Month: June 2019

Wellness Wednesday: Flourishing with Acceptance

This past week it was brought to my attention of two people who have passed. Two more people who unfortunately left this Earth too soon along with three other deaths still on my mind from just a few months ago.

While it seems like death has been a reocurring pattern in my life it typically is an an immediate pause in routine because of the shock factor that is attached to it. When we experience something that is not consistent, it feels as if we are losing something. But it is true, we have lost someone. However understanding this concept that we are in a constant cycle of gaining and losing in life helps us to understand and accept the flow of life.

These recent events has opened eyes on how death has an impact on us. When we lose someone we love it is often first we experience a sense of shock or denial which then transitions into anger. This anger may be towards the loved one we lost for leaving or anger displayed outward to the universe. The cycle of grief from denial, anger, bargaining, depression and sadness isn’t a straight line. In fact, it can look like a toddler’s scribble that circles forward and then back with occasional moments of alleviation sprinkled between. This chaotic sequence reminds us how important it is we give ourselves the permission to feel in order to create space for the healing process that is about to begin.

Often we suppress this by throwing ourselves into many obligations and responsibilities to keep us distracted from the dwelling sadness we experience. This causes us to fall off route making the path of healing more difficult. Falling off this route can only allow these feelings to manifest in greater intensity so we must accept where we are in the moment.

Doing so consciously can soothe our tender selves as we become more open to this natural self healing process. As this grief subsides we can hold the memories of what we had and loved to live more vividly within us, transforming ourselves to flourish with acceptance and ease.

Mindful Monday: Little moments are the building blocks

Good morning, mindful ones! I’m beginning to feel like we live in Seattle, not the Chicago suburbs!

But I’m not complaining! I love the rain. But it does become a bit of a hindrance during graduation party season!

As you may already know, my son graduated from high school in May and we are well into graduation party season.

As we celebrate this next chapter in our kids’ lives, it’s such a reminder that we’re actually celebrating all of the little, every day mundane moments that brought us to this big one.

Every Saturday morning spent on the (insert sport here) field;

every Cub Scout meeting;

every sleepover;

every pizza party;

every piano recital and martial arts belt test;

every brown bag lunch packed;

every random Wednesday morning;

every spring break and summer vacay;

every Christmas and Easter;

every birthday;

every driving lesson and late-night studying sessions;

Every ACT and SAT prep sessions;

Every single college application and endless essays;

Every college visit;

And every single day since they started kindergarten.

Such a reminder to cherish every moment of each day that we have been gifted.

Life is all of the boring, routine moments that lead us to the big life moments. It’s the daily grind.

It’s remembering that each breath offers an opportunity to grow closer to God or push further away.

So when you wake up on a Monday morning in June and it’s raining, remember that today is still a gift. And it’s up to you to receive it with a full and open heart or bitch and moan about the absence of sunshine.

It’s entirely up to you! But today is a very important day on your journey. One day you will look back with fondness and perhaps a little longing for the good old days. And I don’t want you to have any regrets.

I hope you embrace it all! The rain. The traffic. The slow poke in front of you. The losses. The transitions. The farewells and good byes. The leaky diapers. The late nights with a sick kid. The overbearing room mom.

It’s all so very precious when you look back.

I hope you fill this rainy Monday with memories!

Have a great week, lovelies!

Wellness Wednesday: The Spectrum of Perception

There is no magic spell for everlasting happiness and contentment. We may despise those that come off radiant all the time but it is most likely they have not moved through life with an overflow of prosperity. They do, however, have made it their ability to take the circumstances they were given and made something great out of it.

This is done internally with the use of the spectrum of our perception. We are in control of the delight or despair when viewing a situation. What seemed to be an unexpected situation of chaos can be also be a situation that adds seasoning to our existence. Our ability to shift our attitudes can elicit what it is we need in order to heal but sometimes the conscious choice to be happy and content isn’t enough. Happiness isn’t a switch, right?

That’s when we must learn to detach ourselves from life’s difficulties and look at the world like it was the first time again. We then find little delights in the smallest of areas to bring much light into our reality. This can give us the time and space we need to detect any energetic imbalances presently occurring within ourselves. Fourtanetly, it can be as simple as changing our perception to create happiness and contentment that will remain.



Mindful Monday: From the Mouths of Babes

Good morning and happy Monday, beautiful mindful ones!

Yesterday we celebrated fathers everywhere! They are the strength and providers (traditionally) of our families. Kudos to all of the loving, active, supportive dads everywhere with their corny dad jokes and all of their hard work.

My dad is currently in Barcelona, so I was grateful to speak with him on the phone and wish him a happy Father’s Day!

I spent the day with my mom, brother, son and nephew. What an epic day!

After a delicious meal together, we tossed the Big Kahuna frisbee around. It’s all fun and games until someone gets beaned by that hard plastic flying disc!

Which was me. Right in the shin! I’ll happily show you the bruise if I see you at the studio this week!

I took a bit of a break to nurse my wound while the boys kept playing. After some time, my seven year old nephew told me to get back in the game. Lol.

Which I did. But I was very timid at this point. He had tons and tons of advice for me: “Auntie Nadja, You have to run faster. You have to jump! You have to run towards the frisbee! Don’t look away. Keep your eyes on the frisbee. You closed your hands too soon.” It was a steady steam.

And it was all great advice! When I told him that I was afraid of the frisbee, he told me: “It’s ok Auntie Nadja. Just don’t focus on the pain. Focus on the frisbee.”

And that little nugget of advice struck me as so deeply profound.

Don’t focus on the pain. Focus on the frisbee.


How often do we get stuck focusing on the pain in a situation? Immersing ourselves in it. Sure, we need to pause and evaluate the situation. But then it’s time to move on! Get back in the game and move forward!

Countless situations in life are painful. Divorce. Death. Kids leaving for college. Betrayals from so-called friends or loved ones. We need time to heal and reassess our life perspective.

But rather than focusing on the pain, we can focus on the lesson. How is this pain an opportunity to grow and strengthen. Or to grow and soften. Let the pain be what wakes you up and gets your attention, but not the focal point.

Brilliance. From a seven year old!

Unbeknownst to me, as I was tending to my poor shin, my son got hit in the face with the frisbee and had a busted lip. This kid is an athlete. He has been since he was four. Which is probably why he didn’t even mention his busted lip for a solid hour to me! He continued playing without a peep.

He had clearly gotten that don’t focus on the pain memo! Lol

Life sometimes hurts us, dear souls. Let’s not focus on the pain. Let’s learn and grow from it. Let’s let the pain transform us and elevate us! (Insert gratuitous image of the Rock. You’re welcome!)

Have a great week, my dearest ones!

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

2019-06-04 12.16.50 1 (1).jpg

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!