Wednesday, December 31, 2008

mindful questions for the new year

I've been reading The Life Organizer by Jennifer Louden--a book I actually won from Nina at (Thanks again, Nina!) In this book, Louden discusses the importance of asking mindful questions to help guide us along our life's journey:

"Asking questions is how we think--it's part of the narrative process of making meaning that our brains use to construct some semblance of reality...The questions you ask yourself influence your thoughts; your thoughts influence your mood; and your mood influences what you believe or feel is possible--that is, the actions you take. Marilee Adams, in Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, summed it up well: 'The ability to interntionally shift our internal questions puts us in charge of our own thoughts.'...

Asking questions of real worth can penetrate your self-limiting stories about who you are and what is possible like nothing else can--especially when coupled with an awakened body and shifted heart. You're using three of the most powerful tools human beings have--while working with your brain and body to create greater health on all levels...

Mindful Questions for Every Day

Use these questions for in-the-moment life organizing and whenever you need to make a choice throughout your day. Some of these questions are terrific to ask when you are feeliing off, out of it, overwhlemed, clutching, clenching, judgmental, victimized, fearful, exhausted, shut down, small, like you're living in a box, focused on what other people need or want from you, or in any way out of the present moment.

Where am I in respect to this moment? Where am I in respect to me? What is this moment calling from me?

What do I need to know right now?

What do I want?

How can I be gentle with myself in this situation?

What does my body need right now?

Spirit, what do I need right now?

Where does my energy want to go next?

How do I choose to spend my energy and time?

What am I gettting out of being so busy/frantic/overwhelmed?

How can I give myself permission to enjoy this moment?

Here are a few for high-stress situations:
What choice will keep me sane?
What would I be proud of?
What can I be satisfied with?
How can I nurture myself today?"

I definitely plan on using these midful questions to help me stay focused and grounded in the upcoming year. In her book, Louden goes on to talk about allowing...this is something else I am going to be working on--when asking these questions, rather than getting all heady about answering them, I'm going to do my best to mute my sometimes very analytical and practical mind and try to allow my heart and more intuitive self come up with the answers.

Here is your yogathought for the day from Louden's book:

" of the quickest routes to a life your don't love is listening to and relying solely on your mind..."

Live from your heart.


Friday, December 26, 2008

karma lotus flower thoughts

My sweet husband is, in general, a very, very thoughtful man. This is one of the many reasons I love him. He is also a very thoughtful gift giver. This year he gave me the beautiful and meaningful karma lotus bracelet in the photo from He also got me a necklace from that has a black cord and a small garnet, small silver om symbol, and small silver lotus flower hanging from it. Lastly, he bought me the book Meditations from the Mat--the book is made up of 365 short meditations, offering ways to integrate the mindfulness yoga teaches into everyday life. I plan to read one each morning of 2009 to get my day started. Three very thoughtful and perfect gifts. I am blessed!

Here is the karma lotus bracelet saying at the bottom of the photo above--something I will keep in mind when wearing it!:

"the lotus emerges from murky chaos, through purifying water, and up into the light of the sun, as you make your way toward brilliance, remember to keep your circle positive and loving"


home from the holidays

We just returned back to our home from our holiday celebrations. We spent two nights at my Mom's house, and we are very lucky to only have a 40 minute commute. We are also lucky to have two little pups that travel well. (I think we wore them out!)

Our Christmas celebrations were filled with love, laughter, good food, and drink. Once again I'm reminded of how blessed I am.

I will post later (I now feel the need to get all my stuff unpacked and squared away) on some of my favorite gifts from my sweet husband! No matter how nice it is to visit with family, it's also always good to come back to our home.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

holiday blessings

Wishing you a peace and love-filled holiday. Believe in miracles and magic.


Monday, December 22, 2008

hip time

Chilly winter weather (it's 18 degrees here) can result in our bodies being tighter and more contracted than normal. All of us have certain areas of our bodies that are tighter than others, and for me, relatively speaking, my hips tend to be T I G H T-tight. So this afternoon, I put my yoga mat down by a nice, warm fire and got some hip opening yoga on. I just finished the 26 minute yoga hip opening sequence and my hips feel deliciously D I V I N E-divine! Here's the link if you're feeling like you need a little hip time in this wintery weather:



Sunday, December 21, 2008

strengths & enthusiasm

Marcus Buckingham, a career consultant and coach, was on The Oprah Show Friday, and I was instantly enamored...not just by his devilishly handsome good looks, but also by his energy, enthusiasm, and message. Essentially, his message is that in our lives and work we should be playing to our strengths. While I realize this isn't neccessarily a novel idea, his approach was new and exciting .

Answer this question: What are your strengths?

Now, think about moments and activities in your daily life and work in which you feel good, alive, excited, and energized. According to Buckingham, these are your strengths...those things in life that make you feel good and full of energy. I've always thought about my strengths as those things I am good at doing, not necessarily what I am doing in those instances that make me feel good and fill me up. Once we adapt our definition of our strengths, we then must figure out how we can start to implement more of our strengths into our current lives or restructure aspects of our lives to include more of our strengths. When we do this, we are more fulfilled and in-line with our spiritual calling.

