Brokenhearted.

I visited the Tree of Life Synagogue website this morning and found this July 18 blog post:

We Deserve Better
by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Current news recycles at a dizzying pace, with the important topic of yesterday buried beneath the freshest catch of the day.  The television talking heads pick over each and every juicy tidbit like vultures over carrion.  Just when you thought they were done, they find more.  Remember the Thai soccer team rescue?  Old news.  The push by the students from Parkland, Florida to enact safer schools? Now that schools are closed for the summer, apparently school safety is not important, as shooters are finding other valuable sites.

Oh, Rabbi Myers, my heart aches for you and your congregation.

Yesterday’s shootings have put me over the top in terms of how much sadness I feel like I can process. With all of the violence and tragedy happening around us, why this incident? Maybe it’s because my daughter is a Jewish Studies major. Maybe it’s because I’m visiting Israel next month. Maybe it’s because enough is enough. I’m not going to figure that out, so I’m trying to sit with it and let myself feel the sadness.

My heart literally hurts. My chest is tight. I’m sick to my stomach.

And, I’m not giving up. Today, I’m replacing external negative messages with healing sights, sounds and smells. I’m sitting quietly, surrounded by photos of my loved ones. I’m cooking cloves and cinnamon on my stove because that’s a smell that comforts me. And, I’m filling my house with the vibration of Durga Mantra (link is below.)

Do you have the resources you need to help you process? Please reach out to your support network today and, if you don’t feel like you have what you need, email me so I can help you find something.

About Durga Mantra

Durga mantra is a Hindu devotional hymn or chant dedicated to the goddess, Durga, a powerful deity who is known as the mother of creation or, simply, the mother goddess. Hindus believe Durga protects them from the evil in the world and removes their sufferings.

This is one of the simplest of the Durga mantras,“Om Dum Durgayei Namaha.” The translation from the Sanskrit is: “Salutations to the feminine energy that protects from all negative influences.” Each word in the mantra has significance:

  • Om is a spiritual sound representing the universe, or Brahman, that is the essence of all creation. It is typically recited at the beginning and end of all Hindu prayers and is frequently chanted during yoga practice.
  • Dum is the sound representing the energy of Durga herself.
  • Durgayei is the formal Sanskrit pronunciation of the goddess’ name.
  • Namaha is difficult to translate literally, but its meanings include “it is not mine” and “in your essence, we bow to you.”

Softness is the new strength.

So, about the words “You’re strong.” I don’t like them.
 
I’m going through a big personal transition. I’m super blessed to have supportive friends and the resources I need. Some friends have offered hugs, others a long walk, others just the space for me to process. And, some well-meaning friends have used the word “strong” in one of many iterations: “You’re strong.” “Stay strong.” “You’re one of the strongest people I know.” You get the idea.
Curious about the word “strong,” I looked up the definition and found 30 on dictionary.com. Each one includes some type of force. That just so doesn’t fit for me. I’d like to add these (at the top of the list, please):
1) Defying cultural norms by asking for help.
2) Allowing space for feelings, even the most vulnerable ones, without personal judgment.
3) Crying your eyes out and not caring who sees you.
Nothing forceful or tough. Nothing that’s going to further stress me out when I’m already stressed. My yoga practice helps me get there. Maybe some of the ideas below will help you, too. If you have others, I’d love to hear them.
1) Put your body in a shape of comfort and surrender. Balasana, Child’s Pose, can be lovely for this. If time is a concern, set a timer. Even 5 minutes a day can feel beautiful. I usually stay for 15 minutes or so. If your body doesn’t easily settle into the pose, use blankets, pillows or other props to help support you. Don’t fight gravity. Give yourself a break. My beautiful friend, Amber Karnes, shows options for Balasana on her Body Positive Yoga website.
2) Learn to breathe differently. Yoga breathing is lovely to calm the nervous system, clear the mind, and give us a break. The Lung Institute provides instructions on three of my favorite yoga breath techniques – conscious breathing, alternate nostril breathing and pursed lips breathing. My favorite is alternate nostril (In Sanskrit it’s Nadi Shodhana Pranayama.) Oh – keep a tissue handy. Sometimes our bodies will release things via the nasal passages, if you get my drift.
3) Create a Dinacharya practice. Dinacharya is a daily ritual which is helpful all the time but especially when you’re living with stress, anxiety or depression. Our bodies and minds love routine. Simple things you can do – go to sleep and wake up close to the same time each day. Do something soothing before you go to bed – slowly massaging your feet with oil (I like sesame oil) is relaxing and meditative. Sit for a few quiet moments in the morning. My Dinacharya practice includes listening to my favorite song, Living In The Moment, by Jason Mraz. It’s not traditional but it’s part of my routine and I love it. For ideas closer to the roots of yoga tradition, read this blog post on SpeakingTree.In.
Only you can define what your strength will look like. If you’re not ready to go there, please give yourself time to honor that. But don’t stay there. A sense of peace and calm is your birthright. Claim it.

