Ferndale Yoga, massage, meditation and wellness
Close friends, a fire, fuzzy socks, warm blankets, candlelight, coffee and cake.....such simple ingredients are the keystones to a very important tradition in Denmark called Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). A way to make the most of the cold, dark nights, this tradition embodies warmth and light. Known as the art of building sanctuary, hygge makes the most of the little things and calls to gather what fills your heart with love and comfort. Hygge can be used as a verb, noun or adjective. Fuzzy socks are hygge. Sitting by the fire with a good book is hygge. That feeling you get when your belly is warmed by the first sip of hot cocoa is hygge.
Creating a sense of closeness and belonging with a lot of the warm and fuzzies is something most of us could use right about now. No tv, no outside world, just the soft glow of candles and the laughter of family and friends. A place we can let our guard down and feel safe, even if we are alone in a bath with a dog by our side. Hygge is a lifestyle, a priority in the lives of so many. Our current day to day society is filled with so much noise, fear, stress and busyness I feel we can all take a page from our Scandinavian friend's book.
My Hygge may include my dog, a cup of peppermint tea, candles, music and a good book or having some friends family over to soak in some genuine intimacy, presence and closeness. (I'm always game for a lot of good food and a glass of wine too!) Rituals for living and feeding the soul are important reminders that it doesn't take much to make our heart sing. So take comfort in the simple things, have a Hygge night with your nearest and dearest. Forget for a while what is beyond the walls of your home, that which is meant to be your sanctuary, your safe place. No electronics aloud, no social media. If it sounds too simple and like there's nothing to it it's because there's not!
So throw on some fuzzy socks and grab some matches........and just Hygge.
Learn more about this simple yet inspiring practice at www.hyggehouse.com or pick up a copy of the Little Book of Hygge to learn more ways to simplify and enrich your soul.
Be well, Lotus tribe and happy Hygge!
Everywhere in life there is something striving for balance, to find a perfect place of harmony, a balance of opposites. For those of you who think yoga asana (posture) practice is all downward facing dogs, planks and warriors I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to my favorite asana practice, Yin yoga. If you've never practiced yoga before, if your regular practice often masters some of the more challenging inversions, or you do nothing but Crossfit, here's why yin yoga would be a great addition to your wellness routine. Even in yoga we can let our egos take control, striving to hit that most advanced poses, we want to be 'good' at it. We can lose our focus and forget why we are on our mat. Yin yoga marries asana and meditation, which can be challenging because when your body slows down, the mind wants to chime in. But this type of active relaxation may be just what you need to restore and renew. In our Yang asana practice we work on our Yang tissues, muscles & tendons. It is a masculine, firery energy; and this is our flow that includes sun salutations, warriors and dynamic breath with movement.
In yin we find well, the opposite. Our feminine, nurturing, lunar energy is found and we force ourselves to slooooowww down. We use no muscular engagement, the muscles are cool, not warm. Most of the practice is done close to the mat, working a lot from navel to knees as well as nice ways to open up the chest. We offer the body support with pillows, bolsters, blocks and blankets and we hold poses anywhere from 3-6 minutes. We let gravity to the work and allow ourselves to simply be. Here we work the Yin tissues; connective tissue, facia, ligaments. Our connective tissues are similar to silly puddy. If you remember playing with silly puddy as a kid you may recall if you take it and try to pull it apart while its cold it tending to have no give, to even snap. But if you're patient, and you hold it in your hands and roll it around something magical happens. It begins to soften, expand and lengthen more that you thought was event possible! So that's what we do, we work with patience and presence, allowing the body to lengthen and expand. With simply the weight of your own body and time the body and can reach more flexibility and release the tensions of the mind to find stillness.
A beautiful balance to any routine, I'd love for you to join me in this most healing, restorative practice. To see the current offerings of this and other classes feel free to visit here for more information. Be well and hope to see you soon. Namaste.
Now that 2016 has come to a close, many of us are thinking the same thing-Thank God! (Or, Goddess, Buddha, Ganesha, the Heavens). This whirlwind of a year has brought many things; along with whatever good, it was also the year of much loss, anxiety, confusion and the biggest shake up this country or world has seen in a while. As we cut our losses and work to shake off the dejection of the past 12 months, there are simple ways to find empowerment and ease into the fear of the unknown. We had the recent passing of the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. This was a time to sync up with Mother Nature, reflect over our year, and release what no longer serves to create space for new adventure and abundance into our lives. When we reconnect with nature, sync with her seasons and her elements we can then create our own future; find the path of least resistance and take back perhaps a little bit of control over our lives. I'm talking intention and manifestation time!
