FROM AUGUST 2017 Newsletter

When I'm feeling vulnerable, uncertain, anxious, fearful, stagnant, unclear, or any combination of the above - I tend to go into hiding.

It is partly how I re-ground + reconnect to myself....hiding out in my little turtle shell that I call my body/my home... noticing all of my thoughts/feelings/sensations...and also, noticing how much I avoid noticing my thoughts/feelings/sensations (!), and back and forth like that....I mean, there is just soooo much going on sometimes - am I right?!?!

Tortoise Pose:  an intense, introspective pose that withdraws the senses from outside stimulation, slows an agitated nervous system, calms the mind, tones the spine and the abdominal organs, and increases hip flexibility as it lengthens the spine.

I find that I often need a reminder to look within.  A reminder that it's okay to stop whatever I'm doing, however meaningful or mundane, to shift my awareness to my body (even for just one breath), to acknowledge and allow whatever feels real for me in that moment, and to let myself really feel it.  And then, to ask myself if I'm willing to practice Letting it Go.    <Sometimes I want to skip over the "really feel it" part, and move on to the "letting it go" part.  And my intuition says, "Hold on there sister, THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC IS".  And sometimes I'm not willing to let it go at all, which tells me I have some more feeling to do.  And sometimes, it's a bit of both.  Can you relate?>.

For me, I most often receive the reminders I need in my yoga practice, and it's why I will forever be a student of Yoga, and also why I love teaching.  But that said, I do recognize that it is way easier for me to acknowledge my thoughts/feelings/sensations on my little private yoga mat island, than it is for me when I'm dealing with any difficult challenges that await me back on the main land.  However, will you imagine with me for a moment what it might be like for us if we took this little Inquiry off the mat more often?

What if this email served as a reminder to come back home to yourself.  What if you took this moment NOW to really acknowledge your feelings about something- anything.  What if you let yourself feel your feelings entirely, without judgement.  And what if, when you are ready, you decided to Let it Go.  How would your experience of yourself and your life shift + change?  On the mat, off mat.  Inhale, Exhale.  Taking a moment to honor your self, as you are. One moment at a time.

I'm really Grateful I came out of my turtle shell to say "hi" to you today.  The truth is, I miss seeing you and connecting with you on the regular.  I'm sending you so much Love + Light wherever you are, and wishing you much much peace within.

Turtle Power ;-)
xo
Harmony

From February 2017 Newsletter

When the ground is shaking, when things feel a little unclear, when your "normal"  begins to shift + change...

Find your way back to your body.I can't even begin tell you how important it has been to remind myself to come back into my body over these last few months.  It's just so easy to let my mind wander 10 steps ahead or to cling to all those moments gone by.  When I notice my mind take over in these ways (it's a sneaky hostile takeover!) my body really feels it...I'm moving quickly, holding my breath, muscles are tense, body heavy/tight/contracted, thoughts are moving quickly--it usually doesn't feel too good.  But it is in these moments, when I am noticing the stress/anxiousness/pain/fear within my body, that I am given a gift.  Yes indeed!  For I am reminded to come back to the present.  Thank you body for communicating this to me!

A forever gift available to us all...so long as we are living breathing beings on this beautiful earth...we have the opportunity to practice presence, to be here now--it is our birthright.  And "body awareness" helps us tune in to the magic of this moment more and more often.

My invitation to you now is to notice if your mind is in hostile take-over mode...Is it?  Where are you?  And just for fun...Here are a few practices/inquires that you might enjoy bringing into your next moment:

  • Breathe Deeply - Make it a regular practice to breath deeply and sense your body.
  • Relax - Allow the body to soften with your exhalations.
  • Feel - Allow all feelings/sensations within the body to be felt fully.
  • Watch - Watch these sensations as they move + shift and change.
  • Inquire within -  What do I need right now?And how  might I give this to myself?
  • Love + Gratitude - "Thank you body, for all the things that you do to support me in feeling my aliveness!  I love you." 


I value + cherish you.
May all love surround you!  

Namaste'
Harmony

From July 2016 Newsletter

It's time to practice.
It's time to practice LOVE.
It's time to practice LOVE and KINDNESS.

Inhale love, exhale fear.

Will you join me?

Every few days or so I find myself in the redwoods with my pup.  

I make the effort to drive through the busy hub bub of bay area traffic to stand, like a tiny ant, amongst these majestic powerful trees.  From the moment I step into the grove my heart rate lowers, my facial expressions soften and I'm able to breathe a little deeper without even trying.  

Being here shifts my perspective, softens my rough edges, and wakes me up.  I am reminded that, just like mama redwood tree, I too am an integral part of this thing called Life, and I find a sense of peace + belonging.     

When the outside world points us towards fear, how might we remind ourselves that underneath our layers of rough bark and hardened human habits, at our core, at our center, at the root of us All is LOVE!  

How will you choose to soften your rough edges to see the love in what surrounds you?  How might you make your contribution to the world with love?

I am reminded of Metta, a buddhist meditation of loving-kindness:
WHAT IS METTA?

  • Metta is an attitude of recognizing that  all beings that are capable of feeling, can feel good or feel bad, and that all, given the choice, will choose the former over the latter.
  • Metta is a recognition of the most basic solidarity that we have with others, this sharing of a common aspiration to find fulfillment and escape suffering.
  • Metta is empathy. It’s the willingness to see the world from another’s point of view: to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.
  • Metta is the basis for compassion. When our Metta meets another’s suffering, then our Metta transforms into compassion.


You are invited to take a few moments today (and each day) to practice Metta, loving-kindness.  


Find a place to sit comfortably and close your eyes.

