Writing, Yoga, Meditation, Retreats and SEL Professional Development
After working with thousands of students over the years, I know for certain that most people believe they do not have enough time, talent, or energy to live the life of their dreams. I also know it's just not true!
Keeping a journal helps us to consider our deepest desires, dreams, goals and challenges. People love writing in journals, but where to start? If you feel overwhelmed or unable to connect to the part of you that has big dreams, The Writing Yoga® Method can help. It is based upon the philosophy that life does not have to be overwhelming and complicated. In fact, we work best when feeling healthy, confident, and joyful!
Here are some simple things you can do NOW to get started with a dream-building and journal writing practice.
Before you start writing in your journal, take a "Lumi Breath." This is what I tell my young students and this is what I will say to you. A Lumi Breath is a deep breath that makes you feel luminous. When you take...
Give me a beach. Find me a corner in the reading room. I know, I know, not everyone likes a beach. Some people can't stand the stillness of a library. That's okay, we all have destinations we love and ones we avoid but if you ever spent time watching sea birds wade, you know how much there is to learn.
Beaches and libraries can both be introspective places filled with endless possibilities but they can also be the very place where storms and ideologies conflict.
So for this prompt, let's imagine powdery sand and turquoise sea and sky. After all, you came here to relax.
Breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Think of a quiet place that makes you feel happy and secure. Sit for 5 minutes noticing all the thoughts and feelings (even the ones that make you uncomfortable). Open your eyes. Move to the "Lumi Write" without pause.
What did you feel and see in the "Lumi Sit"? Take 5...
What would happen if you decided today would be amazing? Ditch the long lists, struggles, “I should….” or “someday I will…”
Just do an activity you love and do it today.
Maybe it’s dinner with friends or family. Maybe it is writing one paragraph of your novel or dancing to a favorite song. It could be a walk in the sun on your lunch break or a simple act of kindness. Is there one thing that you can do today that would make you feel luminous?
Reinvent your Monday by meeting all expectations at home and at work, while finding a sense of excitement because you will also do something that feels inspiring.
What’s your one thing? Make it easy, make it fun, and make sure you do it!
Can you hear those sleigh bells 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.
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...
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.
Breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Think of a wonderful dream or daydream (if night ones are hard to remember) that was memorable for...
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.
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)...
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...
“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...