It’s Time for a ‘Resolution Evolution’!

I don’t know about you, but for me New Year resolutions have lost their power.  When I think about making a resolution for the new year, it comes with a lot of baggage.  Some of this baggage is my own and some comes from society’s depictions and examples of resolutions that are inevitably broken and forgotten.   
 
So this year, I suggest we change the way in which we proclaim to change! 🙂   What drives a resolution is a sincere, authentic, committed desire for something different in our lives; however, the usual statements we make for ourselves:  
“I want to eat healthier”
“I want to lose weight”
“I want to carve out more time for myself”
“I want to exercise more”
“I want to spend more time with my family”, etc. etc. etc.
 
 … these just doesn’t cut it!  I mean really… do those statements evoke empowerment and commitment in you??  Frankly, they don’t do it for me.  It’s no wonder many of us ‘fall off the wagon’ in a matter of months!
 
So what do I propose?  A Resolution Evolution!!  (Not to be confused with Resolution Revolution which I did consider because it also sounds cool but it has a note of aggression and violence to it so I gave it the ‘thumbs down’.  😉 )
 
I prefer to EVOLVE our thinking about how we see ourselves in the New Year in a more compassionate and mindful manner.  And the way we do that is by tapping into how we want to FEEL in the New Year.  It’s a simple shift in perspective but it’s a powerful one!  Instead of focusing on a thought or statement or even intention, let’s focus on the FEELING behind that thought, statement or intention.  
 
For example, instead of focusing on “I’m going to eat healthier”, connect with how you will FEEL when you eat healthier… feelings of comfort, lightness of body, strength, vitality and energy, etc.    And instead of focusing on “I want to carve out more Me-Time”, imagine how you will feel when you have the extra time for yourself…. more relaxed, at ease, more playful and fun, etc.
 
By tuning-in to the ‘frequency’ of the better feelings for which we strive through our resolutions, we send a powerful signal to the Universe to deliver!  Not only that, but staying connected to those feelings keeps us inspired, hopeful and committed; otherwise, it’s too easy to get caught up in doubt and impatience (that it’s not working or happening fast enough!)
 
I’ll admit…  it’s a fairly simple concept that has it’s challenges in the execution.  So to help, I have prepared a short visualization meditation for you to follow.  And if it resonates with you, you can repeatedly use it through out the year, especially when you feel your commitment may be dwindling!
 
Here’s the audio… I hope it is helpful:
 
 Resolution Evolution Visualization
 
My hope and wish for you in this New Year is to EMBRACE YOURSELF… the empowered, joyful, wise, authentic and evolved YOU!   
 
I look forward to sharing more YOGA with the ‘new’ you in 2017!
Be Safe.. Be Well.. and ENJOY! 🙂 

Sheetal

“New Beginnings” for 2016

July FireworksYesterday, I was decluttering and reorganizing my personal space (something I like to do to welcome a new year) and I noticed a few of my old journals.  Of course, the urge to peruse them hit me and I began to do so.
One entry from 10.10.10 (Hmmmm…. interesting 🙂 ) resonated with me in that moment.  It was a poem I’d written called “New Beginnings” and it was as if an echo of the past rang through loud and clear in the present.  It feels like the perfect New Year’s wish for you so I’d like to share it here.
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This is a day of New Beginnings…
 
A beginning where we release our fears and surrender our egos;
Where instead of doubting and worrying, we open ourselves to trusting and loving
 
We begin to flow naturally with the Divine Order by living authentically, according to our own individual Truths
 
We begin to get out of our own way by releasing our limiting beliefs about ourselves, others and our world
 
We begin to focus more on helping mankind, rather than only helping ourselves because we acknowledge that we are a global community
 
A beginning were there is no “separateness”;
Where we feel the connection with each other, with all creatures and living elements as well as with the Earth itself
 
We begin to live with greater EASE, joyfully and effortlessly riding the waves of ABUNDANCE, GRATITUDE and LOVE that are all around us.
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This is a YEAR of New Beginnings…
I wish you EASE, AUTHENTICITY,CONNECTION, ABUNDANCE, GRACE, LOVE 
and whatever else you desire in 2016!!!

