Episode 32: How Mindfulness Awakens Our True Selves with Julie Seibt

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Julie Seibt is a yoga teacher with plenty of credentials under her belt - IAYT Yoga Therapist, Anahata Yoga Teacher and iRest Teacher to name a few. But it’s probably more accurate to just describe her as an ocean of knowledge.  This is one lady who is well versed in the matters of the heart and her unshakable truth shines through the entire conversation.  In this episode, we dive into a rich conversation about mindfulness and how you can apply it to live a life of freedom and of course more joy.  Julie provides clear examples and tools that can be simply applied for more peaceful living starting right now.  We hear her insights on how to create better relationships with ourselves (because one thing I’m learning is that it all comes back to self love folks!) and touch on my favourite topic – how to tap into that inner wisdom.  We begin and end with a beautiful meditation so if you’re able to set yourself up in a comfortable position, please do so and join in.  Alright, plug those earplugs in and let’s let the good vibes roll.

Key Nuggets:

  • We can’t stop the difficulties in our lives but we can change the relationship with it.  We can come to a point where we surf the waves and almost welcome it.  Finding the lessons that are to be found.
  • Once again we are reminded that yoga is more than the asanas (poses).  It in essence is a heart practice.
    • With that said, yes there’s more than just the body but also, while we’re in these bodies, we should learn how to take the best care of it.  After all, this is our vehicle for this life. 
  • The mind body connection: tuning into it helps you see if you’re driving yourself for something that’s lacking.
    • For example, sometimes we force our bodies into what it “should” be like.  I'm "old" or "young" or "a yoga junkie" so it should work this way or that.
    • The mind body connection allows you to come back, moment to moment and hear what your body needs now.  Listen to its messages. As Julie says, to “heed the wisdom of our body”
  • Listen to your body and ask kind questions:
    • Put your hand on your heart and ask “what do you need today”
      • You might not hear words, but maybe just a feeling.  The feeling is your answer, you should sit with it.
    • When you come into a challenging pose and you’re stretching yourself to find your edge, ask yourself “is kindness here?”.  And then take this question to the rest of your life – in meetings, at the grocery store….
  • Mindfulness
    • Through the many definitions, as long as your intention for mindfulness is heart based, side by side with compassion and aligned with joy and equanimity, you are on the right track.
    • To Julie, mindfulness is also about seeing more clearly.  We’re all in a trance due to our conditioned minds – what happens to us in our childhoods all the way to what happened to us yesterday conditions our reactions and responses.
      • Mindfulness helps us see our conditioning more clearly and breaks us from the trance with our habitual self. It buys us space between reactivity and a wise response. 
    • An empowering realization is that we don’t have to act the way we were before.  We don’t even have to believe our thoughts.
    •  When we become less reactive, we are able to expose ourselves to our deepest truths, deepest yearnings
    • This is hard work!  Working on mindfulness means needing to sit with uncomfortable feelings, you need to make space in your mind to what the raw truths are and become vulnerable to what your heart’s true desires.
  • Thoughts: 
    • We are not our thoughts.  We can’t control our thoughts, we don’t need to listen to it!
    • Mindfulness is when we can see the thoughts but not judge it.  If we take action on it then it’s a different story.
    • Julie shares an acronym from her teacher Michelle McDonald
      •  RAIN (a tool for anything that you're noticing - thoughts, emotions, feelings...)
        • R: recognition of the thoughts
        • A: acceptance that the thought happened (not necessarily that we condone or endorse the thought)
        • I: Investigation.  See what is going on there.
        • N: Non identification.  Don’t personalize the thought as yourself.  See it as a movement in awareness and in the mind but remember that the home ground of who we are is a form of wholeness, untainted.
    • We aren't our thoughts but what we can look at is how the thought feels, b/c behind every thought there’s a feeling. It could be something that needs to healed and once that’s paid attention to then the thoughts that you’re not happy with will come up less and less
    • Tip: You can make a date to investigate the thought if you can’t attend to it right away.  Put your hand where you feel it and sit with it.
  • We want to be able to feel the most uncomfortable feelings like shame
    • Shame only thrives in secrecy.  Empathy is the antidote.
    • The Buddha taught about healthy shame and unhealthy shame.
      • Healthy shame comes with self-compassion.  
      • Unhealthy shame is one that you get stuck with and identify with.  You get hooked into thinking that, that bad thing is what you are.
  • Our attachment to an outcome results in burnout.  When we accept and let go we are able to care for ourselves and loved ones much more.
  • Awakening is waking up to the truth that we are not our thoughts, we are not our conditioned selves and that we are way more than that.  Waking up to these little truths.

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Soften into the inherent grace that’s within you from moment to moment.  It’s when you soften that you allow ease and well being to come through.  Rather than trying to fix something or force something, sit with the not knowing.  Allow and release.                                     

Links:

If you have any questions for Julie or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website:  www.bodymindease.com

Email:  julie@bodymindease.com

Episode 31: To Live Your Best Life Practice Self Care and Self Love with Melissa Jay

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Melissa Jay is a registered psychologist and yoga teacher who has melded her two loves into Yoga Psychology.  The hard work she puts into her psychology practice and yoga retreats are all done in purpose of her mission, which is "to empower compassionate souls to love themselves unconditionally".  When we take good care of ourselves and ensure that our cups are filled then we are better to be able to show up and be present with the people that we care about.  The result?  Deeper connection, true connection. 

To live your best life you must practice self love and self care.  Part of that is to tune into your inner world, understand how you relate to others (because we relate to each other differently), realize what it is that you need and then ask for it and receive it.  The last part is where many people trip up.  There seems to be a resistance to receiving and it holds us back.  Plug in those earbuds and listen in because Melissa helps us understand four different ways we relate to each other, how to make use of that information (breaking beyond "what's wrong with me?") and gives a compelling case as to why it's important learn to receive what you need from others.

Key Nuggets:

  • We’re all just seeking for lives that feel good on the inside.
  • Self care:
    • They are the little moments throughout the day where we integrate mind, body and spirit.
    • Checking in with your mental wellness is just as important as checking in with your physical wellness.
    • Self care strategies:
      • Can be something simple like a cup of tea
      • Yoga
      • Seeking a counsellor to help get out of our heads and into a place of unconditional self love.  You don’t have to wait until something is terribly wrong.  It’s self-care in up-keeping your mental health
  • There is a difference between empathy and sympathy:
    • Empathy is feeling with someone.  Can take perspective of somebody else and stay out of judgement.  Allows you to stay connected to yourself and ultimately builds your capacity for being kind to yourself when needed.
      • “help me understand”
    • Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone and it does come with a tone of judgement.
    • Brene Brown has an awesome video that helps explain the difference.
  • Breathing and mindful meditation helps create space so that you can understand what you need.
  • Our barriers to connection include worry, guilt, sadness, hurt, fear, stress and overwhelm
    •  Usually it’s one theme that keeps coming up
  • Attachment (psychologically speaking) is connection and we need connection from birth all the way to the end of life.
    • We have different ways of relating to each other. These patterns can change but sometimes it
    • The four attachment patterns (Mary Ainsworth):
      • Secure: when we’re together everything is great and when we are apart it’s still great.  You know that the person you’re connected to has your back
        • Essentially true connection, one with unconditional love. 
        • It doesn’t mean it’s perfect – there are times that you get hurt but you get through it together and you get to be safe to  be your authentic yours.
      • Anxious attachment: needing to be close most of the time and difficult to be independent.  There’s a fear that if you’re away from that person you’ll lose them. Looks like neediness and always wanting to be close.
      • Avoidant attachment: keeping someone that you care about at an armslength.  Fearlful that if you let that person close to them you’ll lose them.  Feelings of anxiety, actually even more anxious than those with an anxious attachment.
      • Disorganized attachment: a small portion of the population where it’s a mix of all of them.
      • Attachment types can be different in each relationship.
      • Depending on where you are in your life you may develop a pattern that keeps showing up.  Ex. You can have an anxious attachment keep showing up in romantic relationships but have secure relationships with your family
      • Awareness of attachment type allows you to better ask for what you need
    • When we are aware of what’s getting in our way then we can as for what we need
    •  Practicing secure attachment
      • Melissa recommends reading the book "Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - And Keep - Love" by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. It gives real life examples of how the attachment patterns may play out in your life and what to do with the awareness of your attachment type
  • Self love:
    • A practice where we’re able to be kind to ourselves and step into a place where you’re unconditional with yourself.  To check in with yourself often and understand what you’re needing. 
    • Knowing that it's great to give to others and that it’s okay to receive as well
    • The more we give to ourselves, the better we can show up and give to the people that we care about.  Leads to fulfilling relationships
    • The primary ingredient to self-love is self-care ultimately connecting to our hearts
      • Getting to a place where you know what you need and being able to honour that
    • The most common place people falter when trying to practice self love is getting caught up in our brains – all those thoughts.  It’s either projecting us into the future or living in the past.  Moving into the heart is constantly coming back to present moment
      • The question is “how can I stay connected and keep coming back to the present”
      • Melissa’s favorite practice to coming back to present moment is as simple as three cleansing breaths: inhaling fully through your nose and exhaling fully through your mouth
  • Moving through guilt is better than resenting something.
  • By saying no we are actually empowering ourselves