With the busyness of current society it’s easy to see why so many of us feel out of control and victims to the chaos around us. That’s why this year we must pull back on the reigns, wipe the filters from our eyes and for one, just breathe. If we begin with meditation then there’s half of the control. To close your eyes and tune into the sensations of your breath you alone can soothe the central nervous system, release tension and that sometimes sharp, reactive thinking. Meditation give us the power to be the calm center; the eye of the storm that is the chaos around us. I’ve meditated in many spaces including my office before a presentation or teaching a class and even the Secretary of State. You don’t need to have your eyes closed and tune out the entire world, you simply need mindfulness and peace will follow. Meditation can be about being content while being completely present and aware of the world around you. As little as 5 minutes a day can be enough to release stress, increase focus and set intention for your day.
Create an altar space in your home, somewhere you can be alone if possible. Here you can gather all you need for working with the elements and working with manifestation and setting intensions. My space often includes stones and crystals for healing & grounding. Mother Nature's healers, crystals and stones hold vibrations and have qualities that can help to enhance health. We are naturally receptive to the healing qualities of these Earthly elements and they can work to balance blockages of the body, mind & spirit. Use these in rituals for health, wellness, prosperity and more. I also use inspiring words or photos, candles and sage or Palo Santo for cleansing negative energy. Draw a tarot card if you find you need direction in a situation or somewhere to put your focus. Here’s a little ritual that’s easy to put together for the New Year to set positive intensions and direction.
Set up your space and gather your tools.
1. Pick your stones- My favorite three stones for this ritual would be Hematite, Moonstone and Obsidian. You may set these on your altar or hold in your hands.
Hematite is great for grounding, protection, and bringing harmony to body, mind and spirit
Moonstone is for new beginnings, reflection and intuition
Obsidian offers support in growth, deep soul healing, shields from negativity, and very powerful in releasing/absorbing emotions
2. Clear the space- Grab a bundle of sage or a stick of Palo Santo to cleanse negative energy. If you have a small bell set that near you as well.
3. Get your photos, either of family, friends or create a vision board of what you would like your upcoming year to look like.
4. Create your Mantra-Decide whatever your personal mantra or intention is for the year, write it down and set that on your altar as well. Gather anything else inspiring and set that in your space.
5. Grab your candles and your oils- You can use different colored candles for different meanings, or I like to use white as a universal and put my intention into it. If you have essential oils, anoint your candles before you light them; a lemongrass oil to balance, uplift and calm or Sandalwood for good fortune, protection and success are two good choices.
Settle into your space with your tools around you. Offer yourself a meditation to tune into your breath, get centered and release tension. Set your photos, mantra and anything else you'd like on your altar space, then anoint and light your candles. Take time to take inventory over your past year, see what has worked, what has not. What old belief systems have been holding you back? What projects lead you in the wrong direction this year? What relationships no longer serve? Start to find a release process with your breath to let go of the old; imagine creating space in and all around you to release and let go. Take as much time as you need, then continue by lighting your sage or Palo Santo and smudge your room and yourself; you may extend out to the entire house if you'd like to do a house cleansing or blessing for the new year. I like to use my hands to literally sweep the old energy off of me; a cracked window will draw the old energy out and allow fresh air to come in.
When finished ring your bell to 'ring out the old'. Sit in meditation with your mantra and envision what you wish to manifest for the upcoming year. Envision and feel all that you want to draw to yourself, and see it as though it was already here. Draw that intension into every aspect of your being.....and like cultivating a seed to sprout nourish that intension and let it grow. When you feel complete and full of new direction for the year, ring your bell to 'ring in the new'. Allow a deep cleansing breath to set your intension out into the Universe, ready to come back into fruition when it's ready.
Learn more about using the elements for meditation and manifestation at our new website,
Modern Goddess Living
Live well, love well, be well. Namaste.
I was fortunate enough to slip away for 18 whole days to immerse myself in a world filled with nothing but seclusion, nature, beautiful souls from all over the world, and of course......yoga. I flew to Baja Mexico, just north of Cabo San Lucas, to attend the first leg of my advanced yoga teacher training towards my 500RYT (and I still have to go back in April to finish, darn!) and prepared myself for hard work, deep connection and an expasion of consciousness. To my elation I received not only that but so much more. The lovley and talented instructors were filled with knowledge, riddled with kindness and bursting with support. We not only studied adancement in asasa (or postures), but in pranayama (breathing techniques), meditaiton, mantra (Vedic hymn), Ayurveda (Indian alternative medicine for living), Bhakti (devotional yoga), Kundalini and Tantra yoga. Studying the elements of nature, the cycles of the seasons, the sun and the moon we were able to see how in sync we are with the universe as well as how connected everything in this world truly is.
We had delicious home cooked organic/vegetarian meals everyday and stripped away any caffeine or sugar to cleanse the body. That along with the moist ocean air, the many practices (including 2 hours classes every morning at 7 before breakfast) and the view at the edge of the world made me feel amazing and full of life. When you take away everyday influences and stressors, including bad diets, television, election craziness, traffic jams and more it's easier to see the bigger picture-and we are a part of it. All of it. To be able to resonnate the sound of the universe within the body and the mind is to be everywhere. To be the bird soaring through the air, the creatures swimming in the ocean, the trees whispering in the wind.
At times it was tough. I had self doubt....... trouble connecting. But when you're part of a collective you have so many others to lift you up. A place where connection is everything and competion doesn't exists, you can't help but to succeed. As we say at the end of every yoga class, 'Namaste'-'I bow to you. I am you, You are me. We are one'. We worked together and together we all made it and grew forever connected to a community of amazing people. There is no class system, no discrimination, no divide of any kind. The only hope is for everyone to succeed and be happy. That's it. To work together for the greater good of all of mankind, animal and nature kind too, everywhere in the world. That kind of revalation was more that just refreshing. It was everything. And that is one thing I'm clinging to in my heart as I return to the states in the midst of so many devestating healines and heated passions all over our country.
I had the adventure of a Vision Quest (a Native America ritual)- fasting for 24 hours, in silence and left out in nature with nothing but an umbrella, an 8 foot diamter around me in the sand where I was to stay for hours, a bottle of water and my thoughts. When the mind is not occupied- not even by taking photos, journaling or picking up shells, it has quite the time to open and connect. To fully experience a sunrise, deepen meditation, sit in mantra, see whales migrating and breeching though the waves, butterflies, birds and crabs exploring the air and the sand you can't help but feel connected to everything around you. Some find it uncomforatable to sit in their own company for even a few minutes, seeking any kind of stimulation or distraction. But it's when you can peel away all of those layers to get to the true, peaceful, lovley aspects of who we are all that everything else seems insignificant.
The highlight of the trip was one afternoon we were all sitting on the beach during sunset, deep in meditation. Our teacher told to be still, quiet and open our eyes to look behind him. There we saw a huge sea turtle sitting in the sand right behind him. She had just climbed out of the ocean.....she was magnificent. She continued to walk just a few more feet inland and began to dig a whole in the sand......she was about to lay her eggs! We all watched in awe and excitement and she layed all of her eggs (average 50-70) and secure them deep into the sand. She then moved slightly away and dug a decoy hole close by. When she was done she slowly made her way back into the ocean and was swept away by the powerful waves. It's said when they come up to lay their eggs they are a sort of trance, not seeing the world around them. No matter where they are in the ocean they must return back to the spot where they were born to lay their eggs, and they just know where to go. How amazing to be so connected with the earth, always remembering where you came from. After she returned we held hands and around the eggs and offered a protection prayer. Later a fence was put around to protect the many new lives that lay beneath the surface.
A truly transformative time, I am happy and humbled to be back at the studio- and to be able to share new tools and experiences with our lovely tribe. I look forward to seeing you, be well. Namaste. Check out the lovely lady of the ocean below! And thank you to Zuzanna Zigmondova and Mary Tilson of Mary Tilson Yoga for sharing some amazing photos of our trip!
