Welcome to your 6 Week Self Care Series!

(From October 24th - December 5th)

In person at BFC every Wednesday from 7-8pm, and online. 🙂

Week 1 (10/24-31)

Setting the Foundation for your Day: The Power of Morning Rituals

For your first week you'll focus on committing to a daily morning self care ritual.

Your morning ritual consists of:

  1. Drinking 12oz of water, (with lemon if you like:)
  2. Meditating 
  3. Going for a 10 minute walk outside

You'll do these activities first thing in the morning.

Essentially, as soon as you get out of bed you'll drink 12 oz of water (I find it helps to have the water poured and ready the night before, but then I'm still half asleep when I get up), meditate, then go for a walk.

You'll do all three before you do anything else.

They'll be your foundation for, and the start of, your day. So that your first priority upon waking up is loving, caring for, and nurturing yourself.

This will make such a difference to the rest of your day!

It still amazes me how much more energy, focus, presence, and compassion I have when I commit to these three simple activities.

And I think it's important to start simple. To keep it basic and doable so that you will do it.

So for this week it's just those three things, every morning.

I'll provide recorded meditations that will increase in time by 1 minute each day. For example, your first meditation will be 5 minutes, your second meditation will be 6 minutes, third 7 minutes, fourth 8 minutes, fifth 9 minutes, and sixth 10.

I also encourage you to have one day this week (if at all feasible), where you plan as little as possible. 

For me that day tends to be Saturdays and I call it my Dani Day. I think the world would be a much saner and happier place if we all had a Dani Day. So if you can, give yourself a day or an afternoon or morning or evening and do whatever you want (or nothing at all.)

To start off today's self care, here's your 

13 minute video lesson/self care tutorial for Week 1:

For more on the power of morning rituals, see this NY Times article

Tips for Creating a Meditation Practice

Find a space that beckons you to sit.

Place a special pillow or cushion in the corner of a room. Or just sit in a chair! 

Create a tiny altar with flowers, a buddha, a rosary, a stone, a book.

I have Pema Chodron’s book Start Where You Are, reminding me that’s how all meditation begins, by starting where we are…

Create a ritual.

Treat your meditation practice the same way you would brushing your teeth.

Pick a regular time and keep it sacred. First thing in the morning when your mind is calm, clear and open to meditation is a good time. 🙂

                       Week 1, Day 1, Five Minute Morning Meditation

Your love notes & exercises to download and complete have been sent via attachment to your email - which you've probably already received, since the link to this page was also sent to you via email!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don't hesitate to let me know.

                        Week 1, Day 2, Six Minute Morning Meditation

On Wednesday at BFC some of you mentioned that you struggle with getting to sleep at night, and sleeping well throughout the night, so here are some helpful tips. 🙂

10 Ways to Get to Sleep and Sleep Well at Night

1. Begin to relax 1-2 hours before bedtime

In the evening, reduce stimulation as much as you can. Dim the lights, turn off electronics, and begin to slow down. Do something that relaxes you, such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath or shower. Let relaxation be your evening theme.

2. No caffeine consumption after 12pm

Caffeine can stay in your body 8-14 hours after consuming it. Caffeine’s effects vary from person to person, but in general, if you are having trouble sleeping, try completely eliminating it for a month and see if that improves your sleep. Also consider sneaky sources of caffeine such as chocolate and tea. Switch to water, herbal tea, and herbal coffee substitutes.

3. Eat a sleep inducing dinner

Eat foods containing nutrients that promote sleep, including tryptophan, melatonin and magnesium. At dinner, eat a combination of high-quality proteins and complex carbohydrates. Try a dish of quinoa mixed with sautéed greens and sliced chicken breast sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds. For dessert, try a bowl of fresh cherries or a frozen yogurt made with frozen cherries and coconut milk.

4. Turn the lights off by 10:30pm

Plan on going to bed at the same time every night. Our bodies are built for a 10 p.m. — 6 a.m. sleep pattern. The most regenerative form of sleep occurs between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

5. Try left nostril breathing

Gently block off your right nostril with your right thumb and take long slow deep breaths through your left nostril only. Left-nostril breathing has a soothing and relaxing effect on the body mind. In Kundalini Yoga, it’s suggested that you take 26 long, slow deep breaths in this manner to produce a relaxing effect on the mind and body.

6. Choose your thoughts

How do you think about sleep? Fearful thoughts create tension in the body, making it difficult to fall asleep, or sleep deeply when you do. Try the affirmation, "I choose to relax and let go now."

7. Modulate lighting and sound

When your internal rhythms align with nature you are much more likely to fall asleep easily and sleep well when you do. Try to expose yourself to sunlight during the day and in the evening dim the lights a few hours before bed. Sleep in a pitch-black room or wear an eye mask. If you find that you are more relaxed with some background noise, use a fan or noise machine while sleeping. Earplugs are also a great option if you are sensitive to noise.

8. Take a relaxation bath (or shower)

If you have time for a bath combine ½ cup Epsom salts with a few drops of an essential oil, like lavender, in hot water. Soak for 20 minutes. The magnesium contained in Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and promotes feelings of relaxation. Water and salt cleanses energy from the day. But if a bath isn't do-able taking a shower helps too! Energetically it clears tension and stress from the day, leaving you refreshed and relaxed.

9. Take relaxation breaks during the day

Give yourself an afternoon break out date! Take 10 minutes to get off of your chair and out of your thinking mind and into your body as a way to shake off stress from the day and counter the harmful effects of sitting for hours. Aim for at least one 10 minute relaxation or move your body break during the day to keep your body in balance so that you're not in a state of overwhelm by the end of the day.

10. Practice yoga nidra

Yoga nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a guided meditation that progressively relaxes the muscles in your body, from head to toes, which also relaxes the nervous system and the mind. Practice my guided yoga nidra video below before going to (or while in!), bed to discover for yourself how healing and blissful yoga nidra is.

                   Week 1, Day 3, Seven Minute Morning Meditation

                           Week 1, Day 4, Eight Minute Morning Meditation

I've been reading the book Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, and want to share his words with you...

"More than anything else, I have come to see meditation as an act of love, an inward gesture of benevolence and kindness toward ourselves and toward others, a gesture of the heart that recognizes our perfection even in our obvious imperfection, with all our shortcomings, our wounds, our attachments, our vexations, and our persistent habits of unawareness. It's a very brave gesture to take one's seat for a time and drop in on the present moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen master, mindfulness teacher, poet, and peace activist, aptly points out that one reason we might want to practice mindfulness is that most of the time we are unwittingly practicing its opposite.

Every time we get angry we get better at being angry and reinforce the anger habit. 

Every time we become self-absorbed, we get better at becoming self-absorbed and going unconscious. Every time we get anxious, we get better at being anxious.

Practice does make perfect.

Without awareness of anger or of self-absorption, or ennui, or any other mind state that can take us over when it arises, we reinforce those synaptic networks within the nervous system that underlie our conditioned behaviors.

But, every time we are able to know a desire as desire, anger as anger, a habit as habit, an opinion as an opinion, a thought as a thought, a mind-spasm as a mind-spasm, or an intense sensation in the body as an intense sensation, we are correspondingly liberated. Nothing else has to happen. We don't even have to give up the desire or whatever it is. To see it and know it as desire, as whatever it is, is enough.

When framed this way, we might want to take more responsibility for how we meet the world, inwardly and outwardly in any and every moment."

So, like we talked about at BFC last Wednesday, let's return over and over again to practicing curiosity and wonder. Let's notice when we harden into judgment, and move toward curiosity and wonder instead.

We can even bring curiosity and wonder to our judgment. When you notice yourself hardening into judgment you can say to yourself, "That's interesting. Why am I contracting into judgment around this? What's behind or underneath that judgment? Is it fear or sadness or something unresolved from the past?"

It's a practice. And meditation is the ground of that practice. Returning us to the present moment again and again.

In the present moment there is no judgment, and nothing to judge. There is only the arising and falling of the breath, the sensations in the body, the thoughts that like clouds pass through the sky of our mind, that come and then go. The natural ebb and flow of life.

To practice meditation is to practice curiosity and wonder. And as Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote, it is an act of profound love, toward ourselves, others, and the world.

If what we practice reinforces who we are; if what we practice is who we are, then practicing meditation, curiosity, wonder, and love is a good way to go. 🙂

                      Week 1, Day 5, Nine Minute Morning Meditation

Happy Halloween! 🙂

                               Week 1, Day 6, Ten Minute Morning Meditation

                                                   Week 2 

How to Slow down, Relax & Release at Night, Preparing for a Good Night’s Sleep

Initially Week 2 was going to be The Power of Food & Intention: Eating a Healthy Breakfast & Creating an Intention for the Day

But, I know at least two of you struggle with sleep, and it's darn difficult to commit to morning rituals when you're exhausted in the morning!

So Weeks 2 and 6 have been switched.

We're not giving up on our morning rituals though! In fact, we're also switching it up a bit with journal writing instead of a morning walk.

This week you'll continue to drink 12oz of water in the morning and meditate for 10 minutes.

You might also continue to walk or move in the mornings, but for your second week I'm including writing in a journal or notebook for about ten minutes after you meditate.

This is what my morning ritual looks like these days:

I stumble out of bed and turn on the kettle. I drink my 12oz of water. I put tea in my favorite mug. When the water in the kettle boils I brew my tea. I meditate. After meditating I make myself toast with almond butter, eat, sip some tea, and when I'm done with my toast, pick up my journal and pen and write.

Here are some reasons I'd like you to write (by hand), in the mornings:

  • Writing by hand allows us to see ourselves through how we write, expressing ourselves creatively, intimately, and personally through our unique writing and self exploration. 
  • The simple act of holding the pen in your hand and feeling the paper beneath you as you write is meditative, bringing you into the present.
  • Also, as Barbara Bash, a calligrapher and illustrator says, "...handwriting can become a contemplative practice, a generator of insight, a deepening down activity that counterbalances the vast, rapidly moving digital world we're bathed in. Handwriting is a powerfully simple way to bring natural creativity and connection back into our lives."
  • Journaling is also a powerful way to release anxious thoughts, to process and record what's happening in your life, and to remember and perhaps begin to sort through the multilayered facets of your dreams.

