Posts

Daily Mindfulness – Why/What/Where/How?

Cambridge Dictionary – “The practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.”

Lifehacker – “Mindfulness has many synonyms. You could call it awareness, attention, focus, presence, or vigilance. The opposite, then, is not just mindlessness, but also distractedness, inattention, and lack of engagement.”

Have you ever driven to work, a friend’s house, or run errands – and upon arrival, have no idea how you got there?

Have you ever spent a day busy, but didn’t accomplish much?

In our day and age, our systems become overloaded…  much like the Wi-Fi at home…  with the various connections, interactions, demands of energy, output of energy, noise, lights, and more.

The practice of daily mindfulness is being aware of each moment and action, getting the most out of your time and the time of others.  I will be hosting a workshop every couple of months at Renkon Studio on how to recognize ways to carve out moments and activities that will help you focus and become more efficient while stressing less.

Topics will include:

  • How to create a practice for yourself – doing much of what you already do each day!
  • How to calm yourself when it becomes overwhelming
  • Tips and tricks to keep you on task and to reduce anxiety
  • How to capture each moment and enjoy the most of it
  • Physical, mental, and spiritual benefits
  • Hacks on best ways to do it – and easy ways to get back to it when the wheels fall off (and they do!)

I’d love to have you join this discussion, in a comfortable setting, focused on YOU and empowering you to start, continue, or go deeper into your practice.  We’ll discuss the preconceived notions of mindfulness, and get to the reality – meaning, how you can add this to your busy life and easy hacks to get more done (yes, it can happen!). 

How Yoga Has Changed My Life

I found yoga later in life at age 45 in 2012 when I was invited by a friend to attend class and I immediately felt at hOMe.

As a previously self-diagnosed type-A nervous nelly, I attribute yoga to the transformation of myself into a place of authenticity, acceptance, self-love, peace, and calm which I always felt curious about but didn’t know how to achieve before finding yoga.

Never had I imagined how much yoga could change my life, having such a positive impact to my mind, body, and spirit. Prior to yoga, I was one who always seemed to fight the current, swimming against it. But, after yoga, I felt at ease as I started going with the current of life. With this attitude, life became easier, calmer, and I lost my “black cloud” that had previously seemed to follow me.

The lesson was that life, nature, Mother Nature, God, Creator, etc was “with” us, not against us and together we could manifest the life we want. Just by being still. Just by listening. Just by letting go. Letting go to the current of life is the key to living.

I might have been late to get started, but timing seemed perfect and I have been attending classes and workshops ever since. Wanting a deeper connection with yoga, I completed my 200-hour certification through Pranakriya School of Healing Arts in 2018. I am also 1st degree Reiki Trained in Usui Tradition.

I believe yoga class doesn’t have to be a high impact, fast-paced, and/or high energy to be beneficial. In fact, I believe when life is already throwing that insanely fast pace in our faces, the yoga workout can become a work “IN” to be mindful; slowing down to the rhythm we all crave, but rarely give ourselves.

Some of us don’t even know how to be slow and deliberate in our actions and thoughts. Can this be the goal of our “practice?” And can we give ourselves the gift of quiet minds, authentic souls, and loving hearts especially towards ourselves which provides us the tools, then, to take it into the world for others?

I believe every small change can impact the world positively and I have personally experienced this change since yoga. Yoga is a way to connect with yourself, your class, and the world around you in ways you cannot do without yoga. Nothing compares to sharing yoga with like-minded people in a safe space. And yoga provides a safe space to breathe deeply, feel deeply, let go, and move the way you need to move. Not only that, but yoga gives tools to take into the world to provide a yoga state of mind anywhere, any place on an as-needed basis.

This is the gift my teachers gave me and I would love to give to my students. I have been on a lifelong journey to find myself and hope that I can lead others into the same path of finding themselves in the journey of yoga; on the mat and off.

I was proud to be part of the inaugural class at Renkon Studio. I fully embrace its philosophy that yoga is for EVERY body and look forward to sharing yoga with you and learning from you while leading classes at Renkon Studio.

The WHYs of Yoga: The Breath of Life

Some times we need a ‘kick’. Think of WHYs of Yoga to motivate you to yoga class or to practice yoga and meditation at home.

This is a series of blog posts with one of the many WHYs that yoga is so beneficial for your mind and body. Allow this WHY, The Breath of Life, to be your motivational ‘kick’.

