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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,



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! 

For this past week’s intention I was watching how the universe was always sending me messages and how they were so beautifully woven into each other:


During our “Sunday Morning Special” class Patrick talked about how asana, postures, are a constant push and pull with gravity.

And then I went over to find that Liz Moyer’s reflection prompt inside her company, ‘We Heal for All’, was the following:


What teachings lie in the micro movements?

So often when I’m in the midst of transition I notice that I want to be on the other side already. I want to be done with the dance, to be on solid ground. I hold my breath and power through with my sight set on what’s ahead. While it’s an understandable approach, I wonder what I might be missing?


The invitation that comes to me in this reflection is to see if in the midst of transition I can slow myself down enough to notice the micro moments within it all? Can I practice being present with the sensations and discomfort that come with being pushed and pulled within the change? And if I can, what does that offer me? What teachings lie in the micro moments within transitions that are key to where I’m meant to land next?” 

What beautiful reflection prompts.


*Hint: Save the Date of Dec. 12, for an experience with Liz and myself and our dear friend, Anthony Purdy! 😉

And the insightful and intuitive hits kept coming from the Source when I read inside Emma Poole’s blog, this Elizabeth Gilbert quote:

“Just as they exist in writing a literal truth and a poetic truth, they’re also exists in a human being a little anatomy and a poetic anatomy. One, you can see; One, you cannot. One is made of bones and teeth and flesh; The other is made of energy and memory and faith. But they are both equally true.”

It’s incredible to me, how Elizabeth Gilbert names prana without naming it directly.  The energy and memory and faith.

In somatics work we speak all the time about how the stories and the knowings are in the tissues of our body, our physical body. 



Take a moment, dear reader, take a sacred pause with me:

Find a comfortable position, as comfortable as you can find for your physical body at this moment. Close your eyes and take a couple of breaths. What are you feeling in your body? What are you noticing? Is there discomfort in a certain area, do you want to wiggle and move? Is there great comfort in a part of your body, or even all over? Is it easy to mentally slow down enough to notice your physical sensations? Or is it challenging to try to bring your awareness into this moment? Without judging, can you just be in this experience of this moment? 



Now, take another breath, and feel what’s present now for you, your physical body, your emotions, and your thoughts. How is the quality of your energy now, versus before taking this sacred pause?  This energy, your life force, prana, is the ‘energy, memory, and faith’ that Elizabeth Gilbert was talking about. You have the ability to control it, move it, guide it, and also listen to what it is sharing with you. 



Take the time to connect with your energy and your Self each day. No matter how hard it might feel, just breathe. Perhaps nothing comes of it, that’s ok. And then, perhaps on another day, it’s the changing factor and micro-moment from which things will begin to shift towards the positive.  And this can be one entry point of which you love yourself, but more on that “gentle approach” next week. 


Slowly moving on…


I have been continually struck by this quote for most of my adult life:

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite literally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate states.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new; And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some states of instability – And that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you. Your idea will mature gradually – Let them grow. Let them share themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on as though you could be today what time will make you tomorrow (That is to say, Grace and circumstances acting on your own goodwill).

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.”


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

My Contemplation on Purna i.e being whole))

As I hear that word, incomplete, I think to the Sanskrit vibration ‘purna’, meaning whole.  I also think to one of my most favorite mantras, the purna mantra, listen here. As one of the teachers I follow on YouTube, Sri M, explains and listen to the vibration as he recites it at the start of the video!  The essence of this purna mantra is that one into one, is one. We are always whole, and full in the essence that is unchanging within us. We are always the constant steady stream of light and love.

Now, I am not arguing with Mr. Chardin here, I am simply inviting contemplation.  What makes us feel that we are not complete, whole, and worthy as we are? Usually the mind. 



And so, yes, I can except the feeling of suspense and being comfortable in the uncomfortable of the unknown.  I am human, I cannot see what is next. And so I can accept and be content here in the now. (Reminds me of our most recent Sunday morning special class and how we talked about Santosa, and contentment.)



I can use the offering of my presence to each moment, to myself, and to others, to be able to notice these micro movements of life and these micro moments in which perhaps I will find and see the insights as to where I am meant to be. Perhaps these micro moments will remind me that I’m already right where I’m meant to be.



Can you slow down enough to be the witness? To see your fullness? To catch the insights that the universe is sharing with you and guiding you on your path?


Can you trust that it is with you?  To trust this spirit forming within you?  Can you trust your timing?



And that is why with this intention a constantly was inviting practitioners to trust their timing. To trust the tempo at which their body wanted to move in practice at that moment. Could they trust the rhythms in which they felt life moving through them? Could they feel those rhythms, and can they feel the timing, tempo, and rhythm of the dance?

Could they just offer themselves, and the moment, their presence?


When we offer our presents to a moment we are better able to see the gifts and guidance of Source.  



How the intention of this entire class came to be is proof of that. Thanks to all my friends and collaborators whose wisdoms kept being shown to me to make this moment happen!


Love to all,

Shawna 🙏🏻💗

Breathe and Believe.

What happens when I’m not myself?

