How to recover from a meltdown- like a yogi

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     I actually had two meltdowns this past weekend. Unfortunately my sweet undeserving kids received the brunt of my exhaustion, tears, and some yelling that I’m definitely not proud of.  As a naturally even tempered person meltdowns, freak-outs, and totally losing it happens infrequently- but as a regular old human they still happen sometimes.

   This past weekend was the perfect storm; 2 am night at the hospital with my mom ( and everything both leading up to and following her admittance and 2 day stay), my daughter getting diagnosed with lyme disease, all while not quite walking on firm footing after being away for the whole summer and school starting, along with all the regular everyday stuff. I was just plain vulnerable, ripe for a breakdown- which ( by the way) almost always leads to a breakthrough.

      Some may argue that being a Yogi means becoming immune to such tendencies. While my overwhelm has lessened considerably over many years, being in a body means that from time to time things inevitably pile up. To me being a yogi doesn’t mean avoiding such instances altogether, but learning how to move through them with less suffering. 

    I feel pretty lucky to have the tools needed for a quick recovery, and the understanding that while pain isn't optional- suffering really is.


Let’s start with what doesn’t work, which I find just as valuable as what does.
Here’s a list of what not to do ( if you actually want to feel better):

* Get drunk

* Binge watch Netflix

* Stay up all night reliving the horror

* Eat junk food

* Ignore, avoid, numb, deny


Full disclosure-this list was easy because I’ve done (and sometimes still do) all these things. This time I was able to keep the what not to do’s to a minimum and spend more time and energy on actually taking care of myself. Ayurveda ( yoga's sister science of health care and self care) teaches us that a sure fire way to suffer is to ignore the past, which means healing requires us to actually learn from yesterday. 

 Here is what does work to feel human and whole again after falling apart:


*Let yourself cry, scream ( hopefully not at anyone), and/or journal with big messy angry handwriting. I find this is a must- I had a dance/yoga/cry fest that left me feeling surprisingly renewed.


*Turn screens off early - a little distraction may not be a bad thing, but everything in moderation. For those who have a hard time sleeping, the earlier the better.


*Get to bed before 10- puffy eyes and all. Not much ( if anything)that can replace a good night's sleep.


*When you're a little more calm explain to your loved ones what you're feeling, making sure they know it’s not their fault you flipped. Let them know what they can do to support you. If you're not sure, take some time to ask yourself- if you don’t know how could they?


*Massage your feet with oil- I like coconut for cooling with a few drops of lavender for calming.    ( If your not sure where to begin check out my self massage video)


*Eat only if your hungry ( something light and easy to digest like vegetable soup) and drink water even if you're not thirsty ( too many tears can dry you up quick)


*This one is huge- wake up early. Ideally before the sun. Let the one time of day when darkness turns into light work it’s magic on your mood. Sit with yourself, move your body. Count your blessings, but don’t discount your pain.


What are your go to's for quick meltdown recovery? What helps you move from from breakdown to breakthrough?

Are you looking to fill your self healing toolbox? Join me at the end of September for the next round of The Daily Sacred. In 12 weeks you'll learn how to develop daily routines to feel more balanced and aligned, daily practices to take your healing into your own hands, and daily renewal to integrate more ease and joy into your life- all from the wisdom of yoga and ayurveda If this sounds like just what you need let's talk. Space is limited and the start date is around the corner.

 

 

 

Coming home to you

        Last month I went on a retreat in Mexico ( I think I may have mentioned this once or twice ?). My experiences are my inspiration - and this proved no exception to that rule. Whereas the word retreat means to pull away from- in a spiritual context it also implies a coming closer to, or as I like to say- coming home. I find this idea of coming home to ourselves is really big, that’s why you may have noticed I have been talking about it for weeks! It’s at the heart of feeling happy, supported, seen, and comfortable in your own skin. The yogi’s describe 5 bodies to which we are coming home; the physical body, the breath/energy/life force body, the mental body, the wisdom/intuition/inner knowing body, and the bliss body which can be referred to as the soul. The definition that I have been loosely working with is the process of turning inwards for guidance, answers, and power rather than outsourcing to someone or something other than you. But there is more to it than that- when I think of coming home I think of  my actual home. You know the one with walls, a bed, a toilet, and a roof. Both the one I grew up in as well as the one in which I’m raising my kids is a place of belonging, comfort, warmth, acceptance, and unconditional love. Those of you that are lucky like me and grew up in (and/or have now) a mostly healthy, happy home probably would use similar words to describe what it means to you. A commitment to understanding and uniting all of our parts opens the potential to experience these qualities of home not just in our own bedrooms, but in our own selves. This week I thought we’d look at what this means for our food body- the one that we can touch, see, feed, and feel.

