Category Archives: Empowering

candles

A Fire In Your Belly: A Mid-Winter Self-Ritual

Snow topped roofs… Quiet…subdued dark blue morning sky…

All is as it should be for February 1st.

Today and tomorrow mark special days on the old calendar called Imbolc or “in the belly”, symbolizing the mark of mid-winter. This morning, I rose early, and lit every candle I had left over that was started last year to cleanse out old fires. Each room has a cheerily flickering light as the sun is now rising.

Our ancestors would have fire as their main source of light, as they spent the long nights of winter in their small homes, huddled together to stay warm. On this morning, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to have space to move about in these cold months. I am not bothered by snow, I find it beautiful and calming.

This morning when I see those covered rooftops from my the window I practice in front of, it makes me feel uplifted to see such beauty. I turn a few oracle cards to begin my new month, what lies ahead I ask?

I begin my yoga practice with warming up with surya namaskara, and decide to focus on balance and hip release this morning. All it takes is 20 minutes for my body to feel its long night of rest melt away into softer muscles and a more relaxed mind.

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I did notice my mind was a bit too busy this morning. It has been with January as busy as it was for myself. I run the checklist through my mind of the month: opening a new space two and a half times larger than my old studio, training  new desk staff, teaching many classes, hosting a large scale grand opening, a soft opening, and moving the old studio into the new studio all in the course of a month. Of course, taking care of family life, groceries, desk work, and so forth, no wonder my mind is a bit wreckless right now.

I decide I need to sit and ground.

I do what I do each Imbolc, a meditation focused on the them of the day, what is “in the belly” for me? It gives me a little insight into what I need to focus in on from now until the Spring Equinox, our next old calendar pivotal date.

With flickering candles, and Pandora radio playing soft ragas, I sit with my breath to see where my mind will take me.

One of the symbols of Imbolc is one of those big cast iron pots you see on Halloween (except they are usually plastic) called a cauldron. They have 3 legs and our ancestors used to cook with them over the fire. I see mine as a pot belly shape to go with our “in the belly” theme. I take a look inside and see it is half full with warm water. I fall in, the water is warm, and I am swimming. It feels good to swim in the warm darkness. I realize though, I cannot just stay here because it feels good. This is typical of me, forge ahead!

I notice the water changes, gets choppy and rough… hmmmm now what do I do?

I take the water, and turn it into a water spout funnel and toss it in the air. It disperses above me into beautiful sparkles like soft fireworks.

Ahhhh, now I am calmer, sitting down now in the bottom of my pot, deciding what is in the belly for me.

You see this in the belly theme is symbolic of this time of year. Spring is happening in the belly of the earth. The first stirrings are happening, but we cannot see them.

The rest of what happens is for me only, but I understand a little better where I may want to invest my time this month. I made sure I reviewed and closed out last month already mentally. My checklist of how I did. What goals did I reach or am on track with. I looked at my journal entries to make sure I am on top of my mental plans.

One of them is to write to you at the end of each month, so we can close our months out together. People who continuously check into their goals will achieve them.

My word of the year is Grace. I chose it because I don’t have a true energetic understanding of the word, but I think it will help me to understand it in my life, career and spiritual practice. It is still foreign to me, but I will continue to check into it to keep myself focused on this theme for 2017.

Today if you can, close out your month, and try a meditation to see what is in the belly for you. Here are some self-ritual ideas for today and tomorrow.

Mid-Winter Self Rituals

imbolc

  • Finishing burning any old candles as a symbol of release of the first part of winter
  • Let your intention be surrounding this half of winter, from now until March 21st, and what is in store
  • Let your yoga  practice revolve around warming and belly nourishing practices like twists, surya namaskara, and deep forward bending
  • Enjoy being in the belly of your home, wherever that is, clean the space and enjoy being in it
  • Sit and visualize where your first stirrings of new intentions are at. I like my cauldron visualization, but you could also visualize a fire or hearth, a pot with soil in it, or even inside your own womb area.
  • Enjoy nourishing foods, like soups and stews made of root vegetables and easy to digest grains. Our bodies need simple foods that are easily broken down in our bellies.
  • Yoga postures in my practice today included: Classical Surya Namaskara, Pyramid Pose, Twisted Low Lunge, Tree Pose, Seated Wide Legged Forward Bend, Headstand and Plow Pose.

