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.

41l6hqoyfzl-_sl210_ 51a4dgivaml-_sl210_ 41jkubpsall-_sl210_







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.

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.

little acts of {self} kindness

It is 5 pm on Friday.

Saylor is out with friends- Milo is playing in his room.

I have exactly 15 minutes before Mel gets home.

I head to my room and go right for my mat.

It won’t be a long practice. I roll around on my yoga tune up balls.

First I place them under my shoulders and then under my hips. Lifting and lowering my arms and legs feeling the pressure in all the tight places- slowly release.

Full deep breaths in and out. A few new movement patterns.  Forward folds, bent knees, wide stance. Softness around my aging body. Stillness. silence. deep full awareness…

And if even for just a moment, I experience the bliss of being right here. right now.

OF COURSE there are loads of other things I SHOULD be doing.

But I choose me.

I hear the front door close- I stand up.

“get your shoes buddy!” I yell.

And off we go.

Fall Session of Yoga For Women starts in September.

Join us! lil

B.R.A.I.N & R.A.I.N.

Thanks to one of my darling motivated students who asked me to post and remind her about BRAIN practices & RAIN practices for when she needs them.

I know I use  BOTH regularly in my life, so I hope these help you when your life is stressful or you are navigating a tough decision or facing some intense emotions.

Let’s start with B.R.A.I.N. I know this acronym is used regularly in the birth world when talking about birth plans. HOWEVER, I find this is a very helpful guide towards how to navigate ANY decision in my life!


Benefits- What is the benefit of this?

Risks- What are the risks around this decision?

Alternatives-Are there any alternatives?

Intuition- What is my heart/gut saying?

Nothing- What happens if we do nothing and and / or wait?


Here is another technique that you can use that is very helpful for some of our students. You can find LOTS more here. 


Recognize.  See what’s going on.

Allow. Allow yourself to feel what you feel.

Investigate ( KINDLY) Be gentle with yourself, please.

Natural Awareness. Relax.

****Let me know, how you are using this in your life,

I would love to hear from you. *****

Please note- I have seen and read about both of these tools in many places over the years and am grateful that they continue to be shared in many formats. I don’t know where they originated at this point, b/c I have seen them in so many places and I thank all those who continue to share and the original creators.

after I sit.

The seeker asks why?IMG_6814_2

and the heart says to trust

and the tears fall for no reason or every reason

I lean into the suffering of us all

while the beauty of today seems

like a magical dream

living with my soul- letting the heart guide me feels so scary

not a habit or a hurry

just a deeper understanding of all

that was buried and still


each year

each day

each moment

each practice

let her go. be free I ask

stop trying so hard

you dont have to be amazing, she says

relief. gratitude. tears again.

relax, the gripping begins to loosen. realizing new layers of self and identity that are old news, really.

be free sweet soul- go


do not be careless with now.

Spring Retreat

At lil omm, we do a seasonal mini retreat where we celebrate mother nature, our own lives and we explore seasonal foods, journaling, movement and poetry.

We just finished our Spring Retreat last week and wanted to share out- so some of you might be able to create your OWN Spring Retreats- Carve out a few hours.. sit in meditation, fix up some healthy spring foods, practice flow and yin yoga, and CELEBRATE the season with cleaning, decluttering our lives… inside and out.



     The Recipes


Take your old way too ripe bananas and freeze them.
Blend ( food processor OR high intensity blender)
With Your choice of milks
cow, coconut, almond, blends, hemp, oat ( YUM),
* what to add?
vanilla, cocoa powder, strawberries, almond/ coffee/ extract
You need quite a bit of liquid to make it a shake OR you can add less milk and make it “ice cream”

Kale Salad and Toppings

chop up kale into tiny pieces
squeeze 1 lemon, olive oil, salt, tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Toppings I brought
* Nutritional Yeast, Braggs Amino, Sunflower Seeds, Red Pepper Flakes

Green Juice
kale, apple, lemon, ginger- YUM! ( sparingly at night!) 



The Music

Zer0 7
Caravan Palace
Garth Stevenson
108 Sacred Names of the Divine ( savasana)

The Poem We Created.

This Spring.

This spring, I will move in a way that feels good.

This spring, I will finish my play.

This spring, I will GROW.

This Spring, I will create.

This Spring, I will SPRING.

This Spring, I will LOVE more.

This Spring, I will reignite my spark and keep it alive.

This Spring, I will run Cherry Blossom, breathe in the new air so deeply & write.

This Spring, I will write love letters and sit alone.

This Spring, I will stretch and explore.