Month: April 2016

A work in progress

This blog is a work in progress, yet has been in the works for many years. I have 100’s of “potential blog posts”, “book excerpts”, and other creative writing pieces that I have felt compelled to share. I have stories to tell, words to motivate and inspire, endless compassion to contribute, virtual and literal hugs to give, empathetic tears to shed, joyful dances to share. I have life lessons to bestow; some painstakingly hard, others humbling beyond belief, and yet more abundantly empowering and enlivening. All of what I share I intend to be of service, of help, of support, and, maybe just maybe of inspiration…in the realm of rising from the ashes literally and figuratively, as I have done many, many times.

I do not claim to be superior, guru-esque, evolved, enlightened, or any other term of arrogance or better than. I humbly feel called to simply share my words, my experiences, and my life stories in hopes that perhaps I can reach even one other human on this wild path of life that may need a little boost, a hint of commiseration, and a few words of true empathy.

My words are genuine, authentic, personal, and well intentioned. Themes in my life range from decades of healing from a debilitating eating disorder and all that shakes out from that dysfunction and disembodiment, the pangs of a challenging (that is an understatement!) pregnancy, subsequent post partum depression coupled with the extremes of new motherhood issues and an abusive marriage…quickly moving into single parenting an 18 month old forward and the insane ride that has been. Whew! If that isn’t enough, let’s throw in a house fire, an exceptionally fiery child with all-consuming needs on every level, the ups and downs of single-parent dating and the adventures I have had over the years, and, oh so much more…BUT, I choose every single day what to focus on. Years ago I made the decision…the “choice” to step out of the place of victimhood/”woo is me”/”if only my life was blah blah” and leap into the place of appreciation for this wild and sometimes quite rocky path that is my life. This is not to say that I always reside in that space, but I strive to and when I fall down I do get back up rapidly. This is also not to say that I am always happy, smiley, yay life…I feel and I feel A LOT. I feel everything, a blessing and a curse of being born a Scorpio. In the spirit of using our greatest challenges as medicine and a means to connect to the universe as a whole and other fellow humans on this wild ride of life, I officially begin my blog. I am open for business and excitedly and timidly expose myself in the most authentic way of connecting that I have experienced thus far in my 41 years of life.

12 Tips for Embodying Traumatic Life Experiences: How one yogini and mother found her way through the trauma of a house fire.

On January 14th of this year, my 6-year old son and I drove up to our home on fire. A fluke “accident” caused this fire and the subsequent loss of 90% of our belongings as well as a forced displacement. I am a hard working single mom and we had just moved into this beautiful home a few months prior. I had poured my heart, soul, and resources into creating the most amazing and upgraded residence that we had ever had the privilege of calling home. In that fleeting moment of arrival, the panic, and awareness of the massiveness of what was happening has forever changed me, and I know, my son. Life will never be the same and the preciousness of life itself remains at the forefront of our everyday reality.

What unfolded in the days and weeks after are a slight blur as I was in a state of shock and quite traumatized. I became fixated on simply being in the moment each and every day – really knowing for the first time in my life that that is truly all we have. The tasks that lay before me of digging through our smoke infested belongings searching for only meaningful items to keep, literally throwing away the majority of my “stuff” that I had worked so hard to obtain, tending to my equally affected 6 year old, keeping up with daily affairs and needs, trying to stay afloat financially, and taking care of myself in a way that was absolutely non-negotiable and essential under these conditions; could have sent me spinning into a state of complete overwhelm and paralysis…yet, it didn’t. For the most part, I remained calm, grounded, embodied, and receptive during this time of transition. I took care of what needed to be taken care of, I communicated with those that were asking to be communicated with, I operated from my heart to the best of my ability, and, we made it through….we found our way through the shock and trauma and landed back home in a grateful, easeful, and loving way.

How did I navigate this situation in such a way? There are so many factors, a huge one being that I opened myself up to receiving from community in a way that I never have been able to before. This experience alone could have carried me through beautifully. I also put my 25-year yoga practice into action in my everyday moments. I had to. It was non-negotiable. And, I did up the ante in a huge way and, I believe, that the level that I have taken myself to is a direct result of this process…..I remained embodied. I put my self-care and embodiment practices at the forefront of needs. I knew in my soul that this was absolutely critical to my ability to handle what was being asked of me. Success!! I made my way through the most traumatic experience of my 41 years of life thus far in tact and stronger and clearer than ever.

