Word of the Year 2024 – Equanimity

noun; evenness of mind especially under stress… a calm mental state and without hurried movementright disposition or balance

Let’s define equanimity:

According to Merriam Dictionary, if you think “equanimity” looks like it has something to do with “equal,” you are right. Both “equanimity” and “equal” are derived from “aequus,” a Latin adjective meaning “level” or “equal.” “Equanimity” comes from the combination of “aequus” and “animus” (“soul” or “mind”) in the Latin phrase aequo animo, which means “with even mind.” English speakers began using “equanimity” early in the 17th century with the now obsolete sense “fairness or justness of judgment,” which was in keeping with the meaning of the Latin phrase. Equanimity quickly came to suggest keeping a cool head under any sort of pressure, not merely when presented with a problem, and eventually, it developed an extended sense for general balance and harmony.

I learned last year that my life needed to make a subtle shift.?I definitely do not want to lose my edge or momentum, so I knew my new word and intention for 2024 needed to be just right. I also knew I needed to find the word that captured the balance between effort and ease.?We use the term equanimity in Yoga often to describe our bodies in a posture and seeking that same balance through the physical effort and the mental fluctuations. I want that same balance, or equanimity, in all areas of my life.

Equanimity As An Intention:

Sankalpa is a Sanskrit term in yogic philosophy that refers to a heartfelt desire, a solemn vow, an intention, or a resolve to do something. It is similar to the English concept of a resolution, except that it comes from even deeper within and tends to be an affirmation.

Choosing a word or sankalpa for your year gives you direction and an internal compassion in which to lead your life. For 24 years I have chosen many different words and have taken action and it is a very important practice in my life. I have worked on some great things over that time span and all of it has lead to some greatness! A few of my recent favorites have been: refinement, deliberate, bold, reverence,and limitless. Vulnerability of 2023 did not make my favorite list. Or the year I chose peace. Sometimes we have to be ready for some big opportunities to face and practice these intentions, so I recommend choosing wisely.

I am all for creating action when it comes to intentions. It is one thing to say you’re going to be healthy and then down a couple donuts pretty regularly. Or opt to be more tolerant and continue to judge or complain about people or things you have zero control over.

In my own words and intention, or sankalpa, I feel I would like to embrace equanimity by transcending some personal biases or in my case high personal standards, self-prejudices, and self-judgments, leading to having a more inclusive and harmonious outlook on my own life. Basically cutting myself some slack and offering my sweet self some grace, especially during the challenges and bringing more balance to my life by nurturing myself and my Yin side of living. Let’s be honest, I tend to live 99.99% in the yang action side of life, which although it has served me well, I am exhausted. I also give and give and give, and while I learned a little bit how to receive, I still need to learn to give to myself without feeling guilty. I want to function in a non hurried way and soak in tiny moments of stillness to counter balance the extreme amount of constant yang/drive energy. I want know the balance between effort and ease in my day to day and lower the bar I have been reaching for.

So what does all that mean??

Words + action = intentional living. I have spent a month or more imagining what equanimity will feel like and as a result I have figured out some tangible actions that will promise to lead me towards a more balanced and grace filled life.

To cultivate an evenness in my mind, body and spirit and a calm mental state without being hurried, I am going to make some changes. I am going to live in equanimity by:

  • take one week off per quarter where I do not teach at all (first quarter is a pass since I am taking two months off post-hip replacement)
  • get on my yoga mat 3x a week (or a chair)
  • enjoy my “sacred space” / office at least 5x a week to journal, read, pull cards, and basically tune out the world and tune in to me
  • begin, enjoy, and finish a year long mindfulness daily practice book
  • say no to anyone or anything that does not support the balanced life I am committed to creating
  • let go of anyone or anything that steers me into “busy” coping strategies
  • continue with therapy and learning how to better handle the heavy weights I carry
  • give myself permission to rest, read, restore anytime
  • release the high standard I have on my physical movement
  • allow myself to splurge on things I have worked hard to afford without any reasoning or judgment


Stacie believes that it is her life purpose to share the gift of Yoga with anyone who is willing to say yes. In addition to raising a family and being an advocate for those with disabilities, Stacie is founder of Embracing Spirit Yoga which specializes in bringing adaptive Yoga into community centers and rehabilitation clinics. Bringing her depth of compassion to the mat–or the chair–she offers students the opportunity to grow as an individual in all aspects of their life.

