Viloma Pranayama / Partitioned Breath

Viloma Pranayama ~ This breathing technique allows us to control the breath in a deliberate way. By breaking the inhales and exhales into pieces, we create a keen focus on where the breath goes in the body. By holding the breath in at the top of the inhale, we stretch the tissue in the lungs and create more space for greater lung capacity.

Benefits: This breathing practice helps to balance the lung meridian – releasing grief and sadness and welcoming a sense of joy and well-being.

How to:  Rest in a comfortable position on your back. Draw the shoulders away from your ears and close your eyes. Take a full inhale and release a complete exhale.

With your next inhale, draw in some air then pause. Draw a little more in and pause. Then draw in as much breath as you can and hold it at the top for a couple of seconds.

Exhale a little bit and pause. Exhale a bit more and pause. Exhale all the breath from your lungs and hold the breath out for a couple of seconds.

Repeat this several times – breaking the inhale into pieces and pausing, breaking the exhale into pieces and pausing.

When the practice feels complete for you, draw in a long, uninterrupted inhale. Notice how good that feels. Then allow your exhale to be long and uninterrupted. Rest here for awhile longer, enjoying the ease in the breath and the state of relaxation you have fostered.

Mantra: “I choose when to let go.”

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Seal Pose for a Deeper Backbend

Seal pose (Cobra / Bhujangasana Arms Spread Variation) – I love seal pose as an add on to sphinx pose for a little deeper back bend. Practice this posture to strengthen your arms and stretch the front body.

Benefits: Seal pose stretches the front body while compressing the back body. This deep stretch energizes the adrenal glands; massages the digestive system; and stimulates the kidney, liver, spleen, stomach, lung and heart meridians. It helps to strengthen the arms and shoulders, improves/promotes digestion, and restores the natural curvature of the lumbar spine.

How to: Come to your belly and place the hands off your yoga mat about in line with your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide and draw the shoulder blades down and back to lift your heart forward. Engage the muscles in your lower body – squeeze the glutes and press the tops of your feet into the floor. With an inhale, press into the hands to lift the upper body. Continue pressing floor away, drawing the shoulders back and down, and taking deep breaths. Hold for 3 to 5 breath cycles, then rest in crocodile pose.

Mantra: “I lead with my heart.”

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Mmmmmmm… Mandalas!

Oh how I love creating mandalas! And I love the opportunity to share them with others!

One of the {many} perks of being me is that I was born with a creative spirit. Drawing and coloring and creating things helps to soothe me, and I love the opportunity to teach others how to do the same.

My mandala journey began five years ago during my 200-hour yoga teacher training. Part of our graduation requirements was to demonstrate how we practiced yoga off the mat and to share that with our classmates.

I created a simple template and taught my yoga teacher classmates how to draw a mandala. Seeing them tap into the meditative vibe of drawing these intricate yet simple designs was such a joy! And it became the impetus for future mandala workshops.

My own mandala creative process has evolved, and I’ve built a fun collection of canvas designs that I’m offering up for sale in the upcoming months. {Just in time for holiday gift giving!}

I’ll be adding these to my yoga Facebook page, and I’ll also have them in tow at my regular weekly classes in the near future.

You can also reach out to me for custom orders or to inquire about a design you like within this post.

 

 

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If you’re interested in learning the meditative and healing benefits of creating your own mandala designs, I’d love to have you join me in an upcoming mandala workshop. Visit my mandala page for current offerings.

Thanks so much for visiting me here, yoga friend! I hope to see you soon.

Who do you think you are?

What other people think of me is none of my business.

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There’s a baby boy joining our family in about five weeks and to say we’re excited for this blessed event would be a real understatement.

As we anticipate his arrival, I wonder about him. What will his interests be and what will he prefer as toys? Dinosaurs? Cars and trucks? Cardboard boxes, pots and pans?

