Practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness are some of the best strategies we can utilize to regulate our internal bodily systems. It's so very imperative for our wellbeing that we figure out how to rev ourselves up and calm ourselves down. Yoga holds the secret to this regulatory game simply by the poses (asana) that we practice. Once our systems are working properly, deepening into the spiritual and often magical aspects of the practice happen naturally. Check out the chart below:
In other words, forward folds and twists support our ability to kick our body into detox and chill out mode. Balasana (child's pose) or a simple twist are great ways to implement these benefits. I like to have students hang out in these poses for a little bit more time. It simply allows for the body to get the time it needs to sink into deep relaxation mode. Also, when you are looking to perk things up, get yourself into a backbend (bridge pose
for example) or half moon for a lateral opening. Enjoy <3. ~ Liz Myers
Renowned family therapist, Viginia Satir said, “we need 4 hugs a day to survive, 8 hugs to keep us as we are, and 12 hugs to grow”. Hugs are not only so lovely to receive, they have been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol (that nasty stress hormone) and they assist in the release of that feely good hormone, dopamine (Sumioka,H. et Al, 2013). If you can, hang out with the hug longer than a few seconds. Give your body and being the time it needs to soak in all of it's goodness. Wishing you all a summer filled with happy safe huggable moments.
Sumioka, H. et. Al. (2013) Huggable communication medium decreases cortisol levels. Nature; 3: 3024.
You've got to wake up and ignite your internal motivational meter in order to make lasting change! This internal motivational meter, in psychological terms, is referred to as your “intrinsic" motivation. These motivators are based on your personal needs and values that are driving your desire for change.
To make change, first observe and evaluate the situation honestly! What is the need I am are trying to meet by making this change? List out each need you are aiming to meet and how this new habit/activity will support that need. You may even want to list how you have been neglecting this need and how that has had an impact on your life. Simultaneously, identify the different values attached to this goal. Values often arise out of questioning “Why is this important to me”? Maybe it is important to you because you value family (living a healthy life so you can be around a long time for your children), or you value health (being healthy makes me feel strong and good, etc).
Some other Questions to Ask Yourself: How would you like to show up for yourself now? What needs am I tired of neglecting? What needs have to be met for my wellbeing and happiness to arise? What values do I honor by carrying out this new goal? How can I step more deeply into my authentic self? What obstacles am I willing to overcome with this new journey of change?
You may want to seek out a coach, such as myself to support you on this journey ;-). Investing in yourself and hiring an intuitive spiritual coach to hold you accountable will make the journey more clear, supportive and achievable. Much of the coaching experience involves me asking you those questions above and you will actually need to answer them and move forward on them. Did you know it's been researched that over 90% of people who attend seminars on personal growth may feel enlightened by the experience but take absolutely NO ACTION after the seminar to follow through with those "aha" moments?!
If you are not ready to hire a coach, let me guide you to this great resource in the meantime: “One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaizen Way” by Robert Maurer PhD (2014). This is a quick and practical read that is based on the simple principles of taking changes one step at a time. The two top tips I’ve taken away from this book of making changes is to:
1)” Take One Less Sip”. The Author, Dr. Maurer breaks down how we can simply take one less bite of that donut, take one less sip of alcohol, one less……I think you get the point! The idea is to start small so any of the overwhelm that often disables us in making changes, will become disarmed as the change is so small that it no longer poses a threat to the letting go process that happens with the old habit.
2) “Incorporate more of what you need”. When we make more time for what we need, there will naturally be less space for those old habits that do not serve us well to show up and take over. The idea is to focus less on cutting things out or stopping or eliminating things. Instead, simply focus on creating time to incorporate more of what will serve you well. Your old habits will naturally shrink slowly but surely as there will be less time for those habits and you will notice the difference of how much better you feel from simply adding in a workout each week, putting veggies on your plates or taking those deep breathes throughout your day.
Above all else, when faced with the inevitable reality of CHANGE happening around us and inside of us, take some time to observe how well you receive and adapt to change. The practice of “going with the flow” has infinite benefits and “going with the flow” does not necessarily mean you agree with the change, it simply allows you to flowingly adapt and move more strategically with your next steps.