           Whether or not you are a parent- we are all mothers to our own bodies. Our bodies are a gift put under our care for this lifetime- whether you believe this is the only or just one of many. Your body was created from nature itself and is really just yours on loan. It’s easy and common to treat it instead like a belonging or something that you own. As mother to my girls I’m aware of the impact of my words. So that even in the moments that they have chosen behavior that is “ bad” ,  “uncooperative”, or just generally harder for ….ME- I’m very clear that it doesn’t change how much they are wanted, loved, and needed, or how much they belong. I carefully point out it’s really only the choices that they made that presented difficulty- they themselves are still worthy and their heart is not to blame. Yet as the mothers to our bodies it's often as if the same rules don't apply. I don’t say this lightly, and not only from my inner experience, but also as a professional yoga teacher of 15 years. I ask students regularly if there is anything they want to share about their practice or bodies and when they do have something to say the response is often the same. It’s something along the lines of I have a “bad” knee, shoulder, back etc - as if their body was intrinsically “bad”. Usually negative words are used for the description, as if these parts are less deserving because they require more attention, don't look or act ideal, and as if because of that they somehow don’t belong. This is something I have been working on a lot- doting on the parts of me that I have seen as less than, injured, broken, ugly, or wrong. How can I treat them as the parts that need even more love and a reminder that they too ( imperfections and all) do in fact belong?

          Two words- self massage. The ancient practice of rubbing oil into the skin ( abhyanga), and using your own hands to heal is an incredible antidote for separateness and recipe for integration, and self love.  I have been doing it on and off for years, regularly for a while, and most recently while thanking my body- out loud.

“Thank you wrinkly belly skin for stretching to carry two babies at once - I love you. Thank you low back- your occasional discomfort reminds me how to exercise and move to strengthen and protect myself. Even when you’re in pain - I love you and you belong”.

It’s the physical act of coming home to this borrowed body and tending to that which relies on all the other parts of me for care. How about you?  Are you ready to work on loving the parts you’ve been blaming, separating, ignoring or wishing away? Finally nurturing the pieces that have probably just been asking for attention, acceptance and help to repair? If so this gift is for you, and any friends you’d like to pass it along to! It’s a short video guide on how to use your hands ( oil or not) to follow the path of self massage that can help to lead you home.

finding the way home

         I just got back from a retreat in Mexico. It was a time of deep reflection, connection, rejuvenation, and dance parties. It was a week to slow down and allow the natural shift from the regular mode of doing and thinking to the quieter more receptive state of feeling and being.

The word retreat seems so incomplete as a description of the experience as to retreat implies to move away from, pull back, or even in military terms give up. Sure there was a withdrawal from my daily schedule, the to-do’s and maybe most importantly from all the regular roles I play as mother, wife, daughter, and teacher. What I found even more significant though was less about what I was moving away from, but what I was moving towards.

There is this a paradox within the disengaging in that it actually allows one to engage more. To me what the engaging more means is that I’m coming home to myself. I find this idea of coming home to myself to be….big. Huge. Massive. Maybe even at the core of what we are doing here. Here as in this moment reading a spiritual blog, but also here in these bodies, here on this planet, here in this life. You may never have thought about it in these terms, but in our own unique way we are all walking this path, trying to find our way home. In the broadest terms this means connecting more to the power and wisdom that is within rather than looking for answers outside. Whether you realize it or not we are all asking questions. They vary from things like what food is best for my body to questions like what is my purpose in life, and everything in between. Regardless of the details, they are all questions that at their core embody this whole concept of how to come closer to "me". I don’t claim to have the definitive say or the universal definition of what this means but I can share with you what it means to me, and what it means from the yogic perspective. All in hopes that it helps you discover more of what it means to you. Sometimes when we find meaning it’s in realizing what doesn’t feel meaningful. Part of the way we start to understand ourselves is often in seeing who we are not. So If anything shared doesn't resonate can you take it as a sign that you are on the right track? That you are finding meaning in that which does not click, which also shows that you are getting closer to that which does. So really it’s another way of retreat. We are simultaneously moving away to move closer towards.  

     Since most of you ( including me ) are yogi’s, let’s start with looking at what the yogis of yore have to say about what/who we are coming home to and how they define “me”. Then over the next few weeks we can look at the different parts and details of what this perspective offers in order to understand how we find ourselves there. The yogi’s have lots to say about who we really are, what we are made of, and how to experience the greatest authenticity, happiness, and fulfillment within ourselves. It’s basically what the whole art and science are all about. According to this ancient philosophy we are comprised of 5 different distinct bodies that are called sheaths or in Sanskrit Koshas. The first of which we are most familiar with- the food body of flesh and bone. It’s the physical body we can touch and see. The body that is nourished by food and allows us to move throughout the world. The second body is the body of breath. It’s the body of energy, sensation, and our life force. I can’t speak directly from my own experience as I was pretty out of it when my twin daughters came into the world  ( emergency c-section story for another day) but I was there and totally clear when my Grandmother left. The moments of transition seem to be the ones that make this body almost visible, and I saw that as the life force left it felt like something I could almost touch. The mind is the the next body that we all know well. Our thoughts, memories, and perceptions are stored there. It’s the part of us that can seemingly transport us back to the past or into the future.When it’s calm and even momentarily  gets out of the way we can start to experience the present. Our intuition has a body all of it’s own, also known as the wisdom body, the intellect, or the first embodiment of light. It’s that inner sense of knowing that we can often feel in our gut, and the voice that grows louder the more we practice really listening. The fifth body, the deepest, most subtle and purest of them all is the one of true bliss. Some might call this the part of god that is within us, or the soul. This is the part that is thought to be unchanging. It’s only our perception of it that changes based on the balance, clarity, or at home-ness of the other four. All of the other bodies tend to get gunked up with daily living, including undigested food, stuck feelings and thoughts, and unabsorbed experiences. Imagine a starry night sky. Some nights the sky is so clear that the stars twinkle incredibly bright. Other nights the sky is blanketed with clouds or fog hiding the stars from view. In the middle of the desert millions of stars are visible, and in the middle of city the litter of light pollution makes it hard to see more than just a few. Regardless of the location, or the convergence of water and air the luminosity of the stars doesn’t actually change- only how much or little we are able to see. Taking the time to retreat for 5 minutes on the cushion, an hour on the mat, or for a week in paradise is one of the ways that we can experience a cloudless sky where the star of our souls has the clearest path to shine.