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Take what fits and leave the rest. 

Links and Resources:

If you have any questions for Melissa or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website:   www.canmorecounselling.com

Facebook Group: The Self Care Community

Instagram: @yoga_psychology

Resources that were mentioned in this episode:

Brene Brown’s video on empathy

Book: "Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - And Keep - Love" By Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Copy of Episode 30: Messages from our Bodies and How Anahata Yoga can Help You Listen with Anne Douglas

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Happy New Year! We kick off 2018 with an episode about the significance of tapping into your body's intelligence.  Anne Douglas is a teacher and yoga scholar who has had over three decades of experience practicing/studying in the field.  She is the creator of Anahata Yoga Therapy, which is a path for self-inquiry, loving kindness and the integration of what she calls "the issues in the tissues".  We spend the hour talking about Anne's journey through different forms of yoga, the relationship between emotion and body symptoms and how Anahata Yoga Therapy can help.

Key Nuggets:

  • Anahata Yoga
    • Anahata is the heart chakra, and translated from Sanskrit it means“unstruck" like a bell singing out in its true nature
    • Anahata Yoga therapy is coming into the heart to find authentic expression
  • Kripalu Yoga is the practice where it all started for Anne.  It is a spiritual practice rooted in Kundalini Yoga (energetics of yoga) and comes from the Kashmir tradition which embraces a nondual view, going beyond the teachings of Patanjali. 
  • Body Intelligence:
    • Sometimes body pains are a reflection of our emotional world.  As Anne calls it, "the issues in the tissues". 
    • There can be trau.mas experienced or false beliefs built in our childhood that needs to be released
    • If not released properly, emotional traumas go underground into tissues and can get stuck in body.  In psychology it’s referred to as “bound arousal”
    • Initial shutdown usually manifests as symptoms in the diaphragm but can show up anywhere ex. hips, back, hamstrings…
    • There is a form of training called Wavework training which studies the energetics of emotion.  Based on this study, emotions move.  They need to move.  Wavework helps access emotions as energy and as emotion is felt, it is released and integrated through the body.
    • Allowing the emotion to move through is counteracting our developed behaviour of holding in our emotions.
  • Two views on yoga: dualistic and non dualistic:
    • The classical teachings of Pantanjali is dualistic, the two sides being:
      •  Prakiti – all of nature, the potential of all that’s to manifest
      • Purusha – seer, witness
      • In this view, pure consciousness is separate from all of nature. 
      • In practice, it looks like a yoga practice where you try to work your way out of the body.  The belief is “I am not this body, I am pure consciousness”
    • There is also a non dual path which recognizes that there’s one reality and prakriti arises out of purusha.  The two are one (ie. The iconic figures like the Shiva Shakti being in an embrace). 
      • In this view, there is no split between the seer and nature.  We are all one.
  • How to start applying the healing powers of Anahata Yoga:
    •  During your next yoga practice, make an extra effort to tap into the body. Notice the dominant sensations. Dialogue with it....you can start by saying “hello”.  This will give your body a sense of unconditional presence. 
    • By using phrases like “I’m going to be with you for ____ minutes”,  “I am here, I will stay with you”, you build a relationship with your inner self. 

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Your body is your vehicle in this lifetime.  Maintain it like you would a car with high octane fuel and anything else it needs then you can achieve a lot.  Perfect timing, quantity and rhythm beyond what you can imagine.           

Links:

If you have any questions for Anne or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website:  www.anahatayogatherapy.ca

Email:  anahatayoga@telus.net

Episode 29: Wisdom of 2017: Year In Review

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It has been a wonderful year on Curious Monki! I am SO grateful for everyone who tunes in and for all the amazing souls who have graciously shared their wisdom.  The conversations have been heartfelt and rich with knowledge.  In this episode, I look back on some of the lessons shared. Among them are powerful messages like:  trust your intuition; life won't always take the path that you want it to and that's not a bad thing.  You must trust that something better is in store for you; self love and self compassion are the gateways to true happiness; you're a life long learner, that's what all these life experiences are for!  

I love having these conversations and it has been an absolute dream to share them with you.  As I've said before, this is a journey to the heart.  It's the discovering of all that we are.  Let's do this together and learn to connect deeper within as well as with the world around us.  Ultimately, you'll live the life of your true self and true happiness!

I sincerely hope that these conversations have been inspiring to you....maybe even illuminate something that you haven't discovered before. 

Now, I'd like to hear from you! 

  • What has been your greatest lesson this year?

  • What topics do you want to hear about in 2018?  I'm listening. 

Leave a comment below or go to the contact page and email me.

 Happy holidays and have a wonderful New Years!

 

    

 

 

 

 

Episode 28: Mastering the Business of Yoga: Three Key Items You Need To Succeed with Amanda Kingsmith

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Amanda Kingsmith is a world traveler, yoga teacher and also the podcast host for two shows:  The World Wanderers and Mastering the Business of Yoga aka. MB.OM.  She's passionate about helping yoga teachers discover careers they love and enjoys working 1-on-1 with yoga teachers to help them build their business.  In this episode, she tells us how she managed to create a life filled with travel and adventure; all while doing what she loves from anywhere in the world.  We get business savvy as she shares three key concepts that will help you succeed in creating a business out of the thing (or things...yes, you can have more than one) you love!  This episode is for you if you're a yoga teacher, yoga teacher to be or if you're in the business of succeeding in doing what you love.  Plug in those earbuds and listen in!

Key Nuggets:

  • The world is so much bigger than you think, which is great because it also means that there are so many more opportunities than you think.  Travelling can help broaden your view of possibilities.
  • There’s not one right path in the world of teaching yoga.  Hone in on what you do really well. Your unique skills. And bring that out to the world
  • The first step in teaching is to teach!  Try all sorts of things and see what resonates with you.
  • In choosing your teaching path, also meditate on the lifestyle that you want.  That will help you determine your path as well.
  • Amanda’s 3 most important concepts in the business on yoga:

1. Ask for help.  Don’t try to wear all the different hats.

  • Hire people who can help alleviate your time so that you can focus on what you’re good at
  • Think about the time that you’re giving up when you're taking on a task instead of getting help with it and consider if it's worth it.  For example, you can choose to use your time to do your own accounting or that time can be spent reading a book to sharpen your skills in yoga.  
  • The form of asking for help doesn't always have to be a monetary value.  Energy exchanges are an option too - for example, Amanda exchanged private yoga lessons for her logo to be created.

2. Define your niche

  • Take as many opportunities that you can when you’re starting off so that you can see what you like and what you don’t.  In Amanda's words “Say yes until you get your no”
  • Narrowing in on what you offer will better position you to become the expert in that area.  It's important to note that this doesn’t mean you’re pigeonholed into just that specialty.  Ex. If you specialize in prenatal it doesn’t mean you can’t teach vinyasa

3. Diversify your portfolio and expand your offerings

  • Consider all that you want to offer, from classes all the way to retreats.
  • Imagine your offerings as a funnel and each layer of that funnel will attract a certain portion of your students.  Each layer of that funnel will also be a stream to bring in revenue.
  • Funnels don’t always have to be just one thing.  For example, Amanda does yoga teaching but also business and website development.  You can couple a few other things that you like to do.
  • The opportunities are expansive!  Don’t limit yourself to what you think it has to look like.

