Being Embodied: Fully Taking Birth Before We Die + Some Embodied Invitations For You

A note from Erin,

As I begin this week’s writing, might I offer a few invitations?
Could your next exhalation be a bit more complete? 
Could your belly soften a bit more to your next inhale? 
Could your shoulders drop?
Could your gaze be less tight, more soft and receptive, seeing things in the periphery? 
Could you feel the weight of your lower jaw and allow it to float down a bit, softening the inside of your mouth and your TMJ? 
And, at the same time you allow your weight to drop and be held by the ground, could you inhabit your full height without tightening to do so? Could your neck be longer and more free? 
Can you hear the sounds around you, both near and far, and notice your attention becoming wider and more spacious? 
And right here in the midst of your life and the hundred other things that call for your attention, could you put your hand on your chest and wholeheartedly wish yourself well? Even just for 10 seconds? 

What might it be like to unapologetically inhabit your body, your today-body, not trying to be smaller, bigger, different, younger, better? Just here, fully here.
 
The late teacher and writer Stephen Levine used to talk about the importance of fully taking birth, really fully incarnating before we die. It sounds simple. It’s not easy. It’s the journey of a lifetime. It’s totally doable, if uncommon. And it’s so worth the effort.  Living in such a way, as the saying goes, that when death comes, it finds you ALIVE. 

For me, there’s a potent difference between common paths of striving to improve, efforting to be different, aiming to “arrive” at that elusive sense of enoughness…. and then there’s the profound practice of connecting. Arriving. In this moment, in this body, right here, as we are, as it is. Connecting with this breath. This life. These beings. This world, as it is. In my experience, all true improvement actually unfolds in the fertile ground of uncontrived connection.

That famous line resonates for me so deeply:
“Only connect.” 


 

I read a beautiful quote today from a book I adore called Belonging, by Toko-pa Turner:

“Create a holy refuge of your life that others may seek solace there, feeling the strength and dedication in the medicine of your beauty, and upon it rest and be encouraged to their own summoning.”

How’s that for a mission statement? 


This week, my beloved is off at a week-long retreat with Michael Meade. I love missing him and love looking forward to seeing who he’ll be when he returns.  I’m so grateful to be in a partnership where we celebrate one another’s growth, learning, and adventures, both together and apart. When we got married 13 years ago, our vows weren’t to stay together forever, or even to love one another always, but were and are all about doing our own work and practices to unfold our greatest human capacities, and to wholeheartedly support the other person in doing the same. 

We bring a similar dedication to our clients and students. Not to stay together forever, not to be perfect, but to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to our own unfolding, to being fully alive and fully human, to courting our genius and bringing forth our gifts, to becoming ever more fully embodied, and to humbly encouraging and wholeheartedly supporting others in our lives to do the same. Being embodied. It’s profound. 


It’s that time of year when I welcome new clients into my private practice, diving in together from September through December. If you’d like to work with me one on one, reply to this email. You can read about my work here  and if you’d like to be one of my clients this fall, let me know. I count it as the greatest privilege to share this work I love so much! Here’s what a few lovely humans have shared about our 1:1 work together: 

 

I have learned from Erin for more than a decade. Through classes and working one on one with her, I have discovered how to access so many wisdoms in my body, mind, and heart. I have experienced greater ease and alignment in my physical movement and in my life. Erin will be the first to tell you that her work is not about self-improvement and I will tell you that as a result of learning with her, I’ve experienced a profound improvement in my relationship with myself.
And that’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Nini Rich, Salt Lake City, Utah

Alan Fogel

I’ve been receiving individual functional integration sessions from Erin for the past 3 years. This work, translated through Erin’s sensitive and supportive touch, has been a fundamental part of my growing ability to ground my body to the earth, organize my movements more effectively, and reduce the pain of overuse. I feel fortunate to be able to take advantage of her work, guidance, and non-judgmental presence.

– Alan Fogel
Author of Body Sense
Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner
www.alanfogelrosenmethod.abmp.com

 

If you’re forcing anything, you’re not doing it right. Isn’t that a mind-shift when you’re used to, “No pain no gain?” I’ve been utilizing Erin and Carl’s practices for several years for one-on-one treatment (mostly with Erin), online classes and Awareness Through Movement lessons, which are group classes. I’ve hobbled in at different times with balance issues, a sore back, hip bursitis, a wrist that a PT gave up on, an injured SI joint, or a shoulder that had frozen up, and again and again I’ve walked out more fluidly and hurting less, all with zero pain during treatment. We’re not even focusing on the sore spots. Somehow by learning to feel within the parts that aren’t hurting and working with your body rather than fighting and forcing it, the painful sore spots relax and aren’t as painful anymore! It feels magical to me every time. I also usually leave with strategies to continue at home. The same theory applies to online classes. Don’t go into a class expecting to force or shame yourself into changing because you’re not going to find that here. Instead, you’ll feel the messiness and hard parts of life while learning strategies for simultaneously finding and deeply feeling the joy, awe, and wonder. Erin and Carl aren’t just health practitioners, they’re healers and teachers, and I’m so grateful I found them!

Stacy Grover
Teacher of 8-year-old geniuses and animal-assisted-therapy teams, and connoisseur of hiking trails through the great outdoors.

Jill Canales

Feldenkrais with Erin has finally cured my chronic neck and back pain. I have found that massages are a temporary fix, they do not address the root of the problem. With very little effort, Feldenkrais sessions reconnect me with my body and help me be more “awake” in my daily life. It is quite an amazing experience!

