the most fundamental practice

the most fundamental practice

Are you someone who is super busy, working, creating, being on and running from here to there? I’m guessing yes. In my world, time often feels like it is sped up and that there is so much to do all the time. Sound familiar?

But here is what I know. In order for you to truly connect with yourself and your essence, there has to be a willingness to slow down.

Slowing down is hard. We resist it. We often actually keep ourselves busy on purpose. Why?

In my experience, the reason we don’t like to slow down is that we actually start to feel things and recognize where we are out of balance. Where we are out of integrity. Where we are not in our centre,. Where we do things that don’t feel aligned. We start to feel the places where we experience shame. That we are disconnected from. That we judge.

It all comes up.

So that is why we keep busy – to escape feeling all of these things.

But as you and I both know, the reality is that if we don’t slow down, we can’t grow, we can’t evolve as a humans. We will never bloom into our full potential unless we are intentional about meet ourselves exactly where we are. And to do this, the basic fundamental practice is to slow down.

Right now, take a deep breath in and slowly exhale out. When you slow down your breathing, you relax the central nervous system and begin to change your brain wave state. You activate the parasympathetic nervous system which sends a message to your being that it is ok to rest. Ok to let go. Ok to open. Ok to receive. 

Take a few more deep breaths – right into your belly. What are you experiencing? Can you sense a willingness to drop in and feel more connected to the world? To surrender into this moment into something much greater than you and your busy-ness? How does that feel? The present moment is the only moment we can truly be alive. It is your presence that is the greatest gift to humanity – not what you do but who you are.

I hope you can feel it – the magnificence of you simply being. 

trouble sleeping?

trouble sleeping?

Some of you know that easy and restful sleep has been an ongoing challenge in my life – even since childhood.  While I have many practices in my sleep tool-kit, I’ve been delving more deeply into Chinese meridian theory as a way to prepare my body to release and let go more fully at bed time. 

On Monday I taught a Yin Yoga practice at Chinook Yoga that I created specifically for a good sleep and I would like to share it with you. Yin Yoga is a practice that helps to restore vital life force energy (known as Qi) in the body. In this sleep practice our poses apply gentle pressure along 2 major meridians – the Heart and the Gallbladder.

The Heart is known as the ‘Red Emperor’ and is the principle overseer of all mental and emotional activities, intelligent awareness and our long term memory. The Heart is said to judge our emotions which when experiencing imbalance can lead to insomnia and dream disturbed sleep.

The Gallbladder is called the ‘Court of Justice’ as this organ plays a central role in decision making. It also has a profound influence on the duration and quality of our sleep – meaning that an imbalance here can manifest in very early waking up and being unable to return to sleep.

This Yin Yoga sequence helps to restore balance and flow to the Heart and Gallbladder meridians so that we experience the ease required to fall asleep and stay asleep.

I’ve made a short video demonstrating the poses. Once you have watched the video, follow the guidelines below for the length of each pose. If you can’t fit everything in before bed, then choose 2-3 poses that incorporate both Heart and Gallbladder meridian work. Be sure to begin and end with the Healing Sounds as described.

Yin Yoga Sleep Sequence

Triple Warmer Healing Sound – 3 times
Foot Massage
Chest Opener with Blocks (Heart & Gallbladder) – 5 minutes
Twisted Roots (Heart & Gallbladder) – 4 minutes each side, 1 minute rest in between
Sleeping Swan (Gallbladder) – 4 minutes each side, 1 minute rest in between
Broken Wing (Heart) – 2-3 minutes each side, 1 minute rest in between
Healing Sounds: Heart, Gallbladder, Triple Warmer – 3 times each

I’d love to know about your experience with this practice, drop me a line anytime to connect and tell me more.

Sending sweet dreams your way my friend!

my birthday gift to you

my birthday gift to you

Today is a BIG day!! It’s the first day of Spring – the Vernal Equinox, which for us in the Northern Hemisphere is a huge deal. Finally the days are getting noticeably longer, the temperatures are warming, snow is melting and you can just feel that new growth vibe all around.

