doubts and worries, and honestly, if you don’t learn to quiet that racket, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and besieged by life a lot of the time. It’s hard to trust yourself if you’re spinning, but it’s pretty easy if you can come to center. The funny thing is, you can do this in a crowded room, before a presentation, while you’re having a tough conversation, while you’re driving–it’s something you can learn to do throughout the day to slow things down, and open up to the story your body is telling, which is full of truth and wisdom. You have gifts to share that only you can, but it’s going to be very hard if you don’t have faith in yourself. If you want to start working on that, I’m ready to help. Try this short guided meditation right now:



Sending you love, and wishing you peace,
Ally Hamilton

How to Find Happiness When You’re Feeling Lost

pemaThe first way to find happiness when you’re feeling lost, is to stop looking for it! When we’re feeling hurt, scared, anxious, heartbroken, abandoned, rejected, insecure, envious or threatened, the trick is not to avoid the uncomfortable, painful and challenging feelings, it’s to embrace them. I know this might seem counter-intuitive. You might ask yourself, “How will leaning into my pain help me find happiness?” I’m going to tell you.

The greatest state of dis-ease, and one of the largest contributors to our stress, is being in one place, wishing we were somewhere else, or feeling one thing, and wanting to feel something else. The more we contract from our experience, the more we suffer. There are all kinds of ways we try to contract–we might numb ourselves with drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, or throwing ourselves into relationships. We might try to run from our pain by keeping ourselves busy from dawn until dusk. We might try denial on for size. None of that works, though. The minute you decide to avoid your pain, you’ve made pain your CEO. Now it’s in control, and your actions are determined by it. Screw that! If you want to be ruled by love and not fear, you have to embrace reality as it is, even when it breaks your heart.

The truth is, heartbreak is part of life, so is sadness, longing, loss, and in some cases, betrayal, abandonment or abuse. The deck is full of everything. You can decide that there’s something personal about the hand you’ve been dealt, or you can get busy playing with the hand you’ve got; trying to get different cards doesn’t work. Wishing with all your might you had the Queen of Hearts when you’re staring at the Ace of Spades won’t change a thing, it will just create more anguish, frustration, and heartache within you.

Also, forget about fair. Devastating things happen to incredible people every single day. You can do everything “right”, and still there will be some suffering. When you allow yourself to feel however you feel–lost, anxious, depressed, confused, jealous, ashamed, and so on–you liberate yourself. The feelings arise, they peak, and they subside; no feeling goes on and on for the rest of your life. The more you push down the feelings, though, the more they persist because they want to be acknowledged. Feelings are alive, they’re energetic, and like any living thing, they just want to be seen and understood. They’re ways for us to know ourselves more deeply, and to grow in patience and compassion for ourselves and our process.

Also, there’s the mind-body connection. If you refuse to deal with your feelings, they don’t just pack up and move on, they show up in your tight shoulders or hips, clenched jaw, stress headache, chronic illness, upset stomach, insomnia, lethargy, and so on. It takes a lot of energy to deny your reality, and that comes at a great cost to your mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Happiness cannot enter a false construct. Happiness arises from living in alignment with what is true for you. So if you want to find happiness when you’re feeling lost, allow yourself to feel lost! It’s very freeing to allow yourself to be as you are, and happiness follows from that freedom.

Sending you love, and wishing you strength and peace,


Ally Hamilton


Finding Peace in Life Starts Within Yourself

dalailamaLast week, I went to the local Post Office to mail some of my books to people who’ve been instrumental to its success, like my incredible friend, Dani Shapiro who wrote the foreword to the book, a woman who runs a yoga group on and wants to read it as a possible book for her group to discuss, and some family members in Europe who wanted me to sign it. Since I am basically flying by the seat of my pants these days, I ended up having to sign books as I was standing at the desk, with my list of addresses on my phone, and a bunch of bubble envelopes, airmail stickers, and so on. It took about fifteen minutes, because of course I want to think about what I’m writing inside each of the books, to each of these people. As I was going through this process (and asking myself why I hadn’t thought to sign the books at home, which would have been a quiet and sane place to do it), I became aware of a woman who was talking to one of the employees behind the counter.

