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Resolve 2016 – Sankalpa

Friday, January 8th, 2016


2016 is here and for many of you this new year has brought forth your dreams, New Year’s Resolutions or maybe an intention. Reflect for a moment on past New Year’s Resolutions. Some of them may have been fulfilled or changes made, while for other resolutions you may have had great intention yet somewhere along the way the will dissolved or the intention was distracted.

The yoga tradition includes a practice of resolve called Sankalpa. The meaning is to vow or commit to that which is our highest or true nature. It often is rooted in aspects that already exist, and we vow to uphold, express, live them.

It is important to understand the difference between what you may have been taught about New Year’s resolutions and Sankalpa. Let’s begin by looking at how many make up resolutions that are about doing something different, often reflected on what is lacking or too much in their life. The resolutions then reflect doing more or less of something. “I weigh too much and vow to lose the weight this year” or “I don’t exercise enough and I’m going to exercise 3x per week” are examples of resolutions that are viewed from a perspective of not enough or too much that bring us to an action or doing something different.

A Sankalpa begins from recognizing something powerful and deeply heartfelt. We already know that this exists in us and our vow is to become it in our live choices or way of being in the world. A Sankalpa becomes a mantra or affirmation of what IS that helps to keep it in our field of consciousness. “I vow to be compassionate.” “I feel compassion towards others.” “I am compassionate.” All of these would be ways to express one’s Sankalpa. Personally I find that present tense statements (rather than future tense) empower the Sankalpa.

The first step is to be still, listen to your heart’s desires and feel. Sankalpa is feeling derived rather than a thought process. For many of us steeped in action, running from here to there, you will need to slow down and find stillness and silence to listen to the heart. Feeling what is birthing within is that first step, then proclaiming it often during the course of your day will help nurture it into being.

Awakening it with your mantra or affirmation would be the next step. Remember to empower it with a present tense verb of being. An example would be to transform an affirmation like “I will be more patient” becomes “I am patient.” “I want more love in my life” would become “I am loving.” Then vow to speak it out loud or to yourself often, and do it daily. You might find it helpful to link it with an activity during the day like brushing your teeth, going in or out of your car, or at mealtimes. I find it even more powerful to link it to those thoughts or actions that are in opposition to that which I am vowing. For example thoughts of fear or judgment might be the perfect time to proclaim, “I am loving.”

Your yoga practice will also help you to settle inward, and hear your heart’s desire. As you transform through the practice of yoga you may feel an alignment to your heart’s desires, which creates a sense of ease in releasing those “ways” that no longer serve you. You may have already experienced the letting go of something in your life that seemed so easy and natural that you dismissed it in some way, as you are used to more difficulty in changes in your life. Enjoy the sweetness that comes with this form of change. Embracing that each of us has the potential to transform with ease can be a keystone to the practice of Sankalpa We are simply breathing life into those parts of us that already exist.

I wish you a most splendid New Year, and may your heart’s desires be realized as you create them through Sankalpa.

Posted in Articles, Inspirations from Class, Spirit, Yoga Philosophy | 3 Comments »

A Poem from the Heart

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

76407fbda36fa8f539ae7dcf72145568She screams from deep inside her heart – STOP IT!
Stop the hatred
Stop the fear
Stop the bigotry
Stop the bloodshed
Then her heart pushes harder and says “what then my dear?”

Love please
Understanding please
Compassion please
A gentle embrace please

And a deep sigh is heard

Today I reflected on all that seems to be stirring, boiling up and spurting out.  I struggle at times on how to hold the vibration of love, to keep my focus on how I can BE the difference and this poem came forth.  As I was inspired to express these feelings and thoughts, may you be inspired to live deeply from the heart’s purpose.  May you approach those trying moments, challenges and fears by listening to the wisdom of your own heart.  

Compassion     Love     Understanding  

Its a beginning.


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Rise Up Moments

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

hot-air-balloon-beautiful-places-13815724-2560-1600There are people around you who inspire you in their actions, their speech, and their thoughtfulness. You already thought of some of them as you read that first line didn’t you? Have you ever wondered what it is about them that inspires you? What is different about them that brings you up, or maybe simply draws you in like a moth to a light?


Well here is just one thought to ponder – they are people who know how to actuate a RISE UP MOMENT! What is a Rise Up Moment you say? They are those moments when you feel you “can’t”, “shouldn’t”, “fear” or simply are sitting in “doubt”. In those moments you can choose to Rise Up or not. In Rise Up moments we are often unconscious which leads us to fall into habits that can either get us paralyzed by the fears and doubts or consciously awaken to query what will lead us to Rise Up.


