From STRESS to Chill

She is screaming. “no, mama. NO!”

I’m holding her hands down…..very firmly.

The light from the afternoon is actually quite beautiful, but her screams are so loud

I tune back in. I hold her palms and close my eyes. She is at the dentist. She is in pain.

As her anchor & her rock, the only thing I can do to help her {to help me } is to sit here and breathe as deeply and aware as possible. These are the moments I practice for.

We have all had to be in appointments where  support people we love who are having shots, in pain, broken bones, getting chemo, sewing stitches, whatever it is.

And these are the moments where our practice can rise up, guide us and help us in the most powerful form of love we can ever really show, and that is our non distracted attention.

Here are some suggestions for you…

1. Plan for Stress. This means, before appointments AS BEST I CAN.. I make sure I am well hydrated, well fed, and relaxed. I take care of myself so I can handle what comes at me. I use the bathroom before I take the kids to the doc, I make sure ALL my essential and most important tasks are complete. I also put some essential oils in my purse- I usually use some on my wrists behind my ears before I go. I like to have them in case I want to use them for my kiddos in the office while waiting- ESPECIALLY ON GUARD- which it the protective bend b/c I really don’t love being exposed to all those germs in the offices.

2. Ground Yourself. For me, when they start to really get stressed out – this means I root my feet ( whether standing or sitting) and I hold somewhere on their body and start really deep breathing. Today, I was holding her palms and breathing into her hands to send that grounded energy BUT I also had a few moments where I just held her temples, the sides of her tiny head and while she was freaking out- I sent all the energy into my palms, into my hands, trying to relieve her stress and racing thoughts. I have also done this on the feet or anywhere else where I can send energy BUT also feel grounded and stable in my own body and let the breathe flow through.

3. Chant. So.. I spend most of these appointments reciting AUM  ( OMMMMM) in my head. I sometimes chant it deeply to them or HUM it deeply, slowly. quietly. Sometimes I close my eyes and sometimes I look around the room while chanting- taking it all in. I did this a lot when Milo had very bad asthma attacks and we would have to sit in the ER for hours waiting for his meds to kick in.

What do you do to connect to your strength? Your peacefulness when things around you are stressful?

20130520-152240.jpg Baby Milo in the hospital. 3-4 years ago.



Freedom Yoga as a Lifestyle. Tips from Erich Schiffman!

If you have taken a class with me in the past few years, you know that I have been deeply inspired by the teachings of Erich Schiffman and Freedom Style Yoga.  His influence has really allowed me to expand my awareness of what a yoga practice should be, look, and feel.  I was SO fortunate to be with him last weekend at the Freedom Yoga Retreat in Yogaville, and to share the experience with Saylor and lil ommies Ada & Paige.
The best part of practicing freedom yoga is when Erich turns on some of his favorite music and just lets the whole room do a free form session.  No prescribed flow, no adjustments, just movement. The energy, the art, the creativity that you feel is really amazing and palpable.  Encouraging Saylor to see and feel this practice was very special to me as we were able to intuitively connect over partner poses and the music, which is something we needed after a tough week.

Being with Erich reminded me of some foundational principles to really integrating yoga into your life.  In October 2013 I shared some of my experience from Big Mind Live with Erich at Yogaville in 2013.  Now, I’m excited to share with you some of the BIG takeaways from our recent time together.  I hope you can think about these, let it marinate, and share with me what you think about freedom, yoga, and life.

Of course, once I was paying attention and thinking about freedom I started seeing it everywhere!
Like this powerful blog post from Liz Gilbert.
Erich’s teachings for yoga and life:
  • Yoga is the inquiry into truth.
  • Yoga is conscious union with the infinite that is being expressed by you.
  • Remember to do a “Pause Practice” regularly, as often as you can remember. This is where you pause, exhale and relax.  Do this whenever you remember to do it, and as often as you can.  I’ll be offering a Pause Practice @ IMCW November 18th!
  • Go into listen mode more often. Be attentive and aware and universal.  Wisdom will have a place to come in.
  • Love is the willingness to recognize that which is real.
  • Regularly as yourself, “What is the Truth here really?”
  • Allow yourself to “silent mind it” and be willing to not know all the answers all the time.
  • Relax More. Love more. Trust more (and be brave in the trusting). This is not easy.  It’s simple, but not easy.
  • In your yoga practice- look for moments to linger, flow on, pause, slow down, and change it up. Channel your poses through the energy in your body.  Think about what you are energizing, what thoughts you energize, and what you give your attention to.
  • Find some patterns in the body that you like to practice.
  • When you start a free form yoga practice, start with the postures you know and look for options and choices in the poses, and get into it a little more with the breath to help guide you. It’s important to learn from a school of yoga, get the basic form and alignment, to have some discipline around the learning of the system BUT eventually the discipline dissolves and intuitive practice guides.  Do enough movements so that it feels GOOD!  It’s nice to do both formal practice and free form practice.
For more teachings from Erich, sign up to listen to his recordings and teachings here.  
Below are 2 videos- one about yoga, and one about meditation.

