Today’s message is short and sweet, a simple reminder that your breath can be your best friend.
Yesterday I stepped outside and found myself absolutely engaged in the beauty of my breath. I’d been sitting at the computer for a while, probably slouched over, and wasn’t feeling particularly energetic or centered.
Yet, after only a couple of minutes of standing tall and letting my breath flow, there was a noticeable and welcome change in my entire body.
So, please consider this an invitation:
Sit tall, breathe deep.
If you can, go outside for some fresh air, and notice the difference it makes.
If you want to take it a step further, envision the way your lungs expand, gratefully moving in all directions as you inhale the life-force of prana.
As you exhale, feel how you can effortlessly invite your body to expel just a little bit more air, gently releasing toxins or any feelings that no longer serve you.
Each inhale is a chance to start fresh, to bring more peace and wellbeing.
Each exhale is an opportunity to relax, release.
Delicious, isn’t it?
Want to make it even better? Smile! Yep, that’s right. Feels good, doesn’t it?
In the quiet this morning, while breastfeeding my sleepy twin babies, the following meditation came to me.
Strange, perhaps, that I was sort of multitasking while meditating. However, breathing deeply and centering in can happen anywhere. It only takes a few minutes or even just a few breaths to connect to your divine truth.
First I’ll give you the mantra that came to me, then the meditation/visualization that came with it. You can use it as-is or make any alterations that feel right to you.
Using the mantra in repetition allows you to build the strength of the visualization.
I am one with God
I am a child of the Goddess
I am an expression of Divinity
I am Love
I am bathed in Light
(A note on God/Goddess: This mantra honors Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, yet in the grand scheme of things, all is one. Again, work with what you believe and all is well.)
Sit comfortably in the best posture for you at this time.
Relax any unnecessary tension in your body.
Inwardly, allow the mantra and the accompanying visualizations to guide you to your natural state of harmony.
“I am one with God.”
Imagine as a golden beam of light comes from your divine self through your crown chakra into you. It purifies and balances your chakras, core, physical body and light body. You are now fully glowing in golden light.
“I am a child of the Goddess.”
With your intention see the grounding connection that extends from your root chakra into the very core of the earth. From there a brilliant blue ray of light rises through your entire core and reverberates in your being.
“I am an expression of Divinity.”
Feel the divine resonance of the golden light that surrounds you, and the beautiful blue light that dances within you. You are pure, grounded, and your awareness becomes clearer with each breath.
“I am Love.”
Feel a rose-white light emerge from within your heart. It grows to fill your entire body, and the blue light expands to surround you.
“I am bathed in Light.”
Breathe and feel every cell of your body sparkle with light.
Remember, you can alter this meditation and mantra so they are perfect for your own beliefs and preferences. The main thing is to align with your divine truth and feel yourself awash with light! Enjoy. 🙂
How does it feel to sit up tall and take a deep breath?
To me it feels so good! Amazing how refreshing it can be to simply create the space to b-r-e-a-t-h-e.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed or frustrated, if I check in I notice that my posture has collapsed and my breath is shallow. All it takes is a moment to mindfully re-align and connect with my breath.
It can make all the difference in the world.
Balancing poses in yoga can have a similar effect. Even tadasana (mountain pose) can work wonders if you give it a minute or two in the midst of a busy day. Another favorite is tree pose (vrksasana).
Really, anything positive that draws your complete attention to one focus in the present moment, especially when it blends body, mind and breath, can instantly bring a tremendous sense of balance to life.
Perhaps you’d like to take a moment right now to stand beautifully and breathe, or do a simple balancing pose, or take a walk and breathe some fresh air.
It’s helpful to remember that you have the power to create balance in your life at any moment. Even if it feels like you’re living in a whirlwind, you can take a breath and create calm within.
It is a fun and comprehensive guide to infuse your life with the magical balance of power, love and wisdom! Breathe new inspiration into your daily yoga practice of asana, pranayama, meditation and more!
P.S. All those in favor of tree pose in random places, say “aye!”
P.P.S. Here’s a recent pic of me and my boys at a magnificent tree near New Orleans. We’re enjoying the fresh air and the earth beneath our feet.
