Enjoy Yourself Summer Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Curating the Inner World

10 min - Talk


Steph shares a talk about her hopes for our summer challenge together, curating an inner world, relaxation as a skill, and finding joy.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Jun 16, 2019
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My sincere hope for this summer yoga challenge is that our practices together inspire people to do the work to feel good on the inside and the out. I think that wellness takes a lot of personal responsibility and yet that personal responsibility is not easy to do alone. So finding an opportunity to rise to the challenge for both the emotional and the athletic components of yoga is an exciting place to step forward in time. Yoga has helped me curate an inner world by finding that there is one. I think that I thought that so much of our personalities were always acted out in our actions and in our friendships and jobs and through yoga I started to understand that more and more of knowing yourself comes from knowing your insides and acting from a place that really relates to that personality, that internal, personal world.

I think often we end up deciding how we feel about ourselves by what we see and what we think other people might see in us and I think the challenge is to return to yourself from your own internal lens and to stop processing someone else's impression of you and start to really do the work to get to know yourself like when no one else is looking. So you can really be like unapologetically yourself and you can't do that unless you know who you are. So that's part of the challenge. I think I used to hide most from myself before I even left my home in the morning. And so in a time when I'm alone and getting ready to go out into the world I would constantly question my choices whether it be feeling the discomfort in my own clothes and wanting to go back to being asleep or from when I stepped out into the world in whatever I was wearing and feeling really uncomfortably unfit for whatever action I was set out to do.

And so I would hide from my abilities but also my physical body. And I think I would often hide from myself by not working in my body because I was scared to go there. And so I'd be scared to meet myself on the mat and take stock of what's going on inside. And so I'd just keep moving on the outside. In my experience with pain and chronic fatigue through an autoimmune disorder I see my disease sort of like spin me out.

So when I want to be out in the world enjoying and playing especially in those summer months I notice that my physical body is really uncomfortable. And if I lean into that I live in this somatic experience of itchiness and irritation and frustration of my inability to get out there. And then I see that really mirrored in my own personal feelings not just in my body but my frustration with other people or my lack of ability to step out and own my passions or my power. I've learned to meet pain in my physical body and to not ignore it and to find ways to dispel it so that it doesn't own my personality or my actions in the world. An area of research that I'm greatly interested and inspired by is called psychoneuroimmunology which is a lot of complex words to say.

Again really simple things that I think yogis and other spiritual practices have known forever but in Western science we're having to rearticulate which is this belief that when we can calm our bodies when we no longer live in this stressful environment in our minds that when we relax the response from the biology of ourselves is to ease, is to have less personal attack and to really reduce inflammation from the brain into the body. And I think inflammation is really the root of so many diseases and many even of our psychopathology sort of hypotheses are really caught in this belief that there's some pathology that's really wrong with you but we can find inflammation as this really underlying mechanism in so many disease and disturbances. And so I think that what we'll find over the next 20, 40, 50, 100 years is that this simple work of relaxing, returning to ease as like our natural state of being can really be the tool and like even the mechanism for improving our health and well-being. And so I'm willing to use all the complicated language and ridiculous scientific inquiry to prove it as so that when you relax your body recovers and it has this magnificent and mystic ability to regenerate itself. Relaxation is totally a skill.

I maybe say it's like a muscle you flex but it's more than that because relaxation even changes the chemistry in our brain and the molecules or cells really that we like to talk about are pro-inflammatory cytokines and we see these sort of levels of inflammation change in people and then their behaviors and their feelings change related to this inflammatory response. It might be too technical to include in any of this work but in the same group of people who don't respond to SSRIs and depression we see that when we reduce their neural inflammation that their depressive or sickness behaviors actually subside. And so I think a lot of the things that people have been told are psychopathology that something is wrong with them that they can't fix might actually just be related to their stress response on a big level. But I think that relaxation is a very powerful tool. But you have to be responsible to relax.

Someone can't do it for you. I don't think that enjoying your body comes from just choosing to be happy. I think there's often a lot that's happened to us as people in physical bodies that have been you know traumatic or challenging and troubling to sort of process on that emotional and psychological level. And so I think stepping into enjoyment in yourself doesn't have to look like running across a field of sunflowers or diving into the surf. I think that there's a lot of beautiful work forward that can come from letting go of our troubling past and trying to just be in the present moment in a really beautiful neutral way because from that neutral place that neutral place can create anything.

And once you realize you are the creator of your life that creative nature flows in you you can step out of neutral into happy. You don't have to go back. My first thought in thinking about what enjoyment in my body feels like is a deep sense of comfort and a comfort that leads to confidence to be in the world but also liberated and free. And that freedom isn't messy or wild or destructive but I really feel liberated to act in a joyful and fun way that I know respects the things I love in the world. Joy in my body feels like I'm no longer caught in the errors or the dysfunctions.

And joy instead allows me to rise into the beauty and the action and the vision that I want to act in the world. So joy in my body takes me to a place where I can be within and it's not lonely but I can also go out and it's not depleting. So there's always a triad there. You're always sort of the modulator between going in and going out. And that's where the joy is, having fun in both worlds, the inner and the outer.


June S
4 people like this.
You are absolutely right about inflammation and my doctor would 100% agree! It’s the culprit behind much more then anyone would suspect. 
Also “relaxation is totally a skill”...YES!  I find myself gathering my things up and skipping the meditation parts of my yoga. It’s easier to do a pose for me then to take that time to “just be”. My mind is alway 3 steps ahead and in 10 places. 
1 person likes this.
June, I’m happy to know that this resonated with you! I think we are all in need of practice when it comes to relaxing. Luckily, yoga has lots of action + peace! I have a teacher who says, “no one needs to do poses they like”. Lol, I think you’re more than welcome to do the yoga you like. But, I do think it’s true that the most valuable yoga is likely the work we have the “hardest” time doing! Enjoy the movement of things and challenge yourself to enjoy the stillness too! That work is also most anti-inflammatory. It’s all a win-win 😉❤️
1 person likes this.
Steph I really appreciate your vulnerability and acknowledging what hiding was for you, and how your yoga practice, cultivating your inner world, self-understanding has allowed you to step out of that hiding place. 
2 people like this.
Ashley-Marie Olgado thanks Ashley! I felt a bit awkward admitting the piece about hiding in the interview and considered if I shouldn’t have shared that. But I thought more about it and still felt it really describes what I meant. I’m so grateful to hear that it made sense to you and resonated. I think yoga gifts us many lessons if we show up to do the inner work. Have you experienced any lessons from yoga that are based mostly in your inner world? 
1 person likes this.
That was a wonderful conversation.  I really enjoyed it.  In fact I wish it had been much longer.  I am looking forward to this challenge. 
Sam I’m so grateful you took the time to watch this video! I look forward to hearing what you think of the challenge ☺️🥰
Randall T
Far out!
Randall thanks!! 🙏🏻 Hope you’ll enjoy the challenge with us. 
Julie S
So honest and brave! So wise!

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