Home, finally! I arrived back in Canada late last night – jet lagged, travel weary and very happy to fall back into my bed once again. My month away was so nourishing – being by the ocean and jungle for 21 days with an incredible group of women connecting to the earth and our Shakti bodies and then a visit for a final few days with my brother and his beautiful family in Manila.
There are so many insights I gained during my time away, but the clearest call I received was to return home and create more spaciousness in my days. I have this deep sense in my gut that if I can do this, so many other things will effortlessly fall into place.
I always feel some anxiety about returning home from a long trip – the mountain of emails to get through, waiting projects and to do lists. The easy and relaxed flow from being away seems to dissipate so quickly, and before I know it, I’m right back into overachieving mode.
Part of this comes from a long held belief that only hard work yields results. And I like being busy, it feels comfortable and familiar. But I also know that continual hard work and perpetual busy-ness leaves me feeling depleted, overwhelmed, cranky and on the fast path to burn out.
And you know that saying, ‘repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results is the definition of insanity‘? I’ve been thinking about that saying a lot and know that it is time to do things a little differently.
So here is what I am committing to do starting today:
- Body before business each and every day – at home I start my day meditating with my sweetie and love this ritual we have together. But I recognize that I also need to get energy flowing inside of me through movement, so I will be adding this to my early morning routine.
- Connecting with nature – I LOVE being in nature, but also know that once I get in the work groove, the whole day can pass by and I haven’t gone outside. I’m planning to get outdoors once the kids leave for school in the morning and commune with the natural word in a purposeful way before engaging in work.
- Listen to my body and cycles – as women, our energy waxes and wanes with our cycle. In Bali we had a moon lodge where women could lie down on cushions and rest if they needed to during the training. So instead of powering through my days, especially if I am tired, I’m now choosing to give myself permission to rest instead of work. And to trust that the rest creates the space for increased creativity and capacity in the coming days.
- Intentional eating – over the past month I have been taking at least 5 deep breaths before starting to eat. I would pause and reflect on all the hands that made the food I am eating possible and to thank the Earth for her abundance. I’ve noticed that everything tastes more alive and delicious and it helps me be present with nourishing my body.
- Meaningful is the priority in my schedule – in my daily and weekly planning really ensuring that the majority of my time is invested in what matters to me the most: family, service to my students & community, my body and my relationship with the Earth
There are many other things I could implement to have more spaciousness in my days, but I’m starting small because I know that small steps are more likely to lead to success. And that sustainable wins will inspire me to add even more changes. I’ll keep you posted on what I try next.
So over to you my friend, what do you days look like? Are you ready to join me in making some small daily shifts to experience more ease in your life? How do you find ways to make your days more spacious?
Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone practiced some form of mindfulness or meditation? I believe this is possible. Every time we create the space to be present with our breath and intentions, we create a shift within the collective – a shift that ripples out and inspires others, even at a subconscious level, to make that same space within themselves.
Today I’d like to share a simple and beautiful practice of healing, forgiveness and inner peace that always leaves me feeling amazing.
THE 5 MINUTE LOVE SHOWER MEDITATION
In this practice, you shower yourself with acknowledgement, self-respect and love. It can be done anytime, maybe after your yoga practice, a quiet moment at home or on a walk outside enjoying nature. This is simply a time to reflect on how beautifully you’ve turned out, right now, exactly as you are! If you feel some resistance to this, that’s ok. With practice you will notice that resistance beginning to fade and the capacity to fully receive being celebrated starting to grow.
As you inhale, feel yourself taking in praise, love, and pride from the Universe – and on your exhale allow this shower of love to sink into your cells, enlivening and rejuvenating them.
Feel the love of all creation being washed over you, and give yourself permission to soak it all in. Allow that inner love to wash away feelings of doubt or fear.
Remember, your challenges, your wounding, your pain, and your lessons are what have created the amazing, loving, and inspiring human you are today. All of you is worth celebrating.
“I am blooming from the wound where I once bled.” – Rune Lazuli
love & pranams,
Spring is the fresh season, the season for cleaning. Renewal. Rejuvenation. Growth. Perhaps there is something to setting intentions in the new year, and letting them sit for a few months before they solidify and Spring makes her appearance and sprouts those seeds into flowers.
