Shawna Emerick

The above pictures look pretty extreme to me, but, at face value, which would you rather be feeling?  

 

Balance as a noun is defined as ‘an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and study’. I’m wondering dear reader, are you evenly distributing your love, time, energy, and efforts in your life in order to remain “upright and study”?  

 
Jana Kingsford states, “Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create”.  It was some time ago, perhaps a few years ago, where I began to change my own inner definition of balance. Balance to me became a designed creation in life of choosing where I put my thoughts, my heart, my efforts, my focus, and my body.
 
Where we place our gaze, or vision, or focus in life is very much attributed in yoga to the word ‘drishti’.  Drishti means ‘gaze’ or ‘view’.  It often gets most attributed to where your eyes are physically focusing in a physical yogic practice, but the term holds much more depth of meaning. It also means how we see the world as we navigate it, and of course how we see and view our self.
 
As the past couple of weeks intentions have had a deep undercurrent connection of being on a journey, creating balance in the journey is a very necessary aspect to keeping the flow and allowing oneself to be able to better navigate whatever life brings us, as well as how we want to be creating our life. There is a saying in yoga that goes like this, “Ya drishti sa drishti”.  This translates as, “as your vision, so is your universe”.   Another translation I’ve seen is, “the world as you see it”.  
 
This made me think back to remembering when people were saying that 2020 was going to bring clear vision, and it was met partly as a joke because of 20/20 vision but it was also holding deeper meaning for many others.  I’m wondering right now, dear reader, what is your vision? What is your vision for yourself? What is the vision for your life? What is the vision for the work you wish to do in the world? And, how do you view things on a day-to-day basis? Is there somewhere in your life where you need to refocus? Perhaps the first step is to just take time and take that “sacred pause”, as I call it, where you become aware of what you’ve been focusing on lately and seeing if it’s an alignment with where you want to be giving your focus and attention and love…
 
Koi Fresco said, “Balance is a key to everything. What we do, think, say, eat, feel, they all require awareness and through this awareness we can grow”.  Another author who is anonymous once wrote, “The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it”.  I believe it takes a willingness to create the time to have the awareness to know when we’ve lost our balance. And, I’m starting to believe that the more aware we become, the more we can perceive a loss of balance before it would happen. One way to do this is through the practice of discernment. But that’s for the next blog, lol. Click here for that blog! 
 
Rumi said, “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go”.  I always hear this time and time again, especially in the wellness world;  that question of what do you need to let go in order to grow? What is it that you need to release in order to flourish? What is it that you wish to free yourself from in order to create peace and freedom? What are you holding on to that’s no longer serving you? But there’s also the flip side of that coin. What do you know you must hold on to in order to keep the balance? What is it you now that you need to hold deep within your heart at all times in order to create balance? What is it that you need to hold on to in your mind in the way that you view yourself and the world in order to create peace? What are some of the practices you need to either let go of or hold on to in order to create a better balance for yourself and all beings?
 
In our practices during this week of ‘balance’ intention, we used opposite nostril breathing to create balance to the energetic channels within our subtle body.   And, of course, we practiced standing balance postures! I invite you to stand for a moment and just lift one leg up. What do you notice? Are there subtle movements in the ankle you’re standing on? That’s your wise body helping you keep balance. Have you been listening to your body lately? When you lift the leg up, where did your eyes focus? Were you keeping a steady gaze? How did you position yourself in order to create balance?…
 
And there’s the verb definition for balance, ‘to keep or put something in a study position so that it doesn’t fall’. How do you position yourself in life so that you won’t fall? What positions do you put yourself in in order to stay steady? Do you have self-care practices that help keep your peace of mind? Do you put your body in physical yogic positions in order to support your physical health? How do you position your thoughts in order to support your emotional and mental well-being? In the weeks that followed this one we explored mantra as one way to keep the mental, emotional, and spiritual focus aligned in a way that is meant to position ourselves in alignment with the love of the universe.  Read that blog here. **And, join me at 7:30pm THIS SUNDAY for an Instagram Live inside the Bread and Yoga co-op instagram page for a mantra chanting experience to support discernment, creativity, peace, and recognizing your own innate inner wisdom!**
 
I hope all of these questions and more have begun to stir an inquiry into your own life around what balance means for you. I hope that these questions and these words have supported you to graciously and compassionately take a look at different aspects of your life and to feel into if they are in a good balance or if there needs to be some sort of refocus or redistribution. This could be taking a look at balance in a relationship you’re in, balance in how you are giving energy to work, home life, family, self, and even relationship with the divine.
 
I will close this blog with the same quote that I closed all the classes with.  It comes from L. R. Knost:
 
“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”
 
Much love,
Shawna
Breathe and Believe
 
 
Surrender

“If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.”-Toni Morrison

This is the quote that opens the chapter on surrender in Sarah Lewis’s book entitled “The Rise: creativity, the gift of failure, and the search for mastery”.  I am so happy that I bought this book after hearing her speak with Brené Brown in her podcast ‘Dare to Lead’, you can listen here(exclusively on Spotify).  

I recently took a deep dive back into surrender since last writing about it a while back, read here.  Who knew that at that time in my life, I was beginning to more deeply understand the fullness of surrender.  I wrote: I love how the jewel of surrender invites us to be an active participant in life. Throughout leading classes this week I felt channeled through me the realization that: when we actively leave our heart open to things as they are, to witness life as it unfolds, that is the act of participation!  We are simultaneously surrendering to what is, as we witness it. And, I came to feel and realized that in doing this, we can be simultaneously leaving ourselves open to seeing where life is directing us, where life is moving us. We can therefore, through the jewel of surrender, quite possibly see our purpose in life, or even the purpose of life itself. When we surrender to that divine entity greater than ourselves, which is simultaneously who we are, we can better wade through the waters of life when those waters are choppy and thrashing.  And when those waters are pristine, still and peaceful, then we can enjoy them even more.”

