Category Archives for "meditation"

Terrible Night’s Sleep?

Sadly it happens to all of us. For whatever reason, you didn’t sleep well last night.

This happened to me not long ago.

I found myself at the airport having hardly slept at all. I was on a trip and REALLY needed to sleep well. But no. Hardly a wink. The air conditioning was out in my hotel room and they were booked solid so I couldn’t just switch to another room. The nearest hotel was several miles away and it was already 2:00am when I realized what the issue was. Ugh.

What to do?

Because I travel a lot, I’ve developed a few ways to make it through this situation with as little disruption to my day as possible. I can even function at a pretty normal level! In this short video I share with you my tips for getting through the day when I haven’t had any sleep to speak of.

 

Jenn’s list of things to do when you haven’t had any sleep:

  • Wear your glasses! Your eyes will thank you for it!
  • Get a nourishing breakfast – this is not the day for a sugary danish. Nope. Eat something real!
  • Go ahead and have a creature comfort – for me it’s a yummy latte!
  • Create time in your day for a Yoga Nidra meditation – enjoy the equivalent of an hour’s sleep for every 15 minutes of Nidra!
  • Here’s a link to my favorite meditation app these days

It’s certainly a drag when this happens, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day! Enjoy these simple tips to help you make it through the day when you’ve had your sleep hijacked.

I’d love to hear from you! What are some things you have discovered that help you navigate the day after a night of poor sleep? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

#metoo? Yoga may help*

#metoo

#metoo: It’s been all over social media and the news for months now.

You may be among the millions who posted #metoo on your social media page. In fact, it’s very likely that you are. A recent study found that nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.

So to say sexual harassment and assault are prevalent would be a ridiculous understatement. These experiences are wide-spread and affect many more of us than we ever knew before.

Here’s what I’m most concerned with at this point: Can yoga help? And if so, how?

Throughout my studies for Yoga Therapy, I have learned so much about all kinds of trauma – from childhood experiences to military situations, to natural disasters, to – yes – sexual harassment/assault.

Depending on a whole host of factors, each person experiences trauma differently. Even the SAME trauma. Even a #metoo trauma. One person in an auto accident may go into fight mode and do everything possible to escape an overturned car, while the other person in the same car may freeze and be unresponsive until well after help has arrived.

What’s fascinating to me about the different responses is that we have little to no choice over how we will respond in any given situation that we perceive as potentially life-threatening. Our body, through a truly amazing chemical process, has decided for us the “best” response before our rational mind has even gotten the full download of what’s happening.

Crazy, huh?

So there’s really no benefit in going back over what happened to figure out WHY we didn’t act differently. Because honestly, it’s not really up to us in the first place.

Regardless of what happened exactly, something important to note is that very often in life- or safety-threatening situations, our frontal lobe (or thinking part of our brain) goes off-line while our limbic brain (survival part of our brain) takes charge. This is important because we process trauma in the pre-language part of our brain. This can be true in any type of trauma, even a #metoo trauma.

But, why is this important?

It’s important because it’s very difficult (or even impossible) to process trauma through talk-based therapy when our language center was checked-out for the event in question. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

So, what to do?

Our limbic brain is all about fight/flight/freeze and the ACTION that needs to be taken to avoid the threat. So, we can address the trauma through – action. Movement-based therapies have been found to be extremely effective in supporting the healing process. What’s super cool is that we can support healing and movement through past traumas (that we haven’t even been able to talk about yet) through movement therapies like yoga.

Trauma-Sensitive yoga can help in a variety of ways*:

(summarized from Yoga and PTSD: A Primer on Symptoms and Potential Mechanisms of Change, Yoga Therapy Today Winter 2018):

  • Less re-experiencing of memories. Through the mindful practice of poses, we can develop the ability to better control the fluctuations of our mind. Basically, we get better at choosing what we think about.
  • Improvement in Psychological Flexibility. This means we improve our ability to stick with it even when we are challenged. We do this in yoga poses, but it helps us to manage our inner sensations when we are in a crowded place or other situation where we may feel anxious.
  • Reduction of irritability. Yogic breathing and meditation help us learn how to soften our internal experiences. Study participants still had emotional/mental triggers come up, but found them to be less troubling and experienced less symptoms.
  • Improved thoughts and mood. Through acceptance of each individual’s experience, participants learn how to accept their own thoughts, emotions, and moods without judgment. This allows participants to feel freely without “holding back.”

