The Secret to Getting Things Done!

Hi Ya’ll,

Have trouble getting stuff done?  Needing help staying accountable for what you want to do in life?   I got a great idea for you!

Set yourself up for success with an accountability partner.  It’s been amazing for me.   I’ve recently started this and it’s super helpful.  Once a week I meet with a friend and we go over what we did the previous week and what we’ll do next week.

(Send an email to info@flynnyoga.com and I’ll email you the template we’ve created for out meetings.  It’s super effective!)

I’ve created this video to go over what’s helped make my meetings super effective.  Now I’m more focused and getting stuff done…like this video!

 

Here are a few additional tips on the five points in the video:

  1. Regular Meeting time.  Not only do you want to meet at the same time every week you also want to commit to this for AT LEAST three months to fully develop the habit of meeting.  It’s very easy to let it go during the first month.  Put it in your calendar for at least three months.  Remember it takes at least one month to develop a habit.  Stick with it, the rewards are many!
  2. Have a spreadsheet.  This is mandatory for tracking how things are going.  Try this:  have a list of categories across the top.  They could be writing projects, home improvement, family relationships etc.  My categories are workshop projects, comedy projects, finances, and community.  I suggest no more than 3-5 columns.  You don’t need to put everything on here.  Set yourself up for success and not overwhelm.Under each category put in just ONE task that you want to accomplish in the next week.  Keep it doable.  Before your next meeting you populate the next row with what you actually did that week.  The row after that you’ll populate at the end of your meeting with what you’ll do the next week.  And don’t forget to send me an email for my sample template.Bonus Tip:  At the start of all this I’d say 85% of the time I overestimated what I thought I could get done.  I felt discouraged at most of those meetings until I realized I needed to have more realistic expectations of what I could get done.  For the first month keep the tasks simple so you can start achieving successes.
  3. Finding an amazing partner.  I suggest reaching out to a few different people.  Interview your peeps!  See how serious they are.  Ask them what their goals are for the next year or two.  Partner with someone who’s already on a path.  Avoid those who are only talking about what they want to do and not doing.  You want someone who’s already developed a bit of momentum.  Also I don’t suggest a romantic partner to work with, keep your relationship your relationship.
  4. Taking ownership.  Create agreements with you partner for when you miss the mark.  I like a three strikes and then revisit approach.   If you’ve not done your task after three weeks it’s time to dive deeper and ask “why”.   Maybe the task needs to be broken into smaller chunks, maybe it’s actually not the most important task to do or maybe there is some old story/emotional barrier keeping you from moving forward.  Talk to your partner about it, as the weeks go on you’ll get clarity.
  5. Celebrate successes.  Not only do you NOT want to get down on your partner or yourself, you do want to celebrate you successes! Celebrating success is how you become even more successful.When you or your partner nail something on your list say out loud “Yes!” and put your arms up in the air (I totally do this).   Bringing in the physical movement is a wake up call to your brain that you’ve been successful.  You literally start to rewire your brain to focus on the wins.  Get your brain working for you!

I’m loving my weekly meetings.  It’s inspiring and challenging.  There are days when I can’t wait to get on Skype with my partner and share what I’ve done and days when I got my tail between my legs a bit, but I know either way I’m learning and building my accountability muscles which leads me more quickly to the life I’m creating.  So do it and let me know how it goes!

Daniel

The latest article from me: 16 Spiritual Gifts You Didn’t Know You Had

Hi All,

Check it out everyone.  And please share if you are compelled.

http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/16-spiritual-gifts-you-didnt-know-you-have/

 

You already know you’ve got some spiritual gifts, the problem is that we forget…and by forget I mean everyday we forget.  If you’re like me you forget every hour.  As a  yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and business coach I see these gifts go under utilized all the time.

I’ve created a personal resource list for building your spiritual capacity so that you can step into your life with more power and grace.  Peppered throughout this list are short activities that can be done right now to build up your spiritual gifts.  A little bit a day will go a long way.

