Month: December 2021

+ January Schedule Update

If I have seem quiet in newsletters and social media, there is an intentional reason for it.  As most of you probably know, I set out to spend the Winter Solstice and the holidays turning inward and just being with my family. And though I haven’t been completely off the grid, I have been doing what I set out to do; rather, I have been ‘Being’ what I intended to do, which is just Be.

 

Reflections from 2021

I have been serious in my reflections and supporting myself by leaning into many of my coaches, Guides, and more.  All of them have invited me to look back at 2021 and write down all the incredible things I did, accomplishments, and anything good that happened.  At first thought my heart sinks, my throat tightens, my gut can’t even move because it’s so clinched and I roll my eyes because 2021 was harder for me than 2020 on many levels. 

 

 

Took time to just ‘Be’ this December 2021

I invite you, dear reader, to take two minutes and do this exercise.  I bet you will be surprised.  Write down all that was amazing for you in 2021. 

 

Now, how do you feel?  What do you notice in your body?  Your emotions?  Just observe before rushing on.

I did it, though hesitant, and I cried when I stopped writing and really looked back. 2021 was definitely one of my most transformational years ever, short of becoming a Yoga teacher and a mother.

 

My Professional Milestones in 2021

  • I boldly chose to navigate keeping my offerings going on my own platforms after all my long time yoga studios/homes closed after 11, 12, and 13 years of my time with them.
  • I received multiple offers to start yoga programs(Thank you Source and the people who asked; more with this, I am sure!!). 
  • Because of those above offers, and other tough experiences this year, my own path is becoming more clear as to how I am being Lead to serve.
  • I took the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Essentials course and it was EVERYTHING!  It brought my trilogy of yoga, Thai massage, and life coaching together with a methodology.
  • So, I started with a mentor form the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy family.
  • I said yes to collaborations that started life long friendships and that have turned into incredible communities!  THANK YOU Patrick Heffernan, ‘Journey to the Peak’ community, and Liz Moyer, ‘Steadiness within the Change’/’Hibernation for Healing’ and others!
  • I said yes to myself, was terrified, and did it anyway with 7 other women who trust me: I created ‘Inner Strength: Reclaiming the Power You’ve Always Had”, a 7 month sacred women’s journey for transformation, embodiment, sisterhood, and so much more.  Thank you to Krishna Dholakia of ‘Om and Spice‘, Lauren Mahana of ‘Magic on the Patio‘ podcast, and Kim Chestney of ‘Intuition Lab’ for being my powerful guest speakers!
  • I began offering ‘A.L.I.G.N.’ (alive, loving, imagined, Guided, nurture) one-on-one sessions. *More about this coming out next week!
  • I learned more than I ever thought I could about surrender.
  • I found a new core value: acknowledgement.
  • I found two incredible yoga business coaches and continue to find their work to be profound. THANK YOU Mado Hesselink and Nick Demos!
  • I hired a Virtual Assistant and learned I should have done this years ago! Juzbi Walia you are incredible!
  • Can we all just say we navigated another year of a pandemic? Yes.
  • And for me, navigating it with two young, awesome kids and one incredible husband. Grateful.

I have been using this holiday break to be in practice, Communion, quiet, my movement practices, and being with my family. I am grateful I have some more time and will be setting the intention for 2022 to be doing this type of self care more often and to drink more water.

 

Without reflection how will we see?  How would we become clear on where we are now, where we have been, and where we are going/want to go/Guided to go?  What have you learned that you are taking away from this past year, dear reader?

When we enter into these sacred practices we enter into the path.  The path of knowing, feeling, and seeing in the birds-eye-view of just how grace and love work in our lives.  How the divine always supports each of us.