I went on to say, “It personally took me many years to come to fully understand that surrender does not equate to letting go and giving up. Surrender does not mean stopping life and not taking action. Rather, surrender means stepping into life, and stepping into our own light, and being courageous in those steps.  Being willing to take those steps no matter what the outcome, to live life fully, and to just surrender to where it lands us is what ishvara pranidhana is about. This brings me circling back again to the idea that when we surrender to life’s flow, that we may also simultaneously be available to see where life is taking us, what it is presenting us, and where we might serve others in the best way possible. That creative flow reminds me of spanda, two weeks ago. And perhaps how spanda is kind of like the holy Spirit, moving us towards the light, towards the love, always”

Wow, hopefully you will feel the thread of resonance that follow, as well as some new entry points, new point of view, and new ways of feeling into what surrender has in store for each of us!…

In the book “The Rise”, Sarah Lewis shares that surrender is more of a giving over,  and not a giving up. In giving over into the moment, at any moment, we actually are more available to the moment.  What I mean by available is that we can become an explorer. We become what I am beginning to call an ‘archaeologist of our own life and soul’. In that moment when we have given over to our senses, and our consciousness, and we have stepped into the practice of being in the moment, to see everything that is within it, with all of our senses and faculties, it is in that moment that we have greatest choice; it’s in that moment that we become what Sarah Lewis calls “our optimal self”. Why? Because, in that moment we are not so tight and rigid that we cannot see, feel, or hear the insights,  the possibilities, or the ways in which we can redirect our own self, or the energies that are coming at us.  **I feel that this requires us to be brave enough to surrender to what’s been given for us to do, so we give over to it, in order to live.  It requires fortitude.  And when I say ‘been given for us to do’, I’m also thinking of Sarah Lewis in her book and last week in our intention, to which I did not write a blog about, but you can listen to the podcast here.  She states that the biggest lesson that the universe keeps putting in front of her and that she has to keep learning and unlearning and relearning is the lesson of ” knowing what is given for me to do”.  And when she says what is given for her to do she is meaning… ” I’m talking about what I feel I have been given to do by all that is, by the beyond, by God, if you call it God. And by that I mean what’s my soul mission?”  I believe our soul’s mission is inscribed in the stars and the ether and the cosmos. Call it the akashic records, call it love, call it life, but I wholeheartedly believe that each of us is here with a purpose, even if that purpose is to awaken enough to recognize that we are here and that we matter.


So what happens when we start living life, we start to awaken to these deeper knowings? What happens when we begin to feel that our work and our striving feels as if it’s two steps forward and then two steps back? What happens when it feels as if we’re just continually climbing up an impossible and infinite mountain? This is where I feel surrender has its greatest alchemy and potency. I have come to feel that there is a discipline that we must practice in order to surrender. That we need discipline in surrender, to surrender. The idea of not fighting what we cannot control and instead redirecting that energy, and that thought, similar to how Sarah Lewis talks in her book about the practice of aikido. The discipline and the practices that we continually need to implement in order to be able to surrender. It is only in the surrendered moments, this moment, the moment when and where we are focused, that our experience is of that very second.  This is when we can feel the essence that is assisting us, the Universe. It is when we are most in touch with our true self.

Sarah Lewis talks about an Arctic explorer, Ben Saunders, who in his solo journeys to both the North and South Pole, talks about the shifting ice caps that he’s journeying on and how in the morning he would wake up and check his GPS and see that the ice caps had shifted so greatly that he was back at the starting point of where he had started the day before. So, he began to tune in with the wind, the temperatures, and the climates cues. He states, “clearly you can’t change anything that’s going on in this harsh place, but you start to understand it’s rhythms and seasons. You come to a place of surrender to the physical environment. ” I feel that this is so symbolic of what this new idea of discipline to surrender speaks to directly.  In those moments where we feel like we’re not making any great change, or we feel we’re being challenged, we are stressed, or even in pain, it could even be chronic physical pain, that we practice surrender.  We surrender to the moment, we become present.  That’s all our action ever needs to be, aware of what is and whats within us. 

We surrender in a way where we are empowered to be present-moment focused that we are able to feel the season of our life in that moment, we are able to behold the pain in our body, or to witness the pain in our heart, or to just see the situation we are living in in this moment alone, not making a story up about it, not referencing the past nor wishing for a future, but just really being present right now. Ben Saunders goes on to say, ” there were days where it seemed completely impossible, and I couldn’t even come contemplate the ultimate goal. There were days when I just look at a bit of ice in front of me on the right bearing north, and just think, all I’m going to think about is getting to that bit of ice there, that’s 30 ft away, and when I get there, if I get there, that will be a success. It’ll be the right direction, and then I can think about the rest of it. So there were days like that where I just had to break it down into the smallest possible steps. “ I invite you to do that right now dear reader, feel free to pause and sit quietly with your eyes closed in a quiet place. Take a couple of grounding breaths that just center your thoughts more into the present moment. And then just be in the moment and notice what you notice, feel what you feel, without holding judgment upon whatever your experience is. Just be in the experience notice what you notice, allow whatever comes in or comes up to just be that. Be in acceptance of what you notice, be the observer and the witness.

Sarah Lewis and her book writes, “When you surrender enough, you feel the heft of a situation or an environment and can better judge how to move with it.”  I love how she states prior that, “Surrender heightens perceptions.”  She talks about the practice of Aikido here and how she interviewed and studied with a teacher for a while in order to inform her book. The Aikido teacher offered her a quote, “A tactile analogy of how we can hold two objects of the same size and density, say two glasses, one empty and one full of water, and feel their different weights, but we tighten and squeeze our arm and hand muscles more, we won’t perceive the difference in the two weights nearly as much.”  Sarah Lewis continued on, “When we are stressed, we lose access to information.  And when people are out there on the edge, they need to have access to all the information they can.”  That edge can be conflict. Yet, the founder of Aikido saw that edge as the “energy of the world itself”.  I’m thinking again here how we have to be brave enough to surrender what’s been given to us to do, whether literally in the moment or more on that macro level of one soul’s mission, so that we can give over to it in order to live and thrive. I’m thinking of the Toni Morrison quote again, and how much is packed into that one statement, “If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it!”

Once you give up the control, you really become the true driver! I love how Ben Saunders started to speak of his solo time out in the Arctic with the word ‘we’!  To me that signifies the remembrance that we are surrendering to be present in the moment and to see where we are simultaneously being guided by Source, and where we can guide our self!  Source shows us possibility. We are co-creators with Source! Mysterious, scary, daunting, but you sense the path; seeing ideas, insights, feel faith, resonance, and you can feel the positive change! This all allows for our own greater capacity to come forth when we surrender! I’m feeling in my own life, that I want to begin to always say ‘we’ so that I can remember this. And that I am truly “They”, as each of us are, we are our authentic self here in physical form on this planet as unique individuals, and equally as much we are love itself.  I Am That, That Am I!  I Am Because We Are!

And to remember that we are that, I am that, that am I, is what I realized is one audacious goal, at least that I have in this lifetime; enlightenment. Sarah Lewis talks about how audacious goals can be a form that leads, or be a form of generation and movement in one’s path of mastery. And though I still sometimes can’t wrap my own brain around what an audacious goal would be, I have now found that enlightenment is quite an audacious goal. By definition, audacious means ” showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks”. So truly, for me personally, enlightenment is an audacious goal and to be my true authentic self is an audacious goal because it requires of me being willing to show up in my light and to be bold and take risks when I reveal my light.  Another audacious goal of mine is to serve as many people as I possibly can in there journey of healing; and for them to FEEL their worth and have an experience of inner peace. 

