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authentic movementTake a moment right now and sense your body.

When you sense your body, what arises?

Perhaps it’s “I feel fat.”
Or “Ugh—feeling gross.”
Or “I don’t sense anything.”
Or “Ouch, that hurts.”

What’s your version?

Most often, the women I work with sense their body and judge her. (Yes, if you’re a woman, your body is a “she”! Please make the appropriate substitutions if you’re a man.)

She is never quite right—too fat, too thin, not fit, not comfortable, not satisfied, too hungry, craving unhealthy food…she is just plain wrong.

How do you think your body feels with all this judgment?

Here’s a hint: When you feel judged, how do you feel? Hurt. Sad. Angry. Confused. (And probably more…)

Your body is you. She is intimately intertwined with your soul, part of what I call your bodysoul. When you judge her, you are judging you.

Would you judge your girlfriends this way? Probably not.

Imagine living with an intimate partner—your body is about as intimate as it gets!—and all you ever hear is about how messed up you are, over and over again.

Would you feel good, happy, resilient, vital? Your body doesn’t either.

In fact, in these conditions of persecution, she is kind of like a refugee. She can’t really leave very easily, but she can check out. Perhaps you don’t sense or feel very much because she’s in hiding. Or perhaps she’s trying to escape, on hyper-alert, running on stress, but unable to go anywhere, causing you to feel anxious, upset, frazzled…

If she’s checked out or on high alert, she won’t be comfortable, and she won’t be able to focus, find well-being, make nourishing choices, or make changes easily.

Just like your friend, she doesn’t want to be shamed or coerced into change. She wants to be accepted as she is. Loved as she is. Understood as she is. Then, perhaps, she could easily make nourishing choices, or consider making some changes for her well being.

What would it take to welcome her home?

Imagine your body as a place of grounding, grace, and gratitude. Imagine feeling her support, her love, her exquisite attunement to your needs. YES! This is possible.

What if you could find refuge in your body instead of forcing her to be a refugee? Sense that in your bodysoul.

If you would like support welcoming your body home, I’d love to offer you a free Nourishing Wholeness Discovery Session, and to practice with you during my Way of the Happy Woman® Autumn Self-Care Mini-Retreat.

cukes for bfast--tp
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

What and how we eat affects everything!

  • Not only our tastebuds and digestion,
  • but also the wellbeing of our cells,
  • which create our organs and tissues,
  • which keep our body alive….

And without an alive body, our spirit would have no vessel to animate!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know I refer to the body as the bodysoul. We can’t separate our physicality from our spirituality. The soul lives in the body and the body lives in the soul. Read more.

So, what and how you eat breakfast affects your entire bodysoul!

Do you pump your bodysoul full of caffeine and sugar in the morning, wreaking havoc on your adrenals and blood sugar levels?

  • If so, your bodysoul may have a hard time feeling balanced—being jerked around from caffeine creating stress and sugar causing nutrient depletion and energy drop.
  • It’s hard to stay present, meditate, have good relationships, or be the best person you know you can be when your bodysoul is affected in this way.
  • I could go on and on…but I won’t! :)

So, how could you choose to eat breakfast as a spiritual practice?

  • Start by checking in with your bodysoul to see what you really want/need to eat.
  • If you’re having caffeine, drink at least 1-2 cups of water first. And then drink your caffeine while eating protein.
  • Lessen or drop the added sugar altogether—unsweetened fruit is a great way to enjoy healthy sweet, and consumed with healthy protein and fats, you’ll find you have a sustaining meal.
  • Skip juice—it’s so concentrated that it’s pretty much as harmful as eating sugar! (Think of it as dessert for breakfast.)
  • Consider adding veggies to your breakfast! This was a revolutionary idea to me years ago, but now I often include veggies in some way. See recipes for Wakame Eggs, Green Breakfast Bowl, and here’s one of my current faves:

Summer Breakfast Bowl
Berries and cucumber make this simple breakfast fresh, juicy, and nourishing—perfect for starting your day with your bodysoul in mind!

  • Once you have your food chosen, take a moment to savor it before you begin to eat. This is a way to mindfully take in your food with all of your senses BEFORE and while you are eating it.

Enjoy starting your day with a super-charged bodysoul spiritual practice and see how it affects the rest of your day!

If you’d like more ideas about how to add more veggies into your life, join me at Glorious Greens, a demo/presentation on Sunday, August 23rd from 1-3 pm.