So, your morning ritual for this week is:

  1. Drink 12oz water
  2. Meditate for 10 minutes
  3. Journal for about 10 minutes

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's a Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with:

And your evening ritual is:

  1. Give yourself 5-15 minutes to write a gratitude list in your journal. Ruminate, meditate, explore, free write what you're grateful for from the day, so that's where your focus is when you go to sleep
  2. Practice yoga nidra or the evening rest and relaxation meditation
  3. Set a time to go to sleep alarm

Again, you'll be accountable to me, so most days if I don't hear from you I'll be checking in.

And I love hearing from you, so please do stay in touch!

Here's your Week 2 Sacred Self Care Video Lesson!

In it you'll learn how to create time for your self care no matter how busy you are, as well as the power of your thoughts.

Below is a link to download your Week 2 Self Care Exercises: 

And here's your 

Week 2, Day 8, Grounding Morning Meditation

Take this time to prepare for your day, grounding your body and gently waking and centering your mind.

Connect to the earth and feel her hold you.

Listen to Terry Tempest William’s poem “I Pray to the Birds,” and allow her words to inspire you…

This week (Week 2), is a book end to Week 1, balancing our morning rituals with evening rituals and sleep self care.

This week I invite you to journal for ten minutes in the morning to release anything you might be holding on to from the previous day or worries about the day to come. Doing so allows you to free at least some of the space that anxiety takes up and focus more clearly and compassionately as you move forward into your day.

This technique also works before going to sleep.

To help you release stress from the day and to sleep well at night try journaling for 5-15 minutes in the evening.

Often the thoughts running around in our head make it difficult for us to fall asleep.

Research has shown that this can produce anxiety and stress, which can generate negative emotions and disturb sleep.

In contrast, research has also shown that journaling and focusing on positive thoughts can calm the mind and help you sleep better.

Writing down the positive events that happened during the day can create a state of gratitude and happiness, downgrade stressful events and promote more relaxation at bedtime.

A study of 41 college students found that journaling resulted in reduced bedtime worry and stress, increased sleep time and improved sleep quality. (See abstract of the study)

Try journaling in the evening, setting aside 5-15 minutes to reflect on what you're grateful for.

Why wait? Begin your gratitude journal practice this evening 

I also encourage you to practice an evening rest and relaxation meditation before bed tonight.

When we're stressed, we're much more likely to have difficulty falling asleep.

I'm sure this isn't news to you, but yoga, meditation and mindfulness are tools to calm the mind and relax the body. And they've been shown to improve sleep. (Go herehere, & here, to read more).

Yoga encourages the practice of breathing patterns and body movements that release stress and tension accumulated in your body

Meditation can enhance melatonin levels and assist the brain in achieving a specific state where sleep is easily achieved.

Lastly, mindfulness may help you maintain focus on the present and worry less while falling asleep.

Practicing one or all of these techniques can help you get a good night's rest and wake up reenergized.

Try this tonight:

                            Evening Rest and Relaxation Meditation

A few more sleep tips

Most of us set an alarm to wake up in the morning.

Try setting a time to go to sleep alarm this evening.

And as with the wake up alarm don't hit snooze! Turn off all lights, if you have a clock that you can see if you wake up in the middle of the night cover it or turn it around so you can't see it. When we see what time it is during our middle of the night awakenings it stresses us out more.

Breathe deeply. Say your mantra, whether it's "I choose to relax and let go now," or something else that resonates with you. Focus on what you're grateful for. Even try not going to sleep, which interestingly makes it more likely you'll fall asleep (whereas trying to make yourself go to sleep makes it less likely).

So this evening set a time to go to sleep alarm, resisting the urge to hit snooze. Remind yourself why it's so important for you to honor going to sleep and that it's a sacred form of self care. And you're worth it!!

And tomorrow morning wake up to an alarm without hitting snooze. 

This is self care.

For most of us there's resistance. That's why it's a practice.

Email me and let me know when you're going to bed tonight and when you're waking up tomorrow morning and I'll reply to your email the next day to see how it went. 

Just an extra little loving incentive to support you in your self care. 🙂

Here's to sleeping like a baby!

                            Week 2, Day 9, Mind Like the Sky Meditation

And if you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1 & 2 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with (in both pages and doc format - the pages format begins with your and the doc format begins with self):

Enjoy! 🙂

                               Week 2, Day 10, Loving Kindness Meditation

This is one of my favorite, (and for me most powerful), meditations. It reminds me that love always begins with ourselves. 

Self care then becomes a radical act of loving yourself in order to love the world. If you look at world leaders who are filled with insecurity and self aggression it becomes painfully, often violently clear, the devastating consequences of the lack of self care and love. 

What we carry within us is what we manifest outside of us.

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-3 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

                                Week 2, Day 11, Honoring Life Meditation

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-4 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

                    Week 2, Day 12, The Wisdom of No Escape Meditation

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-5 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

                                  Week 2, Day 13, You are Love Meditation

To help you continue to get to sleep and sleep well, here's another Yoga Nidra for your listening, relaxation, and deep sleep pleasure. 🙂

                                                  Yoga Nidra for the Heart

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-6 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

                                               Week 3 

Avoid Midday Burnout: Taking an Afternoon Pause or Break Out Session!

This week you'll continue your morning & evening rituals or "bookend your day" rituals. 🙂

In between those two bookends you'll be inserting an afternoon movement &/or relaxation break.

The relaxation break can be as quick and easy as taking 30 seconds to pause and breathe in between activities, or taking 10 minutes to meditate and refocus.

If you have the time, the desire, and the right environment, you also have the option of taking an afternoon break out session!

Afternoon Breakout (as in Get Out of that Afternoon Work/Stress Rut!):

  • Do at least 10 minutes of something physical and yummy, getting back into your body, releasing endorphins and letting go of accumulated stress. Shake it out!
  • This is what I recommend: for this week, Thursday-Wednesday + one weekend day, plan out what physical fun activity you'll do in the afternoon and what time you'll do it. Put it on your calendar as an Afternoon Get My Gorgeous Groove On Breakout Date with yourself. And take it seriously! Don't stand yourself up! 
  • Also...I'll be providing some short & sweet core yoga video practices to help strengthen and awaken your core, which you can do as your Afternoon Breakout Date or as an accessory to it! 

So, here's your self care breakdown for the week:

Morning Rituals

  • Drink 12oz of H2O
  • Meditate for 10 minutes
  • Journal for 5-10 minutes

Afternoon Ritual(s)

  • Take a relaxation break (30 second breath reset or practicing a guided meditation of your choice from the meditation library I've provided, or any other you like)
  • Or do your own thing like a crossword puzzle or drawing, playing or listening to music...
  • And/or take yourself out on an afternoon Get My Gorgeous Groove On Breakout Date!

Evening Rituals

  • Give yourself 5-15 minutes to write 5 things you're grateful for in your journal. Ruminate, meditate, explore, free write what you're grateful for from the day, so that's where your focus is when you go to sleep
  • Practice yoga nidra or the evening rest and relaxation meditation
  • Set a time to go to sleep alarm

Got it? Good!

Enjoy taking care of your phenomenal self this week, and remember, I'm here if you have questions, concerns, frustrations, a-ha moments, or anything else you'd like to share!

To help keep you motivated and remind you why you're investing in your self care, here's your Self Care Series Week 3 Video Tutorial.

Make sure you have a notebook or journal and pen close by!

What Questions

  • What were you thinking about when you signed up for this course?
  • What made you sign up?
  • When it comes to self care what do you struggle with the most?
  • What are your biggest frustrations?
  • And what are the consequences of not taking care of yourself?
  • How do you feel when you don't take care of yourself?
  • How do you feel when you do?
  • What is the impact of not taking care of yourself on your career, your relationships, your health, your life?
  • And what is the impact when you do consistently take care of yourself?

Why Questions

  • Personal Why:
    • On a personal level why are you committing to your self care? For me that’d be l love having time that’s just about me and just for me. Dani time!
  • Pay it Forward Why:
    • On a Pay It Forward, (as in how it helps others level), why are you committing to your self care? For me that’d be because I’m so much kinder and more loving and compassionate and present and just fun to be around when I take care of myself. I’m able to give so much more to others.
  • Fundamental Why:
    • Finally, on a Fundamental level (as in the underlying foundation of why you commit to self care), why do you commit to your self care? For me that’d be because it brings out the best in me and I love the way I feel when I take care of myself, inspired, energized, grateful, joyful and in love with life.

Share your answers with me at: Your Self Care Whats & Whys Google Questionnaire!

Here's Your Morning Meditation:

                Week 3, Day 14, Your True Nature is Love Meditation

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-7 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

                   Week 3, Day 15, Start Where You Are Morning Meditation

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-8 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

And here's an 8 Minute Transverse Abdominus and QL Core Strengthening Practice!

You can do it for your afternoon breakout session, or as an accessory to your afternoon breakout earlier or later in the day (essentially at a time that's best for you! 🙂

And, as always, listen to your body! If anything I offer in this video doesn't support you, don't do it. Your body is hands down your best teacher.

Transverse Abdominus

The transverse abdominus, TVA for short, is a thin, wide muscle that runs horizontally around your abdominal cavity. The main role of the TVA is to create intra-abdominal pressure. When your TVA contracts, it compresses your abdominal organs and increases pressure within your abdominal cavity. This pressure helps to support your spine from within.

Quadratus Lumborum

The quadratus lumborum is a deep muscle that runs from your bottom ribs and first to fifth lumbar vertebrae to the top of your pelvis. When the left and right quadratus lumborum muscles, QL for short, contract simultaneously, they work with your erector spinae to extend or stabilize your lower spine. Singularly, the QL helps to laterally flex your spine.

As you strengthen these powerful groups of core muscles and feel the burn of agni, fire, imagine that you are also burning away unwanted Samskara, or conditioned, habitual behavior.

Allow the practice to be spicy and fiery and notice any resistance, frustration, or even anger that may arise with that fire.

Practice meeting spicy, fiery emotions & physical sensations with compassion and lovingkindness, increasing the light of love in your life as you burn through what no longer serves you…

                   Week 3, Day 16, I Love You, I am Listening Meditation

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-9 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

Today I was looking through Pema Chodron's book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, and want to share with you her words of wisdom and compassion...

"From the very beginning to the very end, pointing to our own hearts to discover what is true isn't just a matter of honesty but also of compassion and respect for what we see.

(Practicing yoga, mindfulness, journaling) or meditation is nothing other than studying ourselves.

...all the wisdom about how we cause ourselves to suffer and all the wisdom about how joyful and vast and uncomplicated our minds are - these two things, the understanding of what we might call neurosis and the wisdom of unconditioned, unbiased truths - can only be found in our own experience.

In all kinds of situations we can find out what is true simply by studying ourselves in every nook and cranny, in every black hole and bright spot, whether it's murky, creepy, grisly, splendid, spooky, frightening, joyful, inspiring, peaceful or wrathful.

...along with clear seeing, there's another important element, and that's kindness. (Without kindness) the sense of being irritated by ourselves and our lives and other people's idiosyncrasies becomes overwhelming. 

Discipline is important. When we sit down to meditate, we are encouraged to stick with the technique and be faithful to the instructions, but within that container of discipline, why do we have to be harsh?

How we regard what arises in meditation is training for how we regard whatever arises in the rest of our lives. So the challenge is how to develop compassion along with clear seeing.

Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important. The reason it's important is that fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn't just ourselves that we're discovering. We're discovering the universe. 

We're not just talking about our individual liberation, but how to help the community we live in, how to help our families, our country, and the whole continent, not to mention the world...

We begin to find that, to the degree that there is bravery in ourselves -- the willingness to look, to point directly at our own hearts -- and to the degree that there is kindness toward ourselves, there is confidence that we can actually forget ourselves and open to the world.

To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes.

Often we think that if we just meditated enough or jogged enough or ate perfect food, everything would be perfect. 

But doing this is setting ourselves up for failure, because sooner or later, we're going to have an experience we can't control: our house is going to burn down, someone we love is going to die, we're going to find out we have cancer, a brick is going to fall out of the sky and hit us on the head.

Sometimes life is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100% healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience.

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.

We awaken bodhichitta, tenderness for life, when we can no longer shield ourselves from the vulnerability of our condition, from the basic fragility of existence.

You take it all in. You let the pain inside of you and the pain of the world touch your heart and you turn it into compassion.

It starts with being willing to feel what we are going through. It starts with being willing to have a compassionate relationship with the parts of ourselves that we feel are not worthy of existing on the planet.

If we begin to get in touch with whatever we feel (no matter what we feel), with some kind of kindness, our protective shells will melt, and we'll find that more areas of our lives are workable.

In practicing meditation, we're not trying to live up to some kind of ideal - quite the opposite.

We're just being with our experience, whatever it is.

If our experience is that sometimes we have some kind of perspective, and sometimes we have none, then that''s our experience. If sometimes we can approach what scares us, and sometimes we absolutely can't, then that's our experience.

This very moment is the perfect teacher, and it's always with us.

Just seeing what's going on - that's the teaching right there.

Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives."

Start where you are my loves. It's the only place to be. Right here. Right now.

Just as you are.

Om shanti, peace,

& many xoxo <3

                Week 3, Day 17, Honoring Your Internal Cadence Meditation

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-10 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

Here's a 16 minute core strengthening video for you! It's from my course Yoga Immersion, which is why it begins with Welcome to Day 5 of your yoga fix.

This is a really good one for strengthening your back! Enjoy.

                                       Week 3, Day 18, Self Love Meditation

If you'd like guidance with or journal prompts for your morning writing, here's Days 1-11 of the Self Care Experience Journal for you to play with. 🙂

I'm also including another yoga nidra as a companion to your self love meditation...

                                                 Yoga Nidra for Body Love

Sweet dreams...

Reading a poem can be a magical way to start the day, and connect to your heart.

Let's start today with this poem by John O'Donahue:

A Morning Offering (Excerpts) 

All that is eternal in me

Welcomes the wonder of this day.

May my mind come alive today

To the invisible geography

That invites me to new frontiers,

To break the dead shell of yesterdays,

To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today

To live the life that I would love,

To postpone my dream no longer

But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.

May I live this day

Compassionate of heart,

Clear in work,

Gracious in awareness,

Courageous in thought,

Generous in love.

                        Week 3, Day 19, Abundance and Love Meditation

For your morning journaling I invite you to write in your notebook or journal, "What I really want to say is....," and see what follows. Don't think about it. Just write. Let your heart guide you and your hand follow.

What I really want to say is...

And to encourage you to play, let go, connect, create, and just have fun with your true (also referred to as higher,) self, here's a

12 minute short and sweet playful flow yoga practice!


                                               Week 4 

Creating Space for Your Sweet Spot: What Honors, Soothes, & Inspires You

It's time to slow down my loves. 

With the upcoming holidays and the colder, darker weather, we tend to feel simultaneously stressed, overwhelmed, and as if all we really want to do is sleep longer, move slower, and turn inward.

And when these two energies push against each other, it exhausts us even more!

So this week is going to be about creating space for you.

I'm not adding anything to the morning or evening rituals or the afternoon break. I'm taking things away.

Yes, you read that right!

There's going to be less to do this week, not more.

Here's your break down for the week:

Morning Rituals:

  • Drink 12oz of H2O
  • 10-15 Minute Meditation 
  • (Your sweet spot?)

Afternoon Ritual:

  • Take a 10 second breathing break. Breathe in for a count of five. Breathe out for a count of five. This is your afternoon pause and reset. Write it down on a post it or index card or put it in your phone to remind you.
  • (Your sweet spot?)

Evening Ritual:

  • (Your sweet spot?)
  • Practice yoga nidra or the rest and relaxation meditation while in bed right before you go to sleep.

The only homework I have for you is to find your sweet spot & create space for what honors, soothes and/or inspires your soul every day. Whether that's in the morning, afternoon or evening is up to you.

What do you need? What do you want?

What stirs your inner fire? What soothes your soul?

What is your sweet spot?

I invite you to discover (or rediscover), and create space for, your own unique sweet spot.

One of my friends and fellow yoga teachers discovered her sweet spot in playing the piano. She’d always wanted to learn how to play the piano and finally gave herself the gift of piano lessons. Now every day when she gets home from work she plays the piano, committing to her own personal sweet spot. And she says it makes all the difference in the world.

Another friend discovered coloring in a therapy session. Her therapist invited her to spend a good part of their time together coloring. She said she was amazed by how healing and yes therapeutic it was. And there are some beautiful adult coloring books available these days!

Creating space for your sweet spot is deeply healing and rejuvenating, but most importantly it reconnects you to your true self.

In this fast paced, overstimulating and over stressed world we live in, it’s too easy to lose touch with your true self, to disconnect from your heart.

Speaking of which, instead of a video tutorial this week, I'm sharing a piece I wrote to inspire you to connect to your heart.

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

The heart is the intersection where we can learn to slow down and be aware of everything and everyone around us.

Love, like intuition, is meant to be enjoyed in this moment, without trying to grab it, hoard it, or fear that the feeling will never return.

It takes a lot of bravery to live from the heart, to know when to love and when to walk away, to be vulnerable.

Practice bringing the intention of love to every situation. Practice love and forgiveness of yourself, love and forgiveness of others, and love of life. Practice love when you're driving to work, getting ready in the morning, and making dinner.

Make love an integral part of your life at all times. When you give love - in whatever way - you get love back because you're open.

Living and loving with an open heart doesn't mean accepting everyone into your life and loving them to your own detriment. We are not meant to stay in a space - literally or figuratively - that does not calm the heart.

We need to notice our heart's reactions in the moment and then clear our mind to listen to this reaction. Meditation and forgiveness are great methods for helping with this practice. The more we forgive, the more we can stay calm in any space, no matter who or what else is in it.

The question now becomes, how do we get to this place of openness, presence, and going with the flow of the heart, the flow of whatever given moment we are in?

One of the most effective ways to get to this place is through forgiveness.

It is forgiveness that allows us to be vulnerable, that helps us to remove the walls we put up around our heart. It is forgiveness that ultimately provides us with the clarity and openness we need to be available to others and to act purely and openly to the people and situations that greet us at any given time.

When we hold on to past hurts we become guarded and our heart is clouded, we are shut off from our intuition which in effect is a way of devaluing ourselves.

Forgiveness requires us to be able to step into our and other people's shoes from a heart-centered space.

As our heart is emptied of old pain and blockage, we begin to see the situations in our life through clear intuitive eyes; we see each situation as it is, not as we project or perceive it to be. We shed old pain, which when left unchecked, can skew our intuitive clarity.

Unaddressed pain can cause us to filter the world through the fight-or-flight part of the brain versus through the intuitive, open, being part of the brain. With forgiveness we can let go of both the baggage of our own story as well as those stories we project upon others.

This relates back to another lesson the heart teaches us, which is that we are all one.

What we feel is often triggered by our past experiences, but these are not helpful to intuition and understanding what our heart is processing.

So much of the work we have to do is in clearing our own heart, our own memories, and our old pain.

Ultimately, the biggest gift you can give yourself is forgiveness. Holding on to grudges doesn't teach a lesson to you or those who you perceive as having hurt you. Also, when your intuition is not open and flowing, others can energetically pick up on this and will not trust you with their intimate heart space.

This traps everyone in the past.

Allow yourself to live more freely in the moment and to honestly hear - and follow - what your heart is telling you.

Be free. Let go. And most of all, be brave.

Forgiving others and ourselves, and acting from a place of openness and joy of life - in which we empathize with the fact that, at the end of the day, we are all dealing with the same human experiences regardless of external differences - is the biggest act of bravery possible.

We must forgive and have compassion for ourselves and others to clear our heart and mature into this idea of connection to a higher experience, into the realization that we are all one, inextricably and intimately connected.

Often forgiveness allows your heart to soften and open, and from this space of receptivity you are able to access your sweet spot with less effort and more ease. Sometimes it offers itself up to you. So before you decide what your sweet spot is, practice this meditation...

                             Ho'oponopono Forgiveness Meditation

This is a traditional Hawaiian mantra of forgiveness and reconciliation: ho'oponopono. This simple but powerful phrase means: "I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you." I've found that reciting this phrase while sending love to someone with whom I feel sadness or pain (including myself,) is an easy and effective tool for release and forgiveness. This is one of the most powerful forgiveness tools or sayings I have ever learned.


As you probably already know from the last 3 weeks, you can expand your awareness and strengthen the connection with yourself through introspective practices such as meditation, yoga, and journal writing.

These practices help you become more present and establish reference points to identify when you are (or are not) living in alignment with the deeper aspect of yourself.

And it is this deeper aspect of yourself that connects you to your sweet spot.

So your homework this week is:

  • To find (if you haven’t already), your sweet spot, what uniquely speaks to your soul.
  • Commit at least 10 minutes to your personal sweet spot daily.

And if you'd like a little extra guidance with finding your sweet spot, try this:

Remember yesterday's journal prompt? "What I really want to say is..."

Substitute the word say with the word do. "What I really want to do is..." And don't censor yourself! Let it rip! You might be surprised by what you discover... 🙂

What does your heart long for? "My heart longs for..."

What is your sweet spot? "I'm in my sweet spot when..."

You get the idea!

Part of self care is doing what uniquely honors you. That's your sweet spot.



It's snowing as I put together this content, so to honor and celebrate the snow I'm including a photo of a buddha statue in the snow.

And just a heads up, this morning's meditation is 15 minutes long..., but well worth it!

It might even help you with your sweet spot discovery. 

                Week 4, Day 21, Discovering your Intrinsic Self Meditation

Keep your self care simple this week:

Drink water, create space for your sweet spot, take a 10 second afternoon pause & reset breathing break, & listen to a yoga nidra or rest and relaxation practice before going to sleep.

Most of all, connect to your heart. <3 

The theme of Week 4 is creating space for what uniquely honors, soothes and speaks to your soul. Your sweet spot. Your own personal self care

Dear ones,

For this morning's meditation I invite you to listen to your intuition, that deep knowing inside of you.

Listen to your heart.

Trust your gut.

Over and over again, discover and re-discover, your true self.

Start here...

                     Week 4, Day 22, Your Intuition Knows Meditation

I invite you to continue to drop into your internal wisdom as you create space for and honor your own sweet spot this week with

                 Week 4, Day 23, Visualization for Wisdom Meditation

As the holidays approach life can get very busy, often stressfully so.

So, this is a good time to practice letting go, even if it's just for the length of a meditation.

Although I think you'll find that meditating on letting go makes it easier for you to let go throughout the day, to take a deep inhale and release as you exhale, which is what your 10 second afternoon pause and reset is all about (inhaling for a count of 5, and exhaling for a count of 5.) 

Often such simple actions have profound effects, especially when practiced regularly.

Enjoy this powerful meditation focused on releasing what you hold on to, including your sense of self...

                              Week 4, Day 24, Letting Go Meditation

Continuing with the theme of letting go, aparigraha, or non-clinging as I like to think of it, is the last of the five yamas, or ethical restraints, of Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga.

(Yoga postures are only one "limb" on the 8 limbed path of yoga. The yamas/ethical precepts are the first and most important limb of the practice of yoga, especially the first yama, ahimsa, translated as non-violence or compassion.)

Aparigraha often translates to 'non-greed', 'non-possessiveness,' and 'non-attachment.'

This yama or ethical restraint, teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment and to let go when the time is right.

It also asks us to let go of our attachments to who we think we are, in order to spread our wings and become who we truly are.

Most of the time our attachment comes from the belief that a certain idea, person, object, or activity will produce a result that will bring us happiness, security, or freedom.

Attachment arises when we feel we're lacking, or need something or someone outside of ourselves to be complete.

We hold on to the past, grasp after the future, rigidly defend our ideas about the world, compare ourselves unfavorably to others, wanting what they have. We hold on to anger, resentment and fear. We attach to dysfunctional family dynamics that keep us repeating the mistakes our parents and grandparents made.

Over and over again our attachments (to ideas, people, conditioned behavior, and outcomes), cause us to suffer.

This video narrated by Alan Watts does a fantastic job of illustrating aparigraha, especially to ideas of 'good' and 'bad'...

We don't know what will be the outcome of events in our life, and often it's our attachment to ideas around good or bad, negative or positive, that brings us unhappiness or stress.

But as this video illustrates life is fluid and unpredictable. 

Our life happens moment by moment.

Ultimately how much we suffer is up to us.

When we let go of attachment and expectation we allow life to unfold from a place of equanimity. This doesn't mean we're always happy. It means whatever arises, sadness, grief, anger, fear, judgment, we feel it, accept it, practice meeting it with lovingkindness and compassion (and even sometimes with levity), then gently let it go.

This is a lifelong practice. Moment by moment. Breath by breath.

 Begin right now with this meditation 

                          Week 4, Day 25, Healing Through Letting Go

                                                  Week 5

                           Letting Go & Inviting In

In Week 5 you'll practice releasing what no longer serves you, returning to your body and your senses, and creating space for what supports you, (just like your own personal sweet spot from last week).

I'll provide journal prompts and recorded yoga practices to release tension and holding, and to celebrate your senses, as well as guided meditations on letting go, slowing down, cultivating compassion and creating what you want in your life.

This week you'll continue to celebrate and honor yourself with your own personal sweet spot practice, drink 12oz of water, meditate, and return to journaling with my prompts, get your groove on with exercise!, give yourself an afternoon pause and reset, whether that's a brief breathing break, your sweet spot, or movement, and take time to slow down and relax in the evening.

Here's your self care breakdown for the week:

Morning Rituals

  • Drink 12oz of H2O
  • Meditate for about 10 minutes
  • Journal for 5-10 minutes
  • Sweet spot?/&/or exercise?

Afternoon Ritual(s)

  • Take a relaxation break (10-30 second breath reset, or a guided meditation of your choice from the meditation library I've provided, or any other you like)
  • And/or do your own thing like a crossword puzzle or drawing, playing or listening to music..., your sweet spot!
  • And/or take yourself out on an afternoon Get My Gorgeous Groove On Breakout Date! In short, exercise. 🙂

Evening Ritual(s)

  • Sweet spot?/&/or exercise?
  • Practice yoga nidra or the evening rest and relaxation meditation

Create space for your sweet spot some time during the day that works best for you, and get some movement in weekly, whether that's in the morning, afternoon or evening.

Enjoy taking care of your phenomenal self this week, and remember, I'm here if you have questions, concerns, frustrations, a-ha moments, or anything else you'd like to share!

Mostly, with this framework to support you, I invite you to pay attention.

Notice what's going on around you and within you.

Notice nature, the trees and squirrels, the wind and the river and the birds, the clouds and the sun, the varying temperatures from the teens tomorrow to the fifties on the weekend.

Notice sounds and tastes and smells, sights and your sense of touch. Feel your body.

And do it all with compassion, the first ethical precept of yoga.

Begin with this article from Yoga International

Ahimsa (non-violence), the first and foremost of the five yamas (restraints), described in the Yoga Sutra, entreats us to live in such a way that we cause no harm in thought, speech, or action to any living being, including ourselves.

In its pure form, ahimsa is the spontaneous expression of the highest form of love - an unconditional loving regard for everyone and everything.

The sages say that to create a peaceful, harmonious environment at home, at work, or in our community, we must first find peace within ourselves. This is a process. By observing our habitual reactions and their consequences, we can learn to stop, take a deep breath, and readjust. As we step back and witness, we can choose to respond in new, more loving and accepting ways.

And committing to a daily meditation practice can help. Even meditating for five minutes deepens our connection with the inner source of unconditional love and wisdom. The sages tell us that if we honor this daily commitment, slowly, over time, our meditation will loosen - and eventually untie - the subtler knots that bind us at an unconscious level.

Himsa (violence) arises out of fear, and fear leads to insecurity, which causes us to feel separate from others - alone and misunderstood.

Ahimsa, however, at its core, points to the underlying unity in all creation - at the deepest level, we are one and the same. This awareness gradually unfolds as we progress in our practices. As we choose to live more from our inner center and feel this sense of oneness with others, our personality expands and we become more kind, loving, forgiving, and compassionate.

We come to understand that when we hurt others, we also wound ourselves; and when we don't take care of ourselves, we negatively affect those around us.

The more we can accept and enjoy ourselves, with all our faults and idiosyncrasies, the more we can accept others.

This doesn't mean that we should become a martyr or a "doormat," mistakenly suppressing our own needs to take care of others. I like to remember the wisdom of the sage who reminded a bruised and battered snake he had once advised to practice ahimsa: "I told you not to bite, but I didn't tell you not to hiss."

When ahimsa is mastered, the Yoga Sutra (2.35) says, one attains the siddhi (power) of peacefulness, and whoever is in the presence of such a person feels peaceful. By taking care of our needs in a balanced and clear way we become healthy, happy, and calm.

Then, from that place of balance and wholeness, we naturally want to extend ourselves to others - our family and friends, co-workers, community, the earth, and even our adversaries - in loving service.

This is ahimsa in action.

     3 Tips & a Guided Meditation to Expand Your Self-Compassion

Treat yourself as you would a friend

  • Many of us seem to be better at being compassionate to others than to ourselves. But we can extend the feeling of loving connectedness that we cultivate with others to ourselves as well.
  • Next time you get frustrated and feel tempted to berate yourself, treat yourself with kindness instead as you would a best friend when he or she is suffering. Consider writing yourself a letter or even just a paragraph from the perspective of a really good friend.

Hold painful emotions with love

  • When a difficult situation arises and you're feeling depressed, fearful, sad, or whatever painful emotion you might be feeling, hold those painful emotions with love and watch how you're calmed and soothed by this action.
  • Instead of just feeling the suffering, you're also feeling the loving, connected presence that's holding the suffering. This doesn't make the painful experience go away, but it can help you tolerate it with kindness and patience.

Put your hand on your heart

  • Simply put your hand on your heart and let this be a reminder to turn some love inward. Research is pretty clear on the fact that the more self compassionate you are, the more you're able to sustain being compassionate to others.

                                               Blessings of Love Meditation

A blessing is whatever reminds us of the sacred loving presence that shines through all of us. This meditation is a transformational practice in receiving and offering blessings.

First we connect with the vulnerable tender place within us that longs to feel loved, and call on loving presence to bless us. By imagining and allowing ourselves to receive love, our hearts become open and filled with light.

We then bring that inner loving presence fully alive as we offer blessings to other beings. The image of receiving a kiss on the brow, and offering one, is suggested as a powerful channel for the blessings that awaken our heart.

                              Letting Go & Inviting In Journal Exercise

For your journal prompt today, take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle of it.

At the top of the left column, write, "Breathe In."

At the top of the right column, write, "Breathe out."

And begin to list things you'd like to breathe into your life, and also the things you'd like to breathe out, or let go of.

For example, when I did this exercise, one of the things I breathed out was the need to be in control. It's such an illusion anyway! I want to breathe in more spaciousness and breathe out judgment. I want to breathe in serenity and breathe out anger. You get the idea.

Try to come up with at least 5 things in each column. Just write down whatever comes up. And then use this practice of inviting in and letting go throughout your day...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

And a big Namaste <3


Happy Full Moon!

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the full moon that falls during the month of November was named after the beaver by both colonists and Algonquin tribes.

The Beaver moon marked the time of year for setting beaver traps before the swamps froze to ensure a supply of warm furs that would last the winter.

Full moons are harvesting times when we reap the benefits of the corresponding new moon that occurred six months earlier...

In honor of the full moon your meditation will focus on manifesting what you want in your life, harvesting the bounty of what you've been working towards (consciously and unconsciously,) for the past 6 months...

                                                    Full Moon Meditation

Full Moon Journal Prompts...

~What do you want to manifest in your life?

~What do you need?

~And what do you want or need to let go of?

It can be simple, profound, big, small, whatever comes to mind for you right now..

You might even draw from your breathe in/breathe out lists from yesterday.

And here's a Nectar of the Moon 16 minute yoga practice to celebrate the moon and move your beautiful body.

(FYI: This practice is from my Yoga Immersion Course, thus the reference to Day 11:)

As the days get darker and shorter it's important to take time to kindle our own light, to find our own inner source of radiance, and also to invite in the wisdom of slower days.

Like the bears that hibernate and the deciduous trees that let go of their leaves and drop into their own form of tree sleep, slowing down is part of this season.

Resting by the fire. Sipping hot tea. Curled up in blankets. Wearing turtle necks, sweaters, wool hats and mittens.

When I invited people to either come into down dog or child in the yoga class I taught this morning, everyone chose to drop into child. And it was beautiful, seeing everyone rest like that, trusting the call of their bodies.

Let's listen to the animal wisdom of our bodies, come back to a place of quiet and inner light and rest...

Sleep with the bears and the trees...

I believe this is an integral part of being kind and gentle and tender with ourselves. Dropping into the quiet rise and fall of our breath, the beating of our heart, the soft light that surrounds us in child's pose.

Or, as John O'Donohue, from his book To Bless the Space Between Us, writes in his poem,

To Learn From Animal Being

May we learn to return

And rest in the beauty

Of animal being,

Learn to lean low,

Leave our locked minds,

And with freed senses

Feel the earth

Breathing with us.

May we enter

Into lightness of spirit,

And slip frequently into

The feel of the wild.

Let the clear silence

Of our animal being

Cleanse our hearts

Of corrosive words.

May we learn to walk

Upon the earth

With all their confidence

And clear-eyed stillness

So that our minds

Might be baptized

In the name of the wind

And the light and the rain."

Or as he writes here:

Forget about enlightenment

Sit down wherever you are

And listen to the wind singing in your veins.

Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones.

Open your heart to who you are, right now,

Not who you would like to be,

Not the saint you are striving to become,

But the being right here before you, inside you, around you.

All of you is holy.

You are already more and less

Than whatever you can know.

Breathe out,

Touch in,

Let go.

~John Welwood

What current guides you now?

And now?

Notice how that current is always changing, even if it's happening on a subtle, almost subterranean level.

Poetry asks us to listen to that small voice inside of us, to hear the beating of our hearts, to find what moves us, and to honor, respect, even celebrate what moves those around us, from strangers half way around the world, to lovers; from our most intimate relationships to people we'll never meet.

It takes us deeper, widening our understanding of ourselves, especially our darkness and our desires, our fears and vulnerabilities, our power, our creativity, the pulse of life and the certainty of mortality, just as a good yoga practice does.

Moment by moment. Breath by breath.

And so over and over again we arrive where we are. Learning how to listen to, find, and flow from our own internal rhythms.

Learning how to sit with heartache.

Learning how to sit with pain, physical or emotional.

Learning how to sit with vulnerability, our own and others'.

Learning how to sit with our power.

Learning how to sit with loss and love.

In this morning's meditation (which also works well as an afternoon or evening meditation,) I invite you to drop into your body in this moment just as it is.

Listen to and honor your body. 

                                   Body Positivity and Healing Meditation

Listening to Your Body Journal Prompt

If your body could speak, what would it say?

Or, translated into written language, what does your body say to you?

What does your body need?

You can write as if your body is speaking directly to you, "I need..."

Or you can write, "My body needs..."

Whatever feels most natural to you.

Don't think about it. Just write whatever comes to you in the moment, let it be a stream of consciousness.

As you sit in this morning's meditation I invite you to pour yourself out, like the sun or the tide, like the ocean, or the moon. To pour yourself out like grace. Like tea from a teapot or honey from a spoon. And as you pour yourself out to taste your own radiance, sweetness, and divinity.

Sometimes when we let go we realize how much we have. Sometimes when we let go we realize it was the very act of holding on that prevented us from recognizing and accessing our own abundance.

There's a reason aparigraha (non attachment), is one of the yamas (ethical precepts), of yoga. Often where we are attached is where we are closed off. In that attachment we shut the door to life, afraid of what might happen if we open it.

In that attachment we act out of fear, desire, unhealed wounds. We have a very strong child like belief that whatever it is we're holding on to so tightly will protect us. But the holding keeps us trapped in a state of powerlessness, of fear.

Only by letting go can we be free. Only by letting go can we love, be loved, and perhaps most importantly, act out of love...

So as you pour yourself out, just like the sun, invite love in and let go of (even if it's just for the length of this meditation), what you hold on to. Set yourself free…

                           Pour Yourself Out Like the Sun Meditation

(I apologize for the sound of the garage door opening and closing!)

Journal Prompts

'Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." ~Rumi

What barriers have you built? To love? To self care? To vulnerability? To grief? To...?

Where do you hold back or hold on? Why? What are you protecting yourself from?

And what would happen if you let go?

It's completely normal to feel resistance to this exercise! You can explore that as well. What are you resisting? What feelings does this exercise bring up for you?

Practice letting go with a 17 minute

Letting Go & Inviting In Short & Sweet Yoga Practice 

There is nothing to hold on to dear ones. That is the good and the terrifying news.

"The way of love is not a subtle argument

The door there is devastation

Birds make great sky circles of their freedom

How do they learn it?

They fall

And falling

They're given wings."


"Yoga is this falling, this not knowing, this surrender to the movement of existence. And rigidity is simply the illusion that we can create a world in which we're not falling." ~Rodney Yee

This morning's meditation reminds us to pause and notice the space between each breath.

It's similar to taking a moment in each day to notice the beauty around us, a leaf, a stone, a blade of grass. To rest in a vast stillness that is filled with energy, an energy that is deeper than our daily activities and habitual patterns, a stillness that takes us out of the busyness of our frontal lobe, of our to do lists and work schedules, our anxieties and our fears, and into the vastness of love, peace, compassion...

It always amazes me how such a simple practice can be so profound.

In the space between each breath, the pause at the end of each inhale before the exhale begins, and at the end of each exhale before the inhale begins, lies infinity.

Somehow it seems as if all we need on an energetic level is in that pause, within that space of non doing and simply being...

I invite you to take a few minutes to rest in that pause and feel how it can change your entire day…

                                    The Space Between Breaths Meditation

Journal Prompts

When was the last time you felt spacious and free?

What were you doing? Or not doing? 🙂

What can you do to bring more moments of spaciousness and freedom into your day, week, month, year, life?

Or, not do?

​For this morning's meditation we'll be exploring sitting with what we feel.

In order to move through obstacles we need to know they're there, and often the places where we're stuck (our internal roadblocks and obstacles), are stored and felt in our body.

This practice is called Focusing, also known as "felt sensing," and it's a way of allowing our bodies to guide us to deeper self-knowledge, to psychological healing, and to working more skillfully with the difficulties with which life presents us.

Focusing allows us to uncover and work through hidden wounds and deeply embedded fears lodged in our bodies.

This in turn provides vital help in loosening recalcitrant habitual patterns, blocks to action, and other sources of personal suffering.

In traditional mindfulness practice, one learns to let go, over and over, the thoughts and feelings that arise, no matter what they are. That itself is the practice.

By contrast, in Focusing we consciously choose to stay with a felt sense. Staying with it, "sitting beside it" with a friendly, gentle and patient attitude, we help the felt sense - which often starts out as a vague sensation - to emerge with greater clarity.

As it clarifies we can begin to be in relationship with it and begin a process of inquiry that allows the felt sense to open and give us fresh insights and energy with which to release places that are stuck.

The best way to understand this meditation is to practice it. Instead of a journey outward, imagine and feel it as a journey inward…

                                                   Focusing Meditation

Journal Prompt

What came up for you in this meditation?

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. I invite you to free write about what you felt and any insights you had, without judgment, and with enormous compassion.

Release what no longer serves you, return to your body and your senses, and create space for what supports you (by listening to and honoring your own internal rhythms and your heart), with a 23 minute

Freeing the Shoulders & Opening the Heart yoga practice


                         Week 6: The Yamas & Niyamas

For our final week we'll be exploring the yamas and niyamas.

So, you might be wondering, what are the yamas and niyamas?

The yamas and niyamas are part of the eightfold path of yoga in The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. Centuries ago, the sage Patanjali laid out a kind of map - one that suggests not just yoga poses and meditation but also attitudes and behaviors - to help guide you on your yogic or life path.

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, written in sanskrit with multiple interpretations, may seem esoteric and impenetrable but the ancient manual contains essential advice for daily living.

The eightfold path of classical yoga suggests a program of ethical restraints  (yamas), lifestyle observances (niyamas), postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (prahtyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and absorption into the Divine (samadhi).

The five yamas and five niyamas are the first two steps of the path. These are the ethical precepts, or core values, of yoga as well as its starting place - meant to be practiced before you do your very first Sun Salutation.

"The yamas are really about restraining behaviors that are motivated by grasping, aversion, hatred, and delusion; the niyamas are designed to create well-being for ourselves and others," says Stephen Cope, a senior Kripalu teacher and the author of The Wisdom of Yoga.

People sometimes think of them as yoga's Ten Commandments, but they aren't concerned with right or wrong in an absolute sense. "There's no thought of heaven or hell. It's about avoiding behaviors that produce suffering and difficulty, and embracing those that lead to states of happiness."

Rather than thinking of the yamas and niyamas as a mandatory "to-do list," view them as invitations to act in ways that promote inner and outer peace.

They also provide a mirror in which to study your practice and yourself.

Viniyoga teacher and Yoga Sutra scholar Gary Kraftsow says they represent the qualities of an integrated human being.

You get there through practice, contemplation, meditation, and working to transform yourself.

"The path of practice begins with understanding and refining the different dimensions of who you are, and it unfolds progressively, not all at once," says Kraftsow. "The whole goal of yoga is self-realization, which can also be called freedom."

The yamas and niyamas give you infinite opportunities to truly transform your life.

This week you'll continue to celebrate and honor yourself with your own personal sweet spot practice, drink 12oz of water, meditate, journal with my prompts, get your groove on with exercise!, give yourself an afternoon pause and reset, whether that's a brief breathing break, your sweet spot, or movement, and take time to slow down and relax in the evening.

Here's your self care breakdown for the week:

Morning Rituals

  • Drink 12oz of H2O
  • Meditate for about 10 minutes
  • Journal for 5-10 minutes
  • Sweet spot?/&/or exercise?

Afternoon Ritual(s)

  • Take a relaxation break (10-30 second breath reset, or a guided meditation of your choice from the meditation library I've provided, or any other you like)
  • And/or do your own thing like a crossword puzzle or drawing, playing or listening to music..., your sweet spot!
  • And/or take yourself out on an afternoon Get My Gorgeous Groove On Breakout Date! In short, exercise. 🙂

Evening Ritual(s)

  • Sweet spot?/&/or exercise?
  • Practice yoga nidra or the evening rest and relaxation meditation

Create space for your sweet spot some time during the day that works best for you, and get some movement in weekly, whether that's in the morning, afternoon or evening.

Enjoy taking care of your phenomenal self this week, and remember, I'm here if you have questions, concerns, frustrations, a-ha moments, or anything else you'd like to share!

We've already talked about the first yama, ahimsa (non-violence or compassion), on the first day of Week 5, so today we'll explore the second yama, satya (truthfulness)

Satya (truthfulness), the second of the five yamas (restraints) described in the Yoga Sutra, guides us to think, speak, and act with integrity.

The word "sat' literally translates as "true essence" or "true nature."

Because satya is presented as a yama (a restraint), Patanjali's teaching on the subject has mainly been associated with what we should refrain from doing rather than with what specifically we should do.

The teaching of satya is not presented in this manner as an accident or oversight. In most ways, the practice of satya is about restraint: about slowing down, filtering, carefully considering our words so that when we choose them, they are in harmony with the first yama, ahimsa.

Patanjali states that no words can reflect truth unless they flow from the spirit of nonviolence.

So practicing satya is not about always telling the truth, especially when that "truth" might be unnecessary and hurtful.

Observing the motives behind our actions - 'will it truly serve the other person, or am I doing this because of a need to prove something or gain something?' is a useful tool to help us apply both satya and ahimsa to our situations.

Practicing satya is about discerning what the truth really is and refraining from speaking or acting from a place of reactivity or conditioning, especially since "the truth" is often obscured by our own personal stories and perceptions..

Satya Towards Ourselves

The truth is, if we can't be honest with ourselves first, we cannot really be honest in any other part of life.

Yet without realizing it, not being honest with ourselves is deceptively easy to do!

For example, we often identify with our emotions and irrational thoughts, "I am a bad person because of this..." or "I'm not good enough because of that..."

Identifying with emotions isn't surprising, since the emotional part of our brain evolved long before the 'thinking' part. But when we let our mind run away with us, we define ourselves by how we feel at that very moment instead of seeing things as they really are.

Complete honesty with ourselves requires us to create a little bit of space, stillness or at least some slowing down of the mind.

When we react instantly to situations on an emotional level, we're often not seeing the truth and act from a place of fear and conditioning.

Long time meditators such as the Dalai Lama have actually been able to slow down the response to stimuli within the primitive brain, creating a fraction more time to process situations. This has allowed the more evolved part of the brain - the cerebral cortex - to consider things before the emotional brain takes over, so there is more time to see situations clearly and truthfully.

Once we know we are not our thoughts, there's a shift toward greater freedom in our life as a bigger gap is created between who we think we are sometimes (the ego), and who we really are (the atman or soul)

A daily practice we can use to help us un-identify with irrational thoughts is to simply take some time observing each thought as it arises, watching it as it passes without getting caught up in it.

A daily practice of slowing down, taking a couple of deep breaths and observing the fluctuations of our mind without getting caught up in them can help us move closer towards a state of peace, stillness, and deeper truth.

                              Responding Versus Reacting Meditation

The practice of satya begins with slowing down and creating space to see and act from the bigger truth, from a place of compassionate honesty and awareness.

It often hinges on the choice to react or respond.

When we react we're acting from a place of conditioning and fear.

When we respond we're acting from a place of truth and compassion.

So for this meditation we will explore and practice responding versus reacting

                                                Satya Journal Prompt

A few questions to explore satya in your life...

~ Are you trying to protect someone from the truth? Why?

~ What hurtful thoughts do you have, about yourself or others, that you find yourself attaching to as truths, even when you know they're not?

~ If these hurtful thoughts are not the truth, what is? (Remember that according to Patanjali no words can reflect truth unless they flow from the spirit of ahimsa, of non violence.)

Asteya, the third yama, is translated as “non-stealing.”

Most of us are not thieves in the typical sense, but upon closer look you might find small but significant ways you steal from yourself in your life.

1. Examine your relationship to time

Think back to the last time you were in a hurry to get somewhere. For many of us being in a hurry to get somewhere often means leaving 10 minutes later than we wanted, zipping through traffic, maybe a choice word when things don’t go smoothly, only to arrive late.

If this sounds familiar – if rushing and tardiness have become a habit – you may be checking many things off your list and not deeply experiencing any of them.

It could be said that we are addicted to doing. More is better. The lesson of asteya is that there is already enough.

2. Appreciate rather than conceal

The Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi teaches that beauty lies in imperfection and impermanence. Sadly, many of us take on enormous pressure to meet standards of appearance and status that are unnatural and unattainable, instead of appreciating what makes us unique. This is in direct conflict with asteya.

When we try to conceal or camouflage parts of ourselves or morph into what we think someone wants, we deny the reality and beauty of who we are. We end up with compartmentalized versions of ourselves, and our worth becomes contingent on how we look or how much we weigh.

This kind of masking robs us of our own vulnerability and humanness, and it robs others of knowing who we really are.

Asteya reminds us to claim and even appreciate the ways we are different and to meet one another with openness and respect. This is the ground for connected relationships with ourselves and others.

3. Be where you are

The Buddha said, “Be where you are…otherwise you will miss most of your life.”

When you’re not where you are, you steal from yourself the experience of being alive in that moment. If you do that most of the time, you will miss your life.

It’s completely natural for the mind to wander, for memories and plans and conversations to pass through your head. That’s what the brain does.

But the unwatched mind is like a runaway train – it’s very hard to slow down and see clearly.

That’s why yoga (including meditation) is so profound and important. It’s training yourself to be aware of the sensations, thoughts, and emotions present in any given situation. Rather than running off in the story of those thoughts or feelings, see them as ever changing and watch their fluctuations like clouds in the sky. Just like the practice we did for satya, truthfulness!

Asteya reminds you that you never get a day back, but you always have the moment at hand.

Practicing asteya will help you explore the ways you withhold care and respect from yourself. The result is a deeper and more honest relationship with life that no one can take away from you.


Accessing Your Stillness Meditation by Sarah Blondin

If we remember to sit still, we remember to feel.

If we remember to feel, we enter our aliveness.

This meditation brings us home, to our non-doing, to the quiet well of peace living within us.

     Asteya Journal Prompts

  • In what ways do you steal from yourself?
  • Do you deny yourself the time you need to get somewhere?
  • Do you struggle with doing what you need to take care of yourself?
  • If you were to take this further, why do you deny yourself?
  • Why do you struggle with giving yourself what you need? (Whatever that might be)

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. This is stream of consciousness writing. Writing down whatever comes up without censure (another way we steal from ourselves -- second guessing).

Take a deep breath, and begin...

The fourth of the yamas, Brahmacharya, is widely translated as “right use of energy”

The word Brahmacharya actually translates as “behavior which leads to Brahman.’ Brahman is the creator in hindu and yogic terms. Viewed this way brahmacharya is behavior that leads us towards the divine.

As a restraint Brahmacharya encourages us to direct our energy away from external desires and instead towards finding peace and happiness within ourselves.

Consider for a moment where your energy is directed most of the time. How much of your time do you spend worrying or stressing?

A lot of our energy may also be spent on trying to present ourselves as someone we’re not in order to please or impress others, or maybe we direct our physical energy towards endlessly pushing ourselves to be fitter, stronger or skinnier…

Does any of this sound like you? If so, it might be time to look a little closer at brahmacharya.

In order to be the most authentic version of yourself and to use your energy wisely, it's important to listen to your body. By becoming aware of your energy levels and really listening to what you need, you can take action to ensure you’re taking care of yourself.

Right now there seems to be an over emphasis on how ‘busy’ we should all be – that busy is better – and that if you’re not busy, there’s something wrong.

The point is, whether you’re constantly ‘busy’ or not doesn’t matter – it’s whether what you’re doing is worthwhile.

Filling your schedule with as much as you can may seem impressive on the outside, but when it comes to how this makes you feel on the inside, it often doesn’t leave much space to breathe.

Brahmacharya encourages right use of energy, so if your energy levels are flagging at the moment, consider whether your daily tasks are draining you of your vitality.

Could you find a way to take a few moments a day to just stop and breathe and find a little peace?

This ability to slow down will not only allow your body and mind to take a much needed break, but you’ll also be much more aware of how you’ve been using your energy that day.