 

  • Financials – how to make this business sustainable
    • Start by figuring out your budget and looking at what it would take to meet that budgets.  Ex. If you find out that you need to teach 40 studio classes every week, are you willing or even physically capable to? 
    • Yoga teachers need to understand their max.  Self-care for yoga teachers is pertinent.  There is such thing as a burnout point, make sure you take self-care and don’t overextend yourself.  Each person’s own burnout point is different.
  • Amanda’s advice for new yoga teachers or yoga teachers to be:
    • Go ahead, do it!  Dive right into your own personal practice and journey.
    •  Delve into your own journey and
    • If it doesn’t become a business, you won’t lose out!  You’ll gain something.

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

You aren’t going to know it all but that’s okay!  We’re all human and it’s okay to make a stumble here or there, we all do.  Don't hold back from diving into it because you’re afraid of the stumble.  Hopefully they’ll love you anyway but if not, that’s okay too.  You’re not going to be for everybody, and that’s fine.  Just remember, if you try to please everyone you’ll please no one. 

Links:

If you have any questions for Amanda or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Websites: www.mbomyoga.com

www.amandakingsmith.com 

www.theworldwanderers.com

Email:  info@mbomyoga.com

Facebook: @amandakingsmith and @masteringthebusinessofyoga 

Instagram: @amandakingsmith and @masteringthebusinessofyoga 

Resources:

Amanda is co-hosting a retreat in Nicaragua in spring 2018!  Click here if you're interested in taking this adventure with her.

Episode 27: Chronic Illness and Yoga: What it's like when our bodies don't work the way we want w/ Brittany Zeer

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It’s one thing to develop a well-oiled routine and have the discipline to follow through but what happens if our bodies aren’t cooperating the way we want them to?  It’s excruciating to get through a trip to the grocery store let alone make it to a yoga class where you have to bend yourself in all sorts of shapes.  Each day is a toss-up – maybe you’ll be pain free, maybe you’ll be bed ridden…..or maybe you’ll think it’s a pain free day and then bam! just when you’re about to make it to an important appointment the pain hits and everything’s a write off.  It’s frustrating – how do you plan your day? How do you maintain a yoga practice?  How do you keep up a social life??  This is what life is like for somebody who has a chronic illness.  In this episode, Brittany Zeer is back on the show and we discuss chronic illnesses.  An accident three years ago left her with chronic migraines and now pain management is on her daily agenda.  She sheds light on what it’s like to live with a chronic illness, how loved ones can support, pain management tips and how to continue a yoga practice despite the obstacles. 

If you have a chronic illness listen in because you’re not alone!  If you don’t have a chronic illness, listen in anyway because it’s a chance to flex that compassion muscle.  The struggle isn’t always visible and there’s a huge part that we can play in supporting our friends.        

Key Nuggets:

  • If you have a chronic illness, know that you're not alone!  There are communities like Migraine Mantras ready to support one another.  Sometimes sharing your story can help alleviate the pressure, and who knows, your story can end up helping somebody else! 
  • What it's like to have a chronic illness:
    • It's a constant battle for balance.  They want to be able to go out and do regular things like running errands or coffee with friends but sometimes the body just doesn't allow it.

    • There's a great deal of guilt when they have to cancel plans.  Kind understanding can go a long way.   

  • How can you support somebody who has a chronic illness:
    • The best support is just to listen.  You may not be able to offer a solution but that's not always what they're looking for or needing anyway.
    • Just being there is also a great one.  Again, there might not be anything that can be done about the pain but your presence in itself is comforting.
    • Release judgement of what you think person with chronic illness can and can’t do.
    • Don’t be afraid to console in them.  They want to support you as much as you support them!
  • Brittany's rituals for managing pain:
    • Firstly, know when to say no and know that it’s okay to say no.  Listen to your body and don't push yourself too far.
    • Bubble bath with something soothing for muscles like lavender oil and relax.  Warning against peppermint!  Doesn’t feel so great in a bath. 
    • However, peppermint oil is great for around the head to alleviate some pressure if you have a headache or migraine. 
    • Breathe.  Link breath with song in the bathtub or wherever you are.
  • There's a program called Love Your Brain that provides yoga classes especially for those who have a traumatic brain injury

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:                   

Share your story because you deserve to be heard – there is something that you can share.

Also, ask for support and be okay receiving support.    

Links:

If you have any questions for Brittany or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Instagram: @beezee89

Facebook: Brittany Zeer

Blog Posts at Migraine Mantras

Resource:

Love Your Brain – a non profit program specially designed for yoga with brain injuries.

Episode 26: How to Take the Healing Path and Live on Purpose with Nicholas Pepe

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Nicholas Pepe is one inspiring individual who has dedicated himself to doing what I’ve decided to call “heart work”.  Work that is soul centred with the intention to help provide a positive impact on other people’s lives and the world.  In specific, he’s an Energy Healer and Personal Development Coach who specializes in helping women who are ruled by fear, doubt, and “low confidence” learn how to master their emotions so that they can live with Courage, Confidence and Freedom

Nicholas is the author of Courageous Acts of Self-Love, creator of a self-help channel on YouTube, and has been featured on MSNBC as well as several magazines.

In this episode, we have a heart to heart about some provoking life questions such as why is it important to heal?  What’s holding people back from joy?  How do we live our purpose?  Nicholas shares lessons and insights gathered from the work he’s done with clients as well as himself.

Key Nuggets:

  • Healing where you’ve been hurt the most is where you can affect others the most.
  • We’re all healers for our own life.  The external healers that we seek are guides that help bring us back to our own inner power.
  • People are merely skimming the surface of their lives.  In other words, many people live with a lot of unresolved patterns and the same issues keep coming up over and over for them.  Nicholas urges you to be a submarine and go deep into the places that you were hoping to keep stashed away.  Oftentimes we don't even know ourselves at that deep level and that not knowing blocks us from our true selves.
  • Healing can begin as easy as a moment of acknowledgement to yourself.  Nicholas uses the analogy of a stubbed toe - when we hit our toe against something, we hold onto it to soothe it rather than ignoring it.  We should do the same for our internal selves.  For example, if somebody said something to you and it triggered a negative feeling (ex. shame, guilt), acknowledge it rather than stash it away. There’s a part of you who is hurt that needs to be heard
  • Saying “yes” is also a boundary to set. Say yes to yourself, yes to the parts of you that need healing, yes to taking more time for yourself.
  • Most common obstacle that Nicholas sees that is holding people back from true joy is not having felt joy in it’s entirety.  The more things we need to heal, the less we can feel.  It takes energy to repress uncomfortable emotions. It’s like looking at a sunset and not experiencing the full beauty of it.
  • Numb is still a feeling and holds a frequency.
  • Feel your emotions through you body.  Oftentimes we add a label to how we're feeling and rationalize it out with our minds.  That's fine but we're missing the other part, which is how it feels in the body.  When we don't look at the whole, there is a disconnect.
    • We give words feelings.  In essence, feelings don’t require words.  Labeling is a limitation in itself.  The real emotion comes in shades....shades of anger….a ball of feels that can’t be explained in words
  • We all have a purpose but sometimes we forget.  Perhaps we get lost in meeting the expectations of others or the expectations we've set for ourselves.
  • Become aware of how you’re investing your energy.  Is there too much energy invested in too many places? When we don't think about how we are investing our energy, we can end up with not enough energy for ourselves
  • You’re here on purpose, spend your energy on purpose, so that you can live from a place of more purpose
  • The work we do on ourselves ripples out into the world whether we realize it or not.  We are being felt in many ways that we may not be able to see.
  • What’s in your mind isn’t necessarily true.

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:                   

Every single thing you do matters.  You need to give more credit to yourself for the amazing things you do each day.  Just you being you is a victory.  You are much bigger than you think you are.