Yoga Therapy: Start your healing journey.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “yoga?” Group classes? Stretching? Comfy pants? A combination of those things? Yep – definitely ways we understand yoga. But there’s more. Introducing yoga therapy.

While all yoga is potentially therapeutic, yoga therapy is a more focused approach. It combines many parts of yoga (breathing techniques, poses, meditation, and more) to address your specific needs. The reality is, most of us walk around with a hyped up nervous system and that causes us all sorts of issues. The body is both a complex and very simple combination of lots of moving parts. Any one thing affects many others. Rather than address a single part of the body, yoga therapy allows us to view ourselves as what we really are – a beautiful blend of mind, body and spirit. Yoga therapy can help us feel more balanced from the inside out. It’s a lovely feeling and, yes, it is possible for you.

The body’s natural state is joy. It wants to feel good and with yoga therapy you can learn how to tap into your innate ability to heal yourself at many levels. In my role as a yoga therapist, I have the privilege of working with folks looking for relief from a wide range of conditions including

  • Ongoing/chronic physical pain
  • Anxiety, depression and PTSD
  • Recovery from injury
  • Support during illness
  • Things we’ve decided are “just the way it is” – sleep issues, irregular digestion, aches and pains…

Don’t live with “this is just how it is.” Let’s explore options for getting you on your path to freedom from what’s in the way of you living your best life.

Here are thoughts from some of my clients.

Questions? Email or call me (612-669-3807) to set up a 90-minute get-to-know-each-other session. Feel better – start your healing journey now.

Discover the real you.

Before I had a yoga practice, life’s challenges knocked me on my butt. I often felt powerless. Frustrated. Alone. I would get stuck in the situation and have trouble finding my way out. I’d lose myself in a whirlwind of sadness and confusion.

Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be that way.

In my yoga study, I received a gift called the “kleshas.” These “means to liberation,” as the ancient sage Patanjali called them, are considered the five root causes of human suffering. When we take time to better understand the kleshas, we are taking time to better understand ourselves. In our upcoming workshop, Who Am I Now, we’ll step Bravely into studying the kleshas as steppingstones toward liberation from our stuckness and fear. 

An overly simplified explanation of the kleshas:

Ignorance
We humans sweat the small stuff and lose sight of the big Universal picture.

Egoism
We forget about the Universal connection between all of us and we allow ourselves to feel alone.

Attachment
We cling to things that feel good and don’t give ourselves opportunities to grow.

Aversion
We avoid things that we don’t like, even when it’s not good for us.

Clinging to Life
We are afraid of change and we allow it to cause us fear and stress.

For me, the kleshas are like a breath of fresh air. With them, I can explore life’s situations from a place of curiosity and learning, rather than a place of blame and shame. They helped me through the deepest, scariest transitions of my life, as I struggled to find my inner Brave Woman. And, they continue to help me understand myself and the world I live in every single day. Things still get tough, but I never feel helpless. I’m a Brave Woman.

I hope you’ll join me for “Who Am I Now,” coming to Hudson, WI and Duluth, MN in September. Let’s explore together, Brave Women.

Big love,

Elen

 

 

 

Change one word to change your life.

One of the many reasons yoga is so good for me is that it helps me through when I feel overwhelmed. Sound familiar? When all of my commitments and “have to’s” are flying around my head, I feel like I’m back in grade school playing monkey in the middle and I’ve taken the place of the primate. What I know is true, but tend to forget, is that most of my (perceived) stressors are blessings and I’ve brought them on myself.