If you’d like more ideas about how to make eating part of your spiritual practice, check out my Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching for women by signing up for a free Nourishing Wholeness Discovery Session.

How do you make breakfast part of your spiritual practice?
I’d love to hear about it!

buddha corner-med

Buddha corner of the back garden

In the last month of our SomaYoga Teacher Training we are studying the final Yama of Aparigraha, Non- Possessiveness. (The Yamas are the basis of Yoga’s code of ethics, the compass by which yogis and yoginis practice and live.)

This past week, we were practicing with breathing in life on the inbreath and letting life go of it on the outbreath. It has been a good week for me to practice this as I hurt my lower back/sacrum carrying too much weight a few weeks ago and this past week was especially difficult.

  • Breathing in, I breathe in pain. Breathing out, I breathe out release.
  • Breathing in, I breathe in aching. Breathing out, I breathe out letting go.
  • In, ouch. Out, release.
  • In, tightness. Out, letting go.

Did this make the pain go away? NO! But I find when I can get curious about each moment, my experience is actually changing, dynamic. I’m not in continual pain if my mind can let go of thinking about the pain (or fear or…)!

That’s what I’m inviting on the “breathing out,” the mind letting go. It’s not always easy. I find I have had a story going—my back hurts and it’s not getting better and I’m afraid… When I’m not mindfully meeting the moment, that story wins. When I am, however, I find that not all moments are full of pain.

  • Some are full of gratitude for the sun and breeze on the river birch leaves outside the window.
  • Some are full of amazement at the red cardinal visiting the garden.
  • Some are full of luxurious, sensual melting of my body in the hot sun.
  • Some are full of sweet moments of contact with my husband.

And with each moment, I practice taking it in fully and then releasing it and letting it go. I’m learning that even these so-called “good” feelings need to be released to make way for the next moment.

In this way, Deborah Adele explains, in her lovely book The Yamas and Niyamas, we make way for the next experience. There is an openness and a freedom in this. When we’re not caught in assumptions, beliefs, and stories—the next moment could be anything!

When I cling to my story of being in constant pain and not healing, I am not able to really savor the river birch leaves outside my window, which the standing desk I cobbled together to give my back relief, faces. Releasing the pain on the outbreath for just a moment gives me the chance to breathe in something else—something beautiful that fills me with gratitude! (And I’m willing to bet gratitude has a healing effect on the body that fear does not…)

I can see how this practice could really support me when I’m in other hard places—breathe it in and then breathe out the story, the stuckness, the tension. Breathe in a new moment and experience that!

What are you breathing in? Are you releasing it to make room for something else? Something that you can’t imagine, that might be rich and full and amazing?

I experience this releasing also as the Yin phase of the breath. Exhaling and letting go into the ground, softening, releasing, calming…ready to allow the Yang, active phase of doing to begin, to bring in something new…We need both.

Come breathe in and out with me at my August 2nd The Way of the Happy Woman®: Summer Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat!

And I’d be happy to accompany you on this path with a Free Discovery Session to explore my Women’s Holistic Health and Wellness Coaching.

I have posted two breath practices to support you on my site (toward the bottom of the page).

dancing with summer

sunflower2Summer!

Sun!

Everything greening and growing and blooming and blossoming!

Nature is exclaiming her fullness, her lushness, her LIFE!!!

(Exclamation points seem to be called for here. My fingers can’t help but type them.)

Sunflower turns its face toward the sun, smiling, drinking in its warmth, its radiance…and shines its beauty, its smile, its full-on radiance into the world.

The Buddha, grounded sitting peacefully, surrounded by lacy green ferns, cool and calm in the midst of heat, of flame, of fiery summertime.

And so is my life. Always a balancing of fire and earth, of flurry and ground, of blossoming and releasing, or accomplishing and resting…

I am here. Supported, surrounded, summoned…to be here. In this summer.
I am here. Supported, surrounded, summoned…to be here. In this body.
I am here. Supported, surrounded, summoned…to be here. In this life.

Where are you? What is your dance of summer summoning forth?

If you’d like to practice this celebration of summer, I’d love to have you join me on August 2nd for The Way of the Happy Woman®: Summer Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat!

And if you find you could use a little help balancing these energies, please sign up for a free Discovery Session to see how my Women’s Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching might support you.

inspired retouched-crpdSupportive, firm, slightly bumpy

Smooth, almost silky…

Aaah—cool, soft, moist, and soothing

Tickly, scratchy, stroking…

My bare feet delight in the textures they are taking in.

Each step a celebration of impressions.