Enjoy closing out January and transition yourself into a beautiful February.

love

Birth of Venus: Making February your Month of Self-Love

February means self-love in my book…

All of January I did the right January things this year.  Instilled better eating habits, got back to getting up a bit earlier, enjoying some quiet time, organized all my tax stuff, started up my new tax stuff records, cleaned and organized, set my goals including the ones I wrote about in my last blog, Joyful January and stuck to it. What I did differently this month than other years is I made a plan for February, so when it came it would be like a whole new 30 days of living, and I am dedicating it to acts of self-love.

I decided if I did all my January “chores” I could take some time in between work and life to dedicate myself to some Aphrodite time.

Who is Aphrodite you ask? Well, well, by some she is known as Venus and she is someone I have come to know the last 2 months. I felt a stirring that I needed her back in November.

She is a symbol of love, self-love, creativity, fertility, beauty, and the flora of life.

I set out to find me some symbols of her I had around my home. I found my old statue my mom bought me years ago of a beautiful maiden, ordered a few pictures on line, laid out some pink fabric on my altar, and went to town with the creative juices last month in my writing, my business planning and so forth and found myself more inspired than ever!  Placed out some shells, a fresh sage wand, and my oracle cards and WHALA!

Birth of Venus Inspirtation

Birth of Venus Inspiration

My lovely Aphrodite Statue

My lovely Aphrodite Statue

My venus picture gifted by my hubby this year.

My Venus picture gifted by my hubby this year.

Once thing she sparked was some me time .

A dedication to me honoring my inner beauty and what sparks my original inspiration in my life.

So I came up with a list of things I have wanted to do for me based on what I asked myself, Where does my original inspiration and zest for life come from? These are my ways I energetically shift myself into a new phase in my life or even just a simple mood change. :

  1. Dancing
  2. Singing
  3. Yoga
  4. Writing
  5. Gardening
  6. Music
  7. Reading
  8. Massage
  9. Friend love fest day

So I dedicated that I would do the following things I thought Aphrodite would do for herself, and lined up my schedule for this month with:

  1. Schedule 2 dance classes
  2. Participate in my friend’s monthly chant circle
  3. Dedicate myself at the new moon to a 30 day ashtanga journey with a fellow yogini friend
  4. Set up my garden in my gardening software
  5. Pick up my guitars for 20 mins a day and get back on the music playing boat
  6. Write, write, write
  7. Part of my new years goals were to read 2 books a month, so set aside my new reading material.
  8. Book myself my massage for the month and schedule a hair appointment

I know this seems crazy to have to outline it to myself, but if I don’t make it that important it will never happen and it will be March before I know it. And March will be a month all to itself with other goals, and a busy work month, so I will be attending to that when it comes.

So why not??? In the shortest month of the year be wholly dedicated to me, love goddess of self, Jennifer!!!  I am worth it, and so are you!

A friend of mine taught me this chant which I included for myself on days I needed healing or Aphrodite’s loving touch:

Strong like the ocean…

Gentle as Rain…

River take my tears away….

Aphrodite…

So, what can you put on your calendar right now, that will be good for you this month?

This Tapestry has been inspiring since I got it, it hangs in my office and I love it so much!

This Tapestry has been inspiring since I got it, it hangs in my office and I love it so much! Click to learn more about this amazing artist.

 

 

Turning Page

Turning Page

Most of the time when we talk with people, it is about work, family, and relationships… our worry’s, fears, and plans usually have to do with this. This year, I feel like I had to really make a lot of adult decisions…sounds weird just turning 35, but I mean very non-yogic like decisions… money stuff, business stuff, relationship stuff… the yoga is always there in the background on how you manage it, but I felt like I couldn’t quite get a hang of my place in the world.

I would see people once loved posting hurtful things on social media about me, hear about through the grapevine of the he said she said, feel that loss of tribe with a circle that I was once close with. It has been a BIG processing year for me.  How to process my pain, past, hurt, anger, resentment and fear.

As a very sacred time approaches, a time where the veil thins and our shadows come to play, I feel this sort of heaviness ready to release.  I am ready to venture within but also back out again, let the world see me, a smarter, and wiser, more compassionate me.  I am truly ready to turn the page, and NEVER look back.

I am cool with forgiveness, it feels good, and is the source I believe of my whole yoga practice and life practice. It does not mean I have to act like a fool though… acting like a martyr, bitching up a storm, proving I am right or proven I am wrong or anything like that. It doesn’t mean taking people back that caused me grief and pain either.