1) The Wisdom of Your Inner Voice

We so often let the intellect override our inner voice.  Think of intuition as residing in the body as your physical sensations.  When confused about a course of action to take, double check with your body sensations, especially the belly area.  ‘Yes’ usually feels more expansive and ‘no’ feels tight and constricted.  You can cross reference your intuition with your thinking mind, but don’t let the mind call all the shots; often the body, the inner voice, knows best.

2) The Power of Your Outer Voice

Tension for many of us builds in the neck and throat, inhibiting our ability to use our voice with confidence.  Take time to sing a favorite song everyday, singing and laughing the tension out of the body.  Think about daily cleansing breaths with sound also.  Try this:  Inhale your arms up into a “V” above your head and exhale with a long slow “ahhhhhhhhh” slowly increasing the volume as you go.   The universe wants to hear your voice!

3) Deeply Connected Silence

Feeling lost or confused about a decision? Going for a hike in nature and being quiet for a few hours will allow the deeper answers to find you.  At least once a week, I try to get out for a walk in the forest and it is then, in the stillness, that my emotional blockages and my life passions become clear.  Challenge yourself to stop along the way and be still so you can be open to your silence.

4) Breathing Yourself into Being

Every time we remember to breathe deeply we stimulate the “rest and digest” nervous system and get out of the “fight, flight, freeze” panic mode.  In our conscious breath, we reduce stress and anxiety and invite calm.  As I mentioned, we forget every day, every hour, to breathe deeply. Try this on, for one day set a timer to go off every hour.  Let the chime be a reminder to take three inhales and long exhales. Be aware of the calming effect of your breath.

5) Your Gaze

As a yoga teacher I see students, even advanced ones, holding a pose very still while their eyes are wandering.  Wandering eyes means the mind is wandering too.  Go to the next level and still the eyes. This goes not only for yoga poses but also for communicating with others.  Challenge yourself to stay connected with your gaze to others.  For fun and focus try tree pose while staring at a fixed location for one minute, several times throughout the day.  Yes, yoga can be that portable and deployable, and your gaze will become more focused.

6) Your Pack o’ Peeps

Many of us have the “lone wolf” mentality when it comes to self-improvement;  we think “I’ve got to solve this on my own”.  Imagine the people in your life as part of a personal growth tool belt. There are so many people around you waiting to be there for you, break through and reach out; call on them for feedback.   As a first step, brainstorm a list of 12 people to whom you’d like to be closer and then schedule lunch dates with them individually.  I try to have at least one meeting a week with a friend to maintain and strengthen my openness and connection.

7) Get in Your Friend’s Tool Belt

This goes hand in hand with the previous gift.  You are part of someone else’s community, someone else’s tool belt.   Step up and reach out to a friend.  The greatest gift we can offer is often just being there and listening to a friend and reflecting back that they have been heard and are not alone.

8) Being Someone’s Karate Kid Master

Selfless service makes you feel good.  If you are not already volunteering some of your time can you, for one or two hours a week?  I’ve been a volunteer yoga teacher for teen boys in lockdown for drug and alcohol offenses.  It is quite challenging, yet, every time, I leave feeling so energized by actively being the change I want to see in the world.  Try volunteering in a soup kitchen, at the senior center, the animal shelter.  It will fill your heart with compassion and joy, and your time will be well spent.

9) That 9-5 thing

If you are currently working, whether you love it or not, use your current job as a laboratory to see what activities you love to do.  As months, years, and careers go on you have the opportunity to do more and more of what you love to do.  I’ve had at least 20 jobs in seven different careers.  With each one I’m doing more and more of what brings me joy. So allow yourself to look at your job as a laboratory of experimentation.

10) Your Bliss!

What do you love to do?   Get laser clear with this one.  Try this:  Write five activities that you love to do on a piece of paper and put it on the wall where you will see it everyday.  I did this a number of years ago and it’s been amazing.  All five are now in my life in a much bigger way.  When you do things you love to do, you create more joy and self-worth and you have more energy to take on the world, in bliss!

