SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
WINTER RADIANCE 2021
Posted on December 22nd, 2020
Breathe deeply and accept the jewel and the grit of this moment.– Mark Nepo
We’re arriving at the doorstep of 2021 bruised and battle scarred but resilient and adaptable. No one said that evolution was going to be easy. Our entire way of being in the world is shifting and though we are getting more adept at the continually changing landscape, it’s difficult. As Winter started approaching and it became apparent that things would be in various levels of “lockdown”, I started feeling overwhelmed and alone. I leaned in more deeply to my home yoga practice, boosted my self-care, and picked up my accordion and started singing again. I started feeling more balanced, grounded, and connected with my deeper being. I am so grateful that I have these tools to help me reconnect, re-balance myself and access my creativity. My home practices have been my refuge, my oasis for many years.
This Winter, I would love to help you create or deepen your home practice so that you will have this refuge where you can re-connect with your deepest self and renew your being. I also want to help you really rest so that you can truly rejuvenate during these Winter months. I’d like to share with you many profoundly relaxing practices to help you sleep more deeply so that you can receive the nourishment and healing that only deep sleep can offer. In addition, since our yoga studios are closed now and we can’t go on our fabulous Winter Retreat this year, I thought I’d create a way for us to gather together as a community. So I created the Winter Wellness Journey, as an opportunity for you to deepen individually as well as in the support of community so that we can flourish this winter.
This Winter Wellness Journey is offered live through weekly Zoom sessions, a monthly intensive restorative yoga workshop, as well as a facebook group where we will share our process as we deepen in our internal winter practices. All the sessions will be recorded for those who are not able to attend the session.
Winter Meridian Yoga & Yoga Nidra
Developing a Home Yoga Practice
The Art of Sleep & Rest
Join me and nourish the well of your being this Winter and cultivate your full radiance and vitality!
Happy Solstice and Happy Holidays!
Posted on October 18th, 2017
A few weekends ago I went apple picking and pumpkin hugging upstate with my friend Melanie and her absolutely adorable 2 year old daughter, Annabella. It was incredible to be walking in the midst of the fields, picking our way through apples, squashes & veggies galore, feasting on the colors and abundant offerings of the Fall Harvest. I loved seeing it all through the eyes of Annabella, who loved tasting each apple from every tree which had low enough branches that she could pick from. Her exuberance and curiosity about life was overflowing! It was an experience of enjoying the fullness of life, the fullness of the pumpkins in all of their glory as they lay right next to their stalks that had nourished them until this moment. The birthing vines were now starting to dry up and decompose back into the earth, leaving the pumpkin as an offering, a gift from the Earth.
Ahhh Harvest time-the abundance of the last fruits and vegetables offered before nature takes it’s yearly winter’s slumber. The bounty sitting alongside the simultaneous decay of matter as it contracts, pulling inwards and downwards returning to the earth to fertilize the seeds of Spring’s rebirth. The Fall Harvest is simultaneously a celebration and a letting go. It is the time to distinguish between what is nutritional and should be kept and what can be released and left for compost. In Chinese Medicine, Fall is the season of the Metal element. It offers us the opportunity to lighten up and let go, open the door to clarity, and distill and refine our beings to their essence. This environmental distillation is mirrored in our bodies, minds, and lives. The Autumn harvest offers the opportunity to celebrate and focus our energies on that which we want to birth and let go of that which no longer nourishes our lives and dreams. It is the time to invite abundance and vitality into our lives as we shed the non-essential, resolve and release unhelpful habitual thoughts and emotions, and let go of unhealthy relationships and patterns. By releasing the non-beneficial, we create space for recognizing the essence of who we are and clarity for our intentions,
In the Fall we often need supportive practices to help us as we undergo these elemental processes of letting go, releasing, and surrender. Seasonal yoga, food, and lifestyle practices can help us attune our internal rhythm more with the natural cycles and deepen our connection to ourselves and our environment.
Use the metal element to help you harvest your home. Cut through the disorder with the metal element’s ability to discern and systematize. Fall is the time to organize the clutter in your home, release the agitation in your mind, and clear out the chaos in your life. By releasing the excess and organizing our living space and minds, we acknowledge what we want, recognize who we are, and invite space into our homes and lives.