      I’m curious if this is how you see yourself? What words would you use to represent home? Can you describe the moments when you feel most comfortable in your own skin? I’d love to hear your questions and insights so this becomes more of a conversation and way less about me. I can use myself and my experience as a jumping off point, but if you write back it can become much more about you.

A little goes a long way

      When you feel inspired to make changes It’s natural to want to go big- quit your job with no notice, throw out all your belongings and start fresh, or shave your head ( or maybe a slightly less drastic new do). While there is a time and place for overhauls- in my experience when we try and and change too much too fast in the way we care for ourselves it backfires. There’s proof of it everywhere- jumping into a new relationship after a break up usually ends in a rebound romance, when loosing too much weight too rapidly usually results in gaining it right back. In yoga often it’s moving too quickly and too deeply into a posture that causes injury.  When we try and do too much too fast the brain interprets it not so much as change, but instead as danger -and so the body does everything it can to protect and resist against this interpreted destruction. When we instead take small, steady, baby steps we can circumvent the danger reflex, making things a little easier.

    When my hubby bought me a cordless drill as my birthday gift back in December, it sparked one of my resolves- to nourish myself more for fuel then for fun, and to source more nourishment as directly as possible- from local farms, my own backyard or the kitchen countertop. My daydream was that on day one I would start collecting the coconuts from my backyard and use my new drill as it was intended- to harvest the coconut water. Instead, the drill sat unopened for a month and I knew that jumping in with two feet wasn’t going to work. There is a multi stage roller coaster of emotion when we make change - the first of which is uninformed optimism. This is when we are just excited about what we want to do and can only see how wonderful implementing this change will be, and have no idea that in actuality it’s going to be much harder than it looks. The thing about uninformed optimism is that unfortunately it doesn’t last too long and then we are stuck wading through the sticky muck of real change. How do we walk through muck? One step at a time. I thought my first step was small enough when I set my sights on just plugging the drill in to charge- letting go of the all at once ideal image. As it turns out, that step was still too big. So instead I decided to start talking and writing about it. For those of you who know me- you know that talking comes easy and for me it’s the lowest hanging fruit. When reaching for fruit (especially a coconut) that is too high, it’s really easy to fall hard.

    We can apply this little goes a long way approach not only to our daily self care habits, but also to the way we practice yoga. The moment when a yoga teacher asks you to close your eyes- some days it may feel like a giant leap. Instead a more useful step may be to close the eyes just half way and cast a soft, hazy kind of gaze. When attempting to deepen a posture it may mean moving so slightly ( or internally) that the shift isn’t visible, but still deeply felt. I studied with a wonderful Iyengar teacher years back who often said  ( and probably still does) that the long lasting way is the slow way. She also said something like this: metamorphosis is really just a series of small shifts over a period of time, eventually culminating in radical transformation right under you nose. Coming from a woman who was still doing daily headstands at the age of 70- I think she was on to something.

    So what is your smallest step, your lowest hanging fruit, your 1 degree shift? When we move even in the tiniest way we change the whole trajectory of where we are headed. By making the most manageable progress to just talk about using my drill - I eased my way forward. I’m happy to report it’s charged, and I have even started using coconut water in morning smoothies for me and my kiddos. I’d love to hear about how you can break down your resolve or intention into a micro-action that really works for you. If you're not sure what that little step is- let's figure it out together! Send me an email or join our Facebook group and let’s break it down. I’d love to hear from you.

      If you feel ready to take the first step towards long lasting change, ready to make your health and happiness a greater priority, and ready to learn about what real self care is- then fill out this application for The Daily Sacred; habits for everyday evolution. We will set a time to chat and see if it’s right for you. If this is you, and it turns out to be a good fit, we will spend the next 3 months together building self awareness and stronger boundaries around sleep, diet, exercise, meditation, relationships, and self love based on the wisdom of yoga and ayurveda. This course is online so you don’t have to be local to join this dynamic group of women,  together discovering the path that leads home.