I’d noticed her while she was on line, because she was strumming and tapping her fingers on the table while I was writing, and when I looked at her face, she seemed agitated. I was then interrupted by a man who saw the stack of books beside me and asked me if I knew another teacher in town whom he’d studied with for years (I did, small world), and proceeded to tell me how yoga has changed his life, and how he was a crappy father (his words), but is now an amazing grandfather (also his words), and then he showed me a picture of his adorable grandson on his phone. I went back to signing books and addressing envelopes, and the woman at the counter grew louder in her appeal to the person behind the counter. Apparently, her husband had moved out over a year ago, and yet his mail was still coming to their old residence, where she still resides. She said she’d been to the post office several times in the last year with his mail, he’d filled out the change of address forms, and still, his mail kept coming.

A woman got on line and saw my books and asked if I knew anything about yoga and osteoporosis, and whether I thought she ought to be practicing. Inwardly, I told myself I should come to the post office more frequently, with First Class Free cards for everyone. It is quite the yoga hub, who knew?

By the time it was my turn out the counter, the woman with the ex-husband and his mail had lost it. She was sort of talk-yelling that this wasn’t her responsibility, it was the responsibility of the USPS, and that she was doing them a favor by bringing his mail in. Another postal employee who was helping another customer asked under her breath if anyone had ever heard of anyone doing anyone a favor by yelling at them, but I felt for that woman. Obviously, it’s a painful situation, she’s trying to move on, and every day she comes home, and his mail is still arriving. I did wonder why she didn’t speak to her mailman or woman directly, or leave her or him a letter, but who knows? Maybe she did. She wouldn’t be standing there trying to get the situation resolved unless it was really bothering her, and while it’s never advisable to raise your voice when you’re trying to get someone to help you, frustration is a normal human emotion, and it gets the better of us all sometimes. People raise their voices when they don’t feel heard, seen or understood. I don’t know what happened, because she was still there when I left, but I sent her some love. I wanted to hug her, but agitated strangers don’t usually like that, so I just “thought” her a hug, and also sent one to the man behind the counter who was trying to help, and to the other employee who couldn’t see the pain beneath the frustration. Advanced yoga at the post office, probably happening every day. Check it out!

Here’s the thing. Yoga is not about putting your ankle behind your head, it’s about recognizing your own humanity, and the humanity of those around you, and seeing if you can cultivate some compassion and forgiveness for yourself, and everyone you encounter. That’s where the real flexibility comes in. Some days we do better than others. I happened to be in a good head space, I wasn’t in a rush, and I found it amusing and wonderful that so many people wanted to discuss yoga at the post office, so finding compassion for everyone there was easy. I’ve definitely had moments where I was the woman shaking my head at the person losing it, I’ve been the person losing it, and I’ve been the happy granddad, too. I mean, really, we are all so similar.

When I’m teaching, I will often give options and modifications so that everyone in the room has something to do. For example, I might put the class in a “funky chair” or “standing pigeon”, with different options and building blocks along the way for flying pigeon, an arm balance that requires core strength, upper body strength and lots of openness in the hips and hamstrings. Not everyone is going to end up in the arm balance, some people will take their funky chair to the wall while they work on balance, others will bring their torsos parallel to the floor and get a deeper hip release, some might play with clasping their hands behind their backs, some might use blocks under the hands to start to play with lift-off, and some will fly. Everyone in the room is in some form of a balancing hip opener. The point is not the shape you make, it’s what you’re bringing to the moment. It’s the quality you’re feeding as you’re in the balancing hip opener, or on line at the post office. It’s the same thing. Whenever possible, breathing consciously and staying curious is the way to go.

We’ll never control circumstances, what other people do, want, say, need or feel. We’ll never control the USPS. All we can work on is the way we show up, and that has so much to do with the time we take to know ourselves, to nurture ourselves, and to honor what is true for us. If you’re able to practice self-acceptance and self-compassion, you won’t rely on getting it from other people (though it’s awfully nice when you do), and you won’t feel the need to raise your voice to be heard, because you’ll already understand yourself.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton