Healing Tool Kit

“There is no way out. The only the way is through.” Shambala teaching
Find a quiet spot. Take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself these questions below- jot them down in a journal or just reflect on the answers that arise.
How are you feeling? (no filter, no judgment)
Where do you feel this in your body? ( what specific areas of the body are these emotions arising?)
What does it feel like?  Be specific. ( Be detailed. Label and identify)
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Practice Sama Vritti for 10 rounds.
inhale 4 count. exhale 4 count. ( 1 round)

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What are 3 things/people/places  you adore in your life?
What are 3 things you can put in your “wellness tool kit, care kit” ?
What helps you return HOME in your body? Be specific- baths, hugs, yoga, meditation, oils, Pema books, etc) The clearer you are here- the better! This is a TOTALLY unique list for you to return to when you need to ground and center yourself.

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Lay down on your back, flat. Spread your arms and legs so they have space so you feel the breathe fully in all areas of your body. Breathe from souls of feet to top of head. Watch this for guidance. 

In closing,

What is something you can do TODAY from a generous heart, with no expectation, no outcome.
Go out in the world and DO THAT THING.
I also find this type of breathing, deeply healing and this type of meditation also helps me to  cultivate compassion for my self and for others.
What do you to to heal your heart, heal your soul?

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. 
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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?
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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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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.

Why Retreat

retreatWhy Retreat?

Okay, let’s be real for a minute.
Our lives never seem to slow down. The minute we think we will “have some time” to ourselves, a kid gets sick, the sitter does not show up, our boss calls us back into work, the dishwasher breaks. It never ends! It’s just too much. Our daily, busy modern lives do not really ease up and it’s truly up to us to put a big stop sign up and say, “ENOUGH!  I need a break.”
A few years ago when Milo was a year and a half, I had hit that wall. I was running on fumes and was just not able to find any peace or space in my daily life.  I was craving quiet, rest, solitude, and nourishment… and it’s funny because I did not realize that going in.  My nervous system was on OVERDRIVE all the time, and I don’t think I even had a minute to realize what I wanted.  It was a freezing cold night, both kids were crying, and I was sitting on the floor of my house when I saw the description for the retreat come into my inbox and I thought, “THAT’S IT. It’s time.”
You see, before that I had never spent time or money on my self like this.  Sure I had taken “trainings” (and anything having to do with learning always counts as a good investment), but I really struggled with allowing myself– giving permission to myself to actually schedule some serious down time. A weekend that focused solely on meditation and silence, on being and not doing.
And after a few days away from my family, on my own to write in my journal, read my book, be in silence, walk in nature, eat meals on my own slowly and with care, I started to breath deeper, fuller and I could feel my shoulders soften. I started to see my life in a new way, I started to relax a bit into my true nature.  And my life never really looked the same again.
I was able to recognize and prioritize when I needed some alone time. I was able to make it through some very hard times by just knowing that my next retreat was planned and that I was truly giving myself permission to take time away from daily life. I noticed that when I returned my voice was stronger, my heart fuller, my head clearer. I was prepared to make decisions for our family and for my biz, and I was  able to engage with my daily life from a more loving and grounded place.
Yep, just that weekend away had given my body and my mind the much deserved REST it truly needed, and from then on Retreat has been one of the ways I have been able to do hard things, process emotions, and find my way home to ME. What a gift to give my kids and to my husband, when I come home and love them up so much!  My gratitude is overflowing for the gifts that our life is and that can be SO HARD TO SEE when I’m rushing around, DOING, DOING, DOING and living in fight or flight mode.
So.. that was where my love affair with retreats started. I signed up for one, and then another. I planned and mapped out that I really needed and wanted to go once a year, then once a season. Eventually, I  started leading them at the studio and then in new places. One of the things I love to do most in the world is hold space for women to just be: to create, to rest, to walk or stretch with no expectations for outcomes.  Just everyone having their own experience.
So this Fall and Winter I invite you to join me. Each retreat a bit different: a different purpose, a different time of year.
  • MOMS UP!  October 28-30.  GREAT for mamas who want to spend an intimate weekend with other mamas! DELISH food, conversations, mama workshops and movement practices all weekend. We share a big country house and enjoy the beauty of Fall and each other.
  • Pause.  November 13.  Our most popular half-day retreat is back!  Spend your Friday committing yourself to purposeful rest, movement, and connection right in Tenleytown.  No weekend long commitment or stress around arranging childcare-  just a short, sweet opportunity to recharge before the Holidays.
  • Delight.  December 9-11. Designed for women wanting to spend some time in quiet, in contemplation, surrounded by the beautiful VA countryside with plenty of trails to walk, plus time for yoga and meditation. The PERFECT way to approach the Holidays, to set intentions for the new year, and to explore your inner world.  In this retreat, we will dive into some of the principles covered in my book, Delight: 8 Principles for Living with Joy & Ease all while settling into the rhythms of winter. Our accommodations allow for you to share a room & visit with a friend OR to have a private room where you can choose to spend most of your time just resting and relaxing.  I have a few optional workshops also planned for this weekend, including JourneyDance and Mala Bracelet making, and book your own massage.