Yoga Increases your Lung Capacity – WHY does that matter?

Our lung capacity naturally declines with age, starting at age 30. By the age of 50, our lung capacity may be reduced by as much as 50 percent. This means that the older you get, the harder it is for your lungs to breathe in and hold air.

When we breathe in less oxygen, our body and cells also receive less oxygen, forcing our heart to work harder to pump oxygen throughout the body. The heart working overtime long-term can lead to heart failure.

Earlier symptoms of reduced lung capacity include shortness of breath, decreased stamina and reduced endurance and frequent respiratory infections. YIKES!

How do we counter the natural decrease of lung capacity? A great way is…you guessed it: Yoga

A study published in the journal Chest which involved patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) concluded that those who were taught yoga exercises including asanas (poses), pranayama (control of the breath), meditation and relaxation techniques resulted in similar improvement as those who did typical pulmonary rehabilitation. They concluded that yoga is a cost-effective form of rehabilitation and can be adopted as an integral part of long-term management of COPD.

The American Lung Association (ALA) says yoga is a safe exercise option for patients who have difficulty breathing with lung diseases such as asthma, COPD or lung cancer.  The ALA says even simple breathing exercises, performed daily, can have a significant impact on people with lung disease – not to mention the mental benefits of yoga and mindful meditation, as lung diseases are often accompanied by anxiety, depression and stress.

You don’t have lung disease?

Count your blessings and continue to practice yoga to maintain and improve your lung health.

Research in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, examined the effect of the yogic breathing technique, Bhastrika Pranayama on lung function capacity in athletes. Bhastrika Pranayama or “bellows breath” is a practice where the inhalation and exhalation move forcefully through the nose.

Researchers assessed 30 healthy individuals, placed into 2 groups. The yoga group practiced the Bhastrika Pranayama for 15 minutes and the control group went running for 15 minutes, 6 days a week for 1 month. Researchers found there was a significant change in the lung efficiency and capacity of the yoga group. They had more maximum ventilation volume, more forced vital capacity, more forced expiratory volume, and higher levels of peak expiration flow.

This research suggested that incorporating yoga in sports training could enhance the efficiency and performance of an athlete by enhancing lung function capacity.

Many people associate keeping fit with maintaining a healthy heart, but physical activity, including yoga, also helps keep lungs healthy. A heathy heart AND healthy lungs are needed to bring oxygen into the body, to provide energy and remove carbon dioxide, the waste product created when you produce energy.

Yoga Pranayama: The Breath of Life

Restorative Yoga – What and Why

The antidote to stress is relaxation – Judith Lasater

You lie there not doing anything, just being—something most of us feel too guilty or strung out to do on our own. – Unknown

We live in a ‘do’ and ‘go’ world, where we are always connected, moving, and many times, competing.  Many of us judge ourselves and others, the day, week, year, etc. by a list of accomplishments and/or returns.  It’s hard to disconnect or stop, both by our own expectations and the expectations of those around us.

What is the cost of all this ‘go’ – to our bodies, minds, and inner self?  In addition to the physical wear, what does this do to our minds, our immune systems, and our breath?

I confess I’m no less guilty of this than you, or you… or you there in the back (yes, I see you!).  I’ve to do lists on my fridge and in my bag, reminders on my phone, feelings of guilt that I went to bed without completing X, and of course, always trying to squeeze in Y in those downtime moments between my day job and teaching.   And of course, the guilt… the errands not run, the laundry not even started, and don’t get me started on the dust on my bookshelves.

But enough on what we all know exists in our lives… let’s talk restorative yoga.

What is it:

  • Restorative Yoga is a passive and gentle, yet powerful practice consisting of seated and supine (laying down) poses typically held for several minutes.
  • The classes tend to be relaxing and slow paced, with a whole sequence using as few as five or six postures which are held for long periods of time. Props are also used often in order to allow the body to be in the most comfortable, supported position possible.
  • Moving slowly into and holding these opening postures alongside intentional breath work allows the one to calm and center the mind and nervous system while accessing deep opening and release within the body.
  • It was developed to access connective tissues allowing for deepening flexibility and aiding healing while increasing energy flow.

Why should I do it:

  • Restorative yoga is believed to boost the immune system and accelerate the body’s natural healing process.  It is considered an ideal balance to hectic and stressful modern lifestyles.
  • The intention is to relax as far as possible into the postures, using as little physical effort as possible. The mind focuses on the breath in order to cultivate mindfulness and release tension from the body. 
  • Restorative yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate, regulates the blood pressure and relaxes the body.
  • An incredible method to heal the body, it helps to the kick in relaxation response, balancing the nervous system and optimizing energy flow to the organs. It lifts the immune function and enhance the process of digestion. Basically, they set the whole body up for deep healing, growth and repair.

Other random notes on restorative yoga:

  • You do not need to be flexible.  All postures are supported to meet you where you are at that day, moment, in your practice.  
  • You do not need to have an active yoga practice, background or knowledge.  Do you know how to breath? Good – you qualify!
  • This is unlike any other yoga class.
  • Falling asleep, snoring, farting, emotional breakthroughs, tears, relaxation, release of tension, stress relief, yoga stoned feeling – all happen – and space is held for whatever else surfaces during this practice.  No feelings are invalid.

Interested?  Curious? Have nothing else to do but want to give it a go?  Renkon Yoga offers both classes and special events featuring restorative yoga.

Yoga and Depression – My Story

For most of my life, I’ve suffered from dysthymic depression, addictive behaviors, and trauma. 

One of the reasons I came to yoga was to find relief from my pain and to learn more about my mental landscape. At the time, I probably wouldn’t have used those words. I remember that I was searching for meaning and purpose and also felt a general dissatisfaction with my life. I could sense a yearning for movement and physical engagement. I let these feelings, and a few well-placed opportunities, lead me to yoga teacher training.

Because of the many hours of work and messy discipline of my practice, I can honestly say that I am no longer completely destroyed when a depressive episode arrives. I also understand more about the root cause behind my addictions, which helps me to adjust my behaviors. This understanding could not have been possible without the self-study that meditation inspires and stimulates. Trauma and deep-seated pain resulting from generations of trauma and pain in my family has slowly begun to loosen it’s life-sucking grip on my DNA. 

I also came to yoga for spiritual growth. Yoga is the lens in which I view my reality and make sense of things. I believe that I am connected to, an extension of, and am/was/will be the source of life. I believe that you are also these things. When I meditate, this clumsy vessel of blood and bones becomes irrelevant, and my essence expands and connects again to this source. Eventually, though…I must come back and do my dishes and pay my bills. Hopefully, I can perform these duties with a bit more grace and love than yesterday. 

These are the more intricately subtle and personal effects of my yoga practice. But if you would enjoy some practical reasons to practice yoga and meditation (as a self-confessed cynic, I appreciate practicality), read on:

  1. The physical practice of yoga grows your strength, which increases your energy level. One symptom of depression is chronic low energy.
  2. The breathing exercises (pranayama) of yoga help to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, the branch of your NS which controls the passive operatives of your body such as rest and digestion. In this modern world, our nervous systems are constantly stimulated by sights and sounds (advertisements, notifications/signals, deadlines, etc.). If you feel stressed and agitated for most of the day, your sympathetic NS is working in overdrive and abusing the “fight-or-flight” mechanism. During this state, some really interesting things happen in our body: increased heart rate, rapid breathing, dilated pupils, tensed muscles, and restricted blood flow. This response is triggered by the release of hormones to prepare your body to run or defend yourself. If your NS is constantly stimulated/stressed, the never-ending production of these hormones can eventually lead to poor physical and mental health in the form of various illnesses. Breath-control is a great tool to help navigate these biological responses. 
  3. The practice of meditation can help to control what you devote your attention to. There are many different techniques and most share the idea of connecting to the “Observer” or “Witness.” Can you observe your thoughts, inner monologue, emotions, and sensations without imparting any judgement or opinion on them? We use this technique of self-study to learn about ourselves so that we may make appropriate adjustments in our everyday lives to inspire peace within. 

Meditation – why/what/where/how?

Have you ever been frustrated with a piece of technology, like your phone, computer, home wi-fi or cable? And after numerous attempts at trying to ‘fix’ it, you end up shutting it off for a few minutes, walking away… then come back to turn it on and magically, it works?

Meditation is similar, but the technology impacted – before, during, and after – is your mind, body, and spirit.

In our day and age of incredible technology, our systems become overloaded… much like the Wi-Fi at home… with the various connections, interactions, demands of energy, output of energy, noise, lights, and more.

What is meditation?

A state in which the body is consciously relaxed and the mind is able to become calm, focused and free from distraction.

“Meditation can be daily hygiene for the soul, clearing out stress anxiety, and emotional blockages from our mind and body. Mediation has been referred to as a “mental shower”, cleaning and cleansing the mind.”

Only good comes from meditation. Only good.

Why is it good?
  • Meditation allows your “thinking mind” to take a break from itself. Quiets the noise of the mind. Gives your nervous system a chance to wind down.
  • Calms the waves – when the swirl of emotions and thoughts stop, clarity begins.
  • Focus improves – first, only get used to focusing on one item, but will help with distractions in future.
  • Love yourself – if you can observe your own thoughts and be a third party to them, and see how badass you are…
  • Awake and present – you can focus on observing life.
  • More relaxed and at ease – numerous articles by smart folks that its good for you.
  • Study yourself. Get to know yourself. Love yourself. After all, you are stuck with yourself your
    entire life.
Benefits
  • Calms your entire being, leading to a calmer you!
  • Reduces stress, able to handle stress better
  • More compassionate
  • Able to see things from other points of view
  • More energy
  • Able to be present
  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • Grounding
  • Stabilizes the mind
  • Increase vitality, emotional stability
  • Develops full awareness – the mind is at peace yet highly alert
  • Harvard scientists saw brain changes after 8 weeks of daily meditation.

I’m hosting a meditation workshop on Saturday, 2.16.2019 1-2:30pm. I’d love to have you join this
discussion, in a comfortable setting, focused on YOU and empowering you to start, continue, or go deeper
into your practice. We’ll discuss the preconceived notions of meditation, and get to the reality –
meaning, how you can add this to your busy life and carve out 5-10 minutes once or twice a day* to turn
off your systems, give them a break, and come back renewed.

*I’m a yoga teacher, know that I will of course endorse longer and more frequent – but let’s start you off
easy. 🙂

“No, for now”

There’s a statement a very wise woman once shared with me that goes something like…”no, for now”

If you’re a mama who follows me on Facebook as well as one who has attended one or both of my Sunday yoga offerings you might notice that my classes are no longer available on the Studio site or app.

I’ve been teaching Prenatal Yoga as well as Baby & Me Yoga for over a year and I love these practices and the folks they serve so very well. There’s been a struggle to get more engagement and sustained attendance and I think it has everything to do with it being really hard for expectant and postpartum folks to feel as if space in their lives, potentially away from other children, leaving others in charge is okay and even incredibly vital to take for your health and well being.

I taught MANY classes to just one mama, or just one mama and her baby and was privileged to do so. Every time I did a mama would say, “I’m sorry you had to show up just for me!” and I would tell her A.that it’s Renkon Yoga Studio policy that we hold space for even just one client which is what makes it a special and beautiful place where yoga isn’t a luxury or treat,it’s habit.practice.life.love. flowing in and out of each and every offering and B.That SHE showed up and that if SHE showed up for herself,I could certainly show up for her.❤️

I have also spent many Sunday’s now away from my people, turning down opportunities to connect and re-fill my cup and after a particularly difficult Sunday where I knew baby was home, definitely upset, Papa bear doing his very best for many hours, and with some exciting opportunities for Papa Bear on the near horizon where my energies will be needed on a higher level as caretaker once again as longer hours and interesting shifts are likely to rule our schedule…I decided that it was time to step away from teaching…no, for now.

Right now, I’m not totally sure what my yoga offerings will look like in the future. I know I want to deepen my practice through continued Ed and I know that the population I’d like to serve is still expectant and postpartum families,mamas in the thick of any and every season of motherhood. Maybe it will be a free pop-up/meetup/community practice where mamas come to connect, practice and breathe together. Maybe it will be a weekly studio space offering. Right now I just don’t know. But I do know that this morning, I woke up..and then went right back to sleep with nowhere to be, nothing to plan, and a baby nestled into me and my heart saying,”Yes, thank you for honoring this. You need this.baby needs this. Jo needs you rested. Papa bear needs your support.”

This afternoon if you planned on coming to yoga, I encourage you…TO STILL PRACTICE YOGA. In your home, in a space, wherever. I want to thank each and every mama who I have had the privilege of practicing alongside this past year and a half. You amaze me. You have brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes watching you mother in pregnancy and in the postpartum season. You have encouraged me. And some of you have become dear friends to me, thank you with every ounce of my being!

I’m slowly figuring out how it is I do the things I do and best serve the folks I serve. It has meant several iterations of business names, blog attempts, schedule changes, copious hours of continued education & networking, and so much energy and sometimes exhaustion! So this is just one no, for now….on the road to many yes’s, for right now! I can’t wait to share what’s cooking next, thank you to all the folks who follow our journey and show their virtual and real life support via comments, calls, and epic high fives and hugs. These are the good ole days, surrounded by friends and family, inspiration guiding the way, I’m convinced!

1000 Hours of Teaching Yoga

As many of our tribe knows, via social media and/or attending my restorative yoga class on November 30, I recently reached the HUGE milestone of teaching 1000 hours of yoga, advancing my certification to an experienced yoga teacher at the 200 hour level of certification (E-RYT200).   This is yet another certification for me, with many more to go as I follow my passion of teaching yoga.

Yes… let that sink in…  1000 hours of teaching.  WHOA.

What does that really mean?  That is, aside from a LOT of teaching yoga?  

  • I’ve found my teacher voice and comfort zone… at least for now.   As I evolve in my passion, I hope to always be striving for more, and creating for myself challenges I will overcome.  I predict my voice and zone will change with me as I go forward, creating some pretty uncomfortable moments I will push through.  
  • I’ve taught some amazing classes…  heck, I’ve surprised myself at times with my classes.   This is not simply based on the fact I’ve nailed the left and rights, or cued both sides similarly, or other yoga teacher habits I once struggled with (and still do at times).  To me, this means the class landed well with students, the energy in the room is top notch, and the savasana is sweet.
  • I’ve taught some not so great classes….  Yes, we all do.  While the occurrence has gone down the past couple of years, it still happens…  And I’ve learned to not let it keep me up, worry, or to apologize to students at the end of class, I’ve learned how to constructively assess the class after the face, rework it, and do it better next time.
  • My teaching is a true reflection of my practice.  I think many new yoga teachers try to teach the perfect class that they think their students want, at least I did.  I would like to think this works for some teachers, but I’ve found it doesn’t work for me. What I present to a class, regardless of the type of class, is very reflective of what I’ve done in my personal practice that week.  This has made both my personal practice and my teaching improve – but I honestly can’t separate what has more influence.
  • My students, many of them part of the Renkon tribe, are amazing.  I am blessed to have many regulars at my class, both at Renkon and studios I’ve previously taught at.  No words could ever capture how grateful I am that folks look forward to my class on their best and worst days, when they need a smile or simply a break.  I’ve gotten to know many of you, not only about your lives, but your wins and losses, your struggles and achievements. Thank you for sharing your love and life with me.
  • What I’m known for, and what classes I teach best, is not what I intended to ever specialize in – nor did I practice it prior to becoming a certified yoga teacher.   I love teaching restorative yoga… yet while in my first teacher training, I detested restorative for the first 3 months.  I couldn’t let go, I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t drop in. Fast forward a few years, and I love to both practice and teach it.  The results are immediate, for myself plus I love seeing the difference in students at the end of a class.

Interesting note – I never taught this type of class until Renkon opened, but I was up for the challenge.  I spent hours studying and preparing, creating sequences, and researching poses. I was always nervous prior to and during the class, until savasana.  Now? I love preparing for the class, teaching it, assisting/deepening the poses, and talking with our tribe to see how poses landed after class.

  • I’ve come quite a way, yet I’ve miles to go.  I got goals, y’all!  I am specializing in yoga for cancer and yoga for medicine.  I will be attending a Yoga for Cancer (Y4C) certification training virtually over the winter and finish up in Miami this spring.  Come summer, I’ll travel to North Carolina to get certified through the Duke Medical School of Integrative Health Yoga for Cancer program.   In the meanwhile, I’ve started my virtual work on my 1000 hour certification of Yoga for Medicine, plus I’ve signed up for shorter duration of other certifications.   I hope to mentor another yoga teacher training program with one of my teachers, and of course, take as many classes as possible virtually or in person with my favorite teachers.