Links and Resources:

If you have any questions for Nicholas or want to learn more, connect with him through:

Website: nicholaspepe.com

Instagram: @ _nicholaspepe

You can get his FREE E-BOOK, Courageous Acts of Self Love at nicholaspepe.com/lp/

Episode 25: Meditation to Reset

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It has been a mad busy month – vacation, a pending move (finally happening this week yay!!)  and hours of planning for my beloved father’s birthday.  I am so grateful for all of these wonderful happenings in my life but also kind of exhausted.  My mind seems to match the erratic positioning of the half-packed boxes in my little apartment.  There's a slight undercurrent of anxiety and even as I type out this plain and simple truth, I find myself on trial with self-judgement.  “There are NO excuses in life.  Pull it together, there is no room for FALTERING.  You are so lucky to have any of this, if you want it you’ll push through, power through, and deliver….and it better be a damn good job”.  And the usual soundtrack plays on, words dripping heavily.  Geeze, this harsh type of motivation is a whole different kind of exhausting.  Why do we need to be so hard on ourselves?  As I ponder this question the saving grace of all my lessons come flooding back to me.  The answer is that you simply don't. My logic mind rejects this idea but I've now developed a new voice that gently says "It's okay to rest".  If it's one thing that I've learned through my study of yoga and interviews with so many amazing souls, it's that all of this is a journey to the heart.  As the brilliant Rumi puts it

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."

It's easy to continue with the familiar obligation to power through.  It's so much harder to stop in the midst of a tornado and find stillness despite the anxiety.  When life demands become overwhelming it's instinctive to descend into the spiral and try to get everything under control.  The only trouble with that is "control" is an illusion and the calculated descent quickly turns into a hard tumble.  I'm not going to lie, there's a part of me that totally rejects what I just said.  It prefers to maintain my old patterns.  It desperately wants to make life look effortlessly perfect (whatever that means).  But I've been down that path before.  Many times.  Self-care falls by the wayside, self-judgement becomes king, and the true self closes.  Another thing that I've learned is that "effortless" is achievable but doesn't look the way you expect it to.  It looks different depending on who you are but it holds the same lightness.  In essence, it's that glow that you see in people who live mostly in joy; and people who live in joy don't speak harsh words against themselves.  That's what I really, truly want.  This is a journey to the heart.  So there.  I will work against the nagging feeling to follow my old habits of continuing to produce even though I feel like a tired zombie.  I will tolerate the thought that if I choose to rest, my world will most probably crumble into a disastrous scenario so bad that I haven't even thought of yet.  And I will take on the challenge to rest hard because I feel a sense of relief just saying this, albeit a bit anxious.  To take a lesson from another brilliant mind

"I have so much to accomplish today so I need to meditate for two hours instead of one".  Ghandi

I'm willing to take a bet that I'm not the only one who has had a crazy few weeks.  That's why for this week, I've written this blog post plus I put together a ten minute meditation.  If you're on the same boat, let's breathe together, reset and re-calibrate.

~ Namaste  

Episode 24: Deepen Your Yoga & Heart Centered Living with Alice Hong

 
 
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Alice Hong is a growth and transformation facilitator that guides others to listen deeply, love fully, and live wholeheartedly.  This travel junkie has her home base in Calgary, Alberta but she holds Yoga Teacher Trainings, Retreats and Women's gatherings all around the world like in Iceland and Bali.  Her ambition sweeps her away toward inspiring projects such as her recent endeavor to help women live more heart centered lives.  Despite the travelling and jam packed schedule, Alice walks with a steady air of centered-ness.  How?  Because she lives by the philosophy of Tantra which is the philosophy that everything weaves together.  A graceful dance of balance and harmony.  In this episode, we talk about the philosophy of Tantra, it's core concepts Shiva and Shakti (masculine/feminine energies) and how to deepen our Yoga practice beyond the poses.  

Key Nuggets:

  • Alice's take on what yoga is: Yoga isn’t necessarily the physical practice.  It’s about learning to be as emotions arise.  It's a is a state of being in the present moment, of being attuned to what’s happening in that moment right now.  When we allow the chatter to fall away, that’s where the magic happens because then all there is presence and presence is love.  So all there is, is love. 
  • The philosophy of Tantra.
    • Tantra means“to loom, or to weave” . It is the philosophy of everything weaving together.  There is no one way.  We can live through the lens and perspective of others. Shiva and Shaktiare at the core of this philosophy. 
      • Shiva: Masculine energy.  Everything is present, the stillness
      • Shakti: Feminine energy. The dance, the movement, the feeling; activating your senses
      • So Tantra is to have awareness (shiva) as we dance (shakti).  Aka. The centered-ness as the world turns.
    • About being in your body and celebrating it.  Sees the body as a beautiful gift that allows us to experience the nectar of life.  
  • Our bodies communicate with us and we communicate back to our bodies.
    • To learn the language of the body, you need to learn as if you’re learning a new language:  First listen and understand the nuances of the body. Only then can you begin to respond. 
    • Incorporate breath, sound and movement to become attuned to the body.
    • We are also communicating to our body.  Depending on what’s going on in our minds, we are also communicating that to our body. (ex. If you keep thinking I’m too weak to do this, the body will respond accordingly). 
  • A yoga practice: The practice itself is life.  It's about becoming present to the moment.  There are many tools to help with this:
    • Asanas – the poses help us work into our physical bodies and shaking off things that no longer serve   
    • Meditation – teaching focus and concentration, letting go and keep coming back to present moment
    • Pranayama – control our breath, our life force. Allowing us to let to and to let in
    • Mantra – using vibrations for resonance
  • If you are searching to deepen your practice, remember that there is no one path.  When you don’t know where to direct your search, try a few different things to see what tool works for you.  Different teachers, a new workshop…   

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  The only person that you need to live with is yourself.  For the rest of your life.  What do you want your inner world to look and feel like?  You’re the only one who has the power to create the space of inner self.

Links:

If you have any questions for Alice or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website: alicehong.com

Instagram: @alicehong108

Facebook: Alice Hong

Episode 23: Finding Yoga: Philosophy, Mythology and Mantras

Amy Thiessen Square.jpg
 
 
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Amy Thiessen is , among many other things, is a yoga teacher and a musician.  She’s melded her two passions into one beautiful craft.  Her talents are extensive, but her best known music in the yoga community are of mantra and prayer.  She mixes her captivating voice with alluring soundscapes to create space that’s perfect for internal exploration. Like with so many others, it has been (and still is) quite a journey with this Yoga.  There's an exceptional story to be told.  In this episode she shares her story and we talk philosophy, mythology and mantras.  In specific, how philosophies in yoga correlate with modern day psychology, the power of story telling to help us relate to ourselves, and the visceral effects of mantras.  Get those earbuds into your ears and listen in!

Key Nuggets:

  • Amy on life and living: Our lives are a collection of moments.  Each moment is like poking a pencil through a piece of paper.  A little more light is let in with each moment until everything becomes translucent.
  • Project Sundari is a project that Amy started where she uses her music to help people connect their world, pulling all the the pieces of yourself together so that you can just be and be whole. 
  • On Love: based on the Brahmavarta, you don’t need to love the world all at once.  Begin by loving what is easy to love. Love internally.  Begin by loving the parts of you that are easiest to love.  Then love the places where you were wounded.  Compassion toward ourselves allows us practice compassion with others.  It will allow us to see that sometimes other people are wounded too.
  • Change takes time.  The first step is to become aware, then we observe our behavior in this awareness.  Finally, we may choose to change the behavior if we wish.
  • On Mythology: Stories allow us to utilize stories to explain psychological aspects. It's what makes the information rich and relatable.
    • Amy shares with us her favorite story - The birth of Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth & Beauty.  The story depicts how going into the depths of ourselves allows us to uncover a deeper beauty than ever before.  Plug in those earbuds to listen to this captivating story! 
  • A mantra is a mind vehicle.  A place where you can place tour mind so that you can find presence
    • Each sound of the mantra correlates with one of the 50 petals of your bottom Chakras
    • Each mantra has a different resonance so different mantras are used to achieve different desired outcomes
  • How to use mantras:
    • Choose a mantra that will cultivate what you're looking for (ex. grounding, connection, manifestation....)
    • You can sing, chant along or quietly listen to the mantra
    • Can use a mala to help repeat the mantras.  The audacious number is 108.  What does 108 mean?  Well, one variation of the explanation is that 1=the oneness that we are, 0=the circle of life, 8=infinity, the eternal flow of life.
  • Mantras to try:
  • So Hum: "I am that". Inhale “so”, exhale “hum”.  An excellent basic one to begin with
  • Gayatri Mantra: A very popular and beautiful mantra to help you come back into your spirit and come back to listening to self

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

There’s no one big lesson.  There’s no one big thing.  It’s about everyday, every moment, doing the best we can and allowing ourselves to make mistakes and learning to hold ourselves in a way that honors who we are.