Forgiveness is a settlement of the heart, a release of loss in the ego, and the right to move on and accept. I am ready for all of that and excited. What a better time than now?

Each day I examine my leftover hurt feelings and say what can I do without?  Believe me I would love to put it out there how awful people can be, it is right now still very natural for me to want to do that, add to the drama of the world, create uncomfortable situations for everyone else over my pain, really try to get people to bend my way…but such is not the way of the peaceful warrior.

I am here to learn, to listen, and to find this place of undoing.  When there is self-love and love without attachment that is the ultimate power of self.  I can let go of all that to move on and really live…I can’t wait for that.  I am excited for it.  It took a long time to create this foundation, and I am ready for it.  I am also ready to stop wasting my damn time worrying about it and what other people think, let them make their own minds up about me, what they decide can no longer harm me unless give it permission to.

So there you have it, for all those who danced a dance of anger, betrayal and deceit to me this year, I say “I FORGIVE YOU”. I am ready to move on, even if you aren’t, I won’t take it personal, I will not make assumptions, and I will not absorb it, it is yours, own it. I hope you don’t take it personal when I choose to go on my own all the way.

For all of you suffering for similar events, I give you and myself full permission to TAKE YOUR POWER BACK! Good luck!

Ritual for Turning the PAGE

You will need a glue stick,  journal, pen, fresh candle (white or green) and some quiet space after sunset

  • Gather some fall leaves that you can write on
  • Write on them what you wish to release in just simple one word adjectives or names
  • Sit down comfortably inside or out
  • Start with your breath and simple stretching for a few mins, silence is most powerful for this time so try no music
  • Turn off all the lights and sit in the dark for several moments in silence
  • Notice all the sounds around you and your breath for 5 mins
  • Take several breaths in the nose and out the mouth
  • Set your dedication for self-healing or inquiry, ask what is it I need to heal or what is it I need to learn/know?
  • When you are ready light your candle
  • Stare at the flame until you are ready to write
  • Begin to free write what you need to release and what you need to draw in, what you need to do to turn the page for good.
  • When you are done, extinguish the candle and go for a walk and let your leaves go into the wind come home and take a bath or eat some warm soup or sip cider…
  • Wake up the next day refreshed and stay true to your word to yourself

ReAwakening

Shake it off, shake it out and create your own ReAwakening

When I named my business Awaken Yoga, I chose it for a few reasons:

  • The letter ‘A’ would put me on the top of business directories and other lists.
  • It was simple and easy to remember.
  • The word Awaken also made sense for the practice.

For awhile I used the tag line, “I have Awakened.”  Well, I can say I finally did.

“Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine is playing right now…so I think this is a totally appropriate blog writing session. “Shake It Off” was actually one of my favorite songs from Taylor Swift this year, too.  SHAKE IT OFF, Shake it out!

Shaking off anything that no longer serves us is LIBERATING! I invite you to follow my plan…

Shake it off, shake it out and create your own ReAwakening:

  1. Find yoga
  2. Change your life
  3. Ask for divine guidance to help you gain wisdom
  4. Go through heart break and some sort of personal crisis (this is essential for GROWTH)
  5. Dig deep with meditation prayer and asana practice
  6. Do a physical cleanse, up your physical exercise, practice asana that serves you.
  7. Cry a lot.
  8. Find yourself again, but a better more self-compassionate you (shedding some pounds too helps)
  9. Continuing doing the “WORK” for yourself and others.
  10. Enjoy the next journey

I always remind myself, “I ASKED FOR THIS”. When I am challenged by the universe, I need to go back to the desire for inner wisdom, and for truth. Of course I always manage to screw up along the way, but that is why other people need to practice forgiveness for me.

So here are some tools to help you out:

This was my plan for shaking it off…

CLEANSE:

14 Day Conscious Cleanse on Gaiam TV is excellent

READ:

Gift of the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh closes out this phase well. It’s a wonderful book for healing (read it and join our Awaken Yoga bookclub!)

PRACTICE:

The Ashtanga Primary Series with lots of Restorative Yoga (check out our Restorative Workshops at Awaken Yoga!)

HEAL:

Spend lots of time with your kids, working on your relationship with them, and follow your heart on whoever else you devote your time to.

FORGIVE:

Go into a deep healing space for forgiveness of self and of others. Simple daily reflections before bed or in the early morning hours to open the heart and let it speak.

LOVE:

Above all, send love to yourself to others and find SELF LOVE is the ultimate goal to happiness.