I offer these tips for moving through traumatic life experiences embodied and they all stem from truly put your health, wellbeing, and self-care practices ahead of everything else:
1. This is a tough one for those of us (you know who I am talking to!!) who are accustomed to putting everyone else’s needs ahead of our own. It is a MUST DO each and every day. This does not mean you go and get a massage every day by any stretch of the imagination. I am referring to tending to your body and your nervous system through tracking your breath throughout your day, taking the time for even a short meditation and yoga practice, a walk in the fresh air breathing all of the beauty and goodness around you in. Feeling the pulse of your heart beating as you walk and breathe.
2. Move your body! Dance around your house. Get on your mat even for 10 minutes. Walk outside. Stretch while cooking, talking on the phone, etc. Keep the energy moving.
3. Give yourself 10 minutes to just BE with YOU before tending to your children in the morning.
4. Look into your own eyes through the mirror and give yourself positive feedback; smile at yourself, tell yourself how great you are doing, that you are going to get through this, and that you are here for you.
5. Eat regularly and lots of greens in every form.
6. Drink more water than you think you need and add a splash of lemon and/or apple cider vinegar to add some extra hydration and balance to your system.
7. Utilize herbal formulas (I like Ayurvedic ones from John Douillard) and steep good quality nourishing herbs every day to make strong tea. Feed the tea to yourself and those that you are taking care of (I add a few drops of stevia to the tea and call it ‘sweet tea’ for my son who chugs it!).
8. Use flower essences (Bach Rescue Remedy and I love the essences from
9. Make (or buy) bone broth and drink some every day.
10. Take high quality vitamins, supplements, and fish oil; this is not the time to skimp on your body’s need for nourishment and fuel.
11. Get acupuncture regularly. Acupuncture is one of the most powerfully supportive medicines for every system of the body and is crucial during times of high stress. Check your local community for clinics who offer affordable treatments.
12. Lean into your friends, family, and community resources and really open your heart to all of the love that is begging to be poured your way. Say thank you and express authentic gratitude as much as possible; you can never say it enough.

This traumatizing and life altering experience has renewed my faith in humanity and in community as well as my already devoted commitment to my embodiment practices. I believe with all of my being that we have the capacity to give and receive love and support infinitely if we can soften and open up to it. Experiences that bring you to your knees offer that opportunity…. you just must make the choice to take it.


Alison Rothman MA CMT CYT is a yogini, dancer, body worker, single mother, earth lover, and natural healer. She has committed herself to embodying the everyday realities of humanity through various practices and lifestyle choices and is passionate about sharing her discoveries and inspirations with others. She leads retreats locally and internationally blending ancient and modern movement with everyday wisdom through deep, embodied, and inspired teachings. She lives in beautiful Boulder, CO. with her son.

To be a woman…..

The first time I started finding interest in blogging was right after officially becoming a
single mom. Granted I had felt like one for years but it became official in December of
2010 when my son’s father moved out of our home. I can clearly remember a deep sense
of relief, empowerment, liberation… a woman. Although there was so much that was
unknown to me and much to actually be quite scared of, I felt empowered as a woman. I
felt my spine for the first time since meeting this man at the ripe age of 30. I was in a
transition while turning 30, attempting to really find myself and to be at peace in my skin,
in my body and in my life. I attracted him in on the actual day of my 30th birthday and
my life turned upside down. Instead of what I had intended to be a liberation from my
painful and challenging 20s I instead began spinning my wheels in the grasp of this man,
whom I believed to be my soul mate. I lost myself. I lost any sense of my feminity – at
least in any peaceful sense of the word. I found myself in an abusive and debhilitating
addictive cycle with him. A true love/hate relationship, with a whole lot of passion and
sexual energy as the cherry on the top. That is what kept us going for many years…the
sex. Although it was never as good as it was at the beginning before the extreme amount
of dis-ease made its way between us, but it was apparently enough to keep us cycling
and even making two huge rites of passage with each other: marriage and baby-making.
It was the classic story of hoping and praying that the next thing would “fix us” – would
make ME feel better about myself; with him and, more importantly, as a woman. I
started to resent other women whom, to me, were happy, healthy, and embodied. My
addictive patterns of food abuse raged throughout the relationship and marriage and I
became more dysfunctional than ever; except that I had this man to enable me. It was
fucked up and I could not see my way out.
Fast forward 3 years: I am now on the cusp of turning 39 and I am feeling stronger, more
empowered and alive than ever before. I feel integration. I feel a deep sense of who I
am….as a woman, and now as a mother of a 4 and 1/2 year old. Of course, I am in
constant recognition that I actually do not know much about what it is to be a woman –
that I am only learning and that there are so many of my elders who are paving the way
and teaching in their everyday actions and BEING of how to really be a woman. The
kind of woman that I constantly strive to be. It is the kind of woman who is raw,
vulnerable, strong, capable, empowered in herself, kind in heart and mind, loving, deeply
compassionate for those in her life as well as for the planet as a whole. She does not
feel herself as ONE alone, but rather she knows herself to be CONNECTED to the
whole in a profound and healing way. A way that does not need to be questioned; it is
so obviously who she is. A woman who is so in tune with her body that she takes
exquisite care of its needs and understands that she does not need to be following
societal rules and regulations; rather can tune into her own intuition and enjoy all of the
flavors and richness of life. A woman who embraces her feminine curves and does not
try to carve herself into the masculine body of a male. She knows in her bones that this
is the way women were born to be on this planet.
I recognize in myself this cellular change that I am undergoing around myself as a woman,
my body, my ability to be secure and open in intimacy, and the genuineness of my
everyday life as fuel to my spiritual life. They are one in the same. I intend and desire to
continue this process of cultivation; including a deep peacemaking process with my
femininity and all its shapes and colors, surrender to the mundane yet richness of
everyday life, and bringing more gratitude into my awareness of it all – especially in the
funky, exhausted aspects where there is absolutely nothing glamorous about being…..a