With over sixteen years experience, Stacie Wyatt is an experienced 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Certified Trauma Informed Coach, Life Wellness Coach, Senior YogaFit Instructor, Mind/Body Personal trainer, Stress Reduction and Meditation Instructor, Pilates Instructor, and Barre Instructor. Stacie is also certified in Integrative Movement Therapy™and is also a believer in the power and application of essential oils for health and wellness and proudly shares doTERRA essential oils.

Stacie brings her personal life experience of raising a daughter with a disability and over 12 years working in special education to her everyday Yoga classes.

The Final Quarter

Self-reflection is a humbling process. It’s essential to find out why you think, say, and do certain things…. then better yourself.

It’s been a little quiet on here since I have been swamped with teaching, gardening, and I also completed a 30 days of yoga series this month.

We are headed into the final quarter of the year and I find it’s a good time to reflect on your beginning of the year visions and see how they have evolved and what I can do in the final stretch to reach them.

I set out the year with a quest to be more vulnerable. Part of me starting an online yoga yea her forum group was to open my self up to not only questions and connection, but also to open myself up to criticism and accountability. My teaching style in assisted living settings, may be much different than what one might think of when we think of adaptive Yoga.

Just this week alone some of the time I spent in assisted living was holding hands with a lonely 92-year-old woman, and helping her take her hands down to her toes for a stretch. I also rubbed the feet of a 57-year-old man with a terminal disease.

Is that yoga? I believe with 100% certainty that it is.

This year I also opened to myself up to finding someone to partner with me and shadow me to learn how to apply the principles of yoga, without such a strong focus on asana, to those unique settings. As I wait for that person to arrive in my life, I continue to serve and love each day doing it.

What will you do in these final few months of 2023 to come closer to your vision?

How can I support you?

Vulnerability Check In

Vulnerability is defined as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” It’s that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control.

Brene Brown

When I began 2023 like every other year for the last nearly two decades, I chose a word as a theme or guiding direction that I wanted to bring into my life. It never fails that the word I choose for the year is perfectly suited for the path I take that year. Some years have been incredibly hard, like the year I chose the word peace. That was one of the most challenging years of my life. Go figure. I guess Spirit was asking me to find peace while enduring chaos.

For 2023, I chose the word vulnerability.

Since we are nearly 3/4 the year through this year I thought I’d spend some time this afternoon thinking about where vulnerability has showed up in my journey this year. I chose the word vulnerability because I wanted to expose myself a bit more, let go of the controlled emotions and often staying in the comfort zone of life. I have a pretty ideal career and my life feels very well rounded and balanced, so rocking the boat a bit initially felt really daunting, but I knew I needed a nudge in the direction of being a little more open. My favorite teacher Brene Brown defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Oh boy. The big question is why if my life is going nearly perfect would I want to invite those three things in?

So far this year I have had the following experiences that required vulnerability:

  • I opted out of a needed hip replacement and had to advocate for my health despite the encouragement of doctors and family. I had to tap into my inner truth and openly admit that I was terrified and the uncertainty was too great. Admitting the emotion fear is not something I do easily or often. This was huge for me to openly expose an emotion.
  • Once the hip surgery was put on hold, I stepped into uncertainty by going forward with a knee surgery that was intended to bring some pain relief and hopefully stabilize the hip. Turns out the knee scope was brutal and required me to ask for much needed help and be willing to receive it. Not easy for me.
  • In early spring I did something wild and totally outside my comfort zone. I bought a Jeep that I had been working towards for many years. May seem like a no big deal for some , but for this frugal girl it was a huge deal.
  • The risk came when one day I emailed an agency about the adaptive yoga I have been offering in assisted living setting for years. I didn’t need the extra contract but as an entrepreneur you never become passive or assume the contracts you have will always want you. The risk turned into a surprisingly instant contract, but it meant I would give up my beloved Fridays off to add another commute day. I wrestled with it for a weekend and decided to give it a try. My mindset was if I felt overwhelmed I would simple be brave and say that it was more than I could handle. Also, something I don’t do easily. Just three weeks into the month, I got asked to add 16 more homes with this new agency, which took my monthly number up to 46 assisted living group homes a month. Gulp. I said yes.
  • With all the new contracts, I knew right away I would need to actively seek to mentor other yoga teachers. This meant stepping out of the shadows and exposing myself online as a teacher who thinks outside of the Western view of yoga and be actively open with my opinion and be a tad more outspoken than I tend to be when it comes to yoga. I created an online forum that I lead to educate other yoga teachers on the method I have carefully designed for adults with neurological conditions and other disabilities and be extremely exposed when it comes to my confidence. Hiding in the shadows of my work has been comfortable.
  • Once the knee healed and I was back to my normal activity, my body decided that my foot needed to fail me and I am now dealing with an extremely inflamed and severely arthritic foot. Again, I am faced with dealing with pain while running a business and a very full life. This means asking for help, taking life a little easier when I can and giving my body so much grace.
  • One day in July I got a hair brained idea to teach a virtual 30 days of yoga series, beginning August 1. That meant I needed to get myself on a yoga mat everyday and commit to showing up for myself and others. As August 1st approached I was feeling more and more pressure, but it has actually turned out to be amazing. The messages I receive on a daily basis from new students and long time students has been so fulfilling. Plus, getting on my yoga mat (or a chair) everyday has been so great. What I initially felt to be so much added stress has actually turned into so much goodness.