Links:

If you have any questions for Amy or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website: www.amythiessen.com

Instagram: amythiessenlive

Facebook: facebok.com/amythiessenlive

Episode 22: Hello Paradise! Hello Dreams! How To Achieve Success with Linsey Rankin

What It Took To Start a Yoga Retreat Centre: struggles, accomplishments and lessons learned along the way

 

Una barraca, which means “warrior lady”, is what Linsey Rankin is endearingly called by friends in Colombia.  For the past year, she has worked with a small team to run yoga retreats on a pristine piece of land in Choco.  Her vision affords the opportunity for yoga junkies and tourists alike to experience a part of nature that has barely been touched.   We actually talked to Linsey back in Episode 4, where she shared her big dreams of opening up a haven for yoga retreats in Colombia.  A year later, she’s living life exactly as she envisioned on her vision board.  She spends many days in paradise - beaching, swimming with whales and watching the monkeys go by.  Listen in to hear her story of how she achieved success.  She share her struggles, accomplishments, and lessons learned along the way.

Key Nuggets:

  • Choco, a department of Colombia known as the city of eternal spring, is located on the western coast of Colombia.  That's also where Linsey has started her business for yoga retreats, Prana Pacifico.
  • The most important thing for Linsey to achieve her goal was to have clarity in exactly what she wanted.  To gain clarity, she made a vision board which helped her solidify where she really wanted to be.  For her, that meant going back to Colombia
  • Another important part of success for Linsey was to acknowledge her fear and do it anyway.  There is no perfect time, or absolutely perfect condition.  Rely on your intuition and if it still feels right, do it!
    • We all struggle with fear and doubt; instead of abolishing it, see it as part of the journey
    • Take your fear further and ask “if my fear comes true, what happens next?”  It might end up being a pleasant surprise as you realize that if that one thing goes wrong, it doesn't immediately bring you down to the worst case scenario. 

Ex. "what happens if we get rained out for this outdoor event?" In our head, we jump to "then the event will be a bust and life will completely suck moving forward!"  But really ask yourself "if you get rained out for an outdoor event then what happens next?"  Perhaps you end up going inside, perhaps you postpone the event.  Whatever it is, it doesn't necessarily go straight to failure.

  • Another big thing with success is to keep going.  Don’t give up at the first sign of struggle and remember that it’s not a quick journey. It’s a long term plan, not a short term fix.  Look at the big picture.
  • Even if it’s destiny and meant to be, it can still be hard
  • Simple but great advice: If you need clarity, breathe.
  • * Linsey has put out an invitation for international facilitators who are interested in running a retreat in Choco to contact her!  So if you have a craft in wellness and are interested in Choco, give her a shout with any of the below contacts.

Your Biggest Lesson From Starting Your Business:

Have clarity in where you want to go and what you want to achieve.

Be bold, make decisions that guide you closer to your goals.

Have faith, keep going despite hiccups and obstacles.

Links:

If you have any questions for Linsey or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Facebook: Prana Pacifico Retreats

Instagram: prana.pacifico.retreats_

Website: www.pranapacifico.com

Email: pranapacifico@gmail.com

Episode 21: Excuse Me Hakomi - Help Me Tap Into My Inner Wisdom w/ Martha McCallum

Like many of the great talents out there, Martha McCallum wears several hats.  Titles include master herbalist, yoga instructor, hiking guide and Hakomi Psychotherapist.  She is the artist of her own life and boy has she created a cool one for herself!  As a helicopter hiking guide, she enjoys the best of the Rocky Mountains every single week.  When she's not out in nature, she's helping others live mindfully through Hakomi therapy.  How did this cool lady score such a cool lifestyle?  Well, she let that inner voice guide her, even when it wasn't exactly clear where she was going.  In fact, there was a time where she felt scattered, like she was hopping from one thing to another.  Nonetheless she trusted that inner knowing and followed what felt peaceful, what felt right.  Heeding to the gut-brain (aka. heart, inner wisdom, organic body....take your pick) is the heart of Hakomi therapy.  Listen in to learn about what Hakomi therapy is and how you can use it to tap into your inner wisdom.

Key Nuggets:

  • Stress is harmful and is the root of innumerable physical ailments.  You already knew that though.  So here's the real kicker: Our thoughts alone can trigger our stress reactions (ie. flight or flight)
    • This means that your negative thoughts are harming more than just your mood 
    • Mindfulness can help alleviate your negative thoughts and in turn keep you healthier in mind, body and spirit
  • We aren't granted a line of sight for how our lives will pan out.  That's why you may be teemed with life worries such as "How does it all come together??"   "How do you know??"
    • Well as we learn from this episode (along with many previous episodes), you already know.  It's not exactly provided to you the way that you want to know - like I mean, I Ydon't know if you'll be the next singer/songwriter sensation, and you don't know either.  But your inner knowing will guide you to what your next best move is.  You just need to listen and allow life to unfold for you. 
  • That leads to Hakomi Psychotherapy.  A mind/body tool to help you get deeper into mindful living.
    • It helps you tap into your body's inner wisdom and get good answers from your own body about areas of discomfort or stress.  If these answers are coming from your inner wisdom/gut feeling, it help you replace negative thought patterns with more positive ones.
  • Start by getting to know your inner yes.  Choose what feel most peaceful, most right.  Use it for choosing even the small things like what to eat for breakfast.  It will help you strengthen the gut feeling. 
    • It can also help to remember the times that you just knew you had to do something.  What did that feel like?
  • Our thoughts are getting in the way.  Just like clutter in our car or our offices, we should clear the clutter from our minds.  We can connect to the place where we feel love, peace….once that clutter is gone (ie. Meditation) 
  • A strong meditation practice on the mat will allow you to better calm yourself off the mat when faced with adversity
    •  Ex. Not bursting out in responsive anger
  • Mindfulness is when you are living each moment on purpose
    • Mindfulness exercise that you can do throughout the day: have an experience and observe yourself in your experience at the same time.  If you're stressed, watch the stress happening while it happens
    • Practice tip: just keep coming back to present, rework your negative thoughts to ones that feel good
  • Martha's favorite Einstein quote: “the rational mind is a faithful servant, the intuitive mind is a sacred gift”   

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

You are the artist of your life.  Listen to your inner wisdom and use it for choosing what you do or don’t do.  It will give you directions for the most peaceful, most right path.

Links:

If you have any questions for Martha or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Websites: marthashelihikes.com, feelyourbest.info

Email: Martha@marthahelihikes.com

Episode 20: How Yoga Nidra Works & Sankalpa Guidance with Tanis Fishman

Tanis Fishman is a modern day mystic who has spent her life exploring different levels of consciousness to find deeper meaning in the human experience.  Questions about the meaning of life and a search for something more has been on her mind since she was a toddler.  Over her lifetime, she’s been gifted with two profound experiences that proved this feeling. One being an out of body experience and another an explosion of enlightenment.  In this episode, Tanis shares that part of her journey with us.  She also lends her knowledge about Yoga Nidra, a deep meditation technique that can bring you to a place beyond conscious limitations.