Before I close, what happens when we are at our wit’s end? What happens when we feel as if we can no longer go on? What happens when we feel like surrender truly is just giving up and that’s what we feel to do? This is where I loved that in her book The Rise, Sarah Lewis shares Hooke’s Law. Hooke’s Law states that “the force of an extended spring is equivalent to how far it is stretched.” She says to “convert our own energy and operate at full force, often we must first surrender.” But as I had my husband explained this physics law to me multiple times until I could feel into how this applies to life, this is my take on the law… Imagine a slinky toy if you don’t know what that is click here.  To me this is the knowledge of however far we are stretch, like the slinky, our Light and our energy, our Greatness is equivalent!!  Your Greatness is equal to how far you are “stretched”! I remember the adage that ‘God won’t give you what you can’t handle’. And this is where I remember my dear friend, Stephenie, and how she speaks to the serenity prayer everyday:  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

So in a way, we just surrender to our own glow! Our own life. Or, maybe you will feel it as giving over to what is in your life, and understand its rhythms and seasons and break it down to the smallest step possible. When we are present we can more better innately and intuitively do this.  You are wise, your body is wise.

“You are a discoverer, craftsman, artist, scientist, archaeologist of your own life and soul. Stay tuned in. Stay tuned! Your life is amazing!  You are amazing!”-Shawna Emerick 😉

All my love and surrender,
Shawna 
Breathe and Believe.

Today is the Wolf Full Moon. I did not find it surprising, but rather magically supported by Source that this full moon was happening when I had created an intention around “walking together” for my classes this week.
The Wolf Full moon supports us in ‘finding our packs’ and ‘reinforcing social bonds’.
Thank you for being part of my pack, especially now, and here’s why…

 

This past Tuesday, the Washington Heights, NYC, NY studio of Mind Body Soul Yoga decided to close after nearly 12 years.  I was with them on and off for most of that time.  It is now transforming into it’s own new beautiful reincarnation, and I am transmuting as well….

I HAVE STARTED MY OWN CLASSES ONLINE!  This Saturday will be my last classes with Mind Body Soul Yoga.  After that, all you have to do is go to my website!  Right now, for ease during this time of transition, I am keeping the same days, times, and styles of yoga that I had been teaching thru Mind Body Soul Yoga.

My schedule isn’t changing right now, but I might be seeking your feedback on that in the future.  I am still also offering the classes with Bread and Yoga Coop.  All of this info is on the home page of my website. Click HERE!  For right now, I am also considering recording some of these classes.  How I will use them, I’m not sure as of right now.  I have a lot to think about and a lot to feel into. I want to do it intentionally and lovingly for you and for myself. I greatly appreciate your patience, support, and any feedback in how I can help you.  

I can tell you this though!  SQUEAL….I am one part of an INCREDIBLE COLLABORATION that is underway!  It will launch around March 1st!  There is going to be A LOT for you to dive into from this collaboration, as well as recordings, not to mention connections, community, practice, support, growth, love, and a lot of fun!    

Again, thank you. You are my pack, my friends, family, and fellow human beings walking this path of life hand-in-hand with me.  Truly, it is heart-with-heart, pulsing and beating to the sound of the cosmos.  We are all beautifully unique and each of us is a necessary thread within the fabric of all of humanity.  Together, when we share our strengths and support others when they need help, we make the fabric stronger!  

Last week was wrapped around the “actionable extension of the heart”, a term I channeled because of my ‘Manifest Monthly’ workshop.  We focused it more inward, towards one’s self.  This week, it’s about turning it outwards.  Hence, the stumbling upon the Wolf Moon, and the synchronicity of that message from the Universe in support of all of this weeks events!  I wanted to feel into the “actionable extension of the heart” towards others, and below are some of the quotes, messages, and inquiries from last week and this weeks classes.

Thank you so much.  I look forward to serving you more on the Yoga mat, on the Thai Massage mat, in the Spiritual Coaching for Transformation connections, and more!  (Yes, I am currently offering all of these things I just named!)

Love,
Shawna
Breathe and Believe.

Last Week’s Quotes:

 

“Honest hearts produce honest action.” -Brigham Young

 

“Love is action.” -my grandfather, Samuel Emerick

 

“Love is a bodied truth, a somatic reality.”-Stanley Keleman

 

“Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed … I suppose a big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.”- Thomas Merton

 

I closed some classes by asking the question, “what would this feel like, to offer an ‘actionable extension of your heart’ to yourself? What would that look like? And, what might it produce”?  This week I’m asking those same questions in the context of “what would it feel like, what would it look like, and what made it produce, to offer that ‘actionable extension of our hearts’ to each other”?

 

This Week’s Quotes:

 

“Oh Great Spirit who made all races, look kindly upon the whole human family and take away the arrogance and hatred which separates us from our brothers and sisters.” -Cherokee Prayer

 

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connected.” -Cheif Seattle, 1854

 

“I believe in the limitless of humans. We are capable of incredible things. At times, that realization is frightening.”-Alicia Keys

 

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; And when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we are all in this together.” -Brené Brown

 

This week’s intention was also supported by the fact that Brene Brown’s dissertation was centered around the idea of ‘acompañar’, which means ‘to accompany, partner, and to come along’.  I am forever grateful to my dear friend, Randi, who texted me on a day that I told her I was feeling a bit down, and she reminded me how I have her as an older sister, and many older sisters, watching over me.  Thank you, Randi, and, again, thank you all! 

 

May we remember we are together.  May we see each other as not lacking anything, but instead meet each other right where we are at; and to only support each other in the most loving ways for growth of all beings!

 

“goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation.” -Rumi

uncertainty

Below is the blog I had created before Wednesday, January 6th, the day the capitol was stormed here in the U.S..

After that day, the intention softened from one of uncertainty moving us towards making great change and saying “yes” to getting active in life; into one that was more gentler, softer, a practice of trusting the universe and allowing an unfolding thru a way of self-care, compassion and love. The intention needed that shift after such a day of aggression, violation, anger, and attack.

I believe in both. I believe uncertainty has a way of reminding us to soften, trust, surrender, and let go so we can remember the light, the love, and the goodness that IS innate in the world, even while suffering is happening.  And, I believe that uncertainty, thru the portal of the “don’t know mind”, which you will read about below, moves us towards becoming active in life, designing new paradigms, getting creative, and moving from that sacred place of Source within our self.