As I was taking savasana at the end of my yoga practice this morning, my mind wandered (as it does) to a curious place. I thought about the many ways the very young (and young at heart) behave and live, and how so many of the things they do can keep us healthy, happy and vibrant at any age.
So, here’s a list of ideas, inspired by children, to help you feel young:
Sleep as much as you want
When you’re awake, move constantly
Play whenever possible
Don’t wear shoes if you can help it
Go outside every day, as many times as you can
Eat dirt (or at least play in it, without your shoes on)
Cry when you feel like it
Let your emotions move (sure, you might be upset one moment, but it’s okay to giggle the next minute)
Eat good food (nourish yourself with the same care you would a precious baby)
Never stop discovering the world
Take pleasure in the simplest things
Delight in spending time with family and those you love
For most of us, it seems time has sped up and is flying by. I know it’s not just me, but when I think that my baby boys are nearly 8 months old, it’s astounding!
So how do we enjoy life, rather than feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks and too little time? Is it possible to befriend time, or at least not be bothered by the fact that it seems to be in such a hurry?
Here are some ideas:
Breathe. Yes, it is the most basic thing in life, and taking a few deep breathes (or even just one!) when you’re feeling overwhelmed can make all the difference. Also, when you find those moments of calm, being mindful of your breath at those times makes it even more reassuring and peaceful.
Slow down when you can. Meditation and yoga are great ways to do so, but even just allowing yourself to sit down in the midst of a busy day, eat a meal without doing anything else, or just close your eyes or take a 10 minute nap can give you the boost you need to keep going.
Don’t fight it. It never works to resist what is. Instead, see if you can find ways to celebrate the passing of time on a regular basis. Sunday family dinners, or special Saturday hikes perhaps?
Be present. People keep telling me to enjoy my babies while they’re little, that they grow so fast! I know this is true, and am doing my best to be present. This goes for all of us, though, because the more you’re present in the moment, the more enjoyment you receive and the clearer the memories will be once the moment has passed.
Encourage yourself. Be proud of yourself when you’ve accomplished something or had a productive day. Be just as proud of yourself if you take 10 minutes to do Legs Up the Wall pose, or give yourself permission to take a day off!
Let go of tasks that don’t serve you, asking yourself “Is this really important right now?”
Did I mention taking a deep breath? Oh yes, I did.
I hope that gives you some ideas, or simply a few reminders, of ways to flow with the current of time. In the big picture, often it is not the little things that we need to do that matter, but the quality of life overall. Let that be your focus, and maybe you will find yourself laughing next time you flip the calendar to a new month and wonder how it’s May already!
Because time seems to be racing for me personally, I’ve chosen not to offer any more classes in the foreseeable future. There is simply too much to do and two little babies to enjoy. 🙂
If you’re able to join me for the 2 hour mini-retreat I’m teaching this coming Sunday, it would be wonderful to see you there!
Quotes on Time:
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ~ Marthe Troly-Curtin
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrowhas not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
~ Mother Teresa
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien
Reconnecting with yourself is what yoga is all about. Not just part of who you are, but the wholeness, the fullness of YOU.
In every day life, it’s easy to get caught up in your mind, tangled in thoughts of past and future, and often just scrambling to get by. Your sense of self can become cloudy or dulled by inside pressure and outside events.
Yoga offers a way to create clarity: to breathe away the inner “dust” on the mirror of the heart and remember your true, sparkling nature.
I don’t plan to teach another class until the fall (if then), so please come out and enjoy this chance to immerse yourself in the flow of your practice and the sound of my voice.
My theme for this Sunshine Sunday is “Into the Sanctuary of the Heart.” Here’s what you can expect:
I’ll lead you through an invigorating, active asana session that will help you get out of your head and into the moment. Though challenging, this portion of the class is still moderately paced and variations are offered for any skill level.
After some juicy hip openers and freeing chest openers, we’ll slow things down and I’ll invite you to follow your breath right into the center of yourself with a short but satisfying meditation.
We’ll finish with a deeply healing restorative session, allowing every system of your body, including your internal organs and nervous system, a chance to relax and receive nourishment on a profound level.
