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the easiest way to manage stress and anxiety

Do you want to know my secret to manage stress and anxiety?

I shared an incredibly effective and useful technique in a few of my classes last week and thought: why would I only keep this good shit in class? Just because you may not be able to come to one of my classes physically, doesn’t mean you should be denied one of the most useful, easy, and powerful tools to help ease up a busy mind. So voila!

This technique can be used this during the day if you’re feeling anxious or stressed, and also at night if your mind won’t turn off and you are having a hard time falling asleep. The best part is, it’s totally portable and you don’t need anything you don’t already have.

It’s your breath.

Of course it’s not just any breath, it’s specifically your exhales. Focusing on exhales calms your nervous system and helps you relax.

So, what do you do?

You start by either sitting or lying down comfortably.

Close your eyes.

Take a few deep breaths to gain contact with your breath. Then let it relax into its natural rhythm.

Let your attention get really interested in your exhales.

Notice the way your exhales feel along the walls of your nostrils. Notice the warmth and humidity. Pay close attention to the rise and especially the fall of your belly. Where does the exhale start: the chest, belly, low abdomen?

Don’t try to avoid noticing the inhales, it’s not possible and it will create more anxiety.

Instead, notice them but don’t pay as close attention to them. Let the inhales happen, so that you can get more into your exhales.

Once you let go into the cadence of your breath and are able to focus on your exhales you may also notice a space between the breaths.

There may be a moment of emptiness and it might be nice to rest there for a moment before taking the next inhale breath. Let it be easy. No need to hold or retain the exhale. Just settling into the space if it’s there, and if it’s not, no worries: you can’t do this wrong.

You will notice thoughts trying to creep in, or totally take over, and that’s normal.

Don’t worry about it. Let your thoughts go with your exhales. The freer you can keep your mind the more relaxed you will be, but thoughts will be there so don’t make them a problem. As you notice them, simply let them go.

If you are doing this during the day even 2 to 5 minutes will make a world of difference for you.

If you are using this to help you fall asleep (I SWEAR by this technique, I do it whenever I have a hard time.) do it until you sleep. It might feel like it’s not working, and you might be impatient because your mind is so busy, and have faith: if you do it long enough you WILL fall asleep. It just might take 10 minutes, which is a small price to pay if you normally can’t sleep for hours!

I’d like to hear what you do to manage stress and anxiety. What are your go-to’s when you start to get wound up or can’t sleep? Please share your comments below.

Did you find this blog post helpful? Then please share it on Facebook, Tweet it out loud, and forward it to all of your fabulous friends!

I look forward to hearing from you soon my friend, have a wonder-filled week!

Love and Light,
t

fall: creating and starting again

This first week of September always has that feel of excitement of the first day of school. I want new clothes, create fun activities to look forward to, and press the reset button on my commitments. I never really grew out of back to school mode and I feel a real sense of excitement and anticipation for what the rest of the year ahead holds for me.
 
It is also when I like to try on new activities, sign up for classes, and reinvent who I want to be and what I want to do to support that beingness I’m creating for this year.
 
This season in particular always reminds me to recommit to goals I had created yet not followed through on as diligently as I would have liked to through the summer. Can you relate to me at all?
 
To support you in your back to school adventures, here’s a FREE tool I’ve created just for you to design your best fall yet! I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your insights below.
 
If you love this as much as I do, please forward it to a friend, share it on Facebook, or Tweet it out loud! You never know who could use a little help in starting again or pressing the reset button!

Get your workbook now!

Love and Light,
t

gravitrons and your right to be here

This post was born out of a talk I was giving in a yoga class last Monday, and it felt important to share it with you too. It has to do with The Gravitron (yes the fair ride), and your right to be here.

Right now, I’ll invite you to close your eyes and relax into your breath. Take a moment to feel the sensations of your body, and also the sensation of the earth’s gravity gently drawing you into itself.

We don’t often see, or feel the obvious magic of our life. But it’s there and you are in the midst of it and an integral part of it too.

Magic is found in the mundane that we take for granted. Like gravity. Like your breath. Like the fact that no one really knows how you got into this body, but here you are! You are a part of this mystery, and dance of the cosmos.

Do you remember The Gravitron?

If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a ride that resembles a disk like space ship and the interior chamber shaped like a cylinder with rounded walls covered with panels. When the ride starts spinning, it sucks you to the walls for few minutes while the panels go up and down. I only went on it a few times as a kid, and mostly remember kids running out puking afterwards. Spinning crazy fast and fair food don’t go all that well together, I guess.

In a gentler more loving way, the earth holds us dearly to it.

Right now, the earth is spinning and hurling itself through space and you are actually stuck upside down onto it. Think about it, the ground you stand on is actually a ball spinning through space and is holding you tightly to it so you don’t fall off into emptiness.