11) Your Aches and Pains

I’m talking both physical and emotional pain.  These pains help us to be more compassionate with ourselves and empathetic with others.  Our pain is really just saying  “I need some attention.”   Try this for two minutes:  Put your attention on a physical or emotional pain you currently have and send your breath there.  Allow the pain to soften with each exhale.   These moments of self-care will ripple out into your life, increasing your connections with others.

12) The Yuck Yucks

Everyone has a unique sense of humor.  Enlightenment is all about lightening up and not taking ourselves too seriously!  Here’s a challenge:  Get together with a friend you laugh easily with and dive into the places where you’ve felt some avoidance.  Let yourselves riff; switch roles and act out each as the other.  Do random voices of other people talking about difficult topics.  What would Katharine Hepburn have to say about it?  or Sean Connery? or Daffy Duck?  Laugh long and well.

13) Your Life History

Getting older is amazing.  Each year you acquire 365 days of data which allows you to see trends in your beliefs and behaviors.  With this information you can make wiser choices.   Allow yourself to look at your history with wonder and gratitude, then bring that wisdom into the current moment to help inform your decisions. Incorporate your friends, sharing stories and histories together.

14) Your Screenplay

You’ve been writing the story of your life since the day you were born.  Stop and ask the question:  “What have I written that I’m currently acting out?”  In this moment you can realize that you are not just an actor playing out the story but you are the writer and producer as well!  You can change the story AND the meaning you’ve given it to serve your highest purpose.  Write a hero’s story, not a “down on your luck” story.

15) Your Creativity

When we are in alignment with our hearts, ideas come unfiltered by the fear of being rejected or the attachments to being “good”.   Put yourself in situations where you get to brainstorm.  Help a friend come up with a tagline for their business, make up random songs as you do the dishes, create new yoga poses based on characters from Lord of the Rings.  The point is to just put it out there, to riff, without attachment to outcome.  Let yourself groove and improvise, feed your creative muse.

16) Your Alignment

This is looking at the big picture.  This is the meta-awareness combining body, mind and spirit.  Are you in alignment?  Are things in flow?   Your task is to pay attention to your alignment and take action to get yourself back to your place of power, joy, and focus.  When in doubt come back to this list and see what’s not activated.

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January 2015 Yoga with Daniel and Magda

Yes!   Come start your New Year with myself and the amazing Magda Freedom Rod in Ojai California!   Two yoga teachers for the price of one!   How will YOU start your New Year?

cover photo for event

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3 things Yoga Teachers need to stop doing now

Hi Ya’ll,

I’ve been teaching yoga for about 10 years and have also been an Executive Director of a non-profit bringing yoga to marginalized youth.  I’ve taught in a variety of settings ranging from public classes in yoga studios to youth affected by the traumas of homelessness, PTSD, addiction and abuse.   It has been my work with yoga students affected by trauma has really changed my teaching style and challenged many of the assumptions I was making when teaching.

I also play the part of Tom Shakti, the yoga eye-gazing guru, in the comedy web series New Age Girls.  Tom’s a self-absorbed over the top boundary pusher in denial of his own shadow, a VERY fun character to write for and play” and I contrast to my other work a yoga teacher.  During a recent episode the script called for my character to teach a class and do hands on adjustments .  It makes for good comedy but not for appropriate teaching.  I felt compelled to write this article after shooting that episode.

Below is a list of basic trauma-informed practices to consider in your teaching.  Consider these three areas so that you’ll be creating a physically and emotionally safer container in which your students can make powerful choices as they find their way further in their practice.

1.  Stop touching without permission:   Always check before you touch a student.  Always.  Don’t assume your students want to be touched and adjusted.  Early on in my classes I have students on their backs  or bellies and ask them to raise a hand if they don’t want any adjustments.  This gives them some privacy when answering.  Touch can be amazingly healing, just check first.  If you forget to check in at the beginning you can always ask “Can I help or are you good?” as you approach a student.