The past few months of this have been the most stressful than most of us can remember; and for some the past couple of days has brought that weight down even harder. Worries of the unknown, fear for the future and safety of our family and friends. The list is different for everyone, but collectively much of the country and the world has felt a tremendous impact of the past 48 hours. It's important to sit, acknowledge and feel your feelings. Not react. Process. Support. Plan. We spend much time holding space for others, our children especially. Take time now to hold some space for yourself. Sit comfortably. Scan the body and feel where all of the tension is sitting......is it buried into your shoulders? Spread between your eyes, neck and head? Close your eyes and begin to slow your breathing down. Shut out everything in the outside world and begin to reside in the calm, peaceful, and safe place within yourself. Keep the breath moving in and out.
And simply hold space for yourself. Holding space is to be present, without judgement. It's being centered and grounded and to simply allow. It's getting out of your own way, slowing down the 100s of thoughts spinning around in your head to a slow hum; honing in on specifics. Continue to keep the focus inward and on your breath, soothing the central nervous system and allowing you to relax. Not trying to fix, do or change anything. And ask the question 'How am I doing?' 'What am I feeling?'. Hold space for yourself to feel and process. Let the feelings and thoughts come and go as easily as your breath. In, and out. Stay with this process for a while, offering support. Take all that you need, and finding solace in your breath. Offer yourself permission to trust and connect with the innate healing wisdom within yourself and ask. 'What do I need?' 'How do I take back control?' 'What's my plan of action?' Trust in yourself to offer the time and space you need for growth and transformation. Breathe in peace. Release stress. Breathe in clarity. Let go of fear. Breath in love.
Taking time to hold space for ourselves as well as others is important in our process to become more reflective and less reactive. To tap into our higher selves and see things more clearly. Take a step back, and breathe. I offer peace and love to everyone and our unity is important now more than ever before. United we stand. Divided we fall. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. Peace, Peace. Peace.
Be well and Namaste.
If you've been to any of my yoga classes chances are I've offered the class a mudra to get settled in our beginning meditation. Mudras, Sanskrit for 'seal', are symbolic gestures made with the hands and fingers used in many Indian religions. A visual language, this form of wordless communication helps to realign and direct the energy in the body, mind, and spirt for connections and healing. Often used in yoga as well as meditation, you may use mudras on their own or along with pranayama, or breathing techniques, to cultivate a correct flow of prana in the body. Here are 6 mudras you can use every day to relax, reflect, restore and renew from one of my favorite resources, 72 Yoga Mudras of Yoga by Cain and Revital Carrol.
Anjali Mudra-The Mudra of Intention & Reverence
You most often hear yoga instructors speak of this mudra throughout class, hands placed in a prayer position in front of the chest, followed by the word 'Namaste.' Allow the palms and fingers to touch, rest the base of your thumbs on your sternum and hold in front of your heart. This symbolic gesture seals our intention, invokes devotion, and connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Anjali mudra is a beautiful way to cultivate reverence; as symbol of honor to those around you and as well as respect for yourself. During yoga or meditation, use this mudra while tuning into your breath and set a positive intention. Settle into your calm center and connect all aspects of yourself-body, mind and spirit. I often raise my hands and rest the base of my thumbs on my Anja Chakra, or Third Eye for added guidance and intuition.
Shankhavarta Mudra-The Mudra of Inner Stillness & Intuition
Begin with palms in Anjali mudra and hold slightly away from the chest. Keep finder tips connected then press palms away from one another and drop the right first finger towards the center. Invoke inner stillness, holding this mudra in front of the heart. As you allow the outside influences of the world to melt away, open up the heart and the mind to simply be present and listen. Connect with your own inner teachings on what's true in your heart and soul.
Garuda Mudra-The Mudra of Fierceness and Protection
Hold hands in front of you, palms facing the chest. Cross left hand over the right (left hand furthest away from you) and interlock the thumbs. Stretch the remaining fingers out like the wing span of a bird-Garuda is a fierce, eagle-type creature. Relax the shoulders and allow the elbows to sink down by the rib cage. Hands can reach down to settle in front of the space above the navel. This area is know as the Manipura Chakra, a place of personal power. Use this mudra when depleted of energy to spark the fire in the belly and surround yourself with protection. Hold, breathe, and stoke the fire of your inner awesomeness to take on anything.
Panchamukha Mudra-The Mudra of Memory & Healing
Begin in Anjali Mudra, then press palms away keeping the fingertips connected and hollowing out the palms of the hands. This mudra is said to enhance our memory retention and improve our concentration. Close your eyes and begin to sharpen your awareness, noticing subtle movements in the body. Concentrate on your breath, how the body responds as you breathe, and tap into the body's natural healing abilities. Use this mudra before a big test, presentation or to simply keep the mind sharp and offer healing.
Sahasrara Mudra-The Crown Chakra Mudra
Sahasrara is Sanskrit for 'Thousand-Petalled Lotus', our highest self Chakra or energy center located above the crown of the head. Hold your hands with palms facing away from you, join the first fingers and the thumbs to form a diamond shape. Either standing or sitting, hold this mudra above the head and imagine a divine, white light above your head. Our crown chakra is our oneness, our connection to the divine. Connect to your highest spiritual self and draw a sense of calmness into your spirit. This mudra is also said to reduce headaches and improve brain function.
Samputa Mudra-Connect to your True Nature Mudra
Samputa means 'bud' or 'vessel' in Sanskrit. Join the hands in front of the chest with thumbs resting side by side. Keeping tips of fingers connected hollow out a small space in between the hands; like you're holding a baby bird or mouse, gently tuck thumbs in the hollowed space. Gently lengthen through the back of the neck and drawn chin down towards the chest. Use this mudra to help balance all 5 elements, reduce mental and emotional suffering and connect with your true Original Nature.
Padma Mudra-The Grounding Mudra
Start in Anjali mudra, keep the thumbs and tips of pinkys connected the spread the hands and other fingers apart-keep the base of the hands connected. Padma means 'lotus flower' and it resembles a blooming flower. The lotus signifies grounding, and this mudra helps to weaken ego grasping and settles the mind. Use to balance the immune system and ignite spiritual devotion.
Use these tools to help connect with yourself and offer strength and healing. Remember every day that you have the power take charge and renew, giving your soul a peaceful place to dwell. Namaste. Get the full deck of Yoga Mudra cards on Amazon-it's a great resource!
As summer nestles down into a slumber and we get that first rush from a cool breeze, something happens and we begin to shift our energy. Whether we realize it or not, we follow Mother Nature’s lead and sync with her circadian rhythms. She has spent the last season on fire reaching a height of growth and fertility, celebrating the power of the sun. Our energy matched hers, spending time outdoors and enjoying all she has to offer. Some of us may have even celebrated the Summer Solstice by offering 108 Sun Salutations with the rising of the sun. Longer days prevailed, and now they have begun to wane. Longer, regenerative nights lie ahead-and we need to take advantage and set our intentions to match hers.
At the Autumn Equinox we hit a complete balance of light vs. dark, and have now just fallen past that tipping point. Now that we’ve burned off that fiery energy of the sun we can begin to shift to a more reflective, cooling energy of the moon. A season of letting go, we begin to settle under a blanket of reflection to see what hasn’t worked in our lives. Reaping the harvest of our past few months of hard work and investments, it’s time to till the soil and release what didn’t pan out. Our lives mirror the seasons, and if we align our energies properly with can work with the cycles instead of against them.
So as the world is set ablaze with the colors of the fall, here are 6 ways to align your energy with Mother Nature and find magic this season:
1. Let it go Use the elements of Mother Nature to let go of what no longer serves you. Allowing for contemplation, autumn is a time to turn inward for deeper self-healing and take a look at all we’ve worked to build. What do we need to work on? What didn’t work, and we can release? Create your own ritual of letting go. You can write down what you wish to release, toss the paper in to a fire (only safe practices here, a fire pit or other means of outdoor burning) and watch it turn into ash and disappear. You may also bury the list into the dirt and allow it to be consumed by the Earth Herself. Perform these rituals under the full moon to enhance their effects. Gather a sage bundle or smudge stick, used in purification and protection, to cleanse your home of negative energies. You may also use Palo Santo, wooden sticks made from a mystical tree in South America, found in some metaphysical shops. Related to Frankincense and Myrhh, this ‘Holy Wood’ helps to cleanse home and energy, enhance creativity and enhance immunity.
2. Protection Yourself & Your Home Every fall we gather beautiful chrysanthemums to adorn our home with beautiful colors of the fall. But did you know these are known to be flowers of protection? When we get closer to Halloween then the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest this flower is said to keep the evil spirits at bay. Red mums offer love, yellow & orange bring joy & good cheer, purple represent power & passion, white invokes the truth & bronze encourages a loving, happy home. Gather your mums to create a happy, healthy environment for your pets and your family. You may also set out stones of amber for added protection.
3. Make a Feast! Gather friends and family to celebrate this time of harvest. Foods of the season include root veggies such as beets, potatoes and carrots, nuts, breads, corn, figs, honey, as well as apples which are said to be a most magical fruit! Pomegranate and its seeds are related to Greek Goddess Persephone and her return to the underworld every fall season. Cider, beer, wine and mead can be added to the table as loved ones offer gratitude and reflection during this celebratory time.
4. Set Up Your Meditation Altar Create your space to align your energy with the shift in seasons. The colors yellow, orange, red and brown set the tone for autumn and the changing of the leaves as they work to let go and prepare for winter. Some elements to adorn your altar include: candles, herbs of ivy, myrrh and sage, cloves, cinnamon, and stones of amber and hematite to offer protection and grounding. Add photos of loved ones and what holds gratitude in your heart, or write down a mantra you can return to every day during this shift. Offerings of fresh cut flowers, honey and mead can add another element to invoking the creative and nurturing side of nature.
5. Keep a Gratitude Journal Listen to the transition, journal and prepare for self-healing and reflection. You find you can sense, feel and become one with the change happening all around you. Once you’ve released what you no longer need you are more able to sit back and look at all that you have. Cultivating gratitude is very powerful and has a tremendous effect on your over-all health and well-being. You may choose to journal outside in nature, sitting under an oak or maple tree to connect with their energy and wisdom. This is also a nice ritual to be before you go to bed at night. Begin with some light yin yoga poses to offer the cooling energy of the moon and set a reflective and restorative tone for your journaling.
6. Seva-The Art of Selfless Service When we cultivate gratitude we see all that we have, but may also become aware of what many do not. Take this time to practice the art of Seva, or selfless services. Offer to volunteer at a nursing home or hospice, bring offerings and your kindness to the homeless or disabled veterans. Offer some free classes or services to those who may otherwise not be able to afford such things. Join together communities and help to offer gratitude and self-healing to others and match the nurturing side of Mother Nature during this time.
Mother Nature has all that we need readily available at our fingertips, we simply need to know how to apply it and connect with her energy for transformation and change. So let’s work with the currents of the Earth and find a ride with them into beautiful alignment, peace and well-being. Bring a little magic back into your life this fall and nurture your mind, body and spirit. Namaste.
Stress much? Feel like your day to day is often out of your control and you’re just along for the ride? This high octane, crazy train called life can sometimes feel like it’s just fish-hooked you from one task and spun you in two different directions wondering what the heck just happened. And needless to say holding onto our ‘Zen’ proves to be quite the challenge. Work, family, friends, events, lunches, bills, vacations, weddings…..the list can go on and on. And on. Relax, you’re doing a great job rocking out life. But a Chinese proverb speaks truth in saying ‘the people of the West are always getting ready to live’. Our impressingly driven selves get caught up in thinking we need to constantly move and cross all those tasks off of our list, when what we really need to do is stop and smell the coffee. Oh the coffee….. you could revel in the smell of it. So revel.
When we find ourselves in that chaos of never ending to-do lists, responsibilities that sometimes start at the break of dawn and a mind that will not, or cannot, slow down it’s time to redirect our focus, get off of auto-pilot and back into the driver’s seat. So sit down. Relax enough to read through these 10 helpful tips to get back some control in your life and get your Zen back.
1. Start your day off on the right foot-If your crazy day starts first thing in the morning give yourself the gift of waking up a little earlier than everyone else. Try to sneak in a run around the block, maybe sit in the yard with your coffee with nothing but the sound of the birds and the world waking up. Sit in meditation to draw in intention and direction for your day, or do a handful of yoga poses to wake up all of your senses and get into your body and focused for the tasks that lie ahead. Stay unplugged in the am for as long as possible and set a positive, calm & productive vibe for your day.
2. Clear the clutter. Take a look at your workspace, car and home. If these areas are in disarray it can create a sense of chaos and being out of control. Set time aside to keep these areas tidy or recruit family members to help stay organized to keep stress level down.
3. Know your triggers. What stresses you out? Paying your bills, your commute to work? When we can identify out triggers we can more easily work through them and offer ourselves a little extra patience and support. When it’s time to pay bills make a cup of tea, diffuse an essential oil or play classical music to soothe your mood. If your commute is a nightmare get a ‘book on tape’ or podcast you’ve been dying to listen to but haven’t had the time, you won’t want to get out of your car when you get to work!
4. Clear your calendar. Once and a while-learn to say NO! We often feel obligated to accept every invitation from family and friends, but trust when you know you need some ‘me’ time. Your family and friends will understand, and it’s better to respectfully decline upfront then backing out of it later.
5. Reset your mind & body throughout the day. Set mindful alarms on your phone to chime throughout the day. Take this time to check your posture, take some breathing, meditation or stretching breaks. 5 minutes on your breath can be the perfect refresher you need to clear your head and refocus. And if you must get up and get outside, move and disconnect here and there. Your brain will thank you.
6. Stay organized. If your day is stacked with playdates, work, correspondence and running from here to there take the time to get organized and map out your day or week ahead of time. Set your plan of action and create a mantra for each day of the week depending on what you have coming up. If you have a big presentation at the end of the week set a mantra such as “I am organized. I am confident.” When you have a family field trip this weekend with so much to get together set your mantra to “Mother Warrior Goddess” and tackle those challenges with confidence. You can take on anything!
7. End the day with grace. At the end of your crazy day take a moment before you go to bed to set the same attitude you did to start it. Unplug, offer yourself even 5 minutes to meditate or offer yourself a few yin yoga poses to decompress. If you have a hard time ‘turning it off’ and falling asleep keep a journal by your bed. Jot down everything you were grateful for that day, let the good things take precedence. If you must, take this time to make your list for the next day and get anything down on paper that might keep your wheels turning as you retire for the evening. Rest with ease that you’ve done all you can today and have to clear plan on action for tomorrow. And give your permission to rest.
8. Be kind to yourself. Carve out some time to do something you enjoy throughout the day or week, if only for a short time. Find what feeds your soul and offer yourself that gift for being a domestic and corporate bad ass. Buy yourself something you’ve wanted, you deserve it.
9. To err is human, to forgive is divine. Life is hard enough, we don’t need to add self judgements and defeating thoughts to the mix. If we don’t get to everything or even royally mess things up remember we are all human. Take the time to reboot and reevaluate your plan of action. If your busyness is affecting your relationships with others it may be time to look at your schedule and yourself with a new set of eyes. Take the time to step back and reset your default.
10. Give thanks to yourself, for all that you do each day. For showing up to take care of yourself and of others.......for all that you have.....and for all that you are. When life gets us down or stressed sometimes all it takes is a little shift in perspective to show us that everything is ok.
When life is crazy remember to tune into that peaceful space within yourself. Close your eyes and tune into your breath. Let go of the external world and give soul a peaceful place the dwell. With the right tools you can become the eye of the storm of the chaos around you. The calm center. So take a deep breath in and know, you’ve got this.
Kali. Or Kali Ma to others. She isn't your average Hindu God, oh no. She is the bad ass Mother of Demons, first of her name. The goddess of time, creator of change. The Queen of destruction and preservation she is the breaker of chains to our ego and the liberator of all men. And yes, if you are following my Game of Thrones references she too was born of fire, but to devour blood. I'd like to tell you a story of Kali Ma. She is Enlightenment herself, a mother of tough love meant to lead us to find true transformation & release our pre-conceived notions of who we think we are or think we should be so that we may find Moksha, or liberation. She is the powerful, hungry feminine who wears a string of skulls around her neck and a skirt of severed arms. She wears infants for earrings and carries a severed head in one of her 4 arms and a sword in another. But we'll get back to that.
First we'll begin the story of how she came to be. It's a plot fit to be in a popular HBO series, but much fiercer and with greater reward. She was born during a battle between the Gods & the Titans. Durga, the Mother of the Universe rode into battle on the back of a lion to slay many demons & the Asura King. However, every time one of her 10 weapons in her 10 hands ripped through his flesh, each drop of blood that touched the Earth created a clone of the king. Hundreds of replicas appeared as quickly as she wielded her swords. Feeling the crushing weight of defeat Durga did something out of desperation, frustration & anger. She emanated her most gruesome & compelling aspects of herself. And from her brow the Goddess Kali was born. Designed with a lust for blood and a cyclonic wrath, Kali worked to quench the demon fire that was sure to lay waste to the heavens. Her tongue reached for every drop of blood that hit the ground; devouring the army of kings & eventually the king himself, restoring peace among the Gods.