 

New Years Resolutions Goals vs. Intentions

     My birthday was earlier in December and my hubby got me a gift that was equally horrific and wonderful- a cordless drill. I have to admit that part of me would have much preferred a romantic night out, beautiful earrings, or a gift certificate for a massage. Instead, I got a drill. To be totally fair I have to include the back story- we have a 30 ft coconut tree in our backyard and a true abundance of coconuts. I’m always looking for ways to improve my health, uplevel my diet, and refine my self care and a few months back I had mentioned to Jeff ( hubby) that eating our coconuts regularly was one of my goals to do be doing just that. So with that in mind, the gift was actually quite thoughtful as he believes it will be the easiest way to extract the coconut water without wielding a machete….which he would probably love. The drill has been sitting in the box, unopened, for a month.

    Changing our routines and making space for something new is hard. As you can tell, I know it first hand. Our old patterns, habits, and ways of being have a strong momentum that is incredibly difficult to challenge. It  can be like trying to swim again the current- going with the flow is so much easier. Yet, if we never shake things up we never grow. Albert Einstein said “ once you stop learning, you start dying. “ As a life long learner who is actively committed to being involved in my own evolution, to consciously designing the life of my dreams, and to continuous growth I have learned a few things about not only about what makes change hard, but also about what makes it a little easier.

    In this season where resolutions are all the rage, just the mere word choice of resolve can work against us as we try to make changes for our own good. The thing is that resolutions, like goals, seem to feed a mentality of scarcity, rather than one of abundance. In other words, resolutions focus on what we think we are lacking, or what we think need outside of ourselves to be happy. What if instead we turned our attention to what we already have? Instead of a resolve to change, or a goal to reach- what if we turned our attention to an intention of how we experience every moment as a way to shape the sculpture or our lives? Where goals and resolutions seem to project us into the future, and set us up to either succeed to fail, intentions do the exact opposite and act as a touchstone to the present moment. Not to knock goals, there is a time and a place for their immense value- I’m just not sure new year's resolutions that focus on how we care for ourselves in one of them. When we concentrate only on trying to reach a goal there is a possibility that we are sending ourselves an unconscious message that we are waiting to love ourselves until….fill in the blank.  If I put off loving myself until I lose a few pounds, make more money, have a cleaner house, or learn to drill holes in coconuts there is a chance I will always be stuck waiting. With intentions, the emphasis is on the practice and not the perfect.

      Practicing yoga is a great opportunity to put this concept into action. Not only can we set an intention of how we chose to show up in each moment, each posture, or each breath- but we can also strengthen our awareness around how goal oriented we may become in our poses. For example in a forward bend if there is a goal in mind of bringing your hands to the ground, the experience of lengthening the spine can be overlooked. Lengthening the spine is one of the greatest physical benefits that yoga has to offer and can be infinitely refined whether you can reach all the way to your feet or only barely touch your knees. In balancing postures if your goal is to stand on one foot unassisted no matter who you have to hurt along the way ( probably only you)  you may very well miss the position, maybe with a toe on the ground or finger on the wall, in which you actually feel balanced- and when we experience balance in our bodies it translates to our minds, hearts, and souls. When we practice being more aligned with our intentions on the mat , rather than only achieving goals, it get’s easier to recognize and understand how we can apply this notion to our new year resolves, and to all the many postures of our lives.

     My intention is to be present with what my body wants to joyfully eat, more for fuel and nourishment then for comfort or fun. Although I have a very healthy, vegetarian diet- I’m also a foodie. Embodying this intention means that everyday I will practice choosing more and more food that my inner body asks for, instead of my foodie mind. This means more of what I put in my mouth will come from my local farmers, or my own back yard. I will for sure do this imperfectly, will still eat some foods with an ingredient list, and it will be a while before I have zero coconut waste- but as long as I keep at it I will never fail. I’ll focus on all that I do, instead of what I don’t. I’ll choose to love myself along the way, instead of waiting for the end result. I invite you to do the same. Take a look at your resolutions or goals and ask yourself which ones may be of more use when framed as an intention instead. Make your intentions meaningful, expansive, and in the present tense. Use words like be, feel, dream, create, affirm, and align. Avoid words like should, always, or never. Keep it short, sweet, and simple. Long intentions tend to keep you locked in your head- instead of the feeling and being in the NOW of they body.  Follow your gut and let yourself be surprised!

If you want to be in on this conversation about change and you feel ready to make long lasting change, ready to make your health and happiness a greater priority, and ready to learn about what real self care is- then fill out this application for The Daily Sacred and we will set a time to chat and see if it’s right for you. If we turn out to be a good fit, we will spend the next 3 months together building self awareness around the actions and the attitudes of yoga and ayurveda that lead to vibrant health, deeper purpose, happiness, and self love. This course is online so you don’t have to be local to join this dynamic group of women, together discovering the path that leads home.