2.  Stop choosing for students.  How often do we say “Now close your eyes and feel the pose” or “let’s close our eyes and sit together for a moment”.  You want to give as much choice as possible especially if you don’t know your students well.   Saying “you can close your eyes or have eyes open” or “explore with eyes open or closed” gives agency to your students.  Trauma is often defined as the experience of not having choice.  And the truth is that we have all been affected by some kind of trauma.  You want to help all students cultivate their ability to choose.  Also please watch out for this statement that I hear many teachers say: “You can close your eyes if you feel comfortable”.  This is shaming language toward someone who’d rather keep their eyes open.

3.  Stop defining how a pose should feel. I hear over and over from teachers how students should feel in poses such as “Rest in downdog”, “Relax in childspose”, or “doesn’t that feel good?”.  You have no idea what poses feel like for your students.  You only know for yourself.  Don’t define the subjective experience for others.  Downdog is often only relaxing after a few years of practice.  Child pose can feel very vulnerable to a student who’s experienced sexual violence.  It’s your job to offer suggestions to help people ground, relax, and get stable, it’s not your job to tell them how it should feel doing it.

I hope these tips help as they have for me.  Remember that your hold the container of safety in the yoga room, that’s your first job.  Within that container is the invitation for students to heal, to grow and to make bolder and bolder choices.

And now for some levity.  Here’s my alter-ego maniac Tom Shakti teaching a new yoga modality:

Best,

Daniel

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What’s your morning ritual? Five ways to start your day

Hi Ya’ll,

I can’t say enough about having rituals. What are they? In the most general sense they’re a series of actions done in a particular order and if you really want to make lasting changes in your life then you must have rituals that you stick with.

I was watching the movie The Wolf of Wall Street the other night and there is a scene where the main character Jordan Belfort, goes through his daily drug intake ritual (“cocaine to wake me up, pot to mellow me out”). I decided to do a parody of it switching out all the chemical activity for my morning healthy activities.

 

 

Try these five ways to start your day:

Gratitude. This is a superpower we can all continue to cultivate, and it does take daily practice to get it hardwired in our hearts.  It’s a great antidote to depression and negativity. Take just a minute while you are still lying in bed to put your hand on your heart and say 3-5 things you’re grateful for, maybe it’s a new friend, the food you have access to, or some aspect of your health.  Be sure you take the time to FEEL the feelings of gratitude in your body.

Nasal irrigation. This is not an everyday thing for me, I’ll do it when I’m feeling a cold coming on or anytime I’m feeling a bit stuffed up. Do some research on best practices before trying, most importantly is to use body temperature water with sea salt.

Lemon Water. I’m addicted to this now.  The idea is that lemon water (which is acidic) when drunk becomes alkaline in the body. Most of us are too acidic and can benefit from this practice.  Sometimes I’ll put in a little cayenne for a pick me up.

Chi Gong. Even for a few minutes this is a game changer. Here’s a video I made of one of my favorite chi gong moves, super simple and energizing….and no, slapping yourself in the face is not a move in this practice…it does wake you up though.

Yoga. I try to start my day with a minimum of 15 minutes of yoga with a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing afterwards.   Read up on alternate nostril breathing.  It’s one of my favorite practices and can really calms down the mind.

Finally meditation,  even five minutes of sitting and inviting relaxation in on the exhale can really set the tone for your day.  So try on all of these or maybe just a few. No matter what you choose try to stick with that ritual for at least 30 days so you can give it a fair trial. Let me know how it goes!

And please click SUBSCRIBE and leave a COMMENT under my video when watching it on youtube!

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Yoga, comedy, and laughter…taking it to the streets.

Hi Ya’ll!

 

Please, don’t take yourself so seriously

This video is what happens when you take a camera along and try to get people to do yoga with you on the streets of Portland.

Before becoming a yoga teacher and director of a non-profit, I’d done some comedy improv and recently I’ve missed it.   I miss the co-creation and the immediacy of connection which is a true living in the moment.  An experience that gives me such a feeling of aliveness.  It’s one of the most pleasurable ways to connect, and the potential humor that ensues, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.

