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 

5 Steps to Self-Love

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So often my students struggle with the idea of self-care and self-love.  Feeling guilty for putting themselves first, feeling unworthy of taking care of their needs, confused about the idea between necessary alone time and being selfish. I explain to them that we cannot take care of anyone if we do not first take care of ourselves, and that finding a secure place of self-love and self-care will always ensure we act from a place of joy, compassion and understanding (even in the worst of times) Below I have listed 5 ways to begin on the path of self-love and healthy self-care, so that you may  feel empowered, joyful, and balanced. take really beautiful showers.  Allow this time to be a meditation, a chance to caress and touch your beautiful body who does so much for you, a moment to enjoy and truly feel the water spilling onto you and cleansing your skin, a time to breathe the steam and let all the stress and worries disappear. plan at least one thing a week that is only for you—this can be time with your favorite TV show, a hike, lunch with friends—whatever you need to remember who you are, that life is meant to be lived, and that you deserve to live it joyfully. Look in the mirror and take a tip from DollyMoo Body Love, repeat “you are beautiful!” and allow yourself to believe it Release old energy by dancing, shouting, doing yoga, breathing, or just jumping around the room.  We often feel bummed out without knowing why, it is because we have old pent up energy that is blocking the way for prana (life force)—a simple shake of the hands, lion’s breath, or dance around the room can vastly improve how you feel in any given moment, freeing … Continue reading 

psst! your mat’s a magic carpet

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There comes a point in the practice that your mat becomes a magic carpet. You realize you can step onto this space, into your practice, and go on a magnificent, exciting, far-away journey. Yesterday was really hard, the past few weeks have been.   That’s ok.  But even before that, when things were on the up, I began to realize I had this relationship with my mat and that you can (and deserve to) too. Who doesn’t want their very own magic carpet?! As I sat yesterday, excited to get to asana practice, I realized  the excitement stemmed from knowing I was about to escape all that exists and instead find myself in a place of still truth, unending breath, and sweet nothingness.  A place where everything melts, and I am able to disappear as my bodysoulmind commune with the heavens.  The past few days, the smile has not left my face throughout the entire asana practice because when I surrender into these poses and their endless offerings,  I am in the oasis. If you practice your yoga every day with out any expectation, but instead find your asana, meditation, breathwork, release and observation of emotion in humility and gratitude, this oasis begins to come with you—to be you, to be the loudest voice you hear, an easily accessible jewel that belongs only to your ancient starstuff soul. Yoga changes your life, this is it’s purpose. Release the way the poses look, the  instagrams, the competition, the fad—be your yoga!!!!! Do your yoga! Every day in all and every way- in compassion and non-grasping, practice of contentment, self-study, and dedication.  See life unfold in magic, every being divine, an expression of infinite limitlessness. Escape, fly, do not get tangled in ego and worries- experience, escape, dance, change, SEE, be infinite. This … Continue reading 

how to care for yourself during a difficult time

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For the last three months, I have been going through a wildly painful time in my life. Ancient energy, emotions and trauma have been coming up in me, ready to be burned and released. Its been unbelievably intense and powerful, but I am continually amazed by these lessons that the Universe has been gifting me. And yes, I really do mean gifting me. For all of the pain, I am deeply grateful for this time. Its teaching me how to love and care for myself on a level I never even dreamed of. That is the secret gift of deep pain, deep fear, intense suffering — if you’re open to the lesson, and can sidestep the story about how how tough or bad it is, there is beautiful, nourishing growth to be harvested. It can be truly challenging to know what to do or where to turn in dark moments, but using these ten ways to be extra sweet to yourself will help tremendously. With the right support, and some deep self love, you can move through an intensely difficult time with as much ease as possible. 1. Listen to your body — Take it out of the mind, out of the story, and into the body. What is happening in your body? What are the sensations? How does grief feel? Where does fear live? Can you speak to the place of pain? Can you offer it a kind and loving attention, as you would a frightened child? 2. Work with healers and teachers – There is no need to suffer alone. From a good, supportive friend, to a coach, healer, reiki practitioner, therapist, or a loving community, be within your tribe of loving genius. Be around people who make you feel good, and who support, stretch, and comfort you. Don’t have … Continue reading 

3 powerful ways to cleanse for spring

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Spring is such an unbelievably powerful time of year, and harnessing the power of the season to cleanse your life of everything that is no longer serving you, or feels unnecessary will yield alchemical results in your life. When we free up space in our lives that is currently being rented out by undesirable stuff, regardless of what it might be, we call in new, fresh, exciting experiences and changes to come to us.  The energy of the time is like a baby taking its first steps. Toddling back and forth, finding your balance, and sometimes falling down! Spring is a season that is constantly in flux; the temperature and the weather can be totally erratic, fluctuating from warm and sunny to snowy (sometimes in the same day!) with a few lightning storms thrown in for good measure. We can reflect and really harness this energy by seeking balance in our own lives, in our bodies (what we are eating and how we are moving), our minds (what are we taking in), and home (what we choose to surround ourselves with). Spring also brings in enormous themes of death (shedding what is old and no longer useful), and rebirth; starting fresh. Its the perfect time!  Here are my top three favorite ways to begin a Spring Cleanse: 1) Body: Start drinking more water, and have a serving or two of seasonal greens every day (pea sprouts, dandelion greens, arugula, kale, spinach, etc). The greens in spring are more peppery and bitter, thus more cleansing to the liver, and body. All of that fresh seasonal goodness will really shake the body out winter sluggishness. And if you want to, you can even start a juice cleanse! This is the perfect time. 2) Home: Roll up your sleeves and do a big ole Spring … Continue reading 

welcome in spring with the flower faeries!

