Adding More Ritual Into Our Lives

I've been musing a lot lately on how we continue to find that meaning, depth and joy in the everyday. In our modern culture most of us have lost our connection to ritual, and the power of repetition for more depth in our daily lives. But we crave and yearn for ways to connect more meaningfully with friends, loved ones and our community.

This little video to help you "drop in" to the practice in a simple way at home. Enjoy!

Expand Your Senses + Add More Depth in Your Practice

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Expanding our senses is one of the most powerful ways to find more depth and meaning in both everyday life and in the yoga practice. When we are kids our senses are wide open as we explore things often for the first time. But as we get older we lose this sense of wonder with the natural world, and literally cut ourselves off from both seeing and feeling deeply. It is hard to take in everything around us actually --- from the struggles of those around us to the latest political news. It feels safer to shut things out so we can get on with our lives.

There is a third way. We can both expand our senses and wake up to more feeling inside and all around us, with compassion and empathy for ourselves and others. It means you will feel more, and it definitely means you have to create stronger boundaries if you notice something is zapping your energy and not doing you any good to continue.

I have a practice of no social media or news on Saturdays, and I do not work on that day.

And I've begun the practice of not looking at my phone when I am in transit (the transition times) to try and create little pockets of space where I can take a few breaths in and out and be present.

What is one way that you can create a boundary for yourself and your energy in your life --- so you can expand your senses and not get burnout?

In my latest guided meditation I offer a short practice that will help you tap even more into your senses, and we start off with a nice calming breath practice which can help soothe your system too.

Sending you ease yogi(ni)s, and see you on the mat soon!


Honor the Rhythms of Nature this Fall + Winter!

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I love this time of year. Fall is my favorite! From the foods, to the extra crisp air at night and even the longer nights. But not everyone thrives this time of year so here are some seasonal tips to help you feel more connected to nature (within yourself and on your yoga mat), and also ways to give yourself more permission to rest this time of year. Even if your schedule is demanding!

Tip 1: Get outdoors every day, even 5 minutes. You can use your commute to do a little walking meditation on the way to work.

With each step feel your feet connect to the ground below you (pay attention instead of rushing, I promise it will make a difference!). Breathe with more awareness in and out (through the nose or mouth with your exhales) as you walk. And bring your attention to the sole action of walking. This can help to clear the mind and is a great way to start your day.

Tip 2: Notice your energy level throughout the day. Try a 1 minute seated breath exercise to energize and relax.

If you are feeling lethargic mid-afternoon take a few minutes, close your eyes and take 1 minute to watch your breath in and your breath out (through the nose). Do this upright preferably seated in a chair with your spine long. Let your breath go into the places that feel tense - not with force, but with gentle awareness. It is intuitive but this practice will actually wake you up and relax you at the same time. Focus on breathing with awareness like you do in yoga - breathe into the entire body in and out. Another great way to both wake yourself up and relax is alternate nostril breath. Here is a little tutorial on that practice.

BONUS: If you haven’t already listened I release guided meditations each month on my SoundCloud page. you can view this month’s latest one here.
+ Subscribe to get these each month here: http://eepurl.com/cwZMhX

Tip 3: Practice one relaxing yoga pose when you get home at night or before bed. Set the goal to do this every week (and even more if you can). Especially this time of year! We all need more rest.

One of my favorite restorative yoga poses is legs up the wall. To practice this at home I actually encourage you to do it in bed, or at a wall space that is clear and has enough room to extend your legs up.

Bring a small pillow or blanket about 4 inches away from the wall. Sit on this pillow or blanket with your side parallel to the wall, bring one hip down, lay on your side and scooch your butt to the wall. You will be on your side completely with your shoulder on the ground. Then pivot and extend your legs up the wall. Adjust if you are little crooked and make sure the pillow or blanket feels good under your low back. You can go closer to or further from the wall here. Choose which option feels better in your body not what you think you should do!

LAST TIP: Take Care of Yourself Well!

This doesn't mean you have to go to the spa or get a massage every weekend, but do one kind thing for yourself everyday. The littlest things matter. Like putting on music you love when you get home from a long day, lighting a candle, doing any of the above practices, and remember giving yourself permission to REST is the most important thing you can do this time of year!

Nourish Yourself W E L L This Summer

Summer, oh summer. I have a love-hate relationship this time of year. I crave the freedom to play, to explore, change up my routine and get outside a lot more. But, I often find myself face to face with struggle during this season.

In the summer in particular I get closely acquainted with desire, craving and my ironic resistance to let myself rest.

In the summer in particular I get closely acquainted with desire, craving and my ironic resistance to let myself rest.

Can you relate? It is often what we crave, but in our society we do not really give ourselves as much permission as we need to C H I L L  out and recharge deeply. We view it as a luxury. But it is so vital to our health and happiness.

 

As a fiery person (and a pitta dosha this time of year in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science) by nature I crave excitement, activity and social gatherings. But I can easily overdo it and wind up feeling depleted. Also I am a bit of an overachiever by nature -- the list goes on. These tendencies have forced me more than once to stop, breathe and rest.