Final Thoughts
I encourage my students to try “Bed Med”.  Slide out of bed in the morning or into bed at night and just PAUSE a few breaths, sit and meditate here for as long as feels good- before you doze off or before you start your day.   Think of yoga and meditation as lifestyle. Remembering to relax and listen for Universal Wisdom is part of this lifestyle.  The yoga postures are awareness training, just a physical way for us to be aware of the subtle and to practice listening to our bodies.

Many of you know that behind the scenes I am a crazy voracious reader. I always have at least 3-4 books on my shelf, in my purse, my car, my life! I read something every day and I mostly love non fiction books around wellness, wisdom and wealth.  These are the categories I define as well being, self help, growth, transformation; all great stories of change and love and truth (i.e. freedom).

For the past 6 months or so I have been dreaming of a way to share my love for the teachings and thoughts in these books to a greater audience, and ta-da! The Omm @ Home Virtual Book Club for Inspired Women was born.  Each book has been carefully selected to help cultivate our awareness and understanding of the universal truths and wisdom practices.  Sign up here to learn more and to get the reading list, starting with October’s book  Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  Our first online meeting will be on Wednesday, October 26th @ 7:30pm.  We meet on the last Wednesday of each month!  If you can’t make it live, a recording will be sent to you!

Take a moment to pause, relax, and listen before the holiday rush.  Join me at IMCW on Friday, November 18th from 9:30am-2:30pm for the Pause half-day yoga & meditation retreat.

What to do when it all hurts….

Over the past few weeks many of the people in my life have had to deal with big huge horrible things, heartbreaking  painful truths, annoying illnesses, pain in the body and in the heart along with a huge serving of anger and frustration. 

from students to family members to my own personal life- this season came in, shook us up and spit us back out to pick up the pieces.

In hard times, I turn to anything Pema Chodron for healing and inspiration.

I mediate as often as I can. All day. As a lifestyle choice- my path to peace.

I cry a lot. I am empathic and sensitive which means I feel things. I know things about myself and others and I have learned {and keep learning} how to BE with discomfort. Like REALLY feel it. 

I notice when I do that, I wake the next day usually a little lighter.

I say yes to things that bring me JOY – and I say no to things that are too much for this season. It took a while to discern between the 2 but I am getting better at listening to my inner “hell yes! ” or “hell no.” 

I take baths with salts and oils and go to bed as early as possible. Each day brings all new possibility for challenges, bumps, blessings and I want to be well rested so I can go with the flow.

I set my intentions and plan ahead. I know some people freeze when they are in pain, I get it. Whatever you can do to look ahead- put something restful and peaceful in the calendar( like a retreat or a meditation or yoga class or carve out some writing time) I find just the act of planning for peace helps me deal with current stress.

Lastly, I chant OM in my head. Since I practice yoga as a lifestlye choice- I am always looking for ways to bring yoga off the mat and into my life. So- when shit gets real… I silently OM to myself. Feel the vibrations of peace, connect to my brothers and sisters around the world. Acknowledge this gift of life and go back to the dishes and laundry. 

what do you do to take good care of yourself when things suck?

My model calendar for this fall has given me SO much space to get truly inportant things done and to let go of the rest. I know exactly what I need to do each day in all areas if my life and I do it. Then I have lots of space to journal or walk or play or create.  I want this for you. 

I am obsessed with model calendars and Planning to Thrive… if you want to set up a 2 hour private session to create yours- email me . ♥️♥️

Getting Started with Your Practice: Resources and Support

This has been on my mind so much lately…

It’s not the to-do list with checked boxes, the app with the timers and bells and whistles, or the endless meal planning that will change your life.Think about it… what does it mean to “be on top of it all?”  ALL the time spent worried about what “others will think” WHO are those specific others?  Can you see them? Are they people that you care about, that mean a lot to you?  If not, why are “they” taking up so much of your mind space? your energy? your life?