While I typically don't make New Year's Resolutions (because I think it's important to consistently reflect on my life and set goals and intentions that align with my values and aspirations rather than just do this at one set point at the beginning of each year), I do intend to really focus in 2009 on using my true strengths to the fullest. I am setting the intention right now to create a life for myself in which I integrate more of my strengths--instances of feeling goood, alive, and enthusiastic.

Marcus Buckingham has a free on-line seminar at I highly suggest you check it out. I know I will be participating in it over the next few weeks.

Here is your yogathought for the day from Julia Cameron:

"Over any extended period of time, being an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us. Enthusiasm (from the Greek, 'filled with God') is an ongoing energy supply tapped into the flow of life itself. Enthusiasm is gounded in play, not work. Far from being a brain-number soldier, our artist is actually our child within, our inner playmate. As with all playmates, it is joy, not duty, that makes for a lasting bond."

Wishing you many moments of enthusiasm and enjoyment in life. Live your strengths.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

snow day list

I love snow days! It is a wonderful feeling to get up and have an unexpected day off work to fill at home exactly as I please...a day to hibernate and fill with simple indulgences! Yippee! (I realize I sound as excited as a kid. I am, and I hope to always have a child-like spirit!)

This morning I've been reading my Jan. issue of Real Simple magazine which is full of lists. Here is my very own list of snow day (or any day spent at home hibernating) things to do:

*read Twilight (yes, I finally purchased the book and am enjoying it thoroughly!)
*sip hot cocoa with marshmallows
*watch the Today Show
*take a nap
*blog and read blogs
*download Christmas music and create a Christmas tunes playlist on my i-pod
*give myself a manicure and pedicure
*make home-made pizza on whole wheat tortillas
*do some sun salutations to keep the energy flowing
*enjoy my puppies sleeping soundly on my lap

I hope you have a day to hibernate soon, too.


Friday, December 12, 2008

unplugging our energy drains

Here is a yogathought for your Friday from Beryl Bender Birch:

"Learning to unplug from negative or draining situations and melodramas is important to pulling the prana [energy] back into the body. Everything we do that lets prana drain out weakens us in some way. And if all our prana is tied up in some unhealthy or inappropriate obsession or desire or aversion, then we don't have enough left over to direct toward whatever it is we wish to create for ourselves. We cannot begin the process of creating our own reality unless we reclaim some of our prana. But seeing how we lose this prana takes skillful means. And disconnecting from these things that take our life force isn't as easy as unplugging a toaster. Unplugging entails a slow gradual clearing of our vision, which then enables us to see how we waste our energy through our thoughts and actions."


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I am currently rereading Beryl Bender Birch's book Beyond Power Yoga: 8 Levels of Practice for Body and Soul and loving it. Her other book Power Yoga was the first ever book I read about yoga, and it greatly influences my teaching style to this day. Her second book delves deeper into yoga philosophy and the eight limbs of astanga yoga. I am always amazed at how yoga and yoga philosophy, a practice that began thousands of years ago, is still so applicable and essential to everyday peaceful living today.

Here is your yogathought for the day from Beyond Power Yoga:

"Since success, therefore, is not really what we want, deep within ourselves we grow tired of it. You can never get enough of what you don't really want, and if you place success and fame and fortune first in your life, you'll keep struggling for more and more."


Saturday, December 6, 2008

now is the time

Now is the time...the time of year when lights and decorations go up, malls are packed, traffic is often backed up bumper to bumper, and the hustle and bustle is on.

Now is also the time to practice yoga on the mat and off. Now is the time to have a positive, loving approach to the holiday season. Now is the time to get still. Now is the time to listen. Now is the time to move. Now is the time to breathe. Now is the time to feel. Now is the time to be awake and alive to life. Now is the time to be grateful. Now is the time to give. Now is the time to receive.

Holiday blessings!

Friday, December 5, 2008

more gratitude

Here's your Yogathought for the day:

“Practicing mindfulness of gratitude consistently leads to a direct experience of being connected to life and the realization that there is a larger context in which your personal story is unfolding. Being relieved of the endless wants and worries of your life's drama, even temporarily, is liberating. Cultivating thankfulness for being part of life blossoms into a feeling of being blessed, not in the sense of winning the lottery, but in a more refined appreciation for the interdependent nature of life. It also elicits feelings of generosity, which create further joy. Gratitude can soften a heart that has become too guarded, and it builds the capacity for forgiveness, which creates the clarity of mind that is ideal for spiritual development.” --Philip Moffitt


Thursday, December 4, 2008


There are examples of grace all around us--if our eyes, hearts, and minds are open to see, expereince, and feel them. Sometimes I know I get so focused on the to-do lists of the day that I'm missing examples or opportunties for grace in my life.

Here is a mantra that I actually have posted on my refrigerator as a reminder to be open:

"I am open and receptive to the power of grace in my life now. I ask to be shown clear examples of how this energy is operating in my life." --Cheryl Richardson

Ask. Believe. Receive.

Grace and peace be with you.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

self compassion

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"Be gentle and forgiving with yourself, abandon any and all shame, and refuse to engage in any self-repudiation." --Wayne Dyer