Move towards what matters to you today.

3 Habits to Withstand the Drama In Your Life

Diastole: Heart at rest

Guest Blog by Judy McClain

“You must be funny. You must be strong. You must become amenable to total relaxation in order to withstand the emotions you must withstand.”


What I love most about my father’s words, aside from his urgent and impartial delivery, is that he invites us to relax.

In the Yoga Sutra, master Patanjali outlines the ethical disciplines not as cautionary messages but as sound advice. There is nothing punitive or cautionary about Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas. Rather, living a disciplined life increases our awareness, vitality, and clarity.

• “In the presence of nonviolence all hostilities cease.” • “When one becomes saturated in Truth, everything that comes from the mouth is Truthful.” • “When one treasures the life force, vitality increases.”

And so when I entered my father’s hospital room and he delivered his message, I was aware of the ubiquitous force behind his words; even in the moment, I thought, My father is channeling Patanjali!

My father was giving his advice not to caution me but to help me cope with the inevitable waves of emotion that surface on the mind and in the body. If we are to withstand the drama this life offers, we must develop three habits.

You must be funny. My father was a jokester and he rarely took things personally. He had the vision to see himself in the larger context of humanity. He was raised primarily by his mother, in poor conditions during the Great Depression. Part of their house had a dirt floor. His dog had lost an eye and a leg by the time my father adopted him. Getting by was important, and everyone was trying to get by.

You must be strong. My father taught me to box, at an early age. He also taught me to swim, to hold a headstand, and to apologize. These were formal lessons in stamina and resiliency that added up to a person’s character. You can take it, he often said to me. Allow yourself to take the punch.

You must be amenable to total relaxation. And we arrive at Yoga. Yoga is nothing if not the art of relaxation. A relaxed body is a receptive body. A relaxed body will allow energy to flow through it and out of it. A relaxed body will move swiftly, when necessary, and sleep well, when necessary. A relaxed body allows the Life Force to pulse through with clarity and insight.

Aum Shanti,

Share how the three habits resonate within you and what other habits you would add.


About Judy McClain, Director of Grace Yoga (E-RYT, RYT 500)

Judy McClain founded Grace Yoga in 2009 to answer a call from the community for classical yoga studies. She has been teaching seven classes a week for five years at Grace, has precepted four groups of teacher trainees, and never has her life felt so fresh and unordinary. Judy teaches through the grace of her guru, Sri Dharma Mittra (, and continues her studies with Dharma in NYC. A devotional yogi, Judy lives in the Grace ashram. She wakes each morning to teach classes that are collusions of language and form, spirit and body, love and muscle.

What Do Your Cheeks have to do With Your Happiness?

Walking down winding wooded paths inspires thoughts of relaxation, peace, appreciation and a connection with our planet’s natural beauty.

Sharing this experience with friends can deepen your connection together, creating the perfect afternoon.


But, what if you are not connected to yourself first?

What if you are not “At Home” with yourself?

What if, as you go on your walk, you are tense, up-tight, upset, wound a little too tight, or, to be anatomically correct, you are a tight-ass? As uncomfortable as it may sound, these words are accurate descriptions of your state and where you can hold or block energy in your body.

In order to enjoy a scenic hike together with your friends, it helps to be able to relax, let go, chill out and release your tension. This will allow you to be present and in the moment with yourself, with others and with Mother Nature.

It was during such a walk thru the woods with Brenda Lee and little Lucy (the 5 lb Yorkie), that I discovered a fun (and funny) way to release tension and increase our connection to one another.



Lucy, Brenda Lee and I were quietly meandering down a wooded path together. Brenda Lee prefers to walk just ahead of me, and I could see her periodically checking back toward me with one soft eye, a flick of one ear, and then the other. She and Lucy always had me within their sight. Every time I would glance up from the trail to Brenda Lee, she was there, softly gazing back at me. I could see little Lucy’s fluffy ears pivot as she’d tip her head to the side, spotting me in her peripheral vision. I found myself returning the smile back to them both, comforted and happy to be alongside such beautiful animals in such a naturally exquisite setting.

