Wellness Wednesday: Your Exhilarating Leap

Happy Wellness Wednesday, yogis! This week I found myself juggling the many possibilities my career can become. So overwhelmed with the idea of making such a valuable decision, I feared if I could make the wrong decision. This reminded me that sometimes we find ourselves in attempt to achieve a goal or in the midst of an unexpected change in life. Some of us resist the urge to jump in fear of our current circumstances to the journey of the possibility of our dreams. Some of us will trust the leap of faith and figure we will gain more in the attempts than self-protected instincts ever will.

This leap of change requires us to embrace uncertainty as we could never actually know what will happen. We must trust the process of surrendering to the universal flow.

But we may notice our mind and heart second guess. We can diminish this resistance by educating ourselves of the leap. The more knowledge we have, the smaller leaps of faith we have to take as we travel from point A to point B. This leap can guide us to a territory of ourselves we have never explored. While we anticipate fear in any circumstances of change, we learn the exhilarating ride is worth the leap.



June 2019 Pose of the Month: Eka Vrschik Pada Koundinyasana or One Legged Scorpion Pose Dedicated to Sage Kaundinya

Happy June, friends!

Our pose of the month (POTM) is Eka Vrschik Pada Koundinyasana or One Legged Scorpion Pose Dedicated to Sage Kaundinya.

Sometimes this pose is called hurdlers pose – it’s an intermediate level arm balancing asana. This month, we’ll add a fun twist with a scorpion tail leg!

Let’s go!

1. From downward facing dog, lift your right leg up and step it outside of your right hand at the top of your mat.

2. Start to work your right shoulder behind the back of your right thigh, bringing your leg as close to your shoulder as possible.

3. Plant your palms down firmly and activate your core. Extend your left leg straight behind you pressing your toes into your mat and pushing energy through your left heel. Take a few breaths as you breathe from your left heel through your heart chakra.

4. Start to hinge forward onto your left tippy toes as you bend your elbows Chathuranga style. Make a shelf with your right tricep for your right leg as you extend right leg forward and float right foot off of your mat.

5. As you bend your arms push like crazy through your chest and your shoulders into the mat and simultaneously lift your left leg up with your left hamstrings.

6. From here, dip your chest down and hook your left foot toward your head.

7. Smile and take five deep ujayi breaths.

Mindful Monday: Live for Today

Good morning, beautiful mindful ones!

I spent the weekend with a group of phenomenal, beautiful amazing women in Michigan. What a soul igniting experience!

This Monday morning my heart is filled with gratitude for each and every one of you.

Here’s a short story about life.

There was once a man who had been wounded by a poisoned arrow. And when his family wanted to find a doctor to help him, the man said no.

The mortally wounded man said that before any doctor tried to help him, he wanted to know who had attacked him. What was his caste and where was he from?

He also wanted to know this other man’s height, strength, skin tone, the kind of bow he used, and whether its string was made of hemp, silk, or bamboo.

So, as he wondered if the arrow’s feathers came from a vulture, peacock, or falcon, and whether the bow was common, curved, or made of oleander, he ended up dying before getting an answer to any of his questions. 

Life is so short! Let’s stop focusing on irrelevant and insignificant things! Focus on what needs to be done now.

Smile. Live. Love. Be Happy!!!

Wellness Wednesday: Responding Before Reacting

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Just yesterday morning I was walking out of the train station downtown only to see two red faced businessmen yelling insults into each others faces. A police officer standing by chuckled and said to me, “What a way to start a beautiful day!”. I couldn’t help but think how this angry encounter could set a negative tone for the rest of the day for these two businessmen.

We initially tend to react instead of respond. In the moment our reasoning seems perfectly logical when in reality it may be skewed due to overpowering emotions. These overpowering emotions can feel as if we lost our mind. When we acknowledge ourselves in the heat of the moment we can separate ourselves from the heat and move into the cool. We may notice an emotional trigger that began the argument and realize it has little to do with the present situation but instead feelings related to a separate situation entirely that was dragged into the moment and towards someone or something. It is important we practice honesty with ourselves and ask ourselves why we reacted in such a strong manner. As we truthfully acknowledge what set our flame ablaze, we can peel back layers and discover a part of us that may need extra attention towards healing so we can respond to a situation appropriately and make the best decision in the present moment.

By responding we communicate clearly our feelings and intentions. Doing this gives us a better chance of getting what we want than if we loose our cool in reaction. We notice our biggest outbursts can be to the most precious people we know around us as we feel comfortable around them but miscellaneous anger can cause more harm than good. Knowing our clear reasons to argue can help us develop emotionally as a whole.



Mindful Monday: Be Happy

Good morning, dearest mindful ones!

And just like that …

It’s June!

My son has graduated from high school!

I have moved and purged 85% of my worldly possessions!

Life continues to move forward. And it’s entirely up to us how we choose to flow with life as it unfolds or dig in our heels and resist reality.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my nearly five decades on this planet, it is that I have created my own suffering and resistance all of these years. I have made my life exponentially more difficult than it ever needed to be!

I have finally discovered the secret to happiness! And it’s so super duper simple.