These are some of the many reasons why I was drawn to the yoga practice (restorative yoga, slow flows and meditation in particular) --- the ancient practices feed me from the inside out.

Here are 3 tips to keep yourself nourished, rested and bring a bit more joy into your life this summer!
 

  1. Move your body in a way that feels good daily. Even if that means taking one childs pose, legs up the wall after traveling, or downward facing dog. A nice (even 5 minute) walk on the sand or in nature always nourishes more than you realize.
     

  2. Feed yourself well. As a fiery person I enjoy a soothing cup of tea in the morning when I wake up as I am getting ready --- Numi’s Tumeric Tonic is one of my favorites. Also mid-afternoon I love a nice homemade glass of bubbly kombucha or an ice green tea with a bit of honey is lovely!.
     

  3. Pay attention to your resistance to relax and take time off. I encourage daily “mini vacations” even if you are busy as heck --- especially if you feel you have no time. Take three breaths in and out before you eat your meals, and as you come home from work or stop your work for the day create ritual. I like to light a candle at home, and listen to John Coltrane when I am cooking dinner.
     

Good luck out there, and enjoy these dog days of summer!


 

How are you taking care of yourself in 2018?

Over the last year I’ve learned several important life lessons.

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Regardless of what your daily life looks like the world around us is not going to slow down. So taking care of ourselves is a necessity. These past few weeks I’ve been asking myself - what am I going to do to take better care of myself in 2018? 

I believe this is question we must all ask ourselves --- especially if you’ve felt overwhelmed, anxious, under-slept or fatigued. Well frankly (and let’s be honest) if you are human.

This year I’m going to take my health and my happiness into my own hands even more than ever before. And I encourage you to do the same. It can be through small actions, and little steps. In fact I believe you will be much more successful this way. Instead of making grandiose leaps that often fall flat after a little time (aka New Year’s Resolutions) take one action today toward the life you want to be living. And keep doing this...little steps often make the biggest impact.

Here are some of the ways I am going to take care of myself even more this year, and I hope you find it helpful. Take in what’s useful for your life, and wishing you all a easeful, balanced and joyful 2018!

{Read my article} that was published in WeTravel.

I hope to see you soon! 

Marketing Tip for Fall - 5 Minutes A Day!

I absolutely love the threshold from summer to fall. It is this potent time to shift our energy a bit more internally away from the bustling energy of summer to the grounding energy of fall.

My marketing tip for Fall --- Tend to your business goals each week. Even if all you have is 5 minutes. A little bit goes a long way. 

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3 Cooling Practices for Summer

Summer and me have a love/hate relationship.

I crave the freedom to play, to explore, change up my routine and get outside a lot more. But, I often find myself face to face with struggle during this season. In the summer in particular I come face to face with desire and craving. As a fiery person (and a pitta in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science) by nature I crave excitement, activity and social gatherings. But I can easily overdo it and wind up feeling depleted. 

Listen to your energy, and if you are present you will begin to learn when it is truly enough and you need to rest (or when you have the energy to continue). Make plans if you like but let go of the outcome in the moment. Have fun and live fully!

+++ Here are 3 yoga poses to help cool your mind + body if you find yourself feeling anxious, overheated or ungrounded this summer.

We often forget that we have tools available to us wherever we are - whether you are traveling or at home, to feel more rejuvenated and present all summer long. 

Take at least a few minutes for each pose below, and you will feel refreshed and relaxed at the end of this practice:

P.S. Learn more poses + ways to feel refreshed this summer in my upcoming Extended Restorative Yoga Workshop with Live Music in San Francisco on July 30th at Yoga Tree Stanyan. Pre-register at http://goo.gl/l2x8Dd.

Spring Cleaning for Your Body & Mind

Originally published in Elephant Journal.

 

Spring is a great time to hit the reset button both on and off the yoga mat.

When the daylight hours begin to increase, the nice weather days increase too.

Spring is a dance—we are beginning to dust off the stagnation and heaviness of winter. Colorful foods are starting to make their way to the farmers markets, and the longer days may give us all an extra burst of energy.

But spring is also a potent time to listen to your needs so you don’t become frazzled.

It is a great time to do a cleanse, engage in some spring cleaning, and become aligned with what really nourishes you—in your body and in life in general.

If winter is a teacher to help us be more comfortable with rest and deep self-care, spring shines a light on what we need to do to feel invigorated and balanced while taking on new ventures.

How do we stay calm and feel nourished while our schedule changes, or the demands of life increase?

This spring I’ve been challenged a lot more than I expected to be. I went through an intensive cleanse in March called The Whole 30 in an attempt to become more aligned with what makes my body feel good, and also to get a skin rash under control.

In that process, I’ve learned a lot about my crutches and all the “healthy food” I’ve been eating that did not align with my body, or help my mood! The craziest part was that I didn’t notice this until I began to remove certain foods. And when I re-introduced certain foods into my diet, a shift had occurred and I could feel the effects, both good and bad.