Here is the blog in its original form and with additions created post-January 6th!:

Last week Mark Nepo reminded us just how rare, precious, and awake we are. That we have this privilege of consciousness. And that it begged of us a life of gratitude. And he said how it made hesitation useless.  Read my blog and his words HERE.

That “hesitation is useless” made me a little uncomfortable. I’m a believer in sacred pauses, what I mean by that is, time to turn inward.  As I contemplated this a little bit more, I think what he’s getting at is that not living your dreams, not taking action towards what you love, not listening to what your heart is longing for, is useless. It’s helpful to rest from time to time, to pause and feel what you feel, and it is even important to do these things, and to listen deeply within. But, once we’ve heard the call, the hesitation is useless.

A cousin of mine who runs long distances and is about to embark on training for yet another 100 mile ultra marathon!  One of the quotes that’s inspiring him lately is from Theodore Roosevelt: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure … then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

I feel that this is an equivalent to “you never know unless you try”! It brings up the notions of detachment from the outcome and embracing the journey. It brings up the contemplation of embracing uncertainty and not knowing what’s going to happen. Detachment from the future, and embracing the now.  Getting out of our heads, dropping down into our bodies and hearts, and being in the experiences that we are living; all of them.

For me this is coming up in a way of “re-learning” things in my life, or, as I now prefer to say, ‘re-organizing’/’re-evaluating’/’re-versing'(verse, song, story)/’re-imagining’/’re-naming’/’re-membering'(remembering I am human and Spirit and connected to all things). Relearning in a way of realizing that I have taken in information along the way in my life’s journey that is at times only a partial truth of mine, and that sometimes are completely false. Or, not of my resonance anymore. For example, a belief that I can’t learn the tech to support my business in order to serve the people of this world that I am meant to serve and help, is a belief that is false. I’m releasing that belief that I can, and embracing the journey of learning the tech things.  And, embracing the remembering that I can ask for help when I need it. So that, instead of freezing, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “in the gray twilight” where I’ll neither get hurt nor know the deep resonance of love of helping and serving others and healing within myself, I’m willing to risk it…. Or as Dawna markova writes in her poem from her book entitled “I will not die and unlived life: reclaiming purpose and passion”, 

“I will not die and unlived life.
I will not live in fear
Of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
To allow my living to open me,
To make me less afraid,
More accessible,
To loosen my heart
Until it becomes a wing,
A torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
To live so that which came to me as seed
Goes to the next of blossom,
And that which came to me as blossom,
Goes on as fruit.”

I think I understand more fully now when she says “I choose to risk my significance”.  Yoga teaches us that we are infinite, we are Source itself; we are Atman. So, what do we have to fear? What do you fear most? Dying? Not being enough? Do you fear failure?  Remember you are enough because you are.

What happens when we simply let go? When we begin to choose to trust, and surrender?
Here’s where the sacred pause becomes important.  James Baldwin said, “not everything that is faced is changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
We must slow down enough in order to be able to feel what is present within us.

Marcel proust wrote “The voyage of Discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  To see what lies within, we must take the time to feel, we must take the time to listen, we must take the time to be friends with silence. We must create this time in order to discover our own inner landscapes that are yet uncharted. Then, we can see how we might develop new lands, new creations, new designs from what and who we already are.  What we need and what we seek does not lie out there in the world, it lies within us. This is also why we don’t need tons of ‘stuff’ and possessions.

So what if you made friends with uncertainty? What if you began to see instead how there is wisdom in uncertainty? This became the greater focus of the practice after January 6th.

Jack Kornfield in his book ‘The Wise Heart’ writes “The wisdom of uncertainty frees us from what Buddhist psychology calls the thicket of views and opinions. … When we are free from views, we are willing to learn. … Seung Sahn, a Korean Zen master, tells us to value this “Don’t-know mind.  He would ask his students questions such as what is love? What is consciousness? Where did your life come from? What is going to happen tomorrow? Each time, the students would answer “I don’t know”. “Good,” he replied, “keep this don’t know mine. It is an open mind, a clear mind.””

Jack Kornfield goes on to write, “Through beginners mind we learn to see one another mindfully, free from views. Without views, we listen more deeply and see more clearly.”  And, I would ask that we do the same for our self. Then we will learn to see our self more mindfully, free from views and expectations of who we should be and who we ought to be. We also then offer ourselves practices of more deep listening and become more clear on who we truly are.

“Release opinions, free yourself from views. Be open to mystery.” This is what Jack Kornfield states is the 25th principle of Buddhist psychology.   And, he states that aliveness is one of the hallmarks of a mindful psychology.

This may all sound and seem very fiery, and I agree.

After the events of last week, and changing the tone around uncertainty, it came to light that uncertainty can be, what I began to call, a portal.

Drawing upon the “don’t know mind”, if I enter into that ‘spaciousness’ where I can courageously surrender and say I don’t know, then I soften.

If I surrender and let go and remember that I’m being supported by Universe, and at trust and have faith, then a little bit more compassion arrives. A little bit more softness is experienced and possibly even rest can be had.

Uncertainty can be a portal to acceptance. Acceptance of how things are in this moment. Acceptance that there are things that I do not have control over. What is possible from this place? I invite you to take a sacred pause here and really imagine into this question.

I can only speak for myself when I say that I’ve never been, at least to my consciousness, in a place in life where there are so many uncertainties. And even beyond the number of uncertainties, the uncertainties of the type where I cannot make any choices to change anything beyond what I already know. As an example, I don’t know when my husband will be back in his high school and teaching. So, for now, that uncertainty forces me into a way of living in scheduling our families dynamics towards what is possible with him being at home instead of trying to plan for something that I don’t know will happen or not, meaning him being back in the school or not.

However, I’ve been thinking how I am inviting myself, and you dear reader, to feel into some of these uncertainties not as being forcing in their nature, but rather they are of an invitation.

This way of living, again speaking for myself, is inviting me to be creative. It’s inviting me to be more open. It’s inviting me to be in an act of surrender more often. It’s invited me to alow the portal of uncertainty to be a pathway towards courageousness in my work and my living!  It’s made me more certain of my purpose!  It’s help me become more certain of the type of work I wish to be doing! In a way, uncertainty has led me towards certainty!  I’ll explain just a little here…

One example of uncertainty being a portal and a pathway towards courageous living is that of the taking risk. Not knowing how something might land, but knowing my truths, I’m taking the risk to speak my truth and foundation with my values, my heart and my spirit.  It’s started to feel really grounding. Because of this, I’m surrendering more, I’m letting go of my worry about what other people think of me.

