3 Ways to Handle Holiday Boundaries

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It’s always family fun at the holidays, right? In fact, it can be very stressful. Managing family dynamics (aka: power struggles) during the holidays is not usually on anyone’s wish list.

Here are 3 ways (I learned in yoga) to make it easier:

1. Set an intention. Just like we do at the beginning of a yoga class, get clear on what is most important for the event. What do you want from the day? Prepare yourself and your children by setting expectations and plan ahead for predictable situations to minimize stress. Communicate clearly so family members understand your goals.

2. What can you control? Only you. Your responses (not your reactions) to what others say or do. The power is in the pause. “What do you mean by ….” is one of my favorite responses, or “Tell me more about … I’m curious about your perspective.” Become an observer without judgment like we do in yoga. Simply notice what is happening inside and around us.

3. Let it go. Just like the leaves on the trees, let them fall. Release some of the pressure and acknowledge that it may not all go as you planned. Ask yourself, will this matter in 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 months or 5 years? Keep your composure (also learned in yoga), call out unwanted behavior kindly or remove yourself from the situation to get calm.

Remember people who don’t respect you all year long will not suddenly respect you at a holiday. Be mindful and practice setting boundaries - especially with grandparents. Helping others can also shift attention toward what matters most during the holidays. Donate to our annual diaper drive from November 17 to December 16 benefiting Homeless Prenatal Program.


5 Words To Start Your Day

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Good morning, I love you. What’s the best way to start the day?

Self-love. Because if you don’t love you, no one else will love you either.

It’s never too late to re-wire your brain for deep calm, contentment and clarity. This book, by my friend, Shauna, offers both the science and practice of how self-kindness leads to fulfillment and joy. The simple practice of putting your hand on your heart first thing in the morning and saying, “I love you" can change everything.

I gave Good Morning, I Love You to my daughter when she left for college because I wasn’t there to say it to her when she woke up. Now, she does that herself. I also love it when she sends me a surprise text: Good morning, I love you. As a mother, nothing warms my heart more.

Now, Shauna has written, Good Morning, I love you, Violet! A children’s book to cultivate the same self-love at a young age. This practice is not easily adopted by our protagonist. I recommend you read it to see how she breaks through the resistance and what happens when she does.

These two books for parents and children are essentials on the book shelf this holiday season and beyond.


Halloween Yoga and Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos)

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Happy Halloween! It’s so fun to transform our signature system into theme-based classes. It sparks creativity when butterflies become bats, dogs become werewolves and trees have spooky branches. One of my private clients loves to stir up the witches brew all year long!

Yoga this time of year is both playful and meaningful.

Today, we celebrate the Dia De Los Muertos. The holiday, originating from Spanish invaders in Mexico, celebrated on November 1 and 2, is like a family reunion—except dead ancestors are the guests of honor. It’s the time of year when we are naturally more aware of the cycles and mysteries of life and death. We welcome the suggestion that the departed are still among us. We are more open to the concept of thin veils and connection to the perception of the Spirit realm.

Grief is heavily laden right now and it affects our global communities everywhere. When life around us is in a violent storm, it is crucial to manage our own mental & emotional state and to tune-in to our shared humanity. It becomes deeply significant to take quiet pauses, to slow down, to sit with our heart, with our own life breath, and to engage in practices that bring us back to embody the inner seat of wisdom and incarnate the intention of healing at the core of our being.

Not a single day passes by, when I don't feel deeply grateful for the enormous gift of yoga in my life. My intention as a teacher, has always been to transform abstract life concepts, such as strength, courage, faith and resilience, into applicable, focused and embodied, day-to-day life practices that enhance human lives by uncovering the invincible guiding light of the heart.


Feeling Anger, Grief or Fear?

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I am. What is happening in the world makes me feel angry, grief-stricken and fearful. The lens that shapes our view of reality creates reality.

Are you an Angry Person?

Raging and ranting. The angriest people I know have been angry so long they can’t even see it. They’re blind to having selected anger as their lens on experience. They’ve never learned how to access its roots in grief, fear, and pain. Their focus is on being right, on getting their due and winning their fight. Their focus is on survival.

Are you a Grief Person?

The angriest people I know are the saddest and most fearful. Beneath the anger is grief. For the deep sorrow and loss of dreams, people and ideals. And of innocence. The five stages -  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – are often experienced in order, moving from one stage to the other.

Are you a Fear Person?

FEAR = False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. The most worrisome emotion is caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous and likely to cause pain, or a threat. Fear keeps us safe - sometimes too safe. It doesn’t allow us to grow. We stay trapped by our perpetual worry which manifests as anxiety - fear of the future.

I can’t solve you or what’s all over the news. I do know that how we see the world and what we put into the world comes back to us. Hate hurts the hater. Love brings more love. Fear and love cannot co-exist. You must choose one.

It sounds simple. It is simple. If you resist or are bursting with rage, well, how’s your approach going? If it isn’t bringing more of what you want—and worse bringing the opposite—why not try something different? You have nothing to lose. What if it all works out?

P.S. For some spooky fun, come to our Halloween Family Yoga event on Sunday, October 29 at 10:00am.


How to Calm Children with War in the World

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This week has been a lot to handle with the Israel-Hamas war. One of the hardest parts of this devastation is its effect on children. They are likely to hear about it, so it’s best to talk about it.

Here’s how:

1. Get the facts. Kids have a lot of questions so make sure you have the facts. It’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what’s happening, even if you don’t have all the answers. Try The Associated Press and Reuters.

2. Find out what they know. Ask a couple key questions in a quiet time, (in the car or at dinner table is better than bedtime) Have you heard about what’s happening in Israel and Gaza? How does it make you feel? Keep checking in and limit social media use.

3. Be clear and concise. People are fighting about who’s in charge. Use the word “Hamas” rather than “Palestinians” when talking about who Israel is at war with. In any conflict, there are multiple perspectives and history to consider.

4. Breathe together. Instead of spiraling out, try breathing together. Hold hands. Breathe in to the top of your head (no more air can come in). Hold for a few counts. Then, breathe out slowly to your toes (no more air can go out). Repeat 3-5 times or until you feel calm.

5. Practice peace. Try the sensory countdown. Notice 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste. Exercising all your senses stops the swirl and helps you focus into the present moment, now.

A primary principle in yoga is to Do No Harm (ahimsa). Practicing yoga can help you access compassion for suffering and calm stress.

We want to be equal in our humanity. Peace on earth can be a reality when each person on this planet comes to peace within themselves.

Get trained. If you live or work with kids, you can model the skills your children need to succeed and meet the challenges of their time with confidence.


Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!