Making Space to Slow Down

On the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii :: finding time to slow down and reconnect IN. 

On the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii :: finding time to slow down and reconnect IN. 

I just spent a week studying with one of my beloved teachers. We spent the week learning mantra, kirtan, music and practicing deep, soulful yoga asana, meditation and pranayama. 

I'm feeling this rebellion come up inside me against the rigid, linear expectations of our male dominated culture and the remnants of my childhood and upbringing. This looks like taking a much softer approach to all things- yoga asana (the postures), meditation, my schedule, goals, daily habits, relationships. A shaking free of gripping, tension, striving and trying SO hard. Because believe me, I really TRY and this creates excessive and unneeded layers of stress and illness. So I'm learning to slow down even more, my creativity is opening back up, this music, rhythm, ritam, is resurfacing and surging up in a whole new way and I am learning new things every day. But expect to move in new ways in my classes, to perhaps experience me differently, to hear a slightly different message. And you can like these changes or not, it's all okay with me. But we are musical by nature, we are divine by nature, we are loving, healed and whole at our core. So the deepest spiritual practice is connection into this God place inside of us which often involves getting quiet enough to hear it.

So how to slow down?
Ahh, the million dollar question and something I am still learning and working with. But here's what I've discovered: 

1. go on retreat. unwind with me here. but really, I find that taking time away, where we are forced to get off our phones, to clear our schedules, to allow someone to hold space for us to be present is absolutely crucial to resetting our systems and reminding us of our essential nature that does not rush. 

2. do not, I repeat, do not look at your phone in the morning until you've had quiet time. This is vital. Put it on airplane mode until you've had your meditation/practice/breathing/nature. The time between about 4 am to sunrise is called Brahma Murti, or "time of God" and this is when there is the most spiritual energy encircling the planet and the mental plane (something like the cloud for everyone's thoughts) is quietest. This time in the morning is invaluable. 

3. little rituals make a huge difference: light candles, use soft lighting, turn on your diffuser, put relaxing music on, give yourself a massage. 

4. manage your schedule. Don't pack too much in. Many of us, myself included, struggle with this. We are learning to say no to more things, especially things that are not in alignment with our path in life. 

5. chant mantra. Check out this book. It changed my life. 

6. Turn on your favorite song and dance! Close your eyes. Be in your body. Trust your innate musicality and the divine wisdom that comes through the body in the form of joy. 

7. schedule down time. this is especially important for those type A/overscheduled/overworked folks. 

I would love to hear your strategies for slowing down. Please feel free to email me the principles you are drawn to to help you find more spaciousness. 

Blessings,
Jenna

What is needed for peace in the world?

Peace starts with us! You, me, our families, people that seem different from us? Why are people being marginalized in society? Pushed to extremism and radicalism? We all tend to push away parts of ourselves that we don't like, disown those parts, push away people and things and events that we don't like. But where is this getting us? In this video, I talk about what is truly needed in order for us to experience and achieve peace in our lives and hearts. 

Peace in the world starts with US! You, me, each other. I talk more about this in the video I made on the topic. You can watch it above.  

We all have parts of ourselves that need healing, work, love, compassion. The dark places in ourselves that cause us to shut down when triggered, close ourselves off to those who push our buttons, those who we perceive are different from us. 

So what do we need to do within ourselves to create more love and compassion and acceptance of others? 

1. Pay attention to how media sources and other people are instilling fear in our hearts. Who or what is really to fear? It's not a religion or another group of people or a certain race or ethnic group. No, it's the violence and intolerance that we ALL hold in our hearts that is the issue. We must all continue to deepen our ability to sit with difference. When you are presented with someone that is different from you, how are you able to hold that? Do you turn away or shun the experience? Do you shut down? Learn to breathe into the experience of discomfort that can arise when someone or something is different or challenging for you. The key is learning to sit with the discomfort and not trying to run away from it. 