It is also a Full Moon, in Libra, the sign of balance. This particular Full Moon is about boosting the intimacy in all of your relationships, and asks you to deepen your trust, honesty, and authenticity. It is an auspicious time to repair suffering relationships and to be more present for our loved ones.

Tonight at sundown, the joyful Jewish holiday of Purim begins. Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jews in ancient Persia and is celebrated with costumes, sharing food, donations to the poor and lots of hamentaschen (triangle cookies filled with jam) and wine.

And….it is my birthday! Today I am celebrating another revolution around the sun. I’m pausing to acknowledge all the amazing gifts and blessings in my life – a healthy and capable body, a beloved partner that I adore, 3 extraordinary children who inspire me every day, loving and supportive friends, a yoga studio with devoted students, a career that embraces my dharma and engages my passions and devotions…and YOU! I am so grateful to you for being a part of my life.

So to thank you for being here, for reading my musings, for staying connected, for being part of a global shift of consciousness to make our world a better place for all beings everywhere, I want to offer you a small gift on this special day. I created this Spring Equinox meditation for just you. Take a moment to get comfortable, connect with your breath, drop in and nurture your Springtime intentions as we move into this season of renewal, beginnings and growth.

Thank you again for being here and I hope you enjoy this most special day.

the other f bomb

the other f bomb

“I forgive myself.”

Try saying these words out loud now. How does it feel when you say that?  What happens in your body? What happens in your mind?  Does a specific memory or event come forward?

Many of us find it hard to forgive. And especially hard to forgive ourselves. That has certainly been the case in my life.

When we experience conflict with another person, we usually decide whether or not to forgive them. But when it’s you who’s done the wronging, the result is often a sense of feeling paralyzed. Maybe you don’t believe you deserve forgiveness, or you don’t know how to self-forgive. Either way, you feel terrible.

Thich Nhat Hanh says that forgiveness will not be possible until compassion is born in our heart. Self-forgiveness is an act of true self compassion and is a gift that will brings peace and transformation into our hearts, and in turn touches the lives of those we come in contact with. Self forgiveness is one of the most precious gifts we can give to ourselves.

There are many practices that help a person begin the process of forgiveness. The practice that has been the most helpful in my life is Ho’oponopono – an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. It represents a fundamental belief that harmony in one’s relationships (both internal and external) begins by establishing harmony between one’s own body, mind and spirit. Ho’oponopono consists of four simple statements that represent Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Love.

I’m Sorry
Forgive Me
Thank You
I Love You

These statements recognize that our consciousness creates our reality and asks that we take total responsibility for our internal experience of life. By taking personal responsibility for our part and then healing the wounded places within ourselves, we can literally heal ourselves and our world.

And all we need to do is repeat these four statements like a mantra, out loud or in our heads. The power of the words is in the feeling it evokes within and in the willingness to trust the Universe to forgive and love.

I encourage you to give this powerful practice a real try. Whenever an opportunity for self-healing presents itself in your life, pause, close your eyes, take a deep breath and open to the place where the hurt resides within you. Say the 4 statements: I’m Sorry, Forgive Me, Thank You, I Love You. Commit to repeating these statements several times a day, every day for 30 days. And then send me a note and share your experience – I’d love to know what transformation happens for you.

PS. For more on the Ho’oponopono practice see the Wikipedia Page. I also very much recommend Alaya Denoyelles book, The Sovereignty of Love – Coming Home with Ho’oponopono.

what can I expect from the embracing shakti temple?

what can I expect from the embracing shakti temple?

If there’s a belief I can stand behind is that if we are going to heal the planet together sister – we NEED to do the work for ourselves first.

There is of course a deep importance to activism, action, and being vocal in the world about what we want to see change. (In this moment I want to acknowledge all of the people on the ground championing water rights, environmental protection, and legislation moving us forward).

AND we don’t necessarily need to sacrifice our dreams towards a cause.

THE CAUSE IS FREEING YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM FROM SHAME & GUILT

We need to return to feeling in our wombs and our yonis.

Shakti energy is the missing piece in a woman’s initiation into her full and complete womanhood, and yet many of us are only now coming into this realization now.