 

 

 

 

New Years Crisis

Growing up one of the things that was often said around my house was that the chinese symbol for crisis is the very same symbol for opportunity. Although I believed it wholeheartedly ( and still do ) I never actually knew if it was true . With a little research i discovered that in 1959 John F. Kennedy actually talked about this in one of his speeches saying

“ the Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘ crisis ‘. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger- but recognize the opportunity. “

To me, new years is the perfect time to put this concept to work. First though, let’s define what crisis actually means. I use to think that it’s only implication was negative, that a crisis was a problem, or emergency when something terrible was coming to pass. While crisis can be viewed as a condition of instability, it also means the moment or turning point that directs future events- for better or for worse. This is the definition that resonates more fully with me, and speaks to the power of transition times in our lives, including new years. I know it’s just a day in most ways like any other and some may even argue a “hallmark” holiday given such attention to mostly boost revenue amongst those that sell all the new year's paraphernalia. But don’t be mistaken, there is something that makes January 1st different- it’s the seemingly electrical charge that’s created by so many people across the planet doing so many of the same things, and thinking so many of the same thoughts at the same time.  It’s this moment of possibility, where the year ahead is a blank slate, and where there is both a cultural and personal momentum for change. It’s a time when there is a palpable surge towards self reflection and self improvement. It’s a crisis. And just like any other turning point, the attitudes and actions we choose will determine how we experience the year that lies ahead. What will you choose?

          The danger lies in letting this time that is ripe with potential pass undetected. The opportunity is using this time to do what another teacher friend of mine calls Big Listening. Big Listening is taking the time to first ask yourself the hard questions; what is working in my life and contributing to the person I want to be? What is outdated, unnecessary, or harmful? Then, actually taking the time to listen for the answers. It’s often easier to look for external guidance and instruction, but nothing outside of ourselves knows what we actually need the way that our inner self does. So Big Listening asks us to connect with our intuition, and our inherent wisdom and to listen with mind, body, and soul to set the compass of this next year to point towards your due north.

       I invite you to set aside an uninterrupted hour to give yourself you full attention, to turn up the volume of your inner voice, to ask yourself some big questions and also listen for the often bigger answers. So open your calendar now and schedule in some time for Big Listening. Here are a few questions to get you started. This is also where your yoga or meditation practice ( or any practice that enhances mindfulness and self connection) really comes into play. Experiences of quieting, and of consciously moving breath and body as one almost magically strengthen the muscle of our self awareness, increase our receptivity, and remind us how to slow down enough to make listening easier. This can range anywhere from taking a few deep breaths to a 75 min. Yoga practice- whatever really allows you to tune in. If you feel the urge to share please do-I would love to hear what you come up with!

      After getting clear on what it is you really want and need, and while the window that New Year's opens stays ajar, I thought we would spend the next few weeks looking at what can make  the change we may so deeply desire hard to actually achieve , and how we can make it easier. Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas Part 4

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and well wishes for an auspicious start to the New Year! This holiday season I have invited you to look at a few ways to give yourself the gift of real self care- and how that is good for everyone else in your life too. I know that taking really good care of yourself is hard, because it's hard for me too. It’s hard because life is busy, full of up and downs, and it can seem impossible to prioritize loving yourself when the dishes need to done and the bills need to get paid. It’s hard because It can feel selfish to say no to doing more when you know that what you really need is to get some rest, and scary to speak up when it feels like you may be letting someone else down. It’s hard because balancing all that you do with; a healthy diet, a good night's sleep, and still having time to play can seem like a job for a magician. How about pursuing passions? That might feel like a luxury you just can’t afford.

It’s hard to take really good care of yourself because while you may “know“ that it’s important, has anyone ever really taught you how?

 

      For me it was the transition into motherhood that forced me to take a long hard look at how I took care of ME. The first handful of years after my girls were born I carried around an extra 30 pounds of pregnancy weight, constantly ran on fumes, and regularly felt on the verge of a head cold or a meltdown. I learned that I had a hidden control freak, a sneaky perfectionist side, and a pretty crappy inner critic that was much easier to breeze past in my younger, pre-parenthood days. I knew when I became a mom that if I wanted to take care of my girls wholeheartedly, I had to feel whole. I learned that as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t rely on anyone else to take care of me. Not that I couldn’t ask for help or support, but ultimately my own fulfillment had to come from within.                                

         Even though I “knew” all of this, it wasn’t until I discovered a more sacred way of living, a way that aligned my daily habits with my inner knowing that I started to gain some traction in my own happiness.

 

      The Yogi’s have been keen to this topic for centuries and basically developed a whole philosophy and lifestyle around minimizing suffering, and maximizing health, self acceptance, and peace. Practicing yoga postures not only strengthens and stretches our muscles for healthier movement and function, but also our muscle of self awareness. It’s the strengthening of this muscle that leads to knowing ourselves better, and the ability to tune in to what you really need to be at your best. While Yoga opens the door to self knowing, it’s Yoga’s sister science Ayurveda that teaches the practical, daily actions of really caring for yourself. To come home to you and the true potential of who you were born to be requires not only the Yogic attitudes and perspectives of self love and acceptance, but the Ayurvedic actions and practices of mind, body, and spirit care. By not only loving ourselves more- but behaving like we are worthy of that love we start to experience the happiness and satisfaction we were born to manifest.                