And, of course, I will sing to you in savasana.
The ultimate practice, of course, is to maintain a sense of presence in each moment.
And we can all do this, day by day, holding the intention to come back to the heart again and again, each time we get pulled too far into our heads.
Classes like the upcoming Sunshine Sunday help to restore that practice by creating a clear, powerful resonance with who you truly are. Not that it is ever lost, for YOU are always full and whole, it’s just a chance to remember that truth in such a way that the experience is enhanced in a beautiful and profound way.
There are many ways to ground yourself. One is to simply breathe deeply and feel yourself in the here and now, on this beautiful planet as the person you are.
Yoga, of course, is a great way to feel grounded, especially doing hip openers and restorative yoga (which you can do if you join me for my Sunshine Sunday class May 3rd.)
There are also energetic ways to ground yourself, such as envisioning a grounding cord of light connecting you to the core (what I like to think of as the star heart) of the earth.
But perhaps the most simple and enjoyable way is to take off your shoes and stand or walk on the nourishing surface of the Earth!
It feels so good to walk on the Earth with bare feet. On grass or sand, in moss or mud, in the shallows of the ocean or the rocky bed of a creek, having a direct connection with the natural world is a very good thing to do!
This morning I took a walk with my dog, and halfway through it decided to take off my shoes.
I finished the walk in my bare feet, and it gave me tremendous energy!
When I returned to where my friend and babies were hanging out, we took the socks off the boys and helped them stand with their skin touching the ground. When they were ready for a change, they laid on their bellies and played with fistfuls of grass, trying out the taste of grass and dirt. Yep, those are my country boys!
You know that being on the Earth in bare feet is good for you because it feels so good, but beyond that, there’s actually science to prove that grounding yourself by connecting to the Earth has health benefits galore. They call it Earthing, or grounding. I call it delicious!
The Earth offers us the energetic balance to the human body. Its effect is stronger than any antioxidant you can ingest. Perhaps that’s why gardeners feel so good when they have their hands in the earth, and why people who walk bare foot a lot tend to be of robust health.
In the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, researchers came to the following conclusion:
“Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth—whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems—may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS [autonomic nervous system] dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV [heart rate variability], hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.
The research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity.”
Physically, walking bare foot helps to engage, strengthen and even massage the muscles and fascia of the feet. If your feet hurt from plantar fasciitis, or just from fatigue, it can give them some welcome therapy.
Being bare foot on the Earth also means you’re outside receiving the other benefits of fresh air and sunshine, plus hopefully some exercise, peace and relaxation. It is good for the soul as well as the physical body, so do take every opportunity you can to get grounded and enjoy!
Here’s a fun video from Sesame Street, for children young and not quite so young, encouraging just what I’ve been talking about here.
Oh, what a wonderful feeling: to see green things grow, to feel sun on your skin, to take deep breaths of rain fresh air.
How I love spring. It holds such promise; an invitation to each of us to open to new possibilities and expansion.
This year the Spring Equinox (March 20th) is also the time of a Supermoon Solar Eclipse.
What does that mean? Well, some parts of the world will be able to see the eclipse, but more importantly, the energy of this day is very potent. The moon is closer to the earth, and though it is a new moon so we won’t see it, the waters of the oceans are more effected by its pull. Since humans are made of such a high percentage of water, we also feel the closeness of the moon on some level.
Some ideas to help you observe this sacred day:
~ Enjoy nature! Feel the presence of spring surrounding you.
~ Let go of the last season, and release anything that no longer serves. A great way to do this is to breathe it out, then breathe in pure, fresh light and the intention of wholeness. Fire ceremony is also excellent!
~ Do a yoga practice dedicated to some aspect of nature that appeals to you. For instance, you could place a flower before your mat and rejoice in the promise of a whole new season of flowers!
~ Meditate, allowing yourself to sit in the present moment and simply feel the energy of it, even if it is very subtle. You will get it on some level, be it conscious or otherwise.
~ Plan your garden or get out and work in it, feeling the soil and encouraging the plants with your presence. (Indoor plants would love the attention too!)
This is also an excellent time to check in with your intentions for yourself. Write them down, do a dreamboard, or simply bring them to mind in a clear way. Whatever feels right will be perfect.