Will he be artistic? Athletic? Easy going or excitable? Will music bring him joy the way it has for his mommy ever since she was my newborn?

What will his personality be like? And how can we help him to always feel safe and unconditionally loved? How can we foster a sense of joy and belonging for this fresh little soul who is about to be exposed to a lifetime of other people’s opinions?

I love this quote by Don Miguel Ruiz:

“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.”  ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

💙 💙 💙

My baby grandson is coming into this world pure and innocent, full of curiosity and wonder – just like you and I did!

When we take our first breath in this life we begin to experience planet Earth through our senses. We take it all in, interpreting events the best we can. We begin to form opinions about ourselves based on personal experiences and interactions with others.

And you know, it’s part of the human condition to mix things up sometimes– to misinterpret things and then hold them as our truth.

When we dip our toes into the well of self-realization, we may discover that the way we habitually think and talk about ourselves is based on another human’s incorrect assessments. We take on beliefs about ourselves that simply aren’t true.

For example:

  • The 5th grade teacher who said I was a slow reader with poor comprehension. I am stupid. Not true. My Taurus nature allows me to take my time and I can devour a good novel – and remember every bit of the story – with the best of them.
  • The uncle who greeted 11-year old me at a family gathering as “Hey Chubby” and would validate what I was already noticing about my growing and changing body. I am fat. Not true. Though it would take many years with an eating disorder and practice loving myself to overcome those two careless words.
  • The 7th grade gym teacher who bellowed “You run like you’re pulling a trailer!” humiliating me in front of my classmates. I am slow. And well, this one might be close to the truth but who cares how fast I run? Not me.
  • The father who left my mother several times because he “just couldn’t take it anymore” and helped me interpret the world of relationships as unpredictable and impossible for me to attain. I am unlovable. Not true. I have found true love within myself first, and from others since.

So how do we overcome these false beliefs? How to we change the way we think and talk about ourselves? Well, first we begin to notice our habitual thinking patterns and then we create new affirmations to recover our truth.

Louise Hay said, “If you want to clean house you need to see the dirt.”And even though that’s not always fun and games, it can be extremely liberating.

Our yoga practice teaches us to be the observer of our thoughts. The things we repeat in our mind become affirmations, and those affirmations shape our beliefs about ourselves.

Notice how you fill in the blank for the following statement:

I am ____________.

I am stupid? I am fat? I am slow? I am unlovable? All untrue.

Be intentional and practice changing your affirmations with more empowering statements – affirm the truth about yourself!

I am wise. I am healthy. I am strong. I am worthy of love. 100% truth.

“The real you is loving, joyful and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.”  ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

My friend, you came into this life just like my baby grandson will – pure love and light, innocent and full of potential, free from the opinions of others. I hope you can find a way to reconnect to this, and use it to establish some really sweet affirmations for yourself.

What are your current “I am” statements and how will you be changing those going forward?

I am so grateful to have you on this journey.

PS: This is also a reminder to be gentle with your words toward others. You just never know how your opinion will land. Be so kind to yourself and others.

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10 Things I Loved About Our Yoga Friends Retreat 2019

Good day, yoga friend.

Have you ever treated yourself to an intentional weekend of yoga, rest and relaxation by attending a yoga retreat? I’ve been on just two retreats myself, and now I have the honor of saying I’ve actually led a yoga retreat for others.

I loved organizing and planning the retreat for 17 guests, my daughter and myself. I loved spending the weekend with like-minded souls and witnessing friendships being grown and all those happy faces.

I can’t wait to plan our next retreat!

Our time at El Ranch Robles in Oracle, Arizona was amazing! When the weekend was done and we were driving home, my daughter, Carrie, asked what my favorite part of the retreat was, and then we spent some time talking about all the things we had loved about our weekend.

It was hard to put my top 10 favorite things in order, but I gave it a shot…

10 – The food – Oh my goodness we were so fortunate to have a talented chef and his staff who catered to us over the weekend. Gourmet meals with options for guests who had dietary preferences, and the desserts… Everyone went crazy for that flour-less chocolate torte with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream.

