Writing, Yoga, Meditation, Retreats and SEL Professional Development

Top Ten Words for a Calm Holiday Season the Writing Yoga® Way

It's November, but the sleigh bells are already starting to ring. Does the thought of the approaching holidays bring on some stress? Break out your journal and write for some instant stress-relief! 

Yoga philosophy teaches us to listen to our instincts, stay focused, be a warrior for what matters, and show compassion for ourselves and others.  These are great skills to help thrive during challenging times.

If it's been a while since you have felt healthy, creative and calm, here are some lessons from the yoga mat. Think of these words throughout the day and whenever you pick up a journal to write.

TOP TEN WORDS TO REMEMBER THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

  1. Breathe - Take deep breaths all day, every day.
  2. Simplicity - Keep it simple, simple gifts, simple dinners.
  3. Ease - Find the place where things feel easy, even in discomfort, especially in discomfort.
  4. Sequencing - Choose the right words to say, write, and think. Sometimes the order of your words matter more than the words...
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Who Was Your Favorite Teacher? Back to School Edition [Writing Prompt #263]

Mrs. Diller made me feel like I could do anything.  It was first grade and we had class pets, peanut butter cookies, and lots of granola because nobody seemed to have allergies or be afraid of carbs back then.  We had tables set up in each corner of the room. There was a red table with velvet cloth, a blue table with blue cellophane and a green table filled with plants in macramé holders.  We had plenty of time to read and use crayons and imagination. We stretched during our morning circle. My teacher helped me to embrace myself and others. It was the best school year of my life.

Early teachers shape who we are. I see that now, and take my responsibility as an elementary school librarian very seriously. If my students love books, love to learn, and love each other, I will have helped shape who they are for the rest of their lives.  It’s no small task and honestly, the responsibility scares me sometimes! 

But it is a good reminder of how...

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Write From Your Dreams! [Writing Yoga Prompt # 1254]

One night, my mother and sister had the same dream as I did.  It was a realistic dream, just a normal day at a busy city park.  I sat at a long picnic table loaded with snacks and canned seltzer.  The park was crowded, but my family sat quietly around the long table. Okay, take back the realistic part. My family is never quiet.

My grandfather walked by the table and said, “I am still here.”  My sister and mother said he appeared in their dreams that night too. And he said the same thing, "I am still here."  We all felt so peaceful afterwards. 

I don’t know what event in our lives made my Grandfather whisper reassurance in our sleeping ears. We could have been under a spell of any number of life’s transitions. It was long ago but I remember the dream part perfectly.

Lumi Sit:

Breath deeply. Close your eyes.  Think of a wonderful dream or daydream (if night ones are hard to remember) that was memorable for you. ...

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Celebrate Earth Day with Nature Poems

 

Happy Earth day, Writing Yogis and mindful ones! 

We are having so much fun trying out this form of poetry that I just invented with my students in library classes. It’s the “Anamatopoem.”

Click on the video to see how it works. It’s a great way to celebrate Earth Day for kids and adults.

When we write together,  we are calling attention to the beauty and playfulness of this planet. May it be protected. May it be healthy. May be safe. May all beings on this planet be protected, healthy and safe.

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The Gift of a Spiral Life [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt # 1003]

Humans, just like all of nature, move in spirals. We may even feel crushed by backward momentum, but once we see the other side, our rewards can be tremendous.  That's the gift of a spiral path.

Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:

Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes in silence. Close your eyes. Breathe. Say to yourself, "I am here." Repeat. Slow down the words inside your head. "I am here." Repeat.

Lumi Write:  Draw a picture of a spiral. Take your time and notice what thoughts and images appear in your mind. You can color it in with pencils or decorate it any way you wish. Write down any words that come to mind inside the spiral. I kept thinking of the word, "lighthouse."

Lumi Move: These variations on the forward fold can be done anytime you need a break. Your head is down, but you are not going backwards. We can only restore ourselves when we step off the spiral and rest.

FORWARD FOLD VARIATIONS

Forward Fold: 1) Stand. 2) Bring your hands to your hips, bend your knees and 3)...

