the sacred new moon ritual

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New Moons. Gorgeous, fertile, sacred, full of potential. Honoring the new (and full) moon at each month with a ritual is one of the most empowering and powerful gifts we can give ourselves. I have been honoring the Moon and the Goddess since I was 14 years old, and nothing has enriched my life more than nurturing this sacred connection. New Moons signal cosmic beginnings, and offer us a fresh start. It is a potent time for declaring our intentions, sending up our sacred seeds so that they can blossom into a beautiful harvest. New Moon rituals are a beautiful way to reconnect to ourselves, and offer ourselves the gift of sacred space. To reevaluate and honor our growth, goals, wishes and desires with each passing month. New moon rituals also allow us to reconnect with nature. Our ancestors worshipped and honored the cycles of the moon and the changing of the seasons. This way of life allowed them to live in harmony with Pachamama. Many of us are generally cut off from this way of living in harmony with earth and sky. It is not that it is lost to us, we’ve just forgotten; become distracted. A ritual honoring the New Moon is a beautiful, gentle way to get back in touch with our natural, organic connection with Mama Nature and the Goddess. A ritual can be done in any way one wishes — there is most definitely no right or wrong way! Here are some offerings to help make your ritual the most powerful and potent that it can possible be: Create and decorate your altar  Do you have an altar in your home? What a beautiful gift to the soul. An altar can be any space or place in your home that feels lovely and sacred — your … Continue reading 

stay on your mat: a life practice

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You may have heard your yoga teacher say something like, “This is your practice. What your neighbor is doing is irrelevant, stay on your mat”.  What does this mean really? And how does this practice find its way into our everyday lives? Of course, even if you’ve never stepped foot inside of a studio or onto a yoga mat you can still practice this unbelievably important aspect of joy: NEVER compare yourself to others. This is your practice, stay on your mat. One of the most dangerous and fastest ways to lose your way in your yoga practice, or your life practice is to  look to other people as a gauge for how successful (a word only YOU can define) or unsuccessful you may be. This is something I have struggled with for many years, and still am working on.  When we live without comparing ourselves to other people we drastically enhance our ability to live in joy and santosha (one of Patanjali’s 5 Niyamas, or Personal Observances, the second limb of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which translates to “contentment”). There are many detriments in comparing ourselves to others. We lose sight of our abundance and blessings We find jealousy instead of happiness for others.  Asteya falls under Patanjali’s 5 Yamas (Universal Morality and the first limb of the 8 limbs of Yoga) and means non-stealing or “…abiding in generosity and honesty…” (The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi).  When we are jealous we are in turn energetically attempting to steal or undermine another’s accomplishments, or have decided they do not deserve what we deserve or want, and they certainly don’t deserve more than us.  But this is an illusion of the ego (the part of ourselves we hope to diminish with a consistent yoga practice) and it is … Continue reading 

quell your ego & transform

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Ohhhhh, the ego. As our spirituality deepens with our practice, yogis learn that one of the aims of the ancient tradition is to “break down” the ego. When we begin to explore this idea, we feel and see the limitless liberation that releasing the ego holds! As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be SO angry. The slightest bump on the street, a friend not responding in the way I wanted , someone else’s joy (hard to admit but true!) could bring on anything from a frenzied and impulsive “f**k you!” to days of dark sadness that were steeped in being imprisoned by my mind. I must always mention that asana is a vital part of a yoga practice, and for me, life practice- because it is on the mat we allow our fire to burn. Many of us contain old negative energy; when you practice the physical postures of yoga you allow this toxicity to be burned up and released with the breath, making room for prana or life force. If you do not have an asana practice it is still very possible to work on quieting the ego’s perception of a situation so that YOU can assess the reality much more effortlessly, able to respond with clarity and kindness. The ego is the voice inside that screams ME! ME! I! I! So of course when it is out of whack we are going to take personal offense if we’re bumped on the sidewalk or cut in line. The ego screams, “THIS IS ABOUT ME!” but the thing is, of course it isn’t! That person may have someone they love in the hospital, a headache, just gotten fired, or maybe just inconsiderate; regardless it is not up to us to judge or chastise- we are just one of the … Continue reading 