After years in Corporate America, I’ve created a tapestry of a life, interweaving my passions with my long time career as a digital marketer. I’ve self-published two children’s books. I’ve completed 500 hours of yoga teacher training and am on my way to becoming a Yoga Therapist. I teach five yoga classes each week and work one-on-one with beautiful clients. I love my home and my big gardens. My giant dog, who needs lots of walks, loves me unconditionally. All of this makes my soul sing. And, sometimes, it stresses me the hell out.

Mae West said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” To which I would add “…and overwhelming.” Most likely, there are times in your life when your blessings get the best of you and it all seems like too much. (If this never happens to you, please tell me your secret.)

So, what can we do about it? A yoga teacher recently told me that when she struggles for contentment, she goes toward gratitude. Feeling grateful for just one thing brings her back to a place where she feels content and peaceful.

One small vocabulary change makes world of difference to me. When I’m feeling stressed, I substitute “have to” with “get to”.

“I have to put away the groceries,” turned into “I get to enjoy an abundance of food.”

“I have to weed my garden,” turned into “I get to live in a home with a piece of land to call my own.”

“I have to drive my daughter to her friend’s house,” turned into “I get to experience this beautiful human’s life.”

See if this word game helps you go from feeling discontent to grateful and back to contentment. The toughest part, like with making any change, is remembering to do it. I know I have to keep at it because, when I do, I’m more free to live beautifully in this life I’ve been given. And that is a gift I can give myself.

Gripping makes my hands sore.

I recently said “goodbye” to a dear friend. She’s following her dreams all the way to California. I am so very happy for her. I truly am. At the same time, the adjustment to not having her right around the corner is difficult. Yes, we’ll still be friends. Yes, we’ll Facebook and Skype and Facetime. But it won’t be the same, and I don’t like that one bit.

In the practice of yoga, we’re taught about Aparigraha – a Sanskrit word for non-grasping. It means taking what’s necessary and nothing more. It means not clinging to the desired outcome. Like, finding peace around the fact that a friend is moving 2,000 miles away. Or, knowing my Crow practice is exactly as it should be, even on days when my feet don’t leave the floor.

I’m continually fascinated by my recurring need to know the ending. I’ve faced a lot of challenges in my life and, despite me, they’ve worked out fine. In many cases, they’ve worked out better than I could have imagined. And, yet, I fight it. And, when I fight it, I miss out on living in the moment. I get so wrapped up in the future, the beauty right in front of my face becomes blurred. I don’t want to live that way. As my friend, Alec, says, “Why do we humans keep getting in our own way?” Great question.

Part of my challenge is coming to terms with wanting to clutch things because they matter to me. There’s got to be a way for me to care about something and honor it, while trusting it’s good the way it is. Even if I think it should be different.

Time spent on my mat moving through asanas or sitting in quiet meditation are meaningful ways to continue my practice of letting go. Trusting the process. Trusting whatever it is that’s out there running the show and looking after me. What we learn on our mats can follow us into other areas of our lives. We know this is why yoga is called a practice, right? Because, as humans, it takes us a while to get things right.

I’ve been starting my mornings with meditation and mudras, followed by listening to Jason Mraz’s “Living in the Moment.” If you don’t know the song, here are some of the lyrics, and a link to it on YouTube. Warning: It’s an earworm.

If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps?
We put them right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry about all the things
That will not happen to me

Thank you, Jason Mraz, for the reminder.

Let go of the pretty.

I’m in the middle of a BIG life transition. It’s stressful. It’s hard. It’s U-G-L-Y. I don’t like the unknown.

If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to focus (OK, fixate) on the outcome of any situation. The “what should happen next.”  We are so worried about what will be at the end of a class sequence or a life transition that we forget to notice the gifts along the way. I’d rather move to the end as quickly as possible, thank you very much. Because, in my mind, the end has to be better than the present.

I’m working to follow the advice of my beautiful yogini friend, Nita Rubio, who says, “Let go of the pretty. Let things unfold.”

In the long but awesome yogic text, the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna (the Supreme Being) tells us, “Let your concern be with action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction”. Krishna’s talking about Aparigraha, the practice of non-grasping. Very simply: “Let it go, people. Just live.”

My first response: Yay, Krishna! I love the idea of living in the moment. I am going to make Aparigraha my best friend!

My reality: Aparigraha and I are duking it out. Constantly.  (Which, by the way, is against the practice of Ahimsa – non-violence.) Lucky for me, my friend Aparigraha is very forgiving. I’ve been starting each day with an intention of letting go of the pretty and the need to know the outcome. And then life happens and I get all twisted up again. My friend, Aparigraha, taps me on the shoulder and whispers, “Hey, I’m still here.” I stop. I breathe. I revisit my intention.