Where are you directing your energy? Is it helpful or hurtful? How do you feel physically and energetically when you’re in certain situations?

Whatever your day-to-day schedule includes, become aware of not just what you do, but how you do it, and how it affects you.

                             Paying Attention to Breath Meditation

This meditation is about taking time to pause and be present as a tool for using your energy wisely by making wiser choices in your life. Oftentimes taking a moment to pause before taking action or making a choice is pivotal to our wellbeing, and can be the difference between a wise and present or conditioned choice.

                                  Brahmacharya Journal Prompts

Take a few minutes to free write your responses to the following questions, allowing your answers to help you use your energy wisely and lovingly...

  • Where are you directing your energy?
  • Is it helpful or hurtful?
  • How do you feel physically and energetically when you're in certain situations? At work? At home? With family?

Since aparigraha (non-attachment or non clinging) was already explored in earlier content today we begin the first of the niyamas, or observances, saucha.

The niyamas are the second limb of Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga, and where the yamas (the first limb), are designed as a framework for how we approach the external world, the niyamas are more about how we view and relate to ourselves. Which is why the yamas are known as the restraints and the niyamas as the observances.

Saucha, the first of the niyamas, often translates as 'cleanliness,' or 'purity,' and helps us remember who we are at our core when we burn away distractions and obstacles.

Perhaps you've heard of the phrase 'where attention goes, energy flows.' If you put this within the context of thoughts in relation to saucha it means being mindful when we have violent, aggressive, judgmental, or harsh thoughts.

An 'impure' thought might be judging yourself badly in your yoga class because you're unable to 'perform' postures as well as someone else. It might come in the form of judging someone who doesn't share your political or social views, or impurities might arise when we get angry, stressed, worried or fearful about a situation.

Saucha invites us to look at the consequences of working towards purity: if we bring mindfulness to impurity in thought, word and deed, then we can create the least amount of suffering for ourselves and for others.

When we interpret saucha in this way it's a reminder to examine the intention behind what we think, say or do. We can ask ourselves: will this create more or less suffering for me and those who are affected by my actions, words or deeds?

This interpretation of saucha encourages us to act out of compassion rather than judgment.

Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT, and longtime yoga teacher, points out that the yamas and niyamas are "not about trying to be a certain way or willing ourselves to think only good thoughts."

In fact, she warns us to be "very, very wary with practice. We don't have to try to be different - the biggest mistake we make in spiritual practice is believing that we have to be different from how we are. Purity is the consistent and loving intention to accept our inherent goodness."

It can be easy to be hard on ourselves and to try to rigidly follow these practices, but it's so important to remember that our most important practice is ahimsa, compassion, especially compassion for ourselves.

For me, this meditation is a beautiful inspiration to sow the seeds of love and by so doing practice saucha in the world.

                                                 Let Me Sow Love Meditation

Saucha Journal Prompt

"Purity is the consistent and loving intention to accept our inherent goodness."

How can you accept your inherent goodness?

I invite you to write three times in your journal, "I accept my inherent goodness."

Then notice what emotions arise as you write these words.

What do you feel?

Spend a few moments writing about what you feel, with unconditional compassion.

Santosha is the second of the niyamas of Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga. Santosha often translates as contentment.

Contentment is a deceptively challenging practice for most of us. How often does the phrase 'I'll be happy when...' cross your mind?  No matter how much we might be doing things 'right' there's often that niggling thought of 'I'd be happier if...'. Whether it's losing weight, getting a different job, meeting someone new, or being able to get yourself into a certain yoga posture, there's probably a few things you feel could make you happier or more content.

Having the urge to want to grow and expand our minds and push ourselves just a little towards a goal isn't problematic in and of itself, it becomes problematic when we base our entire sense of peace and happiness upon it.

Santosha or contentment doesn't mean idly sitting back and relinquishing the need to do anything. It simply means accepting and appreciating what we have and what we are already, and moving forwards from there.

It's important to take time to consider what goals are really important to our life, our world and our wellbeing. Getting that promotion, losing weight, buying the car, the house or even meeting someone and falling in love are all things that we seek outside of ourselves in order to make us happy - and sooner or later those things (or at least the initial joy of those things) leaves.

Our happiness lies within us. Our contentment lies within us. Suffering occurs when we believe that circumstances need to be different in order for us to feel content, whether those circumstances are our weight, our job, being single or being in a relationship, or even day to day occurrences.

Ultimately no matter what we do difficult situations arise: illness, divorce, losing our house, not getting a promotion. So if we attach our contentment or happiness to having things be a certain way, we will suffer.

The problem is, when we have things in mind that we want to achieve, possess, or change, we also have expectations. For example, it'd be great to have a new job. But if we're expecting to get a certain one, and that doesn't happen, what happens to our inner peace? It can be devastating. It's great to have the idea of being healthier, but if we want our bodies to look like someone else's, and it doesn't come about, how do we end up feeling?

Comparison and attachment to outcome turn the good intentions of having goals for ourselves into feelings of failure and inadequacy.

When we're content, it doesn't mean to give up striving for something meaningful. The difference is that when we're in a state of santosha, we're unattached to the results, and there's no comparison to anyone or anything else.

We retain our inner balance when a relationship doesn't work out. We may grieve, but we feel grateful for the experience and open to what the universe has in store next. With any undertaking, we do our best and leave the results up to the universe, trusting that some good comes out of it.

Practicing santosha can often be challenging, especially when we're in the middle of anger, sadness or fear, but it is deeply rewarding. And it is a practice.

We don't just magically arrive in a place of contentment.

We practice shifting the way we perceive the world and ourselves. Over and over again. Like sitting down to meditate or arriving on our yoga mat we practice with compassion, an open heart, and an open mind.

Some days we'll be filled with contentment, other days frustration or anger. Wherever we are we practice. It's not about being perfect. It's about being here.

I invite you to practice being here with your meditation and journal prompts...


                              Meditation for Peace and Contentment

Santosha Journal Prompts

When are you most content?

When are you least content?

What's the difference? What frees you to be in touch with contentment? And what keeps you from it?

The translation of tapas, the second niyama, is literally to heat or burn, by way of practicing discipline or austerity. This can sound a bit daunting or inaccessible at first, but it doesn't have to be.

Tapas is about adding little elements of "discipline" to one's routine, which is key to getting the mind on the right track, and breaking down all the harmful thought patterns that can plague us, creating unhappiness or depression.

The disciplines you add to your life can be simple. Carving time out to exercise daily; practicing yoga, meditation, mindfulness and eating healthily.

Jennifer Schmid, who lives and teaches at the Ananda Ashram in upstate New York says, "it's through having a focused effort of self-discipline - be it asana, meditation, or mindfulness - that we purify the mind of impurities, habits and patterns that are no longer serving us. When these impurities are burned away we begin to see the world as it is, rather than a projection of what we think it is."

In other words, it's when we burn through our crutches (overeating, over-drinking, negative thinking), that we can be freer, and more in touch with the universe, ourselves, and those around us.

Because it has such an intensely fiery connotation sometimes tapas or discipline is mistakenly equated with difficulty, which isn't necessarily the case.

Tapas can be a challenging yoga practice, but it can also be the self-discipline to simply get yourself onto the mat and see where the practice takes you, even if that's to a few quiet restorative poses.

It's the effort involved in getting onto the meditation cushion, or the focus that's required to remain centered with your breath and stay with what arises when holding a yoga pose.

It's important to look behind us to the steps just taken on the eight-step path of yoga delineated in the Yoga Sutras to bring our practice of tapas into balance and harmony.

We can temper the fiery discipline of tapas with the first yama: ahimsa or nonviolence. In so doing, we don't allow our zealous energy to intensify into self-aggression or abuse. We take a kind, thoughtful and compassionate approach to our exertion.

When the fire of tapas burns too brightly, we might push ourselves so hard that we become vulnerable to physical injury or mental self-aggression. We can lower the flame by remembering the second niyama: santosha or contentment.

We remind ourselves that at the same time that we push ourselves and strive to achieve our goals, we can also live fully in this moment and be happy with whatever it holds, here and now.

When we practice tapas in conjunction with the earlier yamas and niyamas, we balance our effort with compassion and our discipline with benevolence. We can work tirelessly towards our goals while still keeping our eyes open to the beauty that we find along the way.

                        Commitment & Motivation Guided Reflection

When we have a strong motivation to bring mindfulness into our daily life then we will practice. This short meditation helps to cultivate and deepen our aspirations, and stokes the fire of tapas. At the end of this meditation is your journal prompt 🙂

Questions Asked in the Above Meditation

  • What is my motivation or purpose in doing this mindfulness training?
  • How do I hope to benefit from doing this mindfulness training?
  • How do I want mindfulness to change the way that I live my life?
  • How do I wish my mindfulness practice to benefit the people in my life and in the world?
  • What are my deepest hopes and aspirations in bringing mindfulness into my daily life?
  • How can I express these hopes and aspirations in a personal vision which communicates my wholehearted intention?

For your journal feel free to explore one or two of these questions...

When I stumbled upon this piece online I knew I had to share it. It blew open my previous assumption about the meaning of svadhyaya, which I thought was self-study in the sense of studying ones thoughts, behaviors, emotions and actions. Little did I know…

The following is from the article Understanding Yourself: The Path of Svadhyaya, by Rolf Sovik, the President and Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute and a clinical psychologist.

“To translate svadhyaya as “self-study” is, on the surface of things, quite precise. The first part of the word – sva – means “self.” The second part – dhyaya – is derived from the verb root dhyai, which means “to contemplate, to think on, to recollect, or to call to mind.” Thus, it works to translate dhyaya as “study” – to study one’s own self.

But analysis of our thoughts, feelings, associations, and fantasies is not what svadhyaya is about.

The Nature of the Self

Svadhyaya reveals itself in the traditional yoga teaching image of the ocean and its waves. Here, each wave, traveling across the surface of the sea, is likened to an individual being. It is distinguished by its location in space, as well as by other qualities, such as shape and color.

But the substance of every wave is the sea itself. Waves and the substance from which they arise are one and the same. And since individual waves are part of the sea, as they appear and disappear, they neither increase nor decrease the immensity of water in which they have their being. A wave is never other than the ocean, though it has its individual identity so long as it is manifested on the ocean’s surface.