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Honor Your Milestones. [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt # 1002]

Do you remember thinking as a kid that the year 2000 was some mythical place in the future where robots ran the world? The robots aren't quite there yet and 2000 was 20 years ago! 

There is a good chance that this is a milestone year for you. Where were you in 1900, 2000, 2010?  Maybe you were a kid, maybe you were having kids, maybe you were dreaming of a future that is quite different from where you are today.

Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:

Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes to acknowledge your milestones. Close your eyes. Think of something that the year represents for you. Maybe it is an anniversary or birthday. Not everyone made it this far so at the very least, breathe deeply, celebrate with each inhalation your arrival on this planet at this time.

Lumi Write:  Let your subconscious be your inner writer. Take 5 minutes to celebrate this milestone year using any thoughts that arose during the Lumi Sit.

Lumi Move: Mountain pose (wall optional).  This is an...

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Writing Yoga® Self-Care Practices for Caregivers

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” - Rosalyn Carter

I’ve witnessed so many teachers and nurses dedicate all their time and energy to the people they serve while taking very little time to recharge. They became sick, frustrated and exhausted!  I realized that the work I do as a poet and yoga instructor could help drastically transform lives by just showing caring people simple yoga and writing exercises they can do each day. That is why I am passionate about teaching teachers and nurses the Writing Yoga ® method!

But I also know that parents, friends and family members also take on the role of teachers and nurses too. Sound familiar? 

Too often we think we need big chunks of time to exercise, mediate or process our feelings in a journal. If you have been following me for a while or have...

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What Makes You Feel Amazing? [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt #1000]

The baby boomers paved the way for us to think differently about getting old. They just aren't having it!  Studies show that it's possible to feel and look years younger than you are by developing healthy habits including practicing yoga, journal writing and meditating. Writing Yoga® combines all three to help balance your mind, body and spirit. And that balance is what makes you feel AMAZING!

Let's take a page from the boomer's book not because we actually want to be younger, but because we want to experience a life filled with child-like wonder and possibility.

Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:
Lumi Sit: Take a deep breath. Ask yourself this question: What makes you amazing? Set a timer for five minutes. Close your eyes. Breathe. With each breath, imagine how amazing you are in your mind's eye. Notice how it feels in your body to be amazing. If there is an obnoxious voice telling you you are not amazing, defend yourself as you would your own child or student. Or you...

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Busted! But Officer, I was Having an Epiphany [Writing Prompt #217]

I was driving home from work when I suddenly and completely understood the mother of one of my characters. “Siri, take a note.” Bing.

I told my phone what she wore, the color of her bedspread, the pots and pans piling up in her kitchen sink. A fictional character was speaking to me. She was there right on Forest Avenue and I was lucky because I captured our ‘conversation’ with my voice recognition software. I didn’t even pause to breathe because pauses make Siri stop and save. I didn’t want to stop the thought or stop driving because I was having a full-blown epiphany! I was ecstatic!

Behind me, there was a Nassau County police officer.  My phone was in my hand. But I was not “talking on a cell phone.” I wouldn’t do that. It’s dangerous. I tell my kids how it is dangerous. People die from distracted driving. Could it be that I was breaking the law? Yep. $218 and 5 points on my license.

I didn’t know that talking...

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When Must You Be a Warrior? [Writing Prompt #264]

Uncategorized Aug 23, 2020

When was the last time you felt really relaxed, calm, and centered? If you have a regular yoga and meditation practice, it might happen once a day. When you’re in the writing zone, cooking zone, or off on a run, you may forget yourself and feel as if you’re floating in a fluffy cloud. That’s what keeps me on the mat.

When was the last time someone really pissed you off? Even if you have a regular yoga and meditation practice, it can still happen more frequently than you would like. We live in an upside-down world where someone is always saying something stupid or doing something hurtful and wrong. You have a choice to take it personally or not, but sometimes we have to step in and speak up.

This is what it means to be a warrior. You have to be fierce and hold your position for as long as it takes to get the job done.  Sometimes not saying something is much worse than voicing what must be said, even if you wish someone else would say it instead of...

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