Writing, Yoga, Meditation, Retreats and SEL Professional Development
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.
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...
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...
It used to be a big joke in my house. Mom’s got a vision board. Let them roll their eyes at me and my ‘little arts and crafts project.’ I don’t care. They work.
In 2015, I dreamed up beauty, wishes for my family, success and travel on a cheery pink piece of construction paper. I dreamed of love, determination, and kindness. It reminded me to live in the now and to practice all my practices daily (yoga, meditation, writing) wherever I go. Five years later, my vision is not exactly what I thought it would be, but life is definitely moving forward!
Why does it work? You see your goals happening as if they have already happened and a vision board helps to activate your imagination. Your brain can be fooled into thinking that what is sees is reality. It's a positive step toward the life of your dreams.
Week 2 Writing Yoga® Prompt:
Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes to honor your inner dreamer. Close your eyes. See, touch, hear, smell and taste the life you will create....
Nothing like a bee sting to interrupt your Zen.
I raise my hand in the lawn for a seated twisted yoga pose. My waist is wrung out like a wet rag. I think I’m so graceful, my fingers reaching for sky. My arm moves in slow motion toward the grass. I’m fully in the moment, describing the pose to my students step-by-step. The gaze comes last and with my head and neck aligned with the spine there is no reason to look down.
When my hand reaches the earth, it meets a bee. I’m stung. My yogi mind observes. It says, “You have been stung by a bee.” Yes, I have been stung, it hurts, and the class remains centered in the pose while I look down at my swollen finger and continue to cue.
It’s near the end of class and my non-yogi mind says, “Run! Get ice. Get Benadryl. Your throat will close. You will go into shock. You will die.”
We finish class. I ice my hand. I’m calm and surprised to be alive.
Have you ever been stung? I have...
People often ask me, “What is this Writing Yoga thing?” Here’s the short answer: It’s alchemy. True Alchemy. It turns paper to gold. Well, not literally, but it’s my unscientific opinion that there’s a profound chemical reaction charging up your body and brain when you put these two ancient disciplines together!
My friend, Linda Epstein (literary agent and fabulously entertaining blogger), and I co-facilitate a Writing Yoga® Retreat at the Glen Cove Mansion every summer. We thought it might be fun for our readers if we blogged on the same day about the REAL retreat experience. So let me be your virtual tour guide through the TOP 10 reasons why you need a Writing Yoga® retreat:
What does it mean to be an expert?
It feels much better to be an expert at something than to sit in a room and feel completely lost, but being “lost” can be just the thing we need to grow. Take some time today to get to know the expert in yourself and the expert inside people you know. Is there a particular yoga pose you want to master? Is there a topic that you want to know inside and out?
In this week’s writing prompt, we are exploring what it means to be “an expert.”
What steps will it take to arrive at mastery? One of the biggest lessons of working toward mastery is to realize that it’s okay to not be perfect at everything. There are plenty of experts you can call on. Think about the experts in your life. Who would you call….
As a creative person with a busy life, where do you go to relax, unwind, and let ideas flow?
Practicing yoga on a paddleboard in the middle of the Long Island Sound is how my friend Michelle does it. It’s one thing for most of us just not fall off the board into the water, but moving through sun salutations, hanumanasana, and headstands is a whole other story.
It can be difficult to maintain steadiness during balancing poses in a yoga class, but what if there are waves moving you too? There is no wall to hold on to. There is no teacher in the room and no one next to you on your mat. It’s just you and the board. Somehow the flow of the water aligns with the water in your body and before you know it, you are balancing with the wild current.