This might all sound very cyclical, and perhaps it is, because it’s bringing me back around to Donna Markova’s poem. I know I, myself, I’m ready to risk my significant, to risk the way that people have been perceiving me for years in order to reveal my own light, and to uphold my values, and to speak up where I see injustices and inequalities, and to serve where I can.

Thank you all for listening!  May you remember your grounded resource of your breath when uncertainty shakes you, or move your body if that’s your resource. Most of all, remember your Self as resource.  You ARE love!

 

Breathe and Believe.

precious human birth

In this first week of the new year of 2,021, I truly fell in love with this offering from Mark Nepo out of his book, “The Book of Awakening”. It brought me to tears a few times. When he says, “in this time, in this place”, I was taken aback. To practice this level of gratitude for being in human form, with such awareness and consciousness, thru the time of a pandemic, a cultural awakening to the suffering of Black Lives, and more, wow.  I invite you to read this piece more than once. Soak it in, and read it whenever you like.  May we all honor and treat each other as rare and precious.  May we all honor and treat our self as rare and precious.  Enjoy, and I will see you on the mat soon! And, stay tuned for some other announcements coming up!  Love, Shawna

Precious Human Birth

~Of all the things that exist, we breathe and wake and turn it into song.~


There is a Buddhist precept that asks us to be mindful of how rare it is to find ourselves in human form on earth. It is really a beautiful view of life that offers us the chance to feel enormous appreciation for the fact that we are here as individual spirits filled with consciousness, drinking water and chopping wood.

It asks us to look about at the ant and antelope, at the worm and the butterfly, at the dog and the castrated bull, at the hawk and the wild lonely tiger, at the hundred-year-old oak and the thousand-year-old patch of ocean.  It asks us to understand that no other life form has the consciousness of being that we are privilege to. It asks us to recognize that of all the endless species of plants and animals and minerals that make up the Earth, a very small portion of life has the wakefulness of spirit that we call “being human”.

That I can rise from some depth of awareness to express this to you and that you can receive me in this instant is part of our precious human birth. You could have been an ant. I could have been an anteater. You could have been rain. I could have been a lick of salt. But we were blessed–in this time, in this place–to be human beings, alive in rare ways we often take for granted.

All of this is to say, this precious human birth is unrepeatable. So what will you do today, knowing that you are one of the rarest forms of life to ever walk the earth? How will you carry yourself? What will you do with your hands? What will you ask and a whom?

Tomorrow you could die and become an ant, and someone will be setting traps for you. But today you are precious and rare and awake. It ushers us into grateful living. It makes hesitation useless. Grateful and awake, ask what you need to know now. Say what you feel now. Love what you love now.

*Photo of my daughter on her day of birth. March 4th, 2019.

 

Breathe and Believe.

To Marry One's Soul

As the winter solstice came and went, as the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter came and went, as all these auspicious times of the holidays are coming and going, and as New year’s is upon us…. I want to offer my take on these times right now between the solstice and New year’s.

 

I have been reading the book “Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times” by Katherine May.  I have been feeling and experiencing my own ‘wintering’ and leaning into it. Moments of anxiety, and other moments of grief. This year, like many others, I have lost a lot; and, I know I am about to lose more because I’ve already been told so.  I’ve lost loved ones to this awful virus, and I’ve lost all the physical spaces that I used to move and “be moved” in.  Along with all of these experiences, is the ongoing experience of uncertainty. Will my husband be back inside his high school teaching come January? Will my son be in his school for kindergarten come January?  What will my own schedule need to look like then? 

 

And, through all of this, and more, there have been brilliant moments of connection. There have been enormous leaps and bounds of change and transformation in very positive and heart opening ways. I am deeply humbled, and grateful, for all of these experiences because it has shown, and ingrained in me, more of what I already knew, and more of what I knew I needed to learn.

 

All of this is to say, I’ve been receiving a lot of advertising emails recently that state the words “I’m ready to put this year behind me”!  And while I don’t find anything wrong with this, it’s not where I am. I don’t want to put it behind me in the context of my learnings. I don’t want to put behind and forget the names of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and so many more.  I don’t want to just simply put behind me the experiences and learnings that I received around racism, history, the country I live in, police brutality, climate change, environmentalism, ageism, sexism, economic disparities, health care inequality, family care inequalities, immigrants, Native Americans, all the people of color, LGBTQ+ rights, womens rights, spiritual bypassing, representation, how business is done, and how business can be done, and so much more.

 

I don’t want to just simply put it behind me,  I want to remember and let it be part of a new foundation from which I grow!

 

I don’t just want the “Light” to swallow everything up. I don’t just want to go around and say “bring in the “Light” and let’s move on”!  Something about that isn’t sitting right with me. What has been more resonant with me lately is the word ‘gentle‘.  Even nature doesn’t switch overnight to having long, summer days right after the winter solstice. Nature has this slow move towards those long days. I recently told a friend that I was grateful for this because then I wouldn’t get “sunburned”; I was speaking metaphorically there. I don’t want to be ‘burned’ by the light, by its brilliance.  I don’t want to be blinded by it.  I don’t want it to burn out all that I have learned, nor burn out all the darkness that I’ve been experiencing in my life.  Nor do I just want to be ‘burned out’, period.

 

I want to be gentle with myself and continue to feel all the feelings that I have been feeling, and just allow the light to come in slowly and incrementally. Breath by breath, step by step, day by day, a little at a time, little fractals and rays at a time, little shards and touches of warmth.  This thought reminded me of two weeks ago in our ‘peace’ intention class; that was the week leading up to, the winter solstice.  Buddha said, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without”.  And so, if I am to experience such peace, and if I have the desire, which I do, to share that peace and shed that light with all who I come in contact with, then I need to start with myself. And in doing so, be gentle with myself. To have the courage to honor all the parts and pieces of my experiences, feelings, and thoughts.  As Mark Nepo supports… to be that dedicated to my own soul as I am dedicated in supporting others souls; I’m paraphrasing.  This brings me to this past week’s intention and passage from Mark Nepo out of his book, “The book of Awakening: having the life you want by being present to the life you have”. 

 

“To Marry One’s Soul”(Nov. 13 passage):

 

“Being true to who we are means carrying our spirit like a candle in the center of our darkness.”

 

“If we are to live without silencing or numbing essential parts of who we are, a vow must be invoked and upheld within oneself. The same commitments we pronounce when embarking on a marriage can be understood internally as a devotion to the care of one’s soul: to having to hold… for better or for worse… in sickness and health… to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

 

This means staying committed to your inner path. This means not separating from yourself when things get tough or confusing. This means accepting and embracing your faults and limitations. It means loving yourself no matter how others see you.  It means cherishing the unchangeable radiance that lives within you, no matter the cuts and bruises along the way. It means binding your life with a solemn pledge to the truth of your soul.