Embracing Shakti in your life is as much about embracing and honouring the fullness of your sexual beingness, honouring the divinity of your full, sensual, perfect self. It is the full adoration of your movements, your embodied presence, and moment-to-moment worship of your being.

AND doing this important work in a community of other women is one step towards mending the circle of the feminine.

Imagine a place where you can connect with women from around the world, and explore with each other information on:

Global Goddess Culture

Goddess Frequencies and Archetypes

Rituals and Ceremonies

Self-care and gentle energy practices to move energy in your body

This Embracing Shakti Temple collective of women is a place where we all come together to share our stories, ideas and visions of how we want to show up fully in the world as fully embodied women.

Together we will learn to identify the patterns and behaviours in our life that do not serve us well and how to break free of overwhelm and tap into our natural powers of creativity and manifestation.

The EST brings women from all over the world together in community and sisterhood support as this global awakening of the power of the feminine opens us into infinite possibility.

On this journey you’ll be guided through monthly ceremonies that celebrate the important passages of life. Over time you will learn lunar & seasonal ceremonies, goddess & archetype rituals, life stage ceremonies, and many others. You will easily be able to recreate these rituals on your own and be empowered to create your own unique imprint on what you have learned so your ceremonies are exclusively your creation.

This can be YOU love! If you choose it and say YES!

With proven exercises, powerful ceremonies and transformative practices along with the online sisterhood, the Embracing Shakti Templ will be there for you every step of the way as you release emotional baggage, sexual insecurities and detrimental patterns that hold you back from being the most luminous version of you. What awaits is a woman who feels whole, seen and exquisitely alive!

JOIN US IN THE EMBRACING SHAKTI TEMPLE HERE >>

Temple doors close on March 1st until later this year, so THIS is the time to embrace new change and beginnings!

4 keys for conscious connection

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – a day where we celebrate our love relationships. While it can be sweet to honour your special someone on February 14th, a conscious relationship really requires presence and commitment each and every day.

I’m a long time admirer of Gay and Katie Hendricks, who have been teaching the skills or conscious living and conscious loving for more than 40 years. One of the things I especially love is their insight and approach to creating a relationship that is authentic, engaged, full of vitality and makes you want to celebrate. To do this they teach that there are 4 rules that we need to follow: Connection. Appreciation. Intimacy. Trust.

Let’s take a closer look:

1. Connection

In order to experience true connection we need to allow ourselves to be real with our partners. This means that we need to be vulnerable and express our emotions and feelings from a place of truth and integrity. Have you ever hid how you really felt from your partner? Bet it felt terrible. Feelings, by their nature, ask to be acknowledged. When 2 people feel that they are able to express all their feelings, and be safe while doing it, it nurtures real connection in a relationship.

2. Appreciation

William James, well-known psychologist and philosopher, said, “The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.”  If we are honest with ourselves, we all want and need to feel valued and recognized for who we are and what we do. It’s important for us to know that we have made a difference in someone’s life. When a relationship is new, we often shower our partner with appreciations of all kinds, but as a relationship matures, appreciation is often one of the things that disappears completely. The result is that we start to feel taken for granted.

Marco and I start every day with stating an appreciation for each other. It has had such a positive effect on our relationship. By elevating even the minute details of your partner’s generosity and thoughtfulness you can experience a quantum shift in your love and connection for one another.

3. Intimacy

The key to intimacy is listening.  Listening doesn’t mean thinking about something else or figuring our your response. But rather it is what I like to call ‘whole body listening’ – dropping in and taking in the words into your entire being. Being a good listener in your relationship is about cultivating presence. You develop the skill to put aside your perspective and just hold space for the other to express themselves. Magic.

4. Trust

When we act with integrity in our relationship we are showing that we are committed to doing what’s in the best interest of each other’s whole being. Integrity leads to wholeness which leads to feeling safe and nurtures trust. As Don Miguel Ruiz says in The Four Agreements, “Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

Do any of these 4 conscious relationship keys ring true for you? Is there one that you would be willing to make a intentional commitment to this Valentine’s Day as a gift to your partner? I’d love to know – just hit reply to this email and tell me more.