I send you my blessings on this beautiful day!
I’m teaching another two hour delicious yoga practice:
Check out the details at the link below. It includes an active asana session, restorative yoga, meditation and more!
Well! Last Sunday I taught my first yoga class in a year and a half. It felt great to teach, and it was super special to see so many familiar and new faces in class.
My theme for the Sunshine Sunday mini-workshop, was “Love Your Body.”
This is a big one, for me and for so many people. It means taking the time to take care of YOU, and also loving and accepting yourself as you go about your day-to-day life . . . no matter how busy it happens to be.
There are so many ways to give your body love! Here are some ideas:
Yoga, of course, is such a beautiful, healing offering to body, mind and soul.
Taking a walk – this is the most fundamental movement and can feel so good. Even better if it’s outside in the fresh air.
Getting out into nature – surrounding yourself with a natural environment helps to bring calm and harmony on so many levels.
Eating wholesome, nourishing food (I’ve been having lots of homemade bone broths and slow cooker soups lately).
Heart to heart hugs – it’s true! The heart has its own measurable frequency, and hugging someone (or a loveable animal) helps to increase beneficial hormones as well as just feeling good!
Gratitude is a very close frequency to love, and practicing gratitude is a great way to improve the way you feel. It is also an excellent bridge to love and acceptance, so if those are elusive to you at any point, turn to gratitude first!
Meditation . . .
During the restorative portion of the Sunshine Sunday class (after we’d done a strengthening and satisfying active asana session, PLUS some breath work and meditation), I went through a meditation that I think is both effective and really a lovely offering to yourself. This exercise brings love to each part of your body: every system, every cell.
What a gift to enter the vibration of LOVE so intentionally, and to do so in a restorative yoga pose is an added bonus, since your body is simultaneously getting the benefits of the relaxation and healing restorative yoga brings.
Here’s the meditation, so you can enjoy it at home:
“I Love You” Full Body Meditation
In a relaxed position take a deep breath and bring to mind an overall sense of love and acceptance of yourself.
Beginning at your toes, go through every aspect of your body and say to that part of yourself, “I love you.”
So, it goes something like this:
“I love you, toes.”
“I love you, feet. Thank you for supporting me and taking me everywhere I ask.”
“I love you, ankles.”
“I love you, shins.”
“I love you, knees. Thank you so much for everything you do.”
. . . and so on . . .
Things to think about: Include all the muscles, connective tissue, joints, internal organs, bones, etc.
Remember to include your eyes, brain, hair, reproductive organs, immune system, blood vessels and blood cells, and send extra love to any part of your body that needs assistance coming into harmony.
This brings lots of love to your body, and that alone is incredibly healing.
P.S. I’m planning another Sunshine Sunday at the Yoga Loft on may 3rd. Stay tuned for registration info. Sign up early to ensure you get a spot, as the last class was sold out!
I once spent a month sleeping in my tent on a beach, while I attended a yoga teacher training. The first night, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore kept me awake. It wasn’t until I came to the realization that the sound wasn’t going to stop that I could finally relax.
Waves are, after all, the breath of the ocean.
Conscious breathing is the most fundamental practice of yoga. It supports every action, contemplation, and moment of stillness. Your breath is your guide and most intimate companion—one which is with you throughout your entire life.
As life continually changes, your breath reminds you that nature always has ebb and flow. The cycles of the moon and seasons reflect this, the waves of the ocean as well, yet you need look no further than your breath.
In each challenge, your breath is there. A deep, centering breath can remind you that the challenge is there to help you grow, even if you can’t see the sense of it. In each joy, taking a deep breath helps you be more mindful to experience it fully.
Take a moment to arrange your body so you are sitting in the most comfortable and optimally aligned position possible.
Settle into your breath.
Feel the earth below you, the sky above you, supportive and expansive.
Now imagine yourself sitting by the ocean. Hear the rhythmic sound of the waves.
Notice how your breath responds to this visualization.
Feel each breath as a wave of nourishing life-force within you.
Take a few minutes, or as long as you’d like, and enjoy each inhale and exhale to the fullest!