The year is not over and I hope that I continue to grow into my quest to be more vulnerable. I am open to allowing myself to feel more emotions and to living with uncertainty. I have learned that each day is a chance to be present in love, laugh a little more and appreciate the emotions that arise. There are moments every day that ask me to open myself up a tiny bit more to others and to life.

What’s your word of the year? Have you done a check in?

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Creating a Ripple Effect

When you do some good work and if it inspires others, then you have just created the ripple effect. -Mohith Agadi

If you have been reading and watching awhile you know I have chosen a single word for my year for 19 years. This word acts as a compass for my thoughts, words and actions throughout the year. I create graphics, post notes, make screen savers, buy bracelets with the word embedded on it, I create essential oil blends to support my intention, I talk about it ALL THE TIME, and I basically embody the essence of the word and watch as my life adjusts. Sometimes the word and intention literally kicks my butt within days of declaring my intention and sometimes it takes months of work to reveal its magic.

It is a deep practice to me and one that I believe changes lives. For the entire month of January I basically ask anyone in my life what their word of the year is. If they look at me like I am crazy, I immediately dive into the readers digest version of the process and how we are all creators of our life.

I recently shared this lesson with the agencies serving adults with traumatic brain injuries that I teach adapt yoga and wellness in. Imagine my heart exploding when I learned today that over 30 individuals have chosen a word or theme for their year and have created affirmation cards for their bedroom. These are people with tremendous impact of disability and yet, they are showing up and doing the work.

I am so proud that one little (huge) lesson has impacted so many. This means that 30 people will be focused on living their best life, despite many challenges. It means that they will shift their focus from their limitations to what they want to create in their life.

They could choose to just be angry and wait until life takes them. They could be focused on being a victim and losing everything. They could be focused on the should have beens. They could have made excuses as to why it will never work.

Instead, they embrace a lesson and run with it.

That is the ripple effect that happens when someone does the work and then shares the life changing lesson with anyone willing to listen (or not). These brave people will be creating their best version of their life through the power of intention, and in return it will impact others. That is powerful.

So, are YOU ready to choose a theme for your year? Are you ready to create the life of your dreams?

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Word 2023 — Vulnerability

If we want to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite our passion and purpose, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and how to feel the emotions that come with it. – Brené Brown

It is not like I didn’t know this. I mean, I took a semester long course with Brené Brown and stepped into the world of Daring Greatly and succeeded on many levels. And it’s not like I have not practiced being vulnerable—I left a toxic relationship, quit my job to pursue my passion, bought a house knowing it is all on me and more. I nailed it and became super empowered in the process.

Vulnerability seemed to be a thing I thrive at. Give me a life altering challenge and I will without a doubt do well. But is that really all vulnerability is?

According to Brené vulnerability is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.

Huh.

For the last couple months I have been listening to these little soul taps to look under vulnerability. To take a closer look that isn’t about becoming a badass and destroying a challenge. There was a whispering of something softer and different.

And also incredibly scary. I denied those little whispers and wanted desperately to choose a word that was easier and likely something I am already good at.

Seems to me I am able to easily handle uncertainty and risk on some levels but emotional exposure—never.

Maybe it’s my tendency to lean towards Capricorn strength and tenacity while also being a fiery redhead that gives me an unstoppable approach to life’s challenges. I don’t think raising three kids successfully alone could have been achieved any other way, but this is deeper than action. This is way deeper.

