A lil omm goes a long way… literally!

MidDrift Movement Swag

MidDrift Movement Swag… Get Yours.

Last week I was invited to a very special event. The Mid-Drift Movement was coming to DC to do some filming for a documentary they are making about motherhood and postpartum bodies. When it was my turn to speak I had NO idea what I was going to say. I just got up and started telling the story of lil omm, and something magical happened…
As I began to speak our story to share the path of why and how we started and what the state of motherhood, natural birth, and holistic options were available to mamas 9 years ago I reflected back on how isolating the prenatal and postpartum period felt.  When lil omm started there were so few resources and communities for women and families, even in this big, highly educated city.  I started LO as a way to surround myself with like-minded women and families who wanted MORE OUT OF THEIR LIVES and THEIR PRACTICES, especially as it pertained to raising children. Fast forward to last fall when I decided to close the studio- and you know what? I do not feel this way anymore! Now, Washington DC has many more options for prenatal information, classes on parenting, natural birth options and while it’s not perfect, I closed our doors feeling like women and families were more supported in this city now than they were when we opened.  I’m so proud of us!
It feels so good to know that this city has made progress- from the beautiful midwifery program at George Washington University that integrates with the OB-GYN program, to the opening of the new Maternity Center at Sibley Hospital to the increase in home births of my students. I also feel so grateful that our country is in a “mindfulness and yoga” boom right now where people everywhere can find classes online and in their local libraries and communities. These practices that I hold so dear have been able to expand a bit to reach a broader audience and while nothing is the same as the heart, soul and spirit that was our LO studio, I feel SO GOOD to know that our city (and beyond) has access to more information and quality support than ever before.
This past year I have been approached to do some really interesting projects as a way to keep the lil omm community and spirit alive: coaching new yoga & wellness teachers and professionals in their business, Skype training for Itsy Bitsy/ Mom & Me Yoga so that we can spread these amazing offerings to more locations, supporting women on the phone to start their own meditation/ yoga practice, having fun teaching how essential oils can help with our physical and emotional health, and finally creating online classes (and a virtual book club!) so that lil omm can continue to reach women who really want a community, a home to feel supported and seen and loved on this spectacular journey of life.
I left the MidDrift event just feeling so grateful for what lil omm was AND what it is becoming. Memories of students and their babies scrolled through my mind, but I really honored the fact that there was a point in time when I needed lil omm studio in order to Thrive.  I needed a physical place to put my energy and time into, and to bring my children, and to teach and share yoga. And like everything, that time has passed.  My interests have shifted. I have grown and evolved and while the core of lil omm remains the same, I’m proud of us for riding the waves, going with the flow, and being super curious about our lives as they are NOW… stepping into new offerings, programs, connections in new ways while always remembering that one of the keys to long term wellness and contentment is connection (and that can happen live, online, on the phone, with our thoughts and our memories).
Are you new to lil omm?  Start Here to find ways to connect online!
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Let’s Get Together!  Upcoming Local Events:

And don’t miss our very first Omm @ Home: Virtual Book Club for Inspired Women meeting on Zoom this Wednesday!  Haven’t read the book yet?  No problem.  You’ll still get something great from it!

Interested personal wellness or biz coaching?  Let’s Chat! Set up your complimentary intro consult.

Remember..

my darling, my love, my strong and wonderful friend-

REMEMBER.

you are love. you are compassion. you are strength.

you do hard things.

when the racing thoughts feel like they are taking you down.

PAUSE. BREATHE.

REMEMBER.

slow down enough to listen the wind rustle the trees, the birds song outside your window, the car driving past. slow down enough to hear life, live right outside of your head.

and from this place, of space, calm, peace and truth-

REMEMBER this..

you are blessed with the ability and the capacity to be more than this moment, this thought.

KNOW that this too, shall pass and to only {and I mean}  ONLY treat yourself like you would treat your beloved. BE your own beloved. Take yourself in your own arms with only kindness and allow those feelings to move through. Use your breath to guide you home.

And from here, move into your day.

A Blessing

(for all the women who have reached out this past month to tell me how hard life is right now, I hear you. I love you. We are going to get through this)

I bless this breath and this moment.

I seek the love, peace and truth that resides within, even when my life is changing and challenging all around me.

I move into my life and my day with slow and steady awareness for whatever I want to change, noticing my aversions and attachments as they appear.. one by one.. all day long.

” Hi again. thanks for coming. I see you. what are you teaching me?”

And as this moment ends, I am awake.

Smile, head back into life with the comfort of my humanity.

With a playful attitude towards the next and the next.. as the certainty of our lives is that we experience a variety of emotions in any given day.

watching and flowing with the waves may bring joy  ( or pain).

I bless this life I am meant to live, right here. right now.

accepting and bowing to the only teacher {this moment } and I approach you again,  for the first time, just as I am.

 

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.
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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.
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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.
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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?

PS 
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 . pleasance@lilomm.com ♥️♥️

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.

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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- pleasance@lilomm.com

With a grateful heart,

P.

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