All in all, the research and preliminary studies are very positive in showing that yoga can be an excellent support to primary care options*. Trauma-sensitive Yoga Classes are available in many cities. If you think you’d like to try it, check with local studios, gyms, and community centers.

*I am a Yoga Therapist, not a Doctor or Licensed Therapist. The statements made here are my opinions supported by my experiences and research, and are not intended to be prescriptions or medical advice. Yoga Therapy is meant to support the work of Licensed Healthcare Professionals. Please check with your Healthcare Professional to see if yoga therapy is right for you.

Give yourself the gift of a bedtime

Do you have a bedtime? Like a time when you know you will actually turn out the lights (and not have the tv on in the background)?

Last week I was talking with my son and he was feeling under the weather and asking what he could do boost his immune system. Like most college kids, he burns the candle at both ends – going to classes all day, working through the afternoon and evening and then staying up studying (or playing video games, or whatever) really late into the night. Anyway, as we talked about how important rest is I said, “give yourself the gift of a bedtime.” To which he promptly rolled his eyes at me. “The gift of a bedtime? Seriously, mom?”

Ok. I admit it. It was a cheesy thing to say. Especially to my 18 year old son. But it IS true. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to establish a bedtime and wake-up routine. When our bodies got to sleep and get up at the same time everyday, everything works better. And not only that, it makes a difference HOW we go to bed. For example, there’s a big difference between tumbling into bed with our clothes still on and teeth feeling all furry OR taking care of our personal hygiene and changing into pjs before we turn out the lights. Right?

How we prepare ourselves for bed really does matter. We are creatures of habit. Those habits can help us improve our lives when we choose them wisely! When we work all day and fill our evenings with activities, it can be hard to rest well. We need a bridge between the busy-ness of the day and the restfulness of the night.

Introducing: The Bedtime Routine!

Ok. So it doesn’t sound fancy or even exciting. But if you haven’t tried a bedtime routine, I highly encourage you to give it a go for a couple weeks and see what you think. You may be pleasantly surprised! It can be whatever you like. Not everyone will enjoy the same routine.  And that’s ok!

Here are some ideas to try:

  • set an alarm for 1 hour before your bedtime so that you know when it’s time to start winding down whatever you have going on
  • play some relaxing music
  • light candles
  • do a foot massage
  • meditate
  • read something light and enjoyable for a few minutes
  • have a nice conversation with a family member or friend
  • have a warm drink – herbal tea or warm milk
  • turn off the screens for an hour before bed

I’d love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite bedtime routines? What helps you get ready for a restful night’s sleep? Let me know in the comments below!

Resolution Advice: Get your yoga pants on and go to class!

It’s January, people!

You know what that means. Yep, lots of people are making New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions range from productivity goals, to weight loss goals, to new-and-improved bedtimes. Other people are wholeheartedly against the whole Resolution business.

And honestly, I don’t feel too strongly about it one way or another.

Here’s what I do think about it all though. Any time we feel the trigger to make changes that affect us in a positive way, good things can happen! It doesn’t matter to me if you make these changes and commitments to yourself because it’s January, or because your doctor said so, or for the simple reason that you got a super-cute pair of yoga pants as a gift and you simply MUST find a class so you can wear them! What matters is that you are doing something for yourself.

So, get your yoga pants on and go to class!

Or whatever the equivalent is for you. Maybe your new Resolution or goal is something more like:

  • Setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier so you can start the day in meditation
  • Choosing veggies over desserts
  • Finding a good task list or planning calendar
  • Creating a couple hours a week for rest and relaxation
  • Downloading one of those apps that locks you out of social media during times you want to focus on work

Most of the time our biggest hurdles are in our head. If that rings true for you, put your new goal in your calendar and treat it as important as a meeting with your boss. Then, when the time comes, get your yoga pants on (or whatever is appropriate), and make it happen!