 

It is interesting that the nautical definition of marry is “to join two ropes end to end by interweaving their strands.” To marry one’s soul suggests that we interweave the life of our spirit with the life of our psychology; the life of our heart with the life of our mind; the life of our faith and truth with the life of our doubt and anxiety.  And just as two ropes that are married create a tie that is twice as strong, when we marry our humanness to our spirit, we carry a life that is doubly strong in the world.”

 

Will you join me in making a commitment to yourself this year?  To be gentle with yourself, no matter what?

 

I am considering how I can make this vow more real and concrete.  Maybe even make a plaque and write my own vows to my Self.  Maybe buy myself a ring.  May symbolically tie two ropes together and place them on my alter space.  How might you make a ritual for this bond?  Speak your vows out loud in front of witnesses?  How will you carry this in your heart and thoughts everyday?  

 

So, that’s my take.  Wink, wink. 😉

 

I send you blessings for a truly bountiful new year!  And to allow the Light to come in, as you shine your Light from the inside out!

 

Here is a little meditation that came thru me during these ‘Soul Marrying’ classes:

 

Become quiet, and find a comfortable place to sit or lay down.  Take a few slow, deep breaths to support calming your nervous system and quieting your mind.  Allow, and invite, your physical body to rest.  When ready, close your eyes, or carry a heavy gaze.  Float back into a natural rhythm of breathing.

Begin to imagine a single candle in your mind’s eye.  Watch it’s dancing flame, flickering with life.  Behold its colors of blue, yellow, orange, and white.  Watch the way it moves about.

 

Imagine now, your hands lovingly wrapped around the flame.  Just close enough to feel it’s warmth and life, but not so close that you put it out.  Just close enough that your hands protect it from any winds that might snuff it out, but not so close that you prevent the dance to continue!  

 

This flame is an infinite flame.  It is fueled by everything you love!  It is fueled by everything you cherish.  It is fueled by everything that brings you joy.  

 

As you are nourished, the flame is nourished. Because, this flame is you!  Protect it, love it, allow it to dance, give it room to move, fuel and nourish it well.  Let it Light your path.  Sit with it a bit longer before getting up from your meditation. Write about the experience if you wish.  Repeat it as often as you can.  Hold the candle precious, because you are precious.

 

Love, 
Shawna
Breathe and Believe.

winterscape
Happy Winter Solstice.  I hope you will rest tonight. Cuddle under some blankets with a good book or movie, cup the tea or cocoa between your palms, and sigh deeply, releasing.

 

SPECIAL HOLIDAY SCHEDULE with VERY SPECIAL NEW YEARS DAY COLLAB. CLASS!

-Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 22nd, classes as usual! 5:15-6pm Moving Meditation thru Mind Body Soul Yoga AND 7-8:15 Relax+Restore, also thru Mind Body Soul Yoga.

-Thursday, Dec. 24th, NO CLASS. Merry Christmas!

-Friday, Dec. 25th, NO CLASS, Merry Christmas!

-Saturday, Dec. 26th, I am subbing the Vinyasa for All Levels thru Bread and Yoga 10-11am!  (My 10:30am-12pm class was cancelled this day, so please join me at 10am!)

-Saturday, Dec. 26th, classes as usual! 1-2:15pm Moving Mediation thru Mind Body Soul Yoga AND 4-5pm Relax+Restore, also thru Mind Body Soul Yoga.

-Tuesday, Dec. 29th, classes as usual!  5:15-6pm Moving Meditation thru Mind Body Soul Yoga, AND 7-8:15pm Relax+Restore, also thru Mind Body Soul Yoga.

-Thursday, Dec. 31st, NO CLASS! Happy New Year!

Friday, January 1st, 2021, SPECIAL NEW YEARS DAY YOGA CLASS WITH ME AND SOUND BATH WITH ANTHONY PURDY, with warm conversation to follow, 10am-12pm!*Details below*

-Friday, January 1st, NO CLASS this evening. Happy New Years Day! 

-Saturday, January 2nd, NO CLASS at 10:30am for Bread and Yoga.

-Saturday, January 2nd, classes as usual! 1-2:15pm Moving Meditation thru Mind Body Soul Yoga, AND 4-5pm Relax+Restore, also thru Mind Body Soul Yoga.


*New Years Day Class that I am leading with Anthony Purdy!  Let go, drop in, move, breathe, and then release. An all levels practice to inspire you into feeling your way into how you want to be for 2021 and beyond.  Bring two pieces of paper and a pen or pencil.  We will move and then flow right into a savasa that will take us into a gorgeous sound bath as created by the amazing musician, Anthony Purdy!  Let the soundscapes take you away on a journey back to your heart.  A little, magical guided meditation will close us, only to open us into connecting space for dialogue, sharing, storytelling, and coming together in community.  10am-12pm thru Bread and Yoga!  I hope to see you there! REGISTER HERE!


NEW CLASS SCHEDULE BEGINS JANUARY 4th! SEE IT BELOW!

ANNOUNCING…2021 WEEKLY YOGA CLASS SCHEDULE STARTING JANUARY 4th!


-Tuesdays 5:15-6pm Moving Meditation (think vinyasa) thru Mind Body Soul Yoga
-Tuesdays 7-8:15pm Relax+Restore (think gentle and restorative) thru Mind Body Soul Yoga
-Fridays 6:30-7:45pm*NEW TIME* Gentle and Restorative thru Bread and Yoga
-Saturdays 10:30am-12pm Vinyasa for All Levels thru Bread and Yoga
-Saturdays 1-2:15pm Moving Medtation thru Mind Body Soul Yoga
-Saturdays 4-5pm Relax+Restore thru Mind Body Soul Yoga
-Sundays 9-10:30am*NEW CLASS* Vigorous Vinyasa thru Bread and Yoga
(I will no longer be teaching Thursday evenings thru Bread and Yoga.)

I am SO grateful you are still practicing with me! I am SO grateful you are still practicing with Mind Body Soul Yoga and Bread and Yoga! I am a member of the Bread and Yoga Co-op that has been forming over the past few months as we transition from single owner into this new incarnation! So, I pray you will continue to support yourself thru this practice of yoga, and continue to support us, your local yoga studios.

And, of course, thank you for supporting me!  I am going to be releasing my own content very soon, so please stay tuned!  It will be yoga, and some will be yogic inspired work to support deeper inner healing. 

