Hello January. Hello the usual stuff - resolutions, intentions and creation. Whatever works for you is great. The question is, is it working, or are you doing the same thing over an over again without much of a change? With manifestation, what is important is to recognize that you are doing it right now. Your whole life, everything that you have going on right now, you created it. Your present circumstances are a result of your past thinking. So what you are thinking now is essentially creating what is to come. If you aren't already, it is supportive to be aware of what you are thinking; to be monitoring your thoughts 24/7. To be clear and consistent is a huge part of creating and mudras can help.
I once heard that prayer is asking for what you want and meditation is leaving space to receive those answers. In manifestation, there are several steps to attaining and creating all that you desire. The first is setting your goal, or asking for what you want. The second is taking action, and in taking action, the importance can be placed on taking the right action. It is here that we can use Gyan Mudra to determine the right actions to take.
There are many variations of this mudra, the most common is back of the hand on the knees with the index finger and thumb touching and other three fingers opening outwards. This mudra translates to "mudra of wisdom" and when used in meditation is known to connect you to your own inner guidance. It is that guidance that will support you in choosing which actions to take that will get you to your goal.
The Practice: Bring yourself to a nice comfortable seat and rest the back of your hands on your knees. Bring your index fingers and thumbs to touch and extend the last three fingers out. Start to focus on your breath. Nice long, slow, deep breaths in and out. Now bring your goal to mind and allow the thoughts to melt away. Keep focusing on your goal and notice what comes up.
Padma translates to lotus, therefore this mudra is the mudra of the lotus flower. The lotus is a powerful symbol in Indian culture and represents a few different key concepts important to self-realization. Firstly, the concept of this beautiful flower that can only grow in mud. The more mud, the deeper and stronger the roots, and the bigger the flower. It is the mud and the muck that is the foundation and cause for the growth of the flower. The second concept is related to the fact that even though the flower grows through the water, it never gets wet. Therefore, the flower is part of the environment, yet not completely affected by it.
This mudra supports us in realizing our potential and represents rebirth, spirituality and purity. Like the lotus, we can grow out of ugly conditions and emerge a beautiful spirit. This mudra calms the mind and manifests strength and resilience.
The Practice: This mudra can be completed sitting, standing and in a majority of yoga postures. Start by focusing on the breath, nice long, slow, deep breaths and bring your goal to mind. Bring the base of your palms to touch and spread your fingers wide. Touch your thumbs and pinkies leaving space between your palms and the other fingers of your hands. Tune into your strength and focus on the actions you are going to take to create your goal.
Formed by the words Dhi which translates to thinking and perceiving and yana which is the practice of moving, and thereby can be thought of as the action of properly thinking. Dhyana is also one of the eight limbs of yoga and is known as meditation. Dhyana mudra's effects have a calm and concentrated effect on the brain and nervous system, which improves the quality of the mind to analyze and heal.
This mudra is a symbolic gesture of the state of mind in meditation that is depicted by the shape of a triangle made using hands and fingers and it represents the three jewels of Buddhism. Buddha, dharma (good law) and sangha (community). The right hand signifies wisdom, knowledge and awareness, while the left hand represents the illusion and fantasy of this world. When the right hand is placed over the left hand, it represents the dominance of knowledge and awareness over the illusions created by the world.
The Practice: This mudra can be practiced both seated and standing. Start by focusing on breathing and bring your goal to mind. Bring your hands to rest in your lap with your right hand resting inside the left hand. Touch the tips of the thumbs together and hold for 10 minutes.
In the West, most people experience this mudra as a posture of prayer, which carries a personal connection to each person, whether positive or negative. Anjali translates to offering and is used as a posture of composure, of returning to one's heart and initiating or completing an action. Bringing the hands together at your centre connects the left and right hemispheres of your brain.
This mudra honours our practice and allows our full selves to our journey. When we find equilibrium and decide which actions to initiate and complete, this mudra practiced repeatedly supports with our discipline and clarity in moving forward towards our goals.
