Karuna: Hi, I’m Karuna, I’m the founder and executive director for Mind Oasis, and with me today on Meditation Happy Hour is Karlie Lemos. How are you, Karlie?
Karlie: I’m doing well. I’m enjoying the winter here in Texas. I use that word lightly, of course, but it’s been really beautiful.
Karuna: Yeah, I remember when I lived in the Austin, Texas area; any time it would get under 50 degrees, everyone would bust out their leg warmers and hats and mittens.
Karlie: Yeah, and it’s been about that recently at night.And then it’ll warm up to the 50s or 60s. It’s been really nice.
Karuna: Very cool. So I always like to start these podcasts sort of with the same question. What has your morning looked like so far?
Karlie: Oh, wow. So my morning is like more or less the same for many months now. I have a 10 month old. So, it’s so drastically different from before that. I always had like I always had a morning practice, morning routine to ground me. That was very ideal, right?! It doesn’t look like that anymore! But I still try to keep some things in there. In fact, I’m adding something new and I’ll get to that. So let’s see.. my alarm is set for five forty five. Sometimes I get up at five thirty and usually if I wake up before the baby just because we’re so connected, she’ll wake up within like five minutes after me and I don’t get her out of her crib until six unless she’s upset. She’s usually pretty chill. So in that ten minutes or so I just kind of do a little bit of self care in the bathroom, drink a little bit of water, then I get her out of her crib and I nurse her and we do our whole it all morning routine with that. And then, yeah, she plays in her
playpen while I have my coffee, and then we go watch the sunrise, which has been like one of the pieces that I’ve put in that’s been really lovely and grounding. And she’s got more active. We spend less time with the sunrise, ’cause she just wants to get out of my lap and go do her own thing. But it’s still been really sweet.
Karuna: That’s awesome. How lovely. So you’re a Yogini and I would love to hear a little bit about your journey to yoga asana, but obviously there are seven other limbs that most of us don’t talk a lot about. And I know that you have a strong practice, so maybe a little bit about your journey and then your relationship to some of the other limbs of yoga as well.
Karlie: Sure. So it’s it’s long. I’ll try to make it short because I’ve been practicing for about twenty two years. So, twenty two years ago, I always say when people ask me this question, that yoga was not a household word, right? It wasn’t something that everybody knew about. It wasn’t just as recognized and commonplace as it is now. So I didn’t know what it was. I came from a dance background as a kid. So, this was after high school. I wanted to do something with my body because I had quit dancing, but I didn’t know what that would be. So I started working out at a gym, which I didn’t really enjoy. But I knew that I had to do something with my energy. And at that gym, they offered one yoga class a week and I just took it because it was part of my, you know, what I was already paying for. And I definitely, although I’ve healed from it largely now, would say that I tend towards being an anxious or leaning towards that side of the spectrum, anxiety pattern. And at the end of the class, I was sitting still and I felt calm and I didn’t remember having ever felt that way in my life ever before. So I was just like, wow, there must be something to this. And that’s a very short version of eventually finding new star, yoga, about I’d say six to eight years after that. And that’s when, even though I had already been practicing for a long time, and had even started teaching at that point, that’s when my physical practice really started to deepen. Yeah, and then with the other limbs, another thing I always say is that, you know, everyone enters the yoga practice through a different door, and even though for me, I kind of entered through that door of, you know, finding some calm, it was really more about the physicality, because what led me to the calm was what was bringing me back, right? I wasn’t sitting and meditating twenty two years ago. That took a while. But what I always tell people is that even if you don’t have the intention of sitting in meditation, even if you don’t have any interest in the philosophy or any of the other limbs, if you just stay on the path, eventually it’ll sneak up on you. It’s like they come and they tap you on the shoulder, those other limbs, and you’re like, oh, oh yeah, you’re right there. And then you generally, most people, will start to form a relationship with those other limbs.
Karuna: I really love that. I love that. It’s almost like there’s no escape. Like if you practiced long enough and open hearted enough, there’s really no escape from the other, more philosophical and and less movement based aspects of yoga. So you have an upcoming series on Mind Oasis, which is amazing, considering you’re in full time mommy mode. Do you want to talk just a little bit about it and what one might expect if they come?