When I smiled, I could feel a distinct and pleasant difference as my face and jaw would relax. But I noticed that although the smiling helped to relax tension in my jaw, my lower body and stomach still remained tense. I decided to let my smile drift downward and through my body until I could feel the tension my body held, slowly dissipate. When it finally did, I felt a release in my butt cheeks.



Brenda Lee and Lucy



I did not realize how uptight I had been until I felt this release. I was a being “tight-ass”. And releasing that tension felt good! I felt an increased sense of calm, and, most surprisingly, I felt more at ease with myself and my ability to simply walk. I repeated this smiling exercise, as Brenda Lee, Lucy, and I, continued our walk together. First, I would smile “upstairs” and then smile “downstairs”, releasing down through my abdomen and taking relaxed, deep breaths. As I glanced over to Brenda Lee and Lucy, I let them sense my new-felt connectedness as I felt it flow through my entire body. And each time as I would look across the path to them, they would already be there, eyes and ears focused back toward me, ready to receive my gaze.

They were already there. They were already connected to me, and they were waiting for me to catch up to them! So quick and effortless was their connection to me and to one another, that they had realized I was connecting to them before I could recognize it myself. This was great! I felt such a warm reception of trust and love from both Lucy and Brenda Lee – I felt like every pore in my body was smiling!

I was “smiling with all four cheeks”.


Together, we continued onward down the trail

As we headed up a hill, I realized that as much as this may have been an epiphany for me, this deeper level of connection was natural for both Brenda Lee and Lucy. They seemed to sense my new found relaxation and whole body awareness before I had even put it to contemplation. I could feel my connection to myself, and, I could really feel my new, stronger connection to Brenda Lee. I felt so confident in this new-found connection that I decided to remove the lead rope I had been using to walk with her and try out our new “invisible lead line” of connection. I was used to doing this with Lucy. I would now have to depend upon my new relaxed inner joy radiating outward to Brenda Lee to become the only means of keeping her with me.

Was I crazy?

With our invisible connection to one another, we headed onward, exploring the trails.

As we continued through the woods together, Brenda Lee would get a bit ahead of me and then circle backward and around, heading back toward the barn, where a delicious green pasture awaited her. As she turned to depart away from me, I relaxed and “smiled” my butt cheeks, allowing the joyous release to rise up through my body – all the way to my face. I was grinning like the Cheshire cat. I was “smiling with all four cheeks” and an open heart. I attached this new peaceful, joyous state to my desire to walk together with Brenda Lee and Lucy. I focused on my “wanting” Brenda Lee to return to me. And, it worked!

As soon as I would refocus my release, she would turn sharply and come running back to me. What a beautiful feeling, having been chosen for her company over the green and grassy pastures of home.

Once I was at home with myself, she could choose to be home with me – which was enough for Brenda Lee. (And Lucy too!)


Brian and Brenda Lee

Brian and Brenda Lee


Horses really do know the way home.
Feel the Connection,
Brian Reid


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Self Growth: The HorsePower of Context

How to move from seemingly “tough” toward “smooth” decisions?
It all happens in the Context of your life, based on how you feel.

Hmmm …. the power of “Context”?
Hmmm … how can I release my
HorsePower into the Context to help me make decisions in life?

Do you have patterns in your life that keep your focus on the Content?
We all do at some point. Can you think of an example from your own life?

Today I will give you an example from my own experience, last Labor Day, and how I went through an important decision making process while visiting 2 young Shire mares at Ox Kill Farms in NY.
Watch the video below…

Would you like to learn how to see the Context of your life with soft eyes to better serve the decisions you have to make on your path?

Follow your heart and listen to your inner voice whispering to you. Discover the power of your whispering voice and learn to create new patterns that will serve your decision-making so you can move freely through life toward what really matters to you. Enjoy the Context and keep sorting and sifting through the Content that will keep presenting itself along the way.

With special thanks to Gene and Vicky from Ox Kill Farms in NY!

Feel the Connection,