 

Retreat FAQs

What if I don’t know anyone? You’re already one of us—you seek connection, rest, and nourishment and so do we! It won’t take long to break the ice and feel open and comfortable with the group.

What if I have a food/allergy concern? E-mail us and we’ll find a solution.

What if I’ve never done yoga or meditation? You’re in for a treat! We’ll enjoy all levels practices for all ages, stages, and sizes.

Is it possible to arrive early or stay late? Maybe! Please contact the venue directly.

What if I have to cancel? Your registration is non-refundable, however you are able to transfer registration to someone else (ie. sell you spot).  Keep in mind, this is a gift and investment in yourself.

Mid Summer Update

Hi lil ommies,

Well, it’s been quite a summer.

We left DC the day the kiddos got out of school and made our way up to CT to spend a bit of time with my family before we headed over to Nantucket to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary with some of our wedding party. When we come back in August we will have been gone 7.5 weeks!

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We felt so lucky to have folks come back to the Island and celebrate with us. Nantucket is a very special to me because my grandparents had a house there when I was little and I spent many childhood days alone walking the trails, going to the beach, and riding bikes mostly by myself.  I love sharing the beauty of the island with people I love, and this year was extra awesome because Saylor organized and led our renewal ceremony on the beach.  It was definitely a night we won’t forget!

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In early July we relocated to Hartford, CT where my grandmother lives.  This is the same house that has been in our family for 96 years!  Talk about memories!  The kids have been in various camps, having so many interesting New England adventures. We went to Maine last weekend and now we are preparing for a quick weekend visit to Vermont to see our dear friend (and former LO teacher, Kate)!   It’s truly been a wonderful, interesting summer.

One thing I LOVE about social media is seeing all my friends and family on their travels, with the growing kids and the big smiles and the ice creamy faces. BUT I also know that some of that can cause us to feel a bit “less than” or F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) or negative sad feelings around social media. Listen, get real with yourself and if you DON’T feel good when you are scrolling – GET OFF THE PHONE or COMPUTER- and do something that DOES  make you feel good!  Put the technology down and take 5 deep breaths. Go for a walk, pet your dog or cat, HUG a real HUMAN! Reach out on the phone to someone you love.  I have been calling people this summer to catch up on the phone, just like old times!  It’s been a wonderful way to connect to the people in my life.

I also have had some really nice work time when my kids are at camp. While I am not working TOO much right now (mostly taking long  walks and reading),  I have enjoyed studying and learning more about doTerra essential oils and using them this summer as much as possible, selling them to students, and introducing the benefits of aromatherapy to people. I’ve even had time to map our my fall schedule and offerings!

I REALLY miss seeing everyone in person, but I’m excited about the Fall!  I’ll be teaching a monthly Family Yoga class at Washington Yoga Center (registration will be available through washingtonyogacenter.com), two Yoga for Women sessions at IMCW, various Retreats, workshops, my 8- week THRIVE online course, private coaching, and NEW holistic healing offerings such as reiki and AromaTouch massage! Our website is regularly updated, so you can learn more there and sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already!

I have also been reading books that people have suggested to me, mostly subjects around healthy finances, parenting, and writing as well as FINALLY getting into some fiction, which to me is EXACTLY what summer is all about. What are YOU reading this summer? Anything awesome?

Listen, as much as I have found love and joy in these gorgeous summer days, the weight of the world is also creating unrest, there is a deep unsettled, low level anxiety that lies right under the surface. As a yogi, as a compassionate human being, as a woman, as a mama, as me, I deeply care about our future as a country and as a people. And where it gets a bit sticky and challenging is that in spiritual practice when things get complicated we try to simplify. We don’t put out the anger and darkness and fear with anger or violence. We have to keep loving, we have to keep peaceful, we have to listen and hold one another. We have to communicate, donate our time or money to the causes that are near and dear to our heart. I know I have been reaching out to others as a way to help support connection, offering my time and resources to an idea one of our students has that will greatly support families, as well as thinking about the way I personally can impact change in our area!  More on that coming soon!

Below are a few things (links to articles, videos, etc) I have read and listened to over the past few weeks to help me– I hope they help you. I know it’s not changing the world or ending racism or bigotry or going to put an end to gun violence.  Ya know what? It’s not going to guarantee anything because in this world NOTHING is promised to us. NOTHING is permanent. Waking up to the truth of the pain of the world, while serving our families and our communities and  living in love as a choice, every day is powerful. Pay attention to your own suffering and anger  and do what you can to heal yourself. It starts with us!  Then we model for our children, our neighbors, and we stand together in our awareness, even when it’s painful.