"Nidra", when translated to English means "sleep".  In essence, the practice of Yoga Nidra is that of Yogic Sleep.  Don't get this confused with regular sleep though!  The practice will bring you much different healing powers than regular sleep will.  Tanis explains how Yoga Nidra works as well as the layers of benefits that can help us transform.  We talk about Sankalpas and the best way to use them.   

Key Nuggets:

  • Yoga Nidra Benefits:
    • Conscious relaxation. Relaxing the body, mind and emotions
    • Experience a state of freedom to just be
    • Open up field of experience for everything to be as it is
    • Being consciously present allows you to become aware of where your tensions are and what thoughts are destructive.
    • Access intuitive mind or higher perspective (see things more clearly) as you gain space from those destructive thoughts.
  • Brain States:
    • Beta: Identifying with the conscious mind (where we usually are when we're awake)
      • High Beta: Thoughts rampant, believing thoughts to be true, focus only on reality of life, may cause stress.  
      • Low Beta: Thoughts more mellow, starting to relax
    • Alpha: Transitional brain state between wakefulness and sleep; the moment where you let go of thinking process (thoughts); a space where you are completely just being.  Right before we are identified with dreamer. There’s no time, or space or you.  Brain waves slow, least used brain state when we're awake
  • Everything in the conscious that’s played out in your life (ie. preference, opinions, judgements) has its roots in the subconscious based on your belief systems that's supporting it. We don’t always know what our belief systems are, but we can look at our life to see what’s getting played out to better understand.
  • Our consciousness acts as a filter.  It's harder to change our belief systems in our waking states.  That's why some people do not find affirmations very effective.  They are being filtered out by our conscious mind.
  • When we are in a deep state of meditation, we get access to our subconscious in the Alpha brain state.  Our mind is more malleable. In Yoga Nidra we use Sankalpa. 
  • Sankalpa:
    • Your personal resolution: a conscious direction of your desires and dreams
    • It holds an energy that allows us to change our limiting belief systems
    • A transformative part of the process
  • How to make a sankalpa:
    •   “I AM _____________”
    •  Use present tense as that’s the language of the subconscious
    • State it in the positive
    • Keep it concise and short
    • You need something that comes immediate to you – make it easy for you to recite even in a deep state of relaxation
    • Choose your desired end state, not what you’re going through.
      • Example: “I am healing” will keep you in a state of healing. How would you feel if you were healed?  “I am healthy” “I am at peace” “I feel free” is better.
    • Examples: “I am worthy” “I am deserving of the best life” “I am deserving to fulfill my dreams”.
    • Ensure that it resonates with you.
  • Factors affecting effectiveness of Yoga Nidra:
    • You may have hidden beliefs.  For example, a hidden belief that’s “it’s not possible to change” or “I’m too old to change”.  If a hidden belief is the stronger program that's running then you need to dissolve that before you can install something else.  aka. You have many layers, you may need to shift one belief before you can make another happen.  Another example is that you want to set your Sankalpa to "I am happy", but there’s a belief system underneath the surface where you tell yourself “You don’t deserve to be happy”
    • If you’re not in the hypnogogic state (ie. you fall straight to sleep) then mind won’t be as receptive to the Sankalpa.
      • Antidote: learn to maintain mindfulness in the relaxing brain states (ex. Don’t fall asleep)
    • Belief system not ready to be changed. Our belief systems were created to ultimately keep us safe. If we somehow feel that it's unsafe to shed the belief system then it won't change.
  • How to know when sankalpa has been realized: When you react different, act different, thoughts begin to change.
  • This whole process isn’t like peeling an onion, it’s more like unwinding a tangled web!

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Be surprised about yourself.  To continue to grow, stay open and curious.  Also, where you find yourself passing judgement is where there is misalignment in self.  This simply means that a program (aka. belief system) is out of date and an update (aka. lesson) is on its way.

Links:

If you have any questions for Tanis or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website: https://tanisfishman.com/

Facebook: Tanis Fishman

Facebook Page: Out of the Box with Tanis Fishman

Resources:

 

 

Episode 19: Story of Trust, Surrender & Worthiness with Lisa Hillyer

Meet Lisa Hillyer, yoga teacher, life coach and world traveller.  She works with dedicated motive to guide people back to themselves and reconnect to the person that’s always been within.  She lives her life joyously and with deep purpose.  As you would’ve guessed, it took some stumbling to get here.  Also a lot of hard work.  A lot.  There was that time when she moved to Australia and all her dreams came true but she found herself feeling miserable.  She had to do some digging on the inside to figure out what that was all about.  Then there was that time that she went to India and the culture shock kept her in a flurry of confusion and blocked senses.  She was left with little choice but to learn the lesson of surrender and trust.  When you look at the big picture, it was actually the stumbling that helped her find her way; and that’s the story that she’s here to tell.  In this episode, Lisa shares with us how she went from miserably numbing herself to living a life adorned with love, travel and worthiness.

Key Nuggets:

  • The root of yoga is the path of the self through the self
  • A lesson learned from the streets of India is that true joy is intrinsic, irrespective of the external environment
  • Meditation can be your first shift toward freedom from inner torment.  It help disconnect you from your ego and connect you back to your true self, reminding you that everything that you need is within.
  •  Shifting your limiting beliefs: Just because you believed it in the past doesn’t mean you need to move forward with it.  Lisa worked through her limiting beliefs with Yoga Nidra.
  • Antidote to unworthiness is self-care, self-love and connection to self. When you understand your purpose and your truth the unworthiness starts to fade away.
  • Self-love comes when we are willing to look at all parts of ourselves, even the places that seem dark.

One of Your Biggest Lesson So Far:

Path to our truth is: Trust + Surrender

  • Trust that you are exactly where you need to be, that inner knowing.
  • Surrender your control.  The type of control that is gripping and suffocating. 

Your Deepest Truth:

Connecting to self and connecting others to do the same.  When you heal your inner world, you heal yourself and that’s when we heal this planet

Links:

If you have any questions for Lisa or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website: http://www.heartsoulhealthwellness.com

Email: lisahillyer@heartsoulhealthwellness.com

 

 

Episode 18: Another Dream, Lived. With Kristy Dhaliwal

People who takes leaps and say yes to what they truly want have good stories to share.  These stories are inspiring, leaving us feeling uplifted and motivated to take on the world.  In this episode, we talk with Kristy Dhaliwal, an amazing gal who has taken leaps to find her path.  She’s a massage therapist, entrepreneur and yoga junkie.  Her path wasn’t always clear though and there was some searching to be had before she found what she loved.  She shares her story of how she found her passion and built a business with it.  She also gives us a couple tips on how to get rid of those annoying knots in our muscles.

Key Nuggets:

  • Trigger points are what we usually call the knots in our muscles.  They form when certain muscles get overworked (ex. sitting at a desk for eight hours).
  • Many people experience shoulder/back pain due to sitting all day long.  To relieve this, stretch out your chest! 
  • To release trigger points try using a tennis ball (squash ball or rubber bouncy ball for more intense release) and placing it right on a trigger point.  Gently put some weight on it until you feel a softening.
  • Doing some yoga before a massage can make the most of your appointment.  The movement helps stretch and warm the muscles up.

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Everything happens for a reason.  An oldie but a goodie - keep in your back pocket when faced with challenging times! 

Links:

If you have any questions for Kristy or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website: bloomtherapy.ca

Email:  kristy@bloomtherapy.ca 

Facebook: @bloomtherapymassage

Instagram: @bloomtherapymassage

Twitter: @bloom_therapy

Episode 17: Navigating the Rapids of FEAR. A Candid Conversation.

Transitions are never easy even if it’s a change for the better.  And it’s even scarier when we are taking a leap of faith.  But what if we let the FEAR guide us rather than hinder us?  It’s been an interesting journey.  FEAR has become a frequent friend (I didn’t see this coming!) and I’ve been doing a lot of getting to know it better.  And I do…I think.  It sticks its scary face all up in mine but rather than running away, I’ve developed a relationship with it.  Afterall, it still counts as a feeling. And if it’s one thing that I know for sure, our feelings are here to guide us.  This one’s a bit crasser than the others, but it’s still here to shows us something.  When we take that perspective then we can begin to get curious rather than hide.  I recently had such a good conversation with my friend Alison about this.  Being the wonderful soul that she is, she ended up recording it for me to do with it what I will.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to make an episode out of it because it's such an intimate look into my journey.  Oh the FEAR of being SEEN! But here's the thing, it really was a great conversation and I think it might spark something in you too this so with excitement much anticipation, I’ve decided to share my journey with you!