I’m practicing three ways to let go of the pretty. I’m sharing them here with the hope that they’ll help you at a time when you need them:

Ask for help. Being pretty means keeping it together and not letting anyone see you crack. Letting go of the pretty means letting people love you. When you friends ask, “What do you need?” be honest with them.

Set boundaries. There will be people in your life who can’t give you the kind of support you need. Being pretty means you spend time with them even thought it doesn’t feel right. Letting go of the pretty means you can thank them for caring and decline their offers to get together to talk, go out to dinner, etc. You get to define what kind of energy you bring into your space.

Be gentle with yourself. Being pretty means you push through your daily life without taking time to feel. Letting go of the pretty means you allow yourself time and space to break down. Cry when you need to. Breathe a lot.

Today’s intention: I’ll work toward learning to let go of the pretty. I’ll remind myself to trust. I’ll do the best I can, knowing that’s more than enough. Everything else is going to work itself out.

Reconnect to the present: 108 ways

My teacher training homework included the practice of Santosha, the Niyama which guides us to live in contentment. One of my assignments was to generate a list of 108 wellness tools – things I can use to help myself return to center, to contentment and love, wherever I am at any given moment.

I’m sharing my list below and encourage you to create your own. What can you write down and post somewhere in your home as a go-to for times when you feel ungrounded and discontent? 108, a sacred number in yoga tradition, is also a very daunting number for list making. If you’re not feeling 108, see how far you get and then let your Santosha shine through as you allow yourself to experience contentment with however many items are on your list.