And, just in case you really do want to go to yoga class, check out this little video I made with some nice things to know before you walk into your first class.

Let’s make this actionable! Tell me what you are working to implement right now in the comments below. Why are you excited to do it? What’s the hardest (or scariest) thing about getting started?

How’s your schedule?

Ahhh, summer. How I love thee. The endless days of sunshine, the radiant heat that warms all the way to my bones, the lemonade, the pool, the release of the school-year schedule. So relaxing. So wonderful.

I do love summer.

You see, I have the amazing privilege of being able to relax my schedule a bit in the summer. A little less work, more time with the kids, a little sleeping in from time to time. And it’s such a nice break from the super early busy-ness of the school year and all the after-school activities, etc.

But even breaks can have their downside when they last a long time.

As I look at my planner and see that school starts again next week, I find myself feeling like I am ready. Ready for the excitement and a new schedule. Ready for increased productivity. Even ready for the change of the weather! Although I LOVE the ridiculously hot summers here in the desert, I know that the variation in the weather keep me appreciating my favorite times of the year.

I also love having my daily routines and more things to do on my schedule. I enjoy that I get more things done during the school year. The change in the air also leans into a change in me.

I must admit…

For the last couple of weeks I have been kinda hard on myself. Feeling like it has been way too long since I have gotten much done. Too long since I spent a few hours doing the work that I love to do. As I was telling my friend about this, she helped me to re-evaluate. She showed me that while the outward productivity has been down, I have spent a good deal of time and energy doing some internal work and also laying foundations for projects I am working on launching in the fall. So, while there’s not a lot to show on the outside, yet…. I am doing valuable work nonetheless. And even if I all I had done for the past few weeks was rest and enjoy summer, that’s great too! We all need times to pull back, take our minds off of work and do something different. When we do, we come back to our work with a new creativity and refreshed love for our work.

Now for the good part!

With my new schedule starting up next week, I am in preparation mode. You know, dusting off my calendar, getting my pens and pencils all in order and thinking about how I want to spend my days. Because the nature of my work ebbs and flows with the school year, I have a built-in opportunity to re-evaluate and re-construct my daily routines if I so desire. And I usually do change things up a bit.

Here’s how I do it:

I start with the things that are important to me – daily meditation, exercise, business goals, reading, etc. And time with family, rest and time with friends DEFINITELY makes that list! We all need things in our weekly routine that give us joy and a chance to connect with our loved ones.

Need meditation_Then, I look at the things that are beyond my control (school start times, class times for the yoga classes I teach at the local country club, family time, etc.) and then begin to put things by most important first. So, I start with meditation. I know I am the best me when I start (and usually end) the day with meditation. It’s super easy for me to hit the ground running in the morning. But when I stop for 20 minutes to center myself and connect with the Divine, I handle my day in an entirely different way. Need a meditation? Grab this one – it’s on me!

flight of the birdNext up is exercise. Also too easy to let it slide through the cracks if it’s not on the schedule. I also make a point to tell my friends and family what I plan to do and when I plan to do it. If I don’t, then I will push it aside if someone wants to plan a get-together. Telling them helps me keep it a priority. How about some yoga? Check out this simple practice.

You get the idea, right? I know I’m not telling you anything new. I just know when I’m ready to start fresh, this is my process and it helps to review it! Start with the big things – what’s MOST important to your health (spiritual, mental, physical, AND emotional)? And then go from there. That way, if you find yourself running out of time blocks before you have all the activities on the calendar, then the things that don’t make the cut are the LEAST important things instead of the MOST important things!

Do you like this, but wish there was MORE? I will be doing a series of webinars this month where we will unravel the mysteries of relieving mid-day stress, creating mindful daily plans, and designing a restful sleep strategy! Click here to get the updates so you don’t miss a thing!