My dear friends, freedom occurs when you cultivate a real, authentic, meaningful, dynamic relationship to YOUR  life. The relationship in which you trust and love and treat with compassion, the realities of your responsibilities. Freedom occurs when you CHOOSE joy over endless to-do’s and you wake up to the value of a spacious, expansive, creative day. Freedom occurs when we trust ourselves and listen to our hearts, not JUST the mind.

“PLEASANCE!!!”  you say, “how on Earth can I do that? I have a job, and kids, and bills, and endless tasks on my lists.

And then I will come close, hold your hand and whisper… practice. It all starts with practice.

So in honor of this response, here are tips to get you started. 

Here are 3 of my Favorite Yoga & Wisdom Books.  You can click on the book cover to learn more and to purchase.

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Check out all of my recommended reads.  Find titles related to Family/Parenting support, business/self-development, meditation, kids books, plus DVDs, products, and more of what I love.


Just added! Give yourself 8 minutes in the morning, on your lunch break, or before bed to try this at home yoga practice.

Here’s a 5-minute meditation video I created to support content from Chapter 8: Awake of my book, Delight: 8 Principles for Living with Joy and Ease.  Want to receive all the supporting video content? Sign up.

Tara Brach offers a wonderful “How to Meditate Guide” which addresses setting up your practice, troubleshooting common issues, and sustaining a practice.  You can also check out her New to Meditation page.

“You are traveling a path that has led to clarity, peace and deep realization for many people over thousands of years. May their awakening support and inspire you. And may the sincerity of your practice heal and free your spirit.”
— Tara Brach

When you establish your sitting practice, you’ll want to be comfortable.  Find a comfy mat, bolster, or blanket.  Or set the mood or intention with some essential oils and aromatherapy!  Maybe you need a grounding oil like Vetiver or Sandalwood.  If you need extra relaxation try Lavender, Roman Chamomile, or Clary Sage.  Need some cleansing?  Grab your sage.  Need some loving? Neroli or Rose will do the trick.  There is SO much to learn about essential oils related to practice.  Let’s chat about it.  Book a free 30 minute intro call with me.

If you need any additional support regarding your practice and want to work together, here’s an application to get started.

Additionally, join me at Insight Meditation Community of Washington in Tenleytown for my half-day Pause Retreat on Friday, November 18th.  This is a simple, sweet yoga and meditation retreat for all levels where you will explore practices to take home.


What will this year bring? What bumps and joys lie ahead?

This time of year, as jews- we reflect on this all.  What last year brought us, taught us, showed us, handed us. And what we can do next year to be better citizens, engaged humans, thoughtful leaders and compassionate neighbors.

What does this really mean?

Looking back, I see a year of change and transition at every season and looking ahead I see mostly unknowns. I set my intention for how I think and want things to be, but there is always a bigger plan that I have no control over. Daily, I surrender to that truth.  In our yoga practice we chant “OM NAMAHA” which translates, in this context to- “I give up. I surrender. I see that I am not in charge. I honor the inter-connectedness of it all.”

The only TRUTHS that I can know is that we will experience at some time in the next few months all the feelings of being human, the whole range of emotions- there will be incredibly joyful proud days and there will be moments of utter pain and suffering.

For me, this knowing that I can expect it all- is comforting. I approach the new year reflective about how much last year taught me. Closing my studio. Breaking my foot. Living in New England for the summer. I see moments of light. Memories flood my brain, feelings in my heart of being with people I love, in beautiful places. Enjoying nature, company and the sunset moments where the colors scream “NOTICE ME! I AM HERE TO SHOW YOU MY POWER. FEEL ME. INTEGRATE ME. WAKE UP!”   All while remembering long, quiet days on the couch this past Spring, when I could not leave my house,  when I had to be healed. When I had to stay still. When I went into the depths of my “sacred sabbatical”  only to come out stronger, wiser, humble to the body that has mostly allowed me to run, dance and play whenever I want. OM NAMAHA.

And I have no clue what will arise this year. There are unknowns for us all. Upcoming political changes, racial tension, violence and if you keep looking, keep digging- you see people taking care of one another. You see people showing up with food, with hugs, with notes and acts of kindness. They, too- are everywhere if you search for them.

“Ehipassiko! Come & see for yourself.” Buddhist teaching

And now begins our exploration of the most incredible shift that can occur in your life. It’s giving the gift of attention to your life. To right now, this moment. This is all you have, truly. Attention is when we take notice of someone or something as interesting or important. There is nothing more interesting or important than your life.