So. Earning her bragging rights on slaying demons and killing kings, Kali continues to live on offering us peace by bestowing comfort and wisdom with the protective fury of a mother for her children. So lets get back to that skirt. Her appearance can be construed as frightening but has much more meaning than death and destruction and straight up slaying everything in her path. Her face is often depicted as dark blue or even black, representing the vast darkness in which the universe was created and which will be its eventual destruction. Her goal is to protect us from evil & release us from our egos which ultimately come from our connection to our physical body. It's said that one can only reach liberation when there is a release of the attachment to our physical form and we connect with our true eternal self. Death. Transformation. Liberation. So the skulls and body parts represent her trophies in victory for liberating her children from their ego through knowledge. In one hand she holds the Sword of Truth, the other a severed head dripping blood. This represents destruction of the ego through knowledge. Her tongue is out ready to lap up the blood of those slained, ready to kill some demons. Her breasts are bountiful and her womb fertile. A true nurturing mother who will do anything to protect her children.
Her many strengths include her compassion & ability to consume. She is the essence of life. When we find ourselves in battle with inner demons or challenges of the world we can invoke our inner Kali, draw in a fiery fierceness to stand up to our demons and fight. The ability to absorb into yourself or consume your enemy allows you to fully own your fear. To experience it, know it, and eventually move toward peace and resolution. But don't misunderstand to assume engaging in confrontation. Our internal strength is used to understand and slay what lays waste to our eventual liberation. Confrontation only breeds more aggression and conflict.
So when you're up for battle remember this mantra: Om Krim Kalikayai Namah.... I bow my head to the Goddess Kali, Mother of Demons, First of her name. The Queen of destruction and preservation she is the breaker of chains to our ego and the liberator of all men.
Channel Your Inner Kali and Live Forever!
When life gets overwhelming and we find ourselves stressed and scattered, allow yourself some time (if only a few minutes!) to focus on gratitude and to offer yourself some kindness. Turn off your phone, power down the PC, and for Pete's sake turn off the election coverage! We can too easily allow ourselves to get consumed in the chaos. Find a comfortable spot, make some tea, and take some time to reboot. (I am taking my own advice as I write this blog, CNN has captured way to much of my attention & heightened my stress level today!) Start to settle into a quiet space within yourself & away from the turmoil of the outside world. Allow your eyes to gently close and begin to tune into your breath. Start to connect with the rhythm of your breath moving in and out of your lungs, noticing how the body expands and then contracts. Allow the breath to regulate and hone in on any tension. Smooth over your forehead, soften your jaw. Begin to work with your breath to ease any stress or tension clinging to you or your thoughts. Begin to let the mind settle down, and start to draw gratitude into your heart space with each breath in and out. Start to bring to mind anything you are grateful for from today. A sunny morning, no traffic on your commute, the person in front of you picking up the tab for your coffee....allow the good things take precedence. Think of the people in your life you are thankful for, sending them well wishes. Draw in gratitude for the automatic functioning of your lungs, allowing fresh oxygen to nourish your body. Give thanks for your legs and your feet for taking you everywhere you wanted to go today.....for your eyes for all that they see......for your mouth and your throat, allowing you to communicate with others. Continue to draw gratitude into your heart with your breath, thanking your intuition for guiding you along the way and keeping you safe. Give thanks for your mind and the ability to make decisions and live a full, rich life. And finally give thanks to yourself, for all that you do each day. For showing up to take care of yourself and of others.......for all that you have.....and for all that you are. When life gets us down or stressed sometimes all it takes is a little shift in perspective to show us that everything is ok. :) Namaste.
In my blog I will share much of the information I've learned on my journey to becoming a wellness ambassador. I will share the healthy tips I've received on living a healthier life, essential oils, meditation, yoga and anything else I feel will help you along your path to wellness. I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist or yoga therapist so always consult your doctor before starting any new regimen. I hope to pay it forward to help create a healthier, happier community-or at least pass on a good habit or two. Be Well!