Decide to Rise

This week at Thunderbolt Power Yoga, I treated my students to hand-standing.  While the peak pose was rooted in physicality,  the underlying theme of my class was focused on the internal dialogue one has between their gut reactions (stomach) and their interpretation of those reactions. When a student realizes that his thinking mind is getting in the way of his heart, he often realizes that judgement, self-critiscim, and fear have blocked him from what he really wants.   

In vinyasa yoga, ujjayi breathing is at the forefront of the practice. When a student takes an inhale breath, his body fills like a hot air balloon, and the air literrally rises up. When the body is full of upward lifting breath- the air travels up and expands in the students chest - when upside down this feeling is akin to flying.  The breath out softens the students chest and allows the yogi to release breath retention.  When a student exhales, the breath out also allows an optimal space to exit the handstand. 

While exhaling is a physical release, it is also a spiritual release.  When a student breathes out, I choose to speak to the underlying themes of letting go, dropping self-judgement, and preparing for the next breath in.  When a student can truly move, breathe, and enjoy the space he is in - almost a ‘footloose and fancy free way’ - fear doesn’t have the space to captivate him.

Carly, "Press your hands down into earth. Engage your top leg more. Handstand" 

Do you rise up? or do you shrink. Decide to Rise 😊

Today, I’m sharing a reading from Danielle LaPorte that’s been a source of inspiration in hopes that it will inspire all of you, too, to Decide to Rise.


Decide to Rise:

Push. Turn up the volume. Go hard. Go harder. Re-prioritize your aches and pains. Infuse your sensitivities with courage. Tell fear to f*** right the f*** off. Devote to Done.

There are soul-justified reasons to cancel. There are times to just stop. This isn’t one of them. Keep going. Show up. Full on. Full tilt. Full out.

Decide to be one of those people who pull it off.

Do what you say you’re going to do.

Don’t let us down.

Decide to rise.

Why decide to rise? Not for the reasons you might think. In fact, these are the reasons that will make you sick and tired:

  • Do not rise out of obligation. Do not rise because of feared consequences. Do not rise because you think being tough makes you smarter (it doesn’t.)

  • Decide to rise because you want to expand…your being, your life, your possibilities.

  • Decide to rise because super powers are meant to be activated and applied in everyday life.

  • Decide to rise to explore your place in the universe.

On the other side of deciding to rise is illumination, ecstasy, insight.

And the angel of your strength is there waiting, smiling, applauding, with a goblet of endorphins for you. Drink up.

When you transcend circumstances you get special privileges. You get evidence that you are indeed amazing, and irrefutable proof that what your heart and mind choose is what matters. And you get the deep knowing that life wants you to win.

Decide to rise.

Lean in. Listen up. Closely.

It’s your soul speaking and she says,

Get UP! I need you. I want you. I am you. Choose me.

Lean in. Listen up. Closely.

Decide to rise.


Carly Grace Milyo

Born in New York City,  Carly Grace grew up in Atlanta and graduated from The Westminster Schools.  Carly received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Virginia Tech in 2012. During her college career, Carly began practicing yoga as an escape from her intense ACC Cheerleading training. The rigor and requirements Carly upheld as an ACC athlete combined with the social expectations and action packed schedule expected of an Alpha Phi left Carly depleted both physically and mentally.  Before Carly found yoga, she used running, partying with friends, and restricting her diet to maintain a sense of control in her life. It was Carly's true desire to find more purposeful and authentic friendships and to invest her time in cultivating her greater well-being and spirituality that lead her to yoga. 

The creativity and physical challenge of yoga captivated and inspired Carly. Yoga was the first thing Carly practiced where the perfect-ten mentality was not required; in fact, perfection is the antithesis of yoga principles.  After hanging up her poms poms and retiring from her ACC Cheerleading career, Carly quickly found herself  invested in the In Balance Yoga Community in Blacksburg, VA.  With encouragement and affirmation from Studio Owner, Becky Crigger, Carly set out for New York City to train with Dana Trixie Flynn at Laughing Lotus Love Skool.

Yoga Alliance 200 E-RYT, Carly has studied and practiced with many influencers and teachers all over the United States.  Carly currently teaches Thunderbolt Power Yoga®;  a powerful alignment based vinyasa flow inspired by some of her greatest influencers including, Dana Trixie Flynn and Baron Baptiste.  Carly infuses creative ideas and sequencing into her classes. Her purpose as a teacher is to inspire people to move like themselves. Carly is committed to helping students be audaciously playful in both their practice and in their lives. 

You can catch Carly Grace teaching at her studio Thunderbolt Power Yoga, at off-site events such as the infamous FIT Yoga Series with Carly Grace at W Atl Buckhead, at music festivals, corporate conferences, and more!  Be sure to look out for Carly's quarterly Boombox Power Yoga® Class offered alongside a live DJ, accompanied by her pink boombox, and enhanced with a 16 inch disco ball. 

In the mean time, you can follow her adventures on instagram (@yoga__barbie) or give her a wave when you see her drive by in her infamous pink jeep!