Karlie: Yeah, so, backbends have always been one of my passions as far as the physical practice is concerned, and prior to having or prior to being pregnant, I practiced all kinds of really physically intense and, you know, quote unquote advanced backbends and then postpartum, it’s just been really challenging for me. I, in the beginning was like, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to do it again, but because I love them so much, and you mentioned, you know, openheartedness, that’s part of what I love about them is that big opening of the front body that we really don’t get anywhere else. You know, a lot of the yoga poses, we will, the movements we’ll find in regular, everyday or functional movement. But back bending, unless you are painting a ceiling or like lying on your belly, on your forearms in a sphinx-like pose every day, you’re not going to do those movements in your body. Again, which is one of the reasons why I love them so much, because they’re just such a different experience from our regular body movements. So in postpartum, I just, you know, I’m a very tenacious person, so I just stuck with it and, you know, definitely starting from the beginning again, but I thought that that might be an interesting place to share from because I’m in this different body now. You know, way way different than a couple of years ago when I could do everything that there was to do with my body. And so it’s almost like I am a very seasoned teacher who is sharing through the lens of someone that’s a beginner again. And I thought that that might be just a really fun
place for people to connect with me on.
Karuna: Awesome. So it sounds to me like the series would be appropriate for any level practitioner; that you would be able to guide them in such a way that it’s safe and sound and all that good stuff.
Karlie: Definitely. Safety with yoga asana is always kind of at the forefront of my mind when I’m working, especially with people that I don’t know about. With anyone, the last thing we want is to be able to not continue to practice because we pushed ourselves too much or did something that didn’t make sense in our bodies. And I think that one of the things I’m known for in teaching asana, is that. Is being able to tailor the practice to whomever shows up and kind of just adjust my sequence or my ideas based on what’s needed in the room.
Karuna: Very cool. And you called it From Snakes to Wheels. Can you talk about the title? I absolutely love it.
Karlie: Yeah. So snakes as in Cobra pose. But I was thinking about just being on the ground in the backbends that are floor based on the front of the body, belly down backbends so that be week one. And then week two will eventually work towards camel shapes, which is like kneeling or standing on the knees. And then in the third week we’ll work towards more of pressing up into a dandasana or a full bridge or even just regular bridge pose. So kind of starting from the bottom and then the middle height and then all the way up to the top.
Karuna: Very cool. What do you think Yoga Asana has brought to your life?
Karlie: Well, I mentioned beginning again after having a baby, and this isn’t the first time that I’ve had that experience and I found it through injury, through grief, and it’s just a really beautiful sort of benchmark or a touchstone, I think. To check in with one’s physicality, which, of course, is related to all of the other aspects of ourself. I remember, it’s been about six years… Six years ago, I had a traumatic brain injury. It was really bad. And I went to my mat and just tried to practice like nothing happened and I really couldn’t do anything. And I just cried and cried and cried and…recognize that that was what needed to happen. Like, I needed to have that experience of not being able to physically do much of anything so that I could recognize where I was because I think I was in a little bit of denial at that point with the injury. So it really helped me come to terms with how I needed to heal myself.
Karuna: Mm hmm. Carly, what’s your truth? And you can answer that whoever you’d like. It’s a very open ended question. What’s your truth?
Karlie: Well, no pressure., right? (laughing). Ummm, the first thing that came to mind was love. I think that my intension or my hope is to, as best as I can, always, it’s always a practice, I’m definitely not perfect as none of us are, but, is to move from a place of love and become a vessel for love and offer love and recognize that even though there is fear and even though there is a lot of pain and suffering in the world, I can do the best that I can to continually reconnect to that, not just for myself, but for everyone that can receive that energy.
Karuna: Yeah, what I love about that is it really ties back to how love can be expressed physically through heart opening. I remember when I first started doing yoga, I didn’t realize that a lot of us walk around with our shoulders kind of hunched forward. And now you can really see any yogi, any yogi you can tell a yogi from ten thousand miles away, right? Because we, and I haven’t been practicing yoga asana lately, I’m hiking and running. I’m just doing other stuff, right? But like, once you open your heart, you become an open hearted person. I don’t think there’s any turning back, I don’t think you can ever be the person who’s protecting their heart like this. But what is also interesting about that is that then the back of your hearts open. So there’s this sort of contraction and open and in 2021, I would guess, there will be some flavors of both.
Karlie: Yeah, I love that. I love how you said, like even the back of your heart is open. That’s something I’ve definitely thought about a lot and shared and discuss with students a lot is that like no matter what, your heart is open. It’s just to what degree or is it what you’re looking towards or what’s behind you?
Karuna: Mm hmm. I love it. So your workshop, Snakes to Wheels, starts this Saturday, and it runs just for three weekends, right? The 9th, 16th and 23rd of January. And you can find out more about Karlie’s workshop at MindOasis.org, and you’ll see a tab that says “Learn”. And then you just go to the yoga section, and you’ll find Karlie’s beautiful face, and you can learn more about the series there. Karlie, thank you so much for joining me today.
Karlie: Yeah! Thanks for having me. It was really fun!
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