What to do when. . .Tips for nurturing

I know it’s happened to you. And it happened to me just last week. Let me take you there:

The week has been kinda busy, but not too bad. I am heading out for a yoga training, and truly excited to be going. I gather all my stuff and a good friend arrives to take me to the airport. As we open the door to take my luggage out, my dog Finley, who is typically very well-behaved, decides this is the best possible time to run out the front door! Seriously?!?! She’s off like a shot and we can’t find her anywhere. We walk down the street, we drive around the neighborhood. No dog. And it’s time to go! I can’t spend anymore time looking for her, so I call my husband who’s at work and THANKFULLY someone has already found her and just called him to let him know. Whew. We make it to the airport in time and I get on my flight. I arrive at my connecting airport, have a fantastic dinner and get on flight number two. Once I arrive at my destination, I get my rental car. I can’t locate my phone charger right away, so I opt to use the car GPS instead. This creates the first snafu (that I’m aware of). The darn thing doesn’t work very well and I end up getting lost three times. Ugh. It’s late and I need to get to bed! I (finally) arrive at my hotel. As is my common practice, I get all my materials ready before calling it a night only to realize that I have left MULTIPLE items on one flight or the other! Including my phone charger (brand new, of course) and other items that I could really use this weekend. Sigh. I won’t bore you with the rest of the weekend, but suffice it to say that this first evening on the way to my hotel was only the TIP of the iceberg!

So what did I do? How did I survive the craziness (mostly caused by myself)? It took all my efforts and, honestly, it has taken me a few days to recover. I took out all the stops and went immediately into nurturing mode!

If you have felt this way, and wondered what to do, perhaps some of these ideas will help as you develop a nurturing environment:

  • Snuggle on the couch with a soft blanket.
  • Use a grounding essential oil. I love Balance Blend from doTERRA, but any of the woody or resin-y oils work really well here. White Fir, Frankincense, Sandalwood, etc.
  • Take a bath with Epsom Salts and/or add your essential oil.
  • Eat heavier, soothing, unctuous foods. Think soups, root veggies, etc. Earthy foods!
  • Rest when you can. Even a 10 minute rest can work wonders.
  • Allow more than enough time between appointments. Hurrying will only make things worse!
  • Give yourself the same grace and compassion you would give your child or best friend. Sometimes we are simply too hard on ourselves and our expectations are too high.
  • Stay away from those cravings! Sugar, Caffeine, Alcohol – all those things will exacerbate the issue. Show yourself love with real food and nurturing care. Drink plenty of water.
  • Meditate. Maybe a few times a day! If this is new or you have a hard time with it, I highly recommend getting a Meditation App on your phone. There are so many to choose from. A few of my favorites: Headspace, Mindful, Calm, Meditation Studio.
  • Carry a favorite crystal or wear a favorite piece of jewelry. Sentimental things can really help us feel nurturing through yogacalm, connected and relaxed. Grounding stones include: Bloodstone, Hematite, Smoky Quartz, Black Tourmaline, Black Kyanite, Garnet, Tiger’s Eye.
  • Use a mantra or affirmation. The most important aspect of a mantra of affirmation is that you state what you WANT, not what you don’t want! So, instead of, “I am getting over being so tired all the time,” it would be much more effective to say, “I am giving my body the rest it needs and enjoying the energy I have!”
  • Get a massage or have some energy work done. Is there anything more nurturing than this?
  • Go to yoga class! For releasing stress and regaining focus I recommend a Gentle or Restorative Class. There are plenty of other days to do Power Yoga. This time is for ultimate care!

I know this list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully you found at least one tool you can use to help you get over “one of those days!” It has taken concentrated effort, but I am definitely on the mend and I am feeling very nurtured by my steps towards this level of loving care.

I’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite way to care for yourself in the middle of a crazy day, week, or time of life? We have all discovered ways to work through difficult times. Let’s share them together!

“Take 10” and take care of yourself

Whatcha been doin’ lately? Have you been running around like crazy trying to get everything done? Sacrificing your own needs to take care of people around you? Yep. Me too. Sometimes we just need to pull back and take 10 – like a 10 minute break to get it back together!

So, earlier this week I decided to re-group a bit and revitalize my daily routines that nourish my mind, body and soul. Even the great routines can start to feel tired if we keep on doing the same ol’ thing without keeping it fresh, right? So, here’s a few of the things I changed up.