I believe it’s the melding of attitude and action with a growing self awareness that is the key to real self care, the formula for thriving, and the secret to a more sacred way of living.

    Starting this January a small group of women will join me in discovering how to move their happiness and health to the top of the list.  Over 3 months we will work on simple daily habits and routines from Yoga and Ayurveda to know ourselves better, care for ourselves more, and both listen and respond to the wisdom we already have within. We will use the science of habit change to lovingly shift one habit a week from going to bed earlier to creating a nurturing and dynamic morning routine. We will strengthen boundaries around eating and sleeping, prioritizing joy, and move towards our potential as human beings. All in 12 weeks.

       While the habits we will be learning are simple, like eating an earlier dinner, putting them into practice (especially all on your own) is hard. The challenge is made easier in a supportive group, and with a guide that can teach you how to read and follow your own inner compass. In my experience the payoff when we make ourselves more of a priority, even when it’s hard, is huge and amazing things start to happen. Things like having more energy and inspiration, getting deeper rest and stronger immunity. Things like living life with less stress and worry and more happiness and peace.

       So if you feel ready, really ready, together we can make some authentic shifts around diet, sleep, exercise and meditation. Slowly and creatively we will build solid routines for a lifetime of coming home to yourself. Could this be you? If So, fill out an application for The Daily Sacred, Habits For Everyday Evolution and we will schedule a time to chat and see if this the right fit for us both.

Remember that not only will it be so good for you, but for everyone else in your life too.

 

* The Daily Sacred 12 week class will be offered remotely for those near and far, or you can take it at locally at Simply Yoga Delray Beach.

Not sure if you are ready to jump into the deep end quite yet? Start by dipping your toe with a 3 hour informative and experiential workshop with me- Intro to Ayurveda : How To Live Like A Yogi. 

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas Part 3 of 4

 I am a pleaser. In both my personal and professional life I wear the hat of peacekeeper and diplomat. I smooth out wrinkly conversations, look for ( and often find) the win/win in squabbles, officiate peace treaties between my 6 year old twin daughters, and find great joy and satisfaction in choosing just the right words to communicate with a harmony of candor and care. I have also been known to avoid conflict, sometimes to a fault because speaking up, and saying no is hard. It sometimes feels selfish, or mean. I don’t know about you, but the little girl in me just wants to be accepted and equates saying no or letting someone else down with being loved less. The truth is, when I resist listening to the more grown up part of me-the part that knows better -and I make the choice to put myself and my needs last, I suffer. When I push past my own fatigue to go to a party as planned, I pay the price of exhaustion the next day. When I ignore my need for a day off and agree to a meeting to accommodate someone else's schedule, it sends an unconscious message that i’m less important and inner resentment and anger start to grow. Of course there is a time and place for doing for others even when it’s tough, and I think we all know that selfless acts provide their own reward. But when we find the power to say no when we really need it the most- we are actually saying yes to ourselves.

This month we have looked at how following your dreams and making more space for joy is necessary in leading a happy, healthy existence- and how taking good care of you is actually empowering, inspiring, and loving for others too! Setting strong boundaries is one more ingredient in the recipe for contentment. Just like all the other ways we can work on putting ourselves first- drawing mindful borders is good for everyone else in your life too.

     The Yogi’s have know for thousands of years the importance of boundaries, and it’s apparent in every limb of yoga’s eightfold path. Asanas ( postures) create boundaries in our bodies through alignment-think keeping your knee over your ankle instead of your toes. As a result of this physical structure we experience an increase in both our capacity for strength and ease, and we protect ourselves from injury and unnecessary pain. Yogic philosophy teaches boundaries around how we treat both ourselves and others through the Yamas ( ethical restraints) and Niyamas ( personal observances). These teachings offer a structure for living by asking us to say no to stealing, harming, lying, excess, and greed, and to say yes to contentment, self study, self discipline, purity, and devotion to a higher power.  Meditation strengthens the boundaries of our awareness by tethering our attention to mantras, bodily sensations, or the breath. Ayurveda, Yoga’s sister science of health, lifestyle, and self care, provides guidelines around the best time to eat, sleep, exercise, and meditate in order to go with our natural human physiology. This is all in the name of living a happier, more fulfilling life with a lot less suffering. According to the Yogis one of the primary causes of disease in both body and mind is ignoring our own intelligence- or in other words saying yes, when what we really want and NEED is to say no.

     The great news is that coming to the mat strengthens our ability to know ourselves better by providing a way to slow down and tune in. In fact any experience that brings our attention to our bodies and breath brings us into the moment and turns up the volume to our internal voice. It’s the voice of wisdom and inner knowing. It’s the voice of awareness that shines the light on where we need boundaries the most. When we we know ourselves better it's easier to recognize the truth of how we are feeling that at a faster pace is pretty easy and convenient to ignore. Chances are that when we start to realize where we feel resistance, tightening, resentment, or anger is where we need to start saying no. In my experience, it’s the anticipation of saying no that’s way worse than just doing it. Plus the payoff is huge-  Not only do we experience a deeper integrity with our own health and wellbeing, but it's great for everyone else in our lives too!  