9 – The venue and all that nature!El Rancho Robles is a 100+ year old property and is simply charming. It’s a rustic venue and was just perfect for our group of earth-loving yoga friends. We saw lots of lizards, beautiful birds including a few very large ravens and one little quail, bunnies, squirrels and thankfully, no snakes. We enjoyed a few lingering wildflowers, and those beautiful oak trees (robles).

8 – Mandala workshop – Carrie and I hosted three workshops on Saturday, and I had the pleasure of teaching our guests how to draw their own mandala designs. It’s always so fun to see the designs that take shape, as well as the calm and quiet vibe that happens when a group of yogis drop into the magic of their own mandala designs. I also had copies of some of my mandala designs for those who just wanted to color. Ah – I loved leading this workshop…

7 – Carrie’s Elements Workshop – I didn’t attend my daughter’s class because I wanted to give her space and I was also craving some resting time myself. While I don’t have photos of her workshop, I have to say that I was so proud of the information and messages she shared with our yoga friends. The rest of the weekend was peppered with talk about missing elements and astrology terms. I was so proud of my girl, and so happy our guests loved the things she shared.

6 – Journal Workshop – Carrie and I led this one together and it was so much fun! We each talked about our own journal practices, Carrie passed around some of her great-grandmother’s journals/sketch books for everyone to see, and we had a few ideas for journal prompts for writing inspiration. I loved busting out the bags of words I’ve been clipping out of magazines and seeing others use them on their journal pages.

5 – Fire Pit Friendship Circle – We gathered at the fire pit on Saturday evening for s’mores, glow bracelets, conversation and maybe a little wine. It was such a sweet way to close out our full day, and I loved this time together so much!

4 – Nature Mandala – Before we left El Rancho Robles on Sunday morning, we met near the back of the property to create a gratitude mandala using things we found in nature. We spent 15 minutes gathering items, and met back at our mandala spot to arrange the prettiest design to leave behind. Nature mandalas honor the space we’ve been in and signify the impermanence of all things in this life. It was a beautiful closing ceremony.

3 – The Yoga – Oh my goodness I loved leading yoga practices in this space! We practiced in a building called “The Carriage House” and I did my best to change things up a bit from the regular classes I typically lead. Friday night we enjoyed a yin yoga practice with Yoga Nidra to cap it off. Saturday morning was a more active “rise and shine” practice, and we had chair yoga in the afternoon. Sunday morning was a little yin, and a little yang, and my car alarm sounding loudly during Savasana. Ah…memories. Ha! Anyway, the practice space was great and I LOVED leading yoga in the midst of that beautiful natural setting.

2 – Friendships Formed – One of my favorite things about teaching yoga is seeing friendships formed on the mat. I’ve always said friends found on yoga mats are the best kind of friends, and it was just such an honor to witness a group of yoginis getting to know and love each other. (No group photo to share here on the blog because I promised not to, but it’s a sweet photo I have for my own collection!)

1 – Time with my girl, Carrie – If forced to choose my most favorite thing about our retreat weekend, I would have to say it was having the opportunity to spend the weekend doing all these things with my daughter. She’s an adult now, married with a baby of her own on the way, so our time together felt extra precious and that blessing was not lost on me.

Here we are, driving the resort golf cart to deliver guest gift bags before everyone arrived on Friday. SO FUN!


What a lucky girl I am! I feel incredibly blessed by my life’s journey with yoga and all of the wonderful people who are in my life because of this practice.

If you attended my retreat THANK YOU for being part of this amazing experience. If you weren’t able to join us this time, watch for future retreats to be announced in my newsletters.

I wish you love and light as you read these words. I’m so grateful for our connection.

PS: Click here to sign up for my email newsletters. It’s a great way to keep up to date on my yoga projects, events and announcements.