Reaching this milestone actually belongs to more than just me.  It belongs to my students and former students, both classes and privates, all my yoga teachers, the studios I’ve taught at, studio owners I’ve worked with, and my friends and family who supported me along this journey.   This doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen in a bubble. My heart bursts with love and humbleness at reaching this, and I appreciate everyone that has been part of this journey.

Cheers to the next 1000 hours and wherever this amazing journey leads me!

 

Desiring Wanted Connection in an Obligatory Season

As the first snow began to fall outside our small-town home outside Bloomington, I thought to myself “how lovely it was to see everything so delicately blanketed in white” and simultaneously though, “here it comes”. The 6-month season Midwesterners know as winter was once again tapping at the door.

It would seem that connecting with others and the winter months are synonymous at first. After all, no matter what you celebrate, it is often a time for folks to get together, usually around a table of tasty food, and to be in community with one and other.

However, the connection with others that I often feel sapped of in the winter months is outside of the confines of what many folks consider the obligatory appearances of the holidays.

The connection I yearn for this time of year, I think requires more stillness, less anxious anticipation, and a quieter sense of being with those who we are living life beside and ourselves.

Winter feels like this time where I may have gotten the chance to see every aunt and cousin that I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with in some time…but somewhere along the way I feel like I missed out on holding hands with my spouse or taking in seeing my kiddos frolic in the snow.

So how do we do it? How do we connect more during a season that calls us to stillness, reflection, and the warmth of affection?

I think first we need to give serious pause and reflection when we feel that gnawing pang in our stomach before a gathering that makes getting ourselves out the door akin to pulling teeth.

If you are dreading an event or gathering because of the toxicity of the environment, one or more of the people there, or just because you haven’t had a moment of breath in a day, a week, or a year yourself…don’t go.

I know that is potentially WAY easier said than done, but at the end of the day IF you can make peace with the fact that someone might have negative feelings or comments about your lack of attendance and that those feelings and comments mean nothing about you as a person, you truly don’t have to go anywhere that isn’t life giving.

I adore my family, immediate and extended, but there have been seasons where I intentionally didn’t go to certain events and it gave me more energy to enjoy the ones I did attend.

Second, I think we need to carve out intentional time for connection during these months that isn’t obligatory, if anything to highlight the obligatory things that are weighing down our happiness.

Maybe you decide to attend a yoga class, maybe you go to dinner and a movie by yourself, maybe you take your partner or spouse back to a spot where you had one of your earliest dates together and reflect on how far you’ve come. There are so many ways to connect because you want to, not because you have to.

I find that in Savasana at the end of my personal practice or if I’m in a class, my truest desires about what I want for the season I’m in and what I definitely don’t want become shockingly clear.

It takes practice to get deeply quiet and listen to your heart. But once you’ve breathed true breath into those spaces within, it becomes easier to see what’s serving you deeply and what’s taking something away from how you experience each moment day to day.

Finally, I think we need to be daring when it comes to those obligatory events about how we approach them. When I say daring, I don’t mean showing up to the company holiday party with a face tattoo (though kudos to you if that’s your style!).

I mean daring to do things like set healthy boundaries around conversation topics, inquiries, and unsolicited advice. I find it helpful to write these sorts of things down or share them with my partner or a trusted friend.

For instance, if you have a family member who tends to like to ask you why you’re not coupled up with someone yet and providing your family 100 babies to love on, set a boundary before that you think is reasonable. Perhaps, “When Aunt Ethel prods me about my relationship status, I’m going to start talking about all the wonderful progress I’ve made at work this year”…or even more daring, “When Aunt Ethel prods me about my relationship status, I’m going to thank her for her charming curiosity but let her know that it’s not really a topic I have a desire to discuss and smoothly make my way to the table where all the cheese and pie is. Once I’ve reached that table, I’m going to take three deep breaths and remind myself what an utter badass I am”.

It’s my firm belief that when we set healthy boundaries for ourselves and seek out means of connection that our hearts crave, the winter doesn’t have to feel so incredibly long. It can be a season of rest, reflection, and rejuvenation.

It’s okay to give yourself permission to be exactly who you are and connect and love exactly in the ways that feel right and healthy.

Whether yoga, a good book, or a long cuddle with the ones you love fireside…I hope you find something comforting and exciting this winter to help you connect more deeply to yourself and the ones you love.