2. Pay attention to what you're eating- are the foods you're eating causing the suffering of another being? Are you contributing to the pain and suffering of an animal that did not want to give his life for your burger? Try to incorporate more plant foods into your diet. When we eat compassionately, it is much easier to feel more compassion in our hearts. I have discovered this time and again helping people shift their diets and lifestyles. What you eat affects the neurotransmitters in your brain and therefore your mood. 

3.  Practice mindfulness - whether it's yoga, meditation, qigong, or another practice that is rooted in learning to focus internally - when you learn to turn your focus inward, you start to get in touch with that which is eternal within you - the Self. This place inside is full of peace, love, joy and equanimity. It is always available for you. 

4. Get help! We all have parts of ourselves that need work and healing. None of us grew up in a perfectly healthy home or world. There are wounded and disowned parts of ourselves that need our attention in order for us to feel whole and integrated again. Find a skilled therapist that works with early attachment wounding, trauma or inner child work. Your mental health and wellbeing is your duty to humanity. 

5. Understand that all of our lives are an offering to something greater or wiser than ourselves. It is our job to contribute to the world in a way which is meaningful and promotes more peace. So whatever it is you do on a daily basis, offer it up as a prayer, as an offering. Every action, thought, word, deed contributes in some way to humanity and the collective as a whole. Every choice we make is a choice made for humanity. What are you choosing? 

Join me and the Dharma Yoga SF community tonight for our free community peace gathering. 3937 Irving Street San Francisco. 7:30 pm. Please feel free to bring a vegan dish to share! For more information click here

The Importance of Intention

"Do nothing which is of no use" -Miyamoto Musashi

Inspiration for strength and resilience today: Be intentional in word, deed and thought. Everything we do and think creates a resonance and frequency that determines the level at which we vibrate. When we learn to be intentional in everything we do, we start to create an intentional life. We become the co-creators of our lives and the Universe supports us in our growth and evolution.

Wherever we focus our mind is where our blood and prana or life energy follow- whatever we concentrate on GROWS! This gives us immense power over our lives, at least in the process. If we can let go of attachment to the outcome and surrender to what is but thoroughly enjoy and work hard in the process of whatever it is we're doing, we are capable of incredible things! What is one thing you can do to be more intentional today? What are you co-creating in your life today? Comment below and let us know! 

How to Move Forward

In this video I talk about how health and healing are a choice. We must choose on a day to day basis that we are going to get better, feel better, do better. This does NOT mean that we necessarily will achieve the outcome we were hoping for. For example, just because you choose to heal from cancer doesn't mean you necessarily will. We do have to let go of attachment to the outcome. And at the same time, if we say "Today, I am going to do everything I can to help my body heal from cancer" and we choose that every day, then we might be surprised with what could happen. Or if we are struggling with depression, we can try our best in the day to day to fight for happiness. This process of choosing something every day is the goal itself! 

And sometimes, we have to choose to just take the next step forward. To choose to allow ourselves to be happy again or forgive ourselves or just decide we're going to heal. 

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How to be yourself no matter what

Are you struggling to find yourself? Or find yourself compromising yourself and beliefs in the presence of different people or situations? Or perhaps regressing into not-so-great versions of yourself when you're stressed, tired, upset, etc?

Being ourselves has its benefits- we feel more at peace, trust ourselves more, are able to listen to our intuition more deeply, and discover our innate confidence and wholeness. But if we're struggling to honor ourselves and stay relatively grounded and sure about ourselves as we go throughout our lives, we can find ourselves compromising our values and beliefs, not taking care of ourselves and losing touch with the joy and love that is our birthright. 

In this video I'm going to teach you a simple concept that will change the way you view yourself, relationships and your life.

love, Jenna

 

The detox food you may not have heard about + recipe

Chia, in ancient Mayan, meant strength. Native to South America, these superfoods have been a staple for many cultures throughout time. Only recently did they become more well-known: originally as chia pets but now health food experts understand the powerful effects of chia.