Events That Challenged me in 2021

  • All the studios I taught at for over a decade each closed, and one was just this October.
  • Close loved ones passed away, as well as dear friends mothers passing away (3 loving mothers to three incredible families).
  • There were some very difficult moments that had me taking a long, HARD look at who I thought I was, what I stood for and how other people can affect life in unexpected ways and turn the mirror at you.
  • I got burnt out this month due to the business side of ‘being your own business’ (and I NEVER thought I would hit burn out because I practice and love what I do y’all!).
  • My kids got sick in the last quarter kind of hard.
  • Covid affected a family member (thank God they are fine
  • Feeling so uncertain and lost, afraid and small.

Now, it might not be your case that the challenges brought the most positive growth, but check in with yourself right now(because you are probably thinking about your challenges this year right now. What were your challenges this past year? 

 

What Challenges Can Teach Us

I really appreciated Nick Demos’s invitation to look at the challenges and ask where growth can happen from them moving forward.  If you want, dear reader, write the challenges you experienced and then feel into what positive transformations can come from them.  Might you have more empathy from them?  More clarity on your healthful boundaries?  More courage in your heart?  More assured way to speak from your authentic voice? 

 

What came of your challenges?  What came from them?  Look to both your external and internal worlds. Perhaps no one else can see the change, but you know the immense shifts that have happened inside your heart and Spirit!

 

I am so thankful to each of YOU through this past year!  To say I wouldn’t be hear without you is the truth, so much gratitude on my heart for each of you…I’m also thinking of the term ubuntu.

 

Ubuntu (Zulu pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼù])[1] is a NguniBantu term meaning “humanity”. It is sometimes translated as “I am because we are” (also “I am because you are”),[2] or “humanity towards others” (in Zuluumuntu ngumuntu ngabantu). In Xhosa, the latter term is used, but is often meant in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity” -Wikipedia, ubuntu

 

This is the Truth of my Work

This is the truth of my work. When you heal, we all heal. When I heal, we all heal. We are all one, one Energy, one Love.
I will forever continue to help others heal.  It is my life’s purpose; to support others in feeling their worth, knowing they have a right to be here, that they are loved and are full of possibility.

And I sometimes feel like I am just getting started in all of what I have to offer.  I have been stepping into some new work, as a few of you already know, but not most.  I will be calling upon anyone who might be interested and willing to help me better learn how to help others in the next week, so watch for my follow up email to this one.

 

New Classes from January 2022

Thank you everyone who filled out my survey! It really did help me in making these changes! I will be planning a retreat too(when I see Omicron backing off!

 

 

My new classes and timings for January 2022

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  
Happy New Year!
Many blessings for abundance in health, finances, love, laughter, growth, fun, and peace!

crow pose to help feel complete in the moment  
Practicing Crow Pose in India; helps me feel completely in the moment.

 

 

Deborah Adele writes in her book on the Yoga ethical practices of the Yamas and Niyamas around ishvara pranidhana,

Ishvara pranidhana, The jewel of surrender, presupposes that there is a divine force at work in our lives. Whether we call it God, grace, providence, or life, this force is greater than we are and cares deeply about us. Surrender invites us to be active participants in our life, totally present and fluid with each moment, while appreciating the magnitude and mystery of what we are participating in. Ultimately this guideline invites us to surrender our egos, open our hearts and accept the higher purpose of our being.”

 

How do we do this? How do we surrender and be active participants in life?

I have been discovering this week through embodying this ethical practice, speaking about it, digesting it, and living in it, that it is actually cyclical. Meaning, as we surrender and notice life as it is, while making choices that are in alignment with our heart, this way of being in the world circles us back to all the previous Yamas and Niyamas.

And, in my humble opinion, and from the perspective of only my life thus far at the age of 41, there will always be a waning and waxing of our ability to always be living life inside a space of pure joy, unconditional acceptance and unconditional love. Note: I haven’t reached a continual state of enlightenment yet 🙂

 

Again, Deborah Adele:

The yogis tell us that we can live this way all the time, unless we are getting in our own way

 

I personally feel that it’s not always easy to feel in harmony with life, nor see the beauty in all things. It can be challenging and push us to our edge in order to uphold our own core values and to really trust that in each moment the divine is living, breathing, and supporting us in an unconditionally loving way. 