It’s almost like my feet have little antennae attuned to each touch of the sole of my foot on the ground.

Delight, curiosity, wonder!

What will the next step bring?
Concrete—bumpy, gravelly, smooth?
Grass, clover, weeds?
Marble? (on a sidewalk, leftover from the construction of the State Capitol)
Wet or dry earth?

Each bringing its own impressions, my feet play with each one…

All around me, Summer also delights my eyes with a riot of color and texture.

  • Yellow and orange ruffled marigolds
  • Brilliant spotted and streaked, stately oriental lilies
  • Friendly-faced, simple daisies
  • Soft, pink and purple flowers of all kinds
  • Sunny, yellow primrose and simple stella d’oro lilies
  • Spikey yet gentle beebalm

Everywhere, flowers bloom forth, as if delighting in their own beauty.

And birdsong surrounds me—robins, cardinals, sparrows, finches, and more…

Mother Nature is my playground this morning—
my senses are awakened and aroused as I run and walk through her glory.

Even my body responds, reveling in the invitation to feel the lightness, the delight, the celebration in this summer full moon morning.

  • I jog.
  • I run, limbs flying with wild abandon as my inner child takes over.
  • I prance and leap.
  • I skip.
  • And I slow back down to a walk.

I allow my body to delight and play with life all around me—through my feet, through my eyes, through my ears, through my core.

I read once that play was something we do for recreation only—not for practical purposes. This morning, I set out for practical purposes—to exercise my body and soul—and I discovered play!

So often I forget thisthat playfulness can be part of my everyday life—slipping in to lighten up my serious, hard-working, responsible approach. That I feel happier, lighter, and even get more done when I allow my senses/my bodysoul to play.

If you’d like to explore how to lighten your day with a playful attitude, reveling in summer’s energy of celebration and lush fulfillment, consider joining me on August 2nd for The Way of the Happy Woman®: Summer Yoga, Meditation & Life Balance Mini-Retreat.

Or if you’re craving a deeper exploration of play-time, retreat-time, real contact with other women, beauty, and nourishment, consider joining Sara Avant Stover and a beautiful group of women in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for this year’s SHE Retreat from October 31st to November 7th! I’m happy to say I’ll be there assisting, too! YAY! :)

How do you invite playfulness into your daily life?
What practices or reminders do you have in place to invite delight?

I’d be happy to support you with my Women’s Holistic Health & Wellness Coaching.

And enjoy this playful NYC invitation!

This.
This amazing peony.
Right here.
Opening, graceful, present.

peony
How can I not look at it?
How can I not stop and drink it in?

Now, it says.
I look.
Yes, this.
I drink it in.
Come again.
I sink, I dive, I am drawn in.

The beauty.
The simplicity.
The “isness.”

This simple peony.
From my garden.
In a vase.
Sitting on my desk.

Inviting me.
To stop.
To savor.
To be.

Now.

And now.

And, forever, now.

A friend from my SomaYoga Teacher Training shared this from one of her friends in our online homework forum:

Mindfulness asks us to awaken to life (not always pleasant or easy) and self-compassion comes in to help us cherish ourselves during this awakening.

inner buddha

I’m struck that, with the goal of awakening, we’re often taught to empty ourselves, to clear our minds, to become still, silent, vast, spacious. It’s no wonder that some part of us rebels!

Yes, we need this calming of the mind, this inner quiet and emptiness—but it is not the be all and end all of spiritual enlightenment. [Gasp!]

We also need the cherishing, the compassion, the love of Being.

Our True Nature is both. Our lives need both. To be complete and whole, we need both.

We need to live in the world, without believing all the thoughts of our minds, open to spaciousness and clarity.

And we need to LIVE in the world, with our hearts and bodies alive and brimming with juicy passion, desire, authenticity, strength, love, and, oh, so much more!

This is the real measure of our awakening—living our realization with mindful awareness and compassion. With our True Mind and our True Heart online. With the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine guiding us.

When I live from this place, I know what I want, what I love, and I am sweet and compassionate with myself when I can’t have it, or when I behave less than skillfully. I have practices that support Quiet Mind and non-attachment, and I have practices that grow compassion and love. My practice actually affects my life, making me a more real, authentic, compassionate, contactful, clear, and awake human being.

I must bring my realization off my mat—whether it be yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer, or any other practice—into my real, lived life.

What practices support you in developing both awakeness and compassion?
What fruits of your practice do you recognize in your lived life?

If you would like some support in integrating your practice into your life, I’m here for you!

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