Setting clear boundaries is like handing our loved ones a road map to our hearts and souls. It takes the guess work out of how we want and need to be treated to be at our best.

Also when we start to say no, sometimes we are letting others off the hook. Haven’t you ever broken plans and it turned out your friend was relieved too? Who does it help to show up half-heartedly, annoyed, or with animosity because you're not really where you want to be? Honesty, over obligation, is the best policy- and that means first being honest with ourselves. So this holiday season- what is one small, manageable way that you can give yourself, and everyone else, the gift of saying no? Every time you do, it’s one step further down the path that leads you home.

3 Steps to Saying No:

  1. Set aside time regular time ( daily, or weekly- as needed) to check in with your feelings. Ask yourself the hard questions you may have been avoiding; am I happy? Where and how could I be happier? If i’m unhappy- how could it not be so? Remember that where you feel discontent is often a place that needs attention and maybe where you need to start saying no.

  2. Get support. Find a friend, a family member, a group, a coach, a mentor, or therapist that can help you stay accountable with what you want and need the most. Allow their care to be a reminder that prioritizing you usually makes everything else fall into place too.

  3. Spit it out. Be assertive. Even though it’s hard, beating around the bush makes it harder. Even if you have to fake it till you make it- trust that you're strong no is also a resounding yes! Yes to self care, yes to stronger relationships, yes to a life built on the foundation of deep truths.

Holiday Gift Ideas Part 2 of 4

In this season of giving so much of the focus tends to be on what we will give to others. Did you know that you can give yourself the gift of putting your wants and needs back on the list and it will be actually be good for others in your life too? Not only does taking better care yourself encourage others to do the same, it allows you to show up for them as the very best version of you. Last week was about how following your dreams, or even just starting to recognize that they exist, inspires others to pursue their passions too. Plus following your deeper purpose means that you will share your unique gifts with the world and make it a more interesting and wonderful place to be.

This week is about remembering that life is not only about working hard, but also taking time for joy.

     As a mom and small business owner my to-do list is long, and I just love to check items off my list as done. In fact I’ve been known to even occasionally put things I’ve already finished on the list just to have the satisfaction of crossing them off. With the endless nature of my list, I have had to accept that I will never actually complete all of my varied tasks, especially not if I want to have some time in my life for fun! So I have had to accept that I can’t allow unchecked to-do’s to stop me from doing the things that make my life so lovable. I have to keep choosing to occasionally leave the dishes undone so I don’t miss my daughters first successful bike ride without training wheels. I have had to shut my computer down mid blog post, and leave texts unanswered to wholeheartedly and attentively put my girls to bed.

     If I’m not careful and aware I can easily  allow my life to be all about the doing and thinking, and not nearly enough about the feeling and being. I can easily fool myself into believing that balancing work and play will be easier when there is more time, money, energy, etc.... Or that balance is a destination where I will one day arrive, rather than the reality that cultivating balance will be a never ending journey. I can also trick myself into thinking that I am more valuable the more I do- and usually our modern culture will support that backwards, busy is better mentality.

Does this sound familiar?

    The Yogis have known for thousands of years about this tendency to be more of humans doing, rather than humans being. In fact they describe 4 primary aims of life so we can have a map that helps us avoid the common detour of a more mechanical, workaholic, lackluster way of living- and follow instead the way towards a happy, balanced, and fulfilling existence.  One of the aims described is the experience of pleasure ( another one happens to be Dharma which was last week's topic if you missed it). The desire to follow what feels good (and avoid that which doesn’t) is one of the forces that makes the world go round. It’s the experiences of joy and beauty that add purpose and color to our lives. Pleasure can take the form of intimacy or sensuality, but also shows up as a sunset, impromptu dance parties, laughing until you hurt, and chocolate cake.

The truth is that living a life without pleasure, or a balance of work and play, is like trying to row a boat without oars. Sure it will float along, maybe turn in circles, and definitely react to the push and pull of the waves- but a rowboat without oars ( or a life devoid of pleasure) has no way to guide the boat purposefully. It’s simply at the mercy of the current. Without the oars of joy guiding our lives it’s easy to lose sight of why we are working so damn hard in the first place.

How does making time to enjoy our lives more help others? 

    So what do we do since quitting our jobs and shredding our to-do list’s is rarely an option? Well first I think we stop treating our work ( whether that is keep a home or running a company) as if it is separate from our lives. We stop waiting for the clock to hit 5, or to cross the last item off our lists to take the time to smell the proverbial roses. Instead let's turn on music and dance while mopping the floors, eat lunch under a tree instead of in front of the computer, light a candle while folding laundry , and take regular breathing and stretching breaks to recharge because it feels good and life is just too short not to. Practicing yoga and meditation helps too. Taking the moments of mindfulness that spiritual practices provide strengthens the ability to slow down, tune in, and more easily notice when the scales are tipped too far towards the have to’s and not enough towards the want to’s.