Laughter is something we all need to survive and to thrive.  It’s how we lighten up and connect to each other.  Without it we can become hard, bogged down and Goddess forbid: overly serious and grave, the path to the dark side indeed.

Maya, the great illusion

In a nutshell, maya means illusion. In yoga philosophy it’s the illusion that you are separate from others, separate from the Creator (or Co-Creator if you will). It’s the illusion that you have to do it on your own. Humor reminds us to lighten up and realize that there is no separation.

We are always connected to infinite creativity, possibility and each other and it’s in our connections with one other where this creativity finds voice.  The connection to each other IS real.  In a profound way it’s our hearts and laughter that are meant to be shared.

Emotional Resonance

When we laugh with others we literally get on the same vibration. Just hearing someone laugh we start to smile. Watching a comedy alone you may not laugh out loud, but watching it with others and you’re laughing away, riding a wave of co-created energy.

We are designed to laugh and celebrate together. Our brains are wired for it. As Richard Boyatzis, an expert in emotional intelligence says, “In a neurological sense, laughing represents the shortest distance between two people.” It connects us.

Ultimate Freedom

I work for a non-profit that teaches yoga to challenged youth, and I teach yoga in a lockdown facility for teen boys dealing with addiction issues. These kids are experiencing very challenging lives but they love to connect through laughter, they crave it.  Being myself in the moment, bringing a sense of play helps me connect with them. It also helps them to experiment and play in the challenging poses that yoga offers in a non-judgmental way.  If we can laugh we can endure.

When we lighten up and laugh, at ourselves and at the wonders of the human condition, we become free. Inhibitions and insecurities fade, emotions find a voice and release.

So take a big breath, allow yourself to connect with others, and exhale with a smile. Come back to your the beauty and joy that is you.  The world is waiting to laugh with you. It really is.

Daniel Flynn is yoga teacher, health activist, comedian, and Executive Director of Street Yoga, a Portland Oregon non-profit that brings yoga and mindfulness classes to youth affected by homelessness, addiction, and other forms of trauma.

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Happy Earth Day

Hi All,

We got out of the Street Yoga office and got into the earth yesterday. Check it out:

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Great video on yoga and pregnancy with two Portland teachers

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Get on it! Catch up to the now.

Get up from your seat and go change that wall calendar now.  You know…the one you haven’t changed since February.  It’ll give ya a sense of accomplishment.  Happy August.

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Starting to do massage at Yoga Pearl!

Starting in August I’ll be doing massage out of Yoga Pearl Wednesday before 1pm and all day Sundays.  More info coming on this!  I look forward to working with you on your continued healing.  And be sure no matter who you are getting massage from that you are working on breathing long and deep.  Know that the body can only truly let go of the deep tension with the help of the long full exhalations.

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Kirtan this Saturday night! 7-830pm at Yoga Pearl

Hey Ya’ll.

It’s that time again.  Come sing, move, listen, and sing some more.  It does a body good! See info two blogs down for details on the love.

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy 4th of July! Happy birthday America!

Hey America! I love you! Happy Birthday and a big ol’ yehaww to you. Thanks for all the national parks, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, America girls, Taylor guitars, the Bill of Rights. I know we’re young and still kinda in the “let’s go into other countries and control their interest” stage, but that’s going away. For sure.

It’s time to stay and home a little more (unless you are just goingwith a backpack and a camera..or if we are hooking countries up with food or medicine). Time to garden, and party, and feed people, and educate our own children. That’s fucking teamwork America! Oh, and guns are TOTALLY cool but only for shooting ranges and animals if you are going to eat them. I love me some elk.

Happy Birthday America! I love you!

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Sing-along with Tuesday April 17th, 6-8pm!

One thing I get on my soap box about (aside from the fact that we all need to chill out via long slow inhales and exhales) is that as a culture we don’t get together and SING.

Not only that but there are only a handful of songs that we can sing together. Seriously, take a random group of people ranged in age from 21-60 and what songs are we going to know all the lyrics too? Country Roads and umm…that’s it. And that’s sad people!  Everyone should know the words to Route 66, Me and Bobby McGee, and Heartbreak Hotel shouldn’t they? EVERYONE should know Mustang Sally, and Cats in the Cradle right?