When I took a leap of faith to follow my heart's calling, I thought the leap was going to be the pinnacle of it all.  You know, the hardest part is just getting started right?  What I didn't realize was that while the grass is greener where my soul can breath, it's also completely new terrain that I need to learn to navigate.  For one thing, fear likes to get real snug with me over on this side.  It's like an overprotective mother that would prefer it if I lived in a bubble.  I guess it's needier now than ever since I decided to break out for some fresh air.  It's only been a few months since I took a leap but I've sure learned a whole lot about FEAR.  I had to! Otherwise it would've coerced me back to a place where I'd suffocate.  Here's what I've learned:

  • First off, to give fear some credit, it isn't completely bad.  As a feeling, it really does help us understand ourselves and what's happening around us.  The trick is to understand if the fear comes from the reptilian brain (basic flight or fight system) or if it's resistance from our soul.  Reptilian brain is here to keep us safe.  Perfect if we're trying to avoid running into a bear or if our house is on fire.  Unfortunately it's not high tech enough to decipher between caveman struggles versus 21st century modern people struggles.  It's just trying to keep us alive and out of danger.  So if you want to try something that your brain already perceives as somewhat risky....say giving public speaking a try or starting your own business, your reptilian brain does the same thing as it would if you had run into a bear "STRANGER DANGER! STRANGER DANGER! RING THE ALARM!  This man/woman is going to try something that might not go well.  This is madness! RETREAT! RETREAT!"

Our inner caveman is just trying to keep us safe, but our struggles are different than when we had to build our own fires and kill prey with sticks and stones.  That's when we need to look inward and align with our soul calling.  Our innermost selves know the way, we just need to learn to listen.  I'm working on that right now.  I've spent so many years "powering through" and listening to my external environment that I've numbed my ability to hear messages from my innermost self.  Unless it's really obvious ex. I feel like I'm suffocating and my chest is crushing against a ton of bricks, I can't hear it that well. I'm learning though, and know that I'll find my way back.  We all can, it's innate within each and everyone of us.  If you can't hear that well, start small.  Noticing how it feels even with the most benign decisions - oatmeal or eggs for breakfast?  dinner with friends or date night? And then veer towards what feels good.  Open.  Aaaahhh.    

  • Fear is scary.  Our natural instinct is to run away from it.  Shove it deep, deep down or avoid it altogether.  Exactly the opposite needs to be done in order to find relief.  You need to become aware of it, acknowledge it and make friends with it.  Knowing what you're afraid of in the first place gives you a wealth of insight.  It usually unveils a false limiting belief (stories you believe about yourself that's not true but you let it hold you back) or buried hurt that needs healing.  It doesn't end there though, you need to begin to develop a relationship with fear.  What message is it giving you?  What does it mean? Is it true or is it the confused reptilian brain?  How have you negotiated to sit with it if you appreciate it, but definitely don't need it as you forge forward?  For me, when I my inner self is sending me a message to "go get 'em!"  (by feeling open, free, happy, exhilarated and excited) but my reptilian brain floods me with fear, I imagine myself in a car.  I am in the driver's seat, steering the way, and fear (which I've decided is a friendly albeit worrisome lizard) is strapped in beside me.  If it has something to say, I listen, smile and then continue driving.  As they say about our marital spouses "you can't live with them, but you can't live without them".  Strap in. Smile. 
  • Lastly, the secret sauce.  Find your meditation - that thing that drops you into inner peace.  You are so engaged that the buzzing in your mind stops and so does time.  In a way, you fall into nothingness.  Nothingness is absolutely perfect.  Nothing is everything.  As the wise philosopher Lao Tzu says
"We mold clay into a pot,but it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful." 

So find your meditation.  It doesn't have to be meditation.  Yoga, singing, dancing, painting....   Do it often.  It will reconnect you to your innermost knowing.  Then, listen.

I hope you enjoyed the podcast!   What's your relationship with fear?  Meaningful conversations are my jam and invite you to leave your comments below. Namaste.

Episode 16: Mindfulness + Food: How combining them can help you live more fully w/ Sally Powis-Campbell

“To be mindful is to be fully present with whatever we are doing. If you are drinking tea, just drink your tea. Do not drink your worries, your projects, your regrets. When you hold your cup, you may like to breathe in, to bring your mind back to your body, stop your thinking, and become fully present. In that moment, you become real and the cup of tea becomes real. In this state of true presence and freedom you enjoy simply drinking your tea."
- Thich Nhat Hanh

In a nutshell, Sally Powis-Campbell is a mindful helper for kids and the kid in all of us.  If you want official titles then she’s a psychologist, yoga teacher, meditation guide, food artist, mindful food event curator, writer (book in the works), and competitive trail runner!  Her craft is the marriage of her two biggest passions: mindfulness and food.  Mindfulness is slowing down and focusing.  Taking pause to become aware of all five senses, tuning into your inner and outer world without attachment.  This simple practice gives you the power to live more fully.  Food is pretty straightforward, so we think.  But what’s your relationship with food like?  Not many people consider this.  In fact, it’s kind of difficult to come up with an answer if you’ve never thought about it before.  Good thing Sally’s here!  She teaches us how to create a connection with food so that we can eat mindfully and ultimately, live more fully.  She begins by bringing us through a six minute tea meditation.  It’s one of the most beautiful meditations I’ve ever done and it’s not to be missed.  So come on, grab your cup of tea (or any beverage of choice) and plug in those ear buds!    

Key Nuggets:

  • Slowing down and living mindfully can help us to live more fully.  One practice to incorporate into your life is a mindful tea or coffee meditation.  Becoming aware of all five sense – feel of the cup, color of the tea, the smell, the taste and the sound of the tea as you swallow.  Sally brings us through a six minute tea meditation in the podcast so tune into 6:57 to get right to it.
  • Mindfulness allows us to become aware of what’s in us and around us.  Tapping into our senses, releasing judgement. Let go of the criticism. 
  • Just a 10min -12min meditation per daycan literally change your brain structure.
  •  Creating a connection with your food is one partSome ways to enhance our connection with food, we can:
    • Make sure we know where our food comes from.  If you make sure it’s good food, maybe even locally grown, you learn a story about the food and now you build gratefulness around.
    •  Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness queues  
      •  Ear hunger – the satiation that you get from hearing yourself eat.  If we can’t hear ourselves eat, it impairs our body’s registration of how full we are.  Another reason to turn off the tv   
      • Eye hunger – creating foods that are beautiful to eat.  It helps create pause because you take a moment to soak in the sight of it. 
      • Stomach hunger – sounds straight forward but we are more out of tune than you think! A lot of times we are scarfing down our meals as quickly as possible or we get caught up multitasking while eating.  This is a dangerous route toward mindless eating.  Tuning into our bodies can significantly enhance our food experience.  Here’s a tip on how to do that: before you begin your meal, rate your hunger level between 1-10.  Do this again in the middle of the meal and end of the meal.  Getting an idea of what full really feels like. 
  • Tip: We make over 200 food decisions a day.  Portion out big bags of food into smaller Ziploc bags so they are already pre-proportioned to discourage mindless eating (ex. Finding yourself at the bottom of your bag of chips)
  • Another way to create mindfulness and connection through food is to create a food ritual.  Sally commits herself to a Sunday night family dinner every single Sunday.  There is much fun and excitement in preparing the meal together, baking fresh bread and making time to talk.  Slowing down on Sunday night sets her and her family up for the upcoming week’s success.

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Find moments of pause throughout the day and slow down.  That will end up making you more efficient.