Meditation

I like to use a mantra or positive affirmation when I meditate. When I evaluated, I realized that I have gotten into a habit of just repeating it without REALLY paying attention to what it means. So, I purposed to pay attention and consider my affirmation with each repetition. AMAZING the difference this one simply step can make! Ready to meditate? Check this one out – I made it for you!

Morning Routine

There are a few things I like to do to take care of myself each morning, you know, besides brushing my teeth and applying deodorant! Lately, I’ve been kinda lazy about my routine though. I really like to begin the morning with my tongue-scraper, and then move on to dry-brushing before my shower and then finish up with applying sesame oil to moisturize. I ran out of oil a couple weeks ago and hadn’t replaced it. I was using regular lotion, which is fine, I guess, but something about using the oil makes me feel like I am really taking care of myself, so I got a new bottle for myself. It’s so great!

Daily Breaks – aka Take 10!

It’s true – sometimes I waste time scrolling through FaceBook when I could be taking a nice break from screen time and general busy-ness. I know I’m not alone here. So, this week, I reminded myself to put my phone down when I realized I was using it to fill up mind-space. It’s amazing how much more beautiful real life is than keeping your head in cyber-world! If it’s been awhile since you’ve taken a screen break, I highly recommend it!

The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Cheryl RichardsonThe Art of Extreme Self-Care

While completing my yearly workbooks from Leonie Dawson, I came across Leonie’s recommendation to read The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. It’s great! Some of the things I already do, and some I have decided to try. If you are looking for some ways to bring more love from yourself into your life, this is a great read!

What I’ve realized over the years is that taking care of myself isn’t hard. It’s just that it takes some thought and planning and an intention to follow-through with it. If you’d like to hear more about this, catch my interview with Renee Li on the OM Wisdom Summit 2016. It’s coming up in just a couple weeks. Click here to see the full schedule of interviews. There are several wonderful speakers this year! Here are some things you can expect:

OM Wisdom SummitDevelop stronger intuition to access peace and clarity
Power up your body with healthy aging and preventative care
Adopt healthy habits that offer you perfect health
Clear blocks to create full color transformation
Utilize Crystal Magic for well-being
Align with your Greater purpose for fulfillment
Awaken your inner Healer

So, tell me, what is your favorite way to “take 10” and take care of yourself?

Wanna know my top recommendation?

I work with people everyday to bring transformation to their lives. For some of them, it is through yoga class, for others it’s through voice or piano lessons, still others have private coaching sessions. In all of them, we talk about the tools we can use to create the life we want. Some are looking for a healthier body, others to learn a skill they don’t have and others are looking to build confidence or add an element of fun to their days and weeks. No matter what we are studying or working on though, they all want to know my recommendation on how to achieve the transformation they are looking for.

Over the weeks, months and years I have spent working with people to create lives they love, one thing comes around over and over. So many people I talk to are looking for that deep sense of inner peace. A calm center from which to navigate all of life’s challenges – everything from managing family schedules to major life-changes. People need, and want a dependable anchor to hold onto.

Well guess what?

There is one.

It’s called meditation.

Yep. Meditation.

If you truly want to take your life to the next level and you don’t yet have a meditation practice, this is your next step. This is my top recommendation for deep inner transformation! I sincerely believe that you will only be able to access that deep inner peace and confidence after you commit to and begin a regular meditation practice.

The great news is, you can start today!

You don’t have to go to India, or to an ashram or a retreat center or even your local religious establishment. You can begin your practice today. Now. With your very next breath if you want. You don’t even have to get up from where you are!

Now that is wonderful news, right?

My first attempts at meditation were, um, haphazard at best. I was trying soooo hard to do it “right” without realizing that there is no “right” way to meditate. Meditation is very personal. There are some tried and true formats you can start with, and you may find one you really like. But you may give a few of them a try only to realize that you hear the beat of your own meditation drummer and would like to develop your own very personal practice. That’s totally cool too!

calming meditationI have lots of recommendations of places to start, but my biggest encouragement is this: choose one practice and stick with it for at least a month. That gives you enough time to get to know the style of meditation before you give it the boot. These things take time. Let it percolate and breathe. As you settle into the practice, the practice helps to settle you.