The Practice: This mudra can be practiced in most postures. Breathe and bring both of your palms together at the centre of your chest as if to gather all of your resources into your heart. Repeat this action a few times connecting to the balancing action of uniting your left and right side, masculine and feminine, logic and intuition and strength and tenderness into wholeness. Settle into stillness, bring your goal to mind and focus on your breath. Notice what comes to mind.
The Abhaya mudra (a mudra that represents a diety)connects to the fierce goddess Kali that represents death, destruction, transformation and purity. If you are looking to make changes, release unnecessary baggage, overcome difficulties or even find some fierce energy in the day.
The hand positioning is very direct, with the fingers tightly linked and index fingers point directly with the left thumb crossed over the right thumb to represent feminine energy dominating over the masculine energy.
The Practice: Sit or stand and bring your arms out in front of you. Interlock all of the fingers together leaving the index fingers pointing forward and your left thumb crossed over your right. Bring the focus to your breath and bring to mind your goal. The mudra represents this one-pointed focus to strengthen your discipline.
Set aside some time for you and be clear about what it is you want to create. Consistency is key.
It feels so easy to coach everyone else.
In speaking with people, it is so obvious to me where someone's blocks are, where they are going "wrong" in their lives, decisions & businesses, & what they need to do to get the results they are looking for. What makes me a good coach is not telling people these things, but rather supporting my clients in recognizing these things themselves. That being said, seeing one's own shit is not as easy. It is a consistent complaint I hear from others, that life coaches or business coaches don't have perfect lives themselves. Well ya'll, the reality is - that's true. We don't. When choosing a coach, i believe the important reality is that the coach has integrity, is authentic & practices what they preach (insert definitions here what those words mean to you).
For me, practicing what I preach encompasses both integrity & authenticity and this means that I regularly check in with my personal & business lives to ensure that I am doing my work in full support of my own personal growth & also that of my clients. The last couple of weeks for myself & my clients have been focused on clearing up energy leaks. Energy leaks are areas in our lives where we are unconsciously & consistently draining our energy on people, places & things that do not serve us but rather take away from us. And it's time to shine a light on that SHIT.
It's time to seal the energy leaks. Take a look around your life & get clear about what your outer world looks like, because your outer world is very indicative of your inner world. For example unpaid bills, incomplete projects, messy inboxes, old clothes & clutter are just the same inside as these things are detrimental to moving forward, as it is plainly obvious the person is holding on to old memories, not dealing with things, etc. etc.
Today while mulling over a friend's ex-girlfriend/friend choices in their current life, I camp up with the perfect life fixes forthem, the ways they could incorporate this month's theme into their life to clean up what has been going on for them & it hit me how great it would be for me to take my own advice... and of course, share in case you guys could also learn from this. This was really related to who it is that you have in your life and how much energy you are expending on those people.
I have heard that you and the results in your life are an average of the 5 people you spend the majority of your time with (not who you want to spend time with, but actually do). Take a look around. For me, the reality is that I am coming home soon & what I am looking at is where I am going & who I will be spending time with. My mind wanders to who I was spending time with before I left, who I have kept in touch with while away and (judge this statement if you will) how it is benefitting me now.
One concept that I regularly speak to is focused on looking forward to create your future. Many people look at their pasts, repeat their stories, make the same choice and this translate to creating a future based on one's past. Yet, when one makes that choice, what they are doing (usually unconsciously & unaware) is repeating a pattern. "If you keep doing what you've always done, you are going to get what you have always gotten, if you want something different, you need to do something different." So, why do you spend time with the people you spend your time with? Answer that question honestly & whole heartedly.
Personally, I found myself thinking I owe these people something :O. I quickly realized maybe not a reason to call them when I get back. A dear friend introduced me to this concept that you should leave them better than . when you found them, and I love that. AND the piece that I heard differently today was LEAVE them. What exactly is the point of continuing when it is over? If it was toxic and needed to end, what is the benefit of continuing it in anyway friends or more? Why?