ORGANIZE the chaos in your home
SYSTEMATIZE areas of congestion. Pick one of these areas in your home to clear out and organize this week – filing cabinet, closet, computer, desk, bookshelves, kitchen
JOURNAL to let go of what is swirling around in your mind
FOCUS on what you want to bring to full manifestation
CELEBRATE and enjoy the fruits of your life!
Fifth chakra – Visuddha – throat chakra
Posted on February 1st, 2016
Speak your truth and let your creativity flow freely! Enjoy these practices to open Visuddha Chakra, your throat chakra. Join us on instagram @yoga_sukhavati for our #chakraSeries#Thurs and get some tips for opening your chakras every Thursday!
With our fifth chakra, we shift from the physical plane of the lower chakras to the more subtle spiritual realms of upper three chakras. Located in the throat, Visuddha chakra, meaning purification, is associated with the elements ether and controls the principle of sound. It governs speech, communication, and creativity through the vibrational resonance of our voice. Our self-expression is the pathway for our interior world to make itself known in the outside world. The throat is also the internal portal between our mind and body. When our fifth chakra is blocked our creative expression and voice are impaired. We may not speak up for ourselves, be shy, withdrawn,, mutter, stutter, whisper or have a tight voice. If excessive, we may monopolize conversations, speak too loudly or have a shrill voice. When our throat chakra is healthy there is an easy balance in conversation between listening and talking. The voice is resonant, clear, and authentic. We easefully express ourselves and our creativity flows.
The fifth chakra is blue with 16 petals on which are inscribed the 16 Sanskrit vowels. In the center of the lotus is Ham, the bija mantra or seed syllable for Visuddha chakra. Chanting Ham as well as the sanskrit vowels is very healing and opening for the related organs as well as emotional and mental aspects of Visuddha. Singing and mantra practice are wonderful ways to heal imbalances in Visuddha chakra.
This photo was taken on my Retreat in Norway at Tomrefjord. Every evening as we sat down for dinner, an exquisite elemental dance of light arose in the vastness of space of the fjord. We were in awe and I had the distinct feeling of being in the presence of the divine.
The throat chakra, Visuddha chakra, means “Purification”. It is the portal to our spiritual dimension. As we purify the toxins from our physical, mental, and emotional bodies through our yoga, meditation, and chanting practices, we also cleanse our subtle body. The element of the throat chakra is ether, or “Akasha”, derived from the sanskrit root “kāś” meaning “to be visible”. Translated as space, sky, atmosphere, Akasha, or ether, is the element in which visibility occurs. The first element created, akasha is the essence from which the other elements arise in the material world. Ether governs sound. Sonic vibrations create a deep cleansing of the etheric body. As such chanting, mantra practice, and singing are very potent means of purification and spiritual awakening.
MATSYASANA (Fish pose)
Do you find it difficult to express your thoughts and feelings? Are you afraid to speak your truth? Do you find that you silence yourself often, wishing you could speak up, but remain mute? Do you have creative impulses that lie dormant? If yes, your throat chakra may be blocked.
The throat chakra governs the free flow of honest communication and creative self-expression. I have found that shoulderstand (sarvangasana) and fish pose (matsyasana) are the most effective asanas to open up the throat chakra. Consistent practice of these poses will help you clear your voice and open the pathway to easeful communication and creativity. Prep for these poses with a healthy dose of shoulder openers to warm up your neck and shoulders. I always include plenty of shoulder openers in my classes, as my students will attest! This picture was taken awhile ago, when I was living in Oakland, California. I have always loved it.
SHANKH MUDRA (Shell Mudra)
Open your voice, clear the pathway to easeful and honest communication, heal throat issues, and unleash your creative self expression.
- Sit comfortably
- Wrap your left thumb with the fingers of your right hand
- Place your right thumb on the middle finger of your left hand
- Hold the mudra in front of your chest
- Chant “Om” several times
- Listen afterwards, letting the echo of the chant reverberate through your being
- Rest in silence
- Enjoy the peacefulness and sense of calm that Shankh mudra awakens inside