It is those who Rise Up that are often our inspiration. They live a life from moment to moment making a choice to “go for it”, “do the right thing”, “listen to the higher inner voice” and stretch themselves.


You’ve seen them doing it, but may never have recognized what is actually happening that is inspiring you. Maybe you slip into a habit of not doing something when the inner doubts are activated. Those who inspire you actually are awakened in that same moment you may have fallen asleep. They hear a voice of wonder, see a moment of great opportunity and have repeated the pattern enough times to know how good it feels for everyone (including themselves) to Rise Up.


“Can I do this?”                 No, and I hate to fail     OR       YES I CAN!

“Should I do this?” No it will be _________(enter any words that express fear or uncertainty)


Those who inspire are willing to take a risk because it feels good to do it (based on repeated evidence) and although they may not succeed the first (or 5th) attempt, they have created a feeling of personal power that is raised up each time they do go for it.


You see it is not the fear of failure that stalls them into inaction, it is the joy of being more, learning through the attempts, or feeling the inflammation of personal power that motivates them into action. They smile when they are covered in the muck of a failed attempt, and like a dog, shake it off, and then look around to see what the next attempt will bring. And all of that is what inspires others.shake3


So be inspired, notice when it is happening around you and be awakened. For that is how each of us begins the journey to personal power through a Rise Up Moment. Others raise us up, we are awakened, and then it is up to us to make the changes we want to be. It is a personal journey each of us defines. We know when it is OUR Rise Up Moment, and we take flight. Each risk is ours to assess from this new point of view, and we plunge in. Take the leap knowing that you may take flight, or land in a mud bath. Either way leads us to RISE UP, again.








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Feeling Gratitude – Now Express It

Monday, November 2nd, 2015


bbbfa4e438b3938a16d6adb3eefa95b2“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

William Arthur Ward


November is an excellent month to spend exploring this quote on a daily basis. How often have you felt gratitude, and yet missed the opportunity to express it in words, deeds, or actions?


Maybe this hits a nerve because you have a house full of things you have bought “just in case” you need to give a gift, but you never give them. They are tucked away in safekeeping or forgotten, in that box in the closet, under the bed or filling your attic. In that state they are stale, useless things until you dust them off and give them away. Then they become a brilliant expression of your love, connection or feelings for the recipient. What are you waiting for?  Start giving today!


Or maybe you feel reticent to express your feelings of gratitude in fear of rejection. You don’t want others to put you down or reject you for being too exuberant. So you hold back and bottle up those deep feelings that gratitude creates. Why are you letting others bring you down? Bottled up feelings can often “hurt” a whole lot worse then any sense of rejection. Unblock the cork on your feelings of gratitude and let them free! I promise you the outcome will feel fantastic!


For some of you your month of exploration will begin with a gratitude practice. Your daily life has you focused knee deep in the “losses”, “lack” or “suffering.” Turning to recognizing all of the gifts, or grace in your life is the beginning of exploring this quote. Why not start right now? Take a moment to write down 5 things you are grateful for. Need more help? Here is an excellent article about it from Helen Russell, How to Start a Gratitude Practice to Change Your Life.


Once you get this going there is no holding back. Don’t forget to then start expressing the gratitude you feel. Let the feelings grow and be expressed. You will find many ways to express them. Sometimes it will be by speaking the words, “thank you.” At other times you may find a warm smile, a gentle touch, or a look of deep gratitude shared will be enough. Don’t hold back when the gratitude needs to explode in song, dance, a leap of joy or a great big hug. You’ll know when expressing BIG will do no harm to anyone else. Get ready cause you may discover how POWERFUL expressing gratitude is! Spread the feeling.


Happy Thanks-GIVING!

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True North Nature – Part Two

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

18232878-vintage-still-life-with-compass-sextant-and-old-map-Stock-PhotoTRUE NORTH NATURE – Part Two

In my last post I shared what is True North Nature and how it helps us to feel connected, inspired, resourceful and empowered in our daily life. This month I am sharing some of the tools or resources you can utilize to strengthen your connection with this powerful inner resource.   Are you ready?




Are you a seeker? Has the rumbling started deep within you to connect again? Here are just a few ways to help you connect to your True North Nature. You may notice that one just leads you to another. There is no pecking order here, just start with one and you will find that the others will follow.