Control has always been something that brings me safety. Controlling my environment and the people I let in. Controlling my business and finances with a sharp eye. Controlling my physical health despite lots of pain by working my body to its best health. Controlling my emotions by not putting myself into situations where I might cry (or laugh). Controlling what I need by never asking for help. Exhausting maybe?

Huh.

That all sounds like emotional exposure. Doing something anyway not knowing what the response or outcome might be. Sticking my neck out and hoping for the best.

Being seen.

This is about not just being seen for what I have overcome or what I do. It will require me to being willing to reveal parts of myself that are tucked safely deep down and to do what is uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone.

I did a little exercise in my journal over the last week and here is how I see it:

Vulnerability is—
Vulnerability feels like—
Vulnerability looks like—

Vulnerability is —failing, making a mistake, exposing myself publicly, crying, screwing up, feeling scolded, asking for help, not perfecting something, feeling needy or dependent on others, asking for what I need or want and feeling out of control.

Vulnerability feels like—crushing sensation in chest, upset stomach, short breath, panic to flee, racing heart, avoidance.

Vulnerability looks like— finishing and publishing the book that has been written, asking for help, receiving help, communicating openly with others, asking to be on more podcasts, letting go of some of my high self standards (not failing), finding resolution and peace with pain, being okay with my emotions and letting my emotions be seen.

For 2023 I give myself permission to fail or to succeed. I give myself permission to not do it all alone. I give myself permission to reveal and unfold in a way that stays in alignment with my soul but also welcomes risk. I give myself permission to be seen.

Truly seen.

Emotionally exposed with risk and uncertainty.

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Word 2022 in Review (Deliberate)

Deliberate is defined as done consciously and intentionally.


I chose DELIBERATE as my word for 2022 because I wanted to be more in tune with the choices I was making and what I was saying yes to. It has become a it overused to say “boundaries” and I wanted a softer approach to how I began to create some space in my life. I opted to think of my choices as filling the margins rather than having boundaries around my time or myself. I knew that after my previous year of refining my life I was ready to take it to the next level with pausing before I said yes to anything, and also being very intentional with my communication.

Early in the year I decided to carve out Friday as my day to only choose things that led to life I was trying to create. Previously I had a tendency to say yes to everything and everyone except myself which led to me often feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and at times resentful.

I am amazed at how setting an intention, pausing before saying yes and acting with a more conscious approach to life has become now a lifestyle. Of all the years I have been choosing a single word (about 18), this one had the most evident change in several different areas of my life.

Of course one of the biggest changes to my life was choosing that one day a week to be fully aware of what I put into the margins of my day. However, there were subtle changes to my style of communicating with others, especially under emotional strain. I took the same principle of pausing before speaking and the results were a much more peaceful commutation style and way more listening happening. I found that by slowing down I was able to clearly communicate my feelings and needs without sounded ungrateful or demanding. This was across people and situations. It was really amazing to see the shift in my communication enhancing my relationships.

I also found that as I commuted twice a week, driving sometimes up to 300 miles, I was very deliberate on the road and it became a very calm, focused almost meditation. The results were that as I became more intentional of my own driving, I was far less reactive to other peoples. This created delightful drives to work and I entered into my job with a very peaceful state.

As I flip back through my planner for the year I smile as I see how many great things happened on Fridays. Some of the adventures included:

•picking up golf clubs again and doing surprisingly well!

•hiking in my old favorite spots and rediscovering some of my old trails.

•lingering coffee shop dates alone where I could write or think or simply enjoy my coffee.

•mastering a pull up and a chin up became a late in the year goal and I claimed it! So fun!

•reading books during the day instead of just before bed where I usually read only a sentence or two before my eyes became too heavy.

•crocheting a few easy hats for myself and others is a great happy hour at home pastime.

•miles and miles of walks filled each day but I was able to log longer ones on Fridays.

•developing a deeper yoga practice was important to me this year and I found having a little more time allowed me to linger a bit on my mat.

•cultivating an amazing garden has been a pleasure of mine for years and each year it gets better! Fridays were weeding days and it is so soulful.

•massages are so important for my wellness and I found Friday afternoons to be the prime time for getting one.

•strength training became a must-do habit and I could not be more thrilled. I am so much stronger and have successfully achieved a pull up! I will never not life weights again.