We often live in our minds – in the past with thoughts and conversations that already occurred, or in the future – worrying and stressing about something that may or many not happen. But the truth is, all we have is this moment. At any moment, the phone could ring or the email could come in that changes everything. And at some point, this happens to us all.

But attention is only this right here. This breath. This day. This sensation.

Our yoga practices guide us to open our eyes, our hearts, and our minds to the fact that noticing and being curious about our life is life. It’s the purest form of love to just be present, to show your interest in your life and in others.

So, let’s start right now. Cultivate an attention practice. Commit to noticing the sights, smells, sensations, feelings, and noises around you right now, in this moment. Pay attention.”-  

excerpt from Delight: Eight Principles for Living with Joy and Ease 

Take a moment this week ( Jewish or not) to reflect on the past year- to meditate on the moments that flash in your mind. What stands out? What feelings did you have? What areas did you find yourself LOVING YOUR LIFE? And where was there darkness? What pain did you face?   I’d love to hear from you- email me to share-

With a grateful heart,






a lil omm everyday + #yogaineverydamnway

#yogaeverydamnday is a very popular movement challenge, when you look at the hashtag collection it is more than half pictures of people in very difficult postures that most of us don’t practice regularly. For some people, these photos are very inspiring. For others, they are very discouraging and turning people away from yoga because they believe they won’t ever be able to achieve or accomplish these “advanced” arm balances and inversions.
This morning I woke up thinking… What if it was #yogaineverydamnway, and instead of people doing headstands, handstands, and arm balances they were meditating, sitting in stillness.  Not striving, not perfecting, not competing as we get to be more “advanced” practitioners.  Pssst… I’m going to let you in on a little secret Gentle Is The New Advanced
and J is coming to The Underground Yogi, in VA in October!!
Yoga’s Ethical Guide to Living:the Yamas and Niyamas are here to keep us on track … to stay focused on how I only really want to do this whole “life thing” as a student of yoga, not because it gives me “yoga booty” but because it helps me realize my strength, my flexibility, and my potential (not to mention the shift of perspective, mindset, and clearing of the internal cobwebs so that I am able to live these days awake, alive, and in tune with my life).  That to me is the gift of a lifetime. Thank you, Yoga.
I’m going to share with you our outline for the Mom’s Up themed workshops (plus poses) featured in our upcoming retreat… these are not just for our mamas, but for ALL humans to explore. How do these themes show up in your life and in your relationships every day?  What happens when you invite yourself into a pose with a theme and reflect up on the theme?  How does it feel when you breathe into the pose, come out, and Pause.
This type of practice is extremely efficient… you don’t need 90 minutes, fancy yoga pants, or even to leave your home. It’s just a lil omm every day, plus #yogaineverydamnway.
Try it and let me know what you think.
Mom’s Up Workshop Themes & Supporting Poses
Energetic strength (plank)
Energy and time feel like scarce resources for moms. Be reminded of your inner strength and tap into your vital energies.Find the power to manage your energy sustainably, and to be yourSELF with authentic conviction. 
Balance (tree pose)
A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures that are in ALIGNMENT with one’s values. Balance is  dynamic and that you “achieve” when all of the most precious aspects of your life and self are in harmony.  Only you can determine what balance means to you, what alignment looks and feels like to YOU, in this season. How do you embrace equilibrium in your heart and mind?
Self love (mudra)
What does your love affair with you look like? Realize the value of caring for yourself.  Learn to recognize and celebrate what is wonderful about you. With hands on your heart, breathe into the center of your own being. The real, beautiful, loving kind soul that I believe exists in all of us. Tap into her as often as possible. Befriend her. Embrace and Empower her to help you make decisions for your life. 
Trust (half moon)
Self doubt, guilt, not-enoughitis are all too common symptoms of motherhood, ( adulthood?). Reconcile with the voices and habits that support the re-occurence of these symptoms and learn to connect with your intuition so you can feel confident in your choices as a mother, as a woman. Begin living a life based on trusting yourSELF and the Universe that supports you. 
Creativity (side twists)
Busy-ness, overwhelm, stress and lack of self-confidence can all be barriers to a mothers’ powerful creative flow.  Learn how to overcome these barriers and connect with and nourish you creative spirit. It is time to settle into your authentic self and let your imagination roam free.
Want to learn more about Mom’s Up?  We were just featured on Mindful Healthy Life! 
If you’re a mama who lovingly does EVERYTHING for your family and somewhere along the way have lost track of your own needs, priorities, and self-care then you’re invited to a complimentary group coaching call with me and my retreat co-host, Alex Hughes this Thursday, October 6th @ 11am.
Want in?  Sign up here.  Recordings will be available to everyone registered.
Registration for our weekend retreat in Middleburg, Virginia ends on October 10th!  Only a handful of spots are available.