So while this question plays in my head and I begin to review where my energy is going interpersonally, today, I offer you some free, unsolicited advice - where your focus goes, your energy grows - take a hard look
The Western World
I have arrived back in the Western world. It hit me when I was flying from Roatan: Wow, it is the end of that part of the journey. The journey that I prepared for for months and months. The pinnacle find myself, love myself, “fix” myself journey away from my family, my old life and all the other things that no longer seemed to fit. I was afraid of so many things, had so many expectations and no idea how it would go. AND... I am so glad I did it. I found all the pieces of me (weirdly enough right where they are now and have always been), experienced all the feels of ups and downs and arounds. I met the most amazing people and also found appreciation for all the amazing people I already know, and I learned so much about so many things. The weather was always warm and the scenery always beautiful, AND now, here I am.
Chicago has been a gentle landing, and for that I am happy. Tomorrow I fly to Nevada City, California to check out the ecstatic dance community, see Rebecca Bone Movement Practices and eeeeeeeee Shaneward. Steven Giron, Ph.D., Michael & Laura Cotton are amazing people doing some intense work here for human kind. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to check out Source Code Meditation - a scientifically proven technology that awakens your higher brain to help advance each human into the next consciousness. As always this has fallen into my lap at the perfect time and I have experienced hands on as well as enrolled in the 8 week program... which has helped to ease my fears about returning to the west. Kicking my higher brain just won’t let me fall back into this old, not good enough thinking. As always, life is. Continuing. For me on this course of growth, bliss and impact. So happy to be integrating all of the rich lessons so well.
Tomorrow I will travel to a place where I will set up roots. I will settle in one place for the longest amount of time since January of 2018!!! Whoa. Or, at least that is the plan ???? This fact in itself is both scary and beautiful and I look forward to this next part of the adventure. I declare this time about building and gaining momentum where I claim the life I have dreamed about, the life I have been walking towards all these years... It is time ❤️
Here I sit on an airplane to Honduras.
Last night it hit me.... I am leaving Costa Rica. Holy shit. How pivotal. I can compare this to savasana. At the end of every yoga class is the final resting pose, it signifies the end of class, the death of all the shit that has come up while doing your work, the release of that which no longer serves you. And here I am, in savasana.
I often hear from people how lucky I am. Like it is a common thing that bothstrangers and friends alike say to me. And I just can't agree (though I am magic ????)... I am not lucky, I have worked very hard to be exactly where I am right now. I have done the thing, addressed the elephant in the room, acted on faith, scared myself shitless, kept going, failed (in relative terms), taken the chance, haven't lived in my comfort zone in over 2 years, quit my job, left school, invested in myself, sold everything I own and traveled half way around the world. I'm not lucky. I took the chance.
On this journey, I have fallen in love repeatedly, most importantly with myself. I can't even estimate the amount of beautiful souls I have come into contact with, nor can I ever explain what it feels like to travel this way. Every single person special, individual, touched me in a different way, and holds their own unique memory spot in my brain. From jungle boys to adopted parents to travel partners, all I can say is thank you ❤️
Grasping. I recognize it is what I do when it feels like I am just wandering, ungrounded. It’s like slowly melting down a hole while trying to hold on or grab whatever you can off of the slippery sides. And now, I’m back in Costa Rica. The unravelling seems to happen quicker, the more I am able to let go, even just a bit, and fall into the flow. Today I landed. I made it to the beach, I put my feet in the sand, I sat down, I heard the ocean, I felt the vibe and I closed my eyes. Now, writing it out, it sounds simple, but I actually just did those things and nothing else. I was totally present, and recognized my need and attempt to control things, the best I can, being the nicest that I can and most spiritually appropriate. Lol. For real. And… it’s hard work.
