[000:00] Hi you beautiful human being, you! Welcome to another episode of the Yoga Girl Podcast: Conversations From The Heart. And I am officially sharing this as a two-time published author. Holy shit! [laugh] My book is officially out. I cannot believe it! I, honestly, I can believe it because I’m holding the book in my hand, I understand that it’s out, but I’m having a really hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that this actually happened. Writing this book, for me, has been such a long project. Really like a big piece of my life, a big piece of my heart, of my healing. Almost one of those things that just, you know … Have you ever disappeared into a project or into something that you’re creating, and then you sort of lose sight of the fact that, oh, at some point this is going to be put out into the world, this is going to actually come to completion … That’s what this book has felt like for me. Almost like this thing that’s just a part of my life now. And then all of the sudden the book is out! The book is out, the book is out, the book is out. And I just want to … Okay, before I start crying … I didn’t want to start this podcast episode off crying. I’m crying in almost all of the episodes these days, but I don’t want to start off crying now. But I want to say a massive, heartfelt thank you to every single person who has pre-ordered the book, who went to their local bookstores, got the book online, maybe you went to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore. Wherever you got the book, if you supported me by getting this book or if you’re listening to the audio version of the book, however you’re connected to the book or reading the book right now, thank you for your support. Really, thank you thank you thank you. It’s thanks to the fact that you are here listening to these words, reading the words of this book that I am able to be where I am and do what I do. So this feeling that I’m currently holding at the center of my chest, it’s thanks to you. So, thank you thank you thank you.
[002:07] Now, of course, if you haven’t gotten the book yet, you can still do it. You can go to ToLoveAndLetGo.com. The book is officially out, so if you order it right now, I mean if you Amazon Prime it it will be on your doorstep tomorrow morning or today, however the hell that works. But you can literally find the book wherever books are sold right now. So, you don’t have to wait any longer if you haven’t gotten the book yet. The first week of book sales for any book release, for any author is the most important week. So, if you know you want to get the book, please don’t wait. It means the world to me by having your support of actually getting the book right now.
[004:05] I’m feeling … high [laugh]. I’m feeling high on energy. So, what I think we’re going to do for the episode is really wind everything down. Really, really, really connect to our own hearts. Take a moment to slow things down and reflect on how we’re feeling here, now. So, let’s make sure we are in a space right now where we can actually sit down and make our way toward a place of silence. If that means that you have to kind of resume or finish something that you’re doing right now, if you’re multitasking while listening to this podcast, which of course I am guilty of doing a lot … I love the format of podcasting because you can actually … I can clean my house while listening to a show. It’s great. So, if you’re doing something right now, see if you can put that away, put that aside and drop into a place of being. Perhaps it means you need to put a pause on this podcast and come back to it a little bit later when you have some space to actually ground, but let’s meditate together.
[005:07] I normally do something at the beginning of every episode to help us tap into that heart-centered space, to ground, to connect. But for this show, I want to make this a proper meditation. So, having this episode be an actual meditation practice that you can return to whenever you need it. If you have a hard time, you know, in the morning or in the evening or whenever you have space, sitting down, closing your eyes, tuning into the present moment, if your mind is very, very busy, if you feel like meditation is very challenging for you, then it’s great to have a guided meditation to return to where someone else – i.e. right now me – can help us along the way. Have something for the mind to attach to while we do the practice and focus on making our way toward the present moment. So, I’m hoping this practice can be something that you can return to when you’re having a tough day, or when you feel scattered or busy and you know it’s time for you to come back home. It’s a beautiful self-care practice to have.