Chia seeds swell when in contact with water or liquids. They are a wonderful detox food because they swell once digested, helping absorb toxins, cleansing the digestive tract. And since 80% of your immune system happens in your digestive system, we want to be sure we’re clean and clear down there!

Chia seeds:

-Are loaded in antioxidants and fiber.
-Deliver many nutrients with few calories.
-Contain high quality protein.
-Are high in omega 3 fatty acids and contain more omega 3s per calorie than salmon.
-Have 8 times more calcium than milk.
-Have three times more iron than spinach.
-Gluten and cholesterol free
-Help stabilize blood sugar
-Boost your metabolism
-Reduces blood pressure and inflammation in the body.

Enjoy this Chia Pudding recipe from my upcoming yoga and detox journey:

1 cup non-dairy milk
⅓ cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons raw honey
or 5 drops stevia (optional)
½ teaspoon vanilla (powder or alcohol free vanilla)
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of ground ginger


Warm your milk. In a small saucepan, add your non-dairy milk over a medium low flame. Warm the milk for 2 to 3 minutes. Make it is as hot as you can stand it without boiling.

Mix your chia seeds. Add your chia seeds to a cereal bowl. Add the milk, sweetener (optional), cinnamon, vanilla and ground ginger. Mix thoroughly and allow it to gel. This process should happen in less than 2 minutes.

Serve the chia pudding. Top your chia pudding with fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

NOTE: If you would like to serve this cold, allow your pudding to chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator or overnight is best.

Five mindset shifts to renew your love for life when you’re feeling down

We all have down days. It’s inevitable. But how do we turn it around and choose a different mood? How do we reignite our excitement and passion for life when things aren’t going our way? Did you know that it is entirely possible to choose different feelings, emotions or thought patterns?

Here are five things to remember when needing an attitude boost:

  1. Remember that happiness is a choice.

    You are the only one responsible for your moods, actions and thoughts. You are therefore 100% responsible for your own life, which can be both terrifying and incredibly empowering at the same time. When we stop blaming situations or people outside of us for our bad moods or disappointments and start to look at our own expectations, we shift the focus on ourselves. The situation then shifts from being outside our control to inside our control. Because, after all, the only thing we can control is ourselves

  2. Remember that everyone and every situation is a mirror for our spiritual development,

    shedding light on the things we need to work on. You will continue to be presented with opportunities for growth until you learn the required lesson. When we open ourselves to grace and have faith that the Universe is conspiring for us, we can have faith that every moment in our lives is an opportunity for evolution.

  3. Understand that you are not your thoughts, emotions and moods.

    You are the Witness, the peaceful Purusha, as Patanjali tells us in the Yoga Sutras. Rumi said “You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.” The entire Universe, all the peace, love and joy in the world exists as you. Your fluctuating thoughts, emotions, urges, cravings and so on are the changing clouds in a peaceful blue sky. The sky never changes but the clouds do- and misidentification with the clouds, or thinking that you are the clouds when you are actually the still sky, is our primary source of suffering.

  4. Take time for you! Recharge your batteries-

    what activities light you up? Get outside in the sunshine. Spend time with people you love, away from technology. Invest in yourself. Taking time out from the chaotic nature of our lives can be all we need to hit the reset button! When you focus on investing in yourself and giving yourself the time you need to refocus and recharge, the more you are more able to approach life with gratitude and hope.

  5. Sit with your feelings.

    My spiritual teacher in India, Swami Brahmdev, would always say “If you are bored, sit in your boredom.” “If you’re feeling alone, sit with your aloneness.” Sitting with whatever you’re feeling, thinking or going through, especially if it’s challenging, allows you to embrace it for what it is. Rather than pushing it away, we can meditate on it and start to notice our thoughts, beliefs and expectations as they float (or pour) through our minds.

What are some tips and tricks you use to shift your perspective? Let me know in the comments below!