Intentions are an important aspect of the Spring season that can act as guiding beacons for our tuned lives. They help us when we’re in times of need, when we’re maybe a little bit lost throughout the coming months ahead. Even just the practice of thinking deeply about the intention we’re setting goes a long way towards shifting our consciousness to align with our intentions. We call this awareness.
Ceremony is a great way to powerfully set these intentions. Many faiths of the world really capitalize on the deep power of ceremony with events like church on Sunday, harvest festival, and Spring equinox! But little ceremonies are also very powerful for us in our personal practices. For example, burning a little incense as we sit and meditate upon our intentions perhaps once a day for 10 minutes. Or going for our walk to enjoy this earth with deep breaths. Stepping on to the mat can also have significant ceremonial weight that balances our body and tunes our mind.
Do you have a ceremonial approach to Spring?
The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the true beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, beings this coming Monday, December 21st at 8:49 pm PST. Solstice means ‘standing still sun’. It is the turning point of our two major seasons – summer and winter. The Winter Solstice celebrates the rebirth of the sun and the return of light. Throughout the year there is the dance of dark and light, and at the winter solstice this dance is at its most intense and pronounced – with the longest period of darkness and the shortest period of light.
Our ancestors, without the advantages of electricity, looked to light to provide a reminder that winter would end and the rebirth of spring would once come again. Bonfires, hearth fires and candles reminded them that light would return. Cultures all over the world over centuries have been celebrating the rebirth of the sun that occurs on this day.
We exist in a universe that is a matrix of consciousness. This universe is composed of an infinite number of patterns, cycles or dualities such as: birth/death, day/night, inhalation/exhalation. The winter solstice and the celebrations of the sun’s return are festivals of light that remind us of this vital spiritual principal. We come and we go. We descend and we ascend. We inhale and we exhale. We give and we receive. But we are always seeking the point of equilibrium, of stillness, of balance and self-awareness.
The Winter Solstice is a powerful time to create new intentions – an excellent opportunity to mindfully and powerfully release old baggage that no longer serves us; habits, ways of thinking, dark and stuck energies. It is said that the next six months represent a very potent spiritual period. As we move into the expansion longer days and more light, we can let the energy of this expansion feed the seeds of intention that we plant at this time.
I encourage you to take some time this coming weekend to slow down and make some space for reflecting on your past journey and where you want to go, especially in the next 6 months. Here are some questions to help:
- Take a review of the last six months and all that you have planted since the summer. Affirm what has transpired and feel what is still also growing and becoming – which can also be part of the unknown and the transition point. And taking a moment in sacred review – write down what has transpired over the last 6 months.
- As we head into the next 6 month period, what new growth are you committing to? What do you feel is the real important focus for you in these next 6 months in a general way?
- On the level of your body, are there any habits to be released? Any patterns that are affecting your health, affecting your vibrancy in this next 6 month cycle. What is thriving and what is calling for your continual attention and care. What wants to be cleansed and what wants to be enhanced?
- Are there any shadow tendencies, thought-waves or patterns that you really need to be aware of to sustain the power of the flow that you are generating? Please listen and see what arises.
- What are the new ways of seeing and being that are asking to be nourished at this time?
And finally, it is very beneficial to create a Solstice San Kalpa. This is a dedication that you offer at the beginning of your practice or a journey. So write a San Kalpa for the next 6 months – inspired from everything that you have written, please cultivate a solstice intention that you will take with you as you move into the fullest expression of light and potential within. You can take this paper and tie it to a tree, bury it under the snow or in the ground, or offer it to the fire. Find the right ceremony for you that helps to seal this sacred intention and help you move forward on your new path.
I like to think of the breath as a thread that connects both the body and the mind in any given moment. The quality of your breath has an immediate impact on the way your body feels and on the state of your mind: a short, shallow breath immediately creates tension and anxiety while a slow, deep and smooth breath invites relaxation and ease.
Whatever type of yoga practice you engage in, there should always be some level of focus on breath awareness. In fact, I believe that the breath should really guide your practice, whether is a more active vinyasa or a quiet yin style.