[007:38] So. Finding a comfortable seat, and there’s a couple of schools of thought when it comes to how we should or should not sit, what shape we should be in to actually meditate. I am of the deep conviction that we want to be comfortable. So, whatever brings you comfort but that doesn’t drop you into a place of falling asleep. So, for some people it’s lying flat on the ground or on a yoga mat or in bed. For me, when I do that, I just kind of lose focus and I doze off, especially if I’m tired. So, I like to sit up. I like to prop something beneath my sit bones, so a folded up blanket is great if you have a yoga block or something and that’s comfortable, you that works. A little pillow, a cushion, you want the creases of your hips to be slightly higher elevated than your knees, which creates a little more space for the lower back and allows your knees to drop closer to the floor, so it helps us sit in more comfort for a longer time. If you didn’t know, the practice of yoga asana, or the poses we practice on the mat, originally was created to help make space and bring ease to the body so that we can actually sit in silence for extended periods of time. That’s one of the things we encounter almost immediately, if we don’t have a yoga meditation practice and then we sit down to meditate is that the body aches. If the body is tight or stagnant or stuck, we’re going to, right away, feel maybe some lower back pain or some hip tension. Maybe our legs fall asleep, different things happen in the body, which of course distracts from our ability to be here and now and make our way toward place of peace. So, do your yoga every day, and as you are now, make sure you’re comfortable. You can be on a chair or on a couch, if you want as well. If you want to lean back and just soften into space a little bit more.
[009:28] So, wherever you are, if you’re sitting on a floor or on a couch, let’s place the palms of our hands onto the knees or on the thighs and ground the palms of the hands downward, which helps to ground our energy, helps to root us toward the earth, helps to soften that space between the body and the ground beneath you. Let’s take a cleansing breath here. So, fullll breath in through the nose [deep breath]. Open the mouth, let it go [deep breath]. That feels good. Let’s do that twice more. Inhale in through the nose [deep breath], out through the mouth, [deep breath]. And one more time, make this breath a little bit deeper. Fill up [deep breath], and when you get to the top of the breath, take a moment to pause, just for a second or two, so hold the breath in … And now open the mouth, let it out [deep breath]. And then from there, just let your breath return to a neutral space. Whatever that is for you right now.
[010:45] So, without manipulating the breath in any way, without thinking that you have to shift or change the shape or the depth of the breath, but arrive at this practice just the way you are. We don’t have to be seasoned practitioners to make our way to a place of silence. You don’t have to look at yourself as someone who practices meditation. You don’t have to be Zen or calm. You can show up to this practice exactly the way you are in this moment, with everything life has brought you in this moment. And just notice how the breath is showing up for you right now. What’s the quality of this breath? The inhales and the exhales flowing through the nose … See if you can notice where the breath is coming from, and what direction the breath is moving toward. As the breath enters the body, notice if there is any kind of restriction somewhere, if the breath is brushing up against something that feels stuck or stagnant. Is there a certain part of the body that feels tight right now? Notice that without judgment. Just notice. And then same thing on the exhale, where is your exhale connecting and resonating within the body? Is your breath in and breath out, are they equally long? Are they balanced? The giving and the receiving of the breath … Or is one side of the breath perhaps a little bit deeper? And also, of course, resonates with what kind of space we’re in in life. So, if you are in a place where you’re giving a lot of yourself, you might find that your exhale is deeper, and your inhale is a little bit shorter. Or the other way around. So, noticing that balance between the breath in and the breath out. Which side feels like it has more space? Which side feels like it has more ease?
[013:04] And then the beauty of this practice … So, without thinking that anything complicated has to occur … there is no complex workings behind the practice of meditation. All it is is sitting down, closing our eyes, and watching what’s unfolding, here, now. And some days you might drop into this practice and notice how the mind is very, very busy. So notice that. Acknowledge that. Watch that unfold. See if you can, with every thought that pops up in the back of your head, instead of allowing that to distract you, instead of feeling frustrated by the thinking mind, just notice the thoughts: “There’s the mind again. There’s a thought again.” And then bring your awareness back to the breath. And then do that again and again and again. Every time a thought pops up in the back of your head, notice it, acknowledge that it’s there, but without holding on to the thought, without making the thought into a problem or an issue. Just notice, direct your awareness back to the breath in and the breath out. And this is the practice, yeah? The practice is not sitting down and finding eternal silence and peace, but it’s sitting down and witnessing the thoughts as they pass by. Without letting anything become a source of frustration or a feeling of stagnation, but just watching. See if you can maintain that absolutely neutral viewpoint of noticing the thoughts as they come and go. The mind will continue to produce thoughts. That’s what the mind does. The thoughts that pop up in your head are neither good nor bad, they’re just there.