It actually wants you here.

This spinning ball is also very alive, and breathes through all of its different life forms. The plants on our planet exhale oxygen and breathe in the carbon dioxide we animals produce. We inhale the plants gift of oxygen, and give plants life through breathing out carbon dioxide. 

We are in essence breathing together in symbiotic relationship.

We are each other’s inhales and exhales. It’s quite beautiful really, and we are interwoven into that delicate magical beauty.

I remember one run in particular where I was on the homestretch on a perfect summer morning. The cool morning air was starting to warm up from the heat of the sun on this clear morning. The shadows were long and I could feel the temperature difference sharply from shade to sun with my pace. My breath was steady, and I was keenly present to the sensations of my body, and the feel of the world around me. 

I could feel the earth’s pulse beneath my feet, the earths breath, and I was overcome with a sense of oneness and profound peace. 

I remember having the thought, “I was born for this.” Not in the sense of running, but in a much bigger more meaningful way:

I was born to live…and so are you. 

Here’s something I want you to really get, like right down to the core of your being:

The fact that you are here means that the world already approves of you.

There, I said it: if you weren’t meant to be here, you wouldn’t be.

Also, if you like what I am doing, spread the word! My business depends almost exclusively on word of mouth (or forwarded emails!). Share this on Facebook, tweet it out, or forward this to your friends, you’ll never know how we impact each positively just by sharing good stuff around.

Do you struggle with your right to be here? I love hearing from you, and would love to know how you remember that you are meant to be here on the comment section. Also, how would your life be different, if you really believed that you were meant to be here? Can you embrace that to create freedom for your life?

metta meditation

“I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.”
– Walt Whitman

Why do we need to practice metta or loving kindness you may ask? Loving kindness allows us to drop our barriers and see each other for who we truly are: the light behind the eyes and the luminosity of the heart. This may sound hokey, but isn’t that we all want? To see and be deeply seen?

Metta Meditation or loving kindness meditation is a short meditation about 3 to 4 lines that are repeated with the intention to evoke the feelings of loving kindness in our hearts. Metta always starts with ourselves so you repeat these words as well wishing for yourself and your own life, letting the meaning land within your heart. Repeat for 10 to 30 minutes. Here’s an example of one below, but you can choose verses that are meaningful to you. 

May I be happy.
May I be at peaceful. 
May I be safe. 
May I be well. 

Sometimes the practice creates other feelings that are anything but loving kindness, and sometimes it feels mechanical. Be patient and kind with yourself. Let the words land as best as they can and hold yourself with compassion. This meditation can be done anywhere, on the bus, waiting in line, driving your car. The benefits of this practice are huge because it acts like a self psychotherapy by healing our troubled minds, and shifts old habituated negative thought patterns. Pretty great hey? 

So, what do you think? Have you tried Metta before, and what phrases do you like? If you haven’t tried it, are you going to give it a shot? I’d love to here from you! Please post your comments and suggestions below the blog post. I love hearing from you!

Did like this post? Then please share it with your friends and family, on Facebook or Tweet it out!

Love and Light,

t

serenade to the seasons

I love teaching early morning yoga classes. Not because I love getting up at 5:10am. Truthfully, some of those mornings I wake up with the word “f*ck” escaping my lips as I knock the phone off my bedside table attempting to turn off the ringing alarm. And then I get up and have a lovely cup of coffee in the silence of my house, make my breakfast, kiss my husband’s sleeping head, and eventually make it out the door to the beautiful studio I get to teach a 6:30am yoga class twice a week.

Somewhere along the way from waking to arriving at the studio some magic happens within. I’m still too tired to be worrying about the day or to do list, so I’m really present to the brave souls that make the effort to get up in the dark and drive in their cold cars on frosty days to sweat it out with me. I genuinely appreciate their effort to make it to their mats. I know what it takes to make it to the studio, and the planning involved because I have to do it too, and I love them for doing it, and I love them for showing up.

Not only do I get to be a teacher to these amazing students these early mornings, I also love that we get to flow with seasons to our breath. When I get up really early every day or most days, I notice the days as they get longer and shorter. I feel my inner nature shift with the seasons. I have the desire to turn in and reflect as the days get shorter, and the pull to get up and create as the days get longer. Right now, we are leaving the depths of winter and the class is beginning to end with the sun rising. It is enchanting to see the days getting longer and being present for each extra minute we get every day. Last week we were in darkness this week we have light.

To me, being a part of the changing seasons means being a part of this world, and a part of not only my life, but the capital L Life. The seasons remind me of my connection to that Thing that animates my body, the trees, and the living pulsing earth beneath my Tadasana toes. Each breath is a season in itself. A beginning, a pause, an ending. I am reminded to be in awe of the grandeur of the universe and the small expression that I am within it, and how kick ass that is.