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**This post is dedicated to beautiful Lindsay, who is absolutely a flower faerie, and always picks out the most lovely, lush, high-vibe bouquets** Sitting here, surrounded by flowers my sweet friends gave me for my birthday, I find myself comforted and feeling  deeply blissful thanks to the spirits that inhabit the flowers. I speak often of the faeries and believe them not to be the creation of childhood tales, but rather tangible and active spirits of the elements—messengers of mama earth, who, if treated with reverence and an open heart, are usually more than happy to meet you. (Tinkerbell is one storybook faery that was telling the truth—you gotta believe) To welcome in spring I invite you to meet the flower faeries! Perhaps you’ll learn something when you come to learn what the spirits of YOUR favorite flower have to offer, and the role they want to play in your life. If you allow yourself this sacred connection to nature you will find great healing and comfort—because you will come back to your roots, and innate divinity.  We are nature, we are of the earth, and she loves to speak to us when we ask her to. All of this beautiful wisdom is an offering of, “Enchantments of the Faerie Realm: Communicate with Nature Spirits & Elements” by Ted Andrews.  Both Linnie and I have had a copy of this book for as long as we can remember (delivered divinely like much else in life) *Please feel free to reach out if your spirit flower is not listed, and you’d like to know more!       Black-Eyed Susan   “The faeries of this flower can be a wonderful catalyst for change. They often have tremendous insight in to the emotional aspects of those who come in touch with them.  … Continue reading 

how to be with difficult emotions

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Thank you to Diana & Whitney for inspiring this article with your healing wisdom, love and brilliance.  When dark thoughts cloud the mind or spiky tension arises in the body, we tend to want to run in the other direction. That extends to physical pain, as well. When stuff hurts, we want to be anywhere else but right in the moment with it. Its totally natural to have this impulse; in fact, its human nature. That’s why we meditate — to not only bring us closer to painful, uncomfortable emotions or situations, but to train ourselves to find space, peace and love within those moments. When difficult emotions, anxiety, or sadness arise within the mind or body, don’t fight them. Sink into what is happening, the truth of the experience, and honor them. Give yourself love, attention, and just simply be with what is. This act of extreme self care is the key to freedom and healing from these emotions. When we offer these deep, dark places in us attention and love, it opens us up and we find relief. 1. Treat yourself exquisitely – Sometimes when anxiety or difficult emotions rise up in us, its not ideal timing. We might also have a tendency to beat ourselves up because we don’t believe it should be arising, or we believe we shouldn’t be having these thoughts. Release the “second arrow,” as Buddha states, and just be with the reality of what is. Treat yourself beautifully in these moments, because if you could help it you would. Intend to be with the emotions with patience, kindness, and love. Place your hand on your heart, take a bath or shower, nap, anything that makes you feel good. 2. Surf, don’t plunge – If something intense arises, just focus on the physical sensation, not … Continue reading 

self-love practice: create sacred space

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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 surround myself in spiritually meaningful endless beauty. To create a sacred space is to create accessible healing in your home, whenever you need it.  There are innumerable ways to create this space for yourself, and regardless of how much space you have, these tools for peace + easy, lush living are always available to you. By immersing yourself in beauty you proclaim your worth, welcoming in all the universe has to offer you.  In this space we can remember our divinity, our right to joy, and our power to manifest our hearts’ desires. 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. The beautiful, calming sound of wind chimes helps to create a space that feels ethereal, peaceful and even tropical.  Sound plays a huge part in our ability to stay mentally healthy—from the words we speak to the tone of voice we choose to use.  Keeping wind chimes around is a wonderful and easy way to let … Continue reading 

berry breakfast pie!

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Okay, I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking. Pie. For breakfast. Insanity! Maybe on “binge days” or mornings after Thanksgiving — but not on a normal day, right? Yes, on a normal day! Okay, well pies take forever to bake. Won’t this? Try under an hour. Try the easiest thing you’ve ever made. With only three ingredients (not including the crust), no artificial or refined sugar, no preservatives, no animal products and available to you in infinite, delicious varieties. And I would never lie to you about this (I take my baked goods very seriously) — you will never, ever know the difference between this pie, and your favorite traditionally baked fruit pie. How? One little magic word: Kudzu. Kudzu root, or japanese arrowroot, is the secret to this pie, and its about to be your new best friend. Its a starch with properties that make it the vegan form of gelatin. You add this baby to any liquid, it will thicken it. Its great for not only fruit pies, but for sauces and soups. Its also been known to be an excellent digestive aid, and is extremely effective against tinnitus, vertigo, headaches and upset stomachs. Its a miracle root, pretty much. And you can get it online or at your local Whole Foods or health food store with ease. Might even be in your standard supermarket! But first lets talk about the crust. I am not a baker of any real skill or talent, and pie crusts are in no way a skill I’ve mastered yet. But good news: you don’t need to have crust game to make this pie. I used an organic vegan pie crust from Whole Foods for my first pie a little under a week ago — the other day, I tried an … Continue reading