Liz Myers, M.A., RYT-200
Spiritual Life Coach
One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer Ph.D. 2014
Evidence suggests that mindfulness meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune functioning, improvement to well-being and reduction in psychological distress" (Davis & Hayes, July/August, 2012). Simply put, being present and slowing down helps you to reeeeeeelax and feel good. I meditate and practice yoga because I have to or I get nutty and way out of balance! That is why I've spent so many years learning about Guided Imagery, Mindfulness techniques, Yogic philosophy, Sound Healing and so much more. I write to you today, just 5 years after beating cancer. They say the 5 year mark means you are in the clear. Hallelujah and thank you mindfulness techniques for helping me to calm my shit down, get well, and enjoy more <3. If you would like to receive the benefits of these techniques and believe they will support you well, please join me this month at one of my many wellness building events or classes.
Much love, Liz
Davis, D PhD and Hayes, J PhD (July/August, 2012). Monitor on Psychology Journal. What Are The Benefits of Mindfulness, 43 (7).
During my 10-day Vipassana silent meditation experience, we were provided with an environment and structure that forced our focus into the present moment, more specifically into each of our own inner present moments. We were placed into silence for 10 days; no talking, no writing, no phones, no computers, no reading and no eye contact. Clothes were to be loose fitting and comfortable. Men and women were provided separate housing and only came together in the dharma hall for meditation. Vegetarian meals were provided in the morning and at midday at their specified time. Dinner consisted of fruit and tea only.
Seated silent meditations were held throughout each of the 10 days, often sitting for an hour or more each time, adding up to about 8 hours or so of meditation each day. Dharma talk was held at night and opportunities to speak with the spiritual teachers were by appointment only.
I learned so much from that experience, so much so that I go for a little “tune up” and maintenance each year. However these “tune ups” consist of their shortened 3-day vipassana session (if you want to attend, it is a requirement that you first attend the 10-day session before being invited to attend a shortened 3-day session).
This type of extreme silent submersion provided a plethora of leaning experiences. I got to observe the many inner workings of my mind. The constant stream of thought ranging from neurotic moments turning into boredom turning into “aha” moments melting into tears turning into fear moving into pain with a constant return to breath and energetic observations. And I sure got to notice all of my judgments and assessments all abound! The thought train chugged along without much of a stop but I agreed to hang on for the ride and it was more than worth it.
The technique of vipassana meditation can only truly be taught and experienced through the 10 days of participation in the program. However, what I can share about is the keys that were unlocked for me about this thing we call a “human experience.” The more I sat and came back to the silent space of simply observing the breath, body and my energetic being, one constant became extremely clear. The mind likes to solve problems, imaginary ones, real ones and everything in between. It will sit inside a problem and navigate through true and unreal obstacles over and over until it seems to rest upon the solution or it gets bored of the topic. The mind likes to be active even when the present moment is offering a simple opportunity to sit still and observe the breath. I found myself wondering, “why is it so hard just to accept the gift of stillness and breath?! “
As human beings, there seems to be this struggle to deepen into the gratitude of all the miracles the present moment offers to us. We often find ourselves slightly discontent or maybe even grossly discontent with the happenings of the moment just as they are. We want more or we want less, while we rarely seem to want what is. Thus we are catapulted into a state of oscillation: bouncing between craving states and aversion states of being. Some Thoughts that may represent this for you: “I wish”, “I want”, “make this go away”, “if this could just be like this, then…”
If you find yourself living in the United States at this time, you may notice an increased challenge with truth and pain arising in your life. It's important to remember the energy of the world is at a pressure point. People are being pushed to seek the truth, to discern where they stand, to rise up into an authentic way of being. The energy around us is infused with this extra layer of judgment and discernment. There are a lot of things happening outside of us that we are truly upset, hurt and appalled by. Be aware that this will ignite the cravings and aversions flame in the mind and in your being. It will naturally increase these aspects of being as we are collectively experiencing a need to resist and change that which is outside of ourselves. When this extreme need to change that which surrounds us, it naturally ignites the judgments and changes we have inside of ourselves.
If you find yourself in this space, Questions to Ask: What are you yearning for in this moment? What are you trying to avoid in this moment? What can you appreciate in this moment? Where do you need to take action? Where do you need to let go and simply breathe?
Answering these questions and accepting what arises for you will support your process to move through with your "higher self" on your side. Accepting does not mean you agree with what is occurring, it means you are willing to be with what arises instead of trying to push it down or ignore the truth of what the moment has brought forth. It’s being willing to be sober for all that arises and allowing it to move through and pass on it’s own time. This may make for some discomfort at first, however the more you can be present for what is and honor the truth, the more you will be able to tap back into the gratitude that each moment provides. Sometimes the moment provides us with joy, sometimes sadness, anger, or anxiety. Each of these will arise and pass. It is certain. The only constant is change and being willing to be with what is, allows for truth to become more important than getting caught in the constant cycle of avoiding or craving for something different.