– Jill Canales, Salt Lake City, UT

The Integrative Embodiment work I’ve experienced with Erin and Carl has deeply affected my life. Since working with them, I have learned tangible ways to distinguish how present and grounded I am in each moment, and how to shift into deeper awareness and presence at any time.  I have learned skills that help me to ground my energy in my everyday life so I can really be present with each moment as it occurs, as my true authentic self. I have grown my awareness of my connections to my body as a whole and experienced how much spaciousness and wisdom lives inside my bones and tissues.  I’ve grown my capacity for kindness towards myself and others, while integrating the connections with my body, heart and mind. The deeply authentic community of belonging Erin and Carl create is another profoundly life-changing resource for me. I truly feel like I’ve come home to myself here. The connections I’m creating within my body, heart, and mind, are rippling out to my relationships, community and the world.

Debbie Fetters

Erin Menut

I went to see Erin for Feldenkrais after damaging my lower back in a car accident. The wounds had healed, but the deeper structural imbalances were still causing me a lot of pain, even after physical therapy and a lot of beneficial work with Yoga. I was seeing enough improvement after six weeks of general Feldenkrais classes to seek out a private, hands-on session. Erin’s comforting touch reassured my body and mind that my innate body wisdom was still there underneath all the fear and pain caused by my injuries. I woke up the day after our session with a new and wonderful way of walking: pain free. Erin had helped my mind reprogram itself to bring my body back into effortless rightness. I can’t say enough about the gratitude I feel toward Erin for the gracious way she applies her thoughtful and egoless expertise. She changed my life in the course of an hour, much for the better, and the results are still mine to enjoy.

– Erin Menut,
Owner, Avenues Yoga



With great love,
Erin


Here are a few other ways you might like to work with us: 

1. Women – would you like to join me (Erin) on a powerful learning journey this fall? I’m so excited to offer an experiential deep-dive into one of my favorite somatic topics. I call the class: Empelvised,Embellied, Empowered.  I wish every woman could take this course! I made a page with all the details and even a short video invitation for you. Check it out here! And if you’d be interested in joining an online version – let me know. If there’s interest, I’d really love to share it with people near and far. It’s such a potent cultivation and one I wish I could share with women everywhere. When is the best time to start becoming Empelvised, Embellied, Empowered? 20 years ago. Or… join me in October!  Check it out! 


2. We have a wonderful group signed up to join us for a weekend of somatic explorations of two topics we loooove and that are such practical and potent ways to integrate this learning into your everyday life: The Art of Walking & Improving Posture Without Correction. Sign up here to join us! We’d be so delighted to have you!  You can come to one day only or join us for both at a discounted rate. You can also find details below.


3. Wouldn’t you love to travel with us for a wonderful retreat experience? Embody YourGenius  at Ghost Ranch is coming up in September and my dear friend, Nan & I would love to have you join us! It’s going to be amazing, and we have room for you in the circle!! Come to the Land of Enchantment with us!!

And Carl and I would LOVE to invite you to join us in Costa Rica in January. It’s going to be wonderful! Peruse the website for the retreat center and then contact us…. we can help you pick a lodging option you’d love. Transportation is organized for you and all you need to do is get yourself to the airport.  It’s such a wonderful way to begin a year! Come experience Pura Vida with us!

4. Local friends, feel free to join us on the new & full moons for a creekside meditation. There’s no cost and no experience is necessary. Please bring a cushion or camp chair to sit on and just come to picnic spot #1 in City Creek Canyon, walk down the wooden steps and I’ll be there creekside, likely with some flower petals sprinkled all around (because that’s how I roll.) We’ll sit together from 7-8am. I’ll guide a practice, though we’ll spend most of the time in silence, and then enjoy some optional time to connect with one another at the end. Here’s something I wrote about the recent Full Moon sit:

“Sometimes we don’t know what to do. So one thing we can do is this: Sit still. Together. In nature. Feel the feels. Stay. Make room for it all. Listen to the creek flowing by. Let your heart get even more tender. Then more spacious. More tender. More spacious. Silently greet the hummingbird who loves to visit the stillness. Breathe in suffering. Breathe out love. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.”

So grateful for the radiant crew who showed up to join me for the Full Moon+Eclipse sit.

The next new and full moon sits will be held on  August 26th & September 9th from 7-8am at the creekside below picnic spot #1 in City Creek Canyon.

Please bring your own cushion or camp chair, and whatever you need to be reasonably comfortable, including perhaps a spritz of bug spray and water to drink. There is no charge.

Offered with humility, love, and deepest gratitude for these practices and for the beautiful canyon in which to gather. 


5. Join us for a daylong retreat of mindful movement and embodied meditation at Two Arrows Zen Center. The Art of Sitting on September 29th is now open for registration. We’d love to have you join us! Details are at the link above, or click the photo below. 


6. Have you been listening to our wonderful podcast??? The conversations are deeply enlivening. We are SO happy to offer this resource and fount of inspiration to our community, and we’ve loved hearing your reflections on these conversations with wise teachers. Have a listen! 

7. Befriend Your Back: A 6-week Online Course is coming this fall. We’ve been teaching potent back-care practices in yoga therapy and Feldenkrais for many, many years, and are thrilled to share an easy, do-from-home course with you!! 8. A favorite offering, the next online Embody Gratitude Project will be coming this fall fromOct. 15-Nov. 23. Details coming soon. 
 9. The next Tending The River of Grief community ritual will be longer than the previous ones. I’m so excited! We’ll start at 10am, have a lunch break together, and end by 5pm. It will all happen at a favorite spot in Millcreek Canyon on Sunday, October 28th. Mark your calendar. Offered by donation.  10. We’re planning our next rounds of Women Embodied: (Foundations & Widening Circles) & Embodying a New Masculine courses. More details coming soon!  

Thanks so much for reading. We’re so grateful to be connected. Thanks for the privilege of allowing us space in your inbox and in your life.

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Erin

By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.

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