[015:12] So this practice is that constant returning of the awareness to the breath. Again and again. Coming back home. And noticing now, again, the quality of that breath. Has anything changed? Perhaps simply by sitting here with your eyes closed for a little while you can notice that your breath is slowing down without you having to make it so or manipulate it to slow down. Perhaps just all on its own, by bringing your awareness inward, the breath in has a little more depth now. The breath out has a little more space. Perhaps the length and the depth of the breath has a little more balance, too, between the breath in and the breath out. Again, without judgment, just notice. If you find that today your breath is feeling short or tense or stuck, acknowledge that too. If today you feel very much at peace, and the breath is slow and deep and comes with ease, then notice that too. Be here … now. [deep breath]
[016:42] And then from here, bringing your awareness into the rest of your body. So, staying very connected to the breath. And noticing how, as the breath begins to soften a little bit, as the breath slows down, there is a shift that automatically takes place inside of the physical body. So, any tension that you might have showed up with for this practice today, as soon as the breath softens, it gives the rest of the body permission to soften too. And all of this connects. Of course if we’re having a stressful day, the first thing that happens in the body is that the breath gets very short, the breath gets tight, and it gets centered in a space that’s closer to the thinking mind. So, centered around the chest or the throat. It’s hard for us to take deep breaths when we are in a place of stress. And then, of course, the shorter the breath, the tenser the body becomes, the more tightness will hold in the body. And then the more tightness we hold in the body, the more thoughts the mind will produce and the more of a holding on will be created from the thinking mind as well, the likelier we are to see problems or issues when we look around. Which, of course, leads to a shorter breath and a tighter body and a more judgmental mind. It’s this negative cycle that sometimes can be hard to break.
[018:15] And of course there’s that beautiful, positive side to this as well. So, if we have some ease in our day, if we have space to take care of ourselves, if we’ve had a good night’s sleep, we feel we have balance in our life, we’ve having that good, calm, grounded day, of course that will resonate within the breath. So, you’ll notice on those days how the breath is automatically moving a little deeper down toward the bottom of the lungs, and you’ll notice that reflection within the physical bodies. The deeper the breath, the softer and more open the body is, the less likely we are to hold onto tension or pain. And, of course, that we’re balanced. The better we feel within the boy, the gentler the mind is going to show up for us as well. The likelier we are to think positive thoughts and look around us and see everything that’s working, everything that’s flowing, everything that’s beautiful, which will lead us to take deeper breaths, which will lead us to feel that sense of space and well-being in the body, which will lead to a calm and present mind. And on and on the cycle goes.
[019:34] So, acknowledging that fact that by changing one of these components, or focusing or bringing our awareness to one of these components, whether it’s changing our mindset from a negative to a positive, or changing our breath from a shallow to more depth, we’re changing the body from tension to ease. We have the ability to set a positive cycle in motion right now. And at any point of your day. But it takes that conscious action, the decision to do something that elevates us. It’s not going to happen on its own, it’s that conscious decision to take care of the body, to practice the yoga, to sit in silence, to focus on seeing the beauty of this life. And then of course to return to this practice again and again and again.
[020:35] So, noticing right now, as you’re taking these breaths, and as your breath is growing even deeper and even softer within the body, noticing how you’re feeling physically. Perhaps your shoulders can drop a little. Maybe the chest can soften here. And see if there is anything that you’re holding on to within your body right now. Sometimes that’s unconsciously. We’re maybe making fists with the hands, or tensing of the forehead or the jaw. Notice how the deeper your breath becomes, the easier it is for the body to follow and soften too. See if there’s something within the body right now that you can invite a little more space into. Perhaps it’s that part of the body that you know you tend to accumulate tension or stress. You can even use your breath to help you a little bit further by imagining that you’re directing the flow of breath into that part of your body. So, if your shoulders have been feeling tight, allow your next breath to be directed into the shoulders, maybe the upper back, all the way out into the arms, breathe some space into the parts of the body that have felt stuck. And as you exhale, feel a little bit of that tension releasing from your system. And then do that a few times. Breathing in to bring space where the body needs it … and breathing out to let a little something go. Breathing in to cultivate that sense of ease, sweeping through the body for anything that you may want to surrender and release … And breathing out, actively allowing for that opening to happen.