 

Our Purpose in Life: To Be HAPPY!

John Lennon_Happiness Quote & Image

AMEN John Lennon… AMEN!!!

This quote may not have resonated with me as much 10 years ago, but today it rings LOUD & CLEAR!  I remember wanting to find my “soul purpose” so badly… wanting to know what my role was in this lifetime… how was I supposed to contribute to the world, etc..

Can you relate to any of that?  Perhaps you can, perhaps you can’t… and quite honestly, it doesn’t matter!

Because just as John Lennon suggests, our only true purpose in life is to feel HAPPY!  It doesn’t matter what our job/profession/title is… it doesn’t matter how much money we have or how much we donate to others… it doesn’t even matter how much we are liked or accepted by others…

In fact, it is often the pursuit of these very things that prevent many of us from truly being happy because we are too busy trying to fit a mold created by someone else (our parents, our friends, our peers, society, history????)

Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not suggesting we all quit our jobs, stop helping others, sit on the couch and binge watch TV all day (although a day of that may actually be therapeutic for some! 😉 )  Because if we’re truly honest with ourselves, being reckless, uncaring and selfish (with a little “s”) is not what feels good to most of us anyway.

What I am suggesting is if we just focus in any given moment on what makes us truly feel good (or at least better) rather than what we think is expected of us or what we SHOULD do/think/feel, etc., everything else would naturally fall into place….  The right people begin surrounding us while those that drain us naturally leave… the perfect opportunities present themselves for us to act upon… the many stressors of life gradually fall by the wayside and we are able to manage and learn from those that remain.

This may sound too simplistic or “woo-woo, hocus-pocus” to some of you…. and if it does.. that’s OKAY! 🙂  But even if you’re just a bit curious, I challenge you to try this:

Whenever you notice that you are caught up in a negative thought/emotion, PAUSE, BREATHE a few full, smooth breaths… and CHOOSE to think/say/do something that feels better to you.   Doing this over and over again shifts not only your perspective but so much more that you cannot even imagine.  And in any case, what do you have to lose by trying??!!  (Except unhappiness!)

I can honestly say that I am living proof of the success of this mindset which John Lennon so simply yet eloquently stated.  And for this, I am very grateful and very HAPPY!

Here’s to OUR Happiness,

Sheetal

I love… ME!!!

Green Heart (chakra) ImageWith Valentines Day at the heart of this month, we tend to think of February as the month of LOVE.  We think of all the special people… family, companions, friends, etc., in our lives with whom we share love.  And it’s certainly wonderful to celebrate the loving relationships that we enjoy with others… that is an important part of the joyful human experience! 🙂

Allow me to suggest, however, that there’s one person that we typically do NOT think of when we think of all those that we love… OURSELVES!

From very early on, we’re taught to look for love outside ourselves in our relationships.  And as we get older, we begin to think that is the only place from which we can experience love – the external world.

I remember as a young girl thinking about how one day I’d find my “Prince Charming”… my “soul-mate”… and we’d live “happily ever after”.   And again, our relationships DO offer us beautiful opportunities to experience and express deep love… so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with searching for your soul-mate.

However, I would argue that until we practice loving ourselves, we don’t truly enjoy the full potential of loving others.  Until we reconnect with our own essence of DIVNE LOVE… removing all the self-judgement and self-criticism… we cannot fully share this divine love with others.

So on that note… I was inspired to create a  10-minute “Self-Love” meditation in honor of the upcoming Valentines Day.

Click here to listen to it…

And as always, I’d LOVE to hear your feedback so comment here by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link at the top or shoot me an email.