 

And yet this is what ishvara pranidhana is inviting us to realize; that there is the divine in everything and every experience.

 

Jean-Pierre de Caussade, a French Jesuit priest from centuries ago wrote,

 “There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us, contains and conceals His divine action.”

“How do we begin to find this rhythm of surrender or the immense joy and trust (of life) … ?  When we release our rigidity and our need to control, when we joyfully engage life as it comes to us, and when we place our egos into devotion to that which is greater, we can begin to taste the bounty of this jewel, ishvara pranidhana.”  

Deborah Adele

So there it is, the idea that presupposes that you believe in something greater than yourself.

 

What do you believe in?

Perhaps, and most likely because you’re reading this blog, you believe in connection. You believe in and uphold a desire to experience love. Most likely you believe in love itself.

 

Oftentimes, when speaking about love as God, when speaking to the divine and Source, and when contemplating the idea of an entity larger than us, and yet that lives in us, for me it feels very ethereal and abstract. And yet, when I have experiences of pure joy and connection, when I’ve had experiences of heart opening awe, when my children were born, I could not only believe in something so magnificent and so out of this world, but my gratitude in this world deepened!

 

Ishvara pranidhana invites us to transcend the physical world, and to remember that this divine entity lives within everything.

One of my community members brought up a good point when she shared that during hard and difficult moments in life is especially the time when we must connect with our beliefs that give us strength. Those are particular times when we need to use all of our practices to stay connected to that knowledge of the beauty of the divine.

 

And this is why ishvara pranidhana cycled me back to all the other practices… To stay observant of life as it is without attachment, judgment, nor expectation.  To practice things like ahimsa, non-violence, and Satya i.e. truthfulness, and to really be always in a practice of svadyaya i.e. self-study, and many of the other practices that yoga offers us.

 

These practices are as cyclical as breath itself.

And the more I keep her returning, the more I keep inviting myself to be this active participant and to consciously come back to all these teachings, and to come back to the knowledge of my own truth within, and then I do experience how surrender can support me.  I can actually support myself in making more healthful and empowering decisions.

I believe that our intuition is the divine speaking to us from within us. For I am That and That am I. And when I can surrender to That which I am hearing within myself, then I can make those wiser and more skillful decisions moving forward.

“Life knows what to do better than we do. Our task is simply to let go and receive each moment with an open heart, and then dance skillfully with it.” -Deborah Adele

To dance skillfully with life is to surrender to life, see it as it is, listen to my heart and intuition within, and to then see what my role in all things.

 

 

Questions to meditate on…

I had an incredible conversation recently with a dear friend of mine and these are some of the questions that we both held for a while,

 

What is my role in all things?

How will you choose to dance/participate in life?

How will you practice to not be the one thing that gets in your way from living the beautiful life that you’re already living and that you deserve?

The present moment holds infinite riches beyond our wildest dreams

Jean-Pierre de Caussade

What is your experience of the divine at this moment? Because, this moment is divine.

I want to close with this last reading out of Deborah Adele’s book because I keep contemplating it and it keeps supporting me in many various ways. I hope it will support y

Swami Rama used to say “Do what is yours to do; Don’t do what is not yours to do.” How simple these words may sound to our ears, and yet they are profound to our understanding of surrender. As we are able to let go of what we can’t change, we are able to grow more and more into our unique gift and contribution to life itself. There is something that is ours to do, and whether it is larger or small, it is our contribution to the whole of humanity. As we discern where our path lies and then surrender to that awareness, we will begin to taste freedom and joy in a way we never dreamed possible.”

 

And there it is again, the cycle.

