Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Mini-Blog Entry from Peru
Written August 22, 2010

"When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don't even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life."

As I travel through Peru, I have experienced these words from Paulo Coelho from his book, "The Pilgrimage,"; I feel like the fetus in the womb dependent on the resources outside of me to survive. On my journey, I rely on our trip organizer as a local who speaks Spanish. I, however, do not speak Spanish and will turn to him when I need assistance. Likewise, I cannot rely on him entirely; I must also rely on myself.

So as not to be become overwhelmed with any uncomfortable feelings like fear, anxiety, or worry, I take a moment in stillness and silence to Breathe. In this process of breath work, I remind myself of inner calm, ease, strength, self reliance, confidence, and support. These internal resources help me in those periods of perceived difficult situations.

As a home yoga practice, you can strengthen those inner resources. Have you ever heard or used the term, "I've got your back?" It's a way of saying, "I will support you." Backbends in yoga are not only considered Heart Openers, but since they are backbends, they also strengthen your back. Think of your back as a friend, loved one, or community that supports you unconditionally.

Starting with a few Sun Salutations, with particular awareness on Upward Facing Dog (a backbend) include one or more of the following poses:

Cobra Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Wheel Pose

Hold your backbends for 5-20 breaths thinking of the strengthening you are providing to your physical body as well as the internal resource of support you are practicing. As you develop, enhance, and nurture this part of your Being, remember to rely on it in times of difficulty when outside resources are limited or nonexistent. You will find that you can fully support and rely on yourself as a means for survival and perseverance.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Discover Something New

Mini-Blog Entry from Peru
Written August 21, 2010
As part of our journey in the Jungle, we had the rare opportunity to swim in the Amazon River. It's waters were warm and refreshing; a nice break from the heat and humidity of the jungle climate.

Another opportunity we encountered was the viewing of the pink dolphins. In our small motor boat we found a family of these sea creatures and watched them expose themselves from their underwater world. When these dolphins are young, they are black in color, but as they mature, the turn a bright shade of pink. We had never seen anything like this before.

Discover something new today. Move from your regular routine to witness something about your environment....about yourself. It can be as simple as taking a different driving route to school or work. Or pick up the book you've been dying to start reading. Immerse yourself in something new.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Seeing New Sites

Mini-Blog Entry from Peru
Written August 18, 2010
"There were lovely patches of greensward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes. A little way off was a small brook, rising and sparkling along between green banks, and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so long on the dry, gray prairies."

This passage is taken from the second chapter of the classic "The Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy's house lands in Munchinkinland. Dorothy, since her arrival as an orphan to live with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, lived in a land of gray. The only thing that made her laugh was her dog Toto. But Dorothy was given a special gift to view the colorful world of Oz.

Are you living in grayness? If so, what is your cyclone that can carry you away to a land of color? Perhaps the means to your Oz is not as dramatic as a cyclone, but something more subtle and simple: sipping some iced tea on your porch in the sunshine; a walk around your neighborhood park; or maybe sitting in your favorite chair reading a book or magazine. Whatever the means, take some time today to visit or revisit that place.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Mini-Blog Entry from Peru
As I embark on a spiritual vision quest to Peru, I set my personal intention: Release & Receive.
My work with the Shaman in Peru will focus on releasing beliefs and thoughts that no longer serve me. My prayer work will allow me to let go of those things that block or inhibit my life journey. My work will also focus on receiving. Once I have allowed myself to release, my mind, body and spirit will be open to accept the gifts that are waiting for me.

Set a Vision Quest for yourself TODAY at HOME. What intention can you set that will allow you to continue forward on your journey? Once you have this set clearly in your mind, meditate using Ujjayi breath for 3-5 minutes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Getting Over Obstacles

As you prepare for this home yoga practice, take a moment to think about the things in your life that seem to hold you back from moving forward. It can be anything from a a lack of money, depression, or a boss that is reluctant to give you a raise. Whatever it is, we often see these things as obstacles in our lives. What do you do in response to these obstacles? Do you remain stuck with no vision of advancement? Do you continue to beat the wall, but feel like you’re not making any progress? Do you become angry, frustrated, disillusioned, or feel betrayed?