Links:

If you have any questions for Sally or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Instagram: @wholistichealthyyc

Email: sally@wholistichealthyyc.com

Website: www.wholistichealthyyc.com   

 

Episode 15: Find Your Intuition with Naomi Parker

This episode is just as multifaceted as the guest itself.  Naomi Parker is based in YYC and is a mom, biologist, yoga teacher, and energy healer.  She takes us through not just one, but two stories and brings us into territories that are unknown to most of us.  Story One. A yoga journey.  Naomi shares how she found yoga and how she eventually ended up becoming a yoga teacher.  The conversation enrichens as she shares her passion about pranayama (breath work) – the importance, benefits and tips on how to do her favorite breathing exercise.  It is here that we begin to sense she’s not an ordinary yoga teacher. This leads to Story Two. The unfolding of an energy healer.  Naomi opens up about how she eventually honed into her gifts in energy healing after casting it aside for three decades.  Keep an open mind as she takes us into the world of the esoteric.  Seriously.  If you think your mind is open, open more!  Topics extend beyond the energetic flows of our bodies and into a world that many of us have probably never heard of before.  If you like to contemplate philosophies of humanity and the meaning of being a human, this episode is for you!  

Key Nuggets:

  • A reminder that the most lucrative yoga session is one where you honor your body and your practice exactly as they are.  True acceptance is key.  No comparison, release of judgement.
  • Naomi is passionate about pranayama (breath work).  In fact she incorporates them into her yoga classes.  On the energetic side, she has one-on-one consultations with clients just to work on their breathing.  Here are her tips:
    • Pranayama, when translated from Sanskrit, means ‘life force’. 
    • Our breath can heal our body, open us up to our intuition, reduce stress, find calm, bring clarity and help understand blockages that might be keeping us from our potential
    • Breathe with intention, deep breaths from your head all the way down to your toes.  You can practice this by opening and closing your day with a breathing exercise.
    • Naomi’s favorite breathing exercise is  Nadi Shodhana or ‘alternate nostril breathing’.  She recommends 6-12 rounds.
      • Begin by taking your right hand and placing your ring finger on your left nostril and thumb on your right nostril.  Index and middle fingers on third eye.
      • Variation #1: Close left nostril with ring finger > inhale through right nostril > plug right nostril with thumb > exhale through left nostril > inhale through left nostril > plug left nostril > exhale through right nostril > Repeat
      • Variation #2: the secular version.  Same starting hand position > plug left nostril > inhale through right > exhale through left nostril > plug left nostril > inhale through right > Repeat.  Makes sure to switch sides once you’ve finished your rounds on one side.
  • Blockages of breath in the body can be physical, mental or spiritual.   
    •  Physical: blockage on a cellular level
    •  Mental: stored pockets of emotion and/or drama
    • Spiritual: blockage on an energetic level.  Ex. Chakras are not working together properly. 
  •  Naomi’s journey with being an energetic healer.  How her knowledge affected the way she saw the world. 
  • Consciousness coaching where a coach helps individuals look at their business in a holistic way.  From hashing out the business concept to identifying blockages.  That means on an energetic level too.  Roadblocks can be limiting beliefs or childhood imprints. Helping one fully understand their soul purpose.
  • Sometimes challenges will repeat themselves until you learn from them.  Shine a light on it and it won't seem so scary.

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Love yourself – continue to work on yourself and peel back the layer.  

Everything that you are is perfect

Resources:

o   An article that discusses the card experiment we talked about that shows how our body or gut instinct knows an answer long before our mind or analytical brain is willing to believe.  The Science Behind Intuition, by Psychology Today

o   We also talked about the book I read about past lives: Many Masters, Many Lives by Dr.Brian Weiss

Links:

If you have any questions for Naomi or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Email: elemental.yoga.wellness@gmail.com

Website:  www.elementalwellness.com

Facebook: Elemental Wellness Yoga

 

Episode 14: A Lifelong Learner, A Heart Calling. With Kate Mak

Kate Mak is one of YYC’s favorite yoga teachers. A mover and shaker who pursues tirelessly to create community.  Her classes usually include an eloquent flow, something new and a cheesy joke or two.  She’ll tell you a story about the ancient deities or maybe sing to you while playing the harmonium.  As a student, you just know that you are in good hands.  You can be sure that the space is held, you’ll learn something new and most importantly, you’ll walk out of your practice feel oh so good. So how does a yoga teacher learn to seamlessly incorporate movement, yoga teachings, excitement and laughter to their class so well?  Keep on learning! For real.  Kate has a voracious appetite for learning and never plans to stop.  That’s how she eventually found herself in an NYC ashram. In this episode, Kate shares her story about how she finally heeded to the calling of her heart, transforming from a young neuroscientist who was unsure of her path and into a glowingly happy yoga teacher who travels around the world for a living.  She teaches about the importance of being a lifelong learner and lets us in on her next journey as she makes even bigger waves in the community by creating her very own yoga teacher training.  

Key Nuggets:

  • Kate’s Tips on choosing a yoga teacher training:
    • Start with understanding what kind of a schedule do you’ll need - intensive or broken down over the course of a year?  Some of us have an open schedule but others may need to work around office hours.
    • Ask teachers that you resonate with the most where they took theirs.
    • Understand what kind of yoga styles you want to learn
    • Make sure you feel good!  You should feel excited and happy about your decision.
  • Kate’ tips on how to keep learning as a yoga teacher:
    • Go to workshops
    • Attend festivals
    • Listen to TED Talks and Podcasts
  • There’s always an opportunity to learn.  Sometimes we learn something but don’t fully comprehend the lesson until later…it can even be years later.
  • Your big dream isn’t too big!  If it’s overwhelming, divide it into digestible chunks and build up piece by piece, one step at a time.

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Keep learning, there’s always a lesson.  It’s never too late and you’re never too old.

Links:

If you have any questions for Kate or want to learn more, connect with her through:

Website: www.katewmak.com

Email: on website

Kate's Yoga Teacher Training: www.mynahschoolofyoga.com

Episode 13: One Man's Unfolding with Matthew Keleman

Life is a great unfolding and when we surrender we open ourselves to deep meaning.  Our perspective shifts and we become attuned to the sacredness of being.  Our experiences in this life become keen and insightful.  Perhaps as we place our feet on the Earth we suddenly become aware of how connected we are to nature, more than we’ve ever felt before; or perhaps we look up at the stars and it’s like as if we’re seeing them for the first time, we can gaze upon these gems all night long.  We are humbled at how beautiful life can be.  We learn to embrace that our paths come in many forms and that there is no formula and no “straight” path.  We’re all the same in that we will eventually arrive at the same destination but each individual’s story is unique.  Love, joy, heartbreak, spiritual awakenings…sharing stories of our personal journeys can inspire, build compassion, bring understanding, and ultimately help weave us even closer to this human experience. 

This episode is exactly that as Matthew Keleman, a Calgary based yoga teacher, shares with us about his own unfolding.  We had a deeply meaningful conversation and it was an honor talking to him as he came open with nothing but his authenticity.  A truly beautiful soul – so many layers, so reflective and he frames his experiences in such a poetic manner helping remind us of the eloquence in life if only we let ourselves see it. 

In Matt’s words “To me, yoga as a term is a reference to the story of my slow unfolding and emergence as a being. My coming together of parts in the realization of what we all innately know but have perhaps forgotten. As a practice, yoga is many things. A playground, and science lab, a theatre stage, a hospital bed...a dynamic expression of the self in all of its living glory and connection.”

Key Nuggets:

  • Another quote from Matt as he writes “I've learned about respect. Respect from an empathetic place. People bare their very souls on their yoga mat; sometimes this is repressive and sometimes it is gushing, but regardless of its nature, it is on display when you come to your mat. While my journey has taken me through specific valleys and over specific mountains with very specific viewpoints, I have come to realize that we are all experiencing this same road with a different lens, and although we have tools for absorbing these lessons and we are entitled to share our stories, it is simply respect for the authenticity of what each person is going through that allows the brightest evolution of the species to shine through peacefully.”

One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:

Being yourself because who you are [at the very core] is who you always will be.  It's about trusting that and learning to love yourself.

Links:

 If you have any questions for Matt or want to learn more, connect with him through:

Classes (based in Calgary): Yoga and Beyond and meditations at Modern + Mindful

Instagram: @monkeyogi