 

 

Why I’m a Racist article

Thoughts from dear Katrina. 

“My hope, for all of us, is that we will not shy away from the hard conversations. May we continue to have them with our loved ones and our friends, on our Facebook pages and in public spaces and, especially, with people who see the world through different eyes. May we choose in each of these encounters and communications to heal rather than humiliate, to honor rather than to hurt. May we listen well and respect each other. May we resist the urge to dehumanize others. May we practice the art of empathy, which is to say, may we put ourselves in the shoes of another and willingly walk their mile. May we be living examples of kindness. May we act in accordance with our deepest human values: love, compassion, integrity, fairness, and hope for a better future. May we read more deeply and think more expansively. May we continue to educate and stretch ourselves. May we not retreat from complexity, but embrace it. May we be practical rather than partisan, thoughtful rather than reactive, generous of heart toward all rather than protective of a few. May we seek and find common ground here, in our America.”– Katrina Kennison

I often listen to music and just sit. I journal. I breathe when life feels too big, too heavy, too dark.

I went back to this recently and watched this. 

I don’t have any answers. I don’t know the way or the path of healing the world. As my personal mission- I just share with others perspectives, stories, insights that may be helpful to some. Meanwhile, doing everything I can in my tiny tiny world to be strong and brave and show up every day for myself and my family and our community. I take my life very seriously. I take each day with love and gratitude because I know this time is precious. I know living in love is the right choice for me and that means gathering people, creating, sharing and being a student.

I love you and thank you for being part of my life.

Here is sweet Milo, who turned 5 this summer, sleeping on me. Every night I put him back in his bed, and every night he creeps back in with me.  And a picture of the flowers at our local park which I just love. I document all of this daily here.

PS

I LOVE connecting with people, so email me pleasance@lilomm.com or join our lil omm life facebook group to keep the conversation going and to share with me things that help you during tough times, to connect over ways our community might be able to help, or just introduce yourself.

 

PPS

Join me here!

PAUSE. -Winter is dead.”

Find Balance Feel Joy Blog Tour

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My friend Alex asked me to participate in this blog tour and my answer was ” HELL YES!” I love having Alex in my life as we share so many interests and are raising are kids in the same neighborhood, co- teaching together and just generally support one another in the work we do to support families through the good and the bad.

And this topic means SO MUCH TO ME.

As someone who formerly struggled with overwhelm and the “crazy-busy” syndrome I am passionate about spreading the self care, mama love message to all who are ready to make the changes. It all starts with us.

Without guilt, without fear, without despair.

We can build lives that matter for ourselves, for our own joy and on our own terms.

You have permission.

The Find Balance Feel Joy Blog Tour was born to provide an honest look at what goes into “having it all” or “getting it right” as a modern mother today.

My journey begins and ends with yoga.  Yoga has led me to interesting cool places in my heart and on the map. Yoga teachers and teachings have given me strength, courage and confidence to FULLY EMBRACE my own me, my own way, my own heart.

Slow, quiet practice filled with breath and movement linked to soul- now THAT can change your life.

This journey of study, contemplation, reflection and movement is a powerful combination. It led me HOME to my true self, to my own way of being that encouraged  me to switch careers, take risks and LOVE my children in ways I did not even know possible.

But, all b/c I began to put myself at the top of the list. Listening to my own heart and soul.

Carving out time for creativity, rest and quiet. saying NO to the schedules and parties and needs and desires of others, in order to put my family TRULY first.

You can do your own thing, find your own way… but it takes a bit of practice.

Self awareness, self knowledge is the path to freedom. A path to joy and living WHOLE in a world that so often wants to break you down.  You see, there is a deeper place within- that lives- that wants to be heard. But we have to slow down enough to hear her.

Welcome to sacred ordinary life. A life in which dishes and laundry still have to be done alongside a deep respect for our home, our families and our lives. It looks like  candles in the kitchen, relaxing music playing while cooking dinner or bringing other rituals and routines into our lives and SHARING them with our children. It looks like having enough space and peace in our own heart to deal with the chaos around.

It looks like getting the help we need at home and at work, in order to truly discover who we are , and where our own joy lies.  This is where

Approaching ALL the moments with a sense of wonder and curiosity – even to the little things. This approach ( to our yoga practice and to our life) can profoundly shift the mindset… the choices we make, the space we hold. And helps us to see the thought patterns that are not serving us.. the ones we need to let go of.