What if you could see yourself moving past these obstacles? Recall the strengths that you have (organized, intelligent, fast learner, excellent chef, etc.) It is these same strengths, talents, and traits that will allow you to move through, past, and around these obstacles.

For this yoga practice you will need a block.

Begin in Mountain Pose. As you begin here, take a moment to recall the calming feeling of your breath. Be aware of the unguarded nature of the breath. Experience how it continues to flow without much effort. Allow this experience of breath to guide you through your yoga practice today.

Featured Poses:
Eagle Pose
Pigeon Pose
Transition from Downward Facing Dog to Warrior I & II

Start your flow with three Sun Salutations to warm the body. As you move, call to mind the obstacles with which you are currently dealing. As breath guides you through these few Sun Salutations, experience the opening quality of the breath. The breath will be your tool to break down the walls that might hold you back from advancing forward on your life journey. Each pose in the Sun Salutation has a definite intention of opening you. Give yourself the same permission to open yourself up, to move through your current challenges, and press forward.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Journey From Home

This yoga practice will take you from your home base, The Breath and The Sun Salutation, to other places that may be new, uncomfortable, or risky. The intention of this practice is to demonstrate that sometimes we can feel very far from home, but we can still have a connection to home, our foundation, even when we are far away.

The Ujjayi Breath:
The Ujjayi Breath (or Uplifting Breath) will be the foundation of your practice. It will guide you through your yoga journey. To engage the Ujjayi Breath, start in a seated posture (e.g. Easy Pose, Half Lotus, Perfect Pose) and begin to breathe easily through your nose. Just take a moment to realize that you ARE breathing. Feel how the air moves in and out of your body. Experience how breath is filling your lungs. Now, place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Continue to breathe through your nose, but the sensation of your breath will be from your throat as if you’re breathing through your mouth. (It may feel and sound like you’re fogging a mirror with your breath.) Continue to breathe in this fashion as you deepen your connection to the breath.

As you continue to engage the Ujjayi Breath, experience the calming effect of this breath style. Feel how peaceful you feel. Allow this way of breathing to feel like home: a place of safety, refuge, and relief. This foundational breath is your comfort. Take slower and deeper breaths as you experience this greater connection to your home base.

Once you’ve established this connection, slowly rise to a standing posture: Mountain Pose, to begin your Sun Salutations. As you stand, be aware of this new base you’ve created. Take note of your feet connecting to the floor or yoga mat. Even grip the mat with your toes to be fully aware of this grounded feeling you’ve created. This, too, is your home base. Create for yourself a solid foundation. be aware of the even distribution of weight between both feet. Feel solid and centered as you stand tall in Mountain Pose.

Begin your sun salute, but only add one pose at a time then return to Mountain Pose. For example, start your flow with an inhale to extend your arms upward to an Extended Mountain Pose. Exhale to return your hands to your side or heart centered. In this very simple flow, you have moved away from home, Mountain Pose, but quickly returned home. Continue by adding your next pose, Swan Dive to a Forward Fold, then return to Mountain.

Move through an entire Sun Salutation only adding one pose then return all the way home to Mountain Pose. Stay completely aware of your breath as you travel. The breath is constant. It is always with you. No matter how far you travel from home, you will always have this reliable resource: the breath. Each step you take away from home, you always have the choice to return to your starting point.

Feel free, in this practice, to add other poses: perhaps new or challenging poses that really take you away from your comfort zone. The intention here is to remind you that even when you stray from your original foundation, you can always turn around and come home.

Think about your current life journey. Have you found yourself on new ground, exploring new paths, but uncertain of the destination? Have no fear....remember that you have your reliable resource, the breath, that guides you through these life challenges. Allow the breath to remind you of home: that sense of safety, comfort, and ease.

Let this practice be a reminder to you that you don’t always have to stay home or remain in one place. Explore what is out there. Be willing to take risks. Open new doors. You may find that you create new foundations or even multiple home bases. This will keep you moving forward on your life journey. You’ll never feel stuck or limited. The road is endless.