And today’s your lucky day because I’m going to share this timeless wisdom with you right here!

Embracing happiness requires only two things. And you, my friend, have both of them in abundance!

The first is the simple mental decision to choose to be happy. Now when I say simple I certainly don’t pretend that it’s easy! But simply make the decision that you truly choose happiness … No. Matter. What.

So choose happiness. Boom! Mic drop and walk away.

But what if …

There are no “what ifs” or “buts”.

It’s a choice to be made in every circumstance and in every single situation. It’s easy to choose happiness when everything is smoothly going your way. Duh! Where is the challenge in that?

Your real test is in choosing happiness even when (fill in the blank here). And don’t get it twisted, there will always be roadblocks. Expect them and count on them. And still choose happiness as you navigate up, over and around.

The greatest tool you have to support this decision is your gratitude practice. There are several studies, articles and publications touting the neuroscientific benefits of gratitude. Blah. Blah. Blah. Thank you medical and scientific community for validating a 5000 year old practice!

We don’t need all of those studies, because we live and feel the benefits and results through our practice.

So decide to be happy. And be grateful for everything.

Each time “cats in the cradle” plays in my head, I direct my energy towards gratitude for every single moment I’ve experienced with my son.

When I start feeling regret for all of the beautiful possessions I’ve sold and given away, I feel grateful that my load is so much lighter now.

When someone cuts me off in traffic or is tailgating me, I feel grateful that I have a beautiful car to drive and that I am safe.

So choose happiness in every situation

Be grateful for everything; especially the opportunities that are disguised as challenges and setbacks

Choose to let go and lighten your load. Always.

Happiest of Mondays, mindful ones!

Wellness Wednesday: Your Calm Center Activated

Let’s face it. Today’s life compels us to rush. Because we feel pressured to be the better and best, the moments to ourselves are often the first to be scarified when we are in a hurry. We tend adopt to the pace of the environment around us and eventually forget what stillness feels like.

So when we become poured with many things that need our attention all at once, it can be difficult not to lash out with an unintentional reaction. It is essential in these times we remember that we are never given more than we can handle. However we tend to question this…and the power of a deep breath.

Our calm center is available to ground us at any time. A deep breath can help guide us to turn within to find the space to work from in the midst of all the constricted chaos our schedules contain. As we turn inward we give ourselves the opportunity to begin again by drawing our focus to the present moment, detaching ourselves from reactive thoughts and emotions. We can accept what is and let be in the present challenge so can collect all the scattered thoughts, emotions and energy in a strong container in which we can productively dwell. We notice a lightness on our shoulders, inspiration will strike and what seemed impossible will either become possible or we will realize it has become unnecessary for us at this time.

As this chaos diminishes, we have the chance to learn from the situation with proof that we are never given more than we can handle. We have shown ourselves our true capabilities. These situations can then help us to fine-tune our lives mindfully with a clear outlook. We may realize in the moment we took on too many responsibilities and obligations without insight but maybe this situation was a lesson the hard way or it was simply the way life flows. Our calm center is available to us at anytime if only we allow it.



Mindful Monday: Remember and Honor

Good morning, dearest ones. Happy Memorial Day!

As we enjoy this day with family and friends, let’s take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Today we honor all Americans in all branches of the Armed Services who made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives in service of our great nation.

I am so grateful for all of the liberties my family and I are able to enjoy because of the service and sacrifice of these brave and selfless men and women.

Sending so much Love and gratitude to the families who have lost their loved ones in the service of the United States.

We remember and honor all who serve.

Wellness Wednesday: The Healing Energy Around You

This past week I had the rare opportunity to meet up with a dear friend for a much needed yoga class. Not only was it refreshing to see my friend but many other faces I have not seen in quite some time, too!

Our multitude of responsibilities make it seem almost impossible to spend time with those that make us happiest. Our eagerness to socialize makes up for the lost time by focusing our attention on connecting with our favorite people. We become uplifted when we spend time with those that bring us joy. It becomes a nourishing, synergistic relationship for everyone involved. When we surround ourselves with those that keeps our inner light ablaze, we clear away the negative energy that exists around us and create more space for the nurturing energy we need. This enriches our lives but also allows our interactions with others to develop a supportive and healing space that creates further growth, understanding and compassion for ourselves and those in our lives.

Being in the presence of those that bring us joy may help us realize that we have a placement in this universe. Treating others the way we wish to be treated sets the stage to create healthy relationships. When our intention is simply to be social, our interactions with others may become superficial. However authentic time spent with others allows us to share our innermost thoughts with one another which can create a richer relationship. Fortunately it is a gift they give us, and one we can give back every day to energize our lives and those around us.



Mindful Monday: the Antidote to Overwhelm

Good morning, dearest busy ones!

As a human being in the 21st century in America, you have things to do! Places to go! People to meet! Stuff to do!

You are juggling your career, caring for your family, managing your household, paying bills and taxes, squeezing a yoga class in … and of course, you have a burning desire to improve every area of your life.

Sometimes you have so much going on, you feel like you cannot possibly get it all done. You are trapped in the cycle of hurry-worry. Hurry. Worry. Hurry. Worry. And you literally just want to drop into childs pose and make it all go away!