Begin with an offering to yourself (silently within), "May I be peaceful.  May I be happy.  May I be safe.  May I be free."  

Then visualize extending your offering to another (perhaps someone who challenges you),  "May you be peaceful.  May you be happy.  May you be safe.  May you be free."  

And lastly, to All Beings, "May all beings be peaceful.  May all beings be happy.  May all beings be safe.  May all beings be free."

Notice how your body + mind reacts when shifting your focus towards love and kindness. 

How does practicing loving-kindness contribute to your well-being, and to your experience of Life?

Sending waves of Love + Light,

Harmony

From June 2016 Newsletter

We are approaching the summer solstice...when nature truly comes alive and beckons us into her great outdoor playground!  Summer is nature's glorious exhale...all that rich life energy that has been lying dormant through winter, and cultivating it's yumminess through spring, now gets to SHINE open with the sun!

And along with all this comes... busyness, vacations/stay-cations, no school/childcare, etc...

So.  As you step into your summer... hiking, biking, climbing, boating, star gazing, insert your favorite summertime activity here—remember that just like nature, your body deserves a glorious exhale!  And because there is so much to explore, it can be possible to "forget" to ENJOY it all.  

This summer, let’s play with bringing the essence of yoga with us on our journey.  Finding moments within all the "fun stuff" to nurture with nature...practicing your favorite pose(s) on rock, sand, grass, or in a forest; or breathing in stillness feeling the air + sun caress your skin.  

Let's practice being mindfully aware of ourselves in each moment, so that we might find (and sustain) the balance point between our ecstatic bursting energy (like the sun) and the feeling our own two feet grounded deep into the earth (like a tree).

I'll keep it brief.  I know you are busy!
I'd love to know how it all goes for you!
Feel free to send me updates + photos of your journey into summer on earth's delightful playground! I do mean it.

Blessings on your summer.

~Harmony

From May 2016 Newsletter

"Paradise has never been about places.  It exists in moments.  In connection.  In flashes across time."

Ahhhh....You know how it feels.  

When you find yourself in a beautiful place, the weather is perfect, you close your eyes and breathe in the fresh air, feel the sunlight shining on your skin, and you have this moment where you think, "Wow.  I feel like I'm in paradise.  Paradise is HERE!"

Yes.  I love those moments too.  And yes, maybe not all moments are this glamorous...but what if they could be?

I've been paying closer attention to my mind lately.  I've noticed suffering, anxiety, and pain when I am attached to the outcome of my experience, or when I am focused on the way that I think things should happen...

Like right now, for example, to the right of my keyboard there sits a very long "To Do List", and a certain something that I had expected to complete in a matter of minutes, has taken me from sunlight to night night, and if I'm honest (which I am), I can feel the threads of stress, frustration and the disappointment, of not having accomplished all that I set out to do in this day, begin to reel me in like a fish hook...does this ever happen to you?


I need a "brain reframe"!


So-- I decide to sit with the discomfort (ahhh, scary!).  As I sit, I become more and more aware of my body's reactions, chest tightening, brow furrowing, mind reeling.  I decide to take a deep breath <inhale> <exhale>, and another <inhale> <exhale>.  I think to myself,  "Ok, paradise is here, paradise is Here, Paradise. Is. HERE."  I keep breathing.  I start to notice that in this moment, I'm listening to really beautiful music, in this moment my puppy rests her head on my foot, in this moment I sit healthy, alive + awake.  In this moment I am free.  

In moments of challenge, what will I choose to give light to?  What will you choose?  How will you reframe your thoughts to support you in your yoga practice + in your life?

We are privileged beings we are.  To see the sun shine each day...

I'll always remember one of my teachers saying to me, "It's a good day to be alive.  If all we do in this day is breathe a little, move a little + sweat a little + laugh a little...it's been a good day."

Enjoy your paradise amidst the chaos my beloveds.

Love + Light,
Harmony

From April 2016 Newsletter

Spring has been waiting patiently all winter long to blossom and nourish us with her magnificent splendor...

And I am embracing you with tons of Love as you continue to blossom into your wildly beautiful amazing self!!!

I'm often inspired by the seasonal change, and I started thinking about how this is the perfect time of year to grow something new...

Sometimes when I get nestled into my "routine", I don't take the time I need to check in with myself.  When this happens, the tiny seeds of possibility (my deeper desires) that I have been dreaming about for weeks/months/years now, somehow continue to lie dormant beneath the surface, just waiting for me to pay attention.  Is it  because I haven't had the courage yet to make my way out of "comfortable"?  And what would it look like if I took one step out of my comfort zone, and into the sunlight of my own life?

I invite you to take a moment now to look into your heart... 

If you could grow the garden of your dreams, what tiny seeds of possibility do you imagine planting... (self-love, family, relationships, work, etc...)  What is in your garden?

 

"Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds,
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds."



Plant the seeds that light you up the most.  You know...  the ones that make your heart flutter and sing!  The ones that fill you up with excitement, joy and a little bit of fear all at the same time!  And remember, these seeds need both rain + sun to grow strong and beautiful.  Spring didn't just all of a sudden burst forth with endless happy rainbow flowers... she planted tiny seeds, cultivated & nourished them, and as a result what she loved blossomed into something amazing.
 


"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud, was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

 

Maybe it's time to grow something new! Turn your face to the rain, catch a drop or two on your tongue, look to the sun &  shine bright!  What do you think?

I'd love to know what you envision for yourself.  Sometimes when we put words to something out loud (or by email :) , the garden grows faster.

Here is a seed of possibility that I'm planting for myself...

"It is possible for me to choose what is good for me without apology.  It is possible for me to fully express who I am + and to be loved fully."


Happy planting!
Love + Light,

Harmony