Intentionally place yoga mats, meditation pillows and other reminders in your home so that you can practice together as a family OR so that you have a place to go to when you need it! ( I sometimes go to my mat RIGHT before they get home from school to give myself some nourishment right before the dinner/ bedtime rush) and then I find myself so much more patient and loving and interested when they walk in the door.

Read inspiring books or listen to podcasts about yoga, meditation, mindfulness and creating joy.

I always try to find women who are doing what I want to do and asking- WHAT DO YOU READ? What are your routines? What can I learn from you?  I KNOW there are mentors and supporters out there- so I seek them out- and ask lots of questions so I can learn how to do this whole mama/ life/ work/ balance thing. This also helps me discern for my own life what works and what doesn’t.. and clarify my own values and mission ( which I am constantly refining)

Glance at your life ( ZOOM OUT) and see what parts are causing stress. Is there anything you can DO about it?  if not, what other things need to be released in order to make time for YOU while you continue to have uncontrollable stress? let’s have a healthy relationship with our stress- not trying to FIGHT it or get rid of it- but more realizing it’s apart of our modern life.

Challenge Homework! Spend a day with yourself. Plan it now. Put on the calendar. Carve out the time to take yourself out on a date. Reflect and get quiet. meditate and stretch. journal and create or just be. no tv, no phone, no netflix.

Dear mama, it’s all so real this life thing….so intense, so emotional, so transitional and the only thing we can truly, truly control is our own breath right at this moment. Our own glance, gaze, word, thought or action.

With a grateful heart,

P.

About Alex

Alex launched In Essence Coaching, LLC in 2011 after training with the International Coaching Academy to become a Certified Professional Coach. She is an active member of the International Coaching Federation, committed to upholding a high level of coaching standard.

Prior to this, Alexandra dedicated 18 years of her professional career to social change as an international development researcher and practitioner. She got her BA in Environmental Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and her MPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the U.K. She’s lived and worked in Africa, Europe, South and North America, and speaks English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

In Essence Coaching, LLC is Alexandra’s private coaching practice dedicated to helping mothers suffering from stress, to find balance, joy and self-empowerment.  She hosts a free Clear Mind | Present Mama Challengefor busy mothers suffering from overwhelm, offers on-line Calm Mom Coaching Circles to mothers everywhere, and works one-on-one with a small group of women through her Mama inJOY Mentorship Program.

Alexandra loves her coaching projects second only to her three mischievous and vivacious children and her loving (ever patient) husband who now (after three international moves!!) live, love and laugh together in Washington D.C.

 

Don’t miss the Mom’s Up Retreat this fall co-hosted by Alex and myself in Meadowkirk, Virginia (just 1 hour away from DC). Learn more about the retreat, accommodation packages, and more.

 

The Life Changing Art of.. staying in bed for 3 days.

On Monday, I broke a bone in my foot. And they said, 3 days, at least- in BED.

It already feels a ton better.

I anticipate that I can “get back to moving” soon.

In the meantime, I have had quite a week. Spent some time watching shows, I read a book, I answered emails, I had a few great phone calls and I caught up with my best friend.

This stopping did unleash a bit of “what am I doing with my life?” Because I have noticed that when I stop doing so much, I start questioning more.

I have been in the space of doing for so long, that now that I am savoring my energy for only projects I WANT to work on, and being more thoughtful about who I can serve and how, everything has changed. And old habits pop right back up.

Hello old friend. Hello negative self talk. I gently reminded her that I was healing and there was no time for her to come and play today.  She was not welcome. I was going to just lay low. And I DO Know what I am doing with my life, I’m DOING it.

But watching it all, while I had to surrender to my bed was fascinating. I really could not move around, help with the kids or take care of anything. I had to stop. And in some ways, it was nice and in some ways it was hard. But being present through it all and not running away with my emotions was important to me, in order to keep my mental health!

I invited a private client to the house today, and we had a great health coaching session and once I was able to do a little work, with another human being, I started to feel like myself again. Because the truth is, I feel ALIVE when I help others, when I am in conversations. When I learn and when I give.

 

And so the Magical Art of Laying in Bed is this…

All experiences are opportunities to learn more about yourself.

Laying in bed gives you a chance to connect with people you love and be loved.

The more I practice asking for help and receiving it ( a drive to an appointment, people bringing dinner or popping by to say hi)  the more I model for my children how to accept and ask for help. This is definitely something I want them to know and learn as they grow.

Today, I sat up in bed and took some deep breaths. I rolled around in my bed and did some gentle stretching and I know that just being and feeling is the kind of life I want to live.

Here is what I read and listened to over the past few days- ENJOY.

Talk on importance of connections and relationships to health, Taking Time In.

I read the book, The Miracle Morning. which I LOVE and will write a post about.

Remembering the work of Dr. Neff, which I love. 

I have a whole new list of podcasts I have been listening to..any good ones that you love?