And, I will continue to offer the “Manifest Monthly: Yoga Workshops to Help Deepen your Physical Practice While Giving Back”!  We just finished December’s workshop yesterday, and raised over $350 for Maloto!  January’s Manifest Monthly will be to support FeedNYC !  All Manifest Monthly’s happen on the Third Sunday of each month from 11am-12:30pm EST!

Breathe and Believe. And to all, a peaceful winter’s night. 

p.s. I found this amazing photographer who is the creator of the above picture, find them here.

Last week was focused around forgiveness. Read that blog here.  Over the course of last week’s classes, I continually heard myself saying that forgiveness is one pathway to changing one’s “inner design”.  I was speaking specifically to how one thinks.  And so, I wanted to take a deeper dive into that thinking design.  As I continued to process these ideas, they guided me in remembering samskaras. (Isn’t that just perfect, lol! My own mental impressions reminding me of mental impressions, ha!)

Samskaras are our “mental impressions, recollections, or psychological imprints”. -Wikipedia

In Book Two, verse 11, of Patanjali’s ‘Yoga Sutras’, it states that “in an active state, they can be destroyed by meditation”. -Translation by Sri Swami Satchidananda

Yes, your thought patterns and imprints can be destroyed.  And, they can also be nourished!  You see, samskaras are both negative and positive.  

Here is a great article on the samskaras and how they effect us. I drew from it in classes. 
Click here to read.

Here is the way in which I supported people to experience this within themselves during class…

I asked people to think about a positive attribute about their characteristic, a belief they knew to be true. Feel free to try it now!  I invite you to think about the moment in your life where you started thinking positively towards yourself with this belief.  Was it because of an action and experience you lived thru, or a memory of something further back, or just an actionable and conscious shift in the way of thinking towards yourself; what was the moment it started for you? Maybe someone else did something to you; whether negative or positive, for example they reflected back to you your Light? What is the root causation for this belief?  How does it make you feel?  Carry it with you!  Nourish it!  Grow it!  Integrate it into your already existing Greatness!

Now, in class, I invited people to go a little broader. The flip side of the positive. I invited people to consider something negative imprint in their mind field.  And, take the same journey, to get to the root of where this mental imprint came from.  In the sutras it says how this is the eradication of the ego, getting to the root, and pulling it out, like the root of a plant. And how when we take that root out, we see that we are truly not that thought, or that action, or our ego, we are divine (or however you name it) , we are Atman, True Self, soul.

Book Four, verse 25, of the ‘Yoga Sutras’ states, as translated by Sri Swami Satchitananda, “To one who sees the distinction between the mind and the Atman, thoughts of mind as the Atman cease forever.”  What he is saying is something you might have heard within the yoga world at point or another, “I am of my thoughts, but not my thoughts”.  What this means, particularly in association with the samskaras, is that it becomes important to work with your samskaras, and allow that work to ultimately lead you to Self realization in that you are the Divine.  You are more than these thoughts you design, and the thoughts that just come into your mind space, your mind’s screen.  When we get to the root of all our thoughts we find they are baseless.  We begin to eradicate the ego, the smaller self.  

So, as the samskara article asks, “Do you want to emphasize eliminating negative samskaras, or do you want to nourish your mind by creating positive samskaras? Or like the third patient, do you want to do both simultaneously? Most of us fall into the third category. That’s why spiritual practices are designed to help us eliminate our negative samskaras while we simultaneously replace them with positive ones.” -Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

AND NOW…”Forget all you have learned; become a child again.  Then it will be easy to realize that wisdom.” -Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa 
Truly!  To become childlike is to live freely.  This liberation is what we are seeking from our mental mind vibrations that distract us from remembering our True Nature.  Inevitably, thoughts come in, and we can continue to do the work with our samskaras, but then, be child like!  Live in awe and wonder. Let go of judgement.  Love deeply and freely.  Forgive.  Embrace the moment. And love yourself as you are, and everything you are!  You are divine!  

I closed most classes by reading a meditation by Fletcher Lee Johnson, 5 years old, from Tennessee!  Listen at the end of this podcast HERE to hear him!  It’s so amazing it made me cry!

 

Breathe and Believe.

forgiveness

As intuition often works, the persistence of the idea ‘forgiveness’ had been peaking its head into my thoughts over the past couple of weeks. I finally had time to give it some focus and to make it the intention of last week’s yoga classes.  This piece is long, but I believe it to be important. I invite you to read a little and come back, or read it thru completely and then come back again after some time of digestion. 

 

“To eer is human; to forgive, divine.”-Alexander Pope

 

Forgiveness, by definition, is ‘the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven’. To forgive, by definition, is ‘to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake’.

 

As I first started to create the classes for the week, this time I started first with quotes and then journeyed into the embodiment.

 

“Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it.”-Robin Sharma

 

“It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.”-Tyler Perry

 

Very quickly I began to feel how forgiveness and love were the truest of companions.  Very quickly I began to experience how difficult forgiveness can be.  With these feelings, I began to feel clearly that a heart practice would be best, and to use physical postures that would invite the heart to open. I designed the vinyasa classes around the peak pose of camel and upward bow.  These more physically active practices, for me, proved to be a symbiotic embodiment in alignment with the active practice of forgiveness…

 

“Forgiveness is not weak. It takes courage to face and overcome powerfully emotions.”-Desmond Tutu

 

Just within that single quote from Mr. Tutu, I can see how forgiveness calls upon each of us to be in the practice of self-study and self-reflection. In yoga we call that practice svadhyaya.  We must first be willing to acknowledge within our Self what we are feeling.  It happened over the course of the week, in my physical classes that I led, that I started to cue how coming out of poses started first with the breath; then moving the breath into the body, and through that passageway the cognitive connection created, in turn, created the action for the body to physically move. This was so exhilarating and exciting for me to feel in real time because it was yet another embodiment of forgiveness. We first had to start with the “inner design”, We first had to start within our self, and create connections within.  We were creating conscious connections with the body.  And, in looking at forgiveness, we have to first start with a conscious connection to what we are feeling and what we’ve experienced.  From that place, taking a breath, we start a creation of inner design in which we make our self more spacious inside and more open to just be present with what is. In that space,  love will have an opportunity to move into that space.  This might be the most challenging part of forgiveness for some…to start within our self, rather than looking outwardly upon the person or people who have harmed, or hurt us.

 

Pope John Paul II wrote, “Forgiveness is above all a personal choice, a decision of the heart to go against natural instinct to pay back evil with evil”. 

 

There again, we can feel how we need to start with our self. And we need to look into our own heart. We must look into our own heart and remember that our heart is made of love and the strong ability to forgive.  Within the system of the chakras, forgiveness is correlated to the heart center. We must look into our heart and remember that we are divine. Remember Alexander Pope’s quote from earlier. We must first treat ourselves as the divine, and from that place we can remember our worth….

