What's in a pose? Enlightenment?

What’s in a pose? Your entire life and everything you are, some teachers will say. I don’t believe that to be true, not by way of shame. I’ve yet to come across anyone who is enlightened because they learned to balance on their hands. What is enlightenment, anyway? The path seems like a never-ending destiny not within reach to the average human. I have such questions in my own practice and life. It’s like heaven, to me, in a sense. Will I arrive on my deathbed? I don’t know.
What I do know is this; poses don’t make people better humans. Wanting to look like someone or look like this or that, will keep you reaching for improvement. As if you need to work on yourself or fix yourself. You are not broken. You are a living, breathing, beautiful being. Accept yourself as you are, breathe in this moment, stay close to your heart, and be fierce with your love. That is enlightenment, to me, living and loving with the utmost gratitude for a life rich with passion, curiosity, and compassion. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or that you’ll be faced with kindness all the time, you face your palms towards the sun and be big with love.
What’s in a pose? Whatever you make. It is not up the one that cues. It doesn’t mean you have to get upside down. Or bend like a pretzel. Often times, my favorite and the most-challenging pose I teach every class is seated meditation. I rarely start you there, though. But together, we will get you there, to take the great seat with yourself. Meditation, such a fancy word, in my opinion. I like to think of it as having a seat at the table of life. You don’t have to eat quietly or mimic manners. You sit and eat, tasting the appetizers, sipping the wine, nibbling the main course, and toasting off with dessert. The food is like a conversation with the self. You can hesitate to try and open in time.
Sometimes what opens us is not muscling ourselves through everything. Sometimes it takes great strength to be soft in your seat. So many of us parading the spectacles of the practice, yet how many of us can truly sit with the self? This is the practice, it’s movement that marries stillness. Weaving the depths of our nature to live inside-out. #thisismyyoga


Keep your love loud and your selfies shameless. Do you.

Keep your love loud and your selfies shameless.
Don’t exhaust yourself into mindless scrolls or hold double-taps as hellos. Get out there and love. Have real conversations. Choose joy. Talk openly about life. What hurts, what’s hard. And then move on. Your greatest strength is the ability to be soft. And love. Holding onto to pain, hurt, regret, shame, and anger will numb the joy and peace you crave. It is no object, these experiences are weighted, living truths. Storytelling without the light will keep you cuffed to the dark. It’s important to keep moving. Even if it means wiggling your toes, jump up and down, scream or belt, if you must. Set yourself up and rise again (and again, if you must). Forgive. Fuck any excuses and don’t let bullshit in or go out. Sometimes it means putting yourself in a timeout. Stop worrying about what others are doing, what they share on social media, and how they live. No one is set to your standards.There are too many times to count all the “bravery” that exists behind screens telling me to stop. That shit doesn’t matter. I don’t turn to the naysayers to rule my life and neither should you (it’s my only should for you if you are in need of it so). DO YOU. Take aim to turn yourself on. What others think of you is their business. How you think of yourself is yours. And it’s the only love that matters. You are your great love. You will always be taken care when you take great care of yourself. Start here with you. Every damn day. Every ounce of you is contagious. Love the shit out of yourself. And give it out to the world. I promise you it is rich and it’s got nothing on what money can buy. Real shit. Life: ride or die. Life is too damn short. Live your #fuckyeslife

stephanie birch

Ordinary magic, always

You guys.
I am so fucking grateful. That is all.
I’ve spent this day on the computer, running errands, eating leftover Thai food, building magnetic cars with B-man, watching my house not clean itself, and about to plan some yoga classes. Oh. And I’ve spent a great portion of the day laughing and crying at the same time. What started out as belly-aching laughter turned to sobbing tears. From funny to sadness and circling back to gratitude.

Life is ordinary magic. All of it. Sometimes I think I forget to say this out loud. Thank you, life. You are simple. Even when its hard. You teach me to Be. This is love. You are so fucking contagious. Be big in your love, be big in your life.
Sending you all mad-wild-in-your-face love today. If nobody has told you: I love you. That is all.

stephanie birch

The lotus

From the murkiest of waters, she blooms. She rises, petals towards the sun. Beginning again.
It’s the first time I’ve seen lotus flowers in this seemingly grotesque pond in this park. I’ve been here dozens of times without seeing such floats. I don’t know if they have always been here or that I never chose to look.
I wonder how often I’ve chosen to avoid or look away from seemingly unpleasant things or what’s uncomfortable. I think of privilege. The ability to turn off, look away, and keep quiet. What a privilege. My heart sinks at this thought. I embarrass myself. My belly pits from feeling stuck.

How do I help? What more can I do? Indirect and direct.
I think it will never truly collapse into being enough until all beings are happy and free. Birthing stems at length rising to open the beautiful, soft shells we call petals. I hope my life, my practice, my teachings, my love contributes in some way; big or small. 

Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. May all beings be happy and free, and may my practice and life, in some way, contribute.

stephanie birch


It is wisdom that remains. It can race in at high or drift in at low. Crashing and disruptive. Or. Subtle, little by little.
It is wisdom that’s revealed. It is often quiet and disarming. There is peace within without needing from the other. There is love to carry on without receiving it from the other. There is space. There is holding. And there is nothing left to forgive. This is the freedom. Releasing oneself to sea, not attempting to change or manipulate such dealings. There is no sense trying to better the past. But we do. Playing out memories. Perhaps that’s what some can be kept by, experiences on repeat as if an outcome can change. One fighting against oneself, the ultimate suffering.
Sign your rights to past dealings or forge your bond with present wisdom. It can change in a moment. Some say time heals, time that of which kept by one moment. You have the power to change. You have the power to heal. You have the power to love. That is the wisdom. Story holds no power without wisdom. We can connect by story, but we begin again through wisdom. Begin again. This moment. And the next. Begin again.