The Joys of Single Parenting…

For over 5 years now I have been a single mom – single parenting my little boy.  For the entirety of those years every time I would meet someone or talk to someone about my reality the overarching reaction was always something to the effect of:  “you poor thing” “wow, a single mom, that’s awful” “etc…you get the gist of it.  I actually did buy into that belief system for quite awhile myself – throwing a pity party for myself at every turn – feeling really bad about who I am and the reality of my life as a single mom; single parenting my little boy.

Over the years as layers of acceptance have washed over me what is left is simply:  yes, it is hard – sometimes it is fucking hard juggling it all and still showing up for my boy and myself, BUT, the unraveling of the struggle has left me in a place of softness, trust, gratitude, and actual JOY at the opportunity that I have to be a single parent….a journey not all get to walk on, but a unique and empowering one nonetheless.

As my boy approaches his 7th birthday, I am flooded with the imprints of all of those challenging times…yet, rather than the focus being on the harshness of them, I truly see the beauty in it all.  Kai and I have walked a tight rope together and there is nothing more beautiful and powerful than the dance we have been on.  I look back at pictures of him when he was little and, sadly I do not remember much.  I do not remember his laugh, his voice, what he enjoyed, what we did together….I was in survival mode. I was overwhelmed and was doing the absolute best that I could given the resources that I had available to me.  Looking back I do have the strong urge to go back in time so that I may show up in a different way…in an embodied and more present way.  I feel sad looking at those pictures of my baby remembering how disconnected I was and also grief for myself in those moments.  I did not choose to be as such.  I did not want to be in a state of shock and overwhelm for years post birth.  I never in my life would have imagined that I would have landed in that place…in that way….after giving birth.  Yet, I did.  I cannot take back those years.  I cannot go back in time and change the state of events.  I cannot go back to my decision to become pregnant with a man whom was abusive and unsupportive.  I cannot change any of it.  All that I can do is embrace it all as a part of a long, strange, beautiful, unpredictable, heart wrenching and heart opening life.  It is simply a chapter in time – not the whole story.  I am choosing to focus on the continual unfolding of the other chapters in life as single mama to Kai – and there are many.

Life takes us on so many twists and turns – throwing us upside down and sideways.  Becoming a single mom and taking on the extremely important role as a single parent has definitely taken me on a ride…a ride of the unknown and unpredictability; pain and pleasure, stress and strain, love and joy, empowerment and collapse.  But, at the end of it all…what I have is an incredible life with an amazing little boy and opportunity after opportunity to repair, open my heart in a deeper way, soften to what is, and tap into the unending life force that is accessible to us all in every moment.  Embodying myself as a single mama, as the sole provider and primary emotional and physical support for Kai.  There is nothing glamorous about this path, but there is also absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.  There is nothing to fall victim to here.  NOTHING.  It all comes down to choice….we can choose to take our life circumstances by the balls and embrace and celebrate them OR we can cower, sulk, and throw a huge pity party about how hard life is.  Five plus years into single parenting, I recognize in myself the shift in perspective.  I feel the power rising up my spine, grounding in my feet and my belly, and finally truly keeping my eyes wide open to all of the magic and joy that is alive in being a single parent.

Eat Breathe Thrive

I grew up dancing from a very young age. I was in recitals and competitions; dressed in tight leotards and tutus performing in front of people. I was aware of my body. I was especially aware of my body in relation to others. I can remember in 3rd grade being weighed by the teacher and our weights being posted on a board. As I was taller than most at that time, I also weighed more. Humiliation. First real step towards the development of the eating disorder which eventually plagued my life for almost 20 years and which will live within me for the duration of this lifetime. Thank you to Mrs. Hirsch, my 3rd grade teacher.

So began my lifetime journey of disconnect from my body and my undying search to reconnect.