[022:48] So every cycle of breath can be a beautiful opportunity for you to let go of something that’s no longer of use. Of something that isn’t serving you. Whether that’s physical tension or a thought pattern that isn’t doing you any good anymore … If you’re present with intention, you have that energetic ability to bring about more of what you want in this moment. So, if you’re looking for a sense of ease, invite it through the breath. If you’re looking for a sense of grounding, invite it through the breath. And everything you’re looking to create, imagine how you’re using your breath, and through your breath the entire vessel that is your body right now, to invite and hold space for the things that you actually want. The things that you actually need. Knowing that you have far more power than you think, and you are already here, right now, doing this work. You’ve already decided to show up for yourself today by dropping into this practice, by feeling into the body, by becoming present with the breath, merging with the present moment, here, now. You’re already doing the work. So using this light inside of you right now, this light that you’re making space for by deepening the breath … to connect to that alignment that you need, to bring about the kind of life you truly deserve.
[024:38] And in this moment, feeling that sense of empowerment, knowing that you have the ability to change a negative cycle to a positive one, and that all the tools that you need are already present within you here, now. And there’s nothing that has to change or be fixed or altered for you to get to that place where everything is already here. So, what does it feel like right now if you would allow yourself to lean back into that knowing? If you could soften into that space of feeling cared for, feeling like things are already taken care of like everything is already okay. Then there is nothing you have to change about who you are. What a beautiful idea, to at least begin to open up to what then? There’s nothing I have to change about who I am. If in this moment I am good and not the way I am, what then?
[025:56] Continue to breathe into that space a little while longer. [deep breath] And then, feeling into that place, that beautiful, warm place inside of your heart where you already know that you are good enough exactly the way you are, the place in your heart where you know already there is nothing you have to change. There is nothing you have to change about your looks. There’s nothing that has to change about your body. There’s nothing you have to fix or improve for you to be good enough. But in this moment, as you are, with all your beautifully perfect imperfections, you are already enough. And trusting in that, trusting in that place inside of your heart that speaks that so loudly. Let’s take a few moments, right here, right now, just to feel into a place of silence within ourselves. So, staying very present with your breath, the way you already are right now. Feeling into the body, feeling toward the earth, and letting yourself become very present with everything that’s unfolding, here, now.
[027:50] Then if you find that your awareness might have brought you some place else, just go ahead and bring yourself back to this moment. Before we open the eyes, let’s take another cleansing breath here. So, deep, full breath in through the nose [deep breath], open the mouth, exhale it out [deep breath]. Place the palms of your hands on top of your chest, allow your head down for a moment, feeling into your heart center. Feeling for anything that you need today, hmm? What do you need right now? You need today to really fill your cup. Perhaps there is an action you know you need to take today. Maybe you need to ask for help in some shape or form. Perhaps you need to give yourself a break. Maybe let go of the things you feel you have to do today, and go do something fun, something you enjoy. Perhaps in your heart what your heart is telling you right now is that you need more moments like these, the practice of making your way towards your center, the practice of dropping into the heart. One more full breath [deep breath].