The premise of svadhyaya is similar. Like the waves of the sea, it is said that individual awareness is never separate from the infinite consciousness in which it has its being. Individual minds have distinctive qualities, preferences, and colorings, but they are not entirely autonomous. Each mind is a wave in a vast expanse of consciousness.

The aim of svadhyaya is to bring the experience of that immense Consciousness, the Self, to awareness (these words are capitalized here to set them apart from ordinary consciousness and self-identity). Just as we might theorize that one day a wave could discover its watery nature, so a human being may discover the deep Consciousness that is the substance of individual awareness. It is this process of Self-discovery that is the essence of svadhyaya.

Broadly speaking, we could say that all yoga leads to svadhyaya, but certain specific methods are more closely associated with it. The sages tell us that we are the Self and that to “study” it is to gradually know it. The specific techniques for gaining this kind of experiential knowledge are collectively called svadhyaya.

Inner Repetition

An alternative translation of the word svadhyaya tells us that the word means “reciting, repeating, or rehearsing to one’s self.” Thus, svadhyaya consists of repeatedly impressing on the mind the idea of infinite Consciousness and returning again and again to an intuitive vision of it. This is accomplished through contemplative recitations (usually taken from sacred texts) and meditation on a mantra (mantra japa). It yields an increasingly transparent vision of the Self.

When the mind is transparent, when it is not distracted by competing thoughts or disturbed by likes and dislikes, it does not conceal the Self. At such times it is said to be sattvic – filled with sativa (the principle of clarity and even-mindedness). This state is the aim of svadhyaya for it allows the experience of Self-awareness to permeate the mind.

{The Practice of Svadhyaya}

~Look for inspirational scriptures, readings, poems, or lectures delivered by those who seem to have acquired inner knowledge.

~Use these resources for contemplation of the Self.

~Begin the practice of mantra japa-repetition of a mantra in meditation.

~Rest in the mantra for 10-20 minutes each morning or evening (or both).

~Let the silent witness, the indwelling consciousness in you, gradually awaken.

Mantra Meditation

It is in mantra meditation that svadhyaya – silent, inner recitation – bears its fullest fruit. Repeating a mantra anchors the mind to one thought – a sound pregnant with the presence of the Self.

Mantras are often given to students for protection and guidance. They are recited in the mind. But paradoxically, they are the source of inner silence, for when a mantra permeates the mind, it draws awareness in while the outward-going aspects of the mind become silent.

Real silence in meditation is not the mind emptied of sound. It is the mysterious experience of the mind filled with the sound of a mantra.

A common mantra is sohum (pronounced so with the inhalation and hum with the exhalation). This starts the process of quieting the mind and awakening the inner witness, for sohum means, “that…I am; the Self…I am.”

Repeating sohum is the first step in acquiring direct, intuitive knowledge of the Self. Thus it is in daily meditation that the practice of svadhyaya comes to fulfillment.

A Final Thought

In his own intimate way, Walt Whitman places a few final elements of svadhyaya before us for contemplation. In “Song of Myself,” he avows that the Self is not running away, not struggling to keep the truth from us, not unresponsive to our efforts at Self-knowlege.

Instead, he tells us that knowing the Self is the consummation of a search requiring patient and repeated effort. And most touchingly, as is the case with so many other revelations of being, he reports that the Self is nearby and filled with grace. In Whitman’s words:

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,

Missing me one place search another,

I stop somewhere waiting for you.”



                                       Sohum Mantra Meditation

This contemplation meditation is an opportunity to focus “thinking mind” on the mystery of being and to reflect upon the interdependent nature of all phenomenon revealed by the sages and confirmed by contemporary physics.

                                                      So Hum Yoga Nidra

Svadhyaya Journal Prompt

Scientists continue to discover the powerful connections of energy that exist on all levels of the Universe. And these connections are not only between cells in the body, but also between widely distanced events which only a few years ago would be considered separate. (These discoveries are part of the field of study called Chaos Theory).

Interestingly, in all eras and in all cultures spiritual teachers have taught the "ecology of the spirit," i.e., the connection of each of us with the whole. This connection exists; the practice of svadhyaya is whatever reminds us of that connection.

I invite you to explore in your journal what it is that reminds you of that connection.

Practicing isvara pranidhana is very closely linked to the concept of 'letting go of the fruits of our actions' and 'non-attachment,' or the yama aparigraha.

If we've put a lot of effort into something which is important to us, we often worry about what might happen as a result. "Will they like me?," "What if I'm not good enough?," "Will this be successful?"...

All this worrying about things we have little control over is a main cause of our dukkha or suffering, which means we're never fully engaged in the action we're doing because our minds are already thinking about what might happen after...

The practice of surrendering here requires us to acknowledge that we can do our best in each situation, but we can't really do any more than that; realizing this essentially allows us to fully engage and be present in what we're doing, bringing all our energy to that moment and experiencing it fully just for what it is - what happens after, happens after...

A wonderful quote by Corrie Ten Boom is a helpful daily reminder to surrender and put our energy into the present moment instead of worrying about tomorrow:

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." ~Corrie Ten Boom

Isvara Pranidhana in your day to day life

In our daily life off the mat, Isvara Pranidhana can be seen as less of a devotional dedication or a surrendering, and more of an opening up to what is. Instead of fighting against life's twists and turns, practice remaining open to experiencing life as it unfolds.

Remaining fixed and rigid in our conditioned patterns, habits and limitations only leads to a limited life. Surrendering is hugely challenging because it means letting go of our habitual ways of being in the world and in our life.

Surrendering to what is requires trust in our deepest Self, our intuition and the courage to express ourselves for who we are, as we are, with all of our perfect imperfections, which ultimately leads to freedom.

"And the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin

Whether it's surrendering to a moment of difficulty or a moment of joy, surrendering the results of our actions, or simply learning to trust in the universe a little more, each time we do choose to surrender, we move closer to freedom.



                          Slow Down and Accept Meditation

Begin by accepting this moment just as it is, letting go of any desire to be doing anything else or to be anywhere else. Rest in the present moment and find freedom here.

                                  Surrender to Sleep Meditation

                                 Isvara Pranidhana Journal Prompt

What can you surrender to today that would benefit you? That would be a way of deeply loving your divine self?

What can you let go of from your life that would bring you closer to the divine nature you inhabit and are a part of? That would deeply support you?

When we follow our deepest truths we are closer to the divine and to love...

Dear ones,

Would you like to continue on the self care journey with me?

Starting Monday December 10th I'm offering a 6 Week Path of Love: Coming Home to Yourself Self Care Series...

                   The Path of Love: Coming Home to Yourself

                      (December 10th-January 18)

Welcome to a sanctuary in your inbox…

  • Do you wish you had time and support for a daily meditation & self care practice?
  • Would you like to open your inbox in the mornings and find inspiring, heartfelt words on the chakra of the week, as well as a guided meditation & journal prompt waiting for you?
  • Do you long for a practice you can incorporate into a busy lifestyle?
  • Would you like to have more energy, clarity, grounding and peace in your life?

I'm excited to offer a program that will give you the time and support for your daily practice, and the tools to take care of yourself, with a framework that supports you in healing and growth, peace, compassion, and loving kindness, as well as strength and flexibility!

The Path of Love is about creating a framework of support to guide you in your 6 week journey of self love, exploration, and coming home to the true teacher that resides within you.

What’s Included:

  • Daily 10-15 minute morning meditations each week
  • Daily journal prompts each week
  • Weekly 10-30 minute guided recorded yoga practices with me starting with the lower body (freeing the calves and feet) and making our way up to the heart (opening the heart) and the neck and shoulders (nurturing the neck and shoulders), as well as a 60 minute full body yoga practice focused on the chakra of the week each Sunday!
  • 1 Yoga Nidra recording teaching on the chakra of the week each week
  • Weekly in person/on the phone/ or via Skype or zoom 60 minute get together & check up, depending on what works best for you 🙂

In this course you'll explore the 7 chakras (or energy pathways), in your body

Here is an overview of each week…

    Week 1 Root chakra

  • Starting the path of love by grounding & coming home to yourself. Building a structure that supports and sustains your life.

     Week 2 Sacral chakra

  • Continuing with creativity & sensuality. The essence of the Sacral chakra is knowing that what you have and do is good enough. For your second week you'll practice finding the balance between control and letting go.

     Week 3 Solar plexus chakra

  • Exploring personal identity, inner knowing and gut instinct. Connecting to your true self, that part of you that is always whole and intact, and where truth, beauty, and freedom abide.

     Week 4 Heart chakra

  • Centering yourself in love. Recognizing your very nature is loving, kind, and respectful. Cultivating awareness of the sacredness of all things.

     Week 5 Throat chakra

  • Consciously committing to expressing your truth. Honoring your individuality.

     Week 6 Third eye & Crown chakras

  • Cultivating a strong and independent mind, clear and concise thought, and inner contemplation. Balancing grounded, logical thinking and intuitive, imaginative experience. In your final week you'll explore the power of the mind to transform your life, harness your vitality, and implement your dreams.
  • Connecting to the divine within you, to cosmic consciousness and universal energy. Honoring grace, beauty, serenity, and oneness with all that is...


This course will give you the tools to...

  • Open and ground your heart
  • Clear and focus your mind
  • Cultivate balance, calm, awareness and deep joy in your life
  • Improve your memory
  • Become physically stronger and more flexible
  • Help you sleep better
  • Reduce stress
  • Express & honor your truth.


A little + often = a lot...

It's the daily practice that makes the big difference, even though your day by day commitment is very little.

Every one of these practices is something you can do with a busy lifestyle.

In fact, incorporating these practices into your life will increase your level of energy and productivity by improving the quality of your sleep, overall wellbeing and how you feel mentally and physically.

Simple, powerful practices.

Lifelong benefits.

I normally offer this course for $297, but since I'm so grateful for you, my awesome 6 Week Self Care students, I'm offering it to you for only $127! Yay! 

Also, it comes with a 100% money back guarantee anytime, for any reason. 

I created The Path of Love to give you the tools and the support you need to commit to your self care. But if you feel like it's not helping you, you can request a full refund any time, for any reason.

So there's no risk.

Love yourself dear one.

Sign up for The Path of Love today...

Continue your self care journey with me this holiday season. 🙂