The words let go appeared and it felt like my body did. With my eyes closed, all I saw was red, heard the ocean, forgot about my aching body, and slipped into sublime. Let go changed to release, release shifted to surrender and that is the intention. I surrender in every way. Surrender coffee, surrender control, and surrender to the teacher training, the process, the immersion.
You will have to excuse me, this is like the third time I have ever expressed those words in relation to my sexual orientation out loud. I am Queer.
Queer, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, is an adjective that describes a person as strange; odd or as homosexual. Wikipedia defines queer in a much more progressive description - “Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender. Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century”.
I have lived most of my life as a heterosexual woman. I have 2 kids, a myriad of ex boyfriends, an ex husband, and grew up with NKOTB (New Kids on the Block) posters on my walls. I read YM magazine as a young girl and learned about how to properly “give head'' from Cosmopolitan magazine. I grew up cisgendered (a person whose identity relates to their birth sex) and really only ever participated in any sexy girl on girl acts to turn on a dude. Yet, deep down, something was always missing.
Jump forward to my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training that took place with 20 women. The first time in my life I ever allowed myself to open up and participate in an all woman setting. Many of you may know the deep introspective and transformative work that takes place during such an intense time, and some may not. It was a lot. I was always a guys’ girl and could never get along with women. I would describe them as catty, mean, and ridiculous. I mean, I was in nursing and that had been my experience. I would choose hanging out with men anyday. So teacher training starts, and I allow myself to open up to these women (we won’t talk about how it ended) and in that I start to recognize just how incredible and important fellow women are. I dive into stories around my dad and recognize that my past sexual behaviours and constant attention seeking from men is related to wanting my dad to see me. From there, everything changes for me in relation to women as friends. I see the value in female friendships and I really start to feel a shift. Men don’t fully understand women, and there is this beauty in relating with another female on a deeper level that I had never felt. I started to feel understood, seen, heard and more comfortable with who I was.
I also started to express myself verbally around my attraction to more androgenous (the combination of masculine and feminine features) women to my friends and family. I felt open to share if I had a “girl” crush and spoke of some women being good looking. Yet, no one ever really caught my eye until I went to a women’s circle (I know, what happened?) and met a really cool person named Mo. We spent the evening talking about sexuality, gender, life, and feelings and I felt I opened up to the idea of exploring something beyond what I had always been used to. Another vagina.
Life is messy. I shifted careers from Nursing to Medical School to Yoga and my kids had grown up and moved out to pursue their own lives. I found myself in an unhappy relationship with a whole stack of unexplored dreams. It felt like a perfect time to shift, and I did. And as fate would have it, I met the woman that would support me in exploring another side of me that had been dormant for far too long. She was different from any other woman that I knew and she was all the things - patient, gay, experienced, gentle, free and I liked her. I was nervous to explore this other life at the age of 39. I felt too old and inexperienced, but I think I did ok.
Since then, I have struggled and questioned and fought to find a term that I can share with people around my own sexual orientation. Seems the world loves labels. Yet, I can’t seem to settle on one. Most people look at me and assume I am a lesbian (super stereotypical by the way to assume short hair = lesbian) yet, it isn’t far off. I also don’t hate men and find many of them attractive. I have been in relationship with a transman and think that I could rock a girl on girl relationship. I have no attachment to what gender or identity I will be in partnership with, when I choose to set down that road again. What I do care about is what kind of person I end up with, but that is for another blog. My intention here is to start to share my story and relate it to Yoga.
I teach Yoga Teacher Trainings. That is now my career and what I have noticed for the entirety of the last 22 years that I have been involved in the teachings is a lack of queer community, a lack of body friendly options for asana postures, and a lack of empathy for less flexible and sometimes older bodies. I feel the need to share, and educate, to speak up and to bridge this gap. I want to make teacher trainings that have all body shapes in them, not the usual 19 skinny people and 1 person with more meat. I want trainings where the whole group is over 40, and I want to host circles where a majority of the students already know about pronouns. So here is the shift. It starts with me. More stories, more vulnerability, more sharing and more education.