 

All my love,

 

Shawna

Breathe and Believe

 

 

Throughout last week and entering into this week, I have experienced how perhaps it’s no wonder that tapas comes as an ethical practice in yoga before svadhyaya.  Let me explain and let’s explore…

 

Tapas means ‘heat’…

…and can also translate as self discipline, austerities, catharsis, change or transformation, and even spiritual effort.  

Here’s a real life example that I am living in right this very moment as I type these words. I’d like to make this big of a long blog, however, I only have so much time, yet, I am dedicated to this practice of coming back to my writing in my life lately.  When I create these blogs it benefits me so much because I get to continually process and re-examine these practices that I use as intention in my classes; let alone re-examining them year after year as I change personally. 

 

The effects are not only profound for myself, but I’m hoping for you too. And that’s the beauty of our relationship, is that I also love hearing your take on these principles and ideas that I bring to our classes! So many benefits on so many levels, let alone embodying it through physical practice!

 

And there you have it! Tapas and svadhyaya or self-examination rolled into one example.

 

My dedication and discipline to writing on these spiritual principles and coming to the page, sacrificing doing other things in this moment to come to this practice, is tapas.  And the exploration and continual contemplation of these spiritual practices helps me to unpack the “boxes” of who I am, and to really understand better my True Self, which is Divine.

 

 

Svadhyaya means ‘self-study’.

 

In her book, which I highly recommend, “The Yamas & Niyamas: exploring yoga’s ethical practice”, Deborah Adele writes, “We are, at the core, divine consciousness. Around this pure consciousness, we are packed in “boxes” of our experience, our conditioning, and our belief systems. These boxes are things like how we identify ourselves, what we believe to be true, our preferences and dislikes, our fears and imagination. All of these boxes are informed by country, culture, gender, town, ancestors and family history, groups we belong to, and our personal experience. … 

 

We suffer, the Yogi’s tell us, because we forget who we are. We think we are the boxes we are wrapped in and forget that we are really the divine “hiding” inside. Svadhyaya, or self-study, is about knowing our true identity as divine and understanding the boxes we are wrapped in. We can find clues about our boxes by watching our projections, by the process of tracing our reactions back to a belief, and by courageously looking at life as it is. This process of knowing ourselves and the boxes that adorn us, creates a pathway to freedom. The ability to shift our identification from our ego self (our “boxes”), to the witness, and finally to archer identity as divinity itself, is the joy of this jewel of self-study.”

 

But sometimes, life brings the heat!

 

Now, in my personal example above, I self-imposed the tapas and discipline to sit and write. But sometimes, life brings the heat!

Perhaps you’ve experienced catharsis? A time when you had a strong release of emotions and things were shifting within you? 

Or perhaps you’ve experienced a time when it felt as if life put you in a situation that was really difficult and hard to endure, you didn’t know when this moment would end nor how to handle it, or even knowing what it’s purpose was? 

 

I have a real life experience of this happening right now, and even though I know there is an end in sight, I don’t know when that will happen.

 

And even though I can’t explain it all to you right now, this is why I’m inviting you into a two-week experience with me, because this is my why, does it resonate with you in any way?…

 

I know that if I can stay with this moment that feels uncertain, a little turbulent, chaotic, a little unsettling, that I will come out better for it.  I know and trust that I will see my Path, and my True Self, with more clarity. And, I know that I will continue to live my life with more resolve and deep heart-centered connection to my soul from living through this time.

However, sometimes we can’t see or know that there’s a blessing when we are living through a difficult moment, So if my why did not resonate, that’s okay!

 

There is Purpose to Tapas

The practice of tapas reminds us that there is purpose.  That if we have the courage to just “stay in the fire”, that there is a blessing coming.  You don’t have to call it a blessing, I also call it a teaching, a learning, or an insight.  Some sort of takeaway that we will keep with us forever; making us stronger and even more powerful the next time something difficult is experienced in our life.  

Our courage is a quality that is forever building and getting stronger with each passing experience.  And the courage that we see we had when we look back on a past hardship, is still with us now.  