 

Jodi Picoult wrote, “Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying “you’re not important enough to have a stronghold on me”. It’s saying, “you don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future”.

 

I’m reminded of Robin Sharma’s quote from earlier, that forgiveness isn’t approving what happened, it’s choosing to rise above it. As I went through the week and all the classes, I began to speak to how forgiveness is not only not needing to approve what happened, but that forgiveness does not require that we forget either. And that perhaps in some cases, to forget would not be the best thing because there was a lot of learning from the experience.  

 

One of my friends and students sent me this quote from Lily Tomlin, “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past”.  And while at first this seemed sad to me, it also simultaneously felt very freeing and inviting. Especially inviting on the level of just simply letting go. *I want to be careful in this moment when I say ‘letting go’, because this letting go is not meant to be a way of spiritual bypassing, and to just say “oh, let it go and life will be rainbows and stars and unicorns”. No,  Again, you don’t have to forget, but you don’t have to keep reliving it and rehashing it through your thoughts again and again. In yoga we call those Samskaras. 

 

Samskara is a psychological imprint, mental impression, or recollection (wikipedia).  We can have negative recollections and we can have pleasant mental impressions. We can change those imprints. I’m thinking right back to my “inner design” embodiment that came up because of forgiveness. This is not to say we are changing the story of our past, but that, instead, we are not allowing it to pull is down, make us feel unworthy, or worse. Remember Jodi Picoult’s quote.  **Samskaras are what we are diving into this week.**

 

From a place of neutrality, and having forgiven, we can continue on in life in a more freed way. We could even begin to redesign how we want to be, how we want to be living, how we want to be moving forward into the future.

 

Oprah once said, “True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘thank you for that experience’.”

 

How did you feel when you forgave someone?  How did you feel when you were forgiven?

 

And I’m wondering how all of this works when we turn it inwards to forgiving our self? This reminds me deeply of the practice in yoga that is called ahimsa, or non-harming.
May we forgive ourselves for not treating ourselves as anything other than divine.

 

As I write this, I forgive myself for not being a perfect mother. I forgive myself for not being perfect, whatever perfect may mean to me at any given time. I forgive myself for comparing myself to others. I forgive myself if there are grammatical errors in this blog.  I forgive myself for not being an incredible and amazing cook.  I forgive myself for holding expectations that are unreal.  I forgive myself for not treating myself in the best possible ways at all times.  I forgive myself because I am unfolding, I am perfectly imperfect. I forgive myself because I am always learning how to love myself. I forgive myself for thinking negatively to myself more often than I’d like. I forgive myself for the pain I have caused in the past, acknowledging those actions, and learning from them.  Where might you need to forgive yourself today, and how will you show yourself the forgiveness?

 

Here’s a great article on forgiveness in the context of yoga:
https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yogas-guide-to-forgiveness

 

What I know is that forgiveness is a process. Be gentle with yourself today and always.

Love,
Shawna

Breathe and Believe.

I have to do an about face for Decembers “Manifest Monthly: Yoga Workshops to Deepen Your Physical Practice While Giving Back” organization!  And, today is Giving Tuesday, so what better day to announce this deeply meaningful organization to me than today!

For Decembers ‘Manifest Monthly’, we will be giving proceeds to Maloto!  Maloto means “to dream” in the local Malawian language of Tumbuka.

We will use Food Bank of NY for January’s Manifest Monthly, don’t worry! And, thank you for understaning.  Learn more about WHY I did this, in the letter below.

Please register TODAY for Manifest Monthly, December Edition, on Sunday, December 20th, 11am-12:30pm!  We will use the peak pose of Headstand as our inspiration. All you have to do is email me with the subject “Head and Heart”! 

Why is Maloto dear to me?  Because I traveled to Malawi in 2013 and spent time with the kids and women of Maloto.  I have had the honor of holding many conversations with Anna Keys, the founder, and her heartbreaking, yet incredible story for the reason of why Maloto came to be.  And, I just found out that they have a big goal…

 

The goal is to raise $100,000 before December 31st for their Scholarship Fund to offset tuition, room and board for students whose families would not otherwise be able to afford to send their children to school.

 

Our support can have a monumental impact in a country where less than 40% of children attend secondary school, and 1% attend college.  Keep reading and watching to learn more about this incredible organization…

 

Listen HERE to Anna’s story on “Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire” with Dr. Deborah Adamy
*Anna shares the story of attending her fourth sister’s funeral, where many children she didn’t know arrived. She discovered that these children were orphans and showed up because they were starving and they knew there would be food at a funeral. That inspired the beginning of Maloto, a non-profit, community based organization that started out feeding a meal to 20 children once a week, and now feeds 350 children a warm, nutritious meal 3 times a week. Maloto has expanded to include after-school programs, an early childhood class, a primary school and an international secondary academy.

Having just celebrated its 12 year anniversary, Maloto’s mission is to feed, educate and empower the children and women of Malawi.   

Listen HERE to my original podcast with Deb, on “Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire”, to hear me tell the tales from our trip together to Malawi! If you want only my Malawi trip experience, feel free to fast forward to 29 minutes into the podcast. Such heart-opening experiences, to say the least.  

I have been forever touched by those children and women.  They stay with me today, in my heart, mind, and the their language; “I love you” will always come out of my heart when I smile and say it in Tumbuka, “Gokutama Imwe”!  Imagine 40 kids in a HUGE circle, all staring at me, following my silly yoga moves and heart felt dances that would make them laugh, and then all of us chanting back and forth to each other “I love you”, “Gokutama Imwe”, again and again for what felt like forever, and we could have gone on forever! 
*In the pictures above, you see me leading the youngest kids for our closing ceremony performance, my square on the wall inside the auditorium that we help paint and decorate while we were there, me in head dress made by the women for me while with one of the youngest children who arrived each day for a hot meal, and me with one of the women of Kwithu Kitchen prepping a meal.  Kwithu is the C.B.O. ran by the women of Maloto to raise money to feed the kids by growing tomatoes, canning them, and selling them.  All part of Maloto!

If you feel like giving today, on Giving Tuesday, you can donate directly to Maloto HERE.
Or, send me your email registration for “Manifest Monthly” with the subject “Head and Heart”; and then send me your donation for the workshop to either venmo or Zelle; $20 suggested donation.
vemmo: @shawna-emerick
zelle: shawnalight@gmail.com

Thank you (watch the kids say it below!)!! Then, watch Anna Keys speak!

Breathe and Believe.