Until next time… with love, in love and as love,

Sheetal

Making a Resolution VS Broadcasting Your Intention

Reaching for Open Skies and High Peaks

Broadcast Your 2015 Intention

As some of you may know, I gave up making resolutions a few years back because I found the process to be ineffective and even disempowering.  Think about it… when we make resolutions like

  • I’m going to lose X pounds
  • I will exercise 3x week
  • I will eat healthier foods
  • I will quit smoking…

what are our thoughts and statements focusing on?

Answer:  The “bad” thing that we feel guilty about doing or the “good” thing that we feel guilty about NOT doing!  While the intention behind each of these resolutions is an empowering one, the ESSENCE of the resolution is quite the opposite.  How often have you heard (and perhaps you’ve experienced this yourself) people say that they made a resolution but didn’t stick with it?  I’d like to suggest that it’s difficult to stick to something that reminds us of how “bad” we are, or of what is lacking in our lives… it’s simply a downer!

So this year, this idea of “broadcasting my intention” came to me while I was reflecting on my year.  First of all, it’s about creating an intention of purpose (called sankalpa in yoga terms)  for the new year and then choosing language to describe your intention in a way that FEELS empowering and captures the ESSENCE of the intention.

For example, the intention behind all of those previous resolutions was one of better health.  The more empowering language to use to describe this intention could be:

  • I feel strong, flexible and comfortable in my body!
  • I make the best food and fitness choices for my personal well-being!
  • I am committed to feeling good about myself- mind, body and spirit!

Often, I will write down a bunch of words and phrases that come to mind and then sit with them to see which combination of words really represents the essence of what I am after.  It’s also a great way to get clarity on what it is that you really want to experience in the New Year and also create a shift in your persepective so that you view it in a “feel good” way.

My intention for 2015 is to fully experience FREEDOM… financial freedom, creative freedom, freedom from old beliefs and patterns of behavior, freedom to choose exactly what delights my soul and nothing less!  And as I went through my list of phrases that described this essence, I started picturing a tower that was broadcasting these mental and emotional energies (our thoughts and emotions have a frequency, a vibration; thus, they are forms of energy!) out into the Universe… I was broadcasting my intention! 🙂

WOW… did that feel powerful to me!  It helped me to really connect with my sankalpa so that I actually felt it in my body.  And the idea that I was sending it out to be received by the Universe also felt very powerful.  So each morning, I work with this same visualization and I broadcast my intention… In fact, sometimes I do it multiple times throughout the day.  In doing so, I play a powerful and active role in setting the stage for each day and for the entire year.  And as I go through each day, I am more likely to make choices and decisions that align with my New Year Intention.

I invite you to experience and have fun with this process in 2015!  And if you do give it try, I’d LOVE to hear your feedback so comment here by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link at the top or shoot me an email.  What will YOU be broadcasting out to the world this year?!!  🙂

Breathe Your Way to Feeling Better!

Up-Salute

I often forewarn my students and clients that I will sound like a “broken record” when it comes to reminding you to BREATHE.  If I had to choose ONLY 1 thing to do as part of my daily self-care practice, it would be mindful yogic breathing.  So it’s usually the first thing I recommend to those that have limited time or want to begin slowly to develop a daily practice of their own.

Our breath is the “bridge” between our minds and our bodies.  By learning how to harness the power of our breath, we immediately affect both mind AND body… this is what makes breath-work so powerful and effective in dealing with all forms of tension, stresses, emotions and even pain

Last month, I offered my new workshop BREATHE WELL, BE WELL:  Managing Pain, Stress & Emotions through Breath-work, Meditation & Mindfulness at Trout Creek Healing Collective.  This month, I’m offering it at West End Yoga on Sunday, Nov 23rd from 1:30-3pm.