At 40 years of age, I am committed within myself to live from an embodied place. I am committed to finding my breath in the toughest of moments. I am committed to returning to a place of love and compassion for my body even in those moments of wanting to flee the scene. I am committed to residing from my heart, tapping into that endless flow of energy at the center of my being; especially when I want to shut down and get as far away from that space as possible. As this does sound like a simple and doable way of being, I know firsthand of the complexity of this process and do not take it lightly for a moment. 15 + years into my recovery, I still struggle with my own personal embodiment. And while I am high functioning, there are many days when I am so triggered it is hard for me to “land” in a grounded way in my body so that I am equipped to respond appropriately. This has improved greatly and 90% of the time I feel awake and present to what is alive for me and able to differentiate when there are old triggers and how best to approach the situation. I am becoming more and more aware, as a woman with a lifetime of eating disorders, that I have always felt like my embodiment needed to only be when I was thin or not eating much. I could not be embodied when I was a little softer and relaxed. I only gave myself permission to be in my body when I was working out obsessively, running up trails, doing hours of yoga or dancing. I am realizing more and more that that is literally the polar opposite of embodiment, and to me, is “false embodiment”. There is no veracity to that way of living. There is no level of authentically embracing oneself. This way of “embodying” involves living from a spurious place; lacking in connection to the truth of who you are. Embodiment is when we can actually surrender to what is; how our bodies look and feel without wanting to change them or alter them.

We must be embodied in order to make good choices and live from a centered place. As women with disordered eating patterns and dysfunctional ways of nourishing and living; quite often we are habitually numb to our bodies sensations, our buried needs for true nourishment, and the multi-layered cries for what we are really hungry for. We are unable to differentiate what it is we are undoubtedly seeking in life; which is showing up as an obsession with food as the metaphor for it all; be it love, acceptance, touch, or connection amongst copious other unmet needs. We must be willing to ‘go there’; to really acknowledge that it is not about the food and to find the deepest compassion and holding for that place of ourselves that has so many longings that the food has tried to meet for us with painstaking lack of success. Just by honoring that alone, there is so much potential for healing, growth, and finding true peace in ourselves and in our embodiment.

This is a process of ‘waking up’ our bodies and tuning into the plethora of sensations within us. From that place of aliveness we are empowered to cultivate the ability to differentiate between it’s varying needs, which are ever-changing moment to moment. This ‘process’ is a deep and profound one and requires an infinite amount of courage and support as it involves unleashing many feelings and emotions that have not been palpable to us throughout our lives. It requires patience, perseverance, compassion, support, and a rooted belief in our own capacities to heal. This path is not for the faint or weary. It has the potential to ebb and flow depending on where we are in current life and how much we are able to allow to move and flow. We must titrate our experiences as this process of embodiment is serious business and is not to be taken lightly. To ensure longevity of the recovery and unearthing of our true selves, pacing is key and approaching all of it with gentleness and a willingness to be brought to your knees over and over again; each time finding oneself closer to the truth of who you are at your essence. It is from that place of empowerment where we are able to persevere and continue forward on our path with another layer of determination unleashed.

So, as I am fine tuning my own process with myself, my heart, my body, and my relations; I want to keep that gesture of possibility flowing of holding onto the highest good for myself — I do not need to turn back to old ways of comforting…unless I need to. There are no rules and regulations with this process and we all need the reminder that it is just that….a process. There is no point that you get to where you are complete. It is ongoing, constantly shifting, revealing layers upon layers of yourself in perfect timing, and, I can promise you, if you stick with it there is true peace and grace at the end of the tunnel. No matter how many years it takes to get there….there is unequivocal light and love at the end awaiting your arrival.

and then there came the day when i stopped trying to get rid of myself and started truly embracing myself — warts and all…stopped exercising incessantly…stopped sticking those headphones in and forcing the repetitive motion of my legs on an elliptical….stopped telling myself stories of ‘needing to’ and started checking in about what i really ‘needed’. what was my body actually asking for? what would feel really damn good? what kinds of movements would nourish rather than punish? what foods would feed not only my body but also my soul?

i stopped relying on the mirror to bring me happiness and i chose to find it within…no matter what that damn mirror said. i stopped listening to that loud voice that was so comfortable with punishment and suffering — that incessant voice of defeat and negativity — and i started allowing the voice of loving kindness, compassion, wisdom and maturity to be at the forefront. true acknowledgement of the role that the latter has had on my 40 years of being….i needed her to survive….but, now, she is getting in the way of me living my truest shining light of a life and i do not need or want her around anymore. it is with the deepest compassion that i bid farewell — honoring the past and the incredible journey we have taken together — finding gratitude for the lessons and opportunities that she has provided me….and, now it is time to release and allow the space of transformation and genuine power to emerge. that which has been bubbling. that which has been on simmer for many years — is finally really ready to come to a boil — she cannot be contained any longer.

so it is with the utmost respect, love, and courage that i lean into her….with trust, faith, determination, and an undeniable belief in myself and the power to self-heal. ~Alison Rothman 2015