a new home

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I spent so many years in sadness and darkness that I found that space to be my most comfortable home.  Those of you who have experienced heart sorrow (it is here depression lies) understand that, when we are truly being honest with ourselves, this is a place of bizarre, familiar comfort. What holds us back from anything? From everything? Fear. Why are we fearful to be joyful and happy? Why are we fearful of manifestation? For me it was self defense…I can’t be disappointed if I’m ready for disappointment, and I can’t be rejected if I reject first.  What is this garbage based in? Old hurts from first grade and playground teasing? Unkind family members taking out their own heart sorrow on me? Regardless of what may have caused your wounds it is now the time to step back and say, “ok-those things happened. But I can find compassion for the people involved; I can understand the events differently now because I am different now—or seeking to be different, I can move on because I am in control”.  I got on a bit of a tangent; my seat of power post is coming soon. But we must find power in the heart too.  Power to heal ourselves, and to remain open.   I was just sitting in meditation, again having procrastinated writing, but really readying myself for asana practice.  And I felt something I’ve been feeling a lot lately, an intense hearty overwhelming wave of joy, peace, and happiness.  How have I accomplished this I wondered? Just like we may sometimes feel hurt and sadness coursing through our veins, seemingly rising up out of every cell of our body (which is the case, but for another time also!) we can feel happiness in the same way.   The First steps … Continue reading 

what are you unwilling to pay attention to?

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thank you, tara brach.  What are you unwilling to pay attention to? This is a critical inquiry on the path of coming home to every part of ourselves, to deeply accepting all aspects of our emotional experience. The answer to this question also has a direct relationship with our happiness, and freedom in our daily lives. Our destinies are wrapped up in this question. The things in our lives that we are most unwilling to pay attention to have tendency to stick around or reoccur, often for years. We all have parts of our lives or emotional experience that we wish would go away and never come back. Often, we have a perfect right to wish this. The reason we avoid it is because it is usually very painful, or comes with a lot of heavy emotion. Sometimes what we’ve been avoiding has slowly become something else; our fear has become intense anger, or our sadness has blossomed into chronic overeating. It is only by coming home to the layers of our experience, with gentleness and curiosity, that we can begin to change our experience of it and with it. True freedom is not minding anything that arises in our landscape. Making everything okay. Just letting be; deeply trusting that everything that comes up will eventually fall away. Its only when we stop running away and come home to whatever we’re running away from that we are free from its bonds. Never in avoidance, always in acceptance. What does it mean to offer our acceptance and attention to this singular problem we wish to run away from? It means never beating ourselves up for having these thoughts, feelings, or emotions. It means never making them wrong or bad. It means that we allow them to be there, to just be … Continue reading 

get more magical

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A huge part of growth and the spiritual path is self-love. There are innumerable ways to express love of the self, but one of my favorites is to remember and honor just how magical and innately divine we all are. What is magic but the focus of energies to manifest the heart’s desires, all while respecting and understanding the deep wisdom of the universe. Inside all of us is a deeply intuitive spirit waiting for any chance to say hello. With these easy tips you’ll find yourself welcoming in all the universe has to offer you, and by surrounding yourself in beauty and creating sacred space, you’ll remind your soul how much love you have for yourself.   Having plants in the home is imperative for so many reasons (oxygen, cleansing, nature in the home) but in this context it’s nice to remember the old adage of speaking to your plants! These green creatures carry soul, and allowing yourself to meditate near and care for plants connects you to the earth, to yourself, and opens the root chakra  There is nothing more beautiful and peaceful than a candle-lit room.  At the end of every day I turn off all the light, and put away all the screens, and just sit in sweet silent candlelight.  Seeing how beautiful your home is, creating a special ritual for yourself, and welcoming in the spirit of fire are all beautiful ways to remember your divinity. Working with crystals provides deep healing energies.  Aiding in anything from balancing chakras to getting over heart-ache, collecting these little pieces of earth + stars welcomes divine energy right into your pocket and opens you up to a new, esoteric source of healing  (my once skeptical student can not believe what her rose-quartz has done for her!)  Put on … Continue reading 

A Holy Practice: Yoga & Magic

Young stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), one of the closest galaxies to our Milky Way.

As I finished reading “Yoga and Yogic Powers” it became blindingly clear to me how much magic and yoga actually have in common. *The practice of yoga and the practice of magic are most similar in their asking you to control your mind, focus your energy and manifest *Both ask us to suspend disbelief, limiting mindsets, and what we’ve been taught to see we are eternal, reincarnated and capable of anything *In magic and yoga we are taught everything is divine, there is no middleman, no penance to be paid—because you are alive, because you are here, you are divine.  The same thing that created the cosmos created you, and you are sacred. *Students of both disciplines are asked to sit in meditation, to calm the mind, to watch the space behind the 3rd eye, and to communicate with the ancients and the cosmos. *Both honor earth, nature and each creature that dwells here with us. In both yoga and magic there is a holy agree and a sacred understanding that there is no hierarchy *In practicing yoga and magic you allow the newness to meet you where you are.  Whether you’re performing spell work or flipping into wheel for the first time, you allow yourself to grow and experience-no goal, just learning. *Magic and yoga alike are based in acceptance, kindness and the understanding that whatever we put out will come back to us-whether that be high vibrations or low. * Reincarnation plays an enormous role in both practices. We are reincarnated many times in many ways, depending on our souls’ karma and the path it must take to reach ultimate liberation.  We must learn the lessons we must learn, or we are eternally stuck.  This is the true hell; one we create for ourselves through our unwillingness to … Continue reading 