If you are ready to go, have I got a deal for you! Click the button below for a FREE Calming Meditation to help you access your deep inner peace and calm. I LOVE hearing from you guys, so if you have meditation experiences or questions, give me a shout!

Get Your Calming Meditation NOW!

She was all in a tizzy!

Last night my husband and I went to watch our daughter cheer at a football game. She cheers for the JV squad at her high school. It’s great – the team spirit, the cooling fall temps, the crowd in the stands getting excited when the team makes a good play.

But…

There was this one lady a few rows up from us. I’m not sure, but I think she thought the fate of the world was resting on whether or not our team won this game. I think this because she was yelling (and sometimes screaming) at the top of her voice on every. single. play. She was elated. She was devastated. She was hopeful. She was mortified. She ran the gamut of emotions to say the least.

It was easy to judge her. To think it was ridiculous that her entire emotional landscape was determined by the total yards gained or lost on any particular play.

Since I found myself at least minor-ly (if not major-ly) annoyed by her, it made me wonder – what is it that I get all in a tizzy about? What do I completely over-react to? Are there times when those around me are wondering why I am letting something so little get me so upset?

I haven’t asked my friends and family, because I’m not sure I’m ready to know the real answer, but I’m pretty sure the answer is a resounding YES.

Sigh…

Just when you think you have something under control…right?

What to do? What is a good solution when you come to that realization that you are completely over-reacting and making everyone around you crazy with all your racket?

I have something. It’s called meditation. Sometimes it helps when you do it every day (I would go so far as to say it ALWAYS helps when you do it everyday), and sometimes it’s great when you pause and meditate right there in the moment of sheer craziness.

It’s pretty simple really. Whenever you notice a thought that feeds the frenzy, let it go. Just like that. Take a deep breath and enjoy the space you just created.

Get my Letting Go Meditation!

I don’t know about you, but I feel better already!

Sacred Space 101

For the longest time I did not have my own sacred space. I honestly believed that I didn’t deserve to have a space so special and didn’t really even know where to begin. All the sacred spaces I knew of included whole rooms, or altars with candles and statues of…well…I wasn’t quite sure what the statues were! And so it all felt very inaccessible and impossible to me.

Then one day, I changed my mind. I decided that I indeed was worthy of having my own sacred space. And, if it’s MY sacred space, then it can look and be whatever I want it to look and be like, right? So, I made one! And I love it. And having this space that I created, settles me.

Well, Andrea from Alinga Sky (one of my dear blogger friends) wrote a little something about creating your own Sacred Space and I wanted to share her thoughts with you all. She has some great ideas that are also very do-able. I like do-able! So if you’ve been wanting to create your own Sacred Space, this one’s for you!

Take it away, Andrea…

 

sowing heart seedsSacred Space for Your Dreams

May 11, 2015 by Andrea Rae

Dreaming as a part of manifesting the life you want to live requires you to make space for it.

Are there things you have been dreaming of doing? What happens when you connect deeply within yourself – what is it that you would really love to do? Does it feel dangerous to explore this? Do you have a cascade of negative voices, naysayers, imploring you to stick with your conservative life, warning you away from the dangers of dreaming?

Our dreams and true desires are like small seeds when we first connect to them. They require nurturing, the right environment and ecology to grow, and nourishment. They won’t grow without your attention.

There are many ways to offer your dreams sacred attention. Ways to honor your personal truth, the truth of what you are dreaming.

With this precious dream, you can create space to nurture and grow your desire.

Sacred Space Ideas

  • An altar which can include special objects, crystals, rocks, nature based elements, tarot cards, inspirational quotes.
  • A journal you write in exploring all aspects of what you want. A heart writing practice is a sensitive and gentle way to make space for aspirations
  • A crystal grid to amp up flow of energy. Crystals align you with your higher truth, with many connecting you to higher guidance.
  • A vision board – gives your dreams and aspirations the chance to expand, for the juicy details to be explored. It taps into the part of your creative brain that is full of ideas.

As we dive more deeply into our true desires, there is a natural clearing of emotions and beliefs that block the manifestation of our dreams.

Stay present, and return to creating sacred space for your dreams to grow. Nurture them.