Accepting what arises can invite in a sensation of true thankfulness for each emotion, whether it’s a positive or negative one, for each truthful moment invites in an opportunity to be present to all that life has to offer.
Let’s break this down a bit further. Simply consider how gratitude can change how we may experience the not so pleasant moments that arise. Looking at sadness, we can turn to gratitude and say thank you sadness for reminding me of my beautiful heart and how it naturally connects with others and for it’s ability to love. For without love and connection, I would feel no sadness.
In looking at anger, we can bring in gratitude to remind us of the passion that resides in our heart. We can say thank you for the reminder that “I care a lot” about what happens to me, the world and others around me”. Without passion, I would feel no anger.
Take a moment and ask gratitude to show you the other side of the struggle you are facing in this moment. Ask how it can illuminate the positivity in your beautiful heart and soul.
That’s all for today folks! Thanks for taking the time to read and I look forward to writing for you again soon.
If you are interested in Vipassana meditation, here is a lovely resource to get you there: https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index
It’s donation based so you pay what you can. You do need to sign up early so check it out now even if you are just considering it J.
If you are interested in meditation and mindfulness but you are not ready for such a big commitment, please attend one of my monthly events or work with me 1:1.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Learned a lot about love and community.
Opening it up,
Closing it down.
Being cast aside,
Endings with judgment.
Focused on love,
Bringing in acceptance
Letting go of Shame,
Being at Peace with my life decisions.
Soul contracts live on Universal time.
It was discussed,
And the overall wellbeing for all,
In love and light,
Determined a new way.
And a coming together.
In love and community, Liz Myers
Do you feel it?
All the way down to the root, through your core.
Moving through chakras, ancient lands and energy systems.
Maaaan, how I wish it flowed out like a gushing mountain water stream with no attachment to outcome.
No need to please,
Flowingly, like the bird flies and glides on the invisible wind.
it's an inner knowing how without a seeing of how.....
Breathe deep, let it in and let it out.
Crying, crying crying.
Is that a soul cry?
All the way deep down and guttural,
you feel the eruption,
water arises from out of your mouth,
dripping down your cheeks.
Clear vision is creeping in.
Clean and close your eyes.
Uncover the Soul.
The last mindfulness based rejuvenation retreat in Ramona was so refreshing! One of the reasons it felt so good was because of this amazing anti-inflammatory raw chocolate treats!
I've been making raw chocolate for awhile so I often eyeball the measurements and taste along the way to get the ingredients just right! Chocolate is very forgiving so play around with the recipe! Here's the basics:
1) Start with making the chocolate base: Measure out the cacao powder and put it in medium size mixing bowl. Next, gently melt the cacao butter and coconut oil in a pan. Low heat is necessary to avoid burning this aromatic butter. Take mindful moments to breathe in this delicious cacao aroma! When the butter has just melted, pour it into the bowl over the cacao powder. Add in the maple syrup, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt to taste. Mix with love! This is your base chocolate.
3) Next, add in any berries and/or nuts that you would like. I put in goji berries (high in vitamin c) and golden raisins. Be sure to save some for the finishing touches once you place them in a chocolate mold (You do not have to use a chocolate mold, you can also put wax paper onto a plate and pour the mixture there. It makes a nice chocolate bark you can cut into piece when you are done).
4) Lightly coat the molds or the wax paper with coconut oil. Then pour the mixture into molds or onto the wax paper covered plate.
5) Last, add in the shredded ginger and turmeric root. I like to squeeze the shreds to get the juice and color to drip onto the chocolate.
6) Place in the fridge for an hour or so before removing.
These will last up to a week in the fridge, unless you eat them all before then! Enjoy :-)
It's in this acceptance of our natural seasons of unveiling where we enter deeper into our journey into wholeness. Now, if I were completely evolved than I would already know that I have been a "whole all powerful loving being since birth" and I would have been functioning with this deep gratitude and awareness of this wholeness with every single breath, interaction, step and so on. However, this concept of wholeness has been more of an unfolding in my life rather than a cherished gift. I mean, it feels like a tall order to truly believe and live as though I have all that I need inside of me already, that I am perfect just the way that I am and that change will occur inside and outside of me on a consistent basis! In that light, it makes sense that wholeness has felt more like a slow growthful awakening rather than a birth given right.
Liz Myers, MA, RYT200
Spiritual Life Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher.
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