Last week we explored being oneself. Is it possible to purely be yourself? Is it possible to be purely in the moment? Could being purely in the moment help us to be purely ourselves? And what might it offer us?

Saucha in Sanskrit stands for “purity”.  It can also be translated as ‘orderliness, cleanliness, and clearness’.  We can attribute this to our outer environment and we can also attribute it to our inner environments.

Saucha is one of the niyamas, or ‘observances’; philosophies of yoga.  I love how my dear friend and collaborator, Patrick Heffernan, describes the niyamas as a way of ‘reprogramming and self-training’.

Saucha can be applied to how we nourish ourself, how we eat and drink, how we make sure we get enough rest, and how we bathe and clean our self. 

It’s also how we take care of our physical spaces, and the planet at large. How we are taking care and keeping clean and pure the environments that we live in. Think of it as the Marie Kondo practice of cleaning your drawers!  

Perhaps more importantly, saucha, is meant to also be applied to our inner environments. How we keep clean and orderly our energy and our mind.

Two weeks ago, Patrick and I opened up the ‘Sunday morning special’ class with the Dharma discussion on saucha.  It was quite moving and beautiful the things that came up! I’m going to do my best in sharing some of the wisdoms that came through for me and that came through from other community members. 

*I will be keeping the community members’ names anonymous for privacy.  Please know that you are all welcomed to these Sunday morning special practices that are truly something magical!  

I led the Dharma discussion talking about saucha and also bringing in the vibration of ‘abhyasa’.  Abhyasa means “practice”, and in particular, practice towards a tranquil mind.  To be organizing and pointing our thoughts always towards what we want. To get clear on what we want and what we always want our thoughts to be pointing towards.

As the Seeker(practitioner for Good) that you are in reading this blog, I know that you are always seeking to have your thoughts and actions aligned with positive intention, loving-kindness, and for the good of all. Doing your best to organize your thoughts always towards the Light. To be seeing the best in yourself and the best in others. To be striving for thoughts of abundance, forgiveness, joy, and peace, equanimity, inclusivity, and love.

So what happens when we feel we are not our Self?

One community member offered the wisdom to first ask, “why”?  

By asking why it invites compassion. It doesn’t make us right or wrong, nor bad, we just ‘Marie Kondo’ the moment and lay it all out. We see if perhaps we’ve been triggered, or if something in our circumstances is causing us heaviness. But we lay it all out, taking a sacred pause, and then we get to choose.  

Personally, I’m deeply grateful for this wisdom. In my moments of motherhood where I am least proud, this practice invites me to offer myself compassion. And it also invites me to acknowledge what I need in a moment where I don’t feel like I’m being myself and I can choose to do what is most loving in that moment. When I choose to do what’s most loving, sometimes that means telling my kids that mommy has to leave the room for a minute and take a deep breath. And I know when I come back, I’m better and I’m better for my kids!

I also love this wisdom because it means it’s upholding one of my core values that I have discovered through the pandemic; acknowledgment.  This wisdom allows us to honor and see everything that we are feeling, thinking, and doing. Without attachment nor trying to fix. This wisdom and practice invites an honoring of everything that we are witnessing, even the messy parts.

And that’s when another incredible community member offered their wisdom; that it’s part of myself to be messy!  Yes! This resonates for me! They went on to say that they ‘aspire to be human’! I love this. Because to be human is to be imperfect with our perfect Selves! Another community member said “bless the mess”! Haha. 

Saucha invites the mess because we have the power to then clear the mess.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that our underwear drawer has to be neatly folded and organized where each pair can be seen, I’ll get to that later though. However, it means on the mental level that we see ourself not as a mess, but that we honor ourselves in unconditional acceptance for all of who we are and that we then get to choose who we are. We become clear, saucha, that who we are is that unchanging Light within. 

So bring on the mess because who I am is Light and love, and I can handle it! 

Back to the drawers! …

Source downloaded in me as I was moving through the physical practice on this Sunday morning, this insight:

“We each have a place. When we are ourselves we are divinely organized within ourselves so that we can experience love.”

A community member so beautifully added to this that ‘If we are not ourselves, how will the universe recognize us and be able to guide and support us’?  That brings me to tears.

This is a call from the universe to be seen.

This is a call from the universe to be yourself!

This is a call from the universe to be here, in this moment, now!

This is a call from the universe to acknowledge everything, and everyone, including yourself!

If I am that crumpled up shirt in the back corner of the drawer, hidden, then I cannot wear it.  It won’t be seen, nor will it be able to live out its purpose. It won’t be experienced in its fullness.  

And when I can see that shirt, and I put it on, then it gets seen. It’s purpose gets fulfilled! I might even get a compliment from it and then it’s purpose spreads its energy to me! I might even then choose to share the story of how I got the shirt!  The energy then becomes this infinite expression of joy that goes beyond just the shirt.  

You have an effect in this world beyond what you think!  You have a place and a purpose here.

So, perhaps entering more purely into the moment, acknowledging everything there, both within yourself and around yourself, truly can help support you in being your pure Self!

And think of what that could do not only for you, but the world! 

All my love,

Shawna 🙏🏻