And to give you a tiny experience of into some of the things we’ll discuss and practice at the workshop, I’ve recorded a short (about 6.5 minutes) mindful breathing exercise for you.  Play it from the audio link below and then I invite you to post to the blog to let me know your thoughts on it!  Looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you at a future workshop… until then keep MINDFULLY BREATHING! 🙂

Mindful Breathing Exercise – Calming the Emotions

Tis the Season… For Slowing Down and Self-Care

ACDY_Resting Butterfly_PWPAs the summer season comes to a close, many of us find ourselves naturally slowing down and falling into a more regular routine of school, work, etc. After a busy, hectic, fast-paced summer I welcome the advent of Fall and it’s calmer quieter energies. In fact, the autumnal equinox (day of equal light and dark) symbolizes a return to balance and is a good time to re-commit ourselves to some well-deserved and often needed Self-Care!

** See BELOW for Self-Care opportunities!  Aromatherapy Yoga:  Fall Restoration and Yoga Self-Care for LMTs for continuing education credits **

We’ve all heard the saying… “You can’t take care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself”… right? But how many of us truly act in that way?

Whether you’re a parent taking care of children or a child taking care of a parent or other family… most people tend to put themselves last. Even from a professional standpoint, how many of us put our work or our businesses before our own well-being?

As a business professional whose work is all about providing care & support to others, I know all too well how challenging this can be! In the past, I have run myself ragged trying to get in those extra clients, or running from one appointment to another without leaving time to have a proper meal, etc..

And we all have our reasons for doing so… economic reasons, social expectations, belief systems, etc… Most likely it’s a combination of these and other factors. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of others if it’s our responsibility to do so – absolutely we must fulfill our life responsibilities.

But here’s something to think about… how often do we use this as an excuse to NOT take care of ourselves? Believe me, I’ve had to work through my own “martyr complex” and in the end, what I found was that not only did I sacrifice my own well-being, but I also sacrificed the quality of my work and integrity of relationships. Additionally, I set an example that was energetically disempowering for myself AND my clients and family members (whoever it was I was taking care of.)

The effect of this “self-negligence” goes beyond the physical effects… it creates an energetic signature that becomes embedded into our behavior and beliefs. In my case, I would physically feel tired, sore, sick, resentful, etc. But on a deeper energetic level, I was also sending the message that I didn’t care enough about myself and thus “teaching” those I was caring for that it was OK to be this way. And the more I allowed this, the more I reinforced this behavior in myself and (in a very subtle way) in others.

When I finally began to “undo” this habit and focus on choosing to take excellent care of myself, I felt a major shift in my work as well as my relationships! From a professional standpoint, I made sure that I scheduled my clients in such a way that I was able to feel GREAT (not just OK) when I worked with each one of them. It made my work more effective, comfortable and enjoyable for both of us on all levels!

And isn’t that the type of experience we want and deserve, whether it’s from our family or from our professionals? But how can we expect it from others if we don’t implement it ourselves? If we don’t take actions to be caring and nurturing to ourselves, we send an energetic message to the world that we don’t want or expect that from others as well.

There’s a wonderful piece called the “The Real Woman Creed”[although is it CERTAINLY applicable to men as well!!!] that we read in one of the women’s group in which I participate… here is a great line from that:

I believe that a woman [ or man ] who loves herself [ himself ] is a powerful, passionate, attractive force, and I commit, from this day forward, to loving myself deeply and extravagantly.”

So as you slow down this month, I invite you to reflect on your own Self-Care choices… how do you take EXQUISITE care of yourself?

And if you find your answer to be lacking, I hope that you will join me this month to re-commit to this very important task. And even if you take excellent care of yourself, please join me anyway, and we can share in loving ourselves “deeply and extravagantly!” 🙂

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Sept 20 & 28th: Aromatherapy Yoga – Fall Restoration workshop.  Contact Sheetal or visit West End Yoga Allentown or Living Room Yoga Emmaus for more information.