drip into sweet dreams

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There is nothing better, more soothing or deeply healing than a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately many have a hard time getting some sweet shut-eye. Whenever when my students find themselves suffering from insomnia I give them these go-to tips for a cozy slumber. I hope they serve you!   * Absolutely no screens at least 30 minutes before bed.  The light that is emitted from screens is more likely to bring us to a state of alertness than one that whispers of dreams, not to mention if you happen to be on facebook or instagram you may see something that upsets you, or causes anxiety or anger—none of which are ingredients for a satisfying sleepy time. *Create a nighttime ritual! I love a hot shower with beautiful scrubs, and then a nice temple rub with some DollyMoo Calming Butter (plus a spritz of  lavender water on my linens!).  Taking the time to care for yourself, to transition from the day, and to allow yourself to be soothed by the cleansing warm water and the calming scent of lavender is sure to lull you to sleep in no time. *Take some ultra calming yoga poses, right in bed.  Take a seated forward fold (anytime your head comes below your heart the nervous system relaxes) or let your legs (heels up) fall against the wall and feel your whole back release; breathe deeply letting belly expand as you inhale. *Download some nature sounds or my personal fav Meditation Tribe or Dean Evenson (his nature sounds as well as his album Dream Space) are magnificent.  You’ll feel like you’re in a very special, personal spa. *Meditate before bed.  Welcome in that’s it time for quiet, rest and stillness.  The state of mind must be in the right place—when we enter the DMV we … Continue reading 

the sacred morning ritual (and how it’ll transform your life)

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For years, every single morning began the same way for me: I would wake up suddenly and unpleasantly in a rush of anxiety, usually at around 5:30am. The anxiety would weave into anger and frustration as I lay there, exhausted, unable to get more sleep. The next hour or two would comprise of my either trying to get back to sleep while watching TV, or diving into social media on my phone in an attempt to wake myself up/keep myself distracted. Getting up and doing anything else with my morning seemed a totally impossible and unattainable goal. Then one morning, everything changed. I woke up with exactly the same set of emotions, at 5:30am, but instead of reaching for my phone or starting a show on Hulu, I just laid there. I practiced being quiet. I did a body scan, sent love to the tense places. I said good morning to myself. I practiced gratitude, and named all of the things I was so happy to wake up to. Even though I was still pretty tense, it felt right to get out of bed and move to the kitchen to make some tea. Once I had my tea, it felt right to smudge my apartment, to choose a crystal to hang out with, to do a Medicine or Tarot card reading for myself and my day. The next thing I knew, I had lived a different morning for the first time in years. Changing the way I live my mornings has totally transformed my life. And its not because I’m hitting some standard of perfection — I’m just finally doing what I want in the morning, rather than feeling paralyzed by fear, or acting out of unconscious habit. I let any  intense emotions join me in the morning as I … Continue reading 

the power of yoga in nature

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Yoga and the great outdoors is a magical combination. Taking our practice outside can be transformational, healing, and soul soaring. In nature we can release all modern day worries and see we are connected to all living beings.  This sense of peace and compassion stays with us, and life becomes joyful. Below I have listed some of the ways practicing yoga in nature can vastly improve the experience physically, emotionally and spiritually.   1. Lush greenery energizes the heart chakra: a simple and gentle introduction to opening and balancing the heart chakra, time spent in nature ensures our hearts stay happy and healthy. 2. It is extra invigorating! Smelling the fresh air, feeling the breeze, looking up at the sun or the moon and stars, all while practicing yoga simply cannot be beat! 3. Nature provides us with breath! Trees and plants deliver us oxygen- the beautiful prana  (life force) that we inhale into our lungs every moment of every day!  Breath is a vital aspect of a yoga practice, and to be surrounded in fresh, pure air is extremely beneficial. 4. Forests inspire humility. Without the trees we would not be able to breathe, not to mention some have existed for up to 1,000’s of years.  Being present to this energy will help to release the ego and will flood you with gratitude and awe, two feelings that bring great joy. 5.  Yoga in nature helps in meditation.  Being surrounded by only the sounds of the ocean or birds chirping helps relax the entire body and therefore the mind.  The constant noise of modern life disappears, and you are able to connect to your soul and remember your roots. Invite nature to be an integral part of your life and yoga practice and find great encouragement and connection on … Continue reading