[029:21] And then very gently you can begin to open the eyes. And as you do that, you can look around the space you’re in for a moment. Perhaps it’s a room or a space you’re in often. Really look around and see where you are right now. What a blessing, huh? To be here. What a blessing to look out and see the sky outside. A blessing that you have this place in your life to come to where you can sit down and be undisturbed, to find comfort. What a blessing that you have this space in your life to give yourself this time to inquire, to be present, to practice self-care. What a beautiful blessing. So, bring some gratitude to everything that had to unfold for you today for you to be able to drop into this practice. Perhaps you have kids and someone is helping you take care of them right now. Maybe just like me you have a daughter who naps in the middle of the day. I’m really grateful for her nap, because it means I can practice my meditation and my yoga every day, there’s one point where I have that space. Maybe for you it’s giving yourself gratitude that you decided to show up for yourself today. And then coming to that question of, “What do I need?” It’s a really important one. Sometimes after just inquiring within ourselves or making our way toward that place of silence, immediately something arises from the heart, yeah? Like an answer to a question we didn’t know we had already asked. What do you need today? There’s something that you need, absolutely, I guarantee you. To bring about more well-being, for you to feel really good. Perhaps you’re about to enter the weekend right now and you want to enter the weekend on a really good note. What do you need? Feel into that space. I want you to take action to fill that need immediately following this podcast. If it means that you have to ask someone for help with something, a lot of my … a lot of the answer to the questions that I don’t know that I’m asking involves me actually putting something down or putting something away, or asking someone for help. I like to think that I should be doing everything on my own. Oftentimes in my meditation practice I arrive at the answer of, “Ugh, but I could just ask for help! I don’t have to do everything by myself.” Or, you know, whatever that realization is that you need something, ask for that today. Fill your cup today. Bring that about into your life today, because you deserve the kind of life where you feel really good about being where you are. And that is a fundamental truth. The same way that you deserve to feel good enough the way you are, I know it’s a radical thought that I find that, especially when we’re mid-meditation practice, to inquire on that. That feeling of being enough. I find it so powerful, because it’s when we’re in that space where the mind is quiet and we’re not busy thinking of all the things we have to get done, sometimes the mind is very busy thinking about all of the ways in which we are not enough. And then suddenly we find silence, and we inquire toward that, and it’s just resounding, yeah, how simple it is, how enough we are, how beautiful we are, how we’re doing everything the best we can. That feeling of, “I’m doing the best I can right now,” usually when we drop into that place when we’re in a place of silence, it can actually integrate within the body. We can understand it as truth.
[033:11] And that’s why I think it’s a different kind of practice. Maybe you have that kind of self-love, body love practice where you look yourself in the mirror and you tell yourself you’re great, you know? I love those kinds of practices where you have a little post-it on your bathroom mirror and it tells you that you’re beautiful so that you can read it every day. You know, the mind is very very powerful, so if the mind is telling us on repeat that, “You’re not enough, you’re not enough, you’re not enough,” then telling yourself that once a day looking in the mirror maybe isn’t going to make as big of a dent, right? It’s a good practice to have, of course, it’s not going to harm you, but I really believe that we have to make our way toward that place of silence, where we first quiet that judgmental mind so that we can enter those fundamental truths that are going to lift us up and bring us so much joy and well-being. You know, the moment we actually realize that we are good enough the way we already are, just saying that makes me giggle! Because it’s so true and so awesome to hear. You know, it’s awesome to speak out loud. Think about how much energy you spend in your day, in your life, working to change who you are, or thinking that you have to change who you are, that you should be a little bit better or a little bit thinner or a little bit richer or a little bit more successful, or a little bit better at being a mom, a friend, whatever. We spend an immense amount of energy that’s actually lost there! The moment we realize that, “Hey, I’m pretty goddamn epic the way I am right now, all of that energy is freed up and we can actually put it towards something that really, really matters. We can put it toward making that dream happen that we’ve been longing to create for a long time. We can put the energy toward making the world a better place. We can put that energy toward ourselves, toward our family, our friends, our community. We can do so much when that inner judgmental voice is a little more quiet.
[036:41] So, the more you drop into this practice, whether it’s through meditation just like this, a guided meditation once a day, man, it can change your life. I promise you. Or, if it’s your yoga practice, or maybe you dance, maybe you go out in nature, you all have that thing that we do that quiets the mind, well, do more of that. Do more of that. Do more of that. Do more of that! And keep telling yourself in those moments of presence how beautiful, how enough you already are, that there is nothing about you that you have to change. I want to thank you so much for listening today. Thank you for practicing with me today. Again, I’m just in this space of feeling absolutely grateful. Grateful that you’re listening, grateful that we have this practice, this way to connect. Please come back to this meditation practice. Please do. I am hoping I can release a couple more so we can do more of this, all of us, together. I love you from the bottom of my heart. I love you, and thank you, and I’ll see you next week!
[End of Episode]