I am so proud of myself for making this word stick and for the essence of what it means to be deliberate and to have it become a habit. I am way more balanced and definitely happier. I intend to continue my deliberate Fridays into next year and beyond.

Did you choose a word for your year? How did it play out in your world?

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A Look Back at Refinement 2021

When I began this year, I was welcoming in the idea of taking everything that is good in and around me and polishing it off to become great. As I looked at what that would look like in my thoughts, words and actions I decided that the word that would capture this best for 2021 would be refinement. If you have hung around me for any amount of time you know that choosing a word or intention for your year is an absolute must. To me it creates a map or a guide as to how I will navigate the terrain that I will encounter throughout the 365 days of being human.

I set out to start making soft and subtle adjustments to my mindset and how I show up in the world, and the result has been incredible.

For the last eight or nine years I have been pushing so hard in my business(es) and in my own personal life, and my words of the year have been a definite reflection of that push up until 2021. The last several years my words have been ones like bold, reverence, flourish, and limitless. I have spent that last few years rallying around bettering my business and my personal growth. I feel like I have been in a constant push for several years which takes a ton of energy. Prior to that some of my words were essence, discover, and peace and each of those years brought some fantastic and grueling challenges to be within alignment with those intentions. This year though I began the process of softening a bit and living with a bit less intensity and refining aspects of my life. Realizing toward the end of 2020, I was exhausted I decided stop spinning and instead sit with what is already amazing and make it better.

Here is how I did:

  • I took a chance early this year that I could find work in the big city of Denver serving adults with brain injuries and four agencies said YES. The work has been so fulfilling and validates me in many ways. I have been an adaptive yoga teacher for many, many years but have stayed “safe” within my own little city and venturing out was a definite refining all that is good, and make it better decision.

  • I let go of teaching classes that drain, exhaust, or don’t align with my soul, and instead dove into more of what DOES feed and nourish me.

  • I discovered several close people in my life who I thought I knew really well and I felt had my best interest in mind, were very different than I thought. I chose to distance myself from that kind of energy because it was only hurting me. The freedom that has come from cleaning house as far as who I surround myself with has been liberating.

  • I let go of my attachments to outcomes related to finances and instead decided that as I spend money, I receive money. I opened the flow of reciprocity and the results have been beautiful.

  • I found my healthy weight about eighteen years ago as I let go of about eighty pounds and I have felt pretty strong despite my orthopedic challenges, BUT I took on a strength training program that has transformed me from being a very fit person to an incredibly strong and toned person. Besides the physical difference, I am empowered and confident in my body which is something of recent years I have not felt often.

  • I was able to fulfill of dream of refining my living space by renovating my house on a somewhat large scale and pay cash for most of it.

  • I realized this fall that being in alignment with my values or principles is the number one way for me to stay in the flow of goodness in all areas of my life. Step outside of those, and I become lost quite quickly. I review those vales often, especially before I make a major decision.

  • Mostly this year I spent cleaning up the parts of my life that were cluttered, unfulfilling, distracting, and at times destructive. Instead, I was busy making a simplified and glorious version of myself shine in the world.

As I gratefully spend the next day or so of 2021, I am soaking in the processes I have discovered and am preparing to close this chapter. Look for something amazing for 2022 for myself and the world.

Refinement

Refinement. noun. the process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance, the improvement or clarification of something by the making of small changes.

Each year for the last eighteen years I have chosen a single word. I like to think of the goals, resolutions and dreams that I have and funnel them down into one powerful I AM statement. Then I shave off the I AM and use that word to become the thread it which I plan to weave it into my life.

I intend to refine my business by eliminating the aspects that do not light a fire for me.

I want to teach in ways that I know are in alignment with who I want to be, not the outcome in which I think I want.

I intend to refine my personal life by learning to say yes to me.

I will say no to the things in my life that drain and exhaust me. I also intend to look closely at what I consume and make it even better.

I intend to refine my personal relationships by connecting on a deeper level to those who fuel and feed my soul.

I want to make time for those who give me something powerful to use to better myself. I want have a more refined outlook to my connections and make time for those who are deserving.

Years ago I decided that I did not like the job title of Yoga Teacher. I knew that I was much more than that so I began to refer to myself as the ‘Giver of Goodness”.

This is the year that I will refine that and become the “Giver fo Greatness”.