Sept 29th:  Yoga Self-Care for LMTs (licensed massage therapists)  All-day workshop for 6 CECs.  Contact Sheetal or visit Sage Continuing Education for more information.

 

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3 Key Principles for Good Posture… #2 Releasing the Shoulders & #3 Maintaining Safe Angles

My last post was about the first principle for good posture:  Engaging the Core.  To refresh… Strong spinal alignment begins with maintaining the natural lumbar curve of the lower back.  Too much curve (a condition called ‘lordosis’) and the anterior pelvic muscles experience congestion/constriction while the posterior muscles of the gluteals and hamstrings become overstretched and painful.  Too little curve (a condition called ‘kyphosis’) can create tension and hyperactivity in the posterior muscles of the body and weakness in the anterior muscles of the pelvis and abdomen.

We can properly Engage the Core by:

1. lengthening the tailbone toward the heels

2. activating the lower abdominal muscles

3. gently pulling the navel in and up toward the rib cage

This allows us to align the pelvis upright and hold the natural lumbar curve with a strong core.  Feel free to watch the video from my previous blog post for more review!  Again, it’s NOT rocket science!  It just takes some awareness, knowledge and discipline for ANYONE to experience good posture and the benefits that go along with it.

 

So here are the remaining two video clips – Releasing the Shoulders and Maintaining Safe Angles & Planes –  from my Yoga Essentials DVD series.  These are the foundation on which you can build good postural habits.  Please post any questions, comments or feedback… I’d love to hear from you!

 

Open Your Heart! With a Heart-Opening Meditation

With Valentines Day approaching, I was inspired to create a little heart opening meditation that focuses on the heart chakra.  watercolor_heart

For those that may not be familiar with the chakras (one of the energetic systems of our bodies), there are 7 main chakras — 5 exist along our spine, one is at the “3rd eye” on the forehead, and one is at the crown of the head.

The heart chakra is located – yes, you guessed it – behind the sternum at the heart center!  It is the area that resonates the frequency of feelings such as love, compassion, self-acceptance and joy.  Throughout our lives, there may be times when the heart chakra feels “closed”.  When this happens, we may often feel as if we’ve lost the capacity to feel one or more of these emotions.

And even if you don’t feel as if your heart chakra is “closed”, connecting to it’s energy and “opening” it can bring us an even greater sense of love, compassion, self-acceptance and joy.  And who wouldn’t want to feel more of these feelings!  🙂

So I invite you to click here and experience this 9-minute Heart-Opening Meditation:

Heart Opening Meditation

Living with “AHA”!

As we gear up for the season of holidays and festivities, there is so much for which to be grateful and to look forward!  And along with that, there is also the reality of additional tasks to complete, meals to prepare, shopping to do, etc… which can potentially create added stress.

How do we prevent ourselves from riding the roller coaster of emotion during this time?  How can we maintain our “grounded-ness” and stay “heart-centered” despite the feverish energy that may surround us?

This Sunday 11/24 (TOMORROW!), I hope to help answer these questions during my Living with AHA! workshop at West End Yoga in Allentown.

“AHA” stands for ‘A’wareness, ‘H’onor and ‘A’cceptance… 3 key principles of any yoga practice… ON and OFF the mat!  On Sunday, we will explore these principles through movement, breathing, experiential exercises and open discussion.

And to provide a little more explanation of these principles, I’ve included here 3 video clips introducing each principle.  Each of these clips comes from my Yoga Essentials: Fundamentals DVD and hopefully gives you a taste of what we will delve into much further on Sunday!

AWARENESS Video Clip

HONOR Video Clip

ACCEPTANCE Video Clip

I hope you enjoy the clips!  And if the material moves you…. you may want to check out my Yoga Essentials DVD set!  On SALE now for the HOLIDAYS… these DVDs make GREAT gifts! 🙂

$15 for one, $20 for any 2 and $25 for the full 3-DVD set… Contact Me to order!  ENJOY! 🙂

 

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