Elen’s 108 Wellness Tools

  1. The feeling of curling up in a soft blanket when the windows are open just enough to make me chilly and the blanket adds just the right amount of warmth.
  2. The smell of a blanket after it’s been hanging outside to dry.
  3. Touching the hand-stitched squares on the quilt my great-grandmother made.
  4. The smell of a paper book.
  5. The comfort of a paper book in my hands, especially one that’s worn from use.
  6. The luxury of the number of e-books I can pack onto my iPad for a long flight.
  7. Writing a book and seeing it printed and bound.
  8. Teaching kids that they can write beautiful stories.
  9. The feeling of Raja the Horse Dog next to me when I feel alone.
  10. The softness of Raja’s fur as I brush him to soothe him and myself.
  11. Looking in Raja’s eyes and experiencing the feeling of a pet’s unconditional love.
  12. Planting seeds in preparation for gardening season.
  13. Spending a snowy day planning the spring and summer gardens.
  14. Watching the first flowers poke through the snow, and marveling at the fact that they will survive the cold.
  15. Noticing the differences in each type of flower in my garden.
  16. Sitting on my patio and listening to the familiar sounds of my neighborhood.
  17. Knowing that my elderly neighbor, Frank, will tell me I am beautiful and he loves me every single time I see him. Every. Time.
  18. Visiting my co-op when I feel lonely because I know I’ll run into someone who I can hug.
  19. Cooking food with friends and enjoying it together.
  20. Cooking a friend’s favorite food when they need some extra love.
  21. Feeling the blessing of being part of a loving community of friends and family.
  22. Laughing with my daughter.
  23. Crying with my daughter.
  24. Listening to whatever kind of music my soul asks for a that moment.
  25. Dancing like nobody is watching. Not caring if they are.
  26. Meeting my neighbor’s 7-year old at his school bus and walking him home as he tells me awful knock knock jokes.
  27. Watching a little kid eat an ice cream cone.
  28. Carving Jack o Lanterns
  29. Calling the friend who makes me laugh so hard I drop enough tears to wash my kitchen floor.
  30. One word. Emojis.
  31. Walking in the rain without an umbrella and noticing what the drops feel like as they hit the various parts of my body.
  32. Making snow angels and laughing as I try to get up without wrecking the silhouette.
  33. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.
  34. Riding my bike around the city lakes and feeling like I’m 100 miles from home.
  35. Drawing with sidewalk chalk even when there aren’t any kids around.
  36. Listening to my son talk about politics.
  37. Drawing beautiful pictures.
  38. Coloring and chatting with my bestie.
  39. Listening to the sound of traffic on my street. It’s comfortable and familiar.
  40. Hearing the bells from six different churches in my neighborhood every Sunday morning.
  41. Traveling to a different country and realizing, once again, that we humans have more in common than we are willing to notice.
  42. Lying in the grass and trying not to wiggle when ants crawl on me.
  43. Lying in the grass and watching cloud formations.
  44. Visiting the local global market and hearing dozens of languages.
  45. The first smell of brewing coffee every morning.
  46. Noticing how quiet the neighborhood is during my early morning Raja walk.
  47. Netflix binging and not feeling guilty about it.
  48. Slathering thick, luxurious lotion all over me.
  49. The feeling of a fresh haircut especially when it included a head and neck massage.
  50. Sitting quietly in my yoga room.
  51. Hearing the sound of snow crunching under my boots.
  52. Walking through puddles and not caring if my shoes and socks are soaking wet.
  53. Texting a friend in the middle of the day just to say “I love you.”
  54. Volunteering to cook for a soup supper at my church.
  55. Listening to crackling candles.
  56. Going to play bar bingo with my girlfriends. Laughing at how we all need reading glasses to see the cards.
  57. Learning a new mudra.
  58. Sitting with my mantra.
  59. Looking through boxes of photos of my kids when they were little.
  60. Smiling when I look at the “I love you” towel I bought myself for Valentine’s Day.
  61. The feeling my legs get when I go for a long hike. Tingly and tired and energized all at the same time.
  62. White lights on my porch railings even long after the holiday season.
  63. Roasting a turkey just to make the house smell good.
  64. Having a fondue party and laughing each time one of us loses our food in the pot.
  65. Seeing how far I can stretch the pizza cheese before it breaks.
  66. Feeling the joy of being able to introduce myself to someone new without anxiety.
  67. Super cold day, super hot bath.
  68. The sound of the candle my friend’s mom gave me so I can hear the sound of a crackling fire when I turn my gas fireplace on.
  69. Cleaning out a closet and delivering donations to the community shelter.
  70. Taking an entire day just to bake pies from scratch.
  71. Delivering pieces of pie to my neighbors.
  72. Scouring the Internet for new recipes.
  73. Handwriting cards to friends who live far away.
  74. Calling a friend rather than texting.
  75. Spending time on my therapeutic spinal strip.
  76. Sharing the beauty of SomaYoga with others.
  77. Settling into Viparita Karani with no set time of when to come out of the pose.
  78. Surrendering into Balasana.
  79. Getting out of the house in time to go to Sunday morning church.
  80. Doing something that pushes my limits and comfort zones.
  81. The mantra “In this moment, I am wonderful.”
  82. Exploring what’s in the Little Free Library.
  83. Going for a mindful walk – slowing down, noticing how my feet feel each time they hit the ground.
  84. Teaching a yoga class as a way of doing service.
  85. Reminding myself of all the times I thought I was unraveling and how the tapestry became even more beautiful.
  86. Splashing in the lake even though it’s not really warm enough to swim.
  87. Gliding through a city lake in a kayak early in the morning.
  88. Watching silly Rom-Coms while balancing a giant bowl of popcorn on my belly.
  89. Taking a day trip, even if it’s just a few hours.
  90. Making and eating mashed potatoes with more butter than any human really needs.
  91. Re-reading notes from students who thanked me for helping them feel their bodies for the first time in a long time, or ever.
  92. Wearing my great grandmother’s ring to remind me of all the women who have paved the way for me.
  93. Going barefoot in any weather to notice the sensations that come through the bottom of my feet.
  94. Get a massage and allow myself to gratefully receive the healing touch.
  95. Explore the tea aisle at the co-op and enjoy the smells and beautiful packaging.
  96. Touch fresh produce. Notice the different textures.
  97. Give myself a facial with avocado, apple cider vinegar, egg whites, coconut.
  98. Take a bubble bath with extra bubbles.
  99. Babysit for a friend so she can have time for herself.
  100. Watch a baby sleep.
  101. Clean up trash in one of our neighborhood parks.
  102. Sit in my house late at night when the neighborhood is quiet and it seems like nobody is around.
  103. Candle meditation – Trataka
  104. Walking through my neighborhood and noticing all the different types of trees.
  105. Feeling my heart expand when I hear my daughter talking about her future.
  106. Knowing I am where I am supposed to be every time my son asks for my help with something.
  107. Watching a Dalai Lama video on YouTube.
  108. Making a list of 108 wellness tools to remind myself of how blessed I am.