But know that there is hope. The times they are a changin’. Sing-alongs are on the comeback.  Take my good friends and local musicians Teresa Boyd and Jason Wells who started a great sing-along project a few years ago called the Ning Nong Sing-along. Lots of my friends here in Portland are musicians and potlucks and parties often turn into impromptu sing-alongs. It’s such a great way to connect with others: singing, laughing, and creating music. But in general, t’s not something we do as a larger community.

But fear not! I am bring it back to the people! Tuesday March 27th, from 6-8pm at Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi Ave.  Back in the 1990s I played cover songs in bars and I am dusting off my old list of songs, along with some new ones.

I’ll be joined on stage by two wonderful local musicians percussionist Andy Sterling and Bassist Matty V and we’ll be playing songs that most of us with know and you are encouraged to sing-along.   There will be random mash-ups and improvised songs too. And know that you don’t have to sing, just being there is great support.

We need YOU (and your kids too as it’s a family friendly event) to help pack the house so this can turn into a monthly event and get this town singing, smiling, and laughing together. After all we are here to connect and love each other, aren’t we?

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Kirtan with me Dec 17th at Yoga Pearl!

As many of you know I’ve been a professional singer and guitarist for some 20 years in addition to my day jobs of yoga teaching and massage therapy. I am now putting these two things together by offering a monthly, donation-based, Kirtan. What’s Kirtan? It’s the practice of mantra repetition to get you out of your over-processing head and into your big ol’ loving heart. How? By giving you something to focus on: Making music with your heart and voice and community! Come check it out! It’ll be Dec 17th (and every 3rd Saturday) at 7pm at Yoga Pearl, 925 NW Davis Street.

And you do NOT have to be an amazing singer, you just have to be willing to continue the journey of opening your heart to yourself.

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Yoga on Mt. Jefferson!

Here’s my latest video taken on Mt. Jefferson during a three day backpacking trip. I had amazing weather and shot video for 3 short lessons. This first one is on standing spine twists. Probably the single best exercise you can do for your body. It energizes you and increase flexibility. Enjoy the sights of Mt. Jefferson and be sure to DO the exercise.

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The Street Fair Poet does his thing!

So there’s this great street fair in Portland called Last Thursday on Alberta Street. I go there with my old school manual typerwriter and have a sign that says “Poems: Your subject, Your price”. And people come up, give me a subject and off I go. Now, I am no amazing Poet but I LOVE the challenge of writing without attachment. There’s no do over’s, no delete key. It’s a lesson in letting go. I just write whatever comes to mind about their subject (usually tied into yoga, breathe, chilling out etc). I give it to them and off it goes. As Mary Oliver says “You do not have to be good”. I get to practice it over and over again. So let go, write! sing! dance! move! What are you waiting for? Don’t wait until you’re perfect before you try….and yes my t-shirt says “Spiritual Gangster”…. : )

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Easy Yoga in Your Chair in 2 Minutes!

Take a break from working on the computer with these easy and relaxing yoga moves.  In just two minutes you’ll be chilled out, de-stressed and ready to get back at it!

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Lion’s Breath

In this video I introduce Lion’s Breath while on a backpacking trip to Mt. Hood. I even found two random hikers to demo for you!  Lion’s breath is an AMAZING way to get the tension out of your body.  The key is to really let yourself goooooo on the exhale, stick your tongue as far out as you can and exhale ALL the air out of your body.  Then relax your face and shoulders for 30 seconds, go for two more rounds.  And yes, I ropped two young hiking dudes into helping with this one!

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Off to Mt Jefferson!

Hey Ya’ll I’m off for another solo backpacking trip…this time to Mt. Jefferson, more high altitude yoga classes coming!

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More info on the singing workshop!

Hey Ya’ll, check it out….and I have no idea how I developed a lisp in this video….strange as I don’t have one.

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