 

Can you imagine just how much courage you have right now?  It’s awesome, let me tell you. So, don’t doubt yourself for one moment. You are the Divine.  And don’t worry if you can’t see the insight now, I invite you to trust that later, when you look back on this moment, you will see it… And perhaps more importantly, you will see your true self and how you move through the experience.

 

The practice of self-study is about staying in the present but also tracing things 

The practice of self-study is not only meant to observe our self in the present moment, but it is an opportunity to take time to become quiet, still, and reflect back on our past.  Looking back, we can see how we were in relationship to ourself, to others, to situations and events, and how we might not have been in good relationship. This is the practice that Deborah Adele was speaking about in the passage above, the practice of tracing things back.

 

Whether we’re tracing back, or whether we’re in a meditative practice to be in the present moment, witnessing how things are requires awareness. It requires us to step into being the witness of all things with compassion and without attachment.  

I can see and name all of the boxes that are within me, and I can witness how I respond to these boxes. I can question what boxes I want to keep and what boxes I might need to let go of. And as I do this, I am taking steps closer into the depths of my heart to meet my true self. To have an experience of connection with My pure essence. And we all have this essential presence within us, this divine divinity that at best is indescribable.

 

So it requires a healthful presence of ego to be able to see these boxes that make up the personhood of who we are. And yet, a surrender of ego in a way that will support us to not identify ourselves as being any of the boxes. But instead, releasing the aspect of the ego that would become attached to any of the boxes, and remembering our True Self that lives in each of those boxes, and then the box disappears.

 

I recently heard myself say during a private client’s session, that there are boxes that we love about ourselves and there are boxes that we don’t love about ourselves. And it’s hard to not want to identify with those boxes that we love about ourselves. And there are good practices when naming the positive qualities of knowing who we are that builds us up! So keep those, and then, surrender to the divine within you.

 

Let go of all the boxes and swim in the beautiful ocean of your own divinity. 

 

Now my last statement here moves us into the next ethical practice of ishvara pranidhana, the jewel of surrender, but let’s save that for another day! And yet, you see the flow of these practices and why they are in this order?!

 

Join Me For A Free 2 Weeks Program

 

I invite you to join me in rest and reflection.

 

For me, the heat comes because I am upholding myself to become quiet, still, and meditate in order to become more clear and realign with my Truest Nature.

 

This is hard for me because I want to do, to perform, and I want to produce and manifest. But for me, my time of manifestation of this past year has come to an end; my catharsis.  And I know deep in my soul that this is a time of needed reflection and quietude. This time of sitting in stillness is my heat, my tapas.

 

I know I need to be with what is, see all the boxes, honour each one, svadhyaya, and then listen even deeper to my heart. To that place within my heart’s heart, my spiritual heart, and allow my soul’s strength, atmabala, to stir within me and reveal to me my Truths. 

 

I hope you will join me no matter what your reasons. No matter what season of life you are in. No matter what you are going through.  I’m going to be doing this with you and I invite you to invite a friend, or ten, to come along. 

 

Here are the details:

“Rest, Reflect, Restoreis a FREE two week exploration into quietude. 

What you receive each week:

  • one 15-20 minute pre-recorded restorative yoga practice, yours to keep forever.
  • one 8-10 minute pre-recorded guided meditation, yours to keep forever.
  • one PDF print out with reflective questions and affirmations to help you re-align with your True Self. 
  • I will be going LIVE in IG on Monday, Dec. 6th at 8pm EDT to kick us off, and Monday, Dec. 20th at 8pm EDT to close. 

How do you join me? Sign up below

 

 

All my love,

 

Shawna 

Breathe and Believe.

 

“I have been a seeker and still am, but stopped asking for the books and the stars.  I started listening to the teachings of my soul.”-Rumi

Sign Up Below for Rest, Reflect & Restore program!