And that’s just your normal routine. Throw in the unexpected: moving, death in the family, car accident, new baby coming … and bam! You’re spinning out of control. You are overwhelmed!

And you’re not alone. This feeling of overwhelm is spreading like a disease throughout our modern culture – and rightfully so.

Our limited human attention spans are in a constant tug-of-war with countless demands, distractions, and desires – and they’re increasing exponentially with each passing year.

The modern world’s incessant need for “more, better, faster” and NOW creates a false sense of urgency and inadequacy, and leaves us feeling that our happiness, contentment and desired state of being are perpetually “just around the corner” — always the next goal away, just out of reach.

Even as the highly conscious, uber-intentional yogis we are…

We all face challenges in life that threaten to swallow us whole.

Enter emotional overwhelm… that paralyzing cocktail of stress, worry, helplessness and disempowerment that tries to convince you of your inability to cope with the circumstances and challenges of life.

Overwhelm overrides our ability to see things clearly and take conscious action, by making our problems appear bigger and closer than they actually are.

But here’s a truly life-changing secret:

Overwhelm is less about what’s going on outside of you, and more about what’s going on inside of you.

Sure, it feels real. Because inner chaos actually creates outer chaos.

When you’ve got a million and one things demanding space in your mind, and a whole slew of emotions weighing heavy on your heart, it’s impossible to slow down, prioritize and actually get things done.

So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself close your eyes and take three deep, conscious breaths. And try these six steps toward calm, unhurried conscious action.

1. Do a brain dump

Take 5-10 minutes to get everything out of your head and onto paper. No matter how large or small… everything must go! In addition to the obvious deadlines and pressing demands of your daily life, be sure to include the little tasks that keep you up at night, the things you’re constantly telling yourself you should be doing right now, the nagging reminders in the back of your head that won’t let up. Don’t stop or edit until your mind feels blissfully emptied of all of them.

2. Let go of what you can’t control

Looking at your list you may notice items that are simply outside of your control — things like wanting someone to act or feel differently, or wishing for an outcome that simply can’t be predicted. Here, you have one of two options. Either change the goal/task into something you do have control over — that you can actually take action on… or draw a big fat line through it to remove it from your list (and your life) forever. Liberating, isn’t it?!

3. Challenge your assumptions about what you must do.

We all have those to-do items that follow us from week to week and never actually see the light of day. These are usually the things that suck — that we feel obligated to do but aren’t passionate about. Sometimes we really do have to complete them (hello tax returns!). But more often than not, we have the power to free ourselves from feeling of the constant frustration and failure over these half-hearted commitments. Again, you have one of two options: Roll up your sleeves and commit to executing it once and for all… or remove it from your list and free up that mental-emotional real estate.

4. Prioritize and number your tasks

Wahoo! Now you have your real to-do list — the most important and meaningful tasks in your life right now. The next step is to prioritize them. Take a look and order them by number – starting with the most urgent and pressing items, and working your way down the list.

5. Schedule your tasks into your calendar

Now that you know what order you’ll be working in, you can plan your tasks into reality — through your calendar and daily work schedule. This is the final and ultimate step in releasing them from your thoughts. Once you have everything organized and scheduled, all you have to do is hit the ground running with each day’s task. Which leads us to the next step…

6. Take one step at a time.

You absolutely must learn to be content with taking small steps, because really that’s all life is. By taking small, meaningful steps each day (that you’ve consciously and thoroughly plotted in advance), you’re finally able to give yourself permission to reside in that place of happiness and contentment — because you know you’re doing your very best, and for the first time, you believe in your heart that that is enough.

You can do ANYTHING. And you can do EVERYTHING. Just not all at the same time. Or in the same day.

Have a great week, yogi friends!

Wellness Wednesday: Yourself as a Whole

Happy Wellness Wednesday, Friends!

“Health is a state of body, wellness is a state of being.” 

Wellness is the state of all aspects of ourselves: mind, body and spirit something we focus heavily on in yoga. Our desire to take care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually introduces us to a whole new level of self healing.

A self-healing day addresses your vital needs as a whole. Often times when we have the opportunity to have a day to ourselves we realize we need more solitude. Solitude is an important part of this self healing process as it allows us to renourish and reflect but it is up to us to decide what we need in order to cultivate wellness into our lives. Intentions transform what seems like a simple, peaceful day into a day of healing. Savor the stillness and simplicity by giving yourself permission to take advantage of this time. A day for ourselves is often looked at as being lazy or passive but to do so requires so much awareness and presence. It is vital for us to stay energized! We each find different activities that bring us tranquility. This can be as simple as preparing a nutritious meal, gardening, studying, journal writing. etc. The list goes on!

We begin to attune in the present moment when we draw our focus into the calm around us. The needs of the body, the heart, and the soul are then revealed. We then have a clear outlook of what we need in order to heal. Each day of healing you experience will be different because our needs are constantly changing day to day. Whatever mechanism you decide to engage in will leave you replenished. Yourself as a whole is the ideal image of health!