Your turn…

You don’t gotta be fixed.

A couple of years ago, I guided a group of open-hearted yogis through the My Now Body workshop. We talked about how we feel about our bodies and possible causes for those feelings. It was an honest, powerful, eye-opening conversation and I’m grateful for all those who were in the space. At one point, we asked the group to write on a whiteboard – for all to see – something they are giving up because of their Now Body. To honor the privacy of the participants, I’m not going to tell you what was written. And, really, the “what” doesn’t matter as much as the “why.” Why do we put things on hold? And, the big question of the day:

How does not doing certain things serve us? What do we get out of it?

That’s an honest question – not a cue that putting things on hold is a bad thing. I think we should explore our reasons, rather than assuming we need to change. Sometimes we put things on hold out of fear. We’re just not ready. Sometimes it’s because of uncertainty. We’re just not sure yet. Sometimes it’s because the thing we put on hold is something others think we should do, not something we want for ourselves.

You know what? You don’t need to judge yourself for what you’re choosing to do or not do. Don’t want to wear a swimsuit? That’s OK. See if you can explore the “why” behind your decision and then see if you can make peace with it. Cause really, that decision is yours. YOU DON’T GOTTA BE FIXED.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t set goals for ourselves and stretch our comfort zones from time to time, if that’s what we want to do. Setting goals can be empowering. Letting go of a goal can be equally so, as we learn to be comfortable with where we are without the burning yearn for where we think we should be. That’s where yoga comes in.

The yogic principle (yama), Aparigraha, is about letting go of our attachment to objects, situations, people, and things that do not serve us. It also means letting go of attachment to a particular outcome. Letting go of how I view myself of what I’m “supposed” to be or how I’m “supposed” to look. Practicing Aparigraha can keep us on a path of mindfulness, teaching us to live where we are, not where we think we should be. It can guide us into living fully and lovingly within our Now Bodies.

If you have an asana practice, Aparigraha can mean breathing within the pose you’re in without judging yourself and without racing to what the next pose will be. If you are cultivating a meditation practice, Aparigraha can teach you how to be OK with the fact that you meditated 30 seconds, not 30 minutes. And, if you are bringing yoga off the mat and into your daily life, Aparigraha can help you learn to be gentler with yourself. It can help you learn how to live your life with more gratitude and less judgment. Wouldn’t that feel great?

Think about your Now Body. Think about your “I’ll do this when my body is right” list. Consider what’s on your list – and why. Examine the things that don’t serve you, that don’t give you a warm feeling in your heart. And see if you want to let them go. If you do, see if you can give yourself permission to do that with a sense of empowerment instead of failure.

You are strong and amazing and you don’t gotta be fixed. You really don’t.

You have to hear the whispers.

A recent gathering at my home included an exchange between two of my friends – a corporate vice president and a massage therapist. Friend #1 shared how he was unable to shake a seriously nasty cold. He went on to say how busy he’d been at work and how much business travel he had coming in the next couple of weeks. Friend #2 looked at him in a very compassionate massage therapist kind of way and asked if he’d been giving himself time to rest. He sheepishly said, “No. Things are really busy…” To which she responded:

“You have to hear the whispers.” She went on to say that our bodies are amazing things whose only job is to serve us. And they do that extremely well — when we let them. They speak to us in gentle whispers that grow louder and louder until pay attention and we finally stop. Which makes sense, right? Be honest. How many times have you started with a sniffle, kept pushing and ended up with a head full of nasty?

I do believe our bodies speak to us all day every day. I’m not just talking about avoiding the cold and flu. This is bigger than that. When we hear the whispers, we are better able to listen to our intuition and the wisdom that lives within each of us. It’s there, just waiting for us to call on it. Our challenge is how to cultivate enough quiet in our surroundings and in our minds to let the whispers become audible.

For me, finding quiet and stillness happens most easily on my Mat. When it’s time to move on to other things, I roll up my Mat and walk away feeling all yoga glow-ey. And then something happens and my head gets all noisy again. Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes, I swear, it happens before I’ve even zipped up my yoga bag. And so, my practice continues to grow as I work to keep the quiet within me on and off the Mat. As I work to cultivate my breath. As I open up to hear the whispers.

Today’s intention: Breathe. Listen. Breathe again. Listen again. As often as possible.