I am a believer that this “spring cleaning” mindset can apply to the ways we fill our time as well, and can make us more aware of what makes us happy or cranky.

Here are three things you can do now to spring clean your body and mind:

1. Start an activity/mood journal.

Get a notebook or simply write down on a sheet of paper how you feel before engaging in a certain activity (like watching television or going to a party) and then go back to your journal and record how you feel after that activity. Write down what’s going on in your mind, body, and emotions.

Be honest. There are no right or wrong answers. It is just an assessment to see how certain activities you engage in may be positively or negatively affecting you on a regular basis.

You can repeat this process with food. For one day, log your energy and mood before you eat each meal or snack, as well as after. Notice if anything surprises you.

2. Get outside a bit more.

Even if you are an urban dweller like me, there are simple ways you can add connection to nature in your life.

During your lunch break, instead of eating inside, try eating outdoors. Take a five minute walk outside (without your cell phone). Do this at least two to three times each week. You will notice the difference in your mood and mid-day energy.

3. Get active—try something new.

Spring is a great time to be more active. If you practice yoga, now is a great time to try something new. This could mean trying a new pose for the first time, or simply starting to move a bit more on your own, in addition to going to class.

You could start your day with some cat-cow stretches and a downward facing dog before you walk out the door or do three rounds of sun salutations.

This time of year I also love to go on hikes—the wildflowers are so beautiful.

I hope you found these simple tips helpful and have a lovely spring!

What is your purpose?

This past week I've struggled as I know most of us have - my body aches, my emotions are up and down, my self care is all over the place and yet I have found moments of peace, clarity and a bit more balance. Through this process I've also re-connected even stronger back to my purpose. The reason why I'm doing the work I do in the world. And what keeps me going.

Our yoga practice can also teach us to see - to identify where we are closing down, numbing out or engaging in a lot of heat when life throws us a curve ball. Also, it can illuminate where we are not allowing our process and emotions to be present. For me, the lesson that I am learning is to be patient with myself.

After last week's election and a week long silent meditation and yoga retreat at Spirit Rock my eyes are more open to the subtle and not so subtle ways I process, and also what triggers me. Interestingly enough my triggers are also related to my purpose. The things that light me up are also the very things I am working to help others heal inside of themselves. This is common, especially among those of us that work to give back to community. 

One way to help us connect back in to the world and to each other is purpose. When I meet with clients I always try to emphasize that they go back to their "why" when thinking about marketing. 

Why are you doing what you do in the world?

This practice always helps me when my head is spinning, or if I'm caught in self judgment. It also helps when I can't quite find the words or strength to hold the space.
 

Put Purpose Into Action: 

  1. Write down your purpose on a sticky note, or in a place where you can see if often. When you are struggling, having a bad day or feeling uninspired look at the note. It will ground you, I promise.
  2. Connect everything you do to your why. So every class you teach, email you send, social media post or video you share comes back to your mission.
  3. Don't make it more complicated than it is! 

Got a question or topic you'd like me to cover? Email me!

 

Engaging Creativity

The Push + Pull 


At one point or another we will all come up against the push and pull of creative engagement. The feeling that you need to be creative, but you just can't get there. You're stuck. In a rut.

I've experienced this in just about every facet of my life - in my marketing work, as a yoga teacher, in relationships and even in my cooking (which is another LOVE of mine!). But, how do we get out of it?

It starts with TRUST. Trust in the process, and that creativity and inspiration will come. But the trick is that it doesn't end with just trust alone. From what I've seen that can be where a lot of us stop, especially when it comes to marketing. The minute we feel tapped out, un-inspired or worse - demoralized and disgusted - we completely walk away. Sound familiar?

Similar to a practice or ritual of any kind the rewards often do not happen immediately....but we stay steady. We put in effort and water the garden after the seeds are planted. When I meet with new clients one of the most important things I try to emphasize is consistency. Create a habit out of the ways you connect with your students and audience outside of the classroom.

What we are looking for is a combination of TRUST + CONSISTENCY. 

Now sometimes you need to overhaul what you are doing and take a step back. But don't throw everything you've done away if this is the case. When you re-emerge be open about the process to your comfort level - this is what our community is looking for, and what we all need more of.


Put It Into Action: 

  1. Share something this next week that feels authentic and real. Start with one thing - it can be one post or email that is in YOUR voice.

    Still stuck? Look at what you are teaching or offering. What is one thing your students or community can do on their own that relates to what you are teaching. Maybe a breath practice, or guided meditation, etc.
     
  2. Put it on your calendar WHEN you would like to share next week.
     
  3. Take the time to ask your community what keeps them inspired. This can be a way to get feedback about what you are doing, and perhaps what resonates with your students.

Have a good weekend everyone! I'm eager to hear if this was helpful, and I'll send out a marketing tip every few months so stay tuned. I'm also open to addressing your questions!