  • LOVE
  • FEEL


SPEND TIME IN NATURE- Some of what keeps us from being connected to our True North Nature is the discordant way we live, so disconnected from the harmonious way of our planet. Getting off the “junk” of noise, crowd, concrete, electronic, cellular, etc and out into the wild will reset your inner compass. Think natural often, and then go be in it!


STILLNESS, QUIET, CALM – Find ways that bring a stillness, quiet or calm to your everyday life. Yoga, meditation, reading, tai chi, knitting, gardening are just a few ways to get your quiet on. Doing them outdoors in spacious, calm environments will only help to magnify your experience in connecting to your True North Nature.


OFF COURSE SIGNS – Listen to your self-talk. Notice how often you say things like “I have to…” “I must…” “I should have…”. Know that each time you “should”, “have to”, “must” or “supposed to” on yourself (or others) you are OFF COURSE with your True North Nature. Yes, I know you are not alone doing this, but that doesn’t mean it is a healthy way of living. It only means that MANY people live disconnected from their True North Nature. Being unhappy along with many people doesn’t make it happy, it just makes it feel less lonely.


TRUST – YES! Feeling some doubt, recognize it as a signal and then dig deeper. Go sit outside. Be still, be quiet, find your breath. When the rumblings of doubt start to rise take an action listed above, find your breath and let your exhalations help you shed the doubt. Create the intention to TRUST through your connection to something greater than you are- be it nature, a greater sense of order, God, Universe, Gravity, Zero point. Sometimes all it takes is the decision to TRUST, and then let the space around you create the results.


LOVE – OFTEN! It is said that Love HEALS, and yes it does. When we are disconnected from our True North Nature our ability to love shrivels up.   Bring on the love, and you will find that your ability to feel life, understand your feelings, and be guided by the essence of knowing is greatly improved.


EMBRACE THE UNKNOWN – Yes, I know this can be a very scary one. As a culture we are taught to “fill it up” with busy work or “control” it. There is tremendous power in finding a calm center when change is brewing around us, and a factor of the unknown is very present. When we approach it with an attitude of willingness to be in a state of unknowing, some of the other tools will also show themselves to be useful. Go ahead and “multitask” with some TRUST, TIME IN NATURE, become QUIET or STILL, BREATHE CONSCIOUSLY. You will find that an ease will guide you through the darkness, to light and lighten the way.


FEEL – Often what keeps us from our True North Nature is a dullness we have created around us in attempt to feel safe. It is a false sense of safety, and can even lead us to miss signals we need to really establish safety. If you have had a trauma in your life that has left you feeling less than safe it is important to work through it with help, and often with professional help. It is crucial that the result of the healing leaves you open to feeling again and not afraid of feelings or using medications that shut off feelings. True North Nature relies on feelings as its communications system. It is through feelings you will be guided. Learn to feel what brings you joy, excites, enlivens you – acting more and more on that!


EAT FRESH, LIVE and ORGANIC – The body, and its feelings, is the communication system of True North Nature. Keeping the body in a healthy, clear, and vibrant quality will help that communication system function in its most vital way. The less you “pollute” the system the greater its ability to communicate and be understood, leading you to be guided by True North Nature. Think in terms of “wholesome” food that is at its freshest. If you can, grow it! If you can’t grow it, buy local, fresh, organic foods. Minimize processed foods. Watch out for eating to dull your feelings.


BREATHE CONSCIOUSLY – Every breath you take is an opportunity to be mindful, to sense, to be present with all that is happening around you and to detox. Your vital breath can be automatic or conscious. You can breath to survive or to thrive. Every inhalation is an opportunity to nourish and nurture and when done consciously you are making choices of what to allow and what to by pass. Every exhalation gives you the opportunity to release those things that you are complete with, or hold on again. When we move from the automatic breath that is patterned, often just enough to sustain the moment, into a conscious breath we open our life possibilities. Our breath becomes a vehicle for our True North Nature communication system. It transports our mind to experience the feelings, and helps us to make choices to let go, nourish or hold on to emotions, thoughts, food, experiences, people, etc. Life is transformed. Connections are made. True North Nature is alive!


Life is a winding path we travel. Just like any trip we take it helps us to have resources – a compass, a map, a guide. Even with all of that we can still get lost, and will need to use our inner resources to find our way again.   May you find your connection to TRUE NORTH NATURE. Onward!

Posted in Articles, Inspirations from Class, Yoga Philosophy | 1 Comment »

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