6 Healthy Habits to Help Ease Your Way into Fall

Fall is coming– are you doing what you can to ease one of the most challenging seasonal transitions for your body?
In addition to the cooler temperatures in the forecast this week, you may notice you’re feeling more tired than usual as the days shorten and our internal clocks shift.  Perhaps your allergies are starting to flare up causing all sorts of disruptions.  So many of us get sick when the seasons change, and this is partially because we haven’t adequately planned ahead to sync our lifestyle to meet the new season.  This includes changing our movement practices, the foods we eat, and even our daily habits and rituals.
To help with your transition, I share with you…
6 Ways to Help Ease Your Way Into Fall:
1. Rest when you are tired. If you push through, over schedule, or over caffeinate you will really mess with your immune system. To function optimally, your immune system needs lots of rest and digest time.  Refer back to my Plan to Thrive DIY Retreat where I teach you how to create your model calendar.
2. Hydrate. Keep drinking your water!  In fact, make it warm and add a little lemon or lime (fresh or essential oil) to keep digestion moving.
3. Oils! Revolutionize your approach to health and wellness with therapeutic-grade essential oils.  DoTerra oils and supplements are a big part of my family’s wellness plan.
To learn more about ordering oils to address wellness goals for you and your family- email me or you can also buy here. 
Remember you can diffuse oils, apply them to the soles of feet  largest pores in the body), behind ears, on wrists or heart center.  You can also ingest 1 drop in water (this is where I highly encourage you to use a trusted brand like DoTerra).
Some ideas for Oils:
– take your ON GUARD beadlets drop daily AND you can also break one open in your hand to use as sanitizer on the go.
– Use eucalyptusin your diffuser or bath.
– Apply 1 drop of oreganoon the soles of your feet or in your waterif you feel a cold coming on (this oil is considered a hotoil so it will burn your lips if you use too much!  You can dilute hot oils with a carrier oil like coconut oil)
– Drop some Melaleuca  (tee tree oil) in your bath water or rub on your feet for daily immune support.
– Diffuse lavender, lemon, and peppermint in the kitchen and bedrooms for allergies.  You can also put 1 drop of each in your water.
– Use Balance, Serenity or Vetiver for Rest by diffusing or putting on soles of feet or even directly on your pillow.
Want to learn more about oils?  The focus of my next Yoga & Aromatherapy workshop at Washington Yoga Center is Surrender and Receive, which I find to be so seasonally appropriate!  I also host a monthly Healthy Happy Hour where we explore oils and connect over our love for healthy living in my kitchen!
4. Practice. Vata (season is coming)!  It’s windy, which can be super unsettling especially for people who feel anxious or “live in their heads”. During this season it’s particularly important to start and end each day with grounded practices to help support your connection to nature and the changing of the season.
Here’s a breathing practice I love!  Make it extra special by adding some oils I mention above!
Binded Breathing Practice
Binded Breathing Practice
5. Warm foods for comfort, support, nutrition and digestion.  For breakfast, try some oatmeal with any combination of flax, cinnamon, chia, almond milk, maple syrup.  And for lunch or dinner, soups and stews make a great choice.  Again, your immune system will need your help to have a smooth transition to fall, so take care in what you eat, especially during seasonal transitions.
6. Disclaimer: okay, this might be a little “woo-woo” for some of you but for others- I think you will LOVE this morning affirmation practice.  Wake up in the morning (if possible before anyone else)and lay in your bed or on the floor.  Bring one hand to the heart and one hand to the belly. Breathe.
After a few rounds ask yourself, “What do I need today? What is my body calling for? What is my heart seeking?” and always remind yourself, “You are loved. You are supported. You have all you need.”
You might even add the affirmation, “I trust my body, my mind, and my heart to guide me today. I am whole.  I will move into the day with spacious generosity of spirit and love.”
Try it! Let me know what you think/feel.
Additionally, if you want a copy of the Welcome Fall worksheet I use (it’s super short & simple) just e-mail me and I’ll send it over to you.
Stay tuned for next week’s Wake Up Wednesday edition where I share mind-body practices based on energetic strength, balance, trust, creativity, and self-love.
P.S. Want to truly nourish your body, mind, and spirit?  Surrender to Fall at our Mom’s Up Retreat in the beautiful Virginia countryside.  Registration ends 10/10. The retreat was just featured on MindfulHealthyLife!