  Prioritizing pleasure (not to the point of gluttony or greed) shows our loved one’s that happiness matters- not just mine, or your’s - but theirs too. It brings out the best in all of us, and the best in humanity. Enjoying life more creates a positive upswing in both our physical and mental health, counteracting the effects of stress and avoiding burnout. Feeling good usually translates to treating others well too, loved ones and strangers alike. Setting aim towards work/life balance is one of the most valuable ways we can give ourselves the gift of self care, show up for others as the best versions of ourselves, and inspire and help our loved ones to do the very same.

Got some time for Yoga today- here is a practice to help you discover how to cultivate more balance, and prioritize your joy. Remember it's not just good for you- it good for everyone else too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas - Part 1 of 4

Did you know that the taking care of yourself is actually good for others too? This holiday season give yourself the gift that will also be for everyone else- taking better care of you!

Taking good care of yourself sounds simple, but it’s certainly not easy. As a mom I know firsthand some of the challenges in taking better care of you. I used to think that putting my family first meant putting myself last. It wasn’t until I got really serious about prioritizing my health, happiness and self connection that I realized what was good for me was actually good for my family too. Over the next month in this season of giving we will look at a few of the ways that taking care of you will be better, and a real gift, for others in your life too.

 

I know life get’s busy, full of responsibilities, and it’s easy to put aspirations on hold, move personal ambitions to the back burner, leave talents unpursued, and the stones of ideas unturned. There seems to always be something or someone else that's more important.  Sometimes we even have a conscious (or unconscious) belief that spending time and energy on our own dreams is frivolous or selfish. We may believe that we are unworthy. We may shrink in fear or insecurity asking ourselves who am I to be pursuing my passions?  We may even mistake the idea that having gratitude for all that we already have means that wanting more is a way of seeming, or being, ungrateful. By wanting more I’m not referring to material gain, but wanting to BE more. Often this desire to BE more is coming up from that place that exists deep inside of all of us where our true potential resides.

We may know the value of a healthy diet, exercise, and a good night's sleep- but what about the value of living a life that we love? A life that feels aligned with our inner call to BE more? What is the price we pay for playing it safe and small?

What if Edison had decided that studying electricity was too impractical? What if Hippocrates worried he would seem dreamy or offensive and never shared his theories of modern medicine? What if Anne Frank never recorded her thoughts and hopes because she deemed it worthless? The truth is that every great mind that has shaped the world as we know it started with the nagging pull of curiosity and the rush of desire to grow. If the inspired souls throughout history ignored or denied their call to greatness where would we be now?

The yogi’s have a name for the path we follow in order to fulfill our true potential and our life’s purpose. This concept is called Dharma and it also means duty or law. From this perspective it’s not a far leap to believe that it’s actually our obligation as humans to go after our dreams and live our deepest desires. When we practice uniting body, mind, and spirit through breath ( as we do in yoga) we start to slow down enough to notice these deeper yearnings of our souls. When living our Dharma , we experience greater health, vibrancy, inner and outer connectivity, and satisfaction in opening to our capacity to serve the world.

 

So what if your dream of starting a business, creating art, or going back to school won’t revolutionize our society- what impact will it have on your small but precious piece of history? When we actively embrace , and then slowly move towards becoming who we were put on this planet to be -we are not only coming home to our own inherent gifts, but we are also reminding others to do the same.

As spiritual teacher and writer Marianne Williamson says:

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”

In other words, when we make it a priority to tap into and explore our inherent longings and potential- however unrealistic, far fetched, or impossible they may seem- we are not only taking better care of ourselves and our birthright, but we are helping others to do exactly the same.

 

So this holiday season give yourself the gift of coming out of hiding. Share the dreams and visions you have been keeping tucked away. If you're not sure yet what they are- start to get curious about what they may be! Do it for yourself, to expand your capacity and experience for greater vitality, joy and contentment. Do it for your family and friends. Do it for your neighbors, your co-workers, and the kid who mows your lawn. You never know what future musician, president, environmentalist, or teacher your bravery will inspire. What will allowing your light to shine ignite first in you , and then in turn illuminate in others?

 

 

Here are three ways to give the gift of prioritizing YOU:

 

  1. Start a dream, idea, or vision journal. Record your hopes and wishes. Writing them down makes them more real, and is often the first step in manifesting your ideas into reality.

  2. Share your yearnings with a loved one. Find a friend or family member who will willingly lend an open, non- judgmental ear. Tell them about your desires, and ask them to also share with you. When was the last time you talked about what you want the next phase of your life and evolution to be?

  3. Set aside some time ( limited time? 5 minutes will do)  daily or weekly to just be. Set a reminder in your calendar now! You can come to the mat, sit in silence, enjoy nature, or just remember to breathe. Giving yourself your full attention naturally brings to the surface the truths that might be hidden, buried, forgotten, or discarded over time.

Feel like doing some Yoga? Here is a class all about Dharma